Depart from me (Mt 25:41-25:41)

“Then the king

Will say to those

At his left hand.

‘You are cursed!

Depart from me!

Enter into the eternal fire

Prepared for the devil

And his angels!’”

 

τότε ἐρεῖ καὶ τοῖς ἐξ εὐωνύμων Πορεύεσθε ἀπ’ ἐμοῦ κατηραμένοι εἰς τὸ πῦρ τὸ αἰώνιον τὸ ἡτοιμασμένον τῷ διαβόλῳ καὶ τοῖς ἀγγέλοις αὐτοῦ.

 

This last judgment section is unique to Matthew.  Jesus said that the king turned to those goats on his left side (τότε ἐρεῖ καὶ τοῖς ἐξ εὐωνύμων).  He wanted these goat people to leave him and go away (Πορεύεσθε ἀπ’ ἐμοῦ).  He called them cursed (κατηραμένοι). They were to go into the eternal fire (εἰς τὸ πῦρ τὸ αἰώνιον) that had been prepared for the devil and his angels (τὸ ἡτοιμασμένον τῷ διαβόλῳ καὶ τοῖς ἀγγέλοις αὐτοῦ).  They were to depart from the king and be cursed to join the devil and his angels in the eternal fire that had been prepared for the devil.  Thus, we have the basis for the classic Christian teaching of eternal heaven with God, the Father, Jesus, the Son, and the Holy Spirit for the righteous or the eternal fire of hell with the devil and his companions for the evil or wicked people.  This was the final judgment awaiting all people.

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Yahweh’s punishment (Mic 6:13-6:15)

“Therefore,

I have begun

To strike you down.

I will make you desolate,

Because of your sins.

You shall eat,

But not be satisfied.

There shall be

A gnawing hunger

Within you.

You shall put away,

But not save.

What you save,

I will hand over to the sword.

You shall sow,

But not reap.

You shall tread olives,

But not anoint yourselves

With oil.

You shall tread grapes,

But not drink wine.”

With great irony, Yahweh, via Micah, pointed out that his punishment for these wicked people in the city would be unrewarded labor.  In other words, Yahweh was going to strike them down and make them desolate because of their sins.  They would eat, but not be satisfied because of a continual gnawing hunger.  They would try to save money, but none would be put away, because what little they had saved would be turned over to the robbers with swords.  They would sow seeds, but not be around for the harvest reaping.  They would tread grapes and olives, but they would not be able to anoint themselves with oil or drink any wine.  They were just wasting their time.

The wickedness of the city (Mic 6:9-6:12)

“The voice of Yahweh

Cries to the city.

It is sound wisdom

To fear your name.

‘Hear!

O tribe!

Hear!

Assembly of the city!

Can I forget

The treasures of wickedness

In the house of the wicked?

Can I forget

The scant measure

That is accursed?

Can I tolerate

Wicked scales?

Can I tolerate

A bag of dishonest weights?

Your wealthy

Are full of violence!

Your inhabitants

Speak lies!

They have tongues of deceit

In their mouths!”

The voice of Yahweh would cry out to the city.  The wisdom of the city assembly should be to fear his name.  These city folks should listen to Yahweh.  How could Yahweh forget the treasures of wickedness of these wicked people?  How could he forget the accursed ones?  How could Yahweh tolerate wicked scales with dishonest weights?  The rich wealthy people were full of violence, while the common folk inhabitants of the city spoke nothing but lies, since they had deceitful tongues.

The three great men (Ezek 14:14-14:16)

“‘Even if

These three men,

Noah,

Daniel,

Job,

Were in that land,

They would save

Only their own lives

By their righteousness.’

Says Yahweh God.

‘If I send

Wild animals

Through the land,

To ravage it,

Thus it is made desolate,

So that no one

May pass through

Because of the animals.

Even if these three men

Were in that land,

As I live,

They would deliver

Neither sons,

Nor daughters.

They alone

Would be saved.

But the land

Would be desolate.’

Says Yahweh God.”

Yahweh seems to single out 3 great men, Noah, Daniel, and Job. Strangely enough, all 3 are not mainstays of Israelite history. Noah, in Genesis, precedes Abraham, thus is pre-Israelite. Daniel is a prophet who lived after the time of Ezekiel, with a book named after him. Job was, of course, not an Israelite in his famous book. They seem like unlikely heroes for the exiles. The point of this oracle was that individuals could not save a country of wicked people. Their righteousness would only save their own lives. Quite often this is used as an example of individual responsibility. However, it can be seen as an example of the limited impact of good people. The land would be devastated by wild animals, despite these 3 good men. They would not even be able to save their own sons or daughters. Only they would be saved since the land would be desolate.

Eliphaz instructs Job about the wicked ones (Job 15:20-15:27)

“The wicked men writhe in pain all their days.

All the years are laid up for the ruthless.

Terrifying sounds are in their ears.

In prosperity the destroyer will come upon them.

They despair of returning from darkness.

They are destined for the sword.

They wander abroad for bread, saying,

‘Where is it?’

They know that a day of darkness is ready at hand.

Distress and anguish terrify them.

Distress and anguish prevail against them.

They are like a king prepared for battle.

Because they stretched out their hands against God,

They bid defiance to the Almighty Shaddai.

They run stubbornly against him with a thick-bossed shield.

They have covered their faces with their fat,

They have gathered fat upon their loins.”

The wicked people are in pain all the time, just like Job. Terrifying sounds are in their ears. They live in darkness and are destined for death by the sword. They wander about looking for bread. Distress and anguish are part of their lives. They like getting ready for battle against God Shaddai, the Almighty one. They run stubbornly against shields with their fat faces and fat loins.