4.6 Casting Away
The rejected will of their own volition slink away from the face of their Lord. And yet the rejected are often described, both explicitly and in the types of judgment, as actively fleeing from the Lord's presence, and being cast and thrown by Him into condemnation. Korah and the rebels slipped down into the pit and were then cast down into destruction (Ps. 73:18; v. 17 refers to Num. 16:38,39). The rejected condemn themselves (as they did in their lives)- they slink away of themselves, of their own volition they end up fleeing, and yet all this is fulfilling the Lord's own fiat that they should be chased from Him. Israel were driven out of their land by God in rejection, after the pattern of Adam and Cain being driven out (Jer. 23:8; 32:37).
Firstly, references to the rejected fleeing of their own volition:
- Zedekiah fleeing from the armies of judgment that came upon him
- Adam and Eve pining away from the Angel walking in Eden
- Unworthy Israel fleeing when none pursued whenever they faced judgment (Lev. 26:17)
- God's enemies, whoever they are, fleeing when He arises in judgment (Ps. 68:1)
- The humanly-strong fleeing away naked in that day (Am. 3:16)
- The terror of the rejected knowing they have no place to flee to (Jer. 25:35)
- Is. 17:13; 30:16
Now, references to them being thrown out or cast away by the Lord's edict:
- The wicked are driven into darkness (Job 18:18)
- "…in the day of trouble [judgment]…He will pursue His enemies into darkness" (Nah. 1:8 RV)
- The wicked "cast down" when God arises in judgment (Ps. 17:12)
- "Thrust out..." (Lk. 13:28)
- The bad tree cast into the fire (Mt. 3:10; 7:19).
- Cast into the furnace of fire, darkness, prison, hell fire (Mt. 13:42,50; 8:12; 5:25,29)
- Cast into the sea (Mk. 9:42; Mt. 13:48)
This may well be achieved by their guardian Angel chasing them, as presumably the Angels chased Adam from Eden. The rejected will be “as stubble before the wind….pursue them with thy tempest…fill their faces with shame, that they may seek thy Name…let them perish, that they may know…that thou alone…art the most high” (Ps. 83:14-18 RV). Tragically it will be in this chasing away, in their final moments before perishing, that they will know God and desperately seek Him. They will not be indifferent. It will be an awful end; finally grasping the real essence of spirituality and so desperately wanting to know God in the sense of having a loving relationship with Him- in the very last moments of their existence. The most Biblically emphasized reason for the Red Sea experience is “that the Egyptians may know that I am the Lord” (Ex. 14:4,17). It was surely only in Pharaoh’s last few moments of life that he came, through his experience of condemnation, to know the essence of Yahweh. As the tidal wave crushed down upon him, as water filled his lungs…he desperately came to know Israel’s God in absolute truth. But it was all too late. We must know Him now… This is the chilling point of all this…
"Let them be as chaff before the wind: and let the angel of the Lord chase them. Let their way be dark (cp. the rejected cast to outer darkness) and slippery: and let the angel of the Lord persecute them" (Ps. 35:5,6). "The ungodly are like the chaff which the wind (spirit- the Angels made spirits) driveth away" (Ps. 1:4; Job 21:18). The account of Gallio driving the Jews away from his judgment seat is maybe to enable to us to imagine the scene (Acts 18:16). The rejected are described as being cast into outer darkness. This is even an Old Testament concept: "Whoso curseth his father or his mother, his lamp shall be put out in the blackest darkness" (Prov. 20:20 RV). The rejected will be "pursued into darkness" (Nah. 1:8 RV). It is doubtful whether this darkness is literal, unless there will be a specific geographical location into which they are driven which is totally dark. Mt. 22:13 might imply this by saying that "there", in the darkness into which the rejected are cast, there will be weeping (Mt. 22:13). It perhaps more implies a depression so deep that everything loses its colour. There is no point in existence, no meaning to anything. It could be that "darkness" is to be understood as blindness, which is how it is sometimes used in Scripture. "The eyes of the wicked shall fail, and they shall have no way to flee. And their hope shall be the giving up of the spirit" (Job 11:20 RV). This is all the language of the final judgment. They will seek death and hope for it, because existence in the state of condemnation is simply unbearable. But remember that outside of Christ, mankind is likewise in such an unbearable state, if only he will perceive it. He is even now in a figurative furnace of fire. Those who in that day will "seek death" (Rev. 9:6) are those whose materialistic behaviour in this life was effectively a seeking of death (Prov. 21:6). They were and are living out the condemnation experience right now.
And yet again, the rejected going away into... (Mt. 25:46) is only a reflection of the position they themselves adopted in their lives. They thought that they could flee away from the judgments of God (Rom. 2:3 Gk.)- and so they will flee from His judgment seat, although so so unwillingly. The man who refuses to immediately respond to the Lord's call to service says that he must first go away from the Lord and bury his father (Mt. 8:21); the young man went away in sorrow (Mt. 19:22); people hear the Gospel and then go away to all their petty businesses of this life (Mt. 22:5). Those who couldn't handle the demanding Lord went away from Him (Jn. 6:66); and Judas went away of himself to hang himself (Mt. 27:5). He condemned himself. These are all the same words as in Mt. 25:46- those who of their own choice went away from the Lord now, although that isn't maybe how they saw it, will then go away from Him into condemnation. This point is made even within Mt. 25. The foolish virgins went away to buy oil- they didn't want to immediately go to their Lord (:10); the one talent man went away and buried his talent (:18). And then at judgment day they again go away from the Lord (:46).