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Matthew 24:44-51 (ESV):

44 Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.

45 “Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom his master has set over his household, to give them their food at the proper time? 46 Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes. 47 Truly, I say to you, he will set him over all his possessions. 48 But if that wicked servant says to himself, ‘My master is delayed,’ 49 and begins to beat his fellow servants and eats and drinks with drunkards, 50 the master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he does not know 51 and will cut him in pieces and put him with the hypocrites. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

What place is Jesus referring to?

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Those who believe in eternal conscious torment of the wicked are often too quick to jump to the interpretation of Jesus' parable in Matt 24:45-51 about the faithful vs unfaithful servant. Let us understand the parable before interpreting it!

The noun μέρος (meros) is often unhelpfully translated "place" but is correctly translated by the KJV, NKJV, ASV, DRB, GNT, LSV, ets, as "portion".

Indeed, BDB (similar to Thayer) gives the following meanings "(1) part, or (2) share". The only time it might be construed as "place" is where it used as a "share" of the land inheritance, etc. That is, Matt 24:51 does not discuss a "place" at all.

Thus, all that Matt 24:51 is saying is that such unfaithful servants will be have the same treatment/fate/consequences as the hypocrites.

Weeping and Gnashing of Teeth

The weeping and gnashing of teeth is explained according to Heb 10:26, 27 -

If we deliberately go on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no further sacrifice for sins remains, but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume all adversaries.

Note that a "fearful expectation of judgment" results from a realization of guilt before God in the judgement (compare Luke 11:31, John 5:24-28, etc). I also note that the fire of judgement will "consume" as per Heb 10:27.

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I would interpret Matthew 24:51 in its historical context. The passage is part of a discourse on the importance of vigilance and readiness for the 'coming of the Son of Man'. The 'place' that Jesus refers to, where there will be 'weeping and gnashing of teeth', is not a specific geographic or cosmic location, but rather a metaphorical representation of suffering and regret.

When we look at the Gospels, we have to remember that they were written for specific communities facing specific challenges. In the case of the Gospel of Matthew, the early Christian community was dealing with a delay in the anticipated return of Jesus. This passage serves as a moral admonition for that community, urging them to maintain faithfulness and good conduct in the face of delay and uncertainty.

The 'weeping and gnashing of teeth' is a powerful image meant to invoke a sense of fear and convey the seriousness of the consequences for those who do not stay vigilant and morally upright. It's a metaphor for the emotional and spiritual turmoil that individuals would go through when they realize they've been excluded from the Kingdom of Heaven due to their actions.

So, in short, the 'place' Jesus refers to is less about a literal hell as we might understand it today, and more about a state of deep regret and suffering, a metaphorical representation of the consequence of failing to live according to the teachings of Jesus.

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The place is not specific. It is a state of separation from the Master. Luke 13 and Mt. 7 shed further light on this. As with Mt. 24, Luke refers to a situation where there is a gnashing or grinding of teeth.

23 Someone asked him, “Lord, will only a few people be saved?” He answered them, 24 “Strive to enter through the narrow door, for many, I tell you, will attempt to enter but will not be strong enough. 25 After the master of the house has arisen and locked the door, then will you stand outside knocking and saying, ‘Lord, open the door for us.’ He will say to you in reply, ‘I do not know where you are from.’ 26 And you will say, ‘We ate and drank in your company and you taught in our streets.’ 27 Then he will say to you, ‘I do not know where [you] are from. Depart from me, all you evildoers!’ 28 And there will be wailing and grinding of teeth when you see Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God and you yourselves cast out.”

Here, as in the OP, the place is not specific. They must depart and are "cast out" of the presence of patriarchs and Jesus. The point he makes is that those those who pretend to know him and serve him are liable to be disappointed. Merely knowing and serving in not enough to be accepted by the Master when he comes. In the OP's parable, he uses the example of those who mistreat the ones they are supposed to care for. In Luke, he emphasizes the idea that those who knew him in the flesh have no superior claim to enter the kingdom. This is also the message of Jesus teaching in Mt. 7:

Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven. 22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name? Did we not drive out demons in your name? Did we not do mighty deeds in your name?’ 23 Then I will declare to them solemnly, ‘I never knew you. Depart from me, you evildoers.’

Here again the place is not specific. They must depart. Jesus emphasizes that it is not enough to know him or serve him. In this case it is insufficient even to do powerful spiritual works in his name.

In all three examples (Mt. 24, Lk. 13 and Mt. 7) the "place" is a state of separation from the Master, and this separation arises because one has not acted as hypocrites rather than in accord with Jesus' teaching.

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Disclaimer: I don't speak for any sect.

When Jesus return c. 70 AD/CE with his raptured elect from the Northern Kingdom aka Israel, it was to fight against Jerusalem:

[Eze 37:7-10 NASB20] [7] So I prophesied as I was commanded; and as I prophesied, there was a [loud] noise, and behold, a rattling; and the bones came together, bone to its bone. [8] And I looked, and behold, tendons were on them, and flesh grew and skin covered them; but there was no breath in them. [9] Then He said to me, "Prophesy to the breath, prophesy, son of man, and say to the breath, 'The Lord GOD says this: "Come from the four winds, breath, and breathe on these slain, so that they come to life."'" [10] So I prophesied as He commanded me, and the breath entered them, and they came to life and stood on their feet, an exceedingly great army.

Now I know that many today question the rapture, but how else could Jesus return with ten thousands of his saint? Where would they come from?:

[Jde 1:11-15 NASB20] [11] Woe to them! For they have gone the way of Cain, and for pay they have given themselves up to the error of Balaam, and perished in the rebellion of Korah. [12] These are the ones who are hidden reefs in your love feasts when they feast with you without fear, [like shepherds] caring [only] for themselves; clouds without water, carried along by winds; autumn trees without fruit, doubly dead, uprooted; [13] wild waves of the sea, churning up their own shameful deeds like [dirty] foam; wandering stars, for whom the gloom of darkness has been reserved forever. [14] [It was] also about these people [that] Enoch, [in the] seventh [generation] from Adam, prophesied, saying, "Behold, the Lord has come with many thousands of His holy ones, [15] to execute judgment upon all, and to convict all the ungodly of all their ungodly deeds which they have done in an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him."

The place of burning and gnashing of teeth is reference to the fact that the Roman armies prevented any escape from Jerusalem during the siege, and then proceeded to hail flaming arrows over the wall and set the city on the fire. The only ones who escaped were those few that escaped just in time:

[Mat 24:16 NASB20] [16] then those who are in Judea must flee to the mountains.

[Mar 13:14 NASB20] [14] "Now when you see the ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION standing where it should not be--let the reader understand--then those who are in Judea must flee to the mountains.

[Luk 21:21 NASB20] [21] "Then those who are in Judea must flee to the mountains, and those who are inside the city must leave, and those who are in the country must not enter the city;

[Zec 14:1-5 NASB20] [1] Behold, a day is coming for the LORD when the spoils [taken from] you will be divided among you. [2] For I will gather all the nations against Jerusalem to battle, and the city will be taken, the houses plundered, the women raped, and half of the city exiled, but the rest of the people will not be eliminated from the city. [3] Then the LORD will go forth and fight against those nations, as when He fights on a day of battle. [4] On that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, which is in front of Jerusalem on the east; and the Mount of Olives will be split in its middle from east to west [forming] a very large valley. Half of the mountain will move toward the north, and the other half toward the south. [5] And you will flee by the valley of My mountains, for the valley of the mountains will reach to Azel; yes, you will flee just as you fled from the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah. Then the LORD, my God, will come, [and] all the holy ones with Him!

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  • Has Mount of Olives split yet? Jul 23, 2023 at 12:09
  • Yes. Here's a picture: revelationrevolution.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/… Look closely and you'll see that the mountain is divided by a Roman road, since from the first century. For more info see: revelationrevolution.org/…
    – Ruminator
    Jul 23, 2023 at 13:51
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    Be that as it may. The timing of the prophecy seems to fit with those events that you mentioned about, I can give you that. I believe that prophecies should come before their fulfillments. And sometimes prophecies seems to have more than one fulfilment, like about the return of the Jews to their land, which has happened at least two times already. Jul 23, 2023 at 23:55

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