The Darkest of All Places
“ ‘Now throw this useless servant into outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ ”—Matthew 25:30
Have you ever been in a very dark place—so dark that you couldn’t even see your hand in front of your face? Some years ago I was in Israel with a group that was going through Hezekiah’s Tunnel. It takes awhile to walk through this ancient channel, which at times becomes very narrow and low. I went inside and walked about three feet. Then I told the group that I would meet them on the other side. This brave, courageous pastor was waiting when they all came out. It was so dark and confining.
In certain parts of our country, like Alaska, there is prolonged darkness, where people sometimes will enter into deep depression and even commit suicide. Doctors have determined that we need light, not only to strengthen us physically, but also mentally. We need to see sunshine. And when we are not exposed to it, it affects every aspect of our body.
Not only does the Bible compare hell to a garbage dump and a prison, but it also describes it as a place of outer darkness. Peter wrote about those who had eyes full of adultery and were experts in greed. He pronounced their doom by saying that the blackness of darkness was reserved for them (see 2 Peter 2:17).
Jesus spoke of those who would be thrown outside into outer darkness (see Matt. 8:12; 22:13; 25:30). Yet He did not merely describe hell as darkness, but as the darkness, implying that it is infinitely worse than any physical, moral, mental, or spiritual darkness than any person has ever experienced on Earth. It is not just darkness. It is the darkness—the darkest of all.