Let’s read Matthew 13:42: “and will cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth.” Now let’s read Matthew 25:30, “And cast the unprofitable servant into the outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” I have no doubt whatsoever that these are indeed “speaking of the same event.” The language is so similar that it would be striking if they were not referring to the same event. As we shall see, both passages have to do with parables that illustrate people who profess to believe in Jesus Christ; some are “genuine believers” while others are “mere professors.” The verses we have quoted are “mere professors” who will be cast into hell for their unbelief. We trust this will become clearer as we look at each parable.

In Matthew 13:24-30 the Lord Jesus tells the parable of the “WHEAT and the TARES,” where a man sowed good seed in the earth which produced WHEAT and his enemy sowed TARES among the wheat. In verse 36 we read, “Then Jesus sent the multitude away, and went into the house. And His disciples came to Him, saying, ‘Explain to us the parable of the TARES of the field.’ The Lord’s reply is in verses 37-43: “He who sows the good seed is the Son of Man. The field is the world, the good seeds are the sons of the kingdom, BUT THE TARES ARE THE SONS OF THE WICKED ONE. The enemy who sowed them is the devil, the harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are the angels. Therefore, as the TARES ARE GATHERED AND BURNED IN THE FIRE, so it will be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send out His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and those who practice lawlessness, and will CAST THEM INTO THE FURNACE OF FIRE. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of the Father. He who has ears to hear, let him hear!”  Again, it is crystal-clear that the WHEAT refers to true believers in Jesus Christ and when He comes again to establish His kingdom here on earth, they, as sons of the kingdom, will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of the Father. The TARES are unbelievers who may have “sounded” and even “looked” like true believers at times (just like “tares resemble wheat” but there is no “kernel of life” in them), but when Christ returns it will be revealed that their profession was not genuine. Because they were “sons of the wicked one” they will be gathered “out of His kingdom and cast into the furnace of fire,” a solemn picture of being “cast into the lake of fire” (Matthew 25:41 and Revelation 20:15) where there will be “wailing and gnashing of teeth” (Matthew 8:12; 13:50; 22:13; 24:51; 25:30).

In Matthew 25:14-30 the Lord Jesus told another parable we call the “Parable of the Talents” which illustrates the same truth, for both parables picture “the true and the false” (true believers and mere professors). In this parable they all profess to be servants of the Lord while He is gone but only the true believers actually serve Him faithfully by using the talents He has given them for His glory (verses 16-23). In the parable the “lord of the servants” commends the faithful with those blessed words, “Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord” (verses 21 & 23). This surely pictures what Christ will do for His ‘faithful servants” when He returns to set up His kingdom. By contrast, the false servants betray their unbelief by “doing nothing” for their master (verses 24-25) and the lord rebukes them for this (verses 26-29) and then commands others to “cast the unprofitable servant into outer darkness.” This is a graphic illustration of the fate of all mere professors who call themselves servants of Christ. They will indeed be “cast into outer darkness” (another picture of hell…see Matthew 8:12; 22:13; Jude 13) when the Lord returns in judgment, and there will be “weeping and gnashing of teeth” forever!  (DO)  (555.5)