The Kingdom, Power & Glory: The Overcomer’s Handbook covers many topics, and some of them are new to readers. We have taken some of the questions we hear most often about the book and posted them here to make the answers easy to access for everyone. If you have a question that you don’t see here, please write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Just click on one of the questions below to see the discussion.
1) The “Outer Darkness” in Matthew
Q. What is the “outer darkness” that the parables in Matthew talk about?
A. Matthew 8:11-12; 22:13 and 25:30 are parables that speak of one being cast out into “the outer darkness” where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. It’s interesting because in each of these Scriptures, Christ is the One who is talking and, specifically, He is speaking about the “kingdom of heaven,” His future Millennial Reign. These three parables are the only place in the entire Bible that “the outer darkness” is spoken of.
Outer ( exoteros , Strong’s #1857) darkness ( skotos , Strong’s #4655) in these three parables is not a description of hell! The Greek meaning is the “darkness outside” or the outside darkness. It simply specifies the location of the darkness which is the darkness that is outside.
Unfortunately, “outer darkness” is often associated with “everlasting punishment in hell.” However, there are no Scriptures connecting the two.
In order to understand God’s true meaning here, we must first of all decide if the subjects spoken of in these parables are believers or not. If they are not believers, it must be concluded that they will somehow enter the Millennium (as these parables all refer to the Kingdom of Heaven) and somehow be judged there prior to the Great White Throne Judgment at the end of the thousand years. The problem is only a believer can enter the Millennium Kingdom (Matthew 25:31-46); only a believer is called a “son of the Kingdom” (Matthew 8:12); only a believer can gain admittance to the Wedding Supper and be addressed as a “friend of God” (Matthew 22:13); and, only a believer can be called a “doulos,” a servant of the Lord (Matthew 24:51). The term “doulos” is assigned to all three of the individuals in the Matthew 24 parable, not just the first two. The text offers no differentiations between them. Thus, we must apply the same status to all three. The first two were obviously saved. The servant in Matthew 22 as well, had already responded to the wedding invitation and he was already in the kingdom. Scripture tells us that no one can even enter the kingdom unless he is “born again.” (John 3:3) Thus, the “sons of the kingdom” because they are the “good seed” and the “servants” in Matthew 24, as well as the servant in the Matthew 22, must be “saved men.
So, all three of these parables are referring to “saved” individuals, but those who did not walk faithfully with the Lord. Thus, the reference to the “outer darkness” with its weeping and gnashing of teeth in these same parables cannot refer to everlasting punishment in hell. The darkness outside is simply referring to the “darkness outside the light of the banquet hall” where the wedding feast is going on and Christ’s presence is being enjoyed. (Matthew 25:21, 23)
Darkness ( skotos) can also refer to “physical darkness” (Luke 23:44-45; Acts 13:11; Mark 15:33) or spiritual darkness (Matthew 6:22-23). Judgment is not necessarily a part of the intrinsic meaning of this word. Meaning must come from the context of the passage. The dark area where the guests are cast is simply a metaphor for “being excluded from the joy of Christ’s presence.” (Matthew 25:21, 23)
In light of the confusion over this subject, be as the Bereans and study the Word of God to see if these things be so.
2) “Weeping and Gnashing of Teeth” In Matthew
Q. What does “weeping and gnashing of teeth” mean in the Matthew parables?
A. The term “weeping and gnashing of teeth” appears seven times in Scripture: Matthew 8:12; 13:42, 50; 22:13; 24:51 25:30 and Luke 13:28. Four of the Matthew passages (8:12; 22:13; 24:51: 25:30) refer to the remorse a Christian might experience after being cast out from the light of the Lord’s presence. The remaining three passages (Matthew 13:42, 50 and Luke 13:28), however, refer to non-believers and the anguish in hell that they might experience. Because of these two totally opposite applications of the same term, much confusion has resulted and many have automatically associated “weeping and gnashing of teeth” with hell, not realizing that there are other Scriptural uses.
The word “gnashing,” or gnash is Strong’s #2786 in the Old Testament and #1030 in the New Testament. This term is found throughout the Bible and can express disappointment or grief rather than anger . See Psalm 35:16; 37:12; 112:10. Gnashing means to give out a creaking or grating sound, i.e., like the grinding of teeth. It’s a vivid representation of the misery of disappointed expectations . So, the true meaning of this phrase needs to come from the context of the Biblical passages. Again, there is nothing inherent in the expression which automatically associates it with unbelievers.
In the Septuagint Version of the Bible, the term is used in reference to Joseph (Genesis 45:2; 46:29); the Israelites weeping over Moses death (Deuteronomy 34:8); and God’s anger towards Job (Job 16:9). Anger and rage, however, is indicated by the same terminology in Acts 7:54; Lam.2:16; Job 16:9; and Mark 9:18. It is clear, then, that this term is not used strictly for those suffering in hell.
Most of us don’t understand that there will be “weeping” in the Millennium. Revelation 7:17 (referring to the Tribulation Saints) tells us, “For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them , and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters ; and [as a result] He shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.” In other words, after He feeds them and after He leads them to the living fountains, He will wipe away their tears. So there will be tears in the kingdom that God will wipe away. (Note: some of the Scriptures in Isaiah that speak about there being “ no more sorrow and tears” are referring either to these same Tribulation Saints or to the final, eternal state at the end of the Millennium. (See Isaiah 25:8; 35:10; 51:11; 60:20; 65:19)
Therefore, it’s not until the New Heavens and the New Earth that weeping will cease altogether . Revelation 21:4 says, “ And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain…”
So, “weeping and gnashing of teeth” is really a figure of speech that can evoke the idea of a “severe rebuke followed by profound regret,” and not necessarily the experience of the unsaved in hell.
Again, be a Bearean. (Acts 17:11)
3) Enter or Inherit the Kingdom?
Q. What’s the difference between entering the kingdom and inheriting the kingdom ?
A. At the beginning of Abraham’s walk with the Lord, he only entered the land of Canaan; he didn’t inherit it. (Gen.12:1-6) In other words, he had no property rights. He lived on the land, but didn’t possess it. (Gen.16:3) After a life of obedience (Gen.22:12), however, God finally allowed Abraham to inherit and possess the land. (Heb.11: 8) Deut.15:4 validates this for us: “…for the Lord shall greatly bless thee in the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee for an inheritance to possess it.”
In our terminology, entering the kingdom means something similar to what Abraham had at the beginning. We are born again, we are justified by believing in Christ’s atonement for us and we have been given the Spirit of God. (Matt.18:3; John 3:3, 5) In contrast, inheriting the kingdom is what happened to Abraham at the end because of his life of obedience. (Gen.22:3-12; Heb.11:8) Inheriting means actually possessing or owning a part of the kingdom. It’s holding a position of authority, being a sovereign there and co-reigning with the King. (Rev.2:26-27; 3:21; Matt.25:34; Col.3:24; Heb.6:12; Matt.5:5) It’s more than just an entrance; it’s ownership.
The conditions for our inheriting the kingdom involve the same spiritual discipline that was required of Abraham. See Deut.11:13-25. Acts 20:32 validates this by saying that inheritance is a reward for faithful and obedient behavior. “And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified .” “Sanctified” here means Christ’s character qualities are manifest. This is a believer who has put to death the motions of the body and are now showing forth Christ’s Life and His works. These are works done by the Spirit of God through the believer. Inheritance in the kingdom is simply a reward or a wage for work well done. (Col.3:24)
What makes this subject somewhat confusing is that there are two kinds of inheritance or heirships: 1) We receive God as our inheritance when we are first born again (when we are justified). As Galatians 4:7 says, “Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.” (Deut.18:1-2; Ps.16:5) And, 2) We receive the added blessing of becoming a “ joint heir with Christ ” in the kingdom if we are obedient, faithful and persevering in this lifetime. Romans 8:17 validates this, “And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ ; if so be that we suffer with Him …” Suffering is often involved because it’s the result of denying ourselves as 2 Tim.2:12 tells us. “If we suffer, we shall also reign with Him; if we deny Him, He also will deny us.”
All believers, therefore, are adopted sons whether or not they fulfill the requirements; but not all believers are qualified to co-reign with Christ. There is even a possibility of losing our co-heirship and being disqualified for the prize. (1 Cor.9:24; Phil.3:14) If this is the case, we will be ashamed and stand “naked” before Him at His coming. (1 John 2:28; Rev.3:17)
The bottom line is that unfaithful and disobedient Christians will enter the kingdom, but not necessarily inherit it. (Gal.5:19-21; Eph.5:5; 1 Cor.6:9-10)
4) The Millennium and the New Jerusalem
Q. What is the difference between The Millennium and The New Jerusalem ?
A. The Millennium is that 1000 year period of time between Armageddon and the full establishment of God’s kingdom. (Rev.20:4-6) Christ will reign over the earth during this time and put all His enemies under His feet. (1 Cor.15:23-28) There will even be some unbelievers in this kingdom (children of the Tribulation Saints). So, the Millennium will be a temporary government until the permanent establishment of Christ’s eternal kingdom at the end of time.
During the Millennium, Christ will sit on King David’s throne and rule the world which will see prosperity and joy as never before. (Jer.31:42; Ez.34:25-27; Joel 2:21-27; Amos 9:13-14) National Israel will be restored and be the focus of the Millennium. (Is.65:18-23; Jer.31:12-14, 31-37; Zeph.3:9-20; Micah 4:1-7; Joel 2:21-27; Ez.34:25-29) That’s why worship in Ezekiel’s Temple will make sense. It will be a time of righteousness, obedience, holiness and truth. The deserts will bloom (Is.35;1-2, 5-6); there will be an abundance of rainfall (Is.30:23-24; 35:7); all creatures will live in harmony (Is.11:6-7); there will be an absence of sickness and extended life spans (Is.29:18; 33:24; 61:1-3); universal worship of Christ (Is.11:9) and a Millennial temple (Ez.40-46; Hag.2:9; Is.2:2-4).
One of the functions of the Millennium on earth will be to reward and give positions of importance to the servants of God who have remained faithful, persevering and steadfast through their trials of faith. (Matt.5:1-2; 19:27-30; 1 Cor.6:9-11) This will be a period of time much like the 7 th day of Creation when God finished His work and rested. (Gen.2:2) This Millennial Sabbath will be followed by the 8 th day which is a New Heaven and a New Earth.
This Millennial perspective was followed by many of the early Church period. It was the literal interpretation of Scripture that they embraced, known as “Chiliasm.”
The New Jerusalem
The New Jerusalem is that “heavenly” city that will descend from God and hover above the earth at the very end of time (after the Millennium). (Rev.21:10; Heb.11:10, 16; 12:22; 13:14; Rev.3:12; 21:2, 10) The word “heavenly” (Strong’s # 2032) means from the sky, celestial, not earthly, but its existence is above the earth. (2 Tim.4:18; Eph.1:3; 1 Cor.15:49)
This is the heavenly city where Christ will sit on the throne at the right hand of God. (Eph.1:20; Heb.12:2; 1 Pet.3:22) It’s the eternal Kingdom of God (Rev.21:1) where believers will enjoy God’s presence forever (Rev.21;3,11). They will see His face. (Rev.22:4) There will be no unbelievers here; it will be a true paradise where there will be no evil (Rev.20:10), no uncleanness (Rev.21:27), no seas (Rev.21:1), no death (Rev.21:4), no sorrow (Rev.21:4), no curse (Rev.22:3); no temple (Rev.21:22), no night and no sun (Rev.21:23,25). The light will come from God’s glory (Rev.21:11,23; 22:5) and His presence will be a beacon. (Rev.21:22-23)
Just like in the Millennium, there will be a river that will flow out from the city that will bring peace to the whole world. (Rev.22:1) Here God will rule forever (Rev.22:5)
(Much of this material has been taken from John Walvoord’s book, The Millennium.)
5) The Real “Millennial Generation”
Q. Who will populate the Millennium?
A. This subject can be very confusing. So, be sure to be like the Bereans and study the Word of God for yourself to see if these things be so.
Scripture tells us that there will really be five groups of people that will go into the Millennium. Two groups will be human beings with natural human bodies and three groups will be resurrected saints with immortal and glorified bodies.
The following are the ones who will enter:
1) The Raptured Church – the resurrected Body of Christ (Revelation 4:4; 19:7, 14; Jude 14; 1 Thes.3:13; 4:17-18; 1 Corinthians 15:51-53)
2) The resurrected Old Testament Saints (1 Thes. 4:16)
3) The resurrected Tribulation Saints (those that were martyred for their faith) (Rev.7:14; 20:4)
4) The Tribulation Jewish believers – those who remained alive to the end (1 Thes. 4:17; Rom.11:26; Jer.31: 10-13)
5) The Tribulation Gentile believers (“the sheep”) – those who helped the “brethren” during the Tribulation and remained alive unto the end (Matt.25:31-46)
Scripture tells us that the only ones that enter the Millennium will be “saved” “believers.” (Matt. 13:37-42, 47-50; 25:31-46). All rebels, unbelievers and enemies of Christ will be purged out and eliminated at the “Sheep and Goat Judgment” which will occur at the very beginning of the Millennium. (Matt.13:36-43, 25:31-46; Ez.20:33-38) After that, all Jewish believers (“the brethren”) and gentile believers (“the sheep”) will enter the Millennium, along with the raptured “church,” the resurrected Old Testament saints and the Tribulation believers.
The children that are born to the above human believers in the Millennium will be born with a “sin nature” like ours, so salvation will be required. At the end of the 1000 years, however, Satan will be loosed and once again, try to deceive the nations. Some of the children born during the Millennium will stand with the devil at the end and rebel against the Lord. (Rev.20:7-10) This leads to the Great White Throne Judgment where Satan is finally put down and all unbelievers with Him. (Rev.20:10)
After that, there will be a New Heavens and a New Earth (New Jerusalem) and all humans will finally receive immortal bodies because flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God.
6) Condemnation vs. Conviction
Q. What is the difference between condemnation of the enemy and conviction of the Holy Spirit?
A. The Bible tells us that when we choose to believe in Christ and are born again, we will never again be condemned. John 3 :16-18 says: “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. He that believeth on Him is not condemned. ” And, John 5:24 says, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, he that heareth My word, and believeth on Him that sent Me, hath everlasting life and shall not come into condemnation but is passed from death unto life.”
By dying on the Cross for us, Jesus took away the condemnation that was due us. He paid the price; He paid the ransom for us. Romans 8:1 also validates that there is no condemnation to them who are in Christ Jesus. We need to embrace this truth and shout it to the enemy when he tries to taunt us.
Thus, when condemnation comes upon us and begins to push us away from the Lord, we must recognize that it is not from Him, but from the enemy who wants to kill, steal and destroy us. “…being lifted up with pride he fell into the condemnation of the devil.”(1 Timothy 3:6)
It’s the Holy Spirit who will convict us of our sin and self. John 16:13 says, “When the Spirit of truth is come, He will guide you into all truth…” And, Romans 8:16, “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit…” And, 1 Corinthians 2:10, “For the Spirit searcheth all things…” In other words, He doesn’t condemn us, He convicts us. God’s Love is always the basis. Conviction from the Holy Spirit ultimately draws us closer to the Lord and allows us to really hear what He has to say. “For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. (Romans 8:5)
The bottom line is that condemnation pushes us away from the Lord and if often used as a tool of the enemy. Whereas, conviction is a tool of the Holy Spirit and not only pushes us closer to the Lord, but makes us more like Him.
“Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us. Who shall separate us from the Love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress or persecution, or famine or nakedness, or peril, or sword? …Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors (overcomers) through Him that loved us . For I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature shall be able to separate us from the Love of which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:34- 39)
The word conqueror here comes from the word, “overcomer.” Paul is saying here in Romans that we are more than overcomers. In fact, he is saying that we more than conquerors if we know that God loves us.
7) The Body and the Bride of Christ
Q. Is the Body of Christ the same as the Bride of Christ?
A. Many good scholars believe that the Bride of Christ and the Body of Christ are the same. However, some other theologians suspect that the Bride of Christ refers to those who are uniquely distinguished at the Bema Seat (The Judgment Seat of Christ), and singled out for a distinctive blessing.
We note that in Revelation 19:7-8, the “bride” herself prepares her own garments (called “the righteousness of the saints,”) rather than simply relying on imputed ones (“the righteousness of Christ” – the garment of salvation. (Isaiah 61:10)) The first garment—the “righteousness of the saints”—is the one that is required in order to enter the marriage festivities. (Matthew 22:11-14)
Notice, too, what Jesus says to the Church of Laodicea in Revelation 3:17-18. Remember, these are believers He is writing to. He tells them: “Because you say, ‘I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; [but you] don’t know that you are [really] poor, and blind, and naked. I counsel you to buy of Me gold tried in the fire, [so] that you may [become] rich; and [have] white raiment, that you may be clothed, and the shame of your nakedness will not appear….’”
This is telling us that our garments can become soiled, tainted and defiled. (James 5:2) Therefore, we must constantly guard, maintain and watch over our garments lest they become blackened. “Blessed is he that watches and keeps his garments (meaning guards, watches over and maintains them), lest he walk naked and they see his shame. (Revelation 16:15)
The foolish virgins in Matthew 25:1-13 were not prepared for the long wait for the Bridegroom’s return and simply ran out of oil. At the end of this parable, Christ turned to those who were listening and said: “Watch (be ready, be prepared), for you know not the hour that the Son of man cometh.” (Matthew 25:13) Sanctification (setting ourselves aside and serving Christ), therefore, is our bridal preparation. This is how we make ourselves ready, fit and prepared. The bride wears the fine linen, white and pure, an attire of her own making. This is not the garment of the righteousness of Christ that has been inputed to her, but her own “deeds of righteousness.”
Christ must not only be on us as a robe, but also in us as a life.
(Reference: The Kingdom, Power and Glory,Chapter Six, especially pages 120-137)
8) Bibliography for Questions
Dillow, Joseph, The Reign of the Servant Kings, Schoettle Publishing, Hayesville, N.C., 1992.
Lutzer, Erwin W., Your Eternal Reward , Moody Publishers, Chicago, Ill., 1998.
Schmitt, John W., Messiah’s Coming Temple , Kregel Publications, Grand Rapids, MI., 1997.
Stanley, Charles, Eternal Security: Can you be Sure , Walker and Co., New York, N.Y., 2000.
Walvoord, John E., The Millennial Kingdom, Zondervan, Grand Rapids, MI., 1959.
Crawford, Scott, The Five Warnings for Believers , Word of Truth, Schoettle Publishing, Hayesville, N.C., 2006.
Huber, Michael G., The Concept of the ‘Outer Darkness” in the Gospel of Matthew. Th.M. thesis, Dallas Theological Seminary, 1978.
Wiersbe, Warren, Bible Exposition Commentary , Vol.1, page 92.
Zodhiates, Spiros, The Complete Word Study New Testament (with Parallel Greek), ANG Publishers, Chattanooga, TN., 1992.