“Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.” (Matthew 25 v 46
“…take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world”, v34
‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels”, v41.
Here is the second similarity in a parable of differences between the sheep and the goats.
There is a place prepared for the sheep and a place prepared for the devil and his angels of which the goats will enter too.
Now perhaps one could line up evil and wicked people with the devil and his angels. But the line is filled with those who did not give food, drink, hospitality, clothing and care to people and ultimately to Jesus.
There is an eternal separation, a prepared place. But that is where the similarity ends for this prepared place of eternal punishment was never for the nations of the world but for the devil and his angels.
It is possible then to be in a prepared place that was never prepared for you and for that to be eternal.
It is sobering. Every part of my mind wants to react and change these words. I want to say the goats won’t go to that prepared place. Scholars still debate eternal punishment, what it is, where it is and who goes there and for how long.
If I separate people from my provision and care, if I treat people in a way that is less than they deserve then I am going to understand the depth separation can go to when my life is over, I will reap what I sow. I do not know a lot about eternal separation but I do know the trauma that separation does today. I know what it is like when friends turn their back. I have seen the mess of broken families. I have seen the loneliness of the homeless and the beggar. There are many who are separated from society. We can do more to be inclusive of all people. They don’t need to enter into these places, these places were never prepared for them. Perhaps earth is a taste of heaven after all.