Of all the Bible verses spoken by Jesus Christ Himself I have been aware of for many years, this and other verses in Matthew and Luke speaking of “the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth” has stuck with me for many, many years. I figured the “outer darkness” referred to Hell and this “weeping” by those who were in Hell made sense. Who wanted to die and go to Hell? It was the “gnashing of teeth” part I had no idea about.
The word “gnashing” in the dictionary means this: to bite or chew by grinding the teeth together, striking the teeth together by grinding.
A similar word I used often in The Prodigal Band Trilogy, “gnaw,” has this meaning: to bite, chew on, or erode with the teeth. The word “gnaw” usually refers to rodents chewing or “gnawing” on wood, nuts, plants, or whatever rodents gnaw on for food or shelter, prominently with large and long upper front teeth. I use “gnaw” mostly referencing the devil character, Corion, as well as his Demons, warning his evil minions to do what he asks, “…or I will gnaw your bones forever.” In Hell, or the Abyss in which he resides (on God’s or The Creator’s orders), which is where Corion’s evil minions will find themselves after judgment.
Note: Since those who do the will of the devil character will find themselves in Hell anyway unless they repent of their evil, and Corion would gnaw on them anyway, why is Corion even threatening these folks if they do not do his will? Because these folks worship Corion and believe this evil devil is in fact god! So they force themselves to do these evil deeds not realizing he is only deceiving them. Corion, the Satan of this trilogy, is in fact the father of lies and deception within the trilogy.
This post is on the “gnashing of teeth” reference; the “gnawing” on bones forever reference will appear next week. But the themes and context are similar though the words are somewhat different. Gnaw and gnawing are used once each in the Bible, in the Old Testament Book of Zephaniah and the New Testament Book of Revelation.
In the Gospel of Matthew are seven verses, and Luke has one as well, that closely matches Matthew 8:12. In this verse and the ones preceding it Christ is talking to the Roman Centurion who has a servant he wants Christ to heal because he believes Christ can heal this servant. Christ responds that He has not seen such faith in anyone in all Israel! He tells the Centurion that many from east and west will “sit with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob”—the patriarchs of what would become Israel, the twelve tribes—”in heaven,” but the children of the kingdom shall be cast into outer darkness: there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” (copyright-free King James Version). What kingdom does Christ refer to that will go to the outer darkness? In Matthew 21:42-43 Christ says the “kingdom” that will be cast into what can be presumed as Hell would be the ones lorded over by the Pharisees, the same Pharisees that had Christ crucified (using the Romans as proxies) after their Sanhedrin convicted Christ of “heresy” and “blasphemy.” That is, the Pharisees and their adherents would be cast into that outer darkness. Luke 13:28 makes a similar claim.
But not just the Pharisees. This ‘cast into the outer darkness theme’ also applies to what I refer to in Chapter Twelve of The Prodigal Band as “backsliders,” those who accept Christ but then renege on it. Matthew 13:42 and 50 refers to the Parable of the Wheat and Tares, with Tares being considered those that get in the way of bringing forth the wheat (or fruit of God’s Word); Matthew 22:13 refers to the Parable of the Wedding, where ‘backsliders’ either refuse to attend the wedding or show up but not with proper garments. Matthew 24:50 refers to those backsliders who ‘smite’ or prevent those on their missions from completing them or who try to turn the believers away before the ‘Second Coming.’ Matthew 25:30 refers to the Parable of the Talents where the one given the one talent refuses to use it, and thus the talent is taken away and given to the one using five talents. (Note: a talent back then was coinage; to me, the ‘talent’ is the ‘talent’ that is given to a believer who will then use that talent to do God’s mission or will. This includes Christian authors trying to spread the Word of Christ to non-believers and reinforce that belief in believers who may have doubts about their faith. Just as with the prodigal band, each of whom were given the singing and musical talent they had to do God’s mission.)
Back to the “gnashing of teeth.” The ones in Hell are weeping, but are these the ones who are “gnashing” their “teeth”? Christ does not specifically say who is doing the gnashing of teeth, but could it be that the devil or Satan or Lucifer within Hell is “gnashing” his own teeth on the ones weeping in Hell? I will let the reader research the Bible passages about this and come to his or her own conclusion.
The section in The Prodigal Band where this “weeping and gnashing of teeth” notion appears, in Chapter Twelve, refers to what would happen to ‘backsliders.’ The prodigal band had, in that void they were in as their jet burned upon landing in a London airport, already decided to do their ‘mission of God’ and accepted Christ as Savior, starting with singer Erik. Guitarist Jack, the only band member who had ever read the Bible—he is the one that was in that ‘Christian’ cult where his own father beat him over the head with the Bible—references the “gnashing” verse warning about what would happen if the band backslid on their belief and missions. They are in the hotel room of their manager Joe, in the living room, discussing the evil deeds of the jet burners and what would happen to the band next when they found out the Directorate meeting was in fact a Hellyon sacrifice meeting! After the six band members affirmed their belief on Christ, Jack said this:
“But we all said it, right?” Jack got up, followed one by one, the others. “We all accepted Jesus Christ as our Savior. All of us, right?”
“Right,” went the rest.
“But is it just because God—Christ—gave us the talent to do the mission? Accepting Christ has to be a commitment to serve Him, right? We have to be absolutely sure we truly accept Him, right?”
“Because we cannot go back on this! ‘Backsliding,’ they call it. There’s a Gospel that talks about this. I forget which one. But if someone who takes Christ as Savior reneges on it for any reason, it’ll go down even worse for them than would happen to someone who never even considered it. ‘Outer darkness,’ and ‘gnashing of teeth.’ Christ Himself used those very words regarding backsliders. I’m not making that up, it’s really in the Bible.”
Another use of “gnashing” also referring to “gnashing of teeth” on bone is in the final chapter of Battle of the Band with singer Erik in a black tunnel void as his soul consciousness is deceived into following an evil spirit into that ‘outer darkness’ while he is suffering a heart attack in a local hospital.
Through the deafening groans of putrid souls oozing into Hell’s cauldron, through the screams of hope abandoned, through the cruelest laughter broken only by the gnashing of fang-teeth on bone—
There are a couple of other parts of the trilogy that mention ‘gnashing of teeth.’
The Prodigal Band Trilogy © 2019 by Deborah Lagarde, Battle of the Band © 1996 by Deborah Lagarde, The Prophesied Band © 1998 by Deborah Lagarde and The Prodigal Band © 2018 by Deborah Lagarde. Permission needed to copy any materials off this page.