“Just as the weeds are gathered and burned with fire, so will it be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will gather out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all law-breakers, and throw them into the fiery furnace. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear.” (Matthew 13:40-43)
Most of the parables that Jesus told concerned various aspects of the Kingdom of God. This parable speaks of hell and the last judgment. And it is a strange parable. The Lord seems to allow the righteous and the evil to dwell together until the time is right to harvest. He does not want to tear up the weeds lest he destroy part of the good crop. This may seem odd to us. We would like to see the wicked judged and punished in this life yet they continue to flourish and prosper while we suffer often at their hands. We need to have the patience and wisdom of God. Many of those we deem wicked and perverse now still have an opportunity to come to repentance and faith in this life. The Lord knows who they are; we do not. So let us refrain from hasty judgments and condemnation and pray for those who persecute and abuse us.
In the parable Jesus also speaks of hell as a fiery furnace. This too may strike many today as odd and antiquated. Surely there is no place as hell and if there is how could a loving God send anyone there? Our society through the media is working systematically to delude everyone into thinking hell does not exist or that no one really goes there except really bad people such as child molesters or serial killers. The dominant concept about life after death seems to be that most are really not that bad. We may sin a bit but it can be excused, explained, pardoned, ignored, or redefined.
And yet Jesus speaks of the fiery punishment of hell here. To say then that hell does not exist or that no one will suffer eternal punishment is to call Him a liar. As for we who are believers we should not reject what the Lord says for He never lies. Thus we must work to continue to spread the gospel that all may know that there is a fiery judgment coming. The only way to escape it is by grace through faith in Jesus.