“These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.” (Matthew 25:46)
This is the last verse of Matthew 25, and in it Jesus concludes His Parable of The Sheep and The Goats. Fittingly, this final verse contains an important truth regarding the eternal destination of our souls:
Notice the parallel expressions in the verse: “eternal punishment” and “eternal life.” These words are significant. The destination of both the wicked (“eternal punishment”) and the righteous (“eternal life”) is described as “eternal.” Both words are the same in the Greek text: “aioniov.”
This similarity is not insignificant. The duration of the destiny of the righteous, and the destiny of the wicked, is the same: “eternal.” Therefore, if the destiny of the righteous is “eternal” — forever in heaven — then the destiny of the wicked is equally “forever” in hell.
“It is appointed for men to die once and after this comes the judgment”, Hebrews 10:27 says. Once that judgment is complete, one’s destiny is fixed. It is, Jesus teaches here, “eternal.” In light of that, there is no more important question in life than “Which of these two destinies will be yours?” And which will be the destiny of the ones you love? Whichever it will be, there will be no escaping or changing it. It will be “eternal.”