By Chaplain (Col) Stephen W. Leonard, USA, Ret.

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘LORD, LORD,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of My Father, who is in heaven. On that day, many will say to me, ‘LORD, LORD, did we not prophesy in Your name, and cast out demons in Your name, and do many mighty works in Your name? And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you workers of lawlessness.’ “

Matthew 7:21-23

You may think of terrible “anathema declarations” (that is, a deadly curse pronounced on someone) being spoken upon many in the world, holding dire consequences for a trembling, fearful audience. You will most often think of monstrous dictators who have been responsible for millions of deaths of “innocent” peoples without a care as to the utter pain their words and heinous actions inflict on people, adult and child alike. 

“The Final Solution” was the title of the words of Hitler as he and his supporters spoke and acted with an anti-Semitism hatred that condemned millions and millions of Jews of all ages to death. “The Killing Fields,” likewise, were the fatally descriptive words perpetrated in the genocide of millions of Cambodians to effect a cleansing of those who were committed to democracy, while the leaders who created “the killing fields” sought power, wealth, and personal aggrandizement through their oppressive communism. 

Stalin was the very worst in destroying freedoms, massacring an estimated 18 million men, women, and children in mass graves to introduce his own communist empire with him at the top. Mao Zedong did the very same thing throughout China and Asia to bring freedom lovers literally to their knees with his Little Red Book oppressive policies. 

We can go on and on with the evil of truly devil-armed human instruments who wreaked dictatorial havoc on the earth. What utter pain and torture were suffered by so many who fell under their sway. Hell will be populated with these arrogant, evil leaders who, without any compassion, destroyed hundreds of millions who were created in God’s image. God will not hold these human demons guiltless!

But what about the millions of individuals around this world in household after household who say to those once close to them, “I do not love you anymore” or “I hate you!” creating disruptive divorces and the destructive, life-altering “orphaning” abuse of the children of those many unions. 

But these awful words determining such sad results pale in significance to what the Lord Jesus Christ, by His own admission, will say to those who come to Him on the last day claiming they “know” Him. He says to them, “Depart from me. I never knew you!”

Apparently, as the Lord paints the picture with grim accuracy, these are those who claim to “know” Him and performed many acts in His name, but He does not claim to know them. The words are words not of acceptance, but of condemnation. This is after no other “leaders” remain in power on the earth. Anti-Christ is shown to be a fraud and is cast down. Jesus has returned, and He is LORD of Lords and King of Kings. Every knee will bow to Him recognizing His ultimate Lordship, even if they bow with no love in their heart. 

It is only then, when Jesus is finally recognized by all for who He really is, that these finally bring Him His due; they who are now exposed as frauds, who never really loved Him as Savior, never put their trust in Him, never gave to Him their very lives. They lived “lawlessly.” Jesus rightly says, “Depart from me. I never knew you.” These are literally the worst words ever spoken because they have the awful results of not just the “first death,” but also of the “second death.” 

The Bible warns not to fear those who can only deliver you to the “first death,” but fear Him who can also deliver your body and soul to hell in the “second death!” (Matthew 10:28) It is a warning for this life. Hear the Savior’s call while you still have ears to hear. Do not join those who hear the Savior say, “Depart from Me. I never knew you.” No more awful words were ever spoken or had more terrible results. 


“I hear the Savior say, ‘Your strength indeed is small, child of weakness, watch and pray, find in Me your all in all.’ Jesus paid it all, all to Him I owe; sin had left a crimson stain, He washed it white as snow.”

(1st verse of Elvina Hall’s hymn, “Jesus Paid It All,” 1865)

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