Wasn't hell made for the Devil and his angels and not real people?

Question
Wasn't hell made for the Devil and his angels and not real people according to Matt. 25:41?
Answer

Matthew 25:41: Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.

Absolutely not. Hell was made for the unrepentant and the Devil and his angels. This is clearly supported by the surrounding verses of Matthew 25:31-40, 42-46 where the all the things listed — nations, hungry, food, thirsty, drink, naked, clothed, sick, prison, visit, stranger, brothers — relate to literal, real people (cf. Matt. 13:38).

Also, the word "angels" (Greek, aggelos) in this text actually means "sent ones," and as Albert Barnes states, "the word may extend also to all his followers — fallen angels or people" (Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible, 14 vols. Baker Books, 1983). So, in context, the term aggelos refers not only to all the demonic fallen entities (Eph. 6:12; 2 Pet. 2:4; Jude 1:6, 12) but also all those unrepentant ones that lived according to Satan's ways (John 8:44; 10:10; 2 Pet. 2:9; Rev. 20:11-15).

There are many of these "sent ones" observed in Scripture. Here are a few: 1) Cain (Gen. 4:8; 1 John 3:12); 2) Esau (Gen. 25:29-34; Mal. 1:2-3; Rom. 9:13; Heb. 12:16-17); 3) the Egyptians (Exod.); 4) the Hittites, Girgashites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites (Deut. 7:1); 5) Goliath (1 Sam. 17); 6) the Chaldeans who set up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego (Dan. 8:1-30); and 7) those of the synagogue of Satan (Rev. 2:9). Ultimately, all those against Christ (Matt. 12:30) and do not believe God's words (John 8:44-47) are the seed of the serpent (Gen. 3:15) and are included in the "sent ones" of Matthew 25:41 (cf. Acts 13:10; 1 John 3:8, 10).

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Answer by Dr. Joseph R. Nally, Jr.

Dr. Joseph R. Nally, Jr., D.D., M.Div. is the Theological Editor at Third Millennium Ministries (IIIM).