The Parable of the Wheat and the Tares
This passage from Matthew 13 gives us several clues concerning the timing of the Rapture. Note that the Lord Jesus said that believers (the wheat) and nonbelievers (the tares) would grow together until the harvest. He did NOT say that they grow together until SEVEN years before the harvest, or any other such thing.
He explained the parable in verses 38-43:
- The field is the world
- The good seed are the children of the kingdom (the saved)
- The tares are the children of the wicked one (the unbelievers)
- The enemy that sowed them is the devil
- The harvest is the end of the world
- The reapers are the angels.
"As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world. The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear."
- Christ will send out his angels to first gather together the UNSAVED into ONE LOCATION - This is for the battle of Armageddon.
- Then, before the battle starts, Christ will have his angels gather together the saints - This is the meeting in the air (1 Thess. 4)
- Then, the tares will be gathered into the fire - The enemies of Christ who fight against him will be destroyed
A problem arises: The scholar who believes in a pre-tribulation Rapture reads into this passage that Christ will allow believers and non-believers to live together until the end of the Millennium, which they believe is the “end of this world.” They do this by making the ‘kingdom of heaven’ a reference to the thousand year reign of Christ.
But this passage says that AFTER the destruction of the tares, "Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father." The destruction of the tare precedes the Millennium, and therefore so does this Harvest.
That is, this passage is teaching the premillennial destruction of the Lord’s enemies in preparation to establishing a global, righteous kingdom (cf. Dan. 12:1).
And besides, this cannot be a reference to life in the Millennium. The devil will not be sowing anything in the Millennium; he will be bound for a thousand years!
This passage clearly teaches that the "end of this world" takes place before the Millennium. (Please read that last sentence again!)
More to come next time!