Friday, December 31, 2010

The Wheat, the Tares, and the End of the World: Part 1

We have already examined the last day, the end, the first resurrection and the last trump. So far, everything points to the Rapture occurring AT the Revelation.

In this post, we will more closely examine the Harvest at the End of the World.

The Parable of the Wheat and the Tares

"Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field: But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way. But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also. So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares? He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up? But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them. But let them grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.” (Matthew 13:24-30)

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:
  1. The field is the world
  2. The good seed are the children of the kingdom (the saved)
  3. The tares are the children of the wicked one (the unbelievers)
  4. The enemy that sowed them is the devil
  5. The harvest is the end of the world
  6. 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."

Now this is fairly straight forward stuff unless you've been taught to believe that the Rapture does not occur at the Revelation. All he is saying is that the saved and unsaved will continue together until he returns. At his return several things will happen, and they will happen in a very specific order:

  1. Christ will send out his angels to first gather together the UNSAVED into ONE LOCATION - This is for the battle of Armageddon.
  2. Then, before the battle starts, Christ will have his angels gather together the saints - This is the meeting in the air (1 Thess. 4)
  3. Then, the tares will be gathered into the fire - The enemies of Christ who fight against him will be destroyed
All of this gathering of wheat and tares is known as the Harvest at the End of THIS World, and marks the completion of this age in preparation for the start of the Kingdom Age - "Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father."

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!

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