The Wheat and Tares Parable Speaks of 1 Rapture

Jesus used parables during His ministry to cover important truths. One of those truths was about the Kingdom of God that He would lead.

The Wheat and Tares parable is the one of the Kingdom parables and has the most details and covers Jesus second coming.

THE WHEAT AND TARES

Matthew 13:24-30
24 Another parable He put forth to them, saying: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field;
25 “but while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat and went his way.
26 “But when the grain had sprouted and produced a crop, then the tares also appeared.
27 “So the servants of the owner came and said to him, ‘Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have tares?’
28 “He said to them, ‘An enemy has done this.’ The servants said to him, ‘Do you want us then to go and gather them up?’
29 “But he said, ‘No, lest while you gather up the tares you also uproot the wheat with them.
30 ‘Let both grow together until the harvest, and at the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, “First gather together the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them, but gather the wheat into my barn.”‘

This parable is critical, not only because of the clear end-time details, but because it covers the entire age in which we live. It is impossible to chop this parable up, and put its application outside of the “Church age”.

The reason is that the wheat and tares are left to grow side by side from Jesus’ time through the present age until the harvest — Christ’s coming. Since the parable obviously includes this time in which we now live, the harvest necessarily concerns Christians. 

Later in the chapter, Jesus explained this parable to His disciples as follows: 

Matthew 13:36-43
36 Then Jesus sent the multitude away and went into the house. And His disciples came to Him, saying, “Explain to us the parable of the tares of the field.”
37 He answered and said to them: “He who sows the good seed is the Son of Man.
38 “The field is the world, the good seeds are the sons of the kingdom, but the tares are the sons of the wicked one.
39 “The enemy who sowed them is the devil, the harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are the angels.
40 “Therefore as the tares are gathered and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of this age.
41 “The Son of Man will send out His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and those who practice lawlessness,
42 “and will cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth.
43 “Then the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears to hear, let him hear!

There are several important points we wish to make from this parable.

1. The one sowing the good seed is Christ Himself (v. 37). Jesus (not Paul) was the one to first proclaim the Gospel, and announce the initial coming of the Kingdom. The book of Hebrews, probably written by Paul, concurs. “How shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation, which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed to us by those who heard Him,” (Hebrews 2:3). Therefore, the “wheat” in this parable are Christians, from the time of Christ’s disciples until the second coming. 

2. Notice the “wheat” living among the tares are the “sons of the Kingdom.” The field is the “world” — that is this present world system in which we live. Those of us who have received the Gospel and subjected ourselves to Christ our King, are now “sons of the Kingdom.” 

3. The wheat and tares remain mixed together in the field until the harvest. There is no pre-tribulation rapture to remove the wheat seven years before the destruction of the tares. Both grow together until the harvest, and are harvested at the same time [1]. No one is taken to heaven [2].

4. When the harvest comes at the “end of the age” the angels “will gather out of His kingdom” all those wholly given to wickedness and lawlessness. The words, “out of His Kingdom,” imply that the Kingdom was present during the former stage when the wheat and tares grew together. Yet, it is also present after the harvest. Jesus goes on to say, “the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father.”  

Here we have a clear indication that the Kingdom is present on earth both before and after Christ’s return, and the harvest at the end of the age. The purpose of the harvest is to eliminate those wholly given to wickedness, that is, the sons of Satan, planted by him.

Notes

1.   Both are harvested at the “end of the age” (v. 39). However, in the parable, Jesus said the reapers were ordered to first gather the tares, bind them in bundles for the purpose of being burned (v. 30), and then gather the wheat in the barn. Nothing suggests that the tares were burned before the wheat is gathered into the barn, only bound in bundles. Jesus was using imagery familiar to the disciples who lived in an agricultural society. They were no doubt familiar with the common practice of separating wheat and tares at the time of harvest. The typical procedure was to gather the tares first, bind them in bundles, and leave them in the field. After harvesting the wheat, the fields were burned to get rid of the debris, including the tares left in piles of bundles.

This scenario fits a posttribulation rapture perfectly. Joel 3:2, Zechariah 14:2, & Revelation 16:12-16 indicate that the wicked opponents of Christ will be gathered and brought down to Jerusalem for the battle of the Day of the Lord. This corresponds to the gathering of the tares first — Satan’s devoted followers bent on defeating Christ at His coming (see Revelation 19:19-21). The gathering of the wheat would then follow the gathering and binding of the tares. Finally, the wicked would be destroyed.

2.   The concept of the righteous being taken to heaven when Christ returns is not taught in any of Jesus’ parables or plain teaching to His disciples. It is a concept totally foreign to the Gospels. All of Jesus’ Kingdom parables point to either the present state of the Kingdom on earth, or to the inauguration of Christ’s political Kingdom at His coming. The inheritance of the righteous is always related to the Kingdom (eg. Matthew 8:11). Some have mistakenly supposed that Matthew’s use of the term “Kingdom of Heaven” refers to heaven itself.

But, the parallel passages in the other Gospels use the phrase, “Kingdom of God.” Both terms are synonymous, meaning the Kingdom of God. Both terms are derived from Daniel’s prophecy of the Kingdom in Daniel 2:44. “And in the days of these kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed…”  In reality, it is the Kingdom of the God of heaven, “Kingdom of God” or “Kingdom of heaven” for short. Many passages in Matthew make it clear that the “Kingdom of heaven” is what was promised to Israel(cf. Matthew 3:2, 4:17, etc). Also, the Sermon on the Mount equates inheritance of the “Kingdom of Heaven” with inheriting the earth. (cf. Matthew 5:3,5 & Psalm 37:9,11, 22). 

The idea is that the Kingdom of the God of heaven comes to earth from heaven.

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