Many people fail to contemplate the significance of the parable of the wheat and the tares for our eschatological framework. You can find the parable in Matthew 13:24-30 and the explanation given by Christ in 36-43.
The parable is quite significant given that many Israelite believers understood the Kingdom of Heaven to be something quite different from what Christ was preaching and exercising. They felt that the judgement of the heathen would result in the coming of the kingdom. Christ introduced something quite different without leaving the judgement of the heathen completely out. The world will be judged at the end of the age, but for the present, the kingdom of heaven will exist in a way that was unexpected. The kingdom of heaven came with Christ and continued with His disciples into the church. But the breaking forth of the kingdom of heaven into the affairs of men allowed the judgement of the heathen to remain yet in the future. God began working through Christ and those who believed on Him without disrupting the order of this age.
Wheat and tares will grow together until the end of this age. At the end of this age, there will be a judgement whereby the holy angels will gather out of His kingdom all things that practise iniquity. The tares will be cast into the fire, but the wheat will be gathered together into the barn. This is the time that the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. The connection to the resurrection by referencing Daniel 12:2-3 is undeniable. The resurrection of the righteous as this age is being brought to a close happens at the same time that the unrighteous are judged.
But what of a timeline here? Wheat and tares growing together until the end of the age, then the tares are gathered together first and set aside for burning, then the wheat is gathered into the barn. The time of the wheat being gathered together into the barn correlates with the righteous shining forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. So the time of the righteous being gathered by angels at the end of the age is the time when they will receive their resurrection bodies.
Note also that the context is speaking of the kingdom of heaven and the establishment of it upon the earth. The kingdom of heaven will not be established on the earth until after a period of time (the church dispensation) during which the wheat and tares are intermingled with no judgement upon the heathen. At the end of this period in time there will be a judgement or separation which will result in the kingdom of heaven being established upon the earth with no further intermingling of wheat and tares. Only the righteous will be included in the kingdom of the Father as it is established at the time of the two phases of the harvest at the end of the age. Sidebar: Luke 20:35-36 equates obtaining the age to come with being children of the resurrection. So the wheat being gathered into the barn is not the Father taking the righteous into heaven. It is the righteous entering into the kingdom of the heavens established here on earth in their resurrection bodies, note the subtle difference.
Two little addendum pieces before I close. First off, I’ve already posted on the two age teaching of Jesus back on 12-14-06. But I must reiterate, Christ taught two ages and this parable is another example. In the Olivet Discourse Christ was teaching about the sign of His coming as it is tied to the end of this age. The gathering by the angels which happens at the glorious coming (Matthew 24:31) must be this same gathering since they are both at the end of the age. In Matthew 13, the reapers are the angels who gaher the wheat into the barn, and in Matthew 24:31 the angels gather together the elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. Mark’s gospel words it that the elect will be gathered the uttermost part of earth to the uttermost part of heaven. Also, for you great commission Christians out there, the great commission as given in Matthew 28:18-20 is the mission of the church until the end of the age, and Matthew has written two times here describing the end of the age. The church must preach the gospel throughout all the earth until the end of the age as described in the parable of the wheat and the tares and as described in the Olivet Discourse.
Secondly, when we come to Revelation 14:14-20 describing a two phase harvest, how could we expect anything but a parallel to the wheat and the tares? The Son of Man comes on a cloud just as He said He would (Acts 1:9-11, Revelation 1:7), He reaps the earth to Himself, then what remains is reaped for judgement being thrown into the great winepress of the wrath of God. Here we have another mention of the timing of the resurrection and rapture, and it is squarely between the great tribulation as described in Revelation 13, and the wrath of God as described during the bowls in Revelation 16. That’s PreWrath. It baffles me that many Classic PreWrathers deny the connection between the two reapings in Revelation 14 and the parable of the wheat and the tares. Here the PreWrath Rapture is staring them in the face in another portion of scripture. They’ve already seen it in Matthew 24, Mark 13, I Thessalonians 4 with II Thessalonians 2, and at the sixth seal; why not here as well?
Have fun and stay busy – Luke 19:13
-The Orange Mailman