Monday, February 13, 2012

Harvest to Burn or Barn


Let both 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 13:30)

In explaining the “kingdom of heaven,” Jesus used several similes to illustrate a nebulous concept in concrete terms for our finite minds to grasp.  He compared the kingdom of heaven to a field with a variety of soils onto which the seed of the Word is sown (vv. 13:3-9;19-23).  He compared it to a mustard seed (vv. 31-32) and to leaven in a lump of dough (v. 33).  It is like a treasure hidden in a field (v.44), a pearl of great price (vv. 45-46), and a dragnet gathering in a great variety of fish (vv. 47-50).  The kingdom of heaven is likened to a merciful, but just king (Matthew 18:23-35).  Residents of the kingdom of heaven are compared to innocent children (Matthew 19:14).

In this illustration Jesus compares the kingdom of heaven to a field onto which good seed is sown (v. 24).  “He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man; the field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom” (vv. 37-38).  Into this field that pictures the church, the enemy (Satan) sows bad seed (tares – “children of the wicked one” (v. 38)) that grows up indistinguishable from the good seed (vv. 25-26).  When the tares are discovered the servants want to weed the field, but the landowner wisely allows both wheat and tares to grow together rather than risking damage to the good wheat (vv. 28-29).  At the harvest, “the end of the world” (v. 39), “the tares are gathered and burned in fire” (v.40).

As the return of Christ approaches, the tares become more obvious.  They are in our churches.  They look like Christians.  They act like Christians.  They know the language and talk like Christians yet they deny the Word of God by compromising to accommodate evolutionary thinking thereby minimizing the power of God.  These tares will remain until the end, but in the end, “shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father.  Who hath ears to hear, let him hear” (v. 43).

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