1. Introduction to today’s writing

I’ve been writing about the last days prophesied in bible days and recently trying to understand the meaning of the phrase “end of the world.”  To date, I have found that in the context of the Torah or Old Testament, the end of the world refers to distant places on the planet. In the context of the New Testament, however, the phrase refers to the end of an era.

I also found the phrase in the parable given by Jesus about the wheat and the tares. I have been mulling over the meaning of the harvest of the wheat and tares at the end of the harvest and would like to explore that truth today. I have a few assumptions, but will not state them here.

Did Jesus really say that the earth will end when He comes and separates the wheat (believers) from the tares (false brethren) who He will burn in hell?

2. The end of the world in the parable of the wheat and tares

This is the parable of the wheat and the tares:

24 Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which 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 blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also.

27 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?

28 He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up?

29 But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them.

30 Let both grow together until the harvest (therismos/ G2326): 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.

Jesus interpreted the parable afterwards, giving the key to the disciples:

  • He was the Sower
  • the field is the world
  • the wheat are the children of the Kingdom or the Obedient
  • the tares are the disobedient children or the devil. Tares bear a very close resemblance to the wheat, but they are actually a  poisonous, destructive rye grass that become black when they bear fruit. Furthermore, they bear such little fruit that they continue to stand upright in harvest while the wheat bows over, laden with its fruit. This indicates that the tares represent false brethren who are known by their fruit and behavior (Prayer and Praise Power Ministries, 2014).
  • the enemy is the devil
  • the reapers are the Angels

Responding to the Servants’ concerns, Jesus advised them to leave the wheat and tares to grow together until the harvest, at which time the Angels would gather the tares and burn them in fire. Bionet – Earfrinet  confirms that

prevention is the best approach in managing this weed since hand weeding and chemical control can be difficult when tares grow among wheat because of the very close resemblance  (Prayer and Praise Power Ministries, 2014).

I will now write the text for fuller understanding:

36 Then Jesus sent the multitude away, and went into the house: and his disciples came unto him, saying, Declare unto us the parable of the tares of the field.

37 He answered and said unto them, He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man;

38 The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one;

39 The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels.

40 As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world.

41 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;

42 And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.

43 Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.

3. The literal meaning of the wheat harvest in agricultural Israel

Wheat was planted in autumn  and harvested between May to July. The harvest therefore coincided with the Feast of Pentecost. Therismos (G 2326) is the Greek word for harvest in the text of Matthew 13. In the parable, Jesus distinguished between the harvest and time of harvest.

His reason for doing so becomes apparent when we examine the usage of Therismos, which is a masculine noun. In the New Testament scriptures, therismos means:

a.  the crop to be harvested or lost souls

the harvest is plenty, but the labourers are few – Matthew 9: 37 & Luke 10: 2.

the harvest G2326 of the earth is ripe – Revelation 14: 15.

b. the time of harvest or the time when the crop would be reaped

The wheat was reaped over a three month period, between May to July. Harvesting the crops involved cutting the standing grain with scythes, tying the stalks into sheaves, and transporting the harvested crops to the threshing area where the grain would be separated from the stalks.

However, Jesus did not intend to treat the tares with any care or concern. By the time of harvest, they could be easily identified by their upright appearance and blackened fruit. He said that He would command the Angels to gather them first and burn them with fire:

Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers – Matthew 13: 30

pray to the Lord of harvest –  Matthew 9: 38.

the harvest G2326 is the end of the world – Matthew 13: 39

the harvest G2326 is come – Mark 4: 29

Times of harvest in ancient Israel

Months Weather Crops & activity
Tishri ( Sep/Oct ) First rains Ploughing begins
Heshvan ( Oct/Nov ) Ploughing / grain planting
Kislev ( Nov/Dec ) Grain planting continues
Tebeth ( Dec/Jan ) Main rains
Sebat ( Jan/Feb )
Adar ( Feb/Mar ) Spring rains Almond in bloom / flax harvest
Abib ( Mar/Apr ) Barley harvest begins
Zif ( Apr/May ) Barley harvest completed
Sivan ( May/Jun ) Dry season Wheat harvest begins
Tamuz ( Jun/Jul ) Wheat harvest completed / first figs
Ab ( Jul/Aug ) Summer heat Vintage ( grape harvest ) begins
Elul ( Aug/Sep ) Date harvest / summer figs

4. The harvest is the end of the world

I previously deduced that the New Testament phrase “end of the world,” when taken in context, means end of an era. However, what does it mean in the specific context of the parable of the sower. Is there another meaning?

39 The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels – Matthew 13: 39.

40 As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world – Matthew 13: 40

The parable of the wheat and tares speaks of a time of reckoning for the Church – including the true and false believers. This parable is sequenced with that of the Sower to enable us to understand it better. Therefore, let us review the Parable again.

First, Jesus said that He sowed good seed or the Word of God in the earth. After this, the blade sprung up, because His Word was sown in good soil which brought forth fruit. Seeing this, the devil became annoyed and sowed weeds or tares which looked exactly like the wheat, thinking he could destroy the wheat. They came into the church, behaving and looking like the wheat, even taking leading positions with the intent of destruction.

Jesus warned the servants in the  church not to pull up the tares in order to avoid destruction of the precious wheat. He has a time of reckoning coming in which the tares would be ripped up and destroyed.

Now let us compare spiritual with spiritual. Apostle Paul gave a parallel in 1 Corinthians 3 in which he warned about building anything in the church that was not of Christ. He spoke about the day in which works or fruit will be revealed by fire (verse 13). The tares in Jesus’ parable would build temporal things in the body of Christ – fame, wealth, false doctrine, mega churches full of sinners.

5. The tares are those who cause offense – see the picture painted in the scriptures so you could discern their fruit

Jesus revealed that the tares “offend” and “do iniquity.”  Stumbling, stumbling block, one who causes a brother to sin (Romans 14: 13) are synonyms for offense in the New Testament. Apostle Paul warned the believers to mark those who caused division and offense in the church (Romans 16: 17).

The Lord also revealed the following about offenses:

a. He revealed that false doctrine in the church is a stumbling block, citing the false prophet Baalam who was responsible for introducing Israel to idol worship and fornication (Revelation 2: 14).

b. As He rebuked Peter for denying that He would die on the cross, Jesus also revealed that a person who takes satan’s side, and does not savor the things or the will and purpose of God is an offense  (Matthew 16: 23). Like Peter, those who offend try to convince the leaders not to obey the vision given by God, out of fear that their comfort zone would be disrupted. Beware of them.

c. the Lord said that anyone who harms His little ones or saints, is guilty of an offense (Matthew 18: 6).

Stumbling block comes from a root word which means to bow the knee, in other words to satan. How horrible it is to hear Jesus tell us that satan has infiltrated the true church with false brethren who serve no other god but the devil. Isn’t this true today?

6. Jesus said that the tares “do iniquity.” 

Anomia is the Greek word used for iniquity in the text. Its usage confirm the state of affairs in the Church of the Lord throughout ages. Iniquity is used in reference to:

  •  false prophets who bring forth corrupt fruit,  thorns and thistles, synonyms for demons – Matthew 7: 15 – 23

  • self righteous, hypocritical religious leaders who Jesus condemns for their sinful practices  – Matthew 23: 28
  • those who practice sin – Romans 6: 19
  • unrighteousness – 2 Corinthians 6: 14

The root word indicates that those who practice iniquity:

  • betray the Lord for wealth, like Judas, and are numbered with the transgressors – Mark 15: 28.
  • have wicked hands  which crucify and slay the Lord. These deny the truth – Acts 2: 23
  • they are lawless – 1 Timothy 1: 9

We thank Jesus for giving us the picture of the tares in His Word. The end of their era will come, because Christ will sit on His throne in the invisible realm and judge them, casting them and their works into fire, in much the same way that He judges the beasts as revealed in the Book of Daniel  (see: The Ancient Of Days Judges Islam, The 4th Beast And Gives The Kingdom To Christ And His Church).

Jesus revealed a timeline in the Parable of the tares. He encourages His Church that the tares have a deadline or expiry date. He will expose them one day. They will not exist forever and that day of reckoning will cause great destruction to their works. I hear the Lord say, “keep the faith, saints.”  In the same way, there is a day coming when the unrighteous will be cast into the flames of fire forever.

Angelic blessings and prosperity.

RELATED READINGS

The End Of The World in The Old Testament – Will The World End In A Big Bang?

In The New Testament, The End Of The World Is The End Of An Era Or Age

Parable of the Tares, Jesus Spoke About False Brethren Infiltrating The Church

Harvesting grain in the bible times

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