Wednesday, July 1, 2009

The Second Coming Pt. 5 More End Times Parables

There are more parables in Matthew about the gathering or harvest at the end of days. At first glance it would seem that these parables are in opposition to what the scriptures have said thus far, but in actuality, they aren’t.

Matt. 13:24-30, 37-43 The parable of the wheat and tares.

An enemy sows tares among the wheat. The owner says for the servants to not try to separate them until the time of harvest, as they may uproot the wheat. When harvest comes, the reapers are told to gather the tares and throw them in the fire, but to gather the wheat into the barn.
Christ explains this as the field being the world and the wheat are the children of the kingdom. The tares are the children of the devil. The harvest is the end of the world and the reapers are the angels. At the end the tares will be gathered and burned in the fire. Then the righteous will shine forth as the sun.

Matt. 13:47-50. The parable of the net.

The kingdom of heaven is like a net that when cast into the sea collects all sorts. When brought to shore the good is gathered and the wicked is cast away. That is how it will be at the end. The angels will sever the wicked from among the just and cast them into the furnace of fire. (Lake of fire).

These would at first glance seem to indicate that the Matt. 24 passage was indeed speaking about gathering the wicked for the flames. That the one taken is the wicked one. But we have to check out all of scripture and try to make sense of the apparent discrepancy, rather than just taking these two items and building a theory that doesn‘t account for the scriptures that say the opposite. First we have to go back to Matt. 24. It clearly says that the gathered ones are the elect. This is not the tares. There can be no argument on this. Now we need to go to Rev. 14:14-20. The Son of man takes a sharp sickle and harvests the earth. Then another angel comes and harvests that which is left and throws it into the winepress of God’s wrath. In both of these cases, the Son of Man or Christ harvests the elect. And according to Revelation His harvest comes before the harvest of the wicked. So how do we reconcile these scriptures which seem to be in opposition? Well, there is a way. It would seem that the Matt. 24 passage and the Rev.14 passage working together indicate that the elect are harvested first. (This will also be found in Mark and Luke) Even Matt. 13 starts off with the same order, the good, then the wicked. But then, the same passage reverses the order. Why? And chapter 13 reverses the order. This can be explained in two ways. When the harvest occurs, there are actually three groups. The elect, which are the bride of Christ, then the wicked, but then there are more chosen ones who will still be left behind. The Jews and those Gentiles who have not taken the mark, but are not of the bride of Christ, will be left after the harvest of the wicked to go into the kingdom. This explains it in part. There will be a harvest of the elect, followed by a harvest of the wicked, and then those that are left will enter into the kingdom. But once again, there is more to the story. At the end of the millennium there will be a repeat of Armageddon. At that time there will be no harvest of the elect. For a second time during the millennium the wheat and tares will grow together. Only this time the harvest will only be of the wicked to be thrown into the winepress of God’s wrath. This time the righteous will be left to shine. The Bible is not just for our age alone, it is for the millennium. There is still more to be fulfilled. The Gog/Magog war in Ezekiel may describe Armageddon, but that (as so many prophecies that seem to have two fulfillments) is not the only fulfillment. It also describes what will happen at the end of the millennium, when all the nations of the world once again gather against Jerusalem. To accommodate multiple meanings, sometimes God deliberately changes things up to make us realize that there must be more to it than we are initially seeing in the passage. To make the same parables fit the end of the millennium, He changes the order in some of them. In the one in Matt. 13, he uses both orders. First the elect, then the wicked, then the wicked followed by the elect. This would seem to be contradictory unless you understand the dual fulfillment. Once you understand that, it makes perfect sense that they can seem to be in opposition, yet are both accurate. In order to know how each order applies, you have to look further, and that is why we were given other passages such as Rev. 14, which clearly delineates what will happen at the end of this age. Rev. 14 is not about the millennium’s end, nor is Matt. (or Mark or Luke) so we can see that the elect harvested first, wicked second is the order we are supposed to use for this age. The other order will apply to the millennium. It also applies to the three groups of this age. It is just these sort of “contradictions” that people who don’t believe the Bible like to point out. It isn’t that they are contradictions, it is that we have to search further to understand what appears to be a contradiction.

Here is an example of a well-known contradiction. How did Judas die? This is a big one that anti-Christian people love to use. Matthew said Judas hung himself. Luke said he threw himself headlong (supposedly off a cliff, as that is the only thing that would fit the description) and burst asunder with all his organs coming out. This is an obvious contradiction as it stands, but that is because we lack understanding. The truth of the matter is, they are both accurate. The place mentioned in Acts (by Luke) has a gorge running through the fields (reported to me by an eye witness who has toured over there). Apparently what transpired was the following: Judas bought the field wherein lay a part of the gorge. At the top of this gorge there are trees that grow out and hang over the edge. (Seen by my informant). Judas (lacking a nice chair off which to jump or ladder to get to a high enough branch) tried to hang himself by tying a rope to a tree branch that hung out over the gorge. He then jumped over the cliff, expecting to hang himself. The problem was, apparently, the branch didn’t hold. It broke, throwing him headlong down into the gorge, where upon hitting the bottom, his body….well you get the picture. His intent was to hang himself. That is what Matthew reported, his intent. Luke on the other hand was a physician, and as a coroner, would have wanted to be accurate as to the cause of death. Technically Judas might not have broken his neck when the branch broke, so he didn’t die by hanging. He certainly did die by hitting the bottom of the gorge. There are no discrepancies in scripture; there is always an explanation. There is only a lack of understanding or knowledge on our part. We just have to ferret out the explanations. In the case of the parables above not lining up at first glance with Matthew and Revelation, we just have to dig further, and when we do we see that it is quite clear what is meant. The important thing that we need to learn from these parables is that the gathering of the wheat and tares takes place at the Coming of the Lord with his angels, just as it says in Matthew. This is where the rapture will occur.

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