The Time of the Harvest
Matthew 13:24-30 (KJV) Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field: But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way. But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also. 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? He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up? But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them. 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 13:36-43 (KJV) 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. He answered and said unto them, 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; but the tares are the children of the wicked one; The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels. As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world. 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; And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.
Here in this parable of the wheat and tares the Lord reveals to us that in the end-time there will be a separation of the tares from the wheat in the Kingdom of God. It is instructive to observe that the tares are in the Kingdom, though they are causing offence and doing iniquity in the Kingdom. This means that they are born-again Christians. A born-again Christian can become a tare if he begins to sleep spiritually allowing Satan to plant and nurture evil seeds in his soul and flesh. Notice it was ‘while men slept’ (Matt. 13:25) that the enemy came in to sow tares among the wheat.
Until now, God has allowed the wheat and tares to grow together, which is why we see this great dichotomy in the body of Christ.
We see, as shown in Mal. 3.15, the proud and covetous happy and prospering in the church.
Malachi 3:15 (KJV) And now we call the proud happy; yea, they that work wickedness are set up; yea, they that tempt God are even delivered.
God in His wisdom has allowed this state of affairs to continue so as not to uproot the wheat with the tares.
However now, at the time of the harvest, in the imminent fulfillment of the feast of Tabernacles, he is going to bring about a separation by divine judgement.
This divine judgement is symbolized by fire. This fire will consume the tares; i.e. Christians who are building their lives out of poor quality substance, represented by wood, hay and stubble (which means their lives are not pleasing to God).
1 Corinthians 3:12-15 (KJV) Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.
Observe here that this fire is not necessarily hell fire (in fact, in the majority of cases it is not hell fire) but rather a fire God is using to save the tare Christian and refine the wheat Christian. In fact, the fire is called ‘a furnace of fire’ (Mt. 13: 42) and not ‘the lake of fire’ (Rev. 20:10). This furnace of fire is similar to ‘the furnace of affliction’ (Is 48:10) in which God chooses those who become vessels of gold and silver. The tares are called the children of the wicked one because of the lusts of the flesh which they indulge in rather than the fruit of the spirit (John 8:44).
This same fire will refine the wheat; i.e. Christians that are building their lives out of high quality substance represented by gold, silver and precious stones.
Malachi 3:2-3 (KJV) But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner’s fire, and like fullers’ soap: And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the LORD an offering in righteousness.
Zechariah 13:9 (KJV) And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, The LORD is my God.
Why the separation?
The separation between the wheat and tares must take place at the time of the harvest because if the tares continue to grow with the wheat they will hinder the harvest. In fact, the Lord points out that it is AFTER the tares are removed that the wheat, or the righteous, shine forth in the Kingdom. This shining forth of the wheat is symbolic of the manifestation of the fullness of the character and power of Christ that will now bring the end-time harvest of the nations into the Kingdom of God.
Wheat or Tare?
What makes the difference between wheat and tares is their heart attitude.
Tares are seeking God only for things. The wheat are seeking God for the Kingdom (Matt. 6:33).
The wheat are those whose works are represented by gold, silver and precious stones.
Tares are those whose works are represented by wood, hay and stubble.
One reason why God did not allow immediate removal of tares is that some tares are changing to wheat. So to remove them prematurely before the harvest can damage potential wheat.
You don’t have to be perfect to be wheat, but you have to want to be perfect.
So if you are seeking God more for things than for the kingdom REPENT NOW!
Seek God with all your heart (Joel 2: 12-14) in regular fasting, intercessory prayer in the Spirit, with a pure motive to enter the Kingdom and be a vessel of deliverance and blessing for others who are still under the bondage of sin, sickness, poverty and death.