Just as the tares are gathered up and burned with fire, so shall it be at the end of the age.
In Matthew 13, Jesus told the parable of the wheat and the tares: An enemy plants fake wheat, or tares, in a man’s wheat field. Since the two plants are difficult to distinguish, the man tells his servants to let the tares grow alongside the genuine wheat until the harvest, when it will be easier to separate them.
Beginning in verse 37, Jesus told His disciples what this parable means. He said the good seed represents genuine believers, and the tares represent unbelievers, or fake Christians, planted by Satan. This idea of fake Christians living right alongside genuine Christians is nothing new. Even in Jesus’s circle of the twelve, there was a tare named Judas. He lived right alongside the disciples for three years, but he was a phony Christian. Since the beginning of the faith, we have seen believers and unbelievers side by side.
Eventually, both the wheat and the tares are going to be harvested. Jesus said this represents the final judgment at the end of the age–not at the rapture, but when Christ returns to set up His kingdom on the earth.
What will happen at this judgment? Verses 40-41 say, “Just as the tares are gathered up and burned with fire, so shall it be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send forth His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all stumbling blocks, and those who commit lawlessness.” When Christ comes back to earth at the end of the great tribulation, there will be Christians on earth who were saved during the tribulation. There will also be unbelievers on earth at the second coming. But only true believers can enter into the kingdom of God here on earth, so when Christ comes to establish His kingdom, there has to be a judgment.
In Matthew 24, there is another reference to this judgment. Talking about His second coming, Jesus said, “Of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone. For the coming of the Son of Man will be just like the days of Noah. For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and they did not understand until the flood came and took them all away; so will the coming of the Son of Man be” (vv. 36-39). During the flood, unbelievers were taken away by God’s judgment. And at the second coming, unbelievers are going to be taken away into eternal judgment.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “How To Spot A Phony” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2008.
Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.lockman.org