“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.”(Matt.13:24-30).
“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.”(Matt.13:36-43).
In order to understand this parable, there are certain biblical concepts we must understand. The first is the Hebrew concept of age. In Judaism, there are two ages, the present age and the age to come. The present age relates to the rule of Satan over the earthly realm of God’s universal kingdom. God created the world and leased it to Adam for six days. God created the world in six days. The seventh day, He rested. Therefore, God hallowed the seventh day. Each of those six days corresponds to a millennium.
“But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.”(2 Pet.3:8).
In other words, Adam was to rule the world for six millennia. The seventh millennium will be the Shabbat of the Lord. Adam sold out to Satan. So, Satan became the god of this age(2 Cor.4:4; Eph.2:2). Because it was a lease and not a sale, neither Adam nor Satan had access to the title deed of the Earth. The lease will expire at the end of the sixth millennium, after which the rulership of the Earth will revert back to God who has the title deed of the Earth. The title deed of the Earth is the seven sealed Scroll of Revelation(Rev.5,6). The seven sealed scroll may be a certificate of debenture, but that will not serve our purpose for now.
In Abram’s encounter with Melkizedek after the slaughter of the kings and rescue of his nephew, Lot, Melkizedek, the priest of the Most High God acknowledged before Abram that the Most High God is the possessor of the heavens and the Earth.
“And he blessed him, and said, Blessed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth:”(Gen.14:19). Here Melkizedek acknowledged that God’s kingdom is universal. But there are earthly and heavenly realms of God’s universal kingdom. God dwells in Heaven, but He rules over the Earth by proxy. The headquarters of God’s universal kingdom is in Heaven.
“The heaven, even the heavens, are the Lord’s: but the earth hath he given to the children of men.”(Ps.115:16).
God is a spirit being. Though He has a form that is comparable to the shape of the physical body of man, he has no physical body with which to relate to the external physical environment. Therefore, He has to rule the Earth through a human representative, and Adam. God never created man to live with Him for ever in heaven. If that were the case, man would not have needed a physical body. “Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.” ( 1 Cor.15:50 ). Our physical body is given us to relate with our external physical environment. It is like a transducer that enables us to relate to the external physical environment.
Satan also is a spirit being like God without a physical body. So, he too cannot rule the world directly. He must do so through a human representative, an Adam. His bodily representation on Earth in the final conflict will be in the person of the antiChrist.
“And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy. And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority. And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast. And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him?”(Rev.13:1-4).
Because of the failure of the first Adam, God had to become man in order to reclaim His rulership over the earthly domain of His universal kingdom. Hence the necessity for the incarnation. Of course, this is not the only reason for the incarnation. Man has fallen into sin, and has to be redeemed by a kinsman redeemer, the goel. Inasmuch as no man was found sinless to make atonement for man, God also became man to make atonement for the sin of mankind.
The present age, “olam haze,”(Hebrew: This age ), is the age of sin and evil. It is the age of night and darkness. It is the period of Satan’s rule over the Earth. The age to come, (Hebrew: olam haba), is the age of day and light. It is the age when righteousness reigns. It will be the age of God’s rule over the Earth.
Another thing we must understand is the various Greek words that are rendered world in the KJV translation. There are three of these Greek words. The first we shall consider is the word “cosmos.” It is from this word that the English word cosmic and its cognates like, cosmetic, cosmetology, cosmology, etc, are derived. It refers to the physical planet Earth primarily. Sometimes, it refers to the inhabitants of the planet Earth. On other occasions it may refer to the organization of the world, its embellishments, the cosmeticus. In Jon.3:16, it is written:
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”(Jon 3:16).
Here it is obvious that what God loved was not the physical planet, Earth, but the inhabitants. It therefore follows that the context determines the meaning of this word.
The second Greek word rendered world is “eion.” It refers to the moving world. It is better rendered age. The Greek phrase “zoe eioneis” is what is rendered everlasting life in Jon.3:16. It is better rendered “life of the age to come.” Both the believer and the unbeliever will live for ever. The difference is in the quality of life. The quality of the life of the unbeliever is so poor and miserable that it is considered eternal death. The believer, though living in the present age, has acquired the life of the age to come. He is not of night and darkness, but of the day and light. The unbeliever, on the other hand is of the night and darkness, the life of the present age.
“But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober. For they that sleep sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night. But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation. For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ,”(1 Thess. 5:4-9).
Believers are of a different age entirely. Their manner of life is different. Their desires and aspiration are heavenly. They are not of this world, simply because they are not of this age. They are born from above.
“Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”(Jon.3:3).
The Greek phrase translated born again in KJV is “gnoteinai anoten.” It means “born from above.”
“He that cometh from above is above all: he that is of the earth is earthly, and speaketh of the earth: he that cometh from heaven is above all.”(Jon 3:31).
The life of the present age is earthbound, mundane, and leads to death, but the life of the age to come is spiritual, and leads to eternal bliss. Jesus told the Jewish leaders of His day:
“And he said unto them, Ye are from beneath; I am from above: ye are of this world; I am not of this world.” Jon.8:23 ).
The origin of their life and thinking is earthly and mundane, but the origin of life and thinking of Jesus is from above, heavenly. Believers have the nature and life of Jesus. The origin of their life is heavenly. Therefore, their affections and desires must be from above like that of Jesus. Colossians 3 & 4 tell us what this new life entails. Our affections must be set on things above, not on things on and of the earth(Col.3:1-4).
The third Greek word is “oikoumene.” It is derived from the Greek word “oikos” which means house. It refers to the inhabited world. Seven eighth of the Earth’s surface is covered by waters. This reference excludes all these in addition to the unhabited mountains like the Alps and the Drekensbergs, etc.
“And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet. For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty.”(Rev.16:13-14).
The reference here is to the inhabited areas of the world. Jesus told us in the Olivet Discourse that the gospel must be preached in the the world before the end(of the Ages) comes.
“And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.”(Matt.24:14).
The world here is “oikoumene” and refers to the inhabited world.
Let us now look at the word rendered “tares” in the parable of the wheat and the tares. Some translators render it weeds. This is absolutely erroneous. The Hebrew word rendered tares is “darnel.” It is wild wheat. In the early stages of growth, it is indistinguishable from the real wheat. In ancient Israel, the farmer did not try to weed out this wild wheat at all, because in so doing he weeded out some of the real wheat also. So, what the farmer did was to allow both of them to grow together till the time of harvest when they were clearly distinguishable from the real wheat. He first of all gathered the wild wheat into bundles which he heaped up at the edges of his farm. Then he harvested the real wheat into his granary. Afterwards he burned the bundled heaps of wild wheat at the edges of his farm. Jesus used this agricultural practice in Palestine Of His day to illustrate the divine Harvest that will occur at the End Of The Ages.
In interpreting the parable of the wheat and the tares, Jesus said: ” he that sowed the good seed is the “Son Of Man.” The phrase, Son Of Man is Jesus’ favorite appellative to Himself. It has to do with God’s rulership over the Earth. The Son Of Man is God’s representative in the earthly domain of His universal kingdom. “And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit. Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual. The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven. As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly.” ( 1 Cor.15:45-48 ).
The first Adam, our great great grandfather was made a living being. The last Adam, our Lord Jesus the Christ is a quickening spirit. As the last Adam, Jesus took the whole of humanity to death on the execution state. As the second man, he created a new species of human beings. “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” ( 2 Cor.5:17 ). The first man is of the earth, earthy, but the second man is the Lord from the heavens. The first Adam failed. The last Adam, the second man, who is the Lord from the heaven will reclaim God’s rulership over the Earth which was usurped by Satan. The reclamation of God’s rule over the Earth will occur at the End Of The Ages.
The End Of The Ages is the point of transition from the present age, olam haze to the age to come, olam haba. This point of transition will occur at the expiry of the sixth millennium which is the end of God’s lease of the earthly domain of His universal kingdom to Adam, which was usurped by Satan. The 70th week of Daniel is the last seven years of the sixth millennium. The End Of The Ages cannot occur outside of or before the 70th week of Daniel. The End Of The Ages occurs within the 70th week of Daniel and beyond. The final harvest occurs at the End Of The Ages. Therefore the final harvest cannot occur before the 70th week of Daniel. It is at the End Of The Ages that Jesus will appear to rapture the Church and institute His Day Of The Lord judgment of the wicked earth-dwellers. It is therefore biblically inaccurate to preach and teach Rapture before the commencement of the 70th week, for the simple reason that Rapture occurs at the End Of The Ages, and the End Of The Ages begins inside the 70th week of Daniel and extends beyond it. Therefore, the rapture cannot be signless, imminent or occur at any moment; it must be preceded by the separation of the Wheat from the tares. Satan’s control of the Earth will expire at the end of the sixth millennium. Satan’s rule of the Earth is legal and binding because the transfer of the rulership of the Earth to Satan was legally done. Adam was God’s representative on Earth. He had the legal right to carry out the transaction in the behalf of God but he did not have the moral right to do so. But because it was legal, it was binding.
At the temptation in the wilderness, Satan took Jesus to a very high mountains from where he showed Him the kingdoms of the world and the glory of the them.
“And the devil, taking him up into an high mountain, shewed unto him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And the devil said unto him, All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it. If thou therefore wilt worship me, all shall be thine. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Get thee behind me, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.”(Luk.4:5-8).
He boasted the kingdoms of this age have been delivered unto him. When were they delivered to him? At the fall of Adam in the Garden of Eden. Jesus did not challenge him on this count because like we pointed out earlier, it was a legal transaction and therefore binding. He further said that he would deliver it to Jesus if Jesus would bow down and worship him. Satan knew very well the kingdom will revert back to God at the end of the sixth millennium. If Jesus wanted it earlier He had to submit to Satan. What Satan offered Jesus was a subsidiary role under the rule of Satan, which was no role at all. What an insult? Will the creator worship His creature? Satan wanted Jesus to be a cop out. Jesus answered him, “thou shall worship the Lord thy God, and Him only shall thou serve.” What Jesus was saying was that He will be patient till the expiration of the sixth millennium, then Satan shall be evicted, kicked out from the Earth’s premises. Satan has never claimed to be the creator of the Earth for the simple reason that it is obvious he did not. He said it was delivered to him. He did not say he created it.
Jesus told us plainly that the good seed, the real wheat are the children of the kingdom. He, Jesus, the son of God sowed them. The tares, the wild wheat are the children of the wicked one. The enemy that sowed them is the Devil, the usurper of God’s rule and authority over the Earth. The Harvest is the end of the Ages, and the reapers are the angels. The reapers are the obedient and faithful angels not the fallen ones who are evil. Those are the demons and idols that men worship. The parable is agricultural, but its meaning is cosmopolitical. It is at the heart of the cosmic conflict. It is the transfer of power to God at the end of the sixth millennium. At the end of the ages, the tares, the children of the wicked one, shall be bundled into heaps to be burned by being branded with the mark of the antiChrist during the Great Tribulation. The real wheat, the sons of the kingdom, are harvested into the granary, that is raptured into Heaven. Thereafter, the tares, the Beast marked earth-dwellers are burned with fire.
“Whose fan is in his hand, and he will thoroughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”(Matt.3:12; Luk.3:17).
To separate the Wheat from the chaff, the whole grain is beaten with an instrument, then tossed into the air with the winnowing fork. The chaff is blown away by the wind while the grain which is heavier falls down on the spot. The rapture cannot occur without the separation of The Wheat from The Tares. They reach maturation during the Great Tribulation when the tares are marked for destruction by branding them with the mark of allegiance to the antiChrist. To preach rapture before the Great Tribulation is to attempt the final harvest when the wheat and the tares, their look alike are not yet separable from the wheat. There will be cases of mistaken identities. Some real wheat will be mistaken for the tares. Therefore, rapture before the Great Tribulation is impossible. These are the words of Jesus.
To preach rapture before the children of the wicked one are ripe for harvest and marked for destruction is to court disaster. How then can one distinguish the real Wheat from the tares inasmuch as they are growing together and look alike? The separation occurs during the Great Tribulation in the second half of the 70th week of Daniel. The sons of the wicked one shall be branded with the mark of the Beast. Then the cosmic disturbances shall announce the coming of the Lord and the institution of the day of His wrath which no mortal shall be able to stand.
“And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood; And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind. And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places. And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?”(Rev.6:12-17).
He shall appear in the heavens with the sound of the trumpet. The angelic reapers shall be dispatched to gather together His own from one end of heaven to the other.
“Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.”(Matt.24:29-31).
Thereafter, the Beast branded sons of the wicked one are burned with fire in the Day of the Lord’s wrath at the End Of The Ages.
In the Olivet Discourse, the disciples asked Jesus the question, “what shall be the sign of the thy coming and of the End Of The Ages?” The Greek word rendered sign is “semeion.” It is singular. Therefore there is only one sign which indicates His coming and the End Of The Ages. Why were His disciples curious about the sign of His coming and the End Of The Ages? Because the two events are concurrent. The coming of Jesus occurs at the End Of The Ages. It is at the End Of The Ages also that the final harvest will occur. If we identify the End Of The Ages, we shall know the general time period of His coming. This does not however mean that we will know the day and the hour. We cannot know the day and hour of His coming, but we can know the general time period of His coming. Jesus did not answer the question of His disciples directly, but went about enumerating a series of events that will lead to the End Of The Ages starting from the beginning of the 70th week of Daniel.
First will be the emergence of false christs(Matt.24:4,5; Rev.6.1,2). This will be followed by wars, commotions, and rumours of wars(Matt.246,7a; Rev.6:3,4 ). Thirdly, there will be famines, pestilence and earthquakes in diverse places which bring closure to the first half of the 70th week of Daniel, the beginning of sorrows or beginning birth pangs(Matt.24:7b,8; Rev.6:5,6). Beginning from the midpoint of the 70th week, Jerusalem will be surrounded by armies as the antiChrist relocates his headquarters to Jerusalem, and makes his debut at the rebuilt Jewish temple on mount Moriah (Matt.24:15; Mk.13:14; Luk.21:20; Dan.11:45; 2Thess.2:3,4). This move will spark the Great Tribulation(Matt.24:9-24; Rev.6:7,8). The real hard labour begins. At the breaking of the fifth seal, the souls of the martyred saints are arriving in heaven and are quartered under the golden altar of incense in the Holy Place from where they make their plea of vengeance to God. God answered in the affirmative, but they have to wait until the complement of martyrs is reached(Rev.6:9-11). Thereafter God amputates the Great Tribulation with cosmic disturbances(Matt.24:29; Rev.6:12-14). Then shall appear the sign of His coming and Of the End Of The Ages(Matt.24:30). When Jesus appears in the heavens, The angelic reapers are dispatched to gather His elect from the fourwinds of the heavens(Matt.24:28,31). This is the final harvest that marks the starting point of the End Of The Ages. It is at this point that the 144,000 are sealed for protection from the wrath of God, and the Church raptured to take them away from the scene of persecution(Rev.7:1-17). Then the living wicked earth-dwellers are burned with fire as the wrath of God is poured out on them ( Rev.8,9,16,17,18,19 ).