Another parable He put forth to them, saying: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who 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 grain had sprouted and produced a crop, then the tares also appeared. So the servants of the owner came and said to him, ‘Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have tares?’ He said to them, ‘An enemy has done this.’ The servants said to him, ‘Do you want us then to go and gather them up?’ But he said, ‘No, lest while you gather up the tares you also uproot the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest, and at the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, “First gather together the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them, but gather the wheat into my barn.” ‘ ” Matthew 13:24-30 (NKJV)
Then Jesus sent the multitude away and went into the house. And His disciples came to Him, saying, “Explain to us the parable of the tares of the field.” He answered and said to them: “He who sows the good seed is the Son of Man. The field is the world, the good seeds are the sons of the kingdom, but the tares are the sons of the wicked one. The enemy who sowed them is the devil, the harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are the angels. Therefore as the tares are gathered and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of this age. The Son of Man will send out His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and those who practice lawlessness, and will cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears to hear, let him hear! Matthew 13:36-43 (NKJV)
After the seed has been sown, and are full-grown, it is time to harvest the field. One thing that stands out is while they have grown together all this time, at the harvest they are finally separated. They have lived and grown in the same field, taken part of the same soil, water, and sunshine, but now at the harvest there is a difference made. Now that the harvest time has fully come, the landowner sends his reapers into the field to gather the tares, put them into bundles and burn them. Every single tare is rejected; no exceptions are made to this declaration.
Jesus says that the end of the world is harvest time. The tares and those who rejected Jesus share the same fate. Pay close attention to what Jesus says in this parable. It’s not merely those who have rejected Jesus with their mouths but also those who have rejected Him through the lives they lived.
“They profess to know God, but in works they deny Him, being abominable, disobedient, and disqualified for every good work.” Titus 1:16 (NKJV)
It is possible for someone to profess with their mouths that they know God and then to deny Him by the life they live. Those who deny Him with their lives are tares that will be bundled and burned on the last day.
When our Lord returns, the eternity destination of everyone living at that time is irrevocably determined. Even though right now both kingdoms are seemingly intermingled, at the end of the world comes a day of final separation. On that day the door of grace is forever shut and whatever we have chosen in our lives as our eternal destination, is our future.
Jesus says that the reapers will gather all those that are living in their sins and cast them into a furnace of fire, where they will forever be tormented. Some will say that they cannot believe in a literal hell because it is contrary to the nature of a loving God. However I am reminded of what Pastor Chuck Swindoll said once, “There is more Biblical evidence for a literal hell, than there is for a literal heaven.” If we accept that there is a dwelling place for those who have received Jesus, then it is only logical that there is a place for those who reject Jesus. Just as every single tare was rejected, and no exceptions were made, all those who are spiritual tares will be rejected; God will not make exceptions for you or me for any reason whatsoever.
A different fate awaits those who have trusted in Jesus. The wheat will also be gathered but their end is much different that than of the tares. They will be gathered into the “barn” of the landowner. The place where the saints will go is described in great detail in Revelation 21.
“And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.” Revelation 21:3-4 (NKJV)
This is the destination of those who are a part of the Kingdom of God.
Notice that the servants asked if they should just go and pull up the tares from among the wheat now. The owner told them no, to just let them both grow together. The decision of the landowner would allow the tare to live in the same field as the wheat. It would benefit from the same sunshine and water as the wheat. In fact any benefit the landowner gave to the wheat, the tare would also share.
Why would he make this decision? This parable shows that the reason is twofold. First the two looked so similar it would be extremely hard to be 100% accurate on which was wheat and which was the tare 100% of the time. Second, Even if they could get it right 100% of the time, the roots of the wheat and the tare would often entangle themselves together; so that by pulling up the tare, some wheat would also be uprooted. So rather than take the chance on making a mistake, or having the wheat damaged on accident, the landowner chose to let them grow together until the time of the harvest.
Right now the kingdom of God is in this phase of the parable. Right now those that are Christians and those that are not, live, walk, work, shop, eat, etc. side by side. And sometimes those who are not Christians receive blessings and prosper, all without being chastised in any way by the Lord. Therefore, they conclude, I am good-to-go with God. He and I have our own special deal going, and I am going to be alright. But in doing this they forget that Jesus told us that God makes the sun to shine on the evil and the good and he sends rain on the just and the unjust (Matt 5:45).
Sometimes I think we misunderstand His blessings on our lives. He may bless us in order to draw us to Himself. We are told in the Bible that the goodness of God leads us to repentance. There is also the possibility that we are like the tare, and the blessing was not really for us to begin with, it was for the wheat, and we just got the overflow.
Some will wonder, “If we are in this growing phase now, why does God delay coming to separate the wheat from the tares?” The reason can best be summed up by saying, because He is merciful. Just because the separation hasn’t come doesn’t mean we should begin to think that it will not come. God is a patient and merciful God that doesn’t desire anyone to perish; He desires that all would be saved. That day will come. We should realize the delay in the separation for what it is, another opportunity for people to be saved. What delays the harvest? It is the desire of God for all people to be saved, therefore He is mercifully holding back harvest time so that as many people as possible will be saved (2 Peter 3:9-10, 15).