by Paul Benson
(This is part 3 of a series on the timing the Bible gives concerning the catching-away of the Church. You can find part 1 HERE. P.B.)
Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain. James – an apostle of Christ
The Bible teaches the day of Christ’s Coming is the day of Harvest the Lord has been patiently waiting for. In the Scriptures we see this recurrent allegoric theme presented in the sense of this world being like a field in which the Lord is growing a crop of which he will someday harvest. We see that allegorical reference in the passage above by James, as well as in the writings of Paul.
For we are labourers together with God: ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building. 1Corinthians 3:9
And we most certainly see this same comparison used in the words of our Lord Jesus Christ himself in his teachings that are recorded in the Gospels. Let’s look at what the Scriptures have to say about the growing and harvesting of God’s ‘crop’, and see what kind of timing we might find associated with Jesus gathering this crop unto himself.
The Wheat / Tares Parable
Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and will gather the wheat into his garner; but the chaff he will burn with fire unquenchable. Luke 3:17
Even John the Baptist, in his prophetic preaching on the coming Messiah, referred to the Righteous as wheat that will be harvested and gathered by Jesus. In this instance we are the wheat and the wicked are the chaff. In Jesus’ parable we are also the wheat but the *wicked are called the tares.
*(There are some who say that in Christ’s parable of the Wheat and the Tares, the wheat are the true believers and the tares are the make-believers; with the stubble and chaff that are burned along with the tares (after the wheat is harvested) representing the rest of the unbelieving wicked. I do see good reason to accept that view. But it is irrelevant to the question of timing we are seeking to answer here.)
Most pre-trib preachers and teachers will insist the Parable of the Wheat and the Tares is not about the Resurrection of the Just and the catching-away of the believers to meet Christ in the air. That it must be a ‘later judgment’ where Christ dishes out judgment and reward after his Return; and (according to their theory) this all takes place at least 7 years after the ‘rapture’. But as we saw in the last article the judgment of the believer must precede the catching-away.
The reason they must disassociate this parable from Christ’s coming for his followers is that the timing represented therein is so out of accord with the timing which they claim that it absolutely reeks havoc with their fable. This is prime example of how approaching the Scriptures through the theologies of man (rather than by the leading of the Holy Spirit) forces twisted interpretations of passages that don’t jive with preconceptions.
And if you have totally bought into a preconceived theory about the Bible (such as Dispensationalism / pre-trib theory) you must explain away any contradiction to that theory. And boy have I heard some wild ones!
But I think it much wiser to line up our beliefs with Jesus’ words rather than disregard them or assign them an alternative interpretation. Don’t you?
Didn’t Jesus promise: ‘I will come again, and receive you unto myself.’ (John 14:1-3) to his elect Church? What possible sense would it make to divorce the harvest of God’s crop BY JESUS and him taking that crop into his garner (Luke 3:17) from Christ’s Return and the Resurrection / catching-away? NONE! Let’s get it right! The Gospel is the good seed that was planted and we, the believers, are the fruit that will be harvested. The Resurrection at the Last Day IS the ‘harvest day’ both we and the Lord are awaiting!
Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field: 25 But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way. 26 But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also. 27 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? 28 He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up? 29 But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them. 30 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 13:24-30
*Notice the words ‘let both grow together until the harvest’ in this passage. Those who claim this parable is not about the resurrection and catching away of the believers (but dealing with a later event) willfully ignore that fact these wheat and tares are both left growing together in the field until the time of the harvest. If a pre-trib rapture had previously removed the Church from planet Earth the wheat and tares would not both still be in the field ‘growing together’ when this harvest time at the end takes place, would they?
Many will claim this parable cannot be talking about the catching-away because verse 30 supposedly has the tares burnt before the wheat is gathered. But that is not what is stated! It indicates they are bundled (bind them in bundles to burn them – v.30) in preparation for later burning.
Our understanding of this parable must line up with the true manner a farmer in Bible times would harvest his crop. That is the pattern this allegory gives us. The tares would not be burnt with the wheat still in the field along with them! The husbandman would first separate out and tie the tares into bundles, proceed to harvest the wheat, and then burn the field (tares, stubble, and all) in preparation for the next crop.
**(Many feel the Mark of the Beast is what will separate out the tares and bind them for destruction prior to the harvest of the wheat. I agree totally with this, and will discuss it in a fuller fashion in the next article – Lord willing.)
Let’s look at Jesus’ explanation of this parable to his followers and see what timing is represented there in regard to our ‘harvest’.
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. 37 He answered and said unto them, He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man; 38 The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one; 39 The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the *reapers are the angels. 40 As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world. 41 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; 42 And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. 43 Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear. Matthew 13:36-43
*A common objection that this is our catching away to meet Christ described in this parable is that the reapers are the angels. They insist there are no angels associated with the ‘rapture’. They divide descriptions of Christ’s Coming that include angels and those which have no mention of angels into two individual groups; and then claim this as a proof of two separate comings. But what proof is that? A description of Christ’s coming that fails to mention angels no more proves ‘no angels at the rapture’ than a description of you that fails to mention your shoes means you are barefoot! Who could rightly consider what a passage does not say as evidence of what that passage is really about?
What is the timing this parable gives? Jesus clearly said: the harvest is the END of the world! He didn’t say the harvest will be 7 centuries before the end, 7 decades before the end, and he certainly did not say 7 years before the end. He said it is the end.
For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water: 6 Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished: 7 But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men. … …10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. 2Peter 3:5-7+10
The world came to an end once before – by water. This time it will end by fire! Jesus said the harvest is at the end of the world. Peter said the world that now is will continue unto the day of Judgment by fire. A harvest of the believers in a pre-tribulation rapture (that would leave the present world to continue on for years) would not fulfill those words of Peter nor the words of Christ; but his Second Coming will do exactly that! The Second Coming will be the end of this world and the birth of a new one! That is ‘harvest time’! Praise his Holy Name!
When Jesus returns to reward the Righteous (2Thess. 1:7), and the kingdoms of this world become the kingdoms of our Lord (Rev. 11:15), he will gather his elect unto himself (Mark 13:27), and then deal with the wickedness of this world in an unimaginable fashion (Matt. 25:41).
That is the pattern shown in this Parable of the Wheat and the Tares. That is the very same pattern we have seen over and over in this series as we have examined the various passages that deal with our resurrection and catching -away!
The timing of our gathering unto Christ given by the Parable of the Wheat and Tares is the end of the world at the Second Coming!
And I looked, and behold a white cloud, and upon the cloud one sat like unto the Son of man, having on his head a golden crown, and in his hand a sharp sickle. 15 And another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to him that sat on the cloud, Thrust in thy sickle, and reap: for the time is come for thee to reap; for the harvest of the earth is ripe. 16 And he that sat on the cloud thrust in his sickle on the earth; and the earth was reaped. Revelation 14:14-15
This allegory in Revelation of the harvesting of a crop that is now ripe, is obviously describing the Lord Jesus Christ when he comes in the clouds, as repeatedly prophesied elsewhere (Dan. 7:13, Matt. 24:30, Mark 14:62, 1Thess. 4:17, Acts 1:9-11), on the day he will resurrect his faithful and gather them up unto himself.
The pre-trib rapture fable has Jesus harvesting part of the crop, and then returning 7 years later for the rest of the crop that was not ripe yet! How does that fit the scriptural pattern shown? IT DOESN’T! See why they are forced by their preconceived theory to insist the Harvest of God’s Wheat and the day of our Resurrection are not the same event? The timing given in association with the ‘Harvest’ rebukes their bogus teachings!
The passage in Revelation goes on to describe the wrath of God poured out upon the wicked. Again: the same sequence we have seen throughout this series: Jesus’ Second Coming, then the resurrection / catching away, and then the wicked are dealt with.
The Completion of the Mystery
How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words, 4 Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ) 5 Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit; Ephesians 3:3-5
It’s hard to find the words to describe the Grrrrr! that arises in me every time I hear someone claim the ‘pre-trib rapture’ (our catching-away) is the great mystery God revealed to Paul. A proper grasp upon the entirety of the New Testament shows this mystery to have a focus elsewhere.
Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints: 27 To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory: Colossians 1:26-27
The mystery that was hid from ages and generations was NOT that the Church will escape the purging trials of the tribulation and the onslaught of Antichrist! The mystery revealed to Paul, and now made manifest to the Saints, is ‘Christ in you the hope of glory‘ and what that will mean for you in an eternal fashion!
Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 1Corinthians 15:51-52
The mystery of ‘Christ in you‘ is the exact same mystery Paul was discussing in his writings to the Corinthian Church as he spoke of the resurrection of the dead. Jesus said: ‘I AM the Resurrection!’. Because we have ‘THE Resurrection’ living inside us we also will be resurrected just as he was! The need for this understanding caused Paul to also write of this to the Church at Rome.
And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11 But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you. Romans 8:10-11
The mystery of the ages is not a ‘pre-trib departure of the Church’ as so many are insisting! That mystery is the blessed hope is that we will, because of Christ indwelling us, become as he is upon his Return by the power of the Resurrection. THAT is the ‘mystery revealed to Paul’! And what sort of timing does the Bible associate with the completion of that mystery?
And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever. … …18 And the nations were angry, and thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that thou shouldest give reward unto thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear thy name, small and great; and shouldest destroy them which destroy the earth. Revelation 11:15+18
It is a common consensus among all theologians that the last of the trumpets in Revelation is the Second Coming of Christ. This is the day he returns to Earth and begins to rule and reign. But how does this relate to the mystery of Christ in you the hope of glory’?
But in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God should be finished, as he hath declared to his servants the prophets. Revelation 10:7
Multitudes have bought into the false notion our blessed hope (the mystery of Christ in you) will come to fruition in a ‘rapture’ before the time of the great tribulation; BUT the timing the Scriptures give concerning the completion of this mystery is at the Second Coming of Christ! If you cannot see that you need to take off the ‘rapture colored glasses’ that are blinding you to anything contrary to that doctrine. Seriously!
Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;
Our Blessed Hope (the resurrection of the dead) will be realized at the APPEARING of the Lord Jesus Christ. Those who are teaching that hope will be realized in an event that transpires years earlier are deceiving others because they have been deceived themselves!
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead… …13 Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; 1Peter 1:3+10
Peter calls our blessed hope a lively hope! And tells us we are to hope to the END for that grace that will be brought to us at the REVELATION of our Lord Jesus Christ!
You can either believe what the Word of God says itself; or you can believe what others say about the Word. The choice is yours!
Lord help us to discern the difference!
I welcome your input!
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