“Gather the Wheat into My Barn”

THESE WORDS OF JESUS, included in one of his parables, are very specially applicable to the days in which we now live. The parable of the ‘Wheat and the Tares’ is recorded in Matthew 13:24-30, and was given immediately following the parable of the Sower. (Matt. 13:18-23) In the parable of the Sower, Jesus describes four kinds of hearers of the Word of the kingdom, and reveals also that the majority who hear the Word are not faithful to it—that only one class of hearers brings forth the required fruitage. These are the ones “who, having heard the Word, retain it in a good and honest heart, and bear fruit with perseverance.”—Luke 8:15, Wilson’s Emphatic Diaglott

There is an intimate connection between these two parables. The one dealing with the ‘wheat and the tares’ shows some of the difficulties which interfere with those who are the best hearers—who have good and honest hearts—those begotten with the seed, the Word of truth, and who continue faithful to the Lord. These are the true children of the kingdom.

The parable of the ‘Wheat and Tares’ reads: “The kingdom of the heavens may be compared to the field in which the owner sowed good grain: but while the men slept, his enemy came and sowed darnel [weeds, tares] among the wheat, and went away. When the blade shot up, and put forth the ear, then appeared also the darnel. And the servants of the householder, coming said to him, Master, thou didst sow good seed in thy field; whence, then, has it darnel? He replied, An enemy has done this. And they say to him, Dost thou wish then, that we should weed them out? And he said, No; lest in weeding out the darnel, you also tear up the wheat. Let both grow together till the harvest; and in the time of harvest, I will say to the reapers, First gather the darnel, and bind it in bundles for burning; then bring together the wheat into my granary.”—Matt. 13:24-30, WED

Later in the chapter Jesus gives an explanation of the parable as follows: “He who sows the good seed is the Son of man; the field is the world; the good seed are the sons of the kingdom; the darnel [tares] are the sons of the evil one. That enemy who sowed them was the Adversary; the harvest is the end of the age; and the reapers are messengers.”—vss. 37-39, WED

The important work at the end of the age or harvest portrayed in this parable involves the gathering of the true children of the kingdom of heaven into a condition of separateness from the world and its spirit, and into the closest possible oneness with Christ. This oneness will be complete when, as Jesus explained, the “righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father.”—vs. 43

The ‘wheat,’ the children of the kingdom, those fully consecrated to God, begotten of the Holy Spirit through the Word of truth, gladly and gratefully accept the Lord’s proposition of becoming heirs with Jesus in the kingdom. They heartily lay hold upon the exceeding great and precious promises, and accept the terms of joint-heirship with Christ—that they must suffer with him if they would reign with him. (II Tim. 2:12) These bring forth many of the fruits and graces of the Holy Spirit as they develop as Christians.

On the contrary, the ‘darnel’ or tare class are those who are not begotten of the truth, having been misled by error into forms of godliness, without real power of the truth. (II Tim. 3:15) Further, the entire parable attests to the overwhelming majority of the tares:

(1) They were not merely such as usually sprang up amongst the wheat. The parable declares that they were sown by the enemy in the same systematic manner as the wheat, and with the deliberate intention of ruining the wheat field—choking the wheat.

(2) It shows that the tares were too numerous to be dealt with after the ordinary fashion of pulling up—that such a procedure would have unsettled everything, endangering the true wheat.

(3) It shows the same preponderance of the tares in the picture of the harvest, when it is the tares and not the wheat which are gathered and bound into bundles; the wheat, evidently in smaller proportionate quantity, being taken directly to the barns unbundled—precious, scarce. The parable pictures what we are to expect as the result of the entire work of grace throughout the Gospel Age. The results will be a tremendous harvest of tares and a comparatively small gathering of the precious wheat.

The spiteful enmity to choke the wheat is to be expected. Throughout the history of the world Satan’s opposition is apparent; for among ‘nations’ everywhere he has planted the seeds of error and blasphemy against God, misrepresenting his character and plan, and making these appear anything but godlike.

These seeds of error were planted in the wheat field of Christendom, scattering them so that they would intermingle with the truths of the Lord’s Word. This evil seed is represented in all the false doctrines of the Dark Ages which misrepresent the Divine character and plan. Those influenced by the errors of Satan are begotten of fear and not of love, not of the Spirit of Truth with which the Lord begets those who are truly his, the wheat.

Those begotten by God’s Holy Spirit experience perfect love, which casts out fear and brings the fruitage and graces of the Holy Spirit in heart, character, word, and deed. The error may bring outward forms of godliness, but does not affect the heart so as to bring forth the fruitage of full consecration and self-sacrifice. These are the essential qualities of the wheat class which the Lord is now developing.

The harvest time is specially favorable to the ripening of the wheat. The Lord’s true people are now finding much assistance for growing in grace and knowledge and the fruits of the Spirit such as they never have enjoyed before. This is because the Lord provides rich spiritual food for these messengers of truth and grace, for their help and development.

During the Gospel Age our Lord’s instructions have been not to attempt a separation of the true from the imitation children of the kingdom. To accomplish such a complete separation would occasion the general turning of the world (or the field) upside down; a general unsettling of the wheat, as well as of the tares, would result.

The parable reveals that in the time of harvest we must expect a general separating work, hitherto prohibited. While these symbolized by the ‘wheat’ are encouraged to stand fast in the liberty wherewith Christ made them free, and to avoid entangling alliances with open transgressors, and with error, yet they are not to attempt to classify between the fully consecrated (the wheat, the saints) and the tares who profess Christ’s name and doctrines. To some extent, the tares allow Christ’s doctrines to influence their outward conduct, but their hearts’ desires are far from the Lord and his service. This judging of hearts, or motives—which is beyond our power or ability, and which the Lord commanded us to avoid entirely—is the very thing which is so easy for the fallen nature to attempt to do.

The truth now due is the sickle to be used in this harvest, just as a similar sickle was used in the Jewish harvest. The reapers, or messengers, are the Lord’s followers, just as a similar class were the reapers in the Jewish harvest. The chief Reaper, our beloved Lord and Head, is here at his Second Advent. He is present; the harvest work is urgent and we are exhorted: “Thrust in the sickle” of present truth (Rev. 14:15), and “gather my saints together unto me; those that have made a covenant with me by sacrifice.” (Ps. 50:5) “They shall be mine, saith the Lord of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels.”—Mal. 3:17

While the ‘wheat’ was not to be bundled, the parable declares that one of the effects of the harvest would be to gather and bind the ‘tares’ in bundles before the burning—or the time of trouble. This work is in progress all around us, and the truth must continue to go forth. Never was there a time like it for bundling people together into denominations.

While the sickle of truth prepares and gathers out the ‘wheat’ for that freedom which is in Christ Jesus, this same sickle has an opposite influence upon the ‘tares.’ They become bundled together more and more against the truth.

According to the parable, the bundles of tares are to be burned. This furnace of fire symbolizes ‘the great time of trouble’ belonging to the close of the present harvest. The destruction of the tares does not imply the destruction of all the individuals composing the tare class. It signifies, rather, a destruction of the false pretensions of this class. Their profession is that they are Christians, whereas they are still children of this world. When burned or destroyed as ‘tares’ they will be recognized in their true character, as members of the world, and will no longer imitate Christians as nominal members of Christ’s church.

From the ‘good seed’—the Word of the kingdom—have sprung all the true wheat, or those begotten by the Spirit of Truth. During the time that followed the initial sowing of wheat, to our day (including the Dark Ages), Satan sowed tares. These tares were begotten of false aims and ambitions because of false doctrines. Many were led to defend these errors of doctrines, believing them to be true and necessary for their development.

Surely then, many of these ‘tares’ are little to blame for their false position as imitation wheat. Yet they may be aware that they have never made any true consecration—of heart and life, time and means, talents and opportunities—to God and to his service. It is indeed full consecration to God that is our reasonable service.

Taking a backward glance at the Jewish harvest, we note that the “chaff” (Luke 3:17) ceased from all pretension to Divine favor as the triumphant kingdom of God. Before that harvest closed, a great fire of religious and political contention consumed that religious system. So shall it be in the present Gospel Age harvest with the ‘tare’ class. They will be consumed; they will cease to apply to themselves the exceeding great and precious promises which belong only to the overcoming saints, the wheat.

The parable, after telling of the burning of the tares, further declares: “Then shall the righteous [wheat] shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father.” (Matt. 13:43) What better testimony than this could we have that the true church will not be set up fully in power, and the heavenly phase of the kingdom functioning for the blessing of mankind, until the present harvest is ended?

Then shall the Sun of righteousness—of which Christ Jesus will be the central glory—arise with healing in his beams to bless, restore, to purify and free from sin and error, the whole world of mankind. (Mal. 4:2) This will include the raising of earth’s dead billions. The incorrigibly wicked, after a full and fair opportunity to attain life on the human plane, if persistently wicked, will be cut off in the second death. (Isa. 65:20) The kingdom will be glorious, for “there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.”—Rev. 21:4

The Lord has shown us what to expect in this present harvest. Our attitude in it—both in being separated, and as ‘reapers’ in using the sickle of truth to assist others to liberty and security in Christ and separation from bondage, should be evident. It is the privilege and responsibility of the faithful people of God, who are now translated out of darkness into his marvelous light, to be coworkers with their Lord as his messengers in the work of gathering his elect from “the four winds”—from all quarters of the earth.—Rev. 7:1

The future work, under the favorable conditions of the Millennial Age, will soon have sway in the earth. Indeed, the seeds of truth concerning restitution blessings which will produce that coming crop are even now being dropped here and there into longing truth-hungry hearts.

The most valuable work now being done, as the true Gospel continues to be proclaimed in all the world, is the reaping, or gathering unto the Lord of those who will fully and completely fulfill the condition of consecration to God. Proving faithful unto death, these will, in the first resurrection, be exalted to the Divine nature and associated with their Lord beyond the veil in the glorious future work of the world.

Dawn Bible Students Association
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