Matthew 13:24 Jesus presented another parable to them: The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. 25But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way.
26But when the crop sprouted, and brought forth fruit, then the tares appeared too. 27So the servants of the man came and said to him, “Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? Where did the tares come from?” 28He said to them, “An enemy has done this”. The servants said unto him, “Would you like us to go and gather them up?” 29But he said, “No; because while you gather up the tares, you may uproot the wheat with them. 30Let both grow together until the harvest. And then I will say to the harvesters, gather up the tares first, and tie them in bundles to burn them. But gather the wheat into my barn.”
There’s all sorts of implications for this story and lots of practical everyday application. Sometimes things go wrong. The gut-reaction to remedy the problem immediately can do more damage than to just wait. I recall stories of surgeons working on a badly injured person. After some time, they have to stop so they don’t lose their patient. They close-up improvisationally and induce a coma to allow the body to heal a bit. Some days later, they return to finish the job.
This can also apply to any community – such as a church. There will always be a mixture of good and bad, but if we expel the bad, we may unwittingly destroy the good with them. Furthermore, as long as the bad do not spread their influence, there is hope that they might be turned to good. Weren’t we all sinners? Aren’t we all saved by grace? Don’t we all still struggle with certain things? Even on the day that God will destroy the wicked city of “Babylon” he will first call his people out of there. Revelation 18:4
Jesus later explained to his disciples
37… he that sows the good seed is the Son of man. 38The field is the world. The good seed are the children of the kingdom. But the tares are the children of the wicked one. 39The enemy that sowed them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the world. And the reapers are the angels. 40So as the tares are gathered and burned in the fire. It will be like this at the end of this world. 41The Son of man will send his angels, and they will gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and those who do evil; 42and will cast them into a furnace of fire. There, there will be wailing and gnashing of teeth. 43Then the righteous will shine as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Whoever has ears to hear, let him hear.
I find this pivotal to understanding end times. Many end-timzers incessantly proclaim all kinds of evils increasing in the world as proof that Jesus’ return is imminent. Some see this getting exponentially worse and thereby preach a most depressing tale. Hollywood’s apocalyptic movies always draw a good profit. Other preachers in reaction to this doom and gloom completely dismiss this with other scriptures that speak of Christ returning to collect his glorious bride. I think they’re both right. But they’re both wrong.
I see the world ripening toward the harvest. I won’t deny that society around us seems to be getting more evil as God and the truth of the Bible are rejected. I think to deny this puts us on shaky ground – even being dismissive of the fact that God judged the ancient world with the flood and will judge the world again with fire. I have my own thoughts on where this is all going, which I’ll explain later. All creation groans under the burden of sin Romans 8:22 and some read into passages such as Matthew 24 this increasing towards Jesus’ return. On the other hand, I see the Church also ripening toward the harvest. I see a reinvigoration of the supernatural with healings and miracles and long-neglected ministries as evangelists, prophets and apostles resurging.
As we see the bad get badder,
we should look to the good getting gooder,
as the world ripens toward the harvest.
I see the world polarizing for or against God. We will see ever more hatred towards God and fundamental Christianity. We will see more false prophets proclaiming a gospel other than what we received through the Bible as people “adapt religion to the times”. Persecution of the Church will increase, but through this the Church will mature into the powerful and beautiful bride that Christ will return for. “The church is built upon the blood of the martyrs.”
Remember always regarding end times
Do not be deceived
The world’s going to look much different, but so is the church – just as wheat changes color just before the harvest.