During Christ’s earthly ministry, He frequently used the very effective teaching tool known as the parable, which is a word that means to “lay one thing down by another.” Jesus taught His initial followers (both the crowds and His disciples) through parables, because not only do parables provide a vision of life in God’s eternal Kingdom but also parables make spiritual statements (Divine Truths) about God’s everlasting Kingdom very coherent.
Thus, by using a parable to illustrate how the Kingdom of God really works, Jesus impressively sharpens His believers’ fundamental understanding about what life in God’s eternal Kingdom is like. Christ vividly draws His illustrations by comparing one of God’s Divine Truths that is operational in Heaven to a very familiar and well-comprehended earthly principle (or earthly narrative, or earthly fact) that is operational either in nature or in humanity. For example, in the parable of the wheat and tares, which is found in Matthew 13, Christ is comparing the supernatural harvest of His end of the age believers to an earthly farmer’s spring or winter wheat harvest.
Moreover, in Matthew 13, Christ is using the parable of the wheat and tares to reveal His angelic reapers’ inappropriate an inopportune eagerness to separate the wheat and tares from maturing along side each other. These angels’ impatience and lack of spiritual discernment are why Christ refuses to let them pluck up Satan’s tares, for Christ knows that some of His wheat might get uprooted by mistake.
Many scholars believe that the “tares” mentioned in this parable are “bearded darnel,” which is a weed similar to ryegrass. When examined during its early developmental stages, “bearded darnel” will resemble wheat. The similarities between the early developmental stages of wheat and tares are not only the Divine reasons why Christ refuses to allow His angles to pluck the tares before His full crop of wheat has matured, but also the agricultural reason why human farmers refuse to place a time factor on when their crop of wheat successfully will reach each stage of development. For sure, both Christ and earthly famers know that when wheat matures that the differences between wheat and tares will be very obvious.
Perhaps the uncertainty of knowing the exact time when wheat will mature is why the separation of wheat and tares is dealt with in Revelation. In John the Revelator’s first harvest vision, the apostle depicts how the parable of the wheat and tares will be carried out (cf. Revelation 14:14-16). The Apostle John visualizes a crowned Christ sitting on His throne that is on a white cloud, and from here He thrusts the very sharp sickle that is in His hand into His earthly wheat. Christ then supervises His host of angels who physically are separating the wheat from the tares.
Now that the harvest is not only ripe but also mature, these angles cannot make the mistake of bundling the wheat with the tares, which would cause that “wheat” (believers) to be judged as “tares” (unbelievers). Thus, from what the Apostle John depicts in his first harvest vision (the earth’s mature crop vision), it is obvious that Christ’s parabolic separation of the wheat and tares happens near the end of the Tribulation Period, just prior to Christ’s triumphal bodily return back to Earth to begin the “great winepress harvest” of Apostle John’s second harvest vision (cf. Revelation 14:17-20). Another noteworthy point is that at the time of the wheat and tares’ harvest, God’s grace period has ended, which means that there will not be any more chances for “tares” to change their minds about believing in and accepting Jesus Christ as God’s ONLY begotten Son and Savior of the world.
John’s first harvest vision is also why the parable of the wheat and tares does not pertain to the Body of Christ’s end of the CHURCH Age rapture. For sure, Christ’s parable about the wheat and tares deals with the “wheat” (the surviving left-behind individuals who genuinely have accepted Christ during the Tribulation Period), and the “tares” (the surviving pretend Tribulation Period believers).
What then is the present-day application of Christ’s parable about the wheat and tares? The moral is this: If it is possible that even God’s heavenly host, in their haste to harvest the Earth, could make a mistake in determining who are Christ’s end of the age “wheat” and who are the Devil’s end of the age “tares,” then twenty-first century Christians should not be so quick to judge who is worthy to be called their brothers and sisters in Christ. Specifically, because none of us, on this side of the Rapture, is as spiritually mature as we would like to think that we are, we often are incapable of correctly discerning who is a Christian and who is not. Therefore, instead of making the mistake of uprooting “wheat” that we incorrectly have misjudged as “tares,” those of us who are spiritually mature should use the time that God has given to us to strengthen those in love who might be spiritually weak. Lastly, we all need to use this time that God has give to us to praise and thank Him always for not being finished with any of us.
God is still working on transforming each of us into His spiritual children (Christ’s true CHURCH that He will harvest at the end of this present CHURCH Age). Currently, some of us might have reached a higher level of spiritual maturity a little sooner than others; however, there never will be a time when our “more holier than thou” attitudes will give us the right to judge others who might not be as spiritually mature as we think that we are.
Our biblically provided options are: to correct and strengthen one another in love, and/or to remove ourselves from fellowshipping with presumed “tares.” We, on the other hand, are not told to pluck the presumed “tares” out of our local churches! For these reasons, until we have become perfected through God’s glorification process, we should leave the separating of Christ’s “wheat” and the Devil’s “tares” to Christ.