God will prevail upon this earth. Sometimes it’s difficult to remember this. We see wickedness all around us, and as times grow dark, we may experience it personally. All too often Christians in America think we’ll be shielded from what those in other countries face. But why should we? Are we not all brothers and sisters in Christ? Do we have a birthright that places us above those who suffer for Christ because of where they live? Didn’t Jesus say that we will have sorrows in this world (John 16:33)? Was He speaking only to His disciples from His day or only to those in the 10/40 Window? Of course not.
When Jesus began speaking in parables so that only His disciples would understand, and those who didn’t know Him wouldn’t comprehend, He told the Parable of the Wheat and Tares (Weeds) (also the Parable of the Net – or Dragnet which is a parallel parable). Why would He speak in parables? There is no universal salvation. Jesus made clear that there is a day of judgment. Those who hate God – those who are children of Satan (Matthew 13:38) – are destined to hell because of the choice they’ve made to reject the One and Only Son of God. Those who choose a path supposedly to heaven other than Jesus as the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6) are not worthy of God’s ultimate mercy. He warned them. They had plenty of notice. But, our choices have consequences.
Who are these people? We see various passages throughout Scripture that define them. Here in Matthew 13:42, they are seen as ones who engage in sin and are law-breakers. Revelation 21:8 defines them more specifically:
“But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.”
If you examine the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:1-17), you’ll see that these sins correlate with at least five of the commandments. Following the Law doesn’t save us, only God’s grace and mercy through the shed blood of Christ does. But, once we’re born-again, neither can we deliberately commit these offenses against God and expect eternal life. Doing so would mean that we’ve chosen not to obey God. To this end,1 John 3:8 says:
“Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil.”
Is someone truly saved if they make a practice of sinning? No, he is of his father, the devil.
How will this parable play out at the end of the age? What will it look like? Jesus tells us that the angels will reap, gather the weeds, and burn them with fire (Matthew 13:39-40). This will occur at the end of the 7-year Tribulation. The account is expanded upon in Revelation 14:14-20:
“Then I looked, and behold, a white cloud, and seated on the cloud one like a son of man, with a golden crown on his head, and a sharp sickle in his hand. And another angel came out of the temple, calling with a loud voice to him who sat on the cloud, “Put in your sickle, and reap, for the hour to reap has come, for the harvest of the earth is fully ripe.” So he who sat on the cloud swung his sickle across the earth, and the earth was reaped.
“Then another angel came out of the temple in heaven, and he too had a sharp sickle. And another angel came out from the altar, the angel who has authority over the fire, and he called with a loud voice to the one who had the sharp sickle, “Put in your sickle and gather the clusters from the vine of the earth, for its grapes are ripe.” So the angel swung his sickle across the earth and gathered the grape harvest of the earth and threw it into the great winepress of the wrath of God. And the winepress was trodden outside the city, and blood flowed from the winepress, as high as a horse’s bridle, for 1,600 stadia.”
This is a description of the slaughter of all the armies of the earth that have gathered on the plains of Armageddon to come against the holy city of Jerusalem; it includes those throughout the earth who have rejected Christ, yet aren’t present in Israel. This is the point that Jesus returns in His Second Coming with the armies of heaven, i.e. the glorified believers in the true church – the Bride of Christ. This is expanded on further in Revelation 19:11-21. It’s a horrible, bloody scene, yet it’s the righteous end of all unbelievers at this coming time in world history.
There’s one other point to be made. It comes from our highlighted verse today. Matthew 13:42-43 describes what happens with the tares and the wheat. All the sinners and law-breakers whom the angels have gathered will be thrown…
“…into the fiery furnace. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear.”
At the White Throne Judgment depicted in Revelation 20:11-15 the final end of the unbelieving masses will happen. Their names will be shown not to be written in the Lamb’s Book of Life, and they will be cast into the Lake of Fire – the fiery furnace. This is a place of eternal torment; truly where they will live forever in a constant state of weeping and gnashing of teeth.
God is love. He is gracious and merciful. He wants none to perish, but all to come to saving faith through His One and Only Son, Jesus Christ. All have that opportunity. Everyone has this choice. Many decide to go their own way.
For those of us who have believing loyalty in Jesus Christ and revere Him as Lord and Savior, our righteousness will indeed shine like the sun. Why would anyone choose anything else?