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Saturday, November 22, 2014


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The Parable of The Tares - Matthew 13


In addition to these passages where our word for "fire" occurs, one more passage which contains our word translated "fire" and which can have the above application as well as future, is as follows:

- Matthew 7:19 "Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire."

The word translated "furnace" in verses 42 and 50 only occur two other times in the New Testament; namely, Revelations 1:15 and 9:2 where it is also translated "furnace." Revelations 9:2 is very helpful in understanding its use in Matthew 13:42, 50. It says,

And he opened the bottomless pit; and there arose a smoke out of the pit, as the smoke of a great furnace; and the sun and the air were darkened by reason of the smoke of the pit.


Bro. H.P. Mansfield in his Apocalypse Epitomised comments on the phrase, "As the smoke of a great furnace," as follows:

This is the description given of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah (Gen. 19:28), and indicates the ominous nature of the threat to Europe which was arising in Arabia.


Upon consulting Genesis 19:28 we find the following:

And he looked toward Sodom and Gomorrah, and toward all the land of the plain, and beheld, and, lo, the smoke of the country went up as the smoke of a furnace.


Thus this term as well as the others are drawing our attention to the divine destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah and seems to be paralleling it to that which will overtake the tares of the Jewish nation in A.D. 70. Of course, it will be a time of extreme anguish and sorrow so Christ states that at that period in their history, "there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth."

In concluding the parable, Christ appears to have Daniel 12:3 in mind when he says,

Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear. (verse 43)


In this manner, Christ jumps ahead into the future when the righteous will be rewarded. In this regard, it is interesting to observe all the occurrences of the Greek word translated "shall shine forth" in Matthew 13:43. It is used of a character pleasing unto the Father: Matthew 5:15 ("it giveth light"); 16 (" shine"); of a characteristic of immortality: Matthew 17:2 ("did shine") Acts 12:7 ("shined"); of the commanding of light to shine by God in the beginning: 2 Cor. 4:6 ("to shine"); of Yahweh's revelation to mankind: 2 Cor. 4:6 ("hath shined"); and of lightning as typical of the character of divine judgment poured out by the Son of man upon a guilty Judea in A.D. 70: Luke 17:24 ("shineth"). Thus, in harmony with the aforementioned passages, we see that Christ is speaking of those who have revealed a character which comes from The Word and is pleasing to the Father and therefore are judged worthy of and granted immortality and a place as a co-ruler in the Kingdom of God.

Let us bring this analysis to a close by quoting from pages 223-224 of Nazareth Revisited:

Both the wheat-class and the tare-class in Israel to be left unmolested till the arrival of the respective times, to be dealt with "according to their deeds." The tare-class to be harvested FIRST: the wheat-class afterwards-the one a long time after the other, as the event has proved. The harvesting to be performed by the angels in both cases, under Christ's Providence, in which the angels work by influencing natural circumstances, while the harvest of the wheat would be done by them in an open and visible manner. The Parable has been nearly all fulfilled, except the glorious part which is still future. "First" as the parable required, at the end of the Jewish world, the tare-class were gathered into Jerusalem, as into a furnace of fire, where there was wailing and gnashing of teeth, where they were destroyed with every circumstance of suffering and horror, as a study of the details of Josephus' account of the devastation of Judea, and the destruction of Jerusalem, nearly forty years after Christ's ascent to "all power in heaven and earth," will abundantly show to the reader. Thus were retributively "gathered out of his kingdom all things that offended" during his personal ministry, and "them who did iniquity." The kingdom of the Holy Land is his kingdom, which enables us to understand the interpretation.

"If we supposed with modern theologians that "his kingdom" was "heaven," or the "church," it would be difficult to apply the statement that he is to gather the workers of iniquity out of his kingdom. But with an understanding of the kingdom, there is no such difficulty. The destruction of the whole generation of Jews that were honoured by his presence and wonderful works, and proved themselves so utterly unworthy by rejecting and crucifying him, enables us to recognize the historic application of a parable which was at the same time a prophecy. The gathering of the wheat is next in order-tares "first," wheat afterwards. The wheat-class will be gathered openly by the angels at Christ's return. "He shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven even to the other" (Matthew 24:31). The "gathering of the wheat into the barn" will have its fulfillment in the entrance of the righteous into the Kingdom of God. "Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father."

It reads as if the shining forth of the righteous in the Kingdom would be immediately after the gathering out of the Kingdom all that do iniquity, but the scope of the parable compels us to attach the larger meaning of "then" to its use in this case. When we say, "first this, then that," we do not define time, but order. "First the tares, then the wheat" gives no indication of the length of the interval. As a matter of history, it has already run into more than 1,800 years. The righteous will shine forth in the kingdom when the angels come forth to gather them for an entrance therein. It is a long time since the tares were burnt up on the same spot with fire unquenchable. It does not follow from this that there is no judgment and rejection of the unfaithful at the second coming of Christ. There is a place for every part of truth: and one part of the truth is that the tares of Christ's own day were cast into a furnace of fire for consumption within forty years or so of the utterance of the parable.


--Julio B. Scaramastro