Thoughts on the Similitudes of the Kingdom; Part 9

 •  6 min. read  •  grade level: 7
"WHEN the blade was sprung up, then appeared the tares also." Christianity had not long been established ere evil was found existing in the professing Church (for the kingdom assumed a church-form). The apostles were yet living when the spirit of Antichrist began to work. Not many years after and the profession of Christ's name ceased in some places. In others a vile superstition, while bearing His name, succeeded. And the tares showed themselves in power and put to death the faithful few. God will always have a remnant, but the tares will increase in such proportions that the reapinc, of the field will be much more like a scene of judgment than a joyful harvest-home. The wheat will be gathered into the garner, and it will be a harvest-home for them. But the special direction to the reapers-the angels-is to bind the tares in bundles and to cast them into the fire.
The servants, discovering the evil, wish at once to remedy the evil in their own way. This is just man again; having committed one fault by his supineness, the flesh would correct it by its own energy. And I know not which is most to be feared, the first fault or the fleshly remedy. In many cases the latter has been productive of more mischief. But the Lord would not permit it,-" Nay, lest ye root up also the wheat." He well knew what the blind, zealous energy of the flesh would do, and He loved His own wheat too well to trust them even to His servants.
It is His will that both should grow together until the harvest, and then He will separate them. Meantime He is not occupied with judgment. He acts in grace, and calls out from the world. Judgment on the wicked is suspended, nor will it take place till all the wheat is gathered into the garner. To put His own in a place of safety has always been the way of God before He judged the wicked. Noah was shut up in the ark before the deluge came. Lot was in a place of safety before the Cities of the Plain were destroyed. Rahab was taken out of Jericho before it fell. And the Jewish remnant, bye-and-by, are directed to flee away to the mountains before Jerusalem is destroyed.
Jesus said, "Ye are the salt of the earth," and the world is forborne with because of the righteous that are in it. The wheat must come to maturity before the field is reaped, even if the tares ripen at the same time. But when the wheat is ripe, then judgment comes upon the whole field. The tares will be bound in bundles and cast into the fire. Something like this may be going on now; the different bundles of tares may be now being bound together in the various associations of the men of the world. For every association which has not Christ for its object is a tare-bundle. Now it is possible for an erring child of God to be found mixed up with such an association; but the Lord, when He comes, well knows how to bring them out of the evil.
The Lord, in His explanation, is very precise about the tares. Their origin-sown by the devil; their doom-to be tied in bundles and burnt; the reapers, executioners of his wrath-the angels. It is the Son of Man purging His kingdom. All things that offend are taken out, and then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who are the righteous here! They include all the Old Testament saints, and all who have followed the King during his rejection; and those are not only the Church, but those also who shall have suffered martyrdom between the rapture of the Church and the appearance of Christ in judgment. The living saints are not among them; they will form the nucleus of the kingdom proper on the earth. The "righteous" here are in the kingdom of the Father, a term which is never applied to the kingdom of heaven.
But there is significance in this phrase "kingdom of their Father," " and it points out to the disciples then gathered around Jesus that they would not be on the earth to share in the temporal blessing and glory of Messiah's reign; for they will not be there, but gathered into the garner. What then? Is there no blessing or place for them? Yes, truly, a higher, better blessing and place. The kingdom of heaven is the rule and reign of Jesus upon the earth. But when this kingdom is set up they will be in the heavenly glory with Jesus. They will shine as the sun, because they will ever reflect Him and His glory-bodies like unto the body of His glory-they will be the companions and personal attendants of Jesus in the kingdom of their Father.
Here was a further insight into the new thing. Not only are the disciples to be sufferers here for the present, but even when the kingdom comes in power and in glory (which they were directed to pray for-" Thy Kingdom come,")-they will be removed from the earthly domain of the king, and brought into the heavenly department which could not properly be called the kingdom of heaven, but the kingdom of their Father.
It is evident that the kingdom of heaven cannot be the church. The servants are not allowed to put away evil men out of the kingdom. This could only be done by putting them to death. For so long as any man, having been baptized, is in the world, he is in the kingdom of heaven; to be a tare is not to be outside; indeed, the only way in which, according to the parable, they are dealt with is the burning of them-this is death. The exercise of discipline in the Church of God is a very different thing from putting men out of the kingdom. We are expressly commanded to put out the evil doer; not to kill him, (as, alas! the professing church has done before now,) but to excommunicate; or if we cannot do that-if the church, so called, refuse to judge, and allows the individual who has 'sinned to come to the Lord's table-then we are to separate ourselves from it. In such a case, an assembly ceases to be of the Church of God Those who are born of God among them of course do not lose their salvation, nor do they cease to be members of the church, but that assembly, as such, ceases to be, in principle, a Church of God, and the real members found in it lose inestimable blessing through being in bad company, and in a false position.