A Bible study course on the last things

We will begin with Matthew’s Gospel, as Matthew is focused throughout not only on Jesus Christ’s earthly ministry, but also right through to the end of the age including the return of Jesus to rule and reign, and the final judgment. First we will look at Matthew chapter 13, which has a number of parables (stories with a meaning) about what Jesus called the Kingdom of Heaven, or the Kingdom of God. The parable of the wheat and the tares (a kind of weed), along with Jesus’ explanation of the meaning of it, gives a very clear sequence of events around His second coming.

Many Bible teachers today teach a completely different doctrine from the clear teaching of Jesus on this topic. The key to understanding the truth is, as always, to study the Bible, and get confirmation from the Living Word, Jesus, by the Holy Spirit. The Bible has authority. It is the Word of God from before time. The writer of the Psalm says: Forever, O Lord, Your word is settled in heaven (Psalm 119:89). But he also says, “Open my eyes, that I may see wondrous things from Your law.”  We need to ask God to open our eyes, and to rightly divide the word of truth (2Timothy 2:15). If we do that, we will get the truth of the matter.

The timing of His coming and sequence of events: the Parable of the Wheat and the Tares

Matthew 13:24-29 Another parable He put forth to them, saying: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field; but while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat and went his way. But when the grain had sprouted and produced a crop, then the tares also appeared.  So the servants of the owner came and said to him, ‘Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have tares?’ He said to them, ‘An enemy has done this.’ The servants said to him, ‘Do you want us then to go and gather them up?’  But he said, ‘No, lest while you gather up the tares you also uproot the wheat with them.  Let both grow together until the harvest, and at the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, “First gather together the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them, but gather the wheat into my barn.

The Parable of the Tares Explained

Mathew 13:36-43 Then Jesus sent the multitude away and went into the house. And His disciples came to Him, saying, “Explain to us the parable of the tares of the field.”  He answered and said to them: “He who sows the good seed is the Son of Man. The field is the world, the good seeds are the sons of the kingdom, but the tares are the sons of the wicked one. The enemy who sowed them is the devil, the harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are the angels. Therefore as the tares are gathered and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of this age. The Son of Man will send out His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and those who practice lawlessness, and will cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears to hear, let him hear !

Things to notice in this parable:

  1. Both the wheat and the tares are allowed to grow together until the harvest, which is the end of the age.
  2. At the end of the age, the tares are gathered first by the angels, and cast into the fire.
  3. This is in complete contrast to what many modern Bible teachers teach. Many say that the believers are gathered first, then taken to heaven while earth suffers a seven-year tribulation. We will consider this viewpoint as we progress through these studies.    
  1. Who is the man sowing good seed in the story?
  2. What is the field?
  3. Who are the good seeds?
  4. Who are the tares (weeds)?
  5. Who is the enemy?
  6. What do the servants suggest when they find the weeds?
  7. What does the farmer think about this?
  8. When is the harvest?
  9. Who are the reapers?
  10. Who are gathered first by the angels?
  11. What happens to them?
  12. What happens to the righteous?
  13. How do you feel about the story? Fearful? Happy? Angry? Interested? Please talk about your answer with the group.
  14. What will you do as a result of hearing this story?
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