Are the harvests described by Jesus in Matthew 13:24-30,36-46, and by John in Revelation 14:14-20, depictions of the same end-time harvest?
Jesus described a harvest of "weeds" ("tares") and "wheat" in Matthew 13:24-30 and explained it to His disciples in 13:46-46. John described a harvest of "grapes" in Revelation 14:14-20. Do you think that these end-time harvests are the same or different events?
First, look at this description by Jesus:
Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn. ... As the weeds are pulled up and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the age. (Matthew 13:30,40)Now, look at this description by John:
Then another angel came out of the temple and called in a loud voice to him who was sitting on the cloud, "Take your sickle and reap, because the time to reap has come, for the harvest of the earth is ripe." So he who was seated on the cloud swung his sickle over the earth, and the earth was harvested. Another angel came out of the temple in heaven, and he too had a sharp sickle. Still another angel, who had charge of the fire, came from the altar and called in a loud voice to him who had the sharp sickle, "Take your sharp sickle and gather the clusters of grapes from the earth's vine, because its grapes are ripe." The angel swung his sickle on the earth, gathered its grapes and threw them into the great winepress of God's wrath. They were trampled in the winepress outside the city... (Revelation 14:15-20).It is difficult to ignore the specific order of reaping/gathering in each case. In the passage spoken by Jesus, the (unsaved) weeds/tares are collected first; then the (saved) wheat are collected (Matthew 13:30). Yet, in Revelation 14:15-19, the order is reversed: saved grapes collected first (14:16), then the unsaved grapes (14:19). That is merely one reason why I believe it is erroneous to equate these two passages (although many people do), even though both passages speak of harvesting. I believe that Revelation 14:14-20 takes place on the very day of Jesus' second advent (bodily descent) back to earth. However, I do not believe that this is when the tares/wheat will be dealt with.
What happens to the bad grapes that are gathered in John's account? They are thrown into the winepress of God's wrath and trampled. But what happens to the tares, in Jesus' parable, after they are collected? They are burned. It doesn't necessarily mean that they are burned immediately; nevertheless, at that point, they are destined to be burned—no turning back. Prior to the beginning of the Millennium, the only individuals that I see being physically tossed into the lake of fire, to be burned, are the first beast/Antichrist and the second beast/False Prophet (Revelation 19:20).
There will be sinful "tares" on the earth throughout the Millennium. Sin will not be absent during that period of time, as many suppose. Otherwise, it would not be necessary for Jesus to rule over the nations with "an iron scepter" or "rod of iron" (Revelation 19:15b), which will be "a scepter of justice" (Psalm 45:6). We know that "the wages of sin is death" (Romans 6:23), but death, the last enemy to be destroyed (1 Corinthians 15:25,26), will not be eliminated until the end of the Millennium (Revelation 20:14)—throughout which Jesus will reign, as earth's King, over both the righteous and the unrighteous.
Some equate the "refining fire" (Zechariah 13:9; 1 Peter 1:7) with the "lake of fire" (Revelation 20:14,15), but they are not the same. Those who come through Jesus' refining fire will be pure and genuine believers, and they will be God's people. On the other hand, wicked unbelievers will be tossed into the lake of fire. These events will be separated by 1,000 years.
Many also place the colossal fiery destruction of 2 Peter 3:10 at the beginning of the Millennium. I disagree with this as well. This present creation—heavens, earth, and entire universe—will pass away and will cease to exist, being burned up at the end of the Millennium (2 Peter 3:7,10,12; Revelation 20:11, 21:1b). All unbelievers or "tares" will be part of this final destruction. Then, a brand new, pristine, perfect Creation—new heaven and new earth—will come into being (2 Peter 3:13; Revelation 21:1a,5). That is, God will create, again, after all of this is burned up in fervent heat.
So when will vast multitudes of unsaved believers (or "tares") be tossed into the lake of fire and be burned, thus experiencing the second, permanent death? It will be at the end of the Millennium (Revelation 20:12,13,15). I see the ultimate end of the age not at the end of the 70th Week (or "tribulation" period). Rather, I believe that it will be at the end of the Millennium, when everything we see and know will go away, being replaced by a brand new Creation, which will last for eternity (see old and new Creations).
When God says that He will make everything "new" (Revelation 21:5), this does not imply a mere "renovation" or "restoration" of all that we see, earth and sky, much of which, evidently, will be "torn apart" after the opening of the Sixth Seal and during the day of vengeance/wrath. I believe that Jesus will repair most of that when He returns to earth.
When God makes all things "new," He will not be remaking or renewing everything in this universe. Rather, in the new Creation, He will be producing and constructing things that never have existed before, in any form. That is why no unpleasant thing (death, mourning, crying, pain), nor any evil person ("tare"), will be allowed to enter into it (Revelation 21:4,8), because it will be pure and pristine, from its inception, and will remain that way eternally.
If a kid gets a new toy, it isn't something that another kid has played with before. Rather, it is right "out of the box": perfect, unspoiled, unblemished, undamaged, immaculate, and spotless. This present creation is anything but that. And just as the second and last Adam (Jesus) was infinitely better than the first Adam (see first and last Adam), the second and final Creation will be infinitely better than the first creation.
As noted before, there still will be sin during the Millennium (although I realize that perhaps a majority of Christians do not believe this). However, during the Millennium, all sin will be exposed and dealt with swiftly and justly. If everybody at that time will be serene and sinless, then why is it said that Jesus will rule with an "iron scepter" (Revelation 2:27, 19:15)? In fact, Jesus must reign until all of His enemies have been put under His feet; the last enemy to be destroyed will be death (1 Corinthians 15:25,26; Revelation 20:14), and death is the supreme wage of sin (Romans 6:23). Therefore, if death is not destroyed until the end of the Millennium, then there must be sin during that thousand-year period.
So what of the "wheat"? Very simply, after the "tares" have been tossed into the lake of fire, the "wheat" will be brought into the new Creation and will live there eternally. I believe that the new Creation is equivalent to the "barn" mentioned in Matthew 13:30. So, in summary, I believe that the "tares" will be thrown into the lake of fire and burned at the end of the Millennium (which, quite literally, will be at the end of this world, before the brand new Earth comes into existence). Then the "wheat" will be gathered up and taken into the new Creation, where they will remain eternally. Thus, in Matthew 13:30,40, Jesus was speaking from a permanent, eternal point of view; whereas, in Revelation 14:15-20, John was writing from a short-term, temporal perspective.
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