We have been asked concerning Matthew 13:43, as to when the sons of the kingdom shine forth. Before answering that we will to take a look at the whole parable of the wheat and the darnel (tares), and our great pastor’s (Hebrews 13:20) explanation of the parable.
Matthew 13:24 He set another parable before them, saying, “The Kingdom of Heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field,
Matthew 13:25 but while people slept, his enemy came and sowed darnel also among the wheat, and went away.
Matthew 13:26 But when the blade sprang up and brought forth fruit, then the darnel appeared also.
Matthew 13:27 The servants of the householder came and said to him, ‘Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where did this darnel come from?’
Matthew 13:28 He said to them, ‘An enemy has done this.’ The servants asked him, ‘Do you want us to go and gather them up?’
Matthew 13:29 But he said, ‘No, lest perhaps while you gather up the darnel, you root up the wheat with them.
Matthew 13:30 Let both grow together until the harvest, and in the harvest time I will tell the reapers, “First, gather up the darnel, and bind them in bundles to burn them; but gather the wheat into my barn.”‘”
Our Pastor’s (Hebrews 13:20) explanation:
Matthew 13:36 Then Jesus sent the multitudes away, and went into the house. His disciples came to him, saying, “Explain to us the parable of the darnel of the field.”
Matthew 13:37 He answered them, “He who sows the good seed is the Son of Man,
Matthew 13:38 the field is the world; and the good seed, these are the sons of the kingdom; and the darnel are the sons of the evil one.
Matthew 13:39 The enemy who sowed them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are angels.
Matthew 13:40 As therefore the darnel is gathered up and burned with fire; so will it be in the end of this age.
Matthew 13:41 The Son of Man will send forth his angels, and they will gather out of his kingdom all things that cause stumbling, and those who do iniquity.
Matthew 13:42 and will cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be weeping and the gnashing of teeth.
Matthew 13:43 Then the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears to hear, let him hear.
In this parable, Jesus speaks of the Son of the Man as the householder who sows seeds of wheat, of the enemy who sows darnel (or tares), and servants of the householder, and also of angels (reapers) who are to gather the darnel to be burned in the furnace. It is this aspect, particularly, of the harvest, the gathering of the tares from the wheat, that Jesus says takes place in the end of the age. After the darnel has been gathered and burned in the furnace of fire, then we are told that the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father, which can only apply after Satan has been abyssed.
We should note that the wheat (the righteous in God’s kingdom) do not shine until after the wheat has been burned up in the furnace of fire.
The setting of the parable begins while Jesus (the Son of the Man, David) was here on earth. Jesus is the householder who plants the seed of wheat. The seed planted is the Gospel Message, the word of truth, which brings forth regeneration to the Sons of the Kingdom. Thus the wheat that is produced from the seed planted must be those regenerated sons of God, who are not recognized by the world. (Romans 8:16; 1 John 3:1) The evil one comes in while men sleep to plant the seeds that produce tares. The seeds planted by the evil one are all those forms of doctrine that would negate the atoning sacrifice of Jesus: trinity, oneness, eternal conscious suffering, inherent immortal soul, etc., as well as those practices that would hinder true worship — forms of idolatry, sectarianism, ritualism, etc.
The field is not the church, but the world. The church members are in the world, but at the same time they are called to become sons of God who are not of the world; they, as new creatures (2 Corinthians 5:17) of the age to come, are not of the world that is now condemned in Adam. (Romans 5:12-19) Of course, their being sons of the coming kngdom age results in their being separated from the world. This separation from the world could be referred as a harvest, a gathering from the world (Psalm 50:5; John 15:19; 17:6,14,16; Ephesians 2:2-5; 4:17; Titus 3:3-7; 1 Peter 2:9-12; 4:1-3; 1 John 5:19), but that is not the application of harvest that is being spoken in the parable since the harvest being referred to in the parable would have the darnel being gathered from amongst the wheat, and then wheat are gathered into the symbolic barn where its fruitage will be put to use. In this parable, however, the true church is the crop produced from the seed that is planted in the world, which seed is depicted as growing into wheat. Satan comes along and plants seed that in the field, the world, that produces a cropt that appears to belong to the church, but is not actually the church.
As both the wheat seed and the tare seed produce their fruitage, it is hard to see the wheat because of the tares that are growing right alongside the wheat. Please note that the tares do not represent all the wicked people of the world, but represent only those who falsely claim to be sons of the kingdom, growing alongside the true wheat, the true sons of the Kingdom.
In the parable, the servants of the householder asked the householder (Jesus) if they should gather up the darnel. The householder says not to, lest the wheat be also gather with the darnel, but that to let both grow until the harvest, when Jesus said was the end of the age. The servants are obviously the servants of Jesus, and the householder is evidently Jesus. At the end of the age, Jesus sends forth his angels to first gather the tares (not the wheat) so that the tares may be burned up in the furnace of fire, and then the wheat can be gathered into the barn.
These questions arise: Are the servants actually of the wheat class that are growing in the field, or are the servants others than the wheat? Are the reapers of the wheat class? Are the reapers the “servants” being spoken of? Many seem to assume that the servants, the wheat, and the angels, are all of the same class. However, we have some problems with such a conclusion.
We should note, however, that the parable may not be delineating the individuals as such, but the aspects of those being referring to, one as “wheat” being cultivated, and another as “servants” of the householder.
Are the servants the reapers that Jesus sends to gather the darnel? From the way the parable reads, we fail to see how the two are the same. Jesus depicts the householder as saying to the servants: “Let both grow together until the harvest, and in the harvest time I will tell the reapers, ‘First, gather up the darnel, and bind them in bundles to burn them; but gather the wheat into my barn.'” Thus, the servants that the householder speaks to are evidently not the reapers (since the householder is depicted speaking to the servants that he was going to send reapers), but Jesus identifies the reapers as “angels”. Thus, we conclude that the reapers really are angels, mighty spirit beings, that do the reaping, that is, the gathering of the darnel so that it might be burned up in the furnace of fire. Such work cannot be done by the wheat class being cultivated, nor the servants of the householder, but the angels can do such work. Such work is not expressed as separating the wheat from the tares, but of gathering the tares to burned up in the furnace of fire, which furnace represents the final phase of the great tribulation, leaving the wheat to be gathered later.
Thus the conclusion we draw from the scriptures is that it is after the tares are thrown into the fiery furnace that there is weeping and gnashing of teeth by tare class, and then, after that, the sons of the kingdom (which we believe are represented by all three classes spoken of in Revelation 7, not just the 144,000) will be able to shine forth as the sun — the new sun of the age to come. This shining forth should not be understood as part of the harvest itself, but rather the after effects of the harvest. The harvest itself belongs to this present evil age, not the age to come. This shining forth cannot be until after Satan has been abyssed so that the he will not be allowed to deceive anyone. (Revelation 20:3) Once the sons of God are being the revealed (Obadiah 1:21; Romans 8:19; 2 Peter 1:19), the gathering of the wheat into the barn will have already been completed.
A further question arises concerning the wheat: if the wheat represents all three classes spoken of in Revelation 7, how will all three classes be harvested before the end of the age? Of course, in reality the three classes mentioned are not actually manifested as such until after the great tribulation. We should not be concerned about the details of trying to judge for ourselves as to who are of which class, since that is yet to be revealed. All three classes are being called under the same general calling, and all three classes become new creatures as a seed planted. What that seed will eventually bring forth — whether a spiritual body or a physical body — is determined by God. (1 Corinthians 15:35-38) Nevertheless, in this age, it appears that only the 144,000 will have been fully developed; the other two classes will still need to bring their high calling to perfection in the age to come. Does this mean that only the 144,000 are gathered as part of the harvest in the end of the age? We have no reason to think so. The parable is meant to illustrate a general separation of the tares from the wheat in the end of the age, not to reveal the aspect of the various degrees of development of the new creatures during the end of the age. The latter will not be revealed until this present age has passed away.
At any rate, we believe that all of the above goes together to show that the sons of the kingdom do not shine as the sun until after Satan is abyssed.