The Parable of the Mustard Seed, the Tares and the Rapture

taresCarefully read Matthew 13: 24-43, notice verses 37-40.

First off, God is faithful and He chooses to save us (elects) even though we do not earn it or deserve it. He does this not by foreknowledge even though He has it, rather according to His purpose (Eph. 1:3-14; 1 Cor. 1:8-9; 2 Thess. 2:13-14; 2 Tim. 1:9-10).

But, God does not force Himself upon us, His grace is offered, we have to accept it by faith alone, which requires the precepts of these parables, which is a willingness to listen, the ability to practice real authentic faith, to be willing to trust Him regardless of our circumstances and our surrendered obedience. With these precepts we can seize the knowledge that Christ will prevail greatly with a minute for the vastness of His glory. We are the minute as our abilities and qualifications fall short and would be impossible to do anything grand, but in Him we can!

Take a close look at the context and the key words:

Tares” or weeds refer to a species of rye that is poisonous it looks like wheat in the early stages, but you can’t tell until it is too late and your crop is ruined. Its roots impact and destroy and cannot be uprooted without uprooting the wheat as well. Kind of like fake Christians or prideful pastors!

So, the reapers would wait and just before they bud they can cut the bud and prevent the weed from maturing. If its grains get mixed up the bread will make you sick. Just like how toxic people and false teachers invade our lives and cause worry and strife. Yes, our hope is that God is still in control even when we are tangled in someone else’s mess. If God uprooted all things and people who cause us ill, we would not have opportunities to grow and become mature and faithful. Our spiritual roots would be too shallow and we would be quickly uprooted by and wind of the problem.

God will cut the weeds the problems in His right and proper time before it matures and strangles us.

Now it gets interesting, who is “taken: first? God’s faithful or…?

Time of harvest” is God’s judgment and the reward of the elect-His children who by faith are saved. We may be surprised to find out who were the tares in His Church.

The enemy,” yes it does, it refers to counterfeit Christians (2 Cor. 11:26; Gal. 1:6-9) who speak false doctrine and have tainted hearts (Rom.10: 1-3; Rev. 29). How can we take comfort in this? Because Satan cannot uproot us, he has to instigate others to try to uproot us. He will even provide a counterfeit Christ (2 Thess. 2:1-12) but we will still prevail by Christ’s work.

Mustard seed” in Palestine refers to an insignificant small seed that produces a large 10+ foot tree like bush. It is one of the main spices. For us, this means things look small and we may overlook how God is working, yet He is there and by faith we too can grow large to produce great results and be a blessing. “Birds nesting,” is a picture of Israel as the trees and how the gentiles will be grafted into the covenant resting in the Messiah’s branches (Dan. 4: 10-12; Eze. 17:23).

Who is gathered up first, faithful Christians or those who are evil? Look carefully at order of the sequencing, as many have overlooked this to make their theological point. 

It is interesting to note, that some liberal scholars use this passage to refute Jesus’ omniscience because the orchid and fern seed are smaller; however, that would have made no sense to His hearers who never seen or heard of an orchid or fern and by the way the fern has no seeds they are called spores!

One of the key applications of the Parable of the Mustard Seed and Leaven, is that sometimes God has to get our attention through adversity, sometimes we have a willingness to listen. He has to break our pride and misplaced priorities. What we need to do is be aware, look to Christ, and learn and not jump to conclusions. Allow God’s masterful work to unfold. This is just as much about the end times as in our sanctification.

The key Jesus uses to He explain what many are calling a “rapture,” is to point us is to real impacting faith, not so much how or when He returns.

Furthermore, what Christ says is the utmost of importance is how we are able to receive Him. Are we being able and willing to understand? Thus, what and how He is about to do or what will unfold before He comes back. What is essential is not theorems; rather, our faith development and deployment. These are the items Jesus points us to in End Times Parables, which is far more important than our theories of what may or may not happen. Sometimes, that may not be until eternity as it was with Job. Our key is to trust and know He is in control and He will be there with us carrying us through.

It is not about understanding ourselves, or theories, rather it is understanding Christ, Christ the Lord. Ask Him to show you His deep hidden treasures, but also be willing to listen and grow.

What is the ‘Blood Moon’ all about?

blood moon

 

The sun shall be turned to darkness and the moon to blood, before the day of the Lord comes, the great and magnificent day.” Acts 2:20

“The sun will be darkened and the moon will not give its light…”  Matthew 24:29

 

What if Jesus had returned yesterday night, April 15, 2014 as many false teachers have presented? Oh, that did not happen by the way. What were you doing? Does your life and attitude show that you were prepared by faith and not by theory?

Many Christians today take their word from false teachers who are tantalizing and provocative. They feel they have special knowledge from God and thus do not read or study the Bible. Instead, they listen to fools who point to themselves, pseudo Bible teaching and not to our LORD or the true Truth of His Word. This creates the havoc of emotional driven immature Christians with false knowledge that leads to a weak do nothing faith and division in His Church.

Here comes the latest buzz, the Blood Mood!

I am sure you have heard of it, perhaps you got caught up in it, pun intended. What is this all about?

The blood moon is the earth’s moon in the night sky that will turn red, or as an astronomer would say, “in a deep red hue,” resembling the color of blood, hence the name. These events remind us of several Bible passages from Joel, Matthew, Acts and Revelation that Christ is coming back. While, others have stated that it is the significant sign of the apocalypse and or rapture or the end of days.

To make this more foreboding, there will be four of these on or close to the main Jewish feast days of Passover and the Feast of Tabernacles in the next 2 years. So, a lot of Christians have been so tied up over this. The first of these blood moons arrived on April 15, 2014 near Passover (the foreboding part is this is tax day for Americans) then there will be three more in the next two years. As, we will have one in October, 8, 2014 and then two more April 4, and Sept. 28, 2015. Astronomers say this is not rare, as even though there will be 4 in the next 18 months, normally they average 3 every 2 years. Yet, all astronomical events are rare, because we have a lot going on in our big universe.

Is Jesus coming back during these blood moons? Probably not. Yes, Jesus can come back during these events, but according to His Word, nothing needs to happen that did not already. Thus, He can come back at any moment, now, or thousands of years from now.

Lets see what Jesus said about it!

Matthew 24:29-31: “The sun will be darkened.” This is a reference to a significant astronomical event, perhaps more than just an eclipse. And this is in the form of O.T. Judgment language (Psalm 18:6-19; Isa. 13:10; 24:23; 34:4; Jer. 4:20-28; Ezek. 32:7-8; Joel 3:14; Zech. 14:6).

The question is not if or when, as many of us obsess over; rather, He will come and we had better be prepared with our attitude and mindsets! 

Darkness” was the most frightening prediction (Ex. 9:21-23)! 

The sign of the Son of man” refers to God bringing about the opportunity for people to repent for having caused Him grief. Then, the Kingdom of Heaven will flourish (Dan. 7:13-14; Zech. 12:10; Rev. 1:7).

Sign” refers to the first real evidence of Christ’s second coming.

Son of man” means He is Lord and King (Matthew 10: 16-26)!

Clouds” mean judgment. This refers to a spectacular event, the numbers of angels testifying to God’s glory. It could also mean an extraordinary storm of clouds. Such as numbers of angels testifying to God’s glory (Ezek. 30:3; Dan. 7:13; Zech. 12:10; Matt. 16:28; 24:30, 34; 26:64). 

“Trumpets” were used to announce the coming of or the succession of a king. They were used to summon people together and for a war cry to motivate troops and scare the enemy (Judg. 7:8-25; Isa. 11:12; 27. 13; Jer. 4:5, 19-21; Zeph. 1:16). Here, it is a popular prayer Jesus uses to refer to a future gathering of believers in Christ (Zech. 9:14-16; 1 Cor. 15:52; 1 Thess. 4:13-18).

“Taken” refers to being taken to Judgment (Jer. 6:10-12)! Most people think this is the rapture, but, it is never explicitly taught or illustrated, although this text is popular for such as view, it really means judgment and you do not want that.

Some have thought that this passage can also refer to the coming defeat of Satan and His dominion or an apocalypse, but there is no textual support; rather, it is about His second coming in His timing (Matt. 13:40-43; 16:27; 25:31; 1 Cor. 15:52; 1 Thess. 4:14-17).

In addition, Revelation 6: 12-17 tells us, “Moon turned blood red,” this may refer to an unusual lunar eclipse or even something more spectacular. These events being described are not necessarily literal, astronomic events as many today think. 

“Stars in the sky fell to earth” means the cosmic scope of God’s judgment, as all will be affected (Isa. 34:4). This was also a sign for the coming of Christ (Mark 13:25-26). It may also refer to angels coming down or some stunning event that all will see in the sky (Isa. 24:21; Dan. 8:10; 10:13; Rev. 12:4).

Here is what we should wrap our brain and faith on, what Jesus was actually saying: 

Matthew 24: 36-50: “No one knows…angels, or the Son…” Why did Jesus not know, when He is the Omnipresent God? God keeps most of His plans secret for good reason (Deut. 29:29; Zech. 14:6-9).

We would become preoccupied with them and miss our purpose for being here on earth. Just look at some Catholics and how they are overzealous with artifacts; in fact, there are enough so-called pieces of the cross of Christ in European Cathedrals to build a large church! There is also the obsession for the Holy Grail (the cup of Christ in His last supper). They look to “stuff” and not to substance! Let us not do that with our refusal to look to His Word and instead look to personalities.

 

Exegetical look at Matthew 24, Part VI

Vs.36-50: No one knows…angels, or the Son… Why did Jesus not know, when He is the omnipresence God? God keeps most of His plans secret for good reason (Deut. 29:29; Zech. 14:6-9). We would become preoccupied with them and miss our purpose for being here on earth. Just look at some Catholics and how they are overzealous with artifacts; in fact there are enough so-called pieces of the cross of Christ in European Cathedrals to build a large church! There is also the obsession for the Holy Grail (the cup of Christ in His last supper). They look to “stuff” and not to substance!

· This is one of the “hard saying of Jesus.” Scholars debate whether Jesus, being also fully man, could not predict His second coming because either He did not know, or the time was not yet set up. These two views seem to nullify His omniscience. According to Catholics, and some Protestants, the knowledge was too high for Jesus to communicate to mere humans (St. Thomas Aquinas). Luther said the divine nature was unable to communicate this to the human nature. The Reformed view is that there is no distinction or confusion between the divine and human natures, as Jesus was fully God and fully man. Jesus had all knowledge, but when He was in human form, only the Father had this knowledge. In addition, the Father has knowledge that the other members of the Trinity do not have.

· Even the Holy Spirit did not have this knowledge. So, if someone says, “the Holy Spirit told me the day and time,” they are either being dishonest or are deluded—to which this passage attests!

· Son refers to Jesus the Divine Person, a part of the Godhead of the Trinity—one God, three manifestations. The Son is the manifestation that lives on behalf of us and redeems us before the Father. The Spirit convicts the unbeliever to know God and paves the way for Christ’s work (see doctrine channel at http://www.intothyword.org and article on the Trinity).

· Days of the flood refers to people carrying on their daily lives, unconcerned with God—only focused on self. This also refers to the evil, sinful nature of people!

· Taken refers to being taken to Judgment (Jer. 6:10-12)! Most people think this is the rapture, but, it is never explicitly taught or illustrated, although the text does “allow” for such as view. (What is my view? I do not have one. After 20 years of carefully studying the books of Revelation and Daniel, I am not ready to publicly form one; I still need more study!)

· Israel, as a nation, had rejected their Messiah and thus would be forced, by their own will, to go through a great tribulation.

· Thief will come literally means to “break in,” as to dig into the clay and brick sides to get inside the home. This could only happen if the people were not there—as in not ready (Ex. 22:2-3).

· Watch…be ready refers to being active, in faith and practice, and not be waiting, sitting and doing nothing. Do not be distracted from that which Christ has called you! Do not waste your time in the particulars of eschatology; it really is not that important for us to know or to teach!

· Servant. Wealthy people had servants whose job it was to watch for their return, as they had many homes for winter and for summer. The servants were to be ready, so food, provisions, and the chores needed to have been done. Those who failed, who were lazy or took advantage of others and their master’s things, were fired or imprisoned. Thus, they could only be abusive if the master was not present. Our Master is always present!

The study of eschatology is important, but, compared to issues such as prayer, Bible study, who Christ is, basic doctrine, faith development, living in the Spirit, and growing in character and service to our neighbors and people in need, it really is not that important for us to know or to teach! Do you agree or disagree, and why? (It is OK to disagree with non essential doctrine, as long as we do not divide over it!)