Question No. 23:
How can your teaching of the separation of tares from the wheat in the church be harmonized with the statement which says: “The tares and the wheat are to grow together until the harvest; and the harvest is the end of probationary time….When the work of the gospel is completed, there immediately follows the separation between the good and the evil, and the destiny of each class is forever fixed”?–“Christ’s Object Lessons,” pp. 72, 123.
Yes, according to the statement in question the “harvest” is the end of probationary time taking place at, not after, the close of probation. And the fact that the Investigative Judgment acts upon one’s case after his life’s career in relation to salvation has ended and while probation still lingers, is another proof that the “harvest” is the last part of probationary time. This accords with Jeremiah’s statement, “The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved.” Jer. 8:20. It shows that the harvest is a period of time having a beginning and ending, and that during its time men are saved. And Early Writings, p. 118, reveals that the Third Angel is the one who does the harvesting, while Matthew 13:30 shows also that the angels separate the tares from the wheat “in the time of harvest.”
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Hence Christ’s command, “Let both grow together until the harvest,” points down to our day, the “time of the end,” the period in which the harvest is to be consummated and the “tares” separated from the “wheat.”
Thus to all practical purposes “the harvest” is indeed “the end of the world”–the end of the wicked.
The only way in which one can otherwise understand Christ’s Object Lessons is by failure to realize that the world is right now at the very “close of time.” Failing to sense what the close of time really means, one is thus unable correctly to connect the related subjects of the harvest.
The Bible teaches that the Lord “will search Jerusalem [the church] with candles, and punish the men that are settled on their lees: that say in their heart, The Lord will not do good, neither will He do evil” (Zeph. 1:12); that is, He will punish those who by their actions say: “The Lord is not greatly concerned about what we do”; when in solemn warning truth God is declaring: “I will search Jerusalem,” not carelessly and in darkness, but carefully with candles of light.
“I will sift the house of Israel among all nations, like as corn is sifted in a sieve, yet shall not the least grain fall upon the earth. All the sinners of My people shall die by the sword, which say, The evil shall not overtake nor prevent us.” Amos 9:9, 10.
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“There shall be as the shaking of an olive tree, and as the gleaning grapes when the vintage is done. They shall lift up their voice, they shall sing for the majesty of the Lord.” Isa. 24:13, 14.
These scriptures show that after the church has been shaken by the Lord’s visitation, then her faithful members who are left will “sing for the majesty of the Lord.” The shaking will have made the church what she ought to be.
“But who may abide the day of His coming? and who shall stand when He appeareth? for He is like a refiner’s fire, and like fullers’ sope.” Mal. 3:2.
“In the mighty sifting soon to take place, we shall be better able to measure the strength [number] of Israel. The signs reveal that the time is near when the Lord will manifest that his fan is in his hand, and he will thoroughly purge his floor.”–Testimonies, Vol. 5, p. 80.
Thus, both the Scriptures and the Spirit of Prophecy proclaim that He Himself will purify the church, and that when she is thus purified “the Gentiles shall see” her “righteousness, and all kings” her “glory.” Isa. 62:2.