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!” Mat 13:36-43
Has anyone heard it taught that at the time of the end, the angels will come and take the righteous away in a rapture, and the wicked will remain and be burned up with the earth? Unfortunately that is not what Jesus said will happen. At the time of the end, the angels will come and take away the wicked from among the righteous, and take them away to be burned, and the righteous will remain in the kingdom of our Lord and of His Messiah.
We find this confirmed in the history- prophecy of the Torah as well. When God sent a Flood upon the earth, who were taken away and who was preserved through the judgment, and remained? The wicked were taken away by the Flood, and the righteous were preserved and remained.
Jesus says something interesting that often gets overlooked. The angels will gather out of His kingdom, all things that offend, and those who practice lawlessness. Lawlessness is offensive to the Father. This is the second time in Matthew that Jesus has used the phrase, “practice lawlessness.”
“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’” Mat 7:21-23
What does He mean, by practicing lawlessness? Does He mean, those who drive past the speed limit and do not pay their taxes? It is not the law of man that He is talking about, but the Law of God, for he who does the will of the Father will enter the kingdom of heaven.
The Law of God expresses the Father’s will. It is His will that man does not worship idols. It is His will that man does not take His name in vain. It is His will that man remembers the seventh day, to keep it holy. It is His will that man honors his father and mother.
Twice now, Jesus has warned us, that it is fine to prophesy and cast out demons and dance in the front row of the church, but also do the will of the Father — do not practice (make a daily habit of) Law-lessness or Torah-lessness. Those who are His do not live as if He has not given us a Law to obey.
Can we be sure that Jesus meant Torah-lessness by lawlessness? Yes, because some 250 years before the advent of Jesus, the Jews made a translation of the Hebrew Scriptures (the Old Testament) into Greek, called the Septuagint. The Hebrew word “torah” was translated into the Greek word, “nomos,” or law. The Greek word translated “lawlessness” here, in Mat 7, and throughout the New Testament, is “anomia,” without law or lawlessless.
The Puritans knew Scripture better than we. There is a reason they rested on Sabbath – so much so that it was against their law also to be open for business on a Sunday, and someone who plowed their fields on a Sunday without repentance was cast out of the church. They did not recognize that the seventh day was the Sabbath from Scripture, but that is another post.
Twice now, Jesus has warned His disciples of the fate of those who practice lawlessness or Torah-lessness, who do not do the will of the Father. He who has ears to hear, let him hear!
For further reading:
The Tares Among the Wheat by Brad Scott
The Rapture – a popular but false doctrine! (UCG – I do not agree with everything posted in the larger website; however, this article explains the history and Scriptural error of rapture doctrine well)
Lawlessness in the New Testament (Blue Letter Bible)
Matthew 13 – The parables of the kingdom (2009)