A spiritual harvest is a reaping time when past behaviors and character fruits are judged. The result of the judgment decides the outcome. That which is developed according to God’s will receive good rewards. Anything grown in opposition to God’s will is to be destroyed in preparation for God’s kingdom on earth. (Daniel 2:44)
The parable of the wheat and the tares ends with the harvest of the wheat. In Matthew 13:24-30, a man sows good seed in his wheat field. While he slept an enemy came in and sowed tares (imitation wheat) in his field. When young, wheat and tare plants are indistinguishable. Thus, the servants were to let them “grow together until the Harvest.”
Jesus explained the parable in verses 37-43. The man who sowed the good seed was the Son of man (Jesus). The field is the world. The good seed (wheat) are the children of the kingdom, and the tares are the children of the wicked one (Satan, the “god of this world.”). Only the Lord can judge hearts; so both true and false Christians have been growing together.
The question of when the harvest would occur is in Matthew 24. The disciples asked, “what will be the sign of your coming (Greek word ‘parousia’ meaning ‘presence’) and the consummation of the age?” When Jesus returns at the close of the age, Jesus will “harvest” the true wheat or faithful Christians and bring them to their heavenly home. John 14:3 (NIV), “…I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.”
Jesus will also destroy the tares. False “Christians” that have been bundled are “burned.” Individuals are not burned, but their claims to be Christians are destroyed. Matthew 7:22-23 NKJV – “Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied 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!’”
Revelation 14:17-20 prophesies another harvest of the clusters from the vine of the earth. The fruitage of sin and selfishness is thrown into the great winepress and tread to destruction. Again, this figurative language does not picture the destruction of individuals. It is Satan’s kingdom of social, governmental, and economic systems – built on greed and injustice – that will be destroyed. The people who will witness this destruction will realize they were deceived and will be humbled by it.
Isaiah 11:4 NKJV, “But with righteousness He shall judge the poor, And decide with equity for the meek of the earth; He shall strike the earth with the rod of His mouth, And with the breath of His lips He shall slay the wicked.” Isaiah 26:9, “… when Your judgments are in the earth, The inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness.”