Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a net, that was cast into the sea, and gathered of every kind: Which, when it was full, they drew to shore, and sat down, and gathered the good into vessels, but cast the bad away. So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just, And shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. (Matt. 13:47-50)
Matthew 13:47-50 summarizes the parable of the tares Jesus told his disciples back in Matt. 13:37-43:
He answered and said unto them, He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man; The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one; The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels. As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world. The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.
The Greek word for "sever" in Matthew 13:49 is "aphorizo". It's used ten times in the New Testament. The two notable times it's used in a definitively eschatological context is in Matt. 25:32 (regarding the separation of sheep and goats) and Luke 6:22 (regarding the beginning of the great tribulation, when Satan and his angels are cast down [Rev. 12:9-12]).
While Matthew 25:32 seems to indicate that it's Jesus who separates the sheep from the goats, Luke 6:22 seems to tell us it's men that sever themselves from us.
Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate (aphorizo) you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man's sake. (Luke 6:22)
So the question is, what causes these men to separate themselves from us?
In John 15:1-2 we are told that it's God the Father that takes away ("airo") the unfruitful branches from the vine. In John 15:6 we are told that "men" gather the cast off branches that are no longer connected to the vine (Jesus) and burn them in the fire (just like the tares).
If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. (Jhn 15:6)
It would seem these withered branches or sticks are what the false prophets gather in Matthew 7:15-16:
Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?
The answer is "no", men do not gather grapes from thorns or figs from thistles. Thorn bushes and thistles are what men gather to burn. Burning is all that they are good for.
Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. (Matt. 7:19)
John 10:27-28 illustrates how those with ears to hear cannot be raptured (harpazo) out of the Father's hand. The Antichrist will "rapture" the wicked in a Satanic parody of Christ's marriage supper of the Lamb, which takes place during the great tribulation, when the wicked will be "exalted for a little while" (Job 24:24; Psa. 37:10, 35-36). This is referred to in Job as the vintage of the wicked (Job 24:6). First Thessalonians 5 provides a vivid depiction of that era. The children of darkness are drinking from the vine of Sodom and fields of Gomorrah (Deut. 32:31-33). This vine they are drunken from is the same vine that is thrown into the great winepress that is the wrath of God in Rev. 14:17-20.
The saints will be immune to this evil time because the illumination of the word of God will guide their steps (Matt. 25:4-7). This understanding will certainly include knowledge of who the Antichrist is before he becomes an unstoppable Goliath (Rev. 13:4). When Jesus reveals this knowledge to the wise saints, the wolf in sheep's clothing cannot fool them. Instead they will recognize this as a sign from God that the bridegroom (Jesus) is drawing near. The foolish virgins will not understand this, and as result, will be raptured out of the Father's hand into the devouring mouth of the wolf.
My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand. (Jhn. 10:27-28)
Before Jesus and His angels rapture the elect at the resurrection/rapture in Matthew 24:31, Satan and his angels are cast down at the midpoint of the 70th Week (Rev. 12:9). Can Satan and his angels "rapture"? Do they "rapture" the tares, goats, sticks, and foolish virgins?
When Matthew 13:41 says the Son of man will send forth "his" angels, are these "His" angels or does this mean he will send them forth Himself (as in cast out)?
Or perhaps it's the three angels we see in Rev. 14:6-9 who gather the tares and bundle them? And then it's Jesus who casts them on the fire (like Paul in Acts 28:3).
Or perhaps it's demonically inspired False prophets like Theudas and Judas of Galilee in Acts 5:36-37, who drew many people to them in the days of Augustus's census. (See also Numbers 15:32-36, which transitions into Korah's rebellion in Numbers 16.)
Or is it the two witnesses that sever the wicked from the just?
Or is it the saints themselves (Luke 17:5-6)?
What say you?