What "angels" sever the wicked from the just?

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What "angels" sever the wicked from the just?

Postby rizen on Sun Sep 04, 2011 12:31 pm

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?
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Re: What "angels" sever the wicked from the just?

Postby searchlight71 on Tue Dec 06, 2011 9:03 pm

To the best of my understanding, the church has been given the authority to judge the angels in heavenly places. It is the power of the Holy Spirit dwelling in the believer to show us the truth, and tell us what to bind on earth and what to loose in heaven. I believe it is the Word of God that rightly divides truth from lies, hence each believer having the sword of the spirit.
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Re: What "angels" sever the wicked from the just?

Postby rizen on Sat Dec 17, 2011 1:24 pm

Hey searchlight71,

Thanks for the response. In my previous post, I falsely assumed the "kingdom of God" equated to the "harvest". Since that post, I've come to realize the kingdom of God and harvest, in their ultimate eschatological sense, encompass two distinct periods of time.

The expressions "kingdom of God" and "kingdom of heaven" are interchangeable (compare Matt. 5:3 with Luke 6:20 and Matt. 13:31 with Mark 4:30-31). After Satan and his angels are cast down to earth at the midpoint of the 70th week in Rev. 12:9, we are told in Rev. 12:10 that "now is the kingdom of our God". So in its ultimate eschatological sense, the kingdom of heaven related in the context of Matt. 13:47 (the net being cast) equates to the midpoint of the 70th week. It is at this point the gospel will be urgently preached around the world. There are no more mysteries to be unveiled and no more signs. Now it's only about repentance (Matt. 4:17, Mark 1:14-15). Rev. 14:6-7 reveals how the gospel will be preached throughout all the world during the great tribulation. If we compare Matt. 24:3 to Matt. 24:14, we see how the "end of the age" cannot come until this gospel of the kingdom is first preached.

The end of the age is the "harvest" (Matt. 13:39). It is at this time the angels will separate the wicked from the just (Matt. 13:49). We have to be careful here because Luke 6:22 and Jude 19 speak of a separation that will take place prior to the end of the age. But these aren't angels separating men, it's men choosing to separate themselves from us. Matthew 24:3 equates the end of the age with Christ's "parousia" (His appearance). Since this appearance can't take place until gospel has gone forth into all nations (Matt. 24:14), it stands to reason the angels can't separate the wicked from the just until that "fullness" (fullness of the Gentiles - Rom. 11:25) has come in. This is what Matt. 13:48 is relating by the net being full. It's probably also why God tells the 5th seal to martyrs to "rest a little season" until the full number of their fellow martyrs is reached. The fullness of the Gentiles and full number of martyrs occur simultaneously.

One of the things that really trips people up is Matthew 13:42,50. For the longest time people have equated "outer darkness" (Matt. 8:12, 22:13, 25:30) or the "furnace of fire" (Matt. 13:42, 13:50 see also: Matt. 24:51, Luke 13:28) with being cast into hell. But outer darkness isn't a place, it's a condition. It's a condition that Satan and his angels are condemned to now, even though their ultimate judgment in the lake of fire has yet to begin. It's total separation from God forever. Esau found himself in the same situation when he sold his birthright. According to Hebrews 12:15-17, Esau, after having sold his birthright for a morsel of bread, diligently repented of his actions, but it was to no avail. This is what Matt. 25:41 is relating to when Jesus condemns the foolish virgins on his left hand to depart into everlasting fire (Psa. 6:8, Luke 13:28). It's my opinion this begins when the "clusters of the vine" are cast into the winepress of the wrath of God (Rev. 14:18-19). This is the same vine depicted in Deut. 32:32. They look good on the outside, but inside they are full of poison (Deut. 32:33). Just like the golden cup in the harlot's hand (Rev. 17:4) or the hypocrites in Matt. 23:25-27. The reward of the wicked is God's vengeance expressed through His wrath (Deut. 32:35). But before they are cast into the winepress, the dried grain is reaped (Rev. 14:14-16). So the sequence in Matt. 13:47-50 is laid out for us in Revelation 14:6-20: gospel preached throughout all the world (net cast), then the end of age (net full): rapture (gathered good fish into vessels) then wrath (cast bad fish away).

Granted, the parables of Matt. 13:24-30 and 13:37-43 appear to lay out a scenario whereby the rapture follows after "outer darkness" (Matt. 13:41-42) , but in the case of Matt. 13:41-42 the saints are already in heaven after the wicked are cast into outer darkness. In the case of Matt. 13:30, with the tares being bound prior to the rapture, the only thing this text tells us is how a binding takes place nearly simultaneous to the rapture. In both sets of passages, we get the sense that whatever the end of the age entails, it occurs in a very rapid series of events . This is consistent with the 6th seal of Rev. 6:12-7:17.

The severing of the wicked from the just begins after the sixth seal is opened. It would appear the fullness of Gentiles (and martyrs) has come in and the gospel has been preached to all nations. To partially understand what's happening, we have to go back and read Gen. 3. After Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit, their eyes were opened and they sewed fig leaves together to cover their nakedness (Gen. 3:7). God then enters the Garden and walks in the "cool" (wind) of the day (Gen. 3:8). Upon hearing God, Adam and Eve hide themselves. This is precisely what the kings of the earth, great men, rich men, and mighty men do in Rev. 6:15. They heard God and are now hiding themselves in terror because they are "naked" (without the garments of salvation). This transition from the cosmic signs seen when the 6th seal is opened to the presence of Jesus is also seen in Matt. 24:29-31. In Matt. 24:31 we see where a trumpet alerts the angels it's time to gather the elect. Therefore, I believe gathering of the elect in Matt. 24:31 and 1 Thess. 4:16-17 is the separation of the wicked from the just in Matt. 13:49.
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