This chapter is based on
the following verses:
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."
The casting of the net is the
preaching of the gospel. This gathers both good and evil into the church. When the mission
of the gospel is completed, the judgment will accomplish the work of separation. Christ
saw how the existence of false brethren in the church would cause the way of truth to be
evil spoken of. The world would revile the gospel because of the inconsistent lives of
false professors. Even Christians would be caused to stumble as they saw that many who
bore Christ's name were not controlled by His Spirit. Because these sinners were in the
church, men would be in danger of thinking that God
excused their sins. Therefore Christ
lifts the veil from the future and bids all to behold that it is character, not position,
which decides man's destiny.
Both the parable of the tares
and that of the net plainly teach that there is no time when all the wicked will turn to
God. The wheat and the tares grow together until the harvest. The good and the bad fish
are together drawn ashore for a final separation.
Again, these parables teach
that there is to be no probation after the judgment. 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.
God does not desire the
destruction of any. "As I live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death
of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn ye, turn ye from your
evil ways; for why will ye die?" Eze. 33:11. Throughout the period of probationary
time His Spirit is entreating men to accept the gift of life. It is only those who reject
His pleading that will be left to perish. God has declared that sin must be destroyed as
an evil ruinous to the universe. Those who cling to sin will perish in its destruction.