Jesus spoke several parables to illustrate the kingdom of heaven (Mt. 13). Many of these highlight the separation of the righteous from the wicked at the end of the world when the Lord returns—the wheat from the tares (Mt. 13:24-30, 36-43), the good from the bad fish (13:47-50), the wise from the foolish virgins (25:1-13), and the sheep from the goats (25:31-46), just to name a few. The Christian age, (often called the “last days” in the Bible), is the period of time from Christ’s establishment of His kingdom in the first century (Mk. 9:1; Rev. 1:9) to the end of the world, when He brings those in His kingdom home to heaven (Mt. 13:39-40, 49; 28:20). We presently are in this last period of time, but so were those on Pentecost day following Christ’s resurrection, according to Acts 2:16-17. The Lord has been longsuffering for 2,000 years, allowing individuals time to repent (2 Pet. 3:8-9). He provides the opportunity to be part of His kingdom by being baptized/born again into His kingdom, the church (Mt. 16:18-19; Jn. 3:3-5; Acts 2:38, 41, 47; Col. 1:13). He may return today or a thousand years from now; however, no one knows the time of His coming, so we must be watchful (Mt. 24:36-51). His coming will be unexpected (Mt. 24:44; 25:13; 1 Thess. 5:1-3; 2 Pet. 3:10).
In these last days, Christians must remain faithful in a world filled with people who are “lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power” (2 Tim. 3:2-5). Yes, some will act like they are righteous people, but in reality, they guide others away from God. Sadly, “evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived” (2 Tim. 3:13). However, our lives and teachings must be according to God’s word, if we will be saved and save others (1 Tim. 4:16). We must continue to preach God’s word (2 Tim. 4:2), even when others depart from the faith in this last age (1 Tim. 4:1). We must be watchful in all things and endure afflictions (2 Tim. 4:5), even when others heap to themselves false teachers that deceive them and make them feel good in their sins (2 Tim. 4:3-4; Rom. 16:17-18; Jude 4). First-century Christians had to patiently endure tribulations, such as Jerusalem’s destruction, and so must we today, possessing our souls by patience (Lk. 21:19; Acts 14:22).
When the Lord returns, it will all be worth it (2 Cor. 4:17). If we are faithful to the Lord Jesus, we will receive a crown of righteousness in the last day (2 Tim. 4:7-8). The wicked will finally be dealt with once and for all, and the righteous will be saved from sin’s ruinous influence. The wicked will be weeping and gnashing their teeth (Mt. 8:12; 22:13; 24:51; 25:30; Lk. 13:28), but the righteous will have all tears wiped from their eyes, for they will no longer experience death, crying, or pain (Rev. 21:4). Instead, they will have healing, living among the tree of life, basking in the light of God, and serving Him forever (Rev. 22:1-5). Be sure you remain faithful and watchful, so that you are separated on the right side when the Lord returns.