This parable was told in 27-31 AD. Jesus told the disciples then that the wheat and the tares would grow together until the end of the world. Today that statement is often repeated to discourage anyone who is inclined to leave the Gen. Conf. sponsored SDA church system’s growing apostasy. “Don’t leave the church,” they are told, “because the wheat and tares grow together until the end of the world.” But wait! The Seventh-day Adventist church exists today because they separated from the fallen Protestant churches since 1844. Why would they do this if the wheat and the tares grow together until the end of the world? And what about the Protestant churches! They exist because they came out of the fallen Roman Catholic church in the mighty Reformation movement of the early 1500’s. But how could they do that if the wheat and the tares grown together until the end of the world? If those who quote this statement today are right that we should not leave the SDA church apostasy, then it would mean that we should all return to the Roman Catholic church apostasy, which is were all apostasy is going! Why?
But we know that God led the Protestants churches out of Rome after 1517. And we know that God led the SDA church out of the fallen Protestant churches. So what do the “wheat and the tares” mean?
Here is the solution: Tares look like wheat! They look so much like wheat that they are indistinguishable from the wheat unless we could judge the heart. Tares are not open sinners. That is why Ellen White wrote: “Christ has plainly taught that those who persist in open sin must be separated from the church, but He has not committed to us the work of judging character and motive.” Christ Object Lessons, 71. Here we see that there is a third class of plants—obvious weeds—those in open sin. The church should always remove open sin (obvious weeds) from the church, or if they cannot, they themselves (the wheat) must separate from those in open sin who have control of the church.
Among the disciples there was a tare—Judas. For a long while he looked just like a wheat. “Had Judas died before his last journey to Jerusalem he would have been regarded as a man worthy of a place among the twelve, and one who would be greatly missed. The abhorrence which has followed him through the centuries would not have existed but for the attributes revealed at the close of his history.” Desire of Ages, 716. Not until the close of the Last Supper when Judas left the disciples to betray Jesus, did Judas reveal himself as a tare.
In the Reformation, the Protestants churches left open sin—obvious weeds—the pope was selling forgiveness! “Romanists have persisted in bringing against Protestants the charge of heresy and willful separation from the true church. But these accusations apply rather to themselves. They are the ones who laid down the banner of Christ and departed from ‘the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.’ Jude 3.” The Great Controversy, 51. The same thing happened after 1840 when the Adventist church came out of Protestant Babylon. Rev. 18:4.
The principle is the same. God holds His people accountable if they support corporate sin of the church. “Come out of her, My people, that ye be not partakers of her sins.” Rev. 18:4. In order to preserve the truth the wheat must always separate from open sin—obvious weeds. But the tares (not converted, but not in open sin) will always join the wheat in coming out of apostasy. Thus, the wheat and the tares will always grow together until the end of the world, when the tares will have their true character revealed. Then, the angels, the 3 Angels messages, will do the work of final separation. Not men. The “wheat and the tare” parable has nothing to do with separation from open sin or corporate sin.