Q. According to Matthew 13:41 as I understand it Jesus says he will send his Angels, and they shall gather out of “His” Kingdom all things that offend, and them that do iniquity, and shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. First of all Jesus mentions “things”,then he mentions “them”which I believe refers to “humans”, which do iniquity. What I don’t understand is what type of people is he referring to, and are they Christians? Don’t you have to be a true Christian to be in “His Kingdom”? Can you please explain this?
A. The Kingdom Parables of Matt. 13 are not specifically about the Church although we can see areas of application to the Church Age. In Matt. 13:36-43 Jesus explained the meaning of the parable of the weeds, also known as the wheat and the tares. Since the focus of this parable is the end of the age, the Lord was speaking of the time just preceding the 2nd Coming, and how earth will be prepared for His return. (According to Rev. 11:15 the kingdoms of the world will become His Kingdom at the time of the 7th Trumpet judgment, at least 3 1/2 years before His actual return.)
His references to things that offend and them that do iniquity cannot include the Church for three reasons. First, because we’ll have been raptured by then, second because we neither offend Him nor do iniquity in His sight, and third because we’ll be in the New Jerusalem where nothing impure can ever enter (Rev. 21:27) and the focus of the parable is Earth.
The NIV translation of the phrase in Matt. 13:41 is “everything that causes sin and all who do evil” supporting your thought that both things and people are in view here. I believe the things that offend (cause sin) are human systems such as those that function in the name of religion, government, education, entertainment, etc. that either haven’t actively supported the Lord’s return to rule over Earth or have been openly opposed to it. All who do iniquity (evil) are the people who will have rejected His offer of forgiveness for their sins (unbelievers).
The Kingdom will have to be cleansed of these ‘things” and these “people” before the Lord’s Millennial reign can be instituted on Earth. Much of this will be accomplished during the Great Tribulation, with the balance being done in the judgments that take place immediately after His return (Matt. 24:45-Matt. 25:46).