Mt 13:24-30, 34-43
“Another parable He put forth to them, saying: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field; 25 but while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat and went his way. 26 But when the grain had sprouted and produced a crop, then the tares also appeared. 27 So the servants of the owner came and said to him, ‘Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have tares?’ 28 He said to them, ‘An enemy has done this.’ The servants said to him, ‘Do you want us then to go and gather them up?’ 29 But he said, ‘No, lest while you gather up the tares you also uproot the wheat with them. 30 Let both grow together until the harvest, and at the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, “First gather together the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them, but gather the wheat into my barn.”
34 All these things Jesus spoke to the multitude in parables; and without a parable He did not speak to them, 35 that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying:
“I will open My mouth in parables;
I will utter things kept secret from the foundation of the world.”
36 Then Jesus sent the multitude away and went into the house. And His disciples came to Him, saying, “Explain to us the parable of the tares of the field.”
37 He answered and said to them: “He who sows the good seed is the Son of Man. 38 The field is the world, the good seeds are the sons of the kingdom, but the tares are the sons of the wicked one. 39 The enemy who sowed them is the devil, the harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are the angels. 40 Therefore as the tares are gathered and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of this age. 41 The Son of Man will send out His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and those who practice lawlessness, 42 and will cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth. 43 Then the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears to hear, let him hear!”
Yeshua/Jesus spoke to the crowds in parables because they had closed their ears and hearts to hear the plain language of the truth of the Kingdom of God. To those disciples who want to understand what He meant, and ask Him, He will give an explanation. This is similar to His admonition to the churches: that those with ears to hear to hear what the Spirit is saying to us.
Yeshua speaks of the field (the world) being sown with good seed and with bad seed. The good seeds are sons of God’s kingdom; the bad seeds are sons of the wicked one (the devil). The good seed is sown by the Son of Man; the bad seed by the enemy. The good seed is wheat; the bad seed are tares. The enemy sowed the bad seed among the good while men slept. Before we start judging others of sleeping on their watch, let us remember: the Keeper of Israel neither slumbers nor sleeps. (Ps 121:3-4) The rest of us do, sometimes even while expected to be on watch. Even the ten virgins all sleep, and need to be awakened. (Mt 25:1-13)
Today in the world (and most of us are in the countries most influenced by the gospel; i.e., by Jewish-Christian heritage and culture, based upon the teachings of the God of the Bible), we see an increasing falling away from truth, and from the God who has revealed what truth is. Today, relativism has elevated everyone’s opinions to be equally valid as to what is true, and lowered God’s absolute perfect knowledge to be placed alongside with every one else’s narrative. YHVH God is judged as being evil, since He requires of us to subject ourselves to His righteous judgments, which the sower of “the bad seed” has deceived us into thinking that his seeds look just like the good seed, and if need be, the good seed must yield even more ground to his.
We were sleeping when he began to sow them long ago, and did not realize in time that this leaven would soon spread like weeds. In our desire to have a ‘nice farm’ and a profitable crop, we want to take out all of the tares, and leave only the healthy and productive wheat, the staff of life. Yet our Lord, in His eschatological foresight and wisdom, advises us to leave the tares with the wheat until the time of the harvest at the end of the age, when the angels will do the reaping. Why? Because they look too much like the wheat, and in taking out the tares, we may also inadvertently remove some of the good wheat as well. As the harvest nears, it becomes clearer what is good fruit and what is bad.
We want to make sure that we are wheat, and leave the fine discernment to the eyes of Him who knows who His own are when He charges His angels to go and gather the wheat into His barn.
Within the context of a local congregation/church (which I know is not “the field”, yet the analogy applies. I am also using other mixed metaphors, but the point is the same.), it is not always easy to discern where everyone ‘is at’. We also do not want to be too quick to judge, nor to judge before the time. The Holy Spirit is at work to sanctify us, and to lead us into all truth. His work is not done yet in those of us still alive! There are times that we do recognize that “bad seed” has entered our midst, but it may still look so much like the “good”, so it is difficult to make a definitive judgment ‘now’. Why? Because many of the other “sons of the Kingdom” will not have the same level of discernment as needed as those who have the responsibility of tending and feeding the lambs and sheep of the Good Shepherd’s flock. And by trying to remove the tares “before the time”, we will also lose some of the wheat, who do not perceive the threat. The church in Pergamos had those within it that accepted unacceptable teaching and practice outside, “in the world”. The church in Thyatira allowed those teachings and practices to come inside the church. The Lord holds both the leaders and the offenders accountable.
In the world, especially the Western, Christianized world today, there has been an increasing manifestation of tares within the societies that once shined brighter and used to have a sufficient amount of salt to preserve the good things of the teachings of the Messiah and of His apostles. Those societies and cultures were never fully “Christian”, but they were “gospelized”, even while replacing and displacing Israel, and persecuting Jews. (The first truly Christian/Messianic country will be Israel after the Lord returns and properly restores YHVH’s Kingdom!) Today, the falling away is largely due to the growing “acceptance” of the bad seed as if they are “of equal value” as the good, simply because the final separation time has not yet come. But, if truth be told, the good seeds are not good enough to make the field better, merely by discerning the difference between the good and the bad seed. We must recognize the source of each, and the “sons of the Kingdom” need to look for the intervention by the Lord and His angels at the appointed harvest time at the end of the age. (Mt 28:18-20) Then the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the Kingdom of their Father. He who has ears to hear, let him hear. (Mt 13:40-43; Dan 12:8-13)
One of the most deliberate sowing of bad seed by the enemy is the lie that there are three Abrahamic faiths, simply because Judaism, Christianity, and Islam all say that there is one God. Even the demons know that there is one God, and they tremble! There are many physical descendants of “Father Abraham”, but there is only one faith of our father Abraham. How can our faith that Yeshua/Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God be the same as those which reject either or both of these foundational truths? (Mt 16:13-18; 1Jn 2:20-25)
In the gospelized West, we are guilty of allowing this untruth to be sown and grown, with hardly any push-back. We have slept, or we are afraid, or we are uncertain about the unique holy God whom we profess to believe in. How is it that a political-religious world-view and culture that insists that God is not a Father, and, therefore, has no Son (or any children) is the same God as YHVH, who is the Father and His unique and only begotten Son, Yeshua the Messiah/Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit who dwells in all other sons and daughters born-again by the implanted word of truth? How is it that that same way of life and understanding which says that Jesus did not die on the cross for our sins is compatible with the truth of the gospel? How is it that the religions that claim that Jesus did not rise from among the dead is the same as the one that requires that He did, if anyone is to be saved and resurrected? How is it that that religion which says that Abraham obeyed God to willingly offer up his promised son, Isaac – and that God offered a substitute ram instead – is the same as the one which denies that, but that he offered Ishmael instead?
From not even being sure who the true God is, other bad seed has found plenty of fertile ground while people sleep, and is springing up, denying that the one true living God has created two sexes and genders! And this is controversial within synagogues and churches!? It needs to be given credibility?! The children of disobedience demand that it must; and the sons of light are flickering. Praise be to God that He will not snuff out completely His light! (Is 42:1-4; Mt 12:14-21)
The Scriptures are written for us living at the end of the age. The Word of God speaks truth to our generation, for He knows the end from the beginning. If we humbly but assuredly tell the sons of the wicked one the only gospel/good news, it may be that by them confessing that they died in Messiah’s/Christ’s death, that God will create them new – delivered from the devil’s lies and works — to live for Him who died for them and rose from the dead. Hallelu-Yah! Even so, come, Lord Jesus!
The kingdoms of this world will pass away, but the Kingdom of our Lord and of His Messiah/Christ will never pass away!
This article originally appeared on Streams in the Negev, July 4, 2022, and reposted with permission.