The Wheat and the Tares

Larry Devore
Wooster, Ohio

In MATTHEW 13:24-30 Jesus gives us the parable of the wheat and the tares. Read this. Some have always been prone to misinterpret this parable and we notice here in MATTHEW 13:36, that Jesus' disciples did not have a clear understanding of it. They asked Jesus to explain it to them, and in verses 37 - 43 we have Jesus' explanation recorded for us. In verse 37 Jesus said, "He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man." Jesus is saying that He is the Sower, the Redeemer, the Savior, and the Holy One of God. He is the one who does the planting, the sowing. Only that which is planted by the heavenly Father through Christ is pleasing unto Him (Matt. 15: 13).

In verse 38 Jesus says, "and the field is the world." So we see that the field referred to in the parable is not the church (as some seem to think) but the world. Some brethren who are looking for excuses or "a way out" of church discipline try very hard to make the "field" the church. We cannot interpret this parable out of context, or in such a way that it contradicts other plain passages of Scripture relating to church discipline (2 Thess. 3:6, 14, 15; Rom. 16:17-18).

Again in verse 38 Jesus says, "and the good seed, these are the sons of the kingdom; and the tares are the sons of the evil one." The good seed are Christians; the tares are the wicked, the children of the devil (Jno. 8:44).

In verse 39 Jesus says, "and the enemy that sowed them is the devil." The sons of the devil are sowed by Satan himself. We are to resist Satan and his servants (Jas. 4:7) and to stand against him (Eph. 6:11). MAKE NO MISTAKE; HE IS AFTER US (1 Pet. 5:8). If the devil cannot keep us out of the church, he will do all he can to make us useless in the church. How? By making us spiritually ignorant and self-satisfied. By following after the teachings of men rather than the Scriptures. By making us covetous and stingy. By our creating strife and division among one another, refusing to have proper love and regard for one another. By being dogmatic about our opinions regarding them as matters of doctrine.

In verse 39 again Jesus says, "and the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are angels." The harvest is the judgment day the end of the dispensation of the gospel of Christ. We will be judged in that day by the things we have done (2 Cor. 5:10). We will be judged by Jesus' words (Jno. 12:48). The angels will be the reapers. They will work God's vengeance on those who have disobeyed God (2 Thess. 1:7-9).

Verse 40. "As therefore the tares are gathered up and burned with fire; so shall it be in the end of the world." We see that the sons of the devil are going to receive punishment and eternal damnation in the end of the world (Rev. 20:10,14, 15; 21:8). The time for repentance will be over, and God will judge the world in righteousness (Acts 17:30-31).

Jesus speaks further concerning the judgment in verses 41-42. "The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that cause stumbling, and them that do iniquity, and shall cast them into the furnace of fire; there shall be the weeping and gnashing of teeth." Jesus is showing us that there is going to be a great separation, and dividing of good from evil, and that only suffering and punishment await those who are servants of sin. Recently some "liberal" brethren have tried to use this parable to justify innovations in a congregation. They misapply Matt. 13: 2930, and say that, though perhaps their innovations are wrong, other brethren ought not to leave, but should stay because the wheat and the tares are to grow together until the harvest. I realize this must be one of their extreme arguments to preserve unity (?) at all costs, regardless of what the Scriptures teach. But this contention is ridiculous, and if it were true, would still condemn them. Verses 40-42 of this parable tell us that the tares are going to be separated and burned with fire. Who would want to admit that they were tares? Here again is the old argument of trying to make the field be the church.

In verse 43, Jesus tells what awaits those who have followed Him faithfully. "Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of heir Father. He that hath ears let him hear." This is what we must all strive for, to dwell in the eternal kingdom with God the Father, and His Son, Christ Jesus. Let us, each one, resolve to live closer to God, to follow in Jesus' footsteps, to do more, and to work harder for the cause of Christ, and to always rightly divide His Word. Certainly there could be no greater joy awaiting us, than to, "shine forth as the sun" in God's heavenly city.

TRUTH MAGAZINE X: 8, pp. 15-16 May 1966