Tares Among the Wheat
Needful Answers for Seeming Contradictions to Church Purity found in the Parables of Jesus Christ
Section #2: Jesus Christ’s Parables Are Snapshots of Unutterable Mysteries
Jesus Christ’s Parables Are Snapshots of Unutterable Mysteries
In seeing the complexity of these mysteries, let us understand… Christ’s parables depict unique snap shots of unsearchable glories. The parables are spoken-pictures of unutterable mysteries, open only to elect saints, and let it be noted: the pictorial language is general, peculiar, and vague enough that, the mystery remains veiled and hidden to damned humanity. Before mixed multitudes of the elect and non-elect, Christ preached parables! Parables which He spoke publically to all people, and yet qualifying them to a peculiar audience, He said, “Who hath ears to hear, let him hear” (Matt. 13:9). One such parable Christ said was the greatest of all parables (Mk. 4:13), what is commonly known as “The Parable of the Sower”.
The Parable of the Sower
“Know ye not this parable? And how then will ye know all parables?” – Mark. 4:13
“The Parable of the Sower” is a guideline to understanding the mysteries of the Kingdom which will be in view in all other parables. How the Kingdom of God is presented here, in this parable, is unquestionably foremost before all other parables. “The Parable of the Sower” is the interpretive lens which gives clarity to Christ’s parabolic language. Therefore, if we can understand this parable, we will be enabled to understand and interpret all other parables. It is sure, my reader, if we cannot understand this parable, we will not understand all other parabolic mysteries of the Kingdom of God. This means that, when seeking an understanding of “The Tares Among the Wheat” (Matt. 13:24-30), “The Grain of Mustard Seed” (Matt. 13:31-32), “The Leavening of the Meal” (Matt. 13:33), “The Hidden Treasure in a Field” (Matt. 13:44), “The Pearl of Great Price” (Matt. 13:45-46), and “The Fishing Drag-Net in the Sea” (Matt. 13:47-52), all of which were thematically recorded in consecutive order in Matthew chapter 13, we must first understand “The Parable of the Sower” (Matt. 13:3-23). Other parables and situational statements of Christ, like Matthew 22:1-14, Luke 14:16-24, Matthew 8:5-13, Matthew 21:33-46, Luke 13:1-9, & Matthew 21:19-21, are some of the “all parables” which, Christ said, are meaningfully connected to the contextual grounds of the most important and stage-setting parable of all: “The Parable of the Sower”.
Remember, the 7 parables of Matthew 13 exist to answer such mysteries like: If the Messianic Kingdom will not come in physical and earthly sovereignty, how will it come, how will it spread, and how shall it consummate into earthly sovereignty? First century Israel wrongly expected the Messiah to revive the Israelite nation into an isolated sovereignty. To their folly, they knew not that Christ was prophesied to be the sovereign King of THE WHOLE WORLD, the King of all earthly kings! The subduction of the world itself under the Messianic Kingdom was the great expectation of the prophets, according to what was prophetically foretold, and Israel, blind to this, was instructed of a Kingdom they understood not. They wanted to “see the Kingdom of God” that, at present, they were unable to see (John 3:3). Do you remember the answer to these mysteries? Keep in mind as you read, the spiritual sowing of the resurrection within men (1 Cor. 15:35-57) will suddenly consummate in the “manifestation” of the Kingdom of God – meaning that, the invisible Kingdom of God will suddenly become visible (Rom. 8:19)! Yea, the resurrection Spirit (which began as a seed sown), He is the Second Adam, and He will disrobe redeemed humanity from their mortal flesh, clothe them with His immortality, and in the twinkling of an eye there will be – rooted to the ends of the earth and branching into the outer-regions of heaven – an all-surpassing Kingdom (Matt. 13:31-32)!
“The Parable of the Sower” is of first importance, therefore it is the 1st of 7 parables spoken in Matthew chapter 13. In various other chapters in The Gospels, like Mark Ch. 4 and Luke Ch. 8, a similar parable order can be seen. The alteration of parable placement in different orders as seen in various Gospels accents their peculiar meaning one from another. For example, the parables of “The Mustard Seed” and “The Leaven”, though very brief, aim to envision for us how the Kingdom of God will grow and consummate.
The Kingdom’s Mysterious Growth and Consummating End into Worldwide Sovereignty
v The Mustard Seed (Matt. 13:31-32)
v The Leaven (Matt. 13:33)
(See also Mark 4:26-32 & Luke 13:18-21)
The most staggering mystery that these brief parables impress me with is that Christ’s Kingdom will be worldwide. He will be King over all the earth! Therefore Christ’s Kingdom is said to be “a Great Tree”, “greater than all herbs” because it “shooteth out great branches”, and it, having incomprehensible greatness, will reach to the uttermost parts of earth and heaven. It, like leaven, will spread through the whole lump of meal until “the whole [is] leavened”! Furthermore, it will mysteriously and suddenly appear. Though the world looks to watch its appearing, they “knoweth not how” it will appear (the verses in quotations can be found in the citations above)!
The placement of these parables (“The Mustard Seed” and “The Leaven”) within Matthew 13 was in between “The Parable of the Sower” and “The Tares Among the Wheat”, and their meanings taken side by side enlarge upon each other. Seeing that the Kingdom will spread and progress until the world is subdued beneath it, one may wonder how the Kingdom of God will spread during the time before its consummation. The momentous answer is mysteriously simple and shockingly profound: by the preaching of the gospel!
“The dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant and her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ” – Rev. 12:17
When the Kingdom of God advances across the nations, nations which are, spiritually speaking, Satan’s dragon-inhabited territory, it is “by them that have preached the gospel” “with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into” (1 Pet. 1:12)! Angels desire to watch this kingdom-conquering, Satan-defeating preaching, the scripture said! This is because preaching Christ is, spiritually speaking, a sword battle, an all-out war, fought and won by the sword wielding Person of God, the Holy Ghost. Therefore, it is written, Jesus Christ is the King of Heaven, the One and only “Lord of Sabaoth” (Jas. 5:4), which means the Lord of Armies – thus His visitation among us is “with His sword drawn in His hand”, and He has confirmed us, saying, “as Captain of the Host of the LORD am I now come” (Josh. 5:13-14), therefore the Kingdom of God can advance by “the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (Eph. 6:17). My reader, do you preach “with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven”?
Gospel preaching is an impossible conflict with eternal consequence, and for it, praise be to God, humanity is clothed in the mantle of God’s “heavenly gift” – the Holy Ghost! Redeemed humanity, being sent forth by their risen King, “these are they which follow the Lamb withersoever He goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb” (Rev. 14:4)! And He also, the Lamb of God, is affectionately standing with them to strengthen them, for He said, “Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world” (Matt. 28:20). The gates of hell are raging against them; it is true. The enemy of their souls like an angered lion, roars to devour them, “notwithstanding the Lord stood with [them] and strengthened [them], that by [them] the preaching might be fully known, and that all the Gentiles might hear: and [they were] delivered out of the mouth of the lion” (2 Tim. 4:17)!
Do you see, my reader? This is not mere preaching, as an orator of earth my give some finite speech… No! This is a battle for souls, a war, and the devil aggravates lost humanity into a deadly conflict against the saints who seek to spread the seed of the Kingdom of God to the ends of the earth, for Satan knows… after the seed is sown worldwide, the time of his torments has come. Therefore, Satan ‘transforms’ men into violent, irrational, and merciless “beasts” when Christian Preachers come to town (1 Cor. 15:32). The preaching of the gospel is like Israel’s commission to conquer the Canaanite nations, nations which were greater and mightier than they. But like them, we too shall prevail, as grasshoppers before giants, as babes before a great dragon, for He, the God of Israel, does stand with us! We, clad in the “whole amour of God” (Eph. 6:10), shall be taught war yet again (2 Cor. 10:3-4)! We, charging the gates of hell to cast the seed of the gospel within, shall keep courage in God that we have, in Him, already “overcome them”! “Greater is He that is in [us], than he that is in the world” (1 Jn. 4:4)! Even so, “Thou has given a banner to them that fear Thee, that it may be displayed because of the truth. Selah” (Ps. 60:4). In the light of such a conflict, my reader, you may be happy to meditate upon certain parables spoken by Christ (see below).
Judgments which are now Implemented in the Earth by the Living Christ
v Matthew 12:18-21 & Isaiah 42:1-7
v Mark 4:21-34
v Luke 8:16-21
How happy I am to tell you, my reader! Jesus Christ did judge His people, Israel, and in turn He established another people to worship Him “in Spirit and in Truth” (Jn. 5:23-24). This other people, who became “a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people”, they are employed in a Great Commission – to “shew forth the praises of Him who hath called [them] out of darkness into His marvelous Light” (1 Pet. 2:9)! This other people, “which in time past were not a people, but are now, the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy” (1 Pet. 2:10), they relate to God as Jews, for “he is a Jew which is one inwardly” (Rom. 2:29). As seen in the former parables: Christ is, through the people of God, filling the world with the proclamation that He is King over all humanity (the first fruits bearing Him witness; see Num. 13:20-24), and also Christ is, for the progression of the Kingdom throughout all humanity (reaching every nation, tribe, and tongue), fighting against those who fight against His people (Rev. 3:9-10). Remember this, dear saints, we are promised to encounter great resistance as we endeavor to fulfill “The Great Commission”. With all of this in mind, my reader, let us move forward and bring to our view the parable of parables – “The Parable of the Sower”.
The scattering of the seed upon the soils is, namely, the preaching of the gospel in the hearing of humanity, and seeing that three of the four soils were not savingly affected by the word of God, this scattering of the seed upon the soils is the preaching of the gospel to the world – all of lost humanity (elect and non-elect). The seed falling upon the hearts of men is, simply put, humanity hearing the gospel (“one heareth” –Matt. 13:19). These soils do not, therefore, represent the population of humanity which does maintain a Christian profession. Nay, these are persons of the world who have, simply put, heard the preaching of the gospel, and depending on the condition of their heart (their soil), the seed (which is the word of God) proportionately works within them. Depending how much the word of God is affecting each individual, representing this, the parable shows how the word of God affects their hearts (taking root, being planted, sprouting to life, growing, and bringing forth a perfection of fruits). This means that, like these similitudes, depending on the heart condition of the hearers the word will have varying effects.
The Way Side
v “they that hear; then cometh the devil and taketh away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved” – Lk. 8:12
v “when they have heard, Satan cometh…taketh away the word that was sown in their hearts” – Mk. 4:15
v “one heareth the word…and understandeth it not, then cometh then cometh the wicked one” – Matt. 13:19
The Stony Places
v “receive the word with joy…which for a while believe” – Lk. 8:13
v “immediately receive it with gladness…so endure but for a time: afterward…” – Mk. 4:16-17
v “anon with joy receiveth it…but dureth for a while…is offended” – Matt. 13:20-21
v “entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful” – Mk. 4:19
v “are choked…and bring non fruit to perfection” – Lk. 8:14
v “choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful” – Matt. 13:22
When the seed has some form of life or growth in one person, and in another, lesser or more growth (in the aforementioned scenarios), we are shown the differing degrees of effect the word of God is working within the lost individual. “Go into all the world” and preach to strangers in their various societies, you will see these things at work before your very own eyes: (1st) some, upon hearing the word, are so hard hearted that they cannot even understand it, (2nd) some are so shallow hearted and fickle that they receive all the good things about the word with joy, but in the face of adversity or suffering they reject it, (3rd) some are more ready minded, and so they are greatly affected to seek God for some time, but after a length transpires they are, alas, dissuaded from their course by worldly lusts, cares, and riches, (4th) and some, by amazing grace, hear the word, understand it, believe it, and upon conversion they, with endurance, keep it unto eternal life! How will this Kingdom be mysteriously spread throughout the whole world? In this very way, in these similitudes, and having these differing effects in the heart of lost humanity. Those who hear the word of God and are converted, these are those in whom the seed has planted, and it, being rooted and grounded (Col. 1:23, Eph. 3:17), comes to a full manifestation of what Christ’s indwelling is. Let the reader understand, Christ’s indwelling within the person is easily detectable by the yield of “fruit to perfection” (Lk. 8:14-15).
The soils of the three unsaved men (1. “the way side”, 2. “stony places”, 3. “the thorns”) never changed from what they were, even after the preaching of the word did have an effect upon them. If their hearts (the soils), never changed from a condition which lacked saving faith and repentance, for this reason the word of Christ did not effectually work in them. The last soil which was spoken of in the parable, the soil called “good ground”, are men which have saving faith and repentance, which means it can be said of them: “when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe” (1 Thess. 2:13). My reader, the former three soils (which represent the heart of faith-less and unconverted humanity) heard the gospel and, take note: the condition of their heart never changed (the soil never changed)… and had it changed, or had they been enabled to become “good ground”, this means that God changed their hearts by manifesting faith and repentance within them, and consequentially, the word of Christ was able to effectually work in them so as to save them (the seed was able to be soundly planted, it took root, it was nourished up, and it brought forth a perfection of fruits). This parable pictorially reveals how the preaching of the gospel has a varying effect upon lost humanity based upon the condition of their heart, and one can be sure that a conversion experience by this effectual word is discoverable and distinguishable from those persons who lack it. Christ, “the word”, strives with all of lost humanity, and according to the condition of the heart, some are more or less effected, but be sure of this! The Lord strives with all men to repent and believe in Him! Thus, we can understand that, as the gospel is preached to the whole world, all are affected by it to some degree, even though one man cannot even understand it, so that, whatever effect was wrought within him was quickly taken away by the enemy of his soul (see Matt. 13:19). The word of Christ has saving effect in only one soil of the world (one kind of person with a certain condition of heart, “some thirty, sixty, and a hundredfold” – Matt. 13:23).
Now, my reader. With all this contextually established by The Parable of the Sower, this much is clear: worldwide humanity is God’s field to which He will send forth reapers to gather a Final Harvest (see Mark 4:29 & Rev. 14:15 – “the harvest of the earth is ripe”). You see, my reader? We are ready to move on from The Parable of the Sower to other parables, like The Tares Among the Wheat and The Fishing Drag-net in the Sea. Contextual to the parable of parables, we understand how the rise and progress of the Kingdom of Christ will commence by the preaching of the gospel to worldwide humanity, which has become a field for God’s planting (because it has been determined by God and established by blood that Jesus Christ is legally and will be in actually the KING of the world), but, let us take careful note how that until this Kingdom has been planted within every soil and is flourishing to God’s glory, the Final Harvest of what is planted will not commence (the “harvest” spoken of in Matt. 13:30, Mk. 4:29, & Rev. 14:15). You see, the planting is different than the harvest, but the place where the planting happens is the same place where the harvest happens. The planting comes first, then the harvest. The landscape of the whole world is the place where God will obtain this Final Harvest, a place where there are all kinds of plantings, both good and bad (like “the wheat and tares”, the “good” and “bad” fish), which are saved and unsaved humans. The landscape in focus from parable to parable throughout Matthew Chapter 13 has never changed. Jesus Christ is and must be the King of the world! And at this time, when those who are saved from among humanity do finally reach the ripened stage in which God is glorified with the yield: the reaping will come! The 2nd return of Christ will happen and the actual sovereignty of Christ will commence worldwide! The seeds must be far-reaching to the ends of the earth because, “this gospel of the Kingdom shall be preached in all the world” (Matt. 24:14), thus all of humanity is represented in the field-arena of harvest. The field of soils is not, therefore, the professing Church, as many wrongly assume! No, this is an erroneous interpretation! Contextually, the field represents the populations of the whole world which does hear the gospel, not the isolated population of the world which gathers within physical buildings that people wrongly call, “the Church” (mere professors of faith in Christ). According to the promise, all the world must hear the gospel! Therefore, the seed must be sown in every soil like a net must be dragged to the uttermost parts of the sea to gather every kind of fish; even so, every kind of person in the world is to hear the gospel (every nation, tribe, and tongue) before the Kingdom consummates. Just as the seed in its planting was far-reaching (worldwide), even so, also, the net is in its catching! All peoples of the world are thus affected by the word in some way and in differing degrees, but not all are good soils; and, likewise, not all are good fish.
As you might have noted so far, my reader. Matthew Chapter 13 contains two more major parables commonly known as, “The Tares Among the Wheat” and “The Fishing Drag-Net in the Sea”, and in them there are seeming contradictions to the Doctrine of Church Purity, as we have been studying it thus far in these volumes. Before moving forward into a more thorough address of these seeming contradictions, it is needful for us to understand certain perplexities which appertain to parabolic language. By understanding this, it will be easier to comprehend the peculiar language found in these two parables.