Tares Among the Wheat

 Needful Answers for Seeming Contradictions to Church Purity found in the Parables of Jesus Christ

v  Of Notable Context – most parables address God’s dealings with unconverted Israel (an irreversibly chosen but temporarily castaway people).

As we venture onward in our study to see how parabolic words do, by definition, defy Doctrinal Rules, the notable context of the parables of Christ must be held in remembrance. Pointedly and primarily, these parables were addressing unconverted Israel, depicting God’s relationship with them based upon their rejection of Him. Several parables are very similar, and repetitively spoken, to drive deeper the burden of God. A few of these parables depict unconverted Israel as a planted Fig Tree (Lk. 13:1-9) and a Vineyard (Mk. 12:1-12, Matt. 21:33-46, Lk. 20:9-19). In an actual event where Christ encountered a barren fig tree, Christ prophetically demonstrated what He was about to do to Israel. The metaphorical application from this literal and historical Barren Fig Tree (see Mk. 11:12-21 and Matt. 21:19-21) depicts the same burden of God as the former parables. Unconverted, once-born Israel is a planting, yes…like a land owner plants a Fig Tree and a Vineyard, and God, who evidently owns these plantings, expects and hungers after fruit thereon. And yet, after doing all things necessary that fruit should come forth, they remain fruitless. God’s desire, as a longing and hungering man looking after fruit, is left empty, righteously bitter, and betrayed. Because of God’s labor over their planting, His money spent for necessary hiring, He holds the Fig Tree and Vineyard responsible to bring forth a satisfactory measure of fruit. But the fruitless tree is sick, like a hired husbandmen empowered with all the means to cause a Vineyard to prosper, and yet he, being perverted by depravity, refuses to work to gather the yield, is heartless to serve God who hired him, and he, treacherous beyond measure, beats, mocks, and even kills the Land Owner’s servants and son. This situation has only ONE END: both the Fig Tree (for its sickness) and the husbandmen (for their audacious wickedness) are doomed for God’s damning curses.

You see, Israel is God’s planting, like a Fig Tree or a Vineyard, upon which God has invested above and beyond all things necessary for them to yield their fruitfulness (Isaiah 5:1-7), and upon their rebellion - the plant is cursed and the hired husbandmen are killed. Likewise, Israel is God’s Israel, but the people are denounced (Hos. 1:10, 2:23). Israel is a “House”, but the house is left “desolate” (Lk. 13:35). Clearly, the parables of Jesus Christ were contextual to a historical situation of rampant apostasy. This we know. Albeit, while many affirm the historicity of this situation, they fail to recognize the complexities which historical books and parabolic expressions exhibit in situations of apostasy.

Historical books & parabolic expressions contain recognizable complexities which cause well-known words to vary in definition. This is because in these two situations (historical accounts or parabolic expressions), the persons and circumstances guide the authorial theme, argument, and word choice. A notable danger: if these variations to Doctrinal Rules remain undiscovered to the reader, unlearned men will use them to subvert biblical doctrines which are exhaustively established by Doctrinal Rules.


Example #1: see the word “fear” used in 2 Kings 17:32-33, & 41

Spoken words which are parabolic, are not to be included in those words which God has established as Doctrinal Rules. Parabolic words are, by definition, connected to the specific contextual or historical situation in which they are spoken in, so much so, the definition of the words being used are often contrary to previously established definitions which serve as the Doctrinal Rule. In historical books (like Kings, Chronicles, the Gospels, and Acts, to name a few), the author accounts of things said or done from a situational angle. For a notable example, consider the historical book of Kings. It was written, “So they feared the LORD” (2 Kings 17:32), “They feared the LORD, and served their own gods” (2 Kings 17:33), “So these nations feared the LORD, and served their graven images” (2 Kings 17:41). Do you see, my reader, how “the fear” wherewith they feared the Lord was of a different definition than what has already been written and established, like as Proverbs 16:6 it states, “by the fear of the LORD men depart from evil”? These men in 2 Kings 17 “feared the LORD” and ran after evil, serving their idols and sacrificing their children! The definition of this “fear” is, obviously, contradicting other scriptures which serve as the Doctrinal Rule. To “fear” the Lord in 2 Kings 17 is different than “the fear of the LORD” in Proverbs 16:6, the former is depicting a certain meaning characteristic of the historical situation and authorial context, the latter is a spiritually sound definition which is applicable in every generation and for every age. The Doctrinal Rules are sure, like unmovable foundations, without openness to variation or contradiction. Their definitions never change, are increasingly confirmed from prophet to prophet and century to century over the vast expanse in which inspired scripture was written. Thus we have it, again and again, Doctrinal Rules are apparent, easily discoverable, and above all memorable – they are the rule. The “fear” of the Lord in 2 Kings 17 is peculiar and isolated; it is contextually and historically definitive according to the situation, and therefore its meaning is disqualified from inclusion into Doctrinal Rules that are defined by God. Simply put, my reader, parabolic words must not usurp the definitions of Doctrinal Rules. Historical and parabolic words can overlap, contradict, and vary, but those things which are written for Doctrinal Rule are precise, razor sharp, without division, and in perfect unity.

Example #2: see the word “believe” used in John 8:31

For another well-known example, now in the New Testament, from the historical book called, The Gospel of John. Here, in John 8:31-44, “those Jews which believed on Him [Jesus Christ]” WERE NOT SAVED, contrary to the definition of “believe” which serves as the Doctrinal Rule: “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and THOU SHALT BE SAVED” (Acts. 16:31), and again, “But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on Him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead” (Rom. 4:24). These Jews which “believed on” Christ, they were contextually and historically, “the servants of sin” who need to be made “free”, men who were characterized by Christ, “Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do” (John 8:44). The situational circumstance makes it clear that these Jews “believed on” Christ according to the common manner of the apostate generation (for healing, for food, to see signs, to follow him for a while, to recognize Him as a teacher and Rabbi, and the like), and this is just like the situational “fear of the Lord” seen in the apostate generation of 2 Kings 17. These men of both generations, corrupt according to their deceitful lusts, were dead in their sins and in the gall of deception, thus their “Doctrinal Rules” were defiant of God’s.

Example #3: see the word “believe” in Luke 8:13

Remaining unknowledgeable that doctrinal variations exist: (Firstly), we will conclude that “believe” in Luke 8:13 must mean saving faith. Also (Secondarily), there are other characteristics which encourage the belief that the stony and thorny soils are saved men, namely, that the seed was successfully planted within the soils (giving the appearance that Christ was received into their hearts) and the seed lived (giving the appearance that Christ was alive and growing within men) – for these reasons people feel forced to conclude that these men were indwelt by Christ as saved men (men in whom dwelt the seed of Christ according to 1 John 3:9-10).

The Answer: (Firstly) the word “believe” does not always mean saving faith, thus the word must be contextualized in the historical situation or parabolic definition according to the authorial intent, guided by all Doctrinal Rules, and (Secondarily), when we are guided by Doctrinal Rules, we are granted an unflinching coherency to approach and understand parabolic perplexities or seeming contradictions, thus we must address the scriptures which make possible this coherency. The Doctrinal Rules of scripture clearly FORBID the possibility that the stony and thorny soils were saved men in whom Christ dwelt.

Doctrinal Rules:

(A) A seed that is not fully grounded and rooted results from a too-little, non-saving faith, thus the stony soil represents a faith inferior to that which is saving.

(B) A planting that does not bring forth a perfection of fruits results from a too-little, non-saving faith, thus the thorny soil represents a faith inferior to that which is saving.

Let us make a careful note here, my reader: With Example #1 & Example #2 in mind, it is understandable how in The Parable of the Sower, unconverted men were described as those who, “received the word with joy…which for a while believed” (Lk. 8:13), even though they did not truthfully, whole-heartily, and savingly believe in Christ. Think of it, my reader. Consider the historical and situational scenario in which this word was spoken, “for a while believed”. The world watched on as multitudes followed after Christ and ignorant spectators deemed the whole mass as true believers, but the Lord Jesus was careful to distinguish between true believers and false believers. Many followed Christ for food, healing, happiness, and sheer excitement, each one believing that Jesus was “the Christ” in some respect, but they were not following Christ for the purpose of saving conversion. Following Christ for these reasons does take some measure of belief, so to speak… they believed commonly speaking, historically speaking, & situationally speaking, but not truthfully speaking! Jesus Christ spoke to redefine the word “believe”. He spoke to discover the error of those who believed enough to follow for a while, but they believed too little for conversion. George Whitefield called these too-little believers, “the almost Christian”. Christ knew the heretical by-word spoken by the on-lookers, how they ignorantly supposed that everyone who followed Jesus of Nazareth with any measure of commitment, at any time, for any duration, were all “believers” in Him. In the midst of this historical situation, Christ spoke to clarify the heart-experience of true conversion from no conversion. It is vital that a truthful and biblical definition of conversion is preached in the midst of a multitude who supposed they all believed in Christ. Historically speaking, most of the multitude was scattered away from the Lord when faced with persecution or rivaling lusts, providing an occasion for the ignorant to blaspheme. Therefore, Christ, meaning to suffocate lies, declared that they did not truly believe so as to be converted into citizens, sons, and heirs of the Kingdom of God (truthfully speaking, spiritually speaking, & doctrinally speaking), otherwise the word of the gospel would have begun its Divine influence upon the heart with a peculiar seal – a miraculous conversion witnessed by a perfection of fruits, and that with continuation, some 30, 60, & 100 fold. Jesus Christ was declaring the truth of the controverted matter in the historical scene: most of the people who departed from the multitudes that followed Christ did not ever truly believe in the word which was preached (their hearts were never right or good, fertilized with saving faith, therefore they never came to the point of true conversion). Everyone who did not bring forth this identifiable yield of fruit (which Christ described) had hearts that were amiss and unchanged from their beginning condition (because, take note: the soils never changed), therefore from the beginning point when they first heard the word unto the end when they did finally apostatize from “following Christ”, their hearts never changed from an unbelieving condition which is void of saving faith and repentance (which means, truthfully speaking: the heart-condition was comparable to the soils of a way-side pathway, a stony ground, and a thorny soil without change)!

Doctrinal Rules:

(A) A seed that is not fully grounded and rooted results from a too-little, non-saving faith, thus the stony soil represents a faith inferior to that which is saving.

(B) A planting that does not bring forth a perfection of fruits results from a too-little, non-saving faith, thus the thorny soil represents a faith inferior to that which is saving.

A major point of The Parable of the Sower is this: the clear and easily identifiable seal of true conversion is when the Divine-influence brings forth “fruit to perfection” (Lk. 8:14), a perfection made possible by a deep rooting in a good soil! “Fruit to perfection”, my reader, not some shallow experience of shallow roots, and not some limp plant yielding sickly fruits. No! Conversion is THE POWER OF GOD that angels long to behold! Conversion is not some unidentifiable peace but “peace with God” (Rom. 5:1); not some joy but “joy unspeakable and full of glory” (1 Pet. 1:8); not some mental assent of “word only” agreement but a regenerating reception of Christ “in power”, “in the Holy Ghost”, “and in much assurance” (1 Thess. 1:5); not some subtle, long-term, unidentifiable growth process into modern day religiosity but a sudden and miraculous BEHOLD! --- “old things are passed away and all things are become new” (2 Cor. 5:17)! At conversion, the dead man is brought to life (Eph. 2:5), the darkened soul is brought into light (2 Cor. 4:6), and the sin-loving man is made to love God as a Bride on her wedding day (1 Jn. 4:16-19)! Conversion is not gradual or practical; it is miraculous and unfathomable! Many such like things can be said, but the point is this: the immediate condition of a person after conversion is, “fruit to perfection” (Lk. 8:14). A man is born again into a state of perfection at conversion, just as a person is born again into a fruit-abounding Life (1 Thess. 1:4-10, Acts 2:42-47, Mk. 4:20); just as a person is born again into a darkness-vanquishing Light (1 John 1:5-7, 1 Pet. 2:9-10); even so, likewise, the man is born again into a “first love” passion for God like as a Bride on her wedding day (Rev. 2:4, see also Col. 2:11 & Rom. 3:29 in comparison to Deut. 30:6)! The “first” estate of a man at the moment of conversion is not shameful, dismal, and lacking. No! The “first” estate is not lacking perfection or completeness. No! The scriptures affirm, rather, that this first condition is admirable and sound, whole and healthy, made possible by a faith that must be kept with continuance unto the end, a faith that must be recovered when it is lost, a faith that allows the Divine operation of salvation to cause “grace to reign through righteousness unto eternal life” (Rom. 5:21)! If this first estate is steadfastly kept, the glory of the Divine influence grows livelier, brighter, and more lovely in glory (from “glory to glory”-2 Cor. 3:18), thus the man goes from perfection to perfection, life to life, and light to light, “abounding therein with thanksgiving” (Col. 2:7)! Beloved brethren, this is because the Lord makes us to “abound in love” toward God and man (1 Thess. 3:12), even as He has abounded in love toward us! “He that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God” (1 Jn. 4:16).

“Fruit to perfection” (Lk. 8:14) is brought forth because the soil and seed had a perfect union: “ye are complete in Him” (Col. 2:10). A perfect rooting in a perfect soil results in a perfect union with Christ. Therefore, at the moment of conversion a man’s heart receives the seed preached and it is “grounded and settled”, but let us take note that this “grounding and settling” is because of a good soil.  A good soil ensures a good rooting and grounding of gospel-salvation within us, thus the charge given to us is, “believe on the Lord Jesus Christ” (Acts 16:31). This is, in other words, to make our soils good so as to receive the seed (“break up your fallow ground: for it is time to seek the LORD, till He come and rain righteousness upon you”-Hos. 10:12). Everyone knows the charge, “But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved” (Matt. 24:13). This charge is a warning to keep the faith! And, to keep the faith is to keep the soil good; thus shall the rooting, grounding, and building successfully channel all the glory of God’s saving power! Herein, my reader, the Divine-influence will increase and abound in fruit! These fruits are called, “the fruit of the Spirit” (Gal. 5:22). This planting, rooting, shooting, and fruiting is not something man can do. No! This is the work, or, “the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22). As long as the first estate of the first faith is not lost, the Spirit of God will bring forth fruit in the heart and life of a believer (Rev. 2:4-5). By the means of a good soil, the Divine-influence will work in effectualness for salvation, wrought in its glory-to-glory increase. As long as the first faith is not lost, “first love” will not be lost (Rev. 2:4). The first faith is the access-channel of every increase (1 Pet. 1:5, 1 Jn. 5:4, Mk. 9:23)! In other words, the first-rooting of the word of God into the heart (as seen in Lk. 8:15, Matt. 13:8, Mk. 4:8) is the means for all growth, increase, and abounding henceforth (2 Pet. 3:18, 1 Thess. 2:12, 2 Pet. 1:4-11)! As long as this first rooting is sound (ensured by a soft and fertile soil so that the plant can continue to grow, having its roots fully rooted at a sufficient depth so as to drink of the under-ground regions of water), and as long as the soil does not erode and degenerate by “evil unbelief” so as to make the first rooting unsound (Heb. 2:12-13), behold, the man of God will flourish gloriously! – “some an hundred-fold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold” (Matt. 13:8). For this reason, also, a deviation from this first rooting (the first Divine-influence of the word of God which wrought effectually in the man), or, a deviation from the goodness of the first soil (which enabled the rooting and flourishing), is noted as a means of falling away. This first rooting and first soil must be kept, and perseverance is promised! God gives us warnings to avoid a real potential of falling (Col. 1:24, 2:6-7, Eph. 4:14-16, 17-24), and God gives us means by which we can ensure that the soil and planting remain healthy (Ps. 1:3, 1 Cor. 3:6, Eph. 4:11-12). A man’s rooting can become ungrounded and even un-rooted (“plucked up by the roots”-Jude 1:12). Why, you wonder? Why would the living and Divine-influence of the word of God be removed from a man’s heart like a planting is up-rooted from soil? This is because a good soil can become a bad soil! A man’s heart can become a vile and degenerated soil which bears thorns and thistles, “whose end is to be burned” (Heb. 6:8)! Woe to that man! Arriving at the Judgment Seat in this condition, he is repulsive to God! Therefore we are warned, my reader, in non-metaphorical and metaphorical terms:

“But Christ as a Son over His own House; whose House are we, IF we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end.” – Hebrews 3:6

“And, having made peace through the blood of His cross, by Him to reconcile all things unto Himself; by Him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven. And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath He reconciled In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in His sight: IF ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister;” – Col. 1:20-23

As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in Him: Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving.” – Col. 2:6-7

If a man would just walk in what he first received, he will not be moved away from the gospel experience. No! He will presently and progressively experience it, with perseverance! He will increase far beyond the first crest of glory because the roots will grow deeper, the planting will build its trunk higher, its branches will extend broader, and their leaves will be wider and more numerous, thus as the plant grows and builds… fruit abounds! This is the normal Christian life! Abounding in fruit is not the exception among all who believe. No! Abounding in fruit is the unchangeable result of gospel preaching being mixed with saving faith! Abounding in fruit is the unchangeable identity of saving conversion! Therefore, also, abounding in fruit is the evidence of saving faith persevered in a converted man’s life (2 Pet. 2:5-11)! If a man would just continue in the faith that he first had – grounded and settled, and not moved away – the man will inevitably experience this glorious increase of Divine-influence (see Eph. 4:14-16)! Think of it, my reader. A man will NOT be “carried about with every wind” (Eph. 4:14) if he is grounded, settled, rooted, built up, and grown unto perfection (Eph. 4:12-13, Lk. 8:14)! No, this man will stand firm and grow steady! “He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not whither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper” (Ps. 1:3). What a glory!

Other Examples

Disciples of the Lord, take heed. “Let God be true but every man a liar” (Rom. 3:4). We must not ever bring into doubt a doctrinally established rule of the faith because of a situational, historical or contextual variation, as seen so often in the parables of Jesus Christ. What do I mean? Well, my reader, let me ask you the following questions:


As for doctrinally inconsistent parabolic sayings: the use and definitions of these words are not to become the rule. What hell is like, or God, or any group of persons, their actuality is not to be held in question because of parabolic variations to Doctrinal Rules. Parables communicate significant meanings which are isolated to situational circumstances, and without such circumstances giving plot to the words, the peculiar definitions could not be edifying, meaningful, or even recognizable, and certainly not appreciated…and “all scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (2 Tim. 3:16).

By Doctrinal Rule, what are the torments of hell? The torments of hell are not temporary and endurable like as the chastisement of a “few stripes”, are they (Lk. 12:46-48)?

By Doctrinal Rule, who is God? Is God a mere neighbor to you, whose affections are as shallow as an earthly, human friend of yours (Lk. 11:5-10), is He? God is not an unrighteous, merciless, and harsh Judge, is He (Lk. 18:1-8)? God is not “an austere man”, is He (Lk. 19:21-22)?

By Doctrinal Rule, who is unconverted Israel? Unconverted, once-born Israel, identified by Christ to be the devil’s family (John 8), described as miserable rebels and slaves to sin, the same people who were, yet again, denounced by God in Hosea 1:10, God declaring that they are not His family…nevertheless, contrary to these Doctrinal Rules, can unconverted Israel be called God’s family, as a Hen her chicks (Lk. 13:34-35)? Can they be called “His own” (John 1:11)? Concerning more specified persons within unconverted Israel: The Pharisees and Scribes, they are not “just persons who need no repentance”, are they (Lk. 15:1-7)? The unconverted sinners of Israel, they are not “lost sheep” are they (Lk. 15:1-7, 8:10)? As seen in the parable known as “The Prodigal Son” (Lk. 15:11-32), the Pharisees and Scribes are not God’s eldest son, and God, He is not their father is He? They are not God’s eldest son who is, as seen in the parable, a faithful son, to whom belonged everything that God the Father possesses, and he, being the firstborn, is not the heir of everything, upon whom belongs the Father’s blessing (“all I have is thine” – Lk. 15:31), is he? Are the Pharisees and Scribes, standing in this familial position, able to confess to God the Father, “these many years do I serve Thee, neither transgressed I at any time Thy commandment” (Lk. 15:29)? Are the Pharisees and Scribes “ever”, always, not dead but spiritually “alive” to God, unlike their rebellious brethren (the youngest son), who, being spiritually dead to God, left His family, wasted his invaluable inheritance, and yet, upon returning came alive again (Lk. 15:32)? Those who bask in the eternal pleasures of God’s heaven, they will not be those of an evil eye, murmuring against the goodness of God, will they (Matt. 20:1-16)? In their unconverted estate, the chief priests and elders (as one group representing one son) alongside the publicans and harlots (as another group representing another son), they are not the sons of God the Father, are they (Matt. 21:23-32)? Again I say, the unconverted, once-born, spiritual children of the devil, also known as the 1st century Jews, are not “the children of the Kingdom”, are they (Matt. 8:12)? The unconverted, once-born, spiritual children of the devil, also known as the 1st century Jews, they are not “the good seed”, as written in Matt. 13:38, like they are called in another place, “the children of the Kingdom” (Matt. 8:12), are they? Are they not rather, rightly called, “the children of the wicked one” (Matt. 13:38), but how then are they called “children of the Kingdom” in Matthew 8:12?

These examples within the book of Matthew, standing alone, represent how parables exhibit isolated and situational definitions which are in contradiction to their Doctrinal Rules. While looking carefully at the present situations in which these parables were spoken, the authorial intent becomes clear. According to the context of the situation the author successfully communicates historically relevant meanings to the reader. The context, audience, and situation at hand are vital for the interpretation of these variables, and because of this, the reader should allow variation from Doctrinal Rules. Again I say, these variables are not to be the Doctrinal Rule, they are the exception. By God’s grace, the apostles have provided for us inspired commentaries on the metaphorical, parabolic, and mysterious language used in The Gospels and elsewhere, and this written commentary is what we categorically call, “The Epistles”. These books are direct applications of Doctrinal Rules, many of which are introduced in The Gospels. That which Jesus Christ preached and introduced to the world, the apostles interpreted and applied to NT Churches, see “The Epistles”.