“Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field: But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way. But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also. So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares? He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up? But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn … Then Jesus sent the multitude away, and went into the house: and his disciples came unto him, saying, Declare unto us the parable of the tares of the field. He answered and said unto them, He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man; The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one; The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels. As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world. The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.” (Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43).
Persian darnel is a weed that hides itself amongst the wheat. To the untrained eye it does not appear to be any different to the wheat, but at the harvest it is clear that the tares produce no fruit, and since it is of no value, it is throw into the fire. Jesus used this weed to illustrate a very important fact that exists within the church: not everyone in its number are truly God’s people but are phoneys planted there by the devil.
Who are the tares?
Maybe we have thought that the tares are those Christians that go to church on Sunday but party with the world the rest of the week. We have seen the tares as those disruptive, quarrelsome believers who are always complaining and never have a good thing to say about anyone. In fact, they are not the type of Christian the devil uses most in the church. Surely, in light of this parable, he wants his infiltrators to appear to be the very best Christians. Therefore they must be people who seem to be thoroughly saved. There are too few believers who are able to spot a false Christians; therefore it is best to leave the judgement to the Lord.
How did the tares get there?
Notice that Jesus said that He as the “Son of Man” is the “man” who sowed “good seed” in His field, but the tares were sown while “men slept”. This reveals that his “servants” had not been vigilant and watchful, for the “enemy” was able to sneak in and plant weeds. Since the parable is about the world where the church exists, it is obvious that we have been less than faithful and allowed just about anyone to be members. Of course there are those churches that are completely given over to the devil while convincing themselves that they belong to Christ, but he does not bother visiting them. Instead he is interested in the churches where the “wheat” grows. He wants to see his people growing side by side with the children of God. We see then that the “tares” are Satan’s fifth column who are secretly undermining the true church. Once again, this is a result of laziness on our part, and while we continue to ignore the need to be alert, the devil has the freedom to keep on sowing his bad seed amongst us. Just like the farmhands in the parable, we might be surprised and wonder how the church could ever get to the state it is in today. How is it we are told that homosexuals can be ordained and married in the church? How is it possible that women can serve as ministers, vicars and bishops? Simply put, we have allowed the “enemy” to work without hindrance.
How do we sort the problem out?
It is definite that since we are responsible for the state the church is in, we do not have the skills to solve the problem. Very likely, in trying to root out the “tares”, we would uproot and destroy the faith of the true followers of Christ. A ‘witch hunt’ approach to solving spiritual issues never works. Only the Lord knows who are His and He will leave the uprooting to the angels at the “harvest”. “The Lord knoweth them that are his” (2 Timothy 2:19). They will bundle the “tares” ready for the fires of Hell. Until then, since we cannot be sure who they are, let us continue to grow in the Lord ourselves and leave the dividing of the wheat and tares to Him. Besides this, it is possible that the Lord could convert them from “tares” to “wheat”. “In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth” (2 Timothy 2:25).
The Lord said that both the wheat and the tares must be allowed to “grow together”. This on the surface sounds like a very odd instruction, for the servants, once the stalks appeared, could tell the difference. Do we think that everyone who teaches Sunday School, stands up in a pulpit to preach, prays in a prayer meeting and sings praises to God are truly saved? “For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works” (2 Corinthians 11:13-15). Let us remind ourselves of the fact that some of the best church members are unsaved and damned to Hell. “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity” (Matthew 7:21-23). That is a scary thought is it not! Yet each one must be allowed to “grow together” with the saved until the Lord returns. Have you ever thought that the beautiful plant you saw in a garden was a flower, but in fact it was a weed? What about that weed you removed only to find it was a flower. Those who care for the crop can get fooled, but you cannot fool the harvesters.
We know that the end of the ages is coming, and that “we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad” (2 Corinthians 5:10). With this in mind we have to make sure that we are not acting like Christians but are true followers of Christ. We cannot continue to fool ourselves and others around us, for the Lord is coming to find us out. “Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness” (2 Peter 3:11).