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The Seven Church Ages - 13. The Parable of the Wheat and the Tares



Matthew 13:24 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 man 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.’”


Matthew13:36 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!”


‘The parable of the wheat and the tares’ starts at the same time in Church history as ‘the parable of the sower,’ with the Church, the body of Jesus Christ going out into the world to sow the good seed, the gospel of Jesus Christ. 


This is the same good seed that was sown into the city of Ephesus. Many good Ephesians accepted this good seed and took it deep down into their hearts, and they were filled with a deep love and joy for Jesus Christ and His Church. However the next generation of Christians in Ephesus, did not have that same deep down love the first generation had. 


Oh yes! They still attended church regularly, broke bread together regularly, and did all the right things. But now they did these things more and more out of a sense of duty, and less and less out of a great love for Jesus Christ and the Church. Therefore they were in danger of growing weary of doing good. 


As time rolled on, the Church did grow weary of doing good, they grew weary of testing the prophets, to see if they were sowing truth or lies into the Church. So Jesus Christ removed their lampstand and they fell asleep. Then while they slept their enemy the devil came and sowed lies into the Church. Sowing the good seed of truth into the world produces more wheat, who are sons of God, thus extending God’s kingdom on earth. Sowing lies into the Church produces tares, who are sons of the devil. 


The first generation of Christians were on fire for God, and they went out preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ to the lost, they cast out demons, they laid hands on the sick and the sick recovered, they made disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of Jesus Christ and all who believed were saved. However the next generation of Christians in Ephesus, did not have that same deep down love for Jesus their bridegroom and The Church, which the first generation had. 


As the natural children of these early Christians grew up, even if they were never born again into the kingdom of heaven, there were many reasons why most of them (baring persecutions) would stay in the church. Just to mention a few of these reasons, to be with family and friends, they felt safe in church; it was good for business, the free handouts to the poor and needy, they liked to play in the band, to sing in the choir, or they may be even eyeing one of the young ladies for a suitable wife. But whatever their reason for staying in the church, if they are not born again, not Holy Spirit filled believers in Jesus Christ, they are in danger of becoming wearing of doing good and falling asleep. 


Then when false prophets came into the church preaching lies, many of these second-generation churchgoers accepted these lying doctrines into their heart and became sons of the devil instead of sons of God. So it is that both the sons of God and the sons of the devil dwell side by side in the church. 


One of the reasons we keep on preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ to regular Church goers, is because each generation of Church goers needs to hear the gospel, believe the gospel, receive the gospel deep down into their heart, repent, be baptized and be born again into the kingdom of heaven.  


Although I believe young children who are being brought up by born again Christian parents come under their parents covering, there comes a time in the child’s life when they themselves must accept the gospel of Jesus Christ into their heart, and confess Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour. From that time, to not accept the gospel of Jesus Christ into their heart is to reject the good seed and accept the lying tares of the devil into their heart.  Those who accept the good seed of the gospel of Jesus Christ into their heart become the sons of the kingdom, while those who reject the good seed, receive the lying tares of the devil into their heart become the sons of the devil.  


Luke12:8 “Also I say to you, whoever confesses Me before men, him the Son of Man also will confess before the angels of God. 9 But he who denies Me before men will be denied before the angels of God.”


There comes a point in time for all of us when we must personally either accept or reject Jesus Christ as our Lord and Saviour. Not to accept salvation through the blood of Jesus Christ is to reject God's plan of salvation and become a son of the devil. 


Being born into a good Christian home, and raised by good Christian parents, saves no one. Being very good, and/or being married to a believer in Jesus Christ, saves no one. There comes a time in everyone’s life; there comes a time in your life, (even if you consider yourself a good person, even if were born into a good Christian family, or even if you are married to a believer) when you must personally accept salvation through the blood of Jesus Christ, or you will face eternal damnation in the fires of hell. For there no longer remains any other sacrifice for sins. In the past God may have accepted other sacrifices for sin, but now salvation can only be received through the precious blood of Jesus Christ. 


Hebrews10:26 For if we sin wilfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, 27 but a certain fearful expectation of Judgment, and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries.

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To have heard the gospel of Jesus Christ, and then to reject God’s plan of forgiveness and salvation through the blood of Jesus Christ, is to willfully sin after receiving the knowledge of the truth. With this in mind, lets us look at I Corinthians 7:12 – 16. In this passage Paul is writing to believers whose husband or wife is not a believer in Christ Jesus. 


I Corinthians7:12b If any brother has a wife who does not believe, and she is willing to live with him, let him not divorce her. 13 And a woman who has a husband who does not believe, if he is willing to live with her, let her not divorce him. 14 For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband; otherwise your children would be unclean, but now they are holy. 15 But if the unbeliever departs, let him depart; a brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases. But God has called us to peace. 16 For how do you know, O wife, whether you will save your husband? Or how do you know, O husband, whether you will save your wife?


Given the Great Commission, to “go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature" (Mark 16:15), we can assume that the believer, in obedience is regularly preaching the gospel to both their unbelieving partner, and their children. If your partner will not allow you to do this, then they are not willing to live at peace with you, and I would advise you to seek good Christian marriage counseling, and the support of other Christians.  


In the natural, there is a weed known as a tare; sometimes this weed would be self-sown by the wind amongst wheat, and sometimes it would be deliberately sown by an enemy amongst the wheat. At first you cannot tell the difference between the tares and the wheat, but when the fruit begins to show, you can clearly tell the difference. At this point in the parable, the servants ask if they should pull the tares out of the field of wheat. The problem with this idea is that by now the roots of the tares and the wheat have become so wrapped around each other, that you cannot pull the tares out of the field without also pulling out much of the wheat and damaging the rest of the crop; On the other hand, because the fruit of the tares is poisonous and will bring death if ground into flour with the wheat, the tares must be removed and separated from the wheat before harvest.  


So it was that the second generation Christian Church became a place were both the sons of God and the sons of the devil lived side by side in the Church. In the parable of the wheat and the tares, at first servants of the owner were unaware that there were tares growing up amongst the wheat, and they remained unaware until the fruit began to appear. Only then did they realize that the enemy had sown tares amongst the wheat.


Matthew7:16 (Jesus Christ said,) “you will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thorn bushes or figs from thistles? 17 Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 therefore by their fruits you will know them. 


The servants of God, now coming to realization that there are both sons of the devil and sons of God growing up in the Church, are faced with the decision, what shall we do? Take Johnny as an example; we just can’t pull him up and throw him out of the Church; for if we do, we may also pull up his father and mother, along with Johnny’s wife and children, his brothers and sisters, and their children. Perhaps, as long as Johnny is happy to come to church along with his family, it may be better for us to up hold Johnny and his family in prayer, and allow him to stay in the Church where he will continue to hear the gospel being preached and believers testifying to the goodness of God. 


Then, at harvest time, at the end of the age, the angels of God will first gather the tares, the sons of the devil from out of the Church and tie them in bundles to be burned in the fire. From both this parable and the parable of the five wise and five foolish virgins, we learn that the angels of God will first remove the sons of the devil from out of the Church, before gathering the sons of God together to meet with Jesus Christ in the air. 


According to the parable of the five wise and five foolish virgins, before the return of Jesus Christ our bridegroom, there will first be a gathering together of both the wise and the foolish virgins, then a separating of the wise and the foolish virgins. For Jesus Christ our bridegroom is coming for a bride without spot or wrinkle.


The tares, the foolish virgins will be taken out of the Church and tied in bundles for burning. Then Jesus Christ our bridegroom will come with His angels, and they will gather up those who are the wheat and the wise virgins to meet with Jesus their bridegroom in the air. 


If you have non-Christian children living in your home, as long as they are willing to live with you, and live in peace with you; the Lord is saying to you, don’t cast them out of your family, let them remain under the preaching of the word of God.  Who knows whether you will save them? And the same goes for non-Christians living in the church, as long as they are willing to live at peace in the church, let them remain under the preaching of the word of God. Who knows whether you will save them?


Although the parable looks ahead until the harvest at the end of the age, when the tares will first be removed and gathered up to be burned, then the wheat will be caught up to meet with Jesus in the air; there has already been a number of harvests, in which the Lord has first separated the tares from the wheat, then again scattered the wheat as good seed into the field.


The Lord separated the early Christians from the Jews, the Protestants from the Catholics, the Baptized believers from the Protestants, and before the Lord returns, in the biggest church spilt ever, God will remove all the sons of the devil from the Church. When this happens, the devil will deceive his sons into believing that they are doing God service by throwing the sons of God out of the churches, out of the synagogues, out of the mosque, and out of any other body of people who falsely claim to be sons of God, or the people of God.   


John 16:1 These things I have spoken to you, that you should not be made to stumble. 2 They will put you out of synagogues; yes, the time is coming that whoever kills you will think that he offers God a service. 3 And these things they will do to you because they have not known the Father nor Me. 4 But these things I have told you, that when the time comes, you may remember that I told you of them. - - - - - - -   


Note: For more on the parable of the wise and foolish virgins, read “We Are The Bride of Christ.” Written by Kenneth Clark.




Written by Kenneth Allan Clark and printed and published by

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