Distinguishing Between Wheat & Tares (Matthew 13:24-30; 36-43)

By Ryan Shaw

In the last post we began looking at Jesus’ parable of the wheat and the tares in Matthew 13. There is so much meat in this parable that we want to continue considering the implications in this week’s post.

The response of the owner in Matthew 13:29-30 is a justified one. He says “Let both (the wheat and the tares) grow together until the harvest.” This is for the sake of the wheat.

If both seeds are allowed to grow to maturity, they will, in time, reveal what they are made of. They will show what they are really like, revealing reveal their essence as “wheat” or “tares.”

But this “growing together” is not the end of the story. Some wrongly assume it is a perpetual growing together. Instead, a day is coming when the separating line will be made known. The “tares” will eventually be bound, prepared for burning while “wheat” are gathered for the purpose of the owner.

This separation takes place “at the end of the age.” Jesus’ return will usher in a great evaluation where all will be seen for what they really are.

If our King says “let them alone” in the present, then we too must overcome the temptation to try to uproot or expose the imitators. Instead, through maintaining a high standard of Biblical Truth we call believers to grow in discerning the true from the false.

What are the differences between the wheat and the tares?

A life born from above, built on the principles of the Kingdom of God, will bear fruit revealing a Kingdom life. The Sermon on the Mount lifestyle is the basis for developing this life.

We seek obedience to God according to His standards laid out in His Word and by His Spirit. We learn to die to self and all its accompanying vices: self-sufficiency, self-effort, self-reliance, especially in the spiritual life. We learn to live in surrender to the Holy Spirit and He fills us more each day.

Sons and daughters of the Kingdom influence their generation toward the coming Kingdom. Jesus will gather a great harvest as a result of their presence and choices made in the world.

Sons and daughters of darkness, on the other hand, produce a harvest of sin which, at the end, will be bound and burned. They revel in the darkness, hiding and covering sin, defiling multitudes with their filth.

However, it is not primarily external factors revealing this but the inner life being void and empty. The Pharisees were rebuked by Jesus because they only minded the outside “of the cup” though inwardly they were full of every kind of filth.

We cannot deceive ourselves thinking all in the Church are “sons and daughters of the Kingdom” and those who are outside are “sons and daughters of the evil one.” Many are evil who may look like they are of truth.

There are many church leaders appointed by Satan to deceive multitudes. Many denominations adhere to a form of religion but deny its power. They hold people captive by their forms and rituals, which is Satan’s plan.

Tares teach an ethical gospel but not one fixated on the death and resurrection of Jesus for redemption. Satan influences religious people to try to be good enough for God through their self-effort in order to keep them from embracing the cross as their only means of acceptance before God.

Remember it was the conservative, ethical and moral religious leaders (Jews) who crucified Jesus, not the open sinners. It is the self righteous who are often most dangerous to the purpose of God.

Satan isn’t concerned with a few sinners being saved. He is most definitely concerned with keeping institutions meant to impart God’s love through the saving Life of Jesus, focused on everything else but this. This is Satan’s scheme of planting deliberate tares among the true wheat.

We find two enlightening descriptions in this parable of what eventually happens to the two groups the wheat and tares.

First, the tares receive a frightful scenario from the mouth of Jesus.

At the end of the age, as part of the events surrounding the second coming of Jesus, angels will be dispatched to the earth in physical manifestation. These angels will bring about two harvests.

In the first harvest, everything that is harmful or offensive to the Kingdom of God will be cleansed. All that is unholy, full of every filth and degradation will be utterly banished.

In the second harvest, the angels will gather out all those who are truly sons and daughters of the Kingdom and all that have resulted in their being sown in the world.

These shall shine forth brightly in the glory of the Father. This refers to the Kingdom influence these have when all that is evil is removed from the world.

The wheat will shine brightly in the complete manifestation of the Kingdom of God in the age to come. It is then that we will rule and reign with Jesus under His leadership as He recreates His holy infrastructure in the earth.

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