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Summary: There is no separating out, until the harvest.

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THE FIELD IS THE WORLD

Matthew 13:24-30; Matthew 13:36-43

The interpretation of the parable of the wheat and the tares (Matthew 13:24-30) should not be a matter of contention, as Jesus Himself gives the interpretation (Matthew 13:36-43).

One modern preacher applies this passage to the heart of the individual, any individual, every individual: that there is good and bad in all of us. But this is not what Jesus meant when He said, “The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one” (Matthew 13:38).

An individual Christian cannot be both a child of God and a child of the devil at one time!

A nineteenth century preacher applied this passage to the Church, and churches: that there will always be a mixture of true believers and false, converted and unconverted in every age and denomination of the Church, and in every group of believers. Every attempt to create a pure church is futile, he seemed to imply, and it is pointless to wonder from church to church looking for a pure communion.

This was spoken in an age when, I suspect, there was sounder preaching in the churches. But Jesus did not say that the field is the Church - but “The field is the world.”

Ever careful of the commandment against blasphemy, in Matthew 13:24, Matthew uses the term “kingdom of heaven” rather than Luke's ‘kingdom of God.’

Both John the Baptist and Jesus began their ministries preaching that ‘the kingdom of heaven is at hand’ and elsewhere Jesus spoke of the kingdom of heaven being within us.

We recite the Lord's Prayer: ‘Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven.’

What is being spoken of is God's rule upon earth.

The farmer in Matthew 13:24 is synonymous with the householder in Matthew 13:27. In Matthew 13:37 Jesus identifies these with Himself.

The servants of the householder in Matthew 13:27 are His faithful preachers.

The good seed stands for “the children of the kingdom” as opposed to “the children of the wicked” (Matthew 13:38).

When wheat begins to grow, there springs up with it a weed called darnel. Both look alike until the seed heads appear, then the darnel can be identified by its grey colour. But by this time the roots are intertwined, and it is impossible to separate them until the harvest.

So it is in the world, God's field. He has sown the good seed - “the children of the kingdom.” The devil has sowed bad seed, but there is no separating out of “the children of the wicked” until the harvest.

At the end of the world the angels reap the harvest. Just as the tares were first gathered and burned, the condemnation of the wicked precedes the full establishment of God's kingdom amongst His elect.

All that offend and continue in their iniquity will be cast into a furnace of fire, consciously aware with wailing and gnashing of teeth that God's judgment is against them (Matthew 13:41-42).

Then, and only then, will “the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father” (Matthew 13:43).

“Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.”


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