Summary: The parable of the sower describes the work of Christ; the parable of the wheat and tares describes the work of Satan.
The parable of the sower describes the work of Christ; the parable of the wheat and tares describes the work of Satan. The parable of the wheat and tares is a prediction of the history of Christianity. The "field" represents the religious world, in which the wheat and the tares "grow together. This mixed state of affairs has resulted from the work of the enemy at the beginning of the Church Age. This parable, like the former, also contradicts the unscriptural teaching that, through the preaching of the Gospel, under the blessing of God, the whole earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord. Jesus said the wheat and tares will grow together until the harvest that He defined as "the end of the age." He gave no hint that the "tares" would gradually die out, or that they would decrease in numbers; but announced that, at the end, they would be found in such quantity as to need binding "in bundles."
The connection between the parable of the sower and the parable of the wheat and tares is Sower of the good seed is the same Sower who “went out to sow.” The field is the same, “the world” (v. 38). In the parable of the Sower the seed is called "the word of the kingdom," (v. 19). In verse 38 the seed is called the sons of the kingdom. Since like produces like: the word of the kingdom produces sons of the kingdom: the fruit is according to the Seed!
The prominent thing in the parable of the wheat and tares is the work of the enemy, Satan. His servants sow evil seed while the servants of the Sower of the good seed. In other words, it was under cover of the darkness that the enemy sowed his tares. He sows his seed under the cover of darkness because he hates the light. It is not the Sower who was sleeping when the enemy sowed his seed. He never sleeps or grows weary like His servants. Nor does Satan sleep or grow weary. He is ever on the alert, going about, "seeking whom he may devour." He is the personification of perpetual motion.
"While His men were sleeping" refers to the unwatchful condition which soon developed among the Lord’s people. The presence of the "tares" among the wheat was evidenced at a very early date. To the Thessalonians the apostle Paul wrote "the mystery of lawless is already at work” (2nd Thessalonians 2:7). John told the readers of his first letter, “you heard that Antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have appeared” (1 John 2:18). Jude wrote, "For certain persons have crept in unnoticed, those who beforehand marked out for this condemnation, ungodly persons who turn the grace of our God into lasciviousness and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ" (v. 4). To the Church at Pergamos Christ said, "I have a few things against you, because you have there some who hold the teaching of Balaam . . . . you also have some who in the same way hold the teaching of the Nicolaitans” (Revelation 2:14, 15).
We are told in the parable the Sower is the Son of Man and He sows good seed in His field (vv. 24, 37). Then we are told the enemy sowed tares or darnel (v. 25). Satan is no originating genius, but is an imitator. He produces counterfeits of the works of God. It is important for Christians to know this, so that they may be on their guard. If we study Scripture we shall not be ignorant of his devices (2 Corinthians 2:11). It is to be carefully noticed that as the enemy didn’t sow thorns or thistles. If he did this it would had been easily detected, and there would be no difficulty in distinguishing the false from the true. He sowed "tares," or "darnel." Darnel cannot be distinguished from the wheat until the wheat begins to bear fruit. When the "servants" of the Sower discovered what the enemy had done, they wanted to root out the darnel (v. 28). He told them not to root out the darnel. If they root out the darnel they will uproot the wheat (v. 29). The darnel wraps itself around the roots of the wheat and this is why the Sower didn’t want His servants to root out the darnel. It is only when the wheat is harvested can the wheat and darnel be safely separated.
As these imitation blades, green and flourishing, grow side by side with the real wheat, it appears there will be a good harvest. But appearances are deceptive, and the harvest will be a disappointment and mockery to those who have spent so much time and labor on their cultivation.