Matt 13:30                 The Parable of the Wheat and the Tares                      11/4/2007      ßà   

 

 

 

 

#1.       While Men Slept (Gen 3:16, John 8:43-44)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#2.       The Penalty of Hell (Matt 13:30, 36-43, 1Thes 4:14-17, Jam 3:1)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#3.       Then Shall the Righteous Shine Forth (Matt 13:43, 1John 3:2)

 

 

 

Please open your Bibles to the Gospel According to Matthew, Matt 13:24 (2X). We are continuing our exposition of the eight parables in this important chapter in the Gospel of Matthew. These are parables which give us a great deal of insight in the nature of salvation, and they show us an aspect of God that we have not heard before in other churches. Last week we have seen in “The Parable of the Four Soils”, or “The Parable of the Four Souls”, that God is absolutely sovereign in His decision to make one soul fertile and to leave the three other souls unfruitful, which means that they are under condemnation. Today we will be studying the second parable, which is The Parable of the Wheat and the Tares. And so, the title of this sermon is, The Parable of the Wheat and the Tares. Let us rd.

Mt 13:24-25  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.

Mt 13:26  But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also.

Mt 13:27-28  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?

Mt 13:29  But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them.

Mt 13:30  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.

In the first parable the seed was the Word of God, or the good news, the Gospel of salvation. But in today’s parable the seed represents people. We can see that if we look to our right in verses 38-39 where the Lord Jesus explained this parable. There in Matt 13:38-39 we read,

Mt 13:38-39  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.

This parable started with “The kingdom of heaven is like”. In the Bible the expression “kingdom of heaven” occurs 32 times, all in the Gospel of Matthew. In the other narrative Gospels it is called “the kingdom of God”, and it actually means the same thing. The kingdom of heaven, or the kingdom of God, is that kingdom where God rules here on earth, which eventually ends up in heaven. Therefore the kingdom of heaven, or the kingdom of God, has to do with the church, which is the manifestation of God’s kingdom here on earth. The Parable of the Wheat and the Tares is a story about the church in the world. That is why the Lord Jesus said, “The field is the world”. The important consequence is this: There are wheat and tares in the church. And we can clearly see in this parable that the wheat and the tares were wheat and tares all the way from the beginning. In fact, they were both present since the fall of Adam. The wheat represents the children God, and the tares represent the children of the Devil. The wheat remains wheat, and the tares remain tares all the way until the harvest. And according to verse 26 both wheat and tares look alike until the fruit bearing stage, but then they begin to differ. This has awesome consequences. It means that God from the beginning knew who would be wheat and who would be tares. We may then ask: does God have a favorite people whom He calls His elect, and does God leave the rest of mankind growing up like tares, ready to be burned? Can this be expected from a righteous God? Our answer must be YES! God is righteous in everything He does. When and How did it come to pass that the tares were sown. The Lord Jesus said in verse 25,

#1.       While Men Slept (Gen 3:16, John 8:43-44)

Please turn in your Bibles to the Prophecy of Genesis, Gen 3:16 (2X). Adam and Eve were not on their guard since they were not aware that they had enemies, and that is why Eve and then Adam fell for the snares of the Devil. After Adam and Eve had eaten from the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil God came to judge their sins. First God pronounced a curse on the serpent and on Satan. Then God turned to the woman and pronounced a curse on the woman. God said in Gen 3:16,

Ge 3:16 ¶  Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow, and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.

You may have heard this verse explained as follows: “I will greatly multiply thy sorrow IN thy conception”, as if the woman is promised to have pain IN childbearing. This is absolutely incorrect. Throughout the Bible we read that conception is generally not a curse, but a blessing. But this is meant as a curse on the woman for the sin of eating from the forbidden fruit. The Hebrew Masoretic Text does not say IN, but it says AND. There are 5 curses on the woman stated here in Gen 3:16.

#1, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow. #2, I will greatly multiply thy conception. #3, In sorrow thou shalt bring forth children. #4, Thy desire shall be to thy husband. #5, And he shall rule over thee. Today I want to talk only about the second of these five curses on the woman, for that is relevant to the Parable of the Wheat and the Tares. God said, “I will greatly multiply thy conception”. What does this mean? If Adam and Eve would not have eaten from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, would one of their children have been a murderer like Cain? NO! They would have children who were all born as children of God. Therefore Cain was an example of the second curse, which says, “I will greatly multiply thy conception”, and many of those conceived will be a grief to their parents. This is how the tares came into this world, and into the church. Cain and Abel belonged to the same church, they brought their offerings to the same place, they looked alike growing up. But when the time of fruit bearing came one turned out to be a tare and the other turned out to be wheat. Please turn in your Bibles to the Gospel Acc to John, John 8:43 (2X). Who was in charge when Cain was conceived in Eve’s womb? God was. Only God can cause conception to take place. And why did God allow this conception to take place? We have to leave that with God. But in the death of Abel God gave us here an example that the righteous shall always be persecuted by the wicked. And so, this was the time when the Devil sowed tares in the field that God has created. Even though only God can cause conception to occur God says that the wicked are children of the Devil. For example, we read in John

Joh 8:43  Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word.

Joh 8:44  Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.

When the Lord Jesus said, “Ye are of your father the devil”, He was referring to the tares in the second parable of Matt 13. They were essentially sown at the time that Satan made Adam his willing slave. And notice that these Jews belonged to the same church that the Lord Jesus belonged to. The children of the Devil can be known by their fruits. Like Satan, they are murderers and liars. And like Satan, their lies are causing people to be condemned to Hell. It is in this way that they are also murderers. And since these tares are in the same church as the wheat, we can see that these liars refer to the false preachers and teachers in churches that proclaim another gospel, and thereby they will lead many astray and will drag with them into Hell. But God will preserve His elect, represented by the wheat. Please turn in your Bibles to the Gospel According to Matthew, Matt 24:37 (2X).  

The Lord Jesus said in Matt 13:30, “Let both grow together until the harvest”. With these words the Lord is teaching us again the principle that there will be both children of God and children of the Devil alive until the harvest. It means they will both grow together until the end of the world. This is an integral part of God’s plan for His children, represented by the wheat: It will be good for them to have adversity coming from the tares all the way until the end of the world. Now, that does not seem very loving of God to let us suffer through the Final Tribulation Period (FTP). Will we be slaughtered by the tares?  Will there be a worldwide persecution that will be worse than it has been ever before? And the answer is NO! Those ideas are based on a misunderstanding of the nature of the FTP. We read about the nature of the FTP in Matt 24:37-39, where the Lord Jesus said,

Mt 24:37  But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.

Mt 24:38-39  For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark,            And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.

In other words, the secular world before the end comes will be like it is today: it will be business as usual. No one will expect Christ to return at that moment. There will be no bloody persecution or great bloodletting, for that would be a sign to the secular world that Christ is coming soon. But the FTP will be a period of tribulation for the saints, for the saints will recognize if we are in the midst of such a FTP. The Lord told us here in Matt 24 what the nature is of this great tribulation. He said in Matt 24:24

Mt 24:24  For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.

You see, the FTP will be characterized by an abundance of false gospels within the Christian churches, where each will have a different Christ, and a different prophecy, and a different way of salvation, and which shall be accompanied by supernatural signs and miracles, and their gospels will be so close to the true Gospel that even the elect would be deceived, if that were possible. And please note these words: If that were possible. But it is not possible that the elect would be deceived, for God is our protector, and God will not permit the wicked to harm us in our souls. You see, God arranged it so that the wheat and the tares will grow together, because the tares are not able to harm us. The tares are not going to be a threat to our salvation. We must take great comfort in the matter that God is our protector and our defender as long as we live on this earth. We read in Rom 8:32,

Ro 8:32  He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?

If God delivered Christ for us all, referring to all of us who are of God’s elect, then how could we believe that God would abandon even one of us? It is not possible. And thus it is not possible that any one of God’s elect would be deceived by the false gospels that are so prevalent in churches today. This is the nature of the FTP. Of course there is still physical persecution in some parts of Africa and Asia, but it is not the hallmark of Christianity today. The nature of the FTP is that it is a tribulation for the saints, but it is not a tribulation for those who remain unsaved. They are not aware of any tribulation, for they are not able to distinguish the true Gospel from the many false ones in the church.

While we are here in Matt 24 let us also look at the scenario of the end time events, since that is brought up in the Parable of the Wheat and the Tares. Please drop down to verse 29, Matt 24:29-31,

Mt 24:29-31  Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken:        And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.          And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.

You see, immediately after the FTP comes the end of the world. The sun and moon will be taken away, and great events will be seen in outer space and on this earth, announcing the beginning of the end. Can you see that this will be immediately after the FTP? There will not be any 1000 year lapse between those events. The church on this earth will move toward greater and greater apostacy, until the Lord calls it “Babylon”, and then will the end come. And when Christ comes, both wheat and tares both saints and unbelievers will be on this earth. And all the unsaved on the earth shall weep and wail, for they will know that Christ has come to judge them. But all the saints will rejoice, because verse 31 says that Christ will send His angels to gather together His elect. But angels are not as slow as human beings. This gathering of the elect occurs in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye. And then shall all the bodies of the elect either be raised from the grave, or they shall be transformed into a glorious body resembling that of the Lord Jesus Christ, and they shall join the Lord Jesus somewhere in outer space. Then Christ and all the saints shall gather at a certain place where the rest of mankind shall stand before the judgment throne, and they shall all be cast into Hell. Then Christ and all the saints shall enter into the New Jerusalem which is located in the NH&NE. Please turn to the Gospel According to John, John 5:25 (2X). This same scenario is confirmed many times throughout the Bible. For example, in the Gospel of John, chapter 5, there are two callings which should not be confused with one another. The first one is in verse 25. The Lord Jesus said in John 5:25,

Joh 5:25  Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when “the dead” shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live.

You see in this verse “the dead”, but you do not see “the graves”. In other words, these are not the dead in the graves, but the walking dead. These belong to the elect who have not yet been saved. They shall hear the calling of Christ, and they shall spiritually live. Notice that the Lord Jesus said, “The hour is coming, and now is”. The timing is the present. The second calling is in verses 28-29, 

Joh 5:28-29  Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in “the graves” shall hear his voice,                    And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.

You see in this verse “the graves”, but you do not see “the dead”. In other words, this calling occurs at an entirely different time; it is the time of the end. The Last Day has arrived and Christ is calling His own out of the graves. The saints are raptured up to be with Him forever. However this is also the time that all the unsaved shall be resurrected and receive bodies with which they will be able to endure the torment of Hell for an eternity. And the unsaved shall be able to see the rapture of the saints. For example, God speaks about this resurrection in Rev 11:12, where He said,

Re 11:12  And they heard a great voice from heaven saying unto them, Come up hither. And they ascended up to heaven in a cloud; and their enemies beheld them.

God emphasized the fact, “Their enemies beheld them”. This has enormous consequences. If you realize that we will receive bodies which will remain for an eternity, then you also realize that these bodies must consist of material that is not of this universe, for everything in this universe is subject to decay. It is an inherent property of this universe that there will be entropy, and thus what we observe is that there is decay all the way to the farthest ends of this universe. And thus our new bodies must be made of a totally different material, of another universe, which knows no entropy. But since our enemies can see us in our new glorified bodies, they too must be translated into this new universe, for only then are they able to see us ascend up into heaven. And thus it is necessary that they too will receive their eternal bodies destined for Hell at the same time that we will receive our glorified bodies.

#2.       The Penalty of Hell (Matt 13:30, 36-43, 1Thes 4:14-17, Jam 3:1)

Please turn again to the Gospel According to Matthew, Matt 13:30 (2X). Here is an apparent contradiction to the scenario of the end that we have just seen in other parts of Scripture. We have just seen that first the saints will be raptured up to be with Christ, and then the wicked shall be judged and cast into Hell. But in the Parable of the Wheat and the Tares the sequence seems to be turned around: First the wicked are cast into Hell and then the saints are gathered to be with Christ. We need to sort this out, for there are false gospels out there which make mincemeat out of you if you have not firmly resolved this issue in your mind. Let us first review Matt 13:30,

Mt 13:30  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.

We see here that Christ emphasizes that first the tares are bound in bundles, and then the wheat is gathered into His barn. What does it mean that they are bound in bundles? And what does the barn represent? Please drop down to verse 36, for there the Lord Jesus explained this parable. We read in

Mt 13:36  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.

Mt 13:37  He answered and said unto them, He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man;

Mt 13:38-41  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;

Mt 13:42  And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.

Mt 13:43  Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.

The Lord Jesus explained here the barn, mentioned in verse 30. Look at verse 43. There in the barn “the righteous shall shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father”. Now, at what point in time will that be? Will that be at the time that the angels are gathering all the saints and the Lord is giving them their glorified bodies as we can read in 1Thes 4:14-17? Absolutely not, for then we have not yet entered the glorious kingdom in the NH&NE. First the wicked must be judged and be cast into Hell, and only then shall we enter into the glorious kingdom in the NH&NE. And so, the apparent contradiction is removed, for in this parable the Lord Jesus does not mention the rapture of the saints. What then is the meaning of the “bundles” that are mentioned in verse 30? Let us keep in mind the distinct difference between the gift of eternal life, and the reward for anything done on this earth. The gift of eternal life is a free gift, entirely given by God’s grace to those whom God decided to bestow it on before the foundation of the world. God arranged it this way so that He will receive all the credit and all the glory for our salvation. We did not contribute one iota to this immense gift of eternal life, and even our best work done for Christ on this earth paled to insignificance when compared to the work that Christ has done for us, for Christ must receive 100% of the credit and the glory. On the other hand, when Christ hands out rewards for evil works done here on earth, He only hands them out to people who are unsaved, and then those works do count, for in them there is no work of Christ to compare. Christ did not suffer and die for them. People sin voluntarily. No one is making them to sin. And thus those who sinned grievously will receive a greater condemnation than those who sinned out of ignorance. For example, we read in Jam 3:1 that false teachers of the Gospel receive the greater condemnation than the rest of mankind. Why? It is because they were more resembling Satan in propagating lies that are dragging many into Hell with them. False teachers are more resembling Satan than just plain murderers on death row. And so they will end up in a hotter place in Hell. Now we can figure out the “bundles” of verse 30. What are the bundles for? Obviously the ropes of these bundles do not disintegrate when the tares are cast into the fire. These tares are bundled to place them in separate levels of punishment in Hell. Some will go to a hotter place in Hell than others. Now remember when the Lord Jesus told this parable, He compared it to the church, for He said, “The kingdom of heaven is like”. Some churches have degraded the Lord more with their lies than other churches. And some churches have spread their lies very far into the world, and have been guilty of deceiving a great many people. And some pastors have been very successful in writing books to propagate their lies into the world. Only God knows how much evil they have spread around. And thus we see what the bundling is for; it is to place people in groups of similar punishment within the group. And thus the bundling is representing the judgment process before the judgment throne.

Now we come to the essence of this parable. At the core of it the Lord Jesus proclaims:

Please turn in your Bibles to the Epistle to the Romans, Rom 9:21 (2X). Only God knows who the wheat and the tare are. Only God can justify His incredible mercy upon the wheat. Only God can determine what is a righteous judgment for each one of the tares. But right from the start of this parable the wheat and the tares are marked out. Even though the little plants of wheat come into the world indistinguishable from the tares, even though the little plants of wheat look just like the little plants of tares, God determined that at some point in the life cycle of the wheat He will justify the wheat plants, for the fruit they are bearing is a true faith in the saving work of the Lord Jesus Christ for their sins. And the fruit they are bearing is the evidence that God has done a marvellous work within their soul. Right from the start God predetermined the destiny of each of His little wheat plants. But what about the tares? Right from the start God determined that He would not bestow any grace upon the tares. Right from the start God marked them out as children of the Devil, and God passed them by, so to speak. This meant that every one of these children of the Devil must give an account of their own sins, and must make the payment for their own sins. It meant that each one of the tares will end up in Hell, without fail. But God will not immediately cast them into Hell, for God is a righteous judge, and He will only cast them into Hell after they have been arraigned, and their sins, which they have so voluntarily committed, have been judged. And then they will be cast into Hell. This is known as the doctrine of election and reprobation, which was uncovered during the Reformation, for the Roman Catholic Church had hidden these doctrines for many centuries. But during the Reformation it was discovered that these things were abundantly written about in the Scriptures. For example, we read in the Epistle to the Romans in chapter 9 God’s decision on Jacob and Esau, where God says, “Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated”, and God said this before the children were born, before they could have done any good or evil. And God wrote these words in this Epistle to the Romans in order that the purpose of God according to election might stand. Also we read in Rom 9:21-24,

Ro 9:21-24  Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?        What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction:     And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory,         Even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?

And so we see the doctrine of election and reprobation clearly displayed when God speaks of “the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction”, and “the vessels of mercy afore prepared unto glory”. Again we see that this Gospel of divine election and reprobation is reserved not for the Jews only, but also for the Gentiles. All nations are treated equally before God, for God’s promise of righteousness is not a Jewish promise, but is extended to all nations. Please turn in your Bibles to the Prophecy of Isaiah, Isa 43:3 (2X). Some people are willing to talk only about election, but they are fearful to talk about reprobation. However, if they honor God’s wisdom, they will admit that God not only knows the names of all His elect, but God also knows the names of all those whom He will pass by. And thus it is impossible to speak of God’s elective program without also recognizing His program of reprobation. This is what the Parable of the Wheat and the Tares clearly portrays. God says in Isa 43:3-4,

Isa 43:3-4  For I am the LORD thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Saviour: I gave Egypt for thy ransom, Ethiopia and Seba for thee.                  Since thou wast precious in my sight, thou hast been honourable, and I have loved thee: therefore will I give men for thee, and people for thy life.

The love of God for us, His elect people, is so great that God did not only give His only begotten Son, but God also gave up people to give us eternal life. We do not fully understand this, but we know that when God delivered all the children of Israel out of the house of bondage, at the same time He brought condemnation on all the Egyptians. Please turn in your Bibles to the Prophecy of Proverbs, Prov 21:18 (2X). We find in this collection of the proverbs of Solomon several verses dealing with the subject of election and reprobation. The prophecies of Job, down to Song of Solomon, are called the Wisdom Literature of the OT. It is logical that God gave Solomon the wisdom to understand the sovereignty of God in election and reprobation. We read in Prov 21:18,

Pr 21:18 ¶  The wicked shall be a ransom for the righteous, and the transgressor for the upright.

When we think of the exodus of the children of Israel, when they were freed out of Egypt, we understand the meaning of this proverb. The Egyptians are represented by the wicked, and the children of Israel are represented by the righteous. We know that the exodus out of Egypt was meant only as a picture of what salvation is. God did not actually save all the children of Israel, for only a small fraction of them were saved. But in the exodus God gave a grandiose picture of our salvation out of the house of our bondage to sin and Satan. Please turn a few pages back to Prov 11:8 (2X),

Pr 11:8 ¶  The righteous is delivered out of trouble, and the wicked cometh in his stead.

It means that the righteous are delivered from Hell, and in their place the wicked are going to Hell. And when we turn to Prov 16:4 (2X) we get an even clearer picture of election and reprobation.

Pr 16:4 ¶  The LORD hath made all things for himself: yea, even the wicked for the day of evil.

Please turn almost to the end of your Bibles to the Epistle of 1st Peter, 1Pet 2:8 (2X). In this part of the Epistle God wrote through the pen of Peter about those who are building a spiritual house for God, and those who remain disobedient to God. We read in 1Pet 2:8 (2X),

1Pe 2:8  And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed.

Please note these words, “whereunto also they were appointed”. They were appointed to act out this role of being disobedient. This then is being portrayed in the Parable of the Wheat and the Tares.

#3.       Then Shall the Righteous Shine Forth (Matt 13:43, 1John 3:2)

Mt 13:43  Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.

When the Lord Jesus appeared to John on the isle of Patmos His face was shining as the sun. In our glorified bodies we too will be shining like the sun. God gave us this promise here in Matt 13:43, and also in 1John 3:2, where God says, “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is”. This is a promise that we can look forward to. Then we will be home at last. This life is just a passing through. We are strangers and pilgrims here on earth. But when we have arrived at the kingdom of our Father, when we see Jesus, then we finally see that it was worth it all. Then we shall understand that the way He designed our salvation plan, it was the most perfect plan of all.

AMEN.                 Let us turn to the Lord in prayer.