PART I: THE PATTERN PARABLES
CHAPTER 2 THE WHEAT AND WEEDS
Jesus told them another parable:
Jesus explained the meaning of this parable and The
Parable of the Soils. By examining these two parables along
with Jesus' interpretations, we can see how to interpret the
other parables of Jesus.
The Parable of the Wheat and Weeds is sometimes called
the Parable of the Tares. It is also classified as one of the
Parables of the Kingdom. It is found only in Matthew
"The owner's servants came to him
and said, `Sir, didn't you sow good seed
in your field? Where then did the weeds
"`An enemy did this,' he replied.
"The servants asked him, `Do you want us
to go and pull them up?'
"`No,' he answered, `because while
you are pulling the weeds, you may root
up the wheat with them. Let both grow
together until the harvest. At that time
I will tell the harvesters: First collect
the weeds and tie them in bundles to be
burned; then gather the wheat and bring
it into my barn.'" (Matthew 13:24-30, New
Jesus tells a simple story of a farmer who planted
wheat in his field. During the night, his enemy deliberately
"oversowed" his wheat with darnel (tares), a kind of weed
that looks like wheat when it first comes up. When the wheat
began to head out, the weeds became apparent. The farmer's
servants asked, "Then do you want us to go and gather them
[the weeds]"? (Matthew 13:28, Revised Standard Version). He
told his servants to wait until the harvest and he would
have the reapers to gather the weeds first and bundle them to
be burned. Then his reapers would gather the wheat into his
See G. Campbell Morgan, D.D., THE PARABLES AND METAPHORS OF OUR LORD (Old Tappan, NJ: Fleming H. Revell Company, 1943), pp. 49-54, for a thorough treatment of this parable, that he calls "The Darnel."
Then he left the crowd and went into
the house. His disciples came to him and
said, "Explain to us the parable of the
weeds in the field."
He answered, "The one who sowed the
good seed is the Son of Man. The field is
the world, and the good seeds stands for
the sons of the kingdom. The weeds are
the sons of the evil one, and the enemy
who sows them is the devil. The harvest
is the end of the age, and the harvesters
"As the weeds are pulled up and
burned in the fire, so it will be at the
end of the age. The Son of Man will
send out his angels, and they will weed
out of his kingdom everything that causes
sin and all who do evil. They will throw
them into the fiery furnace, where there
will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
Then the righteous will shine like the
sun in the kingdom of their Father. He
who has ears, let him hear. (Matthew 13:36-43,
New International Version).
After Jesus went to the house where he was staying,
his disciples asked him to explain the parable. The
characters in the story and the real persons that they
represent are as follows:
1. Sower of good seed Son of Man (Jesus himself)
2. Sower of weeds the devil
3. Servants of farmer mature Christians
4. Good seeds sons of the Kingdom
5. Field the world
6. Weeds sons of the devil
7. Reapers angels
8. Harvest close of the age.
The phrase "Son of man" is a title of the Messiah. It
emphasizes Jesus' humanity. He is also called "The Son of
God" in the scriptures. It is interesting to note that Jesus
used a particular name of Satan here. The word translated
"devil" is DIABOLOS, which means "accuser or slanderer."
[W. E. Vine, VINE'S EXPOSITORY DICTIONARY OF NEW TESTAMENT
WORDS. Unabridged ed. (McLean, VA: MacDonald Publishing Co.,
n.d.), s.v., "Devil, Devilish"].
Here is a diagram of the dual dynamic:
JESUS --> WORD OF GOD --> CHILDREN OF GOD
DEVIL --> WORD SUBSTITUTE --> CHILDREN OF THE EVIL ONE
The phrase, "sons of the Kingdom," is a Hebraism that
refers to "those who partake of the nature of the Kingdom [of
God]," that is, those who partake of the nature of God.
Likewise, "sons of the wicked one," means those who
partake of the nature of the Liar or Slanderer, Satan.
These are liars or hypocrites who look like Christians but
Both Jesus and Satan are busy sowing. Jesus is sowing
the Word of God. Satan is sowing substitutes for the Word of
God. Jesus is producing human offspring having the nature of
God. Satan is producing human offspring having the nature of
himself. Society is becoming more polarized.
Christians are forbidden to try to destroy unbelievers.
I believe that this means that Christians are not to
antagonize unbelievers in any way. It means that the
so-called "holy wars" of the institutional church were
wrong. Attempting to do the work of God with the arm of the
flesh is wrong. "Conversion with the sword" is wrong and also
ONE CONVINCED AGAINST HIS WILL
REMAINS UNCONVINCED STILL.
When some Samaritans rejected Jesus, James and John were
ready to destroy them:
As the time approached for him to be
taken up to heaven Jesus resolutely set
out for Jerusalem. And he sent
messengers on ahead, who went into a
Samaritan village to get things ready for
him; but the people there did not welcome
him, because he was heading for
Jerusalem. When the disciples James and
John saw this, they asked "Lord, do you
want us to call fire down from heaven to
destroy them?" But Jesus turned and
rebuked them. [And he said, "You do not
know what kind of spirit you are of, for
the Son of Man did not come to destroy
men's lives, but to save them."] And they
went to another village. (Luke 9:51-56,
New International Version).
Jesus' teaching here and elsewhere is that it is God's
will that the "sons of the wicked one" become the "sons of
the Kingdom." If believers uproot them now, they may never
become believers. Unfortunately, some true believers would
also become uprooted.
At the end of this age, the Lord will commission angels
to remove the incorrigible, hardened, wicked people and place
them in God's prison. The angels will also usher believers
into God's presence, where they will be forever with their
Please note that this parable has nothing to do with
local church discipline. The church is to correct believers
who get out of line.
WE ARE NOT TO HAVE A CONDEMNING ATTITUDE TOWARDS UN-
BELIEVERS, OR ATTEMPT TO HARM THEM IN ANY WAY. (IMPLIED IN
THIS PARABLE, AND BASED ON OTHER SCRIPTURES, WE ARE TO LOVE
AND DO GOOD TO ALL PEOPLE, INCLUDING UNBELIEVERS).
It is important for us as believers to be about our
Father's business. We must allow ourselves to be motivated
by the same love of God that motivated Jesus. We must have
"For God so loved the world that he
gave his one and only Son, that whoever
believes in him shall not perish but
have eternal life. For God did not send
his Son into the world to condemn
the world, but to save the world through
him." (John 3:16-17, New International Version).
Then we must put this love into action, especially in
sowing the good seed of God's Word and winning people to God
through Christ. END