“24 Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field: 25 But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way. 26 But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also. 27 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? 28 He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up? 29 But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them. 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. … 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. 37 He answered and said unto them, He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man; 38 The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one; 39 The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels. 40 As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world. 41 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; 42 And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. 43 Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.” Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43
Jesus explains the parable of the wheat and the tares for us. He, through His servants, sows the good seed. The field is the world. The good seeds are the children of the kingdom of God; but the tares (or darnel) are the children of the devil, the evil one.
Jesus, through His faithful ministers, sows the pure seed of the Gospel in this world and thus produces true believers who repent of their sins and trust in Christ for salvation, and are, therefore, members of His eternal kingdom. These are the good seeds, or the wheat.
But in the same field where the true Gospel is proclaimed and produces Christians, the devil and his false prophets sow error and false doctrine which produce false Christians. These may appear to be genuine Christians, but they do not repent of their sinful ways and have saving faith in Jesus Christ, and their fruits or works are unacceptable to the Lord God.
In this world — and even within the outward visible church — true believers and false, unbelieving hypocrites continue to dwell side by side until the day of judgment. Then God’s holy angels will separate the false believers from the true.
Those whose religion did not spring up from the good seed of the Gospel will be separated from the true believers, gathered up, and cast into the eternal fires of hell! But those whose faith comes from the pure Gospel — who despair of their own righteousness and trust in Jesus Christ alone for the forgiveness of their sins and for eternal salvation, who also as a fruit of that faith produce fruit acceptable in God’s sight for Jesus’ sake — will be taken to heaven where they will live with Christ in righteousness and purity forever!
This is a warning to us that, wherever the Gospel is sown and true believers are in this world, the devil will also sow his lies and false teaching to lead people into false security and hope based on their own works and righteousness or upon some other lie or deception of the evil one. They may appear to be a part of Christ’s church in this world but they are not. They remain impenitent and unbelieving. In the end, they will be gathered up and cast into the fires of hell!
Only those who hear God’s Word, repent of their sins, and trust in Christ and His blood shed upon the cross for all will be gathered up by God’s angels and given eternal life in heaven!
Let us hold fast to Jesus Christ and continue in His saving Word lest we also be misled by the working of the evil one!
Defend Thy truth, O God, and stay this evil generation; and from the error of its way keep Thine own congregation. The wicked everywhere abound and would Thy little flock confound; but Thou art our Salvation. Amen. (The Lutheran Hymnal, #260, Verse 6)
[Scripture is quoted from the King James version of the Bible.]