SEVEN PARABLES of Matt. 13
We come now to the second parable, in which we find the
Kingdom of the heavens mentioned. It was not mentioned in connection with the
first parable of the sower. "Another parable set He before them, saying, The
Kingdom of the heavens has become like a man sowing good seed in his field; but
while men slept his enemy came and sowed darnel amongst the wheat and went
away. But when the blade shot up and produced fruit then appeared the darnel
also. And the hondmeri of the householder came up and said to him. Sir. hast
thou not sown good seed in thy field? Whence then has it darnel? And he said to
them, A man that is an enemy has done this. And the bondmen said to him, Wilt
thou then that we go and gather it up? But he said, No; lest in gathering the
darnel ye should root up the wheat with it. Suffer both to grow together unto
the harvest, and in time of the harvest I will say to the harvestmen, Gather
first the darnel, and bind it into bundles to burn it; but the wheat bring
together into my granary" (verses 24-30).
Again we are not left to seek for an interpretation. After he had spoken two other parables we read that our Lord in answer to His disciples question tells them what He meant by the parable. To this perfect interpretation by the divine speaker we have to turn to find the correct and far reaching meaning of this second parable. "Then, having dismissed the crowds, He went into the house; and His disciples came to Him, saying, Expound to us the parable of the darnel of the field. But He answering said, He that sows the good seed is the Son of Man, and the field is the world and the good seed these are the Sons of the Kingdom, but the darnel are the sons of the evil one; and the enemy who has sowed it is the devil, and the harvest is the completion of the age, and the harvestmen are angels" (verses 36-39).
The connection with the first parable is clear. The same sower is in the beginning of the parable before us, and the seed is deposited in the field, which is the world. But our Lord says, "the good seed, these are the Sons of the Kingdom." This can mean only one thing, namely, that the good seed sown and fallen into a good ground, as we saw in the first parable, brings forth fruit, and the Word of the Kingdom produces the Sons of the Kingdom. Like begets like; the fruit is according to the seed. However, the leading thought in this parable is the enemy and his evil work. it is a work of spite, as it is yet quite often practiced in oriental countries. The enemy watches till his hated neighbour has deposited his seed into the field, then he goes to work during the night, while men sleep, and begins to sow the bad seed of some weed. Not till the seed springs up and grows does the unsuspecting victim see the work of the enemy. The enemy, our Lord says, is the devil. As from the Word of the Kingdom the Sons of the Kingdom spring forth so from the evil seed sown by the devil come the sons of the evil one.
It is important to notice the time when the enemy did this and the manner in which he attempts to counteract the work of the Sower, the Son of Man.
In regard to the time, we have two facts to consider. The first is: It was immediately after the Sower had deposited the good seed; and the second fact: It was "while men slept." No sooner had our Lord brought the truth, and the Holy Spirit had been given, than the enemy began its work. In the days of the Apostle Paul the work which the enemy had done became manifest, and the evil seed, which at the end of this age is full grown, is easily seen springing up in the beginning of the age. The mystery of iniquity began its work then, and continues throughout the age till the end is reached, when it is fully developed. It was while men slept that the enemy did it. Not the Sower slept, He neither sleeps nor slumbers, but the men slept. Such an unwatchful condition soon developed in the beginning of the age. The first love was soon given up, and then the enemy did his work.
The manner was by putting a counterfeit seed in the field. The darnel looks in its seed like the wheat. When it springs up it cannot be distinguished from the wheat, yet it is a poisonous weed. The darnel represents the lie as it is put into the field by the devil. It is evil doctrine, a counterfeit of the faith once and for all delivered unto the saints. The denial of the Deity of our Lord, the denial of the resurrection and the inspiration of the Bible belong to this darnel seed, which made itself felt in the very beginning of this Christian age.
In a certain sense this process still continues. Whenever the truth is proclaimed and the Word taught, it does not take long before the enemy comes and brings the counterfeit when "men sleep." Another strong lesson we learn from this parable is the character of this entire age. It is evil. Satan is the god of this age till the end of the age comes. The mixed condition of good seed and darnel seed, Sons of the Kingdom and sons of the evil one prevails to the very end. The servants of the bondmen were willing to root out the darnel but were not permitted to do so. It is an idle dream, which many hope to realize, to reform the world, to gather out obnoxious evils, to banish drunkenness and immorality, to purify the state and politics. Such efforts are nowhere taught in the Word of God. Men, under Christian profession, take such work upon themselves, and they little know how they sin and dishonor Christ with it. No, error and its fruits will continue to grow alongside the good seed and its precious fruit till the time of the harvest. Before we follow the thought of the harvest we turn our attention to still another matter in connection with the first part of this parable.
A vital error has been committed in regard to the place where the wheat and the darnel grow together. It has been said to us "we cannot have a pure church, or assembly, for the Lord Himself has said that the evil will always be with us and that we are not to put them out who are the sons of the evil one." This was said and is said on the supposition that our Lord speaks of the Church. However, this is not the case. The church, the assembly, is not before Him at all. As we have said before the Kingdom of the heavens is not the Church. When it comes to the revelation concerning the Church we hear our Lord say that evil is not to be tolerated in the assembly. "If thy brother sin against thee go, reprove him between thee and him alone. If he hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. But if he do not hear, take with thee one or two besides that every matter may stand upon the word of two witnesses or of three. But if he will not listen to them, tell it to the assembly; and if also he will not listen to the assembly, let him be to thee as one of the nations and a taxgatherer" (Chap. xviii :15- 17). This is the way evil is to be treated iii the assembly or, as we generally say, Church. In the epistles we find numerous exhortations that evil doctrine and an evil walk contrary to the Gospel is not to be tolerated in an assenibly. The assembly is to judge evil. It is not said of the Church "let them grow together."
The field is not the Church, but the world, and it is in the world that this takes place; in been sown, in the entire sphere of professing that part of the field where the good seed has Christendom. The harvest is the completion of the age. Our authorized version has it "world." . This has misled many readers of the Word. The end of this world is a good ways off yet. The age in which we live is drawing rapidly to a close. What will take place then? Our Lord says, "As then the darnel is gath ered and is burned in the fire, thus it shall be in the completion of the age. The Son of Man shall send His angels and they shall gather out of His Kingdom all offences, and those that practice lawlessness, and they shall cast them into the furnace of fire; there shall be the weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous shall shine forth as the sun in the Kingdom of their father. He that bath ears let him hear" (verses 40-43). Before in the parable our Lord said: "I will say to the harvestmen, Gather first the darnel, and bind it into bundles to burn it; but the wheat bring together into my granary."
The completion of the age is the same as in Matthew xxiv, when the disciples asked for the signs of His coming and the completion of the age. The ending of the age will be Jewish:
Jewish history resumed in the events which fall into the last week of Daniel, the seventieth week. Of this ending the Lord speaks. The angels will then be the harvestmen. It cor responds to what we read in Rev. xiv :14-20. "And I looked and behold a white cloud, and upon the cloud one sat like unto the Son of Man, having upon His head a golden crown, and in His hand a sharp sickle. And another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to him that sat on the cloud Thrust in thy sickle and reap; for the time is come for thee to reap, for the harvest of the earth is ripe."
Some who teach that unscriptural theory. that the church will remain in the earth to the very end of the age and pass through the great tribulation, have used this parable to support their views. We repeat the parable has nothing to do with the Church. When our Lord speaks of the bundling up of the darnel and the gathering of the wheat into the granary, He did not teach that the wheat is the Church or represents the Church, and that the gathering in of the Church is to be His last act in this age. The wheat, of course, is the good seed, the good seed are the Sons of the Kingdom. That all. true believers are the good seed and as such Sons of the Kingdom none would doubt. Yet, after the Church is removed from the earth, before the completion of the age, as foretold in prophecy, begins, there will still be wheat in the earth. There will still be sowing. Indeed it will then be "the Word of the Kingdom" which is preached. The Gospel of the Kingdom will be proclaimed during that end and the seed will spring up. A great multitude will come out of that. great tribulation having washed their robes in the blood of the Lamb. This multitude will be gathered in the time when the darnel are being bundled up, preparatory to the visible thanifestation of the Lord. The wheat, these Sons of the Kingdom, will be gathered into His granary, kept and preserved for the Kingdom to be established in the earth. "Then the righteous shall shine forth as the sun in the Kingdom of their Father." This reminds us very strongly of the language of Matthew xxv :34. "Come ye blessed of My Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the World." These words are addressed not to the church, but to that multitude come out of all nations (Rev. vii) and the Kingdom is not the heavenly glory but the earthly Kingdom. The Church, her heavenly calling and destination, we repeat again, is not in view at all in this second parable.
Let us hold fast the three great facts the parable teaches. These are, as we have seen, the following:
i. The enemy, the devil, began his work in the beginning of the age.
2. The age is mixed, good and evil grows together. This condition cannot be changed throughout the age.
3. The mixed condition will cease with the completion of the age. The Sons of the Kingdom will inherit the Kingdom. The darnel after being bundled up are burned with fire.
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