Another parable He put forth to them, saying: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field; but while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat and went his way. But when the grain had sprouted and produced a crop, then the tares also appeared. So the servants of the owner came and said to him, ‘Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have tares?’ He said to them, ‘An enemy has done this.’ The servants said to him, ‘Do you want us then to go and gather them up?’ But he said, ‘No, lest while you gather up the tares you also uproot the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest, and at the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, ‘First gather together the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them, but gather the wheat into my barn.’ “(Matthew 13:24-30)
The Eternal Harvest
Farming has been a part of the human experience from the beginning of time. Seeds are planted in the ground with the expectation of harvesting a crop and enjoying the fruit of the labor. Harvest is when the crops are gathered together and always comes with certain diligence required to enjoy the bounty. When Adam and Eve were cast from the Garden of Eden, God told Adam the ground would become a battlefield of thorns and thistles. Only by the sweat of his brow would man enjoy the bounty of the harvest. At the time of harvest, a separation would be required to remove the weeds that had grown profusely among the good seed. Men developed means to separate the grain and the weeds because the weeds were useless and unproductive for consumption. While the grain would be taken to market to be sold or used in homes for food, the weeds were bundled and burned. There was no use for the weeds.
Jesus used everyday pictures to fortify His teachings as parables. A parable is a means of painting a picture that everyone can see and understand. Parables are simple images with deeper meanings. It was common to see fields planted in wheat where men had sown the good seed in the ground. Over time, the grain would grow full as a blanket of golden kernels covering many acres of ground. Also, tares or weeds would grow among the wheat. If a man was unfortunate to have a vengeful enemy, a man might come and sow weeds among the wheat field to diminish the bounty of a man’s crop. There was little that could be done with the weeds. If workers tried to go through the field and take all of the tares out, they would risk pulling up many good stalks of wheat. The wise farmer would leave the tares until harvest. Jesus used that time of harvest to make an eternal lesson. Like the farmer who waits until harvest to remove the tares, the Heavenly Father waits for the day of judgment to separate evil men from the righteous.
The parable of the wheat and tares is a declaration by Jesus that a day of separation is coming. Many religious people believe that everyone will be saved and that God would never permit anyone to suffer. Jesus refutes that idea in the parable of the wheat and tares. There are two kinds of people in the world: those who are like the wheat (saved) and those who are like the tares (lost). They grow together in the same field, enjoying the same sunshine and rain and the blessings of God. Jesus said a day is coming when all men will come to the eternal harvest. On the day of harvest, those who are saved will be taken away from those who are lost. The lost will be burned. Those of the ‘wheat’ will be gathered into God’s eternal home (barn).
Jesus taught there is eternal judgment. Not everyone will be saved. Many will be the tares at harvest, which will never enjoy the fruits of eternal life. The good seed is the heart that will hear and obey the word of the Lord, living faithfully to the will of the Father. When the harvest comes, and the tares are separated, these will be those who lived in the freedom of a ‘tare-filled’ life doing whatever they wanted. The tares are burned. So it will be for those who do not obey the will of the Father. You are either an ear of wheat or a tare. Tares can become wheat when they repent and obey. That is a marvelous change that can take place within the heart of any man who desires to enjoy the blessings of heaven. What must I do to be saved? Stop being a weed and become fruitful in the kingdom of God. Repent and be baptized for the remission of sins, and you will no longer be a weed! Praise God.