I have to admit that of all UR arguments, this parable has given me the most trouble, particularly since I saw something in it recently that I didn’t see before.
“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.
But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also.
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?
But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them.
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.” - Matthew 13:24-30
Now in other discussions on this board it has been suggested that the ‘wheat’ represents a man’s spirit, while the ‘tares’ represents a man’s ‘flesh’. And I was rather leaning that way, until I realized the other day that this is one of only a few parables that Jesus lays out an interpretation, found here:
“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.
He answered and said unto them, He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man;
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;
And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.
Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.” - Matthew 13:36-43
So the problem I have is that since Jesus declares this parable’s interpretation, it would not make any sense to make use of metaphors in said interpretation. Hence, I do not see how anyone can apply the spirit and the flesh to the wheat and the tares, respectfully. The interpretation IS the reality. Just as it is so in the Parable of the Sower.
Noting this brought me to a deep sinking feeling as I examined the parable closely. I made a comparison of what constitutes the ‘wheat’ and what constitutes the ‘tares’, and I note this as such:
- The wheat
From the parable: a) Sown by the sower, b) sown as ‘good’ seed, c) sown in the sower’s own field d) indistiguishable from the tares early in the growth process e) part of the expected harvest, f) is able to be separated from the tares at harvest time by reapers.
From the interpretation: a) The sower of the ‘good’ seed is the Son of God (i.e. He is the originator of the ‘good’ seed), b) the field (which is the sower’s) is the world, c) the ‘good’ seed are the children of the kingdom, d) the harvest is the end of the world, e) the reapers are angels, f) the righteous (that is the children of the kingdom) shall shine forth as the Sun in the kingdom of their Father.
- The tares
From the parable: a) Sown by the ‘enemy’, b) By definition, as well as in context to the parable, tares are destructive to the wheat and thus are sown as ‘bad’ seed, c) sown in the sower’s field amidst the wheat, d) to be gathered up first in the harvest, e) burned up in bundles.
From the interpretation: a) The enemy that sown the tares is the Devil (i.e he is the originator of the ‘bad’ seed), b) the tares are the children of the wicked (one), c) the tares (the children of the wicked one) are gathered and burned in the fire, d) the Son of Man sends forth his angels (as reapers) to gather out of His kingdom all things that offend and them which do iniquity. e) all the forementioned shall be cast into a furnace of fire, f) there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.
If there was nothing else to go by but the information that lay before us, then I would have to conclude that there are two catagories of beings with two different origins and with two different destinies.
If the Sower is the Son of Man and the wheat are the Children of the Kingdom, then that is all that is sown by the sower. In other words, all the seed that the Sower sows is good. They have the destiny of shining as the Sun in the their Father’s kingdom.
If the enemy is the devil and the tares are Children of the wicked (one), then that is *all *is sown by the enemy. In other words, all the seed the enemy has sown is bad. And they have the destiny of being burned in a furnace of fire, where there will be wailing and gnashing of teeth.
The question becomes: Does the enemy have the power to produce bad seed? And if so, what is the nature of the bad seed?
The only information we can glean from the parable is that the tares look identical to the wheat at the beginning stages of growth, but that at harvest time, there is a distinction. These are not good seeds that have gone bad. Nor are these bad seeds gone good. But each produces their respective fruit, as it were. Each seed produces exactly as expected. I do not see any change in either catagory.
So without drawing any other conclusions, I’d have to say that the Devil has the ability to produce literal children separate and distinct from the Son of Man who has the ability to produce literal children, based on this parable.
What say you?