SECTION 6: THE PARABLES OF THE KING
THE TARES – THE MUSTARD SEED – AND THE LEAVEN
A FUTURE GREAT SEPARATING HARVEST
Scripture To Consider:
“Another parable Jesus 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?”‘“
“The owner 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 you also uproot the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest, and at the time of the 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
Something To Consider:
As in the previous parable, it is evident that when our Lord speaks of the kingdom of heaven, He means the proclamation of that kingdom and the results of His message. As He explained to His followers, the field is the world. The field is not the church, nor civilization, but the whole world of men, women, and young people to whom the gospel is being preached. As a result of this proclamation some will be transformed and properly prepared to take their places in the coming kingdom.
At the same time, the enemy of mankind is at work. He is sowing tares and as a result there is found in this world those whom our Lord will declare to be the sons and daughters of the evil one. Side by side with the sons and daughters of the kingdom of God they grow and develop. It is impossible to effect separation between them. They continue together until the great separating harvest is implemented.
In this present age good and evil, virtue and vice, sin and holiness continue in spite of their antagonism and spiritual contrast. It is only at the end of the age, when the harvest takes place that the Lord of the harvest will command the reapers to gather the tares to be burned and to gather the wheat into the safety of His protection and shelter.
Therefore, universal righteousness and peace cannot be expected until the King comes to bring that which is right and holy to its ultimate triumph. Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father! Have we made our reservations? Or is our true identity still a hidden mystery?
More Scripture To Consider:
“Another parable Jesus put forth to them, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his field, which is indeed the least of all seeds; but when it is grown it is greater than the herbs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and nest in its branches.’“
“Another parable He spoke to them: ‘The kingdom of heaven is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal till it was all leavened.’“
“All these things Jesus spoke to the multitudes in parables; and without a parable He did not speak to them, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying: ‘I will open My mouth in parables; I will utter things which have been kept secret from the foundation of the world.'” Matthew 13.31-35
Something Else To Consider:
Between the parable of the tares and Jesus’ interpretation of that parable, which illustrated the mingling of good and evil of the then present and future ages, our Lord introduced two short parables which He chose not to explain. The first is that of the mustard seed and the second that of leaven.
As the parable of the sower and the seed and the parable of the tares were interpreted by our Lord to refer to the effect of His preaching and that of His followers in every age, so it is probable that these two parables have the same purpose.
There are some who understand the growth of the mustard seed to suggest the sudden but unsubstantial development which characterizes certain present forms of what they designate as the kingdom; and, as leaven is usually in the Scripture a symbol of corruption, the latter parable is taken to denote the false doctrine which often permeates the teaching of some professed so-called Christian organizations.
More Scripture To Consider:
“Then Jesus sent the multitude away and went into the house. And His disciples came to Him, saying, ‘Explain to us the parable of the tares of the field.’ Jesus answered and said to them, ‘He who sows the good seed is the Son of Man. The field is the world, the good seeds are the sons of the kingdom, but the tares are the sons of the wicked one. The enemy who sowed them is the devil, the harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are the angels.’“
“Therefore, as the tares are gathered and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of this age. The Son of Man will send out His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and those who practice lawlessness, and will cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has an ear to hear, let him hear.” Matthew 13.36-43
Something More To Consider:
These interpretations are quite in accord with the mingling of good and evil, set forth by the previous parables. It is also taught by some however, to find in the mustard seed a symbol of the small beginnings and widespread message of the kingdom and its effects; and to regard the leaven as typifying its silent work and permeating power. And this indeed is a possibility; but while the Holy Spirit is doing His silent behind the scenes work, we are to so let our lights shine atop the hillside called Calvary. In doing so the permeating work of God is quietly and most effectively accomplished.
And so, the great evangelical debate continues concerning the meaning of the mustard seed parable. Though we would prefer to keep an open mind until Scripture nails the coffin closed, according to Jesus, the tares are explained as evil and leaven usually typifies evil and the permeating characteristic of sin. In Jesus’ private explanation to His disciples, that Matthew makes public; Jesus explicitly was speaking about a great and eventual separating future spiritual harvest. This future harvest will create the establishing of final battle lines that can never be crossed.
From Genesis to Revelation the distinct difference between good and evil runs like a scarlet thread throughout all of Scripture. Throughout history as godly relationships are formed these battle lines have been drawn and separations have resulted. Isaiah chapter 14 gives us an Old Testament collection of biblical details surrounding Satan and his evil entourage being cast out of heaven creating distinct battle lines and a clear point of separation of good and evil forever.
Again, in Revelation chapter 12 the heavenly scene is set for the final casting down of Satan and the revealed truth of the original spiritual battle lines and great separation of good and evil in heaven by God Himself. And in Luke 10.18, Jesus declared, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.” In other words, there was no debate! There was no burden of proof offered by the defense or for the defense. Once iniquity was found in Satan, the once son of the morning, a great separation was established, and Satan was cast down to earth.
A Few Final Words:
Yes, Satan was banished to the earth. And so, he awaits his final punishment on the other side of the great end time future separating harvest, of which the reserved angels of God will be dispatched to earth as heavenly reapers of both evil one-time angels fallen from their first estate, and men, women, and young people who have chosen to cast their lot with the enemy of their souls due to a lack of understanding.
Therefore, the question for each of us to privately meditate on and answer from within our own prayer closets is, will we be found steeped in iniquity or looking unto Jesus? Will we be found weeping and gnashing our teeth in a furnace of unquenchable and yet much deserved fire? Or will we be found by Jesus shining forth as the sun in the righteous kingdom of our heavenly Father? In Jesus’ own words, “He [or she] who has ears to hear, let them hear!”
Are we tares having been sown in among the good seed? Are we unknowingly living among the mustard seed abnormal growth of a so-called church that does not represent what God had intended? Have we foolishly allowed the leaven of sin, iniquity, lawlessness, compromise, and complacency to separate us from the true vine of Jesus Christ? Do we no longer cling to Christ and His teachings as true branches of our true tree of life Jesus and His written and preserved Word?
These are most important questions we must honestly answer before the final separating future harvest is begun. Once the final spiritual battle lines are drawn by God, there will be no debate. There will be no additional appeal. And there will certainly be no motion for mistrial filed. Now is the time to be found as good seed bearing much fruit before it is too late!
Our Father in heaven, thank You for the truth revealed in the parables of the tares, the mustard seed, and the leaven. May we be found forever seeking first Your kingdom of righteousness and desiring to live godly lives while here upon planet earth. Allow our hearts to be overwhelmed by Your love, truth, and grace we find in Jesus our great rewarding and eternally faithful example. In Him Always, Amen!