17 Feb 2023
The parable of the weeds in Matthew 13 is, in one sense, unique, as it deals with the whole span of God’s plan from the coming of the Messiah to the end of the age.
Jesus told them another parable: ‘The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in this field. But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. When the wheat sprouted and formed ears, then the weeds also appeared.
The owner’s servants came to him and said, ‘Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?’
‘An enemy did this’, he replied. The servants asked him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’
‘No,’ he answered , ‘because while you are pulling up the weeds, you may uproot thel wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: first collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.” (Matt. 13:24-30)
The explanation of the parable by the Lord Jesus: “The one who sowed the good seed is the Son of Man. The field is the world, and the good seed stands for the people of the kingdom. The weeds are the people of the evil one, and the enemy who sows them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age; and the harvesters are angels.
As the weeds are pulled up and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of theage. The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. They will throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Whoever has ears, let them hear.” (vv37-43)
This is as clear as it can be. The gospel will advance and so will be the opposition – the world will continue to get both better and worse. Christians will sow the gospel seed, and there will be revivals and blessings here and there, and there will be a great ingathering – but at the same time, there will be great opposition and persecution, and before the end, perhaps the greatest persecutions believers have ever faced. This is what the Lord declared, “Let both grow together until the harvest.”
But notice the definite end at the harvest: God will ‘weed out’ the people of the devil and those who sin and do evil – the reference to blazing furnace indicates judgement and the weeping and gnashing refers to ‘hell’. The righteous will shine like the sun, indicating vindication and glorification at the end of the age. The Lord Jesus did not indicate when this will happen, but He certainly gave us the whole span of what will happen from the time of His ministry on earth until the end of the age – this would certainly take place!
When reference was made previously to the speech of the UN secretary when he spoke of disaster on a biblical scale, we see that this is no longer something that is not possible.
The book of Revelation gives us a glimpse of the church’s problems and what will take place in the coming years: although the genre is apocalyptic, dealing with arrays of symbols and metaphors to analyse human situations from the perspective of heaven, certain conclusions and indications may be in order.
Note the following in Revelation 8:-
“A third of the earth was burned up, a third of the trees were burned up, and all the green grass was burned up…a third of the sea turned into blood, a third of the living creatures in the sea died, and a third of the ships were destroyed…..A third of the waters turned bitter, and many people died from the waters that had become bitter”. (Rev. 8:7-11)
Even though the language may be filled with symbols and metaphors, but the conclusion that there would be extensive damage and destruction is not far-fetched.
Revelation gives the revelation that the world will get better and worse at the same time, culminating in final judgement of evil and vindication and glorification of the people of God. In the meantime, believers are urged to endure, to persevere and to remain faithful and true to God despite the great opposition and persecution.