“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 parable of the tares is the second of the seven given in the book of Matthew, and it is only recorded in that book.
The passages in Matthew 13:24-30 are given above as an opening to our study; Matthew 13:36-43 contain Jesus’ interpretation of this parable, and therefore are of most interest. These will be covered at length in the next post.
The first parable of the sower is covered in the posts, “Good Earth”, in four parts from 11-16-18 through 11-26-18.
If you study the letters to the seven churches in Revelation chapters 1-3, you will find that the church age is divided up into seven different periods of time, not all of which are the same length.
The first and most doctrinally correct of these, because the apostles established it, was the Ephesian church which lasted about 67 years from 33 A.D. to 100 A.D.
Unfortunately the church at Ephesus went from a church filled with love and a desire for evangelism to one of duty without love.
“Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place – unless you repent.” Revelation 2:4-5.
This was never done and it is likely that all of the following church ages were the result of this failure.
The second church period was one of persecution when Christians were thrown to the lions among other horrific things. The persecuted church of Smyrna to whom the letter was addressed lasted from 100 A.D. to 312 A.D.
The third letter was addressed to Pergamum which characterized the church age from 312 A.D. to 590 A.D. an age of compromise with the world system.
This over-tolerant church was the result of Emperor Constantine making Christianity the state religion. This is proof that the secularists have it wrong, it is not the church which must be kept separate from the state, it is the state which must be kept separate from the church.
The fourth letter is addressed to the church at Thyatira; the Roman Catholic Church, the church of the dark ages. This church dominated the age from 590 A.D. to 1517 A.D.
It is an example of the abomination of the state taking over the church which in turn swallowed up the state creating a bloodthirsty monster which will only be equaled and then surpassed as we come to the end of the current age and enter the tribulation period.
The fifth letter is addressed to Sardis, better known to us as the Reformation and the beginning of the Protestant churches, a period which spanned from 1517 A.D. to 1750 A.D.
Many folks talk about how wonderful the Reformation was, and it was in the beginning; however it turned out to be dead orthodoxy and the church as a whole failed, even to the point of persecuting Christians who disagreed with their theology – just as the Catholic Church had.
Jesus had this to say about Sardis the Reformation church.
“I know your works, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead.” Revelation 3:1c.
The sixth letter is addressed to Philadelphia, 1750 A.D. to 1925 A.D. This church age was one of powerful evangelism and missionary work. You may recognize the name by which this church age is often called, “the great awakening.”
The risen glorified Christ makes a promise in His letter to those who are in this church, which extends to all born again Christians no matter what church they are part of.
“I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth. Behold, I come quickly!” Revelation 3:10b-11a.
Considering Jesus’ promise to come quickly, we should all give earnest heed to the following verse, because it is possible for His return to catch all of us unawares.
“And now, little children, abide in Him, that when He appears, we may have confidence and not be ashamed before Him at His coming.” 1 John 2:28.
Read the above verse once more before continuing, and give careful thought as to what you might be doing when the rapture occurs.
If you are having sex with your spouse, there is nothing wrong with that, but beware if it is someone else. If you are working in your office or framing a house there is nothing wrong with that; but beware if you are cheating your boss, or using shoddy material.
“Then the scribes and Pharisees brought to Him a woman caught in adultery. And when they had set her in the midst [of a large crowd], they said to Him, ‘Teacher, this woman was caught in adultery, in the very act.’” John 8:3-4.
What must she have thought as she contemplated committing this act the night before? “I am careful, no one will ever know.” The same thing every other adulterer thinks or they would not do it!
This woman is now one of the more famous women in the New Testament, as an adulteress.
We should not leave this before we see the grace of God.
First let us hear Jesus’ answer to the religious hypocrites who delivered this poor woman up.
“He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.” John 8:7b.
The hypocrites went from His presence. Jesus, who had been writing on the dust of the ground rose up and asked the woman.
“Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?” She said, ‘No one, Lord.’ And Jesus said to her, ‘Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.’” John 8:10b-11.
Think carefully, will you be abiding in Christ or taking advantage of His grace?
The seventh and very last church age is described in the letter to the church of Laodicea which began 1900 A.D. and continues to this day.
The seventh church age is one of compromise and apostasy, which is a good description of the majority of churches today. The Lord Jesus describes this last age in this manner.
“Because you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’ – and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked …” Revelation 3:17.
These seven churches are a pre-written history of the church age from Pentecost to the rapture, the dates given may vary by a few years, which is why you may read other accounts with dates slightly different from the above; yet they are all history.
The first church age, the Ephesian church is not likely to show up in secular history, though church history will verify it.
The persecuted church is plainly the period when Rome, as seen in history books, threw Christians to the lions.
The third church age began when Constantine historically adopted Christianity as the state religion in 312 A.D.
The fourth church age is plainly the period of the dark ages; an age of superstitions, knights, serfs, lords, and demonically inspired persecutions of Christians and Jews.
The fifth church age is the Reformation which any historian can verify.
The sixth church age was the great awakening which church historians can easily verify.
As for the seventh church age, look around you.
If it could be said that the book of Revelation gives us a pre-written history of the church’s characteristics and failings, it could then be said that the seven parables in Matthew 13 give us an idea of how they got there and what is going to happen in the end.
I have stated in another post that the parables do not have to sit on all fours. In other words every part of the parable does not have to have a meaning to it.
I have since found in a Bible dictionary a quote or maybe a rephrase of one of the early church fathers named John Chrysostom (349-407 A.D.) which may be clearer.
“…there is a scope or purpose for each parable, and that our aim must be to discern this, not to find a special significance in each circumstance or incident.”
We are about to see how this works.
Tares, Part 1 taken from godisrevealed.com posted on 12-10-14, updated on 6-25-19.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version, copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission, all rights reserved.