Battlefield in the Mind, Bible Study, Christ in Me, Harvest, Holy Spirit, Indwelling Spirit, Parables, Parables of Jesus, Thoughts, Wheat and the Tares
Hello and welcome-or welcome back-to Renaissance Woman!
This week I am continuing to look at the Parable of the Wheat and the Tares found in Matthew Chapter 13 verses 24-30. There are two interpretations of this parable I find taught in Christian circles. Both interpretations say the tares and the wheat represent two types of people-believers and unbelievers-and that it is impossible to tell which is which until the harvest is ready and the angels come to reap. Then the believers will “be gathered into the barn” meaning go to heaven and the unbelievers will “gathered together to be burned” meaning everlasting torment in hell. The only difference in these two interpretations are some say the wheat and the tares sit together in church and others say no, the wheat and the tares grow together in the world.
There is a third interpretation which I’ve shared in my previous two posts. I do encourage going back and reading them before continuing on in order to better understand what I am going to say in this post. I found the third interpretation in J. Preston Eby’s From the Candlestick to the Throne study series # 173 The Firstfruits, the Harvest, and the Vintage. In a nutshell, this third interpretation suggests the parable is referring to the inner thought life of the believer.
The woman quoted by Mr. Eby is named Dora Van Assen and her interpretation doesn’t start with the parable of the wheat and the tares. She begins with the wheat and the chaff from Matthew 3:12 and the entire quote is worth reading. I’ve linked the article below. Regarding the wheat and the tares and the interpretation Jesus Himself gives in Matthew 13:36-43, Ms. Van Assen writes:
“The Holy Spirit deals with men in their minds and thoughts, and Satan can only attack man in his mind, giving false ideas and imaginations. These thought-pictures are often called ‘brain children.’ And these determine what manner of man a man is! These thought-pictures can be either good or bad, spiritual or carnal. Paul exhorts us to ‘cast down imaginations and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ’ (II Cor. 10:5).
“Bringing this parable down to us personally, we find that our own mind is the field in which are planted both good and evil. The children or offspring of the kingdom, and the children or offspring of the wicked one, are a mixture of both good and evil, flesh and spirit, growing up together within us until the harvest, which is the time of separation. The tares are somewhat different than the chaff in that that the chaff is part of the wheat; however the tares are not part of the wheat but a foreign implantation made to appear as wheat. The harvest reveals what sort of seed was planted in our earth, and how they have matured in areas of our lives. Only the mature know the difference! And only by harvest conditions can the Lord bring the separation!”
I am inclined to accept this third interpretation for a variety of reasons. The first is because of the words of Jesus Himself. Matthew’s gospel relates Jesus’ temptation in the wilderness and, after He had triumphed, how he began to preach and to say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
Jonathan Mitchell’s New Testament has this verse as: “From that time on, Jesus began to be repeatedly making loud public proclamations (performing as a herald), and to be continually saying, “You folks be progressively changing your thinking (change your frame of mind, mode of thought, perceptions, understanding and state of consciousness, and then turn your focus to [Yahweh]) because the sovereign reign, dominion and activity of exercising the sovereignty of the heavens (or; kingdom from the skies and the atmospheres) has drawn hear and now continues being at hand is close enough to touch (=has arrived and is now accessible).”
The Greek word for “at hand” in this passage is engiken (ἤγγικεν)and “is the 3rd person single form of the verb eggus which means “near, close (of a place or a condition), nigh or at hand (of a time), nearly (of numbers), akin to (of relationships).” Its tense is perfect (which indicates a present-tense report of an action that has been completed but has effects in the now; like: ‘he has done’), its voice is active (which indicates that the subject performs the action instead of receives it) and its mood is indicative (which describes a situation that actually is-as opposed to a situation that might be, is wished for, or is commanded to be).” (abirampublications.com).
How we think of the Kingdom of Heaven is important. Do we think of it as it is revealed to us in the tense of the Greek, as something close enough to touch, complete and available to us now? Or do we think of it as something reserved for some future date? This is an important factor in understanding both the parable of the wheat and the tares and Jesus’ interpretation of it. Matthew 13:39 says “the harvest is the end of the age.” The two main interpretations of this parable say that “end of the age” is a future date and most likely references the Second Coming.
That interpretation discounts the First Coming. With the death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus, an age drew to a close. With the pouring out of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost, a new age was inaugurated: that of the New Covenant ministered to us and in us by the Indwelling Holy Spirit. What if that was the “end of the age” Jesus meant? What could it mean for us as believers? For one thing, we can pray “Thy Kingdom Come” with the assurance that, since the Kingdom is near, completed, having effects in the now, our prayer is answered now. We can expect His will to be done on earth as it is in heaven now.
“The Kingdom of heaven is like…” wheat and tares sown in the same field. It is important to remember the tares never become wheat and the wheat never become tares. Conversion one to the other is not possible. The call of both John the Baptist and Jesus was “Repent! For the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.” Repent is not perhaps the best translation of the Greek word which is metanoia and it means “think differently”. Think Differently! For the Kingdom of Heaven is available to you now! It is clear to me the expectation is that we humans can change our minds and think differently. I cannot accept that Jesus called for humankind to “think differently” without the expectation we were capable of doing so. I do not believe Jesus ever considered any person a tare, incapable of changing his or her mind, and fit only for the fire.
So then, if the wheat and tares are not symbolic of two groups of people but are rather symbolic of thoughts coming to fruition in the field of our hearts and minds, doesn’t that suggest a duality of mind? Is there no hope for us but to think both carnally and spiritually until Jesus returns? I would say yes, if the “end of the age” did mean some date in the future. If it did not, if Jesus was referring to when He accomplished His work and inaugurated in a New Age, then it ought to be possible to have the fields of our hearts and minds sown only with good seed.
Does the Bible support this possibility? That is something I will continue to look at next week.
Until then, I leave you with 2 Corinthians 5:17: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” Something well worth thinking about.
Unless noted otherwise, all Scriptures are quoted from The Holy Bible, New King James Version, Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nashville, Tennessee, 1982
Kindgdom Bible Studies Revelation Series (kingdombiblestudies.org)
Matthew 13 – Barclay’s Daily Study Bible – Bible Commentaries – StudyLight.org
εγγυς | Abarim Publications Theological Dictionary (New Testament Greek) (abarim-publications.com)
Green, Jay P. Sr., The Interlinear Bible, Volume 4, Authors For Christ, Inc., Lafayette, Indiana, 1976, 1985
Mitchell, Jonathan, The New Testament, Harper Brown Publishing, 2019
Strong, James, LL,D., S.T.D., The New Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nashville, Tennessee, 1990
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