Declare unto us - That is, explain the meaning of the parable. This was done in so plain a manner as to render comment unnecessary. The Son of man, the Lord Jesus, sows the good seed - that is, preaches the gospel. This he did personally, and does now by his ministers, his providence, and his Spirit, by all the means of conveying “truth” to the mind. This seed was, by various means, to be carried over all the world. It was to be confined to no particular nation or people. The good seed was the children of the kingdom; that is, of the kingdom of God, or Christians. For these the Saviour toiled and died. They are the fruit of his labors. Yet amid them were wicked people; and all hypocrites and unbelievers in the church are the work of Satan. Yet they must remain together until the end, when they shall be separated, and the righteous saved and the wicked lost. The one shall shine clear as the sun, the other be cast into a furnace of fire - a most expressive image of suffering.
We have no idea of more acute suffering than to be thrown into the fire, and to have our bodies made capable of bearing the burning heat, and living on m this burning heat forever and forever. It is not certain that our Saviour meant to teach here that hell is made up of “material” fire; but it is certain that he meant to teach that this would be a proper “representation” of the sufferings of the lost. We may be further assured that the Redeemer would not deceive us, or use words to torment and tantalize us. He would not talk of hell-fire which had no existence, nor would the Saviour of people hold out frightful images merely to terrify mankind. If he has spoken of hell, then there is a hell. If he meant to say that the wicked shall suffer, then they will suffer. If he did not mean to deceive mankind, then there is a hell, and then the wicked will be punished. The impenitent, therefore, should be alarmed. And the righteous, however much wickedness they may see, and however many hypocrites there may be in the church, should be cheered with the prospect that soon the just will be separated from the unjust, and that they shall shine as the sun in the kingdom of their Father.
Jesus - went into the house: and his disciples came - Circumstances of this kind should not pass unnoticed: they are instructive and important. Those who attend only to the public preaching of the Gospel of God are not likely to understand fully the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven. To understand clearly the purport of the Divine message, a man must come to God by frequent, fervent, secret prayer. It is thus that the word of God sinks into the heart, is watered, and brings forth much fruit.
Declare (φρασον, explain) unto us the parable of the tares of the field. - To what has already been spoken on this parable, the following general exposition may be deemed a necessary appendage: -
II. Why was evil permitted to enter into the world?
III. But why does he suffer this mixture of the good and bad seed now?
IV. Observe the end of the present state of things:
The wicked are termed bastard-wheat - the children of the wicked one, Matthew 13:38, the very seed of the serpent.
Observe the place in which the wicked shall be punished, - a Furnace. The instrument of this punishment, Fire. This is an allusion to the punishment inflicted only on those supposed to be the very worst of criminals. See Daniel 3:6. They were cast into a burning fiery furnace. The effect of it, Despair; weeping, wailing, and gnashing of teeth, Matthew 13:42.
Some learned men are of opinion that the whole of this parable refers to the Jewish state and people; and that the words συντελεια του αιωνος, which are commonly translated the end of the world, should be rendered the end of the age, viz. the end of the Jewish polity. That the words have this meaning in other places there can be no doubt; and this may be their primary meaning here; but there are other matters in the parable which agree far better with the consummation of all things than with the end of the Jewish dispensation and polity. See on Mark 4:29; (note).
I listened to words spoken by One who understands the past, the present, and the future. A most solemn representation was given, delineating the characters that should be possessed by those who are accepted as yokefellows in our institutions. These institutions need men who are temperate in the full acceptance of the term. God forbid that men who have not learned to control themselves, and who neglect their own character-building in order to make plans for some one else, should be brought into our institutions at Washington, D.C., and Mountain View, California. FE 493.1
The workers in our institutions are to heed the instruction given by Christ. When the truth abides in the hearts of those in charge, when they walk in the light shining from God's word, the younger workers will wish to understand better the words they hear in the assembly of God's people. They will ask for fuller explanations, and there will be special seasons of seeking the Lord and studying His word. It was in some quiet room or some retired spot in the country that Christ explained to the disciples the parables which He had spoken before the multitude. This is the work that will need to be done for the youth in our publishing houses. FE 493.2Read in context »
The Lord is coming in power and great glory. It will then be His work to make a complete separation between the righteous and the wicked. But the oil cannot then be transferred to the vessels of those who have it not. Then shall be fulfilled the words of Christ: “Two women shall be grinding together; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Two men shall be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left.” The righteous and the wicked are to be associated together in the work of life. But the Lord reads the character; He discerns who are obedient children, who respect and love His commandments. TM 234.1
The looker-on may discern no difference; but there is One who said that the tares were not to be plucked up by human hands lest the wheat be rooted up also. Let both grow together until the harvest. Then the Lord sends forth His reapers to gather out the tares and bind them in bundles to burn, while the wheat is gathered into the heavenly garner. The time of the judgment is a most solemn period, when the Lord gathers His own from among the tares. Those who have been members of the same family are separated. A mark is placed upon the righteous. “They shall be Mine, saith the Lord of hosts, in that day when I make up My jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him.” Those who have been obedient to God's commandments will unite with the company of the saints in light; they shall enter in through the gates into the city, and have right to the tree of life. The one shall be taken. His name shall stand in the book of life, while those with whom he associated shall have the mark of eternal separation from God. TM 234.2Read in context »
“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.” COL 70.1Read in context »
We are constantly surrounded by unbelief. The very atmosphere seems charged with it. Only by constant effort can we resist its power. Those who value their salvation should shun infidel writings as they would shun the leprosy. CT 136.1
The best way to prevent the growth of evil is to preoccupy the soil. Instead of recommending your children to read Robinson Crusoe, or fascinating stories of real life, such as Uncle Tom's Cabin, open the Scriptures to them, and spend some time each day in reading and studying God's word. The mental tastes must be disciplined and educated with the greatest care. Parents must begin early to unfold the Scriptures to the expanding minds of their children, that proper habits of thought may be formed. CT 136.2Read in context »
Has God no living church? He has a church, but it is the church militant, not the church triumphant. We are sorry that there are defective members, that there are tares amid the wheat. Jesus said: “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.... 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.” TM 45.1
In the parable of the wheat and the tares, we see the reason why the tares were not to be plucked up; it was lest the wheat be rooted up with the tares. Human opinion and judgment would make grave mistakes. But rather than have a mistake made, and one single blade of wheat rooted up, the Master says, “Let both grow together until the harvest;” then the angels will gather out the tares, which will be appointed to destruction. Although in our churches, that claim to believe advanced truth, there are those who are faulty and erring, as tares among the wheat, God is long-suffering and patient. He reproves and warns the erring, but He does not destroy those who are long in learning the lesson He would teach them; He does not uproot the tares from the wheat. Tares and wheat are to grow together till the harvest; when the wheat comes to its full growth and development, and because of its character when ripened, it will be fully distinguished from the tares. TM 45.2Read in context »
The heavenly sentinels, faithful to their trust, continue their watch. Though a general decree has fixed the time when commandment keepers may be put to death, their enemies will in some cases anticipate the decree, and before the time specified, will endeavor to take their lives. But none can pass the mighty guardians stationed about every faithful soul. Some are assailed in their flight from the cities and villages; but the swords raised against them break and fall powerless as a straw. Others are defended by angels in the form of men of war. GC 631.1
In all ages, God has wrought through holy angels for the succor and deliverance of His people. Celestial beings have taken an active part in the affairs of men. They have appeared clothed in garments that shone as the lightning; they have come as men in the garb of wayfarers. Angels have appeared in human form to men of God. They have rested, as if weary, under the oaks at noon. They have accepted the hospitalities of human homes. They have acted as guides to benighted travelers. They have, with their own hands, kindled the fires at the altar. They have opened prison doors and set free the servants of the Lord. Clothed with the panoply of heaven, they came to roll away the stone from the Saviour's tomb. GC 631.2
In the form of men, angels are often in the assemblies of the righteous; and they visit the assemblies of the wicked, as they went to Sodom, to make a record of their deeds, to determine whether they have passed the boundary of God's forbearance. The Lord delights in mercy; and for the sake of a few who really serve Him, He restrains calamities and prolongs the tranquillity of multitudes. Little do sinners against God realize that they are indebted for their own lives to the faithful few whom they delight to ridicule and oppress. GC 631.3Read in context »