The Continuing Conflict Between the Two Kingdoms Until the End of the Age

wheat-and-weedsMatthew 13:28-30 reads,

28 He said to them, ‘An enemy has done this.’ So the servants said to him, ‘Then do you want us to go and gather them?’

29 But he said, ‘No, lest in gathering the weeds you root up the wheat along with them.

30 Let both grow together until the harvest, and at harvest time I will tell the reapers, Gather the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my barn.’

In this text, the servants ask the Master if he’d like them to pull out the weeds and gather them. He said no, lest they root up the wheat along with the weeds. The roots of the weeds are usually entangled with the wheat. It is stronger and deeper than the roots of wheat. If they pull the weeds, the wheat would also be pulled out.  

So in v. 30, the Master tells them to just let both weeds and wheat grow together until the time of harvest. At harvest time, the reapers shall gather the weeds first. They shall bundle them as fuel for burning.

Brethren, the field is the world. In this world, at this present age, the weeds and wheat co-exist. There are the sons belonging to the evil one. Then there are the sons belonging to the Kingdom. For now, the plan of God is to make them co-exist. It is not yet the plan of God to separate them.

We learn two things from this parable. First, it is the time of spiritual war between the two kingdoms. Second, it is not yet the time of harvest of the two kingdoms.

While the two kingdoms co-exist, there is conflict. There is war. Where there is war, there are casualties of war. There is contradiction. There is confusion.

In this war, the wicked prosper and the righteous suffer, it seems. In the Gospel of Matthew, Matthew writes about the sufferings of the righteous and the prosperity of the wicked. He writes about Jesus warning his disciples about persecution.

Matt. 10:16-18 reads,

16 “Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.

17 Beware of men, for they will deliver you over to courts and flog you in their synagogues,

18 and you will be dragged before governors and kings for my sake, to bear witness before them and the Gentiles.

The sons of the Kingdom are like sheep among wolves, seemingly powerless before the wicked.

Matthew writes about John the Baptist in Matt. 14:3-11. Herod had John the Baptist put in prison. Herod was having an affair with Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife. John had been preaching to Herod that it is wrong to have another man’s wife. Herod wanted to put John to death, but he was afraid of the people, who believed him to be a prophet.

On Herod’s birthday, Herodias’ daughter danced before Herod. Herod promised to give her anything she wants. Herodias’ daughter, coached by her mother, asked for the head of John the Baptist on a platter. Herod had John killed and his head delivered on a platter.

In this conflict between the Kingdom of God and the kingdom of Satan, the righteous suffer and the wicked prosper. It is a confusing situation. But it is a temporary situation. This present age shall end. There shall come a harvest at the end of the age.[1] The harvest is the time of separation of weeds and wheat. It is an eschatological judgment—judgment at the last day.

Brothers and sisters, the Kingdom of God has indeed come. With the arrival of Christ, the Kingdom of God is upon you. The kingdom of God is already here spiritually, but eschatological judgment is not yet, physically.

Also, it is Jesus, the Son of Man, who will judge the world. Since He will judge the world, we are not to judge it. It is not our job to root out the weeds. It is His job to root out the weeds.

It does not mean that we will no longer impose church discipline on members who do grievous sins. But the parable of the weeds is not about church discipline.

It does not mean that we will no longer uphold a pure church. We should continue to uphold a pure, NT church. But the parable is not about church membership. It is about the existence of the sons of the Kingdom and the sons of the evil one in this world. The field is the world, not the church.

It does not mean also that we shall no longer fight evil. But the parable of the weeds is not about giving up the fight against evil and relinquishing the will to do good. Rather, we should be persevere in Christ. We should face opposition in the strength of the Lord. We should keep on preaching the Gospel to everyone. We should keep making disciples. We should be faithful to the Lord, knowing that the time of harvest is at hand.

We are to let both weeds and wheat grow until the harvest. We are to wait until the harvest. The Son of Man will do His job and separate the two.


      [1] Hagner, Matthew 1-13, 394.

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