I have always been fascinated by the parable of the wheat and the tares told by our Lord Jesus in Matthew 13:13-31 especially as it pertains to the endtimes. The greatest intrigue of the parable is that the wheat and the tares could not be separated until the second coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. That is indeed a frightening thought to know that there are tares amongst us. Paul also spoke of wolves coming in after he has departed Ephesus (Acts 20:29). Of course, church history is filled with both sides of the religious divide accusing one another as being the tare or the antiChrist. Martin Luther was identified as the antiChrist by the Catholic church and he himself in turn identified them as the antiChrist; both calculating their representative names to be 666. And modern church history is filled with accusations hurled by opposing church people as fanatics or antiChrist. History and the passage of time has proven that Martin Luther was on the right side and the once maligned Pentecostal and Charismatic movement has now become the largest group in modern Christianity. The Bible has also shown that the Pharisees were in the wrong and Jesus was in the right. Today many of the Pharisees are rotting in hell while Jesus is in heaven with His disciples. The big question is whether it is possible to have some clues as to the behaviour of the tares and the wheat while they exist side by side within Christendom?
We used to think that every one who prays the sinners’ prayer and attends church is automatically one of the Lord’s disciples. Through the years I have begun to see that many whom we qualify as wheat are actually tares and what many discard to be tares are actually wheat. How do we know this? Let us look at the Bible examples. The Pharisees who claim to be the model of perfection and religiousity have turned out to be the tares and the sinners, publicans and common folk who are still imperfect in many ways have turned up to be the citizens of heaven, the true wheat! The strongest rebuke from Jesus was against the Pharisees whom He said “make others twice the sons of hell like themselves” (Matthew 23:15). The Pharisees were literally like the devil, they steal, they kill and they destroy (John 10:10; Matthew 23). The basic fact is that the Pharisees do not know God nor know the mercy and the love of God! By this we can know the wheat from the tares, the wheat walk in God’s love but the tares do not walk in God the Father’s love because they do not know God; for those who know God will love like God does. Outwardly, the tares might seem perfect like the Pharisees but true perfection is not perfection of life, rather it is the perfection of love for no one is righteous or perfect by themselves. In their religious zeal and self righteousness, the Pharisees condemn more people than God Himself would. Thinking they are perfect, they condemn those who are not perfect. The sinners, the publicans and the prostitutes might not be perfect and unblemished but they did love Jesus and followed Jesus. From amongst them came the best followers of Jesus and the truest devotion and love. Who in the Bible was the examplary person of love towards God? It was a woman who formerly was a prostitute who knew how to love Jesus beyond what anyone else in Jesus’ time (Luke 7:36-50).
The keys to tell who are wheat and who are tares is in the area of the practice of God’s love. Imperfect wheat will beat outwardly perfect tares in the love of God any time, any place and any where. The tares will always steal, kill and destroy; they have no idea how to sacrifice, give life and build up in love. Think about this, if you think you are better than someone else, should you destroy them or build them up? Build up, of course! And if we realize that someone else is better than us, should we destroy them or build them up? Build up and learn from them, of course! And if you think that you are equal to someone else, would you destroy them or build them up? Build them up, of course, and work along side to help one another. In all three counts, you build and help not tear down or destroy. There is never any point in any human relationship or Christian relationship where you have permission to kill and destroy another person. Only tares destroy, not the wheat. Some people even dare to claim the permission of God to do such things. Such people are no different from the Pharisees who claim the position of religious and spiritual authority to destroy another. Watch and see, in time the tares will attract hell fire around themselves and finally end up in hell themselves like the Pharisees. To them are reserved the greatest condemnation like that which Jesus spoke in the gospels.
The closer one walks with God, the more loving one becomes for God is love and those who truly know God know His love for God and for others. Those who do not love do not truly know God our Father, our Papa God. To do the Will of God is to walk in His love for this is the commandment of God. By this shall all men know that we are the disciples and followers of Christ. Tares are scattered in all the echeleons of Christiandom, Yes right up to the top, with many of them calling themselves prophets, apostles, pastors, teachers and leaders but who do not walk in love nor know the true love of God our Father. They are all false prophets, false apostles, false teachers, false pastors and false leaders. Behind their religious masks and spirituality and self proclaimed authority is the devil spirit of the Pharisees. They breathe destruction and condemnation, spewing up judgments and destroying others. The way to know a good tree is by its fruit (Matthew 7:20). And the greatest fruit is the love of God (1 Corinthians 13:13). Show me any Christian, no matter how imperfect, who lived the sacrificial loving life of Jesus in loving others and there we can see a true wheat (1 John 3:16). Show me any Christian, no matter how outwardly perfect, who does not live the sacrificial loving life of Jesus but rather dispensing killing and destruction and we can truly identify them as tares who are still living and growing amongst us.
Now we do realize that Christians are growing in love and are not perfect in love yet. It is better to love and learn to love, no matter how imperfectly, than to walk in hate, anger and self righteousness. By this shall all men know that we are the disciples of Jesus, by obeying His commandment to love as Jesus loved (John 13:34-35).