Is There Any Weed in the House?
While the Son of Man sows seed everywhere, there are only certain types of ground in which Holy Seed will germinate and grow. Not so for the seed of the evil one. His seed grows anywhere, on hard ground, on rocks, on concrete. It’s a type of seed that requires no special soil or careful nurture. This is because the evil one is the god of this world and almost everything in the world is his.
Jackson Snyder July 22, 2001
We spoke last time about effective planting methods. I want to recall them:
The sower in the story seems pretty indiscriminate in his planting. He is not hoeing out rows then planting each seed with care. He doesn’t even cultivate the field. He casts seeds around, and then he goes onward. Our sowing begins whenever we go forth into the great field of the world. We witness, that is, “sow seed,” by both our stories and our lives.
Sowing word-seed consists of three easy steps. The first step is to do a good deed or a favor for somebody. This makes an aperture in the soil for the seed-Word. The second step is to tell our own stories of how the Word has intersected our lives. The third step is to put a name to the seed; that name is Yahshua / Jesus.
Witnessing is not preaching! If people in the world wanted to be preached at they would already be in church. Also, witnessing is not itemizing someone’s sins for them or throwing someone’s shortcomings in their face. Most people already know they are lacking. This is what witnessing is: (1) doing a favor (or asking a favor), then (2) telling your own story, (3) then naming Yahshua / Jesus in the process. It’s as simple as that. Though simple, this method is as effective as can be. You do the sowing, somebody else does the cultivating, somebody else does the reaping. You don’t really have a whole lot of responsibility in the whole thing except to sow. (Appleseed Remembered)
Ultimately, when we sow, it is Jesus in us who sows, since we are his vicars -- we stand in his place. We are sowing and he is sowing right along side us.
Today’s Parable of Sowing
Today’s story is similar to last week’s, although with a sinister twist. Jesus, portraying himself as the Son of Man, speaks as the sower of the Good Seed. Remember, the Son of Man is the well-known legendary hero who would come from on high to identify Yahweh’s sons and daughters on earth and give them power to destroy the devil’s work. He calls his elect, both men and women, “sons of the Kingdom.” And though Jesus had no procreants after the flesh, his seed does indeed develop into beloved sons and daughters.
Always notice that his seed is described as “coming up and bearing grain.” This takes time - a lifetime. Many in our community are ‘saved,’ so-called, but can they look back on a life full of heavenly fruit? Not always. Even the most frequent church attendees throughout the world may have little or no worthwhile fruit. Can we identify our own fruit as being Kingdom fruit? Is our fruit directly related to the cause of the Sower and his vast, unseen land, or do we bristle at the challenge of examining ourselves? If we dare to make an honest survey of our lives’ fruit, perhaps we are not so saved as we thought.
Because, you see, there is another sower if seeds. In the reading today he is called ‘the enemy,’ ‘the evil one,’ ‘the devil.’ While the Son of Man sows seed everywhere, there are only certain types of ground in which Holy Seed will germinate and grow. Not so for the seed of the evil one. His seed grows anywhere, on hard ground, on rocks, on concrete. It’s a type of seed that requires no special soil or careful nurture. This is because the evil one is the god of this world and almost everything in the world is his.
Luke 4:5. And the devil took Jesus up, and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time, 6. and said to him, "To you I will give all this authority and their glory; for it has been delivered to me, and I give it to whom I will. 7. If you, then, will worship me, it shall all be yours."
Although the devil is the father of lies, he was not lying when he said the Kingdoms of the world were his jurisdiction and property because the children of his seed delivered it to him. Fortunately, his days as the sower of poisonous seed will soon come to an abrupt end. But in the meantime, when the devil plants poison seed into his own Kingdom, they naturally come up as noxious weeds. The old fashioned word for weeds is tares. Tares are a poisonous rye grass known to us a darnel. As it grows, it looks just like wheat until both wheat and weed go to seed. Watchful harvesters are then able to tell the difference, because the fruit of the weed is so different from that of the wheat, though the stalk is identical.
Weeds Produce Fruit
Let’s look at what constitutes the fruit of the tare. Our Epistle reading today (Rom 1:18ff) is very clear on describing a tare.
(1) Many tares know all about the Commandments of G-d and the Testimony of Jesus. Tares have received valid witness many times. They have heard the word of life plainly. But even if they haven’t heard plainly, Paul the Apostle says that any sensible person can verify the existence of our Creator simply by observing His creation. (2) Yet despite the obvious, these tares are actively working against the Creator since they deliberately suppress, ignore or pervert His revelation. (3) Furthermore, they neither make an effort to honor him nor thank him for their many blessings. (4) Their pride and foolishness form a slippery chute down which they slide over the course of their lives, culminating in their loss of the ability on their own to ever turn again to the Truth. (5) Their hearts and minds become ever more darkened as they exchange the glory of light for base darkness. (6) They are idolaters from the start, prizing their own ‘gods’ or their own power or possession as gods, as meager those may be. They worship their own images. (7) Sooner or later, they end up full of lust and perversion by deliberate choice. They are not victims of their childhood or their circumstances. They could have turned; but now it is too late. The Apostle describes them as poisonous weeds.
You can see that, just as wheat grows, and that growth is a process, and that wheat comes to a maturity in fruit, so do tares. We know that the progression of the wheat is ever upward, ever godward, growing higher and higher toward the light of sanctification and perfection and producing much fruit. Well, the tare also grows, only the tare grows more devilish with each passing year with each rejection of the good, becoming more and more like his Father the devil through time, producing fruit of evil, and infecting every one around with poison, sometimes covertly, other times without even a skin of an excuse for his evil behavior. He becomes a brute beast in the end. Having sown evil seeds his whole life, he ends up a ‘dead man walking.’
The Peril of Harvesting Wheat
Now wheat bread is supposed to be the staff of life. But in Jesus’ time, the poorer classes ate cheap, rough barley bread. Many of the poor were tenant farmers and slaves of rich land owners, rich priests and Roman officials. It was these rich folks who ate the superior bread made from wheat. If the seed of the darnel and the wheat were mingled and bread made of it, the eater would be poisoned. This made the harvesters’ discernment critical. If they got the two seeds mixed up, they would poison their benefactors. The harvesters’ lives were on the line -- if they couldn’t tell the difference between wheat and weed, they and their families would undoubtedly be killed by harsh masters. Such was the peril of harvesting grain. So the harvesters would wait to see how the plants fruited, then they would carefully harvest the tares first and burn them up in a furnace. Afterward, they would go back to the wheat and safely harvest it, grinding it, milling it, and baking it into the fine bread so beloved by the benefactors.
Here is where the interpretation of the parable takes a sinister twist. For the last hundred and fifty years, signs have pointed to NOW as the end of the age. If this is so, there is a harvest to take place soon, says Jesus. He says that all evildoers and all causes of sin are to be gathered out of the harvest of the world first. Let me emphasize that again. All evildoers and all causes of sin will be gathered from the earth and thrown into a burning furnace and burned to an ash. Now, we don’t know what that means exactly, except it will not be a pleasant experience. The harvest of tares will be like a rapture of evil -- torn out of the earth and disposed of -- reaped by vengeful angels. In fact, there is a passage in the Revelation that is very similar in content to our text:
Rev 14:15. 18. Then an angel came out from the altar, the angel who has power over fire, and he called with a loud voice to [the angel with] the sharp sickle, "Put in your sickle, and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth, for its grapes are ripe." 19. So the angel swung his sickle on the earth and gathered the vintage of the earth, and threw it into the great wine press of the wrath of God.
These “grim reapers” will have no trouble at all telling the wheat from the tares. They’ve been planning this job since the beginning of time, and they will surely fulfill it; undoubtedly, they have already begun.
We like to talk about the rapture of the church, my friends, but it appears that the first ‘rapture’ will be of the evildoers, evil things and the devil, for, it is written that
Mat 13:41. The Son of man will send his angels, and they will gather out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all evildoers, 42. and throw them into the furnace of fire; there men will weep and gnash their teeth. 43. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear.
We are a free will church. The soil to be planted is neither good nor evil -- it is the seed which is one or the other. As long as people live, we believe they have the power to make their own choices -- to accept or reject seeds that have been planted in their lives. It is hard for me to believe that some people that we know can be so hard-hearted and rooted in self-idolatry that they can’t heed the warning message of the Lover of their souls. Tares are not only really stuck on themselves, prideful and arrogant, but they are really, really, really stupid. When they can easily see the wonders of a creation made by a G-d of love and mercy for their benefit, when they can easily and often hear the story of how a Dear Man died in their place so that they might have life, yet still reject, ignore, scoff, and poison everyone around them, I wonder how it can be? How can their free will reject such obvious benevolence? Are they blinded? Retarded?
Furthermore, I wonder now in my old age how a believer who has the opportunity to “shine like the sun” would choose to marry or otherwise link up with a poisonous, g-dless tare who puts their faith down, hinders their lives of worship and makes them generally miserable. Such mindless paring of people only serves to make a wheat into a tare, with both bound for the furnace. It is pitiful. I feel very sorry for the unequally yoked. I’m not talking about families or married couples who are dysfunctional or just do not get along or fight a lot. Paul said even believing couples would have family troubles. But I’m talking about believers deliberately linking up with unbelievers. They have far more trouble in store.
Is There a Tare in the House?
I was listening to a famous TV preacher’s tape this week. This blustering blowhard was telling the story about a desperate Christian lady in his congregation who had come to him for counseling because she was in a physically abusive marriage. Here’s how the story went: Preacher: Were you a Christian when you married him? Lady: Yes, I was. Preacher: Did you know he was an unbeliever when you married him? Lady: Yes, sir, I did. Preacher: Then you knew from the first that you would be unequally yoked? Lady: Yes. Preacher: And you knew that the Bible forbade such marriages in both the Old and New Testaments? Lady: Yes, but he was so cute. I thought he would change. Our household is a battlefield now. I’m afraid he’s going to kill me, Pastor. What should I do? Preacher: Lady, you had your warning. You made your bed when you decided to marry a unbeliever. Now you’re just going to have to lie in it. (At this point in the tape there was thunderous audience applause.) The preacher might be famous, but this answer is pathologically wrong. It is a sick and lazy answer. But it is the answer we’ve come to expect from many clergymen.
If you live with an abusive, cowardly weed of a man who beats women and threatens children and has not come any nearer to Heaven in years, my advice is to be shed of him. Chances are he will never change, but he will take you and your dear children right to the furnace with him. He may be too far down the chute to the furnace already. You may be sliding right behind him. Get out while you can.
10: 34. "Do not think that I have come to bring peace on earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; 36. and a man's foes will be those of his own household. “
I presume that also means the setting of the husband against the wife, as well. The same goes for the devilish tare of a wife who hates anything good or of God. How many potential warriors for the Host of Heaven have gone into the furnace instead because their wives have put them there with their consent? Nevertheless, Jesus also said: 10:22b “But the one who endures to the end will be saved.” It’s a pity believers in right and truth have to endure at all, especially endure against the ones who claim to love them. But endure they do. And those who overcome to the end shall be saved.
Pigs and Lambs
There’s an old story that comes from Dr. Roland Dehahn, a physician and a great radio preacher of years past. He told of a farmer who was experimenting on pigs and sheep hoping to develop a clean pig. He took pigs who had never been in a mud hole before and had them put into the slime where he allowed them time to get acclimated. Then he had the pigs removed from the muck, washed off completely and dried, and placed across the field from the mud hole. It wasn’t long before the pigs, having recalled their wonderful time in the slop, sniffed it out and hurried back.
He tried the same experiment on lambs. He put them into the mud, allowed them to get acclimated, took them out, washed them off, dried them thoroughly and put them back in the same field across from the mud hole. He wasn’t surprised that the lambs made no effort to return to the mud hole, so, after some time, he had the lambs rounded up and put into the mud again. This time, the lambs immediately made desperate attempts to get out. Unlike the pigs, the lambs felt they had no business there. This gave the farmer his answer on how to develop a clean pig. It very was simple. Turn a pig into a lamb.
Friends, we believe there is an urgency in regard to our loved one who are tares. We need to acknowledge who of our family and friends are the devil’s spawn and begin the tedious prayer-processes that will transform our kith and kin. For the time is short and it’s often a very long shot because so few of the wheat are willing to work in supernatural prayer on behalf of the tare. Only the Son of Man working in you has the power to destroy the works of the devil now. Yet if you are willing to make the effort, Father is willing to extend the grace necessary and Jesus is willing to do a creative miracle that can turn that goat into a sheep, that pig into a lamb, that tare into wheat.