Christ's Object Lessons
by Ellen G. White
Chapter 4: Tares
Based on Matt. 13:24-30, 37-43
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"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."
|The Wheat and the Tares.—Davis Collection.|
"The field," Christ said, "is the world." But we must
understand this as signifying the church of Christ in the
world. The parable is a description of that which pertains
to the kingdom of God, His work of salvation of men;
and this work is accomplished through the church. True,
the Holy Spirit has gone out into all the world; everywhere
it is moving upon the hearts of men; but it is in
the church that we are to grow and ripen for the garner
"He that sowed the good seed is the Son of man.
. . . The good seed are the children of the kingdom;
but the tares are the children of the wicked one." The
good seed represents those who are born of the word of [p. 71] God, the truth. The tares represent a class who are the
fruit or embodiment of error, of false principles. "The
enemy that sowed them is the devil." Neither God nor
His angels ever sowed a seed that would produce a tare.
The tares are always sown by Satan, the enemy of God
In the East, men sometimes took revenge upon an
enemy by strewing his newly sown fields with the seeds of
some noxious weed that, while growing, closely resembled
wheat. Springing up with the wheat, it injured the crop
and brought trouble and loss to the owner of the field.
So it is from enmity to Christ that Satan scatters his evil
seed among the good grain of the kingdom. The fruit of
his sowing he attributes to the Son of God. By bringing
into the church those who bear Christ's name while they
deny His character, the wicked one causes that God shall
be dishonored, the work of salvation misrepresented, and
Christ's servants are grieved as they see true and false
believers mingled in the church. They long to do something
to cleanse the church. Like the servants of the householder,
they are ready to uproot the tares. But Christ
says to them, "Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye
root up also the wheat with them. Let both grow together
until the harvest."
Christ has plainly taught that those who persist in open
sin must be separated from the church, but He has not
committed to us the work of judging character and motive.
He knows our nature too well to entrust this work to us.
Should we try to uproot from the church those whom we
suppose to be spurious Christians, we should be sure to
make mistakes. Often we regard as hopeless subjects the
very ones whom Christ is drawing to Himself. Were we [p. 72] to deal with these souls according to our imperfect judgment,
it would perhaps extinguish their last hope. Many
who think themselves Christians will at last be found
wanting. Many will be in heaven who their neighbors
supposed would never enter there. Man judges from
appearance, but God judges the heart. The tares and the
wheat are to grow together until the harvest; and the
harvest is the end of probationary time.
There is in the Saviour's words another lesson, a lesson
of wonderful forbearance and tender love. As the tares
have their roots closely intertwined with those of the good
grain, so false brethren in the church may be closely linked
with true disciples. The real character of these pretended
believers is not fully manifested. Were they to be separated
from the church, others might be caused to stumble, who
but for this would have remained steadfast.
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