The parable of the weeds
There are many churches in the world, but their doctrines are different from each other. Then how can we distinguish the true church from false churches? The Bible compares those two as the weeds and wheat.
Mt 13:24-30 Jesus told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared. The owner’s servants came to him and said, ‘Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?’ ‘An enemy did this,’ he replied. The servants asked him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’ ‘No,’ he answered, ‘because while you are pulling the weeds, you may root up the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.’ ”
Weeds and wheat look so similar that it is difficult to distinguish between them. If the weeds are left together in the field with the wheat, before long, the field will be filled with the weeds.
In this parable, the owner of the field said that he would collect the weeds to be burned at the harvest. What are the weeds? Let us find out through the teachings of Jesus.
Mt 13:36-42 Then he left the crowd and went into the house. His disciples came to him and said, “Explain to us the parable of the weeds in the field.” He answered, “The one who sowed the good seed is the Son of Man. The field is the world, and the good seed stands for the sons of the kingdom. The weeds are the sons of the evil one, and the enemy who sows them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels. As the weeds are pulled up and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil [commit lawlessness, NASB]. They will throw them into the fiery furnace….”
In the parable, the weeds are pulled up and burned in the fire. In the interpretation, those who do evil are thrown into the fiery furnace. Therefore, the weeds are evildoers who commit lawlessness. Jesus’ parable of weeds teaches us that the devil would sow lawlessness after Jesus’ gospel ministry, and that the lawlessness will fill up the whole world.
That is why Jesus said that those who practice lawlessness would never enter the kingdom of heaven.
Mt 7:21-23 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers [“YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS,” NASB]!’ ”
Evildoers can never enter the kingdom of heaven even though they look like Christians. It is just as the farmer does not bring the weeds into his barn but just burns them. By this prophecy, the churches that do not follow the laws of God in these days are the weeds. For example, the church, which keeps the Sunday service and Christmas instead of the Sabbath and the Passover, is the weed-like church.
The truth in the apostolic age
So, the Bible tells us that if we want to receive salvation, we must go back to the time before lawlessness was sown and keep the truth and faith of the early Church, which Jesus and the apostles kept.
Eph 2:20 … built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone.
The truth in the apostolic age, which apostles learned directly from Jesus, is perfect. Then what truths were kept in the apostolic age?
Lk 4:16 He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. And he stood up to read.
Jesus kept the Sabbath as was His custom, and set His disciples an example of keeping the Sabbath. So the apostles kept the Sabbath, following the example of Jesus.
Ac 17:2 As his custom was, Paul went into the synagogue, and on three Sabbath days he reasoned with them from the Scriptures … The Sabbath had been kept before weeds [lawlessness] was sown. But after the apostolic age, Sunday service, which is weed [lawlessness], was sown.
Next, let us think about the Passover. The Passover is the new covenant Jesus Himself established.
Mt 26:17-19, 26-28 On the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Where do you want us to make preparations for you to eat the Passover?” … I am going to celebrate the Passover with my disciples at your house.’ ” So the disciples did as Jesus had directed them and prepared the Passover. … While they were eating, Jesus took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take and eat; this is my body.” Then he took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.”
The early Church kept the Passover, following the example of Jesus (1 Co 5:7-8). However, no church in the world keeps the Passover except the Church of God. It is because the Passover was abolished at the Council of Nicaea in AD 325. Let us study more about what truths the early Church kept before the weeds were sown.
1 Co 11:1-6 Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ … Every man who prays or prophesies with his head covered dishonors his head. And every woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head―it is just as though her head were shaved. If a woman does not cover her head, she should have her hair cut off; and if it is a disgrace for a woman to have her hair cut or shaved off, she should cover her head.
The truth of the early Church, “A woman must cover her head, and a man must not cover his head during worship service,” was also changed.
Let us study more about the truth of the early Church before the weeds were sown.
Ac 2:1-4 When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place …. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.
Jn 7:2, 37-39 But when the Jewish Feast of Tabernacles was near … On the last and greatest day of the Feast, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.” By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive….
Jesus and the apostles kept the Sabbath, the Passover, the regulation of a veil, the Pentecost and the Feast of Tabernacles before the weeds were sown. The saints, who keep these truths, are the wheat in the parable. These days, many churches look grand, but they practice lawlessness. Those churches are the weeds in the parable. Even though it looks weak and small, the farmer wants the wheat, not weeds. Even though the church which practices the truth looks like the small gate and the narrow road, we have to enter through it to receive salvation. Let us follow the truth of the apostolic age, and enter the barn in heaven as the wheat.