Angel of Light
Tares and Wheat
Have you ever planted a garden and when things started to sprout wonder, “how did these weeds get in this garden? Didn’t I plant good seed here?” This is particularly true if you plant potatoes. When potatoes come up and start growing they just look like weeds and real weeds grow up among the potato plants which are difficult to distinguish until they begin to bear fruit.
Today we’ll look at the story of the “Wheat and the Tares” in Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43 but I want to begin with a passage in Second Corinthians 11:14-15. Here the apostle Paul makes a very interesting observation, “…for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness.” It is with this backdrop we will look at the parable of the “Wheat and the Tares.”
In the parable Jesus describes a man who planted “good seed (wheat)” in his field. But while the workers were sleeping an enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat. Now tares are not just any weed but most likely a plant called darnel and it’s nearly impossible to distinguish between wheat and darnel until the heads of grain begin to form. As the fruit began to be revealed the workers noticed, “Sir did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have tares? v27.” “…An enemy has done this! v28,” the owner acknowledged. Now the workers were concerned and wanted to do do something about it, “…do you want us to go gather them up? v28,” they asked. The owner answered with confidence, “no, because while you gather them you may uproot the good wheat. Allow them to remain until the harvest then gather the tares first and burn them. Then gather the wheat into the storehouse v29-30.”
Later, in verses 36-43, Jesus explained that He was the sower, the good seed is the sons of the kingdom, the bad seed is the sons of the evil one and the enemy is the devil. Let’s back up one verse in Second Corinthians 11 to verse 13, “…such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ.” So now we can draw the parallel between the passage in Matthew 13 and Second Corinthians 11. In the parable the enemy of the owner planted a counterfeit and in Second Corinthians Satan created counterfeits. Now we clearly see in both cases Satan’s intent is to make it difficult to tell the difference until the fruit begins to mature. Therefore, we must be vigilant because the enemy doesn’t come to us in a red suit with horns and a pitch fork but with the appearance of an angel, “an angel of light.”
How chilling it is, in today’s day in age, to realize there are those who present themselves as apostles of Christ but are actually representatives of Satan himself. How do we know the difference? What are the warning signs? Christians must never assume someone to be Godly because they are popular, eloquent or charismatic. Democracy doesn’t imply God pleasing outcome any more than polls or popular opinion imply righteousness and “most people think” does not represent God’s Word any more than “scientific evidence” indicates the eternal truth of God.
So what can we do to recognize Satan’s counterfeits? One way to identify deception is by observing direction. Jesus told us how to chose a direction and why in Matthew 7:13-14; “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.” Jesus continued in verses 15-17, “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruit…every good tree bears good fruit but the bad tree bears bad fruit.” We see this today with crowds flooding toward theology and political dogma under the direction of those who bear fruit which doesn’t measure up to God’s Word. The sad outcome here is the crowds will find out as their fruit reaches maturity they were fooled by a counterfeit?
When it comes to recognizing tares and wheat, Christians must stay in God’s Word, pray fervently and trust His Holy Spirit to identify evil. If the largest crowd is on a wide path, heading through a large gate, odds are we need to turn around and start looking for a small gate with a narrow path. If we seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness it is certain the fruit which matures at the top of our stalk will be wheat and we will not be fooled by the darnel!
Acts 1:8 “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”