On the one hand, the Lord Jesus says that the believers are wheat; on the other hand, He tells us that the believers are the good seed. In Matthew 13:38 He says, “The good seed, these are the sons of the kingdom.” In Matthew 13:4 and 19 the seed sown by the Lord was the word of the kingdom. In verses 24 and 38 this seed has developed into the sons of the kingdom. First, the seed was the word sown into humanity. Then it grows into the sons of the kingdom. The seed in verses 4 and 19 is the word with Christ in it as life. This seed now grows in us, the kingdom people, the sons of the kingdom. Therefore, the good seed, as well as the wheat, is the sons of the kingdom, the real believers, those regenerated with the divine life.
Actually, the wheat and the good seed are the same. A farmer will first reap a harvest of wheat. Then he will use some of the better grains as seed for sowing. The principle is the same with us as believers in Christ. First we are the wheat and then, the good seed sown by the Lord.
The sowing of the good seed is a kind of martyrdom, for the seed experiences a real crucifixion and is put to death. Those who are willing to be sown, crucified, in this way will eventually grow, multiply, and be fruitful. But those who are not willing to be sown into the ground, who are not willing to be put to death, will be barren and unfruitful.
Matthew 13:24 says, “The kingdom of the heavens was likened to a man sowing good seed in his field.” The good seed is sown by the Lord Jesus to grow into His kingdom. This kingdom is Christ as the seed of life sown into His believers, God’s chosen people, and developing into a realm which God may rule as His kingdom in His divine life. Its entrance is regeneration (John 3:5), and its development is the believers’ growth in the divine life (2 Pet. 1:3-11). It is the church life today, in which the faithful believers live (Rom. 14:17), and it will develop into the coming kingdom as an inheritance reward (Gal. 5:21; Eph. 5:5) to the overcoming saints in the millennium (Rev. 20:4, 6). Eventually, it will consummate in the New Jerusalem as the eternal kingdom of God, an eternal realm of the eternal blessing of God’s eternal life for all God’s redeemed to enjoy in the new heaven and new earth for eternity (Rev. 21:1-4; 22:1-5).
The next symbol of the believers, fishers of men, is unusual. The Lord Jesus said to Peter and Andrew, “Come, follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men” (Matt. 4:19). Immediately they left their nets and followed the King of the kingdom of the heavens to be fishers of men. Eventually, on the day of Pentecost, Peter became the first great fisher for the establishment of the kingdom of the heavens (Acts 2:37-42; 4:4).
To be a fisher of men is to bring men out of the world, signified by the sea with its death waters, into the kingdom of the heavens. This means that to fish for men, “catching men alive” (Luke 5:10), that is, unto life (Acts 11:18), is to bring them into the kingdom. On the day of Pentecost Peter began his ministry of bringing people into the kingdom of the heavens. He brought in all kinds of people, Gentiles as well as Jews. He was a real fisher of men.
To fish for men requires patience. Peter, a quick person, may have learned this in Matthew 17:24-27. After Peter gave a hasty answer concerning Christ’s paying the half-shekel, the Lord Jesus asked him, “What do you think, Simon? From whom do the kings of the earth receive custom or poll tax, from their sons or from strangers? And when he said, From strangers, Jesus said to him, Then the sons are free” (vv. 25-26). Then the Lord went on to say, “But that we may not stumble them, go to the sea and cast a hook, and take the first fish that comes up, and when you open its mouth you will find a shekel; take that and give it to them for Me and you” (v. 27). Peter, no doubt, was troubled that he had to go fishing and wait for a fish to appear with a shekel. As a result, Peter may have learned that a fisher of men must have patience. If we would be fishers of men, gaining others for Christ’s increase, we also need patience. We cannot have the increase, the multiplication, in a quick way. Patiently we should contact others again and again until they are “caught” and brought out of the world into the kingdom of the heavens.
(Conclusion of the New Testament, The (Msgs. 099-113), Chapter 9, by Witness Lee)