OF THE KINGDOM
In Matthew 13, there are three parables which indicate the outward appearance of the kingdom. These three parables are: the parable of the tares, the parable of the mustard seed becoming a great tree, and the parable of the leaven. In contrast to the reality of the kingdom of the heavens, these three parables show us matters which are not real and genuine. The tares are false ones. The great tree is not proper. It has grown up out of proportion, not after its kind (Gen. 1:11-12). Furthermore, the leaven indicates something ruined, corrupted, and even corrupting. We all must be very clear concerning these three parables. Then we will be clear where we have to stand. May the Lord give all of us a very clear sky! May He blow away the clouds and the smog and bring us under a clear firmament, a crystal-clear sky (Ezek. 1:22).
In the second parable, Matthew 13:24-30, the Lord Jesus began to use the phrase, "The kingdom of the heavens was likened to..." The man who sowed good seed in his field was the sower in the first parable, the Lord Jesus Himself. "But while the men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares amidst the wheat and went away" (13:25). We know that this word began to be fulfilled a short while after the day of Pentecost. From the day of Pentecost thousands of believers were added to the church, and some false ones also were added. These were the tares among the wheat. From reading Acts you can realize there was such a possibility. This parable of the tares is related to the church from the beginning of the kingdom of the heavens. The kingdom of the heavens begins with the second parable, because it is at this time that the Lord uses the phrase the "kingdom of the heavens was likened to." We all need to consider and even to reconsider our situation as to whether we are tares or wheat. We must have the full assurance that we are wheat. What does it mean to be real wheat? If a person really believes in the Lord Jesus—that the Lord Jesus died for his sins, that He was resurrected and that now the Lord Jesus is the life-giving Spirit indwelling him—surely that person is wheat. Some people say that they are Christians and that they believe in the Lord Jesus, but they do not believe that the Bible is the divine revelation of God. Such so-called Christians are surely tares. We should never consider such a person as our brother. To say that we are wheat means we believe that the Bible is the divine revelation of God, fully inspired by the Spirit of God, and it means that we consider the Bible as the final and full authority.
Another group of people who also call themselves Christians do not believe that Jesus is God. Many of them only believe that Christ was a good and superior man. This is a great heresy because they do not believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and even God Himself. Such people are also tares.
(The Kingdom, Chapter 35, by Witness Lee)