Forthright Magazine

Harvesting the sons of the Kingdom

Jesus compared the kingdom of heaven to a man sowing good seed in a field. He depicted an enemy sowing tares while the man slept. Neil Lightfoot thinks the tares are of the variety known as “bearded darnel.” It was a poisonous rye grass which looks very much like wheat in its early stages of development. When the wheat began to put on heads, it was obvious tares were mixed in with the wheat. The householder instructed his servants to let both grow together rather than damaging the wheat by trying to separate the tares. He planned to let the reapers bundle up the tares to be burned and collect the wheat in his barn.

The Lord is the best interpreter of his parables. He told his questioning disciples the one who sowed the seed was the Son of Man. The world was the field. The good seed were members of the church, or children of the kingdom. The tares were children of the devil’s kingdom. The devil was the enemy who sowed wicked people in the world.

Jesus said the angels would harvest the sons of God and the sons of the devil at the end of the world. The sons of the devil will be gathered together to be burned. The sons of God will be taken to a glorious place to enjoy the kingdom of their Father.

Saints and sinners live in this world together. Jesus prayed, “I have given them your word; and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. I do not pray that you should take them out of the world, but that you should keep them from the evil one” (John 17:14-15).

Christians must constantly be on guard against the temptation to sin. For instance, “those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition” (1 Timothy 6:9). Christians are subject to sin and should rely on God’s help to overcome temptation (1 John 1:7-10; 1 Corinthians 10:12-13).

The devil sows seed. Paul describes him as, “the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience” (Ephesians 2:2). Sinners are part of the devil’s family. John says, “He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning” (1 John 3:8a).

It is not always easy to distinguish between the Lord’s children and the devil’s. Some false teachers pretended to be apostles of Christ (2 Corinthians 11:12-15). Jesus described some who would call him Lord yet not do the will of the Father in heaven. He says such will not be allowed to enter into the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 7:21-23).

God and the angels will separate all people into two groups. The sons of the devil will be cast into the fire. The sons of God will be invited into the kingdom of heaven for eternity (John 5:28-29; Gal. 6:7-8; Rev. 20:13-15). God’s children should not focus on the faults and sins of others. They should rid their own lives of sin in order to please God. It is their responsibility to observe the fruits another’s life produces to determine if they are false prophets. If so, they should be avoided. However, even the false prophet can only ultimately be condemned by God (Matt. 7:1-5, 15-20).

Two lessons should stand out for every Christian. First, the Lord’s field is the world. We should give our all to sow the seed of the kingdom in the entirety of that field. Second, each of us should live so as to be counted among the wheat at God’s harvest.


 

Gary C. Hampton
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