In Matthew 13, we find a parable traditionally known as “Wheat and Tares.” More modern versions of the Bible translate “tares” as weeds. What we do know about “tares” is that they were a problem in the time of Jesus.
They looked like wheat when they first began to sprout but by the time a farmer could tell the difference, the only way to get rid of them would be to destroy the wheat as well.
Thus, the tares were thrown into the fire at harvest.
Concerning the tares mixed with wheat, Jesus said…
An enemy has done this (Matthew 13:28, ESV).
Jesus also said in the same parable…
Let both grow together until the harvest, and at harvest time I will tell the reapers, Gather the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my barn (Matthew 13:30).
In the end-times, enemies of Jesus will sow seeds of intellectual doubt in the midst of those growing in faith.
The Apostle Peter wrote…
But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction (2 Peter 2:1).
The prediction (especially relevant today) is there will be enemies in our midst. People who are loving and helpful, yet proponents of destructive teaching.
The book of Jude writes…
Certain people have crept in unnoticed… who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ (1:4).
Certain people creep in unnoticed – HHHHMMMHHM…
Some work intentionally and some just repeat deception. It’s difficult to discern false teaching as proponents seem to be good people, and we don’t like to judge; we like to live and let live, and we don’t want to be narrow-minded.
In her book entitled Another Gospel, Alisa Childers writes about the time she was listening to the pastor of her church, and being uncomfortable with his teaching, talked to the pastor, who then suggested that she see a therapist.
Alisa writes about her trip to the therapist…
When I began to describe the discomfort I had been experiencing with the books, teachings, and discussions being facilitated by the pastor, she grabbed two fun-size Mars bars from the candy bowl on her desk. She laid them side by side and asked me to imagine her opening one of them and putting a different wrapper around it. That piece would still be a Mars bar… just in another wrapper. She told me that was what the pastor was doing – giving me the same candy with a different label.
My inner monologue quipped, she has it backward. “It seems to me that he’s putting the same wrapper on two entirely different kinds of candy,” I replied. “It looks the same on the outside, but the core of it is very different.” Wheat among tares.
Grace taught in the Bible has singular truth – Jesus is the only way, the Bible is true, miracles happen, there is right and wrong, human sexuality is defined clearly, we are all sinners, there will be a Judgment Day, and that we live in faith, hope, and love until Jesus returns.
As Jude suggests with his comment, “… those who pervert the grace of God.” Or as Alisa Childers said, “different candy, same wrapper” (Any teaching specializing in doubt, skepticism, and seemingly enlightened ridicule that undermines Jesus, the Bible, and purity.).
Ultimately, as tares mature, they produce a harvest of doubt instead of faith, anxiety instead of hope, and anger instead of love.
Hopefully not too late! I pray you discern the tares.