the Wheat and the Weeds
3. Explain the problem that faces the man in the illustration
and how he decides to handle this problem.
3 This is the illustration: “The kingdom of
the heavens has become like a man that
sowed fine seed in his field. While men were
sleeping, his enemy came and over sowed
weeds in among the wheat, and left.When
the blade sprouted and produced fruit, then
the weeds appeared also. So the slaves of the
householder came up and said to him, ‘Master,
did you not sow fine seed in your field?
How, then, does it come to have weeds?’ He
said to them, ‘An enemy, a man, did this.’
They said to him, ‘Do you want us, then, to
go out and collect them?’ He said, ‘No; that
by no chance, while collecting the weeds,
you uproot the wheat with them. Let both
grow together until the harvest; and in the
harvest season I will tell the reapers, First
collect the weeds and bind them in bundles
to burn them up, then go to gathering
the wheat into my storehouse.’ ”—Matt.
4. (a) Who is the man in the illustration?
(b) When and how did Jesus start to engage in the
sowing of this seed?
4 Who is the man who sowed the fine
seed in his field? Jesus provides the answer
later when he explains to his disciples: “The
sower of the fine seed is the Son of man.”
(Matt. 13:37) Jesus, the “Son of man,” prepared
the field for planting during the three
and a half years of his earthly ministry.
(Matt. 8:20; 25:31; 26:64) Then from Pentecost
33 C.E. onward, he started to sow the
fine seed—“the sons of the kingdom.” This
sowing evidently took place when Jesus,
as Jehovah’s representative, began to pour
out holy spirit upon the disciples, thereby
anointing them as God’s sons. (Acts 2:33)
The fine seed developed into mature wheat.
So the objective in sowing the fine seed was
eventually to gather the full number of
those who would become joint heirs and
rulers with Jesus in his Kingdom.
In this parable, the sowing does not represent the
work of preaching and disciple making, which would
bring in new ones who would become anointed Christians.
Regarding the fine seed that is sown in the field,
Jesus said: “These are [not “will become”] the sons of
the kingdom.” The sowing refers to the anointing of
these sons of the Kingdom in the world field.
5. Who is the enemy in the illustration, and who
are pictured by the weeds?
5 Who is the enemy, and who are the
weeds? Jesus tells us that the enemy “is the
Devil.” The weeds are described as “the sons
of the wicked one.” (Matt.13:25, 38, 39) In a
literal sense, the weeds that Jesus referred to
were probably the bearded darnel. This poisonous
plant closely resembles wheat in its
early stages before it reaches maturity. What
a fitting picture of imitation Christians,
those who claim to be sons of the Kingdom
but do not produce genuine fruitage! These
hypocritical Christians who claim to be followers
of Christ are really part of the “seed”
of Satan the Devil.—Gen. 3:15.
6. When did the weeds start to appear, and how
were men “sleeping” at the time?
6 When did these weedlike Christians appear?
“While men were sleeping,” says Jesus.
(Matt. 13:25) When was this? We find
the answer in the apostle Paul’s words to the
Ephesian elders: “I know that after my going
away oppressive wolves will enter in among
you and will not treat the flock with tenderness,
and from among you yourselves men
will rise and speak twisted things to draw
away the disciples after themselves.” (Acts
20:29, 30)He went on to admonish those elders
to keep awake spiritually. After the
apostles, who acted as “a restraint” against
the apostasy, began falling asleep in death,
many Christians fell asleep spiritually. (Read
2 Thessalonians 2:3, 6-8.) That is when the
great apostasy started.
7. Did some of the wheat turn into weeds? Explain.
7 Jesus did not say that the wheat would
become weeds but that weeds were sown
among the wheat. So this illustration does
not portray genuine Christians who fall
away from the truth. Rather, it points to a
deliberate effort on the part of Satan to corrupt
the Christian congregation by introducing
wicked people into it. By the time
that the last apostle, John, was old, this
apostasy was clearly evident.—2 Pet. 2:1-3;