What Does The Parable Of The Weeds Mean?

What Does The Parable Of The Weeds Mean? January 16, 2019

God actually knew there would be tares or false converts within the church, but why?

The World

In the Parable of the Weeds, Jesus said that “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field, but while his men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat and went away” (Matt 13:24-25), and in time, “when the plants came up and bore grain, then the weeds appeared also” (Matt 13:26). Jesus said you will know them by their fruits, or in this case, what comes to seed shows where the root is. After the weeds sprang up, the servants of the Master asked Him, “do you want us to go and gather them?’ But he said, ‘No, lest in gathering the weeds you root up the wheat along with them. 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” (Matt 13:28-30).

Seeds and Weeds

If it were up to us, we might uproot the wheat in our congregations and mistake the weeds for what is actually the wheat. Only God knows the heart (1 Sam 16:7), however this parable is referring to the world and not the church. For example, there are many who live like the world who claim to believe in Christ. These are those out in the world who hear the Word of God (Matt 13:38), but they are also part of the world, so the majority of these tares or weeds are not members of any church. Jesus said, “The field is the world, and the good seed represents the sons of the kingdom. The weeds are the sons of the evil one” (Matt 13:38). This parable tells us that Jesus fully expects there to be tares or weeds on the earth, up until the day of His return. On the Day of Judgment, there will be many false converts who will be stunned to hear that Jesus doesn’t even know them (Matt 7:21-23)!

Fruits and Roots

It is only as the plant mature and bears fruit (or seed) that we can know with some assurance where the root is, but even then, only God knows for certain. That’s because some bear fruit or seed at a slower pace than others, and people may not always see the good seed that a person produces as good works are not done to be seen by others. That being said, Jesus reminds us that a “healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit” (Matt 7:18). Again, we shouldn’t be surprised by the fact that there’ll be weeds mixed in with the wheat in the world, and in some cases, scattered within the churches, but we can get into trouble when we try to settle something with someone that they’ve already settled with God. We may not have all the facts, but is shouldn’t surprise us that some churches may be full of tares. Churches that neglect or have none of the sacraments like the Lord’s Supper and baptism, no church discipline, and don’t preach on sin, sanctification, holiness, repentance, evangelism, and other essentials, as even today, there “are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light” (1 Cor 11:13-14), and “So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds” (1 Cor 11:15). Jesus will send His angels “and they will gather out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all law-breakers, and throw them into the fiery furnace” (Matt 13:41-42a), but that will not be until harvest time is, and no one knows that day or hour, but at that time, “the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear” (Matt 13:43).

Human Responsibility

Why there are tares or weeds within the church is not precisely stated in Scripture. Jude actually wanted to write about their common salvation, but something more urgent came along, and it was the necessity to contend for the faith once delivered to the church (Jude 1:3). The reason was that “certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ” (Jude 1:4). How those who pervert the gospel “were designated for this condemnation” is beyond my comprehension. All I know is that all things work together for the good for the children of God (Rom 8:28), but all things work out for the bad for those who oppose the gospel of Christ. This doesn’t mean they are helpless victims of prophecy or circumstance. We are all responsible for our own actions and will reap the consequences of those actions, both bad and good. It is the idea of human responsibility for the choices they make, but it’s much worse for the false convert. Why? If they’ve sat under good Bible preaching and teaching for some time, but have never been brought to repentance and faith in Christ, more will be required of them than those who haven’t really understood the gospel. Jesus said that “the one who did not know, and did what deserved a beating, will receive a light beating. Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required, and from him to whom they entrusted much, they will demand the more” (Luke 12:48). With knowledge comes responsibility; with much knowledge comes much more responsibility.


Where the Bible is silent, I believe I must be silent. Where the Bible is not specific about something, I can’t be specific about it either. Why God allows tares to grow alongside the wheat that’s scattered in the world is beyond me. I do know that it has been appointed as such and that it all glorifies Him. No matter what happens, His will is going to be done, and that always glorifies God. We too should seek to glorify God in our bodies, in our conversation, and in our thought life. Tough to do, but we can have the Spirit’s help and He will give us the right words to say to the weeds in the world that they might become the children of God. It is only by God’s grace that we are not still weeds. Even though we are not better than others…we are better off…but only because of Christ.

Article by Jack Wellman

Jack Wellman is Pastor of the Mulvane Brethren Church in Mulvane Kansas. Jack is a writer at Christian Quotes and also the Senior Writer at What Christians Want To Know whose mission is to equip, encourage, and energize Christians and to address questions about the believer’s daily walk with God and the Bible. You can follow Jack on Google Plus or check out his book Teaching Children the Gospel available on Amazon.

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  • Theodore A. Jones

    “For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous.” Rom. 2:13

  • Exrayeye

    Focussing on the church or even grain and tares serves no purpose without first focussing on the Kingdom. How it contrasts with the world of man, and how tares and grain represent those of the Kingdom and those still of the world of man.

    • Jack Wellman

      Thank you.

    • pud

      Your make believe, made up, fantasy, invisible undetectable “kingdom”? That one?

      • Just because you will not allow yourself to go (by your own desperate fixation to evil), does not mean others will not.

        • pud

          Where is it? How do you KNOW (not believe as I don’t care what gibberish you believe) and what are you going to do “there” for the 1st trillion years?

          • There are three realms:
            Terrestrial (earth)
            Celestial (all of the cosmos outside of earth, including both the material and spiritual realm)
            Telestial (transcendent plane of existence where God directly interacts with His creation)

            The whole of the Telestial realm is Heaven. Our Home.

            If I get to Heaven, I am going to be home for that first trillion years and all the rest. Same as everyone who gets there.

          • pud

            And there’s a nice rubber room for you to spend some time in with the nice men in the white suits

          • As I hinted at earlier, soviets used mental hospitals as political prisons. When a communist was found out, they had their enemies sent to these prisons posing as hospitals.

            Their “insanity” was merely telling Truth in the face of communist evil.

            Where did you learn that?

  • Guestie

    …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” (Matt 13:28-30).

    This verse always made me think that the whomever came up with this parable didn’t know much about growing wheat. If one goes through a wheat field at harvest time and grabs the weeds first, you will lose a lot of the crop. You just wouldn’t do it that way.

    • Bungarra

      The plant refereed to seems to have been “Darnel” – “Lolium temulentum L.


      for a summary of the plants characteristics, written by a Weeds Agronomist who works in a climatic region very very similar to that where Christ preached. This plant is a ‘crop mimic’ which makes it hard for the uninitiated to see it in the crop before the seed head emerges. The seed is poisonous and is suspected of causing some of the strange mystical stories of the middle ages. When famine occurred and people ate the dregs for their grain storage’s it affected the human brain. Today any contamination in wheat being traded internationally is seriously restricted.

      I would suggest that the plant is being used as an example of being careful to check the ‘fruits’ of those in the Church. Identification is confirmed by the seed head which does not resemble wheat at all. By collecting its seed heads first also collects a lot of the seed, so there will be less to contaminate the next crop and keeps it out of the wheat grain.

      Note also, that there considerable work being carried out in Australia to collect weed seeds at harvest and to destroy them so we need less pesticides, or for the weeds that now cannot be killed by the currently available herbicides. Otherwise crop yields will seriously decline together with the cost of the need to clean the grain very carefully.

  • pud

    “Why God allows tares to grow alongside the wheat that’s scattered in the world is beyond me. I do know that it has been appointed as such and that it all glorifies Him. No matter what happens, His will is going to be done, and that always glorifies God.”

    No you do not KNOW jack, jack. You don’t know jack shit. You “believe” stupid shit and mindless shit and ridiculous shit but you definitely do not know jack shit jack.

    If “his will is going to be done” then what’s the fucking point of begging him in prayer all the time? See how abjectly stupid you and your cult is? Simple logic evades you. If “his will” (gods cannot have have will jack) is going to be done what’s the fucking point of the whole ridiculous lab experiment with human puppets in an aquarium? You are just so damn terrified, victimized, and dumbed down through indoctrination you can no longer do simple reasoning tasks. Sad

    • God has given us what we asked for, pud. He offered us eternal life with our Creator, we chose to know both good and evil. So God has given us a world in which we experience good and evil. Among other things, we get to read articles by Jack Wellman, and we get to read sarcastic retorts by pud. Because Adam and Eve chose to rebel, that rebellious nature has been passed down to all of us. We are all born dead in God’s eyes, objects of his wrath, yet he loves us and gives us faith to cross over from death to life. This world is not a ‘ridiculous lab experiment’ as you believe. Rather, this world is following a path that we rebels chose. But God’s original plan to grow a people to serve as his habitation will not be thwarted, not even by our rebellion. Those whom he intended to be with him during his plans before the foundation of the world, will finally be with him at the End. Those whom Satan has planted in this world, will all be sent to that black hole of burning sulfur. And we who trust our Creator will be given new, sinless bodies for all eternity. We who trust God are not ‘terrified, victimized, or dumb down through indoctrination’, as you claim. We are at peace, conquerors, and those who are truly wise in our understanding of events in this world. One thing I will beg God for tonight in prayer, is that you too, pud, will soften your heart and let the seed of God’s Word grow and take root there.

      • pud

        Nice fairy tale if you were a warped deranged child or a lunatic…not so much for a mature rational adult. Beg your brains out…total waste of time…you’re not sane.

        • Father in heaven, work something in pud’s life that shows him that you are real and that you love even someone as rebellious as he presents himself to be. Show pud the love you have through Jesus. Do something in his life that he will find impossible to deny. In Jesus I ask this.

          • pud

            You are a simpleminded infantile lunatic. #1 If “thy will be done” then your stupid bleating is pointless. #2 Why not beg for the invisible undetectable make believe genie in the sky to stop climate change or a tsunami….funny how “he” doesn’t seem to “love” on those victims eh? Tell me exactly where this “heaven” is and what you’ll do your first trillion years there…lol

          • The climate changes (also called weather) so this planet can have an atmosphere to sustain man on our journey.

            God created the entire universe just so this one planet would sustain humanity, that is Love.

          • kyuss

            God created the entire universe just so this one planet would sustain humanity, that is Love.

            LOL. You’re a demented fool.

          • Jack Wellman

            Amen. That is my prayer for Pud too as she/he (who knows?) is totally lost. THank you for praying for her.

          • pud

            Get back to work! NOTHING happened.

        • I have yet to see anything resembling maturity, rationality, or adulthood in your frantic messages here.

          Are you the old-school blogger “pud” by any chance? The one who posts guitar videos on your youtube channel, who circulated the “big bill hell’s car dealership” joke commercial?

    • Graeme Cooksley

      Pud, So you are still trolling. Still hiding behind a pseudonym!

      I notice too, that you still can’t get beyond ad hominem attacks (mainly at Jack), and expletive loaded comments (which often denote a poor command of the English language).

      You comment often about logic and reason, but I have yet to see any constructive support from you, for your own philosophical stance, in fact many atheists find your non-intellectual approach cringeworthy. Any altruistic view argument you may have, is undermined by your (great) lack of civility. I read of atheists defecting because of other atheists acting like you do in blogs. (Mind you, I do read of atheists defecting too, because of logical reasons, to join the theists.)

      • pud

        Non belief in absurd irrational superstitious nonsense isn’t a position one can “defect” from…stupid

        There are NO logical reasons to go from non belief in invisible undetectable “beings” to “believing” in them….dummy

        My philosophical stances have nothing to do with the idiotic infantile gibberish created by jack or commented on by the delusional masses of which you seem to be a part of

        • Graeme Cooksley

          Of course your philosophical stance doesn’t have anything to do with what others (including Jack) write, that is their choice, I’m surprised you haven’t realised that. As a primer, for you, a person’s worldview is affected/shaped by their philosophical stance(s). Non belief “in absurd irrational superstitious nonsense” is actually a “position”, i.e. if you believe there is no God, or whatever the “in absurd irrational superstitious nonsense” is that you are referring to. Perhaps you are not really an atheist after all.

          And too, there are logical reasons “to go from non-belief in invisible undetectable “beings” to “believing” in them”. Antony Flew showed that.

          And, you are still resorting to logical fallacy (ad hominem), because you actually seem bankrupt of logical argument to support your stand – I suggest you SHOUT LOUDER – oh, of course, that is a part of that logical fallacy – in case you didn’t know it. (Perhaps get familiar with Sam Harris to help you out.)

          And, for good measure, your (often classed as) logical fallacy of presumption shows, in presuming where I stand. My comments are only directed towards your commentary style, (not why i may disagree with Jack).

          • pud

            Not collecting stamps isn’t a hobby. Baldness isn’t a hair color.

            There are NO rational reasons to “believe” the irrational or anything else for that matter. I do not “believe” in anything.

            I couldn’t care less who Tony Flew over the Cukoos Nest is or was

            My only “stand” is that you’re all lunatics who make absurd claims about the nature of reality that you have absolutely NO evidence for.

          • Graeme Cooksley

            Ah! You DO keep missing the point! And, seemingly covering up with more ad hominem attacks, and the L F of hasty generalisations.

            To be quite clear, I’ve not been interested whether or not you, or others, think there is, or is not a God or gods, I’m not going down that rabbit hole.

            All I am saying (amongst other things) is, that YOUR assertions (about many things), need some rational reasons for your stand, and you are not giving them.

          • Matthew 22:37

            Evangelicals should realize Jesus pointed out the truth when he said not to discuss holy things with those determined to act like unclean animals.

            Matthew 7:6
            New Living Translation
            “Don’t waste what is holy on people who are unholy. Don’t throw your pearls to pigs! They will trample the pearls, then turn and attack you.

            Some of these unbelievers even attempt to gain knowledge of the scriptures without faith so they can try to undermine others’ faith.

            But without faith you cannot please God.

            Knowledge is nothing without faith and reverence.

            It would be better to exercise the godly Fruit of the Spirit of self control and put pud on block.

            Tons of people have already talked to him and prayed for him.

            So why should his blasphemies be read any more? The Book of Titus showed the disciples following Jesus’ instructions telling people the Gospel only twice. If it wasn’t received in a welcome manner after two attempts they shook the sand from their feet and moved on.

          • Graeme Cooksley

            Thanks Mathew 22.37, I am aware of such thinking as you have outlined.

            I am not interested in discussing “what is holy” with Pud.

          • Matthew 22:37

            Glad to hear it. I used to make the mistake of trying to educate the determined to remain unenlightened so I learned the wisdom of Matthew 7:6 first hand.

            Christ was the first born of the firstfruits. Not everyone is a firstfruit but a weak doctrinal understanding and false traditions of men has a lot of Christians running around attempting to persuade the unpersuadable.

            For some reason the apologists think everything is about defending the Gospel but growing up strong in the scriptures first is a lot more important.

            Christ was the firstborn of the firstfruits. Not everyone is a firstfruit of God though. The firstfruits are the first of a much larger harvest.

            This whole site (Patheos) is goofed up because it promotes discussion and opining in favor over authority and knowledge.

            If you lack reverence for God and the gift of faith how could you possibly understand God? You might learn to recite what other men say but there is no familial relationship established from which to understand and honor God.

            So the format of this site like the world promotes randomness and chaos not expert knowledge about God.

            Who would ever approach the scriptures with the disrespectful attitude of a troll? But many do.

            We have too many false teachers in Christianity, too, and far too much false tradition.

            It is when you settle down and really start to understand the scriptures for yourself that you understand a lot more. That is when true personal interpretive ability starts to flow. Unfortunately, there seems to be too much heavy handedness inside Christianity. We must have learned it from Catholicism who learned it from the Roman Empire.

            The idea that one has to be doctrinally right all the time and that that supercedes a relationship with God is one of the results of a weak understanding of scripture.

            We let doctrine supercede relationship. But Christians are suppose to be the family of God.

            Can strangers come into a family and take it over with their foreign ideas? Strangers without a reverence for God the Father and family unifying faith?

            Some Christians are stupid. They want the Word over the Spirit though the Bible says the Spirit is higher than the letter and we are suppose to worship in spirit and truth. The Bible is the truth but some people seem to think by controlling doctrine that they have a personal monopoly on the truth and it engenders spiritual pride and after a while they stop inspecting the scriptures for their own errors and growth.

            I can’t figure out for the life of me how there are so many Christians today who don’t know the ancient languages of the Bible so they remain at the mercy of translators and the traditions of men.

            I have been going back to personally reconstruct the scriptures as much as possible and became super aware of all the false teaching and mistakes. You can’t even point out that aion does not mean eternity in the Bible these days. Christians are so doctrinaire and won’t check with a translator.

            I have more to reconstruct. I wish more people were reconstructing themselves. It would increase the understanding throughout Christianity and produce more active Christians but we like to be lacsadaisical and over rely on our teachers feeding us interpretations. But that doesn’t produce strong Christians.

            If you cannot understand God because you lack faith and reverence and cannot explain doctrinal errors then what are people doing on Patheos opining and attempting to run things according to their own undrrstanding?

            Are they smarter than God?

            God has His own perspective and it is Hebraic. So why did all the gentiles allow it to be Latinized and paganized under the Roman Empire?

            Thanks for reading. I am really sick of the lazy yet doctrinaire know it all attitude of people in Christianity. Also the spiritual blindness of nonbelievers who refuse to understand God’s perspective is truly disturbing especially when they want to act authoritative and teach on Christian boards without ever believing in or attempting to see things from God’s perspective.

            That is what teachers in Christianity do y’know. Teach God’s perspective and learning that perspective requires a high degree of faith and reverence. Seeing another perspective is never easy. That’s why there is so much conflict and divorce in this world because people are incapable of seeing the other’s perspective and making peace.

            I discovered there is so much false teaching in Christianity that you had better become the teacher yourself.

        • atheism is the delusional religion created in the 1800’s on the idea of presenting God as a competitor.

          your ritual is that you think denying God will put you above God. How does that work?

          • pud

            Non belief in invisible undetectable agents has existed since the first human walked upright

      • kyuss

        which often denote a poor command of the English language

        only in your little mind.

    • Prayer is prompted by God.

      Cultus means worship due only to God.

      you are fallen and damned by sin. The only reason you were not born in hell is because God is giving you a number of years in this world to repent so you can go home.

      God has two Will’s: Permissive Will and Divine Will.

  • Joshua Sonofnone

    Bro. Wellman,
    Don’t let bullies like Pud bother you. I have dealt with him on more than one occasion. He doesn’t even realize he is positing and trying to prove the negative when he says there is NO God! He has to use negative language to state his position relative to the existence of God, but he doesn’t even understand what he is doing. I keep trying to tell him that God loves him anyway and wants a personal relationship with him. Seriously, we do need to pray for him. For those of you having problems dealing with the New Atheists, I recommend that you read Dr. R. Albert Mohler’s book Atheism Remix: A Christian Confronts the New Atheists. Pud should read it also. Another good book is Ray Comfort’s How to Know God Exists: Scientific Proof of God. Pud should read it also, by the way.

    • Jack Wellman

      Thank you Mr. Sonofnone. I take Pud’s remarks as a blessing (Matt 5:10-12). I would hope he would look into these excellent sources, but it will take a supernatural miracle for him or her to believe and that must be the Holy Spirit.

    • Matthew 22:37

      I would spend more time in the scriptures for enlightenment and personal spiritual growth and worry about the determined to be unenlightened less.

      If someone lacks the fear of the Lord you can’t argue him into the right attitude or play 101 questions with him hoping that person will change like the apologists think to do.

      Everyone knows there is a God but some have suppressed knowledge of Him cf. Romans 1.

      Then some of the irreverent become presumptuous and overbearing in their sin and want to tear down the beliefs of believers using quarreling, interrogation, debate, mockery and insults but none of that qualifies them to disrespect another’s personhood when they do that.

      You owe them no answer other than scripture provides.

      More people should be pointing out Romans 1 to the irreverent and contentious.

      There is no mystery to their unbelief. God says in His Word that they suppressed the knowledge of Him.

      And God’s Word is accurate.

      2 Peter 1, New Living Translation

      Paying Attention to Scripture
      12 Therefore, I will always remind you about these things—even though you already know them and are standing firm in the truth you have been taught. 13 And it is only right that I should keep on reminding you as long as I live.[d] 14 For our Lord Jesus Christ has shown me that I must soon leave this earthly life,[e] 15 so I will work hard to make sure you always remember these things after I am gone.

      16 For we were not making up clever stories when we told you about the powerful coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. We saw his majestic splendor with our own eyes 17 when he received honor and glory from God the Father. The voice from the majestic glory of God said to him, “This is my dearly loved Son, who brings me great joy.”[f] 18 We ourselves heard that voice from heaven when we were with him on the holy mountain.

      19 Because of that experience, we have even greater confidence in the message proclaimed by the prophets. You must pay close attention to what they wrote, for their words are like a lamp shining in a dark place—until the Day dawns, and Christ the Morning Star shines[g] in your hearts. 20 Above all, you must realize that no prophecy in Scripture ever came from the prophet’s own understanding,[h] 21 or from human initiative. No, those prophets were moved by the Holy Spirit, and they spoke from God.

      And never forget the Spirit isn’t human logic. He may sometimes work through human intuition though so don’t allow superficial human reasoning to control everything. Humans frequently make mistakes reasoning so that is why they need to depend on God instead of making a false idol out of logic.

      Proverbs 3:5-8, ESV
      Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
      and do not lean on your own understanding.
      6 In all your ways acknowledge him,
      and he will make straight your paths.
      7 Be not wise in your own eyes;
      fear the Lord, and turn away from evil.
      8 It will be healing to your flesh[b]
      and refreshment[c] to your bones

      For as a man thinketh in his heart so is he cf. Proverbs 23:7.

    • pud

      The “Banana Man” hahahhahaha!! Comfort the demented huckster! LOL! what other idiot peddling his wares do you mindlessly and gullibly follow? EVERYTHING that lying lunatic has EVER said is demonstrably a LIE. “Behold! the atheist nightmare”….go watch that embarrassment on youtube and you’ll see what a moron Comfort is and by association you are!

  • kyuss

    Once again, Pud destroys all of you fools.