When you purchase an item, can you tell whether it is genuine or fake? Nowadays, we see many inauthentic items which may be made so well that they look really similar to genuine items. Nonetheless, there must be certain tell-tale signs through which we can clearly identify them.
2,000 years ago, Jesus came to this earth and planted the truth of life for our salvation. However, through His teaching given in the parable of the weeds, He made known to us that false teachings which look very similar to the truth will appear after His ascension. What is important in all these is that we must have the ability to distinguish between the two.
Let us first take a look at the parable of the weeds spoken by Jesus.
The Parable of the Weeds
Jesus told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared. “The owner’s servants came to him and said, ‘Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?’ “‘An enemy did this,’ he replied. “The servants asked him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’ “‘No,’ he answered, ‘because while you are pulling the weeds, you may uproot the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.’”Matthew 13:24-30
Then he left the crowd and went into the house. His disciples came to him and said, “Explain to us the parable of the weeds in the field.” He answered, “The one who sowed the good seed is the Son of Man. The field is the world, and the good seed stands for the people of the kingdom. The weeds are the people of the evil one, and the enemy who sows them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels. “As the weeds are pulled up and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil (commit lawlessness, NASB). They will throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.Matthew 13:36-42
Jesus came to this earth to sow the good seeds, which is the word of God (Luke 8:11). However, the devil attempted to hinder God’s work by sowing weeds, lawlessness.
Not only similar sounding, but similar looking as well
Both weeds and wheat look so similar to each other, and that was why the farmer told the workers not to pull the weeds up, for fear of any wheat being hurt in the process.
… while you are pulling the weeds, you may uproot the wheat with them…Matthew 13:29
Field filled with weeds
As both seeds were left in the field, the field soon became filled with the weeds which have stronger life power. This prophecy shows clearly that, after the truth of life was sown, lawlessness, which looks very similar to the truth, will fill the whole earth.Did You Know A Plant in the wrong place
Known as “a plant in the wrong place”, weeds are plants that grow in places where they are not wanted. They have the ability to grow anywhere there is room. Weeds are highly prolific, with the ability to produce 10,000 to over 100,000 seeds. Their seeds are adapted to spread and can remain dormant for decades before they grow (waiting for the right conditions occur). They are persistent, pernicious and are able to germinate, grow and propagate fast.
Two different destinies
As the prophecy shows, at the end of the age, the result of both seeds are vastly different: those practising wheat-like truth will be brought into the heavenly barn, while those keeping weed-like falsehood will be thrown into the fiery furnace.
It is, thus, vital to be able to distinguish between the two.
Distinguishing Wheat from Weeds
By specifying in the parable that both weeds and wheat look very similar, we can know one thing for fact: we cannot distinguish between truth and falsehood by mere outer appearances.
How are we able to identify wheat from weeds then? In order to do so, we need to go back to the time before the weeds were sown. At that time, only pure truth existed.
built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone.Ephesians 2:20
Our faith should be built on the foundation of Jesus and the apostles. It is because what was sown by them at that time was purely the wheat-like truth. Then, what were the perfect truths taught by Jesus before lawlessness was sown?
One of the basic duties of a Christian is to attend church and worship God. However, on which day should we worship God? The example which Jesus and the apostles set for us was on Sabbath day—Saturday.
He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. He stood up to read,Luke 4:16
As was his custom, Paul went into the synagogue, and on three Sabbath days he reasoned with them from the Scriptures,Acts 17:2
According to the prophecy of the weeds, after the age of Jesus and the apostles, similar-looking weeds would appear. In fulfillment, in A.D. 321, the Sabbath was abolished and Sunday Service was instituted instead. With only a day’s difference between the two, Sabbath and Sunday look very similar indeed.
Before Jesus was crucified on the cross, He established the New Covenant Passover to bless us with eternal life (John 6:53-54).
… the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Where do you want us to make preparations for you to eat the Passover?” He replied… I am going to celebrate the Passover with my disciples at your house.’” So the disciples did as Jesus had directed them and prepared the Passover…Matthew 26:17-19, 26-28
This feast of life was to be celebrated annually (Leviticus 23:4-5), and even after Jesus’ ascension, Apostle Paul observed it as well (1 Corinthians 5:7-8). However, this feast was abolished in A.D. 325 and weeds began to appear. In replacement of the Passover, Easter was instituted. Later, a similar bread and wine ceremony—Holy Communion was also introduced. Christmas was also sown in A.D. 354 and is regarded as the one of the “biggest annual event” in Christianity.
Feasts of God
Besides the Passover, Jesus and His disciples also observed the Day of Pentecost and the Feast of Tabernacles.
When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place.Acts 2:1
But when the Jewish Festival of Tabernacles was near… Not until halfway through the festival did Jesus go up to the temple courts and begin to teach…On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink… By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive…John 7:2, 14, 37-39
The Feast of Unleavened Bread, the Day of Pentecost, and the Feast of Tabernacles are known as the seven feasts in three times (Leviticus 23). After the abolishment of the Passover, the rest of the seven feasts also disappeared subsequently.
Propriety in Worship
Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ… Every man who prays or prophesies with his head covered dishonours his head. But every woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonours her head—it is the same as having her head shaved… she should cover her head.1 Corinthians 11:1-6
Over here, Apostle Paul was writing about a teaching that came from Christ, that is, women should cover their heads when they pray or worship God. However, over time, this regulation was lost.
At the Harvest
Wheat may look weak and small, whereas weeds which are adapted to propagate fast may grow strong and large in numbers. Nonetheless, ultimately, what the farmer wants are the wheat during the harvest. As Jesus mentioned only those who do the will of God are able to enter the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 7:21), let us follow the will of God, obeying all the commandments and enter the heavenly barn!