The Enemy in the Kingdom

Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field: But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way. But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also. So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares? He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up? But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn. … Then Jesus sent the multitude away, and went into the house: and his disciples came unto him, saying, Declare unto us the parable of the tares of the field. He answered and said unto them, He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man; The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one; The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels. As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world. The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.

Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43

There are many opinions about the kingdom of God and the reign of Jesus Christ that exist in various denominations of Christianity. The most popular view held today is that Jesus will come back to earth and establish His kingdom at some later date. One of their major arguments is the continued presence of evil in the world today. I do not agree with this position, and this parable supports my objection to it.

Jesus clearly speaks of the kingdom of God already in existence in the world during His earthly ministry. He also shows us that during the era of the kingdom there will be both righteous and wicked people living on earth. The clear teaching in this parable shows us that Jesus is not at all hampered by the presence of the wicked. In fact, He speaks of their sure judgment at the end of time.

It is important to understand that the kingdom and reign of Jesus is not a physical, political entity that we are used to. Notice what Jesus says to Pilate:

Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence.  John 18:36

The kingdom of Christ is a spiritual one. It is not bound by borders or earthly military forces. Because of all the sin and hurt in the world, we might think that Jesus is not reigning, but consider this:

Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet. For in that he put all in subjection under him, he left nothing [that is] not put under him. But now we see not yet all things put under him. But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.

Hebrews 2:8-9

The writer here shows us that God has already placed all the world under the authority of Jesus. His defeated enemies are already under His feet. From our perspective we don’t see it that clearly, yet.  But we do know that Jesus came; He died for the sins of God’s people; and He is reigning now at the right hand of His Father. Therefore, we can rest knowing that, even though there is evil all around us, Jesus Christ is actively reigning right now, and will one day judge the wicked in His righteousness.

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