The Wheat and the Tares

darnel / tares / zizanion

Matthew 13

24 Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field:
25 But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way.
26 But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also.
27 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?
28 He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up?
29 But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them.
30 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.

The kingdom of heaven is a kingdom on earth and it is a kingdom to be cleansed.

Matthew 13:41 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;

The wheat represents the Christian population of God's kingdom. The tares looks very much like wheat but it is a different and harmful plant. It is not wheat but it looks like wheat. In this parable, the tares were something that was sown, not by God but by his enemy. So the kingdom is populated with wheat and tares. You might say, the wheat are God's people and the tares look like God's people.

There are a few who can tell the difference between wheat and tares.

Matthew 13:27 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?

The servants of the householder can tell the difference between wheat and tares. Do you know of any Churches that identifies any particular group as 'evil'. Not just 'sinners' but a different and evil people? If so, then might it just be that this church is actually made up of 'servants of the householder'.

Matthew 13:30 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.

At the end of the age there is to be two different gatherings.



Matthew 24:31And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. Matthew 13:30 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.

Why wait until the harvest to separate the wheat from the tares?

Matthew 24:29 But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them.

1.  Pulling up the tares would damage the roots of the wheat.

2. To go through a field of wheat pulling up tares would mean trampling down a lot of wheat.

A Christian knows he is a Christian. Likewise might a 'tare' know he is a 'tare'? And if the tare knows the Bible then 'tares' knows that, at the end of the age, they are to be gathered together and burned. Is there a people living in Christian (wheat) nations that fears being gathered together and burned?

This is what Easton's revised Bible dictionary says about tares / darnel:


The bearded darnel, mentioned only in Mt 13:25-30 It is the Lolium temulentum, a species of rye-grass, the seeds of which are a strong soporific poison. It bears the closest resemblance to wheat till the ear appears, and only then the difference is discovered. It grows plentifully in Syria and Palestine."

While the tares look wheat, look like God's chosen people, it is a totally different plant.

When talking about 'the wicked' Jesus said, by their fruit you will know them.

Matthew 7

15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.
16 Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?
17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.
18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.
19 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.
20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.

Notice three things from Matthew 7.

False Prophets


1. Look like sheep but are wolves. Tares look like wheat.
2. You can know them by their fruits. Tares have bad fruit.
3. They are to be cut down and burned. Tares are to be gathered and burned.

The tare's fruit, the seeds, contains a poisonous soporific drug. A drug that induces deep sleep, or causes one to become drowsy and lethargic.

Matthew 25

1 Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom.
2 And five of them were wise, and five were foolish.
3 They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them:
4 But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps.
5 While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept.
6 And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him.

From the Dictionary

soporific \sop-uh-RIF-ik; so-puh-\, adjective:
1. Causing sleep; tending to cause sleep.
2. Of, relating to, or characterized by sleepiness or lethargy.

A medicine, drug, plant, or other agent that has the quality of inducing sleep; a narcotic.

Hamilton's voice droned on, hypnotic, soporific, the gloom beyond the windows like the backdrop of a waking dream.
--T. Coraghessan Boyle, Riven Rock

They were almost an hour behind in their daily schedule, and both women looked tired after a soporific afternoon of three executive meetings.
--Gabriel Garcia Marquez, News of a Kidnapping

Happily, these three lullaby books offer the sort of comforting bedtime soporific that has delivered generations of children, young and older, into deep, safe slumber.
--Lisa Shea, review of The Animals' Lullaby, by Tom Paxton; Time For Bed, by Mem Fox; and I Love You as Much . . ., by Laura Krauss Melmed, New York Times, January 30, 1994

5 While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept.

We usually think of false prophets to be in churches. But many people do not go to church. Yet we read "they all slumbered and slept". What do we have in our society that affects all of us and is controlled by a small minority in society. Controlled by a people who look like 'wheat'?

Does the television cause people to not only slumber but also to do all kinds of things which one would not normally do, but which a drugged person might do in his drugged madness?

What effect do you see in our society as a result of television, in dress, personal appearance, music, conduct, moral standards? And do the leaders of these tares dwell upon a fear of being gathered together and burnt? 

Tares is not wheat but a totally different plant which is sown by the enemy. It is not a part of God's harvest at all, nor was it sown by God. It will be burned, and there is no chance for it to transform itself to wheat. In short: darnel is not "erring saints", or unconverted humans, but a totally different species (kind).

The darnel does not think it is wheat. It is and knows that it is darnel. It mixes with wheat and it is soporific, and is only fit to be bound and then burned (Matthew 13:30).

The wheat will be gathered to God, but the darnel was not sown by God and has never been his wheat and has never been any part of his potential spiritual harvest. It is from the beginning a different plant, a one doomed to be bound together in bundles at the harvest time, and to be burned, without any way of escape. It is something that came from the enemy.

Jesus explained this parable:

Matthew 13:36 Then Jesus sent the multitude away and went into the house. And His disciples came to Him, saying, "Explain to us the parable of the tares of the field." 37 He answered and said to them: "He who sows the good seed is the Son of Man. 38 "The field is the world, the good seeds are the sons of the kingdom, but the tares are the sons of the wicked one. 39 "The enemy who sowed them is the devil, the harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are the angels. 40 "Therefore as the tares are gathered and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of this age. 41 "The Son of Man will send out His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and those who practice lawlessness, 42 "and will cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth. 43 "Then the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears to hear, let him hear! (NKJV)

But all do not have the ear to hear this. All are not able to understand or bear this.

Now, when the darnel comes to fruit it is more easily recognized for even the non-expert. But those who know more about darnel's characteristics, can recognize it even earlier.

Its fruit, the black seeds, contain a narcotic drug causing slumber. Someone said that if darnel grows among oil-bearing plants and if its seeds are pressed together with the oil-giving seeds, the oil can become lethal because the oil carries the darnel's poison in it.

Jesus said there would be darnel. Where do you think it will grow? Among whom? Why, among the wheat of God: among the saints. But while the darnel mixes with the wheat and may appear to be wheat, it is not a part of the spiritual assembly of God in any way at all. Still, it will be there, among the wheat, all the way to the time of the harvest. Please also note that darnel becomes really poisonous immediately before harvest time, when it comes to fruit. In other words: darnel is most dangerous just before harvest time, and here we are talking about God's harvest which is reaped by the angels.

Please do not allow yourself to become intoxicated by darnel. Please do not allow it to cause you to go to sleep or to slumber. Please do let it drug you to doing insane things.

Look at the fruit of persons to see what they really are. "Fruit" is not figures or statistics but a biblical criteria, such as is found in Galatians 5:22-23 and in several other places of the Bible.

Please read even Isaiah 8:20: "To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them." The enemy who sowed darnel did his sowing in the darkness of the night.

We read:

Ephesians 5:6 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. 7 Therefore do not be partakers with them; 8 for you were formerly darkness, but now you are light in the Lord; walk as children of light 9 (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth), 10 trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord. 11 And do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them; 12 for it is disgraceful even to speak of the things which are done by them in secret. 13 But all things become visible when they are exposed by the light, for everything that becomes visible is light. 14 For this reason it says, "Awake, sleeper, And arise from the dead, And Christ will shine on you." 15 Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men, but as wise, 16 making the most of your time, because the days are evil. 17 So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. 18 And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit, 19 speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord (NASB; emphasis added)

Ephesians 5:11 Have nothing to do with the barren unprofitable deeds of darkness, but, instead of that, set your faces against them; 12 for the things which are done by these people in secret it is disgraceful even to speak of. 13 But everything can be tested by the light and thus be shown in its true colors; for whatever shines of itself is light. 14 For this reason it is said, "Rise, sleeper; rise from among the dead, and Christ will shed light upon you." 15 Therefore be very careful how you live and act. Let it not be as unwise men, but as wise. 16 Buy up your opportunities, for these are evil times. (Weymouth NT; emphasis added.)

Much said about sleeping. The darnel causes drowsiness, sleep, even lethal drowsiness, and: here we are talking about things on the spiritual level. (There is more on Paul's letter to the Ephesians in the essay.)

We must be aware of the fact that there are many deceivers, who are not a part of the wheat of God but of a totally different kind, directly from the enemy, but still look-a-likes which mix with God's people.

The wheat of God, the true saints, must be a light. They must kindle up the fire of God in them (1. Thessalonians 5:19, 1. Timothy 4:14, 2. Timothy 1:6) and not let their opportunity as the called ones of God go by. God has allowed the very enemy, the enemy of God, to infiltrate mankind, even his spiritual assembly.

Just as physical darnel plants are many in a field, so are spiritual darnel plants many among what God sowed. God allows this to happen, perhaps in order to test his saints, or for some other purpose. But he has also many times and in different ways, and repeatedly, warned us about deceivers, about darnel. God tells his saints what to do: be close to God, study the Bible, blow up the fire of God (the Holy Spirit) so that it will be effective in one's life, and, "buy up the opportunity", as was quoted above. That is: one must use the opportunity which one has been given by God.

Romans 13:12, Ephesians 5:11, 1. Thessalonians 5:1-10, 1. Thessalonians 5:19, 1. Timothy 4:14, 2. Timothy 1:6.

A note: in this document it is taken "for granted" that the commentaries which are referred are correct in their identification of the tares/darnel/zizania as Lolium temulentum which is a wheat-resembling plant with black seeds which contain a soporific drug. (Some say that the seeds in themselves are not soporific but the fungus which comes with them, but that nevertheless means that those seeds are poisonous.) But even if the identification of the exact plant would be incorrect here, that does not change Jesus' warning message to us in the parable concerning darnel in Matthew 13.

Understanding the matter with the darnel plants, that they are a special kind, a separate kindred among us humans, helps one to understand some other things in the Bible also. Like this passage in Matthew which might seem to be logically incorrect:

Matthew 24:34 "Assuredly, I say to you, this generation [Greek, genea] will by no means pass away till all these things take place. (NKJV; comment added)

We of course know that the people who lived during Jesus' days died, without seeing the things Jesus foretold. Some have tried to explain that obvious problem by saying that Jesus referred to some (single) "future" generation which would not pass away until, et cetera. But that is not a plausible explanation, for Jesus spoke about a genea which existed (lived) when Jesus lived as a mortal man here on earth.

The explanation is simple. The word for "generation" in that passage is genea. That word could actually mean many kinds of things, among those are "a special kindred", "a certain kind of persons" and "a group of persons".

In Matthew 24, Jesus did refer to a special kindred (genea) which lived among the Jews. In that chapter, Jesus describes how deceivers and workers of evil would be in the end times. Even while we cannot be sure, those deceivers might be a part of the darnel.

The kindred, genea, which Jesus warned about will live among men until the things mentioned in Matthew 24 have all happened. But after that the Reign of Heaven will come to effect even here on earth. At that time, Satan and other unrepentant evil spirits will be bound (bundled up) and will receive their judgment (destruction by fire). They will not be allowed to do their work of evil among humans any more. At that time, the kindred (genea) which Jesus spoke about will perish from among men.

Matthew 13:39 "The enemy who sowed them is the devil, the harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are the angels. 40 "Therefore as the tares are gathered and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of this age. (NKJV)

The Bible has similar passages where the kindred which Jesus warned about is referred to. Here is one example:

Luke 11:50 "that the blood of all the prophets which was shed from the foundation of the world may be required of this generation [genea], 51 "from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah who perished between the altar and the temple. Yes, I say to you, it shall be required of this generation. (NKJV; comment added)

Obviously the blood of men of earlier generations cannot be required at the hand of the generation of men who lived much later, when Jesus was here on earth. That would be a great injustice. But, the blood of Abel and others will be required of a special kindred (genea) which is guilty of all that blood throughout the centuries.

Matthew 3:7 But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation [genea] of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? (NKJV; comment added)

It was not that they were just children of vipers (snakes). No: They were a kindred of snakes. The offspring of vipers is of course nothing else but vipers. And theirs, in turn. Those snakes will co-exist with mankind until Jesus' return, but no longer than that.

Jesus used that strong word snake, for he knew what and who the ones he was talking to were. Jesus used similar descriptions of them quite often. You probably know where the serpent was first mentioned in the Bible and who that serpents was/is; you can read more about that snake in the essays and .

The Song of Moses

Deuteronomy 32:24 They shall be burnt with hunger, and devoured with burning heat, and with bitter destruction: I will also send the teeth of beasts upon them, with the poison of serpents of the dust.


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