Just as the weeds are sorted out and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the world. The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will remove from his Kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. And the angels will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in their Father’s Kingdom. Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand! [Matthew 13:40-43 (NLT)]
Following the Parable of the Sower and the Soils, Jesus told another parable about the coming of the Kingdom. In the Parable of the Weeds, after the farmer plants wheat, his enemy sows weeds in the same field. Jesus’ hearers would have known the weed likely was darnel. Called wheat’s “evil twin,” it looks and behaves much like wheat. When wheat is consumed it gives life but, when darnel is consumed, this inedible look-alike causes nausea and even death. Sowing weeds in a field was an act of sabotage and Roman law specifically prohibited doing so with darnel. When nations went to war, agricultural vandalism was a common practice. Olive trees were cut down, grape vines destroyed, and fields were salted so nothing would grow.
When the farmer’s workers ask to pull out the weeds, they are told to wait. Because both the weeds and wheat are deeply rooted, pulling up the weeds would uproot the wheat, as well. Not wanting to destroy the good by removing the bad, the farmer decides to wait until harvest time when the weeds can be better identified and separated without damaging the wheat. At that time, the wheat will be put in the barn but the weeds will be burned.
While the farmer in the Parable of the Soils represents those who share the gospel, the farmer in this parable is Jesus. The field is the world and the enemy is Satan, whose strategy is to invade, infiltrate, penetrate, and take control of the field. Even though he knows he’s lost the war, Satan wants to inflict as much damage as possible until his final defeat. Christ’s followers are the wheat and, even though they look much like wheat, the weeds are unbelievers. The harvest comes near the end of the age when the angels will come with their sickles and winnowing forks to bring in the harvest. While the righteous will come into the Kingdom, the sons of the evil one will be punished and thrown into the fires of hell.
Focusing on the final judgment, the parable tells us that what seems uncertain now will be unmistakable at the end of the age and God’s enemies will be removed! This parable repeats the good news of the Parable of the Soils: in spite of opposition and interference from its enemy, God’s Kingdom will prevail! If there is any doubt in your mind, just read the book of Revelation. Sickness, famine, war, hatred, pestilence, hypocrisy, natural disaster, genocide, abuse, violence, idolatry, deception, calamity, and even noxious weeds do not have the last word—Jesus Christ does!
I’ve read the last page of the Bible, it’s all going to turn out all right. [Billy Graham]