The Garden of God
Beauty For Ashes Part 5 - George H. Warnock
CHAPTER 7 - THE WHEAT AND THE TARES
"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" (Matt. 13:24, 25).
Now in the same context of this parable was another one, in which the Lord cautions us not to allow the "thorns" to choke out the Word. The Lord describes the "thorns" as "the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches" (vs. 22). Paul also warns us about the "thorns and briers" that could infest our garden (Heb. 6:8), and which we must seek to eradicate. But of "the tares" the Gardener says, "An enemy hath done this... Let both grow together until the harvest" (Matt. 13:30). The farm-hands wanted to deal with it right away. They knew enough about "wheat" to discern the difference. But the farmer felt it would not be wise to root out the tares, because in doing so they would very likely root up some of the tender roots of the wheat. And so he decided, "We will deal with the tares at harvest time".
"Thorns and briers" are clearly identified as "the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches". But Jesus cautions us that the "tares" are far more difficult to identify. Generally leaders in the Church do not concern themselves too much about "the thorns" because the Church needs the rich and prosperous to pay for her programs and build her temples. But through the centuries Gods people have been persecuted, mistreated, banished, tortured, burned at the stake, condemned to the guillotine, crucified... all in the name of eradicating "the tares" from the Church.
Character of the Tares
God, because of His great patience and longsuffering, and by His own design, has continued to allow the false "anointed ones" to have their day in the Church. I know God wants His people to have discernment of "good and evil", and to deal with the evil that creeps into the Church, as He shows them the way to do it. But the fact remains there is an area of "the tares" that God will not deal with until "the time of harvest", The Lord knew the heart of Judas all along. And as the disciples looked back after the fall of Judas, they remembered his covetous heart, and perhaps a few other things related to that. But in their time together he was simply "one of the twelve", and none of the eleven had a sneaky feeling that Judas had an evil heart. How do I know? Because when Jesus announced, "One of you shall betray Me" there was total consternation and dismay. Each disciple in his turn said "Is it I?" And when Jesus said to Judas, "What thou doest, do quickly"... even then they were totally ignorant of what Jesus meant (See Jn. 13:28, 29).
Ungers Bible Dictionary has this to say about "tares" in Bible times. He says they are numerous in the grain fields, and are left in the ground until the stalks are well grown together. And then not long before the harvest, the workers will walk carefully in the fields and pull up everything but the wheat and the barley. He tells us that the most common of the different varieties of tares is poisonous, and almost indistinguishable from the wheat in the early stages of growth; but when they come into ear, they can be separated without difficulty.
This description is well confirmed by what the farmer in the parable said. And because the real and the false seem to be so much alike, we do not always know for sure what is of Christ and what is antichrist. But through it all God has given us a sure and positive way to follow after that which is good. Only our Lord Jesus is good, in the final analysis. Only He is our righteousness and peace and joy. God urges us to make Him to be our one and only desire... to pursue Him, to follow after Him, to come to know Him, to speak of Him, to live in the Spirit, to walk in the Spirit, to love Him, obey Him, and meditate upon Him night and day. We cannot go wrong if the desires of our hearts are for Him and for Him only. The Holy Spirit came to reveal Christ... and to exalt Him only (Jn. 16:13, 14). The shining forth of Christ in His servants will manifest Christ, And the true servants of Christ, who follow the Lamb, will recognize the spirit of the Lamb in those who profess to be His followers.
This is what our Gardener is saying, "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" (Matt. 13:30). I think we are assured we are very close to harvest time now, and we know the Gardener has it all under control. Jesus said, "The harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels" (Matt. 13:39). And we are told the tares are to be gathered together into bundles first, before the wheat is gathered into the garner. In any Church or fellowship in the land where Gods people are gathering together in His Name, you can be sure the Enemy will be looking for a place to sow the tares. But if our hearts are right, and our pursuit is totally after Him, God will not let us become overwhelmed with the false. Sometimes we may be fully aware of the false, and still not know what to do about it.
The tares are totally false, but they very much resemble the wheat, the true Christians, the Anointed Ones. There is nothing as false as a counterfeit $20 bill. It has all the markings of a good piece of currency, but it... is totally false. And until we come to the place where we will not judge by what we see or what we hear... but rather by that inner sense of seeing and hearing (the same Spirit that Jesus moved in)... we are not going to judge with that refined quality of discernment that God wants us to have. Our Lord Jesus did not judge by what He heard, or by what He saw, but His judgment was just, "Because" He said, "I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me" (Jn. 5:30; Isa. 11:3, 4).
Discerning Both Good and Evil
"But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil" (Heb. 5:14).
When a new bank employee came to the head banker and asked for some counterfeit currency, so he could study it, the banker replied: "You will not know the true currency by studying the false... study what you know to be the true currency, then you will be able to detect the counterfeit". Gods antidote for the false, is the Truth. Jesus said, "I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life" (Jn. 8:12). Gods remedy against antichrist, is the Christ, the Anointing, the Unction of God:
"But ye have an unction from the Holy One" (1 Jn. 2:20). This is Gods provision for us. Now the Anointing is not just some kind of powerful sensation that one might, feel (though I recognize one might feel the Anointing). The Anointing is that divine provision from God to cover us, to equip us for living the life of Jesus, and to enable us to minister Him to others. It is the shining forth of the Christ Himself, who is the Truth. And so John said, "But the anointing which ye have received of him... IS TRUTH..." (1 Jn. 2:27). Christ, the Anointed One is Himself the living Truth.
As we walk in the Spirit, the Spirit is faithful to cause us to walk in Truth; for Jesus said, "The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life" (Jn. 6:63). As we walk in this Unction, and put on "the mind of Christ" we will be immune to antichrist and will know his number. Our "hands" will be free from his evil works; our "forehead" from his evil mind. How foolish to think that if we know a little arithmetic and can count up to 666, we have the wisdom of God to resist antichrist and overcome him! With the "seal of the living God" written in our foreheads, there is no "number of man" that can erase that indelible seal of the living God (Ezek. 9:4; Rev. 7:3; 14:1)
Antichrist in the Temple
What Jesus is telling us in the parable of the wheat and tares is simply this: there is an evil-working of the antichrist spirit in the Church... and it will not be clearly manifested to Gods people until "harvest time". John recognized antichrist in his day. They claimed to be a part of the anointed people, but John said: "they went out from us" (1 Jn. 2:19). It appears John did not have to deal with it because Gods anointed ones had an "unction from the Holy One" and in due season, the antichrist company were no longer able to withstand the anointing that rested on them, and they walked out.
But antichrist will not surrender easily. He will keep trying to get a place of lordship in the midst of Gods people. In the time of Nehemiah and the rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem, there was a man by the name of Tobiah who hated the Jews and did all he could to disrupt the work of God. But he managed to make a good name for himself among many of the nobles of Judah. After all, his name means "Goodness of Jehovah". And "his good deeds" swayed the nobles, and they took his side. Somehow he arranged to find himself an apartment right in the temple of God (See Neh. 6:1; 17-19; 13:7, 8). He got in there to harm the people of God, not to help them. Antichrist wants to get into the midst of Gods people not to worship God, but to be worshipped. No longer is he interested in a temple of wood and stone. He has already served at that altar, and was responsible for bringing it to desolation. Now there is a new temple, the Church of the living God. And this is where he is seeking a place of lordship, right where Gods "anointed ones" are. Not to worship God "in Spirit and in Truth" but to bring in whatever he can to corrupt true worship. But he will make it look good. And he will make a name for himself with "his good deeds"... as he did in the former temple. He will settle for a little apartment to start with. He will steal his way in, and patiently wait for the opportunity to assert himself. "Antichrist" means "against Christ", but it also means "instead of Christ", instead of the Anointing. It is unbelievable how many things have invaded the Church to take the place of the Anointing. "Every form of creeping thing" (like Ezekiel saw, Ch. 8:18) has come in under the guise of "the anointing", to drive the Anointing out:.. wild music... giddy laughter clowns and comedians... magicians... power teams... you name it. Not to mention the many artificial gadgets and gimmicks, the stage effect, the color effect, that are used to beautify "the worship service". And then, of course, the "doctrines of men" that poison the heart and mind.., and the controlling spirit that keeps the people under captivity to the whole system.
Antichrist is working in Gods Temple to crowd out the Christ, to crowd out the Anointing, and to occupy that place himself. "The Unction of the Holy One" is Gods provision for His people. So antichrist did not succeed too well in Johns day. "They went out from us," he said. But in following generations he succeeded very well, until he had almost complete control in the House of God. And though he received what many in the Reformation hoped would be a "deadly wound", the wound is healing real well in our day. Now he is heavily involved in the whole ecumenical movement, which has for its intention the uniting of all "Christian" religions into one body under his control. He is finding a lot of success in all segments of the Christian Church including what many feel to be the most spiritual of all, ...the Charismatic Movement.
Antichrist is spoken of in the scriptures as singular and as many (1 Jn. 2:18); because "the man of sin" is a corporate man... even as Christ in union with His body is spoken of as a "perfect man" (Eph. 4:13). There may be one "head" over this new false church that is emerging, or it could be a corporate headship, who knows? But antichrist is a movement, a spirit, a corporate body. We will only see it clearly in the fulness of harvest time. But let us not be deceived into thinking that "antichrist" is lurking out there somewhere in a secret hiding place waiting for a temple to be built in Jerusalem, so he can take his throne in it. Right now he is very actively taking up strong positions in the Church, ...and crowding out the Christ, the Anointed One, and many of Gods people do not know the difference. Either Gods people repent and come back to a simple gathering in the Name of the Lord Jesus, where He is there in the full exercise of His Lordship, or antichrist will come into their midst with a false anointing; and they will not know the difference. And when "the mystery of iniquity" has come to fulness, then He will sit in the Temple, "shewing himself that he is God" (2 Thess. 2:4).
God wants to purge the hearts of His people from everything false, that they might become "a holy temple in the Lord... an habitation of God through the Spirit" (Eph. 2:21, 22). And many of His people are longing for that, and preparing their hearts to be His habitation in the earth. But many others, by ignorance or neglect, are being subdued into silence and are going along with the antichrist movement. We have this confidence: "The Lord knoweth them that are his" and we know He will keep His own unto the end. But our responsibility is this: "Let every one that nameth the name of Christ (The Anointed One) depart from iniquity" (2 Tim. 2:19).
The Restraining Hand of God
Now God is still restraining the full manifestation of "the man of sin", as He has done from the beginning. But when His Lordship is denied, and the holy Anointing is replaced with the number of man (666... the apostate mind of man coming to fulness of maturity)... they are going to bring more and more of these "creeping things" into the House of God. They must try to maintain "unity" in their midst. They must amuse the crowds to keep the people coming. They must keep the young people happy, and the older ones at least tolerant. Their investments are heavy, and heavy commercialism will continue to characterize the House of God in a manner that would have embarrassed the money-changers in Jesus day. The leaders will continue to compromise their faith for unity at all costs. And as a result the Holy Spirit who came to manifest the Christ and to glorify Him only, is grieved and moves out. God has no choice in the matter. Little by little He withdraws His restraining hand and gives it over to abomination, as He did with the old temple in Jerusalem.
Antichrist will continue to have more and more ascendancy until the time of the end. So the tares, those plants that very much resemble the wheat, have infested the fields in all parts of Christendom. But God has it all firmly under His control. He has "precious fruit" out there in the fields, First He is gathering "the tares" into bundles... and then He will gather the wheat into His granary. We do not have to decide who are His. "The Lord knoweth them that are His". He is ordaining both harvests. He sends "strong delusion" upon those who "receive not the love of the truth" (2 Thess. 2:10, 11), And He is bringing forth the wheat in the likeness of the Seed that was planted. It is a two-natured harvest. "The tares" are coming to fulness of fruition. And the good wheat is coming to "the full corn in the earth", by the shining forth of Gods love and truth in the sons of the Kingdom. The Lord of Glory will consume "the man of sin" with the "spirit of His mouth... and with the brightness of His coming" (2 Thess. 2:8). And the bundles of tares are gathered into bundles for burning.
In all of these matters, we are to know that our victory comes in our defeat... if you understand what we are saying. Jesus was slain on the Cross at the hands of wicked men. But it was there He conquered over sin and death, because He went there in the will of God. He did not stumble His way to the Cross. He deliberately walked into it, in the full light of the day. He gave Himself out of love for His people. It was love that caused Him to choose the will of the Father, rather than His own will. He went back to Judaea, knowing His enemies were waiting for Him. It was "through the eternal Spirit" that His Sacrifice was offered unto God, as a Lamb without blemish (See Jn. 11:7-9; Heb. 9:14). God wants us to follow the Lamb wherever He may lead us. And this requires that "we love not our lives unto the death", even as our Master. (Rev. 14:1, 4).
Chapter 8 - Victory...and Tragedy
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