In the parable of the tares – which is a weed that looks a lot like wheat – and the five subsequent parables we find symbolic representations of the kingdom. They are about the time while the King is rejected and is therefore a time characterized by the absence of the King. It is the kingdom in its new form, it receives a new character by which it was not previously known. Therefore the Lord Jesus says: “The kingdom of heaven has become like”. The phrase “has become like” indicates the change after the original intention of the kingdom could not be realized by the rejection of the King.
The parable of the tares among the wheat and the next two parables represent the kingdom in its outer form in the world. They are addressed to the disciples and the crowds. The last three parables show the kingdom according to the appreciation of the Holy Spirit, as God sees it. They contain the thoughts and counsels of God. These last three, together with the explanation of the second parable, are addressed only to the disciples.
Just as in the first parable, the sower is “a man”, that is the Lord Jesus. He sows good seed and sows in “His” field, for the field belongs to Him. This sowing did not actually begin until after He was rejected. His followers sowed first in Jerusalem, then in Samaria, and then to the remotest part of the earth (Acts 1:88but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.”).
The Lord does this sowing work through people. But these people are characterized by weakness and even carelessness. This gives the enemy opportunity to sow weeds. Falling asleep also has to do with not looking forward to the coming of the Lord Jesus. We see that all ten virgins fall asleep when the bridegroom is absent (Mt 25:55Now while the bridegroom was delaying, they all got drowsy and [began] to sleep.; cf. Eph 5:1414For this reason it says, “Awake, sleeper, And arise from the dead, And Christ will shine on you.”). This gives the enemy the opportunity to sow weeds. This is sown in words that sound very evangelical and very authentic, but in which another meaning is hidden. Of course it seems Christian, but God knows it inside out. Satan is the great imitator of God (cf. 2Tim 3:88Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these [men] also oppose the truth, men of depraved mind, rejected in regard to the faith.; Rev 13:1111Then I saw another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb and he spoke as a dragon.). He sowed his false teachings among Christians through false teachers and their supporters.
A tare is, as said, a weed that looks a lot like wheat. Satan works with what seems to be truth, but is a lie. His refined way of working is to mix truth and lies, so that they are hard or impossible to distinguish from each other. If we are not vigilant, the tare can be sown and grow.
When the fruit appears, the slaves notice that weeds are shooting up between the good seed. They ask the Lord of the House – also a picture of the Lord Jesus – about it, to which he answers that this is the work of a hostile man. Then the slaves propose to gather the weeds. That is not a good proposal. The owner of the house rejects their proposal and gives the reason why. He knows that his slaves will be mistaken in their judgment of what is wheat and what is weeds. They have not been able to prevent the work of that hostile man, nor are they able to undo the results of the work of that hostile man.
In the picture the proposal of the slaves comes down to purging Christianity of weeds. But that is not the work of the slaves. It is a work of judgment about what is not of God. This judgment belongs to Him alone because only He can only carry it out according to the perfect knowledge He has of everything and according to His power from which no one can escape. Therefore the Lord Jesus says that the kingdom on earth, as it is in the hands of man, must remain a mixed system until “the harvest”.
The “time of the harvest” indicates a certain period of time in which the events associated with the harvest, namely its final phase, will take place. In that phase the weeds manifest themselves more and more clearly. The Lord will execute judgment through the angels of His power. After the binding of the weeds He gathers the wheat into His barn. The wheat is not tied in bundles. This is the end of the outward appearance of the kingdom on earth.
The binding in bundles is the preparation for judgment, in which we can perhaps see the merging of all kinds of churches and currents, ecumenism. In the explanation of the parable, the Lord explains this in more detail. The gathering of the wheat, of which there is no mention of preparation, is the gathering of His people, where perhaps we can see the taking away of the church to heaven. The Lord also explains this in more detail in the explanation.
The growing up together until the harvest applies to the kingdom of heaven or Christianity, not to the church. In the (local) church evil must be purged (1Cor 5:1313But those who are outside, God judges. Remove the wicked man from among yourselves.). If a church does not want that, we must purify ourselves from that church (2Tim 2:19-2219Nevertheless, the firm foundation of God stands, having this seal, “The Lord knows those who are His,” and, “Everyone who names the name of the Lord is to abstain from wickedness.”20Now in a large house there are not only gold and silver vessels, but also vessels of wood and of earthenware, and some to honor and some to dishonor.21Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from these [things], he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified, useful to the Master, prepared for every good work.22Now flee from youthful lusts and pursue righteousness, faith, love [and] peace, with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.).