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Parable of the Tares (Rabel)

(Back) Three Subjects Taught By Jesus Jesus Heals the Gerasene Demoniac (Next)

This is a series of lectures given by Mr. Edward Rabel, member of the faculty of S.M.R.S.
Winter semester 1976 - 2nd. Yr. Class. All of Lecture 15 given on February 13, 1976

Matt. 13:24-30 pp. 90-95 of transcript.

(Read the whole passage)

13:24Another parable set he before them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man that sowed good seed in his field: 13:25but while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares also among the wheat, and went away. 13:26But when the blade sprang up and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also. 13:27And the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst thou not sow good seed in thy field? whence then hath it tares? 13:28And he said unto them, An enemy hath done this. And the servants say unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up? 13:29But he saith, Nay; lest haply while ye gather up the tares, ye root up the wheat with them. 13:30Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of the harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather up first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them; but gather the wheat into my barn.

(Read now Explanation of the Parable of the Tares in Matt. 13:36-43, H.G. p.69).

This parable of Jesus is one of the very very few in which he also offers what is supposed to be an explanation. But notice something very ironic about this, which is that the explanation needs just as much explanation as the original parable and I am sure that Jesus realized this and himself was amused by it because notice how He asks at the very end of his explanation, "he that hath ears let him hear." In other words, what He is implying here is, there are plenty of you who are going to read this or hear this but only a certain percentage will comprehend the meaning of it. This is not criticism. It is simply an observation kind of letting us know that we are not required to understand this until we reach the point of mental development where this kind of symbolism makes sense to us. Most of us are familiar with the traditional Orthodox treatment of this parable. It is used as an illustration of a literal end of the world and a literal judgment day. It is said that Jesus is talking about "good" people and "bad" people, the good being compared to wheat and the bad being compared to tares and at the end of the world first of all the bad people will all be sent to everlasting torture. Who is witnessing this condemnation? The good people are witnessing, then they take their turn and are sent to everlasting bliss. Only, there is a catch here with a challenging thing, can a person who witnesses another human being being sent to eternal torture and putting up with it, be a good person? Of course not.

There are many meanings to this parable. This is a remarkable parable. This is certainly an example of multidimensional parables. At least one of the metaphysical meanings is grasped when we begin to understand that all things mentioned by Jesus are always symbolizing things, or processes or cycles within the individual self. The words, end of the world in our King James translation are translated in other versions of the Bible as consummation of the age. These are not referring to literal destruction of the planet but rather they are referring to the end or the consummation of something within us. The world which ends and the age which is consummated refers to cycles of development and phases of growth which we, as individuals, go through. Right at this moment you are in a certain phase of your unfoldment into conscious perfection; right now you are going through a certain cycle of learning, growing and developing. Right now you are in the midst of a process of either

  1. availing yourself of an opportunity for choice, or
  2. in the midst of making a choice, or
  3. awaiting your meeting with the results of the choice, or
  4. meeting the results of your choice.

These four phases can intermingle, interblend, but you are somewhere within this right now. Your current cycle is your world, the phase you have now reached in that cycle is your age, but neither one of them will last or endure; your world will not endure nor your age will endure, they come to a fulfillment, a conclusion and when they do they become what the Bible calls the end of that world or the consummation of that age. This is what Jesus is talking about when a certain purpose in your life has been fulfilled, or when a choice that you have made has been met by you and utilized into the overall pattern of your unfoldment. Regardless of what your current cycle of living and learning consists of there is one thing which it has in common with my current cycle and everybody else's current cycle, and it is the same thing which you and I have in common with every other person's current cycle of unfoldment. That is, they all contain factors that seem good and bad, pleasant and unpleasant. There are always the contrasting factors in any growth: desirable and undesirable, pleasure and pain, satisfaction or disappointment, or in the language that Jesus uses, there are both, wheat and tares. This simple fact of life often upsets many Truth students. He or she may discover the presence of a number of unpleasant or difficult things in his or her current field and would wonder, now, where these come from, since I am a good Truth student and I am careful with what seed I plant, how come there are these tares in my field, is there something wrong with me? If anyone is in this predicament he should remember that the only thing that is ever really wrong with him is the fact that he is thinking that there is something wrong with him.

This parable is but one of the many examples Jesus uses to illustrate the fact that on our current level of human thinking life does have a duality of appearances and experiences which human consciousness then reacts to and judges in terms of positive, negatives right, wrong; good, bad; wheat, tares and we see these factors in our lives growing all mixed up together often into one experience. These factors that we react to and judge in terms of their duality impression they make on us grow together in this vast field which is our current cycle or living, learning, and growing. Jesus says that the wheat, that is, the good things comes from the son of man sowing good seeds; and the tares, that is, the undesirable, the unwanted things come from the sons of the evil one sowing their brand of seeds. Now, what is the Law of Mind Action? "Like attracts like, like begets like.” Metaphysically what Jesus says here is one of the basic fundamentals of the Unity teachings, good manifestations result from thinking, speaking and living the words of Truth. The other side of the coin is, that is, the coin as we see it is undesirable manifestations come from thinking, speaking, and living words of negativeness and error. This is rock-bottom fundamentals.

Many people ask then, "If this is true, why so many good people have so many bad problems, and how come some bad people have so many advantages and pleasures in their life?" And this may sound like a perfectly legitimate question on the surface but it indicates that the one who asks such a question should first do some deeper thinking about the validity of these two terms, a good person, and a bad person. If he still thinks that there are such things, then he has a lot to learn still. If we think with our higher intelligence we usually, sooner or later, come to the point where we have to admit to ourselves that the old concepts of good and bad persons simply no longer will hold water. Remember that Jesus himself who knew His own worth, who knew His own greatness, refused to let somebody classify him personally as good; and he said quite clearly "why callest thou me good, there is none good, save One," (Mark 10:8) which is God. Now, in regard to who is a bad person, we can all ponder others of Jesus words. Jesus says, "Let him who is without sin cast the first stone" (John 8:7). In other words, you only have the right to call me a bad person if you are not a bad person. Good and bad, where persons are concerned, are only words of judgment past because of personal viewpoints and opinions. Even the best of persons can appear as bad to another, and even the worst of person can appear as wonderful to another. It is in the point of view, it is in your reaction to the relationship you've had. Most of you were not adults during the Hitler era in Germany; I was, and I remember that these intelligent, good people in Germany, because of the position they had, the point of view they were forced into by circumstances, saw Hitler entirely different from the way in which other people in other lands and circumstances saw him. I often wonder if it was possible for any of us to actually see into Hitler's soul at the time he was at the height of his powers in the world, what would we see there, what would we see? I am certain, folks; we would not see what the MGM movies were showing us at that time. And why not? We might even see a little portrait of ourselves in him. The role playing doesn't really give us the right to judge the person. Something else I want to say, there are examples of persons in this room who hated Bible reading while others adored it passionately. Even you may have really hated yourself at a very same moment when someone else in your life was loving you. It is the same person but a different point of view. So, in reality, there are not good persons and bad persons.

We still have the questions as to what to do about the tares in our current field of thought. No one wants to have his or her lot cluttered up with unpleasant and undesirable circumstances and things, nor is it ever God's will that we should hold on to these things or put up with them indefinitely. We know that God's will for us is good and so it must follow then that there has to be a right solution as to handling whatever tares are interfering with our sense of wellbeing. Now, Jesus points out that we must be careful about this; we must not let the zeal of excitement get a grip on us and cause us to rush headlong into things, taking the bull by the horns every time something appears which seems to call for attention for action, because, as you well know, human nature tends to be violently hasty about coping with whatever appears to be obstacles or threats to our good. Haven't you and I often caught ourselves reacting negatively or violently to a person who appeared to be a threat to our good, to our wellbeing, or to our reputation and we followed that hasty impulse and later we found out that that person was no threat at all. He never intended to be and never would have been and that in our hasty trying to dig up that tare, we might have also turned up the root of a possible good friendship in the future. Notice how the servants are eager to go out and pull up the tares right away but the wise man, the owner of the field tells them to wait until the right moment. Although parable doesn't say this, I would assume that the owner's reason for this was that because at a certain period of immaturity it would be very difficult to be absolutely sure whether it really was a tare or the wheat) because in the baby stages of most plant life they all look the same. is there an analogy in this fact with our life? At a certain stage of development in this idea, you might not yet be able to discern which is a tare and which is a wheat; you cannot always be sure until there is more maturity. In some cases you can tell almost right away but not always. The wise man tells them to bide their time until the right moment; and then, when the right moment comes, which is the harvest, then, the separation between wheat and tares will become easier. The judgment faculty will be able to tell, and then the tares will be properly disposed of while the wheat will be properly utilized.

In explaining this, Jesus refers to the reapers as angels and further describes the whole process as being under the guidance of the Father, and that makes all the difference in the world. If you and I are uprooting tares from the wheat under the guidance of the Father that is a different story than impulsive reactions of alarm before things have had a chance to really develop. Here Jesus is symbolically describing a spiritual law, a law which will unfailingly work for one who will trust in it and cooperate with it. Let's see if we can analyze this illustration. How do we often react to outer appearances or appearances in our life? It is usually in a manner that when we decide that something or someone is bad or wrong, we rush into battle and try to uproot it out of our way, out of our field. Sometimes this works, sometimes this doesn't work. Sometimes we are too hasty, too violent,too premature and sometimes in doing this we make mistakes which cause damage. Mistakes can easily be made with hasty judgment. One might pluck out a good wheat stock thinking it is a tare or even when recognizing a tare one could bruise or damage even the wheat in the violent uprooting of the tare and the wise man in life knows this same truth. There are times when it just simply is not the right time to quickly judge a thing to be bad. We may jump to a conclusion of calling something bad because we do not yet discern it properly. We have had all the experience of seeing part of the picture then imagining the rest call it bad and then found out we were wrong. Just because a thing does not give us pleasure immediately, this is no guarantee that it will bring us pain. Something or somebody may disagree with us but that does not necessarily mean that they will cause us harm. Whatever the past experience has been, have not we learned that it is not wise ever to be too hasty even for what seem to be good causes? But, you see, if Jesus had just ended the lesson here, in other words, "don't be too hasty". After making the point, this would not have been a very satisfying parable, but see how He ends this lesson. He follows through by giving us the reason why we shouldn't be too hasty, why there is no need to, why we don't always feel, "it is I who have to go in there and do all the straightening out." He assures us that all which really is not right for us in our life, the tares, will be properly disposed of. In other words, it will be done for us. He says, angels will do this and that the wheat, the good, shall be preserved. I know that some of our more self-sufficient and egotistical people do not like to hear that term, "it will be done for us." They would say, "I'd rather do it myself." Well, folks, if you and I could look back on an Akhashic track record of what we as self have accomplished, we would blush for shame. But, if you were able to look back and see all the times in all your existences where something greater than self did things and accomplished things through you and for you, you would glow with gratitude and say, "keep on doing it, don't let me have to do it myself." Self can do nothing really except make choices. The actual work, the accomplishing is never done by self but that which is always within you greater than self which is Christ, the spiritual power of your real nature. Sometimes it seems very, very difficult to believe that God's laws really are in charge of our world and that they will work with absolute certainty in our lives. To look beyond outer appearances and still not see anything tangibly good can make keeping faith and patience very very difficult; but it isn't impossible. It can be done and always at the right time in the right way. Truth will demonstrate itself. Remember, angels symbolize the agents of spiritual law. In the Bible angels are depicted from two directions. They are depicted as coming from God to man and as going from man to God and this is the way these agents of spiritual law work for us. When they are from God they are ideas, when they are from man, they are thoughts. When they are from God, they are inspirations, when they are from us they are aspirations. When they are from God they are the divine idea of life; when they are from man it is called energy and processes by means of which the Mind of God activates its blessings in the light of man; and man then acknowledges its cooperation with the Source of the blessings. A angels do God's work in man's life and they always do so at the right time and under the right circumstance, and as a result of their work the agents of spiritual law uproot from our field of life that which is not useful, not right, not good and le tall that is right, good and useful remain.

Remember that the wheat that is harvested, some of it is eaten or consumed by the individual for its immediate sustenance, but not all of it. A lot of that wheat is harvested for replant and then from that comes the eternal outpouring of the blessings. Many of the blessings that comes to us from God are for immediate expedient use for the moment; and I think the classic example of this is, "get someone healed right here and right now even before he changes his consciousness." That is the wheat to be eaten right now for a starving person, the angel which has a specific work to do right at the moment; but then there is more than just that, there is also the wheat that is to be planted for further multiplication, words of Truth, the Truth instructions we give to that person who has been healed so that he can harvest a crop of better health in future years. This is all an outworking of spiritual law; and it is the metaphysical meaning of this parable of the wheat and the tares.

Q. What does the eternal fire of God or eternal torment mean?

A. The eternal fire of God means the eternal process occurring within Being, the ever-present, the ever-active process within Spirit in which the form of evil, error, and so forth is neutralized and reduced back to the formless realm, back to substance. Substance itself is either positive, negative, good or bad or anything like this. Substance is totally formless, but it is the idea of all possibility of form in God's Mind. Something that has been formed into a malformation in consciousness is reduced back into the realm of formlessness and infinite possibility, that is the denial which is the renunciation faculty's main job. Then, from this substance, man's other faculties reform or rebuild into the true pattern of divine ideas.

Text of the original transcript from the last paragraph of page 90 through page 95.
Transcribed by Linda Pezzuti on September 8, 2013