Metaphysical Bible Interpretation of Matthew Chapter 13
Metaphysically Interpreting Matthew 13:24-30
(Parable of the Tares)
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.
February 7, 1965: Matt. 13:24-30
What is the kingdom of heaven? It is spiritual consciousness, or a state of mind in which peace, love, and harmony fill the thought of the individual or of a group.
In interpreting the parable of the tares, Jesus said, "The field is the world." What sort of world is the field in which the Son of man sows good seed? The world is the aggregate of the thoughts and intentions of all men. The world is to be transformed by the sowing of good seed in the mind of the race ("sons of the kingdom") and the encouraging of them to bring it to the harvest.
What are tares, and what do they represent? Tares are worthless (by some scholars said to be poisonous) weeds that grow in grain fields. They represent destructive thoughts.
Who is the "enemy" that sows the tares? The sense consciousness, which sows them when we are not on the alert spiritually ("while men slept"). When asked by his servants if they should gather the tares, the householder said, "Nay; lest haply ... ye root up the wheat with them." Explain the significance of this statement. In the early stages of our spiritual development, it would be difficult for us to cleanse our mind thoroughly. If we attempted such cleansing, we might discard much that is good along with the evil.
Is it then better for us to hold steadfastly to the good and endeavor to promote its growth in our consciousness and not give our attention to the negative or destructive thoughts? Yes. When we have attained sufficient spiritual understanding ("time of the harvest") we can safely make the separation. Then we can cast out the destructive thoughts ("burn them") and preserve the positive good ideas ("gather wheat unto my barn").
Does this lesson show us that the "harvest" is not only an individual but also a universal process? Yes. The law of compensation, or sowing and reaping, or cause and effect, is a cosmic law and universal in its action. The "sowing" is done not only by each individual but by social and political groups, races, and nations.
To Be Held in the Silence
I recognize the divine law and work with it to control and direct its action in my life.
Undated: Matt. 13:24-30
Unity interprets a living BIBLE LESSON
Prepared by Mary Mae Oesch
Jesus compared the kingdom of heaven to a farmer who planted good wheat seed on his land. While the man and his employees were asleep, an enemy sowed tares, or weeds, among the wheat. When both kinds of seed grew, the servants thought they should pull up the weeds at once. But the farmer knew that pulling the weeds at that time would also uproot the tender, young wheat. So he ordered that they wait until the wheat was mature. Then, at the right time, the reapers would pull up the tares and burn them, and the wheat could be properly harvested.
Later Jesus explained that our understanding of Truth causes us to sow constructive thoughts (wheat) in our mind. While we are not alert spiritually, (sleeping), sense consciousness (the enemy) plants error thoughts (tares or weeds). Yet we cannot, forcibly uproot all negative thoughts at once, lest we become confused and concentrate too much on the negation we do not want.
If we nourish positive spiritual ideas regularly, we shall gain mature spiritual understanding and harvest its benefits. Then we shall be able to reject all error and purify our thought in the fire of spiritual zeal. This cleansing process leaves only the "good grain" as the spiritual fruits of our glorious harvest.
Our Practical Application
Practicing Truth, like any other learning process, has its ups and downs; and the typical Truth student experiences various stages of development.
We know that conditions and circumstances in our lives are determined by the kinds of thought that take root and grow in our mind. Thus we resolve to think and live by constructive ideas that are wholly true of God. We embark upon a program of affirmative prayer, quiet meditation, and positive thinking. Since the law of cause and effect works unerringly, our uplifted consciousness attracts improved conditions in our lives. Naturally, our early demonstrations increase our enthusiasm for Truth, and we renew our covenant with our higher self.
All of us know how disconcerting it can be, at this point, to discover ourselves lapsing into periods of negative thinking. Perhaps we give in to the stress of fear, or lend power to thoughts of sickness that produce an inevitable kickback of poor health. Perhaps vigorous jealousy thoughts springup, in spite of our knowledge that destructive emotions exact a relentless toll.
Jesus knew there would be such times in our experience; hence the parable of the tares. In essence, He tells us:
"Do not condemn yourself nor be discouraged. The whole of Truth is not learned in a day or a week or a year; and thought discipline does not follow a steady, smooth incline toward perfection. Materialistic race thought has made its impression on your subconscious mind; and erroneous beliefs are bound to crop up now and then. But there is a solution to this problem."
Jesus did not recommend that one in the early stage of spiritual awareness should concentrate too much on denial of error, since vigorous rejection of evil focuses attention and lends power to that very evil we would eliminate. However, balance and progress are achieved when any denial is followed immediately by a strong affirmation of Truth. If we tell ourself, "I do not hate my enemy," such an approach still acknowledges hatred and still labels another person an enemy. However, we can affirm:
"I have no enemies, but only friends who are fellow children of God. The forgiving love of Christ dissolves all hard feelings; and we live in peace, love, and harmony. I see and love the Christ in everyone."
Let us not worry about past mistakes or failures, but give all our attention to positive, constructive ideas, and nourish them by our love. Then we shall have a healthy "crop" of right thoughts, and they will attract increased blessings through the years.
Questions and Answers
To what do the good seed and the tares or weeds compare? To constructive, true thoughts and to negative or destructive thoughts.
What was the object of Jesus' parable of the tares? To show us how we can best nourish our good thoughts; also to explain why there is both good and evil in our consciousness, even though we sincerely desire to seek the good.
To what does the harvest refer? The good that man reaps after destroying sense consciousness.
Does Matt. 13:40-43 predict an end of the world? No; this describes symbolically an individual process of purification.
Metaphysically Interpreting Matthew 13:31-35; 44-52
13:31Another parable set he before them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is like unto a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and sowed in his field: 13:32which indeed is less than all seeds; but when it is grown, it is greater than the herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the heaven come and lodge in the branches thereof.
13:33Another parable spake he unto them; The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven, which a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal, till it was all leavened.
13:34All these things spake Jesus in parables unto the multitudes; and without a parable spake he nothing unto them: 13:35that it might be fulfilled which was spoken through the prophet, saying,
I will open my mouth in parables;
I will utter things hidden from the foundation of the world.
13:44The kingdom of heaven is like unto a treasure hidden in the field; which a man found, and hid; and in his joy he goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field.
13:45Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is a merchant seeking goodly pearls: 13:46and having found one pearl of great price, he went and sold all that he had, and bought it.
13:47Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a net, that was cast into the sea, and gathered of every kind:13:48which, when it was filled, they drew up on the beach; and they sat down, and gathered the good into vessels, but the bad they cast away. 13:49So shall it be in the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the righteous, 13:50and shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be the weeping and the gnashing of teeth.
13:51Have ye understood all these things? They say unto him, Yea. 13:52And he said unto them, Therefore every scribe who hath been made a disciple to the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is a householder, who bringeth forth out of his treasure things new and old.
Undated: Matt. 13:31-35;44-52
Questions and Answers
Why are parables helpful? Because they lend themselves to meditation, in that they stir the imagination and make us see the story as an actual event. As we meditate on a parable our perception is quickened, and we begin to see the underlying truth or spiritual principle that the story illustrates.
Interpreted metaphysically, what is the kingdom of heaven? The kingdom of heaven, or more accurately the kingdom of the heavens, is a state of consciousness in which mind, soul, and body are in harmony with Divine Mind.
Why is the kingdom of heaven like a mustard seed? The parable of the mustard seed shows us that the apparently small thought or idea of Truth (seed) has capacity to develop and expand in consciousness until it becomes the abiding place of a higher type of thoughts (birds of the air).
What truth is emphasized in the parable of the leaven? Leaven represents the penetrating power of Truth, which works in the substance of spirit, soul, and body (three measures of meal). A true idea transforms a mass of ignorance by allowing the light of understanding to permeate it until all is enlightenment.
What is the field in which man's greatest treasure is hidden?
The mind and heart of man. They contain the hidden treasure of spiritual identity that each man discovers as he learns to know himself as a son of God.
What is represented by the "pearl of great price"? Pure spiritual understanding. This parable shows the surpassing worth of true understanding to man. When once he knows its true meaning, he gladly gives up everything that would hinder his realization of it.
What is represented by the net that gathered both the good and the bad, which had to be sorted? The net represents the capacity of the mind to gather all kinds of thoughts, which have to be tested; the good retained and the bad cast out.
What is signified by "the end of the world"? "The end of the world" is more accurately translated "the consummation of the age." It signifies the end of a mental process in which the good thoughts have brought forth good and the error thoughts have brought forth evil. The error thoughts are then destroyed by the cleansing process of denial ("furnace of fire").
In what sense is the disciple or student of Truth a householder? The disciple of Truth has in mind a rich store of ideas that he can bring forth at will or as the need arises. This store he lays up by living consciously in touch with Divine Mind.
To Be Held in the Silence
I feed my mind on thoughts and words of Truth, and I grow daily in the understanding of God.
Transcribed by Mark on 9-4-2013