Weeds and Wheat: Which Church is the True Church?November 29, 2022
The State of Christianity Today
Weeds and wheat refer to a parable that Jesus spoke 2000 years ago, and it is very relevant to our time now. Ever since the Protestant Reformation until today, thousands of churches have sprung up all around the world. From those churches, thousands of denominations develop as well. So, when we see the state of Christianity today, there are many different churches as the grains of sand on the seashore.
Out of all these millions of churches, how can one have confidence that their church is following the will of God correctly? How can one distinguish the true church from false churches? Which church is the true church? Just like a magnifying glass can help us have a closer look at small objects, and a telescope lets us see the usually invisible celestial bodies, the Bible is spiritual lens that allows us to see and understand the truth from falsehood. When it comes to discerning the true church among the numerous religious organizations in the world today, we have to examine one of the parables of Jesus Christ, which were given to reveal the secrets of the Kingdom of Heaven.
Jesus’ Parable About the Weeds and Wheat
Jesus Christ 2,000 years ago gave the parable of the weeds in the book of Matthew, to be able to distinguish the millions of churches today.
Matthew 13:24-30 Jesus told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared. “The owner’s servants came to him and said, ‘Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?’“ ‘An enemy did this,’ he replied. “The servants asked him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’“ ‘No,’ he answered, ‘because while you are pulling the weeds, you may uproot the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First, collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.’ ”
In an effort to ruin the farmer’s harvest, the enemy came while everyone was sleeping and sowed weeds in the field. This cunning and invasive strategy is difficult to undo. Although the farmer’s servants wanted to remove the weeds as soon as they appeared and formed heads, the farmer stopped them from doing so, fearing that they may accidentally uproot the wheat when they are removing the weeds. The farmer had this concern because the weeds and the wheat are very similar in their appearance. It is not easy to distinguish them at all. However, as both sets grow together, they become much easier to identify and separate. Since the wheat stalk contains the seed that the farmer originally planted, it will naturally tip and bend over due to the weight of the seeds inside. The weeds, however, do not contain the seeds inside but only chaff. They do not tip or bend over but remain upright. So, in the time of the harvest, the farmer and his servants can identify the weeds as the upright stalks, and the wheat as the stalks that are bent over.
However, until the time of the harvest, the field will gradually be overrun with weeds. This is because the weeds are very prolific. They grow quickly and powerfully, even sapping water from other plants around them. While the weeds and wheat will be more distinguishable, the harvest may still be difficult for the farmer and his servants, because of the sheer number of weeds in the field.
Jesus taught His people parables in order to teach us the way to go to the Kingdom of Heaven. Therefore, this parable is not just about farming techniques. There must be a prophetic or spiritual meaning we are supposed to understand. Thankfully, this is one of the parables that Jesus fully explained and interpreted for us.
Jesus Interprets the Parable
Let us see how Jesus interpreted the parable for us.
Matthew 13:36-42 “He answered, “The one who sowed the good seed is the Son of Man. The field is the world, and the good seed stands for the people of the kingdom. The weeds are the people of the evil one, and the enemy who sows them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels. “As the weeds are pulled up and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. They will throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
Jesus Christ explained every aspect of the parable. Just as there were both weeds and wheat that look similar in the field, so there is the true church established by Christ Himself, and the false churches, which have been instituted by the devil and look similar to the true church. As they look similar, what is the way to discern them in the time of the harvest? Jesus also explained that the weeds are those who do evil and will be weeded out at the end of the age by the angels. According to the New American Standard Bible (NASB) the weeds who do evil, are written as those who practice lawlessness. Just like the weeds were sowed after the good seed in the parable, the teachings of lawlessness that the devil secretly introduced and that characterize the false churches, appeared after the teachings of Christ and began to spread quickly in the field of the world. That is why we see so many churches practicing lawlessness today, instead of the true teachings of Christ that are recorded in the Bible. Although weeds may be numerous and splendorous, the farmer never wants to bring them into his barn. In the same way, although the lawless churches are numerous and influential in this world, Christ will never let them enter the kingdom of heaven.
Matthew 7:21-23 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and, in your name, perform many miracles? ’Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’
The people who call Jesus their Lord and Savior are the numerous Christians of this world. Jesus is explaining here that not every Christian will enter heaven, but only those who do the will of God. The people mentioned here are the weeds, which appear similar to wheat and are prolific. They look similar to God’s people of the true church because they call Him “Lord,” and there are many of them. In order to enter the kingdom of heaven, we must not attend the weed-like churches that practice lawlessness.
Were the Weeds or the Wheat Sown First?
The Bible clearly explains that those who do evil (NASB, practice lawlessness) will not enter the eternal kingdom of heaven. The ultimate goal and purpose of attending church is the hope to receive salvation, to enter the eternal kingdom of heaven. So, we must be able to discern the true teachings of Christ and the lawlessness that the devil brought to the world. When we carefully examine the parable of the weeds and wheat one more time, we can see that the farmer sowed his good seed first, before the enemy sowed the weeds. Then the true church that has the promise of eternal life must follow the true teachings of Christ, which were definitely sown before the appearance of the lawlessness. So, to properly recognize the truth and how to distinguish it from lawlessness, we must go back in time and see how the apostles who were directly taught by Christ kept their faith.
Ephesians 2:20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone
The Bible teaches as well that one’s foundation of faith must be built on Christ and the apostles. The teachings and examples of Christ that He performed during His ministry are clearly recorded in the New Testament. Then let us see one by one what teachings Jesus Christ and the apostles left us as examples.
Luke 4:16 He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. He stood up to read,
Jesus Christ kept the Sabbath day, Saturday, by attending the synagogue at that time. Following this example, the apostles and the saints of the early church also faithfully kept the Sabbath day as custom of faith.
Acts 17:2 As was his custom, Paul went into the synagogue, and on three Sabbath days he reasoned with them from the Scriptures,
Apostle Paul also kept the Sabbath day as a custom, even after Jesus’ resurrection and ascension. Despite this clear Biblical evidence, many churches worship on Sunday. The Observance of Sunday did not appear until the Roman Emperor Constantine declared the law of Sunday worship in A.D. 321, which was nearly 300 years after Jesus Christ returned to heaven. In the context of the parable about the weeds and wheat, Sunday worship is the lawlessness sown by the enemy, and the numerous churches that worship on Sunday must be the weeds that overran the field. The people who attend the Sunday worshipping churches cannot enter the kingdom of heaven.
This is only one example. Let us see more teachings of Christ recorded in the Bible and distinguish all the more clearly between the true and false churches.
Matthew 26:17-19 … ‘The Teacher says: My appointed time is near. I am going to celebrate the Passover with my disciples at your house.’” So the disciples did as Jesus had directed them and prepared the Passover.
On the night before He was to be crucified, Jesus Christ directed the apostles to prepare for the Passover. Let us see how they observed this feast of God.
Matthew 26:26-28 While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take and eat; this is my body.” Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.
While many people believe that the Passover is simply a Jewish holiday or festival, here we can see that Jesus Christ kept the Passover with the apostles in the New Testament times, even declaring that it was for the forgiveness of sins. Since the Passover contains such a precious and important blessing, the apostles and saints of the early church continued to keep the Passover, even after the resurrection and ascension of Christ (1 Co 5:5 – 8, 11:23 – 26). However, in A.D. 325, the Council of Nicaea, which was convened by the Roman Emperor Constantine, abolished the Passover of the new covenant.
In place of the Passover, the observance of Easter began, and not long after that, the observance of Christ’s birth on December 25th, so-called “Christmas,” also became prevalent in the church. As Easter and Christmas appeared long after Jesus Christ left this world, they must be lawlessness and the churches that observe them can never enter the kingdom of heaven.
In 1 Corinthians 11, Apostle Paul explained about the veil regulation that women must follow during the early church times. He began by explaining that it was also an example and teaching of Christ. Men should not wear anything on their heads when worshipping God, and women must wear a covering on their head. For a man to wear a covering or hat is the same as dishonoring Christ, and for women not to wear a covering is the same as having their head shaved. This regulation is also something that many churches have disregarded and do not implement. The male clergy of the Catholic Church, including the Pope, always wear various forms of head coverings during mass services. In the Protestant churches, men do not cover their heads with anything, but neither do the female members either. Both are dishonorable in God’s sight and lawlessness; not following the true teachings that were kept in the days of the early church.
Feasts of God
The Passover mentioned above is actually one of the 7 annual feasts of God. The early church kept the feasts of God, following the example and teaching of Jesus. While many Christians today may have heard about the Pentecost, they do not realize that it is an important feast of God that allowed the early church to receive the Holy Spirit.
Acts 2:1-4 When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place… All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.
The early church apostles kept the day of Pentecost, which is one of the feasts of God. Pentecost means 50 in ancient Greek because this feast is observed 50 days after Jesus’ resurrection.
Let us take a look at one more feast of God, which Jesus also observed as an example for us and our faith.
John 7:2, 37-38 But when the Jewish Festival of Tabernacles was near… On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.”
Jesus Christ kept the Feast of Tabernacles. It was on the Feast of Tabernacles that Jesus promised to give the living water, referring to the power of the Holy Spirit, to whoever came and believed in Him.
The day of Pentecost and the feast of Tabernacles are two out of the seven feasts of God in the Bible. Today many churches do not keep these feasts but instead keep other holidays that appeared much later such as Christmas, Halloween, or Thanksgiving. Now we can clearly identify those churches as the weeds Jesus prophesied about in His parable.
The wheat-like church that will be taken into God’s barn is the church that follows all the teachings of Christ and the examples of the apostles, which includes the Sabbath, the Passover, the veil regulation, the Pentecost, and the Feast of Tabernacles. The church that keeps all these laws and regulations of God within the Bible is the true church. Is there any church out there today that observes all of these truths, just as Jesus and the apostles did 2000 years ago? Out of millions of churches in the world, the one church built on the foundation of the apostles and Christ is the church that has the promise of entering the eternal kingdom of heaven, is only the World Mission Society Church of God.
The Church of God faithfully keeps the Sabbath day every Saturday, celebrates the Passover and all 7 feasts of God at their appointed times, and also follows the veil regulation. It is the true church that Jesus established 2000 years ago and has now been restored in these last days for our salvation. Let us go to the Church of God, and learn and practice all the teachings of Christ, so we may become the wheat and enter the heavenly barn.