Our Lord Jesus Christ while He was physically on earth, often spoke in parables. The parables, which were also proverbs, were very powerful and instructive. They were prophetic and speak to the unfolding events of our current times. Generations past made the mistake of not being conscious of these prophetic statements and left subsequent generations in despair and trouble. Unfortunately, the current generation is doing same thing. Humanity has failed to learn from history. And those who fail to learn from history often repeat it. This article is the first of the planned series and we will be discussing the parable of the wheat and tares recorded in the Bible. It is a timely warning on the current events in our world. The world is sprawling down the path of self-destruction, as all watchmen and watchwomen have become epicurean, swimming daily in comfort and complacency. It is the will of God for us to enjoy life fully. “I have come in order that you might have life: life in all its fullness”; were the words of Jesus Christ. (John 10:10). However, He did not call us to a life of indulgence and carelessness. When all that matters to us is bodily and worldly pleasure, the enemy takes advantage of our weakness to take away our liberty and comfort.
Jesus told the people the parable, saying: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field; but while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat and went his way. But when the grain had sprouted and produced a crop, then the tares also appeared. So, the servants of the owner came and said to him, ‘Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have tares?’ He said to them, ‘An enemy has done this.’ The servants said to him, ‘Do you want us then to go and gather them up?’ But he said, ‘No, lest while you gather up the tares you also uproot the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest, and at the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, “First gather together the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them but gather the wheat into my barn.” Mathew 13:24-30. The Lord wanted the people to know that many unintended situations occur to us because of carelessness and lack of sensitivity to the world in which we live in.
All over the world, it is same story and the same experience. There is no regard for Godly values in most societies anymore. Surveys all around the world show that Satan has seized the momentum to further his kingdom, and things are rapidly changing daily for the worse. Living is getting uglier and, even in the referent nations of the past, life is at its lowest ebb. Political thuggery and violence, which were common scenes in the underdeveloped world like Africa have in recent times become a way of life in Europe and America. Pious nations of the past have suddenly erupted in uncivil behavior promoted by political agitators. People have now become comfortable with killing, maiming and slandering others to make a point. People are willfully committing atrocities as the world is getting inundated by innumerable evils. Corruption in civil service and private lives have become out of control. The Justice system is completely broken down, because those who are responsible for upholding justice among the people do not know God. The fear of the Lord is absent in society and everyone does what seems good to them. You will become the ultimate target of abuse when the world perceives you to strive to do what is right. The only way you can have “peace” in today’s world is to join the world to lie and slander others.
Unfortunately, the church which should work for proper guidance of society, does not appear to be different. The ranks of the church have been infiltrated by pharisees, comprised mostly of people who Jesus had referred to as hypocrites. They are church leaders who fit rightly into the prophesy of Isaiah (Isaiah 29:13). Jesus repeated of them: ‘These people draw near to Me with their mouth, and honor Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me. And in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’” (Mathew 15:8-9). The Lord said these fake Christian leaders are deceivers and tricksters who make the commandment of God of no effect by their tradition. The church is now full of leaders and teachers who prefer everything but integrity and continuously defy the sanctity of the gospel. In their quest to satisfy their huge appetite for worldly materials, they preach and literally force members to pay tithes to their church; but they themselves do the same thing they tell people not to do. They rob God and rob the church blind by misapplying the contributions of the people for what the word of God did not intend. The widows, the orphans, the needy do not have any hope in such churches, rather, the church leaders accumulate properties, jets, and live in stupendous wealth in the name of the gospel. These are people that Paul wrote the church in Philippi to beware of. He said, “For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame—who set their mind on earthly things”. (Phil 3: 8-19)
What is the overall effect of this serious decadence enveloping the world? The major victims have been the people who choose to live right. A life of righteousness is a challenge to the world of iniquity and the people of the world are poised to destroy any appearances of truth and forthrightness because it does not further their cause. The attack on the Church has been highly intense and the gradual physical elimination of believers in Christ has become alarming. Everywhere in the world, lawless people have continued to endanger the lives of innocent Christians. Genocide, ethnic cleansing, and killing in the name of religion are on the increase. In Nigeria, for decades, Christians have experienced serious persecution climaxed with the emergence of the dreaded Bokoharam, who have killed thousands of Christians and destroyed innumerable church properties. There is now a dramatic turn for the worse with another set of bandits known as Fulani herdsmen. They appear to be a government favorite group who have slaughtered hundreds of men, women, children and unborn babies, known to be Christians or related to Christians. They kill in an undignified manner and government agencies responsible for the safety of people’s lives chose to intervene only when a cow was lost or killed. Human lives don’t mean as much as the life of a cow. Political and religious differences in the Middle East have continued to result in colossal human loss. Chemical weapons and other weapons of mass destruction are increasingly being used. The people who could have intervened appear to be looking the other way when those atrocities were being committed and this has emboldened wicked hearts.
Life is no longer different for Christians in any part of the world. Christians all over the world are under tremendous pressure at work, business and home because of their faith. Christians who find the current days easy are those who choose to compromise. In developed nations of Europe, notable towns and cities have been overrun by Islamic jihadists. The United Kingdom, Sweden, France, Belgium and Germany, have become nations where people are cautious of their free movement; and the social lives of the people are gradually coming to a halt as a result of the activities of the terrorists. In addition, socialists, atheists, and same sex activists are ganged up against the Church which they consider a common enemy. In the United States, many businesses owned by committed Christians have been attacked because the owner chose to live out the truth of their faith in Jesus Christ. Since the election of Donald Trump as the president of the United States, many of those who support his government, mostly Christians, are targets of mobs, protests, and even assault. The coming of Trump opened up in America the immoral characters of people in government, in the justice system as well as in the private sectors. People are now openly seen displaying characters completely motivated by Satan and sin. It is awful that some people are so filled with venom that they wish their nation’s president fails.
How did we get here and what can we do about this situation before it consumes the world and gives us more hardship, assuming we are lucky to survive? That was the thrust of the parable of the wheat and the tares, and the main focus of this article. Tares are pernicious weeds. They are wild plants, the objective of which is to destroy legitimate plants and prevent them from growing or producing fruits. This article is therefore meant to wake up Christians from their sleep, and inspire them to work to redeem the world. This article is the first in the series of the writeup and hopefully, the Holy Spirit will give us enough resources to be able to challenge the church to reverse the deadly trend. Sleep is a natural part of life and we require some amount of sleep to keep our energy and sanity. But there is a time for everything. There’s a time to sleep and a time to be awake. A big problem occurs when we misplace our priorities. When men who are saddled with responsibilities of watching go to sleep, they leave the properties at their watch vulnerable to abuse and destruction. The enemy, Satan, often takes advantage of our over indulgence to worldly pleasure, to cause havoc when we are not watching. The watchmen left the farm without any watch, and the enemy had a free time to sow tares among the wheat. The evils sown by the wicked were not seen by anyone until the tares sprung up among the wheats and it was too late to separate them. The Lord of the farm forbids them from separating the tares from the wheat for fear of doing harm to the wheat in the process of separating them.
A huge responsibility is put on us as Christians to save the world from destruction. The Lord assures us through prophet Isaiah saying, “I have set watchmen on your walls, O Jerusalem; they shall never hold their peace day or night. You who make mention of the Lord, do not keep silent, and give Him no rest till He establishes and till He makes Jerusalem a praise in the earth” (Isaiah 62: 6). The disciples of the Lord fell asleep when their watchfulness mattered most. Jesus asked them, “Simon, are you sleeping? Could you not watch one hour? Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation” (Mark 14:37-38). What is our understanding of the sleep in this parable for our generation lest we take it just literarily and lose sight of what we did in the past to mess up the godly values in our society? In Nigeria, the previous government of Goodluck Jonathan was truly corrupt. The current government of Mohammad Buhari ran its campaign on the eradication of corruption and people were angry at the issue of corruption and needed change. But Christians were careless in abandoning their position on the Lord’s side. Few, if any, remembered to ask God what to do in the process of the election of the new government. Christians were divided, not on the basis of what would be beneficial to their Christian faith, but rather were persuaded and carried away by political rhetoric. Since Buhari’s government came to power, the Christian faith has been severely under attack.
In the United States of America, we were blinded by race in 2008 and 2012 in the election and re-election of Barack Obama as the nation’s president. No doubt, our black community was justified to vote overwhelmingly for the long-awaited change. But the loyalty of Christians must remain with Christ. It was clear to the Clergy in 2012 during the re-election campaign of Obama that the president was not balanced in his views over social issues, such as Christianity and homosexuality. He was zealously promoting the gay agenda not only in America, but also in foreign countries where many American Christian missionaries had paid the ultimate sacrifice for the salvation of the people. In addition, president Obama used his eight-year governance to promote the socialist agenda, one step forward to the discredited communism. For those who do not know communism, particularly Christians, they need to be educated. Socialism and communism are not ideologies America, or any nation of the world, will want to toy with. President Ronald Reagan referred to communism as the greatest evil that put people under totalitarian darkness. In his popular speech “Evil Empire” of March 1983, he said, “Let us pray for the salvation of all of those who live in that totalitarian darkness—pray they will discover the joy of knowing God. But until they do, let us be aware that while they preach the supremacy of the State, declare its omnipotence over individual man, and predict its eventual domination of all peoples on the earth, they are the focus of evil in the modern world.” Socialists in the United States of America are energizing their base and it is a great challenge to the church. The experiences of Pastor Richard Wurmbrand in the communist dungeon as enumerated in his book, “Tortured for Christ” should be a lesson for the sleeping Christians in America. The ugly political events in America today and the gang up against the church is part of the products of Obama’s socialist agenda. When Christians move away from walking with God and make decisions without consulting God, Satan continues to take advantage of our world.
Negligence and lack of diligent watch has been a major problem of the church over the years. Examples abound of many territories that have been lost to the enemy of the gospel of Christ as a result of carelessness and failure of the church. The church does not seem to learn from history. The early churches in Asia Minor who were specifically warned by John the apostle through profound revelations failed to heed the warnings and those churches have become history. Research and church history shows that Christianity fell from 25% of Turkey’s population in 1925 to about 5% in 1927. Not much is known or heard today about great Antioch, "the cradle of Christianity.” The ancient Christian nations in Asia Minor are mostly out of the map. In the Middle East, most of the nations evangelized through the missionary work of Paul, Silas and Barnabas have been overrun by Islam. Those who continue to think that what happened in Turkey cannot happen in America need to rethink. In this parable, we are constrained by the fact that we cannot separate the tares from the wheat. What options therefore are open to the church to combat these malignant people that seem to threaten the existence of the church? Please watch out for part 2 of this article.
Michael Jolayemi is an author and Bible teacher. He has written two books on social issues: “Saving America: The war we can’t ignore”; and “Sheltered through the storm: the travails and ultimate triumph of the Church.” Get a copy of these books and you will understand the running battle against the church by the world.