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Lowell Brueckner

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Seeking the Truth of the Kingdom, chapter two


Notice that the title of this book is “Seeking the Truth of the Kingdom”, not “This is the Truth of the Kingdom”. You can find many commentators, who will disagree with what I have written. I do not claim that these are the absolutely correct interpretations for the parables. Quite the opposite, I am inviting people to examine them, compare them with other interpretations, and try to ascertain, which seems to be the most consistent with the whole tenor of Scripture. That is the way that I have arrived at these conclusions and, in more than one case, I have had to leave former opinions behind.

By the way, none of these interpretations are original with me. It has been a principle in my ministry to discard anything, to which I cannot find a confirmation in the writings of men of God or in the lessons of history throughout the church age. New doctrines and strictly personal “revelations” are false! Truth is ancient; make no mistake about that. However, God has very original and personal ways to help us arrive at the ancient truth that the genuine people of God have always believed.   

I intend that this book might be a help to people, as to the way to approach the Scripture. With that purpose in mind, I have specifically chosen the parables, because I think they best illustrate the manner, in which we must do that. They demand that we be Spirit-taught, because they show us the inadequacy of human intellect in that which pertains to God. They also insist that we do a thorough study of the Bible from Genesis to Revelation, in order to obtain an understanding of the ways of God. In other words, what God is teaching us in these parables is nothing different than the principles he has taught throughout His Word.

Finally, let me make a personal confession. Some of the most difficult things that I have had to overcome over the years are prejudices concerning things that I had previously been taught or ideas that I had gotten hold of in one way or another. It is much easier to learn the things of God as a new disciple, than to have to have something forced from our hands, to which we have been holding tightly for years. For me, they have been pried free as I have been confronted with truth that I finally found impossible to deny.   
This chapter is taken from this book


“The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field. But while his men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went away. But when the wheat sprouted and bore grain, then the tares became evident also. The slaves of the landowner came and said to him, ‘Sir, did you not sow good seed in our field? How then does it have tares?’ And he said to them, ‘An enemy has done this!’ The slaves said to him, ‘Do you want us, then, to go and gather them up?’ But he said, ‘No; for while you are gathering up the tares, you may uproot the wheat with them. Allow both to grow together until the harvest; and in the time of the harvest I will say to the reapers, “First gather up the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them up; but gather the wheat into my barn”’” (Matthew 13:24-30).


This parable only appears in the Gospel of Matthew. As with the Parable of the Sower, so we have this one interpreted for us in our Bibles. In this way, its Author, the Holy Spirit, has given us great help.

Once more, the multitudes are dismissed and Jesus is alone. After he goes into the house (possibly the one in which He lived those days), His disciples, the twelve, and some others came to Him and asked that he explain to them the parable. Jesus did not refuse their request, but began to interpret it for them: “The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man” (vs. 37). In the introduction, I tried, however inadequately, to give us an idea of the value of the good seed. I hope it will be sufficient, so that you and I will see the importance of these things and, as the disciples, will become persistent in finding their significance.

Now I want to emphasize the identity of the Sower, whom here, very clearly, is declared to be the Son of Man. Even though we will begin by looking into the parable, I want to amplify, so that we can cover this subject more thoroughly. In order to do this, I will have to take you to other portions of the Word. Although we will not stay strictly within the confines of the lesson taught in the parable, we will stay very strictly within the borders of general Bible teaching. I try to explain this, because I know, (and we should all know) that it is not wise to attempt to make any given portion of scripture say more than that, which God intends to teach us through it. This is especially true if that portion is in the form of a parable. Because they are allegories, we must resist the temptation to insert our own ideas into them. Always, Bible symbolism is limited. When making that statement, I mean that we must not try to find interpretations for every detail, but only to learn the lesson taught by the general picture, which the parable presents. Also, we should not try to relate a reality to its symbol in every aspect. They relate only in the aspect given in the allegory.

You and I cannot sow anything that will produce a harvest, which will endure to eternity. God and only God does eternal things. Christ must be the One, who sows the good seed, which is infinitely and incomparably superior to any thing that can be obtained from this world. It is heavenly and supernatural, as well as eternal. Man cannot produce it and knows nothing about working with it.

The one, who sincerely recognizes this truth, will have to dedicate himself to much prayer. Someone may ask the reason why this is so and he does right by asking questions, in order to be sure about subjects, which are so important. The answer is that, when we pray, we are recognizing and demonstrating our weakness and incapability. At the same time, we show a humble faith in Christ and His word. The proud, self-sufficient person will tell you, “You don’t have to pray. Just get busy and get on with the work. You can do it!”

The prophet Habakkuk, who gave us a famous declaration, which is cited three times in the New Testament, “The just shall live by faith”, also joined with it this statement in the same verse: “As for the proud one, his soul is not right within him” (Hab. 2:4). The contrary position to the life of faith is that of pride, which is confidence in ourselves. God created us to be dependent beings that need Him in every moment. When we trust Him and not ourselves, we are demonstrating humility and submission.

The person that knows that he cannot do the work of God and, at the same time, trusts God to do it, is saying, “Oh Father, Your things are far beyond my capacities. If You do not go with me, I will not take the first step, because I am depending on You to do what I cannot do.” This is the kind of prayer that a just soul prays, because only a humble soul is just. Prayer is no option, but a basic necessity for a Christian in every area of his life.

A proud soul never is righteous before God, but always emphasizes the things that man can and ought to do - self-effort and works. This is a bad attitude towards all areas of Christianity, but when it relates to the business of our soul’s salvation, it will result in eternal condemnation. Paul warns us that salvation is not “of works, so that no one may boast” (Eph. 2:9). God hates pride. For this reason alone, many cannot be saved, because “whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it at all” (Lk. 18:17). Of course, to become as a child means to humble oneself (see Matthew 18:4).

The Son of Man is the One, who always sows the good seed, which is His word, and it is sown in the heart. However, if this is to happen, we should not be passive, because we do have a part and a responsibility in the matter. We must be sure that the voice that brings us the word is that of the Son of Man and not of His enemy. Behind the voice lies a personality with certain characteristics and we must be able to recognize Him. Also, we must go in the right direction in order to hear the right voice.

There is a call, which comes from the Good Shepherd. He calls each sheep by name and, without hearing His voice, no one can be saved. This has everything to do with the question of whether one grows from good seed or whether he is a tare. To put that question directly before the reader: Have you truly heard the voice of the Good Shepherd? If you have, then as a result you are now following Him and Him alone and He has given to you eternal life (Jn. 10:27-28). On the other hand, if you only have heard the voice of man, speaking to you about the gospel, you have no assurance that you are Christ’s. Everyone must examine himself, using this as a foundational proof, to assure that he is good seed.

The Shepherd Himself directly teaches us the humility, which makes us candidates for entering the Kingdom of God. Jesus said, “Come to Me… and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart…” (Mt. 11:28,29). We see that He, the King of Heaven, “emptied Himself (of His glory), taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself…” (Ph. 2:7,8). He could have said, “I am the good King of Heaven”, and He had every right to say so, but instead, He compared Himself with a lowly shepherd, someone in a most humble station in life.


The Bible shows evidence of special interest that God has had in shepherds and that tells us something of His personality. Amos herded flocks in a region about six miles to the south of Bethlehem and there received important prophecies to give to the people of Israel. This humble herdsman heard the voice of the chief Shepherd. Over the ages, students and professors with degrees and doctorates have studied his prophecies in Bible schools and seminaries. Yet this man that could hear so clearly God’s voice said, “I am not a prophet nor am I the son of a prophet; for I am a herdsman and a grower of sycamore figs. But the Lord took me from following the flock and the Lord said to me, ‘Go prophesy to My people Israel’” (Am. 7:14-15).

In the area of Bethlehem, shepherds watched over their flocks, when an angel appeared to them, announcing the birth of the promised Christ. Suddenly a multitude of angels appeared, glorifying God and, when they returned to heaven, the shepherds went to Bethlehem. They were present to witness what prophets and kings over the centuries would have desired to see. Jerusalem was nearby, but none of its distinguished citizens, not even the high priest or the members of the Sanhedrin, were informed. The angel said to the shepherds, “Today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord” (Lk. 2:11).

God found a shepherd, when he looked for someone after His own heart. Because he was the youngest son in the house of Jesse, he was given the least distinguished job. When Samuel came to that house in Bethlehem to conduct a very special ceremony, the young shepherd was not even invited. He could be found faithfully caring for his father’s sheep in the fields around the town; he was protecting them, ready to risk his life for them. David kept that shepherd’s heart, even when he became king of Israel.

These people grew from good seeds, the same wheat that the Son of Man wants to sow today, so that he can reap a harvest that makes His heart rejoice. “At that very time He rejoiced greatly in the Holy Spirit, and said, ‘I praise You, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and intelligent and have revealed them to infants. Yes, Father, for this way was well-pleasing in your sight’” (Lk. 10:21).

It is given to us to know the voice of the One that sows the seed of His word in us and to go in the direction of His voice. Although I cannot be the one that speaks and sows, it may be that I can point my finger in the right direction, to help someone arrive to a place where His voice can reach them. God uses human means. He lets a drop of water fall upon someone, another drop on another person, and another… so that in that way we can help one another be a little refreshed, as we go on our way towards Him, who pours out without measure.

I have something fresh from the book of the Song of Solomon that might be useful to us. This book is nothing less than an allegory, which portrays, in physical form, the relationship between Christ, the Good Shepherd, and His church, including every member. Each one must grow from the good seed. Have we ever asked the question that we see in the first chapter, verse seven? It is a question that springs from a heart full of longing: “Tell me, O you whom my soul loves, where do you pasture your flock, where do you make it lie down at noon? For why should I be like one who wanders (NAS margin) beside the flocks of your companions?” Really, there is no need to go astray, if in our hearts there is a sincere desire to walk in the truth. “Ask and you will receive; seek and you shall find,” Jesus said. We need to follow the instructions given as an answer to that prayer: “Go forth on the trail of the flock and pasture your young goats by the tents of the shepherds” (vs. 8).

Don’t be looking in the palace of rulers, because He is not there. Don’t look in places of luxury, in the intellectual sphere of universities or in the laboratories of high technology. Seek and listen with a simple heart in the direction, in which you can expect to find Someone who is meek and lowly.

He is not comfortable in atmospheres of sophisticated debate and never does He mingle with those who deal in complicated theories and projects. He who “is coming, climbing on the mountains, leaping on the hills… is like a gazelle or a young stag… he is standing behind our wall, he is looking through the windows, he is peering through the lattice” (S.S. 2:8-9). In what way is Jesus like a gazelle or a stag? I think we can discover the similitude in John 2:23-25: “When He was in Jerusalem at the Passover, during the feast, many believed in His name, observing His signs which He was doing. But Jesus, on His part, was not entrusting Himself to them, for He knew all men, and because He did not need anyone to testify concerning man, for He Himself knew what was in man.” Just as a wild animal is instinctively wary of man, so Jesus kept a distance between His spirit and human intentions. He knew that when a man came to Him with feigned motives, He ran the risk of being “hunted” and utilized to satisfy some appetite of fallen nature. For that reason He was not influenced by many, who wanted to be near Him for personal benefit. On one occasion, He withdrew to the mountains, when he perceived that the people were going to take Him by force to make Him king.

He did not assert Himself to enter the city of the Samaritans, but waited outside by the well. The Samaritans must first gain His confidence. Neither did he invite Himself into the house in Emmaus, but continued on His way, until His two companions assured Him that He was welcome. Even when He came to help His disciples in trouble on the sea, He made as if He would pass by. Although He longs to have contact with humans, He must first prove the sincerity of the heart. Without revealing His presence, He saw Nathanael under the fig tree. As pictured in the Song of Solomon, He is hidden, but very attentive to each situation that takes place.

We see Him in Laodicea knocking at the door: “Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me” (Rev. 3:20). But what happens, if we do not respond quickly? What if we don’t want to be bothered right at the moment that He calls on us to satisfy the desire of His heart? Are we as willing to respond as was the Psalmist? God moved his heart with these words: “Seek My face”, and immediately, he answered, “Your face, O LORD, I shall seek” (Ps. 27:8). Daniel, in spite of the edict of the king, who was also his boss, made it his priority to abide in the Lord (Jn. 15:4), coming aside from his presidential duties to be in communion with the God, whom he loved and served, three times a day.

However, we see a different reaction in the Song of Solomon: “Open to me… for my head is drenched with dew, my locks with the damp of the night,” the Shepherd says, when He arrives at the house, where he wants to enter and have fellowship. “I have taken off my dress, how can I put it on again? I have washed my feet, how can I dirty them again?” is the answer that He receives. I am sure that none of us would like to experience the consequences, resulting from tardiness in coming to the door: “My beloved had turned away and had gone! My heart went out to him as he spoke. I searched for him but I did not find him; I called him but he did not answer me. The watchmen who make the rounds in the city found me, they struck me and wounded me” (S.S. 5:2-7).

The Shepherd, feeling rejected and saddened because she made Him wait, is gone. If we lose the opportunity for fellowship that He initiates, we will have to suffer for it. Fellowship with the Good Shepherd does not take place, according to our schedule or convenience. We cannot dictate to the Son of Man, when He should speak to us and sow in us the good seed. How terrible is the remorse, the grief, and the curse of missed opportunity! Be sure that you are not so tied to a schedule and so suffocated by activities, so that when He comes to speak to you the precious word that angels long to hear, you are deaf and powerless to react. It is the only voice that can change your heart and open to you eternal, heavenly treasures. Because of our negligence, we suffer blows and unnecessary wounds.

“Oh what peace we often forfeit, oh what needless pain we bear
All because we do not carry everything to God in prayer.”

If we want God to speak to us, then we have to set a time aside to hear Him. I remember the testimony of a Scotsman, speaking of his childhood. His saintly mother held to a rule that no one should talk in the house on Sunday mornings. She wanted to give opportunity for God to speak to them. Perhaps He would not, but if He should care to, she wanted to be sure that they would not lose the opportunity to hear Him.


We return to the parable: “The field is the world; and as for the good seed, these are the sons of the kingdom; and the tares are the sons of the evil one” (vs. 38). As they begin to grow, the tares look much like the wheat. In this world, there is that which seems to be a part of the Kingdom of God, but in essence it is not. Except for the first parable, Jesus begins each subsequent one with this phrase, “The kingdom of heaven is like…” (vs. 24, 31, 33, 44, 45, 47). However, in this parable and in that of the net it is very clear that not all that appears to be a part of the Kingdom is genuine. In the Parable of the Sower we saw that in three out of the four kinds of soils, the word is not properly received and I believe that the parable of the mustard seed and that of the leaven demonstrate an irregular growth inside the Kingdom.

The one, who refuses to hear and receive the good seed, does not remain in a neutral state. Paul said, “They did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved. For this reason God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they will believe what is false, in order that they all may be condemned (margin-NAS) who did not believe the truth, but took pleasure in wickedness” (2 Th.2:10-12). As in the Parable of the Sower, the enemy comes, and this seed becomes his food. The tares are the children of the evil one. Jesus removed all doubt and confusion that we might have about them and left everything clear. We can see the same thing in John 8. In verse 31, John calls some of the Jews “believers”. “Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him…”, but soon we understand without possibility of error that their faith was not true, for they begin to argue against the truth that could have set them free. Jesus said that these same people did not have the nature of Abraham: “You are seeking to kill Me, a man who has told you the truth, which I heard from God; this Abraham did not do” (vs. 40). Then in verse 44, He plainly declared, “You are of your father the devil.” An enemy has done this.

Paul similarly taught the Galatian Christians: “For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by the bondwoman and one by the free woman. But the son by the bondwoman was born according to the flesh, and the son by the free woman through the promise” (Gal. 4:22-23). That which is of the flesh is exposed to the manipulation of the enemy, but that which comes by promise is part of the eternal plan of God and He has done the planting. The son of the slave has some things in common with the son of the promise. They were together for thirteen years in the same tents and had similar training.

Since the enemy cannot do anything permanently against the son of promise, he takes advantage of what was sown by the flesh and makes it his own. I don’t think that the devil can produce life, so he has to “eat the seed”, that is, he has to steal it from God. There can be no doubt that the slave’s son has been born and is alive. The enemy fills an entire field with his false seeds, which are all the children of the evil one. The sowing of the tares is a premeditated work and not accidental. It is not there because a few grains fell from the beaks of birds passing over, but is an organized effort; it is a conspiracy. It does not matter how much they resemble the children of the Kingdom, how they attach themselves to them, or how much they learn from their ways and doctrines, because in the end, they cannot produce fruit for God. “When the wheat sprouted and bore grain, then the tares became evident also.” Even though they were not proven to be tares until the end, they are false from the roots.


The Father of the family takes much care for his crop. He does not allow his servants (the angels) to pull up the tares, because they mingle closely with the wheat and probably, if they are uprooted, some of the good plants would be extracted, as well. God does not want to lose even one of His own. Jesus said, “I was keeping them in Your name which You have given Me; and I guarded them and not one of them perished but the son of perdition” (Jn. 17:12). The lesson for us in this case is that we should be careful, when we seek to expose the falseness of some, not to destroy the life of the true children with the counterfeits. They grow side-by-side.

Jesus takes this situation to its final destiny and speaks of the end times: “The harvest is the end of the age; and the reapers are the angels. So just as the tares are gathered up and burned with fire, so shall it be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send forth His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all stumbling blocks, and those who commit lawlessness, and will throw them into the furnace of fire; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father” (Mt. 13:39-43).

Jesus said that the tares are stumbling blocks. Paul quotes Isaiah, writing of the hypocrites among the children of Israel, because of whom “the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles” (Ro. 2:24). The stumbling blocks did not only exist among the Jews, but today they also are found in the Gentile church. The world of unbelievers have a mistaken concept of Christianity, because of those who call themselves Christians, but do not leave their sin and therefore give a bad testimony.

If we can imagine the impact that these truths with their astounding consequences had on the disciples, how much more should they impress us, who live so close to their fulfillment! We live in a society, where innocent embryos are killed like flies, because they disturb our egoistic existence. Homosexuality is accepted as an alternative lifestyle and anyone who might protest and say it is not so, is judged by society as intolerant, old-fashioned and prejudicial. The pro-homosexual movement is worldwide and it is a sign that man’s mentality is totally perverse and that God’s judgment will soon fall around the globe.

I am sure that when the Word of God pronounced these sentences, concerning the things that would occur at the end of the age, eternal truth gripped sincere people. He took them to the border of eternity and let them feel the reality of its events. The word of God, anointed by the Holy Spirit, wounds the minds and penetrates the hearts with tremendous force. As a result, daily, routine living fades and, as it should be, eternal things take first place in lives. In the time of Wesley, people could not bear the force of the truth and they would often fall unconscious, not in church meetings, but in the streets and town squares.

I believe that the teaching at the end of this parable is not about the rapture of the church, but concerns the Second Coming of Christ, when He comes to reign upon the earth. The tares are taken away first. Afterward the wheat is gathered, meaning that the righteous will shine as the sun in the Kingdom. Their shining is a direct cause of the removal of the stumbling blocks and those that do iniquity. It will be as Luke explains in chapter 17: “There will be two in one bed; one will be taken and the other will be left. There will be two women grinding at the same place; one will be taken and the other will be left. Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other will be left. And answering they said to Him, ‘Where, Lord?’ And He said to them, ‘Where the body is, there also the vultures will be gathered’” (vs. 34-37).

The imagery of vultures devouring dead bodies does not bring to mind the redeemed being taken to heaven, but a place where the ungodly will be gathered for judgment. It makes me think of Revelation 19:17-18: “I saw an angel standing in the sun, and he cried out with a loud voice, saying to all the birds which fly in midheaven, ‘Come, assemble for the great supper of God, so that you may eat the flesh of kings and the flesh of commanders and the flesh of mighty men and the flesh of horses and of those who sit on them and the flesh of all men, both free men and slaves, and small and great.” The hypocrites, speaking of the tares (see Matthew 24:51), will be collected and separated from the sons of the Kingdom. They will be taken to the same judgment, where all the world’s rebels are congregated. “The rest were killed with the sword which came from the mouth of Him who sat on the horse, and all the birds were filled with their flesh” (vs. 21).

However, those that remained, along with the raptured saints, who came from heaven to earth with The Word of God (vs. 11-14), will shine as the sun and reign with Him over the earth for a thousand years. Daniel also wrote about that day, after the Great Tribulation, which will be “a time of distress such as never occurred since there was a nation until that time” (Dan. 12:1). It will be after this that “those who have insight will shine brightly like the brightness of the expanse of heaven, and those who lead the many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever” (vs. 3). This will happen at the onset of the Millennium, when Jesus literally reigns upon the earth. 51


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