When the Lord pulls his disciples aside to explain the parable, he notes that "the kingdom of heaven" seed represents "the sons of the kingdom." The good seed is scattered throughout the world, but the enemy sows tares ("sons of the wicked one") among the wheat.
In the epistles written in the Acts age by the "apostles to the circumcision," we have Peter writing to "the dispersion" and James writing to "the twelve tribes scattered abroad." As this parable deals with the "end" of the age ("so it will be at the end of this age" v.40), we look to a time ahead for its fulfillment.
As the Lord begins to gather his people from out of the world and back into the promised land, we see a mix of genuine sons of the kingdom mixed with sons of the wicked one.
There are two legs of this dichotomy. First, there will be a difference between believing Israel (the Israel of God) and unbelieving Israel (who will be cast out of the land because of unbelief, Matt 8). Secondly, we see "those who say they are Jews and are not" (cp. Rev 2:9; 3:9).
In the Revelation (future, for Israel in the Tribulation, Day of the Lord, the Lord's Day), those who say they are Jews and are not are said to be of "the synagogue of the Adversary," or "the synagogue of the wicked one." Here we see the parallel to the tares.
- End of the age
- Context of the Kingdom
- In the land
- Hard to distinguish from the true
- Say they are Jews and are not
During the Acts age, we regularly see the disciples expecting bad times and the coming of the Lord just around the corner. That plan was put on hold at the end of the Acts as the "present age" was revealed by Paul (Eph 3). But when this age ends, the clock will again resume upon Israel.
As just one comparative, in 1 Cor 7, Paul instructs widows to not marry as persecution and the prophetic events of the end were "at hand." However, in 1 Timothy, Paul instructs young widows to marry.
***But I say to the unmarried and to the widows: It is good for them if they remain even as I am [unmarried] (1 Cor 7)
***Therefore I desire that the younger widows marry (1 Tim 5)
I believe we are seeing the prophetic scenario being set up in our generation. Jews are flocking back to the land of Israel, yet there is no real way for any to know who is a true son of the kingdom and who is not. That is not for us to decide.
"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.”
[And I say to you that many will come from east and west, and sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. But the SONS OF THE KINGDOM will be cast out into outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” - Matt 8]
The temporal application is to understand that since the beginning, there are have always been the sons of the wicked one sewn among the sons of God. In the present age, we live in grace in light of the finished work of the Savior.
We have no land. For those who understand this age, our blessings are in the "far above the heavens" where Jesus sits at the right hand of the Father (Ephesians). Other believers are invited guests to the wedding feast in the future kingdom. In either case, these tremendous blessings are offered without cost, by simple faith in the death and resurrection of the Great God and Savior, Jesus Christ!
Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. For “whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”-Rom 10:11-13
Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life.-John 5:24