Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field: But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the grain, and went his way. Matthew 13:24 (see Barley (wheat) and Tares).
This story is usually referred to as the "Parable of Wheat and Tares" but it is time to reconsider some of our conclusions. The usual interpretation of the story being about "wheat" leaves the time line askew, imputes sin to the Messiah, and has bothered me for some time. Now, with a better understanding, it all fits and I would like to share the results here:
Matthew, uses "sitos" that is usually translated as "wheat". Strong's Definition: "Of uncertain derivation; grain, especially wheat: - corn, wheat."
According to wiktionary, "sitos" is defined as "grain, corn (in the British sense, encompassing wheat and barley, the cereal grains used by the ancient Greeks)".
This is almost universally translated as wheat, but, as we just saw, could equally have been translated as barley (or grain). Barley will be shown to be the correct translation.
When privately explaining the meaning to his disciples, the Messiah never used the word "sitos". He only used #4690, sperma, translated "seed". We should assume that his private explanation would be more accurate than the story released for public consumption.
But, we have definite proof. And, why does it matter? Because a misunderstanding wrongly assigns sin to the Messiah and terribly messes up the end time chronology.
Yahushua was unjustly executed. This execution took place on Passover, the Holy day related to the BARLEY harvest. It is immediately followed by the feast of unleavened bread. Leaven represents sin and neither sin nor leaven were to be found in this feast, so only unleavened bread was used.
Now the feast of unleavened bread drew nigh, which is called the Passover. Luke 22:1
If Yahushua had sinned, he would have been worthy of death. But since he was without guilt, his execution was unjust. Thus the lack of leaven in this feast.
And Jesus answered them, saying, The hour is come, that the Son of man should be glorified. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat [4621 sitos] fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. John 12:23-24
Yahusua was speaking of his own soon death and saying that if the seed isn't planted it can't grow. It is interesting that this translated verse contains "corn" and "wheat" (both incorrect) but not barley. Barley is the only correct translation.
Let's discover why!
CHRIST THE FIRSTFRUITS
But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming. 1 Corinthians 15:20-23 (also see 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 ).
Yahushua, the Messiah was the first of the firstfruits. Those who are taken to Heaven at the 2nd coming form the rest (remnant) of the firstfruits.
Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures. James 1:18
And they sung as it were a new song before the throne, and before the four beasts, and the elders: and no man could learn that song but the hundred and forty and four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth. These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb. Revelation 14:3-4
For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17
We now KNOW that the Messiah is the first of the firstfruits and we which will be glorified at the 2nd coming are the remnant of the firstfruits. The only thing left is to show that the firstfruits are represented by the barley harvest (see Barley Harvest).
The wave offering (Hebrew: tenufah תנופה) or sheaf offering or omer offering (korban omer) was an offering made by the Jewish priests to God (Exodus 29:24, 26, 27; Leviticus 7:20-34; 8:27; 9:21; 10:14, 15, etc.). The omer offering (Hebrew korban omer, minchat omer) was a grain sacrifice wave offering, brought to the temple in Jerusalem. The first-fruits was a sheaf of barley which was offered in connection with the Feast of Unleavened Bread, directly following the Passover. Wikipedia, Wave Offering
The barley firstfruits wave offering at passover is described in Leviticus as follows:
And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye be come into the land which I give unto you, and shall reap the harvest thereof, then ye shall bring a sheaf of the firstfruits of your harvest unto the priest: And he shall wave the sheaf before the Lord, to be accepted for you: on the morrow after the sabbath the priest shall wave it. Leviticus 23:9-11
Barley represents the sinless overcomers. 1st the Christ, then the remnant. These are the 144,000 represented by the wise virgins of the Ten Virgins Parable.
Barley was the first crop (firstfruits) of the new year (two weeks after the start of the year). The wave sheath represented the firstfruits of the firstfruits (the first of the first crop - barley) There was also a firstfruits of the wheat harvest, about 100 days after the barley harvest, represented by two loaves of LEAVENED bread to denote sin.
And ye shall count unto you from the morrow after the sabbath, from the day that ye brought the sheaf of the wave offering; seven sabbaths shall be complete [seven sabbaths = 49 days PLUS one or two new moon days]: Even unto the morrow after the seventh sabbath [after 50 or 51 days] shall ye number fifty [more] days; and ye shall offer a new meat offering unto the Lord. Ye shall bring out of your habitations two wave loaves of two tenth deals: they shall be of fine flour; they shall be baken with leaven; they are the firstfruits unto the Lord. Leviticus 23:15-17
Note, the LOAVES baked with leaven (not people) are the (sinful) wheat firstfruits. Now you see that wheat can NOT represent the Messiah, even though John 12:23-24 uses the (incorrectly translated) word, "wheat", to describe the seed that Christ would become. So, if "wheat" is incorrectly used here for "barley", it is safe to assume that the same is true regarding the Parable of the Barley and Tares.
Now, let's consider the chronology.
If the Parable is of Wheat and Tares, the Wheat goes to Heaven at the 2nd coming. This doesn't fit our studies. The wheat is sinful and not ready for Heaven. The wheat is represented by the foolish virgins, those who knew the groom, were invited to the wedding, but lacked the Faith and Spirit of Yahweh. The wheat is harvested later! After the 1000 years, like the literal wheat is harvested 100 days after the barley.
Barley and Tares work perfectly. Barley represents the wise virgins and they are overcomers. They are ready for Heaven. The barley is harvested by going to Heaven while the tares are burned. You may call it what you like, but I will call it the Parable of Barley and Tares.