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If one will turn, in the light of these considerations as to the nature and purpose of the discourse as a whole, to the two expositions now under examination, it will be recognized at once that these expositions convey no "mystery of the kingdom of God,” in the sense of new truth about the kingdom. They are the equivalent of contemporary apocalyptic outlook upon the future of the messianic kingdom. If they are what Jesus meant by these parables, he brought no new message about the nature of the kingdom of God. By which statement it is not intended to suggest, in any degree, that a priori one should look for the departure of Jesus from the thought of his contemporaries. It is a question of the uniform, consistent, and unmistakable external evidence, as supplied in the documentary setting of this discourse, in the documentary testimony about the consciousness and method of Jesus as to vocation throughout his ministry, and in his final instructions to his disciples about the content of their message. All of these unite in demanding that any adequate exposition of these parables must bring to light truth about the kingdom of God less absolutely parallel to current apocalyptic-eschatological conceptions than that future portrayed by the assigned explications of document M. The problem seems to narrow itself down to a choice, which it is apparently impossible to avoid, between the ambiguous witness and known tendency of document M on the one hand, and the clear and reiterated testimony, here as elsewhere, of documents MK, P, and, in certain particulars, document M itself.
If Jesus held personal convictions about the nature of the kingdom of God, and if those convictions were of such a kind that he did not consider it wise to state them in plain terms, the natural inference is that his thought in these parables may be most certainly reached by expecting from them ideas about the kingdom in antithesis to current opinion, especially that held by persons most prominent in the public view during those days. If one will read the programme for the messianic kingdom as announced by John the Baptist in document GS1B,D,E, and will follow it by a study of the parable in document M$15A, it will be seen that the outlook of John and that of "the servants of the householder" are precisely the same; both stand for an immediate separation of bad from good. Over against such a drastic and ineffectual plan there is set the view-point of “the householder,"
who would allow bad and good to remain together until the end of the lifetime of both of them—"Let both grow together until the harvest.” It seems, therefore, that both this parable and that of the Drag-net, for the latter is apparently nothing other than the complementary member of the pair on this theme, were intended by Jesus to correct the current notion, so vigorously reaffirmed by the preaching of John, that the establishment of the kingdom of God would be accomplished by the elimination of the bad from the new community. With this conception of the mode of the coming of the kingdom Jesus apparently finds himself out of sympathy. Distinctions between bad and good there are; ultimate separation of bad from good there certainly will be; but the interpenetration of good by bad must abide-"until the harvest."
The central and only essential point of the parable of the Wheat and Tares seems to reside in the opposition of judgments as to the present disposal of the Tares, the evil of the situation. Every detail of the parable is subsidiary to setting in bold relief the differences of opinion on this single problem. Eliminate the view-point and proposal of “the servants,” and the parable seems shorn of its fundamental content. Yet this is precisely what is done by the exposition handed down by document M. Highly articulated though that explication is, and fertile in the use of the minor suggestions of the parable, it fails to give any recognition to that opposition of opinion which is the foremost factor in the original. By missing, after this manner, the vital element in the parable, the exposition spends itself in the endeavor after counterparts, and thus does not advance upon current notions. Its single contribution is that it attaches these notions to a definite actor held in the background of the mind-the historical Jesus as “the Son of man.”
With these larger considerations, external and internal, in mind, there seems to be excluded any necessity for, or value in, a closer study of the terminology and view-point of the expositions. Yet it may be worth while to recall the fact that Jesus is reported to have referred X to the kingdom of God in personal terms on three occasions only; and that one of these is the result of the Matthaean modification of the document MK record, MK 9:1=Matt. 16:28, where the phrase “kingdom of God come with power” becomes “the Son of man com
ing in his kingdom;" that another is a part of the promise of judicial functions to the Twelve, “that ye may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom,” Luke 22:30; and that the only other one is that in the present exposition, “the Son of man shall send forth his angels and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that cause stumbling." The assignment of the kingdom to Jesus, to the Son of man, is a characteristic of the literature of the apostolic age as preserved in the New Testament.
It ought to be observed, further, that the eschatological fate to which “they that do iniquity" are assigned is stated in terms which, wherever else they occur in the records, have been found by comparative study to be the product of Matthaean tendency. Both expositions define this fate in the same words, "and shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be the weeping and gnashing of teeth,” Matt. 13:42, 50. Moreover, it is not without significance that the five appearances of the phrase "the consummation of the aeon" all occur in the Gospel of Matthew; that three of the instances are in these two expositions, Matt. 13:39, 40, 49; and that the only occurrence to which the external test may be applied, Matt. 24:3, is not supported by document MK 13:4 which Matthew is using there as his source. That ideal politico-theocratic state which the exposition regards as brought in when “they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that cause stumbling and them that do iniquity” was the sustaining hope of John the Baptist, and apparently the precise expectation against which the parable of the Wheat and Tares was directed by Jesus—unless, indeed, it be true that the documents are wrong in representing Jesus as having a “mystery of the kingdom,” as setting forth “things new” upon this occasion, as saying to the multitude, “Who hath ears to hear, let him hear,” as bidding his disciples at this time as in no other recorded discourse, “Take heed what ye hear,'' and as subsequently referring to some such revelatory period by the injunction, "What I tell you in the darkness, speak ye in the light: and what ye hear in the ear, proclaim upon the housetops."
Using the term Matthaean in the comprehensive sense, that is, as including the Matthaean document M, the evangelist Matthew, and
1 On the occurrence of these terms in Matt. 8:12=Luke 13:28, see pp. 56, 57; in Matt. 22:13, see pp. 29, 30; in Matt. 24:51, see pp. 55, 56; in Matt. 25:30, see pp. 27–29.
subsequent workers upon the Gospel of Matthew, it seems necessary to affirm, on the basis of external and internal evidence of all kinds and degrees, that it is to the Matthaean tendency that there must be credited, rather than to Jesus, the notions about Judgment which are expressed in the passages dealing with the Son of Man as Judge of Men ($1), False Prophets in the Day of Judgment ($2), Words as the Basis of Judgment (S3), the Judicial Functions of the Twelve ($4), the Fate of Pharisees in the Judgment ($5), and the Separation of Bad from Good in the Judgment (86). To this general statement, the single exception, grounded in the present content of the gospels, is that suggested by the appearance in gospel LK also of the Judicial Functions of the Twelve ($ 4).
$7. THE BASIS OF SEPARATION IN THE JUDGMENT In addition to the several Matthaean contributions to the notion of judgment which have been brought under review in the preceding sections of the present chapter, there must be considered that statement about the basis of separation in the judgment which forms the conclusion to the gospel MT report of the final discourse of Jesus on the future, Matt. 25:31-46, and which is assigned in documentary analysis to document M $26. That paragraph presents the most vivid sketch of the judgment scene to be found in the gospels.
DOCUMENT M 826 But when the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the angels with him, then shall be sit on the throne of his glory: and before him shall be gathered all the nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as the shepherd separateth the sheep from the goats: and he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in; naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or athirst, and gave thee drink? And when saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? And when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it unto one of these my brethren, even these least, ye did it unto me. Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into the eternal fire which is prepared for the devil and his angels: for I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me not in; naked, and ye clothed me not; sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. Then shall they also answer, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not unto one of these least, ye did it not unto me. And these shall go away into eternal punishment: but the righteous into eternal life.
Is this portrayal of the day of judgment, and statement of the grounds upon which eternal destiny is determined in that day, the product of the mind of Jesus ? Or is it another one of the products on that subject which apparently issued from the Matthaean circle of thought? That one should raise the latter question at all seems to
be forced upon one by the pervasive evidences that substantially every other reference to the day of judgment in the Synoptic Gospels must be referred to the Matthaean tendency working upon the original sayings of Jesus. Is it possible that, in the case of the above paragraph, we have finally reached the authentic words of Jesus on this momentous theme, words from which all the preceding Matthaean accretions have been drawn by inference? It is hardly so fruitful as is implied in this suggestion, for many of the notions in those accretions cannot be deduced, even by the most liberal interpretation, from the above paragraph. There is no need to suppose that they were so deduced, for they are apparently nothing other than the current notions of the coming judgment, the common property of the disciples of Jesus.
Since none of the other documents contains a parallel, in whole or in part, to the above paragraph from document M, it is not possible to apply the test of comparison of document with document, a mode of correcting the tendencies of document M at so many other points where that document has proved itself a serious modifier or enlarger of the sayings of Jesus. It ought to be observed, however, that this section of document M stands in isolation in that document, that is, it does not find any natural place in the several larger divisions of that document. These larger groups of document M are: the Sermon on the Mount, M $$1-14; the Parables of the Kingdom of Heaven, M $$15-25; the Discourse against the Scribes and Pharisees, M $27. Between the two last, and related to none of the groups, is the section on the Judgment, M $26. Of course, we do not now know the order of the document M as it came to Matthew's hand; it suffices to note that no change of its order as reconstructed establishes the relation of M $26 to any other part of the document. Of course, it may be that Matthew did not use every part of document M, in which case M $26 may have had some natural context in the original documentary content and order. That M $26 formed part of a lengthy discourse on the future, reported by document M, seems excluded by the fact that in his construction of the discourse on that subject in his twentyfourth and twenty-fifth chapters Matthew has no contributions from document M except two members of the parable group, Matt. 25:130, and the Judgment Scene, Matt. 25:31-46. This points to the