A busy beaver in another thread tossed out the following tidbit of information. I assume this is meant to be a sleight. As if no rational man would try to interpret a parable into a literal doctrine. Christ is just telling a story that is supposed to make a point. What is the point? I don't know, but it's probably something sweet and syrupy about how much God loves me and hates the Jews or something, right? I mean there is no warning in the parables for believers, is there? I think that this attitude toward parables probably stems from lax bible study habits. The bible has given us every key we need to interpret parables properly, but most folks have not ever picked up on this. To be fair, I had to be shown how to do this, but once you see it, it is easy and makes perfect sense. So I am going to present to you now, the Lazy Man's Guide to Interpretting Parables. Parables are stories that usually have figurative or symbolic elements that represent literal subjects. The primary warning or action in the parable is literal. What do I mean? Let me show you. Matthew 13:24-30 24 Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field: 25 But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way. 26 But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also. 27 So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares? 28 He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up? 29 But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them. 30 Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn. This is a parable that Jesus spoke to His disciples. It is a story with figurative elements. The disciples could have dismissed it as a campfire tale, and indeed if they had gone to seminary they probably would have. But instead, they decided to ask the Lord to explain the parable to them. Matthew 13:37-43 37 He answered and said unto them, He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man; 38 The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one; 39 The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels. 40 As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world. 41 The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; 42 And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. 43 Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear. Christ explains what the symbols represent. The sower is the Son of man, the field is the world. The good seed are the children of the kingdom, the tares are the children of the wicked one. The enemy is the devil, the harvest is the end of the world and the reapers are the angels. I'm just repeating what Christ said, so there should be no surprises here. Now Christ is going to apply the biblical principle of parabolic interpretation and reveal unto His disciples the deep mystery of this dark saying. As the (figurative) tares are gathered and burned in the fire during the harvest, so shall it be in the end of the world. The Son of man (the sower) sends the angels (the reapers) to gather out all that offend and them which do iniquity (the tares) and they are cast into a furnace of fire (burned). Notice that the burning in the parable is literal! The fire symbolic for literal fire. All the symbolic elements have their literal counterpart, but the primary event of burning is strictly literal. This is a principle that holds true throughout the bible, wherever figurative speech is used to teach or warn the primary warning or action is always literal. Genesis 37:7-8 7 For, behold, we were binding sheaves in the field, and, lo, my sheaf arose, and also stood upright; and, behold, your sheaves stood round about, and made obeisance to my sheaf. 8 And his brethren said to him, Shalt thou indeed reign over us? or shalt thou indeed have dominion over us? And they hated him yet the more for his dreams, and for his words. Not only will he have dominion over you fellas, you're going to literally bow down before him! Genesis 42:6 6 And Joseph was the governor over the land, and he it was that sold to all the people of the land: and Joseph's brethren came, and bowed down themselves before him with their faces to the earth.