Saturday, January 7, 2017

A Scythe is NOT a Good Weapon


Recently I realized that there are things in life that we would take for granted, from little to great.
In Matthew 13, Jesus presented a parable of the wheat and tares:

The Parable of the Weeds
24 He put another parable before them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field, 25 but while his men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat and went away. 26 So when the plants came up and bore grain, then the weeds appeared also. 27 And the servants of the master of the house came and said to him, ‘Master, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have weeds?’ 28 He said to them, ‘An enemy has done this.’ So the servants said to him, ‘Then do you want us to go and gather them?’ 29 But he said, ‘No, lest in gathering the weeds you root up the wheat along with them. 30 Let both grow together until the harvest, and at harvest time I will tell the reapers, “Gather the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my barn.”’”

And later on when His disciples asked, Jesus explained to them:

37 He answered, “The one who sowed the good seed is the Son of Man.38 The field is the world, and the good seed stands for the people of the kingdom. The weeds are the people of the evil one, 39 and the enemy who sows them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels.
40 “As the weeds are pulled up and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the age. 41 The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil.42 They will throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 43 Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Whoever has ears, let them hear.

And here I realized one tiny detail: the harvesters are angels”. Jesus portrays angels as harvesters – reapers. So the angel of death becomes the grim reaper, the harvester of the souls, and that’s why his/her weapon of choice is the scythe. And that’s why it’s mind-blowing to me.

I realized that there were obvious questions that I never had asked. Why death is symbolized as the “grim reaper”? Why not “fate tailor”, “life burglar”, or “soul destroyer”? Why is the weapon the scythe and not something more efficient? Surely scythes never were among the dominant battle tools in the history of war! No king ever said, “Prepare for battle! Have the scythes ready!” But I never wondered why. Maybe not many people did.

But now I know the answer. Such popular image of death was inspired by a short parable that Jesus told 2,000 years ago to a group of ancient Israelite red-necks.

Maybe there are other things in life that we don’t ever question. And maybe for many of them, the answer is God.


“I have no special talents. I am only passionately curious.” – Albert Einstein

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