The chapter Which Gathering First? gave several reasons why, in Matthew 13, the field is the world, not the church. But I overlooked the most obvious reason.
Jesus mentions "church" for the first time in Matthew 16:18 where He says, "I will build my church." If the disciples first heard about the church in Matthew 16, then how could they possibly understand the field to mean "church" in Matthew 13?
When Jesus said, "The field is the world," He meant just that. And when He said, "first the tares," He meant just that. The order of gatherings at the end of the age is opposite to the order of gatherings at the rapture.