The Mustard Seed, Encompassing the World

If one just takes the Word of God for what it says and does not read anything into it or take from it or spiritualize it in any way, they’re on a fast track to truth. The reason is that the words of the Bible are spiritually alive. The Holy Spirit guides and energizes them so that they have the capability of critiquing the thoughts and motives of every human heart (Isa. 55:11). If the Bible is not taught accurately, the Holy Spirit does not approve.

As the Master Teacher begins to wind down His teaching of His mystery kingdom, He gives parables in rapid fire succession. Continuing this series of blogs, His next parable is a comparison of a mustard seed to the kingdom. “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his field, which indeed is the least of all the seeds; but when it is grown it is greater than the herbs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and nest in its branches” (Matt. 13:31-32). Jesus was speaking directly to Jewish farmers and shepherds having farmers/shepherds’ mindsets. His audience now realizes that the King was predicting that the mystery kingdom would start very small and grow huge – even worldwide. It has done this very thing.

The virgin birth brought the God/Man (the King) into the world as a sinless baby. That baby could be represented by the tiny mustard seed. That baby grew and was a sinless man who died for sin on the cross of Calvary. As the Good Shepherd, He called twelve men to follow Him. These twelve (minus one deceiver) exploded in growth to include many worldwide followers of this King today. From a small mustard seed beginning, many seeds have grown into many followers.

Christ’s resurrected body was seen by one, Mary Magdalene (Jn. 20:14-17).  He was then seen by Peter and the rest of the twelve, and then over 500 brethren at once (1 Cor. 15:6). Then last of all the King revealed Himself to Paul.  All the eyewitnesses provide sufficient proof that Christ is alive. The resurrection sightings of Christ began small, like the mustard seed, then they grew.

Christ set His attention upon a lone fisherman named Peter, handing him the keys to open the doors to the church with the seed of the gospel of God’s grace at the house of a Gentile named Cornelius (Acts 10:1-5). From the mustard seed beginning, the gospel spread in Judea and the surrounding areas. God then spread the gospel to an educated narcistic man named Paul. God humiliated this arrogant religious zealot and turned him into a dynamo to spread the seed of the gospel everywhere. Again, that small mustard seed turned into a large tree. These two apostles joined others and turned the entire Greco-Roman world upside down.

From a small band of brothers, the tiny mustard seed grew into a large church as the gospel took root and began to spread. Then came the birds!  The birds representing Satanic interference began to light in the branches of the tree to slow its growth. The satanic birds flew in from a worldwide paganistic system. The birds worked a plan to use God’s church for their own prideful ends (Constantine). The birds brought the once struggling church much wealth and many beautiful buildings with steeples and crosses. The birds also were full of attractive sensual rituals that the pagan gods and goddesses offered. The Roman church (a bird aviary) overwhelmed and totally disarmed the gospel of grace by defrauding the “Jesus paid it all” message of the cross.  They inserted baptismal regeneration, confessing personal sins to a man, defrauding the Lord’s supper, the debauched worship of the virgin Mary, and the fanciful worship of a plethora of human “saints.” Many (some true but mostly false) churches have come from the tree that grew from the mustard seed. The birds keep coming. The truth of “so great salvation” that God provided for His sheep by grace alone through faith alone in Jesus Christ alone, even with the pushback of the Reformation, has quickly morphed into religious systems that now cover the earth.   

Satan’s bird people have positioned themselves all through God’s church during the present church age (2 Cor. 11:13-15). Satan is still confusing, corrupting, and attempting to ultimately defeat God’s work. Religious unbelievers distort the gospel by adding works to the finished work of Christ in incredibly believable forms. In my generation, I have seen the promise of a thousand-year kingdom of Christ blend with the Body of Christ – the church. Satan is the master deceiver. This perfectly wise creature knows what sells, and religion sells in every part of the world. Religious people become overwhelmed with pride and power. 

Jesus said that by His cross work He finished all that is necessary for salvation, but these birds constantly seek to stir the pot and blur the lines. And the birds spiritually dismantle the way that the gospel is presented. God said that whosoever believes in Him (Jesus) shall be saved, but these birds say that one must also behave (make Jesus Lord) to be saved. They redefine “believe” as turning from sin, making Jesus Lord of your life, and doing a plethora of good works, all of which turns the true gospel of grace into another gospel (Gal. 1:6-10).    


The Leaven of Evil

Another parable Jesus gave was the parable of the leaven. “The kingdom of heaven is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal till it was all leavened” (Matt. 13:33). Many teach that the leaven represents the addition of good works after faith in Christ has come. James refers to these works as “works of faith” (James 2:14-26). The faith that saves will ultimately produce good works. Paul says, rightly so, that good works are to follow faith that brings one life. “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them” (Eph. 2:10). In truth, leaven stands for sin in both the Old and New Testaments.  The leaven today is possibly various forms of humanism. It is my view that it is leading this world toward an unstoppable collision course with totalitarianism – one single leader, or leaders, for the entire world. The Covid collision demonstrated clearly that this is very possible.


The Treasure and the Pearl of Great Price

The final parables describe the end of the mystery kingdom: the parable of the treasure, the pearl of great price, and the fish in the net, all marked out with the Christ’s word “Again.” “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and hid; and for joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field” (Matt. 13:44). It is my view that the treasure in the field symbolizes the tiny nation of Israel to which God promised a land. He has hidden them among the nations throughout human history. God called the Jews His special treasure. Speaking of the Jews, He said, “And Moses went up to God, and the Lord called to him from the mountain, saying, ‘Thus you shall say to the house of Jacob, and tell the children of Israel: You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings and brought you to Myself. Now therefore, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be a special treasure to Me above all people; for all the earth is Mine. And you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words which you shall speak to the children of Israel” (Ex. 19:4-6). A remnant of this treasure will be hidden away during the coming tribulation and in the end will become God’s treasure in the land that He has promised them from the beginning (Gen. 15:8).

Next came the pearl of great price. “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking beautiful pearls, who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went, and sold all that he had and bought it” (Matt. 13:45-46). It is my view that this pearl of great price speaks of the church, the body and bride of Christ. Why? Pearls are formed from grains of sand that find their way inside an oyster and cause excessive irritation. To ease the pain, the oyster covers the sand with layer after layer of a beautiful pricy substance that is eventually fashioned into a pearl. The greater the size of the grain of sand, the greater the suffering. The greater the suffering, the greater the size and price of the pearl. The church cost the life of God’s Son on the cross, and His suffering led to the salvation of many. The church that will be caught up together to meet the Lord in the air is the pearl of great price.


The Drag Net

“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a dragnet that was cast into the sea and gathered some of every kind, which, when it was full, they drew to shore; and they sat down and gathered the good into vessels but threw the bad away. So it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come forth, separate the wicked from among the just, and cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth” (Matt. 13:47-50). The parable of the dragnet and the fish is a snapshot of God’s final judgment of man, a judgment simple to understand. “God has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness (according to His righteous standard) by the Man (Jesus Christ) whom He has ordained (God the Father sent God the Son to die for sin).  He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead”(Acts 17:31). The resurrection proves that everything God has said is true. The final dragnet parable is represented by the Great White Throne Judgment in Revelation. John said, “Then I saw a great white throne [God’s throne] and Him [the Lord Jesus Christ, the God/man] who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened [the books of the works of all humanity reaching their righteous standard to be judged up against God’s righteous standard of absolute perfection].  And another book was opened [not books plural, but book singular], which is the Book of Life [all who have received life from God are recorded in this book]. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books [the previous books of works mentioned]. The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works [no one misses this judgment]. Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death [there are obviously two deaths; physical and spiritual]. And anyone not found written in the Book of Life [the ones dying the second death]was cast into the lake of fire” (Rev. 20:11-15).


The End of the Mystery Kingdom

Paul was writing to the Corinthian church about their failure to mature in Christ even though they’d had the time and teaching necessary to grow. He said, “I do not write these things to shame you, but as my beloved children I warn you” (1 Cor. 4:14).

Paul warned the Corinthians that the envy, strife, and division was an indicator of carnality. “And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual people but as to carnal, as to babes in Christ. I fed you with milk and not with solid food; for until now you were not able to receive it, and even now you are still not able; for you are still carnal. For where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal and behaving like mere men?” (1 Cor. 3:2).

As I write, the truths of these parabolic blogs also stand as a warning. But my warning is different! I am not speaking as an apostle of God but just as a Bible teacher to my generation. And I am certainly not setting any kind of date for the ending of the mystery kingdom. But I believe that this kingdom will end with the beginning of the Second Coming of Christ and the setting up of a thousand-year kingdom (Rev. 19:11). And I know that no one but God the Father knows day and hour of His return (Matt. 24:36). But if this is nearing the end, then the stage is all set! The world is now connected as never before and poised for the one evil king of the world, to emerge. This is the man that Christ called the abomination of desolation spoken of by Daniel the prophet (Daniel 9: 27).

We have become one world with instant communication to anyone everywhere with no language barriers at all – none!  A preview was clearly seen during the Covid pandemic.

No one knows when Christ is coming again, but God the Father changed the languages in the beginning to cause the people to spread out. They had to, or else Adam’s indwelling sin would cause them to self-destruct. Recall God’s powerful Words! “And the LORD said, “Indeed the people are one and they all have one language, and this (Nimrod’s rebellion and kingdom and the Tower of Babel) is what they begin to do and now nothing that they purpose to do will be withheld from them” (Gen. 11:6).