THE PARABLE'S OF THE YEAST AND THE MUSTARD SEED
Matthew 13:31 Another parable put he forth to them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and sowed in his field: 32 Which indeed is the least of all seeds: but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs, and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof 33 Another parable spoke he to them; The kingdom of heaven is like to leaven, which a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened. (AKJV)
These two parables show the extent of the growth of the Government of God in the earth that was and is to come through the gospel of Jesus Christ. Or as the parable of the sower says, by sowing the word of God into peoples hearts. This is not un uncommon understanding of the growth and extent of the kingdom of God as a very famous prophecy states: Isaiah 9:6 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given: and the government shall be on his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. 7 Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, on the throne of David, and on his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from now on even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this. Or Habakkuk 2:14 For the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea. (AKJV)
The problem in understanding this all to simple scenario for the modern Christian is the almost grotesque twisting of Bible prophecy to say quite the opposite of these parables. That is covered in great detail in the article, End Time Prophecy and will be mentioned again later in this piece. Aside from that though the only real contradiction to these parables doesn't lie in the reality on the ground but in peoples perception of reality. Lets look at a little history and prophecy to clarify this. The Bible prophesied multiple times that when the Roman Empire fell the Government of God would, "become a great mountain and fill the whole earth." It actually dated the time of the empires fall to 1453 AD (when it fell) in seven different prophesies. What really happened at that point though that changed anything? After all the Gospel had been around for 1400 years and after Constantinople's fall the world was still completely under the control of empires totally antagonistic towards men becoming real Christians. Well most readers will be quite surprised that the answer to this is so simple and common sense that mankind would miss it completely.
It just so happened at the exact time the Roman Empire breathed its last breath and the apocalypse of John's judgments written against it was fulfilled. That was the same year the first commercial printing press came on line. The first book printed on it? A Bible. In Latin but nevertheless a Bible. What difference does it make if it was Latin or some other language one might ask? Well to print it in one of the common languages of Europeans would have gotten the printer the death penalty for one thing. The Bible was a highly regulated book. One had to have permission of the powers that be to own one. To take what one read in it to heart was an entirely different, and dangerous matter. To teach others what you found would get you burned at the stake. In fact for fourteen centuries nations that somehow, someway, against all odds got the Bible's words into the hearts of their populations had been being wiped out. Many of these peoples suffering and the genocides directed at them have been purposefully purged form the pages of history to hide the real reason behind the mass murder. The tactic had always been to regulate what they heard from the Bible to what the state approved. The reason for this was to keep them separated from the truth that would set them free, which would also quite naturally lead them in the direction of political freedom. It is amazing to see how believers do not understand that persecution against Christians has always and always will be political and not religious. Tyrants, kings, emperors, dictators, communists, drug cartels and state established religious orders always understand the consequences of their subjects getting the Bible into their hands but believers to this day do not? Truly amazing. This millennia and a half of the suppression of religious speech is what is behind the western nations hallowed free speech.
As it turned out throughout all those 14 centuries there were revivals, reformations, and freedom fighters but all failed and for the most part their labors brought to nothing. The empires were able to keep control over the situations because the intense labor to print Bibles from wood plates or to write them by hand stopped believers from getting the word to others fast enough to keep ahead of the authorities. This all changed with the dozens of commercial presses in the cities of Europe. Within a decade Europe went from producing thousands of books and pamphlets per year to millions. The Word of God (illegally) swept northern Europe by storm. Before hand it took nearly a century for the Word to really transform a single nation. Now in a matter of decades all of Northern Europe began a radical transformation. The "Holy" Roman Empire prepared its armies for inquisition and extermination once more but this time, for the first time, failed. At the cost of tens of millions of lives. The Biblically based thought that developed in Northern Europe over the next few centuries gave the world the USA and all the freedoms the world now enjoys. These freedoms and blessings are in fact the earthly promises made to all the saints in time past that they did not get to enjoy but those of this age, if certain conditions are met, may.
To put the last few paragraphs in perspective. The reason the world did not see the growth of the Government of God in it for the first 14 centuries after Christ that we see today is: Because of the inability to efficiently get the Word of God to the ears of those who would receive it. This was known by God before hand and made known to us through Bible Prophecy. God foresaw the time and date of all of this. The Bible said that when the Roman Empire fell would be the time his government would begin to see its prophesied growth in the earth. In all likelihood this was completely unclear how this would all come about to those from the past looking forward. Praise God it can be completely clear to those from the age of fulfillment looking backwards. As a further note. There is also another major factor in these prophecies fulfillment being keyed to their timing. The discovery of the new world that occurred four decades after the fall of the Roman Empire. A place not ruled over by large empires with modern armies were people could flee. A place where they could attempt to build civilizations based on the principles they saw in Gods Word and were trying to live out in their lives. That God would know this literally two thousand years in advance and give us the names and dates this would happen is truly...well...God.
That was a bit of a rabbit trail that is unfortunately necessary since we are losing our knowledge of the past. It does bring it back to the subject of the Word of God and some very pertinent prophecy: Isaiah 29:18 And in that day shall the deaf hear the words of the book, and the eyes of the blind shall see out of obscurity, and out of darkness. John 17: 17 Sanctify them through your truth: your word is truth. 18 As you have sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world. 19 And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth. 20 Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; 21 That they all may be one; as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that you have sent me.
Lets now go on to some of the details of these parables. The direct meaning of the one about the mustard seed is that at it's start the Kingdom of God in the earth is the smallest of kingdoms. That is if we are relating it to Jesus giving, or one might say leaving, this kingdom, its care and it propagation in the hands of around a hundred disciples. Luke 12:32 Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom. It then uses herbs to illustrate the kingdoms in this world and the mustard plant as the greatest of them. Notice that there are other herbs mentioned meaning other kingdoms present with the kingdom of the mustard plant. It's just that the mustard plant becomes the greatest. Yeast, most often used as an illustration for sin in the Bible is now being used generically. The loaf of bread is the world. A little bit of yeast in the loaf and eventually the whole loaf becomes fermented.
So if one wants to know how the entire world will be fundamentally changed from what it was like in the ancient world the answer becomes obvious. Get the Word of God into every hand on the planet that wants it. Preach it, teach it, make disciples of every nation. The information age will contribute mightily to this project. Is that all that must be done? No, but it is the foundation that must be laid to build anything on that will last, or glorify God.
© Daniel Martinovich 2014