The Mustard Seed
vv.31-32 Another parable put he forth unto 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 becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof.
The purpose of this parable is to show us what will happen to Christianity as we enter the last day’s right before the Second Coming of Jesus for His church (the wheat). Unlike the first two, no interpretation is given by our Lord. hat does the mustard seed represent?
However, this parable is very often misinterpreted because many teachers will say that since the mustard seed represents faith, it represents the spread of Christianity throughout the world to become as the greatest tree. This leads them to further teach that through the preaching of the gospel, we will bring in the kingdom of Heaven. The result of this teaching is that it puts pressure on the church to spread the Word of God as quickly as possible because Jesus isn’t coming back until we do. Some will go so far as to say that the result of this spreading of Christianity is that everyone will ultimately be saved. The Bible simply does not teach that. Instead, in Rev 20:15 “And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.”
Let’s look at the types found in this parable.
Type Association Reference
Mustard Seed, Faith, Faith Matt. 17:20
Field, World, Matt. 13:38
Tree, Kingdom, Dan. 4:10-12, 20-22
Birds, Devils/Evil, Matt. 13:4, 19; Rev. 18:2
In conclusion, by comparing Scripture with Scripture, this parable cannot be about Christianity spreading throughout the world and thus, bringing in the Kingdom.
Now that we’ve looked at what this parable does not mean, “What does it mean?” It shows us that as we near the coming of the Lord, Christianity is going into apostasy. Apostasy by definition is “a total desertion of or departure from one’s religion, principles, party or cause.” Paul refers to this in 2 Th. 2:3 “Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition.”
We see evidence of this all around us today. This is evidenced in several ways. a. The number of "professing" Christians is huge by comparison to the number of truly saved believers. b. It’s estimated that only six out of ten are truly Christians in the average church today. c. Albert Mohler, President of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary said that he has come to the conclusion that at least 50% of their members are lost due to the lack of evangelism that is taking place from the pews. d. The average American will identify themselves as Christian by virtue of birth. e. The largest single group of “Christians” in the world will not even refer to themselves as Christians (Roman Catholics) and claim salvation by virtue of keeping the sacraments and rituals of the church which is a clear violation of Scripture (1 Tim 4:1-3). f. Yes, the tree in this parable is large, but only because it is filled with devils.