by Pat Franklin
Many Christians are taken in by false teaching and counterfeit Christianity, because they do not understand Jesus' warnings in the parables.
In the Lord's story of the mustard seed, He says it grew into a large tree. Mustard is a herb with yellow flowers, and it gets to be about 2 or 3 feet tall. I thought it never grew any bigger, but apparently there is a species of mustard that does get about 8 or 10 feet high. I would not call something 10 feet high a tree. A mustard plant which actually grew to be a huge tree would be a monstrosity.
But Jesus was likening the mustard tree to the church! The true church is composed of born again believers, and Jesus told us that most people would reject him and take the broad way to Hell. Yet the parable indicates that the church would become huge - and this is exactly what has happened. So the mustard tree is a counterfeit church, not the real thing.
Not only does the counterfeit church become huge, but birds sit in the branches. Birds are a symbol of evil in the Bible. This does not mean that birds are bad, but when used in a parable, they are symbolic of evil. It was birds which ate the seed in the parable of the sower - evil, you see.
Now we have birds, something evil, sitting in the branches of the monstrous institutions which call themselves churches. This is exactly what we have today - big denominations full of career 'priests' and clergy, many of whom are not even believers themselves. They are the evil birds sitting in the monstrous mustard tree.
If you asked their leaders point blank, 'Do you believe in the virgin birth, six day creation, Noah's Flood, the resurrection etc' many would tell you 'No.' They do not believe the Bible at all! They are phonies!
That is why it is so hard for true Christians today to find a good church. At conferences we hear it all the time: 'We had to leave our church; we can't find a good Bible-believing church; we are meeting with a few others in our home' .....etc etc .
At the church we attend in England, though we are only a small fellowship, we have people who drive for over an hour to get there because: 'We can't find a church any closer that believes the Bible.'
There are hundreds of churches nearer, but none that they can trust. The monstrous mustard tree with the evil birds has spread all over, but the true Bible-believing churches are few and far between, especially in Europe. Fortunately it is not nearly as bad in the USA.
Ron Matsen, who used to pastor a Calvary Chapel church in Portsmouth, England, did a wonderful teaching on this and other parables. He used the term 'expositional constancy' which sounds complicated, but it just means that if a symbol in the Bible means something, it ALWAYS means that same thing. So the birds which are evil in the parable of the sower are still symbolizing evil in the parable of the mustard seed.
I was fortunate enough to see Ron explain it all on British TV on a Christian channel. Then sometime later I turned on the same channel to see a woman teaching the exact opposite!
She thought the church would fill the earth before the Lord's return! She thought the birds were good. I emailed the channel saying they were broadcasting a false teacher and they should know better because they themselves had Ron Matsen on explaining the parables. I never got a reply.
As for the parable of the leaven in the lump of dough which leavened the whole lump - leaven is symbolic of sin, false doctrine, hypocrisy. The church is leavened with sin. Yet most people believe that this parable means that the leaven is Christianity and that it will fill the earth. No. Jesus told us to beware of the leaven. Expositional constancy! Leaven is not good!
I hope this helps someone out there. I hate to be always contending, but the Lord has given us this information, and we have to share what we know.