“The Kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed…The Kingdom of heaven is like yeast..” (Mt 13). There is much debate over the meaning of these two short parables. For a more traditional understanding, consider this post.
But some Christians believe that the imagery of the parables is meant to portray the presence of evil within professing Christendom. This is due primarily to an understanding of the Kingdom of Heaven as a “mystery” encompassing Christendom (understood as organized Christianity). Christendom as a whole is understood to contain evil elements mixed with the good, so both parables are usually viewed as picturing that evil. The birds nesting in the mustard tree are unbelievers. It is also pointed out that yeast is often a symbol of evil (Exod 12:15, 19; Matt 16:6, 11–12; 1 Cor 5:6–8; Gal 5:9; but see Lev 7:13–14; 23:17) and so it is asserted that the parable of the yeast portrays the growth of evil within Christendom. This view of the parables is often held in conscious opposition to a view which understands the images of the growth of the Kingdom in the two parables as indicating the ultimate conversion of the world to Christianity before Christ returns. Continue reading