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The Misconception of the Parable of the Mustard Seed

Updated on May 16, 2017

The Gospels are full of parables explaining the Kingdom of God. One of them is the parable of the mustard seed that seems to have many layers to it. When tackled from multiple perspectives it contains much depth. From one point of view, it seems so simple, but from another, it perplexes the mind in paradox and oxymoron.

He put another parable before them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven is like a grain of mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his field. It is the smallest of all seeds, but when it has grown it is larger than all the garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.” – Matthew 13:31-33

At first glance when reading this verse, it is assumed that the mustard seed is the smallest seed and then when it grows in maturity, it becomes a great tree attracting the birds to nest within its branches.

Taking theses verses from a physical perspective, one would have to ask, 'Is what Christ is saying makes any real sense in real world conditions?'

Is the mustard seed the smallest of seed?

Does the mustard plant grow from a shrub into a tree?

Are most birds attracted to the mustard plant to make nests in its branches?

Some southern species grew taller than eight feet in Israel and Egypt.
Some southern species grew taller than eight feet in Israel and Egypt. | Source

The Seed

In Christ's parable, the mustard seed grows into a large tree, however most mustard herbs in the real world are smaller shrubs in nature reaching about three to four feet in height. Some species can even get up to ten feet, but that still would be a stretch to define the bush as a tree. Most mustard plants will grow and become a shrub with thin branches and stems, but never into a tree.

The mustard seed is not the smallest of seeds. The orchid (Orchidaceae) shrub has the smallest seed; however, in context of the audience Christ was speaking to, he knew that the mustard seed was smallest of seeds used for the purposes of a local farmer in the geographical area where he was.

Additionally, birds are not really attracted to the mustard shrub due to its pungent and stinging aroma and smaller size.

Some take this parable at literal face value, but there may be much more depth to discover and not what most understand the meaning to be. The truth is in Christ's words, but they are hidden or concealed to be discovered by those who desire to dig into the truth of the Kingdom of God.

The misconceptions of the traditions of man have taken this parable and attributed the Kingdom of God to mean the institutional church system. Those who partake in these religious kingdoms of men have taken the parable of the mustard seed and justified it in their deviant religious creations.

The denominational building called church run by ecclesiastical men and their members have taken the parable of the mustard seed as literal and the result has manifested in the defiled abomination that it has become today.

The Misconception

Those in the modern church system have taken Christ's symbolic parable with spiritual implications to mean a physical one. By doing so, their spiritual corruptions are exposed for what they truly are.

Christ clearly explained why he spoke in parables because there were those who didn’t want to hear truth or want to understand it. He spoke in a way that they would not understand. Christ purposely concealed the picture of the Kingdom of God for good reason. There were those who were of the kingdoms of men who were not interested in finding truth because of they were engulfed in their own self-interests.

Then the disciples came and said to him, “Why do you speak to them in parables?” And he answered them, “To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given. For to the one who has, more will be given, and he will have an abundance, but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. This is why I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand.

Indeed, in their case the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled that says:

“‘“You will indeed hear but never understand,

and you will indeed see but never perceive.”

For this people’s heart has grown dull,

and with their ears they can barely hear,

and their eyes they have closed,

lest they should see with their eyes

and hear with their ears

and understand with their heart

and turn, and I would heal them.’ – Matthew 13:10-15

In the churches of men, the mustard seed is planted and grows into a great enormous fictitious tree that attracts all different kinds of birds. It is an attractive place for them to nest and make a home. The modern church is an illusion of truth and a misconception. Their false counterfeit religion believes that the Kingdom of God is this big grandiose tree that grows upward into a spectacle for all to see. This is why we see the manifestation of mega churches with their mega celebrity Pastors who love to elevate themselves in their glorious man-made buildings called churches for everyone to ogle over their splendour. The mass marketing of the supposed Gospel makes everyone feel comfortable with themselves as they believe they can be entertained into the Kingdom of God. The Christ of their own making accepts you no matter what lifestyle you want to live in. Their supposed Gospel spreads like a huge noxious, invasive dastardly growing tree that creates a biting, irritating and pungent aroma towards God because they are an abomination in His sight.

The visible modern church does everything in vain as a means to glorify themselves in their own self-righteousness. They advertise, 'Look here, and see there!' pointing to their temporal religious kingdoms they have created for themselves. They fail in understanding that the Kingdom of God in this age is spiritual in nature.

Doing great things in the Kingdom of God comes from small acts of mercy and kindness that are meant to bring encouragement and hope to the poor, sick, hurt, needy and lost. It is not about proclaiming your 'good works' by exploiting the less fortunate to glorify your own self interests as a marketing tool to corral the gullible in through the doors of the harlot church system.

These people are the birds who are the demonically possessed messengers that dilute the true Gospel taking advantage of others for their own gain and glory.

And he said to them, “You are those who justify yourselves before men, but God knows your hearts. For what is exalted among men is an abomination in the sight of God. – Luke 16:15

The religious façade of the modern church system with their conferences, meetings, missionary trips, performance prayers are a stinking pile of dung in the sight of God. Their Senior Pastors promote the yeast of their counterfeit Gospel. They are deceived and perceive this yeast as beneficial for exponential growth of their own religious kingdoms built upon their own names. As the monstrosity continues to grow, the people become puffed up in the yeast of their doctrines becoming pompous, proud and self-righteous in their religious vanity.

Trunk of a Cedar of Lebanon
Trunk of a Cedar of Lebanon

Those who are the greatest in the Kingdom of God are unknown to men for they do the work, prayer and worship to God in secret, not strut around for all to see.

For the LORD of hosts has a day

against all that is proud and lofty,

against all that is lifted up—and it shall be brought low;

against all the cedars of Lebanon,

lofty and lifted up;

and against all the oaks of Bashan;

against all the lofty mountains,

and against all the uplifted hills;

against every high tower,

and against every fortified wall;

against all the ships of Tarshish,

and against all the beautiful craft.

And the haughtiness of man shall be humbled,

and the lofty pride of men shall be brought low,

and the LORD alone will be exalted in that day. - Isaiah 2:12-17

Being asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, he answered them, “The kingdom of God is not coming in ways that can be observed, nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or ‘There!’ for behold, the kingdom of God is in the midst of you.” - Luke 17:20-21

Yeast, the Corrupt Leavening Agent


He told them another parable. “The kingdom of heaven is like leaven that a woman took and hid in three measures of flour, till it was all leavened.” – Matthew 13:33

Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread. On the first day you shall remove leaven out of your houses, for if anyone eats what is leavened, from the first day until the seventh day, that person shall be cut off from Israel. – Exodus 12:15

“Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. – Luke 12:1

The counterfeit Gospel represents the yeast that corrupts. It is the corrupting agent of hypocrisy. The Pastors in the institutional church system cannot accept that the tiny mustard seed grows into smaller shrub that God has intended, but carnal men want something much bigger to flaunt and twist for their own gain and benefit so that they can feel puffed up making the masses feel good about themselves in the worldly success of man-made religion. They take the yeast and mutate the mustard plant in the cursed soil of this temporal earth and mature it into a large beast of a tree that becomes a freak of nature. It has been genetically altered into something that does not use the seeds of the Kingdom of God, but the seeds of the beast that manifests in the deception and works of the the antichrist spirit that gives lip service to Christ, but does follow his commands.

“If you love me, you will keep my commandments. – John 14:15

“Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. – Luke 12:32

The parameters that Christ gave for his flock was small in design. The path to the Kingdom of God is only found by a small number of people because, 'The gate is narrow.'

And he said to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. – Luke 10:2

For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few. – Matthew 7:14

So the last will be first, and the first last.” – Matthew 20:16

The true followers of Christ (ekklesia) are not part of the mega religious crowds.

Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?” – Luke 18:8

Although the statistics say that there are two billion or more Christians on the earth, they cannot be the true followers of Christ. These statistics only reveal the numbers of those who attend religious buildings called church giving lip service to Christ, but denying Kingdom principles.

The parables of Christ reveal this abnormal deviant nature of the mustard tree with its demonic messengers making their nesting place within it. The demonic branches of demons are growing from the yeast of their hirelings who rule over others in their synagogues of Satan.

And as he sowed, some seeds fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured them. – Matthew 13:4

When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart. – Matthew 13:19

The modern church system today is the dwelling place of demons whose sole purpose is to devour the seeds of the Kingdom of God that are planted in people. Once the seeds are quickly devoured, they become enslaved and imprisoned in the bondage of spiritual Babylon.

The demonic agenda is to fill the earth with the leaven of sin, hypocrisy and false doctrine al the while giving lip service to Christ. Unfortunately, this is the antichrist agenda of what is called 'Christianity' today.

The Kingdom of God is spiritual in nature at this time and is like a small mustard seed that grows inside of the true follower of Christ, but does not outwardly grow like a huge cedar of Lebanon that grows high and lofty up in the sky. The physical outward manifestations of the follower of Christ are modest and humble pointing only to Christ as God's Kingdom grows supernaturally inside of them.

The truth of God’s Kingdom will be irritating, biting and disturbing to the religious hypocrites who follow after the traditions of man (yeast) believing that filling huge stadiums and cathedrals and televising it for all the world to see is God’s plan for His people.

God’s ekklesia are small and scattered headed by the Good Shepherd, Christ our Saviour. It is not headed by lofty religious men with their religious titles who are the self-serving leaders who desiring to create their own religious kingdoms while making a name for themselves. Their goal is to twist Scripture and get the masses to fit within their templates as the funnel to collect mammon.

The true flock of Christ is small scattered remnant of people throughout the earth until the full manifestation of God's Kingdom comes.

And in the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that shall never be destroyed, nor shall the kingdom be left to another people. It shall break in pieces all these kingdoms and bring them to an end, and it shall stand forever – Daniel 2:44

Do you believe that the tree in the parable of the mustard seed symbolic of the ‘success’ of the modern church system today?

Will most of the world be won to Christ before he returns?

Are true believers called to loftiness and prominence of worldly fame?

The words of Christ's parable is a double edged sword.

The fact is that the greatest among the herb that becomes a tree is a monstrosity and an abomination. It is an entirely different species from a tree and foreign to its true nature.

The things that pertain to the Kingdom of God are not of this world.

Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. – John 18:36

Satan and his agents are the birds that nest in the trees that have grown in cursed soil that has been leavened. The fowls nest among the spiritually dead carcasses that are their habitation.

“Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great!

She has become a dwelling place for demons,

a haunt for every unclean spirit,

a haunt for every unclean bird,

a haunt for every unclean and detestable beast. – Revelation 18:2

Can the great mustard tree represent the ekklesia?

The seeds of the ekklesia were germinated from the martyrs of spiritual men of the Kingdom of God who were despised, rejected imprisoned and murdered for truth by the men who seek membership in man's traditions.

Satan’s goal is to devour all the good seed and then engage the deceived in the activities of the counterfeit in their deviant version of what it means to follow and obey Christ. The end result is giving shelter to Satan and his demons within the great mustard tree of organized man-made religion.

The paradox is that Kingdom of God is only revealed to those who are in the world, but not of the world. Those who are in the world and of the world will see Christ's parable from a completely different perspective because they have not been born again.

Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” - John 3:3

From what perspective do you believe the parable of the mustard seed to mean?

The Mustard Tree
The Mustard Tree

Are you part of the little flock?

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    • PlanksandNails profile image

      PlanksandNails 3 years ago from among the called out ones of the ekklesia of Christ


      How many take heed to this verse?

      He must increase, but I must decrease.” - John 3:30

      The man-made "churches" have done the opposite and have made names for themselves by decreasing the name of Jesus Christ and elevating themselves for their own twisted and corrupted ideologies. When we apply this verse instead, the Church looks drastically different. In fact, it has no resemblance at all to what most call "church."

      God Bless

    • profile image

      Liberty 3 years ago

      "Let us continue to be active by being pungent and burning, but remain faithful on low-profile diligently working for the Lord. There is no need to call attention to ourselves with lofty position and prominence, but keep our hearts humbly open to Jesus Christ and let Him take care of His true Body as we glorify His name instead of mere mans"

      Beautiful and true words.

      Thank you.

    • PlanksandNails profile image

      PlanksandNails 3 years ago from among the called out ones of the ekklesia of Christ


      I look forward to reading it.

    • profile image

      graceinus 3 years ago from those of the Ekklesia

      PandN- I very much feel the same way. Within the coming weeks I hope to post a new Hub that will be Kingdom related.

      God bless.

    • PlanksandNails profile image

      PlanksandNails 3 years ago from among the called out ones of the ekklesia of Christ


      So many are representatives of their "church," but I choose to represent the Gospel of the Kingdom and follow Jesus Christ as He is my shepherd. I will let no man be a mediator between me my Savior.

    • PlanksandNails profile image

      PlanksandNails 3 years ago from among the called out ones of the ekklesia of Christ


      You have exposed that the hierarchical "church" model is not the Church, and that the "hired hand" is not a shepherd; therefore, we can conclude that the hierarchical corporate "church" is not part of the Kingdom of God, but the kingdom of men. The kingdoms of men called "church" are ruled by Satan.

    • profile image

      graceinus 3 years ago from those of the Ekklesia

      PandN- Your insight into this parable is right on target. Local made made churches has muddy the true gospel in their attempts to bring in more members and money. As it stands today the line is blurred between true gospel of Christ Church and those of false churches. The corrupt system of man made churches has caused much greed among it's members and confussion as to what is truth. The Mustard Tree as you have memtioned is the results of those whom have fallen into their self interests and not of the true church of Christ.

      I am glad to see in this Hub how you explained that the (true) Church itself is not the Kingdom of God but part of the Kingdom. This is important to note. Many do not see this clearly. And it needs to be said and understood. The ministry of Jesus Christ was/is the foundation of the early church. His ministry was to spread the gospel of the Kingdom of God. Christ said; " I do my Father's Will" which was the spreading of the gospel of the Kingdom. The early church fathers were to pick up where Jesus left off. To continue spreading the gospel of the Kingdom. With the few Apostles who had follow Christ they seem to have done a far better job at it than the millions of those who today claim to be Christians . We must continue to spread the gospel of the Kingdom.

      Today's false churches do not spread the gospel of the Kingdom because they have satan's agenda.

      God bless and great Hub.

    • profile image

      Neil Braithwaite 3 years ago

      The shepherds are many and the flocks are "mega" size today, but the model is simply shepherding backwards:

      Unfortunately, today's hierarchical corporate church model has the biblical shepherding concept completely backwards. Under today's corporate church model, the needs of the shepherd and the institution supersede the needs of the sheep.

      Under today's hierarchical corporate church model, the sheep meet the needs of the shepherd and the entire corporate entity first, and then, budget permitting, the needs of the sheep can be addressed. And to that extent, the needs of many in the church body go unmet. And that’s exactly what the Apostle Paul referred to as a "burden" on the church.

      Under today's hierarchical corporate church model, many people view the church as no different than any other secular corporate business, with the pastor as the CEO - working to grow the business and make his way up the financial corporate ladder. And to that extent, many lost souls want nothing to do with the "church," while thousands continue to leave the church every year, sighting the corporate model as being more concerned with maintaining its existence and image than helping the needy members of the body of Christ. And that's exactly what the Apostle Paul referred to as a "hindrance" to the gospel.

      No amount of justification can dismiss these two grievous realities of the hierarchical corporate church model, or the tragic negative effects they continue to have on the gospel and body of Christ today. And that's why the Apostle Paul went so far as to say that he would rather die than ever take a salary for preaching the gospel - and also why there is NO evidence in the New Testament of today's corporate church model.

      “I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep. He who is a hired hand, and not a shepherd, who is not the owner of the sheep, sees the wolf coming, and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. He flees because he is a hired hand and is not concerned about the sheep. I am the good shepherd, and I know My own and My own know Me, even as the Father knows Me and I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep." John 10:11-15

    • PlanksandNails profile image

      PlanksandNails 3 years ago from among the called out ones of the ekklesia of Christ


      In the accounts in the book of Acts, the Gospel spread like a humble, lowly plant with pungent and biting effects, but now is a freak of nature that has grown into a huge, abnormal abomination of a tree that is only concerned with power hungry men full of pride wanting domination to be served by their minions instead of being servants themselves.

      The early Christians proclaimed the Gospel, but "church" was never part of that proclamation, but why is every "church" on every other street corners "gospel" about coming to "church" to meet their "Jesus?"

      When will people understand that the "church" cannot help you, it is only the Lord. That is why the early believers talked about Him only.

      I believe we are coming closer to the end of an age as the mustard tree is enormous. The evil ideologies that come from it are a blight over the whole earth advertising their false "gospel" of another "Jesus."

      Let us continue to be active by being pungent and burning, but remain faithful on low-profile diligently working for the Lord. There is no need to call attention to ourselves with lofty position and prominence, but keep our hearts humbly open to Jesus Christ and let Him take care of His true Body as we glorify His name instead of mere mans.

      God Bless

    • profile image

      graceinus 3 years ago from those of the Ekklesia

      PandNI don't have time at the moment to get into a more detailed comment regarding this Hub. And I wish to as soon as I have more time. For now I think this is an outstanding Hub which clearly explains one of parables is the likeness of the Kingdom of Heaven as Jesus used in His analogy of the mustered seed. When we begain to understand that the true church in and of itself is not the Kingdom of God, but as we become THEE church we begain to see and hear and most important understand what Jesus was talking about in His parables of the Kingdom of Heaven. What many fail to understand, at least in this case, the parable is the Kingdom likeness, the analogy is the mustered seed.