The Parable of the Leaven

Another parable spoke He unto them; The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven, which a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened. Mat. 13:33 KJV

The kingdom of Heaven here is “like” leaven (sour dough) that is always used in a bad sense in Scripture, as meal is in a good sense. Therefore, the common interpretation of leaven converting the world is the exact opposite of the true interpretation of the leaven corrupting the meal. Note the use of leaven in Scripture:

In the Old Testament leaven is used to portray the evil nature of the sinner: Exodus 12:8, 15-20; 34:25; Levitikus 2:11; 6:17; 10:12 These last three passages refer to leaven being forbidden in certain sacrifices. Only in one sacrifice was it used in Levitikus 7:12-13 and here it signifies that though the believer has made peace with God through the work of another (Christ), there are still human traits and selfishness in him which must be continually purged by growth in grace.

In the New Testament leaven is used in four ways: first, the leaven of the Pharisees which was external religion, legalism, and hypocrisy; Mt. 23:14-28; Lk. 12:1 second, the leaven of the Sadducees, which was skepticism as to the supernatural and the teachings of the Scriptures on resurrection, angels, and spirits; Mt. 22:23-39; Acts 23:8 third, the leaven of the Harridans, which was materialism, a mixture of religion and worldliness, a political religion; Mk. 8:15 fourth, the leaven of both Pharisees and Sadducees as to their evil doctrines and practices. Mt. 16:11-12; 23:14, 16, 23-28

This illustrates how the kingdom of heaven teachings and the program of God in this age would become corrupted by false doctrines and unscriptural programs until the whole is corrupted. Lk. 18:8; 1Tim. 4:1-8; 2Tim. 3:5; 4:3-4; 2Pet. 3:3-4  A woman is a common symbol of evil in the moral or religious sphere and when used figuratively in an evil sense ‘she’ represents wickedness, fallacy, uncleanness, and unfaithfulness, Lam. 1:17 harlotry, Ezek. 16:15,22,26,28-59; 23:1-49; 36:17; Hos. 1:2; 2:2-17; 3:1; Rev. 17 wickedness, Zech. 5:5-11; Rev. 17:5 and false religion. Rev. 17 Thus, in a bad ethical sense a woman always symbolizes something wrong or out of place religiously.  Zech. 5:7-8; Rev. 2:20; 17:1-18  When used in a good sense women represent Israel, cp Gen. 37:9-10 with Rev. 12; Ezek. 16 the two covenants, Gal. 4:21-31 and righteousness and purity. 2Cor. 11:2; Rev. 19:7-8 A meal symbolizes the Word of God. Mt. 4:4; Jn. 6:47-63 and the three hidden measures of the meal illustrates all false teachings, religious programs, and professed Christian lives that seek to hide behind the Word of God (Christ as the Bread of Life and the Word of God Mt. 4:4; Jn. 6:47-63; Jn. 1:1).

The parable illustrates how the kingdom of Heaven would become like leaven, which a woman uses to corrupt Christ and His teachings. Both Christ and the Word of God are being corrupted today by the false church and its teachings. These teachers dominate the realm of profession and use it to deceive people by exalting their own words above the Word of God and their own leaders above Christ; by making the people feel that their church is infallible and that obedience to it and its dogmas is better than obedience to civil governments and by many comparable doctrines contrary to the Bible, thus corrupting the truth through the realm of profession.

Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaven the whole lump? Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us: Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. 1Cor. 5:6-8 KJV

The Parable of Weeds

Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field: But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way. But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also. Mat. 13:24-26 KJV

The sower illustrates the Son of Man (Jesus) Mt. 13:37 and the “good seed” illustrates the true children of the kingdom of Heaven. The field illustrates the world of men and the tares illustrate the professed children of the kingdom who are, in reality, the sons of the devil, who sowed them among the wheat. Mt. 13:25, 38-39 The wheat being in the ground first shows God’s plan concerning the kingdom, that only good shall be in it and that every one who professes to be a child of God should really be one. An enemy – the devil Mt. 13:25,28,39; Lk. 10:19; Acts 13:10 – sowed tares among the wheat, causing a mixture of good and bad in the same field. Thus, the kingdom of Heaven now takes on a new aspect and should rightly be understood as “the sphere of profession, “Christendom,” or “the kingdom of Heaven in mystery.”

It was common in the East for enemies to sow tares and other poisonous seeds in the fields of those they wished to hurt. In India various weeds are sown that take years to get rid of.  The word “tares” – the Greek, zizania, occurs only in Matthew 13:25, 36 is not the same as the darnel of the naturalists, but zewan, as known in Palestine today. While growing it looks like wheat, but when full grown the ears are long and the grain is black. Each grain of the zewan must be removed before grinding the wheat, or the bread is bitter and poisonous. Tares show their true color as they ripen. Verse 26 shows that the tares could not be detected until the fruit began to appear. Mt. 7:15-20

He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up? But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn. Mat. 13:27-30 KJV

The tares and the wheat both grow side by side in the same field, which is the will of the householder, until the harvest. Mt. 13:37-40 Both saved and unsaved who profess to be children of the kingdom will mingle together in this world until the end of the age. The harvest illustrates the separation of the wicked among the just at the end of this age when the Messiah comes to reign. Mt. 13:39-43; 25:31-46; 1 Thess. 5:1-11; 2 Thess. 1:7-10; Jude 14; Zech. 14:1-21   The reapers illustrate angels who will separate the wicked from the good when Christ comes. Mt. 13:39-43; 24:31, 51; 25:31-46; 2 Thess. 1:7-10

As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world. The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity;  And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear. Mat. 13:40-43 KJV

The expression of “the end of the world” means “the end of the age.” At this time the kingdom of Heaven ceases to be the sphere of profession and becomes the literal kingdom of Heaven, or the reign of the Messiah over all the kingdoms of this world. Rev. 11:15; Dan. 7:13-14, 18

When the tares are gathered and burned in the fire, refers to the time when the judgment of the nations Mt. 25:31-46; Dan. 7:9 will be executed. The tares will be burned in the same sense the branches of Christ will be if they do not abide in Him. Mt. 8:12; 13:40-43,49-50; 24:31; 25:41,46; Jn. 15:6

The furnace of fire where there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth is another description of eternal hell, not the grave. Mt. 13:42,50; Rev. 9:2 Wailing, Mt. 13:50 weeping Mt. 8:12; 22:13; 24:51; 25:30; Lk. 13:28 and the gnashing of teeth, picture bitter remorse and pain. The righteous will take over the kingdoms of this world forever Rev. 1:5-7; 5:10; 11:15; 20:4-6; 22:4-5; Mt. 25:31-46; Zech. 14 and they will be luminous like the sun Mt. 19:28; 25:31-46; Rev. 5:10; 20:1-10 and inherit all things. Mt. 5:5; 25:35; Lk. 12:32; Rom. 8:17; Dan. 7:18,22,27; Rev. 21:7

I choose to hear what the Word of God says and will live in obedience so that I can shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of my Heavenly Father! Amen