Q. A popular Bible teacher teaches that there is some prophetic significance in the Kingdom Parables i.e. the mustard tree is only normally 4 ft. high and for it to hold the birds of the air was a prophecy of the church falling into Roman Catholicism and getting abnormally large and harboring pagan practices. Can you explain this teaching with a little more detail? I didn’t quite follow it for all of the parables. Thanks so much for your patience.
A. All the Kingdom parables (Matt. 13:1-52) describe the Kingdom in its Earthly phase. In His explanation of the first parable Jesus identified the birds as a symbol of Satan. Paul spoke of this in 2 Cor. 4:3-4. And a mustard seed can grow to become a large bush, but never a tree. By saying that the mustard seed grew into a tree where the birds come to perch, Jesus told us that the Kingdom in its Earthly phase would grow into a large bureaucracy, something it was never intended to be, and that ministers of Satan would be able to make a home there, a reference to teachers of false doctrine.
This was also confirmed by Paul who said that since Satan masquerades as an angel of light, (the Latin word Lucifer means “light bearer”) we shouldn’t be surprised to find that his servants masquerade as servants of righteousness. (2 Cor. 10:14-15)