Parable #14. The Mustard Seed (Kingdom of Heaven):
- Today is Day #14
- The Fourteenth Mashal of Messiah
- Seven Observations
Today is Day #14:
1. Today is “Day #14” in the forty-nine day Countdown to Shavuot.
2. Today is Fourteen days in the Omer.
Today is fourteen days which are two weeks in the Omer.
היום ארבעה עשר יום, שהם שני שבועות בעומר.פ
Haiyom arbah asar yom, shehaym shnay shavuot ba’omer.
“You shall count for yourselves — from the day after the Shabbat, from the day when you bring the Omer of the waving — seven Shabbats, they shall be complete. Until the day after the seventh sabbath you shall count, fifty days.” (Leviticus). “You shall count for yourselves seven weeks, from when the sickle is first put to the standing crop shall you begin counting seven weeks. Then you will observe the Festival of Shavu’ot for Adonai Eloheinu.” (Deuteronomy).
“Blessed are You, Adonai Eloheinu, King of the Universe, who has sanctified us with His commandments and commanded us concerning the counting of the Omer.”
ברוך אתה, אדוני אלוהינו, מלך העולם, אשר קדשנו במצוותיו וציוונו על ספירת העומר.פ
Baruch atah, Adonai Eloheinu, melech ha’olam, asher kid’shanu b’mitzvotav v’tzivanu al sefirat ha’omer.
The Fourteenth Mashal of Messiah:
וַיָּשֶׂם לִפְנֵיהֶם מָשָׁל אַחֵר וַיּאֹמַר מַלְכוּת הַשָׁמַיִם דּוֹמָה לְגַרְגַּר שֶׁל־חַרְדָּל אֲשֶׁר לְקָחוֹ אִישׁ וַיִּזְרַע בְּשָׂדֵהוּ׃ וְהוּא קָטֹן מִכָּל־הַזֵּרוֹעִים וְכַאֲשֶׁר צָמַח גָּדוֹל הוּא מִן־הַיְרָקוֹת וְהָיָה לְעֵץ עַד־אֲשֶׁר יָבֹאוּ עוֹף הַשָׁמַיִם וְקִנְּנוּ בַּעֲנָפָיו׃
הוסיף וספר משל אחר: מלכות השמים דומה לגרגיר חרדל אשר לקחו איש וזרע אותו בשדהו. אמנם קטן הוא מכל הזרעים, אך לאחר צמיחתו גדול הוא מן הירקות והופך לעץ, כך שעופות השמים באים ומקננים בין ענפיו.פ
A. [Mattai: 13:31] He (the Messiah) presented them with another mashal and said, “The kingdom of Heaven can be compared to a mustard seed which a man took and sowed in his field. It is the smallest of all of the seeds, but when it sprouts, it is larger than the other vegetation (garden plants) and becomes a tree, to the point where birds of heaven (of the air) come and nest in its branches.”
וַיֹּאמַר אֶל־מַה נְדַמֶּה אֶת־מַלְכוּת הָאֱלֹהִים וּבְאֵי־זֶה מָשָׁל נַמְשִׁילֶנָּה׃ כְּגַרְגַּר שֶׁל־חַרְדָּל אֲשֶׁר יִזָּרַע בָּאֲדָמָה וְהוּא קָטֹן מִכָּל־הַזֵּרֹעִים אֲשֶׁר עַל־הָאָרֶץ׃ וְאַחֲרֵי הִזָּרְעוֹ יַעֲלֶה וְיִגְדַּל עַל־כָּל־הַיְרָקוֹת וְעָשָׂה עֲנָפִים גְּדוֹלִים עַד־אֲשֶׁר יְקַנְּנוּ עוֹף הַשָּׁמַיִם בְּצִלוֹ׃
הוסיף ואמר: איך נדמה את מלכות האלוהים או באיזה משל נמשיל אותה? כגרגיר חרדל היא. כאשר זורעים אותו באדמה הוא קטן מכל הזרעים עלי אדמות, אבל לאחר שנזרע הוא צומח ונעשה גדול מכל השיחים ומוציא ענפים גדולים עד אשר עוף השמים יכולים לשכן בצלו. פ
B. Markos 4:30] He said, “To what shall we compare the kingdom of God, and which mashal shall we use for it? It is like a mustard seed that is sown in the soil, which is the smallest of all the seeds that are upon the earth. After it is sown, it comes up and grows larger than all the other vegetation (garden plants) and produces branches so large that the birds of heaven nest in its shade.”
וַיֹּאמַר לְמָה דוֹמָה מַלְכוּת הָאֱלֹהִים וְאֶל־מָה אַמְשִׁילֶנָּה׃ דּוֹמָה הִיא לְגַרְגַּר שֶׁל־חַרְדָּל אֲשֶׁר לְקָחוֹ אִישׁ וַיְשִׂימֵהוּ בְגַנּוֹ וַיִּצְמַח וַיְהִי לְעֵץ גָּדוֹל וְעוֹף הַשָּׁמַיִם יְקַנֵּן בַּעֲנָפָיו׃
אז אמר: למה דומה מלכות האלוהים ואל מה אדמה אותה? דומה היא לגרגיר של חרדל אשר לקחו איש וזרע אותו בגנו. הגרגיר צמח והיה לעץ ועופות השמים קננו בענפיו. פ
C. [Lukas 13:18] He said, “To what can the kingdom of God be compared? And to what will I liken it? It can be compared to a mustard seed that a man took and placed in his garden. It sprouted and became a great tree, and the birds of heaven nested in its branches.”
Observation #1. In the Middle East the mustard plant is not a garden herb but a field plant. It does grow to be a tree.
Observation #2. A height of seven or eight feet is common. The mustard plant has been reported to grow as high as twelve feet.
Observation #3. Three variations of the fourteenth mashal of the Messiah are reported.
Observation #4. The first variation of the mashal gives emphasis to the smallness of the mustard seed. The point is that the greatest of accomplishments in human history can start from the smallest (most humble) of beginnings.
Observation #5. The second variation gives extra emphasis to the plant’s exceptional size at the end point of its full maturity; therefore, the plant:
a). Grows up;
b). Becomes larger than all the other garden plants; and
c). Forms large branches.
Observation #6. The third and final variation of the mashal focuses on the plant growing into a “tree” that fulfills its purpose by the birds of the air nesting in its branches.
Observation #7. In the Middle East an often used symbol of a mighty nation (an empire) was that of a mighty tree; and the subject nations who found shelter and protection within this great nation were symbolized by birds nesting in the branches (cf. Ezekiel 31:6; 17:23):
בסעפתיו קננו כל־עוף השמים ותחת פארתיו ילדו כל חית השדה ובצלו ישבו כל גוים רבים׃
בִּסְעַפֹּתָיו קִֽנְנוּ כָּל־עֹוף הַשָּׁמַיִם וְתַחַת פֹּֽארֹתָיו יָֽלְדוּ כֹּל חַיַּת הַשָּׂדֶה וּבְצִלֹּו יֵֽשְׁבוּ כֹּל גֹּויִם רַבִּֽים׃
All the birds of the heavens nested in its boughs,
And under its branches all the beasts of the field gave birth,
And all great nations lived under its shade.
בהר מרום ישראל אשתלנו ונשא ענף ועשה פרי והיה לארז אדיר ושכנו תחתיו כל צפור כל־כנף בצל דליותיו תשכנה׃
בְּהַר מְרֹום יִשְׂרָאֵל אֶשְׁתֳּלֶנּוּ וְנָשָׂא עָנָף וְעָשָׂה פֶרִי וְהָיָה לְאֶרֶז אַדִּיר וְשָׁכְנוּ תַחְתָּיו כֹּל צִפֹּור כָּל־כָּנָף בְּצֵל דָּלִיֹּותָיו תִּשְׁכֹּֽנָּה׃
On the high mountain of Israel I will plant it, that it may bring forth boughs and bear fruit and become a stately cedar. And birds of every kind will nest under it; they will nest in the shade of its branches.
The Fourteenth Mashal of Messiah is supernatural; it includes prophesy about what will happen in the *end of days.
*This mashal is a telescopic look into the future. This tiny mashal is prophecy about our (Israel’s) past two thousand years of world history and it is a (veiled) prophecy about our future; the next eleven hundred to one thousand years of our existence here on earth (i.e. the ‘end of days’).
The kingdom of Heaven and the kingdom of Adonai are seen here as a single *international entity that at its beginning—almost two millennia ago—was incredibly small. Yet, at its end this small entity is destined to rapidly mature into the greatest kingdom ever to exist in all of our human history.
*Israel and the Commonwealth of Israel.
Why a garden and not a forest?
A garden was used by Messiah for the simplest of reasons. As the Jewish sages rightfullly say, we (Israel) are not attempting to progress by going forward into a time of ever-increasing complexity (covetousness) and therefore compromise to sin; rather, now we are hoping to progress by ‘going back’ in time, to a simpler ‘time before time’ – when there was moral and spiritual perfection (shalom); wellness (contentment) without any accommodation whatsoever to sin.
We desire to return to the happiness and innocence that we once possessed in the Garden of Eden (Gan Eden).
Therefore, the ideal symbol to illustrate this (Jewish) messianic return to happiness is not one that sees the kingdom of Heaven existing at the center of a great forest but in the center of a beautiful Garden—-the Garden of Eden.
As for the symbology of the birds, there has been some confusion about whether these birds are good or evil. However, we have no doubt about the meaning here, due to the clearly stated subject of the mashal; which is two things: what the “the kingdom of Heaven” is like;” and what “the kingdom of God” is like.
This fourteenth mashal and the next fifteenth mashal of the Messiah are quite unique; even from all of his other meshalim (parables). The distinction here being that this smallest of seeds in God’s garden (the kingdom of Heaven) becomes an international tree for all of the nations (birds) of the world—the kingdom of God.
The messianic kingdom began with one Jewish person, the Messiah Yeshua. From the small seed of the one man, the Messiah of Israel, the kingdom of Heaven has grown to be an international force that has extended far beyond any national boundary or governmental entity. So where does this mashal prophecy the kingdom of Heaven will end up? The answer is
The kingdom of Heaven will soon become the kingdom of God; and this kingdom has a name—-the kingdom of Israel.
Therefore, it is the destiny of the international entity that is the kingdom of Heaven to become the kingdom of Israel; and with its (Gentile) member nations—-the Commonwealth of Israel. Therefore, as this kingdom of (restored) Israel is good; so are the (birds) member nations of its latter day international commonwealth good.
The birds represent those subject nations that will in the future happily enjoy the full maturity of the kingdom of *Israel.
*The Hebrew name Yisra’el means “Rule of God.”
We believe the descriptive term kingdom of (the Rule of) God is actually a general reference to God’s most personal (intimate) and Holy Name. So we refer to the near future messianic (international) kingdom of God that exists in the latter days (after our Messiah returns from heaven to Israel) as being the “kingdom of Adonai” (ה’ מלכות).
So in summary:
The birds are symbolic of the future member states that will be branches of the new International Commonwealth of Israel. In one day, when our Messiah returns to Israel at a yet unknown (near future) observance of Yom Kippur (in the year of Jubilee) all of the gentile nations of the world will become subject nations that will find shelter under the one thousand year world-wide rule of Adonai (HaShem) and M’shicho (His Messiah). So, we pray come quickly Adonai (HaShem), send to us your Presence! Save us now! Send us your Messiah *Yeshua!
*יֵשׁוּעַ-the Salvation of Adonai!