THE BIRDS ARE COMING! A devotion for 7 June 2017 Anno Domini
“Then said he, Unto what is the kingdom of God like? and whereunto shall I resemble it? It is like a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and cast into his garden; and it grew, and waxed a great tree; and the fowls of the air lodged in the branches of it. And again he said, Whereunto shall I liken the kingdom of God? It is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened.” Luke 13:18-21 (all scripture is King James Version)
There are a great variety of birds in the world – Dodo Birds (extinct), Cuckoo Birds, Hummingbirds, Jay Birds, Robins, Geese, etc. Each serves a purpose in God’s Creation. But the very birds that are useful in one sense, may be quite destructive in another.
My wife planted a fig tree just outside our kitchen window. She loves nature. She also loves the fruit of the fig tree. She was very pleased to see the Blue Jay’s and other birds lighting in the branches of her fig tree as she washed the dishes. But when the fruit began to appear on the tree, the number of birds proliferated. They undertook immediately to ruin the figs on the tree. They never ate all of one fig, but rather nipped and pecked at each one until all were ruined; and they did so with impunity. That is what birds do to the fruit of trees. They ruin the fruit! My wife’s joy at the sight of the birds turned to disgust at the loss of her labors in tending the fruit.
There are also other kinds of birds (or fowl of the air) that destroy the fruit from the trees of faith. Those may be seen daily on TV channels throughout America. The Hen (or Hinn) is one of the most wicked. It will lay a shocking theological egg from time to time, and the deluded crowds will ‘ooh and ahh’ at his depraved rantings. I heard him once say that “Jesus became Satan on the cross.” Steve Crouch murmured, “Wow! We are hearing a new word today.” Of course, it was not a new word, but rather a worn tactic of the Old Serpent of the Tree who loves to twist and turn scripture to cloud the minds of his victims. Hinn pretends to have the same authority of Christ in breathing on his adherents (not those of Christ) and they receive the Holy Ghost – so much so that they fall backward, some injuring unspeakable parts of their anatomy. He constantly claims extra-biblical revelations that conflict with the Written Word of God.
There seems to be far more hypocrites in the pulpits of today than the true bloodied servant of God. The term hypocrite, by the way, as Jesus used it in addressing the big-league clergy of His day (Scribes, Pharisees, Sadducees, Temple Priests, etc) means, in the Greek, actor, pretender, stage player, or dissembler. Heaven knows that we have an abundant stock on hand of those. They flock, as fowls of the air, to the larger churches because the larger churches attract more money and offer greater social status. They are the Higher Critics who question every biblical truth and try to undermine the very Word of God. They publish their false bible translations and ‘spiritual’ books prolifically and thusly have gained control of most Christian publishing houses.
In the Gospel of St. Luke, as related in the leading text above, and again in Matthew 13:31-32, our Lord makes reference to the nefarious invaders of the Church. Who are they? They are as the fowls of the air. They are the ones who are attracted to a larger than normal tree and devour and ruin the fruits thereof. The modern pulpit fancies will twist the meaning of the Parable of the Mustard Seed to mean that the Church of God will, of necessity, grow so large that its branches cover the earth. They do not usually define the fowls, or birds, of the air that come to lodge in its branches. If we are not stone-blind, we need only look about us to see how the mainline churches have corrupted the very Gospel of Christ and adopted worldly religion as their anchor of straw. Let’s take a closer look at the Parable of the Mustard Seed and the Leaven as related in Luke and Matthew. In Matthew, we read: “Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and sowed in his field: Which indeed is the least of all seeds: but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof. Another parable spake 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.” (Matthew 13:31-33) Our Lord is not speaking of the ideal, but of the practical reality of the matter.
Matthew 13 is considered the Kingdom Chapter of the Bible. There are seven parables that reveal the nature of the Kingdom of Heaven: Parable of the Sower, Parable of the Tares, Parable of the Mustard Seed, Parable of the Leaven, Parable of the Hidden Treasure, Parable of the Pearl, and Parable of Drawing in the Net. I wish to look at the particular ones that reflect the state of the church today.
The Parable of the Sower presents the first aspect of the Kingdom that I believe is revealed in the Parables of the Mustard Seed, the Leaven, and the Dragnet. “Behold, a sower went forth to sow; And when he sowed, some seeds fell by the way side, and the fowls came and devoured them up.” (Matthew 13:3-4) Note that the fowls came and ate the Seed (Word of God) sown by the Lord (Sower). Who are these fowls of the air? Jesus Himself tells us: “When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one (demons or the devil), and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which received seed by the way side.” (Matthew 13:19) The fowls of the air are demonic manifestations. Those powers today steal away words of Scripture in their phony versions and change briar seed for the true seed. “For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.” (Revelations 22:18-19)
Now let us examine the Mustard Seed Parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and sowed in his field: Which indeed is the least of all seeds: but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof.” Matthew 13:31-32) The Mustard plant is fibrous and more like a stalk than real wood. Its branches are weak and fragile. It would not be suitable for birds to nest therein. But this Mustard Seed (which represents the Kingdom of God) grows UNNATURALLY large. It was not supposed to do so, but it does. This is just like those churches of our day that do market research to see what will sell best with the people. The modern church places all trust in its size and wealth. Size and wealth always attracts the wrong kind of attention. The lush fruits on its branches attract those destructive birds that come to dwell in the branches of the overgrown churches of today. They are rich in worldly goods and shamefully naked in the things of the Spirit.
Next is the Parable of the Leaven: “The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven, which a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened.” (Matthew 13:33) Leaven almost ALWAYS represents sin and unrighteousness. It is for this reason that we use unleavened bread in the Communion just as our Lord did at the Last Supper. Leaven causes the flour to ‘puff’ up larger than it should naturally appear. Pride puffs up its owner. “Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind. (Colossians 2:18) Leaven also represents the same kind of false doctrine that has infiltrated the mainline denominations for the Church of England to the Baptist to the Presbyterian Churches, let alone the Methodists. Castigating the prominent ministers of His day, Jesus warned the disciples: “Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees. And they reasoned among themselves, saying, It is because we have taken no bread. Which when Jesus perceived, he said unto them, O ye of little faith, why reason ye among yourselves, because ye have brought no bread? Do ye not yet understand, neither remember the five loaves of the five thousand, and how many baskets ye took up? Neither the seven loaves of the four thousand, and how many baskets ye took up? How is it that ye do not understand that I spake it not to you concerning bread, that ye should beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees? Then understood they how that he bade them not beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees.” (Matthew 16:6-12)
In the last Parable above, what did leaven represent? False doctrine! The big churches are full of devils and false doctrine. What other ingredients do we need to seek truth under a pine tree in preference to false doctrine in a majestic cathedral? But just to drive the point home an inch further, consider how the wicked are mingled with the righteous in today’s churches. The tare has been sown by that same wicked one represented by the fowls of the air (who, by the way, also plant seed by their droppings). “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a net, that was cast into the sea, and gathered of every kind: Which, when it was full, they drew to shore, and sat down, and gathered the good into vessels, but cast the bad away. So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just, And shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.” (Matthew 13:47-50) The righteous will be continually offended in the modern churches as was righteous Lot in Sodom. But Lot LEFT Sodom, and maybe we, too, should “come out from among them.” “Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.”(2 Corinthians 6:17-18)