How can the Kingdom of God be like leaven, a symbol of evil?

THE KINGDOM LIKENED UNTO LEAVEN

In what sense is the Kingdom of God “like unto leaven which a woman hid in three measures of meal till the whole was leavened”, if leaven is the symbol of evil, and the kingdom of God embraces only that which is “born again” (John 3:3)?

When John the Baptist began his ministry, the Jewish people were, and had been for some time, under the domination of Rome, the fourth of the great world powers who were foretold by Daniel, of which the first three were Babylon, Medo-Persia, and Greece. Rome, the last, was to be superseded on the Divine programme by another of a totally distinct character. “In the days of these things shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed” (Daniel 2:44 ) . What other meaning could the Baptists’ words, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand,” have to an intelligent Jew, who knew the Old Testament prophecies but that this kingdom was about to be set up? The Lord took up the same testimony, and in due course presented Himself to Israel as their Messiah and King. That He was present in power as King was evidenced by His miracles, but by twice deliberately attributing these works to Satan, (see Marthew 9:  and Matthew 12: .) the leaders of the nation rejected His claims. Consequently, at chap. xiii. there is a break, the MYSTERIES OF THE KINGDOM being introduced, and parable to a great extent replaces miracle. The King is rejected, but a kingdom is set up, notwithstanding, in the hearts of men. The kingdom, as we have it in the seven parables of Matt. xiii, is the condition of things produced in the earth as the result of the preaching of the Gospel, including very much of a mere profession of Christianity, which is not all the genuine work of the Spirit, for when the Lord comes “He will gather out of the kingdom all things that offend and them which do iniquity.” these were in the kingdom, BUT NEVER OF IT. The seven parables present to us the progress of the spurious, as well as of the real. In the first two parables we see the effects of the good seed being hindered by the mixed qualities of the soil, or by an imitation seed. In the second pair, the mustard seed and the leaven, we see the monstrous growth and insidious spread of the bad, as exemplified all around us in Christendom to-day. Far other is the real Divine kingdom, entered only by the new birth. That is a different phase altogether, misunderstood and despised of men, if not hidden altogether from their view. This is exemplified in the parables of the treasure and the pearl, first in its relation to Israel, and then as the whole aggregate of the children of the kingdom. The seventh parable, the drag-net, represents the last great testimony for God in the world. Multitudes will be gathered in, but here too, as with the tares, there will be a sorting out needed. Of course, it is impossible in the space available to take up all the aspects of this great kingdom subject, distinct from those touched upon here—”the kingdom of the Son of His love;” “the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ;” “the kingdom of the Father,” etc. There is much to learn and unlearn.

W.H.