The Parable of the Leaven

Matthew 13:33-35

In this parable, the kingdom of heaven is likened unto a woman hiding leaven in a meal. [Explain the kingdom of heaven]. The picture presented to us here is of a woman baking. She is seen inserting leaven into the meal. This is fine if her activities are confined to the kitchen. The issues here, however, are far wider, more complicated and much more important. This woman hid leaven in three measures of the meal. Eventually all the meal became leavened. This shows the history of the kingdom on into the Tribulation. The Lord compared this to conditions which would prevail in the kingdom of heaven.

A common interpretation of this parable is that the meal is the world and the leaven is the Gospel. This interpretation gives the idea that the Gospel will be preached throughout the world until eventually every person will be saved. This view is contradicted by Scripture, by history, and by current events.

Leaven is always used as a type of evil in the Scripture. When God commanded His people to rid their houses of leaven, they understood that leaven was a type of evil (see Exodus 12:15). In the New Testament, Jesus warned against the leaven of the Pharisees, Sadducees and Herodians (see Matthew 16:6 and Mark 8:15). In 1 Corinthians 5:6-7, Paul defines leaven as malice and evil. Also, in the context of Galatians 5:9, leaven is depicted as false teaching. In general then, leaven means either evil behavior or evil doctrine. In this parable the Lord warns against the permeating power of evil doctrine working in the kingdom of heaven. The picture here of the woman is to represent the introduction of evil into the professing Church.

At the present time, the evil teaching has reached alarming proportions. What is this evil? There is the externalism of the Pharisees. [Give examples here - horror with lips and hearts that fail.] The unbelief of the Sadducees shows in their profession of there being no resurrection. The worldliness of the Herodians is another evil. [Discuss the Billy Graham crusades.]

Furthermore, other evil doctrines are preached and practiced unashamedly. Such include:

    Christianity without Christ (for example: Jim Jones, Moonies).

    Forgiveness without repentance. You must be born again.

    Salvation without regeneration.

    Heaven without Hell. Heaven for gain only, not for Christ.

    Religion without the Holy Spirit.


The professing church is riddled with leaven or evil doctrine. They deny the inspiration of Scripture, the deity of Christ, and the virgin birth. They also deny the blood atonement, the doctrine of the bodily resurrection, and the second coming of Christ. All this raises the question, “What should we believe?” We must believe on the Lord Jesus Christ to be saved. This entails a confession of our sins and a confession of the utter depravity of our human nature; “God be merciful to me a sinner.”

The true repentance of our sin is found in our sorrow and our turning around. The prodigal son provides us with such an example of just this. We must acknowledge Jesus Christ as the Savior, and then receive Him as our own personal Savior (example: the Ethiopian eunuch). In doing this, we believe in the deity of Christ, the virgin birth, His sinless life, His atoning death, His bodily resurrection, and His return to earth.

If you do believe with all your heart and receive Him not only as Savior but also as Lord, the Bible says that you have eternal life. 1 John 5 says, “He that hath the Son hath life.” If you do not have the Son, you are in the false church, the professing church, and the Bible says of you that you have not eternal life; you are on your way to a lost eternity.

Women have been notorious for hiding evil in the Christian church. Mrs. White, a neurotic, hysterical woman was the chief prophetess for Seventh day Adventism. Mrs. Mary Baker Eddy was also neurotic, hysterical and a spiritualistic medium. She was the founder of Christian Science. Mrs. Blavatsky, a spiritualistic medium, introduced modern theosophy. Mrs. Besant, an infidel, was her successor.