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.
In this verse leaven is used
in a positive way. The Word of God regarding the kingdom of
heaven which Jesus Christ spoke would work like leaven from the inside
out and spread throughout all Israel just as leaven spreads throughout
the whole loaf of bread.
Then Jesus said unto them, 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.
Here leaven is used in a negative way to represent the doctrine of the Pharisees and the Sadducees. The doctrine spoken by them would also work like leaven from the inside out and spread throughout all Israel. We must be concerned and diligent in our rightly dividing of God's Word. We want the positive Word of God to spread like leaven throughout the whole world. We do not want to spread the false doctrines of men.
Ye did run well; who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth?
This persuasion cometh not of him that calleth you.
A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump.
Paul taught the
Gentile believers in Galatia about the grace of God. After he
left them, legalistic believers visited them and taught them that
they must keep the law of the old testament in order to be saved.
This false doctrine of legalism began to affect the entire church at
Galatia from within as leaven spreads throughout the whole loaf of
bread. Even a small amount of legalism can be very
damaging. "Yes, salvation is by grace; but you still need to do
just a little work to be right before God." NO! NO! NO!
Your standing before God as a son or daughter is by grace and is
absolutely not dependent upon anything you do or do not do.
And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then it is no more grace: otherwise work is no more work.
the truth of God's Word regarding the great mystery of this
Administration of Grace to spread and work within the lives of
believers. A little doctrine of works will leaven the whole
lump. If what we have, we have by grace; then it is NO MORE OF
WORKS! We must be continuously vigilant to recognize doctrines of
men that would rob us of all we have received in Christ Jesus.
1 Corinthians 5:8
Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.
In Corinth believers
were surrounded by all the negative behaviors they had before they
believed God's Word. Some in the church were continuing to do the
same sinful things they did before they were saved. Rather than
reproving this sinful behavior, the church was allowing it to
continue. They even expressed pride in the fact that they allowed
the behavior. Paul encouraged the believers to get rid of their
wicked behavior calling it leaven. By tolerating the
negative behavior of some believers, the whole church was being
corrupted. Salvation is not of works; but we do not want to use
grace as a license to sin. We want to live a godly life in
thanksgiving because of the grace of God given to us. Paul wrote
to the Corinthian believers that they should rid themselves of
wickedness and malice and replace it with the unleavened bread of
sincerity and truth.
What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?
God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?
We do not want the negatives of our past to flourish and spread like leaven in the life that we now have available to us. Instead, we want to live an unleavened life of sincerity and truth.
Just as the Apostle Paul
described the putting away of wickedness and malice as the putting away
of leaven, so the children of Israel were given the Feast of Unleavened
Bread to remember that they had put away the malice and wickedness of
their life as slaves in Egypt.
Thou shalt eat no leavened bread with it; seven days shalt thou eat unleavened bread therewith, even the bread of affliction; for thou camest forth out of the land of Egypt in haste: that thou mayest remember the day when thou camest forth out of the land of Egypt all the days of thy life.
And they shall eat the flesh in that night, roast with fire, and unleavened bread; and with bitter herbs they shall eat it.
The unleavened bread of the
feast is called here "bread of
affliction." Leaven was a desirable ingredient in bread
but it took time to make. To eat unleavened bread with bitter
herbs represented the affliction and bitter life of bondage the
children of Israel experienced as slaves in Egypt. It represented
doing without abundance.
And the Egyptians were urgent upon the people, that they might send them out of the land in haste; for they said, We be all dead men.
And the people took their dough before it was leavened, their kneadingtroughs being bound up in their clothes upon their shoulders.
And they baked unleavened cakes of the dough which they brought forth out of Egypt, for it was not leavened; because they were thrust out of Egypt, and could not tarry, neither had they prepared for themselves any victual.
Leaven took eleven days
to prepare. The children of Israel left Egypt in haste.
They did not have time to prepare leaven. The Feast of Unleavened
Bread emphasized the haste of their departure from Egypt. It
represented God's deliverance from a bitter life of affliction.
It represented a putting away of malice and wickedness. It
represented God's great deliverance.
By understanding the properties of leaven and how God uses it as an illustration in His Word we gain a greater understanding of God's deliverance and the importance of spreading the rightly divided Word of God.