Leaven


The oblation of the feast of first–fruits was “two tenths of fine flour mingled with oil” (Lev. 23: 13)—there was no leaven. When we come to the oblation of the feast of Pentecost, however, it says “out of your dwellings shall ye bring two wave-loaves, of two tenths of fine flour; with leaven shall they be baken” (v 17, my emphasis). Leaven—a type of sin in the flesh—could never form a part in anything which set forth Christ in His Manhood. He was “the holy thing” (Luke 1: 35). But leaven was mixed with the “new oblation” (Lev. 23: 16) for that speaks of us, and what we call the mixed condition of the believer. Thank God there is that of the fine flour character in all our souls—but we know just as surely the leaven is there as well. The experience of Romans 7, which we will all have endured, proves this point—good and bad in conflict. Leaven is always a type of evil—as we may readily ascertain by looking up the various places where it is mentioned in the NT. Thus we have “the kingdom of the heavens is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal until it had been all leavened” (Matt. 13: 33). From a comparison with Zech. 5: 5–11, where the ephah there is the same as the three measures of meal, we understand the leaven here to be idolatry. A little later in the same Gospel, the Lord speaks of “the leaven of the Pharisees”—hypocrisy—“and Sadducees”—infidelity (Matt. 16: 11). In Mark 8: 15 He refers to “the leaven of Herod”—worldliness. The type of leaven is also used by Paul in 1 Cor. 5: 6 for evil practice, and in Gal. 5: 9 for evil doctrine. Leaven is thus viewed in six ways in the NT, and in each case in a bad sense. Now, were any of these evils found in Christ? Not one. Idolatry: “Then says Jesus … Thou shalt do homage to [the] Lord thy God, and him alone shalt thou serve” (Matt. 4: 10). Hypocrisy— “They said therefore to him, Who art thou? [And] Jesus said to them, Altogether that which I also say to you” (John 8: 25). Infidelity—“Jesus answered them … the scripture cannot be broken” (John 10: 34, 35). Worldliness—“be of good courage: I have overcome the world” (John 16: 33). Evil practice—“Which of you convinces me of sin?” (John 8: 46). Evil doctrine—“Jesus therefore answered them and said, My doctrine is not mine, but [that] of him that has sent me” (John 7: 16). Thus leaven never tainted Christ in any way. But, if every one of these evil features was absent in Him, they are all present in us. Thus the two wave–loaves were “baken” (Lev. 23: 17, my emphasis)—the fire would nullify the working of the leaven, the evil tendencies which are in us as a result of sin. And so when the Spirit of God descended on the day of Pentecost we read that “parted tongues, as of fire” sat upon each of the disciples (Acts 2: 3). It is only as the leaven is thus nullified that the marks of the fine flour come to light, and the “new oblation” (Lev. 23: 16) seen.

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