The                                              
Christian Pilgrim

 

129. Leaven



Leaven was not to be used ceremonially in Old Testament times because at Passover they left in a hurry:

Exodus 12:15 - "Seven days shall ye eat unleavened bread; even the first day ye shall put away leaven out of your houses: for whosoever eateth leavened bread from the first day until the seventh day, that soul shall be cut off from Israel."

Exodus 12:19 - "Seven days shall there be no leaven found in your houses: for whosoever eateth that which is leavened, even that soul shall be cut off from the congregation of Israel, whether he be a stranger, or born in the land."

Exodus 12:34 - "And the people took their dough before it was leavened, their kneading troughs being bound up in their clothes upon their shoulders."

Exodus 12:39 - "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."

Exodus 13:3 - "And Moses said unto the people, Remember this day, in which ye came out from Egypt, out of the house of bondage; for by strength of hand the LORD brought you out from this place: there shall no leavened bread be eaten."

Exodus 13:7 - "Unleavened bread shall be eaten seven days; and there shall no leavened bread be seen with thee, neither shall there be leaven seen with thee in all thy quarters."

Exodus 34:25 - "Thou shalt not offer the blood of my sacrifice with leaven; neither shall the sacrifice of the feast of the passover be left unto the morning."

Leviticus 2:11 - "No meat offering, which ye shall bring unto the LORD, shall be made with leaven: for ye shall burn no leaven, nor any honey, in any offering of the LORD made by fire."

Leviticus 6:17 - "It shall not be baken with leaven. I have given it unto them for their portion of my offerings made by fire; it is most holy, as is the sin offering, and as the trespass offering."

Leviticus 10:12 - "And Moses spake unto Aaron, and unto Eleazar and unto Ithamar, his sons that were left, Take the meat offering that remaineth of the offerings of the LORD made by fire, and eat it without leaven beside the altar: for it is most holy."

Deuteronomy 16:3,4: "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 there shall be no leavened bread seen with thee in all thy coast seven days; neither shall there any thing of the flesh, which thou sacrificedst the first day at even, remain all night until the morning."


But the firstfruits and the thanksgiving offerings eaten by men could be leavened:

Leviticus 7:12,13 - "If he offer it for a thanksgiving, then he shall offer with the sacrifice of thanksgiving unleavened cakes mingled with oil, and unleavened wafers anointed with oil, and cakes mingled with oil, of fine flour, fried. Besides the cakes, he shall offer for his offering leavened bread with the sacrifice of thanksgiving of his peace offerings."

Leviticus 23:17 - "Ye shall bring out of your habitations two wave loaves of two tenth deals: they shall be of fine flour; they shall be baken with leaven; they are the firstfruits unto the LORD."

Amos 4:5 - "And offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving with leaven, and proclaim and publish the free offerings: for this liketh you, O ye children of Israel, saith the Lord GOD."


Leaven is also used as a symbol of sin, particularly hypocrisy, because it puffeth up:

Hosea 7:4 - "They are all adulterers, as an oven heated by the baker, who ceaseth from raising after he hath kneaded the dough, until it be leavened."

Matthew 16:6 - "Then Jesus said unto them, Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees."

Matthew 16:11,12 - "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."

Mark 8:15 - "And he charged them, saying, Take heed, beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, and of the leaven of Herod."

Luke 12:1 - "In the mean time, when there were gathered together an innumerable multitude of people, insomuch that they trode one upon another, he began to say unto his disciples first of all, Beware ye of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy."

1 Corinthians 5:6-8 - "Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump? Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us: 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."

Galatians 5:9 - "A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump."


But it is also mentioned as a type of the kingdom of heaven in the way it grows:

Matthew 13:33 - "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."

Luke 13:21 - "It is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened."


In the Lord's Supper the bread should be leavened. The Greek word used here is artos, which is bread of any kind. The specific word for unleavened bread is not used. This is as a symbol of the growth of the church and of Christ being the bread of life:

1 Corinthians 10:16,17 - "The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ? For we being many are one bread, and one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread."

1 Corinthians 11:23-29 - "For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread: and when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord's death till he come. Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body."


Azumos is unleavened bread only:

Matthew 26:17 - "Now the first day of the feast of unleavened bread the disciples came to Jesus, saying unto him, Where wilt thou that we prepare for thee to eat the passover?"

Mark 14:1 - "After two days was the feast of the passover, and of unleavened bread: and the chief priests and the scribes sought how they might take him by craft, and put him to death."

Mark 14:12 - "And the first day of unleavened bread, when they killed the passover, his disciples said unto him, Where wilt thou that we go and prepare that thou mayest eat the passover?"

Luke 22:1 - "Now the feast of unleavened bread drew nigh, which is called the Passover."

Luke 22:7 - "Then came the day of unleavened bread, when the passover must be killed."

Acts 12:3 - "And because he saw it pleased the Jews, he proceeded further to take Peter also. (Then were the days of unleavened bread.)"

Acts 20:6 - "And we sailed away from Philippi after the days of unleavened bread, and came unto them to Troas in five days; where we abode seven days."

1 Corinthians 5:7,8 - "Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us: 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 Deuteronomy 16:3, unleavened bread is described as the "bread of affliction," surely inappropriate for the Lord's Supper:

Deuteronomy 16:3 - "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."


Note the phrase "bread of affliction" is also mentioned in:

1 Kings 22:27 - "And say, Thus saith the king, Put this fellow in the prison, and feed him with bread of affliction and with water of affliction, until I come in peace."

2 Chronicles 18:26 - "And say, Thus saith the king, Put this fellow in the prison, and feed him with bread of affliction and with water of affliction, until I return in peace."