by John and Ruth Greene
Remember when you were a child? You went out to play and many times came home full of dirt and sweat, even making mud pies in the corner of someone’s yard. Getting dirty wasn’t hard. In the same way, when you wash your car, dust and dirt are quick to collect. The fact is that getting dirty is much easier than keeping clean. So it is in spiritual life.
Yahshua [Jesus] used parables to illustrate situations that would affect YHWH’s people in the future. Yahshua [Jesus] likened leaven to corruption in Matthew 13. Many professed Christians and their teachers miss the real issue of spiritual leaven altogether. Simply put, it’s much easier to be full of leaven (corruption) than to be clean or pure of heart.
In the world we live in, leaven is the fermentation of dough with yeast, or any substance that causes dough to rise. In the Bible, leaven is symbolic of sin or evil. In every case that leaven appears in scripture, it represents corruption or pollution. (Matthew 13:33; Luke 13:20-21) In this case, the Master uses this parable to refer to the doctrine of the Pharisees, Sadducees and the influence of King Herod. (Matthew 16:6-12, Mark 8:15) Whether hypocrisy, skepticism or worldly indulgence, corruption breaks up and destroys. The influence of spiritual corruption is both religious and secular in nature, which applies aptly today. Many place more importance on the traditions of men than on the Word of YHWH. Disciples need to remember that truth. (1 Corinthians 5:6-8; Galatians 5:7-9; “Filling Your Life with Truth Instead of Deception“; “Purity Starts Inside: A Lesson Through the Ages“; “YHWH’s Revolution“)
Messiah’s sinless sacrifice and the truth He spoke was unleavened. In Galatians 5, the quality of leaven is false doctrine that hinders people from obeying Bible truth. Satan and the world are full of leaven which easily rubs off on Christians, those that claim to serve ‘God’s Kingdom.’ In the one line parable that Yahshua [Jesus] mentioned, the leaven was mixed by a woman. In scripture, a woman often represents a system of beliefs that influences others. (Romans 8:7) What the woman does and how she acts shows what she believes. So it is with people today. (“A Doctrine of Demons“; “Doctrine Is What You Do“; “Consenting to Fables of Men“; “Living in an Apostate World“)
In the parable, this woman hid (enkrupto) the leaven in the meal. This woman cleverly hid the leaven of false teaching and knowledge. Three measures of meal is a large amount to hide, so this mound of dough wasn’t simply for her use. She was spreading the leaven to everyone that she could, as an inferior corrupted offering. For the Jewish among us, three measures refers to an ephah as the grain offering, which never had leaven. (Leviticus 2:5) Similar women of deception can be found in Revelation 2:20, Revelation 17:1 and Zechariah 5:7-8.
The Messiah was the opposite of these debased ‘women.’ The offering of the Savior was in love to mankind. (Matthew 20:25-28; Matthew 22:36-39) It could be said that this three measure offering was active commitment, loyalty and love to others, especially brothers and sisters in Messiah. Through contamination by the world, agape or brotherly love is ‘leavened.’ The woman in the parable intended that the entire offering of dough would be leavened, essentially desensitizing love and care within YHWH’s people. (“Breaking the Strongholds of Egypt and Canaan in Your Heart“; “The Magi of this Age“)
Haggai Chapter 2 is another brilliant illustration of the same matter. “Thus said YHWH of hosts, ‘Now, ask the priests concerning the Torah, saying, ‘If one bears set-apart meat in the fold of his garment, and with the edge he touches bread or stew, or wine or oil, or any food, is it set-apart?’ ‘ ” And the priests answered and said, ‘No.’ And Ḥaggai said, ‘If someone defiled by a dead body touches any of these, is it defiled?’ And the priests answered and said, ‘It is defiled.’ And Ḥaggai answered and said, ‘So is this people, and so is this nation before Me,’ declares YHWH ‘and so is every work of their hands. And whatever they bring near there is defiled.'” – Haggai 2:11-14, ISR98
Allow us to explain. When something sanctified touches something unconsecrated, the unconsecrated doesn’t become sanctified or set apart. Then Haggai stepped up his example to make matters clear. When a person touches a dead body and becomes unclean, everything he touches becomes unclean. When a sanctified disciple of the Messiah touches uncleanness, he becomes unclean and passes that on to everyone else unless that disciple is cleansed. We are cleansed through the washing of the Word of YHWH Almighty through the renewing of our hearts and minds. A disciple can’t be cleansed any other way except by knowledge and loving obedience to YHWH’s Word in the Bible, and through the power and influence of the Holy Spirit [Sanctified, Set Apart Spirit]. (“Listening to the Holy Spirit“)
Haggai was dealing with a real blight with the nation of Israel. The nation of YHWH’s people had corrupted themselves to the point that YHWH removed His favor. They were full of spiritual leaven. As a result, everything the nation touched was corrupted and they cursed themselves. Because they continually neglected matters of importance to YHWH, they began to experience great lack. (Haggai 1:6-7, 9-11) Disciples of the Messiah can experience the same fruit today when they corrupt their trust in YHWH with the leaven of the world. May all of us be motivated to dwell in the love and trust that only YHWH can give in His abundance. (“Ongoing Corruption of Christianity“; “Is the Bible Losing Influence in the United States?“; “Are You a Christian First or Last?“)