Is Like unto Leaven

(Is Like Unto Leaven)
Matthew 13:33-35


I. Unto Leaven (yeast)

  A) Let us look at yeast

  • Webster’s Dictionary defines the word “yeast.” (Yest) Greek word being gischt. 1. Any of various single celled ascomycetous fungi in which little or no mycelium develops and that ordinarily reproduce by budding. They live on sugary solutions, ferment sugars to form alcohol and carbon dioxide and are used in making beer and whiskey, and as a leavening in baking.  The yellowish moist mass of yeast plants occurring as froth on fermenting solutions. 3. Foam or froth. 4. Something that agitates or causes ferment (Excited or aroused).
  • So in essence the word “leaven” here in the kingdom (the children of God) is pictured as yeast, multiplying quietly spreading it’s ingredients throughout all that it contacts. “The leaven” is the word of God and all that it contains, and is.
  • What is the effect of yeast? When you put yeast into bread it causes the entire bread to rise. Yeast is put into something to affect all and change all that it touches, causing whatever it touches to become like the yeast’s nature.
  • This is what “The Kingdom of Heaven” is supposed to be. Touching people’s lives and spreading the good news of Jesus Christ affecting each person and causing them to become like Christ in nature.

  B) A woman took

  • Let us look into Matthew 13:33…Another parable spake he unto them; The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven, which a woman took,
  • I want us to know that in all the other parables concerning “The Kingdom of Heaven,” That it is the man who is the focus. Here in verse 33, it is the woman who is the focus.
  • According to Jamieson- Fausset- Brown’s commentary…The woman represents “the church” the distributor of the leaven (the stuff that affects the world).
  • What does God’s Word say….
  1. In Revelation 12, a woman is symbolic of the nation of Israel.
  2. In Revelation 17,18 she represents the false system of Babylon.
  3. In Isaiah 47, a woman is again symbolic of Babylon (whether the nation or the system of Babylon).
  4. In Galatians 4:21-31, Paul uses “women” to symbolize the Old Covenant and the New Covenant.
  5. In Ezekiel 16, God uses a woman to symbolize Israel: “Aholah” is the kingdom of Israel and “Aholibah” is the kingdom of Judah. 
  • So, what can we understand from this? Every time a woman is used as a symbol, the common denominator is the idea of a system of beliefs and practices that influence other people. A church or religion is a system of beliefs and practices. A nation has a character and way of doing things. This world as a whole has a system of beliefs and practices that go contrary to God. To find out what kind of system is being referred to, we must look at the context to see how the system works, how it reacts, and what it does.
  • Let us examine the woman’s (church’s) behavior…
  1. She “took.” The Greek word for took means to come into possession of, seize, or take by force.
  2. The next verb is “hid” (Greek, enkrupto) It means “to hide in” or “to mix.” Enkrupto is used only this way here. Enkrupto is the same word from which we get our word “encrypt.” (Example: A general tells his lieutenant, “Encrypt this message and take it to the colonel at the front line.” What does the lieutenant do when he encrypts it? He mixes up the letters according to a code, and only a person with the key to the encryption knows what the message is saying.
  • The root word for enkrupto is krupto, which means “to cover, to conceal, to keep secret.” Its major connotation is “to be sneaky” or “to be secret.”

  C) And hid three measures

  • verse 33b…and hid in three measures of meal,
  • It seems from the usage of these words that this woman is up to no good whatsoever. First, she takes something, then she hides it. She is a bad lady, a bad system.
  • When Jesus said “and hid three measures of meal” the Jewish people there listening to Him knew what that meant because it was a part of their everyday activity.
  • It is the average quantity of meal a housewife would employ in her daily baking. An average loaf of bread contains about three cups of flour. 
  • Two gallons of meal, which is the equivalent of about eight quarts or thirty-two cups, would make nearly eleven loaves! Even the most bread-gorging family on this earth would not eat eleven loaves each day!
  • Do you remember our study on “Sarah” in Genesis 18:6… And Abraham hastened into the tent unto Sarah, and said, Make ready quickly three measures of fine meal, knead it, and make cakes upon the hearth.
  • Well it is the first time you see this saying…”three measures of meal.” This story here is when God (the LORD) came to Abraham with two angels came to Abraham, and he made them a meal. We know that God in the flesh is Jesus Christ. Jesus tells him back up in verse 5… So do, as thou hast said. Or simply…”Go ahead and make a meal.”
  • What was “three measures of meal”? There is a principle of Bible study (the law of first mention) that says, “The first time a thing—a word, a phrase—is mentioned in the Bible influences how it should be interpreted throughout.” Here, “three measures of meal” is used in the context of a “fellowship meal”—giving hospitality, in this case, to God—so it has a spiritual connotation.
  • Note that also an ephah means three measures of a meal.
  1. In Judges 6:18,19 you will see Gideon’s offering to the Lord. Gideon gave an ephah, three measures of meal.
  2. In I Samuel 1:24…we can witness Hannah’s thank offering. Hannah’s offering was one ephah, three measures of meal.
  3. In Ezekiel 45:24 and 46:5, 7, 11 are the offerings given at the Feast during the Millennium. An ephah, three measures of meal, is given. 
  • Again, Jamieson- Fausset- Brown’s commentary says that this “three measures of meal” means… that threefold division of our nature into “spirit, soul, and body.
  • This is described in I Thessalonians 5:23… And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
  • When the church (God’s people) follows the “Word of God” and allows it to rule their people (Mind, body, and soul) and it affects all those around them, then it cannot help but to affect the entire world.
  • As “leaven (Yeast)” affects all it touches, so must the church affect all who come.
  • With these examples in mind, we can understand that Christ’s use of this phrase would have made His Jewish audience think immediately of the meal offering in Leviticus 2, and they would have been absolutely shocked out of their shoes to find that someone had the audacity, the blasphemy, to put leaven in a meal offering! That was not kosher! You just don’t do that!
  • A person who did that would have to live in constant fear that the next bolt of lightning had their name on it. IT WAS SINFUL.
  • The normal Jew would have thought immediately that the Kingdom of Heaven would be changed. Something good had been corrupted.
  • “Three measures of meal,” the meal offering, represents the offerer’s service and devotion to fellowman, and it is typified by what Christ did throughout His whole life by offering Himself in service to fellowman.
  • Symbolically, it represents the second great commandment, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” It is devoted service toward others.
  • If “three measures of meal” represents our love, service, and devotion to fellowman, this parable warns us that the false system will make a concerted and covert effort to corrupt the true church through false doctrine aimed at how we treat each other.
  • Now pay attention here folks… Jesus is “the Word.” One of His names is “The bread of life.” The church’s teachings come from “The Word(the Bible),” which is “our daily bread.”
  • “The three measures of meal” represents the church’s teaching. It is very important that the pastor and all its teachers are on the same page, teaching the same doctrines of Jesus Christ. The church is His bride.

   D) Till the whole was leavened

  • Verse 33c…till the whole was leavened.
  • We must know that Satan’s sole desire is to ruin the church. He wants to see God’s people unhappy, their homes destroyed, and their sanctuaries defiled.
  • If I were to ask you what are the church’s greatest weaknesses, What would you say? Here are my thoughts…
  1. Not trusting one another
  2. Offensive towards the brethren
  3. Marriage problems
  4. No unity
  5. Selfishness
  6. Gossip/rumor/ tale-bearing
  1. Judging and condemning
  2. Comparing ourselves among ourselves
  3. Giving place to wrath/anger
  • These are the works of the flesh—they reflect how we treat one another. All of these are part of the meal offering—our service and devotion to each other.
  • “The whole” Is the Kingdom of heaven. When everyone who claims Jesus as Lord of their life becomes (Christ-like)

   E) Another reason why Jesus spoke in parables

  • Back in our text verse of Matthew 13: note verse 34) All these things spake Jesus unto the multitude in parables; and without a parable spake he not unto them:
  • We learned also that the reason Christ spake in parables was to hide the truth from the world and to keep them from twisting God’s word.
  • The woman “hid” the “three measures of meal” not to be sneaky or deceitful. But rather to keep peace within the church.
  • Now we hear of another reason why he spoke in parables… in verse 35)  That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, I will open my mouth in parables; I will utter things which have been kept secret from the foundation of the world.
  • The prophet Jesus is talking about is “Asaph” in Psalms 78:1… Give ear, O my people, to my (God) law: incline your ears to the words of my (God) 2) I will open my mouth in a parable: I will utter dark sayings of old:

   F) Paul’s warning of “the leaven”

  • Look into I Corinthians 5:1… It is reported commonly that there is fornication (sin) among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his father’s wife.
  • verse 2) And ye are puffed up,(You are prideful) and have not rather mourned, that he that hath done this deed might be taken away from among you. (You have not been convicted deeply of the sin and have not asked this person guilty of the sin to confess and repent of it, because he is popular and might have to leave the church when confronted.)
  • verse 3) For I verily, as absent in body, but present in spirit, have judged already, as though I were present, concerning him that hath so done this deed, (Paul is saying that since he is not there physically to judge this man, he can only judge by the Spirit of the Lord) 
  • verse 4) In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, 5) To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus. (What Paul is saying here in verse 4 is that the next time the church gets together (Like in a worship service), that they are to ask him to repent. If he does not, and acts like he is not guilty, then he is to be removed from the church.
  • Here my friends is the leaven issue that Paul brings up in verse 6) Your glorying is not good. (Your boasting of being a good church is of no value, it is false) Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump? Paul says here… “Do you not understand that just a little sin in the church will cause everyone to be ruined eventually?”
  • verse 7) Purge out (remove or pick out) therefore the old leaven, (Remove the old sin that brings pride) that ye may be a new lump,(that you may repent) as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us: Paul says here that Christ purged (removed) our sins, so must we remove our sins from the church!
  • verse 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. Paul is trying to show the church that …just as the Jews who celebrate the “Passover” do it with unleavened bread, so must the believers celebrate their continual Passover with unleavened lives.