Leaven always a picture of sin?

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by readmore, Feb 29, 2008.

  1. readmore

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    I was wondering about leaven/yeast recently. What's all of your opinions on this: Is leaven a "picture" or "type" of sin, or is it a metaphor that has been used to illustrate different things in the Bible, such as sin, hypocrisy, false teachings, the Kingdom of Heaven, etc.?

    And, in parallel, exactly what is a picture or type and where is the lawn drawn between these and a metaphor? Do you agree with this statement from ISBE: "A type always prefigures something future"?
     
  2. Gold Dragon

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    Leaven is used as a metaphor for something that starts off small but eventually spreads to affect the whole. That could be something good like the Kingdom of Heaven (Matthew 13) or something bad like sin and false teachings (Matthew 16).

    I don't use the terms picture or type the way I've seen some do with their hermeneutics. It seems pretty indiscriminate.
     
    #2 Gold Dragon, Mar 1, 2008
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  3. readmore

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    I agree with you. I think in some circles, leaven has gotten a bad rap. Let's not forget that it was mandatory to bake some of the offerings in the OT with leaven, and that it was a staple used in most bread baked all year round, except during the feast of unleavened bread.

    As you say, it was also used as a metaphor for the spread of the gospel. Some people interpret this parable to mean that sin will infiltrate the believers, roughly analogous to the tares in the parable of the wheat and the tares. This seems like a misinterpretation based solely on the presupposition that "leaven = sin".

    Why was it not allowed during the feast? Because it is a "picture of sin", or because it was to serve as a reminder to the Israelites of the haste they had to make when leaving Egypt?

    With this in mind, should churches observe the Lord's supper with leavened bread or unleavened, or is it completely irrelevant?
     
  4. Gold Dragon

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    If mimicking the first Lord's supper is a priority, then unleavened bread and alcoholic wine is probably the way to go. I personally think that mimicking the actual elements is not the primary focus of the event but the rememberance and sharing in it with the rest of the Church. I have had Communion with unleavened bread, leavened bread, alcoholic wine and non-alcoholic grape juice in the past.
     
  5. skypair

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    On that last question -- irrelevant. In fact, the 2 loaves that were the "wave offering" were leavened and represented 2 "folds" -- Jews and Gentiles of the new covenant. Consider: God accepted them in spite of sin because of His Son.

    As to leaven -- ALWAYS sin. In Mt 13 it represents the sin of the AntiChrist/woman mixed into the world/"barrel!" Good spreads just as quickly as bad until ALL are "compelled" to come into one or the other, Luke 14:23.

    skypair
     
  6. readmore

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    The plainest interpretation of the parable in question is that the spread of the kingdom of heaven, or the gospel, can metaphorically be represented by the way leaven spreads through a loaf of bread. This is a great metaphor--the gospel is handed down by the Son of Man to those He comes in contact with in His earthly ministry and it quickly spreads out from to all Judea and the uttermost parts of the earth.

    Do you have any reason to interpret the leaven as sin other than your presupposition that it must always represent sin?
     
  7. skypair

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    :laugh: :laugh: I know, readmore, I have a HUGE mountain of interpretation to climb!! But I think it is a "hung jury" at this point.

    Here's my reasons in this context for seeing it as sin:

    1) It is a woman that mixes it in the barrel. That ought to be an immediate clue that the leaven is not good because false religion is ALWAYS equated with women from the Garden of Eden on! But mainly I look to "MYSTERY BABYLON, ... THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS," Rev 17

    2) I perceive a truly strong and congruent dispensational pattern in the first 7 parables of Mt 13 in which the "sower" is attempting through the course of time to plant for harvest "wheat" (which is Israel). In that "model" I see that once the plants produce fruit, it is obvious the sower was planting wheat all along. It is next seen (under the law) that tares are planted amidst the wheat. Then the curious interruption of the mustard seed (church) followed by a woman, having harvested and ground the wheat into "meal," putting leaven into it! This last represents the tribulation in which there are NO mustard seeds (pretrib rapture) but in which there has also been a false harvest by false religion!

    3) The 3 measures is significant -- as significant as Peter's 3 testings (which is also a picture of the tribulation) -- seals, trumpet, and bowls or perhaps Satan, AC, and fp.

    4) But then mainly, leaven is never used elsewhere metaphorically as anything but sin. I mean, before you even read Mt 13:33, I believe you have to confess that truth so that you don't misinterpret the verse.

    The people who see this as the church are right to this extent --- the woman is the false church, RCC. All other Christian religions are going to "jump into bed and into great tribulation" with her, Rev 2:22. The same folks who see the leaven as the gospel are likely to teach that in the tribulation as well! And it is no doubt at all that this church IS the locus for the one world religion!

    Take this study for what it is worth. I struggled with Larkin's, Dr Rogers, many others interpretations of Mt 13 because there was always something out of place. BTW, the last 4 parables beginning at Mt 13:38 are 4 judgments AFTER Jesus returns -- of living Jews, resurrected OT and trib Jews, resurrected trib Gentiles, and living Gentiles.

    skypair
     
    #7 skypair, Mar 5, 2008
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  8. readmore

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    Interesting that most of the points in your argument rely on an allegorical approach to interpreting parables. I reject this approach, and therefore your first 3 points, and I don't think the final one holds enough weight to go against the plainest interpretation of the parable of leaven. It is not always used as a metaphor for sin, although I will grant that in the majority of times it does have negative connotations.

    In the end, though, leaven (yeast) is just a substance whose chemical properties cause a leavening of a whole loaf of bread from only one small part. The vast majority of Israelite bread was leavened. Seven days out of the year it was to be purged from the land so that when they baked their bread for the "feast of unleavened bread", it would not be leavened, and this would be a reminder of the haste the Israelites made when leaving Egypt.

    This made it a convenient metaphor for anything that could start small and then take root: sin, hypocrisy, errant doctrine, and, as it happens, the Kingdom.
     
  9. kmichael

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    It seems to me that this could be a slippery slope. Are you saying that you do not have an issue with various modes of Baptism? If Biblical examples are mute in the overall scheme of obedience, what then constitutes obedience?

    [Sidebar] I am sure there is a thread on the Lord's Supper elements, but what makes you think we are to use alcoholic wine? The cup represents the sinless blood of Christ which needed no alteration in order to be the perfect atonement. Deuteronomy gives a clear directive to use the "pure blood of the grape." (82:14) It seems to me that pure grape juice better symbolizes the blood of Christ which flows pure from the vine. Fermentation adds leaven does it not? Yes, of course it does. [/sidebar] :laugh:
     
  10. Linda64

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    AMEN! :thumbs:

    Indeed, fermentation does add leaven. Leaven in the Bible is representative of sin. The Apostle Paul said in 1 Corinthians 5:

    1 Corinthians 5:6 Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump?

    1 Corinthians 5:7 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:

    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.
     
  11. kmichael

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    It is, as in the verses you quoted, but refer back to post #2, as in the Matthew 13 example, the Kingdom of Heaven is like... Leaven is ussually, but not always representative of sin.


    Viva la Velches 100% pure premium grape blood!

    :wavey:
     
  12. Linda64

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    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.

    It is my belief that the Bible teaches us that leaven is always symbolic of sin. All the offerings in the OT were foreshadows of the ultimate and perfect sacrifice of the sinless Lamb of God, Jesus Christ.
     
  13. readmore

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    I loathe making points with nothing more than cutting and pasting, but I also don't feel it's right to put more effort into an answer than the point being answered, so...

    http://www.ccel.org/contrib/exec_outlines/pa.htm

    http://www.studylight.org/enc/isb/view.cgi?number=T5462

    FTR, Brother Cloud doesn't want his material posted on message boards.
     
  14. skypair

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    :laugh: :laugh: So there's literally a woman who sifts three measures of leaven into the barrel. And that tells us what without allegoryizing the PARABLE? Or perhaps you have constructed metaphors for each of these. How did that work for you? :laugh: :laugh:

    Would the author admit that one has understand the context of the passage BEFORE one can "exigete" it corretly? Well, many like him have erroneously interpretted these "first 4 parables" (so called, there are actually 7) as describing the church -- but they are not. However, that is clearly what the author intended to find in the verse and so is guilty of his own accusation of eisogesis!


    In the end you are bound to examine the "tree" and miss the "forest," aren't you.

    skypair
     
    #14 skypair, Mar 17, 2008
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  15. standingfirminChrist

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    FTR, I have an email from David Cloud that states we are allowed to post portions of his material with proper credit.
     
    #15 standingfirminChrist, Mar 17, 2008
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  16. Linda64

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    FTR, go back and read C4K's post about Bro Cloud's material being posted on the BB:

    http://www.baptistboard.com/showpost.php?p=1171601&postcount=41

    I'm not breaking any rules --- this is my own software which I purchased from Way of Life. Maybe you need to update your information on what Bro Cloud allows and what he doesn't.

    Thanks
     
  17. readmore

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    I will update my database of Brother Cloud's wishes accordingly... Hard to keep track of, frankly. I'm not convinced he wants you to post his material regardless of whether he permits it or not, but it is neither here nor there and I apologize for bringing it up.

    Anyway, did you want to respond to the issue, or...?
     
  18. readmore

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    Heh... It's a little hard to understand your responses, but is it safe to say that you have assumed the only other way of interpreting a parable than "allegorical" is by a "literal" interpretation?

    Again, I'm not quite sure what you're getting at. Are you putting "exegete" in quotes because you believed the quoted author misspelled it (or did you mispell it?) or because you believe exegesis is an unnecessary task when interpreting the parables?
     
  19. skypair

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    Well, I guess I see you interpretting it as so many others have -- as referring to the church. And that would be allegorically, as well. My question was whether you were trying to force some literal interpretation here before I go any further. BUt seeing as how you are going to allow the "allegory" of the church, then it ought not be too difficult to interpret it as I do -- as the FALSE CHURCH!

    I can't spell necessarily. :laugh:

    What I was saying is that you clearly press your own interpretation of the context upon the meaning of the word "leaven." It's no different than what you accuse me of doing. Only thing is -- you're wrong and I'm right! :laugh:

    Would you like to see that these parables have to do with the kingdom of heaven and not soley with the church? Or are you "quite comfortable, thank you" with misusing the symbology of "leaven" in this instance?

    skypair
     
  20. readmore

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    You said earlier that interpreting the parable as talking about the church is eisegesis. This is, of course, because there was no church yet. I agree. But somehow you have made the leap to interpreting it as a "false church" as though it existed before the true church? That's even worse eisegesis.

    To find how what the parable is pointing to, it doesn't take too much searching. Jesus is talking about the Kingdom of Heaven. Not the "false Kingdom of Heaven".

    Parables (or more specifically similitudes such as these) are a thought provoking little story which should be interpreted as illustrating a specific thing. The allegorical method you use seeks to ascribe a meaning to every little detail. The only things in a parable that should be interpreted are the "points of reference", and there are very few "points of reference" in relation to "details".

    In this case, the points of reference are the loaf (the world) and the leaven (the Kingdom). The point is that the Kingdom of Heaven will start with one man and spread throughout the whole world. The other details in the story are not to be interpreted at all--as I said they are just there to draw the reader into the story.

    In fact, I do believe this parable has to do with the kingdom of heaven. I started this thread because I wanted people to take a shot at convincing me that leaven is always a "picture of sin". So far, though, I've found your attempt to interpret parables as allegories a bit underwhelming, and for every cut and paste job Linda64 puts in, I can put in one that disagrees with it (which is why I hate cut and paste jobs--who do they convince?).
     

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