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Keeping the Feast of Unleavened Bread

Query for the Month

of

October 2006

Next up-date: November 1st 2006 (God willing).

Previous "Queries" are available. Click here to access.

Some perpetual questions ....

Is there really an immortal soul?

Do you know the difference between the "love" that is of Christianity
and the "love" that is of the world?
Click here to find out!

Click on the link for a good book on the character of our God which you can download for free and share amongst your friends.   It's called "Light on the Dark Side of God" and is one of the best on this subject that I have ever read!


Query:

1 Corinthians 5:6-8

Your glorying is not good.  Know you not that [even] a little leaven [yeast, eventually] leavens the whole lump [of flour]? Purge out therefore the old [spiritual] leaven [the ACTIONS of sin], that you may be a new lump [practicing Christians], as you are unleavened [free from the POWER of sin].  For even Christ our passover [Lamb] is sacrificed for us. 

Therefore let us keep the Feast [spiritually], not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. 

What is the significance of this statement?

Answer:

When Paul wrote these words under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, a serious evil had developed among the Corinthian believers.  They were returning to many of the debasing customs of their former heathenism.  One convert had so far backslidden that his licentious course was a violation of even the low standard of morality held by the Gentile world of the time. (Verse 1.)  The apostle pleaded with the church to put away from among them “that wicked person”, (verse 13) for he was denying their freedom from the power of sin which Christ had given them, and therefore they were not setting a good example to the non-Christians. 

The principle of “keeping” the Feast of Unleavened Bread (which was observed in conjunction with the Passover), was to put ALL public sin away from their church just as ALL leaven was put away from Israelite houses during the feast.

God had said:

*************** (Begin quote)

Exodus 12:

17 And you shall observe the Feast of Unleavened Bread; for in this selfsame day have I brought your armies [your multitudes] out of the land of Egypt: therefore shall you observe this day in your generations by an ordinance for ever. 18 In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month at even [right after eating the Passover lamb], you shall eat [only] unleavened [flat] bread, until the twenty-first day of the month at even.

[“And in the fourteenth day of the first month is the passover of the LORD.  And in the fifteenth day of this month is the feast: seven days shall unleavened bread be eaten. In the first day shall be a holy convocation; you shall do no manner of servile [ordinary] work therein . . .

And on the seventh day you shall have another holy convocation; you shall do no servile work [on that day either].”  Numbers 28:16-25.]

19 Seven days shall there be no leaven found in your houses: for whosoever eats 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. 20 You shall eat nothing leavened; in all your habitations shall you eat unleavened bread. 

*************** (End quote

The Son of God expected that by co-operating with the Holy Spirit the new Christians would be able to “keep” the feast by putting away any public sin in the church.  Therefore the Corinthian attitude that they could retain such a person as a member was not on.  The seven/eight day period (for they were always being confused as one festival when they were literally two distinctly different events – one signifying the new birth, the other its life thereafter) was an opportunity for an organised church to get its affairs in order and show a clean face to the world around it.

But that particular case was indicative of only one kind of fall.

Another grave evil that had arisen in that church was that of brethren going to law against one another.  Abundant provision had been made for the settlement of difficulties among believers.  Christ Himself had given plain instruction as to how such matters were to be adjusted.  “If your brother shall trespass against YOU [not against God!],” the Saviour had counselled, “go and tell him his fault [not his sin] between you and him alone: if he shall hear you, you have gained your brother.  But if he will not hear you, then take with you one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established [they can retell what BOTH of you said, and try to adjudicate].  And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it to the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be to you as a heathen man and a publican [someone who needs help].  Verily I say to you, Whatsoever you shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever you shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” Matthew 18:15-18. 

(Unfortunately, many professors of Christianity have mis-applied the above words to give them authority over their brethren who are in supposed sin or what they call “heresy” and this has often led to inquisition-type setups.)

To the Corinthian believers who had lost sight of this plain counsel, Paul wrote in no uncertain terms of admonition and rebuke.  “Dare any of you,” he asked, “having a matter against another, go to law before the unjust [the unsaved], and not before the saints?  Do you not know that the saints shall judge the world?   [See Revelation 20:4].  And if the world shall be judged by you, are you unworthy to judge the smallest [earthly] matters? Know you not that we shall judge angels?  How much more things that pertain to this life? 

“If then you have judgments of things pertaining to this life, [should you] set them to judge who are least esteemed in the church [worldly judges].  I speak to your shame.  Is it so, that there is not a wise man among you?  No, not one that shall be able to judge between his brethren?  But brother goes to law with brother, and that before the unbelievers.  Now therefore there is utterly a fault among you, because you go to law one with another.  Why do you not rather take wrong? .  .  .  Nay, you do wrong, and defraud, and that your brethren.  Know you not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God?”  1 Corinthians 6:1-9.

These are only two of the smallest ways in which Satan works.  He is constantly seeking to introduce distrust, alienation, and malice among God's people.  We shall often be tempted to feel that our rights are invaded, even when there is no real cause for such feelings.  Those whose love for self is stronger than their love for Christ and His cause will place their own interests first and will resort to almost any expedient to guard and maintain them.  Even many who appear to be conscientious Christians are hindered by pride and self-esteem from going privately to those whom they think have caused them a problem that they may talk with them in the spirit of Christ and pray together for one another.  When they think themselves injured by their brethren, some will even go to law instead of following the Saviour's rule. 

In this case, it is only when the power of the Spirit is lost that the members of the church feel inclined to access the power of the state.  This is true as much for a whole church as it is for individuals.

Where could all this lead?

Consider Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, three men who lived in Moses’ time.  See Numbers chapter 16.

By God's appointment these men had been entrusted with special honours.  They had been part of the seventy elders who went up with Moses into the mount and beheld the glory of the Son of God.  They had seen the glorious light which covered the divine form of Christ.  The bottom of this cloud was in appearance like the “paved work of a sapphire stone, and as it were the body of heaven in his clearness.”  Exodus 24:9-11.  These men had been in the presence of the glory of the LORD and had eaten and drunk without being destroyed by the purity and unsurpassed glory that was reflected upon them.   Like Lucifer, they had been “perfect in their ways from the day that they were set free from Egypt, till iniquity was found in them.”  (A paraphrase of Isaiah 28:15.)

But a change had come. 

A temptation, slight at first, had been harboured; and as it was encouraged it had strengthened until their imaginations were controlled by the power of sin.  These men had ventured upon their work of disaffection for very little reason.  At first they just hinted and expressed doubts, which took so readily with many minds that they ventured still further.  And being more and more confirmed in their suspicions by a word from one and another, each expressing what he thought of certain things which had come under his notice, these deluded souls really came to believe that they had a call from the LORD in the matter and that they would not be excusable unless they carried out to the full their purpose of making Moses see and feel the preposterous (in their minds) position he occupied toward Israel. 

A little leaven of distrust and of dissension, envy, and jealousy was leavening the camp of Israel.

Korah (he was a descendant from Levi – the tribe of the priesthood, as was Moses), and Dathan, and Abiram (who were descended from the firstborn of Jacob) commenced their cruel work upon some other men to whom God had entrusted sacred responsibilities.  They were successful in alienating two hundred and fifty leaders who were well known in the congregation, men of renown.  With these strong and influential men on their side, they felt sure of making a radical change in the order of things.  They thought they could transform the government of Israel and greatly improve it from its present administration. (This was also Lucifer’s ambition!)

Korah was not satisfied with his position.  As a Levite he was connected with the service of the tabernacle, yet he desired to be exalted to the priesthood.  God had established Moses as chief governor, and the priesthood was the exclusive right of Aaron and his sons, yet Korah was determined to compel Moses to change the order of things, that he might be raised to the dignity of the priesthood. 

To be more sure of accomplishing his purpose, he drew Dathan and Abiram, descendants of Reuben, into his rebellion.  These reasoned that, being descendants of the eldest son of Jacob, the chief authority, which in their minds Moses had usurped, belonged to them; and, with Korah, they were resolved to obtain the office of the priesthood also.  These three became very zealous in an evil work and helped to influence the two hundred and fifty men, who were also determined to have a share in the priesthood and the government.

So one day they all came with portable censers to show that they had as much right to offer the prayers of the nation as did Aaron and his sons.  Numbers 16:18.

Where did it get them? 

*************** (Begin quote)

Numbers 16:

25 And Moses rose up and went to Dathan and Abiram; and the elders of Israel followed him. 26 And he spoke to [some of] the congregation [who were backing the rebellion], saying, “Depart, I pray you, from the tents of these wicked men, and touch nothing of theirs, lest you be consumed in all their sins.” 27 So they got up [and left] from the tabernacle [the tent meeting] of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, on every side [and put space between them].

And Dathan and Abiram came out, and stood in the door of their tents, and their wives, and their sons, and their little children. 32 And the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed them up, and their houses, and all the men that appertained to Korah, and all their goods.  33 They, and all that appertained to them [their families], went down alive into the pit, and the earth closed upon them: and they perished from among the congregation .  .  .   

35 And there came out a fire from the LORD, and consumed the two hundred and fifty men that offered incense.

*************** (End quote)

Because they had rebelled against the Son of God, rejected His protection, and yet presumed to come closer to Him than normal, there was nothing that He could do to stop their immediate destruction.  The earth (which Satan claims as his dominion), opened up and swallowed the ringleaders (and, sadly, their families!)  Then the brightness of the LORD enveloped the rest, for “our God is a consuming fire” to those who ignore His guidelines of safety.  Hebrews 12:29.

Thus we can see that just as it was at the beginning when “a little leaven” in Lucifer led to the expanding of the great controversy between Christ and Satan, the same effect occurred in a minor way when Korah rebelled.  The difference being that Korah and company perished immediately, while Satan lives on to die later.

So Paul saw that in the Corinthian church the “leaven” was again leading to distrust and envy and was helping to remove the light from that generation. 

The words spoken to the church at Ephesus as a picture of the Christians from 31AD to about 100AD are applicable to the Corinthians too.  “Nevertheless I have somewhat against you, because you have left your first love. Remember therefore from where you are fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come to you quickly, and will remove your candlestick out of his place, except you repent.” Revelation 2:4-5.

Who knows where it may lead in the church today!  Unless we too “keep” the Feast of Unleavened Bread.

 

Conclusion:

The “keeping” of the Feast of Unleavened Bread today means that an organised church should periodically cleanse itself of those who are public sinners and bringing the name of Christianity into disrepute among the heathen.  This should be done only for what outsiders would see as a sin amongst those who claim to be different, and not for “heresy” or differences in doctrine, which are entirely internal matters.

When the love of Christ is in the hearts of the believers then the “leaven” of “malice and wickedness” will not be seen.

 Some of the comments on this page are adapted from books in my library.  No recognition is given because they are not intended as authorities, but are used because they express my understanding clearly.

oooOooo


Who wants to add (or subtract!) from these thoughts? I won't argue as I have stated, but I will publish your Scriptures so that we may review all the words of God on the subject.

Next query. To be discussed from November 1st, 2006.

Revelation 14:6-7

“And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach to them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, saying with a loud voice, “Fear God, and give glory to Him; for the hour of His judgment is come: and worship Him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.” 

Just what is the "everlasting" gospel, and where does it differ from the "other" gospel that Paul mentioned in his letter to the Galatian Christians? (Galatians 1:6.)

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