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Purging Out the Leaven

Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened.”  —I Corinthians 5:7

IN THE DAYS AND WEEKS leading up to this year’s Memorial celebration, which will be after sundown on April 5, it should be especially helpful that we take to heart the important lessons concerning the subject of leaven. The Bible’s first references to leaven are in connection with the Lord’s instructions concerning the original Passover supper, which was eaten by the Israelites the night before they were delivered from their bondage in Egypt. Unleavened bread was to be used at the Passover supper. At this time, God also gave instructions concerning a seven-day feast to immediately follow the Passover supper. “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.”—Exod. 12:15

The use of leaven was specifically prohibited by God in connection with nearly all the sacrifices which the Israelites offered to him. Literally speaking, leaven is actually yeast. Although yeast adds much flavor to bread and other foods when properly used and preserved, it also ferments easily. When fermented, it soon spoils any food in which it is mixed or even comes within close contact. We gather from this natural characteristic that God uses leaven in the Bible as an illustration of sin in all its various corrupting aspects. This thought is borne out by Jesus. “Then Jesus said unto them [the disciples], Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees. And they reasoned among themselves, saying, It is because we have taken no bread. Which when Jesus perceived, he said unto them, O ye of little faith, why reason ye among yourselves, because ye have brought no bread? Do ye not yet understand, neither remember the five loaves of the five thousand, and how many baskets ye took up? Neither the seven loaves of the four thousand, and how many baskets ye took up? 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.”—Matt. 16:6-12

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3 comments to Purging Out the Leaven

  • Jacqueline

    This is an appropriate question Br. Peter and thank you for your kindly reminder. Our conversations during this time can take our minds off the season and sometimes we may forget who we are. I personnally don’t want to dwell on why I left the JW it brings up painful and ill will. That’s what Satan wants I think so I will as of tonight give this topic some deep thought in prayer. I will try not to bring up painful heart memories of the past.

  • Peter K. (admin)

    How is thinking about the Memorial effecting your life each day as we get closer to that special day? Do you feel a stronger desire to follow Jesus more carefully and seriously? Are you more committed to resisting sinful tendencies and developing more of the fruits of the spirit of love, kindness, peace, patience, etc.?

    • Dupin

      I like the question Br. Peter.

      The classes I’m with are all now considering material on the memorial, what happened and what it means. One is considering a reprint article every Sunday. So I’ve had plenty to ponder, including the questions you asked, though I haven’t articulated them all to myself in the way you just did.

      When I was in the witnesses that was all compressed into a short time, about a week or two before the event. However, I did try to be introspective along those lines. I’m finding the way the classes are doing it much more fruitful and I am trying not to waste the time and opportunities presented.

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