Beware of the Leaven of the Pharisees
Today we look at “beware the leaven of the Pharisees.” This was a warning given to the disciples by Yahusha the Messiah. But first, let us look to the Feast of Unleavened Bread to begin our break down of the warning.
Feast of Unleavened Bread
The feast of Unleavened Bread ended for us 3 days ago. According to the command of YHWH, I ate nothing with leaven (yeast or other raising agent) for the week of the Feast.
For snack, daily I ate a really tough unleavened biscuit which we call “regal” here in Jamaica. After a few days, my gum got cut up and tender.
I had to take great pains eating anything tough. In this way, I struggled through the rest of the feast, missing the soft biscuits and bread.
Therein was my spiritual lesson from the Feast of Unleavened Bread which I will share with you. The tough, unleavened biscuit was the pure word from the mouth of YHWH:
Mat 4:4 But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of YHWH.
I realized how hard the bare word of YHWH is for us to deal with. Just like the unleavened, tough biscuit, it is hard for us to consume as it goes against the comforting norms.
On one hand, the leavened bread is easy to eat, chew and swallow. On the other hand, the unleavened bread is hard to eat and chew, but once chewed, it is just as easy to swallow.
After you get past biting and chewing, the rest is easy. So man has problem with biting and chewing the word. The unleavened truth doesn’t taste as good as the truth leavened with additions. It is also not easy to chew on. Therefore sinful man has to leaven the word.
Mat 16:5 And when his disciples were come to the other side, they had forgotten to take bread.
Matthew 16:6 Then Yahushua said unto them, Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees. Matthew 16:7 And they reasoned among themselves, saying, It is because we have taken no bread.
Mat 16:8 — Mat 16:11 Which when Yahushua 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?
Matthew 16:12 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.
The Leaven of the Pharisees and Saducees
The Pharisees and the Sadducees manifested this problem. Unable to “eat” the true unleavened word, they added and subtracted from the unleavened word. The true word is all about obedience to YHWH, by which we must live (Lev 18:5).
Leave it to us, we have to find something in it for ourselves, so we add traditions and standards to benefit us. For the Pharisees and Saducees, it was mainly status and personal gain. They corrupted the temple for gain as shown in the meeting below with Yahushua.
Mat 15:1 — Mat 15:9 Then came to Yahushua scribes and Pharisees, which were of Jerusalem, saying,
Why do thy disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? for they wash not their hands when they eat bread.
But he answered and said unto them, Why do ye also transgress the commandment of YHWH by your tradition?
For YHWH commanded, saying, Honour thy father and mother: and, He that curseth father or mother, let him die the death.
But ye say, Whosoever shall say to his father or his mother, It is a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me;
And honour not his father or his mother, he shall be free.
Thus have ye made the commandment of YHWH of none effect by your tradition.
Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying, This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.
But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.
The Pharisees twisted the word concerning money you would normally give to your parents (to honour them). They added: if you pay it in the temple or synagogues to YHWH (in effect to them Pharisees and Saducees), then you do not have to honour your parents wth that money. Here is a more simplified tanslation of verses 5 and 6 to illustrate this point.
Mat 15:5 — Mat 15:6 But you say that if anyone declares that what might have been used to help their father or mother is ‘devoted to God,’ they are not to ‘honor their father or mother’ with it.
Thus you nullify the word of God for the sake of your tradition.
The Leaven of Christianity
There is nothing new under the sun and the same spirit of the Pharisees and Saducees continue today in the form of various denominations of Christianity. The Christianity we have today is so different from that of 1st century believers. What made the difference? Leaven.
The world has been given the truth in the cepher (book) called the Holy Bible. However false doctrines and traditions of man has been added to the unleavened word.
This has resulted primarily in a religion where the physical church and building the physical church buildings, enriching and sustaining its owners take precedence over the word of truth. Religion is chosen over the unleavened word of truth.
A Christian is far away from biblical truth. Likewise in the time of the Bible, the Pharisees and Saducees were also far away from biblical truth.
And what makes it so? The doctrines and traditions of men chosen over the unleavened truth.
Beware of the Leaven of the Pharisees and Saducees
So for example, YHWH gave us his feasts (Leviticus 23) which he said were forever; most of Christendom reject them. The feasts are spiritual and belong to YHWH (Leviticus 23:2 – these are my feasts).
The feasts are unleavened. They are not “chewable.” So instead, the religious embrace the pagan feasts of Christmas, Easter and others which are more “chewable.” In effect these holidays add leaven to the unleavened word.
My lesson re-learned, which I have long accepted: beware of the leaven of the Pharisees. The truth comes at a cost and will make our lives very uncomfortable. However, it is the only way:
Matthew 15:9 But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.
Beware of the Leaven of the Pharisees and Saducees.