“Then Jesus said unto them, Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees.”
Many wonderful events had just transpired in the lives of the disciples which continued to demonstrate the divinity of Christ and His ministry. Five thousand people had been fed with five loaves and three small fishes and twelve baskets were recovered. Many were healed and the gospel was preached. Jesus walked on the water and the disciples were frightened and then He rebuked the people that followed Him across the sea. Many turned back and followed Him no more and then He took His disciples for a 50 mile hike (or more) to the coasts of the Phoenician border where they met a woman of such great faith that she acknowledged herself a dog at the Master’s table waiting for the crumbs He would give. They then traveled back those many miles and came to the Sea of Galilee where four thousand people cast their needs at Jesus feet and abode with Him in the wilderness for three days. These were not like the five thousand which followed after Him to fill their bellies, this great multitude, from every kindred, tribe, nation and tongue (4), forsook all and followed Him. They acknowledged His Lordship, His sovereignty and exhibited the fear of God, which is the beginning of all wisdom as they remained three days without food at Jesus feet. Again the disciples could not see the majesty of the Messiah as they asked, “Whence should we have so much bread in the wilderness as to fill so great a multitude?” They could not discern after the natural man that the Bread of Life was standing in their midst and still, after three days of being in this wilderness, they had seven loaves that had been reserved for this moment.
These four thousand men plus women and children were to weak to even go anywhere. They had no where to go and they had no desire to leave the presence of Christ. The first group transversed the sea to follow after Him only because they at and were filled, these abode with Him just as His children abode three days with Him in the heart of the earth in His death, burial and resurrection. The remainder of the first group was twelve baskets which represented the twelve thrones judgment against Israel (Matt. 19:28) because they were found guilty by the memorial of iniquity (‘Ephah’ of barley Num. 5). The remainder for the four thousand was the rest of the completed work of the covenant (seven). These are the seven pillars upon which Wisdom hath builder herself a house, an Holy habitation in the mountain of God. This is the Lamb having seven horns and seven eyes which although they are many they represent the singularity of the work of God. They are the seven Spirits of the Lord which are before His throne, the seven angels, the seven vials, the seven plagues, the seven trumpets, the seven seals, the seven stars in His hands, the seven candlesticks which are the seven churches. This is the oath of our God, the finished work of His Elect Servant and the rest of His people.
It is also the counterfeit river of the beast with seven horns, the judgment of the vials, plagues, seals, trumpets poured out upon the earth, the seven hill where upon sits the great city which is Egypt and Sodom wherein our Lord was crucified for this also is a completed work of the Anointed of God. Two rivers, the land of Shinar, in the spirit of jealousy of God upon His chosen people, national Israel and the willing people of the Israel of our God. Judgment and desolation to the natural and increase and fertility to the true bride (Num. 5). And two rivers in the completed work of the oath. The one because judgment has come to the wicked (Deut. 32), the tares have been separated from the wheat and the goats from the sheep because the books had been opened before that great throne of God. And to the other rest from all labours, peace with God and the gift of God, eternal life in Christ Jesus.
Now with all these wonderful events being clearly demonstrated in plain view of the disciples, Jesus says to them “Take heed of the leaven of the Pharisees” and they reason amongst themselves that it is because they brought no bread. Again the truth is proclaimed that the natural man cannot receive the things of the Spirit neither can he retain them either. But Jesus, knowing their thoughts and reasonings, reminds them of the five thousand, five loaves and twelve baskets. He then calls their attention to the four thousand, seven loaves and seven baskets of remains in context t the leaven of the Pharisees and the Sadducees.
We could reference the historical writings of many authors to try and discover the leaven of the Pharisees but the scripture gives us sufficient information. This way was profitable, exciting, sensual and steeped in traditions (Gal 1:14). It placated the pride of the flesh in confidence, satisfied the law in ritual and elevated the actor to a status of perfection and blamelessness (Phil. 3:4-6). It made an outward show to all men in piety, morality, knowledge and preeminence for all the world to see. It is of the carnal nature of Adam, it thrives on the things of this world and is sustained in the form of godliness while denying the truth thereof. The Pharisees thought they were the elite of God’s chosen people, they held the truth and lived their lives to the benefit of God. This is the leaven which Jesus told His disciples to be aware of. He did not tell them to be afraid of it or to take up arms and destroy it for it is the nature of Adam within each and every child of grace. He told them to be aware of it because a little leaven will leaven the whole lump. Did He mean that this could cause His children to loose their salvation, deprive them of a blessing or cause them to fall from grace? No, He said that the pride of life, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eye are ever with His children while they tabernacle in this house of dust.
Therefore we should not think to highly of ourselves supposing ourselves to be the chosen of God. Nor should we think that we hold the truth in heritage or traditions and certainly we should not think ourselves better than any other vessel of clay for wherein we think we stand, therein we shall fall. These things have been assigned to the household of grace while at home in these earthen vessels that no flesh should glory in His sight and even though one has the sincere hope of glory within yet shall the natural man never understand the things of God nor have confidence in His ways. The Pharisees thought that leaven to be truth and life yet it is a lie and death and it is of the “weight and sin which doeth easily beset” (Heb 12:1) the child of grace until such time as the habitation of this dwelling be dissolved.
Your servant in Christ,
(Elder) Chet Dirkes
July 17, 2011