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The Hidden Leaven and the Hidden Treasure.
The parable of the Leaven is the last of the four spoken by the Lord outside the house.
It reaches a climax and tells us what the end of the external history of the kingdom of the
heavens will be--"the whole was leavened."
The parable occurs in Matt. 13: 33 and Luke 13: 20, 21. Matt. 13: 33 says,
"Another parable spake He unto them. The kingdom of the heavens is like unto leaven,
which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal until the whole was leavened."
Luke 13: 20, 21 says, "And again He said, Whereunto shall I liken the kingdom of God?
It is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal until the whole
was leavened." The wording of the two passages is very similar. Luke adds the question,
"Whereunto shall I liken the kingdom?" and uses the expression, "The kingdom of God,"
for "The kingdom of the heavens." The reader will remember that Luke and Mark prefix
this question to the parable of the Mustard Tree, and its recurrence is suggestive of
Before going further in our investigations we must consider the Scriptural meaning of
the word "leaven." The word in Greek is zume, and occurs thirteen times in Scripture.
The significance of thirteen is that of rebellion and the work of satan. Practically all the
titles of satan are multiples of 13, and the suggestion that leaven is a type of evil is
strengthened by this fact.
Let us notice how the word is used in other N.T. passages. In Matthew's Gospel the
Lord uses it as a type of corrupt and corrupting doctrine. "Take heed and 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). In Mark 8: 15 we read, "Beware of the leaven of the
Pharisees, and of the leaven of Herod."
A further explanation is given of the meaning of the leaven of the Pharisees in
Luke 12: 1, "Beware ye of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy." Scripture
affords us therefore the plain statement that the Lord Jesus used the figure of leaven as a
type of evil doctrine and hypocrisy. This of itself should be sufficient to dispose of the
idea that the leaven in Matt. 13: is typical of the truth. Every occurrence of the word,
moreover, whether in the N.T. or the O.T., bears out the fixed meaning of the symbol.
The apostle Paul uses leaven as a figure in I Cor. 5: 6, 7, 8, and Gal. 5: 9. He speaks of
the "leaven of baseness and wickedness," and contrasts it with "the unleavened bread of
sincerity and truth" (I Cor. 5: 8). The passage opens with the words, "Know ye not that a
little leaven doth leaven the whole lump? Purge ye out the old leaven," and ends with the
words, "Remove ye the wicked man from among yourselves" (I Cor. 5: 6-13).
In Exod. 12: 15 we read in connection with the Passover, "Ye shall put leaven out of
your houses." Exod. 34: 25 and Lev. 2: 11 declare, "Thou shalt not offer the blood of
any sacrifice with leaven," and "No meal offering which ye shall bring unto the Lord