"And again He said, “To what shall I liken the kingdom of God? It is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal till it was all leavened.” Lk 13:20-21 NKJV
We were looking at this passage in our bible study last night and there was some friendly disagreement over what this parable meant. Most of us considered that, as with the preceding parable of the mustard seed, it was a positive message and spoke (in all likelihood) about the spread of Christ's kingdom gradually and at first imperceptibly in our hearts and lives until every aspect of them is touched by His grace. While we didn't look into the other possibility (as I see it) of the kingdom expanding and affecting the whole world (to make it similar to the mustard seed parable), I'm aware of this view too.
But one brother (a retired pastor who has recently joined us) disagreed and considered that the parable should be seen as a warning to the church of the corruption of false teaching and immorality, as leaven is always spoken of in Scripture as being one of these things (Christ's teaching elsewhere, Gal 5:9 and 1 Cor 5:6 come to mind) - yet it is the leaven itself that is compared to the kingdom of God - if it is false teaching, then surely the meal into which the leaven was put would be the kingdom of God, which was corrupted by false teaching/immorality?
Looking at the 1 Cor 5 passage, is there any significance in Paul saying that we should not replace the "old leaven" with the "new leaven" of grace
but that we should be UNLEAVENED!
One of the commentaries I looked at said that goats, birds, serpents and thieves represent both good and bad things in Scripture - and this was the one occasion where leaven is described in a good light.
I'm left feeling a little uncertain about the passage - if it was indeed a warning, wouldn't the LORD have made it clearer eg "Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy"?
What do people think?