Hope of Israel Ministries (Ecclesia of YEHOVAH):
What Are the Two Loaves Presented on Pentecost?
On the Feast of Weeks, Shavuot, or Pentecost, two loaves of leavened bread are presented to YEHOVAH God for the people of Israel. What do they represent? Does the "leaven" represent "sin," and the two loaves the Old and New Testament Ecclesia of YEHOVAH God, as some claim? Or is there an altogether different and much more awesome meaning involved?
by HOIM Staff
In the book of Leviticus we read of a mysterious ritual performed by the high priest on the high holy day of Pentecost. To properly understand this ritual, and its symbolism and meaning, we must go back and understand what led up to it -- for Pentecost is really the "eighth day" or completion of the Feast of the Passover, which begins in the spring of the year, with the sacrifice of the Passover lamb on Nisan 14, the Passover dinner of the roasted lamb on Nisan 15, which begins the "Feast of Unleavened Bread."
The Waving of the Omer
On the second day of the Feast, Nisan 16, the high priest was to "wave the sheaf [an omer of barley, about 5.1 pints, containing about 53,000 individual grains of barley] before the LORD, that you [the people of Israel as a nation] may be accepted; on the day after the Sabbath [Nisan 15, the first Holy Sabbath of Unleavened Bread] the priest shall wave it. And on the day when you wave the sheaf, you shall offer a male lamb one year old without blemish as a burnt offering unto the LORD" (Leviticus 23:11-12, The Dead Sea Scrolls Bible).
Notice! This omer, or "wave sheaf" offering, was accompanied by the sacrifice of a lamb "without blemish." This lamb of course represented the Messiah, who died for the sins of Israel, giving himself as a complete burnt offering to YEHOVAH God. Therefore, this wave sheaf did not and could not have also represented the Messiah -- that would be repetitive and meaningless. The wave sheaf represented the "first fruits" of the spring harvest -- and YEHOVAH God says that the Ecclesia is the "firstfruits" of the harvest of Israel to the HIMSELF (see James 1:18; Revelation 14::1-4; 7:1-17; Romans 8:22-23). Notice that the general harvest of YEHOVAH's people Israel cannot take place until after the "firstfruits" is harvested!
But YEHOVAH God does not accept the wave sheaf offering unless it is accompanied by the sacrifice of a lamb without blemish -- symbolizing the Messiah, the Lamb of YEHOVAH God! Israel's acceptance by the Father is predicated on the works of the Messiah, who atoned for their sins, thereby making them acceptable in the eyes of the Father! As Paul wrote, "Therefore being justified by faith, we [of Israel] have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we [of Israel] have ACCESS by faith into this grace wherein we now stand" (Romans 5:1-2).
The omer represents the "firstfruits" of the Ecclesia of Israel being accepted by the Father! This omer was waved before YEHOVAH God for seven Sabbaths and a further 49 days until "Pentecost," the summer festival which completes the Passover Season. Even as the seven-day Festival of Tabernacles in the fall is completed by the Festival of "Shemini Atzaret" or "The Eighth Day," so the seven days of Passover and Unleavened Bread are completed by the "eighth day" of Pentecost!
In both cases, the number "eight" is very significant. "Eight" is the number of "new beginnings." The "eighth" day of our Gregorian week, "Sunday," is the first day of the next week, following the last day of the preceding week. Thus it begins a new week. With the eight souls aboard the Ark in Noah's time, YEHOVAH God Himself began a new line of Adam. Even so, Pentecost, the eighth day of Passover, both completes the picture of Passover, and itself constitutes a new beginning in YEHOVAH's Plan!
The Days of Unleavened Bread
To understand this picture, remember that YEHOVAH's Plan begins with Passover, the first holy day of the year. Passover represents Israel's "sins" being "passed over" and forgiven, through the blood of the Messiah, Israel's Passover (I Corinthians 5:7). It represents YEHOVAH's people Israel coming out of this world, of sin, and following the Messiah. The seven days of unleavened bread picture eating the bread of "affliction," and suffering, the Israelites humbling themselves, and getting rid of every vestige of sin in their lives and keeping sin out of their lives. During this Feast, "leaven" pictures "sin" or that which "causes sin." As Paul said, "Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump? Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump" (I Corinthians 5:6-7). In this passage he is referring directly to the sin of the man who had sexual relations with his father's wife (v. 1-2) and the Ecclesia permitting him to continue fellowshipping, though he had not repented. This sort of thing could soon contaminate the entire Ecclesia Paul warned, and the man had to be disciplined and put out until there were definite fruits of repentance.
"Leaven," in YEHOVAH God's sight, also represents "false teachings," and false doctrines. Yeshua the Messiah told the disciples, "Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees" (Matthew 16:6). At first the disciples thought he was warning them about literal bread (v. 7), but when the Messiah perceived their lack of understanding, he reproved them and said, "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 then records, "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" (v. 11-12). False teaching, or doctrine, that leads the people of Israel into SIN in YEHOVAH's sight, is an evil form of spiritual LEAVEN!
Therefore, when the people of Israel put out "leaven" during the Feast of Unleavened Bread, they are also to put out every form of false and sinful TEACHING and false DOCTRINE that leads people of Israel to stumble, disobey YEHOVAH's Law in its fullness, and which therefore renders them contaminated, filthy, and unworthy and unsuitable for the Kingdom of YEHOVAH God!
Old Testament Type of Baptism and Trials
But now notice. When Israel passed through the Red Sea, it was the day when they finally completely "came out of Egypt." As long as they were still in the Sinai peninsula, they were still in Egyptian occupied territory. But when they crossed the Red Sea into Arabia, they left Egypt behind them! This took a mighty miracle of YEHOVAH God, for their deliverance to be complete. It began at Passover, and continued through the miracle of the Red Sea.
Paul tells us this crossing was a type of the Christian-Israelite baptism, and their coming completely out of "sin" by being baptized! He writes, "Moreover, brethren...all our fathers were under the cloud [of YEHOVAH's protection], and all passed through the SEA; and were ALL BAPTIZED unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; and did all eat the same spiritual meat [food]; and did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them [in time]: and that Rock was Christ" (I Corinthians 10:1-4).
This, however, was when their trials began in earnest. After this great deliverance from Egypt, a type of "sin," they now found themselves in a desert, a wilderness, and in a place where the water was bitter and undrinkable (Exodus 15:22-27), and YEHOVAH began "testing" them. A month after Passover, they again murmured and complained against Moses and Aaron, saying they brought them into the wilderness to kill them with hunger (Exodus 16:1-3). They had no faith in YEHOVAH God. But YEHOVAH then gave them "manna from heaven" to satisfy their needs for food (all of Exodus 16).
They later rebelled again at Massah and Meribah, "contention and strife," because there was no water (Exodus 17:1-7). Soon after this incident, they were attacked by the Amalekites in the desert, a bloodthirsty Arabic tribe, and had to fight against them (Exodus 17:8-16).
All these trials and tests symbolized the many trials and tests that come in the lives of true Christian-Israelites who are called of YEHOVAH God, and strive to obey Him in this wicked world, filled with temptations, strife, problems, crises, and hard times. But these things are for our spiritual good. YEHOVAH said to Israel, and this applies to those of us descended from Israel as well, in spiritual anti-type:
"And thou shalt remember all the way which the LORD thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, and to prove thee, to know what was in thine heart, whether thou wouldest keep His commandments, or no.
"And He HUMBLED THEE, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna...that He might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by EVERY WORD THAT PROCEEDETH OUT OF THE MOUTH OF THE LORD DOTH MAN LIVE" (Deuteronomy 8:2-3).
Going through all these trials brought the people of Israel to the Mountain of YEHOVAH God, or Mount Sinai, in the third month, Sivan, on the 15th day of the month (Exodus 19:1). "On the third new moon [first day of Sivan] after the Israelites had gone forth from the land of Egypt, on that very day [the 15th], they entered the wilderness of Sinai" (Exodus 19:1, Tanakh). They encamped before the Mountain. On the next day (Sivan 16) Moses went up to meet with YEHOVAH God (v. 3). On Sivan 17, Moses relayed YEHOVAH's words and message to the Israelites (v. 7), and the people agreed to obey YEHOVAH God. On Sivan 18, Moses went back up to relay the people's acceptance to YEHOVAH God (v. 7-8).
The Wedding at Mount Sinai
Then YEHOVAH said to Moses, "Go unto the people, and sanctify them today and to morrow, and let them wash their clothes, and BE READY against the THIRD DAY: for the THIRD DAY the LORD will COME DOWN IN THE SIGHT OF ALL THE PEOPLE upon Mount Sinai" (Exodus 19:10-11).
Now remember, this was all a TYPE, written down for OUR admonition and instruction (Romans 15:4; I Corinthians 10:11). This "march through the wilderness" was a TYPE of the Christian-Israelite life! This journey brought ancient Israel face-to-face with YEHOVAH GOD. On Sivan 18, then, He told Israel to get ready for the third day. He came down on the Mountain top on the third day -- so we count from Sivan 18, 19, and then come to Sivan 20 -- the day He would come down!
"And it came to pass on the THIRD DAY in the morning, that there were thunders and lightnings, and a thick cloud upon the mount, and the voice of the trumpet exceeding loud; so that all the people that was in the camp trembled....
"And mount Sinai was altogether on a smoke, because the LORD descended upon it in fire: and the smoke thereof ascended as the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mountain quaked greatly....And the LORD came down upon mount Sinai, on the top of the mount..." (Exodus 19:16-20).
This was a very important event. What happened on this Day? On this Day YEHOVAH God gave Israel His LAW, His Torah (Exodus 20-23). He took "Israel" as His "bride" -- the Old Covenant was a MARRIAGE contract (Jeremiah 3:1-6, 14). YEHOVAH God made His "vows," to protect, safeguard, prosper, and bless His "bride," if they obeyed His voice; and they said, in effect, "I do" (Exodus 19:4-6; 24:7-8).
After this "wedding" ceremony, a wedding "Feast" was held:
"Then went up Moses, and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel [the number "70" is a type and represents the "70" nations of mankind, ultimately]: And they saw the God of Israel: and there was under his feet as it were a paved work of a sapphire stone, and as it were the body of heaven in his clearness. And upon the nobles of the children of Israel he laid not his hand: also they SAW GOD, and did EAT AND DRINK" (Exodus 24:9-11).
This awesome event was, therefore, a tremendous picture of the Christian-Israelite's life of baptism, overcoming, coming out of sin, and enduring to the end, till they meet YEHOVAH God at His return from heaven. They won't meet Him at Mount Sinai, of course, but their destination is an entirely different mountain -- Mount Zion, and the Kingdom of YEHOVAH God!
The Mountain of YEHOVAH God
As Israelite-Christians, of course, we don't come to Mount Sinai. Our "wilderness trek" through this world and its scorpions, snakes, temptations, and desert-like conditions, brings us to an altogether different "mountain" -- the holy mountain of the "Mountain of God" -- the KINGDOM OF YEHOVAH GOD! As Paul wrote:
"For ye are not come unto the mount that might be touched, and that burned with fire, nor unto blackness and darkness, and tempest, and the sound of a trumpet, and the voice of words...But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the HEAVENLY JERUSALEM...To the general assembly and CHURCH OF THE FIRSTBORN, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect' (Hebrews 12:18-23).
Our spiritual trek and Odyssey through life brings us to the Kingdom of YEHOVAH God! The Old Testament wedding of Israel to YEHOVAH God at Mount Sinai was a TYPE of the COMING OF THE MESSIAH -- YESHUA HA-MOSHIACH when he is going to "marry" his Bride, the Ecclesia!
When we of Israel were called of YEHOVAH God, we were given the terms and conditions of the New Covenant, to marry the Messiah as our husband, and serve and obey him. We accepted that New Covenant and betrothal at our Baptism. Now we are in the process of purifying ourselves, and overcoming sin, temptation and this world, while we are waiting for our groom, the Messiah, to appear from heaven and take us as his bride!
This story is all depicted in the amazing book of Song of Solomon. The "groom" in this story pictures Yeshua the Messiah; the virgin daughter who longs and pines away for him, and misses him dearly, pictures the Ecclesia, the Bride of the Messiah! Notice how the bride longs for her missing husband:
"By night on my bed I sought him whom my soul loveth: I sought him, but I found him not. I will rise now, and go about the city in the streets, and in the broad ways I will seek him whom my soul loveth: I sought him, but I found him not. The watchmen that go about the city found me: to whom I said, Saw ye him whom my soul loveth? It was but a little that I passed from them, but I found him whom my soul loveth: I held him, and would not let him go, until I had brought him into my mother's house, and into the chamber of her that conceived me" (Song of Solomon 3:1-4).
In a similar passage we read of the troubles and trials the bride suffers, as she awaits the return of her husband, and his coming:
"I rose up to open to my beloved; and my hands dropped with myrrh, and my fingers with sweet smelling myrrh, upon the handles of the lock. I opened to my beloved; but my beloved had withdrawn himself, and was gone: my soul failed when he spake: I sought him, but I could not find him; I called him, but he gave me no answer. The watchmen that went about the city found me, they smote me, they wounded me; the keepers of the walls took away my veil from me" (Song of Solomon 5:5-7).
Who are the "watchmen" that abuse and mistreat the virgin bride of the Messiah, those who are part of the true Ecclesia? The word has a duality in meaning: it can refer to civic leaders and government officials who persecute the woman; but it is also a term used of ministers of YEHOVAH God, "watchmen," who are appointed to warn the people of danger and to protect them (Ezekiel 3:17; 33:1-6, 7). Unfortunately, YEHOVAH warns that many of His "shepherds" in the last days are no-account, worthless, and fraudulent misfits in the ministry, who will be held accountable by Him for mistreating, abusing, and cruelly ruling over His flock (Ezekiel 34:1-5), and scattering them to the winds, and He will judge the flock itself, and the headstrong sheep and butting rams, and between the "fat" and the "lean" (Ezekiel 34:10-23).
As members of the Ecclesia of YEHOVAH God, those of us of Israel must undergo many trials and troubles and tests before we can qualify and enter the kingdom of YEHOVAH God! Many will seek to enter in, and will not be able. They won't endure, they won't be willing to give up all to follow the Messiah, they seek comfort and security and the friendship of other people and groups of people, rather than the True Shepherd from Heaven, the one who ought to be the "One True Love" of our life, as our husband, the Messiah!
The Exciting Anticipation of the Coming of YEHOVAH God and the Messiah
When YEHOVAH God returns to this earth, we will meet Him when He descends from heaven, in the air (I Thessalonians 4:14-17). He will then come down to this earth, bringing us with Him and millions of angels (Revelation 19:11-14). He will descend to the Mount of Olives (Zechariah 14:4).
When He comes, Paul writes, "In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruption must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality" (I Corinthians 15:52-53).
As the Ecclesia of YEHOVAH God, we have also been preparing, waiting, longing for the return of our espoused "husband" -- Yeshua the Messiah. We were each betrothed to him, when we were baptized, and received a greater measure of the holy spirit, as a present at our betrothal. That spirit is preparing us, shaping us, forming us into his very character and spiritual likeness (Galatians 4:19; Romans13:14; II Peter 1:4; I John 3:2-3). We are being purified, purged, cleansed, washed "with water by the word, that he might present it to himself, a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be HOLY and without blemish" -- like he is, a perfect Bride for a perfect Groom! (Ephesians 5:24-27).
The Messiah proved his love for his Ecclesia so much that he willingly died, gave his life, that he might "rescue this damsel in distress" and make her his own! How much do we love him, our elder brother, master, our lord, our Ishi -- that is, "husband" in the Hebrew language -- our "Man"! Adam was called "man," or Ish, and since Eve was brought forth from Adam, he named her Isha, or "woman" (Genesis 2:23, marginal reading). The term Ishi literally means "My husband"!
When we became Christians, at baptism, and when we received more of the the holy spirit (Acts 2:38; 5:32), we became betrothed to the Messiah. In the custom of the Judahite people, as with Anglo-Saxon and Israelitish people, normally, there is first betrothal, and then the wedding, several weeks, months, or years later.
The Bridal Custom of the Judahites
In the ancient custom of the Judahites, the groom would leave after the betrothal, and prepare a house or home for his bride and not return to get her, and complete the wedding, until it was finished! The groom might be anxious to see it finished, and be in such a rush to "get married," that he might be tempted to rush the construction, and take a few "short cuts." Therefore, it was the father of the groom who would supervise the construction and give the final "OK" as to when the house was finished -- that is, the father would set the "wedding date" -- the date of the wedding would be his final decision to make!
This is undoubtedly related to the reason the Messiah said of his future coming for his bride, "But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only" (Matthew 24:36). "But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, nor the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father" (Mark 13:32).
The Greatest Wedding of All Time
When the Messiah appears on this earth, however, the final wedding will take place! We read of that stupendous, marvelous, exciting event:
"Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for THE MARRIAGE OF THE LAMB IS COME, AND HIS WIFE HATH MADE HERSELF READY. And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints. And he saith unto me, Write, BLESSED are they which are called unto the MARRIAGE SUPPER OF THE LAMB" (Revelation19:7-9).
Let's get the picture, then. In this scenario, Passover pictures the beginning of the Christian-Israelite life; the last day of Unleavened Bread, when Israel went through the Red Sea, pictures the time of baptism and really coming "out of this world" and being separated and sanctified unto YEHOVAH God and the Messiah, our "betrothal"; the passage through the wilderness pictures the Christian-Israelite life of trials, tests, and overcoming and developing godly, righteous spiritual character, while the Groom is departed and waiting in Heaven, building our "Mansion" and our positions and "rooms" or "abodes" in the New Jerusalem. The Messiah said,
"Let not your hearts be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's HOUSE are many MANSIONS [Greek, mole, meaning "residence, staying place, mansion, abode, dwelling place"]: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you" (John 14:1-2).
So the Messiah went to heaven, where he is in charge of preparing our abodes and rooms in the Heavenly Jerusalem -- our places in his Father's Kingdom! He went on:
"And if I go and prepare a place for you, I WILL COME AGAIN, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, ye may be also" (v. 3).
Where will our abode be, our position, our residence, as it were, as the "firstfruits" of YEHOVAH's Kingdom? John describes our future in Revelation, the future of the Bride of the Messiah:
"And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. And I John saw THE HOLY CITY, NEW JERUSALEM, COMING DOWN FROM GOD out of heaven, PREPARED AS A BRIDE adorned for her husband" (Revelation 21:1-2).
The TWO LOAVES of Pentecost!
After the Israelites were "counting the omer" from the day after "the seven Sabbaths complete" till Pentecost on the 50th day, called the "Feast of Firstfruits," "Feast of Weeks," Shavuot, or "Pentecost," the high priest performed an unusual, once-only ceremony. The real significance of this ceremony has never been understood. Or, it has been completely misunderstood!
We read in Leviticus 23, in the Ferrar Fenton version of the Bible:
"You shall also count for yourselves from the day after the Sabbath that you bring the Wave-sheaf, seven Sabbaths. They must be complete. Then after the seventh Sabbath, you shall count fifty days, when you shall present a new offering to the EVER-LIVING. You shall bring from your dwellings two wave cakes of two tenths of fine flour. They shall be fermented, -- baked in an oven for the EVER-LIVING" (Leviticus 23:15-17).
These two wave cakes or loaves are leavened bread. They are "the bread of the first-fruits" (Leviticus 23:20). They "shall be HOLY to the LORD, for the priest" (same verse).
Now it is commonly interpreted by some that these two loaves represent the Ecclesia of YEHOVAH God, Old and New Testament churches, and that the leavening in them represents "SIN." But is this the real explanation of this "leavened bread"? Does leaven ALWAYS represent "sin" in the Scriptures?
The answer to that question is a resounding NO, absolutely not! There are, bakers will tell you, two different kinds of "leaven" -- good leaven, and bad leaven. The Messiah alluded to the good type of leaven in his parable about the woman who put leaven in her dough, until the whole batch was leavened. He said:
"The kingdom of heaven is LIKE UNTO LEAVEN, which a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal, TILL THE WHOLE WAS LEAVENED" (Matthew 13:33).
"Whereunto shall I liken the kingdom of God? IT IS LIKE LEAVEN, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal, till the WHOLE WAS LEAVENED" (Luke 13:20-21).
Notice! Leaven is compared to the holy spirit, which is put within YEHOVAH's people Israel, and changes their corrupt human nature into the wonderful, holy, righteous nature of the holy spirit, the Spirit of YEHOVAH God -- the nature of YEHOVAH God (II Peter 1:4). YEHOVAH's spirit works within us like leaven, but it turns and changes our nature and character into that which is good, sweet-smelling, and wonderful in YEHOVAH's sight! It is compared to leaven which is put into flour dough, and which changes that dough, causing it to rise up, and when it is formed into loaves of bread and baked, the delicious aroma wafts throughout the kitchen or house, and it is a fortunate woman who can keep the hordes of hungry hands and salivating mouths away from that newly fresh-baked bread!
The Amazing Truth about "Leaven"
Bakers will tell you that spores of living plants called yeast fill the air, and are a natural leavening agent. There are thousands of kinds of yeast, and it is referred to as "wild yeast." If it gets into your flour dough, then the product will be ruined -- unfit for human consumption. It causes the flavor to be bad, and ruins the final bread.
But, on the other hand, carefully cultivated baker's yeast, which has been nurtured and protected from infection by wild strains, is used by bakers to bake the wonderful, delicious, good bread that they sell. They protect their good baker's yeast very carefully, so it doesn't become contaminated and spoiled. Says A Treatise on Baking:
"One of the greatest treasures possessed by the yeast manufacturer of today is his choice strain of seed yeast, particularly selected and cultivated in order to develop hardiness and uniformity...
"This seed yeast is placed in a carefully prepared food which is in the form of a rich extract, made from raw materials of the highest quality, just as seed corn is planted in fertile soil. The quality and strength of yeast depends primarily on its culture" (p. 45).
The yeast must be carefully cared for, protected and nurtured, with absolute cleanliness and uniform temperature control to prevent "the invasion of wild and undesirable yeasts and bacteria."
The seed yeast multiplies by a process known as "budding," which takes place very rapidly under proper conditions. In each yeast factory, countless millions of yeast plants are grown every hour. Each crop is separated, cooled, filtered, pressed, cut, wrapped, refrigerated, and marketed. "The modern yeast manufacturer exercises extreme care to avoid the invasion of foreign organisms in bakers' yeast for he realizes that purity of yeast is a factor of utmost importance to the baker" (p. 48). Yeast is judged by its hardiness, consistency and feel, taste and odor, and its appearance.
Yeast is a living organism, and its enzymes must be working and active to bring about the change in dough that causes fermentation. Yeast contains proteins, carbohydrates, fats, mineral matter, enzymes, vitamins, and moisture, in the form of "hundreds of complex compounds, formed in the yeast plants during their development and growth by the mysterious workings of nature." Yeast contains vitamins B and G, essential food factors without which the human body could not live. Yeast is one of the richest sources of these vital food factors.
What does yeast do in dough? "Yeast raises and conditions the dough batch, or in other words converts the inert, heavy mass of dough into a light, porous, elastic product which, when baked, is appetizing, easily digestible and nutritious. Yeast itself also adds definite food value to the loaf. Without yeast, bread and other yeast-raised products as we know them today would not be possible. Planary fermentation brought about by the action of the yeast represents the LIFE PROCESS OF THE DOUGH, and upon this the creation of bread depends. Because of its fundamental and indispensable function in the production of leavened bread, yeast has been rightly termed the Soul of Bread" (A Treatise on Baking, p. 51).
It should be obvious, then, that there is both good and bad "yeast" or "leaven." During the Feast of Unleavened Bread we are to only eat unleavened or "bread of affliction." The yeast of Egypt, also, we could conclude, symbolizes the "wild yeast" of this world, that floats in the air, invisible, but harmful and deleterious.
YEHOVAH God, of course, abhors and hates sin. Wisdom personified says, "The fear of the LORD is to hate evil: pride, arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate" (Proverbs 8:13). Because of rampant sin and wild behavior, YEHOVAH God destroyed the land before the flood (Genesis 6-7). The apostle Paul wrote, "The wages of sin is DEATH" (Romans 6:23). Yeshua the Messiah warned that unless we repent of sin, and stop sinning, we will "perish" (Luke 13:1-5). We are to put out of our lives the wild yeast, and wicked influences of this world, Satan the devil, and our human nature.
"I am the Bread of Life"
However, YEHOVAH God does not condemn yeast itself, at all. Throughout the year, we eat leavened bread, and enjoy it. The Messiah said, "I am the BREAD OF LIFE" (John 6:35, 48). He is the "bread that came down from heaven" (John 6:32-33, 50-51). The Greek word for "bread" here is artos and is used for a raised loaf of leavened bread -- normal, natural, regular BREAD! When the Scriptures speak of unleavened bread, the Greek word used is azumos. It means "unleavened."
The Messiah is the ARTOS -- THE RAISED, LEAVENED, PERFECT BREAD THAT BRINGS ETERNAL LIFE! He compares himself to a delicious loaf of raised leavened Bread!
Interestingly, the apostle Paul says that the Ecclesia of YEHOVAH God is "the body of Christ." Paul writes, "For we being MANY are ONE BREAD, AND ONE BODY: for we are all partakers of that ONE BREAD" (I Corinthians 10:17). He added, "Know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ?" (I Corinthians 6:15). Notice! We, the Ecclesia of YEHOVAH God, are called "ONE BREAD"! And, the Messiah himself is called, in Scripture, "THE BREAD OF LIFE"!
Paul added, "For by one spirit are we baptized into ONE BODY, whether we be Jews [Judahites] or Gentiles [House of Israel], whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one spirit. For THE BODY is not one member, but many" (I Corinthians 12:13-14). He goes on, "Now ye are the BODY OF CHRIST, and members in particular" (v. 27).
Christain-Israelites are therefore one body, and partake of one bread, and so we are, in YEHOVAH's sight, like a beautiful Loaf of BREAD. The Messiah, also, is a Perfect, beautiful Loaf of BREAD. Do you see? This pictures the Groom, the Messiah, and the Bride, his Ecclesia! Each of us is compared to a LOAF OF BREAD!
Now we should begin to see the real, true symbolism of the TWO LOAVES OF LEAVENED BREAD presented before YEHOVAH God the Father on Pentecost, the Day of the Wedding of the Ecclesia and the Messiah! At the end of our Christian lives, when the Messiah appears, we will be glorified and changed into his spiritual likeness (Philippians 3:21) with glorious spiritual bodies. Pentecost pictures the wedding of the Messiah and the Ecclesia. The Two Loaves "are the firstfruits unto the LORD" (Leviticus 23:17). The "bread of the firstfruits" is a "wave offering before the LORD," YEHOVAH God the Father (Leviticus 23:20).
Now we have already seen that we, the Ecclesia, is the "firstfruits" to YEHOVAH God. But the Messiah also is "become the FIRSTFRUITS of them that slept" (I Corinthians 15:20). Paul speaks of "Christ THE FIRSTFRUITS" (v. 23). The Greek literally means "Firstfruit." The Messiah is the "first" of the "firstfruits."
Therefore, now we can put together the picture and solve the puzzle and mystery of the "Two Leavened Loaves" of Bread presented and waved before the Father on Pentecost! The one loaf represents the Messiah in his fullness -- the Perfect "Bread of LIFE." The other loaf represents the Ecclesia of YEHOVAH God -- the Bride of the Messiah -- brought to perfection through trial and testing!
The first Loaf represents the Groom, on this "wedding day." The second Loaf represents the "Bride," at this wedding ceremony, which takes place when the Messiah appears!
The leaven which causes these loaves to reach their fullness of perfection is the holy spirit of YEHOVAH God within them, the spirit of grace, supplication, love and power (II Timothy 1:6-7; Hebrews 10:29; Ephesians 6:18). YEHOVAH's spirit works like leaven within us to change us into the image of YEHOVAH God in character and true holiness!
Therefore, the mystery is solved! The two loaves of "challah" or fellowship bread, presented before the LORD on Pentecost, represent the Bride and Groom, Yeshua the Messiah and the Bride, the Ecclesia of YEHOVAH God! In modern weddings in the western world, it is traditional to have "wedding cake." On it often are two cute little figures, of a bride and groom. The cake symbolizes their union, their oneness, their "unity." Similarly, the two loaves of bread presented before the LORD as the central event on the day of Pentecost, around which everything else revolves and on which every thing else depends, represent the Messiah and the Ecclesia, the Bride and Groom, at their wedding, which in symbolism is pictured by Pentecost -- the high holy day called "The Feast of Firstfruits." The Feast of Pentecost itself pictures beautifully the Messiah, the first of the firstfruits, and the Ecclesia, the Bride, which constitutes the balance of the "first-fruits"!
The Story of Ruth
It is very interesting -- and significant -- that on Pentecost each year, the Jewish people read the book of Ruth, in the Old Testament. The book of Ruth, of course, is a "love story."
Ruth is a hapless Israelite living in Moab who marries an Israelite who emigrates to Moab with his father, mother, and brother, during a terrible famine. The father dies, and the two sons, Mahlon and Chilion, marry Israelite women, Ruth and Orpah. They lived in Moab about ten years, and the two men die, leaving their wives as widows. Ruth's mother-in-law, Naomi, receives news that the famine in Israel is over, so she decides to return to her own people. Ruth loves her mother-in-law deeply and refuses to leave her when she returns to Israel. Naomi cautions her that life will be tough, that she has no more sons for Ruth to marry, and that she may not find a mate in Israel (Ruth 12:11-13). Ruth's response reaches the depths of true conversion. She says:
"Entreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God: Where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried: the LORD do so to me, and more also, if aught but death part thee and me" (Ruth 1:16-17).
As the story unfolds, Ruth gleans in the fields of Boaz, a mighty man of wealth. He sees her, knows she has an excellent reputation, as a faithful and loving daughter to Naomi, and promises that so long as she gleans in his fields he will protect her. He later took her to be his wife. Boaz was a very wealthy and righteous man who was much older than Ruth. Boaz, whose name means "Strength," according to the Septuagint, and also means "swiftness," in the Hebrew, is clearly a type of the Messiah, and Ruth is a type of the Ecclesia! According to the Targum, Boaz was "Absan the judge; he is Boaz the Just, on account of whose righteousness the people of the house of Israel were redeemed from the hand of their enemies; and at whose supplication the famine departed from the land of Israel."
It is fitting, therefore, for the story of Ruth to be read at the Feast of Pentecost, which pictures the Wedding of the Messiah and the Ecclesia! Ruth prepared herself. She was ready. But what about us? Are we getting ready, preparing for the Great Wedding Day that is coming soon?
"Behold, the Bridegroom cometh!" (Matthew 25:6).
Hope of Israel Ministries -- Preparing the Way for the Return of YEHOVAH God and His Messiah!
Hope of Israel Ministries
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