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3 And in the morning, It will be foul weather to day: for the sky is red and lowring. O ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not discern the signs of the times?
The peace and safety cry
It is a cry in the providence of God, which is a great "sign of the times;" [Matt. 16:3] announcing that
"the Lord standeth at the door and knocks" (Rev. 3:20),
and is about quickly and unexpectedly to appear (Rev. 16; 22:7, 20).
It is the world's cry, as the cry of a woman in travail, which has been extorted by sudden and tormenting pains. It blows a trumpet in the wise and understanding ear, sounding the approach of
"the day of the Lord as a thief in the night;" [1 Thess. 5:2; 2 Peter 3:10]
"so it cometh; and when they shall say, PEACE and SAFETY; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape" (1 Thess.5:1-3).
11 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?
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 doctrine and hypocrisy of the Pharisees and Herodian-Sadducees is compared to leaven, in relation to the doctrine and purity taught by Jesus. His was the fine flour; theirs an ingredient which, if blended with it, would so change its nature as to make it unfit for use; "for they made of none effect the Word of God by their traditions."
The Pharisees were very "pious" people, both in tone, in phraseology, in the making of long and many prayers, in going to church, in dress, in building monuments to the prophets, in saying many true things about them and the law; all this they did and, like their sectarian antitypes of our day, passed current among the people for great saints, and the very elect of God.
But they believed not the preaching of Jesus, and obeyed not the commandments of the Lord. Their piety and doctrine were therefore styled leaven, because being spurious and hypocritical, it would so change the character of the One Faith and Hope as to make them ineffectual to the justification of the believer.
Therefore, as the Lord Jesus said to his contemporaries, so we say to ours, "Beware of the leaven of 'those' who cant piously, but do not the truth, but their own gospel, nullifying traditions."
Sin, in whatever way it manifests itself, is the leaven of human nature. Hence Paul styles crime festering in the body, "the old leaven;" and reproves the Corinthian association for glorying while this is the case. So long as the incestuous person was recognized as in good standing with them, they were regarded as in a leavened condition, upon the principle of the law, that
"a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump."
He therefore exhorts them to "purge out the old leaven;" or, as he explains it in a subsequent verse,
"Put away from among yourselves that wicked person"-
"that ye may be a new lump when ye are unleavened."
He then continues,
"For the Anointed also, our paschal lamb, is slain for us,"
no leaven being found with him; "therefore let us celebrate the festival, not with old leaven"-the fruit of the flesh evinced through tolerated evil doers-
"the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened things of purity and truth."
From the evidence, then, before us in these columns, I conclude that leaven is nowhere used in Scripture to represent good doctrine, but rather the contrary.
Herald of the Kingdom and Age to Come, Feb 1855
17 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.
His response to Peter's declaration is full of significance. He did not thank Peter, as a human pretender might have done. He congratulated Peter on the attainment of so important an enlightenment...
If "flesh and blood" had revealed the matter to Peter, the revelation would have been of very doubtful value; for flesh and blood, of its own congenital resources, is darkness and not light. Flesh and blood left to itself always goes wrong. But flesh and blood had nothing to do with revealing the Messiahship of Jesus.
The Messiahship of Jesus is a divine contrivance wholly, for divine ends: and it is a maxim of the Spirit-illuminated Paul, that "the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God." Only God could reveal it. Flesh and blood in the finest state would never tell a man that Jesus of Nazareth, born of Mary in the hill country of Jude, over 1800 years ago, was the Son of God, and his Anointed, or Christ. But Peter had attained to this conviction, and the blessedness of it, according to Christ, lay in the fact that the Father himself had revealed it, and therefore it was true, and might be relied upon and built on utterly.
How the Father had revealed it to Peter, the life of Christ shows. He had proclaimed it in Peter's hearing on the banks of the Jordan when Christ was baptised of John; and he had testified it by the many works which he had enabled Jesus to perform, "which," said Jesus, "bear witness of me that the Father hath sent me." Peter's faith, therefore, stood upon a rock -- not on hearsay -- not on feeling -- not on flesh and blood; but on the undeniable testimony of the living God himself. A man in such a position is surely "blessed" -- happy. Christ uttered no platitude in saying this.
Nazareth Revisited Ch 37