Yes, The Israelites Did Bake with Leaven

And ye shall count unto you from the morrow after the Sabbath, from the day that ye brought the sheaf of the wave-offering; seven Sabbaths shall be complete; even unto the morrow after the seventh Sabbath shall ye number fifty days; and ye shall offer a new meat-offering unto the Lord. Ye shall bring out of your habitations two wave-loaves of two tenth deals; they shall be of fine flour; they shall be baked with leaven; they are the first-fruits unto the Lord. (Lev. 23:15-17)

This is the feast of Pentecost - the type of God’s people, gathered by the Holy Spirit, and presented before Him, in connection with all the preciousness of Christ. In the passover we have the death of Christ, in the sheaf of first-fruits we have the resurrection of Christ, and in the feast of Pentecost we have the descent of the Holy Spirit to form the Church. The death and resurrection of Christ had to be accomplished ere the Church could be formed. The sheaf was offered and then the loaves were baked.

And observe, "they shall be baked with leaven." Why was this? Because they were intended to foreshadow those who, though filled with the Holy Spirit, and adorned with His gifts and graces, had, nevertheless, evil dwelling in them. The assembly, on the day of Pentecost, stood in the full value of the blood of Christ, was crowned with the gifts of the Holy Spirit; but there was leaven there also. No power of the Spirit could do away with the fact that there was evil dwelling in the people of God. It might be suppressed and kept out of view, but it was there. The fact is foreshadowed in the type by the leaven in the two loaves, and it is set forth in the actual history of the Church; for albeit God the Holy Spirit was present in the assembly, the flesh was there likewise to lie unto Him. Flesh is flesh, nor can it ever be made aught else than flesh. The Holy Spirit did not come down on the day of Pentecost to improve nature or do away with the fact of its incurable evil, but to baptize believers into one body, and connect them with their living Head in heaven.

Leaven was permitted in connection with the peace offering (Lev. 7:13). It was the divine recognition of the evil in the worshiper. Thus is it also in the ordinance of the "two wave-loaves"; they were to be "baked with leaven," because of the evil in the antitype.

But, blessed be God, the evil which was divinely recognized was divinely provided for. It is a comfort to be assured that God knows the worst of us; and, moreover, that He has made provision according to His knowledge, and not merely according to ours.

And ye shall offer with the bread seven lambs without blemish of the first year, and one young bullock, and two rams; they shall be for a burnt-offering unto the Lord, with their meat-offering and their drink-offerings, even an offering made by fire, of sweet savor unto the Lord (Lev. 23:18).

Here, then, we have, in immediate connection with the leavened loaves, the presentation of an unblemished sacrifice, typifying the great and all-important truth that it is Christ’s perfectness, and not our sinfulness, that is ever before the view of God. Observe particularly the words, "ye shall offer with the bread seven lambs without blemish." Precious truth! Not I, but Christ!

It may be objected that the fact of Christ being a spotless Lamb is not sufficient to roll the burden of guilt from a sin-stained conscience. This objection might be urged, but our type fully meets and entirely removes it. It is quite true that a burnt-offering would not have been sufficient where "leaven" was in question; and hence we read: Then ye shall sacrifice one kid of the goats for a sin-offering, and two lambs of the first year for a sacrifice of peace-offerings (Lev. 23:19). The "sin-offering" was the answer to the "leaven" in the loaves; "peace" was established, so that communion could be enjoyed, and all went up in immediate connection with the "sweet savor" of the "burnt-offering" unto the Lord.

Thus, on the day of Pentecost, the Church was presented in all the value and excellency of Christ, through the power of the Holy Spirit. Though having in itself the leaven of the old nature, that leaven was not reckoned, because the divine Sin-offering had perfectly answered for it. The power of the Holy Spirit did not remove the leaven, but the blood of the Lamb had atoned for it. This is a most interesting and important distinction. The work of the Spirit in the believer does not remove indwelling evil. It enables him to detect, judge, and subdue the evil; but no amount of spiritual power can do away with the fact that the evil is there; however, blessed be God, the conscience is at perfect ease, inasmuch as the blood of our Sin-offering has eternally settled the whole question; and therefore, instead of our evil being under the eye of God, it has been put out of sight forever, and we are accepted in all the acceptableness of Christ, Who offered Himself to God as a sweet-smelling sacrifice, that He might perfectly glorify Him in all things, and be the food of His people forever.