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   I made a wonderful discovery having to do with leavened and unleavened bread! You may have already understood what I’m going to share with you, but I hadn’t realized it until I studied it.
  Therefore let us keep the feast (referring to Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread, even though Scripture simply writes, “Passover”), not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened [bread] of sincerity and truth, 1 Corinthians 5:8.
  In the Greek, from which this verse is rendered, “bread” in the phrase “unleavened bread,” has been supplied by the translator. Azumos is the Greek word that is given for “unleavened” … and figuratively, azumos means “uncorrupted” and is used exclusively to mean either “the Feast of Unleavened Bread” or the concept of “uncorrupted,” or purity. Zumos, with the letter “a” removed, means “corrupted.” With this understanding, we might read this verse, Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old corruption (zumos), neither with the corruption (zumos) of malice and wickedness; but with uncorrupted (azumos) sincerity and truth.
  However, this is not the discovery of which I was speaking. And before I move on to that discovery, I must clarify another word in this verse – “old,” as in “old corruption.” The Apostle Paul is not talking about the Law of Yahweh when he uses the phrase, “old corruption.” Some – not having their understanding exercised to discern Truth from error – postulate the Law is dead, having been “nailed to the stake” (Col. 2:14).
  Contrarily, since Yahshua sacrificed His life as a propitiation for our sins, it is our sins – specifically, those committed prior to our immersion in water – that are taken out of the way, blotted out, and nailed to His stake. The Law has not been wiped out! Yahshua has justified our entrance into the Kingdom by wiping out the penalty for our sins, not the Law which identifies sin. As a matter of fact, according to Holy Writ, the Law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the impious and sinners, for the unholy and profane (1 Tim. 1:9).
  In 1 Corinthians 5:8, Paul is talking about the “old corruption” of the Pharisees who leavened or, corrupted the Law of Yahweh through the imposition of their laws, judgments and traditions. Paul could speak with authority here, because he used to abide in those traditions until Yahshua demonstrated that He was the Son of Yahweh by physically blinding him while on his way to Damascus (Acts 9:3-9). Indeed, Paul understood what Yahshua meant when He asked the Pharisees, “Why do you transgress the commandment of Yahweh for the sake of your tradition?” (Matt. 15:3). (English Standard Version, used throughout unless otherwise noted.)
  And so, the notion some advance that Paul was set against the “old” Law of Yahweh, is absurd. Indeed, he kept the Law. It was he, incidentally, who penned, Do we then overthrow the law by this faith? By no means! On the contrary, we uphold the law, Romans 3:31. In this, he was in agreement with his Master who affirmed, Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them, Matthew 5:17. 
  Ministers of the Word do well then, to consider the consequence of teaching for doctrine and commandment, traditions come of having corrupted (2 Cor. 2:17), in craftiness and cunningly, deceitfully handled (2 Cor. 4:2), and made private interpretation of the Scripture (2 Pet. 1:20). Ministers of the Word do well, to consider those whom they are shepherding to the broad way that leads to destruction. Their blood will be on them (Ezek. 33:2, 6). Ministers of the Word, do well to consider the weeping of the One who suffered in His flesh for their sins.

Malice and Wickedness, or Sincerity and Truth?
   Now, back to my “discovery.” Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance, H.4682, matstsah (mats-tsaw’) defines “unleavened” as “greedily devouring for sweetness;” properly, “sweetness;” concretely, “sweet” that is, “not soured or bittered with yeast.” The primitive root of the word H.4680, matzah (maw-tsaw’) means to suck out,” by implication, to “drain,” to “squeeze out” – as in, “draining” or “squeezing” out the property of leaven, that is, yeast. This is my discovery.
  Two thousand years after Paul’s words were written, we have leavened bread made of cultured yeast that adds a sweet flavor to our breads. Then, leavened bread was made from soured dough. Back then, they left their “starter dough” (or the “new lump”) out in the open for natural yeast to settle into the dough and begin reproducing, emitting gas into the mixture.
  So, if we can understand the nature of leavened, sour bread in Paul’s day, we can understand how he could describe “malice” and “wickedness” as being sour bread, that is, “leavened” and how he could define unleavened, sweet bread, as “sincerity” and “truth.” Finally, to those who say that “leaven does not represent sin, but represents the Holy Spirit,” I suggest that whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Master in an unworthy manner – “unworthy manner” … could that be partaking of the leavened, soured bread of “malice and wickedness?” – eats and drinks death to himself, as it is written in 1 Corinthians 11:27-29, 31:
  Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Master in an unworthy manner will be guilty concerning the body and blood of the Master. Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself. … But if we judged ourselves truly, we would not be judged.
  Let us be ever diligent, sincere and truthful in our praise and worship of Almighty Yahweh and walk in the ways of His Son, Yahshua. Incidentally, this idea of “malice and wickedness” and “sincerity and truth” are not New Testament concepts. As Israel was preparing to make conquest of, and settle in, the Promised Land of Canaan, Joshua (pronounced, Yahshua) exhorted the people, saying, Now therefore fear Yahweh and serve Him in sincerity and in faithfulness. Put away the elohim that your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve Yahweh, Joshua 24:14. And we read further in the narrative, the people’s acclamation: And the people said to Joshua, “Yahweh our Elohim we will serve, and His voice we will obey,” Joshua 24:14.
  So, Joshua made a covenant with the people that day, and made for them a statute and an ordinance in the Book of the Law. And taking a large stone, he set it up there under the oak near the Tent of Testimony and declared to them, Behold, this stone shall be a witness against us, for it has heard all the words of Yahweh that He spoke to us. Therefore it shall be a witness against you, lest you deal falsely with your Elohim, Joshua 14:28.
  It seems more than coincidental that Joshua and the Apostle Paul should speak so directly about “sincerity and truth.” With respect to the latter, a Pharisee of Pharisees – that sect whom Yahshua in one place called “blind guides (Matt. 23:24) – the blindness of tradition prevented him, and them, from appreciating that Covenant Promises are come by the Law.
  Today, we have the New Covenant to verify the Law and the Prophets of the Old Covenant. And they who have not abandoned the Law can see the New Testament in the Old, and the Old Testament in the New.

Of Corrupting, Deceitfully Handling, and Making of Private Interpretations
   We who have the stewardship of the Truth have a responsibility of going out into the world and teaching and preaching the Good News of the Kingdom of Yahweh. His giftings are as diverse as His callings. I was called to the Truth by Yahweh’s Spirit which said to me, “Honor My Sabbath.”
  However, not all men will have this faith (2 Thess. 3:2). Satan has laid his hand on some who would change the words of Yahshua and His apostles, and corrupt the Word of Yahweh through the pantheocratic worship of false deities, observance of national customs, and the traditions and vain philosophies of man (Col. 2:8).
  For example: Yahweh has set apart one day above every other by virtue of His will, and quite without regard to our personal preference. It is written, And on the seventh day Elohim finished His work that He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work that He had done, Genesis 2:2.
  And then, He codified what He had done on the seventh day, into an ordinance, saying,
  Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Yahweh your Elohim. On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates. For in six days Yahweh made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore Yahweh blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy, Exodus 20:8-11.
  If you turn back your foot from the Sabbath, from doing your pleasure on My holy day, and call the Sabbath a delight and the holy day of Yahweh honorable; if you honor it, not going your own ways, or seeking your own pleasure, or talking idly; then you shall take delight in Yahweh, and I will make you ride on the heights of the earth; I will feed you with the heritage of Jacob your father, for the mouth of Yahweh has spoken, Isaiah 58:13-14. 
  Yet, are there some who teach contrary to the Scripture. One example comes from a site called It asserts that in Acts 20:7 and 1 Corinthians 16:2, in the phrase, “on the first day of the week …” indicates that in New Testament times, the Sabbath was no longer binding and that Christians should instead assemble for worship on Sunday, the L-rd’s day, a singular reference found in Revelation 1:10.
  But let’s look at these verses. In Acts 20:7 and 1 Corinthians 16:2, The word, “first” is the Greek, mia (mee’-ah), G.3391, meaning “one” or “first.” The word, “week,” is the Greek, sabbaton (sab’-bat-on), G.4521, a transliteration of the Hebrew word, shabbat which means the weekly Sabbath. So, the phrase. “On the first day of the week” should read, “On one of the Sabbaths.” Truly, the “lying pen of the scribes” (Jer. 8:8) has twisted the meaning of this phrase.
  With respect to Revelation 1:10, I was in the Spirit on the L-rd’s day, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet, this is a phrase equivalent to “the day of the L-RD,” found 370 times in the Scriptures. The correct translation should read “the Day of Yahweh,” hardly a Sunday. In fact, the Day of Yahweh is understood as apocalyptic, the day of destruction.
  Then, in an effort to discredit the Sabbath, apostasy proceeds to twist the meaning of Colossians 2:16-17 – Therefore let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink, or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath. These are a shadow of the things to come, but the substance belongs to Messiah.
  These shadows – the Appointed Times of Yahweh – are BEACONS to those who are the children of Yahweh, and point to that “some better thing” (Heb. 11:40) prepared for us. Like Abraham, we are strangers and pilgrims on the earth, confessing and declaring ourselves seeking a heavenly country, and looking for a city which has foundations whose Builder and Maker is Yahweh (Heb. 11:10-16). We are by adoption, children of the Covenants of promise, and so we eagerly celebrate that which has for us, been ordained of Yahweh.

Contemporary Cousins of Pharisee and Scribe
  Then Pharisees and scribes came to Yahshua from Jerusalem and said, “Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat.” He answered them, “And why do you break the commandment of Yahweh for the sake of your tradition? For Yahweh commanded, ‘Honor your father and your mother,’ and, ‘Whoever reviles father or mother must surely die.’ But you say, ‘If anyone tells his father or his mother, “What you would have gained from me is given to Yahweh,” he need not honor his father.’ So for the sake of your tradition you have made void the word of Yahweh. You hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy of you, when he said: “‘This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men,’” Matthew 15:1-9.
  Further into Matthew’s text, the Master declares that these were blind leaders of blind and that if the blind lead the blind, both will fall into the ditch (Matt. 15:14). The Apostle Peter, wanting further explanation, asked the meaning of the Master’s teaching. We pick up Yahshua’s reply from the parallel account supplied in Mark 7:18-23:
  And He said to them, “Then are you also without understanding? Do you not see that whatever goes into a person from outside cannot defile him, since it enters not his heart but his stomach, and is expelled?” (Thus He declared all foods clean.) And He said, “What comes out of a person is what defiles him. For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.
  Now, talk about traditions replacing the word of Yahweh, or making His Word of none effect by adding thereto. This parenthetical, (“Thus He declared all foods clean”) accentuated further by three other popular translations, the New King James Version, “Thus purifying all foods” and the New International Version, “In saying this, J-sus declare all foods ‘clean’” and the New Living Translation, “By saying this, he showed that every kind of food is acceptable” are good examples of tradition making the Word of Yahweh (Leviticus, Chapter 11 and Deuteronomy 14, Yahweh’s Food Laws) of none effect.
  This added phrase adds tradition to the Word of Yahweh in order to justify and accommodate those who wish to continue in pagan lifestyle. And perhaps right here, might be a good place to insert what the Word says about adding to and diminishing from the Word of Yahweh:
  Everything that I command you, you shall be careful to do. You shall not add to it or take from it, Deuteronomy 12:32.
  And if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, Yahweh will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book, Revelation 22:19. 
  Cursed be anyone who does not confirm the words of this law by doing them. And all the people shall say, “Amen,” Deuteronomy 27:26. 

Tradition Shuts the Door to the Kingdom
   Who could imagine Yahshua or any of the apostles breaking the Law of Yahweh by consuming unclean “foods.” What is given by the phrase (“Thus He declared all foods clean”) has twisted the literal meaning of goes out into the latrine. It does not mean that “all food is now clean.” The KJV and the Darby Bible in verse 19 use the words, “It goes [or, goeth] out into the draught, purging all meats.” The Greek word for “draught” is aphedron and means “a place of sitting apart,” that is, a private place … a privy!
  Nevertheless, in the light of this understanding, apostasy will still insist that Peter’s vision in Acts 10:11-16 – seeing Heaven opened and a great sheet knit at the four corners descending to earth wherein were all manner of four-footed beasts, and wild beasts, and creeping things, and fowls of the air, and hearing a Voice urging him to kill and eat, and his protesting that he had never eaten anything common or unclean, followed with the Retort that what Yahweh had cleansed, he should not call common – supports this lie.
  But what then, are we to do with Scriptures that declare, “For I am Yahweh, I change not …” (Mal. 3:6); and, “Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast …” (Heb. 6:19); and, “Yahshua the Messiah the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever” (Heb. 13:8); and, “… with Whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning” (James 2:17)? (All references from the King James Version)
  Of Pharisee and scribe, the Master said in another place (Matthew 23):
  For you shut the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. For you neither enter yourselves nor allow those who would enter to go in. … Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel across sea and land to make a single proselyte, and when he becomes a proselyte, you make him twice as much a child of Gehenna as yourselves, Matthew 23:13, 15.
  And now, we come to the Apostle Paul’s corroboration in Colossians 2:8:
  See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Messiah – hollow and deceptive, and depending on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on the Messiah by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This He set aside, nailing it to the stake, Colossians 2:14.
  “The record of debt,” is, in other translations, rendered: “The written code” or, “The handwriting of ordinances” expressed in the Greek G.5498, cheirographon, (khi-rog’-raf-on), a handwritten legal document or bond; not written by Yahweh, but by the hand of man. Ordinances or code is G.1378 dogma (dog’-mah), a civil, ceremonial or ecclesiastical decree or ordinance. In our society, this “civil ordinance written against us” is called a “warrant for our arrest.”
  We’ve managed to acquire charges against us for breaking the Law, but Yahshua has taken our punishment for sin. (He paid a debt He did not owe because we had a debt we could not pay.) And, what was the punishment He received? Mortal death as an exchange for our eternal death. In standing in for us, no charges remain against us. He is the Judge of all matters and as such, He forgave us our sins.
  This is not to say, He forgave our sinful nature! Make no mistake, we can still sin and quench the Spirit and hence, lose our salvation (Heb 10:26). But He hopes that in having become a propitiation for our sins, He should kill our interest in this world and open to us, mercy and His righteousness.
Some have said, “I’m saved, and once saved, always saved.” But should a person who renounces his baptism by returning to sin, really expect admittance into the Kingdom of Yahweh? Let us not trample the Spirit of Grace given to us through Yahshua and make of His sacrifice an open shame.
  For it is impossible, in the case of those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, and have shared in the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the goodness of the word of Yahweh and the powers of the age to come, and then have fallen away, to restore them again to repentance, since they are crucifying once again the Son of Yahweh to their own harm and holding him up to contempt, Hebrews 6:4-6. 
  And so, might we rightly conclude He did not abolish the Law of Yahweh! For if it should be possible that He could abolish the Law of Yahweh, then He would simultaneously have done away with sin itself, making all human beings perfect in the Father’s sight, and making His sacrifice and death a trivial thing. He took our “arrest warrant” away, nailing it to His torture stake and He took our sins away – the sins we had committed up to the point at which we honored His sacrifice by dying with Him through immersion in His name. Baptism is the witness to accepting His payment for our sins. And having disarmed the powers and authorities, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the torture stake (Col. 2:15).

On Self-Made Religion and Ascetism
   Therefore let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink, or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath. These are a shadow of the things to come, but the substance belongs to Messiah. Let no one disqualify you, insisting on asceticism and worship of angels, going on in detail about visions, puffed up without reason by his sensuous mind, and not holding fast to the Head, from whom the whole body, nourished and knit together through its joints and ligaments, grows with a growth that is from Yahweh. If with Messiah you died to the elemental spirits of the world, why, as if you were still alive in the world, do you submit to regulations – “Do not handle, Do not taste, Do not touch” (referring to things that all perish as they are used)—according to human precepts and teachings? These have indeed an appearance of wisdom in promoting self-made religion and asceticism and severity to the body, but they are of no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh, Colossians 2:16-23. 
  Verses 20 through 23 are used by some to destroy the Word of Yahweh and establish false traditions. For they interpret these verses to imply that Paul is encouraging believers to ignore the Word of Yahweh.
  But he is not encouraging believers to ignore the Word of Yahweh. He is chastising them who follow “human precepts and teachings.” He is chastising Pharisaical laws that prevent believers from obeying the Law of Yahweh and the apostate contemporary Pharisees of today who would teach the precepts of man that are contrary to the Law of Yahweh; who bewitch their followers with damnable heresies (2 Pet. 2:1), doctrines of demons, and lies in hypocrisy (1 Tim. 4:1, 2); who deny the Sovereign One Who bought them with the price of His innocent blood by “promoting self-made religion and ascetism” in an effort to maintain their status, and their pulpits. But for sure, if they speak not according to His Word, it will be because there is no Light in them (Isa. 8:20).
  For Yahweh will be worshipped, His way – in Spirit and in Truth (John 4:24). “Self-made religion” – or in other renderings, “will-worship” G.1479, ethelothreskeia (eth-el-oth-race-ki’-ah) and defined as, voluntary (arbitrary and unwarranted) signifies a mode of worship which a man chooses for himself, independent of the revelation which Yahweh has given … a worship founded in the will or caprices of man, and not in the wisdom or will of the Sovereign One. Yahweh will be served in His own way. It is right that He should prescribe to man the Truths which He is to believe, and the ordinances which He is to use. To refuse to receive His teaching in order to prefer his own fancies, is to light a farthing candle as a substitute for the noonday sun.

   From the beginning of the world, the Creator has prescribed worship best pleasing to Himself, and never left it a matter to the whim of man. They to whom is wanting a revelation of what Yahweh has given, show by their diversity of worship, superstition, absurdity, and in many cases cruelty, what the state of the whole would have been, had not He, in His infinite mercy, blessed mankind with a revelation of His will. See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Messiah, Colossians 2:8. 

-A collaborative work of Elders John Fisher (deceased) and John W. Reece

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