BRING TWO LOAVES OF BREAD…There are two loaves of bread, side by side, on the offering table to the Lord. This unusual offering was appointed for this time of the year for God’s chosen people. Since both loaves are leavened, they appear to be spiritually significant as sinful types of mankind. But this is a heavenly offering...
We are all at the feet of Jesus on this one, as our “Rabboni” instructs us on “heavenly” leaven through one of His shortest parables. “The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed into about sixty pounds of flour until it worked all through the dough.” The Parable of the Leaven, repeated in Luke 13:20–21, immediately follows the Parable of the Mustard Seed. Both share the spiritual theme of the Kingdom of God growing from small, even microscopic beginnings to incredible spiritual size and dimension in its fulfillment.
Why two loaves of leavened bread? 3500 years ago, on Mount Sinai, God’s Spirit descended on Israel in fire and thunder or “kolot”, which means voices or languages, when the nation covenanted with Him by accepting the Ten Commandments. At the same time of the year 2000 years ago, on Mount Zion at Pentecost, fiery tongues of the Holy Spirit enabled individual Jews and Gentiles who covenanted with God through His Son, Jesus Christ, to speak and understand other languages.
“On the first day of the third month after the Israelites left Egypt—on that very day—they came to the Desert of Sinai.” Exodus 19:1 tells us the Israelites arrived approximately 44-45 days after the Exodus, which occurred on the fifteenth day of the first month (Numbers 33:3). Further timing in the chapter points to additional days before God thunderously spoke His covenant to His chosen people, putting us approximately 49-50 days from the beginning of their Exodus.
God’s Holy Days had not yet been appointed when the Ten Commandments were given on Sinai, but for millennia, Jews have celebrated this timing, calling it “Shavuot” which means “weeks”, and counting it to occur at the end of the 7-week harvest period, the early harvest, sometimes also referred to as the Feast of Weeks. Since the Hebrew calendar is appointed, and no longer tied to the observation of the new moon, they will observe Shavuot beginning sundown June 4 to nightfall June 6. The observed new moon marks the count on our 2022 Gregorian calendar to sometime between sundown June 5 to nightfall June 7.
The beginning counting of Weeks in the New Testament was initiated by Jesus when He was raised from the dead, “the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep” (1 Corinthians 15:20) The gifting of the Holy Spirit to Christians 50 days later, known as Pentecost, empowered His followers to not only keep God’s Commandments, but to understand them in different languages, enabling them to teach them to ALL nations, greatly increasing their numbers and influence.
“When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.”—Acts 2:1-4
The Almighty expressed Himself succinctly in His instructions on the offering He desired on this ancient appointed and anointed date. “‘From the day after the Sabbath, the day you brought the sheaf of the wave offering, count off seven full weeks. Count off fifty days up to the day after the seventh Sabbath, and then present an offering of new grain to the Lord. From wherever you live, bring two loaves made of two-tenths of an ephah of the finest flour, baked with yeast, as a wave offering of firstfruits to the Lord. Present with this bread seven male lambs, each a year old and without defect, one young bull and two rams. They will be a burnt offering to the Lord, together with their grain offerings and drink offerings—a food offering, an aroma pleasing to the Lord. Then sacrifice one male goat for a sin offering and two lambs, each a year old, for a fellowship offering. The priest is to wave the two lambs before the Lord as a wave offering, together with the bread of the firstfruits. They are a sacred offering to the Lord for the priest. On that same day you are to proclaim a sacred assembly and do no regular work. This is to be a lasting ordinance for the generations to come, wherever you live.” Leviticus 23:15-22
Viewed through different eyes, and known by different names, this appointed time, birthed in the spoken and written Word of the Almighty on Mount Sinai, was exponentially enlarged and equipped through His Word Incarnate on Mount Zion, destined to reach the ends of the earth as Jesus prophesied in Matthew 24:14. “This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come.”
When Jesus was asked what the greatest commandment was, He replied, as He stood on Mount Zion, “The most important one…is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.' The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no commandment greater than these." Mark 2:29-31
Indeed, if one consolidates the Ten Commandments given in Deuteronomy 5 into the first 4 being about our relationship with God, and the last 6 being about our relationship with our neighbor, we have exactly the Words of Jesus.
Listen now to the identical words of the Almighty shortly after Israel was reminded of Him speaking the Ten Commandments in thunder to them on Mount Sinai: “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts.” Deuteronomy 6:4-6
Jesus was the plan all along. And He has been spiritually right beside us all this time, even during the Exodus. “For I do not want you to be ignorant of the fact, brothers, that our forefathers were all under the cloud and that they all passed through the sea. They were all baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea. They all ate the same spiritual food and drank the same spiritual drink; for they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that rock was Christ.” 1 Corinthians 10:1-2
We close today's lesson with these powerful words about Jesus. “For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall, by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, so that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace, and might reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross, by it having put to death the enmity." Ephesians 2:14-16
BRING TWO LOAVES OF BREAD…