PASSOVER UNDERSTANDINGS Part Nine(A) THE TRUTH ABOUT 1 COR.5:7,8 The plain truth about certain verses of the Bible have not been the exclusive right of understanding to just the leaders of Sabbath observing Churches of God. Some well known scholars from the Protestant world of Theology have also not only seen certain truths of the Word of the Lord, but have had the courage to proclaim them, write them, and even answer some arguments as they did so. Such is the case with 1 Corinthians 5:7,8. What I am going to give you in this study is from TWO well known scholars and what has become a classic of a work, in their book called THE LIFE AND EPISTLES of ST.PAUL. The two scholars are W.J. Conybeare, M.A. (Late Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge) and J.S. Howson, D.D. (Dean of Chester). The above book is published by Eerdmans Company, Grand Rapids, MI. I do recommend this book to all who want to seriously study the life of the apostle Paul. We shall begin their quote on page 381 as they introduce the First Epistle to the Corinthians. " 1 The date of this Epistle can be fixed with more precision than that of any other. It gives us the means of ascertaining, not merely the year, but even (with great probability) the month and week, in which it was written. (1) Apollos had been working at Corinth, and was now with St.Paul at Ephesus (1 Cor.1:12; 3:4, 22; 4:6; 16:12). This was the case during St. Paul's residence at Ephesus (Acts 19:1). (2) He wrote during THE DAYS OF UNLEAVENED BREAD, i.e. at Easter (1 Cor.5:7; see the note on that passage), and intended to remain at Ephesus till Pentecost (16:8, cf. 15:32)...................." These two scholars could see from 1 Cor.5:7,8 that It was during the Feast of Unleavened Bread that Paul wrote this letter to the church at Corinth. Now we shall pick up their comments for those two above verses in chapter five. All capitalization is mine. " In spite of the opinion of some eminent modern commentators, which is countenanced by Chrysostom, WE MUST ADHERE TO THE INTERPRETATION WHICH CONSIDERS THESE WORDS AS WRITTEN AT THE PASCHAL SEASON, AND SUGGESTED BY IT. The words leaven, lump, Paschal Lamb. and feast all AGREE NATURALLY WITH THIS VIEW. It has been objected, that St. Paul would not address the Corinthians as engaged in a feast which he, at Ephesus, was celebrating; because it would be over before his letter could reach them. Any one who has ever written a birthday letter to a friend in India will see the weakness of this objection. It has also been urged that he would not address a mixed church of Jews and gentiles as engaged in the celebration of a Jewish feast. Those who urge this objection must have forgotten that St. Paul addresses the Galatians (undoubtedly a mixed church) as if they had all been formerly idolaters (Gal.4:8); and addresses the romans, sometimes as if they were all Jews (Rom.7:1), sometimes as if they were Gentiles (Rom.11:18). It we take 'as ye are unleavened' in a METAPHORICAL sense, it is SCARCELY CONSISTENT with the previous 'cast out the old leaven' ; for the passage would then amount to saying. ' Be free from leaven (METAPHORICALLY) as you are free from leaven (METAPHORICALLY)' ; whereas on the other view, St. Paul says, ' Be free from leaven (METAPHORICALLY) as you are free from leaven (LITERALLY).' There seems no difficulty in supposing that the Gentile Christians JOINED WITH the Jewish Christians IN CELEBRATING THE PASCHAL FEAST AFTER THE JEWISH MANNER, AT LEAST TO THE EXTENT OF ABSTAINING FROM LEAVEN IN THE LOVE-FEASTS. AND WE SEE THAT ST. PAUL STILL OBSERVED THE 'DAYS OF UNLEAVENED BREAD' AT THIS PERIOD OF HIS LIFE, FROM ACTS 20:6..............." Do you see the LOGIC and HONEST evaluation of those two verses that these two men of Theology learning, were willing to give and expound on this section a scripture. Verse 8 is an admonition by Paul to effect a correct and righteous attitude of mind and even certain literal church disciplines that needed to be exercised, so the feast they were observing could be kept with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. As Christ was the true Passover Lamb of God, as He had come and given Himself in sacrifice for sins, to put away sin, to free them from the bondage of sin (Egypt) and Pharaoh (Satan), and to lead them out of that bondage into the Promised land of TRUTH and RIGHTEOUSNESS and the KINGDOM (Moses being a type of Christ). Because of all that truth, they were to put away the evil that was as leaven in the bread, that would if not corrected eventually leaven with sin the whole lump of the local church(verses 1-8). Here they were as the people of God, celebrating the Passover and Unleavened Bread feast. They had the Passover memorial service ALL MESSED UP, some getting drunk on the wine, others making a huge meal out of it and not even sharing what they had with those who had nothing, as we see from the correction Paul gave them in chapter 11. And the feast of Unleavened Bread? Well instead of coming out of sin, they were allowing INCEST to take place, and everyone knew it. They were turning a blind eye to it, thinking that they were being KIND and MERCIFUL. Even PROUD about not doing anything in the way of discipline to the unrepentant sinner. Paul lays it on the line with them. He tells them there are some things in the church that they are TO JUDGE. God will judge those outside the church, but those open defiant sinners within the church THEY are to judge, and the leaven was to be put away. They were to observe the feast by putting open wickedness within the congregation away, and "Therefore LET US KEEP THE FEAST........WITH THE UNLEAVENED BREAD OF SINCERITY AND TRUTH." Those last words we shall look at in detail next time. .......................