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The Seven Feasts of Jehovah: Unleavened bread

The Second Feast: Unleavened bread
March/April May/June July Aug Sept/Oct Nov Dec Jan Feb
Early rain The long hot Summer Late rain        
Nisan Iyar Sivan Tamuz Ab Elul Tishrei Marches-van Kislev Tevet Shebat Adar
Abib Ziv Sivan Tammuz Av Elul Ethanim Bul Kislev Tebeth Shevat Adar
Passover (14)
Unleavened Bread (15-21)*
Firstfruits (16)
  Feast of Weeks (Pentecost) (6)*       Trumpets (Jewish New Year) (1)
Day of Atonement (10)
Tabernacles (15-21)*
         
*All men had to attend in Jerusalem (Deut 16:16, Ex 23:14)
Some alternative names/spellings for the months of the Hebrew calendar

Introduction

Key Bible Passages

Leviticus 23

4'These are the feasts of the Lord, holy convocations which you shall proclaim at their appointed times. 5On the fourteenth day of the first month at twilight is the Lord's Passover. 6And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the Feast of Unleavened Bread to the Lord; seven days you must eat unleavened bread. 7On the first day you shall have a holy convocation; you shall do no customary work on it. 8But you shall offer an offering made by fire to the Lord for seven days. The seventh day shall be a holy convocation; you shall do no customary work on it.'"

Bible Passages

Exodus chapters 11 and 12, Leviticus 23:6-8, Deuteronomy 16:1-8
2 Chronicles 30, 1 Corinthians 5:7, Ephesians 1:4.

Background

The key to the feast is the absence of leaven: "You shall eat no leavened bread". It is distinct from the preceding and following feasts which were single acts - this feast runs 7 days. The first and last days were holy days - "High Sabbaths", hence the need to bury Jesus before sundown on the 14th day of the month, because the 15th day would be a holy day.

The feast began with Passover with the following 7 days (15th to 21st day of Nisan) constituting the "Feast of Unleavened Bread". All leaven had to be removed from the house, including foods that contained leaven, in a process that became known as nullification. Essentially it was a spring clean, and in fact was the beginning of what "spring cleaning" became. Before midday 14th Nisan (to allow the paschal sacrifice to be slain in the afternoon), a thorough search of the house is done, as a game for children, where deliberate leavened bread crumbs, which are hidden, are found and burnt. All men were required to report to a place appointed by God, which became Jerusalem (Deuteronomy 16:16).

The feast typifies the believers life - sinless - that is holy

The feast is based on a sacrifice (begins at Passover) and states that "no servile work" shall be done, but an offering made with fire offered. A man of God, does no servile work, he is to be holy. Practical holiness is not servile work. Christ is our life, we see the outflow of Christ - it is our life. "The fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ" (Phil 1:11)

Leaven is mentioned 72 times in the bible: it is a picture of sin in every case. The picture which leaven portraits is used by Paul in 1 Corinthians.

Therefore purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened. For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us. 1 Corinthians 5:7 (NKJV).

Here he means sin must be purged from our lives, since we have been born-again and liken to unleavened loaves, without leaven, so we also should be without sin (holy and blameless - Eph 1:4).

Leaven in the Old Testament

Leaven is a used in bread making, and was probably a piece of dough that contained yeast which was kept from a previous baking episode. In the following baking episode the leaven was dissolved in water and added to the flour, or was "hidden" in the flour and kneaded into it[1].

Leaven, or the absence of it played an important part of the rituals of a Jews life, and especially the law.

Leaven was to indicate the presence of sin.

During the Feast of Unleavened Bread, no leaven was to be found in the homes, or indeed the "territory" of Israel (Deut 16:4), because:

  • The haste in which the Israelites left Egypt left no time for waiting for the rising of the bread.
  • Leaven fermented, which indicates corruption, and an uncleanliness, and therefore its lack indicated the nature of a saved person (as all Israel was from Egypt) - they needed to be ceremonially clean.
  • It was to symbolise evil and speak of the offspring of corruption, leaven grows and contaminates the whole loaf, as sin can.

Leaven

  • Not eaten - sin corrupts and severs our relationship with God
  • Not seen - evidence of a Holy life is one seen blameless.
  • Not allowed in houses - keep sin out of our life - don't become yoked to an unbeliever, because he will easily pollute you, etc (See Eph 4:17-24)
    compare with the "open vessel" (Num 19:13)
  • Anger, wrath, malice - Col 3:8, 1 Peter 2:1
  • Filthiness - James 1:21
  • Old habits (old leaven) - 1 Cor 5:7. 5:8)
  • As a little leaven, that is yeast, defuses its influence through the whole loaf, so a little sin will contaminate the whole body, including the church body:

Put away from your selves the evil person (1 Corinthians 5:13), and A little leaven leavens the whole lump (Galatians 5:9).

Leaven can be a concept or idea, a heart attitude, a thought ("he who thinks of murder") that leads to disruption of the fellowship between man and God: a philosophy, deceiving word (see Colossians 2: 8-10). It speaks again of corruption:

Then Jesus said to them, "Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the Sadducees." Matthew 16:6 (NKJV)

Leaven speaks of the flesh and its corruption.

Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; ...Galatians 5:19-21 (NKJV)

Unleavened bread and the feast

The symbol in a week of eating only unleavened bread speaks of a whole life blameless before God, from the day he trusts God to the day God takes him to be with Himself:

Just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, Ephesians 1:4

Being holy goes with being blameless. Both go with a sinless life. John writes "sin not". As Christ was blameless (2 Peter 3:14) so must we lead a holy and blameless life.

My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: 1 John 2:1 (KJV)

The same types are used in Romans:

For if the firstfruit is holy, the lump is also holy; and if the root is holy, so are the branches. Romans 11:16 (NKJV)

Jesus the first fruits (hence represents the sheaf waved in the Feast of First Fruits) was holy, so the foundation, the root into which we are grafted is also holy, it follows that we, the branches, also should be holy. That is our holiness stems from the root from which we grow: where do you get your nourishment? That of the world can only lead to withering and death. The nourishment of Christ leads to strength and eternal life.

It speaks of the communion of the saints

  • The feast of unleavened bread speaks of redemption - it follows Passover and includes the Feast of Firstfuits
  • It speaks of the sustained feeding on Christ required by His saints:

53 Then Jesus said to them, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you. 54 Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. 55 For My flesh is food indeed, and My blood is drink indeed. John 6:53 through John 6:55 (NKJV)

  • It speaks of being holy and separate

17 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, 2 Corinthians 6:17 (KJV)

Conclusion

Christians must actively remove sin or corruption or corrupting influences from their life. The Jews had to actively clean their homes in preparation for this Festival. Paul says "I die daily".

.. He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, "Be holy, for I am holy."1 Peter 1:15-16 (NKJV)

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, Galatians 5:22 (NKJV)

 

[1] New Bible Dictionary, Inter-Vasty, 1982.

David Simon
\Seven feasts of Jehovah\The seven feasts of Jehovah - Unleavened bread
April 2005 (CCC)
Posted November 2007