These are the Lord’s appointed times, holy assemblies, which you must proclaim at their appointed time. Leviticus 23:4
Historical Background of the Feast of Unleavened Bread
The Hebrew name for this feast is Hag Hamatzot (Hawg Hah-MAHT-zot), which means “the feast of unleavened bread,” emphasizing the necessity of leaven’s absence. (2)
The Feast of Unleavened Bread is one of the three pilgrimage feasts when all Jewish males were required to go to Jerusalem to “appear before the Lord” (7)
Three times a year all your males must appear before the Lord your God in the place he chooses for the Festival of Unleavened Bread, the Festival of Weeks, and the Festival of Temporary Shelters; and they must not appear before him empty-handed. (Deuteronomy 16:16 NET)
Three annual Pilgrimage Feasts that all males had to attend:
- Festival of Unleavened Bread
- Festival of Weeks
- Festival of Tabernacles
To commemorate that Israel departed from Egypt in the month of the Abib (1), Israel was instructed to bring the Passover (1) sacrifice and celebrate the Feast of Unleavened Bread (Chag HaMatzot) at this time of year. (5)
“Three times a year you shall celebrate a feast to Me. “You shall keep the Feast of Unleavened Bread; for seven days you are to eat unleavened bread, as I commanded you, at the appointed time in the month Abib, for in it you came out of Egypt. And none shall appear before Me empty-handed. “Also you shall keep the Feast of the Harvest of the first fruits of your labors from what you sow in the field; also the Feast of the Ingathering at the end of the year when you gather in the fruit of your labors from the field. “Three times a year all your males shall appear before the Lord Yahweh. (Exodus 23:14–17 NET)
You are to observe the Feast of Unleavened Bread; seven days you must eat bread made without yeast, as I commanded you, at the appointed time of the month of Abib, for at that time you came out of Egypt. No one may appear before me empty-handed. (Exodus 23:15 NET)
“You must keep the Feast of Unleavened Bread. For seven days you must eat bread made without yeast, as I commanded you; do this at the appointed time of the month Abib, for in the month Abib you came out of Egypt. (Exodus 34:18 NET)
The Feast of Unleavened Bread was celebrated the day after Passover, which was on the 14th of Nisan, and lasted from the 15th to the 21st in the Hebrew month of Nisan (1). This is in the spring months of March-April on the Gentile calendar. (2)
Then on the fifteenth day of the same month will be the festival of unleavened bread to the Lord; seven days you must eat unleavened bread. On the first day there will be a holy assembly for you; you must not do any regular work. You must present a gift to the Lord for seven days, and the seventh day is a holy assembly; you must not do any regular work.’ ” (Leviticus 23:6–8 NET)
Note from this Scripture that the first and last days of this feast (the 15th and 21st Nisan) are High Sabbath days. These days, the people were to cease their labors and spend time meditating on God and His greatness and goodness. Passover, the 14th of Nisan, was the Preparation Day for the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread on the 15th of Nisan. (2)
The Feast of Unleavened Bread Observed for the First Time in the Old Covenant (circa 1446 B.C.) (19)
In the four hundred and eightieth year after the Israelites left Egypt, in the fourth year of Solomon’s reign over Israel, during the month Ziv (the second month), he began building the LORD’s temple. (1 Kings 6:1 NET)
King Solomon ruled over Israel from 971 to 931 B.C. The fourth year of his reign would have been 966 B.C. Since the Exodus took place 480 years earlier:
(480+966) = 1446 B.C.
When God delivered the Hebrews from Egypt, He brought them out with such haste that they did not have time to bake their bread, which would have normally included leaven. Over time, leaven became symbolic of the Hebrew’s old life of bondage in Egypt under Pharaoh and the Egyptian’s world system, which was contrary to God. Unleavened bread symbolized their putting off this old life as they came out of Egypt. (2)
Moses said to the people, “Remember this day on which you came out from Egypt, from the place where you were enslaved, for the Lord brought you out of there with a mighty hand—and no bread made with yeast may be eaten. On this day, in the month of Abib, you are going out. (Exodus 13:3,4 NET)
It is not clear that the Feast of Unleavened Bread was celebrated for Seven Days. However, the Israelites did make bread without yeast on the way out of Egypt.
The Egyptians were urging the people on, in order to send them out of the land quickly, for they were saying, “We are all dead!” So the people took their dough before the yeast was added, with their kneading troughs bound up in their clothing on their shoulders... They baked cakes of bread without yeast using the dough they had brought from Egypt, for it was made without yeast—because they were thrust out of Egypt and were not able to delay, they could not prepare food for themselves either. (Exodus 12:33,34,39 NET)
Again, God instructed the Hebrews to keep the Feast of Unleavened Bread as a memorial to their separation from Egypt. Leavened bread was not eaten at Passover on the 14th of Nisan or the following seven days, as is stated in the book of Exodus:
Moses said to the people, “Remember this day on which you came out from Egypt, from the place where you were enslaved, for the Lord brought you out of there with a mighty hand—and no bread made with yeast may be eaten. On this day, in the month of Abib, you are going out. When the Lord brings you to the land of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Hivites, and Jebusites, which he swore to your fathers to give you, a land flowing with milk and honey, then you will keep this ceremony in this month. For seven days you must eat bread made without yeast, and on the seventh day there is to be a festival to the Lord. Bread made without yeast must be eaten for seven days; no bread made with yeast shall be seen among you, and you must have no yeast among you within any of your borders. (Exodus 13:3–7 NET)
There are eight unique features of the Feast of Unleavened Bread:
- On the first day (Nisan 15), all yeast or leaven must be put away from their dwellings (Exodus 12:15). Since the Feast of Unleavened Bread followed Passover on Nisan 14, bread without yeast was put away from their dwelling for a total of eight days.
- For the Seven Days, no yeast must be in their dwellings (Exodus 12:19). The utensils must never have touched leaven. (7) This interrupts the normal leavening process of using a lump from an old loaf as yeast when baking new bread. Therefore, new leaven must be cultivated for their bread after the Feast of Unleavened Bread concludes.
- On the first day, there is to be a holy convocation (Exodus 12:16. Numbers 28:18))
- On the last day, there is to be a holy convocation (Exodus 12:16)
- Preparation of meals is allowed on the first and last days but is the only work permitted in contrast with a weekly Sabbath where no work was permitted (Exodus 12:16).
- For Seven Days, bread without yeast will be made and eaten from Nisan 15 until Nisan 21. (Exodus 12:15,18. Numbers 28:17). Since the Feast of Unleavened Bread followed Passover on Nisan 14, bread without yeast was eaten for eight days from Nisan 14, until Nisan 21.
- Nothing containing yeast could be eaten by a native-born or foreigner under the penalty of being cut off from the community of Israel (Exodus 12:19,20)
- They were free to eat anything without yeast, which was also allowable under the Mosiac Law.
The animal to be sacrificed had to have the following four general characteristics. The animal had to be:
- ceremonially clean,
- utilitarian, meaning “usable for food” or sustenance,
- domesticated (i.e., those that obeyed their master’s will and more or less were endeared to the offerer), and
- types of animal sacrifices (see “Sacrifices and Offerings of the Old Covenant” table immediately below)
In addition, the animal to be sacrificed had to meet the following three criteria:
- Condition – perfect without spot, blemish, disease, or deformity (cf. Malachi 1:8)
- Gender – Male (20) and
- Age – generally, the lamb or kid had to be one year old [i.e., a lamb or kid at the peak of life and health]. Sometimes, it could be as young as eight days old (Leviticus 22:27) or as old as three years (Genesis 15:9). The bull and ram could also be as young as eight days (Leviticus 22:27) or as old as three years (Genesis 15:9). (2)
There were Five Sequential Steps for Preparation of the Feast of Unleavened Bread:
- Before the Feasts of Passover and Unleavened Bread could be celebrated, all the leaven (i.e., yeast) was to be removed from the Hebrew’s houses and thrown away. (Exodus 12:15,16).
- This required a great amount of spring housecleaning. Everything in the house was thoroughly washed, scrubbed, and cleaned. This included the walls, ceilings, floors, furniture, cabinets, etc. The cooking ware was boiled in water, and special utensils not contaminated with leaven were used. (3)
- Once the cleaning was complete, the family would participate in a ceremony called the “search for the leaven.” After dark, the head of the house would take a lighted candle (cf. Zephaniah 1:12) and diligently search through every nook and cranny of the house, looking for any hidden leaven. If he found any, he would immediately remove it from the house. (3)
- The absence of yeast suggested that those who were under the safety of shed blood were free from the corruption of sin before a Holy God. If anyone ate anything with yeast in those feast days, he would be cut off from Israel (Exodus 12:19). That is, they would be excluded from the camp separated from covenant rights and privileges, possibly resulting in death. (8)
- We can clearly see from this feast that its purpose was and still is today, a reminder to the Jewish people that God called them out of Egypt to be a separate people unto Himself. It was a permanent memorial of their deliverance from Egypt and the bondage, oppression, sorrow, and suffering that was part of their old life. (3)
The Second Recorded Passover Observation in the Old Covenant (circa 1445 B.C.) (19)
The Israelites observed Passover one year after leaving Egypt while under the leadership of Moses. However, there is no indication that the Feast of Unleavened Bread was celebrated. (Numbers 9:1–5 NET)
The Unleavened Bread Feast Requirements are Modified (circa 1407 B.C.) (6)
Initially, Passover was a local observance centered on the nuclear family and their home. However, since Passover became a pilgrimage festival centered on the Tabernacle (or later the Temple), it was merged with the Feast of Unleavened Bread, which was already a pilgrimage festival. That is, two separate yet contiguous feasts are now clarified to be a combined pilgrimage Feast. (12) Consequently, the two were treated together as a single commemoration, with the result that either festival name could designate the entire eight days.
The provision for preparing meals on the last day was rescinded. Consequently, the last day is treated as a weekly Sabbath with no work, including no preparing meals, which was formerly permitted. (Deuteronomy 16:1-8)
The Third Recorded Passover Observation in the Old Covenant (circa 1406 B.C.) (6)
Israel observed the Passover on Nisan 14 after entering the Promised land under the leadership of Joshua. However, it is not clear that the Feast of Unleavened Bread was celebrated for seven days at this time. (Joshua 5:10–12)
Now the Israelites ate manna forty years, until they came to a land that was inhabited; they ate manna until they came to the border of the land of Canaan. (Now an omer is one tenth of an ephah.) (Exodus 16:35–36 NET) (cf. Psalms 95:10)
Israel observed the Passover on Nisan 14 after entering the Promised land Nisan 10 under Joshua’s leadership after wandering forty years in the wilderness.
1446 B.C. – 40 years = 1406 B.C.
So the Israelites camped in Gilgal and celebrated the Passover in the evening of the fourteenth day of the month on the plains of Jericho. They ate some of the produce of the land the day after the Passover, including unleavened bread and roasted grain. The manna stopped appearing the day they ate some of the produce of the land; the Israelites never ate manna again. (Joshua 5:10–12 NET)
It was after this Passover, when they ate of the produce of the Promised Land on Nisan 15, the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, that the manna stopped appearing.
The Fourth Recorded Passover-Unleavened Bread Festival Observation in the Old Covenant (circa 1045 – 1035 B.C) (6)
There is indirect evidence that Passovers were observed under the leadership of the Prophet, Priest, and Judge Samuel (1 Samuel 7:6; 7:15-17. Acts 13:20). Samuel is believed to have lived from 1075 – 1035 B.C. (6). There is no clear indication that the Feast of Unleavened Bread was celebrated. However, it may have been held since the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread were combined. (2 Chronicles 35:17–18. 2 Kings 23:21–22)
Furthermore, there is evidence that the Feast of Unleavened Bread was generally held under King Solomon. (2 Chronicles 8:12-14)
The Fifth Recorded Passover-Unleavened Bread Festival Observation in the Old Covenant (circa 715 B.C.) (6)
Israel observed the Passover on the 14th of the month of Iyyar (1) under the leadership of King Hezekiah. The Passover was celebrated in the second month instead of the first month. which apparently was based on the allowance for having Passover in the second month was considered precedence. However, that exception was only made for observing Passover in the second month and not the Feast of Unleavened Bread and was specifically for those that were ceremonially unclean having touched the dead body of a man. (Numbers 9:6-12). Nevertheless, the people, the temple, and the priests were either not sanctified in time to observe it in the first month and they were not yet assembled (2 Chronicles 30:3). This is because Hezekiah’s reforms had begun in the first month, and the Israelites did not finish cleaning the temple until the 16th day of the first month (2 Chronicles 29:17,18). (3)
Noteworthy is that this festival combines the Feast of Unleavened Bread and Passover since the account begins stating they held “the Feast of Unleavened Bread in the second month” (2 Chronicles 30:13). The narrative does little to describe how the Passover was observed since the only detail it reports is the slaughter of the Passover lamb on the 14th. However, the narrative does make it clear that there was confusion over how to celebrate the Passover. That is, some of the Israelites had not properly consecrated themselves and so were still unclean when they ate the sacrifice. These people did not eat “as it was written” (ככתוב, kktwb), suggesting there were written instructions that were not widely known. Hezekiah prayed for God to accept those whose hearts were in the right place in seeking God, even if they had outwardly failed to complete the proper purification, perhaps in ignorance. (12) Furthermore, the Unleavened Bread Feast was such a wonderful festival of praise, that they continued it for seven more days. (4) (2 Chronicles 30:1–31:1 NET)
The Sixth Recorded Passover-Unleavened Bread Festival Observation in the Old Covenant (circa 640 B.C.) (6)
Israel observed the Passover on the 14th of the month of Nisan (1), immediately followed by the Feast of Unleavened Bread from the 15th until the 21st, under the leadership of King Josiah. King Josiah and his officials donated many animals to provide Passover sacrifices for all the people. The mix of animals for sacrifice included sheep, lambs, young goats, and bulls. (2 Chronicles 35:1–19 NET)
The people kept the Passover and then observed the Feast of Unleavened Bread. The narrator ends by praising Josiah’s Passover, noting, “there was no Passover like it kept in Israel since the days of Samuel the prophet.” (2 Kings 23:21–23 NET)
Note the apparent contradiction in the preceding verses. King Hezekiah of Judah had observed a Passover in approximately 715 B.C. (discussed previously in this article); however, this passage states that the one under Josiah was the first Passover during the kings of Israel. The solution to this apparent contradiction is found in the words “a Passover like this” meaning in strict compliance with the scriptural protocol. Again, Josiah’s Passover was observed strictly by the scriptural guidance juxtaposed to Hezekiah’s Passover, which was:
- Conducted in the second month as allowed for those unclean due to touching a dead body or traveling and out of the area, which was not the case in this situation,
- The Levites had to offer sacrifices for the unclean Israelites instead of the male head of the household,
- Unclean Israelites partook of the Passover meal, and
- Not all Israelites partook of the Passover meal.
While our God is full of grace, mercy, and compassion, there are always consequences to violations of His word. However, God will rescue us in and from the consequences and restore us as we turn to Him in repentance.
Judah was in Babylonian exile for 70 years (circa 586 B.C. – 516 B.C.)
The date of 586 B.C. is when the First Temple (Soloman’s) was destroyed and when the third of four deportations of Judah to Babylon occurred. The date of 516 B.C. is when the Second Temple (Zerubbabel’s) was completed by the first exiles who returned under the leadership of Sheshbazzar. This deportation was due to not observing the Sabbath for the land every seventh year for 490 years. Consequently, God had Judah deported to Babylon to rest the land for the 70 unobserved “Sabbath for the Land” years. (Exodus 23:10,11. Leviticus 25:1-7. Leviticus 26:33-35;26:40-46. 2 Chronicles 36:15-21. Jeremiah 24:6. Jeremiah 25:11,12. Jeremiah 29:10,11. Jeremiah 29:17-19)
“As for those who grieve because they cannot attend the festivals— I took them away from you; they became tribute and were a source of shame to you. (Zephaniah 3:18 NET)
On the tenth day of the fifth month, in the nineteenth year of King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon, Nebuzaradan, the captain of the royal guard who served the king of Babylon, arrived in Jerusalem. He burned down the Lord’s temple, the royal palace, and all the houses in Jerusalem, including every large house. (Jeremiah 52:12–13 NET)
The roads to Zion mourn because no one travels to the festivals. All her city gates are deserted; her priests groan. Her virgins grieve; she is in bitter anguish! (Lamentations 1:4 NET)
He destroyed his temple as if it were a vineyard; he destroyed his appointed meeting place. The Lord has made those in Zion forget both the festivals and the Sabbaths. In his fierce anger he has spurned both king and priest. (Lamentations 2:6 NET)
The Seventh and Last Recorded Passover-Unleavened Bread Festival Observation in the Old Covenant (circa 516 B.C.) (6)
The last mention of a Passover observance in the Old Testament is the celebration of Passover that followed the dedication of the Second Temple (Zerubbabel’s) after the Jews returned from exile in Babylon (Ezra 6:19–22). (12)
The First Recorded Passover Observation in the New Covenant (circa 7 A.D.) (6)
Now Jesus’ parents went to Jerusalem every year for the feast of the Passover. When he was twelve years old, they went up according to custom. But when the feast was over, as they were returning home, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem. His parents did not know it, but (because they assumed that he was in their group of travelers) they went a day’s journey. Then they began to look for him among their relatives and acquaintances. When they did not find him, they returned to Jerusalem to look for him. After three days they found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. And all who heard Jesus were astonished at his understanding and his answers. When his parents saw him, they were overwhelmed. His mother said to him, “Child, why have you treated us like this? Look, your father and I have been looking for you anxiously.”But he replied, “Why were you looking for me? Didn’t you know that I must be in my Father’s house?” (Luke 2:41–49 NET)
The Second Recorded Passover Observation in the New Covenant and First Temple Cleansing (circa 28 A.D.) (6)
During this visit to Jerusalem, Jesus performed the first of three Temple cleansings on or immediately before Passover on Nisan 14, 3788 (March 27, 28 A.D.). Realize each Temple cleansing occurred on or immediately before Passover.
After this he went down to Capernaum with his mother and brothers and his disciples, and they stayed there a few days. Now the Jewish feast of Passover was near, so Jesus went up to Jerusalem. He found in the temple courts those who were selling oxen and sheep and doves, and the money changers sitting at tables. So he made a whip of cords and drove them all out of the temple courts, with the sheep and the oxen. He scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. To those who sold the doves he said, “Take these things away from here! Do not make my Father’s house a marketplace!” His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for your house will devour me.” (John 2:13-17
This Temple cleansing occurred very early in the public ministry of Jesus, as evidenced by the Jewish leaders mentioning forty-six years of temple construction.
So then the Jewish leaders responded, “What sign can you show us, since you are doing these things? ”Jesus replied, “Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up again.” Then the Jewish leaders said to him, “This temple has been under construction for forty-six years, and are you going to raise it up in three days?” But Jesus was speaking about the temple of his body. So after he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this, and they believed the scripture and the saying that Jesus had spoken. (John 2:18–22 NET)
“Herod the Great, also called Herod I, became king in 37 bc and ruled until his death in 4 bc. He was about 73 years old at the time when Jesus was born, and it was Herod who ordered the massacre of the children of Bethlehem.” (55)
According to Josephus (Ant. 15.11.1 [15.380]), work on this temple was begun in the 18th year of Herod the Great’s reign, which would have been ca. 19 b.c.. (53)
37 B.C. – 18 years = 19 B.C.
“[Book 15, Chapter 11] 1. (380) And now Herod, in the eighteenth year of his reign, and after the acts already mentioned, undertook a very great work, that is, to build of himself the temple of God,” (54)
46 years – 19 B.C. + 1 (offset for no year zero) = 28 A.D.
Now while Jesus was in Jerusalem at the feast of the Passover, many people believed in his name because they saw the miraculous signs he was doing. But Jesus would not entrust himself to them, because he knew all people. He did not need anyone to testify about man, for he knew what was in man. (John 2:23–25 NET)
His time for crucifixion was not yet; Jesus did not entrust Himself to them but spoke enigmatically about His crucifixion, death, burial, and resurrection, then exited the temple area.
The third Recorded Passover Observation in the New Covenant (circa 29 A.D.) (6)
And it came to pass, on the second-first sabbath, as he is going through the corn fields, that his disciples were plucking the ears, and were eating, rubbing with the hands, (Luke 6:1 YLT)
The “second-first sabbath” has been a subject of much debate over the centuries as this Greek word is only used in this passage of the New Covenant. However, one interpretation is that this word refers to the Weekly Sabbath after the Nisan 15th High Sabbath of the Feast of Unleavened Bread. This weekly Sabbath was when the Firstfruits of Barley were harvested for presentation on the following Sunday. (57)
The presentation of the Firstfruits of Barley stars the “Counting of the Omer” to 50 days, or 7 weeks plus one day, to the Feast of Weeks or Pentecost, where the Firstfruits of the wheat harvest are presented.
Don’t you say, ‘There are four more months and then comes the harvest?’ I tell you, look up and see that the fields are already white for harvest! (John 4:35 NET)
As regards the period of “four months, it appears that the Jews divided the agricultural year into six periods of two months, the first four being “seed-time” “winter,” “winter-solstice,” “harvest.” It might therefore be common for farmers and laborers at the conclusion of “seed-time,” to say “Yet four months [i.e. winter and winter-solstice] and the harvest cometh,” and from agriculturists, the saying might pass into a proverb inculcating patient expectation.” (58)
Since the time for the presentation of the Firstfruits of the Barley was met, this meant the Barley Harvest was ready to be harvested, so there was no need to wait expectantly for it. Similarly, since Jesus the Firstfruits was present, the harvest of souls was ready, and there was no need to continue to wait expectantly for the Messiah, “the who would tell us everything” (John 4:25,26).
After this there was a Jewish feast, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. (John 5:1 NET)
This would be the Pilgrimage Feast of Weeks or Pentecost 50 days following the Sunday of the Firstfruits of Barley Presentation.
The Fourth Recorded Passover Observation in the New Covenant (circa 30 A.D.) (6)
A large crowd was following him because they were observing the miraculous signs he was performing on the sick. So Jesus went on up the mountainside and sat down there with his disciples. (Now the Jewish feast of the Passover was near.) Then Jesus, when he looked up and saw that a large crowd was coming to him, said to Philip, “Where can we buy bread so that these people may eat?” (Now Jesus said this to test him, for he knew what he was going to do.) (John 6:2–6 NET)
The Fifth Recorded Passover Observation in the New Covenant (circa 31 A.D.) (6)
Now the Jewish feast of Passover was near, and many people went up to Jerusalem from the rural areas before the Passover to cleanse themselves ritually. Thus they were looking for Jesus, and saying to one another as they stood in the temple courts, “What do you think? That he won’t come to the feast?” (Now the chief priests and the Pharisees had given orders that anyone who knew where Jesus was should report it, so that they could arrest him.) (John 11:55–57 NET)
Additionally, the feast of Unleavened Bread is mentioned in Mark 14:1 and records Jesus’ observance of this feast. (2)
Two days before the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the chief priests and the experts in the law were trying to find a way to arrest Jesus by stealth and kill him. For they said, “Not during the feast, so there won’t be a riot among the people.” (Mark 14:1–2 NET)
Now on the first day of the feast of Unleavened Bread, when the Passover lamb is sacrificed, Jesus’ disciples said to him, “Where do you want us to prepare for you to eat the Passover?” (Mark 14:12 NET)(cf. Matthew 26:17. Luke 22:1,7)
God the Father sent Joseph to Supply Physical Bread to Save the World from Physical Death Approximately 2000 years Earlier (Circa 1899 B.C.)
Joseph is the beloved son (Genesis 37:3) (15)
Joseph was given a special name (Genesis 37:2), meaning: may God add; he shall add; increasing; (14) abundance; a multiplier (15)
Joseph testified against the world that its deeds are evil (Genesis 37:2)
Joseph was given special recognition by his father (Genesis 37:3)
Joseph told his brethren of His future dominion, and he and his Father were hated for it by them; in their arrogance, they did not desire his leadership (Genesis 37:4-11)
Joseph was sent by His Father on behalf of his brethren and went to them willingly (Genesis 37:13,14)
Joseph’s brethren, the ones He was sent on behalf of, conspired to have him killed (Genesis 37:18)
Joseph was stripped out of his seamless robe. (Genesis 37:23)
Joseph was cast into a pit (Genesis 37:24)
Joseph was sold into captivity in exchange for pieces of silver (Genesis 37:28)
Joseph was slain (in his father’s eyes) as evidenced by blood (Genesis 37:31-33)
Joseph is exalted (Genesis 41:38-44)
Joseph is given a new name (Genesis 41:45): Zaphnathpaaneah [Zaphnath-Paneah] (zaf’-nath-pa-a-ne’-ah) = Savior of the age; Savior of the world; giver of the nourishment of life; prince of the life of the age; revealer of a secret. (17)
Joseph is given a Gentile bride (Genesis 41:45)
Joseph provides bread without measure for the dying world (Genesis 41:49. Genesis 41:55-57)
The Sixth Passover-Feast of Unleavened Bread Observed in the New Covenant (circa 44 A.D.) (6)
Although Jesus fulfilled the Passover through His death, burial, and resurrection, the Jews will continue to observe it until Jerusalem and its Temple are destroyed in 70 A.D.
About that time King Herod laid hands on some from the church to harm them. He had James, the brother of John, executed with a sword. When he saw that this pleased the Jews, he proceeded to arrest Peter too. (This took place during the feast of Unleavened Bread.) When he had seized him, he put him in prison, handing him over to four squads of soldiers to guard him. Herod planned to bring him out for public trial after the Passover. (Acts 12:1–4 NET)
The Seventh Passover-Feast of Unleavened Bread Observed in the New Covenant (circa 54 A.D.) (6)
Paul was accompanied by Sopater son of Pyrrhus from Berea, Aristarchus and Secundus from Thessalonica, Gaius from Derbe, and Timothy, as well as Tychicus and Trophimus from the province of Asia. These had gone on ahead and were waiting for us in Troas. We sailed away from Philippi after the days of Unleavened Bread, and within five days we came to the others in Troas, where we stayed for seven days. (Acts 20:4–6 NET)
Typological Meaning of the Feast of Unleavened Bread
The Feast of Unleavened Bread teaches the concept of being in fellowship with the Lord. The Lord has always sought to fellowship with us rather than vice versa. It all became quite evident from the very beginning with Adam in the Garden of Eden from the events that took place right after the first couple sinned: (13)
Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God moving about in the orchard at the breezy time of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the orchard. But the Lord God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?” (Genesis 3:8,9 NET)
We see that God was the one who was seeking fellowship. Later in history, we learn that the Lord was still seeking the fellowship of mankind when He was encouraging the Jews to hurry up and finish the building of the temple. The first thing God said through the prophet Zechariah was: (13)
Therefore say to the people: The Lord who rules over all says, “Turn to me,” says the Lord who rules over all, “and I will turn to you,” says the Lord who rules over all. (Zechariah 1:3 NET)
He was saying, in effect, “Hurry up, for I am moving into the neighborhood to have fellowship with you!” (13)
As we’ve learned, the Hebrews were to keep this feast with unleavened bread. In later times, the rabbis added the rule that food could only be eaten during this feast if the food was cooked before the leavening process even began. It was determined that it took 18 minutes from the time the wheat is mixed with water until the time the yeast in the wheat began to ferment. (3)
The baking of the Passover matzah requires close supervision to meet the rigid requirements of the rabbis. Anyone who has eaten this specially prepared unleavened “bread of affliction” can’t help but notice that it is bruised, striped, and pierced. The connection to Jesus is evident. (3)
Jesus fulfilled this feast as the “Bread of Life” from Heaven, who had no leaven (sin) in Him. Because of leaven’s fermenting and permeating nature, it is often used as a metaphor for sin. There was no leaven of sin in Jesus. (3)
God made the one who did not know sin to be sin for us, so that in him we would become the righteousness of God. (2 Corinthians 5:21 NET)
And you know that Jesus was revealed to take away sins, and in him there is no sin. (1 John 3:5 NET)
The prophet Isaiah gave us a preview of the Messiah, who would be smitten, bruised, and pierced for our sins.
But he lifted up our illnesses, he carried our pain; even though we thought he was being punished, attacked by God, and afflicted for something he had done. He was wounded because of our rebellious deeds, crushed because of our sins; he endured punishment that made us well; because of his wounds we have been healed. (Isaiah 53:4–5 NET)
He was led away after an unjust trial— but who even cared? Indeed, he was cut off from the land of the living; because of the rebellion of his own people he was wounded. They intended to bury him with criminals, but he ended up in a rich man’s tomb, because he had committed no violent deeds, nor had he spoken deceitfully. Though the Lord desired to crush him and make him ill, once restitution is made, he will see descendants and enjoy long life, and the Lord’s purpose will be accomplished through him. (Isaiah 53:8–10 NET)
Jesus pointed to Himself as the fulfillment of this feast the very week it was being celebrated in Jerusalem. Many Jews had come to Jerusalem to celebrate the feast according to God’s command in Exodus 23:14-17 and Deuteronomy 16:16. (3)
A huge crowd of these pilgrims had heard about Jesus and followed Him wherever He went. But a problem developed. The crowd was hungry, and there was nothing to eat. Jesus took this opportunity to perform a miracle to point the people to Himself as the true bread of life. (3)
Jesus used this opportunity to test His disciples. He asked Philip how they could feed all the hungry people. Philip had no ideas. Then, another disciple, Andrew, brought a young boy to Jesus who had five loaves of barley and two fish. (This was during the barley harvest, and barley was the bread of the poor. The poor lad was willing to give all that he had to Jesus.) This was clearly an inadequate solution to the problem. However, Jesus took the boy’s lunch, blessed His heavenly Father for the food, and then multiplied it so that there was enough to feed 5,000 men, plus the women and children, and have some leftovers. (3)
A large crowd was following him because they were observing the miraculous signs he was performing on the sick. So Jesus went on up the mountainside and sat down there with his disciples. (Now the Jewish feast of the Passover was near.)Then Jesus, when he looked up and saw that a large crowd was coming to him, said to Philip, “Where can we buy bread so that these people may eat?” (Now Jesus said this to test him, for he knew what he was going to do.) Philip replied, “Two hundred silver coins worth of bread would not be enough for them, for each one to get a little.” One of Jesus’ disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said to him, “Here is a boy who has five barley loaves and two fish, but what good are these for so many people?” Jesus said, “Have the people sit down.” (Now there was a lot of grass in that place.) So the men sat down, about five thousand in number. Then Jesus took the loaves, and when he had given thanks, he distributed the bread to those who were seated. He then did the same with the fish, as much as they wanted. When they were all satisfied, Jesus said to his disciples, “Gather up the broken pieces that are left over, so that nothing is wasted.” So they gathered them up and filled twelve baskets with broken pieces from the five barley loaves left over by the people who had eaten. Now when the people saw the miraculous sign that Jesus performed, they began to say to one another, “This is certainly the Prophet who is to come into the world.”Then Jesus, because he knew they were going to come and seize him by force to make him king, withdrew again up the mountainside alone. (John 6:2–15 NET)
Jesus then used this miracle as a sign to tell the people of their need to come to Him as the true bread of God, who would give them eternal life. John was an eyewitness and gave the following account: (3)
Then Jesus told them, “I tell you the solemn truth, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but my Father is giving you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is the one who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” So they said to him, “Sir, give us this bread all the time!” Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. The one who comes to me will never go hungry, and the one who believes in me will never be thirsty. (John 6:32–35 NET)
When the people heard Jesus speak, they murmured against Him. However, Jesus would not back down from His claims. He repeated Himself with great boldness and clarity: (3)
I tell you the solemn truth, the one who believes has eternal life. I am the bread of life. Your ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. This is the bread that has come down from heaven, so that a person may eat from it and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats from this bread he will live forever. The bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.” (John 6:47–51 NET)
The people murmured again and argued among themselves over Jesus’ sayings. Once again, Jesus pressed His point as John recorded: (3)
Jesus said to them, “I tell you the solemn truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in yourselves. The one who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. The one who eats my flesh and drinks my blood resides in me, and I in him. Just as the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so the one who consumes me will live because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven; it is not like the bread your ancestors ate, but then later died. The one who eats this bread will live forever.” (John 6:53–58 NET) (3)
In the Passover article (1), we learned that Jesus was crucified on Wednesday, the 14th of Nisan. We also noted that His body was taken down before six o’clock that evening. (3) Jesus’ body was laid in a tomb after sunset at approximately 7:00 P.M. when the High Sabbath of The Feast of Unleavened Bread was about to begin. The Rabbis called this time twilight, with the sun setting at 6:31 P.M. in Jerusalem at this time of year. The Rabbis would have declared it night in the temple using various factors (e.g., three stars visible). Upon the declaration that it was night, it officially became the Sabbath, which would have been at approximately 7:30 P.M.
(See “Timeline of our Lord’s Passion Week and Feast of Unleavened Bread” immediately below and The Seven Feasts of Israel – Passover (1) for a thorough discussion of this timeline)
Jesus, the unleavened bread of God from Heaven, took on all our leaven of sin and was in the tomb on the same day the Jews had been celebrating the feast for centuries. What the Jews had been portraying in the Feast of Unleavened Bread was a visual aid pointing them to Messiah Jesus, who had come and fulfilled in His flesh the reality pictured by the feast. While the Jewish people were removing the physical leaven from their houses, Jesus removed the spiritual leaven of sin from our house—that is, our life. (3)
Jesus took our leaven of sin in His spirit, our leaven of sorrows in His soul, and our leaven of sickness, disease, and death in His body. He who knew no leaven (sin, sickness, and death) became leaven for us. Our worldly attitudes and sinful ways were buried with Him. The bondage, oppression, sorrow, and suffering that were part of our old life went with Him into the grave. He took the full burden of all the liabilities of our human condition with Him. (3)
Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus were important members of the Jewish Supreme Court (the Sanhedrin and thus were Sadducees). They took Jesus’ body and wrapped it in linen bands with a mixture of myrrh and aloes weighing about 100 pounds. The amount of spices used to anoint the body was a measure of the value of the deceased. Rabbi Gamaliel was a contemporary of Jesus. When he died, his body was anointed with eighty pounds of spices. (3)
Note that Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus rendered themselves ritually unclean by contacting the dead body of Jesus. (Numbers 19:11) This meant they could not partake in the Passover observation on Nisan 14. However, God had already made provision for this circumstance. They could partake in Passover on the 14th of Iyar, which is the next month.
It happened that some men who were ceremonially defiled by the dead body of a man could not keep the Passover on that day, so they came before Moses and before Aaron on that day. And those men said to him, “We are ceremonially defiled by the dead body of a man; why are we kept back from offering the Lord’s offering at its appointed time among the Israelites?” So Moses said to them, “Remain here and I will hear what the Lord will command concerning you.” The Lord spoke to Moses: “Tell the Israelites, ‘If any of you or of your posterity become ceremonially defiled by touching a dead body, or are on a journey far away, then he may observe the Passover to the Lord. They may observe it on the fourteenth day of the second month at twilight; they are to eat it with bread made without yeast and with bitter herbs. They must not leave any of it until morning, nor break any of its bones; they must observe it in accordance with every statute of the Passover. (Numbers 9:6–12 NET)
It was the custom for the body to be washed and straightened and then bandaged tightly from the armpits to the ankles in strips of linen about a foot wide. Aromatic spices, often of a gummy consistency, were placed between the wrappings. They served partially as a preservative and partially as a cement to glue the cloth wrappings into a solid covering. The face was left uncovered, but a cloth was wrapped around the head of the dead body. (3)
Aloe was a fragrant wood that had been pounded or reduced to dust in some other way. The myrrh was an aromatic gum that was mixed with powdered wood. We might think of myrrh as the “first-century superglue.” When mixed together, the dry aloe would stick to the body so that Jesus’ body was embedded in the powdered spice. (3)
The body lay with its face turned upwards and its hands folded on the chest. The face, neck, and upper shoulders were left bare. The head would have rested on a raised portion of the ledge, which was a pillow. Because Jesus’ body was hurriedly prepared for the tomb, there was no time for an elaborate burial. Later, after the weekly Sabbath, the women would come to anoint His face, neck, and shoulders. (3)
Before He was crucified, Jesus was beaten so badly one could hardly recognize Him as a man.
(just as many were horrified by the sight of you) he was so disfigured he no longer looked like a man; (Isaiah 52:14 NET)
He hung on the cross for six hours, bearing the consequences of our sins. Usually, when someone dies a criminal, they receive a criminal’s burial.
They intended to bury him with criminals, but he ended up in a rich man’s tomb, because he had committed no violent deeds, nor had he spoken deceitfully. (Isaiah 53:9 NET)
Jesus the Messiah was executed as a criminal; however, God did not allow His body to be cast outside on the garbage heap. The Messiah was honored in His burial because He was a pure, sinless (without leaven) sacrifice. He died not for His own transgressions (He was innocent) but for ours (we are the guilty). Therefore, God honored the Messian with burial in a rich man’s tomb. The Messiah was buried in the tomb of Joseph of Arimathea (Matthew 27:57-60), a member of the Sanhedrin. This was God’s statement about the innocence of the Messiah. (21)
But there is further significance surrounding the burial of the Messiah in that His body did not return to dust. King David prophesied of the Messiah: “For You will not leave my soul in [the grave], Nor will You allow Your Holy One the Messiah| to see corruption [decayI” (Psalm 16:10). Obviously, King David did not prophesy this of himself. His grave has been a revered site in Jerusalem for almost 3,000 years. David’s body did decay (as has the body of every other person who has died in history), but the Messiah’s body did not. The sons of Adam are sinners under the divine curse: “To dust you shall return” (Genesis 3:19). As a pure, sinless sacrifice, the Messiah was not under the curse to return to dust. (21)
He was wrapped up like a mummy and covered with 100 pounds of spices. Then Joseph rolled a large stone in front of the tomb (see Matthew 27:59-60). Some ancient writings say this stone was so large that it would take at least twenty men to roll it away. Finally, the tomb was secured by stretching a cord across the stone and sealed at each end with a Roman seal. Jesus lay inside with our sins, sorrows, sicknesses, and diseases buried with Him. This is how Jesus fulfilled (was the spiritual reality and human embodiment of) the Feast of Unleavened Bread. (3)
The Messiah came forth from the grave on the third day after He had carried our sins far away (Psalm 103:12; Hebrews 9:26). The Messiah fulfilled the Feast of Unleavened Bread in that He was a pure, sinless (without leaven) sacrifice. God validated this by the Messiah’s burial in a rich man’s tomb. Furthermore, the body of the Messiah was not permitted to decay in the grave (like dough soured by leaven) but was brought forth because He was not a sinner under the curse of death and decay. (21)
While Passover itself was fulfilled by the death of the Messiah, the Feast of Unleavened Bread is fulfilled by the sinlessness of His blood-offering, according to Hebrews 9:11–10:18. In this passage, His offering of sinless blood accomplished three things:
- The cleansing of the heavenly Tabernacle,
- The removal of the sins of the Old Testament saints, and
- The application of the blood to the New Testament saints. (10)
God the Father sent Jesus to Supply Spiritual Bread to Save the World from Spiritual Death
Jesus is the beloved son (Matthew 3:17;17:5) ) (15)
Jesus (Hb., Yeshua) was given a special name (Matthew 1:21), meaning: God is Salvation, Savior (14)
Jesus testified against the world that its deeds are evil (John 7:7)
Jesus was given special recognition by His Father (Matthew 3:16)
Jesus told his brethren of His future dominion, and he and his Father were hated for it by them; in their arrogance, they did not desire his leadership (Matthew 26:64-66. Matthew 27:18. John 1:11. John 15:24. Luke 19:14)
Jesus was sent by His Father on behalf of His brethren and went to them willingly (1 John 4:10. Hebrews 10:9)
Jesus’ brethren, the ones He was sent on behalf of, conspired to have Him killed (Matthew 26:3,4)
Jesus was stripped out of his seamless robe. (Matthew 27:26-29)
Jesus was sold into captivity in exchange for pieces of silver (Matthew 26:14,15)
Jesus was cast into a pit (Matthew 12:39,40. Acts 2:24-28. Romans 10:7,8)
Jesus was slain as evidenced by blood (John 19:33,34)
Jesus is exalted (Acts 5:31. Hebrews 1:1-12. 1 Peter 3:21,22)
Jesus is given a new name (Ephesians 1:20,21. Philippians 2:9-11. Revelation 19:12)
Jesus is given a Gentile (and Jewish) Bride (Ephesians 5:23-25)
Jesus provides bread without measure for the dying world (John 6:35,48,51. Acts 4:12)
Application of the Feast of Unleavened Bread
The Feast of Unleavened Bread teaches about our burial with Jesus. This indicates we should live a life of separation from the attitudes and ways of the world. This involves our putting off the old man of sin, characterized by the works of the flesh. (3)
Believers are to live a sin-free life to maintain fellowship with God. This is done through the continual cleansing available to us by Christ’s blood:
But if we walk in the light as he himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. (1 John 1:7 NET)
Realize sin itself cannot break our relationship with God since Christ’s blood continually cleanses us from all sin. However, the denial, rationalization, or ignoring of sin revealed to us by the Holy Spirit causes us to lose our fellowship with God. (13)
If we say we do not bear the guilt of sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. (1 John 1:8 NET)
Nevertheless, if we fall out of fellowship because we deny our sin and we later confess that sin, God restores our fellowship with Him. (13)
But if we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous, forgiving us our sins and cleansing us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9 NET)
The Apostle Paul explained that we believers are to “put off” the old leaven of sin (1) that was crucified and buried with Jesus. (3)
You were taught with reference to your former way of life to lay aside the old man who is being corrupted in accordance with deceitful desires, to be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and to put on the new man who has been created in God’s image—in righteousness and holiness that comes from truth. (Ephesians 4:22–24 NET)
The old nature or old man that Paul is speaking of is what the Jews call our “evil impulse.” Christianity speaks of it as a sin nature inherited from Adam. This impulse or inclination toward sin keeps us from having an intimate relationship with God, brings sorrow and heartache to our souls, and brings disease and death to our bodies. We can all attest that this old nature within us loves to sin. As long as it is the ruling force in our life, we will commit outward acts of sin. (3)
Jesus said it this way,
For from within, out of the human heart, come evil ideas, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, evil, deceit, debauchery, envy, slander, pride, and folly. All these evils come from within and defile a person.” (Mark 7:21–23 NET)
Jesus took this desire to sin with Him into the tomb. (3)
When Paul used the phrase “put off,” he referred to a person taking off his or her garment. In Bible times, a person’s garment could represent the person. Today we say, “The clothes make the man (or woman).” Paul wants us to put off the “Lazarus grave clothes of the flesh,” which he describes in Galatians as the works of the flesh: (3)
“Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, Now the works of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity, depravity, idolatry, sorcery, hostilities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish rivalries, dissensions, factions, envying, murder, drunkenness, carousing, and similar things. I am warning you, as I had warned you before: Those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God! (Galatians 5:19–21)
We can put off this old garment of the flesh because the old man of sin was buried with Jesus (1) in fulfillment of the Feast of Unleavened Bread. In this way, the power of sin over us has been broken. When we realize and understand this work of Jesus on our behalf, God begins to work changes in our lives. He changes our condition. He changes our character. We are increasingly transformed into the moral image and likeness of Jesus. This is how the Feast of Unleavened Bread, as fulfilled in Jesus, affects our moral and spiritual condition. (3)
God gave the Feast of Unleavened Bread as a visual aid or picture showing the Hebrews they were to be separate from Egypt. In the Bible, Egypt represents the world system in which we live. Its philosophies and ways are contrary to the Word of God. The Hebrews were to live differently once they were delivered from Egypt. Likewise, we who have been delivered from the world system through the blood of Jesus are to live a life separated from the attitudes and ways of the world. (3)
God has chosen us to be a people set apart and different from those around us. We are to be in the world but not of the world. This is the biblical meaning of the word “holy.” (3)
Remember Jesus said, “Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees.” (Matthew 16:6; Mark 8:15) Jesus said, “Beware of the leaven … of the Sadducees.” (Matthew 16:6) The Bible also warns against the leaven of the Herodians. (Mark 8:15)
- The leaven of the Pharisees was legalism.
- The leaven of the Sadducees was modernism.
- The leaven of the Herodians was worldliness.
But it all speaks of sin. Beware of leaven. Beware of sin. And so, we must live a separate life once we get saved. (12)
What is the Lord telling us? You see, He is telling us that we’re to be clean, that we’re to be separate from sin, that it’s not just enough to be under the blood positionally, but that we are to walk in cleanliness practically, day by day. (12)
Paul expressed it this way to the Roman believers,
Therefore I exhort you, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a sacrifice—alive, holy, and pleasing to God—which is your reasonable service. Do not be conformed to this present world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may test and approve what is the will of God—what is good and well-pleasing and perfect. (Romans 12:1–2 NET)
Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him, because all that is in the world (the desire of the flesh and the desire of the eyes and the arrogance produced by material possessions) is not from the Father, but is from the world. And the world is passing away with all its desires, but the person who does the will of God remains forever. (1 John 2:15–17 NET)
Dear friends, I urge you as foreigners and exiles to keep away from fleshly desires that do battle against the soul, and maintain good conduct among the non-Christians, so that though they now malign you as wrongdoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God when he appears. (1 Peter 2:11–12 NET)
Paul instructed the believers at Corinth,
Therefore “come out from their midst, and be separate,” says the Lord, “and touch no unclean thing, and I will welcome you,and I will be a father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters,” says the All-Powerful Lord. (2 Corinthians 6:17–18 NET)
The Feasts of Unleavened Bread and Firstfruits represent God’s work in us by His Spirit, enabling us to live this holy or separate life. The Bible calls this transforming work in God in us “sanctification.” (1 Thessalonians 4:3-4; 2 Thessalonians 2:13; 1 Peter 1:2.) This is a cooperative walk with God, whereby we allow Him to change us into the moral and spiritual likeness of Jesus. (3)
Paul expressed this process in these words: “
So then, my dear friends, just as you have always obeyed, not only in my presence but even more in my absence, continue working out your salvation with awe and reverence, for the one bringing forth in you both the desire and the effort—for the sake of his good pleasure—is God. (Philippians 2:12–13 NET)
The Feast of Passover is the first step in our walk with God. It relates to our position of justification. The Feast of Unleavened Bread symbolizes our next step. It relates to our condition of sanctification, which transforms our character. This spiritual work can be a reality in our lives because Jesus is the true unleavened Bread of God who took the leaven of our sins with Him to the grave. (3)
Again, the Messiah is represented as “our Passover,” and two main things are emphasized:
Your boasting is not good. Don’t you know that a little yeast affects the whole batch of dough? Clean out the old yeast so that you may be a new batch of dough—you are, in fact, without yeast. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. So then, let us celebrate the festival, not with the old yeast, the yeast of vice and evil, but with the bread without yeast, the bread of sincerity and truth. (1 Corinthians 5:6–8)
First, just like the Jews had to purge their homes of leaven, the believer is to purge his life of leaven, the symbol of sin. Paul says Christians must be as ruthless in expelling sin from their lives as the Jews are in throwing out leaven before Passover. (9)
The way that a believer purges his life of leaven individually is through repentance and confession. (10)
But if we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous, forgiving us our sins and cleansing us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9 NET)
Put yourselves to the test to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize regarding yourselves that Jesus Christ is in you—unless, indeed, you fail the test! (2 Corinthians 13:5 NET)
Second, in the context of 1 Corinthians 5:6-8, the application is specific to sin in the local church assembly. When one receives Yeshua (Jesus) as his Passover sacrifice, he is born again into God’s family. Born again into God’s family means he can never fall out of that family. However, as in any family, fellowship within that family can be broken by sin. The means of purging leaven in the local church is through church discipline, including confession.
In addition, Paul warned against OLD leaven, which could permeate and corrupt a local church congregation:
For freedom Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not be subject again to the yoke of slavery. Listen! I, Paul, tell you that if you let yourselves be circumcised, Christ will be of no benefit to you at all! And I testify again to every man who lets himself be circumcised that he is obligated to obey the whole law. You who are trying to be declared righteous by the law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace! For through the Spirit, by faith, we wait expectantly for the hope of righteousness. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision carries any weight—the only thing that matters is faith working through love. You were running well; who prevented you from obeying the truth? This persuasion does not come from the one who calls you! A little yeast makes the whole batch of dough rise! I am confident in the Lord that you will accept no other view. But the one who is confusing you will pay the penalty, whoever he may be. Now, brothers and sisters, if I am still preaching circumcision, why am I still being persecuted? In that case the offense of the cross has been removed. I wish those agitators would go so far as to castrate themselves! (Galatians 5:1–12 NET)
Jesus also used the NEW leaven as a metaphor for how the Gospel will start out small but eventually fill every corner of the earth before He returns.
Again he said, “To what should I compare the kingdom of God?It is like yeast that a woman took and mixed with three measures of flour until all the dough had risen.” (Luke 13:20,21 NET)
And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached throughout the whole inhabited earth as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come. (Matthew 24:14 NET)
Realize while Leaven (Hebrew, chametz) is prohibited from most of the offerings and sacrifices, it is an integral part of the ring-shaped bread in the Peace Offering (1) that is motivated by Thanksgiving, and the Two Loaves of Bread waved during the Feast of Weeks. It is the New Leaven of the Kingdom of Heaven (1).
Rest then Work
We look again at the first and last day of the feasts of Unleavened Bread. They are to be days marked with no work but rest.
On the first day there will be a holy convocation, and on the seventh day there will be a holy convocation for you. You must do no work of any kind on them, only what every person will eat—that alone may be prepared for you.(Exodus 12:16 NET)
We first rest, feeding upon the Lamb of God, and then we work. This means that it is all of grace, nothing of self, but all of Him. Eating with the staff in your hand and your shoes on your feet does not mean you work for salvation. It means, dear hearts, that you work from salvation and don’t work to be saved, but you work because you’re saved! (11)
I would not work, my soul to save,
For this my Lord has done;
But I would work like any slave
For love of His dear Son.
—Harry A. Ironside
When God made the first creation, He worked and then rested. But in God’s new creation that is us, we rest, and then we work. That’s the reason we worship on Sunday, not on Saturday. Saturday is the last day of the week. Sunday is the first day of the week. In this dispensation, our day begins with rest and then ends with work. Never think of Sunday as the weekend. Sunday is the first day of the week. (11)
Lastly, we will rest at the end of the age, again feeding upon the Lamb of God, Yeshua Hamashiach! (11)
Then I saw standing in the middle of the throne and of the four living creatures, and in the middle of the elders, a Lamb that appeared to have been killed. He had seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth. Then he came and took the scroll from the right hand of the one who was seated on the throne, and when he had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders threw themselves to the ground before the Lamb. Each of them had a harp and golden bowls full of incense (which are the prayers of the saints). They were singing a new song: “You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals because you were killed, and at the cost of your own blood you have purchased for God persons from every tribe, language, people, and nation. You have appointed them as a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth.” (Revelation 5:6–10 NET)
Prophesied future Feast of Unleavened Bread Observation in the Messianic Kingdom (circa 573 B.C.) (6)
Ezekiel prophesies that it will be observed during the Messianic Kingdom. Not all of the festivals will be observed during the Messianic Kingdom, but this one will. (2)
“ ‘In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month, you will celebrate the Passover, and for seven days bread made without yeast will be eaten. On that day the prince will provide for himself and for all the people of the land a bull for a sin offering. And during the seven days of the feast he will provide as a burnt offering to the Lord seven bulls and seven rams, all without blemish, on each of the seven days, and a male goat daily for a sin offering. He will provide as a grain offering an ephah for each bull, an ephah for each ram, and a gallon of olive oil for each ephah of grain.In the seventh month, on the fifteenth day of the month, at the feast, he will make the same provisions for the sin offering, burnt offering, and grain offering, and for the olive oil, for the seven days. (Ezekiel 45:21–25 NET)
Feasts, Festivals, and Important Occasions of the Biblical Covenants Series:
- The Feasts of Israel – Introduction
- The Feasts of Israel – Hebrew Calendars, New Moon, Sabbath Year, and the Jubilee Year
- The Feasts of Israel – Sabbath
– The Spring Festivals:
- The Feasts of Israel – Passover
- The Feasts of Israel – Unleavened Bread
- The Feasts of Israel – Firstfruits
- The Feasts of Israel – Weeks (Pentecost)
– Seven Church Conditions during the Church Age:
- Jesus the Messiah!
- The Legalistic Congregation (Ephesus)
- The Persecuted and Faithful Congregation (Smyrna)
- The Persecuted and Compromised Congregation (Pergamos)
- The Licentious Congregation (Thyatira)
- The Dying Congregation (Sardis)
- The “Canceled” and Faithful Congregation (Philadelphia)
- The Dead Congregation (Laodicea)
– The Fall Festivals:
- The Feasts of Israel – Trumpets
- The Feasts of Israel – The Day of Atonements
- The Feasts of Israel – Tabernacles
- The Feasts of Israel – Dedication (Hanukkah)
Biblical Typologies, Metaphors, & Similes Series:
- The Old Leaven of the Kingdom of Darkness
- The New Leaven of the Kingdom of Heaven
- Finely Sifted (Wheat) Flour
- Olive Oil
- Waving and Heaving
- Shofar and Trumpet
(Security, Wholeness, Success)
Dear friend, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, just as it is well with your soul. (3 John 1:2 NET)
(1) Select the link to open another article in a new tab with additional information.
(2) Fruchtenbaum, A. G. (1983). The Messianic Bible Study Collection (Vol. 62, p. 10). Tustin, CA: Ariel Ministries.
(3) Booker, R. (2016). Celebrating jesus in the biblical feasts expanded edition: discovering their significance to you as a christian. Shippensburg, PA: Destiny Image.
(6) Rusten, S. with E. Michael. (2005). The complete book of when & where in the Bible and throughout history (p. 10). Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.
(7) Publishing, R. (2011). Feasts of the Bible: Jewish Roots of Believers in Yeshua (Jesus). Torrance, CA: Rose Publishing.
(8) Hannah, J. D. (1985). Exodus. In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 1, p. 128). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
(9) Wenham, G. J. (1981). Numbers: an introduction and commentary (Vol. 4, p. 225). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
(10) Fruchtenbaum, A. G. (1983). The Messianic Bible Study Collection (Vol. 115, p. 12). Tustin, CA: Ariel Ministries.
(11) Rogers, A. (2017). Don’t Pass over the Passover. In Adrian Rogers Sermon Archive (Ex 12:1–4). Signal Hill, CA: Rogers Family Trust.
(12) Rogers, A. (2017). The Feasts of the Lord. In Adrian Rogers Sermon Archive (Le 23:4). Signal Hill, CA: Rogers Family Trust.
(13) Norten, M. (2015). Unlocking the secrets of the feasts. Nashville: Thomas Nelson.
(14) Smith, S., & Cornwall, J. (1998). In The exhaustive dictionary of Bible names (p. 149). North Brunswick, NJ: Bridge-Logos.
(15) Rogers, A. (2017). The Gospel according to Joseph. In Adrian Rogers Sermon Archive (Ge 41–45). Signal Hill, CA: Rogers Family Trust.
(16) Foxe, J. (2000). Foxe’s Book of Martyrs. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.
(17) Smith, S., & Cornwall, J. (1998). In The exhaustive dictionary of Bible names (p. 247). North Brunswick, NJ: Bridge-Logos.
(18) Finegan, J. (1998). Handbook of biblical chronology (rev. ed.). Hendrickson Publishers. (p. 363, Table 179 The dates of Nisan 14 and 15 in A.D. 27-34 (2))
(19) http://www.cgsf.org/dbeattie/calendar/?roman=1446+bc with Pentecost on Sivan 8 (Exodus 19:1-16) and Feast of First Fruits (if it had existed then) would have been on Nisan 18, 1446 B.C.
(20) The male animal represents this sacrifice is for God’s benefit. Recall, Adam, a male, was made for God’s benefit.
“It follows that I show for what purpose God made man himself. As He contrived the world for the sake of man, so He formed man himself on His own account, as it were a priest of a divine temple, a spectator of His works and of heavenly objects. For he is the only being who, since he is intelligent and capable of reason, is able to understand God, to admire His works, and perceive His energy and power; for on this account he is furnished with judgment, intelligence, and prudence. On this account, he alone, beyond the other living creatures, has been made with an upright body and attitude, so that he seems to have been raised up for the contemplation of his Parent. On this account, he alone has received language, and a tongue the interpreter of his thought, that he may be able to declare the majesty of his Lord. Lastly, for this cause, all things were placed under his control, that he himself might be under the control of God, their Maker, and Creator. If God, therefore, designed man to be a worshipper of Himself, and on this account gave him so much honor, that he might rule over all things; it is plainly most just that he should worship Him who bestowed upon him such great gifts, and love man, who is united with us in the participation of the divine justice.”
Lactantius. (1886). A Treatise on the Anger of God. In A. Roberts, J. Donaldson, & A. C. Coxe (Eds.), W. Fletcher (Trans.), Fathers of the Third and Fourth Centuries: Lactantius, Venantius, Asterius, Victorinus, Dionysius, Apostolic Teaching and Constitutions, Homily, and Liturgies (Vol. 7, p. 271). Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Company.
Eve, a female, was made for the man Adam’s benefit and hence when female animals are prescribed in other sacrifices then it is for mankind’s benefit.
The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a companion for him who corresponds to him.” (Genesis 2:18 NET)
(21) Kevin Howard, Marvin Rosenthal (). The Feasts of the Lord. Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.
(I) Neusner, J. (1988). The Mishnah : A new translation (p. 742). New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.
(II) Malda, B. D. (Ed.). (2015). Come and Worship: Ways to Worship from the Hebrew Scriptures (p. 62). Clarksville, MD: Lederer Books: a division of Messianic Jewish Publishers.
(III) Sklar, J. (2013). Leviticus: An Introduction and Commentary. (D. G. Firth, Ed.) (Vol. 3, p. 101). Nottingham, England: Inter-Varsity Press.
(IV) Masterman, E. W. G. (1915). Barley. In J. Orr, J. L. Nuelsen, E. Y. Mullins, & M. O. Evans (Eds.), The International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia (Vol. 1–5, p. 405). Chicago: The Howard-Severance Company.
(V) Balfour, J. H. (1885). The Plants of the Bible (p. 212). London; Edinburgh; New York: T. Nelson and Sons.
(VI) Eisenberg, R. L. (2004). The JPS guide to Jewish traditions (1st ed., p. 670). Philadelphia: The Jewish Publication Society.
(VII) Hannah, J. D. (1985). Exodus. In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 1, p. 153). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
(VIII) Easton, M. G. (1893). In Easton’s Bible dictionary. New York: Harper & Brothers.
(IX) Singer, I. (Ed.). (1901–1906). In The Jewish Encyclopedia: A Descriptive Record of the History, Religion, Literature, and Customs of the Jewish People from the Earliest Times to the Present Day, 12 Volumes (Vol. 9, p. 568). New York; London: Funk & Wagnalls.
(X) Hamilton, M. W. (2000). Elevation Offering. In D. N. Freedman, A. C. Myers, & A. B. Beck (Eds.), Eerdmans dictionary of the Bible (p. 392). Grand Rapids, MI: W.B. Eerdmans.
(XI) (2016). The Lexham Figurative Language of the New Testament Dataset. In J. R. Westbury, J. Thompson, K. A. Lyle, & J. Parks (Eds.), Lexham Figurative Language of the Bible Glossary. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
(XII) Larson, K. (2000). I & II Thessalonians, I & II Timothy, Titus, Philemon (Vol. 9, p. 331). Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers.
(XIII) Lindsey, F. D. (1985). Leviticus. In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 1, p. 177). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
(XIV) Neusner, J. (2011). The Babylonian Talmud: A Translation and Commentary (Vol. 19, p. 617). Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers.
(XV) Freeman, J. M., & Chadwick, H. J. (1998). Manners & customs of the Bible (p. 143). North Brunswick, NJ: Bridge-Logos Publishers.
(XVI) Wuest, K. S. (1961). The New Testament: an expanded translation (1 Co 5:6–8). Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans.
(XVII) Thompson, J. A. (1974). Deuteronomy: An Introduction and Commentary (Vol. 5, p. 147). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
(XVIII) Keach, B. (1858). An Exposition of the Parables and Express Similitudes of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ(pp. 239–240). London: Aylott and Co.
(XX) C. S. Lewis, Miracles (New York: HarperCollins, 1974), pp. 236–37.
(XXI) Hall, K. D. (2000). Libation. In D. N. Freedman, A. C. Myers, & A. B. Beck (Eds.), Eerdmans dictionary of the Bible (p. 807). Grand Rapids, MI: W.B. Eerdmans.
(XXII) Rogers, A. (2017). Back to Bethel. In Adrian Rogers Sermon Archive (Ge 35). Signal Hill, CA: Rogers Family Trust.
(XXIII) Ryrie, C. C. (1999). Basic Theology: A Popular Systematic Guide to Understanding Biblical Truth (p. 341). Moody Press.
Propitiation, as we have seen, means the placating or satisfying of the personal wrath of God. Expiation is the removal of impersonal wrath, sin, or guilt. Expiation has to do with reparation for a wrong; propitiation carries the added idea of appeasing an offended person and thus brings into the picture the question of why the offended person was offended. In other words, propitiation brings the wrath of God into the picture, while expiation can leave it out.