Beth Elohim Messianic Synagogue
The Feast of Unleavened Bread in the Bible
I receive many questions about unleavened bread and the laws concerned with removing it from your homes. Interestingly, I seldom get questions inquiring as to what behaviors may be equated with leaven (sin) as individuals either begin or continue their “wilderness experience” and walk with G-d. Furthermore, since many of our congregants have come out of apostate religion described by John in the book of Revelation, to Messianic Judaism (the religion of G-d), they ask questions about the truth of Easter, which I address in one of the articles I posted on the website (www.rabdavis.org)
There is a special reading for this Shabbat from Exodus 13:17-15:26 and Numbers 28:19-25. However, I am going to outline the Feast of Unleavened Bread in the Bible as “proof” for those who seem to need more than that fact that it is in G-d’s Torah, that this is a commanded festival along with Pesach and NOT Easter. You will only find the word “Easter” in the King James Bible (Acts 12:4), which is one of the most poorly translated Bibles available. Indeed this is a mistranslation of the word “pascha”; Pesach; Passover!
The following are the scriptures that speak of this mandated feast/designated time/command:
1. The feast of Unleavened Bread (Hag HaMatzah) was so much a part of Pesach (Passover), that the names of these two festivals were used interchangeable (Luke 22:1). Indeed, they run sequentially (Lev. 23:4-8).
2. The feast was to be kept seven days (8 in the diaspora [outside of Israel] to account for differences in the calendars). (Exodus 12:15-19). The number seven represents completion or spiritual fullness. Believers are to keep this festival in its entirety and consecrate themselves totally to the service of G-d. The Feast of Unleavened Bread speaks of complete consecration (separation) from all things that are leavened (sinful) and focus on the Bread of Life (Yahshua) Who is the True Bread ( John 6:32-36, 38).
3. The Feast of Unleavened Bread is a high Sabbath day. This is called shabbaton in Hebrew. During Passover, there is an additional Sabbath to the regular Sabbath. The high Sabbath of Unleavened Bread is referenced in John 19:31.
4. Unleavened bread is used for separation and consecration and is anointed with oil. This is a perfect illustration of Yahshua who was wholly consecrated and separated to the “Father” aspect of Himself (YHVH/Yahshua is Echad [One]; [a complex unity; NOT a trinity]). Believers in Yahshua are also to be consecrated and separated for G-d’s service and glory. Our lives are not our own. If we want to spend an eternity with Him, we are to become His, submitting ourselves just as He did for the glory of G-d. If we strive to learn and obey His commands out of an awesome fear and love, the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit) will walk along beside us and guide us in the ways of G-d.
a. The bread represents consecration (Lev. 8:1-2; 26-27; Exodus. 29:2-23)
b. It was included in the sacred vow of separation of the Nazarite (Numbers 6:1-21).
c. It was the food for the priests in the meal and peace offering (Lev. 2:1, 4, 14-16; 6:14-18; 7:11-12. Indeed, Yahshua as representing unleavened bread is our “food” as the new priesthood (1 Peter 2:9) also.
d. It marked Israel’s divine separation from Egypt’s (the world system) life of slavery and bondage (Exodus 12:17, 30-34).
e. All leaven was to be put away (Exodus 12; 15, 19-20). This is where we get the command to remove it from our homes. We are not to sell it thereby removing it by proxy. We are to physically remove it from our homes. When leaven is placed in an unleavened batch of dough, the leaven puffs up and causes the whole lump to become leavened. This scripture supports the fact that the women had NOT mixed the leavened lump with the unleavened as they prepared to leave Egypt. Their kneading bowls were already wrapped in cloth and were on their shoulders. Furthermore, the entire concept of this narrative is separation and consecration; not mixing the leaven with the unleavened and then making sure they ate it before the process of fermentation was complete. This latter idea is simply not supported in the Torah. To accept this latter idea is to agree that we can mix a “little sin” in our lives and not “fully act” on it before it is brought to full fruition. Yahshua tells us that to even “think” a sinful thought is sin and that we must repent (Matt. 5:27-28).
G-d referred to the leaven when referring to various individuals and groups:
1. The leaven in Herod (Mark 8:14-15; 6:14-18; Matt. 2:7-12.
2. The Pharisees (Mark 8:15; Matt. 16:5-12; 23:1-3; Luke 11:37-44; 12:1.
3. The Sadducees (Matt. 16:6-12). The Sadducees did not believe in the supernatural. They denied the existence of the Spirit of G-d, angels, and the resurrection (Mark 12:18; Acts 23:6-8).
4. The leaven at Corinth. This leaven was in the form of sensual fornication (1 Cor. 4:17-21; 5:1-13; 6:1,9-11, 13, 16-18; 8:1; 13:4:2 2 Cor. 12:20-21).
The Feast of Unleavened Bread as all of the mandated holy times should be kept with sincerity and truth; following them according to G-d’s instructions and not man’s laws. Keeping this feast involves purging our homes and lives of anything that can cause us to become “puffed up” and arrogant or rebellious towards G-d. We should examine ourselves on a daily basis, using the Feast of Unleavened Bread as our “starting point” of reconciliation to G-d after accepting the Paschal Lamb (Yahshua and His sacrifice) as our Way to a new life lived for YHVH/Yahshua. Israel learned as must we as believers, that keeping the feast means a complete separation from Egypt’s (this world’s) Hellenistic, Narcissistic religions, bondage, foods, ambition for worldly gratification, wisdom and pleasure. This does not mean we live the life of a Monk and sell everything we own and beat ourselves. It does mean separation and consecration to G-d’s service which is in direct contrast to what is popular in our world system today. This can be a lonely journey at times. We must keep our focus on the ultimate goal of spending an eternity with YHVH/Yahshua when our race is over on this earth. Our race will last our lifetimes. YHVH/Yahshua provides assurance that it can be done with His Spirit as we continue to seek, ask, and knock (Matt. 7:7: Luke 11:9).
The Israelites took their dough before it was leavened, not adding any leaven to it before leaving Egypt (Ex. 12:34, 39). If we are to be considered true believers as Yahshua Himself defines in the seven-fold witness in Revelation, we must do the same ( 1 Cor. 5:7-8). In 1 Cor. 6:11, sanctification is connected to washing (Acts 22:16). After Israel celebrated Passover, they were figuratively washed in the water of the Red Sea (1 Cor. 10:1-2). . Before they received the Torah, they were instructed to wash themselves and their garments. Similarly, once we accept the Paschal Lamb (Yahshua), becoming reconciled to YHVH, we must immerse ourselves in Torah study, prayer, internalizing and acting on G-d’s Torah (Deut. 6:4-11), and allow G-d to assume the pilot’s seat of our lives and guide us safely home.
Shalom v’ brachas,
R. Tamah Davis-Hart