(Additions made since original posting.)
This post is inspired by the viewer guide segments for Session Two of the Psalms of Ascent study.
The Feast of Unleavened Bread
- Passover took place the night before the Feast of Unleavened Bread began. Passover was when Jesus and His disciples ate the Last Supper, followed that same night (Passover) by Jesus’ arrest and subsequent crucifixion. He was our Passover lamb without blemish.
- The Feast of Unleavened Bread was instituted as a reminder to the Israelites that God had brought them out of bondage in Egypt.
So, in this video lesson, Beth talks about these things and how they relate to Jesus. I have to admit, I did not know this was coming and almost fell out of my chair when I realized what the focus of this lesson would be. I truly believe God enabled me to make the above connections in preparation for this lesson.
Session Two revealed something else about the Feast of Unleavened Bread that I had not known before. To be quite honest, I never knew ANYTHING about this feast before.
Beth explained that during the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the Israelites would go through their houses and get rid of all the yeast. She explained that the Hebrew word for “leaven” is “chametz,” which means sour. In the New Testament, leaven (or yeast) became synonymous with sin. Leaven is used to create fermentation, which implies corruption. So the Feast of Unleavened Bread symbolized a time when God called all of Israel to get rid of corruption in their homes, and therefore, their lives.
She also tells us that evidence suggests “leaven” in those times consisted of a piece of fermented dough kept over from a former baking, which was then mixed in with new dough, or hidden in it, and then mixed together with it. It then spread throughout the entire mixture. This is what happens when we hide stuff, be it sin or something else, in our lives. It is a picture of holding onto sin or not letting go of something we need to turn completely over to God. It can range from outright blatant sin, to more internal struggles like unforgiveness, bitterness, or a vengeful spirit.
The point is that the Israelites when through their houses cleaning out all the gunk. This symbolism is fulfilled in Christ. He is both the Passover and the Unleavened Bread.
Matthew 26:17,26 says:
Now on the first day of the Feast of the Unleavened Bread the disciples came to Jesus, saying to Him, “Where do You want us to prepare for You to eat the Passover?”
And as they were eating, Jesus took bread (which would have been UNLEAVENED), blessed and broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, “Take, eat; this is My body.”
Don’t miss the significance, like I had missed it all my life. We see pictures of a big old loaf of french bread and a cup. Not so. Jesus’ body was symbolic of the UNLEAVENED bread – without corruption. Without DECAY.
In Acts 2:29-33, Peter says:
Men and brethren, let me speak freely to you of the patriarch of David, that he is both dead and buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. Therefore, being a prophet, and knowing that God has sworn with an oath to him that of the fruit of his body, according to the flesh, He would raise up the Christ to sit on his throne, he, foreseeing this, spoke concerning the resurrection of the Christ, that His soul was not left in Hades, nor did His flesh see corruption. This Jesus God has raised up, of which we are all witnesses. Therefore being exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He poured out this which you now see and hear.
Do you see what this means? I never did until Beth pointed it out. When living things die, decomposition begins immediately. Not so with Christ. Christ’s body did not begin to decay after His death. Christ’s body was completely incorruptible, and stayed completely ready for Him to return to it 3 days later.
Which brings us to the Firstfruits. Leviticus 23:4-11 tells us:
These are the feasts of the LORD, holy convocations which you shall proclaim at their appointed times. On the fourteenth day of the first month at twilight is the LORD’s Passover. And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the Feast of Unleavened Bread to the LORD; seven days you must eat unleavened bread. On the first day you shall have a holy convocation; you shall do no customary work on it. But you shall offer an offering made by fire to the LORD for seven days. The seventh day shll be a holy convocation; you shall do no customary work on it.
And the LORD spoke to Moses saying, “Speak to the children of Israwl, and say to them: ‘When you come into the land which I give to you, and reap its harvest, then you shall bring a sheaf of the firstfruits of your harvest to the priest. He shall wave the sheaf before the LORD, to be accepted on your behalf; on the day after the Sabbath the priest shall wave it.
First Corinthians 15:20-22 makes the connection with Jesus crystal clear:
But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive.
Beth reminded us that this Feast was a yearly occurrence. All Jews made this pilgrimage every single year. Jesus would have made this pilgrimage every year of His life. In fact, the first time we see Jesus after His birth was when His parents took Him to Jerusalem for Passover when He was twelve. Luke 2:41-42 says:
His parents went to Jerusalem every year at the Feast of the Passover. And when He was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem according to the custom of the feast.
As a devout Jew, Jesus would have continued doing this EACH YEAR UNTIL HIS DEATH. That means He made this pilgrimage at least two times with the disciples, all the while knowing what was coming. Eating the passover meal every year in remembrance of when HE passed over the houses of His people. Cleaning out the leaven every year in remembrance of when HE delivered His people from bondage. Bringing the firstfruits every year in anticipation of when HE would initiate the His harvest by being the first to forever rise from the dead. Beth said she could just picture Him counting down each time He observed Passover, until there was “one more year” before EVERYTHING would change. And knowing the whole time that His disciples still did not get it. But also knowing that soon, they would.
So, to recap again:
- Day One – Passover – observed as a Sabbath
- Day Two – Beginning of the Feast of Unleavened Bread – observed as a Sabbath
- Day Three – offering of firstfruits of the harvest to the LORD
- Day One – Passover – Jesus becomes our Passover lamb
- Day Two – Beginning of the Feast of Unleavened Bread – Jesus’ body lies without corruption and awaits His return
- Day Three – Offering of Firstfruits – Jesus’ resurrection
Why had I never seen it before? I guess because I thought the Old Testament feasts weren’t important for New Testament Christians. I am realizing more and more each day that God didn’t put anything in the Bible that doesn’t ALWAYS and FOREVER apply to each and every one of us.
The next post will be about how the The Feast of Weeks relates to Jesus and the New Testament. Again, this was a connection no one had ever pointed out to me before. Be prepared to say whoa.