Feast of Unleavened Bread
” The Passover and Unleavened Bread
“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 shall be a holy convocation; you shall do no customary work on it.’ ”
The clear distinction between the observance of Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread as two separate events is established in the above verse in Leviticus. Other references, including the original instructions in Exodus, do not clearly identify the celebration of the historic experience as two different events. The clear separation of the feasts into two separate experiences makes sense to the Messianic. The Passover, where the power of the blood is so clearly the essence of the memorialization, is very precious. It is this powerful symbolism that provides the backdrop for the prophetic appearance of Messiah Yeshua fifteen hundred years later. It is His shed blood that is so clearly the foundation of our salvation—of our being set free from the bondage of slavery—our sin.
Following this foundation of freedom from sin laid by the shed blood comes the seven days of consecration to the leaven-free life—the Feast of Unleavened Bread. It is no surprise that Yahweh choose the number seven for the duration of this feast. This is often called the number of completion. This seven days of leaven-less living can be a metaphor for an individual’s life cycle. We enter our spiritual life cycle being “saved” by the blood. We celebrate each day of the life cycle through “sacrificial” obedience to God, concluding the life cycle with a final celebration. It is interesting that the first and last day of the feast is a Sabbath—a day of rest. The first day we “rest” from our sinful past, with thanksgiving to Father who has given us the day of rest. Finally, the seventh day of our life cycle is likewise a rest—a transition from the cares of this world to the eternal joy of our Creator’s presence.
The scriptures give no clue as to how to observe the Feast of Unleavened Bread, except that it is a “feast” and it is “unleavened.” There is one other hint in the word—a daily burnt offering is to be made for each of the seven days. To me this implies that in the austerity of leaven-free there is an attitude of bringing pleasure to Father. Additionally, it must be observed that each day with the burnt offering there is shedding of the blood of the sacrifice. This involves a continual transfer of the offeror’s spirit into the animal whose blood is then placed on the altar. In the Messianic understanding, we have the indwelling presence of Messiah, His tabernacle and altar is within our heart. Therefore, our offerings are still with the power and authority of the blood, but it is with His shed blood that they are made. The same transfer of our leaven (sin) is to Him and brought under His blood on our altar. The same fragrant aroma of the offering arises to Father. It is not the altar that is important it is the offering.
Speaking of the altar, the first instructions from Yahweh through Moses at Sinai for altar construction were simple: if you use stone—no cut stone! (Ex 20:25) Could that mean we are not to lean to our own understanding in our offerings to Father? Keep it simple—what He wants is the unembellished offering of that what separates us from Him. And He wants our praises of thanksgiving for the provision of the blood that makes those offerings acceptable. But, I digress. Let’s get back to the feast.
How far the Israelites got by the end of the first seven days after leaving Egypt cannot be precisely determined. They probably got underway before sundown on 14 Abib (Nisan). Certainly their first meal of unleavened bread was no sooner than the beginning of 15 Abib, after sundown of the 14th. They had traveled from Ramses to Succoth, maybe as little as 8 miles (Ex 12:37-38), but remember there were hundreds of thousands of people and animals involved. They then proceeded to Etham and from there to the seashore of the Red Sea. To me it would be highly significant if during the first seven days (the prescribed time for the feast) the Israelites experienced the ardors of desert travel, the challenge of the pursuing Egyptians and the triumphant crossing of the sea on dry ground—a symbolic life cycle.
This scenario so depicts our spiritual walk: saved by the blood, embracing the leaven-less lifestyle, experiencing seemingly overwhelming opposition from the enemy and finally crossing into the eternal kingdom on dry ground. This ostensible austere lifestyle is all the while accompanied by Father’s magnificent presence as a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of flame by night. We only need the spiritual eyes to see His manifesting provision in our day-to-day life.
Rather than suggesting a menu and Haggadah for the feast, let me say it should be festive, celebratory—need I say leaven-free. Encourage, during the meal, spontaneous remarks of testimony of the power of the blood, the revelation of leaven, the power of the cloud and fire, the experience of the daily offering, reflections on the spirit-led life, everything honoring Father in the transpiring of the life cycle is appropriate. This meal should be an extended time of sharing and conviviality.
Of course, the host or designated person, should give instruction, which might include the reading of this article. Opening and closing prayer with affirming prayer and praise for the testimonies given is to be warmly encouraged. This is a celebration of the “escaping” of the bondage of slavery (sin)—the shed blood of Messiah Yeshua is the door opener—enter in with enthusiasm.
April 22, 2016