The Feast of Unleavened Bread pictures living God's way of life – it is the spiritual growing season prior to the first harvest of mankind into the family of God. Eating unleavened bread each day of the Feast pictures us accepting God’s way for the rest of our lives.
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The Feast of Unleavened Bread pictures the time when those who are called to be in the first resurrection as spirit beings in the family of God, undergo the lifelong process of conversion by adopting God’s way of life as their own. In terms of agrarian symbolism, which God uses throughout His annual Holy Day festivals, this time is represented by the growing period of the early wheat season in the Middle East. Of special significance during this time is the emphasis given to living God’s way of life, symbolized by the eating of unleavened bread for seven days. The Feast of Unleavened Bread provides detail as to what we are to do in terms of our lives, how we are to live, our relationship with God and how God sees us. These matters will be addressed in three separate parts, which are provided by the Feast itself:
1. The first day (a Sabbath);
3. The seventh day (a Sabbath).
Every Sabbath is a special occasion and is called a “feast day” by God (Lev 23:1-44). The first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread is no different, except for the special meaning behind this Sabbath. This particular Sabbath pictures the first day of our real lives, because it marks the beginning of our lives as God’s begotten children and therefore is cause for celebration. In Luke 15:10 Christ says,
"…Likewise, I say to you, there is joy [khara] in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents..." [NKJV].
The impact of the original Greek word “khara” has been lost by having it translated into the simple word, “joy.” A more appropriate rendering would be “exceeding joyfulness” due to the astonishing event that has just taken place. God has declared that our accepting His way of life is of such significance that a special annual Holy Day be set aside for commemorating and celebrating the occasion. In human terms the equivalent would be the government of a country declaring a particular day a perpetual annual public holiday because of the occurrence of an extraordinary event of national significance. This is how God thinks of the event and we should celebrate it with equal joy in mind. Being taken from Satan’s clutches and now resting in the safe hands of God is indeed a reason for great celebration.
The first day of Unleavened Bread symbolizes the start of our physical lives as Christians – commencing to live God’s way of life. Real life for us has now begun.
However, the significance of this time cannot be understood without being aware of some history relating to when this aspect of God’s plan of salvation was first activated. Historically, we are commanded to observe the Feast of Unleavened Bread, because this was the time when God rescued His people from the bondage and oppression to which they were subjected in Egypt, as stated in Exod 12:17
“…You shall observe the festival of unleavened bread, for on this very day I brought your companies out of the land of Egypt: you shall observe this day throughout your generations as a perpetual ordinance…” [NRSV].
Remembering being rescued not only means remembering the rescue, more importantly it means remembering from what you were rescued, otherwise both the rescue and the remembrance would be utterly meaningless. A good analogy would be a serf life-saver rescuing someone from the water after they had found themselves in trouble. If they were pulled out of the water simply because they were enjoying a swim, then it would make the whole event ridiculous. God tells us that the unleavened bread symbolized the bread of affliction (the time when Israel was in bondage in Egypt). Now the rescue makes sense. Clarke states that the “Bread of affliction (suffering)” means being baked without leaven, it was unsavoury, and put them in mind of their afflictive bondage in Egypt. Gill, Calvin, J.F.B., Poole and Henry all agree with this view.
"...Eat it with bread made without yeast. For seven days the bread you eat must be made without yeast, as when you escaped from Egypt in such a hurry. Eat this bread – the bread of suffering – so that as long as you live you will remember the day you departed from Egypt..." [NLT]
Being freed from the bondage of Egypt pictures being freed from the bondage of Satan and his oppressive way of life, a way that will lead to sin. In view of the knowledge that we are now free from Satan’s way of life and are now looking forward to fulfilling our predestined calling as the firstfruits of the Kingdom with Christ, this Feast is indeed a time for celebration. It is also a time for tremendous gratitude to God for freeing us from our prior unholy situation. The connection between this festival and our lives is made clear in 1Cor 5:7-8, which instructs,
“…7 Therefore purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened. For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us. 8 Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth…” [NKJV].
In this age, to become God’s begotten children we need to repent, be baptized and receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. This is the commencement of our lives as Christians and is symbolized by the first annual Holy Day, the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Upon baptism God puts aside the indictment against us. The gift of the Holy Spirit then guides us and strengthens us through the coming years of our lives of being dedicated to God. It is imperative that we remember the lifting of this indictment against us, so we never get to thinking that it was the Law that was nailed to the cross. The Law remains, the indictment is removed and we now have life – real life, through the indwelling of God’s Holy Spirit.
Remember also that this day symbolizes the day of our baptism (with water and the Spirit), when sin is separated from us and we are made righteous in God’s sight. Using the symbolism of baptism it is impossible for leaven (sin) to be removed before this time! This means that any “deleavening” of our households does not commence until the start of the first day of the festival. God, being consistent in all matters, instructs us to do precisely that in Ex 12:15,
“…Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread. On the first day you shall remove leaven from your houses…” [NKJV].
Here we have the direct command from God – removal of leaven is to be done ON the first day of the Feast and is obviously not considered work, because the first day is a Sabbath, an annual Holy Day. Removal of leaven, here symbolizing rejection of sin and Satan's way, is doing good and doing good on the Sabbath has always been approved by God (Matt 12:12).
There are some in the Church of God who advocate removal of leaven prior to the first day of the Festival due to the apparent command in Ex 12:19 that no leaven be "found in your houses". However, the word "found" is a mistranslation and should be rendered "brought into". This meaning of the relevant Hebrew word has been rendered thus on many occasions in the Old Testament.
The clear indication then is, the bringing in of leaven to the house (symbolic of one's life) is an act of wilful defiance and rebellion against God, because the intent of the “bringing in” is that it be eaten – hence the reference to “eating” immediately following in the same sentence and the resultant severe punishment of being "cut-off" from Israel (being barred from the Kingdom of God). This is not concerning just a slip or oversight about something unintended. When the correct translation is provided (in accordance with the context) there is no contradiction with either Ex 12:15 (ridding of leaven on the first day of the Feast) or the ridding of leaven being symbolic of baptism with the Holy Spirit – in both cases it is done ON the first day.
Night To Be Much Observed
Removal of leaven at the commencement, or eve, of the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread is significant and for this purpose we are commanded in Ex 12:42 to participate in a “night to be much observed” (KJV). It is common among the people of God to view this time merely as a celebration commencing the first annual Sabbath of the year. However, this first evening should also be a time of great contemplation and care, which meaning the more popular authorised translation does not impart. We are to start our spiritual life on a note of sobriety and for this reason we are given the anxious task of ridding our homes of leaven (rejection of sin) on the eve of this Holy Day which signifies the beginning of our Christian lives. The symbolism of this night is very clear when we read that it is to be observed as a memorial of coming out of Egypt – we come out of spiritual Egypt, forsaking the way of sin, when we are baptized with the Holy Spirit. Sin (leaven) is not and indeed cannot be separated from us before this time – spiritually, we do not come out of Egypt (sin) before this time.
In Ex 12:42 the KJV renders the Hebrew word shimmur as “observed”, but since shimmur actually means “night watch or vigil”,  the word “observed is an inadequate choice. Even the words “solemn observance”, as used in the NKJV, do not transmit the sense given by the original word. A more accurate rendering would be a “night of watching” or a “night vigil” to ensure that the enemy, sin (as depicted by leaven, or Pharaoh and Egypt), is well rid of and does not overtake us. Of the more popular versions, probably the rendering closest to the intended meaning is given by the RSV:
“…It was a night of watching by the LORD, to bring them out of the land of Egypt; so this same night is a night of watching kept to the LORD by all the people of Israel throughout their generations…”
However, an even more literal translation would be, “…a night of vigil to the Lord….” This provides for the obvious intent of gratitude for deliverance from the oppressor, but more particularly the intent of watchfulness that the oppressor (sin) does not overtake us, that we do not return to spiritual Egypt. In this verse the sense gives a definite mixture of gratitude as well as commitment to God. These are some of the things to be examined and thought about on this night of vigil to God. In the past, the more serious element of contemplation has not nearly been emphasized to the degree it deserves, while the celebratory element has been overemphasized. Thus, an evening of self-indulgence has been created.
After being begotten of God through baptism and receiving the Holy Spirit we commence living God’s way of life. Observing the Feast of Unleavened Bread for seven days is symbolic of our total journey through life as Christians (begotten children of God), as well as being a commemoration of our deliverance. This lifelong journey is known as the process of conversion and the opportunity to participate in this process is something for which we are to be grateful, to celebrate and to count with joy as we look forward to its completion.
As the foundation for Christian life we have Christ’s two great Commandments, paraphrased as follows:
1. Love God (Mat 22:37); and
2. Love your neighbour as yourself (Mat 22:39).
It is at this foundational level that the problems begin, because upon mentioning the two great Commandments people immediately have difficulty understanding what is meant by the word “love”. They tend to apply their own philosophical views to the word, or the many and varied current views of this society. Both approaches are incorrect. Rather, we should look for the meaning in God’s own Word. The original Greek word used here is “agapao” and a close translation of that word would be to, “respect, honour and care for”. With this understanding we can now rewrite the two great commands, using the more familiar words, as follows:
1. Respect, honour and care for God; and
2. Respect, honour and care for your neighbour as yourself.
Christ adds that on these two Commandments hang all the law and the prophets – meaning all the other more detailed laws are based on these two great laws or principles. Accordingly, all other law should be interpreted or understood in the context of these great laws. Learning and applying the detail of these two great commands is part of the process of conversion, which is the lifelong striving to live God’s way of life with His help and continues on throughout our spiritual lives after ascension. The fact that it shall continue after ascension is made clear in Isa 9:7 where God says, "...Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end..." There can be no increase in peace without increase in self-improvement.
Just as God delivered ancient Israel from the bondage of Egypt and confirmed them as His people, after they agreed to live by His law, so too are we rescued from the way of sin when we commit to live His way of life. This is what the Passover season was intended to commemorate. The Feast of Unleavened Bread is simply a broader and more detailed application of the foot washing ceremony, as it encompasses our relationship with God as well as man. Christ made it plain that the way of service to others is his way of life – it is God’s way of life. If we do not follow Christ in this way, then we have no part with him (John 13:8). With these matters in mind we have the keys to develop understanding concerning,
· how we should be living;
· what should be our main focus in life; and
· how God views us.
The Feast of Unleavened Bread is About Living God’s Way of Life
The Feast of Unleavened Bread is NOT about sin, it is about living God’s way of life. We left the way of sin behind us at baptism and we are now to concentrate on God's way of life. There is no symbolism during the seven days of this Feast that depicts further rejection of sin – such rejection is full and complete on the evening of the first day of the Feast (the “old man” is dead and buried, Rom 6:4-6, as far as God is concerned). To dwell on sin when we are now with God is self-centred, ungodly and negative in the extreme – yet many of God’s people are tormented that they must do just that – they concentrate on sin all of their lives rather than on doing the best they can with what they have been given by God. The command to eat unleavened bread for seven days is a command to concentrate on God's ways, which has nothing to do with sin.
All the relevant parables in the NT clearly show that we must work with what we have (what we have been given by God), NOT with what we do not have! We must work with our strengths and gifts from God to help us live God's way of life – that is to say, apply our strengths and gifts in ways that help us to be kind and benefit others. Although this mind-set puts God first in our thoughts and such thinking leaves no room for sin, the "old man" (our carnal nature) is still present but to less and less of a degree as we concentrate on Living God's way. Of course, concentrating on what we can do does not mean we can be happy about our personal shortcomings – our conscience should prick us every time the "old man" sins (Rom 7:12-23). The point is to strive against sin through Godly behaviour using our strengths and gifts, thereby leaving less and less room for any ungodly behaviour.
Under the Old Covenant, the Israelites were circumcised only once – this is because a second time is not possible. New covenant circumcision is no different in that spiritual circumcision (baptism with the Holy Spirit) happens only once – the rejection of sin and Satan's way happens only once. Thereafter, we are viewed as a righteous new creation by God and are commanded to live His way of life for the rest of our days – which life is depicted by the command to eat unleavened bread for the full seven days of the festival (see below, what we can and cannot eat during the Feast of Unleavened Bread). While rejection of Satan's way happens only once, committing sin less and less is a process and happens naturally as a result of living God’s way of life – committing sin less is NOT done through searching for sin in our lives and concentrating on no longer committing sin. The more we live God’s way, growing towards the stature and fullness of Christ, the more we put sin away simply because there is less room for it to exist. Our lives, as depicted by the seven days of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, are not about putting sin out of our lives; our lives are about concentrating on living God’s way – symbolized by eating unleavened bread every day of this seven-day Feast.
Does this shift of emphasis mean that we either ignore or do not sin? Absolutely not! God made the situation clear in Romans Chapter 7 through the example of Paul. Nor is this shift of emphasis advocating faith without works. This is not licence to do what our carnal nature desires; else we would be disobeying God’s command to live His way for our entire lives. The Feast of Unleavened Bread is showing us where our efforts, our emphasis should be – achieving a positive outcome for God’s way, not a non-negative outcome for Satan’s way.
This striving to live God’s way is to be a lifelong commitment; succeeding in living God's way does not happen overnight, it shall not happen while we are still human and will continue to be a goal even after ascension.
“…Jesus replied: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind’…” [NIV]
Love has already been explained above, in terms of respecting, honouring and caring for God and others, so we can now examine more closely the three objective elements of this command – the soul, the mind and the heart:
The Greek word “psuche” has been translated as “soul” – it is the same word from which we get the English word “psyche”. Both words mean exactly the same thing – our life force – and brings into question that to which we devote most of our time and energy.
This Greek word has to do with our understanding, contemplations and thoughts; it brings into question that to which we devote most of our thoughts.
This is mentioned first, but I have placed it last, as it actually combines the other two. It denotes the centre of all physical and spiritual life and brings into question who and what is important to us – it has to do with appreciation, loyalty, trust and around who or what our lives revolve.
Accordingly, this first command not only tells us what to do, but how to do it – we are to respect, honour and care for God by appreciating all He has in mind for us and by giving Him our trust and loyalty. We are to take an active interest in God, His plans and His work – think about what He is doing, how He is accomplishing His purpose and how He intends to complete His plans. Since we are central to those plans, we should be trying to work with God and avoid working against Him.
In order to obey this first great Commandment it is necessary that we know God, or at the very least know some of the things He has done for us and some of the things He has in mind for us. Even the Scriptures allude to this point in 1John 4:19:
“…We love him, because he first loved us…” [KJV].
To begin to appreciate this verse we need to simplify the scale. It is stated in 2Chron 2:6 that heaven and the heaven of heavens are not enough to contain God, so we know that God did not make the physical universe for Himself. With His power He is more than capable of creating something much larger. The universe was not made for God, it was made for us! Just as a new born child lives its life in a cradle and many parents go to great lengths to prepare a nursery (an entire room) for that child, likewise God has prepared and decorated an entire universe to surround us and our small, but most beautiful of all the planets. But for us – humanity – the universe would not exist!
Additionally, God has in mind for us eternal life with Him, as members of His family and younger brothers and sisters to Jesus. To guarantee our best chance of being with Him, He agreed to His only existing son sacrificing his physical life for us, John 3:16:
“…For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life…” [KJV].
To remind us of His great promises and thereby be encouraged, He gave to us the Sabbaths. The seventh-day Sabbath is a weekly reminder of the completion of His plan of salvation and the annual Holy Days are reminders of various stages in that plan. With the weekly Sabbath it is interesting to note that each of them was created for us and this is mentioned specifically in Mark 2:27:
“…Then he said to them, ‘The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath’…” [NIV].
As the weekly Sabbaths are reminders of our future eternal life in the kingdom of God and the annual Sabbaths picture the various stages in realising that future, Mark 2:27 therefore applies to ALL Sabbaths, both weekly and annual. Each of the Sabbaths is for the purpose of reminding us of our future and focussing our attention on the importance God places on our lives, thereby drawing us closer to a meaningful relationship with Him – this does not change whether the Sabbath is weekly or annual. Also, their relationship to the plan of salvation does not change – they are forever linked in pointing to achieving a single purpose – therefore they are all created for us. In the case of commanded assemblies the only days which specifically draw attention to the Godhead are Passover and Atonement – all things being reconciled to the Father through the death of Jesus. Even so, it should be observed that the act of reconciliation by Jesus was for us – it was for our benefit. In applying the plural “Sabbaths” to Mark 2:27 we now have the total meaning incorporated in these events. That is to say, whereas the weekly Sabbath points to our eternal life (final rest) in the kingdom of God, the Holy Days show the various stages required in realising that final rest, which is the result or conclusion of God’s plan of salvation. Accordingly, we are now addressing both the journey through AND the conclusion of the plan of salvation.
To be direct, the whole plan of salvation is for us and as a consequence all Sabbaths were created for us, because all Sabbaths point to some part of God’s plan of salvation – bringing us into His family.
God has indeed done much for us and intends to do immeasurably more. Knowing this, one would think that obedience to the first great commandment would not be a problem, but Scripture reveals otherwise. Christians like to think that they love God, but 1Cor 15:34 makes it clear that the reality of the matter is quite different:
“…Come back to your senses [or, wake up] as you ought, and stop sinning; for there are some who are ignorant of God – I say this to your shame…” [NIV].
The most chilling aspect of this account is that the people being addressed here are supposed to be God’s people! People with the Holy Spirit. Both verse 34 and the preceding verses in 1Cor 15 show that their sin was not knowing God.
God would not say this of ordinary people, because they are not expected to know any better – God has allowed Satan to cloud their minds (2Cor 4:3-4 and 3:14-15). God is calling to His people to WAKE UP and get to know Him. It is impossible to live God’s way of life if we do not know Him. Do not be deceived; being a “nice” person is not a sign that a person is converted to God’s way of thinking! It has been said that some of the Corinthians had a problem with the resurrection, believing that it had already past (1Cor 15:12 and 2Tim 2:18). This may have been due to some OT saints being resurrected to physical life at the time Christ was resurrected (Mat 27:52-53), but whatever the reason it was error and a significant part of that chapter was used in reminding the Corinthians of the doctrine of the resurrection (1Cor 15:12-22). However, from the tenor of the above indictment (verse 34) it is clear that the problem with the resurrection was minor compared with the greater problem to which it pointed – not knowing God.
This problem of not knowing God is something that afflicts us all to varying degrees, but God did not leave us in the dark about how to address the matter. God spent 42 chapters in His Bible (the book of Job) explaining to a few individuals how, for all their worship of Him, they did not know Him and were even misrepresenting Him. God was not pleased! God refers to Job as being “perfect and upright” (Job 1:1), yet he did not know God the way he was expected to know God. Not knowing God was also Job’s sin (Job 42:5-6), not self-righteousness!
Knowing and appreciating God, all He has done for us and all He intends to do for us is also part of the process of conversion and is not something we can expect to fully realise overnight. However, as it is the basis of the first great commandment, growth in this area is definitely expected – especially since we are given such an example of selflessness and love by the Father Himself.
"…And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbour as yourself.’…” [NKJV].
There are those who think, because Christ placed this Commandment second then it must be of secondary importance to the first, but nothing could be further from the truth. God declares, that if anyone says they love Him and do not love their brother, then they are liars! (1John 4:20). In order to love God it is essential that we FIRST LOVE OUR BROTHER (1John 4:21). In case the magnitude of this point is lost on some, God goes further:
“…The entire law is summed up in a single command: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’…" [NIV].
God is making it clear that it is not possible to obey the first Commandment without first obeying the second Commandment. God is revealing the supreme importance He places on people being able to get along with each other. We must learn to be kind towards each other, else we are not going anywhere beyond physical existence. God really wants us to be at peace and enjoy each other’s company and this is reflected in Psa 133:1 & 3:
“…1 How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity!...”
“…3 It is as if the dew of Hermon were falling on Mount Zion. For there the LORD bestows his blessing, even life forevermore…” [NIV].
Nearly 6,000 years ago God re-created the Earth after it had become a lifeless mess due to the angelic war as recorded in Ezek 28. God tells of the chaotic condition of Earth in Gen 1:2 and we know that such condition was not His doing, because He is not the author of confusion (1Cor 14:33). At the time of re-creation God also created mankind and the 7-day week as we know it today. The seventh day, God declared a Sabbath, a day of rest – which symbolizes our final rest from our spiritual labour as human beings in this life. Just as the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread pictured the beginning of our Christian journey through life and the whole of the Feast pictures our entire lives as Christians, the seventh day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread pictures the end of our Christian journey through life. It pictures the time of our final physical rest, or human death – which is to say the discarding of our physical bodies. We are to “rest under the altar of God” (Rev 6:9-11) until the time appointed for our resurrection and ascension as spirit beings into the family of God. As the Feast of Unleavened Bread also pictures our day of judgement, in which we fight spiritual battles (Eph 6:12), the physical deaths of the saints is also a literal rest from spiritual labour. In this sense, it also typifies the ultimate rest in the Kingdom of God.
Following this physical death the firstfruits will be born into the Kingdom of God as spirit beings, but most of the firstfruits will have to “wait” in the grave until the return of Christ. The very next annual Sabbath following the one picturing our physical deaths is Pentecost (symbolizing us being born into the Kingdom of God) – see "Meaning of the Feast of Pentecost". There is no waiting period for those in the second harvest (pictured by the Last Great Day); their ascensions will occur at the very the same moment they discard their physical bodies. Technically they die, but one could also say that their ascension is just a transformation from physical to spirit. Accordingly, for those in the second harvest there is no Sabbath to commemorate their physical deaths, but this and other matters pertaining to the second harvest season will be discussed, in detail, in the article entitled “Meaning of the Last Great Day”.
Now we know where we are in the grand scheme – this day, the seventh day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, actually pictures the celebration of our deaths (which is to say the completion of our spiritual labour). For us, this may seem a strange thing to do, but for God it is quite different. The heart of God’s thoughts on the matter is seen in Psa 116:15:
“…Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints…” [KJV].
This seventh day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread is God's remembrance day for all the saints who ever lived. He set aside as Holy, a day to remember the dead saints, a day to remember the end of our spiritual struggles in this physical life. The word rendered "precious" [yaaqaar] means costly, as precious gems, honoured, respected, rare[iv]. The meaning here is that the death of a Saint is regarded similarly as an object of great value:
· that God sees it as supremely important;
· that it is connected with His great plan, and
· that there is a great purpose to be accomplished by it.
To understand the full relevance of why God set aside this day of remembrance for the death of the saints we have to recall what happened in the lead-up to our deaths, which was covered in the section detailing the meaning of the Feast of Unleavened Bread. That lead-up is encapsulated by the Feast of Unleavened Bread, which is about to conclude, and now the most important question for us is, “Have we succeeded in doing our part?” Let’s face it, if we have not succeeded, then our deaths WILL NOT automatically lead to what is pictured by Pentecost. The answer to this question has to be one of the most important we will ever seek. This is actually the same question as, “Have we taken up a new way of life – God’s way of life?” Living this new, Godly way of life is what is symbolized by the days of unleavened bread.
The single-most important point to remember about the Feast of Unleavened Bread is that it is NOT about sin!
We need to think about that for a moment!
The Feast of Unleavened Bread is about living God's way of life, concentrating on God's way of life – NOT sin. This is not a time to become preoccupied with sin, for in so doing we become self-absorbed and thinking about Satan's way of life. The emphasis MUST be on God's way! We are to become God-centred, not self-centred. Ceasing to eat leavened bread during this time is not good enough; God requires that we EAT unleavened bread, which is to say live His way of life – Exodus 12:15:
“…Seven days shall ye eat unleavened bread;…” [KJV].
In other words, all the days of your conversion shall you live God’s way of life. To concentrate on sin during this time is extremely negative, self‑centred and shows that we miss the whole point. We left sin and that way of life behind at baptism (spiritual circumcision – Rom 2:29, Acts 2:38). Exactly how we are to concentrate on living God’s way is detailed above, but a simple example would be to concentrate on being kind to others rather than concentrating on not offending others.
With this shift in emphasis, the difference in the two ways (focussing on God’s way, rather than sin) is more easily seen. Concentrating on not offending others causes us to look for the weak points of people, it causes us to be self-centred and negative, it does not automatically put God in the picture, it achieves only a “non-negative” result – nothing positive is achieved. On the other hand, concentrating on being kind makes us look for what would please others, it is outgoing, it directs us towards God and Christ as the benchmarks for kindness, it causes us to think positively, it achieves both a positive result in human relations and automatically expels negative and offensive ways. The shift in emphasis to the positive is what this Feast is actually about and will achieve the spiritual growth for which God is looking in all of us. This is what is symbolized by the eating of unleavened bread.
Having concentrated on God (not sin) and pursuing His way of life all the days of our conversion is what we were called to do and having accomplished that charge we can see in Mal 3:16-17 how very special and precious was the mission and its completion:
“…16 Then they that feared the LORD spoke often one to another: and the LORD hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the LORD, and that thought upon his name. 17 And they shall be mine, says the LORD of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spares his own son that serves him…” [KJV]
In taking a closer look at the word jewel we can understand a little better God’s heart in this area. Strong states[v] that the word rendered “jewel” (cegullah) could be translated as "special jewel" or "treasure", or "valued property" – it comes from an unused root meaning “to shut up”. That is to say it is a derivative of a word that has the following meanings:
1. To shut up wealth in a vault;
2. Absolute protection;
3. Only the owner can touch;
4. On the other side, far away from;
5. Separated, beyond or out of reach.
Such is the depth of meaning behind this word that we can only begin to glimpse the value and importance that God places on the successful completion of our pursuit of Christianity. Nelson states that these words provide a sense of the pride and excitement God has in His children and that it is a “wonderfully endearing term”. God also described ancient Israel, being a fore-type of the current spiritual nation of Israel, in terms of similar value:
“…For you are a holy people to the LORD your God; the LORD your God has chosen you to be a people for Himself, a special treasure above all the peoples on the face of the earth…” [NKJV].
In life we are a special and Holy people to God, but our deaths are so precious and so important to God that He has set apart as HOLY one day every year as a day of remembrance for us, this seventh day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Our baptism into the Christian life caused exceeding joyfulness in the presence of the Angels of God (Luke 15:10), but our deaths are described in such a way where even the word "precious" is inadequate.
Regarding the firstfruits, this is THE most important day for God! He has now placed the spirits of the firstfruits in His treasure vault to await ascension as God beings. God has completed His work in us, just as a jeweller completes his work of cutting and polishing precious gems, then puts them in a vault awaiting the final setting.
It is a common question and a very logical question to ask, “What else do we eat during the feast of the unleavened bread and how many times and when do we eat unleavened bread".
The answer is that we eat normally during the Feast except we avoid foods containing leavening agents such as yeast, baking soda or chemical raising agents – all of which are usually declared in the list of ingredients on the packaging. What is leaven – it is any food that can cause a puffing up of and by itself. Leaven is not just anything that increases in volume. For example, beaten egg white must have the air beaten into it, it cannot cause either itself or anything else to rise. Popcorn is not leavened nor is it a leavening agent – it simply increases in volume when heat is applied. Water does the reverse – it increases in volume when frozen into ice, but neither ice nor water are leavening agents. Beer is not leavened because it experiences no increase in volume. For leaven to be leaven it must cause the rising effect by itself. Accordingly, if popcorn and rice bubbles only become popcorn and rice bubbles after applying heat, then it must be heat that is the leavening agent. After they have cooled down there is no "leavening agent" (heat) remaining so the product is unleavened. So what do we do, throw out our freezers, ovens, extinguish our fires, throw out anything that can cause heat or ice? That is of course ridiculous! A leavening agent must be a tangible thing such as yeast (the Biblical example), baking soda or other tangible agent that causes another substance to rise. A leavening agent is one substance that causes another substance rise.
Be careful of the Jews, who were condemned by Jesus for adding to the Law and making it a burden on the people. We are to follow God, not the traditions of men.
Mark 7:8-9 (NLT)
"For you ignore God’s law and substitute your own tradition.
Then he said, “You skillfully sidestep God’s law in order to hold on to your own tradition."
When it is said “eat normally”, this assumes normal Biblically clean foods (click link to see list) such as beef, sheep, goat, various foul and fish that would normally have scales and fins prior to eating. Unclean foods only refer to meat, not vegetables.
During the Feast it is a command to partake of some unleavened bread each day – the amount is not important. The amount is not important, because it is symbolic of living God’s way for our entire lives (the seven days) – accordingly, so long as we eat some unleavened bread each day of the seven day festival we have symbolically lived God’s way for our entire lives. The command to partake of unleavened bread for the full seven days is given several times by God and can be seen in Ex 12:15, Ex 13:6, Ex 13:7 and Ex 34:18:
“…‘Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread. On the first day you shall remove leaven from your houses. For whoever eats leavened bread from the first day until the seventh day, that person shall be cut off from Israel.’…” [NKJV].
“…‘Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread, and on the seventh day there shall be a feast to the LORD.’…” [NKJV].
“…‘Unleavened bread shall be eaten seven days. And no leavened bread shall be seen among you, nor shall leaven be seen among you in all your quarters.’…” [NKJV].
“…‘The Feast of Unleavened Bread you shall keep. Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread, as I commanded you, in the appointed time of the month of Abib; for in the month of Abib you came out from Egypt.’…” [NKJV].
There is no command to partake of wine during the Feast – this command is restricted for the Passover and usually the amount of wine taken for this service is less than a mouthful. Accordingly, during this festival, as with any other time, people are free to either imbibe moderately or abstain – whichever is their preference on the day.
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