The Feasts of Israel
Leviticus 23 – Part 2
by Earlene Davis
The Feast of Unleavened Bread
Vs. 6-8, “And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the feast of unleavened bread unto the LORD: seven days ye must eat unleavened bread. In the first day ye shall have an holy convocation: ye shall do no servile work therein. But ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD seven days: in the seventh day is an holy convocation: ye shall do no servile work therein.”
This feast of unleavened bread occurs simultaneously with the Lord’s Passover. It begins the day after the Passover eve, and lasts for seven days. Because they are closely related in time and purpose, their names are often used interchangeably. During Passover and the feast of unleavened bread, God instructed the Israelites to eat only the pure unleavened bread. We read in Exodus 13:6,7 that they were to put out all leaven even from their houses. Leaven in Scripture symbolizes sin and evil. Because Christ, our Passover was sacrificed for us, we have been separated from evil. An entire and immediate separation has been provided.
Unleavened bread, symbolized a holy walk with the Lord. “Seven days,” seven being the number of perfection has reference to the completeness of the work of Christ in putting away sin. All believers in Christ are cleansed from sin and empowered to walk in newness of life. I Cor. 5:7,8, “Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us: Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.” Keeping the feast signifies that we are not to tolerate sin in any way, but rejoice in our perfect deliverance in Christ.
Unleavened bread in the New Testament is the body of our Lord. He was born in Bethlehem, which means “House of Bread” in Hebrew. He also announced Himself as the Bread of Life. John 6:31-33,48, “Our fathers did eat manna in the desert; as it is written, He gave them bread from heaven to eat. Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is He which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world…I am that bread of life.”
The very bread used by the Jews during the week of unleavened bread is Matzoh, pure without any leaven and is a good picture of our Lord. I John 3:5, “…He was manifested to take away our sins; and in Him is no sin.” The Matzoh is also striped in the baking. Isa. 53:5, “…He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed.” You hold this bread in front of a candle and you can see the light through the holes pierced in it. Our Lord was pierced by the nails in His hands and feet and the Roman spear in His side. Zech. 12:10, “…I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon Me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for Him, as one mourneth for His only son, and shall be in bitterness for Him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.”
We cannot separate Passover and unleavened bread, for God has joined them. Now instead of Passover and the feast of unleavened bread, we observe the Lord’s Supper. We remember Calvary and feast upon the Lamb. I Cor. 11:26, “For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord's death till He come.”
In the Jews Passover ceremony they brake the bread, Matzoh, into three pieces. The middle piece is buried (by hiding it). Then later in the ceremony they resurrect it, by the piece of Matzoh being found. This pictures Christ’s death and resurrection. In the modern Jewish Passover celebration they are presenting the Gospel, the good news and don’t know it.
God performed this exact ceremony with the burial of Jesus, and He performed it on the exact day of the feast. His body was interred at sunset of Passover Day, the beginning of the 15th day of the first month. Crucifixion normally took three days. The Romans used this slow and terrible way of death to terrify the population of Israel as they passed by those crucified. Remember the centurion was not ready to believe that Jesus was dead in just six hours. But it is simple to understand when you consider the schedule of the first two feasts. Our Lord said no one could take His life from Him, “I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again…” John 10:18.
Again we see this feast was fulfilled in an unmistakable way. Our “Kernel of wheat” (John. 12:24) was placed in the ground at the appropriate time, to rise again in accordance with the schedule of the feasts.
Next issue: The Feast of First Fruits.