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Topic: The Feast of Unleavened Bread

Unleavened Bread

by Darrel Cline

We have been looking at the feasts of Israel as the prophetic foundation for Christianity. In our consideration of Passover we noted (037) that the main issue was the death of an innocent and faultless lamb in the place of those who took shelter behind its blood. When Jesus said, "I am the door...", it may well be that He had the doors of Egypt in mind where the blood of the lambs was splattered to keep the Angel of Death from entering.

The next feast is one called Unleavened Bread. Its historical background was also tied to the deliverance from Egypt. God had told the nation to eat the Passover with their traveling clothes on, because they were to be delivered that night. The eating of unleavened bread symbolized this quick departure. In the days of travel to come, there was no time to allow for the fermentation process of the leaven generally used in the baking of bread. So, unleavened bread was to symbolize God's deliverance of them. The importance of the feast for Christians is found in 1 Corinthians 5:8: "Let us therefore celebrate the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth." (NASB). In other words, the Feast of Unleavened Bread was also a symbolic event, designed by God to foreshadow spiritual truth to come in the person of Jesus Christ.

What truth?

The answer is to be found in the article on "Leaven" in the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, vol. 3, page 1862. In that place we are told that "...the form of leaven used in bread-making..." was "...a piece of fermented dough kept over from a former baking..." When we compare this information with the apostle Paul's words in 1 Corinthians 5, it dove-tails. Paul said to "celebrate the feast, not with old leaven..." Now, the question is Why?

Old leaven is tied to prior meals. Prior meals are tied to their own history, i.e., they took place while certain historical realities were in place. When the children of Israel were in Egypt, their historical reality was slavery, hard toil, and a great sense of despair and grief. The meals eaten then were meals of toil and despair.

Therefore, when the Passover had taken place, and deliverance had been effected, there was a need to break with the past in a definitive way. This is the point of unleavened bread: it was a break with the old leaven and its historical setting. Joseph Good, in his Rosh Hashanah and the Messianic Kingdom to Come, says that the Feast of Unleavened Bread was symbolic of the death of Messiah. This is in harmony with the thesis that unleavened bread represents a break with the old history: death, Jesus said, was a planting of the old seed so that a new plant could come. "Except a seed fall into the ground and die, it abides alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit." Therefore, the Feast of Unleavened Bread is a memorial to an eternal truth: life only comes through death now that sin is an integral part of our experience. Jesus died, and lived again, so that we might have eternal life. Do you have it?

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This is article #040.
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