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GOD'S PLAN OF SALVATION FOR MANKIND
FEAST OF UNLEAVENED BREAD
After Jesus Christ has paid the death penalty for us, we are not to go back to living that sinful way of life. We are to come out of it and put all sin out of our lives. The second holy day reminds us of this second step in God’s plan of salvation for mankind.
Jesus Instructed us to Sin no More
When Jesus dealt with sinners, He first forgave their sins and then instructed them to ‘sin no more,’ meaning that they should strive to become sinless.
In the incident described at the pool called Bethesda in Jerusalem, Jesus healed a man who had an infirmity for 38 years. He then said to him in John 5:14: “14…"See, you have been made well. SIN NO MORE, lest a worse thing come upon you."
When the priests and scribes brought a woman to Jesus caught in the act of adultery, they said Moses commanded that such should be stoned, and asked what He thought should be done to her. He told them that he that was without sin among them should cast the first stone. No one cast a stone at her and everyone went out of the door. Jesus then said to her in John 8:10-11: “Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?" 11 She said, "No one, Lord." And Jesus said to her, "Neither do I condemn you; GO AND SIN NO MORE."
In both cases, Jesus told the two people to “go and sin no more.” Many preachers claim that Jesus Christ forgave all our past, present and future sins by paying the death penalty on our behalf. Therefore, we don’t have to worry about sin any more. We can commit whatever sins we want because Jesus Christ forgives them. But when we look at what Jesus instructed the man who was healed, and the woman caught in adultery, we see that these preachers are preaching contrary to Jesus’ plain instructions.
Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil, and sin. The apostle John left no doubt about this in 1 John 3:8-9: “8 He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose, the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil. 9 Whoever has been born of God does not sin…” The Bible cannot be any plainer than that in condemning sin. It is of the devil, and those who are born of God DO NOT SIN!
Many preachers preach that Jesus Christ’s sacrifice paid the death penalty on our behalf, and all our past, present and future sins are forgiven. Therefore we are no longer required to keep God’s commandments and laws. That is pure satanic, diabolical, cunning and crafty teaching intended to deceive humanity. Experience tells us that breaking any of God’s commandments is sin, and without fail, all sin leads to pain and suffering. Though Jesus Christ paid the penalty for all of us, it still makes a difference for the present physical consequences of sin, and all the difference for eternal life. Even though Jesus Christ paid the penalty on our behalf, if we sin, we will still go through pain and suffering in the present life as a consequence. The purpose of giving the law was to regulate human conduct to avoid pain and suffering. If we continue to break God’s commandments, we will experience pain and suffering. And only God can grant eternal life. He simply will not grant eternal life to a person who keeps sinning. Jesus said in Revelation 21:7-8, “7 He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son. 8 But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.”
To illustrate the utter stupidity of the preachers’ argument, just consider the last six of the ten commandments that have to do with loving our neighbor as ourselves. Would you like to be a close friend or even neighbor of a person who disrespects and abuses his parents; a person with a murderous nature; a habitual adulterer, fornicator or a sexual pervert; a habitual thief; a liar through and through and a person who covets everything you have. I doubt it. You can see how idiotic the preachers and others are who claim that we are not required to keep God’s Law. Violation of God’s Law always produces pain and suffering.
The same conclusion can be drawn by looking at our justice system. If an offender violates man’s laws, he is punished. For a first time offender the judge may let him off with a warning. But for the same offense committed the second time the judge will surely punish him, because he is hurting the rest of society with his offense. For the same offense committed the third time the judge will probably give him the maximum possible sentence. You see, laws are meant to protect society from harm, including the offender himself. A judge cannot keep on forgiving a repeat offender. How can then God continue to keep forgiving those who continue to break His laws and become a menace to the rest of society, even though Jesus Christ paid the death penalty on behalf of all of us?
Feast of Unleavened Bread: Lesson in Quitting Sin Utterly
But such confusion about violating God’s laws, or deliberate diabolical deception by some preachers should not deceive us if we understand the significance and meaning of the next annual holy day or feast after the Passover called the “Days of Unleavened Bread.”
The seven annual holy days of God picture God’s plan of salvation for mankind. The very first step in God’s plan of salvation is Christ’s sacrifice for the forgiveness of our sins, pictured annually by the Passover. But after our sins have been forgiven, we cannot continue living in sin. We must walk in newness of life, by continually striving to put away sin. Romans 6:4 tells us: “4 Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.”
A life of overcoming sin is pictured by the symbolism of the Days of Unleavened Bread. After God freed ancient Israel from slavery in Egypt, He told His people that for “seven days you shall eat unleavened bread.” Exodus 12:14-20 states: “And this day [that is, the day immediately following the Passover] shall be unto you for a memorial; and you shall keep it a feast to the Lord throughout your generations; you shall keep it a feast by an ordinance forever. Seven days shall you eat unleavened bread; even the first day you shall put away leaven out of your houses: for whosoever eats leavened bread from the first day until the seventh day, that soul shall be cut off from Israel.
“And in the first day there shall be a holy convocation [or assembly, which today would be called a Church service], and in the seventh day there shall be a holy convocation to you; no manner of work shall be done in them, save that which every man must eat, that only may be done of you.” This means that no regular work may be done on the first day and the seventh day of the feast, except light cooking for preparing food.
The instructions continue: “And you shall observe the feast of unleavened bread; for in this self-same day have I brought your armies out of the land of Egypt: therefore, shall you observe this day in your generations by an ordinance forever. In the first month [which is the month Abib in the Hebrew calendar], on the fourteenth day of the month at evening, you shall eat unleavened bread, until the one and twentieth day of the month at evening. Seven days shall there be no leaven found in your houses: for whosoever eats that which is leavened, even that soul shall be cut off from the congregation of Israel, whether he be a stranger, or born in the land. You shall eat nothing leavened: in your habitations shall you eat unleavened bread.”
Deliverance from slavery in Egypt [a type of sin], or the exodus was the main reason God gave to ancient Israel to observe this feast forever. The Feast is to be kept forever because it has a continuing meaning and purpose for humanity.
Purpose of Festival
God then further explained the full significance and His purpose for these feast days in Exodus 13”6. 8-10: “6 Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread, and in the seventh day shall be a feast to the Lord…And you shall show your son in that day, saying, This is done because of that which the Lord did unto me when I came forth out of Egypt. 9 And it shall be for a sign [sign means it would have a future meaning] unto you upon your hand, and for a memorial between your eyes, that the Lord's law may be in your mouth: for with a strong hand has the Lord brought you out of Egypt. 10 you shall therefore keep this ordinance…”
Do we see God’s great purpose here? These days of unleavened bread are to be a sign, that is, have a future meaning. A sign upon the hand, means having to do with work, and a memorial between the eyes means having to do with the will or intellect. And the reason for all this: “that the Lord’s law may be in your mouth.” This feast therefore, is an annual reminder of keeping God’s law. And sin is defined in 1 John 3:4 as “lawlessness” or transgression of the law.
The Passover pictures the death of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins that are past (Romans 3:25). But that does not give us license to continue in sin. We keep the feast of unleavened bread then as an annual reminder of the necessity of keeping God’s law, which is the equivalent of quitting sin, because transgression of the law is sin.
Quitting Sin Utterly
To what extent shall we put away sin? Not partially, but completely! The symbolism of putting away leaven during the Feast of Unleavened Bread further mirrors the true to life picture. Paul explained this in 1 Corinthians 5:6-8: “6 Your glorying is not good. Know you not that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? 7 Purge out therefore the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, as you are unleavened.”
True Christians are to be unleavened, because leaven is a type of sin. That is what is pictured by the Feast of Unleavened Bread. The instruction God gave concerning this feast to ancient Israel was to put away all leaven out of their homes for seven days. For Christians this means putting away all sin out of their lives. Since seven is God’s number of completion, keeping leaven out of their homes for seven days pictures for Christians quitting sin completely. Thus, this feast reminds us annually to work diligently to put all sinful thoughts, attitudes and actions out of our lives completely and avoid them.
Paul continues in verses 7-8: “7 Purge out therefore the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, as you are unleavened, For even Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us: 8 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.”
Paul here is discussing the annual holy days of Passover with Gentile Christians in Corinth, obviously because they were keeping the holy days. He explains that Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us. We accept Christ’s blood for the forgiveness of our sins. Then he says we are to keep the feast, meaning the Feast of Unleavened Bread that immediately follows the Passover, not with leaven, [meaning not continuing in sin], but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth [meaning living a life without sin, which is the equivalent of keeping God’s law and commandments].
To observe the Passover alone, and then fail to observe the seven Days of Unleavened Bread, means, in the symbolism, to accept Christ’s blood, and then to continue in sin—to erroneously say the law is done away, that we are under grace alone, meaning have a license to continue in sin!
Days of Unleavened Bread Kept by the New Testament Church
When Jesus came to earth as a human, He observed this Feast—sometimes called the Feast of Passover by the Jews because of the proximity of the Passover to the Days of Unleavened Bread. Mark 14:1 records: “After two days was the feast of the Passover, and of unleavened bread…” In verse 12 Mark says: “And the first day of unleavened bread, when they killed the Passover.”
Jesus kept it as a child as stated in Luke 2:41-42: “41 Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the feast of the Passover. 42 And when he was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem after the custom of the feast. 43 And when they had fulfilled the days, as they returned…” The phrase ‘Fulfilled the days’ and not just day means they were keeping the seven days of Unleavened Bread. Luke confirms in Luke 22:1 that the days of Unleavened bread were also referred to as the Passover. It states: “Now the feast of unleavened bread drew near, which is called the Passover.” And in verse 7 Luke states: “Then came the day of unleavened bread, when the Passover must be killed.”
Thus, the Passover and the Days of Unleavened Bread were often used to refer to both festivals together. As Luke 2:41-43 shows Jesus kept the Feast of Unleavened Bread as a child with his parents in Jerusalem. Later also as an adult Jesus kept this feast as stated in Matthew 26:17: “Now the first day of the feast of unleavened bread the disciples came to Jesus, saying to Him, Where will you that we prepare for you to eat the Passover?”
The early New Testament Church, imitating Christ, kept this Feast as well. In Acts 20:6 we read: “[W]e sailed away from Philippi after the days of unleavened bread ….” Paul and companions plainly had observed the Days of Unleavened Bread at Philippi. The Holy Spirit could never have inspired such words otherwise.
Notice also Acts 12:3: “Then were the days of unleavened bread.” Why should this be mentioned, if those days in God’s sight had ceased to exist? This was recorded years after the crucifixion. The Days of Unleavened Bread still existed, or the Holy Spirit could not have inspired “Then were the days of unleavened bread.”
And of course, as mentioned earlier, Paul discussed the Passover and the Days of Unleavened Bread with the Corinthian Church. In 1 Corinthians 5:8 he said, “8 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.” He was obviously referring to keeping the Feast of Unleavened Bread.
Paul kept the Law of Moses as he stated in his defense against accusation of the Jews in Acts 25:7-8: “7 When he had come, the Jews who had come down from Jerusalem stood about and laid many serious complaints against Paul, which they could not prove, 8 while he answered for himself, "Neither against the law of the Jews, nor against the temple, nor against Caesar have I offended in anything at all." To not have offended in anything against the Law of the Jews, Paul had to keep the seven annual festivals, including the seven-day Feast of Unleavened Bread.
How Is the Feast of Unleavened Bread to be observed?
Next question is: How is the Feast of Unleavened Bread to be observed? As per God’s original instructions to ancient Israel, we are to remove all leaven and leavened products from our homes for seven days.
The traditional Jewish way to obey this command is to look in the fridge and pantry to see if there are any products containing leaven such as bread, cookies, cakes, or any yeast or baking soda lying around the house and remove them and throw them away out of the premises. This is a physical act that can be completed within half an hour or an hour at the most. But, the Old Testament does not equate leaven with spiritual sin. Not believing in the New Testament, the Jews do not understand the deep spiritual significance of this command. The New Testament explains that leaven represents sin. God’s true Church understands that, and that’s why we perform the physical act of removing leaven and leavened products out of our homes with much more diligence.
Before the beginning of the Seven days of Unleavened Bread, we search for and remove all leaven and leavened products out of our homes. We do not only throw such products into the trash, we remove the trash containing leaven completely out of our premises by throwing it into the dumpster. We also clean and vacuum areas where leavened products or crumbs could usually fall during the year. That includes the kitchen, dining area, living room, study area if usually food is eaten there, or any area where food could be eaten such as bedroom. We thoroughly clean the fridge, pantry area, kitchen cabinets, oven, toaster, sofas, car, office space at work, cleaning the vacuum cleaner and removing the vacuum bags etc to remove all possible food particles.
I usually start doing this about three days before the Passover, and the whole process usually takes about 10-15 hours.These are the spiritual lessons I keep in mind while I am performing this physical task. As I am diligently working to remove leaven out of my home, I am constantly meditating on why I am doing it, which is working towards becoming sinless. Just as removing leaven out of my home requires devoting time to it and diligent somewhat strenuous effort, removing sin out of my life will also require diligent strenuous effort and devoting time to the task.
I also keep in mind that de-leavening the house is a physical task. The spiritual parallel in our lives, which is removing sin, is the real thing. That’s why I do not go overboard in spring cleaning the house for 30-40 hours. Rather I spend more time examining myself to identify my sins and working towards overcoming them. But I do spend time to remind myself that I need to devote time and effort to the task of removing sin out of my life. I also cannot afford to be lackadaisical or lazy in applying the tools of self-examination and overcoming sin. The tools of self-examination are reading the Bible daily, communicating with God through prayer and asking for His help to show me my sins and give me the help I need in the form of His holy spirit to overcome them; fasting and meditation on what my sins are and how to overcome them.
God’s Church also takes the first and last days of the Feast of Unleavened Bread completely off from work to attend Church services.
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