In Leviticus 23, God
outlines part of His law. Here we find the commanded Holy Days of the Eternal
God (vs.2). In contrast to man's holidays, such as Christmas and Easter, which
one may search in vain for in the Scriptures; God's festivals are outlined so
clearly even a child can understand them. In fact that is exactly what God
demands of parents - teach your children (Exo.13: 8). Rehearsing these holy
days annually reinforces our understanding of God's master plan of salvation.
The weekly Sabbath, Passover, the Days of Unleavened Bread, Pentecost,
Trumpets, Atonement, Tabernacles and the Last Great Day are all God revealed
"appointed times," which He commands to be honored and observed
understood, each Holy Day impresses upon us a vital key in understanding how
to become citizens of the Kingdom of God. Before we enter that society as
spirit beings, we must thoroughly understand God's laws and the penalties for
The Days of Unleavened
teach us about the law of God. And the law of God reveals the character we are
to build in our lives to make us ready for citizenship in His Kingdom. Christ
taught, "But if you will enter into life, keep the commandments"
(Matt. 19: 17). If we expect to enjoy eternal life in God's Family, we must
obey His law! Our Father is not going to allow any disobedient children to be
part of His Family. The Days of Unleavened Bread - observed for the complete
seven days, teaches us that we should strive for perfection in obedience to
the law of God.
Notice Leviticus 23:6-8.
"And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the Feast of Unleavened
Bread unto the Lord: seven days you must eat unleavened bread. In the first
day you shall have an holy convocation: you shall do no servile work therein.
But you shall offer an offering made by fire unto the Lord seven days: in the
seventh day is an holy convocation: you shall do no servile work
This is God's clearly
stated law concerning this particular festival. We are told when to keep it -
there is a God-ordained time to observe it. We are not given the prerogative
to postpone it or alter it in any way. God specifies that during the Feast of
Unleavened Bread, we are to keep two separate holy convocations, or commanded
assemblies. On these two Holy Days, we are to meet, as God's people, to
receive teaching from God about the meaning of the days. These Holy Days are
annual Sabbaths and just as with the weekly Sabbath, we are not to continue
with our regular job, household chores, entertainment, etc. because our
attention is to be focused on God during this time. Also, an offering is taken
during these days - something we should be preparing for now (Deut.16:15).
These are directives from God according to His law.
Finally, God directs us
to remove all leavened products from our homes. We eat unleavened bread
throughout the week to remind us of the haste in which Israel fled Egypt.
"You shall eat no leavened bread with it; seven days shall you eat
unleavened bread therewith, even the bread of affliction; for you came forth
out of the land of Egypt in haste: that you may remember the day when you came
forth out of the land of Egypt all the days of your life" (Deut.16:3).
God gives us these
physical practices to help us grow in our understanding of the spiritual
significance of the days. Learning to obey the law of God builds godly
perfection in our lives.
Any Bible student is
familiar with the use of analogy, parable or symbolism to convey a message
from God. Sometimes these are used to obscure meaning so as to be understood
only by a specific group of people. Other times, the meaning is made plain and
understandable by use of symbolism. God also uses physical examples to teach
spiritual principles. Scriptures regarding the Days of Unleavened Bread serve
as examples of these teaching techniques of God. One must, through much
dedicated study and practice, come to master the true observance of these
The people of ancient
Israel were taught the principle of deliverance from this society and its laws
as they fled from Egypt. Be sure to read the book of Exodus before the Days of
Unleavened Bread. Not only is the story of Israel's journey out of Egypt
recorded there, but the law of God is also expounded directly in this book.
The symbolism of Israel's perilous exodus from slavery to the Promised Land
was not only used to teach them, but it is meant to benefit us today as we
comprehend the spiritual lessons of their pilgrimage. "Now all these
things happened to them as examples and they were written for our admonition,
on whom the ends of the ages have come" (1 Cor.10:11).
Hebrews 11, the faith
chapter, shows an analogy between Egypt and sin. Revelation 11: 8 also likens
Egypt to sin. By following the analogy of Israel's deliverance by Godly
intervention, we also make our exodus by miraculous intervention. Pharaoh can
be equated to Satan. Immediately as the Israelites embarked en route to the
Promised Land, they were chased by Pharaoh. So too, for us today: the moment
we forsake our sinful ways, Satan is hot on our heels trying to tempt us back
into disobedience (1 Pet.5:8). He is a deceiver and he wishes to bring us back
into slavery to sin. His goal is to discourage us, tempt us with the glitz of
this world, derail us from our obedience to God and thus keep us out of the
Family of God!
Just as the Israelites
were miserable under the conditions of slavery in Egypt, so have we suffered
under the influence of Satan's world - a world of misery, death,
disillusionment, discouragement and frustration. Satan's way of life is
contrary to that of our Promised Land - the Kingdom of God.
So one lesson we learn
through the Days of Unleavened Bread, is that we too are on a journey - away
from the captivity of Satan and his system. The Israelites encountered a
multitude of obstacles on their exodus - just as we do. God tested ancient
Israel to determine their commitment to His law. Yet He knew they would not
live up to this test because they lacked His Holy Spirit; but as we saw, their
example is for us today. Along our journey, we are tested by God as He proves
our heart "For whom the LORD loves, He chastens, and scourges every son
whom He receives. If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons,
for what son is there whom a father does not chasten?" (Heb.12:6- 7).
Yet, we should not be
discouraged: "There has no temptation taken you but such as is common to
man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that you
are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that you may
be able to bear it" (ICor.l0-13).
The primary lesson God
was teaching ancient Israel, and is teaching us today, is to rely on Him for
deliverance. We are not capable of freeing ourselves; we need God. He always
provides a way of escape. This is a promise. God's goal is to prove to us that
He is our only hope. By coming to this understanding and yielding ourselves to
Him and His law completely, we enjoy the benefits of coming under His justice
system. Our "Promised Land" lies just over the horizon in the
Kingdom of God. But again, we must learn to live our everyday lives under the
direction of the law of God. If we can't live under God's laws now, what makes
us think we will do any differently in the Kingdom of God? That's why God is
training, teaching and correcting us today. The Days of Unleavened Bread
symbolize our "exodus" and put us in remembrance of our need to
remove every sin and every act of disobedience to God's law from our lives
The apostle Paul wrote
extensively about the law of God. Paul understood the Days of Unleavened Bread
thoroughly. He used this Holy Day season to expose a major character flaw in
the Corinthian church. Paul said they had become puffed up with vanity as they
presumed they were more converted and merciful than Paul (and even God) as
they permitted a sinner to remain in their midst (1 Cor.5:1-2). Paul compared
the actions of sin to that of leaven, noting that "a little leaven
leavens the whole lump" (vs.6). How do we correct this problem?
"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: 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"
(vs. 7 -8). The Corinthians were urged to remove the sinful individual from
their midst and to take the leaven, or sin, out of their own lives!
God commands that
Christians abstain from leavened products during the seven-day period of
Unleavened Bread. We are to physically remove all leaven from our lives (homes
and work). God doesn't do this for sanitary reasons, but to teach a spiritual
lesson. Again, that's what Paul taught. Let's follow the symbolism: For seven
days, we are to remove all leaven from our lives. Leaven is symbolic of sin.
"Then Jesus said to them, 'Take heed and beware of the leaven of the
Pharisees and the Sadducees'" (Matt. 16:6). Jesus explains, "'How is
it you do not understand that I did not speak to you concerning bread; but to
beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees.' Then they understood
that he did not tell them to beware of the leaven of bread, but of the
doctrine of the Pharisees and Sadducees" (vs.11- 12).
Paul says, again to the
Corinthian church, "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. 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" (l Cor.5:7-8). During this 7 day period, and
honestly throughout the year, we must strive to remove sin from our lives.
God teaches us that the
sacrifice of His Son to pay the penalty for our sins is only part of the plan
- we have responsibilities as well. We are commanded to forsake our ways, turn
from our carnal, sinful self - truly bury the "old man" in the
baptismal waters, be raised a "new man" and live in obedience to the
law of God. We can't hang on to the old way of living, because the ways of God
are not man's carnal ways. "For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor
are your ways My ways, says the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the
earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your
thoughts" (lsa.55:8-9). Man's ways are reflected in the following verse,
"There is a way which seems right unto a man, but the end thereof are the
ways of death" (Prov.14:12). This familiar scripture alone should drive
us to desire God's way. God challenges us to "choose life."
How much effort should
be expended in our fight against the carnal self? "Wherefore seeing we
also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside
every weight, and the SIN which does so easily beset us, and let us run with
patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and
finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before Him endured the
cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of
God. For consider Him that endured such contradiction of sinners against
himself, lest you be wearied and faint in your minds. You have not yet
resisted unto blood, striving against sin!" (Heb.12:1-4). Though we
suffer tremendous trials, we have not had to go through what the Son of God
did on our behalf. The plan of God does not end with Passover - it begins
there! We must do our part to build upon the foundation established by Christ.
Living according to the
law of God is not easy. In fact, Jesus said, "Enter you in at the strait
gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leads to destruction,
and many there be which go in thereat: because strait is the gate, and narrow
is the way, which leads unto life, and few there be that find it"
(Matt.7: 13-14). Compounding the difficulty; we have been purposefully left in
this world in order that we might develop godly character. "I have given
them Your word; and the world has hated them because they are not of the
world, just as I am not of the world. I do not pray that You should take them
out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one. They are
not of the world, just as I am not of the world. Sanctify them by Your truth.
Your word is truth. As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into
the world" (John 17: 14-18). We have a difficult calling, but God wants
us to come to rely upon Him. That is the same lesson ancient Israel should
God is looking for real
change. We may fool ourselves and others around us, but God searches the
heart. "Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit
is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of
God" (Rom.8:27). God admonishes us to put Him and His Kingdom first in
our lives. "But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness. .
." (Matt.6:33). God knows if you are seeking Him first - if you value
anything connected with the carnal, mundane society of this evil age more than
your opportunity to receive the gift of eternal life and be born into His
kingdom. God tests us, to see if we are really willing to submit ourselves to
Him and do our commanded part.
You see, at baptism we
promised God that we would commit ourselves to develop as citizens of the
Kingdom of God. We covenant with God and promise to forsake our sinful ways.
If we fulfill our part, then we can expect to receive the gift of eternal
life. But God is going to require complete adherence to the terms agreed upon
in the contract!
Our calling is deadly
serious. The Apostle Peter gives this perspective: "For if after they
have escaped the pollution of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and
Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the
latter end is worse with them than the beginning. For it had been better for
them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known
it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them. But it is happened
unto them according to the true proverb, 'The dog is turned to his own vomit
again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire'" (2
Pet.2:20-22). The Apostle Paul gives a slightly different perspective, yet
with the same end result: "For it is impossible for those who were once
enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of
the Holy Spirit, and have tested the good word of God and the powers of the
age to come, if they fall away, to renew them again to repentance, since they
crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open
We have a daunting task
ahead of us - overcoming Satan, self and society. Yet we have the inspiration
to motivate us through to the end. We have God fighting for us, just as He did
for ancient Israel. Just when it looked impossible, God delivered them. For us
today, God promises to aid us along every step of the way. He requires that we
expend every ounce of energy we have to obey His law. God reminds us every
year of His plan through His Holy Days. The Days of Unleavened Bread remind us
to actively search out and destroy ALL of the spiritual leaven in our lives.
These Holy Days of the
Eternal God, powerfully point us to the Promised Land soon coming. That
Kingdom will be one of peace, abundance and equity! The law that God expects
us to live by is a perfect law. God is a true and righteous judge. We must
submit to this law willingly. We must forsake our old ways of life, and come
under the government of God. We must obey His commands to honor and observe
the Holy Days as He commands - and at the time He commands!