Passover speaks of deliverance and salvation, whilst the Feast of Unleavened Bread concerns sanctification and living a holy life pleasing to God. They are connected since sanctification follows salvation with the goal of becoming like Messiah in our character through the power and enabling of the Holy Spirit. Pesach took place on the 14th of Nissan/Aviv whilst the Feast of Unleavened Bread ran for seven days commencing on the 15th of Nissan/Aviv.
When someone comes to faith, that is when they have turned to the Lord, repented, and begun to trust in Yeshua Messiah, there should be a notable transformation in their character evidencing the inner change that has taken place in their life.
Leaven and sin
Leaven in Scripture almost always represents sin. In addition to eating the Passover in haste and not having time to make leavened bread prior to leaving Egypt, this is the deeper reason concerning why the children of Israel ate bread that contained no leaven at Passover.
Examples of leaven being associated with sin include some of the following. Yeshua warned His disciples about the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees in Matthew 16:6-12 concerning false teaching. Yeshua warned about the leaven of Herod with regard to political hypocrisy in Mark 8:15. Paul also warned about the leaven of legalism in Galatians 5:7-9.
Significantly, Yeshua cleansed the temple on the first occasion at Passover, when he found those who sold oxen, sheep and doves and changing money and conducting business making His Father’s house a house of merchandise (John 2:13-17; c.f. Psalm 69:9)”. Of course all those issues have been relevant throughout history and are still evident today.
Before Pesach, homes are meticulously searched for any trace of yeast or bread crumb and great effort is made to find it and remove it. In the same way, we must learn to love what God loves and hate what God hates. The seven days eating unleavened bread speak of perfection and completion and also living lives of holiness, avoiding sin. When we trust in the Lord, we want to please Him by shunning sin and walking in His ways.
In 1 Corinthians 5:6-8 Paul had to deal with sexual immorality in the Congregation at Corinth and explained to them that a little leaven, leavens the whole lump. Only a small quantity of yeast is required for the dough to ferment and rise.[i] Therefore old leaven, in other words the old sinful ways needed to be removed since believers in Yeshua are a new lump and are unleavened, meaning they have a new life and have become regenerate though Messiah. It is expected thereafter for them to live in sincerity and truth.
Leaven and death and decay
In addition to sin, leaven also represents death and decay[ii] and fermentation implied decay and corruption.[iii]Though the Lord Jesus died, His body did not see corruption since He rose the third day fulfilling prophecy. Psalm 16:10 reads, “For you will not leave my soul in Sheol, nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption.” Peter recognised that God raised Yeshua from the dead, thus fulfilling David’s prophecy (Acts 2:24-28).
If we look carefully at the matza it is noticeable that the appearance is both pierced and striped. Isaiah 53 is such a clear prophecy concerning the suffering that Messiah would endure and Isaiah 53:5 reads, “But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him and by His stripes we are healed.” Peter quotes Isaiah explaining that the Lord Jesus “who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we having died to sins, might live for righteousness-by whose stripes you were healed (1 Peter 2:24).”
Yeshua was sinless yet He gave Himself for us as a sin-offering so that if we trust in Him, we might have life and avoid the judgement. 2 Corinthians 5:21 states, “For He made Him who knew no sin to become sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” There is encouragement from 1 John 1:9 which instructs us what we must do. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
The bread of life
There is a remarkable tradition that occurs at Passover that helps us to recognise Messiah. Three wafers of unleavened bread are used and the middle one (afikomen) is broken. It is put inside a napkin and then hidden. At the end of the meal, the children search for it. When they find it, the adults redeem the afikomen by paying a small price and then they eat it and share it together.
The body of the Lord Jesus was broken and hidden, wrapped in grave clothes and they searched for Him. The timing occurred during Passover when countless lambs were sacrificed in Jerusalem. The disciples and all believers are to eat the bread and drink the wine until He comes.
Yeshua made an extraordinary claim stating, “I am the bread of life (John 6:35, 48).” It is only through Him that we can have eternal life. “I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world (John 6:51).”
We can feed on Messiah by reading the Scriptures, praying, fellowshipping, and putting into practise what He taught. If we love Him, we will obey His commandments and we can recognise that His claim was substantiated, since He was resurrected. We will look at that in detail in the next aspect of God’s prophetic calendar, the Feast of Firstfruits.
[i] Peter Sammons Israel’s Holy Moedim and their prophetic significance today (Glory to Glory Publications, 2017; Cambridge), pp76
[ii] Ibid, p74
[iii] Bryan W. Sheldon The Messiah and the Feasts of Israel (Gospel Folio Press, 2007; Port Colborne), p98