Last night began the last day feast of unleavened bread, and it continues until sunset today.
Early faithful Christians believed that they were supposed to keep it and other days that many today think of as Jewish, not Christian, Holy Days.
Notice what a respected Protestant scholar reported about the second century:
The most important in this festival was the passover day, the 14th of Nisan…In it they ate unleavened bread, probably like the Jews, eight days through…there is no trace of a yearly festival of the resurrection among them…the Christians of Asia Minor appealed in favor of their passover solemnity on the 14th Nisan to John (Gieseler, Johann Karl Ludwig. A Text-book of Church History. Translated by Samuel Davidson, John Winstanley Hull, Mary A. Robinson. Harper & brothers, 1857, Original from the University of Michigan, Digitized Feb 17, 2006, p. 166).
In the late third century, Anatolius of Alexandria wrote the following:
I am aware that very many other matters were discussed by them, some of them with considerable probability, and others of them as matters of the clearest demonstration, by which they endeavour to prove that the festival of the Passover and unleavened bread ought by all means to be kept after the equinox…
But nothing was difficult to them with whom it was lawful to celebrate the Passover on any day when the fourteenth of the moon happened after the equinox. Following their example up to the present time all the bishops of Asia—as themselves also receiving the rule from an unimpeachable authority, to wit, the evangelist John, who leant on the Lord’s breast, and drank in instructions spiritual without doubt—were in the way of celebrating the Paschal feast, without question, every year, whenever the fourteenth day of the moon had come, and the lamb was sacrificed by the Jews after the equinox was past; not acquiescing, so far as regards this matter, with the authority of some…(THE PASCHAL CANON OF ANATOLIUS OF ALEXANDRIA. Chapters V,X, p. 415, 419).
This should be proof to any with “eyes to see and ears to hear” that some who professed Christ were keeping the Days of Unleavened Bread centuries after Jesus died.
In the world, leaven is all around. Not only is it in baked goods, it is now in many other products. Leaven spreads and most of the items it becomes part of crumble. In the Bible, leaven normally pictures malice, wickedness, and hypocrisy (I Corinthians 5:8; Mat 16:6,12; Luke 12:1), while unleavened bread pictures sincerity and truth (I Corinthians 5:8). The Old Testament states, “no leaven shall be seen among you” (Deut 16:3), whereas the New Testament states, “His Son cleanses us from all sin” (I John 1:7) and that “sin is lawlessness” (I John 3:4).
Leaven pictures the teachings of the Pharisees (Mat 16:6,12; Luke 12:1) whom Jesus called hypocrites (Mat 23:23,25,27,29). According to Strong’s, the Greek word Jesus used that was translated as hypocrite means, “an actor under an assumed role”. The Pharisees were false religious leaders who pretended to keep God’s law, but really did not (Mat 15:3-9).
Jesus further described the Pharisees by saying, “you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness” (Mat 23:28). Jesus thus tied leaven (the Pharisees teachings, Mat 16:12) to false religion (being hypocrites) and sin (since “sin is lawlessness”, I John 3:4).
Those who attempt to obey God follow this and remove most breads, crackers, etc. from their houses, clean out their toasters, and otherwise remove physical leaven from their lives just prior to the start of the Days of Unleavened Bread each year. Since the removal involves work, and the term for day in Exodus 12:15 is Miyowm (Interlinear Transliterated Bible. Copyright © 1994, 2003, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc.) which is different than the Hebrew term for day, Uwbayowm, in Exodus 12:16 (despite the fact that Strong’s uses the same number, 3117, for both words)–this suggests that the removal perhaps should be done before the start of the first day, which is a holy convocation. And this is consistent with other statements in Exodus such as for all of the “seven days no leaven shall be found in your houses” (Exodus 12:19) and “U nleavened bread shall be eaten seven days. And no leavened bread shall be seen among you, nor shall leaven be seen among you in all your quarters” (Exodus 13:7). The only way for no leavened bread to be seen in one’s quarters for those seven days is if it is gone prior to the start of those seven days.
In Exodus it states that the Days of Unleavened Bread, “shall be a sign to you on your hand and as a memorial between your eyes, that the LORD’s law may be in your mouth” (13:9). Keeping seven days of unleavened bread pictures that we are to live in sincerity and truth by keeping God’s law–that we are not continue in false religion, not to continue in sin.
Why seven days?
In the Bible God seems to use the number seven to show completeness. There are seven days in a week (Exodus 20:6), seven days of creation (Genesis1), seven Churches in Rev 2&3, seven candlesticks (Rev 1:20), seven days of the Feast of Tabernacles (Leviticus 23:34), etc. The seven Days of Unleavened Bread seem to picture that after our sins have been forgiven through the sacrifice of Jesus (Rom 3:25, I Corinthians 5:7)), that we are to no longer continue in the old ways but to walk in the true ways of the Bible (I Corinthians 5:8). The Days of Unleavened Bread help us to understand that sin is to put out of our lives; throughout the year it reminds us that false religion is all around and needs to be avoided.
Now it is interesting to note that Jude warned that, “For certain men have crept in unnoticed, who long ago were marked out for this condemnation, ungodly men who turn the grace of our God into licentiousness and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ” (Jude 4).
This is interesting because in the next verse he ties this problem with deliverance (from Egypt) during the Days of Unleavened Bread (which should be kept as an annual reminder of sin and deliverance, Exodus 13:3-10, I Corinthians 5:8).
“But I want to remind you, though you once knew this, that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe” (Jude 5). In like manner, just because of the sacrifice of Jesus “God had passed over the sins that were previously committed” (Rom 3:25), he may afterward destroy “those who did not believe”. How do you know if you truly have faith and believe? By doing what God says.
James warned, “You believe there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe–and tremble! But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead (Jas 2:19-20). In a similar way Paul wrote, “for not the hearers of the law are just in the sight of God, but the doers of the law will be justified” (Rom 2:13). Paul also warned, “For if we sin willfully after we have received knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation” (Heb 10:26-27).
Like the Old Testament (Exodus 12:15,19), the New Testament teaches us “Therefore purge out the old leaven” I Corinthians 5:7. From a physical standpoint it is easy to not obey these teachings. Physically it is easier not to purge or remove all the leaven from our dwellings. But spiritually, by not keeping the Days of Unleavened Bread, many fail to understand that they have to live the way of life that Jesus taught–many accept a false outward religion! Jesus said, “If you love Me, keep My commandments” (John 14:15). By not keeping the Days of Unleavened Bread, many have fallen for a religion based upon traditions of men instead of God’s commands!
People who do not keep the Days of Unleavened Bread are not reminded about false religion and sin through this leaven symbol during the year; maybe they do not want to be.
Something to think about.
Some articles of possibly related interest may include:
Should Christians Keep the Days of Unleavened Bread? Do they have any use or meaning now? What is leaven? This article supplies some biblical answers.
UCG and Its Unleavened Bread Study Paper What does the Bible say about eating unleavened bread for seven days? What has UCG officially said about it?
Is There “An Annual Worship Calendar” In the Bible? This paper provides a biblical and historical critique of several articles, including one by WCG which states that this should be a local decision. What do the Holy Days mean? Also you can click here for the calendar of Holy Days.
The History of Early Christianity Are you aware that what most people believe is not what truly happened to the true Christian church? Do you know where the early church was based? Do you know what were the doctrines of the early church? Is your faith really based upon the truth or compromise?