Should Christians Keep The Days of Unleavened Bread?

Did early Christians keep the Days of Unleavened Bread?

By COGwriter

Let's talk about the Days of Unleavened Bread.

How much do you know about them?

Do they have any meaning or applicablility to Christians?

Should they be haphazardly kept?

In Leviticus 23:5-6 of the Old Testament, the Bible states:

On the fourteenth day of the first month at twilight is the LORD's Passover. And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the Feast of Unleavened Bread to the LORD; seven days you must eat unleavened bread. (NKJV throughout unless otherwise specified)

(Related sermons are available online: Let's Talk About the Days of Unleavened Bread,Unleavened Bread: No Tolerance for SinLeaven and Sin, and Christians and the Days of Unleavened Bread.)

Could there be Christian ramifications of the Days of Unleavened Bread?

Consider that Jesus was killed during the daylight hours on Passover (Mark 14:12, 15:25), the 14th of the first month, called Abib (Exodus 13:4).

Jesus was buried just before the start of the first Day of Unleavened Bread:

31 Therefore, because it was the Preparation Day, that the bodies should not remain on the cross on the Sabbath (for that Sabbath was a high day), the Jews asked Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away. (John 19:31, NKJV)

31 Then the Jews, (because it was the parasceve,) that the bodies might not remain on the cross on the sabbath day, (for that was a great sabbath day,) besought Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away. (John 19:31, Douay-Rheims)

31 Then the Jews, since it was the day of Sabbath preparation, and so the bodies wouldn't stay on the crosses over the Sabbath (it was a high holy day that year), petitioned Pilate that their legs be broken to speed death, and the bodies taken down. ... 42 So, because it was Sabbath preparation for the Jews and the tomb was convenient, they placed Jesus in it. (John 19:31,42, THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language © 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson.)

So, Jesus was put in a tomb just before the start of a great Sabbath, a high Holy Day.

Which day?

That would have been the first Day of Unleavened Bread.

Even Protestant and Roman Catholic commentators realize that:

Joh 19:31-42. Burial of Christ.

31-37. the preparation--sabbath eve.

that the bodies should not remain--over night, against the Mosaic law (De 21:22, 23).

on the sabbath day, for that sabbath day was an high day--or "great" day--the first day of unleavened bread, and, as concurring with an ordinary sabbath, the most solemn season of the ecclesiastical year. Hence their peculiar jealousy lest the law should be infringed. (Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary)

And (ver. 31.) the Jews, because it was the preparation, that the bodies might not remain on the cross on the sabbath, for that was a great sabbath day, &c. ... the first and great day of the feast of Azyms (Haydock Catholic Bible Commentary)

'Azyms' means unleavened.

Notice happened three and a half days later Jesus was put in the tomb:

1 Now on the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they, and certain other women with them, came to the tomb bringing the spices which they had prepared. 2 But they found the stone rolled away from the tomb. 3 Then they went in and did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. 4 And it happened, as they were greatly perplexed about this, that behold, two men stood by them in shining garments. 5 Then, as they were afraid and bowed their faces to the earth, they said to them, "Why do you seek the living among the dead? 6 He is not here, but is risen! Remember how He spoke to you when He was still in Galilee, 7 saying, 'The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.'" (Luke 24:1-7)

Now, as John's Gospel points out "it was still dark" (John 20:1). So, this was not a resurrection after sunrise.

Anyway, since the Days of Unleavened Bread last seven days and Jesus was resurrected after three days and three nights (Matthew 12:40), Jesus was resurrected during the Days of Unleavened Bread.

So, we see New Testament events involving Jesus near and during the Days of Unleavened Bread. Also, what has been called "Wave Sheaf Sunday" (cf. Leviticus 23:10-12) also occurs during the Days of Unleavened Bread. Jesus fufilled this as the "wave sheaf" when He went to the Father the day after being resurrected.

Now, getting back to the Old Testament, we see that it says:

15 Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread. On the first day you shall remove leaven from your houses. For whoever eats leavened bread from the first day until the seventh day, that person shall be cut off from Israel. 16 On the first day there shall be a holy convocation, and on the seventh day there shall be a holy convocation for you. No manner of work shall be done on them; but that which everyone must eat--that only may be prepared by you. 17 So you shall observe the Feast of Unleavened Bread, for on this same day I will have brought your armies out of the land of Egypt. Therefore you shall observe this day throughout your generations as an everlasting ordinance. 18 In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month at evening, you shall eat unleavened bread, until the twenty-first day of the month at evening. 19 For seven days no leaven shall be found in your houses, since whoever eats what is leavened, that same person shall be cut off from the congregation of Israel, whether he is a stranger or a native of the land. 20 You shall eat nothing leavened; in all your dwellings you shall eat unleavened bread. (Exodus 12:15-20)

Are these Days of Unleavened Bread to be kept now? Did early Christians keep them? Should Christians keep them now?

Why would Christians want to keep them? What happens if they don't? And what is leaven anyway?

The Bible shows that the Days of Unleavened Bread are connected to Passover (Leviticus 23:5-6; Exodus 12:19-20; 1 Corinthians 5:7-8).

While most professing Christians are aware that 1 Corinthians 5:7 teaches that "indeed Christ our Passover, was sacrificed for us," they do not seem to literally observe the verse that follows. "Therefore let us keep the feast, not with the old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth" (1 Corinthians 5:8).

Actually, most professing Christians do not seem to be aware that they are supposed to keep any biblical feast. There are many reasons, though, to so do.

Perhaps before going further, I should quote and comment the entire verse of 1 Corinthians 5:7:

7 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.

Notice clearly that the Gentile Corinthians would have been observing the Days of Unleavened Bread because the Apostle Paul stated "you truly are unleavened."

The problem that the Corinthians had was that they were not unleavened spiritually. That is why Paul continued and told them to also spiritually be unleavened "with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth."

This is what the Bible shows that the Apostle Paul was teaching.

Do you believe it?

Furthermore, in Romans 3:25 Paul wrote:

25 in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed.

Does this mean we are to continue is sin? Of course not! A few verses later Paul wrote:

31 On the contrary, we establish the law (Romans 3:31).

So while most understand that the Passover pictures a remembrance of Jesus Christ and his sacrifice (1 Corinthians 11:24-26), many seem to not understand that we are not to continue in sin.


Maybe one of the reasons is that they do not observe the Days of Unleavened Bread or most of God's Holy Days (see also Should You Observe God’s Holy Days or Demonic Holidays?). (To know when the Holy Days occur on modern calendars, check out the article Holy Day Calendar.)

More Passages from the Old Testament

Before going more into leaven and its spiritual ramifications, notice the following from the Old Testament:

14 Three times you shall keep a feast to Me in the year: 15 You shall keep the Feast of Unleavened Bread (you shall eat unleavened bread seven days, as I commanded you, at the time appointed in the month of Abib, for in it you came out of Egypt; none shall appear before Me empty); (Exodus 23:14-15)

13 ... the three appointed yearly feasts -- the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the Feast of Weeks, and the Feast of Tabernacles. (2 Chronicles 8:13)

The above passages make it clear that the Days of Unleavened Bread are to be kept annually. They are physical reminders of spiritual principles, including obedience to the word of God. And that we are to eat unleavened bread for seven days.

Christians do not merely remove all leaven and leavened foods from their property during these seven days. That would symbolize only the putting away of sin. We are commanded to eat unleavened bread during this festival. That symbolizes righteousness-active obedience to God during the Feast of Unleavened Bread. By the way, you do not need to eat much of it--a half-inch square or a centimeter square is plenty--as long as you do it each of the seven days. Eating a lot of unleavened bread each day will not make you more righteous before God. And, the unleavened bread does not need to be made from wheat--corn, coconut flour, almond meal, barley, etc. can all be used to make unleavened bread.

But yes, as the scripture says, we are to actually eat unleavened bread for seven days.

What was the right attitude to keep the Days of Unleavened Bread?

21 So the children of Israel who were present at Jerusalem kept the Feast of Unleavened Bread seven days with great gladness; and the Levites and the priests praised the Lord day by day, singing to the Lord, accompanied by loud instruments. (2 Chronicles 30:21)

22 And they kept the Feast of Unleavened Bread seven days with joy; for the Lord made them joyful, and turned the heart of the king of Assyria toward them, to strengthen their hands in the work of the house of God, the God of Israel. (Ezra 6:22)

These days are to be kept in gladness and joy. This is what God wants--God made the people JOYFUL because they kept the seven days of unleavened bread (Ezra 6:22). They are not improperly burdensome.

Joy is one of the fruits of the Spirit Christians are to have (Galatians 5:22)--keeping the Days of Unleavened Bread should be joyous.

Leaven and Unleavened Bread

In the world, sin and hypocrisy is prevalent.

Likewise, in the world leaven is all around. It is even in the air.

Not only is leaven 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 (1 Corinthians 5:8; Matthew 16:6,12; Luke 12:1), while unleavened bread pictures sincerity and truth (1 Corinthians 5:8).

The Old Testament states, "no leaven shall be seen among you" (Deuteronomy 16:3), whereas the New Testament states, "His Son cleanses us from all sin" (1 John 1:7) and that "sin is lawlessness" (1 John 3:4).

Leaven pictures the teachings of the Pharisees (Matthew 16:6,12; Luke 12:1) whom Jesus called hypocrites (Matthew 15:7; 23:23,25,27,29). They claimed to be God's leaders and teachers of His way, but they were often teaching traditions of men that Jesus condemned (Matthew 15:1-9).

Notice the following:

1 In the meantime, when an innumerable multitude of people had gathered together, so that they trampled one another, He began to say to His disciples first of all, "Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. 2 For there is nothing covered that will not be revealed, nor hidden that will not be known. (Luke 12:1-2)

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 (Matthew 15:3-9)--they were bearing false witness and they endorsed their false traditions.

Do you have any false traditions you follow? False traditions from other religions or even your own excuses as to why you cannot change and become 'de-leavened' is certain areas?

Examine yourself--before and after, but also during the Days of Unleavened Bread.

Notice that leaven is a symbol of false doctrine and hypocrisy that Jesus warned against:

6 Then Jesus said to them, "Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the Sadducees."

7 And they reasoned among themselves, saying, "It is because we have taken no bread."

8 But Jesus, being aware of it, said to them, "O you of little faith, why do you reason among yourselves because you have brought no bread? 9 Do you not yet understand, or remember the five loaves of the five thousand and how many baskets you took up? 10 Nor the seven loaves of the four thousand and how many large baskets you took up? 11 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." 12 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. (Matthew 16:6-12)

Consider also something else that Jesus taught:

13 'Wo to you, Scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! because ye shut up the reign of the heavens before men, for ye do not go in, nor those going in do ye suffer to enter. 14 'Wo to you, Scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! because ye eat up the houses of the widows, and for a pretence make long prayers, because of this ye shall receive more abundant judgment. 15 'Wo to you, Scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! because ye go round the sea and the dry land to make one proselyte, and whenever it may happen -- ye make him a son of gehenna twofold more than yourselves. (Matthew 23:13-15, Young's Literal Translation)

It is unrepentant sinners that will experience the second death with Gehenna fire (see also The Second Death). Leaven, in those passages, is being used by Jesus to represent the seriousness of sin.

Jesus further described the Pharisees by saying, "you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness" (Matthew 23:28).

Jesus thus tied leaven (the Pharisees' sinful teachings, Matthew 16:12) to false religion (being hypocrites) and sin (since "sin is lawlessness," 1 John 3:4).

Jesus also tied the Pharisees' problems in with pride (cf. Mark 7:5-23):

14 When He had called all the multitude to Himself, He said to them, "Hear Me, everyone, and understand: 15 There is nothing that enters a man from outside which can defile him; but the things which come out of him, those are the things that defile a man. 16 If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear!"

17 When He had entered a house away from the crowd, His disciples asked Him concerning the parable. 18 So He said to them, "Are you thus without understanding also? Do you not perceive that whatever enters a man from outside cannot defile him, 19 because it does not enter his heart but his stomach, and is eliminated, thus purifying all foods?" 20 And He said, "What comes out of a man, that defiles a man. 21 For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, 22 thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness. 23 All these evil things come from within and defile a man." (Mark 7:14-23)

Pride puffs people up. The Apostle Paul specifically used the expression, "puffed up with pride" (1 Timothy 3:6) when he warned against a novice becoming an ordained church leader. He also warned that instead of mourning (repenting) the Corinthian Christians were wrongly puffed up (1 Corinthians 5:2).

Notice that real love does not puff up:

4 Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; (1 Corinthians 13:4)

Leaven puffs bread up. Pride puffs people up.

The pride of many prevents many from keeping God's Holy Days. They, instead of the Church of God, are judges on the Holy Days. They do not understand the following (which is often mistranslated, so a more accurate translation of this is shown below):

16. Therefore, do not allow anyone to judge you in eating or in drinking, or with regard to a festival, or new moon, or the Sabbaths, 17. Which are a foreshadow of the things that are coming, but the body of Christ. 18. Do not allow anyone to defraud you of the prize by doing his will in selfabasement and the worship of angels, intruding into things that he has not seen, vainly puffed up by his own carnal mind 19. And not holding fast to the Head, from Whom all the body, being supplied and knit together by the joints and bands, is increasing with the increase of God. (Colossians 2:16-19, A Faithful Version)

16 Therefore let NO MAN JUDGE YOU in eating and drinking or in respect of a festival or of an observance of the new moon or of a sabbath; 17 for those things are a shadow of the things to come, BUT THE BODY OF CHRIST. 18 Let no one cheat you of your reward, taking delight in false humility and worship of angels, intruding into those things which he has not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind, 19 and not holding fast to the Head, from whom all the body, nourished and knit together by joints and ligaments, grows with the increase that is from God. (Colossians 2:16-19, NKJV modified by Dr. Thiel to better align with the actual biblical text)

So, people who are spiritually puffed up are unwilling to keep the Days of Unleavened Bread (more on translations of Colossians and other information about God's Holy Days can be found in the free online booklet Should You Observe God's Holy Days or Demonic Holidays?).

If you are properly keeping the Days of Unleavened Bread, you come to realize that cleaning out all leaven out of carpets, etc. cannot be done. But, the good news is you only must remove leaven that can be seen (Exodus 13:7). And that you may be able to do.

Similarly, many of your sins you can see, confess, and change, but there are some down deep. When you better realize that, you can better understand some of what Jesus meant when He said:

5 "I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. (John 15:5)

We, of ourselves, cannot save ourselves or purge ourselves of all sin. But Jesus can still do so. As we consider the impossibility of eliminating all the leaven we cannot, we should realize that we need Jesus' sacrifice for the forgiveness of all our sins.

As far as leaven goes, what are leavening agents?

Physically, leavening agents include yeast, bicarbonate of soda (baking soda), and baking powder.

Here is some information from the old Worldwide Church of God:

Just what is leaven? Which foods are to be avoided during the Days of Unleavened Bread?

God uses leaven to typify sin (I Cor. 5:1-8). Sin puffs up just as physical leaven puffs up (verse 2). Unleavened bread is a type of an unleavened life.

To understand exactly what is included in the leaven we are to avoid during the Days of Unleavened Bread, let's first notice some of the Hebrew words translated "leaven" in the Old Testament. Mechametz refers to leavening agents -- substances used to puff up or produce fermentation, causing dough to rise. Yeast, bicarbonate of soda (baking soda) and baking powder are such substances.

Another Hebrew word rendered "leaven" is seh-ohd. This literally means "sourdough," a naturally fermenting yeasty batter that was the most common leaven of the Israelites, and which is still often used to cause baked goods to rise and become light in texture.

These leavening agents cause foods to become chametz. This Hebrew word is translated "that which is leavened" in Exodus 12:19. It is also translated "leavened bread" in a number of places. It refers to all foods that leaven has caused to rise, including bread, cake, some crackers, certain cookies, some prepared cereals and pies. A few candies and other foods also make use of leavening agents. If you are in doubt about any product, check the list of ingredients on the wrapper.

Instead of eating leavened bread, we have the positive command to eat unleavened bread (Ex. 13:6). We may also eat unleavened pies and cereals together with all the meats, drinks, fruits and vegetables we normally consume.

Most stores carry a variety of unleavened breads. Always check the ingredients on the label to be sure. Or, you may enjoy making your own.

Some have asked about using egg whites in baking. Egg whites should not be used as a substitute for leaven, in a deliberate attempt to circumvent the spirit-of the law. On the other hand, beaten egg whites used in meringue on pies and other desserts do not constitute a leavening agent. They have not been used to puff up any product baked of flour or meal.

Others have noticed the term "yeast extracts" on the labels of certain foods and have wondered if they should be avoided. These are derivatives of yeast that cannot be used as leavening agents. It would therefore be permissible to use a product containing yeast extracts provided, of course, that it does not contain any actual leavening agent. Some people also buy brewer's yeast from health food stores. This form of yeast is totally dead and should not therefore be considered as leaven. It should also be mentioned that cream of tartar, by itself, is not a leavening agent either.

Occasionally a question comes up about beer or other fermented drinks. There is nothing in the entirety of Scripture to indicate any restriction on the kind of beverages we consume during the Days of Unleavened Bread -- no mention of these being the "Days of Unleavened Beverages." The fact is that in all cases where the Days of Unleavened Bread are mentioned, the reference is always to the example set by the children of Israel when they came out of Egypt without any leaven in their dough (see Exodus 12:39). There is no reference to the invisible yeast or result of it in either beer, wine or other beverages.

Naturally fermented wine was customarily consumed by the Israelites at God's festivals. If God had intended a ban on fermented beverages during the Days of Unleavened Bread, it would undoubtedly have been mentioned. In fact, such mention would have been necessary. Yet the command adds no more than is found in Exodus 13:6-7: "Seven days thou shalt eat unleavened bread... and there shall no leavened bread be seen with thee, neither shall there be leaven seen with thee in all thy quarters."

If you are unsure about any particular food and unable to find the answer, you should refrain from eating it, "for whatsoever is not of faith is sin" (Rom. 14:23).

If partway through the Feast you find some leavened product that somehow escaped your scrutiny, put it off your property immediately. This is a type of those hidden sins that we don't always discover upon conversion. We must keep on putting out sin (leaven) until the process is complete, as is signified by the very fact that there are seven -- the complete number -- Days of Unleavened Bread.

God intended the Days of Unleavened Bread to be a type to remind us that we are to be unleavening our lives spiritually by putting out the spiritual leaven of sin -- not for seven days only, but throughout our entire lives! "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" (I Cor. 5:8). (Questions & Answers. Good News, March 1981)

Also, here is a list some may find to be helpful:

The Following is a List of Leavening Agents

Active Dried Yeast
Ammonium Carbonate - also known as "Hartshorn"
Ammonium Bicarbonate
Baker's Ammonia
Baker's Yeast
Baking Powder
Baking Soda
Bicarbonate of Soda
Dipotassium Carbonate
Disodium Phosphate
Monocalcium Phosphates (Ca(H2PO4)2)
Potassium Bicarbonate - also known as "Potash" or "Pearlash")
Potassium Carbonate
Sodium Aluminum Phosphate
Sodium Bicarbonate - also known as "Saleratus"
Sourdough Starter Yeast
* Calcium Carbonate

* While Calcium Carbonate is normally not a leavening agent, it is considered to be one when it is in baked goods. Thus, while you can keep any calcium carbonate you have, any baked goods with it listed should be consumed or tossed out prior to the first day of unleavened bread.

All leavened items should be consumed or disposed of prior to the start of the First Day of Unleavened Bread each year and not be back in our homes until after the end of the Seventh Day of Unleavened Bread each year.

What are not leavening agents?

The Following Are "Not" Leavening Agents

Autolyzed Yeast
Brewer's Yeast
Corn Starch
Egg Whites
Polysorbate 60
Potassium Bitartrate (Cream of Tartar)
Sorbitan Monosterate
Tartrate powder
Torula Yeast
Yeast Extract

Hopefully, this will help those who have questions about which items should be gone prior to the first Day of Unleavened Bread each year.

Physically, leavening agents "puff up" grain containing products and make them look larger than they would be otherwise.

People often want to look more influential, etc. than they really are.

Notice what God really wants:

8 He has shown you, O man, what is good;
And what does the Lord require of you
But to do justly,
To love mercy,
And to walk humbly with your God? (Micah 6:8)

Satan’s problem was that he refused to walk humbly. He was the anointed cherub (Ezekiel 28:14--he had it all--but his pride got in the way (cf. Ezekiel 28:17). Humans often let their pride get in the way (Proverbs 29:33--and pride puffs people up (cf. 1 Timothy 3:6). Most will not do what God says as their pride and human reasoning, influenced by Satan, gets in the way.

Consider also:

18 Pride goes before destruction,
And a haughty spirit before a fall.
19 Better to be of a humble spirit with the lowly,
Than to divide the spoil with the proud.

20 He who heeds the word wisely will find good,
And whoever trusts in the Lord, happy is he. (Proverbs 16:18-20)

Do you really trust God and not yourself? Can you humble yourself and really change your faults? You can with Jesus' help (Philippians 4:13).

Do not be among those to whom God says:

3 The pride of your heart has deceived you, (Obadiah 3)

Humble yourself and change.

23 A man's pride will bring him low, But the humble in spirit will retain honor. (Proverbs 29:23)

12 Before destruction the heart of a man is haughty, And before honor is humility. (Proverbs 18:12)

33 The fear of the Lord is the instruction of wisdom, And before honor is humility. (Proverbs 15:33)

God wants you to forsake pride, accept His teachings, be humble, and THEN He will grant honor. Many do not have the faith to truly humble themselves as the above suggests:

8 Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth? (Luke 18:8)

Many claim to believe in Jesus, but are unwilling to truly humble themselves before God--such humility takes faith.

Consider also that the Bible teaches:

15 On the first day you shall remove leaven from your houses. (Exodus 12:15)

Those who attempt to obey God follow this and remove all leavened 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. Most people do not have the humilty to do this, and many that do seem to let pride get in the way of removing their own sins.

We are always to be examining ourselves.

Since the physical removal of leaven 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 supports position that the removal 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 "Unleavened 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.

Notice the following:

All leaven and leavened foods should be removed from one's premises before the beginning of the first Holy Day. They should not be stored in another room. The morning after the New Testament Passover service, which is still the Passover day, is a convenient time to finish removing any leavening agents or leavened bread. It is wise to arrange purchases so that when Passover comes, there will be little leaven to discard. Removing these inexpensive products is one way God tests us to see how much we value obedience to Him. (Lesson 26 - Feast Of Unleavened Bread - Our Part in God's Master Plan. Ambassador College Bible correspondence course, 1984)

You do not give the leaven to someone else to give it back to you later. You do not hoist your sins upon another and want them back.

Unleavened bread is bread made without leavening agents. Many types of flatbreads, including corn tortillas, are often a type of unleavened bread. For more ideas, here is a link to an article someone from Serbia sent me: Unleavened Bread recipes.

Unleavened bread does NOT need to be blessed by a Jewish rabbi nor follow Jewish rules that are found outside of scripture. And for those with dietary concerns, only a very small amount needs to be eaten each day. But eating some every day helps us to remember these days and look to remove sin from our lives.

Now, Christians realize that we are to examine ourselves prior to taking Passover:

27 Therefore whoever eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. 28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup. 29 For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord's body. 30 For this reason many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep. 31 For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged. 32 But when we are judged, we are chastened by the Lord, that we may not be condemned with the world. (1 Corinthians 11:27-32)

But our examination is not to be limited to the time just prior to Passover. Notice something else that the Apostle Paul wrote:

5 Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?--unless indeed you are disqualified (2 Corinthians 13:5).

During the Days of Unleavened Bread, as we avoid consumption of leaven and eat unleavened bread we should continue the examination of judgment of ourselves:

31 For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged. (1 Corinthians 11:31)

24 Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment. (John 7:24)

We need to use God's standards, but many excuse themselves and use the wrong standard:

7 Do you look at things according to the outward appearance? If anyone is convinced in himself that he is Christ's, let him again consider this in himself, that just as he is Christ's, even so we are Christ's. 8 For even if I should boast somewhat more about our authority, which the Lord gave us for edification and not for your destruction, I shall not be ashamed -- 9 lest I seem to terrify you by letters. 10 "For his letters," they say, "are weighty and powerful, but his bodily presence is weak, and his speech contemptible." 11 Let such a person consider this, that what we are in word by letters when we are absent, such we will also be in deed when we are present.

12 For we dare not class ourselves or compare ourselves with those who commend themselves. But they, measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise. (2 Corinthians 10:7-12)

We need to use God's standards, and not our lowered ones, to examine and judge ourselves. The Days of Unleavened Bread is a good time to do that.

If everything in your life is not going as you hoped, perhaps you are not looking hard enough. You may also wish to pray for more understanding.

Some, intentionally or unintentionally, seem to blame God.

But that is not what Christians should do:

14 What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? Certainly not!

15 For He says to Moses, "I will have mercy on whomever I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whomever I will have compassion." 16 So then it is not of him who wills, nor of him who runs, but of God who shows mercy.

17 For the Scripture says to the Pharaoh, "For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I may show My power in you, and that My name may be declared in all the earth." 18 Therefore He has mercy on whom He wills, and whom He wills He hardens.

19 You will say to me then, "Why does He still find fault? For who has resisted His will?" 20 But indeed, O man, who are you to reply against God? Will the thing formed say to him who formed it, "Why have you made me like this?" 21 Does not the potter have power over the clay, from the same lump to make one vessel for honor and another for dishonor?

22 What if God, wanting to show His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, 23 and that He might make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy, which He had prepared beforehand for glory, 24 even us whom He called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?

25 As He says also in Hosea:

"I will call them My people, who were not My people, And her beloved, who was not beloved." 26 "And it shall come to pass in the place where it was said to them,' You are not My people,' There they shall be called sons of the living God."

27 Isaiah also cries out concerning Israel:

"Though the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea, The remnant will be saved. 28 For He will finish the work and cut it short in righteousness, Because the Lord will make a short work upon the earth."

29 And as Isaiah said before:

"Unless the Lord of Sabaoth had left us a seed,We would have become like Sodom, And we would have been made like Gomorrah." (Romans 9:14-29)

Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed. After we repent, we still have not attained perfection, and still need to examine ourselves.

God gives you seven days of unleavened bread for you to more thoroughly look to put spiritual leaven, sin and hypocrisy, out of your life.

How Leaven Pictures Sin

The old WCG put out the following (except an added link to a more recent booklet):

Sin versus righteousness

When you consider the nature of both leavened and unleavened bread, you can see several spiritual comparisons with sin and righteousness.

Let's notice them:

Grow in righteousness

What God is showing us through the analogy of leaven and sin, particularly at this time of the Days of Unleavened Bread, is clear: He wants you to escape the clutches of sin and lead a righteous life. But how can you eliminate sin and grow in righteousness? The following "three Rs" -- recognize, resist and repent -- can help.

1) Recognize sin. Can you recognize sin? Many cannot.


Most people overlook God's simple, clear definition for sin: "Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law" (I John 3:4, Authorized Version).

Discerning sin is a matter of understanding and applying God's law. At the basis of God's law are the Ten Commandments (Ex. 20:1-17, Deut. 5:6-21). Do you know what the Ten Commandments are? If not, how can you possibly expect to overcome and put sin -- spiritual leaven -- out of your life? God's laws are real, working forces that guarantee good results when you are in harmony with them. They were given to be lived and acted upon, not ignored or outrightly rejected!

Beyond the basic commandments, God requires obedience to biblical principles referring to one's conduct. While some things are not written in the form of a direct command, the underlying principle or spirit of the law is nonetheless just as binding (Matt. 5:17-48, Rom. 13:9)! Under this category fall aspects of God's civil laws and statements made by His apostles and patriarchs.

Examine yourself, as II Corinthians 13:5 commands, and see how God's laws expose the "leaven" in your character. Are you REALLY putting God first in EVERYTHING? Are you humbly submitting to His authority?

Can you admit when you're wrong? For a thorough study of God's basic law and how it applies in your life, read our free booklet {The Ten Commandments: The Decalogue, Christianity, and the Beast}.

2) Resist sin. We have already seen through the analogy of leaven that sin spreads quickly and easily. Therefore you must resist temptation before it turns into sin (Jas.1:13-15). Doing this requires self-control -- actively resisting wrong thoughts and replacing them with right thoughts (II Cor. 10:4-5).

In struggling against sin you may reach a point when you grow so battle weary that darts of self-pity and injustice pierce you. At such times it's easy to think you've done all you can. Don't be fooled. You can do more (Heb. 12:4).

Throughout the Bible we see the number 7 used as a symbol of completeness (Gen. 2:2, Josh. 6:16, Rev. 16:17). In relationship to the Days of Unleavened Bread, the number 7 pictures the complete elimination of sin. You should earnestly strive to eliminate sin from your life (II Tim. 2:19).

3) Repent of sin. Even when you recognize sin and resist it, you will still find yourself falling into sin (I John 1:8).

When this happens, what should you do? Strive not to sin, but when you do, seek God's forgiveness. Upon real repentance -- abandoning the wrong way and beginning to live the right way -- God promises to cleanse you from all unrighteousness (I John 1:9).

Some would say not to try so hard -- to just rely on grace. But what does God say? "What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound?

Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?" (Rom. 6:1-2).

Will you overcome all sins all at once? Absolutely not! Some sins are so deeply and habitually rooted that they may take years to totally overcome. Don't use that as an excuse to continue, but don't dismay either.

Ask yourself, Am I sinning as often as I once did? Does this sin have as much control over me as it once did? If the answer is no, you're growing -- making progress.

Today the world is in misery because of sin. Yet humanity rejects the very Festival -- the Days of Unleavened Bread -- that pictures the process that would lead them out of their sins. What about you? Are you going to keep these special days as God has instructed His people to? Will you be learning the many important lessons that the Days of Unleavened Bread are meant to teach you?

If you do work at ridding your life of sin, you will be greatly blessed, now and in the future as a member of God's Family: "In the way of righteousness is life, and in its pathway there is no death" (Prov. 12:28). (Kakos GM. An Important Reminder - How Leaven Pictures Sin. Good News, March 1984)

God is faithful. But, while it APPEARS that 'living in sin is easy,' it has consequences: " be sure your sin will find you out" (Numbers 32:23).

Understand that truly relying on God can get you past sin, but relying on yourself is dangerous:

12 Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall. 13 No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it. (1 Corinthians 10:12-13)

(The above passages came after those related to the Hebrews in Exodus, hence that is another tie to the Days of Unleavened Bread).

Do not use the excuse that you have tried and failed.

Consider also:

6 ... "This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: 'Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,' Says the Lord of hosts. (Zechariah 4:6)

16. And I will ask the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter, that it may be with you throughout the age: 17. Even the Spirit of the truth, which the world cannot receive because it perceives it not, nor knows it; but you know it because it dwells with you, and shall be within you. 18. I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you. (John 4:16-17, A Faithful Version)

13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:13)

Do not give up.

The Days of Unleavened Bread are an annual reminder. If people were perfect after baptism and/or Passover, perhaps God would not have had the Days of Unleavened Bread. But Christians are not perfect:

1:8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.

2:1 My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. 2 And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.

3 Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. 4 He who says, "I know Him," and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. 5 But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him. 6 He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked. (1 John 1:8-2:6)

Because God knew we would not be perfect, He had a plan for us to keep the Days of Unleavened Bread.

Have faith in God (for further assistance consider reading our free online booklet: Faith for Those God has Called and Chosen).

If you want to overcome sin, pray and strive to overcome (for further assistance on prayer consider reading our free online booklet: Prayer: What Does the Bible Teach?).

Teaching Children

The Apostle John referred to Christians as little children.

Now, we also need to teach our children about the Days of Unleavened Bread. In order to do that, we first need to understand them ourselves.

As far as children go and the Days of Unleavened Bread go, the old WCG taught the following:

The ancient Israelites, in slavery in Egypt, certainly were forced to take God's plan seriously when God began to work with them.

Times of national crisis -- war, economic depression, enslavement of one nation to another -- are probably harder on children than on any other single group within a nation. Without a doubt this was true during ancient Israel's hard bondage in Egypt.

Imagine the plight of Israel's children during the months and weeks leading up to the Exodus: Slavery no doubt broke up families. The people lived in extreme poverty. The Israelite children were not afforded good opportunities for education.

The hard labor, from which even the children were not excepted, must have claimed a heavy toll in terms of the children's physical and mental health. Nothing -- not even human life -- could stand in the way of the massive building projects Pharaoh pushed so obsessively.

Then God intervened. Keeping His promise to the patriarch Abraham (Gen. 15:13-14), God began to deliver Israel. Moses arrived on the scene and God, through miraculous and devastating plagues, drove Pharaoh to release God's nation. We know the story.

But think of the Israelites' children. While the grown-ups were no doubt bewildered by the course of events, the children must have been most confused -- even fearful.

Israel followed God's instructions and prepared for the very first Passover and Days of Unleavened Bread (Ex. 12:1-25). God struck down the firstborn in every

Egyptian home and Moses began to lead Israel out of Egypt. These events would only have added to the children's wonderment.

But God is not the author of confusion (I Cor. 14:33). He wanted His people -- every person, down to the youngest child who could understand -- to know about His plan. So He provided a means for the children to learn about the events and ceremonies of these first Holy Days: Parents were to teach their children, then and for every generation thereafter.

Notice Exodus 12:26-27: "And it shall come to pass," God told Israel, "when your children shall say unto you, What mean ye by this service? That ye shall say, It is the sacrifice of the Lord's passover, who passed over the houses of the children of Israel in Egypt, when he smote the Egyptians, and delivered our houses."

God placed a heavy responsibility on parents. They were to teach their children about the things of God, including God's Holy Days, which show the plan of salvation.

One of the most effective ways for them to have done so was to have set the proper example of obedience in their own lives. Personal example goes much farther than words in setting a pattern of right living.

The Bible shows, however, the adult Israelites themselves failed to heed God's commands, let alone teach the younger generations. Therefore, God allowed every Israelite past the age of 20, except Joshua and Caleb, to die in the wilderness rather than enter the promised land.

And Moses, before Israel crossed the Jordan River into Canaan, had to repeat for the younger people, in Deuteronomy, things their parents had failed to teach them. Sad to say, this younger generation also failed to teach their offspring about the ways of God, and the record of Israel's unhappy history shows the result.

Our children are holy

What does this example from Israel's history mean to us today? Consider our children. Don't they also live in difficult, confusing times -- one of the worst times in the history of the world?

Don't the pressures, temptations and enigmas of life in this world exact a high price in terms of our children's physical, emotional and -- yes -- spiritual health?

Aren't our children in a situation similar to the one the children of ancient Israel were in? We parents are coming out of sin (spiritual Egypt), and our children may be confused.

If we are truly called, begotten children of God's Family, our children are specially blessed by God (I Cor. 7:14). God wants them to know about His plan and His way of life, and God has provided a means by which they can learn.

That means is us! We are to teach them. And one of the most basic ways to explain God's plan is by explaining God's Holy Days, beginning with these Spring Holy Days just ahead of us now.

Notice the admonition God gave through Moses to Israel's younger generations, when Moses reiterated God's law to them:

"And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up [in other words, all the time!]" (Deut. 6:6-7).

The Israelites, without God's Spirit, failed to teach their children -- failed to fulfill any of the instructions God gave them.

We, if we have truly repented, been baptized and had one of God's true ministers lay hands on us, have received God's Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38).

That makes our children holy. They can understand God's truth if we will teach it to them.

Are we doing so? Are we taking time throughout the year, and especially as we approach these spring festivals, to teach our children?

Children to be taught

Moses continued, in his instructions to the Israelites about to enter Canaan: "And you shall teach them [God's commandments and God's plan] to your children, talking of them when you are sitting in your house, and when you are walking by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise" (Deut. 11:19, Revised Standard Version).

These instructions apply just as readily to us today, for we, God's called-out people in this end time, are spiritual Israelites.

And teaching our children is not just a matter of speaking to them. As the verses quoted above show, teaching our children is a responsibility we are to be fulfilling constantly. As mentioned before, much if not most of our teaching is through the example we set.

We can, in short, talk to our children all we want, but in the final analysis they will be influenced far more by what they see us do than by what they hear us say. Properly teaching children is, indeed, a tough responsibility. Children really pick up on our cues.

Even if we don't have children, we have the same responsibility to teach. Teach whom? The people in the world around us -- by example, if not by direct preaching. We are to be "lights to the world" (Matt. 5:14). Christ said, "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven" (verse 16).

Are our children -- and people in the world around us -- receiving positive impressions of God's plan by the way they see us act?

How can we promote our children's understanding of God's Holy Days?

We should rehearse the history of the Exodus with our children, helping them imagine what it was like to be a child in Israel at that time. This will make the story more interesting to them.

We can explain what these days mean now, in New Testament times -- their meaning is much more profound today, to Christians.

We can review the facts about sacrifice and what it means to us now, and what it will ultimately mean to our children and to the whole world.

We can describe what we do on the Passover evening, when we go to services but our children can't come along, arid tell them what the various symbols -- the bread, the wine, the foot-washing service, the singing of the hymn -- mean.

Perhaps we could involve the children in baking unleavened bread this year. If the children help to make unleavened bread, this symbol will have more meaning to them -- arid to us! -- than if we buy all the bread from a store.

We should involve our children in cleaning the house and premises, all the while explaining to them why we are cleaning -- to symbolize that we must put every last bit of leaven, the type of sin, out of our lives. (Faulkner DH. Daddy, Why Do We Eat Unleavened Bread? Good News, March 1982)

Now, one way to do this is to read to your children.

Actually, it may be a good idea to read to your children on every holy day, what our free online booklet, Should You Keep God's Holy Days or Demonic Holidays?, has on each holy day.

Repetition helps memory. Plus, by reading to them, they will get use to you teaching them and you yourself will likely gain a more indepth understanding.

Sin is Serious

Some people minimize the impact of sin.

After all the Bible teaches:

23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, (Romans 3:23)

And that Jesus died for our sins.

Yet, the Bible also teaches:

1 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? 2 Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it? 3 Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? 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.

5 For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, 6 knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. 7 For he who has died has been freed from sin. 8 Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, 9 knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more. Death no longer has dominion over Him. 10 For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. 11 Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts. 13 And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. 14 For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace.

15 What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? Certainly not! 16 Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one's slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness? 17 But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered. 18 And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness. 19 I speak in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh. For just as you presented your members as slaves of uncleanness, and of lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves of righteousness for holiness.

20 For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. 21 What fruit did you have then in the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. 22 But now having been set free from sin, and having become slaves of God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life. 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:1-23)

We are not to tolerate sin.

We should not haphazardly keep these days. Notice something from the Book of Proverbs:

4 He who has a slack hand becomes poor, But the hand of the diligent makes rich. (Proverbs 10:4)

While the above has a physical application, it also has a spiritual one.

The Apostle Paul wrote:

15 Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. (2 Timothy 2:15)

You have a choice:

15 "See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil, 16 in that I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in His ways, and to keep His commandments, His statutes, and His judgments, that you may live and multiply; and the Lord your God will bless you in the land which you go to possess. 17 But if your heart turns away so that you do not hear, and are drawn away, and worship other gods and serve them, 18 I announce to you today that you shall surely perish; you shall not prolong your days in the land which you cross over the Jordan to go in and possess. 19 I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live; 20 that you may love the Lord your God, that you may obey His voice, and that you may cling to Him, for He is your life and the length of your days; and that you may dwell in the land which the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give them." (Deuteronomy 30:15-20)

Jesus said:

6 I am the way, the truth, and the life. (John 14:6)

We are to live God's way of life, not the way of death.

Jesus also said:

48 I am the bread of life. 49 Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and are dead. 50 This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that one may eat of it and not die. 51 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 6:48-51)

Manna was unleavened. Furthermore, Jesus would have used unleavened bread during His last Passover.

Leaven is all around and we tolerate it. Sin is all around and we tolerate our own sins more than we should.

Live an unleavened life based on sincerity and truth (cf. 1 Corinthians 5:7).

What About Matthew 26:17?

Some have wondered about Matthew 26:17.

Before getting to an explanation, first notice something from Exodus:

6 Now you shall keep it until the fourteenth day of the same month. Then the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it at twilight. 7 And they shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and on the lintel of the houses where they eat it. 8 Then they shall eat the flesh on that night; roasted in fire, with unleavened bread and with bitter herbs they shall eat it. (Exodus 12:6-8)

18 In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month at evening, you shall eat unleavened bread, until the twenty-first day of the month at evening. (Exodus 12:18)

So, while the 14th of the month was not one of the seven days of unleavened bread (which began with the 15th: Leviticus 23:6-8), because unleavened bread was part of the Passover meal, unleavened bread was actually eaten by the Hebrews for eight days.

Jesus and His disciples would have done the same.

Now, notice the following from the old Worldwide Church of God:

Matthew 26:17 calls the Passover a day of unleavened bread. Please explain.

Leavened bread may be eaten on the Passover day. But because unleavened bread was used in the actual Passover meal, the day of the Passover came to be considered "the day of unleavened bread" (Luke 22:7). The day of the Passover is a time when all leavened bread is to be put out of the home in preparation for the seven Days of Unleavened Bread (the Feast of Unleavened Bread) that immediately follow (Ex. 12:18-19).

The noted Jewish historian Josephus, who lived in the same century as Christ, tells us that the Feast of Unleavened Bread lasted for seven days -- from the 15th day to the 21 st day of the first month. The Passover preceded the Feast, being on the 14th day. However, the entire eight-day Spring Festival was commonly called "The Feast of Unleavened Bread" -- that is, from the 14th to the 2lst. (See Antiquities of the Jews, Book II, chapter XV, Book III, chapter X.) (Questions and Answers. Good News magazine, March 1981)

Perhaps I should add that most translations of Matthew 26:17 are misleading in that they indicate that the Days of Unleavened Bread began BEFORE Passover. That scripturally is NOT the case as Leviticus 23:5-8 demonstrates.

As far as translation issues go, the expression "Day of the Feast of" is NOT in the original Greek nor is the word "on."

The word often translated as "first" in Matthew 26:17, protos, can also be translated as "before":

GREEK> protos (pro'-tos); contracted superlative of NT:4253; foremost (in time, place, order or importance):

KJV - before, beginning, best, chief (-est), first (of all), former.
(Biblesoft's New Exhaustive Strong's Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary. Copyright © 1994, 2003, 2006 Biblesoft, Inc. and International Bible Translators, Inc.)

Thus a more literally accurate rendering of that verse would be:

Now before the Unleavened Bread, the disciples came to Jesus, saying to Him, "Where do You want us to prepare for You to eat the Passover?" (Matthew 26:17, more literally translated).

The Days of Unleavened Bread do NOT start before Passover. And unleavened bread was actually eaten for eight days.

What Do They Picture? Were They Done Away?

Many do not understand what these days picture.

We Christians observe that Jesus paid the penalty for our sins on Passover and that we are to try to live, as He did, without sin and hypocrisy, of which leaven symbolically can represent (Luke 12:1).

The late Herbert W. Armstrong wrote:

Purpose of Festival

But let us learn the full significance of this. WHY did God ordain these feast days? What was His great PURPOSE? Turn now to Exodus 13, verse 3: "...Moses said unto the people, Remember THIS DAY, in which ye CAME OUT from Egypt..." This was the 15th of Abib. Verse 6: "Seven days thou shalt eat unleavened bread, and the seventh day shall be a FEAST unto the Eternal... This is done BECAUSE of that which the Eternal did [a MEMORIAL]... and it shall be for a SIGN" -- (miraculous PROOF of identity) -- "unto thee upon thine hand, and for a MEMORIAL between thine eyes" -- WHY? -- "that the LORD'S LAW MAY BE IN THY MOUTH... Thou shalt therefore KEEP this ordinance..."

Oh, beloved brethren, do you see the wonderful meaning? Do you grasp the true significance of it all? Do you see God's PURPOSE? The PASSOVER pictures the DEATH OF CHRIST for the remission of sins that are past. The accepting of His BLOOD does not forgive sins we SHALL commit -- it does not give LICENSE to continue in sin -- therefore WHEN we accept it, our sins are forgiven only up to that time -- PAST SINS.

But shall we stop there? Past sins forgiven. But we are still flesh beings. We still shall suffer temptations. Sin has held us in its clutch -- we have been SLAVES to sin, in its power. And we are powerless to deliver ourselves from it! We have been in BONDAGE to sin. Let us understand the picture -- the meaning. (Armstrong HW. What You Should Know About the Passover and Festival of Unleavened Bread. Good News, March 1979).

To what degree should Christians put away sin?


As Jesus taught, “you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect” (Matthew 5:48). Leaven symbolically can be a type of sin (cf. 1 Corinthians 5:7-8).

Like sin, leaven puffs up. As seven is God's number symbolizing completeness, Christians are to follow the Passover with seven days of unleavened bread. The meaning and the symbolism is not complete with just Passover. Passover pictures the acceptance of Christ's blood for the remission of past sins and the death of Jesus.

Should we leave Christ symbolically hanging on the tree (Galatians 3:13)? The seven days of unleavened bread following Passover help picture to us the complete putting away of sin, the keeping of the Commandments -- after past sins are forgiven as the result of Jesus’ sacrifice.

The Days of Unleavened bread picture the life and work of the risen Jesus. Jesus ascended to the throne of God where He is now actively at work in our behalf as our High Priest, cleansing us of sin (Hebrews 2:17-18) delivering us completely from its power!

Were these days done away? Notice something else that Herbert W. Armstrong wrote:

Not Abolished With Old Covenant

Observe that the Days of Unleavened Bread are a PERIOD, having two high-day SABBATHS. And this PERIOD is established FOREVER -- while the Israelites were still in Egypt -- before the ceremonial law of Moses had been given or written -- before God even proposed the old covenant! What the law of Moses, or the old covenant, did not bring or institute, THEY CANNOT TAKE AWAY! In Fenton's translation, the 17th verse is translated: "consequently KEEP THIS PERIOD AS AN EVER-LASTING INSTITUTION." The whole period is included.

This ALONE ought to prove that the HOLY DAYS -- and the seven Days of Unleavened Bread -- are binding today, and FOREVER!

Now, if these texts apply to the 15th, not the 14th, as they assuredly do, and is here conclusively proved, then is the Passover established FOR-EVER? Indeed it is! But THESE texts above refer to the FEAST and not the PASSOVER. In the paragraph beginning Exodus 12:21 the PASSOVER is again referred to, and verse 24 establishes it FOREVER! . . .

To observe Passover alone, and then fail to observe the seven Days of Unleavened Bread, means, in the symbolism, to accept Christ's blood, and to continue on in sin -- to say . . . the LAW is done away, we are under grace, meaning license, to continue in sin!

The seven Days of Unleavened Bread picture the keeping of the Commandments, which is another way of saying the putting away of sin. (Armstrong HW. What You Should Know About the Passover and Festival of Unleavened Bread. Good News, March 1979).

Early Christians did not believe that the Days of Unleavened Bread were done away. They kept them. We in the Continuing Church of God keep them today.

Wave Sheaf Offering 

Since the Days of Unleavened Bread last seven days and Jesus was resurrected after three days and three nights (Matthew 12:40), Jesus was resurrected during the Days of Unleavened Bread. Jesus was truly unleavened and His was an offering of incerity and truth (cf. 1 Corinthians 5:8).

What has been called "Wave Sheaf Sunday" (cf. Leviticus 23:10-12) occurs during the Days of Unleavened Bread. Jesus fufilled this as the "wave sheaf" when He went to the Father the day after being resurrected.

The sheaf had to be of the "firstfruits" -the first of the harvest to be reaped. "And ye shall eat neither bread, nor parched corn, nor green ears, until the selfsame day that ye have brought an offering unto your God: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations in all your dwellings" (verse 14). Why did the sheaf have to be offered first -before the rest of the harvest could be used?

Because it represented Christ: "Christ [is] risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept" (I Cor. 15:20). " ... Every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his corning" (verse 23). "Christ ... the first that should rise from the dead"; " ... that he might be the firstborn among many brethren"; " ... the firstborn from the dead"; "the first begotten" (Acts 26:23; Rom. 8:29; Col. 1: 18; Heb. 1 :6). ...

Christ was a chosen one -chosen by the Father before the foundation of the world (I Peter 1: 19-20; Eph. 1:4; Rev. 13:8), chosen by the high priest and the leaders of the Jews (John 11 :49-52), chosen by the people (Mark 11:7-10). Not just any sheaf carelessly grabbed on a Sunday morning out of all the barley which was then beginning to be reaped could represent Him. Nor could just any sheaf have fittingly demonstrated the extreme preeminence of Christ's firstfruithood as regards time since then -already now nearly twenty centuries. ...

Back to the Wavesheaf

In the time of Jesus the wavesheaf was offered on the Sunday during Passover week. This is clear since the priests -who were mostly Sadducees -were in charge of the Temple and all the Temple ceremony (Acts 4: 1-6; 5: 17). The timing and symbolism of this ceremony would have been overwhelming to those who knew the events of Jesus' death and resurrection.

The wave sheaf had been chosen in advance, as Christ was. It was tied in a bundle, symbolizing his captivity. It was cut loose from the ground just at sunset -just the time at which Christ rose from the dead after three days and three nights in the tomb. The cutting of the grain symbolized Christ's actual resurrection. Like the sheaf now loosed from the soil, the resurrected Christ became free from any physical dependence on air, water or sustenance that had tied Him, as it has tied all other humans, to this earth out of which we grow. Thus, in the ritual, Christ was slain and resurrected. But He had not yet ascended into heaven. So finally the priests waved the product of their (mis?)treatment of the wavesheaf toward heaven and the Father.

And in like manner as the "sheaf' was raised and let down, Christ ascended to heaven to His Father, and returned on that same day (John 20: 17; Matt. 28:9). The barley and wheat harvest continued from the day of the wavesheaf to Pentecost. It was a type of the spiritual harvest which has been underway in the Church ever since. But no more of it was waved till the fiftieth day. Then two wave loaves were made of flour brought of the habitations of the people. The priest raised them, waved them toward heaven and lowered them.

What of these two loaves? Obviously they represented the many additional firstfruits to be given eternal life from both Old Testament and New Testament periods (James 1:18; Rom. 16:5; Rev. 14: 1-4). The loaves were baked with leaven, which I;fPresented sin (I Cor. 5:7), for none of us -as Christ -have never sinned.

No specific point in the ritual seems designed to show our actual cutting loose from the earth, the end of our dependence on the physical, because our resurrection and ascension into the air to meet Christ are all one event. Some will yet be living at that time and will not be resurrected at all, but "changed in a moment, in a twinkling of an eye" (I Cor. 15:51-52; I Thess. 4: 13-18). But just as the priest raised the loaves up and let them down, so shall we all ascend into the clouds before returning almost immediately to earth with Christ, as His feet stand in that day on the mount of Olives (Zech. 14:4).

To us the general analogy of I Corinthians 15:35-44,49 primarily refers. But the ritual of Leviticus 23, with all its added features, primarily and vividly describes and identifies Christ. No wonder that tens of thousands of first-century Jews -the people who knew the most about Bible prophecies (and the Exodus and about Leviticus 23) -believed. (Briggs LC. The Wavesheaf Ritual -Proof of Christ and the Bible. Good News, June 1975)

Jesus came out of the tomb on a Saturday evening that would have been the start of wave sheaf Sunday.

A sheaf is a bundle of grain stalks laid lengthwise and tied together after reaping.

Here is more information about what happened to Jesus during the Days of Unleavened Bread--specifically on wave sheaf Sunday:

We read in John 20 that Mary Magdalene came to Jesus' tomb very early, before sunrise Sunday morning, "when it was yet dark" (verse 1). She was startled to find that the large stone covering the entrance to the grave had been rolled away. Filled with dismay, she reported this to the disciples; and Peter and John investigated. But they could not find Jesus' body (John 20:2-10). After the two disciples left — still early in the morning — Mary wept for sadness, thinking someone had stolen Jesus' body.

Seeing her misery, Jesus revealed Himself to her, in order to comfort her. But He told her, "Touch me not."


Jesus continued, "For I am not yet ascended to my Father..." (verse 17). Jesus had NOT YET risen to God's throne in heaven to be ACCEPTED by the Father as the firstfruits from the dead. Turn, now, to your Old Testament for the full explanation in the book of Leviticus.

"Speak unto the children of Israel," God told Moses, "and say unto them, When ye be come into the land which I give unto you, and shall reap the harvest thereof, then shall ye bring a sheaf of the FIRSTFRUITS of your harvest unto the priest: And he shall wave the sheaf before the Lord, TO BE ACCEPTED for you: on the morrow AFTER the Sabbath the priest shall wave it" (Lev. 23:10-11).

This wave-sheaf offering was a TYPE of Jesus Christ. Notice!

"But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the FIRSTFRUITS of them that slept" (I Cor. 15:20). "Christ the firstfruits" (verse 23). The firstfruits had to be ACCEPTED of the Father.

After His resurrection Christ had to ASCEND to the Father, to be accepted by Him. At this time He had not yet ascended.

That is why He would not permit Mary Magdalene to touch Him. Notice further what He told her "I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God" (John 20:17).

After Christ WAS accepted by the Father in heaven, He returned that very same day and revealed Himself to the disciples. Now it was all right for them to take hold of Him and worship Him. He revealed Himself to the two Marys even while they were on the way to see the other disciples, "And they came and held Him by the feet, and worshipped Him" (Mat. 28:9). After Christ had been accepted by the Father that morning as the FIRSTFRUITS from the dead, typified by the ancient wave-sheaf offering, He permitted the disciples to touch Him. (The Bible Answers Short Questions From Our Readers. Plain Truth, May 1965)

Again, this happened during the Days of Unleavened Bread. The wavesheaf day has also been the day to begin counting for Pentecost.

Keeping the Days of Unleavened Bread is a Sign of Faithfulness

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.

People who do not keep the Days of Unleavened Bread are not reminded about false religion and sin through this symbol during the year; maybe they do not want to be.

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 (Genesis 1,2), seven Churches in Revelation 2&3, seven candlesticks (Revelation 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 (Romans 3:25, 1 Corinthians 5:7), that we are to no longer continue in the old ways but to walk in the true ways of the Bible (1 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.

Although some spiritual problems in our lives seem hidden as some forms of leaven and more difficult to remove than possible, the Bible teaches us:

13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:13)

24 Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling,
And to present you faultless
Before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy, (Jude 24)

The annual period of the Days of Unleavened Bread helps us refocus on striving towards perfection as Jesus taught (Matthew 5:48), and can help break our usual routine enough that we, through Christ Jesus, can overcome all.

A Warning

Now it is interesting to note that Jude warned that:

4 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, 1 Corinthians 5:8).

5 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" (Romans 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 (James 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" (Romans 2:13).

Notice also the warning in Hebrews,

"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" (Hebrews 10:26-27).

Like the Old Testament (Exodus 12:15,19), the New Testament teaches us "Therefore purge out the old leaven" (1 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!

The Bible vs. 'Traditions of Men'

Believe it or not Jesus ran into the same problem in His day.

The religious rulers (the Pharisees) were condemned because "you have made the commandment of God of no effect by your tradition" (Matthew 15:6). Although traditions of men say that Jesus condemned the Pharisees for keeping the law, the opposite is true. Remember that Jesus said to them that "inside you are filled with lawlessness and hypocrisy" (Matthew 23:28). Actually, they pretended that they believed the Bible, but taught that their understandings (hermeneutics in modern terms) were more important than the literal commands in the Bible (Mark 7:8-9).

This problem exists even to our day.

Many professing Christians believe God's laws and Holy Days are no longer in effect even though all the ten commandments are specifically enjoined in the New Testament and all the biblical Holy Days are mentioned after the crucifixion of Jesus. Unleavened bread is also mentioned before Mount Sinai in Genesis 19:3 and alluded to in Genesis 18:6 which indicates that Lot and Abraham kept this festival.

The Apostle Paul warned:

7 ... Who hindered you from obeying the truth? 8 This persuasion does not come from Him who calls you. 9 A little leaven leavens the whole lump (Galatians 5:7-9).

Paul was warning Christians that they should not allow a little compromise with the world (apparently including arguments of friends/acquaintances) should affect them. Christians who kept the Days of Unleavened Bread understood that then, and still understand that today.

A little sin is not good.

Jesus warned in Matthew 7:21-22:

"Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord' shall enter the Kingdom of heaven, but he that does the will of my Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, 'Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?'"

Jesus is talking about those who claims to be Christians!

23 "And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!" (Matthew 7:23).

(See also, the free online books: The Ten Commandments: The Decalogue, Christianity, and the Beast and Hope of Salvation: How the Continuing Church of God differs from Protestantism.)

In addition to 1 Corinthians 5:7-8, we can see that the Days of Unleavened Bread were still to be kept after the resurrection. The Book of Acts states:

3 ... Now it was during the Days of Unleavened Bread. (Acts 12:3)

If the Days of Unleavened Bread were done away by then, the Holy Spirit would not have inspired that statement to bave been recorded for Christians to see to this day--the Days of Unleavened Bread still exist for those willing to obey God.

Also, Luke wrote:

6 But we sailed away from Philippi after the Days of Unleavened Bread (Acts 20:6).

Now Philippi was (according to Smith's Bible Dictionary) a gentile town.

Even the Greek Orthodox saint and patriarch John Chrysostom realized the above was proof that Paul kept the Days of Unleavened Bread as John wrote:

"And we sailed away from Philippi after the days of unleavened bread, and came unto them to Troas in five days; where we abode seven days." For it seems to me that he made a point of keeping the feasts in the large cities. (John Crysostom. Homily 43 on the Acts of the Apostles. Translated by J. Walker, J. Sheppard and H. Browne, and revised by George B. Stevens. From Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, First Series, Vol. 11. Edited by Philip Schaff. (Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Publishing Co., 1889)

It was in Macedonia and was ruled by the Romans--thus keeping these days was NOT limited to a place like Jerusalem. Thus, in at least two places in the New Testament, in Gentile areas, we see that the Days of Unleavened Bread were to be kept (1 Corinthians 5:7; Acts 20:6). If Christians were not to keep the Days of Unleavened Bread, why didn't Luke or Paul say so? Why did Paul say to keep them?

(An article of related interest may be Tradition and Scripture: From the Bible and Church Writings.)

Now, as far as tradition goes, traditions that are consistent with scripture are fine, and often need to be followed. Consider the following from the Apostle John:

18 Little children, it is the last hour; and as you have heard that the Antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come, by which we know that it is the last hour. 19 They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us; but they went out that they might be made manifest, that none of them were of us. (1 John 2:18-19)

It is well known that one of the earliest documented changes in practices of the Apostle John was when others changed the date of Passover to a Sunday. Those who did, apparently did NOT keep the Days of Unleavened Bread, as their spiritual descendants today do not.

But those who kept with John's practices were keeping the Days of Unleavened Bread nearly a century after he died according to a writing from Polycrates (quoted elsewhere in this article).

What Some Say

The Worldwide Church of God officially used to teach and keep the Days of Unleavened Bread. But after a change in leadership the changed group stopped doing so (and it no longer calls itself the Worldwide Church of God, but now Grace Communion International).

In the February 1999 issue of its official publication the The Worldwide News (WWN) of the changed WCG, it contained the following information in an article written by Don Mear:

"We knew that Jesus commanded us to "eat his flesh and drink his blood" by taking the bread and wine of communion. And we understood that in doing so we were partaking of the Lamb of God. We did it annually because we saw the Lamb of God as being the Passover lamb, and we knew that the Passover was an annual observance. But Jesus is more than just the Passover lamb ... The author of Hebrews pointed out that we Christians "have an altar from which those who minister at the tabernacle have no right to eat." His implication is that just as they had their altar to eat from, we have our own altar to eat from. And by extension, as freely as they ate from theirs, we may eat from ours. This points us to the conclusion that Christians, who under the new covenant, are a nation of priests (1 Pet. 2:9), may eat of the sacrificial Lamb of God just as freely and frequently as did those priests of the old covenant. We are not restricted to eating the Lamb of God only once a year, any more than they were. Jesus is always our sin offering; he is always our guilt offering; he is always our peace and thank offering ... Thank God our Father for the communion he gives us with himself in his beloved Son!"

Although the preceding quote suggests otherwise, the fact is that Levitical priests only ate the Passover once per year.

If the Days of Unleavened Bread were always kept in conjunction with Passover (which they always are in the Bible), then the sort of logic in the WWN article would be shown to be false. If every time one consumed the symbols representing body and blood of Jesus, they also had to keep seven days of Unleavened Bread and this was done weekly, then those so doing would never consume regular bread!

Now for those that argue that keeping the Days of Unleavened Bread is just a physical thing, there are two points to consider: the point of purging leaven out is to have sin out of our life (which is spiritual) and consuming the "Lamb of God" is also physical (with spiritual implications). Doing one without the other reminds me of certain Asiatic religions which feel that spinning a prayer wheel is equivalent to spending hours in prayer. Those followers probably at least think about some deity before they spin the wheel, but is that how God really wants to be worshiped? Does He approve of other "traditions of men" over His word?

Now it is true that leaven is not always shown to be bad. Jesus even stated:

"the kingdom of God ... is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures till it was all leavened (Luke 13:20-21).

This parable seems to illustrate that, even though the leaven was at first hidden, in the future all will know the true religion. Which is consistent with Habakkuk 2:14:

For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD as the waters cover the sea.

Thus, leaven may be a symbol of false religion now, but true religion in the future.

Did Early Christians Keep the Days of Unleavened Bread?

Jesus kept the Days of Unleavened Bread. And while He often did that in Jerusalem (cf. Luke 22:1,7), He also seemed to have kept the Days of Unleavened Bread in or near Galilee (Luke 6:1, Clarke's Commentary on the Bible).

Some may wonder if early Christians kept the Days of Unleavened Bread. Well, as shown before, Paul taught that they should. But what about others?

One theologian reported:

To the first Christians the yearly recurrence of the Passover must have brought vivid memories of all that had happened at the Passover of A.d. 29. These associations soon gave a Christian meaning to the very word Pascha. ' Christ our Pascha is sacrificed for us,' wrote S. Paul; and the Sacrifice and Resurrection, remembered at first, perhaps, together with the night of the Exodus, soon became the chief and only reason for observing the Feast of Unleavened Bread. (Gorham ES. History of the church to A.D. 325.  1905.  Original from Columbia University, Digitized Aug 14, 2009, pp. 129-130)

And while Jesus apparently was crucified a year or two later and there are multiple reasons to observe the Feast of Unleavened Bread, it is true that the faithful have kept it from the earliest times and that they have understood that Paul's writings also support this.

A very old document, that was probably altered in the 4th century (cf. Monroy MS. The Church of Smyrna: History and Theology of a Primitive Christian Community. Peter Lang edition, 2015, p. 31), titled The Life of Polycarp, specifically mentions the  Passover, the Days of Unleavened Bread, and Pentecost. Notice that it shows that the Apostle Paul endorsed keeping them:

In the days of unleavened bread Paul, coming down from Galatia, arrived in Asia, considering the repose among the faithful in Smyrna to be a great refreshment in Christ Jesus after his severe toil, and intending afterwards to depart to Jerusalem. So in Smyrna he went to visit Strataeas, who had been his hearer in Pamphylia, being a son of Eunice the daughter of Lois. These are they of whom he makes mention when writing to Timothy, saying; Of the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois and in thy mother Eunice; whence we find that Strataeas was a brother of Timothy. Paul then, entering his house and gathering together the faithful there, speaks to them concerning the Passover and the Pentecost, reminding them of the New Covenant of the offering of bread and the cup; how that they ought most assuredly to celebrate it during the days of unleavened bread, but to hold fast the new mystery of the Passion and Resurrection. For here the Apostle plainly teaches that we ought neither to keep it outside the season of unleavened bread, as the heretics do, especially the Phrygians ... but named the days of unleavened bread, the Passover, and the Pentecost, thus ratifying the Gospel (Pionius. Life of Polycarp, Chapter 2. Translated by J. B. Lightfoot, The Apostolic Fathers, vol. 3.2, 1889, pp.488-506).

Notice that the Apostle Paul was teaching Gentiles to keep these days. Strataeas (per Monroy, Mauricio Saavedra. The Church of Smyrna: History and Theology of a Primitive Christian Community. Peter Lang edition, 2015, p. 190) is the same as ThraseasThraseas is mentioned by Polycrates as another faithful leader who kept Passover on the 14th of Nisan.

Furthermore, Polycarp kept the Days of Unleavened Bread, various "Jewish holidays," and even went to Rome and told the bishop there to keep Passover on the correct day (this is documented in the article Polycarp of Smyrna: The Heretic Fighter). Polycarp is considered to be a saint by CatholicsOrthodox, many Protestants, and those in the Church of God. Yet of those groups, only the real Church of God continues his practices as far as the Holy Days are concerned.

Additional evidence is found in the Marytyrdom of Polycarp.:

0 The Church of God which sojourns at Smyrna, to the Church of God sojourning in Philomelium, and to all the congregations of the Holy and Catholic Church in every place: Mercy, peace, and love from God the Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, be multiplied. ...

VII His pursuers then, along with horsemen, and taking the youth with them, went forth at supper-time on the day of the preparation with their usual weapons, as if going out against a robber. ... VIII... and conducted him into the city, the day being that of the great Sabbath. ...

XXII Now, the blessed Polycarp suffered martyrdom on the second day of the month Xanthicus just begun, the seventh day before the Kalends of May, on the great Sabbath, at the eighth hour. (Martyrdom of Polycarp. Roberts & Donaldson translation)

The use of these two expressions "day of the preparation" and "the great Sabbath" strongly indicates that those in Polycarp's area were still keeping the Sabbath and Holy Days in the latter portion of the 2nd century. Otherwise, since Asia Minor (including Smyrna) was a Gentile area, the terms preparation and great Sabbath would not have been relevant. It should also be noted that the Church of Rome was NOT using the term 'Catholic Church' for itself at this time. It was used to describe the Church of God in Smyrna, not only in this document, but also in Ignatius' Letter to the Smyrnaeans decades earlier. The Church of Rome later took that title, and through a decree related to the Council of Constantinople in 381 from Emperor Theodosius, those who held Church of God beliefs on the Godhead were no longer legally allowed to use it.

Although many claim that Polycarp was killed in February, the idea of a great Sabbath would be a reference to a Holy Day, which may or may not have fallen on the day we commonly call Saturday. Yet, because the the preparation day being associated with it, the martyrdom likely was on a Saturday. Certain scholars, like Adolphus Hilgenfeld have concluded that Polycarp was killed on the First Day of Unleavened Bread:

Hilgenfeld ... adopts the day given by the Paschale Chronicle, vii Kal. April. ..., so that Polycarp must have suffered on the 15th Nisan, i.e. on the First Day of Unleavened Bread. (Lightfoot JB. S. Ignatius. S. Polycarp: Revised Texts with Instructions, Notes, Dissertations, and Translations, Volume 1, 2nd edition. Macmillan, 1889. Original from the University of California Digitized Feb 1, 2012, p. 45)

Bucher ... further calculates that in A.D. 169, March 26 coincided with Nisan 15, the First Day of Unleavened Bread. ... In like manner, Ussher... adopts 169 as the year of the martyrdom and accepts the day as given in the Paschale Chronicle. (Ibid, p. 702)

I do not believe that the martyrdom of Polycarp took place in February around Purim as the term 'great Sabbath' was not used for weekly Sabbaths that occurred that time of the year nor was Purim a Sabbath. Even Catholic scholars like Mauricio Saavedra Monroy recognize that the Passover season is alluded to as the time in the Martyrdom (Monroy MS. The Church of Smyrna: History and Theology of a Primitive Christian Community. Peter Lang edition, 2015, pp. 284, 318). Let me state that a martyrdom of 158 also coincides with the first Day of Unleavened Bread being on a Saturday.

There is also further confirmation about the fact that those in Smyrna kept the same holy days in the third century.

Notice something related to the elder (and claimed Roman Catholic saint) Pionius in the mid-third century:

2. On the second day of the sixth month, on the occasion of a great Sabbath, and on the anniversary of the blessed martyr Polycarp, while the persecution of Decius was still on, there were arrested the presbyter Pionius...

3. It was Saturday and after they had prayed and taken the sacred bread with water, Polemon the temple verger came in on them with his men in order to seek out the Christians and drag them off to offer sacrifice and to taste forbidden meats. "Surely you are aware," said the verger, "of the emperor' edict commanding us to sacrifice to the gods." "We are aware," said Pionius, "of the commandments of God ordering us to worship him alone."

Polemon said: "Come then to the market-place; there you will change your minds."

Sabina and Asclepiades said: "We obey the living God." He led them off then without restraint and as they walked along everyone saw that they were wearing their chains, and such a crowd rushed up in haste as it were for a strange sight, that they jostled one another. As they came into the forum, by the eastern Stoa and the double gate, all the forum and the upper storeys of the porches were crowded with Greeks, Jews, and women. They were on holiday because it was a great Sabbath. They drew near, looking towards the tribunal steps and the voting urns. (The Martyrdom of Pionius and his Companions, Chapters 2,3. Text from H. Musurillo, The Acts of the Christian Martyrs (Oxford, 1972), 137-167. accessed 07/25/15)

Thus, the Days of Unleavened Bread were being kept in the second and third centuries by those trying to be faithful in Asia Minor.

Note: This particular “great Sabbath” is believed by certain scholars to have taken place on the first Day of Unleavened Bread; (see Lightfoot JB. S. Ignatius. S. Polycarp: Revised Texts with Instructions, Notes, Dissertations, and Translations, Volume 1, 2nd edition. Macmillan, 1889, pp. 45,702), however for it to have fallen on a Saturday, it would have been the 7th, the last, Day of Unleavened Bread in either 249 or 252 A.D.

Remember also that the First Day of Unleavened Bread was a "great Sabbath" "high holy day" according to John 19:31--as would be the Seventh Day of Unleavened Bread when it falls on a Saturday.

Now let's further notice what the Greco-Roman Catholic writer Eusebius recorded that Polycrates of Ephesus, around 195 A.D. wrote the following to the Roman Bishop Victor who, as the previous writing showed, wanted all who professed Christ to change Passover from the 14th of Nisan to Sunday:

We observe the exact day; neither adding, nor taking away. For in Asia also great lights have fallen asleep, which shall rise again on the day of the Lord's coming, when he shall come with glory from heaven, and shall seek out all the saints. Among these are Philip, one of the twelve apostles, who fell asleep in Hierapolis; and his two aged virgin daughters, and another daughter, who lived in the Holy Spirit and now rests at Ephesus; and, moreover, John, who was both a witness and a teacher, who reclined upon the bosom of the Lord, and, being a priest, wore the sacerdotal plate. He fell asleep at Ephesus. And Polycarp in Smyrna, who was a bishop and martyr; and Thraseas, bishop and martyr from Eumenia, who fell asleep in Smyrna. Why need I mention the bishop and martyr Sagaris who fell asleep in Laodicea, or the blessed Papirius, or Melito, the Eunuch who lived altogether in the Holy Spirit, and who lies in Sardis, awaiting the episcopate from heaven, when he shall rise from the dead? All these observed the fourteenth day of the passover according to the Gospel, deviating in no respect, but following the rule of faith. And I also, Polycrates, the least of you all, do according to the tradition of my relatives, some of whom I have closely followed. For seven of my relatives were bishops; and I am the eighth. And my relatives always observed the day when the people put away the leaven. I, therefore, brethren, who have lived sixty-five years in the Lord, and have met with the brethren throughout the world, and have gone through every Holy Scripture, am not affrighted by terrifying words. For those greater than I have said ' We ought to obey God rather than man' (Eusebius. Church History, Book V, Chapter 24. Translated by Arthur Cushman McGiffert. Excerpted from Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Series Two, Volume 1. Edited by Philip Schaff and Henry Wace. American Edition, 1890. Online Edition Copyright © 2004 by K. Knight).

Notice that Polycrates said that he and the other early church leaders (like the Apostles Philip and John, and their successors like Polycarp, Thraseas, Eumenia, Sagaris, Papirius, Melito) would not deviate from the Bible, and that they knew the Bible taught them to keep the Passover on the correct date, and not on a Sunday. Also notice that they always observed the day when the people put away the leaven. Polycrates also reminded the Roman bishop that true followers of Christ "obey God rather than men."

The old Radio/Worldwide Church of God taught about Polycrates:

History has recorded for us the words of one church leader from Asia Minor. His name was Polycrates, living around the end of the second century. (Marx GO. WHY CELEBRATE EASTER? Plain Truth. March 1967)

Polycrates had been part of "the catholic church of God." (Lesson 50 - I Will Build My Church, Part 2. 58 Lesson: Ambassador College Bible Correspondence Course, 1965)

The "catholic church of God" was NOT the Roman Catholic church. For more information, check out the free online book: Beliefs of the Original Catholic Church.

Jude wrote Christians "to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints" (Jude 3). And faithful Church of God Christians were recorded as doing so.

Notice what a respected Protestant scholar reported about the second century:

the churches of Asia Minor ... 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).

So, like the Apostle John (the last of the original apostles to die), the early faithful Christians in Asia Minor observed Passover and the  Days of Unleavened Bread.

There is a spurious document, probably from the third century, that mentioned the Days of Unleavened Bread:

17 We said unto him: Lord, after how many years shall this come to pass? He said unto us: When the hundredth part and the twentieth part is fulfilled, between the Pentecost and the feast of unleavened bread, then shall the coming of my Father be (so Copt.: When an hundred and fifty years are past, in the days of the feast of Passover and Pentecost, &c., Eth.: . . . (imperfect word) year is fulfilled, between the unleavened bread and Pentecost shall be the coming of my Father, Lat.). (The Epistula Apostolorum from Montague Rhode James in The Apocryphal New Testament (Oxford: Clarendon Press 1924), pp. 485-503)

17 ... We said to him, "Lord, the things which you revealed to us at the beginning are great things. In what sort of great power will you come ? Or what sort of perceptible state ?" He answered and said to us, "Amen, I say to you that I will come like the sun shining, I being light of seven times greater than it (sun) in my glory. The wings of clouds carrying me in glory and the sign of the cross before me, I will come upon the earth and give justice to the living and the dead." We said to him, "Lord, after how many years will these things happen." He said to us, " if the part of a hundred and the part of twenty are complete in the middle of the Pentecost and the feast of the unleavened bread, the presence of the Father will take place. (The Epistula Apostolorum. English translation of the Coptic text Anthony Alcock. accessed 11/18/15)

Presumably this means that some were keeping the Days of Unleavened Bread and felt it had some type of future applicability.

But some who claimed Christianity started to wonder about it. Notably Origen of Alexandria wrote:

A few points may be added in connection with the doctrines now under consideration, though it would require a special discussion in many volumes to treat of all the mystical statements about the law, and specially of those connected with the festivals, and more particularly still with the passover. The passover of the Jews consists of a sheep which is sacrificed, each taking a sheep according to his father's house; and the passover is accompanied by the slaughter of thousands of rams and goats, in proportion to the number of the houses of the people. But our Passover is sacrificed for us, namely, Christ. Another feature of the Jewish festival is unleavened bread; all leaven is made to disappear out of their houses; but "we keep the feast not with the old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth." Whether there be any passover and any feast of leaven beyond the two we have mentioned, is a point we must examine more carefully, since these serve for a pattern and a shadow of the heavenly ones we spoke of, and not only such things as food and drink and new moons and sabbaths, but the festivals also, are a shadow of the things to come. In the first place, when the Apostle says, "Our passover is sacrificed, Christ," one may feel with regard to this such doubts as these. ...

I am led to this observation by John's saying, "And the bread which I will give is My flesh, for the life of the world." Again, we eat the flesh of the Lamb, with bitter herbs, and unleavened bread, when we repent of our sins and grieve with the sorrow which is according to God, a repentance which operates for our salvation, and is not to be repented of; or when, on account of our trials, we turn to the speculations which are found to be those of truth, and are nourished by them. ...

But when the night is passed, and the day which succeeds it is at hand, then we shall have bread to eat which has nothing to do with the leavened bread of the older and lower state of things, but is unleavened, and that will serve our turn until that which comes after the unleavened bread is given us, the manna, which is food for angels rather than men. Every one of us, then, may sacrifice his lamb in every house of our fathers; and while one breaks the law, not sacrificing the lamb at all, another may keep the commandment entirely, offering his sacrifice, and cooking it aright, and not breaking a bone of it. This, then, in brief, is the interpretation of the Passover sacrificed for us, which is Christ, in accordance with the view taken of it by the Apostles, and with the Lamb in the Gospel. (Origen. Commentary on the Book of John (X), chapter 13. Translated by Allan Menzies. From Ante-Nicene FathersVol. 9. Edited by Allan Menzies. (Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Publishing Co., 1896.<> accessed 04/15/16)

Basically, Origen admits we are to learn from the Days of Unleavened Bread and he seems to hint that just eating unleavened bread at Passover is enough.

Around the mid-third century, one of his pupils, Gregory Thaumaturgus wrote against the biblical days in favor of none biblical ones:

All who worthily observe the festival of the Annunciation of the Virgin Mary, the mother of God, acquire as their meet recompense the fuller interest in the message, Hail, thou that art highly favoured! It is our duty, therefore, to keep this feast, seeing that it has tilled the whole world with joy and gladness. And let us keep it with psalms, and hymns, and spiritual songs. Of old did Israel also keep their festival, but then it was with unleavened bread and bitter herbs, of which the prophet says: I will turn their feasts into afflictions and lamentation, and their joy into shame. But our afflictions our Lord has assured us He will turn into joy by the fruits of penitence. (Gregory Thaumaturgus. The Second Homily on the Annunciation to the Holy Virgin Mary. Translated by S.D.F. Salmond. From Ante-Nicene FathersVol. 6. Edited by Alexander Roberts, James Donaldson, and A. Cleveland Coxe. (Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Publishing Co., 1886.) accessed 04/15/16)

Gregory (see Gregory the Wonder Worker) who claimed to be the first to see an apparition of Mary (see Mary, the Mother of Jesus and the Apparitions) wanted to promote Marian veneration and talked against the biblical Holy Days.

But not all the Greco-Romans went along with this then. In the late third century, the Greco-Roman Anatolius of Alexandria, when he was their Bishop of Laodicea, 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. And did so after Passover of the 14th. Yet, could this have ended up being changed and called Lent? It may be so, even though Lent did not come from the Bible nor the actual practices of the early Christians (see Is Lent a Christian Holiday?).

Anyway, there was an anti-Holy Day pronouncement in Constantinople and Laodicea after Anatolius' death (c. 270-280).

What is believed to have been the first 'creed' used by a church in Constantinople was a renunciation that Nazarenes who converted to the Greco-Roman Catholic/Orthodox faith were required to state:

I renounce all customs, rites, legalisms, unleavened breads & sacrifices of lambs of the Hebrews, and all other feasts of the Hebrews, sacrifices, prayers, aspersions, purifications, sanctifications and propitiations and fasts, and new moons, and Sabbaths, and superstitions, and hymns and chants and observances and Synagogues, and the food and drink of the Hebrews; in one word, I renounce everything Jewish, every law, rite and custom and if afterwards I shall wish to deny and return to Jewish superstition, or shall be found eating with the Jews, or feasting with them, or secretly conversing and condemning the Christian religion instead of openly confuting them and condemning their vain faith, then let the trembling of Gehazi cleave to me, as well as the legal punishments to which I acknowledge myself liable. And may I be anathema in the world to come, and may my soul be set down with Satan and the devils. (Dag S. The TRUE Disciples of the Modern Age. Ministries for YHVH, 2012, pp. 11-12)

It has been claimed that this came out of the original Council of Nicea (ibid, p. 11) of 325 A.D.

Canons 37 & 38 of the Council of Laodicea of the fourth century (c. 363-364) prohibited the observation of the unleavened bread and other festivals of the Jews:

Canon 37

It is not lawful to receive portions sent from the feasts of Jews or heretics, nor to feast together with them.

Canon 38

It is not lawful to receive unleavened bread from the Jews, nor to be partakers of their impiety.

(Synod of Laodicea. Translated by Henry Percival. From Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Second SeriesVol. 14. Edited by Philip Schaff and Henry Wace. (Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Publishing Co., 1900.Revised and edited for New Advent by Kevin Knight. <>.)

And there was a similar condemnation in Canon 69/70 of the Syrian Apostolic Canons near this time. Notice:

Canon 37 {70} requires Christians not to accept gifts from the feasts of Jews and heretics, and denies Christians the right to feast with these persons: "It is not proper that Christians accept gifts which are sent by Jews or heretics, nor celebrate feasts with them."98 Canon 38 declares that Christians are not to accept unleavened bread from the Jews nor take part in their festivals: "It is not proper for Christians to accept unleavened bread from the Jews, and take part in their impieties." 99 These regulations taken together certainly leave a strong impression that even in the fourth century there were not only Judaic practices in the Asiatic church, but also there was actual religious fellowship with the Jewish inhabitants.

The Apostolic Canons, which are a Syrian compilation of the mid-fourth century, strengthen this impression. They deal in still further detail with religious fellowship between the clergy and the Jews in that very place where the violence of the monks was fiercest against the Jews, Alexandria. Canon 69 repeats the prohibition against feasting or fasting with the Jews: "If any"bishop or other cleric fasts with the Jews or celebrates festal days with them or accepts gifts from their festivals, such as unleavened bread or anything else similar, he shall be excluded from the Clergy; and if a layman does these things, he shall be segregated from the flock." (Seaver JE.  Persecution of the Jews in the Roman Empire (300-438), Issue 30 of University of Kansas publications: Humanistic studies. University of Kansas Publications, 1952.  Original from the University of Virginia, Digitized Apr 29, 2009, pp. 34-35.

70. If any bishop, or any other of the clergy, fasts with the Jews, or keeps the festivals with them, or accepts of the presents from their festivals, as unleavened bread or some such thing, let him be deprived; but if he be one of the laity, let him be suspended. (Apostolic Constitutions (Book VIII), Section XLVII. Translated by James Donaldson. From Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 7. Edited by Alexander Roberts, James Donaldson, and A. Cleveland Coxe. (Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Publishing Co., 1886.) Revised and edited for New Advent by Kevin Knight. <>.)

Hence this practice of Christians keeping the Days of Unleavened Bread also must have been going on then in Asia Minor and elsewhere--others scholars share that opinion (Seaver, p. 34; Bagatti B, Priest. The Church from the Circumcision, pp. 87-88).

In the late fourth/early fifth century, Augustine of Hippo claimed:

And so with regard to unleavened bread and all such things, in which the apostle says there was a shadow of future things, neglect of their observance under the old dispensation, when this observance was enjoined, and was employed to prefigure what was afterwards to be revealed, would have been as criminal, as it would now be foolish in us, after the light of the New Testament has arisen, to think that these predictive observances could be of any use to us. On the other hand, since the Old Testament teaches us that the things now revealed were so long ago prefigured, that we may be firm and faithful in our adherence to them, it would be blasphemy and impiety to discard these books, ...

Not to eat unleavened bread in the appointed seven days was a sin in the time of the Old Testament; in the time of the New Testament it is not a sin. (Augustine. Contra Faustum, Book VI. c. 400 A.D.)

But, the treacherous (cf. Malachi 2:14) Augustine (who betrayed his common-law life and child), essentially provided no proof, other than he did not see how keeping them was helpful.

In the late fourth/early fifth centuries, both Epiphanius and Jerome wrote after that the Nazarene Christians continued to keep the Jewish ways, and that would have included the days of unleavened bread (Epiphanius. Panarion 29, 9,3 as cited in Pritz. Nazarene Jewish Christianity. Magnas, Jerusalem, 1988, p. 35; Jerome as cited in Pritz, pp. 58,62,63).

Epiphanius considered those Nazarenes who kept who kept the Holy Days heretical (Ephiphanius. The Panarion of Ephiphanius of Salamis: Book II (sects 1-46) Section 1, Chapter 19, 7-9. Frank Williams, editor. Publisher BRILL, 1987, p. 117-119).

Despite the fact that many later chose to observe Lent, the faithful continued to observe the Days of Unleavened Bread throughout history.

Adventist researcher Daniel Liechty reported Sabbath-keepers in Transylvania in the 1500s and later kept the biblical Holy Days (such as the Feast of Trumpets called Day of Remembrance below) (and those are days his church does not observe):

The Sabbatarians viewed themselves as converted Gentiles ... They held to the biblical holidays. Passover they celebrated with unleavened bread ... The first and last seventh day of Passover were full holidays (Liechty D. Sabbatarianism in the Sixteenth Century. Andrews University Press, Berrien Springs (MI), 1993, pp. 61-62).

By first and last days of Passover, he is referring to the first and last Days of Unleavened Bread. Notice that in the 1600s, those who kept the days of unleavened bread were persecuted for their beliefs:

And finally, the tragic “Accord of Deés” or Complanatio Deesiana in July 1638 definitely disjoined Sabbatarians from Unitarians. Unitarians were ordered to worship Jesus, baptize in the name of the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit, and to allow their publications censured--a coerced “complanatio.” The “Judaizers” and those who rejected and cursed Jesus, however, were excluded even from the new amnesty. Sabbatarians were easy target of the new discriminatory law: they observed the Sabbath, therefore they farmed on Sundays, abstained from eating pork and blood, celebrated the Passover with unleavened bread, and refused baptism of their children--the very sign of their expected conversion" (Gellérd, Judit. Spiritual Jews of Szekler Jerusalem A Four-Centuries History of Transylvanian Szekler (Székely) Sabbatarianism. In Literature of Memory VI: Hope and Despair STH TS 870, Fall 2000 Professor Elie Wiesel.

Note that the "Judaizers" are separate from "those who rejected and cursed Jesus." In this region, there were both apparently true Christians (the "Judaizers" who celebrated the Passover with unleavened bread, etc.) and those who rejected Christ as Messiah (hence the Judaizers were not actually unitarian).

In the early 1600s, a Sabbath-keeper in the British Isles, named John Traske, wrote the following about observing some version of Passover and/or the resurrection:

'the fourteenth of the March moon' to coincide with the Jewish Passover, and should be followed by the eating of unleavened bread for seven days. (Falconer John. A Breife Refutation of John Traskes Judaical and Novel Fantyces, pp. 57-58, as cited in Ball B.  Seventh Day Men: Sabbatarians and Sabbatarianism in England and Wales, 1600-1800, 2nd edition.  James Clark & Co., 2009, pp. 49-50)

In the 20th century, the old Radio Church of God did so:

To observe 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 on in sin. (Armstrong HW. What You Should Know About the Passover and Festival of Unleavened Bread. Good News magazine, April 1954)

Christians have kept the days of unleavened bread throughout the church age.

We in the Continuing Church of God still do so today.

The Last Day of Unleavened Bread

The last day of Unleavened Bread is a Holy Day and, like the first day, is a time for a holy convocation:

6 And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the Feast of Unleavened Bread to the Lord; seven days you must eat unleavened bread. 7 On the first day you shall have a holy convocation; you shall do no customary work on it. 8 But you shall offer an offering made by fire to the Lord for seven days. The seventh day shall be a holy convocation; you shall do no customary work on it.'" (Leviticus 23:6-8)

We in the Continuing Church of God follow the biblical admonitions and keep the days of unleavened bread. As a time of a holy convocation, we abstain from carnal activities such as working for a living, going to carnal school classes, etc.

Those who can, meet together with like-minded, abstain from leaven, etc. And those who cannot meet together, still abstain from leaven, pray, and normally will watch an online sermon, such as Christians and the Days of Unleavened Bread, as part of their observance (and of course, eat some amount of unleavened bread).

As far as more on the historical and prophetic ramifications of this day, check out the article The Seventh Day of Unleavened Bread.

Must You Hold Church Services Every Day?

For a time, the old Radio Church of God had the Days of Unleavened Bread observed in a similar manner to the Feast of Tabernacles. By that, I mean, that it was a pilgrimage festival where church services were held every day, and in that way, we offer ourselves as a living sacrifice (Romans 12:1) during the Feast of Tabernacles.

In time, the old Radio Church of God stopped doing that for the Days of Unleavened Bread.

Some have wondered if that was the right decision and have indicated that it is wrong to not require Christians to attend church services for all seven days and/or not keep these days as a pilgrimage festival.

Here is one passage some cite (and there are several similar passages in the Bible):

16 "Three times a year all your males shall appear before the Lord your God in the place which He chooses: at the Feast of Unleavened Bread, at the Feast of Weeks, and at the Feast of Tabernacles; and they shall not appear before the Lord empty-handed. (Deuteronomy 16:16)

Now let's realize that the Days of Unleavened Bread are one of three sets of Holy Days.

Like the Day of Pentecost, which is also mentioned in Deuteronomy 16 and Numbers 28, the Bible does not mandate that we stay in temporary dwellings during them.

This is NOT the same as the seven days of the Feast of Tabernacles, for which temporary dwellings are mandated for (Leviticus 23:42).

In Ezra 6, it teaches that those who were no longer captives kept the Days of Unleavened Bread, but that passage does not indicate at all that they made a separate pilgrimage to do so, only that they were in Israel, and being free from their captors, they were able to. Nor is a pilgrimage mentioned in Ezekiel 45 where the Days of Unleavened Bread are also mentioned.

It should be pointed out that the "three times a year" to appear before God actually means to attend church services on the days He designated during those three seasons.

It also should be pointed out that the Feast of Trumpets was considered to be under the rubric of the "Feast of Tabernacles" in the Bible, which can be shown below:

1 And when the seventh month had come, and the children of Israel were in the cities, the people gathered together as one man to Jerusalem. 2 Then Jeshua the son of Jozadak and his brethren the priests, and Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel and his brethren, arose and built the altar of the God of Israel, to offer burnt offerings on it, as it is written in the Law of Moses the man of God. 3 Though fear had come upon them because of the people of those countries, they set the altar on its bases; and they offered burnt offerings on it to the Lord, both the morning and evening burnt offerings. 4 They also kept the Feast of Tabernacles, as it is written, and offered the daily burnt offerings in the number required by ordinance for each day. 5 Afterwards they offered the regular burnt offering, and those for New Moons and for all the appointed feasts of the Lord that were consecrated, and those of everyone who willingly offered a freewill offering to the Lord. 6 From the first day of the seventh month they began to offer burnt offerings to the Lord, although the foundation of the temple of the Lord had not been laid. (Ezra 3:1-6)

Also, notice that it was not a pilgrimage time that early for most of the children of Israel as Nehemiah later points out related to another year:

7:73 When the seventh month came, the children of Israel were in their cities.

8:1 Now all the people gathered together as one man in the open square that was in front of the Water Gate; and they told Ezra the scribe to bring the Book of the Law of Moses, which the Lord had commanded Israel. 2 So Ezra the priest brought the Law before the assembly of men and women and all who could hear with understanding on the first day of the seventh month. (Nehemiah 7:73-8:2)

Despite the Feast of Trumpets, which comes the first day of the seventh month, being considered as part of the Feast of Tabernacles' season, the children of Israel were in their cities and were not then traveling to observe the Feast of Tabernacles.

The Days of Unleavened Bread are NOT a mandated pilgrimage time. One should attend services on the Holy Days, but extensive travel to do so is not taught as necessary in the Bible.

As far as attending services, here is what the Bible actually teaches:

3 'Six days shall work be done, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of solemn rest, a holy convocation. You shall do no work on it; it is the Sabbath of the Lord in all your dwellings.

4 'These are the feasts of the Lord, holy convocations which you shall proclaim at their appointed times. 5 On the fourteenth day of the first month at twilight is the Lord's Passover. 6 And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the Feast of Unleavened Bread to the Lord; seven days you must eat unleavened bread. 7 On the first day you shall have a holy convocation; you shall do no customary work on it. 8 But you shall offer an offering made by fire to the Lord for seven days. The seventh day shall be a holy convocation; you shall do no customary work on it.'" (Leviticus 23:3-8)

Notice that while God's people are to attend services on the weekly Sabbath, the first day of unleavened bread, and the seventh day of unleavened bread, there is not a biblical mandate to attend the remaining days.

However, since we are to avoid eating leaven and should eat unleavened bread each of the seven days, we are reminded about the days during each and every one.

While attending church services daily (other than the 1st and 7th day of ULB and the weekly Sabbath) is not required during this time, it appears that we fulfill the seven day 'offering' in Leviticus 23:8 by way of two somewhat unique ways during the Days of Unleavened Bread (which are different from the Feast of Tabernacles where to do come to services as an offering each day).

First, we do this by insuring that we eat some unleavened bread each day. This is not the normal habit of most Christians, so this, in a sense, is offering our part of our intake to God. And second by examining our lives and considering when we consume the unleavened bread how much we need to focus on removing sin from our lives to be an offering to God. And while we should always be examining ourselves, we should be even more on the look-out to change and overcome sin during these seven days.

Why is attending services done for all the eight days at the Feast of Tabernacles and Last Great Day, yet this is not something required for the Days of Unleavened Bread and Passover?

Well, another scriptural reason is that the command for the Feast of Tabernacles says, ”Seven days you shall keep a sacred feast to the Lord your God in the place which the Lord chooses” (Deuteronomy 16:15; cf. 16:13; Leviticus 23:33), but that is not so stated related to the Days of Unleavened Bread. The Feast of Tabernacles is also referred to as the 'pilgrim feast' in the Book of Psalms (42:4).

The commands for the Days of Unleavened Bread says to eat unleavened bread for seven days in Leviticus 23:6 and Deuteronomy 16:3, as opposed to a command to observe the feast for seven days. Those in the Continuing Church of God are to avoid leaven as well as eat some unleavened bread each of those seven days.

The Feast of Tabernacles pictures the new world of the millennium. Since Satan will be bound for the millennial reign (Revelation 20:1-2), there will be less deception then. Going away for the time of the Feast of Tabernacles and meeting daily helps picture a time when the world will be quite different than it now is.

“Your Kingdom Come!” (Matthew 6:10).

Yet, for the Days of Unleavened Bread, we more closely realize that this present world, Satan, and sin are all around us. By consciously avoiding leaven (a symbol of sin and hypocrisy during the Days of Unleavened Bread), while be exposed to the world and eating unleavened bread daily, helps us better grasp how much we need to be careful in how we normally live.

While it is certainly not wrong to attend church services, when available, each of the seven days of unleavened bread, it is not biblically-required. Therefore, we do not insist upon it in the Continuing Church of God.

In Conclusion

Although the Days of Unleavened Bread are first mentioned in the Old Testament, it is in the New Testament that we learn more fully that today's leaven pictures false religion and sin. The New Testament shows the connection between Jesus' Passover sacrifice and the removal of sin from our lives.

Leaven, according to Jesus, was a symbol of sin (cf. Matthew 16:11-12; 23:28) and hypocrisy (Luke 12:1). We are not to tolerate it.

The Apostle Paul warned:

7 ... Who hindered you from obeying the truth? 8 This persuasion does not come from Him who calls you. 9 A little leaven leavens the whole lump (Galatians 5:7-9).

During the Days of Unleavened Bread, the physical reminders of avoiding leaven and consuming unleavened bread should help us have more focus to remove sin from our lives.

We are not to tolerate sin. The more we resist, the better we will be able to resist. The more we give in to sin, the harder it gets to resist.

The Apostle Peter wrote:

8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. 9 Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world. (1 Peter 5:8-9)

5 But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, 6 to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, 7 to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. 8 For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins.

10 Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble; 11 for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. (2 Peter 1:5-11)

Be vigilant and diligently keep the Days of Unleavened Bread. Do not tolerate sin, promote love.

According to the New Testament and the records of historians, the original practice of the earliest Christians observed Passover and the Days of Unleavened Bread. Christians, like some of the observant Jews, purge their homes of leaven prior to to sunset on the 15th of Nisan. And Christians avoid leaven for those seven days. This is something that the Bible teaches and early Christians practiced.

Will you follow those who followed Christ or do you prefer later adaptations?

Here is position from the Statement of Beliefs of the Continuing Church of God on this subject:

The Days of Unleavened Bread, which come immediately after Passover, picture being cleansed from sin by the acceptance of the sacrifice of Jesus (cf. 2 Peter 1:9-11). They also picture that the leaven of hypocrisy, malice, and wickedness need to be purged (Luke 12:1; 1 Corinthians 5:6-13). The Apostle Paul was inspired to write, “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” (1 Corinthians 5:8).

By keeping the Days of Unleavened Bread, Christians picture that they have heard the word of God, accepted the sacrifice of Jesus, try to put the word of God into practice, and have symbolically put false religion and sin out of their lives. By keeping the Days of Unleavened Bread, Christians show that they are willing to obey God over the traditions of men.

Do not be puffed up and rely on false arguments to keep you from obeying the God of the Bible and the practices of those who knew Jesus.

In conclusion, as the Apostle Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 5:8, "Therefore let us keep the feast."

Shouldn't you?

To learn more about how to keep Passover and the Days of Unleavened Bread, check out the article Keeping Passover and the Days of Unleavened Bread.

Related sermons are available online: Let's Talk About the Days of Unleavened BreadUnleavened Bread: No Tolerance for SinLeaven and Sin, and Christians and the Days of Unleavened Bread.

To know when these days occur on modern calendars, check out the article Holy Day Calendar.

B. Thiel, Ph.D. Should Christians Keep The Days of Unleavened Bread? (c) 1999, 2000, 2006, 2007/2008/2009/2010/2011/2012/2013/2014/2015/2016/2017/2018/2019/2020 /2021 /2022 /2023 /2024 0408

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