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The Feast Of Unleavened Bread in 2023 will be observed from April 6-12, with Thursday, April 6 and Wednesday, April 12 being Annual Holy Days.
In Exodus, we read how the Israelites were persecuted and killed by the Egyptians (Exodus 1-6). God had to soften Pharaoh's cruel heart by sending plagues, and finally taking the lives of the firstborn in Egypt. Only then would the Egyptian Pharaoh give the Israelites leave to go to the desert to worship God.
The Israelites left Egypt during the Feast of Unleavened Bread, and this was no coincidence. The meaning of this seven-day annual Holy Day season is associated with deliverance from bondage. God's deliverance of Israel from Egypt serves as the prototype of our supernatural deliverance from sin. Before God freed us to follow Christ, we were in bondage to sin, just as Israel had been to the Egyptians.
God the Father releases us from sin through Christ's sacrifice, and then we are expected to avoid sin and temptation. We are told to turn from "sin which so easily ensnares us" (Hebrews 12:1), because, if we don't, our sins will work in our lives as yeast or leaven does in bread dough. This is one of the lessons of the Feast of Unleavened Bread.
Jesus likened the leaven in bread dough to the fermenting or corrupting process of sin. When He warned: "'Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the Sadducees.'" (Matthew 16:6), His followers finally came to understand He wasn't talking about physical bread, but the sins of pride, arrogance and false doctrines of the Pharisees and Sadducees (Matthew 16:12).
The Apostle Paul elaborated on this analogy. He told members of the Corinthian church they were "puffed up" (1 Corinthians 5:2). "Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? Therefore purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened" (1 Corinthians 5:6-7). Paul used the analogy of leaven's effect on dough to illustrate the effect of sin within a congregation. At that time a member was involved in a sinful relationship, which the others were tolerating. Paul commanded them to remove the sinner so that unrighteousness would not spread.
He then encouraged the Corinthians to keep the Feast of Unleavened Bread with a better understanding of its spiritual intent. "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). He showed the Corinthians a lesson to be learned from the Feast of Unleavened Bread was to recognise and remove their old, habitual sins, and to observe the feast with the spiritually unleavened bread of sincerity (pure motives) and truth (right knowledge and understanding).
The Apostle Peter admonishes us: "Be holy, for I am holy" (1 Peter 1:16). However, we can’t make ourselves righteous or holy through our own efforts. We are made holy and righteous through the death of Jesus and His living in us, as well as through His ministering to us as our High Priest (Colossians 3:3-4; Galatians 2:20; Hebrews 2:17-18) .Unleavened bread also represents the life-giving and life-sustaining power of Jesus Christ, who said He was "the bread of life," (John 6:48). Satan and sin once held us captive, but now we have been delivered from this captivity by Christ’s sacrifice.
Israel was freed from Egyptian domination, just as Christians are freed from domination by the world. As the Israelites were loosed from serving their Egyptian taskmasters, so are we loosed from the deeply ingrained sins that held us captive and ruled us. We need to thank God that He promises to rescue and deliver us through Jesus Christ, our Savior.
The Feast of Unleavened Bread represents freedom from sin and depicts for the New Testament Christian a time of fleeing from sin while actively seeking God.That is why Christians are told to "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).
The Good News magazine (Mar-Apr 1996)