TIME: Unleavened Bread
TEXT: Leviticus 23:6-7; Exodus 12:14-17
THEME: The search for leaven
The Feast of Unleavened Bread [Hag HaMatzah] is the fifteenth day of the month of Nisan, which is the day following Passover [Pesach]. It is a seven day festival. On the fifteenth of Nisan and for the next seven days, God forbade the people to have any leavened bread in their houses.
God gave a ceremony of searching and removing leaven from the house prior to the festival of Unleavened Bread in preparation for the festival. In Hebrew, this ceremony is called Bedikat HaMetz, which means “the searching for leaven”. The ceremony is as follows:
The preparation for searching and removing the leaven from the house actually begins before Passover. First, the wife [Bride of Christ] thoroughly cleans the house to remove all leaven from it. In the Bible, leaven is symbolic of sin.
Spiritually, born again believers in Jesus are the house of God [Hebrews 3:6, 1 Peter 2:5; 1 Timothy 3:15; Ephesians 2:19]. Leaven [sin] is to be cleaned out of our house, which is our body [1 Corinthians 3:16-17; 6:19-20; 2 Corinthians 6:15-18).
In cleaning the house, the wife is instructed to purposely leave ten small pieces of leaven [bread] in the house. Then the father takes the children, along with a candle, a wooden spoon, a feather, and a piece of linen cloth, and searches through the house for the ten pieces of leaven. By nightfall on the day before Passover, a final and comprehensive search is performed. At this time, the house is completely dark except for the candles. Once the father finds the leaven [bread], he sets the candle down by the leaven and lays the wooden spoon beside the leaven. Then he uses the feather to sweep the leaven onto the spoon. Without touching the leaven, he takes the feather, spoon, and leaven, wraps them in a linen cloth, and casts them out of the door of the house. The next morning (the fourteenth of Nisan), he goes into the synagogue and puts the linen cloth and its contents into a fire to be burned.
Spiritually, we are to cleanse the leaven [sin] from our houses [lives] by allowing the Holy Ghost to reveal to us the sin that is in our lives. It is only through God’s Word that we are able to identify sin in our lives as it is written in Psalm 119:115, “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” So the spiritual understanding of the candle is that it represents the Word of God. The feather represents the Holy Ghost. Even though we have the Word of God, we need the Holy Ghost to reveal the entire Bible to us! [I Corinthians 2:11-14]
APOKALUPTO [things revealed]
The spoon represents the tree that Jesus died upon [Deuteronomy 21:22-23]. The leaven [sin] was swept on the spoon [tree] as part of the ceremony. Likewise, our sin was swept or cast upon Jesus [2 Corinthians 5:21] when Jesus died upon the tree. The leaven [Jesus upon the tree] was then wrapped in linen and Jesus was cast out of His house [His body] and went to hell, which is a place of burning [Luke 16:19-24].
Historically, there are two notable events that happened on the day of Unleavened Bread:
1. The Exodus journey beginning from Egypt [Exodus 12:41]. In Deuteronomy 16:3, the bread is referred to as “the bread of affliction.”
2. The burial of Jesus after His crucifixion, who is the Bread of Life [John 6:35]. In fact, the place of Jesus’ birth, Bethlehem, comes from two Hebrew words, beit and lechem. Beit means “house” and lechem means “bread”. So, Bethlehem means house of bread. Therefore, Jesus, who is the Bread of Life, was born at a place called the house of bread.
Historically, Jesus referred to the leaven of four different groups of people:
1. The leaven of Herod – a direct descendant of Haman. [Mark 8:14-15; 6:14-18; Matthew 2:7-12]
2. The leaven of the Pharisees [Mark 8:15; Matthew 16:5-12; 23:1-3; Luke 11:37-44; 12:1]
3. The leaven of the Sadducees – the Sadducees did not believe in the supernatural. They denied the existence of the Spirit of God, angels, and the resurrection. [Matthew 16:6-12; Mark 12:18; Acts 23:6-8]
4. The leaven at Corinth – The leaven at Corinth was sensuality, chiefly fornication [I Corinthians 4:17-21; 5:1-13; 6:1, 9-11,13,16-18; 8:1; 13:4; 2 Corinthians 12:20-21]
Messianic Meaning of Matzah
One of the steps during the Passover Seder is a step called Yachatz. Yachatz is when the middle of the three Matzah is broken into two. During the Passover Seder, there is a bag called the matzatosh which contains three pieces of matzot. The middle piece of matzot is removed, broken, wrapped in linen, and buried. This piece of matzah is the afikomen. During this part of the service, the afikomen was removed from sight (this represented Jesus being buried) and it remained hidden until later in the service. Jesus is the bread that was buried because He is the Bread of Life who came down from heaven [John 6:35]. Jesus was removed from between the two thieves who were crucified with Him [Matthew 27:38], wrapped in linen, and buried in the earth [Matthew 27:59-60]. Toward the end of the Passover Seder, the twelfth step to the service is called Tzafun. During Tzafun, the afikomen that was previously buried is redeemed and ransomed. At this point in the service, the matzah, previously characterized as the bread of affliction, is now transformed and redeemed. This is a perfect picture of Jesus, Who fulfilled the role of the suffering Messiah. He suffered affliction while dying on the tree, but was later redeemed when He was resurrected. In the Passover Seder service, the afikomen is redeemed by the children. The children who find the buried afikomen receive a gift. This gift is known as “the promise of the father”. [Acts 1:4]
When Jesus ascended to Heaven, He gave gifts to men [Ephesians 4:7-8]. These gifts included righteousness [Romans 5:17-18], eternal life [Romans 6:23], grace [Romans 5:12, 14-15), faith [Ephesians 2:8-9], and other spiritual gifts [1 Corinthians 12:1-4]. Some other gifts include wisdom, knowledge, healing, the working of miracles, prophecy, the discerning of spirits, tongues, and interpretation of tongues [1 Corinthians 12:8-11], in addition to the gifts of helps and administration [1 Corinthians 12:28].