Jesus In the Feast
of Unleavened Bread
In the last article of this series, we looked at the first feast of YHWH God’s calendar, Passover, and learned how Yeshua Jesus fulfilled the various features of that feast as the true Passover Lamb. We learned that, beginning with the death of Jesus on the cross, for the first time in 1500 years, God was beginning to peel away the symbols and metaphors of the ancient feasts to reveal the true story of His Messiah.
In this article, we will peel away the symbolic wrappings of this second feast and look at the real story of the redemptive work of Yeshua Jesus.
Important Note: This is part 6 of a series of articles on the Biblical Feasts of the Lord (sometimes called the “Jewish Feasts”) and how they were designed by God to reveal both the first and second coming of his Messiah, Jesus. If you haven’t read the articles preceding this one, you should start here.
An Overview of the Feast
The 2nd feast in YHWH God’s calendar is called the Feast of Unleavened Bread, and is described in Exodus 12:15-20:
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. 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. 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. 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. 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. You shall eat nothing leavened; in all your dwellings you shall eat unleavened bread.
This festival comes the day after the Feast of Passover, on the 15th day of the Hebrew month of Nisan. But unlike Passover, this feast is 7 days long. God also commanded that the first and last days were to be Sabbaths. In other words, they were to be treated as holy and no work was to be done on them.
Because there is no break between Passover and the feast of Unleavened Bread, the two holidays are practically treated as one festival. This is a poor analogy, but it is similar to the way Gentiles consider Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. To those who celebrate those holidays, they are almost inseparable. Such was the case with Passover and the feast of Unleavened Bread. Even the biblical authors sometimes blended these two feasts together. You can read passages where they call the feast of Unleavened Bread, “Passover”, and vice versa (Luke 22:1,7).
Essentially, Passover and Unleavened Bread are, in the Jewish mindset, one seamless, 8-day festival.
What Does This Feast Celebrate?
The feast of Unleavened Bread commemorates the day after the first Passover, when YHWH God delivered the children of Israel from their enslavement in Egypt and instructed Moses to lead them out of that land. They had to leave Egypt in such haste that they were forced to take their dough with them before any leaven was added (Exodus 12:31-34).
So it’s important to remember that God did not allow their bread to be leavened on the day of the 15th, while they were still in Egypt.
What Is “Unleavened” Bread?
Leaven was the word used in the ancient world for yeast. It is that bacterial agent that chemically breaks down, producing gas pockets in the dough, which causes the bread to rise during baking. Because only a small amount of the stuff was needed to permeate an entire batch of dough, the bible often uses leaven as a metaphor for the way sin can permeate our lives. You’ve probably heard the biblical quote, “A little leaven leavens the whole lump. (Galatians 5:9)” Bread baked without leaven does not “puff up” and appears flat, such as matzah or pita bread.
Get That Stuff Out of Your House!
YHWH God is a master at using illustration to drive a point home. After the nation of Israel settled in the land God brought them to, it was so important to him that leaven be absent from their lives for these seven days, that he had them scour every inch of their homes for even the smallest pinch of leaven and remove it from their homes. Common Jewish practice was to gather it all and burn it outside their villages and camps.
Christ’s Fulfillment of Unleavened Bread
With an understanding of the historical background of this feast, and the meanings of its symbols, we can look at Christ’s fulfillment of the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Remember that all of the firstborn sons of Egypt died during the night of the Passover and then those firstborn were buried. In Jesus’ fulfillment of the Passover, he died as the true Passover lamb, then his Father buried his firstborn son. So we see that the same day that God buried his firstborn Son begins the feast of Unleavened Bread.
How does bread that has no leaven connect with Jesus?
Knowing that leaven is a biblical symbol of sin, bread that is without leaven is a picture of Yeshua’s (Jesus’) sinlessness, holiness, and purity (Hebrews 4:15).
After he was buried, Yeshua Jesus did not suffer the natural process of corruption (decomposition of the body). Psalm 16:10. His body did not return to dust. In other words his body did not suffer the same curse given to Adam and eve.
The unleavened bread that is such a focus in this feast is a symbol of the body of Christ. Remember he stated this on the evening of the Passover supper he ate with his disciples. When they had broken the unleavened bread, he said, “this is my body” (Matthew 26:26).
It’s also interesting to note that the rise of dough is only possible by means of the natural process of decay. In other words, were it not for the curse of death (i.e. the fall of Adam and Eve) there could be no leavened bread.
In summary, the Feast of Unleavened Bread…
- Is a 7-day festival that begins the day after Passover
- Commemorates Israel’s very hasty deliverance from Egypt – (no leaven)
- Is fulfilled by the Messiah in his sinless life and his uncorrupted burial in the ground in which his body did not decay – (no leaven)
The Hebrew prophet, Isaiah, prophesied of his remarkable burial. The only people who were hung on crosses were criminals. Criminals’ bodies were not placed in rich men’s tombs. They were taken outside the city and thrown in the garbage heap. But notice Isaiah’s prophesy of the Messiah’s burial:
Isaiah 53:9: And they made His grave with the wicked—But with the rich at His death, because He had done no violence, nor was any deceit in His mouth.
Jesus didn’t die for his own transgressions but for ours. We are guilty but he was innocent of any sin. Consequently his burial was honored in the tomb of a rich man (Joseph of Aramathea). This was the Father’s statement of the innocence of His Son, His Messiah.
So The feast of Unleavened Bread was created by God to point to the sinless and uncorrupted body of Jesus in the grave. But he did not stay there! Which brings us to the next feast in YHWH’s calendar, The Feast of Firstfruits.
I hope you’ll read on.