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Series 4 - God's Plan for You and the Entire World: Unlocking the Secrets of God's Festivals

Hi, friends! Thanks for your interest in God's plan as reflected in His festivals. In Lesson 3 we looked at the awesome role of Jesus Christ as our Passover in launching God's plan of salvation. This lesson looks at the second of the "feasts of the Lord" and what it helps us see about how we should respond to God's gracious calling and forgiveness.

Our prayers are with you in your study of God's Word. Please let us know if we can serve you in any way.

Lesson 4: Feast of Unleavened Bread: Our Part in God's Master Plan

Jesus Christ opened the way to salvation by giving His life as our Passover sacrifice to pay for our sins. What does the Bible teach about our response to that awesome act of love? What does the second of God's festivals teach us about the next step in God's plan of salvation?

Feast of Unleavened Bread: Our Part in God's Master PlanThe story of Israel's exodus from slavery in Egypt and the miraculous crossing of the Red Sea parallels a Christian's miraculous deliverance from slavery to sin.

After the Passover lambs were slain and the blood put on the doorposts, God protected the Israelites in their homes. But throughout Egypt a loud wailing was heard that night as thousands of firstborn Egyptians died. Finally, Pharaoh was willing to let his Israelite slaves go.

The tribes of Israel gathered and started out of Egypt the night of the 15th of the first month (on the Hebrew calendar), the beginning of the Feast of Unleavened Bread. They had no time to let their bread rise, which was fitting since God commanded them not to eat leavened bread during that feast.

God didn't take Israel on the shortest route to the Promised Land, but led them toward the Red Sea. The Israelites must have wondered where they were going, and the hard-hearted Pharaoh certainly did. He decided to go after them, and he figured he had them trapped.

"As Pharaoh and his army approached...the people began to panic, and they cried out to the Lord for help...

"But Moses told the people, 'Don't be afraid. Just stand where you are and watch the Lord rescue you. The Egyptians that you see today will never be seen again. The Lord himself will fight for you. You won't have to lift a finger in your defense!'" (Exodus 14:10, 13-14, New Living Translation).

When there was nowhere to turn, God opened up a new path—straight through the Red Sea!

"The people of Israel had walked through the middle of the sea on dry land, as the water stood up like a wall on both sides" (Exodus 14:29, NLT). The Israelites were saved through their symbolic baptism in the Red Sea and began a new life, freed from slavery and now committed to learn and live God's way of life.

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What Does the Bible Say About Unleavened Bread and Deliverance?

How did God introduce the Feast of Unleavened Bread to Israel?

Exodus 12:15-17
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.

Leviticus 23:6
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.

The rescue of the people of Israel from Egyptian slavery occurred during the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Remembering God's deliverance and their exodus is a major theme of this festival.

Egypt is a type of sin (Hebrews 11:25-26). The crossing of the Red Sea, which probably took place near the end of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, was a type of Christian baptism (1 Corinthians 10:1-2; Romans 6:3-4).

What must Christians be delivered from, and who is our Deliverer?

Romans 6:17-19
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.
And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness.
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.

Psalm 18:2
The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.

Psalm 40:17
But I am poor and needy; yet the Lord thinks upon me. You are my help and my deliverer; do not delay, O my God.

Romans 5:10
For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.

The apostle Paul tells us that we have been enslaved to sin, but through Jesus Christ's sacrifice we can be set free. God mercifully delivers us from that bondage that leads to death. In return it is only fitting that we turn our lives over to Him and fully commit to righteousness—to obeying the wonderful laws that God made for our benefit (Deuteronomy 10:12-13).

Though it is impossible for us to come out of sin and perfectly obey on our own, with God all things are possible (Matthew 19:26). As Passover pictures our being reconciled, or made right, with God through Christ's death, the Feast of Unleavened Bread pictures us being saved by His life. That is, by allowing Jesus Christ to live in us, we can please God, become righteous and receive salvation (Romans 8:8-11).

Did the New Testament Church continue celebrating the Feast of Unleavened Bread?

1 Corinthians 5:8
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 [emphasis added throughout].

The apostle Paul commanded the Christians in Corinth to continue celebrating the Feast of Unleavened Bread. The New Testament also mentions the Feast of Unleavened Bread several other times, often in conjunction with Passover (Luke 2:41-43; 22:1; Matthew 26:17; Mark 14:12; Acts 20:6). Since Unleavened Bread was celebrated immediately after the Passover, the entire period was loosely known by either name.

What is physical leaven?

Essentially, leaven is a substance that can make food (like bread) rise. Leaven includes yeast, a biological leavening agent that produces fermentation, and chemical leavening agents such as baking powder, baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) and potassium bicarbonate. Leavened items typically include such things as bread, cake, crackers, cookies, prepared cereals and some pies that contain leavening.


More Spiritual Lessons From Leaven

What does leaven picture during the Feast of Unleavened Bread?

1 Corinthians 5:8
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.

Luke 12:1
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."

Matthew 16:11-12
"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."
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.

Leaven pictures sin. It is compared with malice (wrong motives) and wickedness (breaking God's law). Since leaven puffs up bread, it provides an object lesson about pride and hypocrisy. And Jesus Christ used it as an analogy of the wrong teachings (doctrines) of the Pharisees that had been derived by human reasoning, yet were given more importance than the actual laws of God. Jesus gave several examples of these human traditions of His day (Mark 7:1-13), and by implication Christians must be careful not to follow teachings today that stray from the Bible.

What spiritual lessons can we learn by removing leavening from our homes?

1 Corinthians 5:6-8
Your glorying is not good. 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. For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us.
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.

2 Corinthians 13:5
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.

Ephesians 4:22-24
That you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.

Like leaven, sin easily grows, spreads and can permeate our lives. Putting out leavening from our homes is symbolic of putting both the visible and hidden sins out of our lives. Christians come to realize that we can't do this on our own. We need to examine ourselves and repent and strive to change, but it is Jesus Christ's help, as we submit to Him living in us, that produces true spiritual progress.

What spiritual lessons can we learn by eating unleavened bread?

1 Corinthians 5:8
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.

Galatians 2:20
"I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me."

Romans 12:1-2
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.
And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

Jesus Christ living in us helps us overcome and remove sins, and Christ in us also helps us develop His positive character. Eating unleavened bread is symbolic of feeding on every word of God, and becoming like Jesus, the bread of life (Matthew 4:4; John 6:35).

Submitting to our Savior and Deliverer is the only appropriate response to His incredible sacrifice and love. An appreciative, forgiven Christian will seek Christ's help to not repeat the sins that earned that death penalty.

The Feast of Unleavened Bread is a reminder of our deliverance from slavery to sin and of the transformation we can have by allowing our Deliverer to live in us. That will be covered in more detail in the next lesson.


Apply Now

The feasts of the Lord were given to Israel based on the sacred calendar, which differs from the Gregorian calendar used by most of the world today. The sacred calendar was related to the harvest seasons in the Holy Land, so the Feast of Unleavened Bread comes at the beginning of the spring harvest season. To find the dates of the festivals this year, go to this link: The Annual Festivals of God.

Whether you are just discovering the Feast of Unleavened Bread for the first time or have celebrated it for years, it is helpful to have the attitude that King Hezekiah and his subjects had when they rediscovered it. Read 2 Chronicles 30:12-23 and write down some of the key characteristics of their attitude. How can we display these positive characteristics as we prepare to celebrate God's festivals today? (Note that they kept the festival in the second month following the principle of Numbers 9:9-12 since they hadn't been prepared in time in the first month.)

If you have questions about the Feast of Unleavened Bread and how to celebrate it today, feel free to contact the pastor of our congregation nearest you or write to our Personal Correspondence team.

Next Lesson: Feast of Pentecost: "Firstfruits" Called Now

Questions about this lesson? Feedback about this lesson?

Related Resources:

The Feast of Unleavened Bread: The Lesson of Leaving Sin from the booklet God's Holy Day Plan: The Promise of Hope for All Mankind

Why should Christians celebrate the Feast of Unleavened Bread?

What Does the Feast of Unleavened Bread Mean for Christians?

From Captivity to Freedom: The Lesson of the Feast of Unleavened Bread

3 Bible Tips: The Feast of Unleavened Bread

3 Bible Tips: How Is Sin Like Leaven?

Beware of the Leaven of the Pharisees

The Annual Festivals of God from the booklet God's Holy Day Plan: The Promise of Hope for All Mankind

How should a Christian today celebrate the annual festivals observed by Jesus Christ and the apostles?