In 1 Corinthians 5:8, Paul says these often-overlooked words, “Let us celebrate The Feast.” What Feast is Paul referring to? Based on the context, Paul’s referent is the week-long Feast of Unleavened Bread; however, the kind of “purging of leaven” Paul is addressing here in 1 Cor 5 goes beyond that of the removal of the physical leaven of bread alone. Does the fact that Paul is addressing the deeper significance and meaning behind this special Appointed Time now “mean” an invalidation of the literal removal of leaven and the memorial (and testimonial) observances commanded in Scripture to teach our children the Gospel of God in the Passover? Or, is a believer’s observance of Unleavened Bread today part of a Greater Exodus story; a story God designed and commanded to be a memorial and testimonial act designed to specifically teach sound biblical doctrines and mature the believing community according to “the Greater Exodus” story inherent in the Gospel of God in Christ?
Jeremiah 16:14–16 states:
14“Therefore behold, days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when it will no longer be said, ‘As the Lord lives, who brought up the sons of Israel out of the land of Egypt,’ 15 but, ‘As the Lord lives, who brought up the sons of Israel from the land of the north and from all the countries where He had banished them.’ For I will restore them to their own land which I gave to their fathers. 16“Behold, I am going to send for many fishermen,” declares the Lord, “and they will fish for them; and afterwards I will send for many hunters, and they will hunt them from every mountain and every hill and from the clefts of the rocks.”
We know that this passage from Jeremiah was fulfilled in part in the apostles whom the Lord said in Matthew 4:19:
19 And He said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.”
And Mark 1:17:
17 And Jesus said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you become fishers of men.”
Perhaps today, 2000 years later, we have entered the “hunter” phase. Regardless, the central point to be recognized here is the fact that the prophet notes a change in emphasis regarding a “greater Exodus” that does not neglect to proclaim the Good News of Messiah, but whose focus has greater, deeper, and continuing effect, significance, and referent beyond the original Exodus. With that in mind, this article details 7 specific reasons why believers today are still commanded and should observe the Lord’s Feast of Unleavened Bread.
The Feast of Unleavened Bread is a God Designed METHOD of REMEMBERING & PROCLAIMING the GOSPEL IN CONTEXT.
The Lord’s Passion was a crucial first step in a greater and more glorious Exodus. It is BOTH an already and not yet situation, where CONTEXT is everything when it comes to proclaiming this greater Exodus Yeshua provided via the cross. This Good News we have been commissioned to share with both our children (i.e. future generations) and all nations and peoples is fully rooted in the details and context of the first Feast of Unleavened Bread called “the Passover.”
1 Now the Feast of Unleavened Bread, which is called the Passover, was approaching.
The word “Passover” (Pesach in Hebrew) is a collective term encompassing the entire week (7 days) of Unleavened Bread. The word Passover, however, can also refer to the lamb that was sacrificed and eaten on the eve of the first day of Unleavened Bread and the first of two festival Sabbaths of Unleavened Bread (in contrast to the weekly seventh day Sabbath). Today no one technically “keeps Passover” in the sense of eating the Passover lamb sacrifice aspect. All that is still kept today is the week of Unleavened Bread (which occurs in the home) and the “memorial meal” in which the “telling” of the Greater Exodus story to the next generation is supposed to take place annually in the context of a festive family memorial meal etc. The Messiah himself instituted this annual memorial with specific instructions that were meant to teach specific things in specific ways. Thus, it is not just a matter of “ceremony” but the specific pedagogy of God displaying the passing on of sound biblical doctrine to each new generation.
Consider the current alternative most Christians “ceremonially” observe today. It always amazes me that many Christians are quick to jump on board the idea of “Lent,” or “fasting” from certain foods or things for 40 days leading up to “easter,” but they cry foul and “legalism” regarding a believer who simply does what the Lord commanded in the Bible and removes leaven from their lives, homes, and mouths for 7 days. The hypocrisy is palpable. But there is something more fundamental and underlying that reveals a greater distinction between the two “options” for “ceremonial” or rather Christian “testimonial” observances.
In the first “option” (Lent) the “ceremonial observance” is all about giving up something one enjoys and God gave to be enjoyed (for 40 days). It sounds very “spiritual,” and some might even try to connect the idea of the “40 days” to Messiah’s 40 day fast in the wilderness before His ministry began or something to that effect. Nonetheless, such a man-based, man-centered “sacrifice” is grounded not in a commandment of God or God’s choice, but man’s feelings and man’s choices. Man is in “charge” of what he chooses to “offer” to God. And it’s a “sacrifice” God never asked man to give in the first place. While it is true that we are “free” to offer whatever we might desire to give God in terms of “freewill offerings,” when our extrabiblical traditions specifically serve to cause us and others to ignore God’s actual commandments we have usurped the authority and Word of God and we will ultimately be found in the wrong for the very same reasons Messiah condemned the unbelieving Pharisees of His own day.
Therefore, the second “option” for memorial “ceremonial observance” of the Lord’s Passover (the Greater Exodus) is a simple and straight forward observance of Unleavened Bread, according to actual Scriptural mandates, in which one removes leaven from one’s home, refrains from eating anything with chametz or leaven, and actively eats unleavened bread for seven days. The distinction here is that the “giving up” aspect is God designed, God directed, and doctrinally purposed. The act itself teaches the Gospel by combining physical actions, physical phenomena, and experiential tools that allow a clear and undeniable communication of the doctrine of sin, the nature of total depravity, and the Gospel of God in pure biblical, historical, and grammatical CONTEXT.
Passover Lamb? ~OR~ easter ham?
Exodus 13:3 states:
3 Moses said to the people, “Remember this day in which YOU went out from Egypt, from the house of slavery; for by a powerful hand the LORD brought YOU out from this place. And nothing leavened shall be eaten.
Note the METHOD of REMEMBERING and memorializing the Lord’s Passover is tied directly to the ACT of OBSTAINING from leaven 7 days. The act of observing Unleavened Bread is a God designed memorial and testimony to ourselves, our children, and the world, with specific foundational doctrinal truths that will be learned and recognized by all ages through the process of observing and telling our children the reasons that lay behind the specific actions.
Unleavened Bread is a SIGN and REMINDER that Yeshua Himself established in coordination with the Father and Spirit for all generations for God’s glory.
6“For seven days you shall eat unleavened bread, and on the seventh day there shall be a feast to the Lord. 7“Unleavened bread shall be eaten throughout the seven days; and nothing leavened חָמֵ֗ץ shall be seen among you, nor shall any leaven שְׂאֹ֖ר be seen among you in all your borders. 8“You shall tell your SON on that day (U.B./Passover) saying, ‘It [i.e. eating ONLY UNLEAVENED BREAD] is because of what the Lord did for ME when I came out of Egypt.’ 9“And it [Eating only U.B.] shall serve as a sign א֜וֹת to you on your hand, and as a reminder זִכָּרוֹן֙ on your forehead (lit. between your eyes בֵּ֣ין עֵינֶ֔יךָ ) that the Torah תּוֹרַ֥ת of the Lord [i.e. that WORD made flesh/“bread from heaven”] may be in your mouth בְּפִ֑יךָ; for with a powerful hand the Lord brought you out of Egypt. 10“Therefore, you shall keep this ordinance at its appointed time from year to year.
Observance of Unleavened Bread is a God instituted pedagogy of God that God Himself designed with specific intent to cause His people (both native born and those from the nations whom He has called), to recall specific things in specific ways at specific times each year.
Today’s Christian must “settle” for what could be characterized as “sloppy seconds” in terms of memorial observances in the form of modern “easter” celebrations. These traditions have today completely removed the Gospel message from its original Gospel context. Thus, Christians fail to pass a contextual awareness of the Gospel to future generations who come to know only a watered down Gospel message (in terms of diminished doctrinal understanding and recognition) today.
Unleavened Bread is applicable to EVERYONE in God’s Assembly or “Church” just as it has been from the beginning.
19 ‘Seven days there shall be no leaven found in your houses; for whoever eats what is leavened, that person shall be cut off from the congregation (i.e. “church” or assembly) of Israel, whether he is an alien or a native of the land.
In the “Greater Exodus” context Unleavened Bread today applies to all who are in Messiah because all (Jewish and non-Jewish believers) are ONE NEW MAN in Christ. While many take the Lord’s Appointed Times lightly today (preaching they are “abolished” or worse, teaching it is “sinful” for one to observe), consider the weight of the consequence, being “cut off,” for ignoring God in this regard in the days of Moses. Such a severe penalty for what appears to many today to be a “minor ceremonial observance,” demonstrates the underlying pedagogy of God behind His Appointed Times or Assemblies that He takes very seriously. The Appointed Times of the Lord are a critical FRAMEWORK God Himself designed for passing the Good News and sound doctrine to future generations. [Unless of course you believe as many do that God redeemed Israel from Egypt only to put her “back” into “bondage” under His “choice” of sacrifice to Him and “ceremonial” worship and proclamation of His Gospel? No. This is faulty, unbiblical thinking.] The enemy knows the power of the Gospel of God inherent in keeping and observing the Lord’s Appointed Times, which is why the enemy is always trying to convince God’s people to stop observing them so that future generations will fall away from following God altogether.
Lest you think that personal application of the Exodus was made “only” to the actual people who physically came out of Egypt, the new generation who were born in the wilderness heard these words of Moses applied to them, even though “they” technically never came out of Egypt. Thus, we see again evidence of God’s pedagogy in the Feast of Unleavened Bread for all generations whose ultimate referent is in Christ. Deuteronomy 16:3 states:
3“You shall not eat leavened bread with it; seven days you shall eat with it unleavened bread, the bread of affliction [Note: Messiah gave us the “Greater Exodus” SIGNIFICANCE of this BREAD OF AFFLICTION!]. . . so that YOU may remember all the days of YOUR life the day when YOU came out of the land of Egypt.”
Unleavened Bread is a Permanent Ordinance and it is Yeshua’s MEMORIAL FEAST!
14 ‘Now this day [U.B.] will be a memorial to YOU, and YOU shall celebrate it [U.B.] as a feast to the LORD; throughout your generations YOU are to celebrate it [U.B.] as a permanent ordinance. 15 ‘Seven days YOU shall eat unleavened bread, but on the first day YOU shall remove leaven from YOUR HOUSES; for whoever eats anything leavened from the first day until the seventh day, that person shall be cut off from Israel.
Yeshua fulfilled the greatest Exodus of all time and by initiating the New Covenant in His Blood, solidified the greater significance and meaning of His Passover Memorial Feast. Thus, the prophet’s words in Jeremiah were not only true for the New Covenant, but that New Covenant is contextually ascribed specific significance, meaning, and memorial validity in the annual observance of Unleavened Bread. Thus, people should today SAY . . . “AS THE LORD LIVES! When He did away with His Memorials?” NO! “AS THE LORD LIVES! When He redeemed His people from ULTIMATE EGYPT (bondage to sin and death!) and restored access for them to the REAL TABERNACLE (heavenly) throne room of God, and will yet regather them FROM all the lands He banished them. In other words, at the second coming of Yeshua, the Lord will yet gather His elect from the four corners of the earth. The fulfillment of this prophesy mentioned earlier from Jeremiah is an “already” and “not yet” type of thing that has been inaugurated at the Lord’s first coming, solidifying the ultimate meaning and significance of the greater Exodus symbols and memorials of Passover. Yet, Christ will yet come again to finish that final ingathering foreshadowed for us in the Fall Appointed Times that conclude with an ultimate Sukkot and Last Great Day wedding Feast of the LAMB.
CONTEXT is EVERYTHING, aka Yeshua Himself commanded us to do so.
19 And when He had taken some bread [u.b.] and given thanks, He broke it [u.b.] and gave it [u.b.] to them, saying, “This [i.e. contextually the u.b. of U.B. week] is [i.e. memorializes] My body [i.e. bread from heaven, and first body bread of affliction that is sown] which is given for you; DO THIS [i.e. U.B. memorial Feast of the Lord] in remembrance of Me.
Every time we keep Unleavened Bread and retell the story of the Greater Exodus in Christ that is built on the foundation of the prophets and grounded in the context of the first Exodus, we proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes (says the Scriptures). This is central to the Great Commission. God designed the Gospel of God to be not only in our hearts, but in our hands and between our eyes, before our children, and in our mouths, so that in every way we would come to know and teach our children the reality of sin (leaven), it’s nature, what it leads to, and our utter dependence on the Bread of Life, the resurrected Christ, who is the only One capable to cleansing and purifying us of spiritual leaven. For those who have kept Unleavened Bread for any length of time, we recognize from experience that in ourselves we cannot even remove the symbolic leaven completely from our home and lives every year with the best vacuums and tools modern life affords us (just go ahead and try…the lesson of our total inability will quickly be made evident to you through the exercise itself. It is inescapable for all who listen to Yeshua’s voice and observe His Memorial Feast). If we cannot remove the “symbolic” sin from our lives for a week in our own efforts, how much less the real thing?
REASON #6 & 7
Paul ALSO commanded us to clean out the old leaven and keep the feast according to its FULL SIGNIFICANCE in the GREATER EXODUS IN MESSIAH.
In 1 Corinthians 5:7, Paul commands the Corinthians saying:
7 Clean out the old leaven? so that you may be a new lump, just as you are in fact unleavened. For Christ our Passover also has been sacrificed.
“knowing this, that our old self [i.e. leavened body] was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin [i.e. leavened body] might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin;” [i.e. metaphoric slaves to Pharaoh in Egypt]
“that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside [i.e. remove the leaven] the old self [i.e. leavened body], which is being corrupted [i.e. being LEAVENED] in accordance with the lusts of deceit,”
“Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside [i.e. purged the LEAVEN of] the old self [i.e. leavened body] with its evil practices,”
1 Corinthians 11:20-29
20 Therefore when you meet together, it is not to eat the Lord’s Banquet [i.e. the Lord’s Feast, as in Feast of Unleavened Bread in this context], 21 for in your eating each one takes his own supper first; and one is hungry and another is drunk. 22 What! Do you not have houses in which to eat and drink? Or do you despise the assembly of God [i.e. Appointed Times Gatherings] and shame those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I praise you? In this I will not praise you. 23 For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus in the night in which He was betrayed [i.e. Passover/Unleavened Bread] took bread [i.e. U.B.]; 24 and when He had given thanks, He broke it [i.e. the U.B. of their Passover meal] and said, “This [U.B. of the U.B. celebration)] is [i.e. as in REPRESENTS] My body, which is for you [i.e. on your behalf]; do THIS [i.e. Do what? EAT u.b.,“telling” your children why you are doing it in the context of Passover/U.B. celebration] in remembrance of Me.” 25 In the same way He took the cup also after the supper saying, “This cup is [REPRESENTS/memorializes] the new covenant in My blood; do this [u.b. memorial feast called a seder today], as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.” 26 For as often as you eat this bread [i.e. U.B. of U.B. Feast week] and drink the cup [i.e. memorial cup at Passover, today called a ‘seder’ dinner], you PROCLAIM the Lord’s death until He comes. 27 Therefore whoever eats the bread [i.e. Bread of affliction, i.e. U.B. of the Feast of U.B.] or drinks the cup of the Lord [i.e. called the Cup of Redemption today] in an unworthy manner [Note: Reference back to v. 21 where some Corinthians at their U.B. Feast gatherings leave some hungry while others were getting drunk], shall be guilty of the body and the blood of the Lord. 28 But a man must examine himself [i.e. the point behind God’s pedagogical purpose in establishing U.B.’s annual “REMOVE THE LEAVEN” 101 practical application lesson, which teaches the doctrine of sin and the Gospel of God], and in so doing he is to eat of the bread [U.B.] and drink of the cup. 29 For he who eats and drinks, eats and drinks judgment to himself if he does not judge the body rightly.
Notice that the act of participating in an Unleavened Bread memorial meal which includes: the removal of leaven, eating of unleavened bread, partaking in the memorial cup of Redemption, and doing the specific “telling” of the Lord’s Exodus, specifically “proclaims the Lord’s death until He comes.”
But it “proclaims His death” in what way, in what sense, how? The act (i.e. keeping U.B.) PROCLAIMS with our lives to ourselves, our children, and our community THE (par excellence) PASSOVER LAMB, who is the heart of the Gospel of God in the CONTEXT of Passover/Unleavened Bread. A Messianic Passover (U.B.) seder of today is fully biblical and fully saturated in a consistent, biblical, and doctrinally profitable and profound presentation of the Gospel of God that every believer who has ever kept it recognizes as an essential God-designed discipline of biblical faith and practice.
But not only was Paul concerned about the proper memorializing of the Gospel of God in its rightful context, he made it clear that ceremony unto itself is was not the extent to which the REMOVAL OF LEAVEN was REQUIRED by God within the community of faith. Both on an individual basis as well as a community basis, the referent of “leaven” with regard to the biblical pedagogy of God in commanding it’s removal included the removal of the real leaven to which the symbolic leaven pointed. This could only be done “in Christ” because those without Christ would clearly be shown to be “leavened” people, and should be “purged” from the community until real repentance took place.
1 Corinthians 5:1–13
1 It is actually reported that there is immorality [i.e. leaven] among you, and immorality [i.e. leaven] of such a kind as does not exist even among the Gentiles, that someone has his father’s wife. 2 You have become arrogant [i.e. leavened] and have not mourned instead, so that the one who had done this deed would be removed [i.e. like leaven] from your midst. 3 For I, on my part, though absent in body but present in spirit, have already judged him who has so committed this, as though I were present. 4 In the name of our Lord Jesus, when you are assembled, and I with you in spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus, 5 I have decided to deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of his flesh [i.e. purging of the leaven], so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus. 6 Your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump of dough? 7 Clean out [i.e. REMOVE] the “old leaven” so that you [pl. = i.e. the community @ Corinth] may be a new lump, just as you [pl. = community @ Corinth] are in fact unleavened [i.e. b/c you are one “new” man in the literal unleavened body of Christ]. For Christ our Passover also has been sacrificed. 8 Therefore let us celebrate the feast [i.e. U.B.], not with old leaven [i.e. in the manner of our old sinful leavened self], nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread [i.e. new self in Messiah] of sincerity and truth. 9 I wrote you in my letter not to associate with immoral people; 10 I did not at all mean with the immoral people of this world, or with the covetous and swindlers, or with idolaters, for then you would have to go out of the world. 11 But actually, I wrote to you not to associate with any so-called brother if he is an immoral person, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or a swindler—not even to eat with such a one. 12 For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Do you not judge those who are within the assembly? 13 But those who are outside, God judges. REMOVE THE WICKED MAN [i.e. the “LEAVENED MAN”] FROM AMONG YOURSELVES [i.e. the Assembly of Yeshua].
There is nothing ambiguous about Paul’s statement here: “Let us celebrate the Feast” [i.e. of Unleavened Bread]. But we as Christians and Messianic Believers are to do so according to the Greater Exodus we have in Messiah. In so doing, that is, in our faithfulness to keep the Lord’s Passover or the week of Unleavened Bread specifically today, we effectually, powerfully, and contextually “proclaim the Lord’s death” until He returns!
Now that you know why you should “remove the leaven” and observe the week of Unleavened Bread, the next question becomes, what is biblical leaven exactly and how do I find and remove it for Passover (U.B. week)?
There are 4 types of leaven that fall in one of two categories or classes: spiritual and physical, and must be searched for and removed from yourself, your home, and your community of faith each year.
These 4 types of leaven in 2 categories will be shared in the next article . . .