Bible Study Tools / Unleavened Bread

Man’s Duties in God’s Plan

by Sixto Yap
Photo by Cottonbro Studio on Pexels

What is the Feast of Unleavened Bread? How do we keep these feast days? What is their significance to mankind and to God’s plan?

The Feast of Unleavened Bread is one of the feasts that God commanded His people to observe. It was instituted, together with the Passover, when the Israelites went out of Egypt from slavery. God commanded that it should be kept forever for seven days with the first and the seventh day as annual holy days.

“And Moses said to the people: ‘Remember this day in which you went out of Egypt, out of the house of bondage; for by strength of hand the LORD brought you out of this place. No leavened bread shall be eaten’” (Exodus 13:3). “Unleavened bread shall be eaten seven days. And no leavened bread shall be seen among you, nor shall leaven be seen among you in all your quarters” (Exodus 13:7). “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” (Leviticus 23:6).

At first, this seems like a strange sounding feast that is not so well known or observed by most people today. It also has unique instructions for how it should be observed. As described in Exodus, all adherents of these feast days observe the following three steps for seven days:

1) Removing leavening in their homes or quarters.

2) Not eating foods containing leavening.

3) Eating unleavened bread.

God did not leave humans alone to guess and judge among themselves what was right and what was wrong. Rather God gave them His commandments, laws and statutes as the basis for rightful living (Exodus 20). Then God instructed Moses and the priests to teach His laws and commandments to the Israelites. In addition, Moses also served as their judge when there was conflict among the Israelites, which prompted his father-in-law to advise him to appoint additional judges to help him (Exodus 18). Through this process, they also learned how to apply the laws of God in their lives.

Today Christians who obey and follow God’s instruction to keep this feast, still observe it in the same manner as described above. In the New Testament, the apostle Paul was able to explain the meaning of the symbols used during the Days of Unleavened Bread.

In the book of 1 Corinthians, Paul stated, “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” (1 Corinthians 5:6-8).

Paul explained that leavening agents puff up dough in bread making. By analogy, sin is likened to leaven since sin can “puff up” and permeate a person. During this season, leaven and leavened products symbolize sin to heighten our consciousness of sin, while unleavened bread symbolizes righteousness, which we need to practice daily.

Paul, unlike most of the Israelites, diligently kept the Ten Commandments of God and used them as his guide to righteousness when he stated that, “...I would not have known sin except through the law” (Romans 7:7). John stated, “...we know Him, if we keep His commandments” (1 John 2:3).

The Feast of Unleavened Bread describes the duties of man in God’s plan - repenting of sins, overcoming sins and living righteously before God by obeying His commandments and keeping this way unto the end. As Ecclesiastes concluded, “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, For this is the whole duty of man” (Ecclesiastes 12:13).

The Feast of Unleavened Bread was given by God to show us that we need to repent of our sins, overcome our sins, live rightly before God and our fellow man and to endure unto the end. Repentance and forgiveness of sins are only possible because of Christ’s sacrifice who died for us. God also gives us His Holy Spirit that lives in us to help us overcome sin and live righteously. It is only through this process that God will determine whether we will receive the gift of eternal life in His glorious Kingdom.

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