The Feast of Unleavened Bread: Should it be Practiced by Believers?
What is the benefit gained by eating bread without leaven for an entire week? We know that this practice has been commanded in the Bible (see Exodus 23:15). Jesus himself obeyed it while on earth and continues to do so in heaven where he dwells today. So what is the lesson we are to gain through obedience to the commandment? Let’s first consider a few things about the nature of bread made with yeast. Yeast will cause the lump of dough to look a lot bigger than it actually is. In the process of bread making, the lump of dough rises up and then pressed back down to its actual size by the bread maker. This parallels the experience between YHWH the (bread maker) and Pharaoh (the lump of dough activated with leaven).
During the plagues of the exodus, the Pharaoh of Egypt was allowed to arise and intimidate the children of Israel. YHWH on the other hand, pushed the Pharaoh down to his actual size; even the Egyptian people were eventually able to discern his over inflated heart. Just before the Passover “YHWH made the Egyptians favorably disposed toward the people (of Israel), and Moses himself was highly regarded in Egypt by Pharaoh's officials and by the people”. (Exodus 11:3) The children of Israel are to remember that no religious or political system (no matter how good they once were) yet “rises up” against the will of heaven, is a match against God of Israel who wills otherwise. It is a lesson easily forgotten by His people, which is why the Passover and Feast of Unleavened must be celebrated by the Israelite year after year.
Later on in the Bible, Jesus warned his disciples to “beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees”. (Matthew 16:6) This same over inflation of authority became prevalent among the leaders of Christ’s day. To be clear, the religious leaders (just like Pharaoh) prevented their people from following the objectives written in the Torah. Like Moses, Jesus stood firm for the truth as the Father aided His son in pounding down the lump before the people. But this battle of wills did not end in the days of Messiah, the fact that we are to continue this festival year after year indicates that religious intimidation against those who keep the Torah would continue. We must remember that when confronted in these situations, the will of YHWH shall prevail against the will of mortal men.
When Israel left Egypt, they carried with them bread made without yeast. The influence of Pharaoh had been purged from among them (for the time being) and left Egypt with their heads held high. So as the approach of the Festival of unleavened bread draws near to us year by year, let us follow the advice of the Apostle Paul who said, “Let us keep the Festival (of unleavened bread) not with the old yeast…but with bread without yeast”. (1 Corinthians 5:8)