**The article was written by Kelly D. Vonner and originally published in PURSUIT Magazine**
Celebrate the Feast of Unleavened Bread, because it was on this very day that I brought your divisions out of Egypt. Celebrate this day as a lasting ordinance for the generations to come. In the first month you are to eat bread made without yeast, from the evening of the fourteenth day until the evening of the twenty-first day (Exodus 12:17-18, New International Version).
Your boasting is not good. Don’t you know that a little yeast works through the whole batch of dough? Get rid of the old yeast that you may be a new batch without yeast—as you really are. For Christ our Passover lamb has been sacrificed. Therefore let us keep the Festival, not with the old yeast, the yeast of malice and wickedness, but with bread without yeast, the bread of sincerity and truth (I Corinthians 5:6-8).
During the Feast of Unleavened Bread, we are commanded to eat bread made without yeast for seven days (Exodus 23:15, Leviticus 23:4-8, Numbers 28:16-25, Deuteronomy 16:1-8). The Lord declares this as a time of celebration. It is a celebration of the freedom found in Messiah through obedience to His word. It is a celebration of our coming out of sin (Egypt) to serve the true and living God. In Exodus 12:17 and Exodus 23:15, the Hebrew word for celebrate is shamar. Shamar means to guard, keep, observe, or to give heed to. So not only are we celebrating our deliverance from the things of our past and sin that so easily entangles us, we are also commanded to guard and give heed to the holy things of God—Sabbath, Holy Days, dietary laws, commandments, etc.
The Feast of Unleavened Bread represents an undressing of the sin and death in our lives. When we choose to walk in the Way of the Lord and truly say, “You are the perfect Lamb that that was sacrificed in my place, and I will live for you,” then the Lord strips off all of the things that are not like Him. He loves us enough to help us remove the leavening from our lives. If we are willing to hear, he will lead us to the things that hinder our relationship with Him. While we may feel naked and ashamed during this process, this undressing of sin and death brings redemption, freedom, and victory. It leads to being clothed in the righteousness of the Lord. But if we are to live a life of righteousness in the eyes of the Lord, then the desires of this world must be no more. We must allow the Father to disrobe us of the traditions and wickedness of this world. This requires separation from the world, intimacy with our Savior, and commitment to the Word.
SEPARATION FROM THE WORLD
“…Then you will know that the Lord makes a distinction between Egypt and Israel”(Exodus 11:7). Throughout the Holy Bible, the Lord makes a clear distinction between holy and unholy, good and evil, and righteousness and wickedness. “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light, and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter” (Isaiah 5:20). While we live in a world that is adamantly defiant against God’s Word and Spirit, the Creator of all things requires that we separate ourselves from the desires of this world and seek his righteousness.
“Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For everything in the world—the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does—comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desire pass way, but the man who does the will of God lives forever” (1 John 2:15-17).
“You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God” (James 4:4).
“Therefore come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you. I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty” (2 Corinthians 2:17-18).
The Feast of Unleavened Bread makes a clear distinction between those who love their sin and those who do not. Consuming the bread of sincerity and truth purges us of our indecisiveness and inability to conquer sin and truly prepare for the Kingdom of God. Consuming the bread reveals the darkness that we seek to hide and allows us to walk in the light of our Redeemer. However, this can only take place when we have made the freewill decision to separate ourselves and serve the living God with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength.
“You must keep the Israelites separate from things that make them unclean, so they will not die in their uncleanness for defiling my dwelling place, which is among them”(Leviticus 15:31).
INTIMACY WITH OUR SAVIOR
“You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29:13).
“Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” (Psalm 139: 23-24).
“Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded” (James 4:8).
During this time, the Lord is asking each of us, “Will you search the dark, yeast-filled places of your heart so that you can truly be one with me?” Are we willing to be transparent before our God? Unfortunately, many of us are afraid to enter those dark places. We would rather consume the yeast that kills than the bread that heals; therefore Paul was correct in saying, “That is why many among you are weak and sick, and a number of you have fallen asleep. But if we were more discerning with regard to ourselves, we would not come under such judgment. Nevertheless, when we are judged in this way by the Lord, we are being disciplined so that we will not be finally condemned with the world (I Corinthians 11:30-32). The desires of this world must be no more. To seek Christ is to seek life. “…Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the Lord is your life…”(Deuteronomy 30:19-20).
This intimacy comes from our worship. After the last plague with the deaths of all the firstborn, the Israelites were freed so they could worship God. The increased level of intimacy comes from our worship and our desire to be transparent before Him.
Consuming the bread brings us to this new level with our Savior. We are able to have this intimacy due to the undressing that took place in preparation to take in all of the Lamb and Bread during this season. The Father is not bringing us out of Egypt (sin) to be weak. He is not bringing us out so that we turn right back around and crave the old life and the ways of the old man that brought death to us. He is bringing us out so that we may serve Him and love Him with every ounce of our being. He is bringing us out so that we can be a light to the nations around us and walk as true disciples who worship God in Spirit and truth. Because of His mighty hand, we have been redeemed! We should desire to consume the bread so that we can adore our Maker and husband and walk in holiness before Him.
“For your Maker is your husband—the LORD Almighty is his name—the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer; he is called the God of all the earth” (Isaiah 54:5).
COMMITMENT TO THE WORD
“Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did” (1 John 2:6).
The removal of yeast from our homes is not enough during the Feast of Unleavened. There must be a commitment to and a consumption of the Word of God. This commitment and consumption allows the Word of God to fill us completely. As the Lord our God is the Word made flesh (John 1:14), the Bread of Life (John 6:48), and the Lamb of God (John 1:29), we should be ever mindful of the requirements and expectations of His people. If we are to live as He lived, we must be committed to God’s word and will. We were not created to go our own way (Ecclesiastes 12:13). We were made in the image of God to consume His Word and be filled with His Spirit so that we could be effective workers for the Kingdom of God. Commitment to the Word produces the fruit required to be His disciples.
“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I have to you today are to be upon your hearts” (Deuteronomy 6:4-6)).
In God’s Plan of Salvation in the Holy Days, Evangelist McDonald writes, “During the Seven Days of Unleavened Bread, the Israelites received the Pillar of Fire to guide them by night and Cloud to guide them by day. As the Israelites were led by the pillar of fire in the desert to the Red Sea, so we must be led by the Spirit of God to be delivered from sin. The seven days of Unleavened Bread teach us that salvation is not just coming up out of sin, but also pressing on to be completely separated from it. It teaches us the cycle of salvation and deliverance. On the First Day of Unleavened Bread, we celebrate freedom from sin, but on the Seventh Day, we celebrate the power to be cut off from the sinful habits through God’s Spirit” (52).
So during this season we should celebrate our freedom from sin and welcome the power from on high that will enable us to go and sin no more.