Archive for the ‘Unleavened Bread – Matzah’ Category

Feasts of the Lord: Shadows and Realities

“What will you do on the day of your appointed festivals, on the feast days of the LORD?” (Isaiah 9:5).

“Here, I’m standing at the door, knocking. If someone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he will eat with me” (Revelation 3:20).

There are many different calendars in the world today.  There is the Gregorian/Julian calendar which is internationally accepted as the civil calendar.  This calendar begins in January and ends in December and includes American holidays like New Year’s Day, the Fourth of July, Labor Day, and Thanksgiving.

There is the Liturgical calendar that was generated by the Roman catholic church with the holidays that have been universally embraced by the Christian church worldwide.  On this calendar is the weekly Sunday and yearly dates for Advent, Christmas, Lent, and Easter.

There is also the Biblical calendar established by God with Israel at Mount Sinai.  This calendar focuses on the weekly and annual festival days called The Feasts of the LORD.  These are the ‘appointed times’ that God has set to meet with His people in prophetic ways.

The Mo’edim or ‘appointed times’

The Hebrew word for ‘feasts or festivals’ is mo’edim and means ‘appointed times.’  Within the meaning of mo’ed is the idea of  a ‘meeting of two or more at a certain place and time.’ Mo’edim  is the word used in Genesis 1:14 for the word ‘seasons‘ when God created the sun, moon and stars.  The Feasts of the LORD, found in Leviticus 23 are prophetic seasons, meeting times of the LORD, determined by the sun, moon and stars.   From the Creation account, days are rendered sunset to sunset as ‘there was evening and morning,’ for each day.   Months are approximately 28 days based on the lunar cycle of new moon, full moon, and crescent moons.  Years are determined by the  constellations that move across the heavens.

“The LORD said to Moses, ‘Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘These are my appointed festivals, the appointed festivals of the LORD, which you are to proclaim as sacred assemblies” (Leviticus 23:1).

The ‘’appointed times’ given by God were called sacred assemblies or holy convocations. In Hebrew, the word for ‘assembly’ or ‘convocation’ is mikrah. This word has its root in qara and means to ‘call out loudly’ or be ‘invited.’  Mikrah has the added nuance of  meaning ‘rehearsal’ and associates the ‘appointed times’ of God with being invited to a rehearsal dinner

These ‘appointed times’ were not given just to the Tribes of Israel, but also to those Egyptians who had heeded Moses’ command to put lamb’s blood on their doorposts.  This mixed multitude of men, women and children left Egypt and became one community known as Israelites at Mt. Sinai. 

The ‘appointed times’ of the LORD had agricultural foundations with festivals for firstfruits and harvests allowing for each festival to have a prophetic vision to the complete redemptive plan of God.  Each festival held a shadow of the Messiah who was, is, and will be.   Yeshua became the reality of the spring ‘appointed times’; he will become the reality of the fall festivals at their ‘appointed times.’

“Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day.  These are a shadow of the things that are coming; the reality, however, is found in Messiah” (Colossians 2:16-17).

This verse in Colossians has been used as a proof-text that gentiles or non-Jewish believers don’t need to celebrate the Biblically ‘appointed times’ because they have Jesus in their lives. Instead of understanding the Scripture in the context that judgment should not come from Jews when gentiles join together with them in celebrating their holy days, they rid themselves from what is found in the reality of Messiah.

This inherited lie has kept the believing gentile separated from their full inheritance in the Messiah of Israel. Instead of accepting the spiritual blessings that come from celebrating the Sabbath, the Festivals and the New Moon, they reject the very substance of Yeshua’s prophetic life in their own.

Shadows and realities go together.  Shadows imply that there is some substance causing it because something of substance causes a shadow.  If we are in Messiah and he in us, then we have the light that brings the reality out of the shadows.  The shadows spoken of in these verses to the Colossians are in the progressive present tense, that are coming,  meaning that they are still in process in the present and have yet to all be fulfilled.

Weekly ‘appointed time’

Sabbath is the first ‘appointed time’ given by the LORD.

“There are six days when you may work, but the seventh day is a day of sabbath rest, a day of sacred assembly.  You are not to do any work; wherever you live, it is a sabbath to the LORD” (Leviticus 23:3).

Present Shadow and Reality

The seventh day Sabbath is a memorial to Creation ‘in the beginning.’  It is so important that God included it in the 10 Commandments as well as listed it as the first of the mo’edim. Yeshua taught that God made the Sabbath for mankind and he is the Lord of the Sabbath (Matthew 8:12, Mark 2:27).   

First of Months and the Spring Feasts

These mo’edim of the LORD have been fulfilled by Yeshua on their appointed day and time.  The first three represent the past work of Yeshua, justifying the individual before  God and bringing the hope of redemption to the world. 

Passover is the second ‘appointed time’ given by the LORD.

“These are the LORD’s appointed festivals, the sacred assemblies you are to proclaim at their ‘appointed time’s: The LORD’s Passover begins at twilight on the fourteenth day of the first month” (Leviticus 23:4-5).

Shadow:

The Passover mo’ed is a memorial to the deliverance of the people of God from Egypt through the blood of the lamb.  They were taken from a life of slavery to a life of freedom.  They were taken from the darkness of a pagan world into the light of the God’s Kingdom.

Fulfilled Reality:

Yeshua is our Passover lamb.  Through his sacrificial death, we are taken from a life of slavery to sin to a life of freedom in righteousness.  We are taken from the darkness of the sinful world to the light of the Kingdom of God.

Unleavened Bread is the third ‘appointed time’ given by the LORD.

“Celebrate the Festival 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” (Exodus 12:17).

Shadow:

This festival is a memorial to the haste in which the Israelites left Egypt.  They had no time to let their bread dough rise. 

Fulfilled Reality:

Yeshua was the sinless, unleavened bread of life.  He was hastily taken off the cross and buried before the Feast of Unleavened Bread began.  He was wrapped in cloths and put in a tomb.

Feast of Firstfruits is the fourth ‘appointed time’ given by the LORD.

“‘On the day of firstfruits, when you present to the Lord an offering of new grain during the Festival of Weeks, hold a sacred assembly and do no regular work” (Numbers 28:26).

Shadow:

This festival is a memorial to the firstfruits of the wheat harvest.  It is celebrated on the first day of the week after the weekly Sabbath following Passover.

Fulfilled Reality:

Yeshua rose from the dead and ascended to his Father and offered himself as the first sheaf of grain from the harvest.

The Feast of Weeks is the fifth ‘appointed time’ given by The LORD.

“From the day after the Sabbath, the day you brought the sheaf of the wave offering, count off seven full weeks. 16 Count off fifty days up to the day after the seventh Sabbath, and then present an offering of new grain to the Lord” (Leviticus 23:15-16).

Shadow:

There are 50 days between the Feast of Firstfruits and the Feast of Weeks called Counting the Omer.  For 40 of these days Yeshua walked on the earth, met and ate with his disciples.  Then, he ascended into heaven.

Fulfilled Reality:

The Spirit of God came mightily upon the Jewish believers as part of the promised new covenant.  Tongues of fire rested on them and filled them with power to speak in other languages enabling those who heard the message to take the gospel to the nations.   This festival represents the present work of Yeshua sanctifying the individual through the Holy Spirit and preparing him for the world to come.

Fall ‘appointed times’

“For the revelation awaits an ‘appointed time’; it speaks of the end and will not prove false. Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay” (Habakkuk 2:3).

These mo’edim of the LORD have not yet been fulfilled by Yeshua.  This is the future work of Yeshua restoring the glory of God to Israel and the nations.  These ‘appointed times’ are a vision of hope.

The Feast of Trumpets is the sixth ‘appointed time’ given by the LORD.

“On the first day of the seventh month you are to have a day of sabbath rest, a sacred assembly commemorated with trumpet blasts” (Leviticus 23:23).

Shadow:

The Feast of Trumpets is a memorial to something that has not yet happened. 

Reality: To Come

At the trumpet call of God, the dead will be raised and changed from mortal to immortality.

The Day of Atonement is the seventh ‘appointed time’ given by the LORD.

“The tenth day of this seventh month is the Day of Atonement. Hold a sacred assembly and deny yourselves,[d] and present a food offering to the Lord” (Leviticus 23:26).

Shadow:

On this day, the high priest went into the Holy of Holies in the Temple and made atonement for himself and the nation of Israel.

Reality: To Come

On this day, our High Priest, Yeshua will enter the Holy of Holies in the restored Temple and all Israel will be saved. 

Feast of Tabernacles is the eighth ‘appointed time’ given by the LORD.

“On the fifteenth day of the seventh month the Lord’s Festival of Tabernacles begins, and it lasts for seven days” (Leviticus 23:34).

Shadow:

The Feast of Tabernacles is a memorial to the Tabernacle in the wilderness when the LORD lived among His people. 

Reality: To Come

When Yeshua returns, he will Tabernacle with the nation of Israel and rule the nations from the restored Temple in Jerusalem.

The Eternal Sabbath

“And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God”

(Revelation 21:3).

Shadow:

We are living in the shadow of the eternal Sabbath with the vision of a remaining Sabbath rest (Hebrews 4:8).

Reality: To Come

The restoration of the Kingdom of God and the New Jerusalem comes down out of Heaven.  God will dwell with mankind. 

The weekly and annual cycle of The Feasts of the LORD give us the complete picture of God’s plan of salvation.   Yeshua was, is and will be the reality in each and every mo’edim.

“Blessed (happy, fortunate, to be envied) are the people who know the joyful sound (who understand and appreciate the spiritual blessings symbolized by the feasts); they walk, O Lord, in the light and favor of Your countenance”

(Psalm 89:15,  The Amplified Bible).

©2010 Tentstake Ministries, chapter from Journey with Jeremiah on amazon.com

Feast of Unleavened Bread – Matzah

Feast of Unleavened Bread – Matzah

“These are the LORD’s appointed festivals, the sacred assemblies you are to proclaim at their ‘appointed time’s: the LORD’s Passover begins at twilight on the fourteenth day of the first month.  On the fifteenth day of that month the LORD’s Festival of Matzah Unleavened Bread begins; for seven days you must eat bread made without yeast. On the first day hold a sacred assembly and do no regular work” (Leviticus 23:4-7).

The seven days of Unleavened Bread follow the Passover as a memorial to the Exodus when the Israelites were set free from    slavery.  The first day of unleavened bread, when Israel left Egypt, is   the exact day that Jacob and his family entered Egypt centuries earlier.  The Exodus marked the end of the prophecy given to Abraham that his descendants would be enslaved in a foreign land for 400 years (Genesis 15:13).  Through the blessing of the God, Jacob’s family of 70 had grown to over one million. 

After losing his firstborn son and the firstborn of all of his kingdom to death, Pharaoh set the people of Israel free.  God made the Egyptians favorably disposed to the Israelites so they were more than willing that the Israelites take whatever they wanted from livestock to gold just so they would leave their land.  For seven days the children of Israel  traveled from Egypt to Sukkoth during which time they ate only matzah. 

“They baked matzah loaves from the dough they had brought out of Egypt, since it was unleavened; because they had been driven out of Egypt without time to prepare supplies for themselves” (Exodus 12:39).

Soured Dough – Chametz

“You are not to eat any chametz with it; for seven days [of Unleavened Bread] you are to eat with it matzah, the bread of affliction; for you came out of the land of Egypt in haste. Thus you will remember the day you left the land of Egypt as long as you live” (Deuteronomy 16:3).

‘Leaven’ in Hebrew is chametz and literally means ‘soured dough.’   In ancient times, leavening was done through a soured starter dough.  The starter was a mixture of flour combined with water and allowed to sit for several days, souring the dough.  A portion of this soured dough could be mixed with other flour creating a leavened dough.  Then, a little more flour is added to the lump of starter to keep the wild yeast from dying.   By removing the chametz from their homes, the Israelites were literally throwing away a ‘lump of dough’ in order to start over with a new batch.    

“Get rid of the old lump, so that you can be a new batch of dough, because in reality you are unleavened…” (1 Corinthians 5:7).

Yeshua used the leaven of ‘soured dough’ to symbolize the false teachings and traditions of the elders that diluted the truth of the Scriptures.  Just as a little leaven infects a whole loaf of bread, centuries of false teachings and manmade practices had contaminated the Word of God. 

This is what happened to the Israelites in Egypt.  Centuries of other gods and Egyptian culture had infiltrated their lives and their faith.   God commanded His people  to remove all ‘soured dough’ from their homes because He desired that His people would leave behind the leaven of Egypt and become decontaminated from the ways of that nation.  For seven days they were to eat nothing but the ‘bread of affliction’ and search their souls.  They were to turn away from everything that had soured their hearts and minds in Egypt’s culture of darkness and slavery.

The Bread of Affliction

Within the symbolism of the ‘bread of affliction,’  there is the idea of death and decay.     As the little yeasty bugs puff up the dough by souring it, they are actually dying and decaying.  If the dough is allowed to rise too long, those little guys run out of energy and the loaf flattens or ‘dies.’ This is the essence of the new pure lump of dough.   Once there has been affliction, the death of those yeasty bugs that puff up the dough with pride and unbelief, there must be created a new lump that brings forth humility and faithfulness.

When making unleavened bread or matzah, it is important to prick the dough.  This allows all air and steam to escape and keep the dough flat.  As it bakes, it turns brown between the piercings giving the bread the appearance of stripes.  In the traditional Passover seder, a piece of matzah is broken and half, wrapped in a white cloth and hidden.  It is called the afikomen and means ‘that which comes after.’ 

After the Passover supper, Yeshua uses the afikomen to reveal himself as ‘the coming one.‘   He broke the pierced and striped bread, his  personal ‘bread of affliction,’ and gave it to his disciples to eat.  He was arrested during the night, beaten in the morning, and hung on the cross in the afternoon where his broken and afflicted body died.  (Mark 10:45).

“Also, taking a piece of matzah, he made the blessing, broke it, gave it to them and said, “This is my body, which is being given for you; do this in memory of me” (Luke 22:19).

Preparation Day

“It was Preparation Day [for Unleavened Bread], and the Jews did not want the bodies to remain on the stake on Shabbat, since it was an especially important Shabbat. In the vicinity of where he [Yeshua] had been executed was a garden, and in the garden was a new tomb in which no one had ever been buried.  So, because it was Preparation Day [for Unleavened Bread] …, and because the tomb was close by, that is where they buried Yeshua” (John 19:31, 41-42).

The day these events took place was the Preparation Day for Unleavened Bread, known as a ‘high sabbath,’ but different from the weekly Sabbath.  Because sunset was approaching and the Feast of Unleavened Bread was arriving, Yeshua was immediately taken from the cross, rubbed with myrrh, wrapped in linens and placed in a tomb.   He was buried hastily and his  ‘appointed time’ in the grave began.  For the first three days and three nights of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, Yeshua lay dead, left to decay in a tomb. 

“You are to observe the festival of matzah, for on this very day I brought your divisions out of the land of Egypt. Therefore, you are to observe this day from generation to generation by a perpetual regulation” (Exodus 12:17).

The Feast of Unleavened Bread was a permanent regulation to be celebrated through all generations to remember Israel’s hasty exodus from the land of Egypt.  The ‘appointed time’ of matzah was fulfilled by the hasty burial of Yeshua, the unleavened  bread from heaven, ‘the coming one.’  Paul tells the Corinthians that believers in Messiah are to remove the ‘soured dough’ lump of false teachings and celebrate the festivals of Unleavened Bread (and Passover) not with the puffed up bread of wickedness and evil, but with the matzah of purity and sincerity in the Truth of God’s Word. 

For our Pesach lamb, the Messiah, has been sacrificed.  Therefore, let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, nor with leaven of vice and malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened [bread] of purity (nobility, honor) and sincerity and [unadulterated] truth” (1 Corinthians 5:7-8, The Amplified Bible).

©2010 Tentstake Ministries, chapter from Journey with Jeremiah on amazon.com

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