Matthew, Mark, and Luke each seem to put Passover on the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, but a closer look reveals the consistency of Scripture.
Jesus and His disciples are shown observing the Passover in a home at the beginning of Abib/Nisan 14. However, a few verses seem to indicate the next day.
We keep Unleavened Bread because of what God did to bring us out of sin (typified by Egypt). While God compels us to make choices, He is with us all the way.
The Feast of Unleavened Bread immediately follows the Passover. In it we see how hard it is to overcome and rid our lives of sin.
The fundamental reason that God gives for the Feast of Unleavened Bread is to remember His deliverance. He delivered Israel physically, but us spiritually.
The Feast of Unleavened Bread signifies far more than the avoidance of leavening. Our focus needs to be on God's management of the process of deliverance.
If we overlook God's deliverance or neglect the eating of unleavened bread, we will be unable to perform the putting away of sin that God requires.
Keeping the leaven out is very important in its own right. However, our primary focus should not be on the leavened bread but on the unleavened bread.
It is self-glorifying to focus more on our own efforts in overcoming—which are necessary—than on by whose strength those efforts will succeed.
Egypt is not directly a symbol of sin, but instead the world. The Days of Unleavened Bread symbolize what God did for us, not what we did by our own power.
We eat unleavened bread because of what God has done, not what we have done. Eating unleavened bread symbolizes following God and displacing sin.
God's command to eat unleavened bread teaches that He rescued His people from the bondage of sin, something they had no power to accomplish of themselves.
Our exodus from the bondage of sin begins and ends with God. He commanded Israel to mark their escape with unleavened bread because of what He did.
Unleavened bread serves as a memorial of God's deliverance from the bondage of sin. We must realize that our part of the salvation process is to follow God.
Christian freedom has nothing to do with location or circumstance but how we think. By imbibing on God's Word, we will incrementally displace our carnality.
The book of James applies to us after the sanctification process has begun. The most effective way of eliminating sin is to do righteousness.
James had to be written as a counterbalance to antinomian elements that twisted Paul's writings to proclaim that that grace nullifies the need for works.
As members of Christ's body, we must function for the good of the whole body, not competing with other parts. We must continually function as a son of God.
The word 'selfsame' refers to a specific commemorative date. The selfsame day is a signal that God is faithfully in control of time over multiple centuries.
God has imputed righteousness to us as His Children because we are in Christ. Our state before God is unleavened provided we maintain this relationship.
The wavesheaf offering is reckoned from the weekly Sabbath within the Days of Unleavened Bread. It had specific requirements that were not met in Joshua 5.
Our carnal natures must be displaced by God's Holy Spirit, motivating us to refrain from causing offense, but freely forgiving others as God has forgiven us.
If we do not keep God's holy days, we will deprive ourselves of the knowledge of God's purpose. Jesus and the first century church observed and upheld these days.
We tend to put matters behind us once we are finished with them, but we cannot afford to do this with the lessons we learn from the Days of Unleavened Bread.
Galatians 4:9-10 is a favorite crutch of those who claim Christians no longer need to observe God's holy days. However, Paul's meaning is quite different.
In Deuteronomy 16:1, the word 'Passover' is out of context. It applies to the whole season, including the Night to be Much Observed and the Days of Unleavened Bread.
Are we merely performing a ritual or are we making sure the real point of deleavening and keeping these days does not get lost in the physical activity?
Our individual sins (committed in our thoughts, words, and behaviors) are never isolated, but sadly influence every other member of the congregation.
God equates belittling His signs with rejecting Him. The signs of the weekly and annual Sabbaths are emphasized by God, but commonly cast aside by men.
At the time of Christ, because of historical deviation, some kept Passover at home at the start of the 14th and others kept it at the Temple at the end of the 14th.
Lonesome Dove contains the story of a cowboy who fails to perceive the line between right and wrong, and for his lack of moral sense, he pays with his life.
The biblical proof that God's people should keep the Passover (the Lord's Supper), explaining that it occurs annually on the evening of Nisan 14.
Try to satisfy a spiritual hunger through any other means than the Bread of Life, such as entertainment, technology, money, travel, etc. will leave us disillusioned.
Here are the foundational principles to keep in mind in observing the Feasts of God throughout the year.
Why must we put leaven out, yet we do not have to circumcise our baby boys? Is deleavening 'Old Covenant'?
The context of Deuteronomy 16:1-3 indicates the focus of these verses is on the Night to be Observed and the Days of Unleavened Bread rather than the Passover.
The temple Passover commanded by Hezekiah was a very unusual circumstance in which the king centralized worship to keep Baalism from defiling the Passover.
The truer our conception of Christ, the truer our discernment will be in dealing with spiritual problems or conflicts. Modern Israel has cuddled up to sin.
The Protestant doctrine of grace is antinomian, thinking that justification is a synonym for sanctification and salvation, ruling out any need for works.
God mandates that we unlearn carnal processes (purging the leaven) and totally adopt new spiritual processes- eating unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.
John Ritenbaugh insists that we must be aware of our awesome status as a unique, called-out, chosen, royal priesthood—teachers of a way of life and builders of bridges between people and God. Because God owns us, we differ from the rest of the people of this earth. We need to seriously think of what we are now (His chosen people) and also what we have been (children of Satan). As former bond-slaves of satanic human nature, we effortlessly have given ourselves over to excesses and unrestraint. The Old Testament examples were given to show us what God had to do (the tremendous cost in life) to pave the way for our calling, sanctification, and ultimate glorification. Reflecting on the awesome cost of our calling, we must resolve not to go back into the slavery of sin.
The best way to conquer evil is to do righteousness, serving God and mankind. Sins of omission are every bit as devastating as sins of commission.
The Night Much to be Observed is a memorial of the covenant with Abraham, and God's watchfulness in delivering ancient Israel as well as spiritual Israel.
Even though keeping the law does not justify us, it does point out to us what sin is. The law is a guide keeping us within moral and ethical boundaries.
Christ warns that we must do everything possible to annihilate sin - surgically going right to the heart or mind: the level of thought and imagination.
Martin Collins, reflecting upon the Congressional Medal of Honor, examines parallels in the way God awards honor. He rewards patient and continual perseverance in good works, reflecting an inner nobility and character. Keeping unleavened is tedious and arduous, reflecting the narrow and straight way traveled by a miniscule few. Sin (like soft, pliable, leavened bread) is easy, while overcoming human nature (like hard and brittle unleavened bread) is difficult, acquired only by humility and total submission to God. The pleasures of sin are temporary while the pleasures of righteousness endure. While sin, foolishness, and false teaching (like leavening) spread quickly, righteousness, wisdom, and truth accumulate slowly. Sin is deceitful, but righteousness is unpretentious. Sin is more common and widespread than righteousness. Sin produces a false image, while righteousness does not put on airs.
Because Jesus is God's Son, we can avoid the rod of His anger by paying respect with worshipful awe. We must know both His instruction and Him personally.
The keeping of the law is a practical response to God, providing us with principles for our lives, establishing our character and implanting God's values.
Amos 8:11 speaks of 'a famine...of hearing the words of the LORD.' Such a famine is occurring today: The words of God are available, but few can hear.
Nothing happens in our lives (including repentance) until God initiates it. A change of heart, by God's Holy Spirit, results in a total change of direction.
The holy days are reliable teaching tools, emphasizing spaced repetition to reinforce our faulty memories and drive the lesson deep into our thinking.
As God's priesthood, we must draw near to God, keep His commandments, and witness to the world that God is God. God is shaping and fashioning His new creation.
An emphasis on hyper-grace is wrong-headed, denying any need for repentance and overcoming, and totally at odds with the teachings of Jesus Christ.
We are obligated to purge our thoughts, deeds, and words, cleaning out individual and corporate sins and replacing them with sincerity, truth, and holiness.
Contrary to Dominion Theology, the Parables of the Mustard Seed and Leaven are not about the church but describe the history and condition of Israel.
We assess costs and values all the time in our daily lives. We should employ the same process to God's love for us in giving His Son as the sacrifice for sin.
Grace places limits on our freedom, training us for the Kingdom of God. Our behavior must be clearly distinguishable from the non-believers in society.
After we accept Christ's sacrifice, we desperately need to come out of sin, walking in light rather than darkness, having continuous fellowship with God.
John Ritenbaugh asserts that physically emancipating people from slavery does not automatically unshackle their hearts or minds or preparing them for productive responsibility in a free society. Likewise, our emancipation from sin does not automatically remove our acquired spiritual shackles. We must gradually grow out of the slave mentality into liberty and freedom by committing our lives to the truth (John 8:30; Romans 8:6), replacing acquired insecurity and fear with faith and the love of God (I John 4:18). Like our forefather Abraham, we have to gradually or incrementally grow into a model of faithfulness. God's Spirit provides us the mechanism for transforming our enslaved, fearful, carnal minds to liberty (II Corinthians 3:17).
Jesus Christ's and Paul's example in Sabbath observance (including the annual Sabbaths) provide a model as to how we keep the Sabbath and the holy days.
It is unusual for lunar eclipses to occur on God's holy days. Understanding those days helps us to find the right significance to the blood moons.
Martin Collins, continuing his exposition of the incredible illegalities of the trial of Jesus Christ, examines Pontius Pilate's role in this hideous, shameful affair. When we look at the secular accounts of the tenure of Pontius Pilate, we find that his diplomatic behavior with Jesus Christ is out of character of the rest of his reckless exploits, including his marriage to Claudia, a powerful woman with connections to the highest echelons of the government, but whose mother had a most unsavory, immoral reputation throughout the empire. It is ironic that under the proper application of Hebrew law (designated the most humane in the world) and Roman law (designated the most just in the world—the model from which all the legal systems in the western world operates), Jesus should have been acquitted or exonerated, but cowardice and yieldedness to public opinion and mob rule led Pilate to ultimately capitulate, even though he knew in his heart of hearts Jesus was innocent. Pilate's attempt to be neutral in a decision that would have required courage backfired on him, causing him to utterly fail in leadership. As God's called out ones, we need to soberly reflect on Pilate's example, determining not to repeat it in our own lives. We must prepare ourselves for life's crises, determining to come down solidly on the side of righteousness and truth. Pilate, who wisely saw through the Jewish equivocation, hypocrisy, and outright lies) could have acquitted Jesus, putting him under protection of Roman garrisons as other leaders had defended the apostle Paul, but he did not, and has consequently gone down in history as a consummate coward. Unlike Pilate, who glibly denigrated truth, we are required to live by every word of truth.
The Bible records no example of keeping the Feast of Unleavened Bread with services each day, unlike the Feast of Tabernacles, which has a daily convocation.
Valuable lessons may be learned when we observe the feasts God's way, but they would get lost if we tried to apply to them what we believe are good ideas.
Richard Ritenbaugh, affirming that one word encapsulating the mission statement of America would be "liberty," warns that we are rapidly losing our original rights. The recently passed health care bill will make us wards of the state, subject to panels of oppressive bureaucrats with the power of life and death. There is no hope in the politics of man, especially when the politicians have totally forgotten God. Only a moral people, subscribing to Christian principles, have the capability of living under a constitutional republic. Jefferson realized that liberty was a gift from God and was conditional upon our obedience to God's laws. Unfortunately, the gullible American people, through their endorsement of secular progressive principles, have foolishly voted in their own enslavement and destruction. God brought our forbears freedom by leading them out of Egypt through the Red Sea, destroying the entire Egyptian army. Like our forebears, we were also alienated to God, marked for death, but God decided to change that by making a new covenant with us, giving His Son as a sacrifice and His Spirit to empower us to repent and overcome. We responded to His actions (grace) in our behalf. Though we were freed by God's intervention, we will fall into slavery (of sin) again if we do not maintain our vigilance. Our forbears never learned to live as free men and women; we need to learn from their example not to emulate their behavior. Jesus Christ, upon counseling the woman caught in adultery, recognized that forgiveness must be coupled with genuine repentance. We are obligated to follow the example of our Savior, walking perpetually in light, clinging to the truth, inherently exercising the freedom and liberty to make judgments and exercising the capability to please the Father.
The Shekinah, the pillar of cloud and fire, depicts God's visible presence and protection. Yet His glory is manifested in many other ways as well.