Do you ever wonder why we eat unleavened bread for seven days during the week of Passover and God’s Spring Holy Days?
To totally understand this; one must go way back in time and realize all of the many amazing facts that surround the story of the event of The Exodus from Egypt. Last night at the Passover Seder; we remembered many of these things.
The Israelites Gain Respect Because of God’s Protection
One way that God protected His people was to send plagues upon their enemies. The Egyptians began to notice that they WERE affected by the terrible plagues, while the people of Israel WERE NOT affected. This fact caused the Egyptians to gain a deeper respect for the Israelites because of how their God was protecting them from harm. These pagan people were seeing that SOME God seemed to have favor on the Israelites. They knew the Israelites did not worship the same pagan gods that they worshipped. Because of this fear of a new and different god than they knew; the Egyptians began to consider the consequences of the horrible ways they were treating the Israelites.
Moses was greatly respected by Pharaoh’s men, and secretly they honored him even though they were still Pharaoh’s officials. They were afraid not to; the fear of the God of Moses had arrived in Egypt.
Some of the hearts of the slave masters and the common people had began to change, but Pharaoh had not relented; even with all of the plagues. Because of Pharaoh’s hard heart, God had another plan for one more plague.
Before God sent the next plague He told the people of Israel to ask their owners and task masters to give them articles of silver and gold. Since the Egyptians were now understanding how powerful God was; they quickly gave the Israelites whatever they asked for. The Egyptian people now had a great fear that the God of Israel would return a great vengeance upon them if they did not obey His suggestion and give gifts to these Israelite slaves.
Once the Israelites had time to receive all the gifts of gold and silver from the Egyptians; God spoke again to Moses:
God Gives Moses Clear Instructions
“I will bring one more plague on Pharaoh and on Egypt. After that, he will let you go from here, and when he does, he will drive you out completely.”
So Moses told the people:
“This is what the LORD says: ‘About midnight I will go throughout Egypt. Every firstborn son in Egypt will die, from the firstborn son of Pharaoh, who sits on the throne, to the firstborn son of the female slave, who is at her hand mill, and all of the firstborn of the cattle as well. There will be loud wailing throughout Egypt – worse than there has ever been or ever will be again. But among the Israelites not a dog will bark at any person or animal. Then you will know that the LORD makes a distinction between Egypt and Israel. All of these officials of yours will come to me, bowing down before me and saying, “Go, you and all the people who follow you! After that I will leave.”
In a burst of anger with Moses Pharaoh had told him to never return before the throne of Pharaoh. Yet; God had spoken and given Moses these instructions. Moses must have returned ONLY because God had given him this word; but Pharaoh in his great stubbornness still refused to see him. Moses hot with anger, left without even speaking to or actually seeing Pharaoh, just as God had predicted would happen.
Moses must have proclaimed the word of God to Pharaoh’s officials instead of the very unwise Pharaoh. The message of Moses from God WAS delivered even if it was delivered indirectly, and the time was set for every firstborn son in the land, from the lowest to the highest to sleep the sleep of death at midnight. Everyone would be affected except the Israelites. God had warned that no harm would come to them.
God Is Merciful To Those Who Listen and Obey His Instructions
Note that God is always very slow to wrath. He could have easily killed every single Egyptian right from the very beginning of this story; but instead He sent warnings in the form of ten plagues. He gave the Egyptians time to repent, and to acknowledge that He was the One and Only God. He allowed plenty of time for them to treat the Israelites with a different attitude. All the Egyptians had to do to escape these plagues was to obey God. Yet; the people in charge, who were ruled by Pharaoh’s hard-heart, refused.
Even when God did chose to show his wrath, it was very limited and related to only what was needed for the occasion. He sent the death angel only to the firstborn sons; not the whole community. God is always merciful. He is always waiting on us to truly turn and follow Him and mend our broken ways.
Today’s Christians must learn to act as bravely and as boldly as Moses did in ancient times. I’m sure it was hard for Moses to have the courage to approach Pharaoh this one last time. Yet; had Pharaoh turned and listened to the message from God a nation of first-born sons would have been spared. A leader who listens to God is a leader indeed. Pharaoh did not fall into this category.
Moses Followed God Instead Of The Crowd
Some of us find it hard to go against the popular culture and observe God’s Spring Holy Days; however we must think more like Moses and do exactly what God has commanded; no matter what the popular crowd is doing. We must care more about the instructions of God and less about the instructions of mankind.
Moses’ faith and his willingness to be brave enough to step up to do God’s will in spite of great danger to his life is remembered in the New Testament writings in the passage of Hebrews 11:27. It says; by faith Moses left Egypt, not fearing the kings anger; he persevered because he saw Him who is invisible.
Are we persevering in leaving the things of the world behind and following the ways of God?
Do we have enough faith to keep these Spring Holy Days that God has commanded?
We have known Him who is invisible and we have believed. We must gather ourselves together and have the faith of Moses and come out of the Egypt of the world and keep God’s ways.
Despite the warnings; Pharaoh’s heart remained hard, just as God had told Moses would happen. God had warned Pharaoh; and all Pharaoh’s people could do was to prepare for the worst.
At the same time that God warned the Egyptians, He also lovingly prepared his people.
Specifics Instructions For Keeping The Days of Unleavened Bread
God spoke to Moses and Aaron and gave the instructions for the very first Passover and the keeping of The Spring Holy Days and for keeping The Seven Days of Unleavened Bread:
“This month is to be for you the first month, the first month of your year. Tell the whole community of Israel that on the tenth day of this month each man is to take a lamb for his family, one for each household. If any household is too small for a whole lamb, they must share one with their nearest neighbor, having taken into account the number of people there are. You are to determine the amount of lamb needed in accordance with what each person will eat. The animals you choose must be year old males without defect, and you may take them from the sheep or the goats. Take care of them until the fourteenth day of the month, when all the members of the community of Israel must slaughter them at twilight. Then they are to take some of the blood and put it on the sides and tops of the door frames of the houses where they eat the lambs. That same night they are to eat the meat roasted over the fire, along with bitter herbs, and bread made without yeast. Do not eat the meat raw or boiled in water, but roast it over a fire – with the head, legs and internal organs. Do not leave any of it till morning; if some is left till morning, you must burn it. This is how you are to eat it: with your cloak tucked into your belt, your sandals on your feet and your staff in your hand. Eat it in haste; it is the LORD’s Passover. On that same night I will pass through Egypt and strike down every firstborn of both people and animals, and I will bring judgment on all the gods of Egypt. I am the LORD. The blood will be a sign for you on the houses where you are, and when I see the blood, I will pass over you. No destructive plague will touch you when I strike Egypt. This is a day you are to commemorate, for the generations to come you shall celebrate it as a festival to the LORD – a lasting ordinance. For seven days you are to eat bread made without yeast. On the first day remove the yeast from your houses, for whoever eats anything with yeast in it from the first day through the seventh must be cut off from Israel. On the first day hold a sacred assembly, and another one on the seventh day. Do not work at all on these days, except to prepare food for everyone to eat that is all you may do. 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. 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. For seven days no yeast is to be found in your houses. And anyone, whether foreigner or native-born, who eats anything with yeast in it must be cut off from the community of Israel. Eat nothing made with yeast. Where ever you live, you must eat unleavened bread.”
Did you grasp those words from God speaking to His people?
Are we not His people today?
How Do These Instructions Apply to Us?
Our Savior Jesus Christ has made all Christians living today acceptable unto God. We are now accepted as the adopted sons of The Family of God. Yes these instructions given so long ago have been fulfilled in Christ as our Passover Lamb; but did we forget what God originally instructed about The Spring Holy Days?
Did He not say this would be a lasting ordinance?
Did God not say to keep the seven-day festival of unleavened bread and to remove the yeast from our homes before it started?
Yes; it is all symbolic of how the story has been fulfilled in Christ; but did God not give that command that it would be kept throughout ALL generations?
Do you not think He wanted us to do this so that we would NEVER forget how He showed us He was the One and ONLY GOD?
Do you celebrate Passover and God’s Spring Holy Days by keeping the Passover and The 7 day festival of Unleavened Bread? If not; I would ask you to look at your firstborn. Has God not spared them? Why not honor this request of God in your life today?
How Does Keeping These Spring Holy Days Honor God?
Can we not have the faith of Moses and keep the feast of The Seven Days of Unleavened Bread and The Spring Holy Days of Passover in remembrance of how God, by giving his firstborn son, has given us freedom from bondage, first from physical bondage to false gods, and second from spiritual bondage from our own sins, and from Satan and his demons?
Surely we can keep a festival before God and remember as He commanded us to do so long ago!
Have we all become as hard-hearted as Pharaoh?
Has the land become so full of the pagan things of ungodly people instead of the ways of The Great God of Heaven and Earth?
Will we forget The Days of Unleavened Bread during His Spring Holy Days?
Will we be guilty of giving God reason to turn His back away again? Isn’t that how the people ended up being slaves in the first place?
Each man must be accountable to God. If someone is telling you that none of this is important and it has all passed away with the ancient people; just remember that person will not be standing before God in your place on the last day. YOU are accountable to God for what you do in your own life and with your own household; just as Pharaoh was accountable to God for making his country believe in false idols. Everything that God said back then was important; and it still stands today. God doesn’t waste words. He never changes.
Praise God! Like the slaves of Egypt who eventually became the nation of Israel; we are free at last! Let us keep the festivals of freedom that God has decreed for us to honor Him and His ways; just as the Israelites kept them when they first gained their physical freedom.
Isn’t it wonderful to know that we now have spiritual freedom? It is much greater to have spiritual freedom than to have physical freedom. We have so much more to honor God with at our annual festivals today. The Israelites gained physical freedom and were formed into a nation. We gained the freedom of our souls and were formed into God’s church! We gained these gifts for all of eternity. It is an everlasting freedom that will not fade away.
Let us honor God The Father with our whole heart by keeping His word and following His instructions; which would be totally opposite to the Egyptians who did not listen to God’s instructions to Moses. Let us not turn a deaf ear; but let us be hearing and doing!
Let us remove the leaven for seven days; just as God instructed in Exodus 12: 17-20!
Let us observe the Passover annually and remember that it is our God through Christ His Son who gives us freedom!
Salvation Does Not Depend on Keeping God’s Holy Days; But Should That Be A Reason For Taking Them For Granted?
Christ died for our sins and if we are trusting and believing on Him we are forgiven. Whether we physically celebrate these festivals of God or not; we will still be completely saved. However, this act of honor and obedience is the difference in cherishing and obeying what God has done for us and/or taking it all for granted.
So it was that Moses summoned the elders of Israel and said to them;
“Go at once and select the animals for your families and slaughter the Passover lamb. Take a bunch of hyssop, dip it into the blood in the basin and put some of the blood on the top and on both sides of the door frame. None of you shall go out of the door of your house until morning. When the LORD goes through the land to strike down the Egyptians, he will see the blood on the top and sides of the door frame and will pass over that doorway, and he will not permit the destroyer to enter your houses and strike you down. Obey these instructions as a lasting ordinance for you and your descendants. When you enter the land that the LORD will give you as he promised, observe this ceremony. And when your children ask you, ‘What does this ceremony mean to you? Then tell them, ‘It is the Passover sacrifice to the LORD, who passed over the houses of the Israelites in Egypt and spared our homes when he struck down the Egyptians.”
After Moses spoke this, the people bowed down before God and worshiped. The Israelites did just as God had commanded Moses and Aaron.
Midnight arrived. God struck down the firstborn of all of Egypt, from the house of Pharaoh to the firstborn of the prisoner in the dungeon, as well as the firstborn of all of the Egyptian livestock that had survived the plagues. Pharaoh and his officials woke up during the night to the sound of loud wailing throughout Egypt. There was not one house without someone dead, including Pharaoh’s beloved firstborn son.