“So you keep the Passover?” the man asked. “I thought that was just a Jewish holiday.”
Then I asked him, “Do you happen to practice communion?”
“Yes, every Sunday,” he responded.
“Then you keep a trace of the Passover,” I told him. “The problem is that what you and many others observe has become disconnected from the original truth and meaning of the death memorial of Yahshua.”
The Passover as the original event of His death is an annual observance, not a weekly, semimonthly or monthly event. It commemorates the slaying of the Passover lamb on the 14th of Abib, which looked forward to the ultimate sacrifice of Yahshua the Messiah. He fulfilled what the lamb only foreshadowed. He provided the greater sacrifice that not just covered the sin, but also removed its penalty for those who trust in Him.
He as our example kept the Passover annually, as did His earthly parents and His ancestors before that. The Passover is a New Testament observance every bit as important as it was in the Old Testament. Even more so, considering the ramifications for sin.
The Passover is not an option but a necessity for our salvation. Anyone in Israel who did not observe it was cut off, Numbers 9:13. Yahweh’s people require the protection and payment for their sin that Yahshua’s blood provides. Without it we must pay our own penalty of eternal death. That is why the Passover is essential for us today.
His blood was foreshadowed by Israel’s placing the blood of the lamb on the doorposts, which protected them from the death angel. Similarly, Yahweh’s “Israel” today must be protected from everlasting death through His shed blood. Passover is filled with meaning directly related to our very salvation. Churchianity lost that significance when it traded the Passover observance for the Easter celebration allegedly honoring His resurrection. But there is no command in Scripture to keep a memorial to His resurrection. No one in the Bible ever did.
In the communion they have also torn the memorial of the cup and bread away from Passover and created a hybrid to add additional spiritual dimension to the mostly secular Easter observance, complete with its own time and meaning.
Keeping the Passover daily, weekly or monthly would have done Israel no good. Yahweh would not have honored it because He had told them exactly when to keep it, and He never allowed anyone to fiddle with His laws. His command is the same for us today:
“These are the feasts of Yahweh, even holy convocations, which you shall proclaim in their seasons. In the fourteenth day of the first month at even is Yahweh’s Passover. And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the feast of unleavened bread unto the Yahweh: seven days you must eat unleavened bread. In the first day you shall have an holy convocation: you shall do no servile work therein,” Leviticus 23:4-8.
Substituting other rites and times for what is commanded is a fatal act. Revelation 22:18-19 warns, “For I testify unto every man that hears the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, Yahweh shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, Yahweh shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.”
Yahshua and His disciples all kept the Passover religiously, and He even said He would keep it again with them in the Kingdom,Matthew 26:29. Clearly this is an observance that has not gone away. This is one of the seven annual observances that are appointed in the Bible.
None of the world’s holidays have any Scriptural sanction. None of them were kept in the days of the Bible. None of them are commanded. But Yahweh’s holy days were commanded, kept and promised for a future fulfillment.
Which are you going to keep?
Passover Observed In the New Testament
∙ Yahshua ordained Passover
Matthew 26:26-28; Mark 14:12-25; Luke 22:7-20
∙ Yahshua observed Passover
Matthew 26:17-20; Luke 22:15; John 2:13, 23
∙ Yahshua’s family attended the Passover annually
∙ Yahshua impaled at the time of Passover
Matthew 26:2; Mark 14:1,2; John 18:28
∙ Yahshua is even called “our Passover”
1 Corinthians 5:7
∙ Passover continues after Yahshua
Lessons in Leavening
Eating nothing but flat bakery goods for a week may seem strange in modern society. But is it any stranger than people dressing up in rabbit suits, coloring eggs supposedly laid by rabbits, and hiding them all over the house and yard and telling children to go search for them—all to celebrate the resurrection of the Savior? Where is there any possible connection between the ritual and the observance?
Yahweh’s people have a solid Scriptural basis for what they observe. Churchianity cannot say the same when its celebrations like Easter are rooted in ancient practices of heathens and their fertility deities, then rewrapped, relabeled and inconceivably tied to a supposed Biblical holiday.
It is the Father’s Decree
Following the Passover Yahweh commanded, “You shall eat nothing leavened; in all your habitations shall you eat unleavened bread.” (Exodus 12:20) Yahweh tells us to remove what is leavened and eat only what is unleavened in an effort to teach us significant lessons.
“Seven days shall you eat unleavened bread; even the first day you shall put away leaven out of your houses: for whosoever eateth leavened bread from the first day until the seventh day, that soul shall be cut off from Israel” (Exodus 12:15).
It takes some diligence to do this as there are different kinds of leavening to watch for (see listing below).
But why does Yahweh have us avoid leavening? Why not hot sauce? Or meat? If leaven strictly represented sin, obviously it would not have been placed in other offerings presented before Yahweh (Leviticus 7:13).
We must look closely at the characteristics of leaven, its typology and metaphor to get the real teaching.
How Leavening Works
The main thing leavening does, and it does it quite well, is to spread rapidly throughout a substance.
In Matthew 13:33 Yahshua used this process to describe a parable about the Kingdom. Here His symbol of a woman refers to the assembly of believers. The truth grows as the leavening is placed in different areas. We see it at work when a believer learns of the truth and then tells friends and relatives, who in turn do the same. And thus the truth can grow exponentially.
Specifically, Yahshua was emphasizing the action of leavening – how it works and how it increases.
Yahweh’s Kingdom will grow in the same way. We are the firstfruits among many brethren. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end (Isaiah 9:7).
Matthew 13:31-32 shows how small it starts and how large it grows.
“But as it is written, Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which Yahweh hath prepared for them that love him” (1Corinthians 2:9).
We haven’t even fathomed what is designed for our future. If you have ever had the experience of traveling and coming around a bend and seeing a magnificent panorama of mountains and valleys open up before you – it takes your breath away. Perhaps that is what it will be like when Yahweh’s plan is revealed. No human experience will be able to compare to what Yahweh will one day show us!
We look through a dark glass now. We can only see shadows and images of the real thing. It is not always clear but we do the best we can. Once everything comes into sharp focus by the revealing of Yahweh, we will see why Yahweh has us doing what we do now in simple obedience.
Now let’s look specifically at what leaven represents. In Matthew 16:5-12 Yahshua discusses how the doctrine of these religious men was compared to leaven and how leaven spreads.
In Mark 8:14-15 we have the same analogy but directed at yet another type of leaven. What is the leaven of Herod? Actually it refers to the Herodians. They were members of an aristocratic Jewish group who supported the Roman government and favored the policies of Herod Antipas. They tried to trap Yahshua in not paying taxes to Rome (Matt. 22:15, 21 – “give unto Caesar”).
The leaven metaphor here deals with an evil disposition that these who were trying to entrap Yahshua had: hypocrisy, malice and wickedness. In fact, Paul talks about the same in 1Corinthians 5:6-8.
Take note how flat bread even looks humble. The opposite of prideful glory.
Verse 2 – These Corinthians were proud of themselves. “Puffed up” comes from a Greek word meaning to swell up. Leaven can refer to several things: bad doctrine; hypocrisy, malice, wickedness; self glory, insincerity; and falsity.
Why would Yahweh command leaven in the peace offering and the wave loaves for Pentecost? Certainly not because of what leaven represented, but for what leaven can do. It starts with just a little and grows. The baker would keep back a little sourdough to leaven the next batch. The use of yeast in breads is a more recent practice.
We are used in the same way by Almighty Yahweh to create a new batch of believers. The Word spreads by the influence of one or two and then grows by infusion of right teachings and good examples of living. This Feast teaches on many levels the ways and designs of Almighty Yahweh.
Get the Leavening Out
During the Feast of Unleavened Bread, Yahweh commands that no leavening be eaten or found on our premises: “Seven days shall there be no leaven found in your houses: for whosoever eats that which is leavened, even that soul shall be cut off from the congregation of Israel, whether he be a stranger, or born in the land. You shall eat nothing leavened; in all your habitations shall you eat unleavened bread,” Exodus 12:19-20.
A leavening agent (sometimes called just leavening or leaven) is a substance used in dough and batter that causes them to rise. Nearly all breads, rolls, doughnuts, and cakes are made this way and are leavened. Some pies are, too.
Included here is a list of common leavening agents found in a variety of foods that must be used up or removed by the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Incidentally, it is not acceptable to remove leavening from your property only to bring it back once the Feast is over, Exodus 12:15, 13:7. The lesson is to remove corrupting activity entirely from our lives, which leaven represents here. To bring it back at the end of the Feast confounds the purpose of the lesson.
Here are leavening agents in products to avoid during the Feast of Unleavened Bread:
active dried yeast
baking soda (sodium bicarbonate)
cream of tartar (potassium bitartrate)
Also on the list:
Beer/wine/alcohol (leavened by yeast)
Preparation H (contains yeast)
Cat and dog foods with yeast
Toothpastes with baking soda
The following are foods or ingredients not leavened, although they may be mistaken for leavening or leavened food. They pose no problem for Unleavened Bread:
- Puffed cereals Some food products are “puffed up” by mechanical means but cannot be used as a contact spreading agent. They are just puffed up by air and are not chemically leavened. They include: popcorn, beaten eggs, and air puffed cereal like puffed rice or wheat.
- Brewer’s yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) is an inactive yeast, meaning the yeasts have been killed and have no leavening ability. This is the yeast remaining after beer making. It is used as a nutrient supplement to increase the intake of B vitamins.
- Yeast extract, autolyzed yeast extract When yeast cells die, they automatically break up, a process called autolysis in which the yeasts’ digestive enzymes break their proteins down into simpler compounds. What remains is a collection of protein, fats, vitamins, minerals, and monosodium glutamate (MSG), a flavor enhancer.
- Soda pop Although its name says “soda,” soda pop is not leavened as if with bicarbonate of “soda.” It is made with carbonated water, which has been infused with carbon dioxide in a non-leavening process.
The lesson of leaven is clear. Remove the corrupting influence that leads to sin. Become pure and unleavened in a world of impurity and corruption.