The Jewish Feasts: Part 7, Unleavened Bread

My last two blog entries dealt with the Jewish Feast of Passover, its preparation (including the sacrifices) during the preceding days, the actual Biblical Feast, lasting only through the twilight time between Nisan 14 and 15, and it’s correct relationship to Biblical Soteriology. Today I’m moving on to the second Feast, Unleavened Bread.

Unleavened Bread is the second of the Spring Feasts, and in fact it spans the entire seven days now traditionally called “Passover“. The first and last days of the feast are “convocations”, or Sabbaths, no matter on which day of the week they occur. The Saturday Sabbath within this seven-day span is considered an “especially holy Sabbath”, particularly if it falls on Nisan 15. If the Saturday Sabbath and either of the holiday Sabbaths occur on consecutive days, then cooking and other related Sabbath prohibitions are relaxed during the first of the two days.

Deuteronomy 16:16-17 (ESV) designates three days each year as regalim, or “pilgrim festivals“, which all ritually clean adult males (12 and above) are required to attend:

[16] “Three times a year all your males shall appear before the LORD your God at the place that he will choose: at the Feast of Unleavened Bread, at the Feast of Weeks, and at the Feast of Booths. They shall not appear before the LORD empty-handed. [17] Every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessing of the LORD your God that he has given you.

In practice, attendance during Unleavened Bread is only required until the end of the first full day. In fact, many Jews started home on Nisan 16, though many stayed for the entire week. I am confident that an early return to Nazareth was the context in which Jesus’ family left him behind as recorded in

Luke 2:41-47 (CJB)
[41] Every year Yeshua’s* parents went to Yerushalayim* for the festival of Pesach*. [42] When he was twelve years old, they went up for the festival, as custom required. [43] But after the festival was over, when his parents returned, Yeshua* remained in Yerushalayim*. They didn’t realize this; [44] supposing that he was somewhere in the caravan, they spent a whole day on the road before they began searching for him among their relatives and friends. [45] Failing to find him, they returned to Yerushalayim* to look for him. [46] On the third day they found him—he was sitting in the Temple court among the rabbis*, not only listening to them but questioning what they said; [47] and everyone who heard him was astonished at his insight and his responses
.

Adapted from Rose Guide to the Temple,
© Copyright 2012 Bristol Works, Inc.

Where in Jerusalem was Jesus most likely “sitting … among the rabbis? Most likely on these stone steps (on the Temple diagram) or on the porch at their top (the Hel). The rabbis mentioned were probably Pharisee members of the Sanhedrin, who at that time regularly convened in the Chamber of Hewn Stone (below the arrow). During times like this they would often walk out to the porch to talk to worshippers and answer theological questions.

Historically, Exodus 12:39 (CJB) records that the Israelites prepared unleavened dough for their flight from Egypt: [39] 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. Leaven later came to prefigure sin to Israel, so that the removal of leaven from the Land during this feast symbolized the removal of sin–i.e., sanctification.

By His crucifixion, Jesus bought our salvation, in all its aspects. His crucifixion is seen in all of the Feasts, and each Feast prefigures at least one of those aspects. It turns out that important events in either Jesus’ first or second advent have evidently occurred or are scheduled to occur on Feast days relevant in some way to the events themselves. So far:

  1. Passover symbolized redemption from slavery (to Egypt/to Sin), and it was precisely on the Feast of Passover (during the Seder) that Jesus proclaimed the New Covenant as foretold in Jeremiah 31:32 (CJB),: [32] (33)“For this is the covenant I will make with the house of Isra’el* after those days,” says ADONAI*: “I will put my Torah* within them and write it on their hearts; I will be their God, and they will be my people.
  2.  Unleavened Bread symbolized Sanctification, or removal from Israel (of Egypt/of Sin), and it was precisely on the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread that Jesus was crucified to provide salvation, including payment for, and sanctification from, sin.

Table of Contents: The Jewish Feasts
Start of Series: The Jewish Feasts: Part 1, Chapter Introduction
Previous in Series: The Jewish Feasts: Part 6, The Lamb of God
Next in Series: The Jewish Feasts: Part 8, Early Firstfruits

Author: Ron Thompson

Retired President of R. L Thompson Engineering, Inc.

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