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Hag HaMatza – The Feast of Unleavened Bread

Today, Jews consider Pesach (Passover) as an eight day holiday (outside the Land of Israel). The last two days are Yomim Tovim – Festivals. These festivals are called Shevi’i shel Pesach (The Seventh Day of the Passover) and Acharon shel Pesach (the last day of the Passover)

After the destruction of the Second Temple (the temple rebuilt by Zerubbabel after the Babylonian captivity and expanded upon by King Herod), Jews were unable to continue with the sacrificial system and were not allowed to own land in the Diaspora. Judaism no longer could be practiced as biblical Judaism. For the last nineteen centuries Jews have been practicing rabbinical Judaism. Modern religious practice is based upon interpretation by the revered scholars. For example, since no atonement offering can be made upon the altar of the Temple, Jews offer up the praise of their lips (sacrifice of praise), and money given to the poor (zed dacha), studying the Law (Torah) and mitzvoth (good works.

A great rescue plan developed to save the Jewish nation and enable it to survive in the lands of exile until such time as God decided to bring it home. A new way of life was shaped, based on an entire legal-halachic system (rabbinic interpretation of the Torah), designed to bring the Jew into a framework of distinct behavior that would separate him or her from outside society by a kind of invisible wall. The Jew was to remember at all times that he or she was not a full part of his/her neighbors’ world; that the neighbors’ concept of God and God’s world was different from that of the Jews; and that the Jew was not at home in the neighbors’ land. On the contrary, the Jew had another land, which was never to be forgotten – the Jew must always remember the reality of Galut (living outside of the Promised Land.

It was at this point and for this reason that the rabbinic authorities, who became the architects of Jewish national existence, built this idea into Jewish life in such a way that it would be accepted and not forgotten by all Jews throughout the world.

  • Jews would face Jerusalem in prayer. 

In those prayers Jews would regularly remind themselves of their state of Galut (exile) and would pray to God to end the exile and to bring the exiles back home.

  • Traditions, both domestic and communal would be developed to confront the Jew with constant reminders of the unnatural situation. Glasses would be broken at weddings, walls would be left unplastered and songs would be sung – all to remind the Jew of the Land left behind. 
  • On each festival, ritual elements were added to remind the Jews of the Land and the Temple that had been lost – but would be theirs again. Rituals formerly observed at the site of the Temple in the previous era were now relocated and woven into home and community life around the world. 

All these acts connected the Jew in with Eretz Yisrael (the land of Israel). Jews could live at all four corners of the earth, but ritually they lived in the land of Israel, tied in through the details of ritual to a calendar and a reality that existed in the land they called their home.

Jews celebrate Passover as an eight day festival outside of Israel in an effort to both keep the Law and remember the Promised Land. The notion is to observe the seventh day as a Sabbath as the Law of Moses directs and also enable Jews, living on the other side of the International Date Line, to celebrate on the same day as if they lived in Jerusalem.

The Bible commands that the Passover be celebrated as a one day observance followed by a seven-day festival known as the Feast of Unleavened Bread. The single day of Passover emphasizes that redemption is a once for all time event:

Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; Hebrews 9:27-28a

“This is the covenant I will make with them after that time,says the LORD.I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them on their minds.”Then He adds: “Their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more.” And where these have been forgiven, there is no longer any sacrifice for sin. Hebrews 10:16-18

The Passover is a picture of the redemption of the believer. The Lamb of God is God’s provision for salvation. In a single night, after 400 years of bondage in Egypt, the LORD provided both a redeemer (Moses) and a covering of lamb’s blood (atonement) so that his chosen people would escape slavery and death of the first born. Fifty days later, God gave his people the Law written on tablets of stone. In the fullness of time, God provided Christ the Redeemer who offered up his atoning blood to free us from the bondage of sin. By the indwelling presence of the Holy spirit, God has written his law on our hearts and minds.

“Let no yeast be found in your possession in all your land for seven days. Do not let any of the meat you sacrifice on the evening of the first day remain until morning.” Deuteronomy 16:4“Do not leave any of it till morning; if some is left till morning, you must burn it.”  Exodus 12:10

While the Passover typifies redemption, the seven-day Feast of Unleavened Bread is a type or picture of a life in which sin has been removed (the process of sanctification of the believer).

The disciples had forgotten to bring bread, except for one loaf they had with them in the boat. “Be careful,” Jesus warned them. “Watch out for the yeast of the Pharisees and that of Herod.” They discussed this with one another and said, “It is because we have no bread.”

Aware of their discussion, Jesus asked them: “Why are you talking about having no bread? Do you still not see or understand? Are your hearts hardened? Do you have eyes but fail to see, and ears but fail to hear? And don’t you remember? When I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many basketfuls of pieces did you pick up?” “Twelve,” they replied.”

And when I broke the seven loaves for the four thousand, how many basketfuls of pieces did you pick up?” They answered, “Seven.”

He said to them, “Do you still not understand?”  Mark 8:14-21

Herod was the son of the King of Judea, Herod the Great, who tried to kill the infant Jesus. Herod was the Tetrarch of the Galilee who arrested and beheaded John the Baptist. His sins the yeast of Herod) were a hunger for power, pursuit of worldly riches and fleshly lusts.

To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everybody else, Jesus told this parable:

“Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men–robbers, evildoers, adulterers–or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’ “But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’

“I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”  Luke 18:9-14

The leaven of the Pharisees was pride, hypocrisy and legalism.

Aware of their discussion, Jesus asked, “You of little faith, why are you talking among yourselves about having no bread? Do you still not understand? Don’t you remember the five loaves for the five thousand, and how many basketfuls you gathered? Or the seven loaves for the four thousand, and how many basketfuls you gathered? How is it you don’t understand that I was not talking to you about bread? But be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” Then they understood that he was not telling them to guard against the yeast used in bread, but against the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees.  Matthew 16:8-12

Then the Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came to him with a question. “Teacher,” they said, “Moses wrote for us that if a man’s brother dies and leaves a wife but no children, the man must marry the widow and have children for his brother. Now there were seven brothers. The first one married and died without leaving any children. The second one married the widow, but he also died, leaving no child. It was the same with the third. In fact, none of the seven left any children. Last of all, the woman died too. At the resurrection whose wife will she be, since the seven were married to her?

Jesus replied, “Are you not in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God? When the dead rise, they will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven. Now about the dead rising–have you not read in the book of Moses, in the account of the bush, how God said to him, ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? He is not the God of the dead, but of the living. You are badly mistaken!” Mark 12:18-27

The Sadducees denied the spiritual realm and the resurrection. The Sadducees were the aristocrats – persons of wealth and rank. They only affirmed what was written in the Law of Moses. Their leaven was they did not know the Scriptures or the power of God. They are much like the “rich and famous” of today. They, like modern day evolutionists, deny the spirit realm, the truth of the Bible and the power of God as Creator and Lord.