Saturday, April 4, 2015

The Days of Unleavened Bread

After Passover comes the Days of Unleavened Bread. This is a festival commanded by God (Exodus 13:3-10, Leviticus 23:1, 6-8). The basic instructions for keeping it are in the Old Testament, but the meaning of this festival is revealed in the New Testament. This is a festival that traditional, mainstream churches do not observe and the Jews do not understand. The Jews understand only the Old Testament representation, that these days represent coming out of Egypt, but they do not understand the greater meaning in the plan of God.

Leavening can represent sin. For seven days we avoid leavening and leavened foods. This represents putting sin out of our lives. We also eat unleavened bread every day. This represents putting the righteousness of Christ in our lives (1 Corinthians 5:6-8).

We are to get all the leavening and leavened foods out of our homes, or out of the spaces we control (such as a room in a house where family members are not in the Church - you can make sure leavening is out of your own room or whatever space you control even if you cannot put leavening out of the whole house because other members of that household do not keep this festival). We should do this before sunset that begins the first day of unleavened bread. We should do reasonable cleaning (but don't spend so much time on cleaning that you neglect spiritual study) and we should throw out or consume any leavening we find before the days of unleavened bread occur.

Then for seven days we should be careful to eat no leavened food and to get rid of any leavening or leavened food we find in our homes that we may have missed getting rid of before the days of unleavened bread.

The first and last days of unleavened bread are annual sabbaths and holy days, and those are days of rest and assembly (Leviticus 23:6-8)

Passover represents what God does for us in giving us Jesus Christ as a sacrifice to pay the penalty of sin so we can be forgiven. But we have our part to do to put sin out of our lives, and that is what the days of unleavened bread represent. We are to repent (Acts 2:38-39), and we are to overcome (Revelation 3:12-13, 21-22). We repent of sin and of our sinful nature. Sin is the transgression of the law, or lawlessness (1 John 3:4), and we must repent of breaking God's spiritual law. We are also to strive to resist temptation to sin. We must learn to practice righteousness. This is what the days of unleavened bread represent.

Repentance is not a one time thing we do at baptism. We must continually repent as we identify sin in our lives. It is a life long process. We need to repent. We need to put sin out of our lives. We need to put God's righteousness into our lives. We need to resist temptations, break bad habits, and overcome.

We need to even monitor and control our very thoughts, rejecting thoughts that come into our minds that tempt us to sin or are contrary to God's spiritual law of love. "For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ" (2 Corinthians 10:4-5).

But to do this, we need God's help. We need the help of God's Holy Spirit. We cannot do it by ourselves alone. Yet, we must make the effort, even maximum effort. God requires we do our part. So we should pray for God's help to overcome sin, we should trust in that help, and at the same time we should make the maximum effort we can to resist temptations and overcome our sin.

We also have the tools of Bible study, prayer, meditation, and fasting to help us draw closer to God and receive more help to overcome sin, as the Church of God has taught.

There are various lessons we learn about sin in keeping the days of unleavened bread. For example, it takes effort to clean our houses and examine every corner to make sure we get all the leavening out. This reminds us of the effort we must make to identify and put sin out of our lives. We must be continuously diligent during the days of unleavened bread to make sure we do not accidently forget and eat leavened bread someplace, and this illustrates the diligence we must exercise to avoid sin in our lives. And from time to time we might discover during the days of unleavened bread that we missed something in our house, a piece of bread or crackers or something leavened in a corner or out-of-the-way place, and we have to get rid of it, and this teaches the lesson that we may find sin in our lives we were not aware of before, and when we do, we must get rid of it.

This festival is an annual reminder that God gives us to teach us the lesson of overcoming sin and learning to practice God's way of life.

Here are links to posts related to this subject:

"Do We Overcome Sin by Our Power or by God's Power?", dated April 20, 2011, link:

"Stay Far from the Edge", dated April 6, 2012, link:

"Repentance", dated April 11, 2012, link:

"Count the Cost", dated March 14, 2013, link:

"We Must Overcome by God's Power AND Our Power", dated March 25, 2013, link:

"How Faith Works with Repentance", dated March 26, 2013, link:

"Will There Be Anger In God's Kingdom?", dated March 27, 2013, link:

"Beware of Those Who Preach Against Organization", dated March 28, 2013, link:

"Building the Wall", dated March 29, 2013, link:

"What Is the Church of God's Greatest Sin?", dated February 27, 2014, link:

"False Repentance Movement in the Church of God", dated March 28, 2014, link:

"Overcoming Sin", dated April 17, 2014, link:

Here are links to related chapters or sections in Preaching the Gospel:

The Days of Unleavened Bread - Repentance, Chapter 2

How to Obtain More of God's Help in Breaking Bad Habits, Chapter 7

Chapter 9 - Repentance

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