For a Christian, what is the significance of Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread? I’ve studied God’s ‘appointed times’ for many years but recently I discovered some new information that greatly expanded my understanding and appreciation of this mandatory event in God’s annual calendar.
So, what is the significance of Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread? During the Feast of Unleavened Bread Christians should:
- ‘Eat’ the Passover Lamb
- Identify and remove leaven: manmade traditions and teachings
- Prepare for the ‘Greater Exodus’ that is coming in our future
In chapter 23 of the Biblical Book of Leviticus God commanded His people to celebrate seven ‘appointed times’ every year. These events are prophetic types that reveal God’s plan for mankind’s redemption and the re-establishment of His kingdom over all the earth. The 7 ‘appointed times’ are:
- Unleavened Bread
In this post, I’ll focus on the first two events, Passover and Unleavened Bread, from a Christian perspective.
Eat the Passover Lamb
To learn many fascinating and compelling details about Passover and Unleavened Bread, including an excellent timeline for Jesus’ final week on earth, I highly recommend you watch this video:
Old Testament Passover Experience and Symbolism
“Now the LORD said to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, “This month is the beginning of months for you; it shall be the first month of your year.
Tell the whole congregation of Israel that on the tenth day of this month, each man must select a lamb for his family, one per household. If the household is too small for a whole lamb, they are to share with the nearest neighbor, based on the number of people, and apportion the lamb accordingly.
Your lamb must be an unblemished-year-old male, and you may take it from the sheep or the goats. You must care for it until the fourteenth day of the month when the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel will slaughter the animals at twilight. They are to take some of the blood and put it on the two sideposts and tops of the doorframes of the houses in which they eat the lambs.
They are to eat the meat that night, roasted over the fire, along with unleavened bread and bitter herbs.
Do not eat any of the meat raw or cooked in boiling water, but only roasted over the fire—its head and legs and inner parts. Do not leave any of it until morning; before the morning you must burn up any part that is left over. This is how you are to eat it: You must be fully dressed for travel, with your sandals on your feet and your staff in your hand. You are to eat in haste; it is the LORD’s Passover. On that night I will pass through the land of Egypt and strike down every firstborn male, both man and beast, and I will execute judgment against all the gods of Egypt. I am the LORD. The blood on the houses where you are staying will distinguish them; when I see the blood, I will pass over you. No plague will fall on you to destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt.
And this day will be a memorial for you, and you are to celebrate it as a feast to the LORD, as a lasting ordinance for the generations to come. For seven days you must eat unleavened bread. On the first day, you are to remove the yeast from your houses. Whoever eats anything leavened from the first day through the seventh must be cut off from Israel.
On the first day, you are to hold a sacred assembly, and another on the seventh day. You must not do any work on those days, except to prepare the meals—that is all you may do.
So you are to observe the Feast of Unleavened Bread, for on this very day I brought your divisions out of the land of Egypt. You must observe this day as a lasting ordinance for the generations to come.” (Exodus 12:1-17)
Passover and the Exodus from Egypt
If you’ve seen The Ten Commandments movie, starring Charleton Heston, you know the first Passover happened when the death angel killed all the firstborn children and animals of the Egyptians. The death angel ‘passed over’ each Israelite family that applied an innocent lamb’s blood to the doorposts of their houses.
That evening, the Israelites roasted and ate the sacrificial lambs, along with bread that didn’t have time to leaven, just before they hurriedly departed Egypt and miraculously crossed the Red Sea.
The Passover Commemoration
In Exodus 12 (above) and Leviticus chapter 23, God told Israel to commemorate their deliverance from Egyptian bondage every year by sacrificing a lamb on the 14th of Nisan (the first month) and eating it’s roasted flesh that evening.
The 15th of Nisan began at sundown, a few hours after the lambs were killed. Unlike our days that begin at midnight, Bible days start at sundown, as in this verse from Genesis chapter one.
“And there was evening, and there was morning—the first day.” (Genesis 1:5)
A Perpetual Feast
The Feast of Unleavened Bread is a permanent ordinance, for all time.
“This is a day to remember. Each year, from generation to generation, you must celebrate it as a special festival to YHWH. This is a law for all time.” (Exodus 12:14)
Jesus Is Our Passover
As you learned in the video above, Passover isn’t a day. In the annual commemoration, “The Lord’s Passover” is the actual sacrifice of our lamb for our sins, whether it’s a yearling sheep or Jesus, the Lamb of God.
At 3 pm on the 14th of Nisan, the Passover lambs were killed in God’s temple. At exactly the same time, Jesus was dying on the cross as the Lamb of God.
New Testament Passover Fulfillment
“Get rid of the old yeast, that you may be a new unleavened batch, as you really are. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed.” (1 Corinthians 5:7)
Jesus not only perfectly fulfilled the symbolism of the Passover Lamb, delivering us from our bondage to sin and the fear of death, but He was sacrificed at exactly the same time as the Jewish priests were sacrificing the Jewish Passover lambs in the temple.
Jesus was buried in Joseph of Arimathea’s tomb just before sundown on Nisan 14. Sundown is the start of Nisan 15, and then begins the Feast of Unleavened Bread.
To Live You Must Eat My Flesh | I am the Living Bread
During His ministry Jesus totally astonished all of His followers when He said,
“ Truly, truly, I tell you, he who believes has eternal life. I am the bread of life. Your forefathers ate the manna in the wilderness, yet they died. This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that anyone may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. And this bread, which I will give for the life of the world, is My flesh.” (John 6:47-51)
At the last supper He said,
“For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: that the Lord Jesus, on the night He was betrayed, took bread, and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “This is My body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” In the same way, after supper He took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood; do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.” (1 Corinthians 11:24)
Jesus is our Passover sacrifice. Just as the Israelites ate their sacrificial lamb during the Feast of Unleavened Bread, so we must feed on the Lamb of God who has become a life-giving Spirit.
“The first man Adam became a living being;” the last Adam a life-giving spirit.” (1 Corinthians 15:45)
Identify and Remove Leaven: Manmade Traditions and Teachings
Many Jews and Christians struggle to understand God’s commandment to purge all the leaven from our houses for one week each year. For an excellent perspective on what leaven is, and what it symbolically represents, watch this video:
In light of the teaching in this video, during the annual Feast of Unleavened Bread God primarily wants us to introspectively examine our hearts and minds to identify and remove any ‘leaven’ of manmade teachings or traditions that contradict or try to replace God’s word.
Prepare for the ‘Greater Exodus’ in Our Future
Just as the children of Israel fled Egypt in ‘the exodus’ under Moses, the Bible tells us there’s a Greater Exodus in our future.
In the Egyptian exodus, God delivered one nation, but in the future, Greater Exodus God will deliver His people out of all the nations of the earth. This coming exodus will totally eclipse and replace the Egyptian exodus in the minds of all God’s people.
“Yet behold, the days are coming, declares the LORD, when men will no longer say, ‘As surely as the LORD lives, who brought the Israelites up out of the land of Egypt.’ Instead they will say, ‘As surely as the LORD lives, who brought the Israelites up out of the land of the north and all the other lands to which He had banished them.’ For I will return them to their land that I gave to their ancestors.” (Jeremiah 16:14-15)
For reasons I explain in #1c and #7 of The Coming Great Tribulation | Sequence Of End Time Events, I believe the Greater Exodus will happen just after the great tribulation begins.
The ‘abomination of desolation‘ (AoD) will initiate the 3.5-year great tribulation. Since the 7th Trumpet at the end of the tribulation will certainly coincide with the autumn feasts of Trumpets, Atonement, and Tabernacles, this means the AoD will coincide with the spring feast of Passover and Unleavened Bread 3.5 years earlier.
I believe that just as God delivered Moses and the Israelites from Egypt on the 15th of Nisan, I expect God will initiate the Greater Exodus in our future on Nisan 15. Just as God told the Israelites the words below, so they will apply to us in the future.
“This is how you are to eat it: You must be fully dressed for travel, with your sandals on your feet and your staff in your hand. You are to eat in haste; it is the LORD’s Passover.“
To learn more about the Greater Exodus, here are two references:
- The Sequence of End-Time Events
- The video below from Lion & Lamb Ministries
The perpetual Feast of Unleavened Bread teaches us that we must always remember:
- Our Passover Lamb’s sacrifice that gives us forgiveness and life
- To cleanse our mind and heart from the leaven of manmade traditions
- The deliverance God provides for our souls, as well as our bodies in the future, Greater Exodus.