The Days of Unleavened Bread begin and end with Holy Days. These annual high Sabbaths are holy convocations in which we are to come together as God has commanded (Leviticus 23:6-8). There are some things though that we need to do ahead of time in order to observe this holy time properly.
For seven days we are not to have leaven (leavening agents for bread products) or leavened products in our house – also we are to eat leavened bread each day of the feast (Exodus12:15-20; 13:3-7; 23:15; 34:18; Deuteronomy 16:3).
Leaven symbolizes sin and it is necessary for us to put it out of our lives. Israel coming out of Egypt at this time of the year also symbolized this same act, coming out of sin. So God asks us each year to remember this part of His plan of saving His people from sin as we also “come out of sin” by removing leavening from our life.
Areas That Need Cleaning
We are to remove leaven from the areas that we have control over. Scriptures show us that we are to remove it from our quarters, houses and territory (Exodus 12:15, 19; 13:7; Deuteronomy 16:4). This would include any area that we have brought leavened products into, including vehicles, our office space, outdoor buildings on our property, and obvious bread products in the yard.
Types of Leavening Agents
The most common types of leavening are yeast and baking powder. These products cause bread and associated items to rise. All of these agents and products should be removed from your life for the week.
Typical Leavened Products
Bread, bagels, cake, crackers, cookies, crepes, croutons, donuts, flour tortillas, graham crackers, ice cream cones, pancakes, pita bread, pizza, self-rising flour, and waffles.
Some of these do – Some don’t:
batters (for chicken, fish, etc), breakfast cereals, candy/candy bars, matzos (even Kosher ones), pies.
These products are NOT typically leavened, but be careful and be sure and read the ingredients:
angel food cake, cream puffs, pie crust, popovers and sponge cake.
This is not a comprehensive list, but as you can tell, just like sin, leavening can appear in your life in the most unsuspecting places. It is good to begin reading all labels, especially when in doubt.
In the days leading up to this festival season, we should be diligent to remove all leavening and leavened products from our home. The reality of the endeavor is, that it would be impossible without God to remove every last crumb and yeast spore from our life – that being said this should not be used as an excuse to do a less than adequate job in “deleavening” our responsible areas.
All of your deleavening needs to be finished before the First Day of Unleavened Bread which begins at sunset the night before. In order to have it all off of your property before the beginning of the holy day, you need to make sure that you put it in the trash before the last pick-up preceding the Days of Unleavened Bread. PS Don’t forget to empty the vacuum cleaner!
All of that being said, we can not be remiss in planning spiritually for the Days of Unleavened Bread. This should be considered when physically deleavening. Be sure and leave enough time to consider why God has us perform these tasks and what they mean for us today.
This is not just an Old Testament ritual that the Israelites did when they came out of Egypt, but one that is meant for us today as spiritual Israelites (Romans 2:28-29; Galatians 6:15-16). Not only did Christ observe this feast (Luke 2:41-43; Matthew 26:17), but it was continued in New Testament times by His apostles and disciples after His resurrection (Acts 20:6; 1 Corinthians 5:6-8).
Christ used the symbol of leaven to represent the wrong doctrines and hypocrisy of the Pharisees (Luke 12:1; Matthew 16:11-12). They were not righteous though they pretended to be – in the same way we must make sure that we replace the wrong characteristics of our life with the righteousness of God through His Son (Romans 3:22; 5:17, 21).
Spiritually speaking sin enslaves us (Romans 6:6) just as Egypt enslaved the Israelites. By the power of God through the holy spirit we seek to break free of sin and its reign in our lives (Romans 6:12).
Time of Reflection
Although we should be introspective throughout the year, it is particularly in the season before the Spring holy days that we should give extra care and attention to our walk in the faith. (1 Corinthians 11:28, 31; Lamentations 3:40; 2 Corinthians 13:5). We should examine how we measure up to the example Christ set for us; His mind in and life in us (Ephesians 4:13; 1 Peter 2:21; Philippians 2:5; John 15:4).
Putting Sin Out
One of the main lessons of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, is that we are to put sin out of our lives, which is symbolized by the putting of leaven out of our lives (1 Corinthians 5:2, 6-8). There are many lessons that can be gleaned in the process of cleaning as we meditate on the parallels between sin and leavening in our lives – these principles should be applied primarily to the removal of sin from our personal lives.
Putting Christ On
Probably the most important aspect of this feast is found in the meaning of unleavened bread. If leaven represents sin, then the unleavened bread symbolizes righteousness and Christ that we are to put on (Matthew 26:26; Matthew 4:4; John 6:35; Romans 13:14; Galatians 2:20). Through this process we continue to displace our carnal sinful nature with the holy righteous character of God (Romans 6:4; Ephesians 4:22-24).