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The feast of the Passover, the feast of unleavened
bread and the feast of first fruits
Most people understand that the Lordís Supper is related to the Passover. The truth is that this is only part of the picture. The Lordís Supper is actually related to two feasts of the Lord; namely, the Feast of Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread. I want to show here in this chapter that the cup of the Lordís Supper relates directly to the Feast of Passover, while the bread of the Lordís Supper relates directly to the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Although these two feasts are celebrated together, they are separate feasts (Leviticus 23:5-8) and have separate and distinct themes.
As stated above, the Feast of Passover relates directly to the cup of the Lordís Supper. The angel of death passing over the houses with the blood on the doorposts is the theme of the Passover. This theme of deliverance from death relates directly to the main theme of the cup of the Lordís Supper.
Surprisingly, the bread of the Lordís Supper relates directly to the Feast of the Unleavened Bread. According to Luke 22:7, the Lordís Supper was eaten on the Day of Unleavened Bread. During the Lordís Supper when Jesus was blessing the bread, He had unleavened bread in His hands. The unleavened bread had and has a specific meaning to the Hebrews. It was eaten to commemorate how God delivered them out of Egypt. In fact, the phrase, "out of Egypt," is the key phrase used in scripture to define the meaning of this particular kind of bread.
3You shall eat no leavened bread with it; seven days you shall eat unleavened bread with it, that is, the bread of affliction (for you came out of the land of Egypt in haste), that you may remember the day in which you came out of the land of Egypt all the days of your life. Deuteronomy 16:3
7Unleavened bread shall be eaten seven days. And no leavened bread shall be seen among you, nor shall leaven be seen among you in all your quarters. 8And you shall tell your son in that day, saying, "This is done because of what the LORD did for me when I came up from Egypt.' 9It shall be as a sign to you on your hand and as a memorial between your eyes, that the LORD's law may be in your mouth; for with a strong hand the LORD has brought you out of Egypt. Exodus 13:7-9
3 And Moses said to the people: "Remember this day in which you went out of Egypt, out of the house of bondage; for by strength of hand the LORD brought you out of this place. No leavened bread shall be eaten. Exodus 13:3
In Deuteronomy 16:3 the bread was eaten to commemorate the day that the Hebrews were delivered out of Egypt. Jesus had this bread in His hands when He said, "This is My body which is given for you...."(Luke 22:19) In other words, He was saying that this bread which symbolizes deliverance out of Egypt now symbolizes deliverance out of sin through His body given for you. This broken bread stands for the fact that your body of sin (pride, selfishness, self consciousness, bondage) is broken in your lives because of that one day in history when His body was broken on the cross for you. By grace, you were crucified with Him on that day. By grace, you were included in His death.
Manís worst enemy is himself; thus, Jesus solved manís most pressing problem. What complete liberation and freedom; just to know that we do not have to be stuck up on ourselves. The bread declares that we have the authority to reckon this body of sin to be dead and to be a vessel for God to live through by His Spirit.
Thus, the Feast of Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread each have a specific theme. The Feast of Passover has the theme of deliverance from judgment of the Egyptians. The Feast of Unleavened Bread has the theme of deliverance out of Egypt.
To summarize; the two feasts of the Lord, the Feast of Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread, relate directly to the Lordís Supper. The Feast of Passover relates to the cup. The Feast of Unleavened Bread relates to the bread. The theme of the Feast of Passover is deliverance from the judgment of the Egyptians. The theme of the Feast of Unleavened Bread is deliverance out of Egypt. The picture of the cross for the Feast of Passover is the blood on the doorposts. The picture of the cross for the Feast of Unleavened Bread, as will soon be discussed, is the Lordís opening of the Red Sea so that the Hebrews could escape out of Egyptian bondage.
These two feasts and their themes and their pictures of the cross, harmonize perfectly with the meanings of the two elements of the Lordís Supper. The cup represents deliverance from the judgment of sin. The bread represents deliverance out of sin. Can you see the harmony and clarity and how everything falls into place when the cross is properly understood?
There is another feast that is celebrated along with the Feast of Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread. This is the Feast of First Fruits (Leviticus 23:9-14). To the Hebrews this feast was to celebrate the first crops of the barley harvest. To the Christians this feast pictures the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
20And so I have made it my aim to preach the gospel, not where Christ was named, lest I should build on another man's foundation, 21but as it is written:
"To whom He was not announced, they shall see;
And those who have not heard shall understand."
22 For this reason I also have been much hindered from coming to you. 23But now no longer having a place in these parts, and having a great desire these many years to come to you, 1 Corinthians 15:20-23
The Feast of First Fruits was celebrated on the day after the Sabbath (Leviticus 23:11). This would be a Sunday. Jesus was resurrected on Sunday (the third day).
Thus, just like the two elements of the Lordís Supper also proclaim the resurrection of the Lord, so there is a third feast that pictures the resurrection of the Lord. The three above mentioned feasts relate directly to the Lordís Supper.
To repeat, both elements of the Lordís Supper proclaim a vital message of the cross. Both elements of the Lordís Supper also have a resurrection side to them. Corresponding to the truths of the Lordís Supper, there are two feasts of the Lord that each portrays a vital message of the cross. There is also a third feast celebrated with these two and this third feast pictures the resurrection. What harmony! What assurance of the validity of the old and New Testament! And, are we not on the right track here?