Happy Resurrection Day Eve! For those of you who have been following my blog this week, I hope it’s apparent that there’s more to the Easter season than many Christians realize, and I don’t just mean beyond the pagan origins of the eggs and the bunnies and the hot cross buns…
Allow me to say that I don’t condemn Easter egg hunts as demonic, nor do I consider Cadbury bunnies and Peeps Satan’s candy; these traditions, like Christmas trees and Yule logs, have lost their occult subtexts and acquired new, quite innocuous connotations (unless, of course, you’re a Druid or delight in celebrating the Spring Equinox). The eggs, for instance, are now smiled upon by the majority – I’m guessing – of Christians as sunny symbols of Jesus’ resurrection and our own spiritual renewal, not as commemorative miniaturizations of a giant moon-egg that transported Ishtar (Easter), the Assyrian goddess of fertility, love, sex, and war, into the Euphrates River 2,000 years before Christ.
While I’m at it, did you know the word “Easter” isn’t even in the Bible!? Okay, it is, but it’s not supposed to be…translation error. A big one. In Acts 12, King Herod begins persecuting the Church, which ultimately leads to James’ martyrdom. Peter was also taken prisoner. Verse three from the King James translation reads:
“And because he saw it pleased the Jews, he proceeded further to take Peter also. (Then were the days of unleavened bread.)” (emphasis mine)
My point here is that the New Testament, Christian Church was celebrating the Jewish feast days of unleavened bread, not “Easter.” Verse four trips many people up (my point is coming, promise!):
“And when he had apprehended him, he put him in prison, and delivered him to four quaternions of soldiers to keep him; intending after Easter to bring him forth to the people.” (emphasis mine)
Other translations, such as the NIV and New Living, have the word “Easter” correctly translated…Pesach, or Passover.
The Encyclopedia Brittanica – yes, I’m whippin’ out the E.B.! – 11th ed., Volume 8, page 828 says, “There is no indication of the observance of the Easter festival in the New Testament, or in the writings of the Apostolic Fathers. The sanctity of special times [i.e., aside from the Holy Days appointed by God] was an idea absent from the minds of the first Christians, who continued to observe the Jewish [i.e., God’s] festivals, though in a new spirit, as commemorations of events which those festivals had foreshadowed.”
Anyway, the Feast of Unleavened Bread. That’s my topic today, right? 😉 It’s another of the seven feasts given by God in Leviticus 23 as “appointed festivals” and “sacred assemblies” (Lev. 23:4). Here are some easy-to-read fast facts on the feast:
- It begins the day after Passover and lasts seven days.
- It is a “high Sabbath” day, meaning it’s especially sanctified for rest and worship.
- Bread without leaven is to be eaten for seven days (leaven, as you probably know, represents sin).
Each of the seven feasts God commanded His people to keep as moedim – appointed times – were, as Paul wrote in Colossians, “shadows of things to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ” (Col. 2:17).
Passover, the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the Feast of Firstfruits, Pentecost, the Feast of Trumpets, the Day of Atonement, and the Feast of Tabernacles are all pictures of Christ’s first and second coming.(For what it’s worth, I believe the first three feasts typify His first and the remaining four, His imminent second.)
I realize I’m getting longwinded yet again, but I can’t stop before sharing how the Feast of Unleavened Bread reveals Christ:
- Jesus was buried on the fifth day of the month of Nisan, just in time for the Feast.
- As the “living bread that came down from Heaven,” He was without leaven (sin). However, He took sin upon Himself, becoming sin (2nd Corinthians 5:21) and therefore had to be hidden away, if you will, just as all the leaven in Jewish households was eradicated.
- On the third day of the Feast was another celebratory day called “Firstfruits.” Each Jewish family would bring a bundle of barley to the Temple, and the priest would wave it before the Lord as a representation of the very first of the harvest. Jesus rose from the grave on this day and “became the firstfruits of them that slept” (1 Cor. 15:20). Jesus was the very first, the very best of the harvest of souls which are now in/headed to the heavenly temple (2nd Samuel 22:7)!
Pentecost aka, Shavuot (“weeks”), is the fourth and final spring feast which Christ fulfilled, but it’s not until June 7th 😉
Happy Resurrection Day!!!
“Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God. In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.” –Romans 6:8-11
Stay fit, stay faithful ~<3 Di