Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another. Eph 4
The Acts 17:11 Bereans Bible study begins Ephesians 4 this week. Given the “season”, I’m going to jump ahead for in this blog post.
And God said, Let there be lights in the
firmament of the heaven to divide the day
from the night; and let them be for signs,
and for seasons, and for days, and years:
Seasons is “mowed“: “an appointed feast”.
Specific instructions and times for these feasts were given to Moses in Leviticus 23.
Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, Concerning the feasts of the Lord, which ye shall proclaim to be holy convocations, even these are my feasts. Lev 23:2
Convocation is “miqra“: a “dress rehearsal”.
What many regard as obscure, obsolete Old Testament feasts are in fact the Lord’s feasts appointed 1,948 years before Go made His covenant with Abraham. Gen 17 Each of the seven feasts is a type and shadow of God’s plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth. Eph 1:9-10
Passover Ex 12:1-11 Lev 23:48 2023 began on April 5th at sunset. The Gospels tell us Jesus was crucified “on the day of preparation” John 19:14. “The day of preparation” was the Jewish idiom for “Friday”. John is referring to preparation for the Sabbath that fell during Passover week. It was not the preparation for the Passover meal that Jesus had already eaten. Mat 26:17-29 The Feast of Unleavened Bread Lev 23:6-8 begins on Passover and continues for seven days. Jesus was crucified during Passover and resurrected three days later on the Feast of First Fruits. Lev 23:10-11 The day after Passover begins the Feast of Weeks and the counting of the Omer (sheaves of wheat) for fifty days leading up to Shavuot Lev 23:15-16. Passover to Shavuot marks the beginning and end of the wheat harvest. Christians call Shavuot Pentecost because it means “fifty”. One hundred twenty people waited fifty days in the upper room until Pentecost was fulfilled in Acts 2.
When the law was given from Sinai, God appeared in a thick cloud. Exod 19 Then the Lord spoke to the Israelites from the midst of the fire Deut 4 He showed them his great fire and they heard his words from the midst it. In Jerusalem, there was the rushing of a violent wind from heaven divided tongues, as of fire, which rested upon each one of them, and the apostolic proclamation of the Gospel in tongues. Acts 2 The Old Testament Pentecost was the giving of the 1st Covenant, the Law. The New Testament Pentecost was the giving of the 2nd Covenant, the Holy Spirit.
As For Easter…
“Easter actually originated as an ancient pagan celebration of the spring equinox. In Christianity, the day was dedicated to observing the resurrection of Jesus Christ, celebrated around the time of the Jewish Passover. However, with the spread of the Gospel of Christ, early Christians who did not participate in Jewish customs eventually merged their observances with the pagan spring festival, recognizing Easter as “resurrection day.” History of Easter
The Passover meal that Jesus ate with His disciples and is repeated yearly by Orthodox Jews and Messianic believers is called the Seddar. It has fifteen steps the first of which is the removal of Leaven from the home. Leaven (yeast) represents Egypt out of which Israel emerged into the desert. For us, it is worldliness, false teaching, sin, etc. The leaven is not to be touched so the father takes a candle for light and a feather and goes about the house sweeping the hidden leaven into a bag. When all the leaven is collected both bag and feather are burned. Of course, yeast is not found scattered in most houses today. Therefore pieces of unleavened bread are traditionally hidden like the pagan easter eggs parents hide for children today.
Jesus was removing Leaven in John 2 when He cleansed the Temple during the feast of Unleavened Bread.
It was Passover when He fed the five thousand and The Feast of Unleavened Bread when He declared
I am the bread of life. John 6
Where Passover represents our justification (the remission of sin), The Feast of Unleavened Bread represents our ongoing sanctification. Justification is an exclusive work of God. Sanctification takes place in partnership with God. Justification is instantaneous. Sanctification is ongoing as we become Holy even as He is Holy. “Holy” is to be separate from the world.
Therefore go out from their midst, and be separate from them, says the Lord, and touch no unclean thing; then I will welcome you, 2 Cor 6:14-18
This is not an obsolete Old Testament ceremonial law but a New Testament command for those already justified by grace through faith. Eph 2:8-10 Our part in sweeping the leaven from our lives is illustrated by Paul in the book of Romans.
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. Rom 12:1-2
As for those who claim the feasts are not for today Paul is clear that they are. Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.1 Cor 5:8
Leaven includes but is not limited to the thoughts, words, and actions that we do not want to acknowledge as sin. It is the worldliness we justify, rationalize, and minimize to avoid the fact that friendship with the world is enmity with God. Opposition implies stubbornness which is idolatry. 1 Sam 15:23 Active opposition looks like a violent attack.
Enmity is active opposition. James 4:4
Leaven compels us to make idols of politicians, celebrities, political parties, denominations, faith streams and wealth, etc. Mark 14:8-20 Leaven might be the music or tattoo that we think gives us the “cultural cred” we covet. We rationalize that they open doors for the gospel.
Leaven is the beloved tradition that emerges from syncretism. Syncretism pleases man in the name of God rather than God for the sake of man.
Leaven is false prophecy, false signs and wonders, and, the false teaching that deep down we suspect or even know is unbiblical.
But it tickles our ears in such a sweet way. 2 Tim 4:1-4 1 Tim 4:1
Leaven confuses loyalty with faithfulness, pride with anointing, intention with action, and cognitive dissonance with faith. Leaven fuels offense and even rage when our loyalties and wrong beliefs are challenged. Leaven always seeks its own and with it approval from the world rather than God who opposes it. 1 John 2:15-16
A little leaven leavens the whole lump. Gal 5:9
I’m not a Methodist. But given that I live in Appalachia, I find the alleged connection between John and Charles Wesley, the Methodist revival, and the Feast of Unleavened Bread rather poignant. After having profound personal encounters with God, the Wesleys preached the necessity of sanctification through personal holiness in thoughts, words, and actions. This is the point for Christians during the Feast of Unleavened Bread. It was in this context that Paul wrote.
Now, this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds. They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity. But that is not the way you learned Christ!—assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness. Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another. Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil. Eph 4:17-32