The Feast of Unleavened Bread is a seven day long feast/festival, where no leaven is to be within the household. Passover is actually the first meal of this week-long “Moed” (Appointed Time), as it is eaten after sunset on the 14th of Abib/Nissan. Sunset ends the day in YHWH’s reckoning of time, so the 15th day of the month begins in time for the Passover meal. The first and seventh days are “High Sabbaths”, where no work is to be done.
It was during the first day of Unleavened Bread that YHWH brought the Israelites out of the land of Egypt (Ex 12:51). They left Egypt in such haste that they baked their bread without leaven. Leaven is a substance that’s added to dough to make it ferment and rise. Yeast is commonly used for this today, but sourdough bread is still made using the older techniques of a leavened “starter” similar to what the ancient Israelites probably used.
Leaven is a picture of sin and of pride. The Israelites left Egypt, but they then had to work on getting Egypt out of themselves! After Passover (a type of our initial salvation), we also need to work on sanctification – or removing sin and sinful practices out of our lives! Yeshua also showed that leaven symbolizes false doctrine that we need to avoid – or remove from our lives (see Matt 16:6-12).
Leaven makes things rise, or “puff up”, just as pride puffs us up, making ourselves more important in our eyes than we really are. Pride is the root of much sin and something that YHWH detests. Unleavened Bread is an annual reminder to remove sin, pride and false doctrine from our lives. The christian Easter has no hint of this teaching, yet YHWH obviously considers this an important thing to remind us of on an annual basis.
Yeshua died in the afternoon of Passover as THE Passover lamb. He was laid in the tomb just before the Sabbath began. That’s where knowledge of this feast helps, because it wasn’t the seventh-day Sabbath but, rather, the High Sabbath of the first day of Unleavened Bread! They had to get His body into the tomb before the High Sabbath began, otherwise they would not have been able to partake of the Passover meal that night. The death was on a Wednesday, and Yeshua’s body was in the tomb for 72 hours during this time of Unleavened Bread (just as He said it would be – the only sign He gave! See Mat 12:40). He also rose from the dead during this feast, thus making it possible for our sins to be removed through all He did! Hallelujah!
Much earlier, we see that Joshua and the Israelites observed Passover when they crossed the Jordan River. During the Feast of Unleavened Bread, they marched around the city of Jericho, with the walls falling down on the seventh, and final, day of the Feast. Also, the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah were quite possibly destroyed during this feast as Lot escaped the city of wickedness (very similar to the Israelites leaving Egypt).
Let’s remember Paul’s words again, and His encouragement to keep this Feast of Unleavened Bread:
“Purge out therefore the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, as you are unleavened. For even Messiah our Passover is sacrificed for us. 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 5:7,8)