The Feasts of Passover, The Feast of Unleavened Bread and The Feast of First Fruits

The Feast of Passover, The Feast of Unleavened Bread, and The Feast of First Fruits

     The Feasts of the Lord play a huge part in confirming the true meaning of the bread and cup of Communion.  In fact, when I was first getting insight into communion from the Holy Spirit, I was adamant that the meaning of the bread would be pictorially or symbolically seen in the general scheme of the Passover story.  In other words, the Passover story would have a vital picture or basic theme for the meaning of the bread as I was understanding it.  If there could be found no great picture or theme in the Passover story, then my understanding of the bread was probably erroneous. In other words, just as the cup of communion relates to the blood on the door posts where the angel of death, when he saw the blood, passed over the houses. So, the bread of communion should be related to an equally important theme and picture, and this all should be crystal clear to anybody.  Saying it another way, just as the cup stands for forgiveness and this truth is seen in the angel of death passing over the houses with the blood on the doorposts, so the deliverance from sin that the bread stands for, should have an equally clear picture and theme in the Passover story.  Thus the search began to find the great, clear and indisputable Passover picture and theme to fit with the meaning of the bread of Communion.

     The results to the above search will be made clear shortly.  First, let’s realize that there are actually three feasts of the Lord related to Communion, not just the one Feast of Passover.  The Feast of Passover occurs on Friday, The Feast of Unleavened Bread starts on Saturday, and the Feast of First Fruits occurs on Sunday.  These three feasts are celebrated together at one gathering of the Hebrews. All three were fulfilled by Jesus’ death and resurrection.  The Hebrews have two other gatherings where they celebrate other feasts: the second gathering was for Pentecost, and this feast was fulfilled with the coming of the Holy Spirit to the believers.  And finally, the last gathering was to celebrate the three fall feasts (these final three feasts pertain to the end times and have yet to be fulfilled).  It should also be noted that the Sabbath is also a feast, that is celebrated weekly and locally (Leviticus 23).

     Regarding the bread of Communion, the great Passover theme that pictures the bread’s meaning is as clear as clear gets! The theme is simply how the Lord delivered the Israelites out of the land of Egypt.  Even the unleavened bread that was eaten for Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread  was eaten to commemorate how God delivered the Israelites out of Egypt.  In fact, my understanding is that the Jews to this very day will eat the unleavened bread in their ceremonies and will specifically say while eating it, “Thank you Lord for delivering us out of  Egypt.“  Note the following scriptures make this exact point.

        3 You 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

        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

This unleavened bread that stands for how God delivered the Israelite’s out of Egypt, is the very bread that Jesus had in His hands when He said, “Take, eat, this is My body” Mark 14:22(b).

     In other words,  the theme of God delivering  the Israelites out of Egypt is a type and shadow of God delivering the world out of its sin through the body of Christ.  By grace the believer was crucified with Christ and therefore has been set free from sin.  The body of Christ was broken and given up to accomplish this act of grace.  The unleavened bread of Communion symbolizes this vital truth of the cross.

     Therefore, just as the Jew will say, “Thank you God for delivering us out of Egypt;” when he eats the unleavened bread at his feast.  So, the Christian should take the unleavened bread of Communion and thank Jesus for delivering him out of his sin. And, the Christian should remember this deliverance throughout his day as he confronts sin’s many temptations.  Romans 6:11 commands us to reckon ourselves to be dead to sin.  In other words, Romans 6:11 tells us to remember our deliverance when we confront sin; this is our authority over the flesh.

     This is the vital message of the cross that the bread of Communion stands for.  We are dead to sin because of our deliverance won at the cross.  We need to remember what we are!  We need to act according to what we are.  We are delivered; that’s what we are.  Free is what we are.  Our deliverance is first and foremost an identity issue (Romans 6:2, Romans 6:11, Galatians 2:20, Romans 6:6, etc.)   By eating the bread, we are declaring this vital truth; we are declaring our authority over sin and our responsibility to walk in this truth.  We need to eat the bread to drive this truth deep into our spirits so that we “know” that we are crucified with Christ; we know the truth about ourselves because of the cross; we know that we are free people.  Romans 6:6 says, “Knowing this….”  Thus the bread helps us enter into faith in our great deliverance.

     Also, to my great delight, there is a picture of the cross that relates to this “deliverance from sin” truth.  God’s opening the red sea to make a way for the Israelites to get out of Egypt is this great picture.  The miracle that God performed to open the Red Sea is a picture of the cross.  Just as the Israelites could come out of Egypt because of God’s great provision and miracle, so the believer can come out of his sin because of God’s great provision through the body of Christ. Also, in this picture of the cross, it was the Israelites’ responsibility to walk across this miraculous opening. An angel was not going to carry them across without their own effort.  So to with the believer, he must act on this vital truth of being dead to sin, or the opportunity remains unrealized.  The way to freedom is there, the believer must want to use it to get out.  Without the “want to,” the believer will not utilize or experience his great deliverance in any given situation.

     Another important point in this whole discussion, relates to Deuteronomy 13:3, where the unleavened bread is referred to as the “bread of affliction.”

     3 You 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

    The unleavened bread is called “the bread of affliction”  because the Israelites had to come out of the land of Egypt in haste.  It is affliction to the soul to have to make such an abrupt change in one’s life.  Imagine having to pack up in one day and leave town forever.  How would you feel?  What discomfort!  This all is a picture of the believer having to come out of any sin or sins immediately.  These are sins we might have had for decades.  They are old friends that we knew and loved and were comfortable with.

    To come out from our sin abruptly and immediately, is affliction to our souls; to come out quickly is painful; it is the bread of affliction.  The bread of Communion implies this pain.  We are dying with Jesus.  We are eating the bread of affliction.

     It should be noted that the pain suffered with the “bread of affliction,” is the pain suffered by the Hebrews and believers.  The Hebrews ate the bread of affliction because they were making this abrupt change and coming out of Egypt in haste.  This pain is not the pain of the Passover lamb.  Likewise, this bread of affliction relates to the pain the believer himself suffers as he makes abrupt changes in his lifestyle.

     The cup of Communion is better understood by Christians.  In scripture it is called the cup of blessing (I Corinthians 10:16).  We see clearly that the blood of the Passover lamb on the doorposts, symbolically represents the blood of Christ.  And, just as the angel of death had to pass over the blood on the doorposts, so the Christian who has faith in the blood of Christ, is delivered from death and curses.  Thus, the Christian has authority over the devil and his attempts to kill, steal from, and destroy us.  More importantly, we are delivered from eternal death and hell.  Obviously, none of us walks and lives in this great deliverance in all its fullness.  But, we press on to greater and greater heights, just as with the bread and that great deliverance.

     Now, let’s put all the pieces together.  The Feast of Passover relates directly to the cup of Communion.  The theme of the Passover is where the Israelites were delivered from the angel of death.  So, the theme of the cup of Communion is where the believer is delivered from death, the penalty of sin,  by the blood of Christ.  The Passover picture for this theme is where the angel of death would pass over and not hurt the Israelites who had the blood of the Passover lamb on their doorposts.  This picture speaks of Christ’s blood that delivers us from death.

     The Feast of Unleavened Bread relates directly to the bread of Communion.  The theme of the Feast of Unleavened Bread is how God delivered the Israelites out of Egypt.  And, the theme of the bread of Communion is where the believer has been delivered out of sin through the body of Christ.  The Feast of Unleavened Bread picture for this theme is how God opened the Red Sea to give the Israelites the opportunity to escape out of Egypt.  This picture speaks of Christ’s body that delivers us out of sin; we have the authority and right to come out of our sin if we want to.

     Consequently, the bread of Communion relates to the theme of the Hebrews being delivered out of Egypt.  While, the cup of Communion relates to the theme of the Hebrews being delivered from the judgment of the Egyptians.

     The last feast that is related to Communion is the Feast of First Fruits.  This was celebrated on the Sunday after Passover.  The apostle Paul alludes to this feast in I Corinthians 15.

     20 But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the first fruits of those
      who have fallen asleep. I Corinthians 15:20

     23 But each one in his own order.  Christ, the first fruits, afterward those who are
      Christ’s at His coming. I Corinthians 15: 23

As can be inferred above, Jesus fulfilled the Feast of First Fruits when He rose from the dead on Sunday morning   I have always found the symbolism for this feast quite interesting.  The picture of planted seed becoming grain growing up from the ground; grain (or fruit) that will give life to the world. 

     24 “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat fall into the ground and
     dies, it remains alone, but if it dies, it produces much fruit.
     25 He who loves his life will lose it, and he who hates his life in this world will
     keep it for eternal life.” John 12:24-25

     It took two feasts to adequately picture the Lord’s death.  It took two elements to proclaim the Lord’s death.  “For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes” I Corinthians 11:26.  One element (bread) and  feast (Feast of Unleavened Bread) shows deliverance from sin.  The other element (cup) and feast (Feast of Passover) shows deliverance from death.

     The third feast (Feast of First Fruits) shows that each of these two great deliverances has an up side, or resurrection side; i.e., we were delivered from something into something better.  The third feast speaks of the ministry of the Holy Spirit.  Whatever sin we die to and are delivered from, the Holy Spirit seeks to raise up some sort of righteous living in its place.  For example, a thief might be transformed into a hard worker.  The holy Spirit will raise up something new right where some sin used to be (bread).  And, right where a curse used to be, the Spirit of Life (Romans 8) will raise up blessing and life (cup).

     Thus, the bread and cup each proclaims a basic vital ministry of the Holy Spirit, as well as a basic truth of the cross.  The two great deliverances won at the cross were won to pave the way for the Holy Spirit to resurrect the two great Gospel goals: righteousness and life.  II Peter 1:3 says that “…His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness….”  Life is represented by the cup, while godliness is represented by the bread.  The end of Romans 5 shows us that through Christ, sin and death are transformed into righteousness and life, for the believer. Again, we can see the two basic goals of the Gospel; and the bread and cup clearly show these goals. The Feast of First Fruits pictures these two great resurrection truths.   And in this all, Christ is completely glorified; from beginning to end.

     The Holy Spirit is and has resurrection power.  He needs the truths of the cross to work with, in order to raise up what God truly wants.   A person needs to take his sin and death to the cross, in order for the Holy Spirit to raise up righteousness and life.  Without the truths of the cross being known and preached, the Holy Spirit has little He can do and work with.  He can’t completely bless an incomplete or false gospel.  This means that the “dead to sin,” “crucified with Christ” message of the cross needs to also be preached.  This generation preaches a “ forgiveness” only cross.  Sanctification is left to psychologists, psycho-therapeutic drugs, and self help programs.  The bread has everything to do with sanctification.  Communion teaches us that the Holy Spirit needs the preaching and teaching of the cross.