Passover, The Ultimate In Spring Cleaning

With Passover (the Festival of Unleavened Bread) beginning next Wednesday at sundown, all over Israel, every man, woman, and child is busy cleaning their closets, shelves, drawers, and vehicles in order to be ready for this most important celebration.
“Seven days shall ye eat unleavened bread; even the first day ye shall put away leaven out of your houses: for whosoever eateth leavened bread from the first day until the seventh day, that soul shall be cut off from Israel.” Exodus 12:15 (KJV)
Preparing for Passover is the ultimate in spring cleaning!
In obedience to the eternal commandment that God gave to the children of Israel to remove leaven (yeast) from their houses, every nook and cranny must be emptied, sorted and wiped in order to make sure that each dwelling place is free of chametz (leavened products) before Passover begins following the commandment of Exodus 12:15.
Rabbinical Judaism has taken this single commandment and transformed it into a system that would weary the hardiest of women. All dishes, cutlery, pots and pans, even dishrags used during the feast must be “Kosher for Passover.”
Because the kitchen is cleared of products that contain leaven or may be contaminated with it, preparing for Passover is both labor-intensive and expensive. Just prior to Passover, grocery stores in Israel begin to stock foods that are specially prepared and guaranteed leaven-free. The Hebrew signs on the shelves above read “Kosher for Passover.”
Many women completely clean their kitchen to such a degree that it sparkles like it did when it was new. Furthermore, in the weeks prior to Passover, Israeli supermarkets begin to sell products marked with a special “Kosher for Passover” stamp.
These products, which are guaranteed to be free of leaven, are not only consumed during Passover, they are eaten in the days before.
Matzah (unleavened bread), however, is first eaten during the Passover Seder, which is a special ceremonial meal where the story of the Exodus from Egypt is recounted. It is eaten every day throughout the festival.
The Haggadah, the text that sets the order of the recounting of the deliverance of the Jewish People from Egypt, is read during the Passover Seder. The pierced, striped bread of affliction is called matzah (unleavened bread).
Why Fuss over a Little Leaven (Yeast)?
“A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump.” Galatians 5:9 (KJV)
In the Bible, yeast symbolizes sin. It is also a powerful metaphor for learning about God and living a life of holiness.
Yeast is a single-celled fungus that causes the dough to rise by consuming the sugars and excreting carbon dioxide as a byproduct.
And it doesn’t take much yeast to start the process. Yeast is in the air. It is so pervasive that even if the dough is left on the counter, yeast will attach to the surface of the dough. It will then make its way throughout the whole loaf.
So, just like yeast (leaven) eats away at the sugars in the dough, sin eats away at us. And sin causes us to become separated from God.
“But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.” Isaiah 59:2 (KJV)
Although it is unknown when people began baking bread with yeast, the earliest records of using it come from ancient Egypt.
Leaven and the Sin of Pride
“Your boasting is not good. Don’t you know that a little yeast works through the whole batch of dough?” (1 Corinthians 5:6)
When it comes to “leaven” as a metaphor, Scripture especially narrows in on the sin of arrogance, boasting, conceit, and pride.
In the same way that a little yeast affects the whole batch of dough, causing it to become puffed up, a little bit of pride and arrogance in our hearts causes us to think more highly of ourselves than we ought.
We must deal with the leaven in our own hearts, knowing that arrogance is not pleasing to the Lord, and pride often precedes our own downfall.
“Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.” Proverbs 16:18 (KJV)
Meaningful Jewish Custom: The Search for Leaven (Bedikat Chametz)
At Passover, the Jewish People practice a beautiful custom called bedikat chametz (search for leaven).
The eve before Passover, the leader of the household, usually the father, holds a candle and guides his family around the house.
With the lights extinguished, they search for any remnant of chametz (leavened products) by the light of this single candle.
The children search every nook and cranny for crumbs of bread that have been carefully wrapped and hidden ahead of time by the mother. Each crumb of bread is found with exclamations of delight, “Oh! There it is. I found one!
This instructive search continues until the very last crumb of leaven is removed. Using a feather, these bits are swept away into a bag to be burned the next morning.
On the morning of Erev Pesach (Eve of Passover), which is next Wednesday morning, there will be a multitude of small fires burning all over Israel as each family burns their small pile of chametz. A special prayer is recited in case any has been missed.
This special ceremony (bedikat chametz) demonstrates how the light of God’s Word, symbolized by the candle, searches our hearts for any pride or arrogance that may be lurking, hidden in the darkness. The feather symbolizes the work of the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit) sweeping sin and error away. The bi’ur chametz fire shows how God destroys this leaven, for our God is a consuming fire!
Bi’ur Chametz: pita bread burning with the dried palm (lulav) and myrtle (hadass) leftover from Sukkot (six months earlier). To burn the dried palm and myrtle (holy objects) from the previous Biblical holiday is considered an additional mitzvah (blessing).
Passover in the New Testament (New Covenant)
Just as an overgrowth of yeast in the body may become a systemic infection and must be dealt with before it causes serious physical problems, the “leaven” or sin within the Body of Messiah (the Church) must be dealt with accordingly.
In the Bible, the Apostle Paul makes use of the imagery of Passover and the cleansing of the chametz to exhort the Believers in Corinth to get rid of the sin of malice and wickedness, in order to live the holy life they are truly capable of living, free from the bondage to sin.
Get rid of the old yeast, so that you may be a new unleavened batch — as you really are. For Messiah, our Passover lamb has been sacrificed.
“Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ 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 Corinthians 5:7–8 (KJV)
The Leaven of False Teachings
In the New Covenant (New Testament), leaven can also represent the corrupting influence of false teachings.
Yeshua warned people to beware of the leaven of the Pharisees.
“How is it that ye do not understand that I spake it not to you concerning bread, that ye should beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees? Then understood they how that he bade them not beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees.” Matthew 16:11–12 (KJV)
By this, Yeshua was not referring to bread, but to Pharisaical teachings that did not align with the Word of God
The Apostle Paul also warns the Gentile Believers to beware of the sin of pride and arrogance, particularly in their relationship to the Jewish People. Furthermore, in the Book of Romans, Paul reminds those who have been supernaturally grafted into the natural olive tree (Israel) by the mercy and grace of God, not to boast over the other branches:
“And if some of the branches be broken off, and thou, being a wild olive tree, wert grafted in among them, and with them partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree; Boast not against the branches. But if thou boast, thou bearest not the root, but the root thee.” Romans 11:17–18 (KJV)
One way many Believers boast over their fellow branches (the Jewish People) is by believing the false teaching of replacement theology. This errant doctrine teaches that God has rejected the Jewish People (nation of Israel) and that the Church is the “New Israel.”
Nothing could be further from the truth.
Scripture is clear that God will never forsake His people Israel and will always keep covenant with them.
“For the Lord will not cast off his people, neither will he forsake his inheritance.” Psalm 94:14 (KJV)
Passover, Leaven, and God’s Plan for Israel and the Church
Arrogance and pride can prevent us from understanding God’s plans and purposes for the Jewish People, Israel, and the role of the Church.
As Passover approaches, let’s remember that only temporary blindness has come upon the Jewish People in order that salvation would come to the Gentiles, and after that to the nation of Israel.
“I say then, Have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy.” Romans 11:11 (KJV)
God can and will lift the veil from the Jewish People’s eyes to see their Messiah Yeshua in the tribulation, and when the Jewish People accept Yeshua as their Messiah, it will mean resurrection and life for the entire world!
“For if the casting away of them be the reconciling of the world, what shall the receiving of them be, but life from the dead?” Romans 11:15 (KJV)
During this time when Jewish People are cleansing their homes from leaven, please pray that they and all will recognize that Yeshua is indeed the Promised Messiah of Israel.
And may we also search our hearts for the leaven of sin, making them “Kosher for Passover,” so that we may walk in humility, with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.
Amen!

 

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