The Feast of Unleavened Bread
Dig into the feasts of Israel with us! We’re learning about the Feast of Unleavened Bread on this week’s show. As its name suggests, this biblical holiday involves removing all the leaven, or yeast, from a person’s home. Jewish people today do this on the week of Passover, a reminder of God’s deliverance of them from Egypt.
Yeast is a powerful symbol. It’s a reminder that God delivered His people in haste, just as He grants us salvation immediately when we call on Him. Jesus and Paul both used the symbol of yeast to teach us about our own sin. Their teaching helps us learn how to take our walk with our Savior seriously as we aim to draw closer to Him. Find new meaning in the Feast of Unleavened Bread this week!
Steve Conover: Welcome to the Friends of Israel Today. I'm Steve Conover. With me is our host and teacher, Chris Katulka. We're so glad you're with us, but before Chris comes, I'd like to take a moment to encourage you to visit our website, foiradio.org. There, you'll find trustworthy and accurate news about Israel and the Middle East. Again, visit us at foiradio.org.
Chris Katulka: Steve, we have a great show lined up. I don't know if our audience knows this, but on September 11th, we're actually going to be having our National Prophecy Conference in Lancaster, Pennsylvania and we're going to be looking at The 7 Feasts of Israel. Now, to tease people to come to our event, Steve, I'm actually going to share two of the messages that I'm giving during the conference. So today, we're going to be looking at the Feast of Unleavened Bread and next week, we're going to be studying Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement.
Steve Conover: We look forward to that, but first in the news, Jerusalem Post reports that Poland's prime minister is working with political advisors and journalists in an attempt to rewrite Holocaust history in their country. Leaked emails between the prime minister and journalists reveal a partnership that seeks to change the narrative of Polish involvement in the atrocities committed against the Jewish people. It seems their goal is to show that Polish people suffered under Nazi tyranny just like the Jewish people did.
Chris Katulka: Steve, here's my take. It's a proven fact that prior to World War II and leading up to the Holocaust, antisemitism was already present in Polish society. Government authorities took formal measures to exclude Jewish people from key sectors of public life. Now, in an attempt to protect the legacy of his country, the Polish prime minister is digging a moat as he rewrites history. He should act more like the Germans. They owned the ugliness of their history and now they're working to build bridges with Israel and the Jewish community.
Chris Katulka: This September 11-13, we will be holding our National Prophecy Conference in beautiful Lancaster, Pennsylvania as already mentioned earlier. Our expert teaching staff will be teaching on The 7 Feasts of Israel and we're going to be looking at important feast days like Passover, Yom Kippur, and the Feast of Tabernacles. The conference is free so let me just say if you live in the Lancaster area, hope to see you there. To register for this free conference, be sure to go to foiradio.org. Now, I will be there teaching on two of the seven feasts of Israel, the Feast of Unleavened Bread and Yom Kippur. Now, to give you a little teaser into our conference, I thought I would share with you a little bit of each message that I'm giving. Today, we're going to be looking at the Feast of Unleavened Bread, but before we get started, I have a funny joke for you.
This joke has to do with the Feast of Unleavened Bread and it's the Pillsbury Doughboy's obituary. Here it goes. The Pillsbury Doughboy died yesterday of a yeast infection and complications from repeated pokes in the belly. He was 71 years old. The doughboy was buried in a lightly greased coffin. Dozens of celebrities turned out to pay their respects, including Mrs. Butterworth, Hungry Jack, the California Raisins, Betty Crocker, the Hostess Twinkies, and Captain Crunch. The grave site was piled high with flours, F-L-O-U-R-S. Aunt Jemima delivered a eulogy and lovingly described Doughboy as a man who never knew how much he was kneaded. Doughboy rose quickly in show business, but later in his life was filled with turnovers. He was not considered a very smart cookie, wasting much of his dough on half-baked schemes. Despite being a little flaky at times, he's still a crusty old man who was considered a roll model for millions. Doughboy is survived by his wife Play-doh, two children, John Doe and Jane Doe. Plus, they have one in the oven. He is also survived by his elderly father, Pop-Tart. The funeral was held at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes.
Chris Katulka: So why am I mentioning the obituary of Pillsbury Doughboy? Well it's pretty simple. The Feast of Unleavened Bread from the Bible is all about the death of yeast or leaven or in Hebrew chametz. Now, the Feast of Unleavened Bread directly follows Passover. Passover is on the 14th day of the month of Nisan on the Hebrew calendar, and the Feast of Unleavened Bread picks up on the 15th day and goes 'til the 21st. The Book of Leviticus in Chapter 23 actually shows Passover and Unleavened Bread as two separate events, but Jewish people often see it as one long eight-day event, mashing Passover and Unleavened Bread together. No leavened or yeast products at all. Nothing. In fact, Exodus 12:15 explains that there should be no yeast in the bread during Passover and the following seven days. Deuteronomy 16:4 says that during the Feast of Unleavened Bread, no one should possess yeast in their homes. Exodus 13:3 and Deuteronomy 16:3 both command that no Israelite is permitted to eat unleavened bread.
Chris Katulka: So they must actively remove leaven, they should have no possession of leaven, and they cannot eat any leavened products. This is why Jewish people today, before Passover, they clean their homes. They do a spring cleaning. It's actually a ritual that they do before Passover called the removing of the chametz when all of the leavened products are removed from the house to obey God's command. Now, a Jewish family actually has a few options when it comes to their leaven products. First, they can simply donate them and they can give their leavened and yeast products to a food bank or a charity. Another option is that they can simply throw them away, especially if there's an expiration date on them. Finally, they can sell the products to their gentile friends and in some cases, buy it back after the Feast of Unleavened Bread has ended.
One of my favorite stories on unleavened bread comes from Israel actually. Now, imagine when we're talking about getting rid of all the food products with yeast in it, you're probably thinking about someone's individual pantry, a pantry in their kitchen, a family's leaven products, but what happens when the entire nation of Israel is following the same laws of unleavened bread and they have more than $300 million worth of leaven products scattered throughout its state-run institutions like public schools or the prison system or some governmental food program that they manage. How do you unload $300 million of bread full of yeast? Well for decades now, Arab-Israeli Hussein Jaber of Abu Ghosh near Jerusalem puts up nearly $14,000 as a down payment to buy $300 million worth of Israel's leaven products. It's a full-fledged official contract. On the eve of Passover, Jaber will meet with the chief rabbinate and with Israel's chief rabbis and Israel's finance minister. It's there Israel's finance minister gives the rabbis power of attorney to sell the state's leaven products to Hussein Jaber. We're talking about the leaven products that are on their way to Israel on planes, on ships. All of it Jaber would own.
This kind Arab man has until the end of the Feast of Unleavened Bread to come up with $300 million to purchase the product. After that, the contract is annulled and every year almost religiously at the end of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, Jaber is returned his down payment and Israel is returned their leavened products. It's a very serious situation. The Jewish people are to remember how God delivered them from the bondage of Egypt. Oftentimes, we remember the lamb that was slain and its blood that was spread on the doorposts and the lintel of each home, but the Jewish people were also commanded to leave in haste quickly. In fact, the text says in Exodus 12 that they were supposed to eat the Passover meal with their cloak tucked into their belt, with their sandals on their feet, and their staff in their hand which means they were to eat fast because God's going to deliver you from Egypt and you're about to run.
Now, you might have thought McDonald's was the first fast food experience. Well God's got them beat. Passover is the first fast food. It was so fast that they had no time to let the yeast activate to cause the bread to rise. So they ate unleavened bread which is called matzah. Why does it have to be seven days with unleavened bread? Well it's quite interesting. Scholars have looked into how the world developed and used yeast during the times of the Israelites and found that it comes from barley content of the dough that is fermented. The process to start the fermentation again could be anywhere from 7 to 12 days. So the reason they ate unleavened bread for seven days following Passover was because they physically didn't have the yeast starter to get it going. It took seven days for that first batch to ferment for them to be able to use, which is actually a very interesting thing to think about.
But the prohibition of leaven, yeast, or chametz is to draw people to remember that God has delivered them in haste. Salvation and deliverance from the Egyptians happened immediately. Hey, the same could be said of us. When we by faith believe in the Lord Jesus, when we repent and turn to him and accept him as our personal Lord and Savior, salvation is instantaneous. It happens immediately. That's when the Holy Spirit begins to work on the leaven in us. When we return, that's what we're going to talk about. We're going to see how leaven, yeast, chametz became symbolic of sin and evil.
Chris Katulka: I love understanding the Jewish roots of our Bible. It's actually very important to the Christian life which is why I'm excited that our in-person national conferences are back and we are studying The 7 Feasts of Israel: Passover, Shavuot, Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, the Feast of Unleavened Bread, and Firstfruits. All of these amazing feasts we will be studying together. Join us September 11-13 at Eden Resorts and Suites in Lancaster, Pennsylvania and discover God's rhythm of redemption through the feasts of Israel. To learn more, be sure to go to foiradio.org. Again, that's foiradio.org.
Chris Katulka: Well welcome back, everyone. We are studying through the Feast of Unleavened Bread and not only its historical aspects and historical significance, but also what does it mean for us as believers today. As we've been looking at this, over the centuries, the meaning of unleavened bread meant that you were to take all the leaven out of the house, all of the yeast products out of the house to remember how God really forced the Israelites out of Egypt in haste, but over the centuries, the meaning of unleavened bread took on something new. In the Old Testament, like I said, unleavened bread is associated with leaving Egypt in haste. However, when you get to the New Testament, leaven took on a new meaning, kind of the meaning of sin and evil. It's still associated with the historical connection of leaving Egypt in haste in the days of Jesus. However, leaven came to also be associated with sin.
Now, the Talmud, which actually has its roots in teachings that go back before the time of Jesus, comment on the spiritual meaning of leaven or yeast. The Talmud is a very holy and religious book for the Jewish people and it says this in the Talmud. Rabbi Alexandry when he finished his daily prayer said the following: "Master of the universe, it is revealed and known to you that our true desire is to do your will. What prevents it but the yeast in the dough, the evil inclination, and the subjugation of the exile. May it be your will, O Lord, to deliver us from their hands and we shall return and perform the decrees of our will with a perfect heart." The evil inclination, as that rabbi was mentioning, is an interesting concept in Judaism. Rabbinic theology doesn't believe in original sin like Christian theology does. Christians believe humans from conception inherit a tainted sinful nature that's in need of regeneration and we always have a tendency and a bent towards sin. In Judaism, however, they don't believe that we have a sinful nature from birth, but they do believe that we are easily prone to the passions and desires that lead to evil and sin.
The Talmud made the claim that yeast is much like an evil inclination, that if the evil inclination to sin isn't checked like yeast, it will continue to grow and expand in every area of life, preventing us from doing the Lord's will just as the rabbi taught. The New Testament picks up on this concept in Matthew, Mark, and Luke when Jesus says to the disciples, "Watch out," Jesus said to them. "Beware of the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees." Jesus is here associating yeast with evil, the evil tendencies of the Pharisees and Sadducees who are trying to undermine Jesus' ministry to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. The apostle Paul directly connects the Passover and unleavened bread with the life of a believer starting in 1 Corinthians 5:6 where he says, "Your boasting is not good. Don't you know that a little yeast affects the whole batch of dough? Clean out the old yeast so that you may be a new batch of dough. You are, in fact, without yeast. For Christ, our Passover Lamb, has been sanctified so then let us celebrate the festival not with old yeast, the yeast of vice and evil, but with the bread without yeast, the bread of sincerity and truth."
Paul is letting us know that yeast or leaven or chametz, it can even reside in us as believers. Lust, jealousy, boasting, pride, envy, greed, these little bits of yeast in our life can leaven your whole body if it's not dealt with through repentance and confession of sin. A little lust can grow to become a massive problem in your marriage. A little pride can even lead to a very big fall. A little greed can grow to become embezzlement or theft. Paul calls us to put the yeast of vice and evil ... See, Paul speaking like a good rabbi, those evil inclinations that lead to sin, he calls us to embrace a life that's unleavened like matzah, full of sincerity and truth. Why? Because Christ, our Passover Lamb, has been sacrificed.
My prayer for you and for me is that maybe you've never considered the Feast of Unleavened Bread before and how it affects your own walk with the Lord, but I pray today that you'll take a moment to examine yourself before the Lord. Find that yeast, that leaven, that lust, that pride, that jealousy, the greed, and you'll turn it to the Lord and ask him to forgive you and remove that chametz, the leaven from your heart to serve him. I promise you Jesus is faithful and just to forgive our sins when we confess them to him. So let's remove the leaven together. Why don't we pray together actually right now?
Chris Katulka: Lord, thank you for your grace. Father, only you can search and know my heart. Through the work of the Holy Spirit, root out the leaven in me, the evil and vice in my life. Forgive me, Lord, so that I might know you more and serve you with all my heart. In Jesus' name, amen.
Steve Conover: Israel on the verge of becoming a state, a teenaged Holocaust survivor arrives on her shores alone. His name is Zvi Kalisher. Little did he know his search for a new life in the Holy Land would lead him to the Messiah. Zvi, enthusiastic to share his faith, engaged others in spiritual conversations, many of which can be found in our magazine, Israel My Glory. While Zvi is now in the presence of his Savior, his collected writings from well over 50 years of ministry continue to encourage believers worldwide. Now, Apples of Gold, a dramatic reading from the life of Zvi.
Mike Kellogg: Many Orthodox Jews in my neighborhood, especially older people for whom I make home repairs, usually invite me to their family celebrations such as bar mitzvahs, weddings, and other religious observances. Although they know what I believe and in spite of our many heated discussions about religion, they never forget me during their times of rejoicing. A father recently invited me to his son's bar mitzvah. I attend bar mitzvahs and other religious festivals because they provide good opportunities to witness about the Lord. It is not easy to speak about him because people do not want to listen, but it gives me courage and opens doors. Shortly after the ceremony, an old man approached me. He knows me well because I have repaired many things for him and we have spoken about Christ in his home.
He greeted me and asked, "How can a cat come over the sea and not be wet?" I understood his meaning and replied, "It is possible if God wills it. Such an incident happened when the Israelites crossed the Red Sea and came out dry. I too crossed a sea literally and figuratively and came out dry when I survived the Holocaust. This was God's will so I might meet you and tell you about my faith in Christ. If you like, we can continue the conversation about him that we began in your home." "That would be good," he said. "I will gather some friends who will be happy to join us." He asked, "Do you have a Bible with you?" "Yes," I replied. "I am ready to discuss it with you, but I want you to know I did not come to compete with you to see who knows more about the Bible. You see, it's not enough to know about the Bible. The important thing is to believe it. You should know who your Savior is."
One of the men said, "I suppose you mean your Jesus." I responded, "He is not my Savior only. The Bible says Jesus came from heaven to give himself for the whole world." These men became very agitated and angry, but I was happy the true subject of our discussion, Jesus Christ, was out in the open and that I could freely speak about my faith in him. Just then, another old gentleman came over and asked what we were discussing. When I told him I believed Jesus is the Jewish Messiah, he said, "I am sorry that we, the chosen people who are to be examples to the world, are running away from that truth which is taught in the law of Moses." He explained that although he was 84 years old and lacking in physical power, he was mighty in the power of the Lord.
The other men who had been so sure of themselves became as weak as flies. This man spoke at great length about his faith in the Lord and he greatly inspired me. When he finished, I said, "Be strong and blessed." Meeting this dear man was another reminder that the Lord is everywhere. He told me, "I heard your conversation with them and I received the courage to speak up about my faith in the Lord. I never did that before and I do not know who gave me such strength." "The Lord gave you strength," I told him. I pray the Lord will continue to strengthen this dear saint and encourage many others here in Israel to speak out for him. Then the prophecy will be fulfilled, “Out of Zion shall go forth the law and the Word of the Lord from Jerusalem.”
Chris Katulka: The impact of Zvi's life and ministry in Israel, it didn't end when he went home to be with the Lord. In fact, Zvi's legacy lives on. Our Friends of Israel Ministry representatives continue to share the gospel in Jerusalem, Israel, and really all throughout the world. We also serve Holocaust survivors and their families. We provide free food, medicine, and clothing, and we even promote the safety and security of the state of Israel and the Jewish people everywhere. So when you give to The Friends of Israel, your donation actually allows us to advance the gospel of our Messiah, Jesus. You can give online by visiting foiradio.org. Again, that's foiradio.org. You can click right there on our donate link. Also, be sure to let us know where you listen when you contact us.
Steve Conover: Thank you so much for being with us today. We want to create content that we know is enriching your life and drawing you closer to the Lord and in a deeper understanding of his Word and program for Israel and the nations. Reach us on our contact form at foiradio.org. Let us know how this program is influencing your life.
Chris Katulka: Hey, Steve. For our podcast listeners on Apple, would you please take the time to rate our program? Your comments and ratings will expose The Friends of Israel Today to new listeners. So if you believe it's important to teach about Israel and the Jewish people from a biblical perspective, please leave us a comment so that others can benefit from The Friends of Israel Today.
Steve Conover: Our host and teacher is Chris Katulka. Today's program was produced by Tom Gallione. Our theme music was composed and performed by Jeremy Strong. Mike Kellogg read Apples of Gold. And I'm Steve Conover, executive producer. Our mailing address is FOI Radio PO Box 914 Bellmawr, New Jersey 08099. Again, that's FOI Radio PO Box 914 Bellmawr, New Jersey 08099. And I'll give you one last quick reminder to visit us at foiradio.org. The Friends of Israel Today is a production of The Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry. We are a worldwide evangelical ministry proclaiming biblical truth about Israel and the Messiah while bringing physical and spiritual comfort to the Jewish people.
LANCASTER, PENNSYLVANIA (SEPTEMBER 11-13, 2022)
Apples of Gold: It is Possible if God Wills It
Zvi recounts a time when he was invited to a bar mitzvah. While celebrating with a friend, an opportunity also came up to continue a conversation about Christ with a few Orthodox men Zvi had spoken to previously. Although his listeners weren’t initially open to hearing about Jesus, Zvi was joined by an older man who wasn’t like the others. Listen to how Zvi shared his faith with these men and how the older man brought a new perspective to the conversation.
The Friends of Israel Today and Apples of Gold theme music was composed and performed by Jeremy Strong.
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