Unleavened Bread of Sincerity and Truth
First Day of Unleavened Bread
(Sermon Notes) By Warren Zehrung 4/6/2023
Brethren, we begin this service with the Offering. We began this Holy Day last evening, the First Day of Unleavened Bread, on this self-same day—when we observed, The Night to be Much Observed.
Exodus 12:42 It is a night to be much observed unto the LORD for bringing them out from the land of Egypt: this is that night of the LORD to be observed of all the children of Israel in their generations.
Sometimes we call it, The Night to be Much Remembered. It is a hard phrase to translate and maintain all the meaning because we find this special night as a Night to be Much Replicated.
It is the Night which often re-occurs in God’s Plan. It is a night that figures prominently in God’s chronology of events. In today’s sermon, we will look at some of these examples.
God says on that same day, or on that self-same day. On that self-same day—which we observe today: God entered into a Covenant with Abraham.
On that self-same day – as we just read – the children of Israel came out from the land of Egypt.
On that self-same day, the children of Israel entered the Promised Land after wandering in the wilderness for 40 years.
You can see God’s hand tied to each and every one of these events—it is no coincident that they all happen on the same-day—the First Day of Unleavened Bread.
On that self-same day, Jesus dead body was lain in the sepulture. That is a stark reminder of how important this day is. None of the often occurrences was a coincidence. And, on that self-same day we observe that night to be much observed, till our Lord comes.
In the New Testament Paul expounds on how coming out of Egypt corresponds to our coming out of sin. The seven-day Feast is a picture of completeness. That is what these Days picture for us— coming out of sin, and more for baptized Christians, as we are to “put on Christ,” put on the attributes and characteristics of Christ in sincerity and truth.
We put on Jesus Christ’s attributes – and everything He teaches us.
Sincerity and Truth – is to be a way of life for us.
This is a seven-day feast – picturing the completeness of this process of ridding ourselves from sin – it is a life-long undertaking.
1John 1:7 But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.
1John 1:8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
We are not to be hypocrites – trying to look good – while harboring evil thoughts. Our government leaders purposefully do the opposite of what God requires. When they know to do good, they do evil—deliberately distancing themselves from God.
What is Truth – not opinion, not wishes, not hearsay, without pretense. How does it match up with the word of God? Is it dependable trustworthy, an honest heart, heart without guile. Is it in totally Sincerity and Truth? Are the main requirements in the service of God?
Sincerity means clearness, purity, genuineness. No wax in the cracks of pottery – whole and unblemished – stamped with “sin + cere,” means “without wax” in the cracks. Sincerity means “Judged by sunlight”
How do we measure up with close scrutiny, in the light of day, in God’s eyes? Dishonesty and insincerity spread to everything they come into contact with.
Paul had to deal with the Corinthian church because they were “puffed up” that is they were being soft on sin. They were saying in effect, “I’ve been a sinner too, who am I to judge – we are big enough to overlook a little adultery in our congregation.” Paul told them that they had to deal with that sinner.
1Corinthians 5:6 Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leavens the whole lump?
1Corinthians 5:7 Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. [those were the days of Unleavened Bread] For even Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us:
1Corinthians 5:8 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.
Jesus served: That was one of His attributes. Then we find that humility was one of His characteristics.
Philippians 2:8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
Obedient to His Father was one of Christ’s many attributes.
As we put sin out of our lives—represented by these days of Unleavened Bread—we rid ourselves of pride, conceit, arrogance, self-importance, and superiority seek to have the humility of Jesus.
If we think that pride, conceit, arrogance, self-importance, and superiority are of no concern to us – that they do not apply to us in our human frames – then, we have not looked close enough in examining ourselves.
Jesus is the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. Paul tells us to keep this Feast in sincerity and truth, having rid ourselves of malice and wickedness. We Put on Christ by putting on the character of Christ.
Leviticus 23:6-8 And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the Feast of Unleavened Bread to the Lord; seven days you must eat unleavened bread. On the first day you shall have a holy convocation; [that is what we are doing] you shall do no customary work on it. But you shall offer an offering made by fire to the Lord for seven days. The seventh day shall be a holy convocation; you shall do no customary work on it.
In gratitude, we give to God:
Exodus 23:15 Thou shalt keep the feast of unleavened bread: (thou shalt eat unleavened bread seven days, as I commanded thee, in the time appointed of the month Abib; for in it thou camest out from Egypt: and none shall appear before me empty:)
Exo 34:18 The feast of unleavened bread shalt thou keep. Seven days thou shalt eat unleavened bread, as I commanded thee, in the time of the month Abib: for in the month Abib thou camest out from Egypt.
Exo 34:19 All that openeth the matrix is mine; and every firstling among thy cattle, whether ox or sheep, that is male.
Exo 34:20 But the firstling of an ass thou shalt redeem with a lamb: and if thou redeem him not, then shalt thou break his neck. All the firstborn of thy sons thou shalt redeem. And none shall appear before me empty.
Forty years later as Israel is about to enter the Promised Land:
Deuteronomy 16:16 Three times in a year shall all thy males appear before the LORD thy God in the place which he shall choose; in the feast of unleavened bread, and in the feast of weeks, and in the feast of tabernacles: and they shall not appear before the LORD empty:
Here are our guidelines in giving an offering:
Deuteronomy 16:17 Every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessing of the LORD thy God which He hath given thee.
Our path to God’s Kingdom begins with eating unleavened bread which pictures ingesting God’s way of life into our heart and mind.
We will now take up the offering as we listen to the Offertory Music.
You know how much I love the piano: As you listen to this moving Special Offertory Music brethren, Think on these things…
Picture the Exodus… Picture God’s Deliverance of the Israelites… picture them borrowing from their former masters – coming out with a high hand… After the death of all the first-born in the land:
Exodus 12:33 And the Egyptians were urgent upon the people, that they might send them out of the land in haste; for they said, We be all dead men.
Exodus 12:34 And the people took their dough before it was leavened, their kneading-troughs being bound up in their clothes upon their shoulders.
Exodus 12:35 And the children of Israel did according to the word of Moses; and they borrowed of the Egyptians jewels of silver, and jewels of gold, and raiment:
Exodus 12:36 And the LORD gave the people favor in the sight of the Egyptians, so that they lent unto them such things as they required. And they spoiled the Egyptians.
Exodus 14:8 And the LORD hardened the heart of Pharaoh king of Egypt, and he pursued after the children of Israel: and the children of Israel went out with an high hand.
Picture: The parting of the Red Sea – the waters a wall on both sides…
Picture: The triumphant crossing…
Picture: Freedom as the far side of the Red sea is reached and the seas enfold on the Egyptian army…
Picture: The children of Israel headed for the Promised Land…
And Picture: Our being headed for the Kingdom of God!
Maksim Mrvica on the piano playing “Exodus” by Ernest Gold
We will now take up the offering.
God has been working on a very specific time-table since creation began – and unto this day, He is following that Plan closely.
God does different things with His people at different times. But sometimes He does things with an incredible consistency.
For those who believe the Word of God, when we see His wonderful works performed with stop-watch-like precision, over the centuries, it is a resounding testament that it is He who is bringing His Plan to fruition—even in our individual lives—right on schedule—His schedule. God’s hand is intricately involved in all our concerns.
As we know, there were times when God utilized animal sacrifices in His worship services.
And we know now, that Jesus the Messiah was the object of those object lessons. They all pointed to Him.
And then again, there are times when God does not utilize animal sacrifices – like now. And that is because we are much farther along in the 7,000-year Plan of God.
Today, on this Feast Day – the First Day of Unleavened Bread, I am speaking about a sacrificial situation that took place on the 14th and 15th of the first month, Abib or Nisan – much like what we are celebrating this week with Passover and the First Day of Unleavened Bread.
The Bible does not label this sacrificial situation with a specific name—over the years, I’ve called it the Sacrificial Covenant.
It was unique sacrifice, incorporating a number of differing animals, an heifer, which is a young female cow that has not borne a calf of three years old, and a she goat of three years old, and a ram of three years old, and a turtledove, and a young pigeon, and that sacrifice conveyed very great importance to Abram before God changed his name to Abraham.
That sacrifice was not the typical sacrifice we are so used to reading and hearing about where those in the Old Testament brought animal sacrifices to the temple.
We are told that Abram the Hebrew dwelt in the plain of Mamre.
We have here pictures of Passover and the timing of Passover:
Genesis 14:18 And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and He was the Priest of the Most High God.
We see that Melchizedek brought this bread and wine forth, on the same day, Passover, and at the same time, beginning of the 14th, as when Jesus instituted the New Testament bread and wine.
The writer of the Book of Hebrews informs us that this Melchizedek, is none other than the Messiah, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God.
Hebrews 7:3 Without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life; but made like unto the Son of God; abides a priest continually.
By the way, this Genesis 14:18 reference is the very first occurrence of “bread and wine,” in the Holy Scriptures.
Abram was Blessed by Melchizedek
Genesis 14:19 And [Melchizedek] blessed Abram, and said, Blessed be Abram of the Most High God, possessor of heaven and earth:
This too, is the very first occurrence of the “Most High God,” in the Holy Scriptures. (Luke 1:76 Highest)
Melchizedek praises God the Father and credits Him for Abram’s success in battle, saying:
Genesis 14:20 And blessed be the Most High God, which has delivered thine enemies into thy hand. And [Abram] gave [Melchizedek] tithes of all.
God came to Abram that Passover night in a vision
Genesis 15:1 After these things [the bread and the wine] the word of the LORD came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward.
Genesis 15:2 And Abram said, Lord GOD, what wilt thou give me, seeing I go childless,
Genesis 15:4 And, behold, the word of the LORD came unto [Abram] saying, … he [singular] that shall come forth out of thine own bowels shall be thine heir. [First, Isaac -> then in due course, Jesus Christ]
Notice it is night-time on Abib 14th: After the bread and wine.
Christ is the “Seed” that will bring Spiritual Salvation to the multitudinous children of Abraham.
Abraham understood that Christ would work out the salvation of the entire world through him.
God promises Abram, who is childless at the time, progeny as numerous as the stars in the heavens.
Hebrews 6:13 For when God made promise to Abraham, because He could swear by no greater, He swore by Himself,
Hebrews 6:14 Saying, Surely blessing I will bless thee, and multiplying I will multiply thee.
God also told Abram that the covenant He was making with him was to be an everlasting covenant.
Pick up on the timing here – we now move into the evening of Abib 14th – then it becomes real dark. [This is the same time that Jesus prayed to the Father in John 17 the night before He died.]
Genesis 15:5 And the LORD brought Abram forth a broad [high field], and said, Look now toward heaven, and count the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed [children] be.
This is the great promise – Abraham does not have even one child – and God tells him that his children will be countless.
These children are not all Abraham’s Physical children – but also those Spiritual children – through Christ.
Perhaps we cannot see the spiritual aspect of Genesis 15:5 – but just so we do not miss the implication here – Paul spells it out for us.
Galatians 3:29 And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.
Abraham believed God!!! (Romans 4:20)
Abram is told, not only that will he have a son, but that he will have billions upon billions of children!
Genesis 15:6 And [Abram] believed in the LORD; and He counted it to [Abram] for righteousness.
We are told that God knew for sure that Abraham believed the Lord when he did not withhold his son Isaac – but we will not see that until Chapter 22. What happened in the meantime to convince Abraham of God’s faithfulness? Why did Abraham believe God? Abraham asks for confirmation of God’s promise:
Genesis 15:8 And he said, Lord GOD, whereby shall I know that I shall inherit it?
Abraham is asking God for some reassurance – after all, Abraham knows that he is getting pretty old to have children.
To show Abraham that His promise is sure – God makes the Sacrificial Covenant with Abraham – God swears to Abraham – but God doesn’t raise His right hand to heaven, or swear on a stack of bibles. Paul says that God swears on “Himself.”
Jesus binds Himself to this oath: That makes it unchallengeable, immutable and unalterable—it is forever and eternal. On Passover Day God tells Abram to get some animals for a Covenant Sacrifice:
Genesis 15:9 And the Lord said unto Abram, Take me an heifer of three years old, and a female goat of three years old, and a ram of three years old, and a turtledove, and a young pigeon.
Please understand that this is not like most of the Old Testament sacrifices. This was for a Covenant Sacrifice – it was for an oath by God Himself:
Genesis 15:10 And he [Abram] took unto him all these, and divided them down the middle, and laid each piece opposite the other:
Abraham does this during the daylight portion of Passover – it is okay to work on Passover Day. This happened about 3 pm on Passover day. The same time that Jesus died.
Genesis 15:11 And when the fowls came down upon the carcasses, Abram drove them away.
That is still daylight on what would become Passover Day – when the buzzards are flying.
We will see that Jesus makes a unilateral Sacrificial Covenant and then becomes the victim. We are fast approaching the Night To Be Much Observed:
Genesis 15:12 And when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram; and, lo, an horror of great darkness fell upon him.
Abraham’s deep sleep corresponds to, and symbolizes Jesus death and burial in the tomb as the First Day of Leavened Bread begins at sunset. God the Father in heaven is all alone for the first time ever.
Genesis 15:13 And He said unto Abram, Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years;
From the death of Abraham at 175 years old until the land of Canaan was divided was 400 years.
It was 430 years from when the covenant was confirmed when Abraham was 99 until the actual Night To Be Much Observed – the same day!
Next, we need to understand the meaning of the smoking furnace and the burning lamp of Genesis 15:17.
God, Himself, passes between the pieces of the Sacrificial Covenant – that is, He makes and enters into the covenant that only He can bring to pass.
Abraham did not pass between the pieces, but the Lord did: This was a unilateral agreement. God promised to do something.
Jesus said in effect – “I will give my life to bring this Covenant to fruition.” The covenant was Jesus’ promise to bring many, many children – especially spiritual children – eventually to eternal life!
Genesis 15:17 And it came to pass, that, when the sun went down, [this is well into the Night To Be Much Observed and the First Day of Unleavened Bread] and it was dark, behold a smoking furnace, and a burning lamp [Jesus Christ] that passed between those pieces. [That was Jesus devouring the sacrificial meal]
The smoking furnace, and a burning lamp – that was Jesus Christ – the God of the Old Testament passing between those pieces.
Jesus is often represented by a column of fire, a fire from heaven, and The Shekinah Glory a visible manifestation of God’s abiding presence (Exodus 24:16, 40:35, Numbers 9:17-18).
What Abraham saw was like a blast furnace – loud and bright – a brilliant beam of light that passed between those pieces!
Jesus Christ made a very emphatic point of passing through the pieces – the halves – of the Sacrificial Covenant, and thus consuming them!
Jesus Christ, God of the Old Testament, was making a very special covenant with Abram here in Genesis 15. It was His way of saying, “I’m putting my life on the line to keep this covenant.”
Let’s understand that there is only one way to come out of sin – and that is by Jesus Christ. He begins by granting us repentance.
In Genesis 15 we see – not the covenant with Physical Israel – but with Spiritual Israel. It has to be spiritual to go into everlasting life in the Kingdom of God. And the covenant sacrifice applies to us:
Galatians 3:29 And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.
When Abraham witnessed this phenomenal spectacle – he believed!!!
He knew, without any doubt at all, that Jesus would keep His Promise and perform his word!
Jesus Christ was saying in effect, “I will give my life to bring this Sacrificial Covenant to fruition.”
This was a tremendous event in that Jesus, not only made the Sacrificial Covenant by passing between the pieces, He also prophesied His own death.
Genesis 15:18 In the same day the LORD made a covenant with Abram. [God’s promise to Abraham is still in effect.]
The Sacrificial Covenant was the sign or miracle that Jesus would surely keep His oath to Abraham to provide him with children that would be in number as the stars in the sky and the sand of the seas.
This was an unilateral Covenant Sacrifice by Jesus – Abraham realized that even if he came humanly short in some area – Jesus was SURE to fulfill His oath to Abraham.
Brethren, it is the same for us. Jesus oath to us is sure and positive.
When we come short, and we do come short, Jesus is there for us. That is why we wash our feet:
1John 3:20 For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knows all things.
This exact night marks the exact time that Israel ate the old corn as they came into the Promised Land.
Joshua 5:10 And the children of Israel encamped in Gilgal, and kept the Passover on the fourteenth day of the month at even in the plains of Jericho.
Joshua 5:11 And they did eat of the old corn of the land on the morrow after the Passover, unleavened cakes, and parched corn in the selfsame day.
The selfsame day as what? The selfsame day as Abraham’s vision and many other important dates. God’s hand is bringing His Plan to fruition to the exact selfsame day. We, Brethren, are part and parcel with this covenant as those who went before us.
The Night to be Much Observed is the exact time that Joseph of Arimathaea laid Jesus body to rest at the end of Passover Day:
Mark 15:43 Joseph of Arimathaea, an honorable counselor, which also waited for the kingdom of God, came, and went in boldly unto Pilate, and craved the body of Jesus.
Mark 15:46 And he bought fine linen, and took Him down, and wrapped him in the linen, and laid him in a sepulcher which was hewn out of a rock, and rolled a stone unto the door of the sepulcher.
The Children of Israel gained their independence from Egypt on The Night to be Much Observed as they came out of Egypt.
We, brethren, gained our victory over sin – it marks our point of salvation – our victory over bondage and over death as Jesus was laid in the tomb just as The Night to be Much Observed began.
END: Unleavened Bread of Sincerity and Truth