How to Celebrate the FEAST of UNLEAVENED BREAD
Exodus 12:15-20 says, "Seven days shall ye eat unleavened bread; even the first day (Abib 15 -- Lev.23:6) 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 (disfellowshipped). And in the first day there shall be an holy convocation ("commanded assembly", also "rehearsal" -- #4744), and in the seventh day there shall be an holy convocation to you; no manner of work shall be done in them, save that which every man must eat, that only may be done by you. And ye shall observe the FEAST of UNLEAVENED BREAD; for in this selfsame day have I brought your armies out of the land of Egypt; therefore shall ye observe this day in your generations by an ordinance forever. In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month at evening (the evening that ends the fourteenth day -- cp. verse 15), ye shall eat unleavened bread ("bread of affliction" -- Deut.16:3), until the one and twentieth day of the month at evening. Seven days shall there be no leaven found in your houses (The custom of spring housecleaning comes from the Bible.); for whosoever eateth that which is leavened, even that soul shall be cut off from the congregation of Israel, whether he be a stranger or born in the land. Ye shall eat nothing leavened; in all your habitations shall ye eat unleavened bread" (cp. Lev.23:6-8). Exodus 23:15 says that nobody "shall appear before me empty" (cp. Deut.16:16) so offerings are required on the first and last holy days.
Egypt Represents A Sinful Lifestyle
Just as the ancient Israelites met together from all around Goshen in "convocation" at Rameses to begin to leave Egypt the fifteenth (Ex.12:17; Num.33:3), so we must gather together in a church or synagogue on this same fifteenth of Nisan TO LEAVE ANY SINFUL LIFESTYLE (Rom.6:15-23; John 8:31-36). This festival must not be kept at home (Deut.16:2,5-6). Egypt symbolizes an evil lifestyle (Heb.11:25-27; Rev.11:8). In order to LEAVE SIN, we must travel into the desert wilderness, AWAY FROM CIVILIZATION and BIG CITIES where the sheep-instinct and human controls prevail. We must "Enter through the NARROW GATE. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and NARROW the ROAD that leads to life, and only a FEW find it" (Matt.7:13-14; NIV). Not that we should literally come "OUT OF THE WORLD" (John 17:15) and live in monasteries. Christ simply warns us NOT to be "OF THE WORLD" -- NOT part of its EVIL (17:15-16). Lights of the world (Matt.5:14-15) don't hide in monasteries.
The Israelites journeyed from Rameses (meaning "Son of the Sun" which was also known as Tanis or Zoan) to Succoth (meaning "Boothes" or "Tents") and then to Etham (meaning "Fortress") "in the edge of the wilderness" (Num.33:6) and then to Migdol (meaning a "Fortified Watchtower"). This is the journey of the Jewish Christian life -- from pagan sun-worship to being a watchman. The full moon made the NIGHT bright for them as "about six hundred thousand men" ("over twenty years old" is the meaning of "men") (Ex.12:37) plus women and children traveled this route "harnessed" (Ex.13:18) or "five abreast." We must "walk by faith, NOT BY SIGHT" (2 Cor. 5:7). Just as a person removes sin from his life as long as he lives, so we remove leaven whenever we find it during all seven days, although we should attempt to get it all out before the first day begins (Deut.16:4; Ex.12:19; 13:7). Thus the seven days picture the average 70-year lifespan (Ps.90:10; Rom.6:1-11; 1 Cor.10:1-11). Just as Israel was "BAPTIZED" the last day of the feast, so BAPTISM is the next step after REPENTANCE (Passover) and OBEDIENCE to God (Unleavened Bread). All existing leaven and leavened products are to be destroyed or sold. The living waters of God are a wall to us on the "right hand" and on the "left" (Ex.14:19), guiding and protecting us in God's true path. But these same waters covered Pharaoh's army -- a type of the Spirit covering sin and removing it from us.
Israel left Egypt the night of the fifteenth of Nisan. Jews pray, "Pour out your wrath upon the nations who do not acknowledge you" (Ps. 79:6) and "destroy all the wicked, save us from the yoke of gentile servitude and redeem us." This is "a night of watching" "to be observed of all the children of Israel in their generations" (Ex. 12:42) when God protects us.
"Get The Leaven Out"
Leaven is a type of SIN. Matthew 16:6,12 defines leaven as the DOCTRINE of the Pharisees and Saduccees. Thus we should examine all the DOCTRINES we hold as true on the Feast of Unleavened Bread in order to get leaven (FALSE DOCTRINE) out of our lives just as we read the INGREDIENTS and labels on everything we EAT during these seven days. We are what we eat. More importantly, we are what we think. As a man "thinketh in his heart, so is he" (Pr.23:7). Luke 12:1 defines leaven as HYPOCRISY. Herod had leaven (Mark 8:15). First Corinthians 5:8 defines leaven as "MALICE and WICKEDNESS" and unleavened bread as "SINCERITY and TRUTH." Amos 4:4-5 also compares TRANSGRESSING with offering leaven. The Talmud says, "leaven represents the evil impulse of the heart" (Berachot 17a). Pharaoh typifies Satan trying to keep sinners in bondage to sin (Rom.6:16). Only God has the power to deliver us from sin (Ex.14:4). The Israelites were trapped between the Pihahiroth mountain range to the south and west. The Red Sea to the east and Pharaoh's army to the north. Newly converted Jewish Christians, just like the ancient Israelites (Ex.14:11-12), may get discouraged and want to return to their former lives of sin when they see that the righteous life is not easy. But spiritual dead-ends -- just like this physical cul-de-sac -- can be overcome if we just obey God.
The Search For Leaven
The Jewish ritual of searching for LEAVEN is begun on the 13th and and by noon of the 14th it must be burned up or taken to the dump. Say this blessing: "Blessed are you Lord our God, King of the Universe, who has sanctified us with your laws, and commanded us to remove the LEAVEN." Use a CANDLE, a wooden SPOON, a FEATHER and a linen BAG. Clean oven and toaster and in cracks. Shake out pockets of clothes. The wife hides ten pieces of leavened bread and the husband and children find them. Along with many other halachic authorities, we oppose the widespread custom of having the wife hide ten pieces of hametz since that runs opposite to the biblical command. Nevertheless, each piece is found and pushed onto the SPOON by using the FEATHER, then dropped into the linen BAG. Then the man casts them out of the door of the house. The next morning (Nisan 14), he goes into the synagogue and casts the bag into a FIRE and all is burned. This ritual typified the TORAH (candle) which illuminates our SINS (leaven) (Ps.119:105). The FEATHER typifies the DOVE or HOLY SPIRIT. The wooden spoon is the CRUCIFIXION STAKE and the linen bag is LINEN in which Jesus was wrapped. The fire was his trial of suffering and DEATH. Notice that false accusations (leaven) against Christ had to be planted or they would not have found any (2 Cor.5:21).
Nullification of Leaven
When the search is completed, one should say this disclaimer, "Any chametz which is in my possession, which I have not seen or disposed of, or which I am not aware of, shall be nullified and ownerless like the dust of the earth."
If you're a Jewish storekeeper, and have a warehouse full of breads, pastries, cookies, and pies, you must sell this chametz to a non-Jew before the Passover and then buy it back after the seven-day feast.
Eat in Haste
When a man eats unleavened bread, it is made moist by the mouth's saliva and is ground into flour by the teeth. Therefore, "eat it in haste" (under 18 minutes) since any grain flour allowed to become wet will quickly leaven. Any food particles in teeth should be dislodged. Otherwise they becomes leavened bread. Crumbs must be collected and eaten or burned quickly after each meal. Eat every meal on a newspaper to catch the crumbs for burning. Comb out moustaches and beards. Use a timer for every meal.
Unleavened bread is made HASTILY lest any spontaneous fermentation take place. This is a type of Israel leaving Egypt in HASTE (Deut.16:3-4). When bread is leavened, the existing sugar in the dough is destroyed by a substance that produces a chemical reaction with it. By-products of this reaction are ALCOHOL, SOURDOUGH and GAS. The change is PERMANENT. In the same way, when a man becomes wicked, the "SWEETNESS" is replaced by a "SOUR" attitude. His judgment is impaired and his mind is "PUFFED UP" with pride and vanity. The wickedness becomes a HABIT and is very hard to break. The conscience becomes "SEARED" (1 Tim.4:2) and the change is "PERMANENT."
Leaven is everywhere. It permeates the atmosphere just as sin does (Eph.2:2). A little sin, just like a little leaven, eventually affects the whole mind and then the conduct and then others around you (James 1:14-15; 1 Cor.5:6; 2 Cor.10:5). Leaven is misleading and deceptive. A little bread looks like alot. It looks sweet but tastes sour. It is FULL OF AIR. Sin has "pleasures" (Heb.11:25) but there is a boomerang effect later. Leaven causes corruption and disintegration. Just like the rotting apple in the barrel, you must either take it out or it will rot other apples (1 Cor.5:2-7). "A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump" (Gal.5:9). Sin looks like the sweetest, best way. It appears to be the quickest way to achieve any goal. But a person must look at more than mere outward appearances (1 Sam. 16:7) and "walk by faith, not by sight" (2 Cor. 5:7). All previous righteousness is forgotten by God the day we sin (Ez. 18:4, 20-32). God pardons sin if man repents and quits sinning. That means OBEYING the LAW. "Sin is the transgression of the law" (1 John 3:4) and "By the law is the knowledge of sin" (Rom.3:20). "If thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments" (Matt.19:16-17).
Most professing "Christians" don't obey the law because they have rejected the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Most professing "Jews" don't believe in Christ because they keep Passover on the wrong day.
What Is Leaven?
Before getting rid of leaven, we must know exactly what leaven is. In ancient Israel, bread was leavened through the FERMENTATION process. After making a batch of BREAD DOUGH, the women would allow a bit of the DOUGH to sit and absorb any wild YEAST spores in the air. Then the next time they made BREAD DOUGH, they would add that tiny bit of LEAVENED DOUGH to their newest batch. There is no trace of the use of other sorts of leaven, such as the lees of wine or those mentioned by Pliny (NH, xviii.26). The Bible always defines LEAVEN as meaning this LUMP of OLD DOUGH (ISBE art. "leaven"). The LUMP OF DOUGH thus preserved was either dissolved in water in the kneading-trough before the flour was added, or was "hid" in the flour (the King James Version "meal") and kneaded along with it, as was the case mentioned in the parable (Mt 13:33). The bread thus made was known as "leavened," as distinguished from "unleavened" bread (Ex 12:15, etc.). The word leaven, at least in the 18th century, meant a LUMP OF OLD DOUGH. This ancient view was held by Plutarch who said, "Leaven comes from corruption, and corrupts the dough with which it is mixed; and every FERMENTATION seems to be a putrefaction." (Quaest. Rom. 109) Fermentatum is used in Persius (Sat., i.24) for "corruption." For this reason doubtless it was excluded also from the offerings placed upon the altar of Yahweh, cakes made from flour without leaven, and these only, being allowed. The regulation name for these "unleavened cakes" was matstsoth (Lev 10:12).
Thus, LEAVENED BREAD must be discarded (Deut.16:3-4; Ex.13:7); "Fermented" BREAD (Ex. 12:19; 13:7; YLT). "There shall no LEAVENED BREAD be seen with thee, neither shall there be LEAVEN seen with (by) thee in all thy quarters" (Ex.13:7; Deut.16:4). What is LEAVEN? "And they baked unleavened CAKES of the DOUGH which they brought forth out of Egypt" (Ex. 12:39). Therefore it's a "whole LUMP" (Gal. 5:9) of "DOUGH with yeast" (NASB; Ex. 12:19).
Sephardic Jews teach that chametz (leaven) means WHEAT, BARLEY, OATS, SPELT or RYE that has BECOME WET and allowed to remain uncooked for a short period of time (EXCEEDING 18 MINUTES) because ONLY these grains begin to FERMENT and RISE when the come into contact with water for more than eighteen minutes. In Hebrew that RISING GRAIN is called chametz. SOURDOUGH is just dough that has been LEFT OUT of the refrigerator for some length of TIME. The matzah that we eat would be chametz but for the fact that it is baked WITHIN 18 MINUTES. Don't MOISTEN the matzah with SPREADS and then let it sit. EAT it IMMEDIATELY. Pet food and cosmetics must be free of chametz.
Ashkenazi Jews avoid legumes (kitniyot) also. These are not chametz in the strictest sense. Beans SWELL but DON'T FERMENT and RISE when water is added to them. But legumes include RICE, BEANS, PEAS, MILLET, CORN, QUINOA, KAMUT, MUSTARD, LENTILS, LECITHIN, AMARANTH, SEEDS and PEANUTS. PEANUT OIL, CORN OIL, CORN SYRUP, MILLET, EDAMAME, GLUCOSE, and EMULSIFIERS are made from legumes. Corn bread, rice crackers, almond bread, etc. require a leavening agent to be added. Cacao beans are not fermented to make chocolate. Rather, yeasts, bacteria, and enzymes ferment the juicy white pulp, or baba, that surrounds the cacao beans.
Yeast, baking powder, baking soda and vinegar are also considered leaven. "Yeast is particularly plentiful in sugary mediums such as FRUITS ... Yeasts from the skins of FRUITS and BERRIES have been shown to be most prominent during FRUIT DECAY. Early humans ... used ROTTEN FRUITS to make fermented beverages and alcohol." "Raw FRUIT JUICE naturally contains many yeasts ... derived from the surface of the FRUIT." Therefore some individuals AVOID ALL FRUITS during the Feast of Unleavened Bread. But no "yeast" in your house is impossible since yeast is EVERYWHERE (in the air; on fruits, vegetables and plants). That is why the Bible says "No leaven shall be SEEN with you" (Ex. 13:7; Deut. 16:3). People will eat this INVISIBLE yeast all seven days of the Days of Unleavened Bread without knowing it. Sugar is also present in virtually all foods in at least small amounts EVERYWHERE. Warm water awakens yeast and water is present in most foods and EVERYWHERE. Therefore yeast (everywhere) + sugar (everywhere) + water (everywhere) + time (over 18 minutes) = fermentation where CO2 (puffing up) and ethyl alcohol are produced and sugar is destroyed making the product more SOUR (Heb. Shr). Sauerkraut (fermented cabbage), yogurt (fermented milk) and wine (fermented fruit) are not leavened grain, but CAN BE USED FOR THAT PURPOSE. Therefore some individuals avoid these products also. But these are days of unleavened BREAD, not days of unleavened FRUIT, or unleavened MILK, or unleavened CABBAGE.
We reccomend a meal plan that includes matzos, milk, eggs, butter, coconut oil, potatoes, parsley, onions, broccoli, zucchini, peas, lentils, cauliflower, walnuts, pecans, almonds and cinnamon.
List Of Problem Foods
Apple juice may contain VINEGAR, ENZYMES, CLARIFYING AGENTS.
Applesauce may contain CORN SYRUP, corn SUGAR, or corn DEXTROSE.
ASCORBIC ACID is usually fermented CORN STARCH.
BEER is leavened BARLEY HOPS and BREWER'S YEAST.
Cheeses can contain STABILIZERS, corn SUGAR, COAGULATING AGENTS, MICROBIAL RENNET from real chametz, corn DEXTROSE and CULTURES.
CHOCOLATE is made from the COCOA BEAN.
Cigars that are flavored may contain GRAIN ALCOHOL.
Coffee may be processed on chametz machinery; some contain grain (such as Postum). Decaffeinated coffees may have been processed with ETHYL ACETATE derived from GRAIN ALCOHOL. Coffee flavoring may contain chametz ALCOHOL.
Dried fruits may be iodized with FLOUR, corn DEXTROSE (dietetic may contain grape juice), or CORN SYRUP. May be dried in chometz ovens using CORN or PEANUT OIL.
Honey can contain CORN SYRUP and COLORING.
Israeli products may contain legumes even when marked for Pesach use.
Ketchup may have STABILIZERS, OIL, corn DEXTROSE, VINEGAR (real chametz) or FLAVORINGS.
Lactaid, in both caplets and drop form, contains a LACTASE ENZYME that should be considered chametz.
Milk chocolate may contain MALT (chametz) and GLUCOSE.
Mayonnaise may contain MSG from HYDROLYZED PROTEIN, OIL, FLAVORINGS, SWEETENERS and VINEGAR.
Nuts are okay if they don't contain BHA, BHT or other ADDITIVES.
Play Dough is considered EDIBLE WHEAT (chametz) by Ashkenazim.
Roach Poison (Combat brand) contains edible chametz BAIT.
Salads (in bags) may contain CITRIC ACID.
Salt often contains corn DEXTROSE and POLYSORBATE, especially when IODIZED.
Soaps or detergents may contain ACETYL ALCOHOL or GRAIN
SOY products and TAMARI are fermented.
Sugar can contain CORN STARCH, WHEAT STARCH, CULTURES or YEAST.
Tonic Water can contain CORN SYRUP.
Vanilla Extract may contain CORN SYRUP and ALCOHOL.
Vegetables (frozen) may be processed on the SAME EQUIPMENT as PASTA.
Vinegar may contain YEAST that is chametz.
Vitamins may contain YEAST, STARCH, corn DEXTROSE, or WHEAT.
YOGURT and KEFIR contain live CULTURES.
Any product with a reliable Jewish trademark followed by a "P" may be used for Hag HaMatza. Whole wheat matzos can be obtained from the B. Manischewitz Company, Box 484A Jersey City, N.J., 07303. Look for the words "Kosher for Passover" on the box.
If you bake your own matzos, realize that freshly-ground flour becomes leavened more quickly than flour allowed to stand around for 24 hours since it is still warm from grinding. Also warm water mixed with flour speeds up the leavening process, so use cold water. Dough should be kneaded in a cool room away from the oven. Kneading and rolling the dough doesn't count as part of the 18 minutes.
The firstborn should fast the day before Passover and everyone should search for chametz the day before the Feast of Matzos and sell all chametz to gentiles or burn it. Check your car, garage and house. Then recite the "nullification of chametz." Matza should contain only flour and water, not eggs, fruit juice or chocolate, since such matza is particularly apt to become hametz. Don't eat eggs laid on Passover or the seven days following since the hen might be eating leavened grain. The same principle applies to milk and steak from cows fed leavened grain during these days. Don't derive benefit from your animal's sin (Ex. 20:10). Buy your eggs, steak and milk beforehand.
Leaven is a substance used to PRODUCE A GAS that makes dough or batter RISE during baking. The gas is caused by a chemical reaction (not always fermentation) which DESTROYS the existing SUGAR in the dough or batter and turns the dough or batter MORE SOUR than it was before. ALCOHOL is another by-product of yeast leavens.
BEER is FERMENTED BARLEY. CHOCOLATE is a "FERMENTED" food (World Book Encyc., art. "fermentation" 7:77). WRITER'S PASTE and TOOTHPASTE and INK made from GRAIN ALCOHOL are forbidden even though not edible because they are LEAVEN and can be used to LEAVEN dough and batter. SOUR CREAM is "Cream that has soured naturally by the action of lactic acid BACTERIA, and (is) used in baking certain breads and cakes" (p.1235, Amer. Her. Dict.). Jesus refused VINEGAR (Matt. 27:34). "Culture YEASTS have also been employed in the production of ... CIDER" (10:275-278). SCOTCH, RYE, BOURBON and BEER are all made from one of the five prohibited grains (O.H. 442:5 in M. Berurah 3). "An improved method (of leavening bread) of ancient origin uses the relatively pure YEAST that settles out from BEER or WINE" (3:465, Acad. Amer. Encyc.). "WINE LEES" are also LEAVEN (p.902, vol.3, PEOTB; 3:1862, ISBE).
On the other hand, "the author of the 'Passover Papyrus' of Elephantine (Cowley, Aramaic, 21, p.60ff) ... (followed) the Halakah ... in maintaining that ONLY FERMENTED GRAIN but NOT FERMENTED FRUIT (WINE) was INCLUDED under the definition of LEAVEN" (H.L. Ginsberg, in: Pritchard, Texts, 491, esp. n.6).
What Does The Wave Sheaf Represent?
We read that "on the fifteenth day of the same month (first month -- v.5) is the FEAST of UNLEAVENED BREAD unto the Eternal: seven days ye must eat unleavened bread. In the first day ye shall have an holy convocation: Ye shall do no servile work therein.... In the seventh day is an holy convocation: ye shall do no servile work therein.... when ye are come into the land which I give unto you, and shall reap the harvest thereof, then ye shall bring a SHEAF (A bundle of cut stalks is not the meaning of the Hebrew. Actually an homer (5.1 pints) of threshed, parched, ground and sifted FLOUR from barley mixed with oil and frankincense (Lev.2:15) is the meaning.) of the first fruits of your harvest unto the priest, And he shall WAVE the SHEAF (meal offering) before the Eternal, to be accepted for you: on the morrow (next day) after the sabbath (the sabbath during or just before the Days of Unleavened Bread if Passover is Saturday -- cp. Lev.23:15, Josh.5:11-12 & Luke 6:1 because the Sunday Wave Sheaf must fall within the Days of Unleavened Bread.) the priest shall WAVE it.... And ye shall eat neither bread, nor parched corn (grain), nor green ears (in other words, don't eat any harvested grain) until the selfsame day that ye have brought an offering unto your God: it shall be a statute forever throughout your generations in all your dwellings" (Lev.23:6-14). Paul said, "If the DOUGH offered as first fruits is holy, so is the whole lump" (Rom.11:16;RSV). Regarding the WAVE-SHEAF (meal offering) symbolism, we know that a "SHEAF" symbolizes a "MAN" (Gen.37:7). Christ was the "firstfruits of them that slept" (1 Cor.15:20,23) and although he was CUT DOWN on Wednesday just before sunset (Dan.9:27) and was resurrected on Saturday just before sunset, it was early the first day of the week before Christ was "ACCEPTED FOR YOU" (Lev.23:11) by the Father. Notice that it was very early the first day of the week that Mary Magdalene was NOT ALLOWED TO TOUCH him because he had not yet ascended to the Father (John 20:17). But later that same day (Matt.28:1) he had been accepted by the Father -- or offered like a meal offering -- because we read in Matthew 28:9 that "they came and HELD HIM by the feet."
During the time between when a priest in the temple caught the blood of a sacrifice and it was cast on the altar, the priest was NOT allowed to be TOUCHED by another person because if that other person were in some way ritually unclean, it would invalidate the sacrifice. Where did Jesus spend the night between the time He was resurrected and the formal acceptance in heaven the next morning? "He went and preached unto the spirits in prison, who sometime were disobedient" (1 Pet.3:19-20). Also, Jesus contacted a grave so was unclean (Num.19:16-19) until immersing in a mikveh on the "seventh day" (Num.19:19).
None of the other grain could be eaten until after the meal offering had been offered and accepted. For the last 2000 years, the JEWISH CHRISTIAN HARVEST has been RIPENING -- ready to be reaped very soon now. "Christ the first fruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming" (1 Cor.15:23). "This Passover sheaf was reaped in public the evening before it was offered" (Vol.2, book 4, p.619 Edersheim's Life and Times).The Wave Sheaf was cut at the end of the Sabbath day just as Messiah was raised up from the tomb near the end of the Sabbath on Abib 17. Christ may have had some stalks of barley in his hand after he was resurrected back to life to better symbolize his role and this is why Mary asked him if he was the gardener (John 20:13-19). During the Sunday morning temple service "The offering was placed on the extended hands of the priest, who moved them backward and forward (to counteract the effects of injurious winds) and then upward and downward (to counteract the effects of injurious dews)." (vol.9, p.399, Jewish Encyc.) Nature comes back to life in the Spring every year as a reminder of this resurrection and a prophecy for us.
In the days of Joshua, God selected the nation of Israel to inherit the Promised Land. "And the people came up out of the Jordan on the TENTH DAY of the first month, and encamped in Gilgal, in the east border of Jericho" (Josh.4:19). This is the very same day the lamb was selected for Passover. Israel was circumcised at that same time (Josh.5:2) and then kept Passover (Josh.5:10). Then Israel ate the grain of the land the next day (Josh.5:11). Joshua 5:11-12 mentions that the Israelites ate the "OLD" corn (grain). The word "OLD" in the KJV gives the wrong implication. Fenton, NIV, Lamsa, RSV, AAT and Jerusalem Bibles all omit the word "OLD." The manna ceased falling the very next day (5:12), a Monday if this was indeed the "WAVE-SHEAF" SUNDAY when they began eating Canaanite grain. The SHEAF (meal offering) was offered on the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread if the Passover was on Saturday in any year so that the offering occurred on SUNDAY and the grain could be eaten (Lev.23:10-14; cp. Luke 6:1). The SHEAF (meal offering) was never offered outside the seven-day period. The seven days that the Israelites marched around Jericho were the seven Days of Unleavened Bread. And the last holy day was when they marched seven times around (Josephus' Ant.5:1:5). Jasher 88:12 says, "they ate of the produce of the land" -- not OLD produce. If this grain was merely the leftover, year-old grain, it is a strange coincidence indeed that they began eating it only after the deadline for eating NEWLY HARVESTED GRAIN. The truth is that the Canaanites had already begun reaping their barley harvest and putting it in their grain silos only days before, but evacuated quickly, leaving their stored grain behind as they fled from the invading Israelites. Thus, it is correct to call it the "STORED GRAIN" or the grain that was "KEPT" (Strong's #5669) even though it wasn't OLD but instead was NEW.
The Bible records these specific verses for a reason. If it were merely the "YEAR-OLD" grain, there would be no significance to the time or subject. But eating the "GRAIN of the LAND" on the FIRST DAY of the FEAST of UNLEAVENED BREAD is very significant because it proves that the SHEAF (meal offering) can fall on the FIRST DAY of UNLEAVENED BREAD when "morrow after the Sabbath" happens to fall on that FIRST DAY. Otherwise there is no reason to record these specific verses since people eat "OLD" grain of the land anytime.
The Hebrew word translated "OLD CORN" can have an alternate meaning of "THE PRODUCE of THE EARTH" as opposed to "MANNA, THE BREAD of HEAVEN" also (p.96, Wilson's O.T. Word Studies). In other words, manna can't be stored for even a day without breeding worms and stinking (Ex.16:20). So it is always the "NEW" grain whereas "THE PRODUCE of THE EARTH," even if only a couple of days old, is "OLD GRAIN" by comparison. That could be the meaning of the Hebrew in these verses, especially since "the manna CEASED on the MORROW after they had eaten of the ... grain of the land" (Josh.5:12) showing the contrast.
The SHEAF (meal offering) ceremony had to occur before the Israelites were allowed to eat any of the NEW GRAIN (Lev.23:9-14). The ceremony took place "on the morrow after the Sabbath" (23:11). The barley was cut at the end of the Sabbath but wasn't WAVED or offered till the next morning. The Saduccees felt that this Sabbath must be one of the Days of Unleavened Bread. Instead, they should have felt that this Sabbath could also fall on the Passover to allow the SHEAF (meal offering) to always be on one of the Days of Unleavened Bread. Otherwise, every time you have Passover on a Saturday and don't use it, you must use the last holy day as the weekly Sabbath and then the meal offering would fall OUTSIDE the DAYS of UNLEAVENED BREAD. So this error of the Saduccees disagreed with Joshua 5:11-12. They felt that eating the new grain couldn't occur as early as the "morrow after the Passover."
The Pharisees disagreed with the Saduccees (see the Talmud). So do we. If the meal offering represents Christ's resurrection and ascention to the Father, then to put it after the Days of Unleavened Bread would be to put Christ's ascension AFTER the MILLENIUM, because the festival being seven days long reflects this whole period of 7000 years of world history. The Pharisees' view was that the meal offering should always fall on the Days of Unleavened Bread so they figured that the "Sabbath" mentioned was the FIRST ANNUAL SABBATH -- not the WEEKLY SABBATH. Pharisees always offered the meal offering on NISAN 16 therefore. They were wrong in this assumption. The Saduccees, who were in control of setting the dates for the feasts in the time of Christ, believed it to be the day after the WEEKLY SABBATH (TB Men. 65b). They said that "The omer (wave-sheaf) may not be
reaped at the close of a FESTIVAL DAY (Nisan 15)" (Mishna Menahoth 10:3). Also, they said, "Pentecost falls on the day after the SABBATH" (Hagigah 2:4) which would not be the case if the count always began on Nisan 16.
The only two scriptures in the Bible that prove the true doctrine on this subject are Joshua 5:11-12 and Luke 6:1. Luke 6:1 simply reflects the Saduccee/Pharisee controversy by calling one Sabbath in the seven-Sabbath count to Pentecost a "second/first Sabbath." The Saduccees counted one way, the Pharisees another. Christ was the fulfillment of the WAVE-SHEAF because on WAVE-SHEAF Sunday, Abib 18, 31 A.D., he first said, "TOUCH ME NOT; for I am not yet ascended to my Father" (John 20:17). Later that same day he didn't object when "they came and HELD HIM by the feet" (Matt.28:9). This shows that sometime between these two events he had visited his Father. Thus Christ the "WAVE SHEAF" (Lev.23:11) was accepted by God.
The omer is counted at night while standing, and before beginning the count we say this blessing: "Blessed art Thou, Lord our God, King of the Universe, who has sanctified us with his commandments, and commanded us to count the Omer." Then count the 50 days. Leviticus 23:11 says, the priest "shall wave the omer before God." Forward and back. Upward and down. (Leviticus Rabbah 28). If the Omer (5.1 pints of barley flour, oil and frankincense, Lev.2:15) is worth about $20.00, wave an offering in the air and then give it to a worthy biblical cause since God "brings forth winds, raises clouds, makes plants flourish and fruits ripen ... and the only recompense that we give him is a mere omer of barley.... You plowed, planted, weeded, harvested, sheaved, threshed, and made the grain ready. Yet if God does not provide you with wind to winnow, from where will your sustenance come? All that you offer him as recompense is payment for the wind.... R. Yehoshua taught, 'I guarded you. Are you not willing to give me (the omer) for my work?' R. Berachyah taught, "I am your cook. Are you not willing to let me taste your food so that I might know what they need -- either dew or rain?'" (Lev. Rabbah 28). Psalm 67 has 49 words in Hebrew that correspond to the omer count. Therefore Jews sing this psalm on this night.
The Song of Moses
On the last Days of Matzos, Jews sing the song of Moses as part of their liturgy; that song not only refers to the past, but also to future deliverances of Israel. Moses does not say: "I sang" but "I will sing" (Ex. 15:1) -- and here we find the proof of resurrection in the Torah (Sanhedrin 91b). Revelation 15:3 mentions the saints who will "sing the song of Moses." What is that song? "The Eternal is my strength and song. And he has become my salvation ..." (Yeshua) (Ex. 15:1-2).
Next Lesson: How to Observe the FEAST of PENTECOST
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