Skip to comments.The Meaning of Matzo - Unleavened Bread in the Bible
Posted on 04/28/2016 11:53:32 AM PDT by Lera
PMThe Passover meal marks beginning of the week-long "Feast of Unleavened Bread". Israel was commanded to eat unleavened bread, matzo bread with no yeast (hametz) in it, for a whole week. So Jewish people in Israel have been crunching their way through multiple square sheets of matzo bread and looking wistfully at the closed bakery sections for a while now. But what does it mean? The most obvious answer is a reminder of the swift exodus from Egypt, when there was no time for the bread to rise. But there is one small problem with that explanation...
God first spoke to Moses about his plans for the Passover in Exodus 12:1-5, saying, "Tell all the congregation of Israel that on the tenth day of this month, each man is to take a lamb for his family one lamb for the household... You must watch over it until the fourteenth day of the same month. Then the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel is to slaughter it at twilight." Incidentally, this twilight ritual slaughter of sacrificial Passover lambs is still practiced by the Samaritan people on the Mount of Gerazim to this day. But back to the point - God presumably gives this instruction at the beginning of the month, since he says "this month", and it must at least be before the 10th of that month, since that is the date God tells Moses that everyone has to choose their lamb. They then have to kill it on the 14th. So even if God tells Moses all this on the 9th, that's still 5 days till Passover... why did they not have enough time to let bread rise?
Verse 39 states, "They had baked matzot cakes from the dough that they brought out of Egypt. It had no hametz, because they were thrust out of Egypt and could not delay, so they had not made provisions for themselves." But if they knew it would be a bit of a rush, surely they could have started the bread making process earlier? However, haste is not the only issue with this unleavened bread business. In fact, the imperative to get rid of all the hametz is made quite clear throughout the rest of the chapter:
"During the first month in the evening of the fourteenth day of the month, you are to eat matzot [unleavened bread], until the evening of the twenty-first day of the month. For seven days no hametz [leaven] is to be found in your houses, for whoever eats hametz, that soul will be cut off from the congregation of Israel, whether he is an outsider or one who is born in the land. You are to eat no hametz; in all your houses you are to eat matzot." (18-20)
What's the deal with leaven?
It's a little bit confusing as to what it is that God is getting at, and why removal of leaven is so important. As is the case in many situations, the New Testament sheds light on the matter for us.
1 Corinthians 5:6-8 draws the parallel between hametz (leaven) and sin - particularly the sin of pride. "Your boasting is no good. Don't you know that a little hametz leavens the whole batch of dough? Get rid of the old hametz, so you may be a new batch, just as you are unleavened--for Messiah, our Passover Lamb, has been sacrificed. Therefore let us celebrate the feast not with old hametz, the hametz of malice and wickedness, but with unleavened bread--the matzah of sincerity and truth."
The idea of being "puffed up" with pride is also mentioned elsewhere by Paul in 1 Corinthians 4:18, 8:1, and Romans 11:211-31. The symbolism is clear - risen bread puffed up with leaven is reminiscent of sinful pride, and unleavened matzo bread is humble, simple, and pure.
Because there is enough leaven just in the air to have an effect on dough, special efforts have to be taken to prevent it from rising. The bread has lines scored across it, and holes pierced through it to help keep it laying low. This reminds us of how Yeshua, humble, pure and sinless, was striped and pierced as he gave his own life for the ultimate Passover sacrifice.
Another interesting aspect concerning matzo bread in the Passover meal is the "Afikomen" tradition that developed roughly around the time of Yeshua, in Roman times. Afikomen is a Greek word meaning "sweet" or "that which comes after", and was inspired by Roman customs, as much of today's Passover seder has been. The tradition is to keep three matzot in a cover, break the middle matzo in two, and hide a piece of it. The children are encouraged to search for the hidden piece, which is redeemed for a sweet treat when found. This can speak to us of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit - with the "Son" being taken out, broken, hidden away for a while, and bringing redemption - the sweetest reward we will ever know. Unlike the flat matzo bread, no amount of stripes and piercings could hold Yeshua down. There was no pride in him at all, but he rose again, and is lifted to the right hand of the Father now in glory, exalted higher than any other name, because of the incredible sacrifice he made to free you and I from slavery, sin and death.
Bread of rememberance
In the Passover meal, part of the ceremony is to eat the matzo bread together and remind each other by saying, "This is the bread of affliction that our fathers ate in Egypt". It symbolises affliction, slavery, lack of luxury. It is designed, along with the whole Passover meal, to help the children of Israel re-enact the Passover event, year after year, each generation telling the story the the next. It was an issue of remembering what God had done for them, in rescuing them from slavery and death.
In time, Yeshua would hold this same Passover matzo up and say to his followers, not "This is the bread of affliction our fathers ate in Egypt", but "This is my body, broken for you. Do this in remembrance of me". It is no coincidence that Yeshua's death was at the time of the Passover sacrifice, for the whole redemption story was a grand echo of an even greater redemption to come, planned by the same composer who orchestrated the miraculous Exodus. Friends, we serve a mighty and ingenious God who had the whole thing planned from the outset.
(Isaiah 52:14) As many were astonied at thee; his visage was so marred more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men:
(Isaiah 52:15) So shall he sprinkle many nations; the kings shall shut their mouths at him: for that which had not been told them shall they see; and that which they had not heard shall they consider.
(Isaiah 53:1) Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed?
(Isaiah 53:2) For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.
(Isaiah 53:3) He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
(Isaiah 53:4) Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.
(Isaiah 53:5) But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.
(Isaiah 53:6) All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.
(Isaiah 53:7) He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.
(Isaiah 53:8) He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken.
(Isaiah 53:9) And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth.
(Isaiah 53:10) Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.
(Isaiah 53:11) He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.
(Isaiah 53:12) Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.
Unleavened: My whole life I was told it was because they were in a hurry!
It has other uses. Some in martial arts;
We make the salt rising bread around here. Once you get past the smell of dirty socks while it’s working, it makes a fine toast.
It is not for man to determine what "God is getting at...".
Correct. Our is to obey.
Why is this night different from all other nights? -- Please refer to your Hagadah, page 4.
Bring on the Tsimis!
As a Christian I love observing these days. My wife makes a really good unleavened bread that has sunflower seeds and honey in it.
Oy vay, why are you making such a tsimis of everything!? Please, let’s eat all ready... pass the charoset.
Just make sure you've got Momma Gold's Extra Hot horseradish!
Most are familiar with the 'bad' mark found in Revelation 13...
16 He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads,
Did you know there's a good mark?
Notice: Same numbers 13:16
Shemot (Exodus) 13
16 And it will be like a sign on your hand and a symbol on your forehead that the Lord brought us out of Egypt with his mighty hand.
Now back up to verse 9 (Exodus 13)
9 This observance will be for you like a sign on your hand and a reminder on your forehead that this law of the Lord is to be on your lips. For the Lord brought you out of Egypt with his mighty hand.
When something is mentioned twice, pay attention!
This explains (in part) the Magen David (Shield of David).
When the Hebrews placed the blood of the Lamb on the two doorposts and the lintel it formed a triangle pointing up, when Yeshua hung on the tree He formed the triangle pointing down, hence the two interlocking triangles. Now that's a shield!
Because Jesus Christ, the Messiah, is the fulfillment of all that God was teaching His chosen people through their feasts and holy days. He is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.
I understand you believe that and I hope that such believe guides you to a prosperous, peaceful and good life. However, there are significant theological differences between Christianity and Judaism. Significant Christian beliefs like original sin, a messiah as God incarnate, or that God, as a man, sacrifices himself to save people's souls from hell. Speaking of "hell", why would a loving God create a hell? And if you say "lucifer" or "satan" created it, then you believe in polytheism.
Thank you for the kind words. I hope the same for you.
There certainly are differences between Judaism and Christianity - some quite significant. However, it is true that the majority of the first Christians WERE Jews. Christianity didn't get invented out of whole cloth. It was/is the natural outcome of the fulfillment of hundreds of Old Testament prophecies pointing to the Messiah which includes the symbolism in the Passover Seder with all its parts including the hidden matzo spoken of in this OP.
Doctrines such as the universal sin nature of man, the Divinity of the Messiah (God with us), the sacrifice of the Messiah for the sins of the world, even hell, are all doctrines found within the books of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms. I'd be really honored to show them to you should you truly desire to know.
I hope you have a blessed weekend.
Seriously? Not even the Matzah escapes another religion’s usurpation???
How sad and desperate.
The Exodus is the Jews’ history and the Matzah is theirs too - for the last 3,300 years.
The good mark comes from observing the festival of Matzoh See: Shemot 13
The bad mark comes from, well read from the Quran
48. Surah Al-Fath (The Victory)
29. Muhammad () is the Messenger of Allah, and those who are with him are severe against disbelievers, and merciful among themselves. You see them bowing and falling down prostrate (in prayer), seeking Bounty from Allah and (His) Good Pleasure. The mark of them (i.e. of their Faith) is on their faces (foreheads) from the traces of (their) prostration (during prayers). This is their description in the Taurat (Torah). But their description in the Injeel (Gospel) is like a (sown) seed which sends forth its shoot, then makes it strong, it then becomes thick, and it stands straight on its stem, delighting the sowers that He may enrage the disbelievers with them. Allah has promised those among them who believe (i.e. all those who follow Islamic Monotheism, the religion of Prophet Muhammad till the Day of Resurrection) and do righteous good deeds, forgiveness and a mighty reward (i.e. Paradise).
The mark of them (i.e. of their Faith) is on their faces (foreheads) from the traces of (their) prostration (during prayers).
You get the 'bad mark' from bowing to Mecca...
The mark (mint) in the hand is the Jizya tax, you pay with the right hand.
I've got the good mark from matzah!
(Ezekiel 9:4) And the LORD said unto him, Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and set a mark upon the foreheads of the men that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done in the midst thereof.
mark = Strong’s H8420 = tav
How did they write the letter tav in Ezekiel’s day ?
When they marched through the desert for 40 years they were lined up and if you could have watch them from the sky they marched in the sign of the cross
The cross is the sign of the covenant
No, when they camped they formed a cross
The Order of the Tribes Of Israel
By Rabbi Dr. Hillel ben David (Greg Killian)
See: The Camping Order
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.