The evening meal after Passover begins the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Leviticus 23 The flat bread eaten on Nisan 15 represents the haste required of the Israelites in leaving Egypt. They were released suddenly after the death of all the firstborn in Egypt. They would eat unleavend bread for seven days and sometime during the midst of the week, they would again witness the handiwork of God through First Fruits.
Today, Israelites celebrate a week of Unleavened Bread. All the products with leaven are to be removed from their homes before the celebration begins. On Nisan 14th the lamb is slain then on the 15th the people feast on the lamb and unleavened bread. The week of Unleavened Bread begins and ends with a high, holy day. The people refrain from working since these days are sabbaticals. On the day that begins Unleavened Bread, men and women cease from their own labors and consider during the week of Unleavened Bread what God is able and willing to do for them. By the next sabbatical at the end of Unleavened Bread they are praising God for what He has done on their behalf.
The Israelites had just celebrated Passover and were rejoicing because they were free and all their firstborn were spared. Having to eat flat bread was a minor issue. Moses, at the command of God, had them camp in front of the sea. Then they look up and behold Pharaoh and all his army. Sudden death seems imminent. Of course, they complain bitterly. Nothing can be done, surely they will perish. Then their God does for them what they can not do for themselves by parting the Red Sea. He allows them to cross over on dry ground and then closes the water over Pharaoh's army.
Unleavened Bread is a festival that begins and ends with a sabbatical clearly providing us with an example of resting in Christ if we are to survive the challenges of faith gone flat. Unleavened Bread reminds us that your faith may deflate, but hold on to that tiny speck of blessed hope that just will not die. It defies logic so you can not measure it in the mind. It has yet to be witnessed by the eye, but because God said it, you believe. The Israelites were complaining, but they still turned to Moses hoping he had a plan.
Theologians agree that the leaven is representative of sin. Jesus told us to consider and beware of the leaven of certain individuals including the Pharisees, Sadducees, and Herod. Matthew 16:6-12; Mark 8:15 I propose that the leaven represents a specific sin. I believe the leaven represents the sin of doubt and fear. When the Israelites saw the Egyptians, they began to bemoan their plight and accuse Moses. He told them to just wait and see what God would do for them. When doubt is not pushed down, it rises up and consumes you by turning into fear which leads to disbelief and disobedience. The Feast of Unleavened Bread is a wonderful opportunity for man to recognize his inabilities and behold God acting on his behalf.
"Fear not!" and "Oh, ye of little faith!" were statements Jesus made repeatedly to remind the desciples to wait on the Lord. In Revelation 21:8 there is a list of the types of people that will take part in the lake of fire and the second death--the fearful are listed first. The week of Unleavened Bread is the opportunity for you to display your confidence in the Lord to the entire onlooking universe.
Noah and his family experienced the week of unleavened bread when they went into the ark. One day Noah, his family and all the animals entered the ark. Genesis 7:1-5 On that day Noah's family experienced a great miracle when the animals all just walked up and entered the ark as if they had received a summons. Genesis 7:7-16 Surely, even the local people considered this event. Noah and his sons did not have to gather the animals into the ark, God did it for them. The Israelites did not have to battle for their freedom because their God is a warrior. Most of the Israelites were pleasantly surprised at their sudden release just as the animals coming to the ark was also a pleasant surprise. Both events initiated the week of unleavened bread and were gifts from God displaying His work in us and for us, but only if we cease from our own labors.
After Noah, his family and the animals entered the ark, God closed the door, but did not take action for seven full days. Genesis 7:16 While eating unleavened bread we feed upon faith that appears to have fallen flat in fulfillment. Surely, there were concerns and perhaps even complaints among Noah's family as they sat in the ark still docked on dry ground. Each day spent hearing the taunts from their neighbors became increasingly difficult, but the dark nights when their own concerns echoed in the silence were probably even harder to bear. However, Noah and his family witnessed the vindication of God because on the seventh day the rains began to fall and the ark began to rise. The generation of the last day believers will also experience Unleavened Bread and somewhere in its midst on First Fruits, God's covenant will be confirmed.
The angel of death came to Egypt because Satan through Pharaoh had God's people in bondage and would not let them go. God used every earthly means to persuade Pharaoh and still he resisted. Therefore, God used means and measures unknown to our world and removed the resistance.
Jesus is coming to set His people free and He will use whatever means necessary to accomplish this end. The rider on the white horse in the 1st seal is bent on conquering because he knows that he will meet with much resistance. Like Pharaoh, Satan is holding Christ's own in bondage and will not let them go. Jesus is determined to set free not only the righteous living, but the dead in Christ held in the prison house of the grave. Satan will hold fast to the souls in the grave, but praise God, Jesus has the keys to death and the grave. The dead in Christ will rise up and we will all cross over together into the presence of God. Hebrews 11:23-40
After considering the effects of the missing Israelites on the Egyptian economy, Pharaoh decided to pursue them with his army and make war against Moses and the Israelite people. The only way to escape the Egyptian army was blocked by the Red Sea. The people were terrified and accused Moses, but he told them, "Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will accomplish for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall see again no more forever. The Lord will fight for you and you shall hold your peace." Exodus 14:13-14 Remember that we do not war against flesh and blood, but neither do those that rage against us.
God parted the sea and the Israelites crossed over on dry ground with the water as a wall on either side of them. Once they crossed over, the Egyptians thought they would do the same, but the walls collapsed and destroyed them. Toward the end of Unleavened Bread the Israelites reached the other side and Moses began to sing a song of redemption to the Lord:
I will sing to the Lord, For He has triumphed gloriously!
The horse and its rider He has thrown into the sea!
The Lord is my strength and song, And He has become my Salvation;
He is my God, and I will praise Him; My father's God, and I will exalt Him.
The Lord is a man of war; The Lord is His name,
Pharaoh's chariots and His army He has cast into the sea;
His chosen captains also are drowned in the Red Sea.
The depths have covered them; They sank to the bottom like a stone.
Your right hand, O Lord, has become glorious in power;
Your right hand, O Lord, has dashed the enemy in pieces.
And in the greatness of Your excellence You have overthrown those who rose against You;
You sent forth Your wrath; It consumed them like stubble.
And with the blast of Your nostrils the waters were gathered together;
The floods stood upright like a heap; the depths congealed in the heart of the sea.
The enemy said, 'I wil pursure, I will overtake, I will divide the spoil;
My desire shall be satisfied on them. I will draw my sword, my hand shall destroy them.'
You blew with Your wind, The sea covered them;They sank like lead in the mighty waters.
Who is like You, O Lord, among the gods?
Who is like You, glorious in holiness, Fearful in praises, doing wonders?
You stretched out Your right hand; The earth swallowed them.
You in Your mercy have led forth The people whom You have redeemed;
You have guided them in Your strength to Your holy habitation.
The people will hear and be afraid; Sorrow will take hold of the inhabitants of Philistia.
Then the chiefs of Edom will be dismayed;
The mighty men of Moab, Trembling will take hold of them;
All the inhabitants of Canaan will melt away.
Fear and dread will fall on them;
By the greatness of Your arm they will be as still as a stone,
Till Your people pass over, O Lord, Till the people pass over Whom You have purchased.
You will bring them in and plant them in the mountain of Your inheritance,
In the place, O Lord, which You have made For Your own dwelling,
The sanctuary, O Lord, which Your hands have established.
The Lord shall reign forever and ever.
In Revelation 15:1-4 there is a group of people that sing the song of Moses. They are victorious over the beast, his image, his mark and the number of his name and they too, like the Israelites, faced certain death, but God intervened for them as well.
And I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvellous,
seven angels having the seven last plagues;
for in them is filled up the wrath of God.
And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire:
and them that had gotten the victory over the beast,
and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name,
stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God.
And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying,
Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty;
just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints.
Who shall not fear thee, O Lord, and glorify thy name?
for thou only art holy: for all nations shall come and worship before thee;
for thy judgments are made manifest.
In the study of the First Fruits we discovered that the 144,000 are firstfruits and are offered to God and to the Lamb as an early harvest. They are prophets that God will reveal Himself to before the time of trouble begins. As a result of their preaching and teaching many people will come out of Babylon in preparation for the harvest of the earth. The 144,000 have been empowered by the two that were sent from Heaven--the Word of God and the Spirit of Prophecy making their testimony very powerful. Revelation 11:1-6
I should remind you that the Firstfruits are a sacrifice. According to the apostle Paul, we are sacrificed on the altar for the sake of the gospel. Romans 8:35-37 I believe these passages describe the work of the 144,000. During their appointed time, they are to prophesy and testify while the world despises them and plans their demise. When the world hates us, it is really God they hate. They would kill Him if they could. Revelation 11:7
The saints and apostles had heard Jesus tell them He would die and rise again on the third day, but they were mystified by His speech since it did not mesh with their current belief system. The day he died devestated them. The same will occur when the saints witness the death of the prophets. They know the next names on the list belong to them. It will require so much faith to hold on. For 3.5 days they have to suffer the fear and anxiety of a world gone crazy with blood lust. Revelation 11:8-10 Then suddenly, the most amazing thing happens. The prophets are resurrected and their faith is fulfilled.
At the end of their testimony, the beast will kill the clay vessels (144,000) housing the two witnesses sent from heaven and and will leave their bodies in the streets for 3.5 days celebrating their death. They are left in the streets during Unleavened Bread for 3.5 days so they will become odorous from the decay. This will make a powerful witness when God ressurrects them because the world can not deny that they were really dead.
Refusing to bury them also demonstrates their disrespect for the two witnesses and the 144,000. Leaving their dead bodies in the street is a threat designed to terrify the saints so they will turn their backs on an impotent God and serve the beast. Of course, the saints are afraid, but they do not allow their fears to rise above their faith. Luke 18:8 Yes, He will! There will be a great multitude that will believe. Revelation 7:9-17
On First Fruits Sunday the 144,000 will be ressurrected and offered to God as firstfruits of the final harvest. This grand demonstration of the power of God will be highly effective in terrifying the people worshipping the beast. This is followed by the plagues which comes just in time to save the saints from annihilation. They begin to sing the song of Moses praising God for saving them. They stand on the sea of glass during the time of Jacob's trouble.When the son of man cometh, will he find faith on the earth?
Jacob's trouble begins as soon as the 144,000 are resurrected. The plagues are poured out on the unbelieving while the saints look on. Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it: it is even the time of Jacob's trouble; but he shall be saved out of it. Jeremiah 30:7
And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book. And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.
For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time; no, nor ever shall be. And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened.
The time of Jacob's trouble is so fierce that God must cut the time short for the sake of the elect. Jeremiah 30:7 The time of Jacob's trouble begins with the counting of the omer which leads us to Pentecost or Ingathering--the time of God's full harvest. If the counting of the omer is the time that is cut short, then the plagues will fall for less than fifty days. God mentions some time periods that can be charted and it appears that the counting of the omer is the time that is cut short for the sake of the elect.
The plagues do not touch the saints in the flesh nor come nigh their dwelling, but this must still be a very frightening experience. The Israelites were terrified when God came to meet with them on the mountain and God wasn't even wrathful. It would indeed be a terrible thing to witness the wrath of God which He calls His strange act. The blessing for the saints is that when the angels of death come and pour out the wrath of God in the plagues, they will pass over the saints.
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