Chag HaMatzot (The Feast of Unleavened Bread): An Overview
Chag HaMatzot or the Feast of Unleavened Bread is the second annual festival on YHVH’s biblical calendar, and occurs on the fifteenth day of the month of the Abib, which is the day immediately following Passover (or Pesach, Lev 23:5–8). Because both of these feasts (Exod 34:25; Lev 23:2, 6) occur back-to-back, the Jews often refer to Passover and Unleavened Bread simply as Passover Week or some similar term that places the main emphasis on the Passover. But it must be noted that, though related, these two festivals are separate in meaning and purpose. Passover pictures Israel coming out of Egypt. Upon separating from Egypt, YHVH (the LORD) then commanded the Israelites to put all leavened food products out of their houses and to eat unleavened bread (flat bread) for seven days, hence the origins of the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Additionally, the first and seventh days of this week-long event are Sabbaths, and YHVH commanded his people to hold a set-apart convocation (or gathering) on these Sabbaths.
What, you may ask, is the purpose of putting leavening out of one’s home and eating unleavened bread products such as matzoh for one week? This seems like a curious request by YHVH of his people. Not surprisingly, the Creator of the universe has a reason for everything. The spiritual implications are enlightening and highly relevant to the disciples of Yeshua. In commanding his people to de-leaven their homes and lives, YHVH is teaching us an object lesson that applies to us as much today as to the Israelites of long ago.
Eating unleavened bread for seven days is a memorial, remembrance or reminder (Exod 13:6–9) of our coming out of our own spiritual Egypt. But how did unleavened bread enter into this picture? The Torah tells us that the Israelites left Egypt early in Continue reading
Every detail in the Scriptures is important.
The longer we study the Bible, the more our spiritual radar zeroes in on these seeming insignificant details and the more we see how they relate to other details elsewhere in the Scriptures. Pretty soon, the pieces of the puzzle fall into place, and like digging for gold, spiritual nuggets are discovered.
To the serious biblical studier, it becomes impossible to dismiss the Bible as simply another religious book written by men. As more of these puzzle pictures form, one realizes that the Bible has been fearfully and wonderfully crafted by an intellect that is superior to that of any man. A small detail in Exodus 9:31 is another example of this as the following study will show.
Exodus 9:31, The barley was in the head. Barley was cultivated as a grain crop in ancient Egypt, as well as in Israel, and grows wild like a weed throughout the region to this day. Several passages in the Scriptures witness to the fact that the barley was the indicator of which month was to be the first month of the year for the Israelites, so that they could determine when the biblical feasts were to be observed.
Observe the month of Abib, and keep the Passover unto YHVH your Elohim: for in the month of Abib YHVH your Elohim brought thee forth out of Egypt by night. (Deut 16:1, emphasis added)
Please notice, the definite article the proceeding the phrase “month of Abib.” The state of the barley indicates a specific month in the spring. Months in the biblical Hebrew calendar have always been determined by the first visible sliver of the new moon from antiquity. This specific month is to be the beginning the biblical new year (Exod 12:2). The month of the Abib is not so much the name of a month as it is a description of the month. Below are listed the other three places in the Scriptures where this phrase is found.
This day came you out in the month Abib. (Exod 13:4)
You shall keep the Feast of Unleavened Bread: (you shall eat unleavened bread seven days, as I commanded thee, in the time appointed of the month Abib; for in it you came out from Egypt: and none shall appear before me empty). (Exod 23:15)
The feast of unleavened bread shall you keep. Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread, as I commanded you, in the time of the month Abib: for in the month Abib you came out from Egypt. (Exod 34:18, emphasis added on all)
What does the word abib in the phrase “the month of the Abib (or Aviv)” mean? The Hebrew word abib is found only six times in the Bible and is transliterated into the English (in the KJV) as “abib,” meaning “in the ear,” or “green ears of grain.” The Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament, defines the word abib or aviv as follows: Continue reading