Let’s look to the apostle Paul to find the answer to this important question in 1 Corinthians 11: 23- 26.
(23) For I have received of the Master that which I delivered unto you, that the Master Yahshua, the same night in which he was betrayed took bread:
(24) And when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, ‘ take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me.’
(25) After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, ‘this cup is the new covenant in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me.’
(26) For as often as you eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Master’s death till he come.”
Paul tells us in verse 25 that the drinking of the fruit of the vine is part of the new covenant. He continues in verse 26 by telling us that by eating this bread and drinking the fruit of the vine we proclaim (shew, Strong’s 2605) the Master’s death until he comes.
How is this different from the Passover observed on the 15th by the Jews? The Apostle John calls that Passover the feast of the Jews. (John 5:1; 6:14) The new covenant Passover is about Messiah. He wants us to observe this Passover in remembrance of him. The Jewish Passover is for them to remember the escape of their fathers from Egypt.
The Messiah initiated this Passover with new symbols. He chose leavened bread. (artos) and unfermented grape juice. Contrast this with the unleavened bread (azymos) and wine used by the Jews in their Passover observance.
By using leavened bread, Messiah was connecting the new covenant Passover with the feast of Pentecost or Shavuoth. During Shavuoth, the required offering is with two loaves of leavened bread. This bread is known as the bread of the firstfruits. (Leviticus 23: 20) The new covenant Passover that Messiah initiated that night was a foreshadowing of the coming feast of Pentecost when the Spirit of Yahweh would be given to the disciples and thousands of others.
The new covenant Passover was about Messiah and the firstfruits he would begin creating during the coming Pentecost. The Jew’s Passover was about their affliction and their deliverance from Egypt and slavery. The new covenant Passover is about Messiah and his firstfruits. Each observance is very different from the other.
Those who are called and chosen to be firstfruits are given a down payment of Messiah’s Spirit when baptized. That spirit, like leaven, begins to spread throughout the individual and replace the carnal nature with the nature of Messiah. When we are resurrected with a fully formed Spirit of Messiah (Galatians 4:19), we shall be like him. (1 John 3:2)
The Spirit of Messiah is represented by leaven and its action in dough. This Spirit is pervasive and spreads vigorously through the firstfruit as does leaven in the dough. Leaven is neither good nor bad, and certainly does not represent sin. Leaven represents a force for change. This is why Messiah could use leaven as an example for the hypocrisy of the Pharisees as well as for the kingdom of Yahweh.
Messiah says this about himself: “I am the bread of life.” (John 6:35) That bread contains life. When someone is baptized in the name of YahwehShua, the Spirit of Messiah that they receive begins imparting that life to them. That Spirit functions like leaven in that it infuses the body of the firstfruit with life. Leaven causes the dough to rise, and in a similar manner the Spirit of Messiah allows the firstfruit to be raised from the dead when Messiah returns.
Unleavened bread does not have the active quality of leavened bread. Moses tells us that unleavened bread is the bread of affliction. (Deuteronomy 16:3) This is very different from leavened bread that is puffed up from the action of leaven. The leaven raising the dough is a representation of Messiah’s Spirit raising the firstfruit in the first resurrection (Revelation 20:6).
The bread of affliction or unleavened bread is a remembrance of troubled times. The Israelites were enslaved, suffered for forty years in the wilderness, and were conquered by the Assyrians and Babylonians. This affliction is the outcome of disobedience. In a parallel manner, Messiah, as the husband to the Israelites, also suffered affliction. (Ezekiel 16: 43)
The bread of the firstfruits or leavened bread is a looking forward to the resurrection of the 144,000 firstfruits or saints. The new covenant Passover is a time for thanksgiving, joy and excited anticipation of the better resurrection. (Hebrews 11:35) It is also a time for reflection on what Messiah endured for his firstfruits.
The bread of affliction did not symbolize hope for the future. It is a looking back to difficult times. The Jews are celebrating in the present, but without insight as to what is their future.
The firstfruits are being given life. Messiah promised this in John 10:28: “And I give them [the firstfruits/saints] eternal [Strong’s 166, aionian, age-abiding] life.” The second death will not harm them (Revelation 20:6) and they will be like Messiah when resurrected. (1 John 3:2) What an exciting promise and future to look forward to!
Messiah asked his firstfruits to keep the new covenant Passover in remembrance of him. By obedience to his request, we proclaim his death until he comes. Each Passover we are to recall our baptism, when the Spirit of Messiah initiated our becoming a new creation. The new covenant Passover, on the night he was betrayed, was a prophecy of what was coming. Pentecost was the initiation of a new creation and Messiah’s return will represent the fulfillment of that creation.
Messiah told us from the beginning what he was doing. In a better translation of Genesis 1:1 we learn this: “For the sake of the firstfruit, Elohim created the heaven and earth.” Throughout the Scriptures, Messiah reveals more about the glorious future of the firstfruits.
You must be a firstfruit to take part in the new covenant Passover in a worthy manner. (1 Corinthians 11:27-29) To become a firstfruit, you must be baptized in the name of YahwehShua. As a firstfruit, you must overcome to the end (Revelation 2:26) to be among the 144,000 firstfruits. (Revelation 14: 1)
Choose the bread of the firstfruits and not the bread of affliction!