What is Matzah? Why Matzah?
Why did God command the Israelites to eat matzah (unleavened bread) for Passover?
We are usually told that it is because the Israelites in Egypt that first Passover night had no time for the dough to rise as they had to leave Egypt in haste. Since God knew that Israel was about to start on a long journey, why didn’t He tell Moses to have enough regular bread prepared a few days before, so they would have enough for the trip?
These are shallow answers and shallow questions.
The Jews knew the purpose of placing yeast into the dough was to make it rise. But they also saw how pride in a person, puffed that person up. The parallel was simple. For Passover, yeast with bread represented sin, specially the sin of pride.
At Passover and the seven day Feast of Unleavened Bread, God commanded Israel to eat matzah. But He didn’t stop there. He also demands that they eat no leavened bread, that it be not found or even seen in their homes or even in all their “quarters” for those seven days (Exodus 13:3-10).
Exodus 13:3 And Moses said unto the people, Remember this day, in which ye came out from Egypt, out of the house of bondage; for by strength of hand the LORD brought you out from this place: there shall no leavened bread be eaten.
4 This day came ye out in the month Abib.
5 And it shall be when the LORD shall bring thee into the land of the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Amorites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites, which he sware unto thy fathers to give thee, a land flowing with milk and honey, that thou shalt keep this service in this month.
6 Seven days thou shalt eat unleavened bread, and in the seventh day shall be a feast to the LORD.
7 Unleavened bread shall be eaten seven days; and there shall no leavened bread be seen with thee, neither shall there be leaven seen with thee in all thy quarters.
8 And thou shalt shew thy son in that day, saying, This is done because of that which the LORD did unto me when I came forth out of Egypt.
9 And it shall be for a sign unto thee upon thine hand, and for a memorial between thine eyes, that the LORD’S law may be in thy mouth: for with a strong hand hath the LORD brought thee out of Egypt.
10 Thou shalt therefore keep this ordinance in his season from year to year.
God had freed Israel from Egyptian bondage and sin was not to be in the Camp of Israel.
The LORD was declaring to Israel that He had freed them, not to do as they pleased, but to be holy unto Him. Seven is the number of completion, wholeness or holiness. There are seven days in a week and seven days in the Creation of the Heavens and the Earth. As Israel ate of the matzah and nothing leavened for those seven days, a complete unit of time, they were saying to themselves that they would walk in holiness for the rest of the year, which was another complete unit of time… till the next Passover.
THE MIDDLE MATZA BROKEN FOR YOU
In the Passover Seder there are Three Matzoth, three pieces of unleavened bread. They are either placed under a napkin or in a Matzah Pouch. Early in the Seder the middle matza is taken out and broken in approximately half. One half (the smaller piece) is placed back inside the pouch between the other two pieces of matza, and the other bigger piece (called the afikomen) is wrapped inside a napkin and hidden in the house. After the meal, the children are released to search for the hidden afikomen. The one who finds it brings it to the father and is rewarded with a silver piece or other prize.
The leader will then raise the matzah plate and declare, ‘All who are hungry and afflicted, come to this table and eat.’ He then lifts the matzah plate up, blesses God for redeeming Israel from Egyptian slavery and passes the matzah around for all to eat of it. If the table has already been laid with a matzah plate shared between two or four participants, they are all expected to eat the matzah at this time.
Why this ceremony? First of all, why three matzoth?
The best explanation that the Rabbis have come up with is that they either represent Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (Avraham, Itzhak and Yakov) or the three levels of society in ancient Israel; the Aaronic Priesthood, the Levitical Priesthood and the rest of Israel. This seems a plausible explanation. But why then is either Isaac or the Levitical Priesthood broken as reprsented by the middle matza? No Rabbi seems to know the reason .
Second, why is the middle matza hidden?
Third, why is the child rewarded for finding and revealing the hidden matzah?
All this is easy to understand if we think of the Three Matzoth as representing the Triune God, and the middle matzah as symbolizing the Death, Burial and Resurrection of Yeshua the Messiah of Israel. The breaking of the matzah is the breaking or crucifixion of the Son of God, the middle Person of the Godhead.
The wrapping of the matzah in a napkin depicts the burial of Yeshua. And the child bringing the hidden matzah into view again, declares the resurrection of Yeshua. The traditional reward to the child is a piece of silver. Silver is the metal symbolic of redemption (Exodus 30:11-16). This piece of matza is called both the bread of affliction and the bread of redemption. And Yeshua has redeemed us from a slavery worse than that of Egyptian bondage – slavery to sin.
Matzah = The Pierced Body Of Mashiah
The LORD God of Israel, speaking through His Prophet Isaiah declares about the Messiah:
‘Isaiah 53:4 Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.
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.
The matzah eaten at Passover has many the holes in it. From the very beginning, matzah has had to be pierced so that the heat won’t cause it to have air bubbles. Isaiah speaks of our Messiah as being pierced. In the New Covenant Scriptures (the New Testament) we see that Yeshua has His Hands, Feet and Side pierced through at His Death. But Isaiah also says that it was because of our transgressions. The Messiah would be pierced because of our rebellion to God.
God goes on to say that the Messiah would be bruised for our iniquities. The matzah came from whole kernels of wheat. These had to be crushed into a fine flour, mixed with water and placed in an oven. John (Yohanan), a Jew who walked with Yeshua recalls Yeshua declaring:
‘…If you do not eat the Flesh of the Son of Man and drink His Blood you will not have Life in you. Anyone who does eat My Flesh and drink My Blood has Eternal Life, and I shall raise him up on the Last Day’ (Yohanan 6:53-54).
At the Passover before His Death, Yeshua told His followers that the matzah was His Body. Matthew 26:26 records this:
‘Now as they were eating, Yeshua took some matza, and when He had said the blessing, He broke it and gave it to the disciples. “Take it and eat,” He said, “this is My Body.”‘
The Messiah was crushed at the crucifixion. In many places of the New Covenant it speaks of Yeshua being filled with the Spirit of the Holy One. Luke records that:
‘…while Yeshua, after His own immersion was at prayer, Heaven opened and the Spirit of the Holy One descended on Him in bodily shape, like a dove. And a Voice came from Heaven, “You are my Son, the Beloved; My favor rests on You”‘ (Lk. 3:21-22; also Matthew 3:13-17 & Mark 1:9-11).
Messiah is the Anointed One of God. He gives the oil of anointing to all who know Him. For biblical matzah was made with flour, water, salt and olive oil.
When Yeshua was pierced, the Spirit of the Holy One was released to dwell in all who would believe in Yeshua. This Oil of Anointing now dwells within all who follow Him.
With His Crushing, we are now able to eat of Him. In His Fleshly state, we could not do that. The crucifixion was the furnace that crushed and ‘baked’ Him. Now we are able to be fed by our God. ‘But it pleased the LORD to crush him…’ Is. 53:10.
Twice in Scripture, Deut. 4:20 and Jer. 11:4, the LORD calls Egypt an ‘iron furnace’. An iron furnace is so hot that it literally melts iron. Biblically this is symbolic of intense affliction. Israel was supposed to come out of Egypt humbled and crushed, holy unto the LORD, from our time spent in the Egyptian furnace. But this was not the case. We came out a rebellious brood that would die in the wilderness because of the leaven in us. We despised the LORD. Numbers 14:11 reveals that God was fed up with us. It states:
‘And the LORD said unto Moses: “How long will this people despise Me?!, and how long will they not believe in Me, for all the miracles which I have done among them?’
Yeshua crucified, allows all, both Jew and Gentile, to eat of The True Mana from Heaven and absorb His Holiness. There is truth in the saying, ‘You are what you eat.’
In order to eat the matza of Passover, the whole kernels must be crushed into a fine flour. At the appropriate time, the head of the household declares in the ceremony, ‘All who are hungry and afflicted, come to this table (matza) and eat!’ What you are eating is the crushed Body of the Risen Savior, who was crushed for your sins.
The word ‘sins’ there, means where we think we understand who God is, but really don’t. It is the god of our understanding, not the God of Israel. This is idolatry, worship of another god. We are perverse in our thinking and therefore our actions before Him. And this is why the Messiah was crushed. So we could come to the Passover Table and eat the Bread of Affliction. That we would be freed from the stain of sin. Yeshua is the True Matza of Passover, which the original matza pointed to.
His punishment brings us shalom, peace with Papa God. Because Yeshua was afflicted, we are declared ‘not guilty’, atoned for by His Blood. We who believe in what He has done, stand before the Living God covered by the Blood of His Lamb. Wasn’t it by the blood of the Passover lamb that Israel was set free? Our Scriptures declare that ‘it is blood that atones for a life’ (Leviticus 17:11).
Look at the matza at Passover. Notice the brown spots? These are called bruises. Isaiah speaks of the Messiah being bruised when he declares that ‘through his stripes (bruises) we were healed.’
The matza of Passover is a graphic picture of the crucified body of Messiah Yeshua. The piercing, the crushing and the bruises. This is why the LORD commanded that matza be the bread of Passover. So that Yeshua could inject Himself into the meaning of the matza, 1450 years after the Exodus out of Egyptian slavery. Matza is equal to redemption and affliction. A pure, sinless and holy bread. And Yeshua is the Matza that has come down from Heaven that gives us Life and True Freedom. Isn’t that what the Messiah was supposed to do?
YESHUA IS REVEALED IN THE BREAKING OF THE MATZA
After God raised Yeshua from the dead, the Messiah was walking on the road and He met some of his followers. They didn’t recognize Yeshua but eventually got back to their home and invited Him in. Luke 24:30-32 states:
‘Now while He was with them at table, He took the matza and said the blessing; then He broke it and handed it to them. And their eyes were opened and they recognized Him; but He had vanished from their sight. Then they said to each other, “Did not our hearts burn within us as He talked to us on the road and explained the Scriptures to us?”‘
It is my prayer this year that as you break the matza, the Messiah Yeshua will be revealed to you. He has set you free from a bondage much worse than Egyptian slavery. That of slavery to a rebellious and perverse heart.
This night is different from all other nights because on this night God moved in a way that He never had before and never will again.
On this night He slayed all the first born of Egypt, to set His Firstborn Son Israel free. And on this night, He sacrificed His Firstborn Son Yeshua, to free Israel from slavery to sin and Eternal Death.
Our sins nailed Him to the tree, but what kept Him there was His Love for you and me.
Is it possible to have a living relationship with the God of Israel? I know you can. Turn to Adonai and you will know that this Yeshua whom I speak of is your Messiah. ‘Seek the LORD while He is still to be found’ (Is. 55:6).
Contact me and we’ll talk about what the God of Israel has done for you in setting you free from the darkness of your heart, a bondage much greater than Egyptian slavery.
All you who are hungry and afflicted, come to this table and eat the Matzah of Life…
YESHUA OUR MESSIAH
‘Yeshua said to them, “I am the Bread (Matza) of Life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry…”‘ (Yohanan 6:35)
‘I have broken the yoke that bound you.’ (Leviticus 26:13)
Yeshua cleanses us from our sin, to live this life and the next, in holiness. This is the Mighty Work of the God of Israel for us. Believe it. E mail me and I’ll share His Life with you.
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