“You shall not offer the blood of My sacrifice with leavened bread, nor is the sacrifice of the Feast of the Passover to be left over until morning.” (Exodus 34:25)
This verse is similar to instructions already given by the Lord to Moses back in Exodus 23:18, yet its slight variance in wording suggests that the commands were actually repeated by God rather than merely rewritten by Moses. Much that the Lord commanded in the Pentateuch is repeated again and again which, although it may seem boring and superfluous, reminds us that repetition is not only the surest method of retaining information, but is also vital in underscoring the seriousness and importance of the information being repeated.
In this passage of Scripture, several commands of God for Israel are given again. I would like to lift out this one phrase, “You shall not offer the blood of My sacrifice with leavened bread“, because of its pertinence for us today. While the direct context of the verse refers to the blood of animal sacrifice for purposes of atonement under the Mosaic system and the “leavened bread” means exactly that, we have on the authority of other passages of Scripture the basis for finding symbol and foreshadow in the two elements.
“How much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?” (Hebrews 9:14)
The Ninth Chapter of the Book of Hebrews compares the Blood of Christ with the sacrificial blood of animals under the Mosaic system, showing the Blood of our Lord to be a fulfillment of the things which the animal blood was a foreshadow and symbol.
“And Jesus said to them, “Watch out and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees…Then they understood that He did not say to beware of the leaven of bread, but of the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” (Matthew 16:6, 12)
Leaven, whether used in the New Testament or the Old, usually symbolizes evil or that which corrupts. It is a force which insidiously infiltrates and defiles that which is pure, holy, and undefiled. The teachings and doctrines of the Pharisees were not entirely erroneous and without merit, but enough “leaven of hypocrisy” had entered into their teachings to cause the Lord Jesus to caution His disciples concerning them. Thus leaven is something introduced by man into something otherwise holy and God-inspired. It is an agent with the potential to spoil the entire “loaf.”
Considering these symbols and metaphors, the instructions to not offer the blood of sacrifice with leaven reminds us that the Blood of Jesus Christ is efficacious in itself for Salvation. The Grace of God is found in the pure Gospel of Jesus Christ Whose sacrifice on the Cross is all which may be offered to God for our Redemption. We cannot add the leaven of our own works nor mingle any other doctrine with the Blood of Jesus.
Leaven makes bread more palatable to the natural man and it is the tendency of our flesh to want to add something to the bitter bread of Christ’s sacrifice. Unleavened bread has a taste which the tongue does not savor much as the Blood of Christ lends to the flesh of man nothing in which we may glory or boast. Yet it is precisely the Blood undiluted by the works and deeds of man which God accepts for the remission of sin.
To God goes all glory. In service to Him,
**Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the New American Standard Bible (NASB) © The Lockman Foundation and are used by permission.
[If you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ or you are not certain where you are headed when this life ends, I invite you to read the article “Am I Going To Heaven?”]