Question:

This morning I was talking with a fellow Christian when she mentioned that we need to be careful about the unleavened bread used in the Lord's Supper because several months ago someone had purchased what was stated on the box as "For Passover Use," but it was not completely unleavened. She stated that in the book of Leviticus (she could not remember the exact passage) the Law stated that no salt was to be added to the unleavened bread.

What is your take on this?


Answer:

The original Passover meal was eaten with unleavened bread. "Then they shall eat the flesh on that night; roasted in fire, with unleavened bread and with bitter herbs they shall eat it" (Exodus 12:8). To commemorate the Passover and the fleeing from Egypt, unleavened bread was to be used for the week of the Passover: "Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread. On the first day you shall remove leaven from your houses. For whoever eats leavened bread from the first day until the seventh day, that person shall be cut off from Israel" (Exodus 12:15).

Jesus instituted the Lord's Supper during this week, on the night he was betrayed. Thus, when he took bread to break, it was unleavened bread (Matthew 26:26). Paul draws a parallel to the lack of leaven to a life free of sin. "Therefore purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened. For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us. Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth" (I Corinthians 5:7-8). The bread that represents the body of Christ, who was without sin, is fittingly represented by bread without leaven.

There are several "recipes" given for unleavened bread in the Old Testament, depending on what it was being used for. When consecrating priest, they were to use: "unleavened bread, unleavened cakes mixed with oil, and unleavened wafers anointed with oil (you shall make them of wheat flour)" (Exodus 29:2). Various offerings also called for unleavened bread and the ingredients listed were: fine wheat flour, oil, frankincense and salt (Leviticus 2:1-13; 6:14-17; 7:11-12). What was specifically forbidden was leaven and honey (Leviticus 2:11). However, salt was required. "And every offering of your grain offering you shall season with salt; you shall not allow the salt of the covenant of your God to be lacking from your grain offering. With all your offerings you shall offer salt" (Leviticus 2:13). It should be noted that no recipe was given for the bread used during the Feast of the Unleaven bread, only that no leaven was to be used. It was necessary because salt was representing the Covenant (Numbers 18:19).

Leaven refers to yeast. As yeast digest sugars it gives off gases that causes the bread to rise. Typically a portion of the prior batch of dough, with its yeast, is saved and added to the new batch. The yeast then spreads through the new dough. The majority is cooked and a portion is saved for the next batch. If there is no starter batch, sweet dough is left out and the yeast that is naturally in the air eventually invades the dough. Since yeast eats sugars, this is the reason God specifically forbade honey in the unleavened bread. Sweeten bread dough can accidentally become leavened after a period of time.

To be careful, most avoid other leavening agents, such as baking powder or baking soda, even though these produce gases from chemical reactions. Since the command is no leaven, it is best to be stricter than may be necessary.

The New Testament also does not give a recipe for unleavened bread. Thus, as long it is without leaven, it meets the requirements. The type of flour, oil, and salt to be used is not specified.