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   In Deuteronomy, chapter 16, we read of the bread of affliction, in reference to Passover and the Days of Unleavened Bread. This article will look at current events: prophecy, the Abrahamic Covenant, Messiah Yahshua, tribulation and affliction.
   At the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, a Harvard epidemiologist indicated we could experience a far worse crisis, in which millions would die, similar to what occurred during the bubonic plague of the Middle Ages. This coronavirus can attack the heart, liver, brain, lungs, and other visceral organs, unlike the influenza outbreaks typically seen.
   The bigger problem, however, may not be the disease itself, but rather the long-term economic fallout. In 2008, there was a recession and to pull out of it, corporations worldwide incurred $42 trillion in debt. By 2018, that debt had ballooned to $75 trillion. Worldwide, at the beginning of the current pandemic, personal and corporate debt had reached around $250 trillion.

Reminded of the First Passover?
   With the pandemic keeping us in our homes during Passover 2020, former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu alluded to that notable Passover occurring nearly 3 and ½ millennia ago, at the conclusion of Israel’s captivity in Egypt.
   We’ve only heard of national prominence, former Vice-President Mike Pence, praying during this pandemic. We’ve not heard anyone else in an official capacity openly confessing sins, neither asking Yahweh to forgive this nation, or the world, of its sins.
   And though a high-ranking official in Israel asking Yahweh to remember the Covenant of Promise, he did not ask for forgiveness. He, and the rest of the world, really should read Leviticus 26:40-42 that speaks of Yahweh’s disposition toward sin and the impenitent, and His Covenant Promise that will honor contrite confession and repentance.

Abrahamic Promise
   The Jews today, acknowledge the Covenant of Promise made through Abraham (Gen. 15:1-8, 18, 17:1-11). It is their hope, and quite frankly, ours, as well. However, many fail to see Yahshua the Messiah in the Covenant of Promise given through Abraham and Isaac as a way for all of Israel to be saved (Acts 13:32-41) and further elaborated in Romans 9:1-5.
   Moreover, Deuteronomy 16 instructs the children of Israel to remember what Yahweh had done for them through the annual observance of the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread.
   Observe the month of Abib and celebrate the Passover to Yahweh your Elohim, for in the month of Abib Yahweh your Elohim brought you out of Egypt by night. And you shall sacrifice the Passover to Yahweh your Elohim from the flock and the herd, in the place where Yahweh chooses to establish His Name. You shall not eat leavened bread with it; seven days you shall eat with it unleavened bread, the bread of affliction (for you came out of the land of Egypt in haste), in order that you may remember all the days of your life the day when you came out of the land of Egypt. For seven days no leaven shall be seen with you in all your territory, and none of the flesh which you sacrifice on the evening of the first day shall remain overnight until morning. You are not allowed to sacrifice the Passover in any of your towns which Yahweh your Elohim is giving you; but at the place where Yahweh your Elohim chooses to establish His Name, you shall sacrifice the Passover in the evening at sunset, at the time that you came out of Egypt, Deuteronomy 16:1-6.
   The bread of affliction (unleavened bread) is intended to remind us to maintain an attitude of contrite repentance during this season of memorial of the Exodus.

First, Repentance
   Would it be reasonable to think repentance and confession of sin need to precede the physical and prophetic establishment of the end-time Temple in Jerusalem? Could perhaps, this want of repentance and confession of sin be also, in part, a reason for the plague we are experiencing today?
   We remember the words spoken in a night vision by Yahweh to Solomon, following the dedication of the first Temple.
   If I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or if I command the locust to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among My people, and My people, who are called by My Name humble themselves and pray, and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. Now My eyes shall be open and My ears attentive to the prayers [offered] in this place. For now I have chosen and consecrated this house that My Name may be there forever, and My eyes and My heart will be there perpetually, 2 Chronicles 7:13-16.

   Points to consider:
      • Didn’t we who are in Messiah, have to repent before Yahweh allowed us to become a Temple for a measure of His Spirit? Have we thought about His eyes and His heart being with us?
      Oh that My people would listen to Me, that Israel would walk in My ways, Psalm 81:13. Has anything changed? Does He change?
      “For I know the plans that I have for you,” declares Yahweh, “plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope,” Jeremiah 29:11. While this was spoken to Judah before they went into captivity, does this not still resound to them who love Yahweh and who set their hope on Him through His Messiah? For they who are listening and following His ways now, have a future and a hope.

Think and be Unleavened
   We should think in terms of being unleavened. For we are told, Clean out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, just as you are [in fact] unleavened. For Messiah our Passover also has been sacrificed. Let us therefore celebrate the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth, 1 Corinthians 5:7-8.
   Messiah also admonished us through the Word, “Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy” (Luke 12:1b).
   Yahshua, furthermore, emphasized the weightier matters of the Law, saying in Matthew 23:23-28:
   Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the Law: justice and mercy and faithfulness; but these are the things you should have done, without neglecting the others. You blind guides, who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel! Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside they are full of robbery and self-indulgence. You blind Pharisee, first clean the inside of the cup and of the dish, that the outside of it may become clean also. Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which on the outside appear beautiful, but inside they are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness. Even so you too outwardly appear righteous to men, but inwardly you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.
   In Matthew 16:5-12, Yahshua expounded more to His disciples, on the negative properties of leaven.
   And the disciples came to the other side, and had forgotten to take bread. And Yahshua said to them, “Watch out and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” And they began to discuss among themselves, saying, “It is because we took no bread.” But Yahshua, aware of this, said, “You men of little faith, why do you discuss among yourselves that you have no bread? Do you not yet understand or remember the five loaves of the five thousand, and how many baskets you took up? Or the seven loaves of the four thousand, and how many large baskets you took up? How is it that you do not understand that I did not speak to you concerning bread? But beware 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.
   False doctrines, like leaven, grow and corrupt the whole (Gal. 5:9).

What’s Next?
   In thinking about things which need to take place before Yahshua’s return, we can see the pandemic causing something else to occur – that is, the people in Israel desiring to see the Messiah coming as a Savior and Redeemer.
   O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling! Behold, your house is being left to you desolate. For I say to you, from now on you shall not see Me again, until you say, “BLESSED IS HE WHO COMES IN THE NAME OF YAHWEH!” Matthew 23:37-39.
   While many in Israel don’t believe the Messiah has already come on earth, they may be more open to deception by someone who will come with answers to the world’s troubles.
   Will the world experience more trouble with economic problems, famines, etc., stemming from this catalyst called the pandemic? Will someone come, providing solutions, working miracles in the power of Satan to accomplish the impossible?
   The Apostle Paul said there would be someone coming before the Master Yahshua should return.
   Now we request you, brethren, with regard to the coming of our Master Yahshua Messiah and our gathering to Him, that you not be quickly shaken from your composure or be disturbed either by a spirit or a message or a letter as if from us, to the effect that the day of the Master has come. Let no one in any way deceive you, [for it will not come] unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the sone of destruction, who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called mighty one or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of Elohim, displaying himself as being Elohim. Do you not remember that while I was still with you, I was telling you these things? And you know what restrains him now, so that in his time he will be revealed. For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only he who now restrains will do so until he is taken out of the way. Then that lawless one will be revealed whom the Master will slay with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of His coming; [that is], the one whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders, and with all the deception of wickedness for those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved. And for this reason Elohim will send upon them a deluding influence so that they will believe what is false, in order that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth, but took pleasure in wickedness, 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12.
   Who takes pleasure in wickedness? Just look at the world, in general. Even after the Man of Sin is identified, there appears to be other demonic-influenced, so-called messiahs and other false prophets who will show up around the world during the tribulation time period. Mind you, this is at the mid-point of a seven-year peace treaty signed between Israel and other signatory nations (Dan. 9:27). It is such a time to come in which even the revived Sanhedrin will recognize they were admiring a false messiah and savior.
   Maybe, it’s at that time, they will truly fulfill Yahshua’s own words in whicd He says they should not see Him again, until they declared, “Blessed is He Who comes in the Name of Yahweh” (Matt. 23:39).
   We are told further in Matthew 24:15-24:
   Therefore when you see the ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION which was spoken of through Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand), then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains; let him who is on the housetop not go down to get the things out that are in his house; and let him who is in the field not turn back to get his cloak. But woe to those who are with child and to those who nurse babies in those days! But pray that your flight will not be in the winter, or on a Sabbath; for then there will be a great tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever shall. And unless those days had been cut short, no life would have been saved; but for the sake of the elect those days shall be cut short. Then if anyone say to you, “Behold, here is the Messiah,” or “There [He] is,” do not believe [him]. For false messiahs and false prophets will arise and will show great signs and wonders, so as to mislead, if possible, even the elect. Behold, I have told you in advance.
   It will be utter chaos. Could it also be that believers like you and I will be questioning, why we aren’t doing miracles and wonders in light of them which are false doing so? After all, are we not the children of Yahweh and isn’t He Who in us, is greater than he who is in the world? (1 John 4:4).
   Revelation 3:8 speaks most honor-ably of the Philadelphia Assembly of the Seven. Yet ascribed to them, was the Master’s acknowledgement that they had “a little strength.” There may be yet forthcoming, the greatest testing to come upon us. For as the Beast System – the New World Order – is being implemented. It may be that NATO, with the recent invasion of Ukraine by Russia, will be forced to enter into a more direct role in confronting the aggressor. That, many say, will be World War III with the threat again of nuclear arsenals being used. A threat to Israel, is also now more real than ever, with Iran being at the cusp of having enough enriched uranium for a nuclear bomb of their own. To such things Judah has stated, quite frankly, “Never again.”
   Nevertheless, we believe Scripture shows toward that end, Yahweh’s people will be granted a little strength (Dan. 11:32-35). For in weakness (2 Cor. 12:9), and in the keeping of His Word, Yahweh’s Power and Love is perfected in us (1 John 2:5).

Jacob’s Trouble
   All these things have one thing in common: a time of affliction and trouble for the children of Israel dispersed around the world.
   A time of Jacob’s trouble is coming, and these phenomena we are currently seeing in the world can present trouble for us. But though the end is not yet, even trouble will pass.
   Behold, an hour is coming, and has already come, for you to be scattered, each to his own [home], and to leave Me alone; and [yet] I am not alone, because the Father is with Me. These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world, John 16:32-33.
   For a perspective of how Yahweh measures out punishment (the First Chastisement), read Leviticus 26:15-20 which speak of the promise of a subsequent reckoning up to seven times more grievous than the first – a just recompense for continuing in stubborn rebellion against Him.

   Those things which have happened in earlier times to Israel (the bread of affliction) are recorded in the Scriptures as examples for our instruction (Rom. 15:1; 1 Cor. 10:11).
   If this is the way it was – and it was – and it is still (Matt. 22:37) today, we are without excuse.
   The question today is, will people turn to love Yahweh with all their heart, soul, mind and strength which is the great and first commandment? (Deut. 6:5).
   The message to the world is to accept the bread of affliction and assume a repentant heart toward our heavenly Father, Yahweh, through His righteous Son, Yahshua (the Salvation of Yahweh). Are you willing to turn to Them, rather than live in unrepentance?
   The choice is yours, and you are urged to choose Life. Through the bread of affliction, you are offered the Bread of Life.

-Elder David Brett

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