The Feasts of the Lord--Part IV

THE FESTIVAL OF FIRST FRUITS
 

In the process of revealing His plan of salvation for mankind, God
established His annual Holy Days around the harvest seasons in the
Middle East (Leviticus 23:9-16, Exodus 23:14-16).  Just as His people
harvested their crops around these three Festival seasons, God's Holy
Days show us how He is harvesting people for eternal life in His
Kingdom.

The Holy Days have meanings that build upon each other.  Together they
progressively reveal how God works with humanity.

The fifteenth of Nisan begins the Feast of Unleavened Bread, which is a
high sabbath.  It is a seven day feast to the Lord.  The day following
the sabbath during Passover is called the Feast of First Fruits
(Leviticus 23:10-14).
 

The Feast of First Fruits can be found in Leviticus 23:9-14.

vs.9--And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,

vs.10--Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye be
come into the land which I give unto you, and shall reap the harvest
thereof, then ye shall bring a sheaf of the firstfruits of your harvest
unto the priest:

vs.11--And he shall wave the sheaf before the Lord, to be acceppted for
you: on the morrow after the sabbath the priest shall wave it.

vs.12--And ye shall offer that day when ye wave the sheaf an he lamb
without blemish of the first year for a burnt offering unto the Lord.

vs.13--And the meat offering thereof shall be two tenth deals of fine
flour mingled with oil, and offering made by fire unto the Lord for a
sweet savour: and the drink offering thereof shall be of wine, the
fourth art of an hin.

vs.14--And ye shall eat neither bread, nor parched corn, nor green ears,
until the selfsame day that ye have brought an offering unto your God:
it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations in all your
dwellings.
 

UNDERSTANDING THE FESTIVAL CEREMONY

The observance was carried out in this manner, when the standing ripe
harvest of barley and wheat was ready to be reaped.  The celebrant would
take one sheaf from the standing harvest and bring it to the priest.
The lone sheaf was called "the sheaf of the first fruits."  The priest
was then to take this one sheaf and wave it before the Lord in His
house.  This was to be done "the day after the sabbath."  Prescribed
offerings were also to be presented along with the sheaf.
 

THE SHEAF OF FIRST FRUITS IN THE BIBLE

God commanded the people to bring a sheaf of the harvest (Leviticus
23:10).  Remember, three times a year God commanded the people to come
to Jerusalem to celebrate the Festivals of Passover, Pentecost , and
Tabernacles.  All three of these festivals are agricultural harvest
Festivals.  Passover is the barley harvest.  Pentecost is the wheat
harvest.  Both of these Festivals are first fruits harvests before the
final harvest that was to come at the end of the year during the
Festival of Tabernacles, which is the fruit harvest.

The harvest represents all who would put their faith, trust, and
confidence in the Messiah (Matthew 13:39).  So, the sheaf is the first
of the first fruits.  Since a sheaf in the Bible is used to typify a
person or persons (Genesis 37:5-11), a sheaf spiritually represents
people who accept the Messiah into their hearts.

The nation of Israel was familiar with the concept of first fruits or
the firstborn.  The first fruits were always the choicest, the foremost,
the first, the best, the preeminent of all that was to follow.  They
were holy to the Lord.  The concept of first fruits or firstborn is a
major theme in the Bible.  This can be seen by the following Scriptures:
Exodus 34:26, Leviticus 23:20, Numbers 18:12-15, Deuteronomy 18:1-5,
26:2-4, and Proverbs 3:9.
 

EVERYTHING ON THE EARTH, BOTH MAN AND BEAST, WAS TO BE PRESENTED BEFORE
THE LORD AS FIRST FRUITS TO HIM

--The firstborn of both man and beast were sanctified (made holy) and
presented to the Lord (Exodus 13:2,22:29).

--The first fruits of all the earth were presented to the Lord at His
altar in praise and thanksgiving (Deuteronomy 26:1-11).
 

THE THEME OF THE FESTIVAL OF FIRST FRUITS IS RESURRECTION AND SALVATION

There are several important events tht happened on this day in the
Bible.

1. Noah's ark rests on Mount Ararat (Genesis 8:4).

2. Israel crosses the Red Sea (Exodus chapter 14).

3. Israel eats the first fruits of the Promised Land (Joshua 5:10-12).
The manna that God gave from Heaven during the days in the wilderness
ceased the sixteenth day of Nisan after the people ate of the old corn
of the land.  The day following was the seventeenth of Nisan, the day
when the children of Israel ate the first fruits of the Promised Land.

4. Haman is defeated (Esther 3:1-6).
In the Book of Esther, Haman plotted to kill all the Jews in Persia and
Media.  Haman had ten sons.  By this, we can see tht Haman is a tye of
the false Messiah (antichrist).  A decree was sent out on the thirteenth
of Nisan that all the Jews would be killed.  Upon hearing this news,
Esther proclaims a three-day fast, which would be Nisan 14-16.  On the
sixteenth of Nisan, Esther risked her life when she came to King
Ahasuerus.  The king asked her, in effect, "Tell me, what do you want?"
Esther replied, "If it seem good unto the king, let the king and Haman
come this day unto the banquet tht I have prepared for him."  This was
the sixteenth day of Nisan.  At the banquet, the king again asked Esther
what she wanted, and she asked the king to come to another banquet to be
held the next day, the seventeenth of Nisan.  On this day, Haman (a type
of the false Messiah or antichrist, as well as of satan) is hanged.

5. The resurrection of Jesus (John 12:24, 1 Corinthians 15:16-20).
The Lord Jesus celebrated the Festival of First Fruits by offering
Himself as the first fruits to all future generations (Matthew
27:52-53).
 

JESUS IS THE FIRST FRUITS OF THE BARLEY HARVEST

1. Jesus is the firstborn of Mary (Matthew 1:23-25)

2. Jesus is the first-begotten of God the Father (Hebrews 1:6)

3. Jesus is the firstborn of every creature (Colossians 1:15)

4. Jesus is the first-begotten from the dead (Revelation 1:5)

5. Jesus is the firstborn of many brethren (Romans 8:29)

6. Jesus is the first fruits of the resurrected ones (1 Corinthians
15:20,23)

7. Jesus is the beginning of the creation of God (Revelation 3:14)

8. Jesus is the preeminent One (Colossians 1:18)

Jesus is indeed the Most Holy One of God and is sanctified by the
Father.  Jesus is the first, the choicest, the preeminent One.  He is
both the firstborn of God and the first fruits unto God.  Jesus is the
sheaf of the first fruits.
 

FIRST FRUITS IS PROPHETIC OF THE RESURRECTION OF CHRIST

The Festival of the sheaf of the first fruits is prophetic of the
resurrection of Jesus.  Jesus prophesied that He would rise three days
and nights after He was crucified upon the cross (Matthew 12:40, Luke
24:46).  This was foreshadowed to happen in the Old Testament by type
and shadow (Genesis 22:1-6, Exodus 3:18, 8:27).

Since Jesus was crucified on the day of Passover, the fourteenth of
Nisan, and He arose from the grave three days and nights after He was
crucified, Jesus arose from the grave on the seventeenth of Nisan, the
day of the festival of First Fruits.  This day would be the day after
the weekly sabbath during the week of Passover (Mark 16:1-6).  In fact,
Jesus is called the first fruits of those who rise from the dead.

-But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of
them that slept.  For since by man came death, by man came also the
resurrection of the dead.  For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ
shall all be made alive.  But every man in his own order: Christ the
firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming. --1
Corinthians 15:20-23
 

THE SPIRITUAL UNDERSTANDING OF FIRST FRUITS

A sheaf in the Bible is used to typify a person or ersons (Genesis
37:5-11).  Christ will return to earth (Zechariah 14:4) during His
second coming as King over all the earth.  He also will bring the
sheaves (the believers in Jesus as the Messiah) with Him (Psalm 126,
Mark 4:26-29, Jude 14).

The 144,000 Jewish witnesses who witness of Christ during the
tribulation are first fruits to God during the tribulation (Revelation
14:1-4).
 

The following are Scriptures in the Bible concerning first fruits.

1. Israel was God's firstborn (Exodus 4:22).  But, the first will be
last and the last will be first (Mark 10:31).  Therefore, the Gentiles
became the first to receive the Messiah (Isaiah 60:1-3, 62:1-3, Acts
15:14-16).  At the end of this present age, the Jews as a corporate
people will accept Jesus as Messiah as well.

2. The Gospel was preached to the Jew first and then to the non-Jews
(Romans 1:16).

3. We are called to seek first the Kingdom of God (Matthew 6:33).

4. Jesus was alive the first day of the week (Mark16:1-6).

5. Jesus was the first to rise from the dead (Acts 26:23).

6. The early believers were a kind of first fruits (James 1:17-18).

7. Those who arose from the dead with Christ during His resurrection
became the first fruits of all those who would rise from the dead
(Matthew 27:52-53, Ephesians 4:8, 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18).

8. Jesus first loved us, and He is to be our first love (1 John 4:9,
Revelation 2:4).

9. Jesus is the first (Alpha) and the last (Omega) (Revelation 1:8, 17,
22:13, Isaiah 41:4, 44:6, 48:12).
 

Few people understand that God follows a systematic plan, symbolized by
His Holy Days, to save all humanity by offering all people eternal life
in His Kingdom.

In this world we are simply at the beginning of the harvest from the
Kingdom of God.
 
 
 

The Feasts of the Lord--Part V

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