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The Seven Festivals of the Messiah
The Festival of First Fruits
The fifteenth of Nisan begins Hag HaMatzah (the Feast of Unleavened Bread), which is a high sabbath, a shabbaton. It is a seven day feast to the L-rd. The day following the sabbath during Passover is called the Feast of First Fruits (Leviticus [Vayikra] 23:10-11).
The Feast of First Fruits can be found in
Leviticus (Vayikra) 23:9-14, as it is written:
Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, "Speak
to the sons of Israel and say to them, 'When you enter the land which I
am going to give to you and reap its harvest, then you shall bring in
the sheaf of the firstfruits of your harvest to the priest. And he shall
wave the sheaf before the Lord for you to be accepted; on the day after
the sabbath the priest shall wave it. Now on the day when you wave the
sheaf you shall offer a male lamb one year old without defect for a
burnt offering to the Lord. Its grain offering shall then be two tenths
of an ephah of fine flour mixed with oil an offering by fire to the Lord
for a soothing aroma, with its libation, a fourth of a hin of wine.
Until this same day, until you have brought in the offering of your God,
you shall eat neither bread nor roasted grain nor new growth. It is to
be a perpetual statute throughout your generations in all your dwelling
places' " (Leviticus [Vayikra] 23:9-14 NAS).
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 L-rd in His house. This was to be done "the day after the
sabbath." Prescribed offerings were also to be presented along with the
G-d commanded the people to bring a sheaf of the harvest (Leviticus [Vayikra] 23:10). The Hebrew word for "sheaf" is omer. An omer is defined as "a measure of dry things, containing a tenth part of an ephah." The definition of an omer being a tenth part of an ephah is found in Exodus (Shemot) 16:36. An ephah contains 10 omers of grain. Remember, three times a year G-d commanded the people to come to Jerusalem (Yerushalayim) to celebrate the festivals of Passover (Pesach), Pentecost (Shavuot), and Tabernacles (Sukkot). All three of these festivals are agricultural harvest festivals. Passover (Pesach) is the barley harvest. Pentecost (Shavuot) 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 (Sukkot), which is the fruit harvest.
The harvest represents all who would put their faith, trust, and confidence (emunah) in the Messiah Yeshua (Matthew [Mattityahu] 13:39; Mark 4:26-29; Luke 10:1-12; Revelation 14:14-16). 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 [Bereishit] 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 L-rd. The concept of first fruits or firstborn is a major theme in the Bible. This can be seen by the following Scriptures: Exodus (Shemot) 23:16,19: 34:26; Leviticus (Vayikra) 2:12,14; 23:20; Numbers (Bamidbar) 18:12-15,26; Deuteronomy (Devarim) 18:1-5; 26:2-4,10; 2 Chronicles 31:5; Nehemiah 10:35-39; Proverbs (Mishlai) 3:9; Jeremiah (Yermiyahu) 2:3; Ezekiel (Yechezekel) 44:30; 48:14; Malachi 3:8-14; Hebrews 6:20; 7:1-8.
Everything on the earth, both man and beast, was to be presented before the L-rd as first fruits to Him.
The theme of the festival of First Fruits is resurrection and salvation. There are several important events that happened on this day in the Bible.
Yeshua is indeed the Most Holy One of
G-d and is sanctified by the Father. Yeshua is the first, the
choicest, the preeminent One. He is both the firstborn of G-d and the
first fruits unto G-d. Yeshua is the sheaf of the first fruits.
of the Resurrection of the Messiah
The festival of the sheaf of the first fruits is prophetic of the resurrection of Yeshua. Yeshua prophesied that He would rise three days and nights after He was slain on the tree (Matthew [Mattityahu 12:38-40; 16:21; Luke 24:44-46). This was foreshadowed to happen in the Tanach (Old Testament) by type and shadow (Genesis [Bereishit] 22:1-6; Exodus [Shemot] 3:18; 5:3; 8:27; Esther 4:15-17; Jonah 1:7; 2:1-2).
Since Yeshua was slain on the tree on the day of Passover (Pesach), the fourteenth of Nisan, and He arose from the grave three days and nights after He was slain, Yeshua arose from the grave on the seventeenth of Nisan, the day of the festival of First Fruits. In fact, Yeshua is called the first fruits of those who rise from the dead.
But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep. For since by a man came death, by a man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all shall be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, after that those who are Christs' at His coming (1 Corinthians 15:20-23 NAS).
It was prophesied that Yeshua, the Messiah, would be buried in the tomb of the rich (Isaiah [Yeshayahu] 53:9; Matthew [Mattityahu] 27:57; Luke 23:51). Why was Yeshua placed in the tomb of Joseph of Arimathea? Arimathea was another name for Ramah, where Samuel dwelt. It is five miles north of Jerusalem (Yerushalayim). In fact, this place is still called Ramah today. In ancient times, it was customary for Jews to be buried in Jerusalem (Yerushalayim). In fact, this practice is still done today because it is a traditional belief in Judaism that the resurrection of the dead will take place in Jerusalem (Yerushalayim) first.
In the Book of Genesis (Bereishit), Joseph (Yosef) the son of Jacob (Ya'akov), made the children of Israel take a vow that when they went to the Promised Land, they would carry his bones with them (Genesis [Bereishit] 50:24-26). Ramah was a term that represented idolatry. Two countries were called the seat of idolatry in the ancient world: Babylon and Egypt. Joseph (Yosef), the son of Jacob (Ya'akov), was also known as Joseph of Ramah. Moses (Moshe) took the bones of Joseph (Yosef) with him when he and the children of Israel journeyed to Succoth (Exodus [Shemot] 13:19-20). Therefore, Joseph's (Yosef) tomb in Egypt was empty. The empty tomb of Joseph (Yosef) of Arimathea (Ramah), which stood for wickedness, was a fulfillment of Isaiah (Yeshayahu) 53:9.
Joseph (Yosef) was a type of the role
of Yeshua during His first coming when He came to fulfill the
role of the suffering Messiah known as Messiah ben Joseph. The
bones of Joseph (Yosef) were carried to Succoth. Succoth is a
type of the Messianic age also known as the Millennium. This is also a
picture of Yeshua being both Messiah ben Joseph and
Messiah ben David -- as Yeshua who suffered during His
first coming to earth will be King during His second coming to earth.
Spiritual Application (Halacha). A sheaf in the Bible is used to typify a person or persons (Genesis [Bereishit] 37:5-11). Yeshua 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 Yeshua as the Messiah) with Him (Psalm (Tehillim) 126; Jeremiah (Yermiyahu) 31:9-14; Joel 3:11-13; Zechariah 14:3-5; Matthew [Mattityahu] 13:37-39; Mark 4:26-29; Hebrews 12:1; Jude 14; Revelation 1:7).
The 144,000 Jewish witnesses who witness of
Yeshua during the Chevlai shel Mashiach, the birthpangs of
the Messiah (also known as the tribulation) are first fruits to G-d
during the tribulation (Revelation 14:1-4).
Let's look at some Scriptures in the Bible concerning first fruits.
Understand the Festivals Volume 1 contains
four teachings. The first teaching is an introduction to understanding
the Biblical Festivals. It will answer the questions: What are the
Festivals? When are they celebrated? How do they teach us about Yeshua
the Messiah? What is the high sabbath? What is the role of the moon in
helping us to celebrate the Festivals? The last three teachings are the
first three of six lessons on Passover. The Passover teachings will
explain the principles and themes of exile and redemption and how the
historical Egyptian redemption is associated with understanding the end
of days. The events of Passover will explain how Moses encounter with
Pharaoh is associated with the parable of the sower and how the two
signs of Moses teach us about the resurrection of Yeshua and the coming
together of the two houses of Israel. Part 1 of 2 of the spiritual
application of Passover will explain how the events of the historical
Egyptian redemption will teach us about the death of Messiah on the tree
and our personal salvation in Him.
Understand the Festivals Volume 1 contains four teachings. The first teaching is an introduction to understanding the Biblical Festivals. It will answer the questions: What are the Festivals? When are they celebrated? How do they teach us about Yeshua the Messiah? What is the high sabbath? What is the role of the moon in helping us to celebrate the Festivals? The last three teachings are the first three of six lessons on Passover. The Passover teachings will explain the principles and themes of exile and redemption and how the historical Egyptian redemption is associated with understanding the end of days. The events of Passover will explain how Moses encounter with Pharaoh is associated with the parable of the sower and how the two signs of Moses teach us about the resurrection of Yeshua and the coming together of the two houses of Israel. Part 1 of 2 of the spiritual application of Passover will explain how the events of the historical Egyptian redemption will teach us about the death of Messiah on the tree and our personal salvation in Him.