Saturday, April 7, 2012

What Does the Feast of Firstfruits Mean to You?

This Feast of First Fruits begins at local sunset Saturday April 7th through sunset April 8th.  It just so happens, through the mathematics of calendar calculation, that it is also the traditional Easter.  In the year of Yeshua’s crucifixion, He rose from the dead on the Feast of Fruits.  The day after the weekly Sabbath which falls in the midst of the Feast of Unleavened Bread!

Leviticus 23:9-11 NKJV 9 And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 10 "Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them: 'When you come into the land which I give to you, and reap its harvest, then you shall bring a sheaf of the firstfruits of your harvest to the priest. 11 'He shall wave the sheaf before the LORD, to be accepted on your behalf; on the day after the Sabbath the priest shall wave it.

God told the children of Israel to observe this feast once they came into the Promised Land. They began their journey with the Passover, the death of the firstborn of Egypt, leaving Egypt in haste. They continued their journey through the Red Sea and into the wilderness. But throughout the journey, the goal was always the Promised Land.

Exodus 6:8 NKJV 8 'And I will bring you into the land which I swore to give to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; and I will give it to you as a heritage: I am the LORD.'"

I began my journey when I put the blood of Yeshua, my Passover Lamb, on the doorposts and lintels of my heart. My journey continued with the Feast of Unleavened Bread as I crossed the Red Sea leaving behind my Egypt, the sin nature that leads to death. My goal is eternity with God the Father and Yeshua His Son. 

When the children of Israel came into the Land, they observed the Feast of Firstfruits as a reminder that God is the one who brought them into the Land. God is the one who blessed them with fruit of the Land, a Land flowing with milk and honey. As they brought their firstfruit offerings to the LORD, they were to declare God’s fulfillment of the promise.

Deuteronomy 26:3 NKJV 3 "And you shall go to the one who is priest in those days, and say to him, 'I declare today to the LORD your God that I have come to the country which the LORD swore to our fathers to give us.'

As we read this verse, a couple of things stand out. This declaration is made to the priest and God is spoken of as “your God” not “my God.” What is going on with this? Isn’t God the God of the one bringing the offering as well as the God of the priest? As we look at this declaration as prophecy, it becomes clear. One day we will stand before Yeshua, our High Priest, with our firstfruit offerings and make this declaration to Him. We are declaring to the LORD, Yeshua’s God, through Yeshua, that we have come to the eternal country He has promised us.

Yeshua Himself showed us the way. He rose from the dead on the Feast of Firstfruits and presented Himself to the Father bringing His offering of firstfruits. When Yeshua died, the graves of many righteous people opened and they went into Jerusalem.

Matthew 27:52-53 NKJV 52 and the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised; 53 and coming out of the graves after His resurrection, they went into the holy city and appeared to many.

I believe that these righteous people were Yeshua’s firstfruits offering to God. When He rose from the dead He spoke with Mary and told her not to touch Him because He had not yet ascended to the Father.

John 20:17 NKJV 17 Jesus said to her, "Do not cling to Me, for I have not yet ascended to My Father; but go to My brethren and say to them, 'I am ascending to My Father and your Father, and to My God and your God.'"

Yeshua did not immediately appear to the rest of the disciples. After appearing to Mary and some of the other women, He met two of the disciples on the road to Emmaus later in the day and then appeared to the eleven remaining apostles in the upper room. Where was He all this time? I believe He ascended to the Father with the resurrected saints at the time the high priest in the temple lifted and waved the firstfruit of the grain offering before God.

When Yeshua appeared before the eleven, He encouraged them to touch Him and feel that He was real.

Luke 24:39 NKJV 39 "Behold My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself. Handle Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see I have."

Paul tells us that Yeshua is the firstfruits of the resurrection and that we have the promise of the resurrection as well in the proper order.

1 Corinthians 15:22-23 NKJV 22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive. 23 But each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ's at His coming.

The instructions in Leviticus for observing the Feast of Firstfruits go on to say that none of the grain of harvest is to be eaten until after the firstfruits offering is made.

Leviticus 23:14 NKJV 14 'You shall eat neither bread nor parched grain nor fresh grain until the same day that you have brought an offering to your God; it shall be a statute forever throughout your generations in all your dwellings.

We can’t eat of the new life until Yeshua brings the offering of firstfruits. This is a statute forever.

What does the Feast of Firstfruits mean to me? Because of Yeshua’s resurrection, I am confident of the resurrection of the dead some to new life others to condemnation and the second death. Because of Yeshua’s offering of the firstfruits, the whole harvest is acceptable. I am confident that as a believer in Yeshua as my Lord and savior that I will experience the resurrection into new life. In my travels through the wilderness of this life, I know my destination. In the words of a familiar song from the 1970’s, “Because He lives, I can face tomorrow, because He lives, all fear is gone; because I know He holds the future, and life is worth the living just because He lives.”

What does the Feast of Firstfruits mean to you?

He shall wave the sheaf before the LORD, to be accepted on your behalf

שלום ברוך
Shalom and be blessed
Dan and Brenda Cathcart

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