Thursday, May 1, 2014

The Feasts of The Lord

Leviticus 23 – Part 3

by Earlene Davis

The Feast of Firstfruits

Vs. 9-11, “And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, 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: And he shall wave the sheaf before the LORD, to be accepted for you: on the morrow after the sabbath the priest shall wave it.”

The feast of Firstfruits is directly related to Passover and Unleavened Bread. It is celebrated on the morrow after the Sabbath of the week of Unleavened Bread. Since the feast of Unleavened Bread was seven days long, one of those days would be a Sunday and it would be Firstfruits each year.

When the Israelites redeemed by blood (Passover) had come into their land, God wanted them to acknowledge with thanksgiving, the fruit of the good land He had given them. Barley was the first grain of the season. They were to bring a sheaf (stalks and ears of the barley bound together) to the priest at the Temple to be waved before the Lord on their behalf. This spiritually is Christ’s resurrection and His resurrection is happy news worthy of celebration.

Vs. 12-14, “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. And the meat (meal) offering thereof shall be two tenth deals of fine flour mingled with oil, an offering made by fire unto the LORD for a sweet savour: and the drink offering thereof shall be of wine, the fourth part of an hin. 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.” A he-lamb without blemish with its meal offering was burnt upon the altar as a sweet savor. For it was on the basis of what Christ accomplished by His death that He was raised from the dead.

The sheaf was to be waved the day after the sabbath. Christ arose on this day “for our justification,” Rom. 4:25. To the Gentiles this day is known as Easter, named for the false Babylonian goddess, Ishtar, the pagan goddess of fertility. Many worship such objects of fertility such as the rabbit, the egg, etc. A far cry from the Feast of Firstfruits. We miss a very important truth of God by not using the name “Firstfruits” as the name of this feast. “First” implies a second, a third, etc. The first harvest is but a promise of the larger harvest to come. The condition which brought about the first harvest will also bring the rest.

In Christ (the one sheaf) is the acceptance of the great harvest – a new creation. I Cor. 15:20-23, “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.” Jesus Christ is the firstfruit whom God raised from the dead. He is the promise or guarantee of our resurrection through faith in Him.

If we die before Jesus comes again, we will be raised, “every man in His own order.” This word “order” in the Greek means, orderly in arrangement, a series of succession, ranks as in a military troop. God has an order and His Son was number one, the Firstfruits. We are now qualifying for the order in which we will be resurrected or translated. We not only remember the resurrection of our Lord on “Firstfruits,” but our resurrection, the resurrection of His body, the church. Col. 1:18, “…he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.”

Paul yearned to be resurrected out from the rest of the believing dead. In other words the first rank to go up. Phil. 3:11, “If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.” This word resurrection is different from all other places we read this word. It has a prefix in front of it “ek” and has the meaning of out-resurrection from the other believing dead. May we also desire to be of that company, who love His appearing and have not left their first love for Christ. II Tim. 4:7-8 & Rev. 2:4.

I Thes. 4:16-17, tells how each rank will go up. “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.”

It is impossible to separate the resurrection of the saints from that of Christ. The consummation of all things is bound up with both. Rev. 20:6. All believers are part of the first resurrection no matter what rank they are in. The second resurrection is of the wicked dead to be judged after the millennium. Rev. 20:5,11-15.

Isn’t it marvelous when we understand these feasts? Jesus celebrated the Sunday of the week of His crucifixion by rising from the dead. It was not some other day He chose, but the very day of Firstfruits. Just as He had fulfilled Passover and Unleavened Bread on their feast day. Also Jesus presented His proper Firstfruits offering to the Father. What Happened? Graves were opened and some believers came forth and were seen in Jerusalem after His resurrection (Mt. 27:53). The Lord, like the Jewish farmer, gratefully showed the Father the early crops of what will be a magnificent harvest later.