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The Spring Holidays
The spring holidays of Passover, Unleavened Bread, and First Fruits are a portrait of the death and resurrection of Jesus.
He sacrificed Himself on Passover, was buried on the Feast of Unleavened Bread, and was resurrected on First Fruits.
The Feast of Weeks (Shavuot or Pentecost) was the day the Holy Spirit was given to the first believers.
Our Messiah, Jesus in First Fruits
The First Fruits wave sheaf is clearly symbolic of Christ, the First Fruits from the dead. He is the First Fruits of the harvest, the coming harvest of the souls of those who have fallen asleep in Christ on that wonderful resurrection day of the Lord.
First Fruits Speaks of Resurrection
When the Pharisees asked Jesus for a sign (a miracle or wonder), Jesus rebuked them and then said that the only sign given them would be that He would spend three days and three nights in the heart of the earth as Jonah was in the belly of the whale. Jesus died on Passover. Death could not hold our Messiah. On the third day He arose triumphantly from the grave!
Then certain of the scribes and of the Pharisees answered, saying, Master, we would see a sign from thee. But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas: For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth (Matthew 12: 38–41).
This sheaf of First Fruits was typical of our Lord Jesus, who has risen from the dead as the first fruits of those that slept (1 Corinthians 15:20).
That Branch of the Lord (Isaiah 4:2) was then presented to Him, in virtue of the sacrifice of Himself, the Lamb of God, and it was accepted for us. It is very observable that our Lord Jesus rose from the dead on the very day the First Fruits were offered, to show that He was the substance of this shadow.
We are taught by the Law to honor the Lord with our substance, and with the first fruits of all our increase (Proverbs 3:9). The Israelites were not to eat of their new corn until God’s part was offered to Him out of it (v. 14), for we must always begin with God, begin our lives with Him, begin every day with Him, begin every meal with Him, begin every affair and business with Him; seek first the kingdom of God (Henry 1991).
But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept” (1 Cor. 15:20). Our Messiah’s resurrection is the firstfruits, or promise, of the believer’s resurrection. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit (John 12:24).
The Hebrew root word of bikkurim (first fruits) is the same as that of bekhor (firstborn). The first fruits are dedicated to God because the first of everything, including the firstborn of both man and beast, belong to God. Jesus was the firstborn:
And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name Jesus [Y’shua] (Matthew 1:25).
For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren (Romans 8:29).
The Bible tells us that God, the great husbandman, eagerly awaits the precious fruit of the earth and has long patience in waiting for it (James 5:7). Unfortunately, while God is focusing on fruit, we are often focusing on other things. Sometimes we even focus on gifts which God has given, instead of the fruit we are to produce as a result of God’s gifts in our lives (Wagner 1995).
The Morrow After the Sabbath
There are two different views about when Early First Fruits occurs. This difference comes from different interpretations of Leviticus 23:11. 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.
There are two kinds of Sabbaths in the Bible. The seventh day of the week is the weekly Sabbath, and the annual Holy Days are also considered Sabbaths. So the “morrow after the sabbath” would either mean
- the day after the weekly Sabbath after Passover, or
- the day after the second day of Passover, which is a Holy Day.
If you plan to celebrate the holidays, you’ll need to understand the two views, because whichever view you hold to will affect the date of Early First Fruits, Counting the Omer and Latter First Fruits (because it is fifty days from Early First Fruits).
The Messianic and Sadducean method places the Early First Fruits festival and the day of the start of the counting of the Omer as the day after the seventh-day Sabbath (Saturday) during Passover. The Rabbinic method places First Fruits as the second day of Passover (i.e., the day after the Sabbath of Passover instead of during).
Y’shua is 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 (1 Cor. 15:20-21).
Putting on the New Man
First Fruits is also a visual lesson instructing us how God wants us to change through Christ (as Unleavened Bread). When one accepts Jesus as the Passover Lamb who died for our sins, our position before God changes to sinless (without yeast) because Jesus took on our sins.
We are righteous through Jesus. Unleavened Bread teaches us to put off the old man, and First Fruits teaches us to put on the new man. And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness (Ephesians 4:24). We put on the new man by allowing the Holy Spirit to live the life of Christ through us.
As Paul said in Galatians 2:20, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.”
Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour (Ephesians 5:1–2).
Awaiting the Comforter
Do you think the disciples were expecting the Holy Spirit to come fifty days after the resurrection—at the Feast of Weeks (Shavuot or Pentecost)? Due to the significance of the Jewish holidays, I believe at least some of the disciples guessed the Holy Spirit would come at the end of the fifty days.
Jesus had told them the Comforter was coming: Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you (John 16:7).
They knew the Holy Spirit was coming and they were in the process of counting the fifty days until the Feast of Weeks. Jesus told His disciples “…ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.” (Acts 1:5) They must have at least wondered if maybe it was going to happen on the fiftieth day. On Pentecost they were gathered together: And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place (Acts 2:1).
We can only guess at the anticipation they had while awaiting the promised comforter. Some Christians today have the same anticipation for Christ’s second coming. Think about the anticipation. Do you know what is it like to wait for a guest who has not told you exactly when he or she will arrive? It is difficult to wait patiently for an exciting event like that.
Jesus had to live by faith. We need to follow His example of living in complete faith and obedience to the Father. Can you imagine how they would have felt if Jesus told them He would not return for two thousand years? Sometimes a detailed outline of future events can be a hindrance instead of a help to our faith in God.
These things have I spoken unto you, being yet present with you. But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you. Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid (John 14:25-27).
For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence. When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power. But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth (Acts 1:5–8).
The spring feasts tell of His first coming, and the fall feasts tell of His second coming!
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