The Feast of First Fruits

 

 Proverbs 3:5-6

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths."


This article will be on the next feast listed in the book of Leviticus, the Feast of First Fruits.


Leviticus 23:9-14:

"And the Lord spoke to Moses saying, '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 first fruits of your harvest to the priest. 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.............You shall neither eat 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.' "

This is the Feast of First Fruits. This was an enjoyable article for me to write. There are so many unusual aspects to this particular feast when compared with the others. To begin let us first understand the definition of the word first fruit. 

There are three words from the Hebrew which are translated as the word first fruit. Each one has a different meaning. The word translated first fruit in the above scripture is the one we will be dealing with. 

According to Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible the word in Hebrew is "bikkuwr". It is pronounced ”bikkoor". It means the first-fruits of the crop. It comes from the Hebrew word "bakar", pronounced bawkar. This word is defined as, to burst the womb, bear or make early fruit {of woman or tree}, to give the birthright, or bring forth the first child. The importance of understanding the definition of this word will be made clear as we go on.

In the previous articles we have seen how the feasts show the plan of the Creator for mankind. The Sabbath points to the rest we shall receive when the Kingdom comes to this earth. The Passover showed the death of our Savior Yahoshua. His sacrifice allows our sins to be forgiven, and the Feast of Unleavened bread is the process of self-examination. It symbolizes taking the sin out of our lives, as we are to take the leaven out of our homes.


The Feast of First fruits also points to something, but does it in a little different way. When we left off in the last article the Israelites had left Egypt and were on their way to the Promised Land. The Creator had done numerous miracles for this to happen. Through Moses, the Creator parted the Red Sea:

Exodus 14:21:

“Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the Lord caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind all that night, and made the sea into dry land, and the waters were divided."

Had given the people food to eat:

 

Exodus 16:12-15:

 “I have heard the complaints of the children of Israel. Speak to them, saying, ‘At twilight you shall eat meat, and in the morning you shall be filled with bread. And you shall know that I am the Lord your God.’  So it was that quails came up at evening and covered the camp, and in the morning the dew lay all around the camp.  And when the layer of dew lifted, there, on the surface of the wilderness, was a small round substance, as fine as frost on the ground.  So when the children of Israel saw it, they said to one another, “What is it?” For they did not know what it was. And Moses said to them, “This is the bread which the Lord has given you to eat."

And water to drink, coming from a rock:

Exodus 17:6:

"'Behold, I will stand before you there on the rock in Horeb; and you shall strike the rock, and water will come out of it, that the people may drink.' And Moses did so in the sight of the elders of Israel."

Due to their disobedience the Creator would not allow the people who left Egypt,to enter the Promised Land. They were condemned to wander the desert for forty years until that generation had passed away. It was to be their children which would enter the land and claim the Kingdom. Not even Moses, due to his disobedience, would have the privilege of entering. Let us pick the story up there.


Deuteronomy 31:1-2:

"Then Moses went and spoke these words to all Israel. And he said to them: 'I am one hundred and twenty years old today. I can no longer go out and come in. Also the Lord has said to me, you shall not cross over the river Jordan." 

Moses passed away and the Creator buried him on Mount Nebo. After this a new leader would arise who would lead Israel into the Kingdom.


Joshua 1:1-2:

"After the death of Moses the servant of the Lord, it came to pass that the Lord spoke to Joshua son of Nun, Moses' assistant, saying: 'Moses my servant is dead. Now therefore, arise, go over this Jordan, you and all this people, to the land which I am giving to them, the children of Israel.' "


All of this must be understood before one can understand the Feast of First Fruits. 

Let us return to the feast. If you hadn't noticed, the very first thing that is different about this feast is that it does not have a date. Unlike the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread this feast does not begin with a date, but an event. As the weekly Sabbath begins with the setting of the sun, this feast was to begin when the people entered the land and after the Sabbath..


Leviticus 23:10:

".....When you come into the land which I give to you, and reap its harvest then you shall bring a sheaf of the first fruits of your harvest to the priest. 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.................."


This was the time when they were to celebrate the feast. So in order to know when this feast is to be celebrated we must know when the people entered the land. Let us pick up the story once again in the book of Joshua.

Due to the length of the story I will not be quoting all of the scriptures. For more information I suggest you read the entire book of Joshua on your own. It's fun and good for you.

Joshua was now the leader of the people. He was to lead them into the Kingdom, but prior to this they had to cross the river Jordan, and as the Creator had used Moses to dry the Red Sea; He used Joshua to dry the river.

Joshua 3:13:

"And it shall come to pass, as soon as the soles of the feet of the priests, who bear the ark of the Lord, the Lord of all the earth, shall rest in the waters of the Jordan that the waters of the Jordan shall be cut off......"


Joshua 13:17:

"Then the priests who bore the ark of the covenant of the Lord stood firm on dry ground in the midst of the Jordan; and all Israel crossed over on dry ground, until all the people had crossed completely over the Jordan."

Israel had crossed the Jordan River and entered the land of promise. The first thing they did was to circumcise this generation of people. The reason for this will be explained later. Let us read on.

Joshua 5:10-12:

"So the children of Israel camped in Gilgal, and kept the Passover on the fourteenth day of the month at twilight on the plains of Jericho. And they ate of the produce of the land on the day after the Passover, unleavened bread and parched grain, on the very same day. Now the manna ceased on the day after they had eaten the produce of the land; and the children of Israel no longer had manna, but they ate the food of the land of Canaan that year."


Let us review exactly what is happening. The Creator dried up the river Jordan so the people could enter into the land. They then circumcised the people. 

Joshua 5:7:

“Then Joshua circumcised their sons whom He raised up in their place; for they were uncircumcised, because they had not been circumcised on the way."

This process began on the tenth day of the month.

Joshua 4:19:

"Now the people came up from the Jordan on the tenth day of the first month, and they camped in Gilgal on the east border of Jericho." 

On the fourteenth day of the month they celebrated the Passover. In verse 11 it states that after the Passover, unleavened bread and parched grain was eaten. The manna had stopped on the very same day they ate the produce of the land. 

Joshua 5:11:

"And they ate of the produce of the land on the day after the Passover, unleavened bread and parched grain, on the very same day."


We must remember that the Passover is celebrated at twilight on the fourteenth of the month. When the sunsets this begins the Feast of Unleavened Bread. The first day of this Feast is a Sabbath. 

Leviticus 23:7-8:

"On the first day you shall have a holy convocation; you shall do no customary work on it.  But you shall offer an offering made by fire to the Lord for seven days. The seventh day shall be a holy convocation; you shall do no customary work on it.’”

 No work was to be done. They were not to collect any food or do any work on that day, therefore they had to collect and eat the food of the land the day after; the First day of Unleavened Bread; the day after this yearly Sabbath. This is the Day of the Feast of the First Fruits. It is on the sixteenth of the month. It was the day the children of Israel no longer received the manna, but ate the food of the land. 

I hoped you noticed that not only does it not say the date, but that this feast is actually a feast within a feast. So what does all this mean? What does this feast represent, and why does it take place during the Feast of Unleavened Bread? For this answer we must go the New Testament. Again due to the length I will not quote all scripture, but ask that you read this entire chapter.

1 Corinthians 15:20"But now Yahoshua is risen from the dead, and has become the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep." 

It was on the Passover that the Messiah was crucified at twilight. It was on the third day He was resurrected, during the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Paul tells us that He has become the first fruit of those who have fallen asleep. Why is this so important?



1 Corinthians 15:21:

"For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Yahoshua all shall be made alive. But each one in His own order; Yahoshua the first fruits, afterward those who are Yahoshua's at His coming."

Do you understand? Are you beginning to grasp the beauty and significance of this feast? Yahoshua died for our sins. He was the first fruit of many to come. The Feast of First Fruits points to the resurrection of Yahoshua . It points to the time when He conquered death. I believe Paul says it best: 


1 Corinthians 15:53-54:

"For this corruptible must put on in-corruption and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible has put on in-corruption, and his mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: 'Death is swallowed up in victory."

This feast represents the time when the Messiah was resurrected, but not just He, for it is through His resurrection that we all shall be resurrected. This is why it takes place during the Days of Unleavened Bread, because He was resurrected during the Feast of Unleavened Bread. During this time we are to examine ourselves and try to live as He did, righteous and without sin.

Yet this is not all. Remember the very first thing that Joshua did once they crossed the river Jordan was to circumcise the people. Why did he do this?

Joshua 5:4-5:

"And this is the reason why Joshua circumcised them: All the people who came out of Egypt who were males, all men of war, had died in the wilderness on the way, after they had come out of Egypt. For all the people who came out had been circumcised, but all the people who were born in the wilderness on the way as they came out of Egypt had not been circumcised."

There was a very important reason why this generation had to be circumcised before they could enter.

Genesis 17:10-11:

"This is My covenant which you shall keep, between you and your descendants after you; Every male child among you shall be circumcised; and you shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskins and it shall be a sign of the covenant between Me and you."


Dropping down to verse 14 we read, 

Genesis 16:14:

"And the uncircumcised male child, who is not circumcised in the flesh of the foreskin, that person shall be cut off from his people; he has broken My covenant."

This is why the males had to be circumcised. It was one of the ways they were to keep the covenant the Creator had with His people. They would not have been able to enter their new kingdom if they had not done this. So how does this pertain to us today?

Colossians 2:11-12:

"In Him you were also circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the sins of the flesh, by the circumcision of Yahoshua, buried with Him in baptism in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead."

Romans 2:29:

"But he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the Spirit, not in the letter; whose praise is not from men but from God."

As the ancient Israelites could not enter their physical kingdom unless they were circumcised of the flesh; we cannot enter the Spiritual Kingdom unless we are circumcised by the Spirit. Through baptism we died with Him and through His resurrection we shall live with Him.

The people who entered the land were the first, the first fruits. They represented those who are to be the first fruits of the Messiah.

Remember 1 Corinthians 15:22.

1 Corinthians 15:22

For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive.”

This is why the definition of the Hebrew word for first fruits is so important, because it comes from the word meaning to burst from the womb. It speaks of people. Not just the physical harvest of food, but of a spiritual harvest of His people. It speaks of His resurrection without which we would have no hope.

1 Corinthians 15:47-49:

"The first man was of the earth, made of dust; the second Man is the Lord of heaven. As was the man of dust, so also are those who are made of dust; and as is the heavenly Man, so also are those who are heavenly. And as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly man."

There is still more about this feast. It not only points to the resurrection of the Messiah, but unless you celebrate this feast on the proper day you can not accurately count the days leading up to the next feast, the Feast of Weeks.  

Deuteronomy 16:9:

"You shall count seven weeks for yourself; begin to count the seven weeks from the time you begin to put the sickle to the grain. Then you shall keep the Feasts of Weeks."

Leviticus 23:15-16:

"And you shall count for yourselves from the day after the Sabbathfrom the day that you brought the sheaf of the wave offering: seven Sabbaths shall be completed. Count fifty days to the day after the seventh Sabbath;”

As you can see, the Feast of First Fruits is the day you begin counting to get to the Feast of Weeks, which is the next feast to be celebrated. It is the day after the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the day after the Annual Sabbath, the sixteenth of the month. The day the people ate the fruit of the land. It was the day they put the sickle to the ground.

 Remember the first day of Unleavened Bread is a yearly Sabbath. The  Creator would not tell the people to put the sickle to the ground on a  Sabbath day. They were not even allowed to collect the manna on a  Sabbath. The day of the Feast of First fruits is the day after the yearly  Sabbath. If the Feast of First Fruits is not kept, one cannot know the date or significance of the Feast of Weeks. This will be the next article.


Well my friend I hope this article has helped you in some way to understand the Feasts and their importance, not only for our understanding of the plan of salvation for mankind, but to understand the One who has ordained these Feasts; for they are ordinances which shall be kept forever throughout the generations.

Leviticus 23:14

“ 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.”

With this I will allow Paul to conclude this matter.

1 Corinthians 15:51-52:

"Behold I will tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall all be changed."

So until next time my friends please take care.

 

Peace