The Feast of Firstfruits
The Feast of Firstfruits is the fifth consecutive feast on the biblical calendar, and is celebrated on the day after the Sabbath in the Passover week, which would be on Sunday. It is a beautiful prophetic sign of God’s spiritual harvest to come. When the tender shoots begin to appear, the Lord commanded one to be brought and waved before Him as an offering.
But why? And, what does this mean?
We are about to find out. This is the third feast on the biblical calendar which Christ has already prophetically fulfilled – and in the most glorious of ways! In this post we will discover this feast’s traditional observance, Christ’s prophetic fulfillment, and how this applies to us today.
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 , 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. 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 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, (Leviticus 23:9-14, KJV).
As with all the feasts given to Israel during their sojourn in the wilderness, this one stands out. As we can see it is celebrated in tandem with the Passover. The LORD often speaks to what will be – and not always what is. Israel had no fields at the time this feast was given. Therefore, it spoke beautifully of the promised land flowing with milk and honey, which they were to inherit. At this time Israel was completely dependent upon the LORD for their sustenance both in food and water. Manna rained from heaven each morning faithfully, six days a week. They drank water from rocks. Meat fell from the sky. In this way, Israel’s sustenance was entirely divine. Yet the day would come when they would till their own land, plant their own seed, and harvest their own fields.
This feast spoke to the bounty of which Israel would eventually partake. The Feast of Firstfruits represented abundant promise – that of the harvest to come which the LORD of the harvest would bring (see Matthew 9:38 and Luke 10:2).
The Feast of Firstfruits teaches us to celebrate the promise of God’s harvest yet to come.
The agricultural calendar required Israel to plant their seed in the late months of winter. By the time Passover would come in the spring, the first tender shoots could be seen. The fields would be carefully surveyed for that first tender shoot of barley or wheat, and then marked for the feast by tying them with string. In this way, the very first fruit of the field could be offered to the LORD.
We can only offer what God first gives to us. The Feast of Firstfruits teaches us the principle that God delights in our firstfruit offerings in every area of our lives. The principle of sowing and reaping is evidenced in the Feast of Firstfruits. Therefore, we can see the following spiritual principles at work:
THE PRINCIPLES OF FIRSTFRUITS:
1.) That He is the LORD of the harvest who provides seed for the sower and bread for the eater (see Matthew 9:38 and Isaiah 55:10).
2.) We must be willing to sow out of season (winter), so that we can reap in due season (harvest).
3.) We may plant and water, but He is the one who causes the growth (see 1 Corinthians 3:6-7).
4.) The firstfruit is a sign of promise for the harvest yet to come, which God will surely give. What He begins, He will indeed finish and bring to completion.
5.) When we offer God the very first tender shoots of what is yet to come to maturity, He blesses the growth, bringing abundance in the harvest we will reap.
The Prophetic Fulfillment
As with Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread, Christ has also fulfilled the Feast of Firstfruits. In Passover we see clearly that Christ was our unblemished Lamb of God offered for the sin of the world by whom death passed us over. In the Feast of Unleavened Bread, He was our Bread from heaven, completely preserved from decay and corruption, whom we now feast upon. Here in the Feast of Firstfruits, He represents the glory of what is to come in God’s harvest – an abundant resurrection of souls.
Christ’s resurrection occurred on the Feast of Firstfruits.
Christ Jesus was raised from the dead on the Feast of Firstfruits – that Sunday following Passover, just as God ordained in Leviticus. Jesus Christ, who is the unleavened bread from heaven spent three days and three nights in the grave, buried in the ground. He was the spiritual seed God planted. Contrary to popular belief, Christ did not die on Friday. He died on Thursday. Christ sacrificed His life on the Day of Preparation (see John 19:31). Christ was our spiritual seed which knew no corruption of sin, or decay of death.
Christ Jesus was the seed planted by God the Father.
He is the Firstborn from among the dead.
He is our Firstfruit.
And 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 preeminence, (Colossians 1:18, KJV).
And Jesus answered them, saying, The hour is come, that the Son of man should be glorified. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn (seed) of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth froth much fruit… Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour: but for this cause came I unto this hour. Father, glorify thy name. Then came there a voice from heaven, saying, I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again, (John 12:24 & 27-28, KJV).
When God raised Him from the dead, He demonstrated a power over death that brought abundant life to all who would believe. Those believers represent God’s harvest. Christ spoke of this harvest consistently throughout His teachings. Therefore, the harvest He spoke about was not grain – it was the souls of mankind. His glorious prophetic fulfillment of this feast is fully outlined here by the Apostle Paul:
For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; and that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: and that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve: after that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep. After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles. And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time. 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. Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death, (1 Corinthians 15:3-8 & 20-26, KJV, emphasis mine).
Christ has indeed fulfilled Firstfruits. He was the ripe, tender bud of wheat who was offered to God as a young man, a mere lamb, the tender sheaf of wheat – the beautiful Firstfruit of God.
For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of dry ground… (Isaiah 53:2, KJV).
It is to Him that we owe our salvation and the promise of our resurrection yet to come.
The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field: But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way. But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also. So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then that it tares? He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up? But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn, (Matthew 13:24-30, KJV).
This is a beautiful parable to which Christ gives an open interpretation in Matthew 13:37-43. I encourage you to read this passage when you have time. Until then we have this mandate:
Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few. Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest, (Matthew 9:37, 38, KJV).
Your Personal Celebration
God never plants anything in vain. Therefore, He rightfully expects a return.
God gives us many opportunities to celebrate Firstfruits. We can apply the principles God teaches us in the Feast of Firstfruits whenever it is appropriate. When we sow the seed He gives us, whatever it may be, we can offer back to Him that first tender sprout, waving it before Him with exuberant joy for the promise of His harvest yet to come!
Here are some examples of firstfruit offerings that God delights in:
• Your firstborn child.
• The firstborn of your flock.
• Your tithe, or whatever portion you believe represents that firstfruit of your financial gain. It may be the first paycheck from a new job, an investment, or your first net profit on your business.
• The first sprout from your field or garden.
And there are many more…
Whatever it is, find a way to honor the LORD. We continually live a life of ‘firsts’. Firsts are very special to us and are often commemorated with celebrations. God loves to celebrate His firsts as well. He does this in the Feast of Firstfruits. Therefore, invite God into your memorial celebrations. When we celebrate our firstfruits unto God He is honored and pleased, and responds to us with a blessing for the harvest yet to come. Remember, the seed we have is provided by Him. We water and plant, but God causes the growth. So when we find that first tender bud or shoot, immediately set it apart and offer it to Him with joy and thanksgiving for what is to come.
Yet among all our firsts in life, God has taught us that He wants to be First. And rightly so, for all things originate in Him.
For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: and he is before all things, and by him all things consist, (Colossians 1:16-17, KJV).
When we give back to Him in any area of our lives, we honor Him. He delights in the gift we give and blesses the harvest yet to come – and does so with abundance!
You are a part of God’s harvest.
When we bless Christ, who is our Firstfruit, then God blesses us in return, who are His harvest. If you are in Christ, you are part of God’s harvest!
For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection, (Romans 6:5, KJV).
Celebrate the planting of the LORD!
Cheers & Shalom,