A Study of Firstfruits ~ By Eudora Nachand

Firstfruits in the Greek is aparche pronouncTitle photoed ap-ar-khay’ from a compound of apo and archomai- a beginning of sacrifice. In the Hebrew,  the word firstfruits is bikkur – ripe fruits of the crop and fruit; from bakar’, to be born first, to give birthright.

Not many are aware of this but the Holy Days have meanings that build upon each other. Together they progressively reveal how Yahwey works with humanity and how He will fulfil His plan of redemption;  played out through the agricultural seasons of harvest. These feast days should be important to all believers, especially the Feast of Firstfruits.

The fifteenth of Nisan begins the Feast of Unleavened Bread. The Feast of Unleavened Bread is a seven day feast to the LORD. The day following the Sabbath at the end of the Feast of Unleavened Bread is called the Feast of First Fruits. {Leviticus 23:10-14} It is important to remember that firstfruits must be the day after the weekly Sabbath so that it aligns 50 days forward to the Feast of Weeks.

The beginning of the harvest” [Reshit Katzir] begins the day following the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread. This is the beginning of the barley season, the promise of more to come. The Feast of Unleavened demonstrates a holy walk in sincerity and truth putting off the old nature by those who are chosen. The holy day that follows is The Feast of Weeks {Pentecost} 50 days after the Sabbath that marks the end of the barley harvest and the beginning of the wheat harvest, which demonstrates a holy generation who puts on a new nature living a victorious life empowered by the Holy Spirit.  The Feast of Tabernacles is the season of the fruit harvest, which demonstrates the bringing forth of fruit. All three are First Fruit celebrations. Simply put, the plan shows us salvation and deliverance, sanctification and finally the glorified resurrected firstfruits of the dead, those who are Christ’s ‘at His coming’.

To help us understand the Feast of Firstfruits, we need to look at the harvest of the barley, the wheat and then the harvest of the fruit at the end of the year. The observance of the Feast of Firstfruits is observed when an offering of one sheaf was cut from the standing harvest of the first ripened barley and brought to the priest. The priest would then wave that sheaf before the LORD, thereby making a sacrifice of faith. This was to be done “the day after the Sabbath”, at the tail end of the Feast of Unleavened Bread. The instructions for the Feast of Firstfruits stipulated that a sheaf of grain be waved by the priest before the Lord as a testimony of Elohim’s provision. This marks the start of counting the omer.

Leviticus 23:9-12 Le 23:9 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 [omer]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.

When we place our faith and trust in Messiah we can see where His life, death and resurrection, as well as the pouring out of the Holy Spirit are not only represented in the Spring Feast’s but that His resurrection gives us hope that we too will experience a resurrection in the future. Yahushua alluded to this in His parable:

~John 12:23–24 ~(ONMB)

And Y’shua answered them, saying, “The time has come that the Son of Man would be glorified. I most definitely say to you, unless a grain of wheat would die when it falls into the earth, it only remains itself: but if it would die, it brings much fruit.

For us as believers, the resurrection is not simply an historical event, but also a foretaste of what is to come in the future, when Elohim gives us new, redeemed bodies so that we too might be glorified. This event is seen in the Fall Feast’s that represents His return (Feast of Trumpets), the day of judgement (Atonement- not a feast) and the end gathering of His family, the Feast of Tabernacles. The fall feasts culminate in the final day known as the Eighth Day Sabbath (Simchat Torah – Joy of Torah).

What many Christians do not know because they have not been taught or because they have been taught that the Old Testament is irrelevant for Christians today, is that the reason Yahwey called all the males to the Feast of Unleavened Bread, The Feast of Weeks and the Feast of Tabernacles is because each one of these feasts are a First Fruit Feast.   It became understood and apparent through the Spring Feast’s that Yahwey had called the males and their family to these appointed [mow`ed, a fixed time or season ] feast days to magnify His fabulous love by offering His Son, the Firstfruits and then the Holy Spirit. It becomes clear then that at some point in time, during each one of these feast days, He is uniting us with our Redeemer so that one day soon we will become echad; one, even as Yahushua and Hashem are one.

Even though we are still awaiting the fall feasts to be fulfilled, Yahwey had a reason for His nation Israel to keep His festivals and later for His Church to observe them. Through these observances, Elohim reveals to His people the stages of His plan of salvation for humanity. In particular, the feast celebrating the harvest of the firstfruits, or Pentecost, has a meaning that reveals one of the major phases of His plan for salvation.

Number 8

Without the Holy Spirit to guide us, we would not be able to keep His laws and follow the path of our Messiah and do the same works as He did. Without the Holy Spirit, how could His laws be put into our mind and how could He write them in their hearts so that He could be to us a God and us be to Him a people? How would we ever realize the and plan of the resurrection and how it would all be fulfilled if it were not for the firstfruit feast’s?

~ Deuteronomy 16:16-17 Three times in a year shall all thy males appear before the LORD thy God in the place which He shall choose; in the Feast of Unleavened Bread, and in the Feast of Weeks, and in the Feast of Tabernacles: and they shall not appear before the LORD empty: Every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessing of the LORD thy God which he hath given thee.

What it means to ‘not appear before the LORD empty’ was because the offering brought by each male and his family was a measured amount of offering brought to the priest at the place where the LORD chose. After the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread; the first ‘ripe’ barley grain was offered to God before the harvest could begin. Giving as you are able also has a connotation of ‘doing’ what you are able to do, according to Torah. If you are a farmer, you would give a sacrificial offering according to what He has provided.  Perhaps a token of a dependence upon Hashem and gratitude to Him. It is obvious in His statement that He is not unreasonable in His demands of every man… to ‘give as he is able’. No more that a man is able to give… is expected.  There are exceptions, like the widow who gave her ‘two mites’, she was counted worthy because she gave beyond her own power because she gave all that she had. See ~ 2nd Corinthians 8:3

That wave-sheaf offering by the priest represented Yahushua HaMashiach, which is why He is called the firstfruits. He is the pioneer, the first of the dead to be resurrected to eternal life. The rest… at His coming.

1st Corinthians 15:20 teaches us that Yahushua is the firstfruit from the dead of them that slept. We also confirmation from the author of the book of Hebrews, that in chapter eleven, and the last verse that none of the righteous will receive the promise that they too will not be made perfect ‘without us’ even though they have obtained a good report through faith.

unleaven What were the physical offerings? The sheaf of barely equals to about two quarts for the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Two loaves of leavened wheat bread during the Feast of Weeks (Shavuot) and at the Feast of Tabernacles (Sukkot), a basket of the first fruit of the earth all mentioned in Deuteronomy 8:8. Unfortunately, a liberal definition of firstfruits would include the first of most anything, including the first part of one’s income. Nevertheless, the scriptures restrict the definition of firstfruits, when associated with offerings, to only food. This is just another example of what Satan started in the garden by twisting the scriptures to suit his own purpose to deceive the whole world by causing them to bring an offering of tithe in the form of only money.

When each male and his family would attend the feast, each male would then quote from Deuteronomy 26:5-10 as they gave their offering of the first fruit from their land.

It was in this way that they rejoiced that the LORD had given every good thing to them and those who sojourned with them. Those who sojourned or gathered with the Israelite tribes were Gentiles who believe it or not, the stranger also attended the Feasts of the LORD. (Vs 11) Obedience to bringing these offerings was their expression of their commitment and thanksgiving for His provision. These offerings are always from God’s labor and not ours. Each crop is grown by God’s power. Our labor comes when we work through to the harvest of the crop that He has grown.

Just as the farmers could not use the barley and wheat harvest until the wave offering ceremony was performed, so also Yahushua; the bread of Life, had to ascend before the rest of the grain [His Disciples] could be used. After the Feast of Weeks, His Disciples who were indwelled with the Holy Spirit were used in such awesome power because after their immersion in the Holy Spirit in the second chapter of Acts, they healed the sick and delivered the oppressed. Like His chosen disciples, those who follow in the very same path of Yahushua are also called firstfruits.

It is astonishing to think about it but on this particular day, a defect-free lamb was offered along with bread and wine. Is it any wonder now; why we read of Yahushua remembering and using these elements when He shared His last Passover with His disciples? What great love!

Final Yahushua Heart Love is the essence of all Elohim’s laws and commandments. Said another way, the commandments were given to show us how to love others and to love Him. Many think that His love is not conditional. I disagree because of what I read that is testified of in the scriptures.

John 14:15 ¶ If ye love Me, keep My commandments.

John 15:10 If ye keep My commandments, ye shall abide in My love; even as I have kept My Father’s commandments, and abide in His love.

1st John 5:2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep His commandments.

1st John 5:3 For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments: and His commandments are not grievous.

John 13:34-35

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.

“By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”

The “new” part mentioned of this overshadowing summary, was Yahushua’s incredible example, which takes the meaning of love to a whole new level of selflessness and service, the same as it should be with us. Yahwey in His great love is now writing His law on our hearts. This may also seem new, but His law was always designed to be in our heart as you can tell by the following verses:

Deuteronomy 6:6-7 And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.

With the help of the Holy Spirit, the children of the God of Israel are expected to rise to a new level of love that fulfills both the letter and the spirit of His perfect law. We must never forget that the firstfruits “follow the Lamb wherever He goes”.

sheep and goats

– Revelation 14:4 These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever He goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb.

There is great significance in the name, Feast of Firstfruits. By its very name, firstfruits being plural, indicates that there is more than one harvest in a season. These firstfruit harvests both represent major stages and symbolize the ‘calling and preparing’ of the church for the first spiritual harvest of humankind for redemption. The later spiritual harvest will take place in the age to come when the physical harvest takes place. Yahwey’s first harvest of people occurs in preparation for that coming age when Yahushua HaMashiach will bring His Kingdom to earth, after the separation of the wheat from the chaff. The same is understood by the mere mention of a ‘first resurrection’, which also gives an indication of there being more than one resurrection.

Now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep . . . For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive. But each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ’s at His coming”. ~ 1st Corinthians 15:20-23

Resurrection 2 This scripture clearly indicates that each individual that is prepared for harvest (Resurrection) will be harvested from the earth….. ‘at His coming’ and not before. God chose to give us birth through the word of truth that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all that He created. Looking forward to the resurrection of those who remain faithful to their calling, Paul said, “We also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body”, -Romans 8:23. This is in the context of our hope.

Paul says that Yahushua’s resurrection represents the firstfruits of those who have already died. He intentionally chooses the word “firstfruits” because of what he learned in Torah. In 1st Corinthians 15 Paul states that the resurrection of the saints at Christ’s coming to immortal, spiritual bodies (verses 44, 53) will take place in an instant “at the last trumpet”. Just as the firstfruits offered to the God of Israel under the old covenant anticipated the fuller harvest to come, the resurrection of Yahushua anticipated the bodily resurrection of His people first promised under the very same old covenant (Job 19:25–27).

As we who faithfully follow the Lamb where ever He goes, we are constantly learning to deal with the malice commonly found in the hearts of men. We learn daily that in us, there is to be no deception or plotting in our actions or words. We learn continuously about the genuineness, sincerity and simplicity of HaMashiach. We come to grips with the deceit of our own hearts and have fully submitted to the pure and unspotted life of Christ dwelling in us. The word tells us that for these things, “they are without fault before the throne of Elohim”. This is what we are being prepared for.

This most important step in God’s plan for the salvation of mankind is revealed in the observing of His Holy Days. As we heed the calling of Him Who calls; we as first fruits naturally begin to observe the very holy days that picture the calling and harvest of the firstfruits of His redemptive plan. We now live in the age of the firstfruits; the time during which Yahwey is preparing a special, chosen people to reign with Yahushua HaMashiach ~ 1st Peter 2:9.

Yahushua became the first fruits, one of many who will follow at His coming (1st Corinthians 15:20). With Pentecost, there are those who have been given the firstfruits of the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:23). The next harvest of the first fruits will be in the first resurrection, they are the ones who follow the Lamb wheresoever He goes. We who are awaiting the adoption of our body; will be redeemed from among men, being the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb (Revelation 14:4).

~ 1st Peter 2:9 But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of Him who hath called you out of darkness into His marvellous light:

~Exodus 19:5-6 Now therefore, if ye will obey My voice indeed, and keep My covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto Me above all people: for all the earth is Mine: And ye shall be unto Me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel.

sheaf of barley 3 ~ “Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years.” ~ Revelation 20:6

2nd Peter 1:10 Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall:

To my brothers and sisters who keep covenant: We eagerly await the bountiful harvest sure to come when our dry bones will be resurrected and assembled together in the Promised Land. We not only live our lives through the power that Hashem bestows upon us through His intelligence and goodness, but it was for the purpose of creation that we are revealed as His light, shinning in a darkened world. We are not mere passive spectators who are barren and unfruitful; we are a city that is set on a hill that cannot be hid. “Be even more diligent to make your calling and election sure”.

~ Proverbs 6:23 For the commandment is a lamp and the law (Torah) is light and reproofs of instruction are the way of life.

Yahushua said, that whoever trust’s in Him will also do the works that He does. There is work to be done. We cannot alter our faith and joy for any less than the conviction that as priest’s and kings, we ought to be studying the life of the priest and that of our King. We must obey His voice and show forth the praises of Him Who has called us out of the darkness into His marvelous light; His instruction for the nations ~Torah.

gods-plan-as-revealed-by-his-holy-days_jpg_crop_display_0_jpg_crop_display

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About eudoranachand

A Spirit filled disciple who continually seeks His kingdom and His righteousness.
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