The day following the first day of the Festival of Unleavened Bread is called Reshit Katzir, the “beginning of the harvest”, which we will refer to as The Day of First Fruits. The Jews of old on this day would wave a sheaf of freshly harvested barley (The first grain that was to ripen each year) and wave it before the LORD (Yehovah) in a prescribed ceremony to mark the start of the counting of the omer, thereby initiating the forty-nine-day countdown to the harvest festival of Shavuot.
And the Lord (Yehovah) 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, (Yehovah) 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. (Yehovah) And the meat offering thereof shall be two tenth deals of fine flour mingled with oil, an offering made by fire unto the Lord (Yehovah) 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 forever throughout your generations in all your dwellings. (Leviticus 23:9-14 KJV)
On this day the priest would take a sheaf (omer) of green barley of the new harvest and wave it before the LORD (Yehovah) (north, east, south, west) as a symbolic gesture of dedicating it to Him. A male lamb was then sacrificed as a burnt offering to the LORD (Yehovah) (What was called Olah) along with a minchah (Unleavened bread mixed with oil) and wine. Only after the offering was performed, could the crop begin to be used.
It is completely remarkable that on this day a defect-free male lamb was to be offered along with bread and wine—the very symbols Yeshua used to recall the sacrifice of His own life.
As I began to understand the Festivals of Yehovah the answer to two very long held questions came to me. Since I was a young child it was communicated to me that Messiah was crucified on what is commonly called Good Friday, and that He rose from the grave on the next Sunday morning, what is commonly called Easter Morning. That would very obviously mean that Messiah would have been in the grave from Friday through Saturday night only. However, the Scripture clearly states that Messiah was resident in the grave for three days and three nights. (Mat. 12:39-40) This discrepancy between common Christian thought and the Scripture was for many years obvious to me, but I could not answer it until I received revelation of understanding pertaining to the Festivals of Yehovah.
Since my youth I have seen a number of what appeared to be contradictions in the Scriptures themselves, or contradictions between the Scriptures and what the Church commonly taught, and admittedly, I was often not immediately able to answer them. However, they did not greatly bother me in that my faith convinced me that Yehovah was/is truth, and that man in his understanding can have many errors. Therefore, I have been willing through the years to offer the prayer which I found in Psalms 119:18, and then wait on Yehovah for His answers. “Open Thou mine eyes, that I might behold wondrous things out of thy law.” I am very happy to report that Yehovah has been very faithful in answering my prayer, and causing the eyes of my understanding to be opened to perceive great and many truths from His Law. (Torah) The Apostle Paul practiced this same pattern of prayer, both for himself and for others, and I would suggest it is a very wise and excellent pattern of prayer for anyone. You can see this illustrated in his writings. (Eph. 1:18-20, Phil. 1:9-10, Col. 1:9-11)
The answer that I received to my question concerning the discrepancy between the Scripture, and common Christian thought about Messiah dying on “Good Friday, and being raised on “Easter Sunday” is that “Good Friday”, as well as “Easter Sunday”, are both a hoax. They are confusion. Messiah did not die on “Good Friday”, and He was not raised again on “Easter Sunday”. This understanding could only be made available to me as I began to understand the Festivals of Yehovah. I am sorry if this may offend you, but these are just a few of the myths that Christian has supported.
When I began to understand that there are more Sabbaths than the regular weekly Seventh day Sabbath, then it allowed my mind to be opened to the reality that Messiah was crucified in the eve before a Sabbath, but it was not the weekly seventh day Sabbath, rather it was the high Sabbath of the Festival of Unleavened Bread. Therefore, it was entirely possible for Him to be fully three days and three nights in the grave to rise from the grave sometime during the regular weekly Sabbath, thus when the women came early on the first day they found that He had already risen. (Mat. 28:1-10, Mk. 16:1, Jo. 20:1) This allowed the disciples who came to His grave early on a First Day morning to find His grave empty. You see, it was not a common “Christian” mindset that allowed for this answer to come to me, but rather it was a Jewish, or Torah based mindset that allowed this answer to come to me. You see the Messiah of the New Testament (Renewed Covenant) was, and still today is, completely Torah based. He did nothing in His life and ministry, and still today does nothing contrary to, or that in any way makes the Torah void. (Eph. 3:31, Mat. 5:17-19)
My beginning to understand the Day of First Fruits also served to answer another long standing question that I had possessed for very many years. The Apostle Matthew in his Gospel spoke of a group of people being raised from the dead at the time of Messiah rising from the dead. (Mat. 27:52-53) However, the Apostle Matthew never “bothered” to mention what became of them. Therefore, I had for many years pondered this, holding the question in my mind and heart, “what happened to these people”? Did they, after being resurrected from the grave continue living in and around Jerusalem, and thus in time again succumb to natural death? That idea was always very doubtful to me, in that I figured if that were true, both the Scripture and other writings would have spoken of them, and I had never heard of any writing that spoke of this group of people. For a whole group of people who had been resurrected from the dead would certainly have had the city’s attention, wouldn’t you say? And especially if they continued living in among the rest of the people. I really had no idea. I was completely stumped, until the understanding of the meaning behind the Day of First Fruits came to me.
For basically 1,500 years the Jews (Who were at that time the household of faith) did, for the greater part, each year obey the commandment of Yehovah pertaining to the Day of First Fruits. Which served as a yearly rehearsal for a most precious and wonderful reality, that of the resurrection of the righteous.
In Leviticus 23:9-14 directions are given to the faithful of Yehovah, which Scripture we quoted at the beginning of this article. As in the case of the other Festivals of Yehovah, this festival cannot in a natural sense be “kept”, but only celebrated, and here are at least two reason why: The sacrifice of the LAMB Of GOD did an end to animal sacrifices, and neither are we “in the land”. However, surely the celebration of the festival day can be done, and the truths behind this festival can in the spirit be kept.
Let us also consider the words of Matthew pertaining to a particular happening at the time of Messiah’s resurrection, and thereby answer another very important question. (Mat. 27:50-53 KJV) Jesus, (Yeshua is His Hebrew name) when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost. And, behold the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent; and the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, and came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many. These few verses in Matthew’s Gospel are the fulfillment of the Jew’s 1,500 year of rehearsing the Day of First Fruits. These saints, whose bodies were seen in the Holy City (Jerusalem) were raised to life after Messiah Himself was raised to life. They ascended into heaven with Messiah as He went to His Father, and to their Father. They were the first fruits of the resurrection along with Messiah. They were “waved” if you will, or presented by Messiah (who is the great High Priest) before Yehovah in heaven. They, along with Him were the first fruits of the harvest of souls to enter heaven. (1 Co. 15:20-23) However, they will not be the only fruit of the resurrection, for it is promised that at Messiah’s second coming, that all who are His, will at that time be raised to join Him, and then ever abide in His presence. (1 Thes. 4:16-20)
As in the case of all the Festivals of Yehovah, the Day of First Fruits offers the believing person understanding that is an absolute empowerment to his or her faith, and that is that the resurrection from the dead unto eternal physical life is sure. I tell you, I doubt there is a day that passes that I do not think of my own mortality, and that causes me to remember and consider the hope of the resurrection. It is this hope that helps empower me to live godly, to live by faith, and not be overly focused on the temporary elements of this present life, for this present life is a passing reality. It is very short lived, and every element of it is very shallow in comparison to the hope found in the promise of eternal life. (2 Co. 4:16-18, Ja. 4:14) The resurrection in a word offers HOPE. The Day of First Fruits in a word offers HOPE.
An American Watchman,
Gregory A DeHart
To get more out of this article please consider:
Acts 2:26-27, Acts 26:6-8, 1 Co. 15:19-20, Eph. 4:4, Col. 1:4-5, 1 Thes. 2:19, Titus 1:2, Titus 3:7, He. 6: 11-19, 1 Pe. 1:13