December 25, 2015 Tony

Messiah In the Feasts and Their Eschatological Implications, Part 3/7 (First Fruits)

Tony Wray is not only a recording artist but is also a teacher, and lecturer; having taught Messianic apologetics at numerous conferences, churches, and congregations.  If you would like to view a list of referrals from leaders, scholars, and theologians, or are interested in having Tony speak at your congregation or event, send an e-mail to hazakimbooking@gmail.com.

In the last post we looked at Passover, and it’s ultimate fulfillment in the Messiah.  Staying in chronological order, the next Feast on the calendar is First Fruits…

firstfruits

First Fruits, also known as the “Feast of Weeks” (Bikkurim in Hebrew) is the third of the seven “Feasts of the Lord” commanded by the Lord to be celebrated by Israel.   

 “Celebrate the Feast of Weeks with the firstfruits of the wheat harvest, and the Feast of ingathering at the turn of the year. Three times a year all your men are to appear before the Sovereign Lord, the God of Israel.  I will drive out nations before you and enlarge your territory, and no one will covet your land when you go up three times each year to appear before the Lord your God.”       Exodus 34:22 

It was a designated time when Israel was to bring a sheaf (Hebrew: omer) of the firstfruits of the harvest to be waived by the priests before the Lord, and was to be observed the DAY AFTER THE SABBATH following Passover (or Sunday).  In essence, it was the dedication of the “brand new” and “first” of the seed which had been planted in the ground – blossoming into something new and beautiful.

Remember what happened the day after the Sabbath after the Passover Jesus died on?  That’s right!  Messiah became the “First Fruits” of the resurrection!

FULFILLED!!  That’s 2 for 2!

empty-tomb-jesusMark 16: 1, “When the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James and Salome bought spices, so that they might go and anoint him. And very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they went to the tomb.  And they were saying to one another, “Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance of the tomb?” And looking up, they saw that the stone had been rolled back—it was very large. And entering the tomb, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, dressed in a white robe, and they were alarmed. And he said to them, “Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen; he is not here. See the place where they laid him.  But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going before you to Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.”

Predicting His own death, Jesus draws a clear connection between His death and First Fruits when He says:

“The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.”  (John 12:23-24).

It is interesting to note that this very Chapter begins by telling us that the context of the chapter is the time of the Passover…it is logical to conclude that these words of Jesus were spoken at the time of First Fruits (the first Sunday after the Passover).  The use of “harvest language” in reference to His death is a clear allusion to First Fruits.

Paul, a Jewish believer in Yeshua who was very familiar with these details, further explained:

“But now is Messiah 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 Messiah shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Messiah’s at His Coming” (1Corinthians 15:20-23).

resurrectionHe further develops this “First Fruits” concept of the resurrection in verse 35 of the same chapter:

“But someone will ask, “How are the dead raised? With what kind of body will they come?” How foolish! What you sow does not come to life unless it dies. When you sow, you do not plant the body that will be, but just a seed, perhaps of wheat or of something else. But God gives it a body as he has determined, and to each kind of seed he gives its own body. Not all flesh is the same: People have one kind of flesh, animals have another, birds another and fish another. There are also heavenly bodies and there are earthly bodies; but the splendor of the heavenly bodies is one kind, and the splendor of the earthly bodies is another. The sun has one kind of splendor, the moon another and the stars another; and star differs from star in splendor.  So will it be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body.”  (1Corinthians 15:35-44).

Praise God! Since Messiah has risen as the First Fruits of the new glorified resurrection body, we need not fear death!  It is simply the sowing of the corruptible in preparation for a harvest of incorruptible new and beautiful eternal bodies!

In the next post we will explore the next Feast day on God’s calendar: Shavu’ot, also known as “Pentecost”.  So much richness in God’s Word – excited to see what we can discover next!

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