Feast of Firstfruits
The Feast of Firstfruits Is prophetic of the Resurrection of the Messiah. Yeshua prophesied that He would rise three days and three nights after He was slain on the tree at Passover, Nisan 14 (Matthew [Mattityahu 12:38-40; 16:21; Luke 24:44-46). This was foreshadowed to happen in the Tanach (Old Testament) by type and shadow (Genesis [Bereishit] 22:1-6; Exodus [Shemot] 3:18; 5:3; 8:27; Esther 4:15-17; Jonah 1:7; 2:1-2).
Yeshua rose from the grave three days and three nights later, on the eve of the seventeenth of Nisan (Aviv). Many translations of our English Bibles traditionally state that Yeshua rose on the ‘first day of the week.’ A clear understanding of the chronology of the Feast of Firstfruits relates to our next Feast, Pentecost, or Shava’ot.
In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre.
And very early in the morning the first day of the week, they came unto the sepulchre at the rising of the sun. Now when Jesus was risen early the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had cast seven devils.
Now upon the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they came unto the sepulchre.
The first day of the week cometh Mary Magdalene early, when it was yet dark, unto the sepulchre, and seeth the stone taken away from the sepulchre.
And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight.
Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come.
You will notice that the first six verses refer to the same day; Resurrection Day and called the “First day of the Week”.
Let’s look at the phrase with the corresponding [G] Strong’s concordance numbers:
the first [G3391] day of the week [G4521] – mian sabbaton
the [G3588] first [G3391] day of the [G3588] week [G4521] – mias sabbaton
the first [G4413] day of the week [G4521] – prote sabbatou
the [G3588] first [G3391] day of the [G3588] week [G4521] – mia ton sabbaton
the [G3588] first [G3391] day of the [G3588] week [G4521] – mia ton sabbaton
the [G3588] first [G3391] day of the [G3588] week [G4521] – mia ton sabbaton
the [G3588] first [G3391] day of the [G3588] week [G4521] – mia ton sabbatou
Let’s look at the Strong’s definitions for the words used in these passages:
The [G3588] The masculine, feminine (second) and neuter (third) forms, in all their inflections; the definite article; the (sometimes to be supplied, at others omitted, in English idiom): – the, this, that, one, he, she, it, etc.
The First [G3391] Irregular feminine of G1520; one or first: – a (certain), + agree, first, one, X other.
The First [G4413] πρῶτος prōtos pro’-tos Contracted superlative of [G4253]; foremost (in time, place, order or importance): – before, beginning, best, chief (-est), first (of all), former.
Upon the [G2596] κατά kata – kat-ah’ A primary particle; (preposition) down (in place or time), in varied relations (according to the case [genitive, dative or accusative] with which it is joined): – about, according as (to), after, against, (when they were) X alone, among, and, X apart, (even, like) as (concerning, pertaining to, touching), X aside, at, before, beyond, by, to the charge of, [charita-] bly, concerning, + covered, [dai-] ly, down, every, (+ far more) exceeding, X more excellent, for, from . . . to, godly, in (- as much, divers, every, – to, respect of), . . . by, after the manner of, + by any means, beyond (out of) measure, X mightily, more, X natural, of (up-) on (X part), out (of every), over against, (+ your) X own, + particularly, so, through (-oughout, -oughout every), thus, (un-) to (-gether, -ward), X uttermost, where (- by), with. In composition it retains many of these applications, and frequently denotes opposition, distribution or intensity.
Week [G4521] σάββατον sabbaton sab’-bat-on. Of Hebrew origin [H7676]; the Sabbath (that is, Shabbath), or day of weekly repose from secular avocations (also the observance or institution itself); by extension a se’nnight, that is, the interval between two Sabbaths; likewise the plural in all the above applications: – sabbath (day), week.
Almost all English translations render the Greek phrases mian sabbaton, mias sabbaton, mia ton sabbaton, and prote sabbatou as “first day of the week.” However, none of these Greek phrases can literally be translated that way.
The Greek word mia and all of its forms represent the cardinal number “one.” The Greek word protos is the ordinal “first.” In the New Testament,mia, mian, and mias appear 79 times. They are rendered as “first” eight times in the Authorized King James Version, seven of them in the “first day of the week” passages (Mat 28:1; Mar 16:2; Luk 24:1; Joh 20:1; Joh 20:19; Act 20:7; 1Co 16:2), and also in Tit 3:10 (where a better translation would be “one”).
In Greek, the phrase “first day of the week” is properly rendered protes hemeras tes hebdomados. Interestingly, the Greek word for “day” does not appear in any of the “first day of the week” verses in the New Testament.
In the King James Concordance we can look at how a Greek word was translated into English:
G4521 σάββατον sabbaton Total KJV Occurrences: 68
Mat 12:1-2 (2), Mat 12:5 (2), Mat 12:8, Mat 12:10-12 (3), Mat 24:20, Mat 28:1, Mar 1:21, Mar 2:23-24 (2), Mar 2:27-28 (3), Mar 3:2, Mar 3:4, Mar 6:2, Mar 16:1, Luk 4:16, Luk 4:31, Luk 6:1-2 (2), Luk 6:5-7 (3), Luk 13:9-10 (2), Luk 13:14-16 (4), Luk 14:1, Luk 14:3, Luk 14:5, Luk 23:54, Luk 23:56, Joh 5:9-10 (2), Joh 5:16, Joh 5:18, Joh 7:22-23 (3), Joh 9:14, Joh 9:16, Joh 19:31 (2), Act 1:12, Act 13:14, Act 13:27, Act 13:42, Act 13:44, Act 15:21, Act 16:13, Act 17:2, Act 18:4, Col 2:16
Mar 16:1-2 (2), Mar 16:9, Luk 18:12, Joh 20:1 (2), Joh 20:19, Act 20:7, 1Co 16:2
And So What?!?!
Well when we look at ALL the scriptures that refer to “First day of the Week”: The word translated “day” is not there in the Greek. It was added for “Clarity.” The word translated “first” is usually translated as “one.” The word “week” is overwhelmingly translated “Sabbath” (outside these passages we are looking at only Luke 18:12 translates “Sabbaton” as week.)
If we look at a literal rendering of these phrases, we see that they would be better translated as “one of the Sabbaths” (mian sabbaton, mias sabbaton, and mia ton sabbaton), or “First of the Sabbaths” (prote sabbatou).
Again, So What?
This is where a little history and understanding of the Biblical feasts come in. After Passover is First Fruits, after First Fruits there is Pentecost, This feast is 50 days after the Sabbath of First Fruits.
And ye shall count unto you from the morrow after the Sabbath, (First Fruits) from the day that ye brought the sheaf of the wave offering; seven Sabbaths shall be complete: (16) Even unto the morrow after the seventh Sabbath shall ye number fifty days; and ye shall offer a new meat offering unto the LORD.
“Seven Sabbaths were to be counted from the Feast of Firstfruits or Passover. Consequently, these came to be known as “First Sabbath,” “Second Sabbath” etc., down to the seventh. And according to Julian Morgenstern, former President of Hebrew University, this practice continued in Galilee till the time of Christ or the Common Era. It is still observed by some groups in Palestine today. Thus, there was an annual date known as “First Sabbath,” just after Passover.”
(p. 230, The Life of Christ in Stereo) Johnston M. Cheney).
Is there any New Testament scripture to support this? Yes there is…
And it came to pass on the second Sabbath after the first, that he went through the corn fields; and his disciples plucked the ears of corn, and did eat, rubbing them in their hands.
This is referring to the Second weekly Sabbath after First Fruits in the timeline between Passover and Pentecost.
What Does This Prove?
All of the verses that have the phrase “First day of the Week” occur during this 50-day period between Passover and Pentecost. So the English translation for that phrase doesn’t fit with the literal Greek or the cultural context. As a matter of fact, it actually ignores the historical and cultural significance of the First of the Sabbaths, and the counting of days until Pentecost. Now this should start alarm bells ringing if you are a Berean, searching the scriptures, to see if these things be so.
It should now be clear that our Saviour actually rose at the end of the Sabbath night. He prophetically satisfied, to the minute, the three days and nights in the grave (Matthew 12:40) Sunday has nothing to do with the resurrection neither does a Friday crucifixion.
The Resurrection event also coincided with Noah’s Ark resting on Mount Ararat, Gen:8:4 compare with Exodus 12:2, and the Hebrew nation crossing the Yam Suph, Exodus 3:18, and Israel eating the first fruits of the Promised land – all types and shadows of rest, freedom and the renewal of life.
The fifteenth of Nisan begins Hag HaMatzah (the Feast of Unleavened Bread), which is an High Sabbath, a shabbaton. It is a seven day feast to the YHVH. The day following the Sabbath during Passover is called the Feast of First Fruits (Leviticus [Vayikra] 23:10-11).
Feast Of Firstfruits in Leviticus (Vayikra) 23:9-14
As It Is Written:Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to the sons of Israel and say to them, ‘WHEN YOU ENTER THE LAND which I am going to give to you and reap its harvest, then you shall bring in the sheaf of the firstfruits of your harvest to the priest. And he shall wave the sheaf before the Lord for you to be accepted; on the day after the sabbath the priest shall wave it. Now on the day when you wave the sheaf you shall offer a male lamb one year old without defect for a burnt offering to the Lord. Its grain offering shall then be two tenths of an ephah of fine flour mixed with oil an offering by fire to the Lord for a soothing aroma, with its libation, a fourth of a hin of wine. Until this same day, until you have brought in the offering of your God, you shall eat neither bread nor roasted grain nor new growth. It is to be a perpetual statute throughout your generations in all your dwelling places’ “
Understanding The Festival Ceremony.
The observance was carried out in this manner, when the standing ripe harvest of barley and wheat was ready to be reaped. The celebrant would take one sheaf from the standing harvest and bring it to the priest. The lone sheaf was called “the sheaf of the first fruits.” The priest was then to take this one sheaf and wave it before YHVH in His house. This was to be done “the day after the Sabbath.” Prescribed offerings were also to be presented along with the sheaf.
The Sheaf Of Firstfruits In The Bible.
YHVH commanded the people to bring a sheaf of the harvest (Leviticus [Vayikra] 23:10). The Hebrew word for “sheaf” is omer. An omer is defined as “a measure of dry things, containing a tenth part of an ephah.” The definition of an omer being a tenth part of an ephah is found in Exodus (Shemot) 16:36. An ephah contains 10 omers of grain. Remember, three times a year YHVH commanded the people to come to Jerusalem (Yerushalayim) to celebrate the festivals of Passover (Pesach), Pentecost (Shavuot), and Tabernacles (Sukkot). All three of these festivals are agricultural harvest festivals:
Passover (Pesach) is the barley harvest.
Pentecost (Shavuot) is the wheat harvest. Both of these festivals are first fruits harvests before the final harvest that was to come at the end of the year during the festival of
Tabernacles (Sukkot), which is the fruit harvest.
The harvest represents all who would put their faith, trust, and confidence (emunah) in the Messiah Yeshua (Matthew [Mattityahu] 13:39; Mark 4:26-29; Luke 10:1-12; Revelation 14:14-16). So, the sheaf is the first of the first fruits. Since a sheaf in the Bible is used to typify a person or persons (Genesis [Bereishit] 37:5-11), a sheaf spiritually represents people who accept the Messiah into their hearts.
The nation of Israel was familiar with the concept of firstfruits or the firstborn. The first fruits were always the choicest, the foremost, the first, the best, and the preeminent of all that was to follow. They were holy to YHVH. The concept of first fruits or firstborn is a major theme in the Bible. This can be seen by the following Scriptures: Exodus (Shemot) 23:16,19: 34:26; Leviticus (Vayikra) 2:12,14; 23:20; Numbers (Bamidbar) 18:12-15,26; Deuteronomy (Devarim) 18:1-5; 26:2-4,10; 2 Chronicles 31:5; Nehemiah 10:35-39; Proverbs (Mishlai) 3:9; Jeremiah (Yermiyahu) 2:3; Ezekiel (Yechezekel) 44:30; 48:14; Malachi 3:8-14; Hebrews 6:20; 7:1-8.
Everything on the earth, both man and beast was to be presented before YHVH as first fruits to Him. The firstborn of both man and beast were sanctified (made holy) and presented to YHVH (Exodus [Shemot] 13:2; 22:29).
The first fruits of all the earth were presented to YHVH at His altar in praise and thanksgiving (Deuteronomy [Devarim] 26:1-11).
The Seventeenth Of Nisan/Aviv – Resurrection And Salvation.
The theme of the Feast of Firstfruits is resurrection and salvation. There are several important events that happened on this day throughout Bible chronology.
Noah’s (Noach) ark rests on Mount Ararat (Genesis 8:4)
Israel crosses the Red Sea (Exodus [Shemot] 3:18; 5:3, 14).
Israel eats the first fruits of the Promised Land (Joshua 5:10-12).
The manna that YHVH gave from Heaven during the days in the wilderness ceased the sixteenth day of Nisan after the people ate of the old corn of the land. The day following was the seventeenth of Nisan, the day when the children of Israel ate the first fruits of the Promised Land.
Haman is defeated (Esther 3:1-6). In the Book of Esther, Haman (an Amelekite) plotted to kill all the Jews in Persia and Media. Haman had ten sons (Esther 9:12). By this, we can see that Haman is a type of the false Messiah (antichrist). A decree was sent out on the thirteenth of Nisan that all the Jews would be killed (Esther 3:12). Upon hearing this news, Esther proclaims a three-day fast, which would be Nisan 14-16 (Esther 4:16). On the sixteenth of Nisan, Esther risked her life when she came to King Ahasuerus. The king asked her, in effect, “Tell me, what do you want?” Esther said, “If it please the king, may the king and Haman come this day to the banquet that I have prepared for him” (Esther 5:4 NAS). This was the sixteenth day of Nisan. At the banquet, the king again asked Esther what she wanted, and she asked the king to come to another banquet to be held the next day, the seventeenth of Nisan. On this day, Haman (a type of the false Messiah or antichrist, as well as of Satan [Ha satan]) is hanged.
The resurrection of Yeshua, the Messiah (John 12:24; 1 Corinthians 15:16-20). Yeshua celebrated the festival of Firstfruits by offering Himself as the first fruits to all future generations (Matthew [Mattityahu] 27:52-53).
Yeshua Is the First Fruits of the Barley Harvest
Yeshua is the firstborn of Miryam (Mary) (Matthew 1:23-25).
Yeshua is the first-begotten of YHVH the Father (Hebrews 1:6).
Yeshua is the firstborn of every creature (Colossians 1:15).
Yeshua is the first-begotten from the dead (Revelation 1:5).
Yeshua is the firstborn of many brethren (Romans 8:29).
Yeshua is the first fruits of the resurrected ones (1 Corinthians 15:20,23).
Yeshua is the beginning of the creation of YHVH (Revelation 3:14).
Yeshua is the preeminent One (Colossians 1:18).
Yeshua is indeed the Most Holy One of YHVH and is sanctified by the Father. Yeshua is the first, the choicest, the preeminent One. He is both the firstborn of YHVH and the first fruits unto YHVH. Yeshua is the sheaf of the first fruits.
First Fruits Is Prophetic Of The Resurrection Of The Messiah.
The festival of the sheaf of the first fruits is prophetic of the resurrection of Yeshua. Yeshua prophesied that He would rise three days and nights after He was slain on the tree (Matthew [Mattityahu 12:38-40; 16:21; Luke 24:44-46). This was foreshadowed to happen in the Tanach (Old Testament) by type and shadow (Genesis [Bereishit] 22:1-6; Exodus [Shemot] 3:18; 5:3; 8:27; Esther 4:15-17; Jonah 1:7; 2:1-2).
Since Yeshua was slain on the tree on the day of Passover (Pesach), the fourteenth of Nisan, and He arose from the grave three days and nights after He was slain, Yeshua arose from the grave on the dawn of the seventeenth of Nisan, during the day of the festival of Firstfruits. In fact, Yeshua is called the firstfruits of those who rise from the dead.
But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep. For since by a man came death, by a man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all shall be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, after that those who are Christ’s’ at His coming (1 Corinthians 15:20-23 NAS).
It was prophesied that Yeshua, the Messiah, would be buried in the tomb of the rich (Isaiah [Yeshayahu] 53:9; Matthew [Mattityahu] 27:57; Luke 23:51). Why was Yeshua placed in the tomb of Joseph of Arimathea? Arimathea was another name for Ramah, where Samuel dwelt. It is five miles north of Jerusalem (Yerushalayim). In fact, this place is still called Ramah today. In ancient times, it was customary for Jews to be buried in Jerusalem (Yerushalayim). In fact, this practice is still done today because it is a traditional belief in Judaism that the resurrection of the dead will take place in Jerusalem (Yerushalayim) first
In the Book of Genesis (Bereishit), Joseph (Yosef) the son of Jacob (Ya’akov), made the children of Israel take a vow that when they went to the Promised Land, they would carry his bones with them (Genesis [Bereishit] 50:24-26). Ramah was a term that represented idolatry. Two countries were called the seat of idolatry in the ancient world: Babylon and Egypt. Joseph (Yosef), the son of Jacob (Ya’akov), was also known as Joseph of Ramah. Moses (Moshe) took the bones of Joseph (Yosef) with him when he and the children of Israel journeyed to Succoth (Exodus [Shemot] 13:19-20). Therefore, Joseph’s (Yosef) tomb in Egypt was empty. The empty tomb of Joseph (Yosef) of Arimathea (Ramah), which stood for wickedness, was a fulfillment of Isaiah (Yeshayahu) 53:9.
Joseph (Yosef) was a type of the role of Yeshua during His first coming when He came to fulfill the role of the suffering Messiah known as Messiah ben Joseph. The bones of Joseph (Yosef) were carried to Succoth. Succoth is a type of the Messianic age also known as the Millennium. This is also a picture of Yeshua being both Messiah ben Joseph and Messiah ben David — as Yeshua who suffered during His first coming to earth will be King during His second coming to earth.
The Spiritual Understanding of Firstfruits.
Spiritual Application (Halacha). A sheaf in the Bible is used to typify a person or persons (Genesis [Bereishit] 37:5-11). Yeshua will return to earth (Zechariah 14:4) during His second coming as King over all the earth. He also will bring the sheaves (the believers in Yeshua as the Messiah) with Him (Psalm (Tehillim) 126; Jeremiah (Yermiyahu) 31:9-14; Joel 3:11-13; Zechariah 14:3-5; Matthew [Mattityahu] 13:37-39; Mark 4:26-29; Hebrews 12:1; Jude 14; Revelation 1:7).
The 144,000 witnesses who witness of Yeshua during the Chevlai shel Mashiach, the birth pangs of the Messiah (also known as the tribulation) are first fruits to YHVH during the tribulation (Revelation 14:1-4).
Let’s Look At Some Scriptures In The Bible Concerning First Fruits.
The natural is before the spiritual (1 Corinthians 15:46).
Israel was YHVH’s firstborn (Exodus [Shemot] 4:22). But, the first will be last and the last will be first (Mark 10:31). Therefore, the Gentiles (the goyim) became the first to receive the Messiah (as a corporate people; there are many non-Jews who do not) (Isaiah [Yeshayahu] 60:1-3; 62:1-3; Acts 15:14-16). At the end of this present age, the Jews as a corporate people will accept Yeshua as Messiah as well.
The gospel (basar) was preached TO THE JEW FIRST and then to the non-Jews (Romans 1:16; 2:9-10; Matthew [Mattityahu] 10:5-6; 15:21-28; Acts 1:8).
We are called to SEEK FIRST THE KINGDOM of YHVH (Matthew [Mattityahu] 6:33).
Yeshua was the FIRST TO RISE FROM THE DEAD (Acts 26:23).
The early believers were a kind of FIRST FRUITS (James [Ya’akov] 1:17-18).
Those who arose from the dead with Yeshua during His resurrection became the FIRST FRUITS OF ALL THOSE WHO WOULD RISE FROM THE DEAD (Matthew [Mattityahu] 27:52-53; Ephesians 4:8; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18).
Yeshua first loved us, and He is to be OUR FIRST LOVE (1 John [Yochanan] 4:9; Revelation 2:4).
Yeshua is the First (Aleph) and the Last (Tav) (Revelation 1:8,11,17; 22:13; Isaiah [Yeshayahu] 41:4; 44:6; 48:12).