Leviticus 23 tells us of a little known or discussed Biblical Feast called Firstfruits. What is this Feast about and how is it connected to Jesus (Yeshua in Hebrew), the Messiah?
The Feast of Firstfruits is the third spring Feast mentioned in the Bible. The people of Israel were commanded to keep the Feast of Passover and Unleavened Bread as a remembrance of their deliverance from Egypt. The Feast of Firstfruits started when they came into the land given to them by God. Today the three feasts are joined into an eight day celebration simply called Passover (Pesach in Hebrew) or the Days of Unleavened Bread. However, little if any mention is now made of Firstfruits.
Here’s what the Bible says about the Feast of Firstfruits.
The spring Feasts have an agricultural component and the LORD commanded that a sheaf of the barley harvest be brought to the priest and he would wave it before the LORD to be accepted on the person’s behalf and as a sign of dedicating the coming harvest to God.
The priest also sacrificed a male lamb as a burnt offering along with an offering of unleavened bread, mixed with oil, and a drink offering of wine.
Firstfruits is always celebrated the Sunday following the first Sabbath (Saturday) after Passover. This year (2022) Passover began on Friday evening April 15th (Nisan 14 on the Hebrew calendar) and coincides with the beginning of the weekly Sabbath (Saturday). Firstfruits is therefore on Sunday April 17th this year. “Easter” this year is being celebrated on April 17th. However, “Easter” does not follow the Hebrew Calendar not take into account the Spring Feasts of the Lord. The disconnect happened in 324 CE when the council of Nicaea established that Easter would be held on the first Sunday after the first Full Moon occurring on or after the vernal equinox, which is usually March 21.
What does the New Testament have to say?
1 Corinthians 15:20 tells us that now Christ is risen from the dead and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. Jesus rose from the dead on the first Sunday following Passover. Jesus is the fulfillment of Passover because he is the perfect, spotless and unblemished lamb who was sacrificed on our behalf. It was at the celebration of the Passover that Jesus instituted the Lord’s Supper also known as Communion (read Luke 22:7 – 20). He fulfilled the Feast of Unleavened Bread because he is the bread of life without leaven (without sin). He fulfilled Firstfruits through his resurrection.
HALLELUJAH! HE IS RISEN INDEED!
The Old Testament speaks much about our Messiah Jesus. I encourage you to read the Book of Ruth which is at the time of the barley harvest celebrated at Firstfruits and speaks of a “kinsmen redeemer”, a type of Christ. Ruth was redeemed and became the great-grandmother of King David and is in the lineage of Jesus (Matthew 1:5 – 6).
Betsy Roy is the Director of Women of the Word, an inter-generational ministry dedicated to helping women grow as disciples of Jesus by applying God’s Word through the power of the Holy Spirit. WOW holds conferences, retreats, Bible seminars and trips to Israel.
Betsy and her husband Jim lead the trips to Israel, which include visiting with local believers, both Messianic and Arab. Together they have 3 daughters and 4 grandchildren which are the delight of their hearts. God’s mercy endures from generation to generation.