Messianic Overtones
in Judaism



A Study of Rites and Rituals in Types and Shadows

Feast of Firstfruits

Leviticus 23:10-12 "Speak unto the children of Israel and say unto them, "when you come into the land which I give unto you, an shall reap the harvest thereof, then shall ye bring a sheaf 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."

 

 

This feast is the 3rd Feast, and we find the number 3 associated with new life and resurrection, and creation. On the 3rd day, God brought forth life from the earth, and the earth yielded grass, herbs and trees; Jonah was 3 days and nights in the belly of the whale, but came out to walk the earth again, just as Jesus was 3 days and 3 nights in the heart of the earth, and was resurrected to life. Jesus said to His critics, "destroy this temple, and in 3 days, I will raise it up". He wasn't talking about the temple where they worshipped, but of His body, knowing He would be resurrected 3 days after His crucifixion. During His ministry, Jesus raised 3 people from the dead; number 3...resurrection, new life, restoration.This Feast is a prophetic picture of the resurrection of Jesus, and of the resurrection and of the saints when He returns to catch them away!

 

Historically and Biblically, this Feast day dealt with the life of the first harvest…bursting forth from seed planted and nurtured, and one going into the field and picking one sheaf (also called an omer to represent a weight of the sheaf); to represent the entire harvest, and is brought to the priest. The priest, ascended up to the Temple and representing the nation of Israel, would wave it before the Lord in worship and praise for the harvest to come that would nourish and prosper the nation. They did this not only with grain but the firstborn or first fruit of both animals and man were brought before the Lord to be sanctified. (Ex 13:2; 11:13; 22:29) The first fruits of all the earth were presented to the Lord in thanksgiving. (Lev 19:23-35)

 

So, the same sheaf that represented the first fruit of the harvest, was also a type and shadow of men. Joseph, the son of Jacob, dreamed about sheaves bowing down to his sheaf, and it was symbolic of his brothers bowing to him; a prophecy of an event that happened some 20 years later when his brothers did bow down to him when Joseph was a ruler in Egypt. The sower in Psalm 126, was a man sowing in tears, but came reaping and bringing his harvest of sheaves with him. This prophetic pictures of waving the sheaf in the feast is a picture of another man... Jesus who resurrected from death - "firstborn from the dead"; "the first begotten of the Father"; "the firstborn among many brethren"…By His resurrection…He is the First fruits of a body of believers that will follow in the final resurrection! That's us!

 

Prophetically, this Feast also speaks of a national resurrection of dry bones…the ancient dry and barren land of Israel. Since 1948, when Israel became a nation after 1900 years of exile, it has been in the throes of resurrection. Wasteland have come to life; thriving cities exist and deserts have bloomed. There are as many as 6 harvests a year, all happening after returning to Israel from their 3rd exile! It had been a dead land for over 1900 years!

 

Praise the Lord for the Resurrection!…it  validated His work at the cross. Thousand of men died on a cross, but only One was resurrected, (just as He said He would, and when He said He would! )Resurrection was not an alien concept to the Jews; Job talked about it in Job 19:25-26 "for I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that He shall stand at the latter day upon the earth;…and though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh, I shall see God." David knew he would see his dead baby again when he said, "He can't come to me but I can go to him".

 

This is what this Feast Day is all about…resurrection and eternal life! David talked about the resurrection when he prophesied, "neither wilt thou suffer thy Holy one to see corruption". The Holy One David was talking about is the Messiah…and Jesus didn't see corruption because He wasn't in that grave long enough…only 3 days! Hosea proclaimed "in the 3rd day, He will raise us up and we shall live in His sight."

 

In conclusion of the study of the 3rd Feast of the Sheaf of Firstfruits, we see how it was celebrated Biblically and historically as an agricultural Feast to celebrate the earth's resurrection in harvest; and the hope of a great harvest to follow. Prophetically, it was a type and shadow of Messiah, Yeshua, - Jesus, Who because of His resurrection, gives us the promise of eternal life through begin born again, resurrected in the Spirit of God.

 

Notice the accuracy of the Scripture text in Leviticus 23:11 "…and he, (the priest), shall wave the sheaf to be accepted for you, on the morrow after the Sabbath, the priest shall wave it." Jesus rose from the grave after the Sabbath, making it 3 days and 3 nights in the heart of the earth; He was already risen when the women came to the sepulcher at dusk on the first day of the week....."on the morrow after the Sabbath". He had already risen to ascend up before the presence of His Father. According to Strongs', another meaning for "wave" is to lift up, "accepted in the Beloved", Jesus…the First Fruit of the resurrection!

 

1 Corinithians 15:22, 23 "For as in Adam, all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive; but everyman in his own order: Christ, the firstfruits; afterward, they that are Christs' at His coming."