In the process of revealing His plan of salvation for mankind, God established His annual Holy Days around the harvest seasons in
Israel (Leviticus 23:9-16, Exodus 23:14-16).
Just as His people harvested their crops around these three Festival seasons, God’s Holy Days show us how He is harvesting people for eternal life in His Kingdom.
The Holy Days have meanings that build on each other. Together they progressively reveal how God works with mankind. The 14th of the Jewish month of Nisan begins Passover at Sundown.
The fifteenth of Nisan begins the Feast of Unleavened Bread. The day following the sabbath during Passover is called the Feast of First Fruits (Leviticus 23:10-14).
Leviticus 23:10-14 10 “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 first fruits of your harvest to the priest. 11 ‘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. 12 ‘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. 13 ‘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. 14 ‘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.
In v 11 we are told that we are to make this offering of first fruits on the day after the Sabbath. There has been an ongoing debate over what day is meant by the Sabbath.
If we celebrated it according to the Pharisaic view it would mean that we would celebrate First Fruits on 16th of Nissan because the Orthodox Jewish community teach that the 15th of Nissan is a Sabbath because of Passover.
But according to the Sadducees who oversaw the worship in the Temple the offering of first fruits would occur on Sunday. Because they believed that the Scriptures teach that the Sabbath is the Sabbath not just a (Sabbath) in observance of a Holy Day.
This is also reinforced by Moses who gave no specific day of the month for Bikkurim to be observed as he did for all the others. Since this had to be on a Sunday, no definite date of the month could be assigned to it.
Today many Messianic Jewish Believers celebrate First Fruits on the day following the Sabbath following Passover which begins at Sundown or Saturday evening or Sunday the following day.
Christians celebrate resurrection Sunday on the day after the Sabbath or Sunday. Their calculations are based on either the Julian or Gregorian calendar both based on the Sun, while the Jewish calendar is based on the Moon and is in line with the Scriptures.
In the days when the Temple stood an Israelite would go out to his field when the standing ripe harvest of barley was ready to be reaped. He 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 the Lord in the Temple. There were other prescribed offerings that were also to be presented along with the sheaf.
Three times a year God commanded the people to come to Jerusalem to celebrate the Festivals of Passover, Pentecost (Shavouot), and
Tabernacles. All three of these festivals are agricultural harvest
Passover is always at the barley harvest and 50 days later Shavout or Pentecost is at the time of the wheat harvest. Both of these Festivals are first fruits harvests.
The final harvest came at the end of the year during the Festival of Tabernacles.
The harvests foreshadow of the spiritual harvests that have come and are yet to come. Bikkurim or First fruits point to the Barley harvest the very first harvest in Spring.
In his vision Joseph the beloved son of Jacob describes God’s people as sheaves (Genesis 37:5-11). So, Scripture relates first fruits also to people.
The first fruits were always the choicest, the foremost, the best of all that was to follow. They were holy to the Lord. The concept of first fruits or firstborn is a major theme in Scripture.
Prov 3:9 Honor the LORD from your wealth, And from the first of all your produce; Exodus 34:26 “You shall bring the very first of the first fruits of your soil into the house of the LORD your God.
Everything on the earth, both man and beast, was to be presented before the lord as first fruits to him. The firstborn of both man and beast were sanctified (made holy) and presented to the Lord.
Exodus 13:2 “Sanctify to Me every first-born, the first offspring of every womb among the sons of Israel, both of man and beast; it belongs to Me.” Exodus 22:30 “You shall do the same with your oxen and with your sheep. It shall be with its mother seven days; on the eighth day you shall give it to Me.
The first fruits of all the earth were presented to the Lord at His
altar in praise and thanksgiving Deuteronomy 26:1-11
“Then it shall be, when you enter the land which the LORD your God gives you as an inheritance, and you possess it and live in it, 2 that you shall take some of the first of all the produce of the ground which you shall bring in from your land that the LORD your God gives you, and you shall put it in a basket and go to the place where the LORD your God chooses to establish His name. “Then the priest shall take the basket from your hand and set it down before the altar of the LORD your God.
The LORD brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm and with great terror and with signs and wonders; 9 and He has brought us to this place, and has given us this land, a land flowing with milk and honey. 10 ‘And now behold, I have brought the first of the produce of the ground which Thou, O LORD hast given me.’ And you shall set it down before the LORD your God, and worship before the LORD your God; 11 and you and the Levite and the alien who is among you shall rejoice in all the good which the LORD your God has given you and your household.
The theme of the festival of first fruits speaks of resurrection and salvation. The Rabbis teach that is was bikkurim that Israel crossed the Red Sea (Ex. 14). And began their new life away from the oppression of Egypt and began their journey to the Promised Land.
It was on Bikkurim that Israel ate the first fruits of the Promised Land (Joshua 5:10-12).
The resurrection of Yeshua occurred on this day. The Lord Yeshua celebrated the Festival of First Fruits by offering Himself to the Father as the first fruits of the resurrection.
With that thought in mind, allow me to use this opportunity to review
the significance of the resurrection of Yeshua for the Believer.
I. IF MESSIAH WAS NOT RAISED
- Then the message of Good News that the Messiah has come and risen is in vain. 1 Corinthians 15:14 and if Messiah has not been raised, then our preaching is vain, The proclamation by the apostles and we who are his disciples is empty and meaningless.
Because they proclaimed nothing more than a fairy tale, a bubbemeis.
- That same verse also says that if Messiah is not raised then our faith is vain. Our belief in Messiah would also be empty and meaningless. For our faith would be in a lie, a story of make believe, not true.
- The apostles were false witnesses.. 1 Corinthians 15:15 Moreover we are even found to be false witnesses of God, because we witnessed against God that He raised Messiah, whom He did not raise, if in fact the dead are not raised.
Because they swore that God raised Jesus from the dead – Ac 2:32
They claimed to spend 40 days with Him after the resurrection, eating and drinking with Him –
Acts 10:39-41 39 “And we are witnesses of all the things He did both in the land of the Jews and in Jerusalem. And they also put Him to death by hanging Him on a cross. 40 “God raised Him up on the third day, and granted that He should become visible, 41 not to all the people, but to witnesses who were chosen beforehand by God, that is, to us, who ate and drank with Him after He arose from the dead.
There is no way they could have been deceived or mistaken; either they told the truth or they were deliberate liars, deceivers, and frauds!
- We are still in our sins… 1 Corinthians 15:17 and if Messiah has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins.
1. It would have been a liar or lunatic that died on the cross
2. No such person could have provided a sacrifice that was holy
and without blemish
- Believers have been eternally lost at death… 1 Corinthians 15:18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Messiah have perished.
1. Their faith would have been in a false Messiah
2. They would have had no atonement for their sins
3. Dying in their sins, there would be no hope
- Believers are to be pitied… 1 Corinthians 15:19 If we have hoped in Christ in this life only, we are of all men most to be pitied.
- Because we believe in a false Messiah
- Because our faith in Him leads us to refrain from worldly pleasure
- Because we are often ridiculed or persecuted for our faith
[As Paul makes it clear, the resurrection of Messiah is foundational to
the New Covenant faith. If Yeshua is not raised, then we should not be
Believers! Now let’s examine the significance from another angle.
II. If Messiah has been raised
- It verifies our justification… Romans 4:24-25 24 but for our sake also, to whom it will be reckoned, as those who believe in Him who raised Yeshua our Lord from the dead, 25 He who was delivered up because of our transgressions, and was raised because of our justification.
Jesus claimed His blood would be adequate – Matthew 26:28 for this is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for forgiveness of sins.
By raising Yeshua from the dead, God demonstrated His acceptance of Yeshua as a sacrifice for our sins! – Romans 8:33-34 33 Who will bring a charge against God’s elect? God is the one who justifies; 34 who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us.
It demonstrates the power available to the Believer .. Ephesians 1:18-20 18 I pray thatthe eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance … 19 and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe … which He brought about in Messiah, when He raised Him from the dead, and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places,
Power available to live the life that pleases God and gives abundant life to us Christian life – Romans 8:11 But if the Spirit of Him who raised Yeshua from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Messiah Yeshua from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who indwells you Philippians 2:13 for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure. Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.
- It gives us hope concerning our own resurrection… (1 Pe 1:3)
His resurrection gives us a living hope! – 1 Thessalonians 4:14 For if we believe that Yeshua died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus. (Dan 12:2) “And many of those who sleep in the dust of the ground will awake, these to everlasting life, but the others to disgrace and everlasting contempt.
- It demands our complete loyalty
- He was raised and then exalted to become our Lord – as Peter told our brethren on that day of Shavout 2000 years ago. Acts 2:32-36 32 “This Yeshua God raised up again, to which we are all witnesses. 33 “Therefore having been exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He has poured forth this which you both see and hear. 34 “For it was not David who ascended into heaven, but he himself says: ‘THE LORD SAID TO MY LORD, “SIT AT MY RIGHT HAND, 35 UNTIL I MAKE THINE ENEMIES A FOOTSTOOL FOR THY FEET.”‘ 36 “Therefore let all the house of Israel know for certain that God has made Him both Lord and Messiah —this Yeshua whom you crucified.”
Ephesians 1:20-23 20 which He brought about in Messiah, when He raised Him from the dead, and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age, but also in the one to come. 22 And He put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the church, 23 which is His body, the fulness of Him who fills all in all.
Just as God purchased Israel to be His servants on Passover so He has purchased all whom God has granted His Spirit through faith in Messiah to be His servants. So Moses spoke in his song on the other side of the Red Sea (Exo 15:16) “Terror and dread fall upon them; By the greatness of Thine arm they are motionless as stone; Until Thy people pass over, O LORD, Until the people pass over whom Thou hast purchased.
(Psa 74:2) Remember Thy congregation, which Thou hast purchased of old, Which Thou hast redeemed to be the tribe of Thine inheritance; And this Mount Zion, where Thou hast dwelt.
Romans 14:7-8 7 For not one of us lives for himself, and not one dies for himself; 8 for if we live, we live for the Lord, or if we die, we die for the Lord; therefore whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s. 2 Corinthians 5:15 and He died for all, that they who live should no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf.
- The impact of the resurrection of Yeshua should not go without response in our lives…
a. As a historical event it has everlasting implications
b. For both the believer and the unbeliever
- The believer must never lose sight of the significance of the
a. Do our lives demonstrate that we serve a risen Lord and Deliverer?
b. Do we possess the hope, peace, and strength that the reality and
power of His resurrection gives to the Believer?
- The unbeliever also needs to examine the significance of the
- It verifies the deity of Yeshua, that He has all authority – Romans 1:4 who was declared the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead, according to the Spirit of holiness, Yeshua the Messiah our Lord,
- It verifies the truthfulness of what He taught, such as…
- No one can come to the Father but through Him – John 14:6 Jesus * said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me.
- His blood was shed for the remission of sins – (Heb 9:22) And according to the Law, one may almost say, all things are cleansed with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.
- He came to offer abundant life – John 10:10 “The thief comes only to steal, and kill, and destroy; I came that they might have life, and might have it abundantly.
- He went to prepare a place for us – John 14:3 “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.
- He shall come again – John 14:3 “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.
- There will be a resurrection of the dead and ensuing judgment (Dan 12:2) “And many of those who sleep in the dust of the ground will awake, these to everlasting life, but the others to disgrace and everlasting contempt.
John 5:28-29 28 “Do not marvel at this; for an hour is coming, in which all who are in the tombs shall hear His voice, 29 and shall come forth; those who did the good deeds to a resurrection of life, those who committed the evil deeds to a resurrection of judgment.
- If Jesus rose from the dead, then we must believe in Him if we want everlasting life and forgivenss! John 8:24 “I said therefore to you, that you shall die in your sins; for unless you believe that I am He, you shall die in your sins.”
May we never forget “The Significance Of The Resurrection of Yeshua” in our lives!