ESV - 10 Speak to the people of Israel and say to them, When you come into the land that I give you and reap its harvest, you shall bring the sheaf of the firstfruits of your harvest to the priest.
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It's very helpful to have a study Bible. I use two different ones, both written by John MacArthur, whom I quote here: "Firstfruits symbolized the consecration of the whole harvest to God and was a pledge of the whole harvest to come." "It involved presenting to the Lord a sheaf of barley, accompanied by burnt, grain and drink offerings. See Romans 8:19 for its application to believers in the church age: "...we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit...eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body." In other words, the fruit which the Spirit produces in us now provides hope that we will one day be like Christ, that we will be glorified and realize our inheritance in the kingdom to come.
The offering of the Firstfruits was the first offering of the harvest of grain. The holiday season began with Passover which was on the 14th day of the first month, Nisan or Abib. The next day, the 15th, the 7-day Feast of Unleavened Bread began. During this week would be the Feast of Firstfruits. The Feast of Firstfruits was the first sheaf of grain, likely barley, to be gathered and was waved before the Lord, Leviticus 23:10-12. It officially announced the beginning of the first harvest season, the harvest of grain in the spring. (The second harvest season was the harvest of grapes in the fall.) The Feast of Firstfruits is mistakenly believed to be always on Nisan 16. Unlike Passover and Feast of Unleavened Bread which were on specific calendar days, the date for the Feast of Firstfruits is never designated. Leviticus 23:11 also specifically says it is the day after the Sabbath (Saturday), thus always on a Sunday. Whenever the Sabbath was during the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the Feast of Firstfruits would be the day after. In AD 30, the year Christ died, it happened that Passover was on Nisan 14, the Sabbath was on Nisan 15, and the Feast of Firstfruits was on Sunday, Nisan 16. That year it just so happened to be three consecutive days (compare Joshua 5:10-12). In like manner, the Feast of Weeks or Pentecost, fifty days after Firstfruits or seven Sabbaths, was also on the day after the Sabbath, meaning it is always on a Sunday. The 49-day countdown was called the ‘Counting of the Omer.’ Each day the priest waved a sheaf or omer which was about 2 or 3 quarts. The fact that there was a count means the date was not fixed. At this feast was the second offering of a new grain offering, Leviticus 23:16, usually of wheat. The Passover illustrated the death of Christ, I Corinthians 5:7. The Feast of Unleavened Bread illustrated the effect of the death of Christ. Those who believed in Jesus are to maintain a holy fellowship by removing the leaven from their lives and figuratively eating the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth, I Corinthians 5:8. The Feast of Firstfruits pictured the resurrection of Christ, I Corinthians 15:20. The Feast of Weeks or Pentecost pictures the resurrection of the church which nearly completes the harvest of grain. The resurrection of tribulation saints would be the final gleanings. The Feast of Weeks had an unusual feature. It was the only offering that had two loaves of bread that were ‘leavened,’ Leviticus 23:17. It appropriately pictures the body of Christ, which is not perfect, thus the leaven. The two loaves signify both Jews and Gentiles coming together as one body. The Feast of the Firstfruits, the presentation of the first sheaf, was the promise of the harvest to come. Because Christ was raised from the dead, so shall all believers be raised to be with Christ, Romans 8:23.
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