Christ: The First Fruit of the Awakening
Our previous article explored how Nisan 17 served as the dividing marker between the Old Ways and the New Blessings God had in store for His People. This starting point for counting towards the Feast of Weeks, also known as Pentecost, was the day of Christ’s Resurrection, which declared that He was the Firstfruits of those who slept and would experience the Spiritual Awakening.
The first mention of the Feast of Firstfruits may have been in Genesis 4, when Cain and Abel offered their gifts to God. Cain brought “an offering to the LORD of the fruit of the ground” compared to the “the firstlings of his flock and of their fat portions” that Abel offered. “The Lord had regard for Abel and his offering,” while Cain’s offering was disregarded, possibly because Cain did not offer the Firstfruits and thus the best of his harvest, while Abel did. This set a precedent for future worshipers and their offerings.
The establishment of Firstfruits as one of the Feasts of the Lord, was first mentioned in Leviticus 23, explaining that it would fall on the Sunday following Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Matthew (28:1), Mark (16:9), Luke (24:1), and John (20:19) all reinforce the fact that Christ was resurrected on this “first day of the week” after His Crucifixion on Passover.
The Feast of Firstfruits occurred during the ripening of the barley harvest, which was appropriate, since Israel was often closely associated with barley, which stood as a kind of national grain. When Judge Gideon was fearful of attacking a massive army with a dwindled 300 man force, God instructed Gideon to sneak to the nearby enemy camp and listen to the dream a soldier was recalling to another about a round loaf of barley bread destroying the camp. The fellow soldier understood the barley bread as a symbol for Israel, which was about to defeat them in battle. The famous feeding of the five thousand, which was made up of a population of Jews preparing for Christ’s second ministry Passover, was fed with five small barley loaves and two fish. This symbolism emphasized the fact that Christ first came to save and reap the House of Israel, before the rest of the world, as we will later see in the wheat harvest beginning at Pentecost.
When Christ rose on the Day of Firstfruits, people would have been “[bringing] a sheaf of the firstfruits of [their] harvest to the priest” in the Temple of Jerusalem. The Temple priests would have been taking these offerings and “[waving] them before the Lord,…on their behalf” as a demonstration that the worshiper had fulfilled the statute and recognized God as the source of the coming harvest.
Firstfruits were meant to remind the Israelites that the Lord heard their ancestors’ voices in their affliction and oppression, and brought them out of Egypt with a mighty hand, great terror and signs and wonders. He then brought them to “a land flowing with milk and honey”, so they were obligated to bring the firstfruits of the land which God had given them (ref. Deuteronomy 26:5-10).
The physical Promised Land that Israel inherited, was a gift from God that required physical offerings as thanks for a physical harvest. In like manner, the spiritual kingdom that Christ had won for His People, when he conquered Death, would require spiritual offerings as thanks for a spiritual harvest. Just as the Israelites were collecting the new produce from the grains they had sown into the ground, “Christ was now risen from the dead, and [had] become the firstfruits of [those] that slept” (1 Corinthians 15:20).
Christ’s Resurrection, which coincided with Firstfruits, should remind Christians of the affliction and oppression we had previous experienced under the slavery of sin, and how, through Jesus’s signs, wonders, and death on the cross, He bought our salvation and offers us the chance to be part of His Spiritual Kingdom, overflowing with blessings.
The Feast of Firstfruits was the initiation of the new harvest that was about to begin and served as a reminder to the Children of Israel of how their God delivered them and brought them into a prosperous country. Christ’s Resurrection was the inauguration of the Spiritual Harvest of those who slept and would be awakened, transformed. Just as the Israelites delighted in the fruits they were about to enjoy, we received a greater reward in the Firstfruits of the Spirit.
Prepared by, Kent Simpson, Apostolic Prophet & Eric Sepulveda, PMT Administrator
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