Day of Firstfruits
As I write this on Sunday, April 8, 2012 – it happens to also be Ishtar Sunday and so as a result, believers in Yahweh may be minimizing what should be a glorious day. OK, most people pronounce it “Easter”, but even casual research will show that Easter originated with the worship of the goddess of sex and fertility. Hence the Easter eggs and Easter bunny. But because some of us see this for what it is, we have to be extra careful not to ignore this very special “day after the sabbath” during the Passover season. Check out my sermon on this. In this blog, I just want to be sure to remind my readers that we should acknowledge this day before Yahweh in solemn and thankful prayer. Though it is not a holy day, it is indeed a very, very special day.
On this day our Savior ascended to Abba, our dear heavenly father, to be accepted as the first of the firstfruits of the spiritual harvest. This is an epochal day. He was resurrected exactly after being “three days and three nights in the heart of the earth” as He said, just before sundown the end of Sabbath (Matthew 12:39-40). Even if we count just portions of a day as a whole day, we cannot find three nights in a Friday night burial and a Sunday morning resurrection. My sermon will explain it in more detail. Either He is the Messiah and fulfilled the one sign He gave, or not.
I believe He fulfilled it to the minute.
38 Then some of the scribes and Pharisees answered, saying, "Teacher, we want to see a sign from You."
39 But He answered and said to them, "An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. 40 For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.
The eve of the 15th of Abib is a full moon. The full moon on the 15th in 30 AD was a Wednesday night. Wednesday was the preparation day for the next day, which would be a High Day, a special annual sabbath, the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread (John 19:31). He was placed into the tomb Wednesday just before sunset (Luke 23:54). By Sunday morning the tomb was already empty. Of course! Because 3 days and three nights later would be Sabbath just before sunset. So when the women checked the tomb Sunday morning, it was empty already. An angel earlier had rolled back the stone to the terror of the Roman guards (Matthew 28:1-9), so by the time they got there, He had long before already left the tomb. Hallelujah!
Jesus Christ, whom I usually call by His given Hebrew name Yeshua, appears first to Mary Magdalene upon His resurrection. It was early the “first of the sabbaths” or “the first of the weeks”, as this day is the first day of the omer count to Pentecost/Shavuot, the Feast of Weeks.
Young’s Literal Translation has it like this:
And on the first of the sabbaths, Mary the Magdalene doth come early (there being yet darkness) to the tomb, and she seeth the stone having been taken away out of the tomb…
I am confident He rose to our Father and our God (John 20:17) at precisely the moment the high priest was raising the “omer” of finely ground barley flour to be accepted as the firstfruits of the new barley harvest. HE is called “Christ the firstfruits” in 1 Cor. 15:23. Check out my sermon for full details.
What is translated “sheaves” or “sheaf” in English is from the Hebrew “omer”. It could be translated either as standing stalks/sheaves – or as a unit of measure, about 2 quarts. In practice, they didn’t wave stalks or sheaves but a bowl of finely ground barley flour. This batch was to be accepted in behalf of the rest of the barley harvest. Yeshua had to first rise to Father to be accepted in OUR behalf. Read Lev. 23:9-12 carefully, especially verse 11. On this day, though it’s not a holyday, it is wavesheaf day. It is firstfruits day. Shavuot/Pentecost is also a Feast of First Fruits but today is the day honoring Yeshua, the “first of the first fruits” (Exodus 23:19 and 34:26; 1 Cor. 15:23).