THE FEAST OF FIRSTFRUITS – YOM HABIKKURIM
THE HISTORICAL ASPECTS OF THE FEAST
Leviticus 23:9-14 YHWH said to Moses, “Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘When you enter the land I am going to give you and you reap its harvest, bring to the priest a sheaf of the first grain you harvest. He is to wave the sheaf before YHWH so it will be accepted on your behalf; the priest is to wave it on the day after the Sabbath. On the day you wave the sheaf, you must sacrifice as a burnt offering to YHWH a lamb a year old without defect, together with its grain offering of two-tenths of an ephah of fine flour mixed with oil—an offering made to YHWH by fire, a pleasing aroma—and its drink offering of a quarter of a hin of wine. You must not eat any bread, or roasted or new grain, until the very day you bring this offering to your Elohim. This is to be a lasting ordinance for the generations to come, wherever you live.
Firstfruits is an annual feast that is celebrated on the day after the weekly Sabbath which occurs during the Feast of Unleavened Bread, which historically commemorated the arrival of new life the first spring after Israel entered the Promised Land. A sheaf of new barley grain was offered to YHWH before any green thing could be eaten every new agricultural year. This festival was to thank Elohim for the crops, for the harvest of food that gave people life.
Facts concerning the feast
• This festival could not begin until the people had entered the Promised Land (v. 10).
• They, of course, could not plant crops out in the desert while they were marching to the Promised Land.
• Once they arrived and began planting crops, they were to give the first of their harvest to YHWH during this festival.
• They were to take a sheaf, that is, a stalk, from here and there, bundle it together, and bring it to the priest.
• The priest was then to take the sheaf and wave it as an offering before YHWH.
• This was to be done on the day after the Sabbath, which would be the first day of the week.
• After giving the wave offering to YHWH, the priest was to approach Elohim for atonement through a special Burnt Offering.
• A special Grain Offering was to be offered to YHWH, a Grain Offering two times larger than usual.
The Result of the Offering
• The aroma of the burning sacrifice and Grain Offering ascended up, symbolizing Elohim's acceptance.
• He was pleased with the aroma of the sacrifice, the obedience of the people.
• But, there was one clear prohibition: the people had to put Elohim first.
• They were not to eat any of the harvest until the Firstfruit Offering was given to Elohim.
• This was to be a permanent law for all the generations to come, no matter where the Israelites lived.
WHAT IT MEANS TO THE BELIEVER
Yahushua fulfilled this Feast when He ascended to the throne of YHWH, with His Firstfruits offering on the Feast of the Firstfruits. Scripture recounts that at the moment of Messiah’s death upon the cross, the earth shook and the rocks rent.
And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit. At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook and the rocks split. The tombs broke open and the bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. They came out of the tombs, and after Jesus’ resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many people. Matthew 27:50-53
The patriarchs of the faith, whose graves were marked and who were resurrected, were presented before the throne of Elohim on the Day of First Fruits when Yahushua ascended to heaven and took with him the first fruits offering to present to his father. I believe we see them later in the Book of Revelation as the 24 elders around the throne if Elohim.
Its present day fulfilment is that after our baptism into Yahushua Messiah, Elohim has made us into new creatures, and has made us his children.
Romans 6:4-7 We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Messiah was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection. For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin—because anyone who has died has been freed from sin.
2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Messiah, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!
Galatians 3:26-29 You are all sons of Elohim through faith in Messiah Yahushua, for all of you who were baptized into Messiah have clothed yourselves with Messiah. There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Messiah Yahushua. If you belong to Messiah, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.
The application for us today
• The believer is to recognize that all he has been given comes from Elohim and to give Elohim the first of his harvest.
• He is to give the firstfruits, for the firstfruits belong to YHWH.
• The firstfruits should be an expression of appreciation and thanksgiving to Elohim, for Elohim is the One who has given us all that we have.
• Our crops and jobs are due to Him; so is our health that enables us to work and earn a living.
• We are to honor Elohim by giving Him the firstfruits to help the needy in the body, to support the local church and the work of Elohim around the world.
The Festival of Firstfruits is also a symbol of YHWH's resurrection
• Messiah is the first of the harvest, the first to arise from the dead.
• It is Yahushua Messiah and His resurrection that give the believer hope of arising from the dead to live eternally with Elohim.
The prophetic picture of salvation
• The Passover symbolized the believer's deliverance or redemption from the world.
• The Festival of Unleavened Bread symbolized the urgency of the believer to leave the world to begin his march to the promised land.
• The Festival of Firstfruits symbolizes the glorious hope the believer has as he marches toward the promise land, the hope of being raised from the dead to live eternally with Elohim all because of the resurrection of Messiah.
Acts 26:23 that the Messiah would suffer and, as the first to rise from the dead, would proclaim light to his own people and to the Gentiles.”
1 Corinthians 15:20-23 But Messiah has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. For as in Adam all die, so in Messiah all will be made alive. But each in his own turn: Messiah, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him.
2 Corinthians 4:14 because we know that the one who raised Yahushua from the dead will also raise us with Yahushua and present us with you in his presence.
1 Peter 1:3-4 Praise be to the Elohim and Father of our Master Yahushua Messiah! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Yahushua Messiah from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade—kept in heaven for you,
Is Easter scriptural?
“Easter” is the word used in the King James Bible in Acts 12:4. This is an unfortunate and absurd translation as Easter was a pagan festival observed long before Yahushua was with us. The Greek word used in Acts 12:4 is “Pascha” which is correctly translated “Passover” in 26 other places in the KJV. Easter is not a name and a feast, which must not be upheld by the faithful of Yahushua. Its origin and its name was derived from “Ishtar,” one of the Babylonian titles of an idol goddess, the “Queen of Heaven” who was Semiramis. Round cakes imprinted with the sign of a cross (or the letter tau for Tammuz) (Hot Cross Buns?) were made at this festival, the sign being in the Babylonian mysteries a sign of life. Easter eggs, which play a great part these days during Easter, were common in all heathen nations. The fable of the egg declares that; “An egg of wondrous size fell from heaven into the river Euphrates. The fish rolled it to the bank where doves settled upon it and hatched it, and out came Astarte or Ishtar the goddess of Easter” who was reportedly the reincarnation of Semiramis. (Ref: Dake's Annotated Reference Bible).
Early Hebrew believers remembered and celebrated the death and resurrection of Yahushua the Messaiah at Passover. “But Gentile (that is, Roman) believers at the ‘Council of Nicea’ (325AD) ruled that it be celebrated on the first Sun-day after the full moon following the vernal equinox, thus linking it to the pagan festival of Easter.” (Ref.: The Zondervan Bible Dictionary).