Olive Trees in Israel.
Photo - Dale Krise - October, 2002
The Feasts of Israel
of the First Fruits
First Fruits is held on the Sunday following Unleaven Bread. 21st of Nisan. (Lev. 23:10-11) Passover begins in 14th, Feast of the Unleaven Bread on 15th, and the Feast of the First Fruits on 21st. They are referred to as one feast. There are remaining the feasts are Pentecost, Trumpets, Day of Atonement, Tabernacles, Lights and Purim for a total of seven feasts.
First Fruits is celebrated in Spring to acknowledge the early crops. It was a wave offering. “This rite, together with that of "heaving" or "raising" the offering was an inseparable accompaniment of peace offerings. In such the right shoulder, considered the choicest part of the victim, was to be ("heaved," and viewed as holy to the Lord, only eaten therefore by the priest: the breast was to be "waved," and eaten by the worshiper. The scriptural notices of these rites are to be found in Ex 29:24,28; Le 7:30,34; 8:27; 9:21; 10:14,15; 23:10,15,20; Nu 6:20; 18:11,18,26-29 etc. In conjecturing the meaning of this rite, regard must be had that it was the accompaniment of peace offerings, which were witnesses to a ratified covenant --an established communion between God and man.”
Since the feast of the Unleaven Bread was seven days long, it would have one Sunday and that Sunday would be First Fruits each year.
The Feast was a thanksgiving offering to God for His goodness in providing food from the land for the Israelites. There was a national offering (Lev. 23:10-17) and individual offerings (Exod. 23:19, Deut. 26:1-11). The First Fruit offerings went to support the priests.
Wave Offering: It was initiated at the consecration of Aaron and the beginning of the Aaronic priesthood (Exod. 29:24-28). It was associated with the peace offering that symbolized a right spiritual relationship with God. In the peace offering a worshiper would bring a bullock, a lamb or a goat, male of female and the this offering followed the Sin Offering.
The wave and heave offering were a part of the peace offering. This offering came from the animal offered as the peace offering. When Aaron was consecrated, Moses placed the animal on Aaron’s hands and waved the offering before the Lord. Jewish interpreters say the offering was placed on the hands of the worshiper and then the priest would place his hands under it and move it back and forth and up and down. If this was true it was a sign of the cross.
The portions offered in the wave offering were holy and only the priests ate this portion (Lev. 10:14f). The heave offering was the choicest part of the animal the right thigh.
Lev. 23:10-15, records that a wave offering was part of the Feast of First Fruits.
Today the First Fruits is celebrated by Christians and called Easter. Easter is named after the Babylonian goddess, Ishtra, a pagan goddess of fertility, and even today these symbols of fertility are used in celebrating Easter with rabbits, eggs, new costumes, etc which symbolize Spring in the beginning of the growing season.
Note Christians do not celebrate or worship the pagan goddess of Ishtra. Both celebrations fell at the same time and became referred to as Easter. Christians are celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ and not some pagan deity.
Instead of Easter, it should be called First Fruits. Jesus arose on Feast of the First Fruits. Many believe that Christians too will be resurrected as the First Fruits and possibly on the Feast of the First Fruits. We should not be dogmatic about this because Jesus said only God the Father knew the day of the Rapture. (Matt. 24:23)
1 Cor. 15:23. “But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming.”
1 Thess. 4:16-17. “ For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:
Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.”
This was the last feast the Lord fulfilled.
In 1 Cor. 15:23, Paul refers to Christ as the First Fruits. The real point of the feast was looking to the resurrection of the Messiah. Jesus, the Messiah was our provision for spiritual welfare. Jesus was raised on the first day of the Feast of the First Fruits. Jesus said he was the Bread of Life. This was the last feast the Lord took part in while on earth.
The Feast of the First Fruits began the harvest. The offering to the Lord was the first of the grain that was harvested, and afterwards the harvest would continue. This is the symbolism of the First Fruit. Christ was the First at 1 Corinthians 15:20,23 states. Those who have and will believe in Jesus Christ for salvation since that time are the harvest.
Note how Jesus illustrated this in John 12:23-26 “And Jesus answered them, saying, The hour is come, that the Son of man should be glorified. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal. If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honour.”
Note what Jesus said the reapers (Christians) would experience:
1. A repudiation of a self orientated life. (John 12:25)
2. The establishment of a commitment to Jesus Christ as a disciple. (John 12:26a)
3. The promise of fellowship. (John 12:26b)
4. The promise of being honor. ( John 12:26c)
Fifty days later began the Feast of Pentecost.