The Day of Sheaf (Omar) of barley, which is the first grain crop to ripen, was waved before the Lord in a ceremony to mark the start of the counting of the omer, the forty nine day countdown to the harvest festival of Shavu’out.
The feast of Firstfruits has been called by a few different names. It’s Hebrew name is ‘Reshit Ketzivchem’ which means ‘the fruit of your harvest’. It is also known as the ‘Feast of Omer’ and the ‘Feast of the Wave-sheath’. The feasts of God are based around different harvest times.
The barley harvest was in the early part of March/April period. So this feast of the firstfruits was to do with the barley harvest. Then came the wheat harvest normally around May and was associated with the feast of weeks (Pentecost). Finally the fruit harvest (grapes, figs, pomegranates etc) came later around September and were associated with the fall feasts. God instructed the Israelites that before reaping the barley, they were to take a sheaf of the first grain to the priest who would wave it before the Lord from the left and the right, it was symbolising that this sheaf that they had represented the entire crop. Crops were not considered “kosher” until this was done. This was to thank and praise the Lord for the coming harvest and to bestow His blessing upon it. It was considered a joyous occasion, trusting God, that since he provided the firstfruits, he would also bless the entire harvest. After the “waving,” there was a burnt offering and a drink offering. God’s people would not eat bread or harvest until the firstfruits had been offered to the Lord.
Now there was a specific day on which they were to do this. No date is given (as is given in several of the other feasts) but following the feast of Unleavened Bread this feast was to occur ‘on the day after the Sabbath’. So this feast was to occur on the first day of the week after Passover/Unleavened Bread.
The Feast of Firstfruits
And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, 10) Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye be come into the land which I give unto you, and shall reap the harvest thereof, then ye shall bring a sheaf of the firstfruits of your harvest unto the priest: 11) And he shall wave the sheaf before the LORD, to be accepted for you: on the morrow after the sabbath the priest shall wave it. 12) And ye shall offer that day when ye wave the sheaf an he lamb without blemish of the first year for a burnt offering unto the LORD. 13And the meat offering thereof shall be two tenth deals of fine flour mingled with oil, an offering made by fire unto the LORD for a sweet savour: and the drink offering thereof shall be of wine, the fourth part of an hin. 14) And ye shall eat neither bread, nor parched corn, nor green ears, until the selfsame day that ye have brought an offering unto your God: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations in all your dwellings – Leviticus 9-14 (KJV).
Jesus was the Fulfillment of the Firstfruits
But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. 21) For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. 22) For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. 23) But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming. – 1 Corinthians 15:20-23 (KJV).
- Christ fulfilled the feast of firstfruits because he was the FIRSTFRUITS of the resurrection. Jesus was the first to be raised into a new resurrection body, never to die again. He was the ‘sheaf’, the first of the harvest, that is waved before the God in celebration and with thanksgiving.
- Just as the sheaf was waved to symbolically represent the entire harvest to the left and the right, in hopes to bless the entire harvest, the resurrection of Jesus represents the “firstfruit of the harvest” from the heart of the earth, that was perfect and righteous, and presented before God as an offering. Many ‘shall come from the east and the west’ (Matthew 8:11).
- And without Jesus being offered as a sacrifice on behalf of the harvest (mankind) we could never have been blessed or acceptable before God. So, it was through Christ that we were blessed and made acceptable! Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification – Romans 4:25 (KJV). Paul said: And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins.1 Corinthians 15:17 (KJV). See also Acts 26:23
And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood,- Revelation 1:5 (KJV).
The wave of the firstfruits offering occurs ‘the day after the Sabbath’. This is the first day of the week. The day that Jesus rose from the dead! – Sunday, and if you count back THREE DAYS and THREE NIGHTS, you arrive at Thursday.
- The Passover lambs were sacrificed on the 14th Nisan. This is the day Jesus died and was buried before the Sabbath began.
- The feast of unleavened bread started the next day, on the 15th Nisan (High Sabbath)
- 16th of Nisan was the Weekly Sabbath
- The day after the Sabbath was the feast of firstfruits – this was the 17th Nisan, Jesus ROSE from the dead and presented himself to God before he could be touched by his disciples.
The first day of the week cometh Mary Magdalene early, when it was yet dark, unto the sepulchre, and seeth the stone taken away from the sepulchre- John 20:1 (KJV).
Why is this important to understand ? Because it correlates EXACTLY to the feast days, and it does so on purpose to fulfil the prophecies that foreshadowed the coming of the Messiah. All the rituals that were performed under the Mosaic laws had to be done in an orderly manner, following the instructions, likewise, from the burial to the resurrection, Jesus mirrored the spring feasts. We serve a God of purpose, and everything HE does has meaning. It was to be understood, that Jesus, that was prophesied as the Messiah, was who HE said he was. Jesus was the firstfruits, harvested from the heart of the earth, now living, ascended to the Father as the wave of the sheaf offering. Remember when he told Mary she could not touch him yet? (John 20:17) this also proves he had to be presented to God as the first offering of the harvest. Exactly as the rules of the feast, that nothing could be harvested before presenting the first fruit of the harvest before the Lord. All of this tells us, that Jesus was the firstfruits.
And it had to be three days and three NIGHTS.
For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth – Matthew 12:40 (KJV).
Other Events that Correlate to Nisan 17
A New Life – Resurrection – It truly is amazing how verse after verse, puts the pieces of an intricately woven puzzle together
Noah and his family rested after the long flood on top of Mount Ararat, signifying the start of a new life beginning after God flooded the earth for its wickedness. And the ark rested in the seventh month, on the seventeenth day of the month, upon the mountains of Ararat – Genesis 8:4 (KJV). Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water. (21) The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ: -1 Peter 3: 20-21 (KJV).
In Esther 3:1-12, we learn about the decree that the king had been tricked into signing. The decree ordered that all of the Israelites be killed. Once a decree is signed and sealed by the ring of the king, it was understood that it could not be overturned or “stopped.” (Esther 3:1-12). The decree went out on the 13th Nisan (Esther 3:12). In faith, Esther declared a three-day fast (Esther 4:16). On the 3rd day (5:1) without being summoned, Esther approached the king. This was also an act of faith, as approaching the king, without a summons from him personally, could result in the death of the visitor. Nonetheless, Esther appeared before him in faith, putting her trust in God, knowing that she could be killed. The king received her, and Esther pleaded for her people. On the 17th Nisan, the Jews were saved and the very ones who convinced the King to kill the jews, were the ones that died instead. Glory to God, we see again by his hand this was possible.
- God provided Israel manna for 40 years while they were in the wilderness, on the 16th Nisan, . From the 17th of Nisan forward, Israel ate of the new grain of the promised land. This again is a picture of the new life in the Promised Land that came on the 17th! “The Passover at Gilgal”: And the children of Israel encamped in Gilgal, and kept the passover on the fourteenth day of the month at even in the plains of Jericho.And they did eat of the old corn of the land on the morrow after the passover, unleavened cakes, and parched corn in the selfsame day. And the manna ceased on the morrow after they had eaten of the old corn of the land; neither had the children of Israel manna any more; but they did eat of the fruit of the land of Canaan that year- Joshua 5:10-12 (KJV).
If you are interested in further reading, here are some other scriptures that indeed show us that what God wants from us, is not a sacrifice of burnt offerings or slaughtering of sheep. Jesus fulfilled all of that. This does not mean we are not to celebrate God’s feasts, because were told to do so! In observance of the Lord’s supper, Jesus told us: “For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come.” – 1 Corinthians 11:26 (KJV). God proved vain all of the Old Testament practices, showing us that man could not “SAVE” himself. But he used all of that to teach us many things, and he also used those feasts to foreshadow the prophecy of the coming Messiah-Jesus Christ to whom all glory and all praise is due! Thank you Jesus for saving me! There are numerous other scriptures that verify this over and over. But the main point is that JESUS was the Lamb and the Firstfruits. Jesus died, and what he did was exactly what are told: “Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross- Colossians 2:14 (KJV).
- For thou desirest not sacrifice; else would I give it: thou delightest not in burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart – Psalm 51:15 -16 (KJV).
- If I were hungry, I would not tell thee: for the world is mine, and the fulness thereof – Will I eat the flesh of bulls, or drink the blood of goats? Offer unto God thanksgiving; and pay thy vows unto the most High: Psalm 50:12 14 (KJV). GOD IS TELLING US HERE HE DOES NOT NEED OUR OFFERINGS! He wants us to serve him!
- I will praise the name of God with a song, and will magnify him with thanksgiving.This also shall please the LORD better than an ox or bullock that hath horns and hoofs – Psalms Psalm 69:30-31 (KJV).
Jesus was sent as both the savior of the world and to set an example for us, what is expected of us, is to sacrifice ourselves to him daily, just as Jesus sacrificed himself upon the cross to bring restoration and salvation.
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service – Romans 12:1 (KJV).
By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name-Hebrews 13:15 (KJV). Having JESUS inside us, that FRUIT is JESUS.
Remember when Jesus said, I will tear down that temple and rebuild it in three days! (John 2:19). We became the living stones, the temple of Christ, it is Jesus who lives within us, the Holy Spirit.
Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ – 1 Peter 2:5 (KJV).
We as Christ, became the “sacrifices” literally offering ourselves, forsaking the worldly lusts, desires, and things that are not of Christ, in order to follow him.. We owe that to him who bought us with a price! (1 Corinthians 6:20). Praise Jesus for his gift of salvation, who renewed us with his with the fruits of his spirit, cleansed our sins with the blood he shed at the cross, and made us an acceptable offering before God. Without Jesus, we would never have been able to stand in the presence of our almighty creator! Therefore, in Jesus, we trust for all things, giving thanks, glory and honor, for good and for bad!
One last word in parting my dear brothers and sisters, please look at this verses carefully:
Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: (17) Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ – Colossians 2:16-17 (KJV).
When we examine that verse in the full context of the entire passage of Colossians 2, we are being told that these events, are FORESHADOWING future prophecies. We know that Jesus fulfilled the Spring Feasts (See feast chart above) and when he returns, he will fulfill the Fall Feasts! Just as we made the comparisons of Jesus to the old testament rituals, the fall feasts are telling us what to look for in the return of Jesus Christ!