Friday, April 14, 2017

Feast of First Fruits; the Spring Harvest


Overview

The first day of Unleavened Feast begins the process of redemption of the first born children of Israel to our Father in Heaven.  The day after the Sabbath that occurs during the Unleavened Bread Feast begins the count of an eight day process to become a High Priest.  The eighth day is called the Feast of First Fruits or Wave Sheaf where the priest would bless the first grain of the first spring harvest and the first born of Israel.  The Feast of First Fruits begins the fifty day countdown to Pentecost also known as the Feast of Weeks.

And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying: Sanctify unto me every firstborn that openeth the womb among the children of Israel, as well of men as of beasts: for they are all mine.” DR Exodus 13:1

Jesus did fulfill this feast; however this feast is not completely fulfilled since there will be more priests blessed and accepted when Jesus returns.

Feast of First Fruit Law

The law states that the sheaf or bundle of barley will be raised before our Father in Heaven on the first day of the week.  This is a blessing of the first harvest of the year.


 “Speak to the children of Israel, and thou shalt say to them, When ye shall enter into the land which I give you, and reap the harvest of it, then shall ye bring a sheaf, the first-fruits of your harvest, to the priest; and he shall lift up the sheaf before the Lord, to be accepted for you. On the morrow of the first day the priest shall lift it up. And ye shall offer on the day on which ye bring the sheaf, a lamb without blemish of a year old for a whole-burnt-offering to the Lord. And its meat-offering two tenth portions of fine flour mingled with oil: it is a sacrifice to the Lord, a smell of sweet savour to the Lord, and its drink-offering the fourth part of a hin of wine. And ye shall not eat bread, or the new parched corn, until this same day, until ye offer the sacrifices to your God: it is a perpetual statute throughout your generations in all your dwellings.”  Sep Leviticus 23:10-14


The Dead Sea Scroll Temple calendar confirms that the First Fruits harvest was barley and it was held on the 26th day of the first month which does fall on the first day of the week that we now call Sunday.

On the twenty-fifth (day) in (the first month) is the sabbath of (the week of) Jedaiah. During the same week is [the Feast] of Barley on the twenty-sixth (day) in (the first month), after the sabbath.”  DSS Calendar, Mishmarot D (4Q325), Fragment 1

At the First Fruits Feast the priest blessed the harvest by stretching out their hand to give the blessing:

“... he shall take off from (the grain of) the threshing-floor one tenth of a ho[mer (measure of volume, c. 220 litres), that is one eph]ah [or bath (22 litres), as is established]. The ephah and the bath are both the same measure. And from [the wheat o]ne sixth of [an ephah out of a homer and one tenth of a bath] for the fruit of trees. Let no one separate himself (from the norm of I out of 200, cf. Ezek. xlv, 15) by offering one lamb out of a hundred. Let [no] man eat [from the threshing-floor] and from the garden before [the prie]sts have stretched out their hand [to ble]ss first. 4Q 271, fr. 2 (4Q269, fr. 8 i-ii; 270, fr. 3 iii)

Blessing of the first born are done by placing the right hand on the first born son’s head.  However, in this case the younger got the blessing.

And he set Ephraim on his right bend, that is, towards the left hand of Israel; but Manasses on his left hand, to wit, towards his father's right hand, and brought them near to him. But he stretching forth his right hand, put it upon the head of Ephraim the younger brother; and the left upon the head of Manasses who was the elder, changing his hands. And Jacob blessed the sons of Joseph, and said: God, in whose sight my fathers Abraham and Isaac walked, God that feedeth me from my youth until this day; The angel that delivereth me from all evils, bless these boys: and let my name be called upon them, and the names of my fathers Abraham, and Isaac, and may they grow into a multitude upon the earth. And Joseph seeing that his father had put his right hand upon the head of Ephraim, was much displeased: and taking his father's hand he tried to lift it from Ephraims head, and to remove it to the head of Manasses. And he said to his father: It should not be so, my father: for this is the first- born, put thy right hand upon his head. But he refusing, said: I know, my son, I know: and this also shall become peoples, and shall be multiplied: but this younger brother shall be greater than he: and his seed shall grow into nations. And he blessed them at that time, saying: In thee shall Israel be blessed, and it shall be said: God do to thee as to Ephraim, and as to Manasses. And he set Ephraim before Manasses. And he said to Joseph his son: Be- hold I die, and God will be with you, and will bring you back into the land of your fathers. I give thee a portion above thy brethren, which I took out of the hand of the Amorrhite a with my sword and bow.” DR Genesis 48:13-22

Historically

The Israelites were to bring their first fruit of their spring harvest and their first born to the Priest so they could be presented to our Father in Heaven and ask for the harvest to be acceptance by our Father.  The first fruits of the spring harvest were barley and the harvest could not be eaten until it was accepted. Prior to this date, only last year’s grain could be eaten.  The first born of Israel would start their ministry after they were redeemed at the Unleavened Bread feast and accepted by our Father in Heaven.  The first born must accomplish the following in order to be accepted.

·         Brought to the temple to for redemption and participation in the Unleavened Bread Feast where they are to eat only unleavened bread for seven days.
·         They were to eat no grain after the Unleavened Bread Feast ended until the day of First Fruits after the grain was accepted (Lev 23:14)
·         The laws documented in Number chapter 6 called the Nazirite Vow (see below).
·         Receive a blessing and acceptance at the feast of First Fruits.

This feast was preparing the Israelites for Jesus to be the First Fruits of the spring harvest and be acceptance as our High Priest after the order of Melchizedek.  The Israelites knew that their Messiah would be a descendant of King David that would accomplish and fulfilled these laws.

Jesus Fulfilled the Feast of First Fruits

Jesus was the first born of Joseph and Mary who were descent to King David. 

And he knew her not till she brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS.”  DR Mat 1:25

To be enrolled with Mary his espoused wife, who was with child. And it came to pass, that when they were there, her days were accomplished, that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him up in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.” DR Luke 22:5-7

For whom he foreknew, he also predestinated to be made conformable to the image of his Son; that he might be the firstborn amongst many brethren.”  DR Romans 8:29

Jesus stated the night of the Last Super that he would not be drinking wine until he entered the Kingdom and this was because he planned to fulfill the Nazirite Vow and the Feast of First Fruits.  Jesus’ announcement at his last super:

And when the hour was come, he sat down, and the twelve apostles with him. And he said to them: With desire I have desired to eat this pasch with you, before I suffer. For I say to you, that from this time I will not eat it, till it be fulfilled in the kingdom of God. And having taken the chalice, he gave thanks, and said: Take, and divide it among you: For I say to you, that I will not drink of the fruit of the vine, till the kingdom of God come.  DR Luke 22:14-18

Jesus was the first born of the dead to be accepted as the First Fruit of the spring barley harvest.  He was accepted and became our High Priest after the order of Melchizedek.  The Feast of First Fruit should be regarded as one of the most holy days of the year as remember Jesus becoming our High Priest on this date.  Have a family feast together and remember this day. 

John to the seven churches that are in Asia: Grace to you and peace, from him who is and who was and who is to come; and from the seven Spirits that are before his throne; and from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loveth us, and loosed us from our sins by his blood; and he made us to be a kingdom, to be priests unto his God and Father; to him be the glory and the dominion for ever and ever. Amen.” ASV Rev 1:4-6

So also Christ did not exalt himself to be made a high priest,
but was appointed by him who said to him,
“You are my Son, today I have begotten you”;
as he says also in another place,
“You are a priest forever, after the order of Melchizedek.
””  DR Hebrews 5:5-6

First Fruit in Prophecy

The First Fruit of the barley harvest is not yet fulfilled since there will be more first born blessed and accepted into the priesthood.

“For upon my holy mountain, on the high mountain, saith the Lord, even the Lord, there shall all the house of Israel serve me for ever: and there will I accept you, and there will I have respect to your first-fruits, and the first-fruits of your offerings, in all your holy things. I will accept you with a sweet-smelling savour, when I bring you out from the nations, and take you out of the countries wherein ye have been dispersed; and I will be sanctified among you in the sight of the nations.” Sep Eze 20:40-41

More information about prophecy is given here

Nazirite Vow  

 “Speak to the children of Israel, and thou shalt say to them, Whatsoever man or woman shall specially vow a vow to separate oneself with purity to the Lord, he shall purely abstain from wine and strong drink; and he shall drink no vinegar of wine or vinegar of strong drink; and whatever is made of the grape he shall not drink; neither shall he eat fresh grapes or raisins, all the days of his vow: he shall eat no one of all the things that come from the vine, wine from the grape-stones to the husk, all the days of his separation:--a razor shall not come upon his head, until the days be fulfilled which he vowed to the Lord: he shall be holy, cherishing the long hair of the head, all the days of his vow to the Lord: he shall not come nigh to any dead body,  to his father or his mother, or to his brother or his sister; he shall not defile himself for them, when they have died, because the vow of God is upon him on his head.  All the days of his vow he shall be holy to the Lord. And if any one should die suddenly by him, immediately the head of his vow shall be defiled; and he shall shave his head in whatever day he shall be purified: on the seventh day he shall be shaved. And on the eighth day he shall bring two turtledoves, or two young pigeons, to the priest, to the doors of the tabernacle of witness. And the priest shall offer one for a sin-offering; and the other for a whole-burnt-offering; and the priest shall make atonement for him in the things wherein he sinned respecting the dead body, and he shall sanctify his head in that day, in which he was consecrated to the Lord, all the days of his vow; and he shall bring a lamb of a year old for a trespass-offering; and the former days shall not be reckoned, because the head of his vow was polluted. And this is the law of him that has vowed: in whatever day he shall have fulfilled the days of his vow, he shall himself bring his gift to the doors of the tabernacle of witness. And he shall bring his gift to the Lord; one he-lamb of a year old without blemish for a whole-burnt-offering, and one ewe-lamb of a year old without blemish for a sin-offering, and one ram without blemish for a peace-offering; and a basket of unleavened bread of fine flour, even loaves kneaded with oil, and unleavened cakes anointed with oil, and their meat-offering, and their drink-offering. And the priest shall bring them before the Lord, and shall offer his sin-offering, and his whole-burnt-offering. And he shall offer the ram as a sacrifice of peace-offering to the Lord with the basket of unleavened bread; and the priest shall offer its meat-offering and its drink-offering. And he that has vowed shall shave the head of his consecration by the doors of the tabernacle of witness, and shall put the hairs on the fire which is under the sacrifice of peace-offering. And the priest shall take the sodden shoulder of the ram, and one unleavened loaf from the basket, and one unleavened cake, and shall put them on the hands of the votary after he has shaved off his holy hair. And the priest shall present them as an offering before the Lord; it shall be the holy portion for the priest beside the breast of the heave-offering and beside the shoulder of the wave-offering: and afterwards the votary shall drink wine. This is the law of the votary who shall have vowed to the Lord his gift to the Lord, concerning his vow, besides what he may be able to afford according to the value of his vow, which he may have vowed according to the law of separation.” Sep Numbers 6