Day 10: Sheaf of Firstfruits (Part 1)
Firstfruits of our resurrection
Published on 19 February 2020
The feast of the sheaf of firstfruits follows on from the feast of unleavened bread. This festival takes place the day after the Sabbath following festival of unleavened bread, at a time when the barley harvest is ready for reaping. The ceremony involves the priest taking the first sheaf (or stalk) of barley, and waving it before the Lord as a wave offering. By doing so, the priest puts forth the ‘firstfruits’ of the barley harvest. This ceremony may seem strange to us, but the apostle Paul sees its ultimate significance fulfilled in Jesus.
In 1 Corinthians 15, Paul is teaching the church about the significance of the resurrection of Christ. In order to highlight this, he connects the resurrection to the feast of the sheaf of firstfruits. He says that “Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep… in Christ all will be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ, the firstfruits; afterward, at His coming, those who belong to Christ.” (1 Corinthians 15:20-23, HCSB) For Christians then, this ceremony has significant meaning. In Christ’s resurrection, we are all made alive and have a hope: that one day He will return and we too will be resurrected.
Jesus, I thank You that through Your resurrection I am made alive. In this time of prayer and feasting, I celebrate that You rose again and conquered death. Thank You that You are coming back again for us and that we will spend eternity with You.
The Lord spoke to Moses: “Speak to the Israelites and tell them: When you enter the land I am giving you and reap its harvest, you are to bring the first sheaf of your harvest to the priest. He will wave the sheaf before the Lord so that you may be accepted; the priest is to wave it on the day after the Sabbath. On the day you wave the sheaf, you are to offer a year-old male lamb without blemish as a burnt offering to the Lord.
Leviticus 23:9-12 (HCSB)
But now Christ has 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 also comes through a man. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ, the firstfruits; afterward, at His coming, those who belong to Christ.
1 Corinthians 15:20-23 (HCSB)
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