Wave Sheaf

The third of the holy feasts given by God was the Feast of Firstfruits.  This feast had to do with offering the barley “wave sheaf” on the day after the high sabbath of the Feast of Unleavened Bread.  To review, the Passover was on the 14th day of the 1st month, the Feast of Unleavened Bread high sabbath was on the 15th day of the 1st month (lasting 7 days), and the Feast of Firstfruits would fall on the 16th day of the 1st month (the morrow after the sabbath).  On this day, they would bring a single sheaf of the firstfruit of the barley harvest and wave it before the tabernacle, along with offering other sacrifices as instructed by God.  Notice that it was just a single sheaf that was waved:

“And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,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: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. 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.And 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.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 23:9-14

Another link to this feast can be found in the time when the Israelites finally were permitted to come into the promised land.  It was on the 16th day of the 1st month that the manna ceased, and the Israelites were permitted to eat of the fruits of the promised land:

“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


More important is the foreshadowing of the feast of Firstfruits concerning the resurrection of Jesus Christ.  In looking at the biblical testimony, Jesus was crucified on the day of Passover, he was in the grave during the high sabbath of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, and on the third day he arose from the dead as prophesied.  This occurred on the Day of Firstfruits.  Jesus alone (just as a single sheaf was waved on this Feast day) became the firstfruit of the new man, the new creation.  This can be confirmed in references from the New Testament scripture:

“Saying, The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.” ~ Luke 24:7

For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.” ~ Romans 8:29

“But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept.For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead.For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming.” ~ 1 Corinthians 15:20-23

“Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son:In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature:” ~ Colossians 1:13-15

“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

Some clarity can also be given by looking to some of the early Christian writings that were not a part of the bible.  Taking a look at the early writing “The Antiquities of the Jews”:

“In the month of Xanthicus, which is by us called Nisan, and is the beginning of the year, on the fourteenth day of the lunar month, when the sun is in Aries (for in this month it was that we were delivered from bondage under the Egyptians, and law ordained that we should every year slay that sacrifice which I before told you we slew when we came out of Egypt, and which was called the Passover; and so we do celebrate this Passover in companies, leaving nothing of what we sacrifice till the day following. (249) The feast of unleavened bread succeeds that of the Passover, and falls on the fifteenth day of the month and continued seven days, wherein they feed on unleavened bread… (250) But on the second day of unleavened bread, which is the sixteenth day of the month, they first partake of the fruits of the earth, for before that day, they do not touch them. …. (251) They take a handful of ears, and dry them, then beat them small and purge the barley from the bran; they then bring one tenth deal to the altar, to Elohim; and, casting one handful of it upon the fire they leaven the rest for use of the priest; and after this it is that they may publicly or privately reap their harvest.” ~ The Antiquities of the Jews, Chapter 10, section 5

So you can see that this third feast established by God had a purpose.  This was a “type” and “shadow” predicting the future triumph of Jesus over death- the prophecy of His resurrection.  Today we continue to celebrate this feast of Firstfruits as commanded by God that we keep it as a “statute throughout our generations forever.”  This includes gentile Christians, as we are grafted into the olive tree of Israel (Romans 11).  As we celebrate this day, we remember the resurrection of our savior Jesus Christ as the firstfruit of the dead, and we look forward to our future when we can be together with him in a new immortal body, the new creation.  We long to be among those that are according to Paul- “Christ’s at his coming.”