Welcome to week three of learning about the feasts and festivals ordained by God! Last week, we moved from Passover to the Feast of Unleavened Bread, which Passover initiates. Unleavened Bread is all about removing leaven—yeast—sin from our lives. Jesus came 2,000 years ago to fulfill the feast and make possible a way for us to be free and rejoin the Creator. I’ll introduce the third event (First Fruits) and connect it to the first two feasts and Jesus’ fulfillment.
Passover occurs at twilight (about 6:00 PM) on Nisan 14 of the Jewish calendar. At dusk, the date becomes 15 Nisan. The seven-day feast of Unleavened Bread is part of Passover and begins at that time. First Fruits happens the day after the Jewish Sabbath following Unleavened Bread. Sabbath runs from twilight on Friday to the same time Saturday evening. So, First Fruits occurs on Sunday, the day Jesus was raised from the dead. Considering this and what I wrote last week, here’s a snapshot of the week from Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem until First Fruits:
- Sunday: enter Jerusalem
- Monday through Thursday: four days of inspection by religious leaders (to fulfill foreshadowing).
- Thursday day (14 Nisan): Day of Preparation. Crucified when the Passover lambs were slaughtered. In this, Jesus became our Passover (1 Corinthians 5:7).
- Thursday night (15 Nisan): Passover; the Feast of Unleavened Bread starts.
- Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights: three nights in the grave.
- Friday, Saturday, and Sunday days: three days in the grave; raised on the third (Matthew 28:1-6).
- Sunday Day (17 Nisan): First Fruits.
First Fruits celebrates what God has provided (Leviticus 23:9-14) and represents resurrection like Passover represents redemption, and Unleavened Bread speaks of being set apart for God. Sheaves of barley are cut just before sunset late Saturday afternoon and ceremoniously waved before God on the first day of the new week (Sunday). Just as the priests presented the first of the barley harvest to God that day, Jesus presented Himself to the Father as the first of those who would also die and be raised to new life (1 Corinthians 15:20-23). The fulfillment heralded a new era of being set apart for purity and good works in Christ Jesus (e.g., Ephesians 2:10).
How can we apply the concept of new life in Jesus as ‘first fruits?’ First, recognize that we have been ‘crucified’ with Christ when we devote ourselves to God through Him (Galatians 2:20). We become a “new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come” (2 Corinthians 5:17) and put on the new self with its likeness to God (Ephesians 4:24). In other words, we can become ‘first fruits’ to God when we devote, stay, and change.
Next week? Let’s continue our journey with Jesus in the Pentecost.
Blessings and peace,
Dr. Ron Braley