After Passover was celebrated, and the Feast of Unleavened Bread commenced, the children of Israel were instructed to celebrate a third Feast to “set apart” provision in the Lord’s honor. This was the Feast of Firstfruits, and was celebrated on the day after the weekly Sabbath following Passover (which was the FIRST day, meaning Sunday) of the week.
The Feast of Unleavened Bread, which was a week long celebration, was still in progress while this third Feast was executed. (Today, we can take to heart it’s meaning and celebration as the New Testament scriptures direct us how:
“Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? Therefore purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened. For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us. Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth (1 Cor. 5:6-8).
The Feast of Unleavened Bread prophesied to the world that Jesus was the “Bread of Life” as His sinless (unleavened) sacrifice would connect us to the source of life:
“I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world.” (John 6:51)
However, in order to make way for a harvest (Christians) to become like Him, Jesus had to die as a sinless sacrifice, take the keys of Hades (overcome death because He had no “leaven” in Him) and RISE and present Himself as a “first fruits offering” to the Father.
“Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain” (John 12:24).
The resurrection of Jesus was amazing. But it had to go through the “set apart” process of becoming “holy and acceptable to the Father.” This completion process happened on the Feast of Firstfruits.
“For if the firstfruit is holy, the lump is also holy; and if the root is holy, so are the branches” (Romans 11:16).
The Gospel of John verifies this timing and fulfillment of the Feast of Firstfruits. After three days and nights since the crucifixion of Christ, Mary visited the tomb early Sunday morning while it was STILL DARK. Mary discovered the tomb open and empty, and began weeping. Two angels appeared and said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” Mary answered that she didn’t know where Jesus was, and when she turned to speak, Jesus was standing there but she didn’t recognize Him. When she heard His voice, she knew it was Jesus, but He commanded her this:
“Do not cling to ME, for I have not yet ascended to My Father; but go to My brethren and say to them, ‘I am ascending to My Father and your Father, and to My God and your God'”(John 20:17).
The reason Jesus had not yet ascended is because He was waiting to offer Himself up to the Father at the EXACT time the Firstfruits Offering was offered up by the High Priest to fulfill the Feast blueprint (Lev. 23:11).
“But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep” (1 Cor. 15:20).
Later that evening, when He appeared to the disciples, Jesus showed them His hands and feet, ate and drank, and allowed Thomas to touch him. He could do this now because He had already presented Himself as the “first fruits” offering, crowned High Priest and King, and transformed into His glorified body. Now Jesus could ascend and descend from heaven to earth to be seen by many witnesses, which He continued to do so for 40 days. He was then taken until the next SET TIME. But between now and then, Jesus would send us a helper, a “first fruits” deposit of His glory, to comfort us.
WE LOOK FORWARD TO GOD’S NEXT “SET TIME” WHEN JESUS WILL RETURN FOR THE HARVEST. WE TOO WILL BE PRESENTED TO THE FATHER AND RECEIVE OUR GLORIFIED BODIES! THIS IS OUR “HOPE OF GLORY!”
“But each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ’s at His coming” (1Cor. 15:23).