The Feast of Firstfruits
March 28, 2021

The Feast of Firstfruits:
Leviticus 23:10-14


The feast of Firstfruits is probably the least known of the seven feasts of Israel. In fact, there are several additional feasts that are kept that are better known, like Purim, or the feast that celebrates God’s deliverance in Babylon from Haman’s plot. Or then there is the feast of Dedication, or Hanukkah, the feast of lights, where Judas Maccabeus defeated the Greek forces under Antiochus Epiphanes, and God provided enough oil for the Menorah to remain lit for seven days before more oil could be ready.

So, it isn’t any wonder why so many haven’t a clue about this third feast that God ordained for Israel to keep. And what I find so fascinating is that this feast, while it is the least known of the seven, is actually the greatest of all of them and the one that holds the most importance. And this is what I would like to share with you today.

“Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them: ‘When you come into the land which I give to you, and reap its harvest, then you shall bring a sheaf of the firstfruits of your harvest to the priest. He shall wave the sheaf before the Lord, to be accepted on your behalf; on the day after the Sabbath the priest shall wave it. And you shall offer on that day, when you wave the sheaf, a male lamb of the first year, without blemish, as a burnt offering to the Lord. Its grain offering shall be two-tenths of an ephah (4 quarts) of fine flour mixed with oil, an offering made by fire to the Lord, for a sweet aroma; and its drink offering shall be of wine, (1 quart). You shall eat neither bread nor parched grain nor fresh grain until the same day that you have brought an offering to your God; it shall be a statute forever throughout your generations in all your dwellings.” (Leviticus 23:10-14 NKJV)


What I find fascinating is how this one feast is wrapped up with the feasts of Passover and Unleavened Bread; yet, it really has nothing to do with either one of them, but rather it is a future promise of the blessings of God once they possess the land God promised, or The Promise Land.

Notice what it says, “When you come into the land which I give to you, and reap its harvest, then you shall bring a sheaf of the firstfruits of your harvest to the priest.” (Leviticus 23:10)

And this was to be offered during the seven-day period of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, on the first day of the week, that is, on a Sunday. So, the date is never a fixed date, like Passover which is on the 14th day, or Unleavened Bread which is held on the 15th day until the 21st day.

The feast is actually a celebration of the harvest that God helped to bring in during the spring, or the barley harvest, which a sheaf was then to be brought to the temple for an offering, because as it is with everything, it all belongs to God, and therefore this first harvest was to be dedicated and devoted to Him. Only then, once they brought in their offering, could they partake of the harvest.

“You shall eat neither bread nor parched grain nor fresh grain until the same day that you have brought an offering to your God” (Leviticus 23:14 NKJV)

Now, there is one more thing about this feast and the offering that was to be presented, and that is that the first-born lamb from that year was to be offered, or a male lamb born that year that was without spot or blemish.

However, since the destruction of the Temple in 70 A.D., the wave offering can no longer be presented, as well as the lamb. Today, within the Jewish faith, this is primary accomplished through prayers and reflections on what is considered to be the symbolic significance of this day, which in Judaism is the acknowledgment that God is the one who redeemed Israel from their Egyptian bondage, and then expressing gratitude to God for bringing them into the Promised Land.

It is also the day when the 49-day count (seven Sabbaths verse 15) begins for the Feast of Weeks, or Pentecost, the fourth major feast of Israel.

For us, this feast is quite telling, and helps us to understand our relationship with God and what God has provided for us.

First and Best

What we see in this feast is that what was being offered to God was both the first and best. It being the first is brought out in the name itself, First Fruit. However, it being the best is brought out earlier in Leviticus when the Lord said to Moses, “Whatever has a defect, you shall not offer, for it shall not be acceptable on your behalf.” (Leviticus 22:20 NKJV)

Further, it being the first and best indicates that it all belongs to God. It says in Psalm 24:1, “The earth is the Lord’s, and all its fullness, the world and those who dwell therein.” (Psalm 24:1 NKJV)

And so, as we see in this feast, it all belongs to God, and what it says here in Psalms is that this includes all of us. God has first claim on everything that we have, and everything we are.

Paul brings this out in his letter to the Roman Church saying, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.” (Romans 12:1 NKJV)

Like the children of Israel, we are to offer up to God not only our first, that is the tithe, but also ourselves as those living sacrifices, completely devoted to Him, and that is because He gave to us the first and the best, as He gave to us His Son, Jesus Christ, the first begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth (John 1:14).

Now, that word, begotten, is from the word preeminence, that is, Jesus is preeminent over all things, which John spells out for us in the beginning of His gospel as Jesus, the Word of God, was not only with God but is God, and everything that was made, that is, created, was made and created by Him.

But not only was Jesus the first, but also the best, that is, God’s Son, and that He is without defect, that is, He is without sin, and thus the perfect offering. Therefore, as such we are to offer the first and best of not only what we have, but also the first and the best of ourselves.

A Future Hope

Not only is this Feast of Firstfruits a future promise made by God to the Israelites of their entrance and possession of the Promised Land, but also a future promise of His continued provision for them.

This feast focuses on the future, not what has happened in the past.

I can just imagine the Lord feeling like, what more could He have done, and yet the people still didn’t believe in His future for them. He delivered them from 400-year bondage to the Egyptians through 10 powerful plagues, and then finalized that deliverance there at the Red Sea as He opened it up and allowed them to pass over to the other side on dry ground, while drowning the entire Egyptians army. And then He gave to them manna, or bread from heaven to eat, and water from a rock to drink.

And still, when they got to the Promised Land the first time, they didn’t believe God’s promise of not only protection, but also provision, which was what this Feast of Firstfruits was and is all about.

And this was something the Lord continued to promise to them, like through what He said through the prophet Jeremiah when saying, “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” (Jeremiah 29:11 NKJV)

Therefore, this feast, like that of Passover and Unleavened Bread, is a direct reference to the coming Messiah, Jesus Christ, as the fulfillment of the feast.

We see this in several areas, not only in what we have referenced, as the first and best, and our future hope, but a direct reference to the resurrection.

The Firstfruits from the Dead

The Apostle Paul makes this argument to the Corinthian Church.

“But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep … For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive. But each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ’s at His coming.” (1 Corinthians 15:20-23 NKJV)

As the children of Israel were to bring the firstfruits of the harvest, along with the first male lamb born that year without defect, so it was that Jesus, the Lamb of God, rose from the dead on that same day, that is, on the first day of the week within the feast of Unleavened Bread.

And so, as the people were offering their firstfruit offerings at Temple, Jesus became this feast’s fulfillment, rising from the dead on this very day, which is what we celebrate as Easter and what Easter is all about, that is, life from the dead.

This very concept came from no one less than Jesus Himself.

Jesus said, “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 NKJV)

And so it was that Jesus died on Passover, buried on Unleavened Bread, and was raised to life on Firstfruits.

Jesus even referenced this in the revelation He gave to Apostle John. Jesus said, “I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death.” (Revelation 1:18 NKJV)

Because He rose from the dead and is the firstfruits from the dead, and now has the keys to Death and Hell, our future in Him, and thus heaven, is assured.

Notice that Paul said that Jesus became the firstfruits of those who have died. And since Jesus was the first, it implies that there is a second, third, fourth, and so on. And so, since Jesus is then the fulfillment of the feast, it means that all who believe in Him, all who come and accept Him as their Savior and Lord, will also then rise from the dead, with Jesus as our example.

This is seen in what Paul presented. He said, “But each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ’s at His coming.” (1 Corinthians 15:23 NKJV)

Therefore, all who believe will experience a similar resurrection from the dead. And please understand this is not just a New Testament concept, but it is found throughout God’s word starting with Job.

“For I know that my Redeemer lives, and He shall stand at last on the earth; and after my skin is destroyed, this I know, that in my flesh I shall see God.” (Job 19:25-26 NKJV)

King David said, “Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoices; my flesh also will rest in hope. For You will not leave my soul in Sheol, nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption.” (Psalm 16:9-10 NKJV)

And so, king David said that just as the Father wouldn’t allow His Son, Jesus, the Messiah, the Holy one to see corruption at death, but raise Him from the dead, so He will not allow our bodies to remain in the grave.

And then we have what the prophet Isaiah said and promised, “Your dead shall live; together with my dead body they shall arise. Awake and sing, you who dwell in dust; for your dew is like the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead.” (Isaiah 26:19 NKJV)

Those who are God’s children, who believe and accept Jesus as their Savior and Lord will rise from the dead and live.

So, all who believe will rise from the grave with a brand new body, a body that has been changed, transformed into the likeness of Jesus’s body, our firstfruit from the dead.

Look at what Jesus said to His disciples after His resurrection, “Why are you troubled? And why do doubts arise in your hearts? Behold My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself. Handle Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see I have.” (Luke 24:38-39 NKJV)

This leads me then to this last question, and that is, what does Jesus as our firstfruit, what does His resurrection mean for us today. To answer this, I’d like to go back to what Paul said to the Corinthian Church just a few verses prior.

“For if the dead do not rise, then Christ is not risen. And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins! Then also those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable.” (1 Corinthians 15:16-19 NKJV)

This has several important aspects.

Changes the Meaning of Faith

“And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins!” (1 Corinthians 15:17 NKJV)

The question is can we trust Jesus; can we place our trust in Him? Jesus rose from the dead just as He said He would when He told the Jewish religious leaders, “‘Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.’ … But He was speaking of the temple of His body.” (John 2:19-21 NKJV)

Therefore, since Jesus rose from the dead as He promised, then we can trust and have faith when He said that He is the way, the truth, and the life, and that no one can come to the Father except through Him (John 14:6). Therefore, there aren’t many ways to heaven, only one, and Jesus is that way. And we can also trust His promises that He is always with us and that He will never leave or forsake us.

Changes the Meaning of Death

“And if Christ is not risen … Then also those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished.” (1 Corinthians 15:17-18 NKJV)

Jesus’s resurrection gives a new meaning to death, where death in not the end, because it no longer has power over us, therefore death is the beginning.

The Apostle Paul goes on to say, “So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: ‘Death is swallowed up in victory. O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?’” (1 Corinthians 15:54-55 NKJV)

Changes the Meaning of Life

“If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable.” (1 Corinthians 15:19 NKJV)

If there is no resurrection, then the only purpose for life would be to live it in pursuit of pleasure, which is what Paul said in verse 32. He said, “If the dead do not rise, ‘Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die!’” (1 Corinthians 15:32 NKJV)

But if Jesus rose from the dead, if the resurrection is true, which has been proven in many ways, and is an historical fact (more on this next Sunday in our Easter message, “Going All In”), then the only real purpose for life and for living is to follow Jesus Christ and to do His will.

Without the resurrection then life is without meaning, and the Christian faith is without power. But it is the resurrection of Jesus, the firstfruits from the dead that makes our faith real and gives our lives meaning and makes our lives worth dying for.

Therefore, with Job we can have this hope that our Redeemer lives. And we can say with the old gospel song, “Because He Live.”

“Because He lives, I can face tomorrow
Because He lives, all fear is gone
Because I know He holds the future
And life is worth the living, just because He lives.”

Therefore, I think it is safe to say, that this feast of Firstfruits is truly the greatest of all the feasts, and the one that holds the most importance, because it is all about the Jesus Christ, and His resurrection from the dead, proving that He is who He said He was, and that is the Lord and our Savior. And through this feast we have the assurance of our own resurrection with heaven as our eternal home.

Search Our Site


211 West First South, suite C&D
Mesquite, NV. 89027
(Behind Ace Hardware)

Service Times

Sunday Service
10 a.m., and 6:00 p.m.

Wednesday Evening Bible Study
6:00 p.m.

Children's and Youth Ministry
available at all services
Call (702) 346-8558 for details
©2024 Living Waters Fellowship   |   All rights reserved