HE IS RISEN!!!
The Feast of Firstfruits (Chag ha-Bikkurim in Hebrew) was the time for
celebration of the firstfruits of the barley harvest in the ancient Israelite agrarian economy.
Details of the commandment for observance of this festival are found in Leviticus 23:9-14.
According to the tradition, on the evening of the weekly Sabbath after Passover as the
sun was going down (to begin the first day of the week), the high priest went into the barley field
and plucked up a sheaf of the barley. (The timing of this event was at sundown on the Sabbath,
since the Hebrew day begins at sundown, with each day recognized as “the evening [first] and
[then] the morning” as in Genesis 1:5.) The high priest then placed this sheaf in the temple until
the time of the morning sacrifice on that same first day of the week, at which time he waved the
sheaf before the Lord as a firstfruits offering of thanks for the harvest. (Dr. Garr, Hebraic Global Community)
As a church we have LOST so much because we have chosen to ignore the Biblical feasts. It isn’t about legalism, they are a gift. They symbolize what God has done for us, and give us an opportunity to celebrate with the Lord the true beauty of our faith. It is way more beautiful than bunnies and eggs. I am not saying that you can’t call it Easter; even though I know that Easter is a pagan fertility cult holiday–Ishtar, Ashtoreth. I am not going to be a jerk about it. Most Christians don’t know that. They really think Easter is the day Jesus rose from the dead. But when Jesus rose from the dead, He did not do so on Easter; Jesus ROSE from the dead on the Feast of Firstfruits. And it IS important. It MEANS something. It is mind blowing; for the most part, we lost it. We forgot about it. Even Paul wanted us to understand this; he said,
20 But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21 For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive. 23 But each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ’s at His coming.24 Then comes the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and power. (1 Corinthians 15)
But now, things get a little crazy. And you don’t have to go there with me. Honestly, I am posting this only because the possibility blows my mind. But let us look at this idea and consider it in light of Scripture:
When Jesus appeared to Mary Magdalene on the following morning, he would not permit
her to touch him, saying, “I have not yet ascended to my Father” (John 20:17). This statement
suggests that Jesus ascended to the Father in order to wave the firstfruits of the resurrection
before him at the hour of the morning sacrifice, at the same time when the high priest waved the
Firstfruits barley sheaf in the temple (Dr. Garr, Hebraic Global Community).
What do you think about that? But where did Jesus go after the women saw Him, and before His disciples did? I have actually heard this taught before. One minister said we could answer this by answering the question–“What was Jesus wearing?”
What was Jesus wearing . . .
Well, when Mary saw Him she did not recognize Him as Jesus and she thought He was a gardener. Why would she think he was a gardener? Well, maybe he was dressed like one–or similar to one. Instead of the long tunic that most men wore–a gardener would wear a shorter linen tunic with linen pants, a belt and a turban. But how could this have anything to do with whether or not Jesus ascended to the Father? And why couldn’t Mary touch Jesus, but later Thomas could?
Well the High Priest on the Day of Atonement would wear “4 garments called the ‘white garments.’ They consisted of tunic, pants, the turban, and belt. They were made from white flax”. (Lev 16:4) This would look similar to what a gardener would wear. And we know that Jesus IS our TRUE High Priest, so why wouldn’t He dress like one while He is doing His priestly work.
Let’s look at what Hebrews 8 tells us.
8 Now the main point of what we are saying is this: We do have such a high priest, who sat down at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven, 2 and who serves in the sanctuary, the true tabernacle set up by the Lord, not by a mere human being.
3 Every high priest is appointed to offer both gifts and sacrifices, and so it was necessary for this one also to have something to offer. 4 If he were on earth, he would not be a priest, for there are already priests who offer the gifts prescribed by the law. 5 They serve at a sanctuary that is a copy and shadow of what is in heaven. This is why Moses was warned when he was about to build the tabernacle: “See to it that you make everything according to the pattern shown you on the mountain.” 6 But in fact the ministry Jesus has received is as superior to theirs as the covenant of which he is mediator is superior to the old one, since the new covenant is established on better promises.
What I notice in this passage is that we see Jesus serve in the sanctuary of a heavenly tabernacle–As High Priest. And as a High Priest, what do you think that Jesus most important offering would be? This would be His great moment. Victory, Resurrection, Completion. Did you know that in heaven, there is a temple or tabernacle that looks exactly like the one God told Moses to build? That is amazing.
Just as when a High Priest makes an offering to God in the temple on earth. Jesus would have needed to go into heaven and take His own blood into the temple in heaven. So maybe that is why Jesus looked like a gardener. Maybe He was dressed as the High Priest, and He had yet to take His blood into the heavenly temple. He did NOT need to be sacrificed again. I believe that the Lord held onto the precious blood of Jesus that was shed on the cross, maybe in the same way He holds onto our tears. I mean, Jesus couldn’t lead those who were in Abraham’s bosom into the presence of God without doing so.
8 Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men.
9 (Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth?
10 He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.)
Ephesians 4:8 King James Version
Most Christians believe that this passage in Ephesians means that when Jesus was in the grave, He went down into the place of the dead (Hades) to preach the good news to those souls who were resting and waiting for their redemption.
“It should afford us supreme joy to remember that he who descended into the lower parts of the earth has now “ascended up far above all heavens.” The descent was a subject of joy to angels and men, but it involved him in much humiliation and sorrow, especially when, after having received a body which, according to the psalmist, was “curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth,” he further descended into the bowels of the earth, and slept as a prisoner in the tomb. His descent on earth, though to us the source of abounding joy, was full of pain, shame, and humiliation to him. In proportion, then, ought to be our joy that the shame is swallowed up in glory, the pain is lost in bliss, the death in immortality.” (Spurgeon)
Christ, as Lord of all, took possession first of the earth the unseen world beneath it (some conjecture that the region of the lost is in the central parts of our globe), then of heaven ( Act 2:27, 28 ). However, all we surely know is, that His soul at death descended to Hades, that is, underwent the ordinary condition of departed spirits of men. Act 2:27, 28 , and Rom 10:7 , favor the view of the reference being simply to His descent to Hades. (Jamieson Fausset and Brown)
“That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of [things] in heaven, and [things] in earth, and [things] under the earth” Philippians 2:10
Praise the Lord! Jesus descended to proclaim His victory over death, His sacrifice for our sins, and the completion of His work on our behalf– and then He rose from the dead 3 days later as the Firstfruits of the Resurrection. He appeared to the women, but they were not allowed to touch Him–because He had not yet ascended to the Father. But later that day, he was able to be touched. So did He already ascend to the Father?
Did the Lord Jesus ascend into heaven to present His blood in the temple in heaven? Did He wave Himself before the Lord as the sheaf offering–the firstfruits?
There is evidence that some of those who had recently died were resurrected with Jesus
at the time of his resurrection (Matthew 27:52). This likely has something to do with the events
that occurred during the time of Jesus’ entombment when he descended into the heart of the
earth, to hades or sheol (Hebrew), and led captivity captive (Ephesians 4:8-9) by preaching to
the spirits who were imprisoned in the grave (1 Peter 3:19), those over whom death had reigned
supreme (Romans 5:14), and delivering them from the power of death when he ascended.
Perhaps the Jewish authors of the Apostolic Scriptures understood that Jesus not only
presented himself before the Father but also those whom he led captive into the heavenlies.
Whatever the case, the Feast of Firstfruits coincided with the resurrection of Jesus,
which is foundational to the Christian faith; therefore, this festival has great meaning for
Christians, who can profit greatly from recalling this great event and its place in the context of
the Jewish faith of Jesus himself. Because the Feast of Firstfruits always occurs on the day after
the weekly Sabbath after Passover, those who celebrate the Passover as the time of the
crucifixion of Jesus can also celebrate his resurrection on the day of the Feast of Firstfruits.
Various biblical and Jewish symbols are appropriate for celebration of “Resurrection Sunday,”
including the menorah, the shofar, the tallit (prayer shawl), and banners.
Whether He ascended at that time or not, we do know that He ascended on the day of Pentecost and took His rightful place as Lord, on the throne. We do know that He fulfilled the Passover offering, the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the Feast of Firstfruits, and paid the price for our sins. He was the Lamb who was slain.
He shall see the labor of His soul, and be satisfied.
By His knowledge My righteous Servant shall justify many,
For He shall bear their iniquities.
Therefore I will divide Him a portion with the great,
And He shall divide the spoil with the strong,
Because He poured out His soul unto death,
And He was numbered with the transgressors,
And He bore the sin of many,
And made intercession for the transgressors.
He died for all of us.
He died for you.
Make sure that you put your faith in Him,
and cry out to Him for salvation.
Let us Praise Him.
Let us WORSHIP and be Glad.
He is Risen!
And because of that, I know that I too will rise.
I too will be able to touch Him.
I too will see that heavenly sanctuary.
I too will be resurrected.