Early this month believers in Messiah from around the world will be celebrating His resurrection from the dead. We love to point out that Easter is actually a Jewish holiday!
Leviticus 23:9-11 speaks of Chag ha-Bikkurim, the “Festival of Firstfruits.”
And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “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.
On this day, a sheath of barley was waved before the Lord as a symbolic gesture of thanksgiving and dedication of the greater harvest to come later in the year. This wave offering would take place three days after the celebration of Passover.
The prophetic symbolism is brilliantly clear. As the Passover foretells the sacrificial death of Messiah, the Festival of Firstfruits, occurring exactly three days later, points us to His resurrection from the dead. It is from this ancient Hebrew tradition that the apostle Paul draws his teaching concerning the resurrection in 1 Corinthians 15. Here Paul tells us that
“Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.” (1 Corinthians 15:20)
In a prophetic sense, Yeshua's resurrection was like a "wave offering" presented before the Father as the "firstfruits" of the harvest to come! That harvest is “those who are Christ’s at his coming” (1 Corinthians 15:23). It is amazing to see God’s plan of redemption laid out for us so clearly in the Jewish holidays presented in the Hebrew Bible!
Did you know that there is a vital relationship between Passover and Firstfruits (Resurrection Day)? In fact, there could be no resurrection without the sacrificial death of Messiah to which Passover points to.
The writer of Hebrews tells us that the resurrection was brought about “through the blood of the everlasting covenant” (Hebrews 13:20). This means that the sacrifice of Messiah satisfied the demand for divine justice against sin so completely that the power of death itself was broken. The feasts of Passover and Firstfruits assure us that one day we too will be resurrected with Him, be like Him, and live with Him forever. Thanks be to God for this blessed hope!
Now may the God of peace who brought up our Lord Jesus from the dead, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you complete in every good work to do His will, working in you what is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen. (Hebrews 13:20)