At this time of the year, everyone is talking about “First Fruits”, or in the Hebrew, HaBikkurim. Yeshua (Jesus) was referred to as first fruits by Shaul (Paul) in his first letter to the Corinthians (1 Corinthians 15:23), and as far as I can see, that was the only reference to Yeshua and HaBikkurim throughout the entire Bible.
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The real first fruits festival, the one commanded by God in the Torah, is a harvest festival. God instructs us how and when it should be celebrated in Leviticus 23:9-10, and again in Deuteronomy 26:1-2. Let’s see exactly when God said we should celebrate first fruits:
Leviticus– The Lord said to Moses, “Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘When you enter the land I am going to give you and you reap its harvest, bring to the priest a sheaf of the first grain you harvest.
Deuteronomy– When you have entered the land the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance and have taken possession of it and settled in it, take some of the firstfruits of all that you produce from the soil of the land the Lord your God is giving you and put them in a basket. Then go to the place the Lord your God will choose as a dwelling for his Name.
As we can see, the instructions regarding when we are to celebrate the first fruits are not related to any other festival. They are directly related to the harvest, which any farmer will tell you cannot be associated with or dependent upon a calendar day. The crop will be ready for harvesting when, and only when, the crop decides it will be ready for harvesting.
I believe a lot of the confusion is because Yom HaBikkurim is not just considered the celebration of the first fruits, but it is also the day that we begin to count the 50 days of the Omer. Actually, it is at the Shavuot celebration that we bring the sheaf to the Cohen. The day to start counting is related directly to Unleavened Bread but that is also under debate, which is a different story.
The reference to Yeshua by Shaul as the first fruits, within the context of what Shaul was writing, I believe was meant to be understood that as through Adam death entered the world, through the Messiah, we can again have eternal life. The references as “first fruits” was not to HaBikkurim, but Shaul used the term “fruits” as in “works”, meaning that the “fruit” of Yeshua’s ministry is salvation.
Look at how the word “fruit” is used throughout the Bible and you will see it is often used metaphorically for works or actions. Hermeneutically, doesn’t Shaul’s reference makes more sense as first fruits representing the harvest of Yeshua’s ministry than related to HaBikkurim?
Let’s now look at what God instructs us to do in Leviticus 19:23-24:
When you enter the land and plant any kind of tree for food, you shall regard the fruit as forbidden. For three years it will be forbidden to you and must not be eaten. In the fourth year all its fruit must be consecrated as a praise offering to the LORD.
Now, isn’t that interesting? The trees planted in the land are not to be touched for three years, and after that, all their fruit is to be offered to Adonai at the place where he dwells. Yeshua’s ministry grew for three years, and how many times do we read that when the people tried to get to Yeshua to do him harm he was left untouched because it wasn’t his time yet?
What we also have to note, although I will not go into it in detail here, is that Yeshua’s sacrifice was not just a sin sacrifice, but was also a peace-offering, which is what “first fruits” is. The Passover lamb sacrifice was not a sin sacrifice it was a peace-offering, also called a Thanksgiving sacrifice. However, Yeshua’s sacrifice was both for sin and as a peace-offering.
What I am saying is that Shaul’s reference to Yeshua as first fruits was only a metaphor to show that Adam’s actions (his fruit, if you will) brought death and Yeshua’s actions (his fruit) brought life: Yeshua’s fruits represent the first fruits from the harvest of people.
How many times did Yeshua refer to people as a crop ready to be harvested?
Yeshua as the “first fruits” is really unrelated to the celebration of Passover or Unleavened Bread, but should be seen as the peace-offering to God which we are to make as commanded in Deuteronomy. Yeshua was planted in the land as soon as the Ruach HaKodesh was placed upon him when John baptized him. For three years he was allowed to grow, and after three years he was taken to the place where God put his name (Jerusalem) and offered (himself) up to God as a peace-offering, through which we are able to come back into communion with God.
Firstfruits is really a harvest celebration, unrelated to when Passover or Hag HaMatzot arrive, but the Counting of the Omer is called Yom haBikkurim, which we also call “First Fruits.”
I submit that Yeshua as the real First Fruits is not related to Yom HaBikkurim (thereby associated with Passover and Hag HaMatzot) but as a tree (the tree fo life) planted in Israel (when he was baptized) and after three years offered up to God in Jerusalem. And, as the instructions for first fruits state, only after the offering can we then eat from that tree, whose fruit is our salvation.
Adam’s fruit (his sin) brought death and Yeshua’s fruit (his sacrifice) brings life: Adam was the first fruits of destruction and Yeshua is the first fruits of life.
Of course, that’s how I see it. I believe many will fight against this interpretation without even checking it out in the Bible simply because what we have been traditionally taught is so comfortable. It just fits so nicely to have Passover, Unleavened Bread, HaBikkurim, resurrection and Shaul’s reference as first fruits all come one after the other.
But that’s OK, because none of this really matters when it comes to our salvation, and I only offer it up (pardon the expression) as a different interpretation and simply something to think about.
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Until next time…L’hitraot and Baruch HaShem!