The Appointed Times of YHVH—the Festival of the First-fruits and the Messiah
The First-fruits is considered a purely agricultural holiday under the shadow of Passover and is virtually unknown. However, by His obedience to His Father’s will to take our punishment on the cross and with His resurrection, Yeshua made the First-fruits the greatest of all appointed times of YHVH. Without the fulfillment of the First-fruits as a day of the resurrection of the Lamb of YHVH, the Pesach, all other appointed times make little sense and our faith has no purpose.
For this reason, the present author considers the Festival of the First-fruits the most significant day among all appointed times of YHVH. This day has been in the Creator’s redemption plan from the time of old to redeem the world.
The First-fruits, the Forgotten Festival
In this article we will study the forgotten festival of YHVH: the Festival of the First-fruits and His Messiah. On this day the Son of Elohim, Yeshua the Messiah, was raised from the dead and many with Him. If He had not been risen, then all other appointed times of YHVH lose their true meaning.
For instance, the Messiah was crucified on the day of the Pesach (Passover). But if He had not been raised from the dead, what would have been the purpose of His sacrificial death? It would have been in vain and we all would have been miserable.
The same for the other appointed times which follow. As we advance in our study of the appointed times of YHVH, we will see the importance of the First-fruits in the Redemption Plan of YHVH, as this day stands out as a summit in the Creator’s calendar.
But everything began six days before the Pesach, when Yeshua came to Bet Anyah, and had a supper with El‛azar whom He raised from the dead (Joh 12:1). On the next day, that is the tenth of the month, Yeshua came to Jerusalem where a great crowd who had come to the festival, was greeting Him with the branches of palm trees and went out to meet Him when they heard that He was coming.
They were crying out, “Hoshia-na! Blessed is He who is coming in the Name of Yehovah, King of Israel” (Joh 12:12-15), thus fulfilling Psa 118:25-26. As Yeshua was riding on a young donkey, He entered Jerusalem, as it was written: “Do not fear, daughter of Zion, see, your King is coming, sitting on the colt of a donkey” (Zec 9:9)
According to the Torah, a year old Pesach lamb was to be taken home on the tenth of the first month and be kept until the fourteenth day during which time it was to be examine for any blemishes (Exo 12:3-6). Then, the Pesach of YHVH (the Passover lamb) was to be slaughtered between the evenings of the fourteenth and was to be eaten on the fifteenth (Exo_12:8) after sundown, as a part of the Festival of the Unleavened Bread.
Yeshua entered Jerusalem on the tenth and remained there until the fourteenth as He was questioned by the crowd and the Pharisees, thus what was written in His Father’s Torah was fulfilled. Yeshua was questioned (examined) for any blemishes as the Pesach lambs were being examined during the five days between the tenth and the fourteenth of the month.
On the day before the day of the Pesach, Yeshua had His last supper with the disciples in which He announced His mission to renew the Covenant of His Father. They did not understand what He meant then, but would understand Him later when everything written concerning the sufferings of the Messiah would be fulfilled.
Yeshua said when He took bread, and having blessed, broke it and gave it to the disciples,
“Take, eat, this is My body.” And taking the cup, and giving thanks, He gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you for this is My blood, that of the renewed covenant, which is shed for many for the forgiveness of sins. (Mat 26:26-28)
Here Yeshua tells us that the “cup of redemption” which represented the blood of the Passover lambs which were about to be slaughtered in Jerusalem at that time, also represented His own blood which would be the ratifying blood of the Covenant that was made at Mount Sinai, as it is written in Exo_24:7-8,
And he took the Book of the Covenant and read in the hearing of the people. And they said, “All that Yehovah has spoken we shall do, and obey.” And Mosheh took the blood and sprinkled it on the people, and said, “See, the blood of the covenant which Yehovah has made with you concerning all these Words.”
The next day, the fourteenth, this would be fulfilled before their eyes, as it was written. The blood of Yeshua the Messiah was sprinked on the people for atonement of their sins, as His body was speared and the blood instantly came out from His side.
But one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and instantly blood and water came out. (Joh 19:34)
After the last supper Yeshua and all but one, who would deliver Him up, went out. That night He was seized and led to the High Priest who finished the examination of the Lamb of YHVH to fulfill what was written in the Torah concerning the Pesach. After which the Lamb of YHVH was destined for slaughter.
The First-fruits and the Resurrection of the Messiah
In that year, 28 A.D. in which Yeshua was crucified, there were three days and three nights between the day of the Pesach and the day of the First-fruits, the day of His resurrection. That year was not a leap year, as the barley in the Land of Judea was found in the Aviv ready to be harvested.
However, before any of the grain could be eaten, an omer (a sheaf) of the first of the harvest of the barley would be brought before the altar of YHVH and waved by the High Priest as a wave offering (see Lev_23:5-11).
That there were three full days and nights, seventy-two hours, between the day of the Passover and First-fruits (the day of resurrection) that year was witnessed not only in the Apostolic writings, but Josephus who also wrote about this:
Now there was about this time Yeshua, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man, for he was a doer of wonderful works a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure. He drew over to him both many of the Jews, and many of the Gentiles. He was [the] Messiah. And when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men among us, had condemned him to the cross, those that loved him at the first did not forsake him; for he appeared to them alive again the third day; as the divine prophets had foretold these and ten thousand other wonderful things concerning him. And the tribe of Messianics so named from him are not extinct at this day. Josephus, Antiquities 18:3:3
This could have only occurred if Yeshua died at sunset of the fourth day (Wednesday) and resurrected at sunset of the seventh day (Saturday night) when the first day of the week began in order to become the First-fruit of the resurrection.
When some of the Pharisees questioned Yeshua to give them a sign to test Him, He said to them that no sign should be given to them except the sign of the prophet Yonah with which He predicted His own death and resurrection in three days and three nights (Mat_12:40):
For as Yonah was three days and three nights in the stomach of the great fish, so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.
The Messiah had to die on the day of the slaughtering of the Pesach lambs in Jerusalem. He had to be three full days and three full nights in the heart of the earth, and resurrected on the Festival of the First-Fruits. That was to be done in order to fulfill His own words and His Father’s appointed times that the Pesach Lamb had to die for forgiveness of sins, as the Pesach lambs died in Egypt for the forgiveness of the sins of the children of Israel which they committed against YHVH.
For more information on how Israel transgressed against YHVH in Egypt, the reader is encouraged to read the article “Israel’s Whoring in Egypt.”
The resurrection of the Messiah—the hidden secret of YHVH
A sinless righteous man had to suffer and die to pay the penalty which otherwise would be on the people.
But, the Messiah had to be risen from the dead to win victory over the death, so that whoever believes in His sacrifice and the work of His Father, will have an everlasting life.
And He is the Head of the body, the assembly, who is the beginning, the first-born from the dead, that He might become the One who is first in all. (Col 1:18)
Let us again refer to the curse over the satan in Gen 3:15.
And I put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed. He shall crush your head, and you shall crush His heel. (Gen 3:15)
Apostle Shaul (Paul) could not have said it more precisely than speaking of a “hidden secret” ordained before the ages:
But we speak the wisdom of Elohim, which was hidden in a secret, and which Elohim ordained before the ages for our esteem, which no one of the rulers of this age knew, for if they had known, they would not have impaled the Master of glory. (1Co 2:7-8)
To be obedient to His Father’s plan, Yeshua even forbade His disciples to say to no one what they would hear (Luk 9:21-22):
And strictly warning them, He commanded them to say this to no one, saying, “The Son of man has to suffer much, and to be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and to be killed, and to be raised the third day.”
Therefore, we may say, that the hidden secret of the Creator was: (1) His Son had to suffer much, and (2) to be rejected, and (3) to be killed, and (4) to be raised after three days and three nights.
Lay up in your ears these words, for the Son of man is about to be delivered into the hands of men. But they did not understand this saying, and it was veiled from them so that they did not perceive it. (Luk 9:44-45)
Why should the resurrection of the Messiah have been kept in secret? Should we not expect that His resurrection be foretold and harbingered that as many as possible would have believed in Him?
It is common misconception that the adversary knew who the real Yeshua was and that was why he wanted to get Him crucified.
But that was not what Shaul comprehended from the events surrounding the crucifixion and said it very clearly in 1Co 2:7-8 that if they had known, they would not have impaled the Master.
And indeed, had the adversary have known the real nature and mission of the Messiah, he would have never ever had the Romans crucified Him.
Yeshua said that no one could take His life. The satan knew that Yeshua was a very special man chosen by YHVH to implement His Redemption Plan from the very beginning, that a seed of the woman should crush his head, and he should crush his heel.
But the satan was very quick to self-fulfill the prophecy by having crushed Yeshua’s heel to prevent the curse on him: you shall crush His heel, and thus having hoped to put to end the Creator’s Redemption Plan once and for all.
The satan already knew that the mission of the Seed of the woman was to crush his head, so he wanted to crush His heel first to change the prophecy of YHVH. The satan kept in his mind that prophecy all those 4,000 years and he believed that that was the time to annul the Omnipotent One’s plan of redemption.
But, at His first coming the Messiah’s mission was not to crush serpent’s head and bring world peace by reconciling men to men, that would be the mission of His second coming at the end of the 6,000 years.
The mission of His first coming was to pay the penalty for the sin of the world, through His death, and reconcile men to YHVH before the commencement of The Age of the Messiah.
On the day of the Pesach when the lambs in Jerusalem were about to be slaughtered, the Lamb of YHVH was crucified and died.
And Yeshua cried out again with a loud voice, and gave up His spirit to His Father*. And see, the veil of the Dwelling Place was torn in two from top to bottom, and the earth was shaken, and the rocks were split. And the tombs were opened, and many bodies of the set-apart ones who had fallen asleep were raised, and coming out of the tombs after His resurrection, they went into the set-apart city and appeared to many. (Mat 27:50-53) *as it appears in the Hebrew text of the Gospel of Matthew.
And in three days and three nights the Messiah was raised from the dead on the Festival of the First-fruits in order to become the First-fruit of YHVH. We can imagine how angry the satan was when he understood he was tricked to have the Lamb of YHVH crucified.
He was so angry that he had all disciples of Yeshua, but one Yochanan (John), suffered and died for His Name‘s sake, and all believers in Him afterwards. Satan’s rage continues even today when many Israelis and Christians suffer and die from the Islamic terrorism.
The satan realized that he should not have the Son of Elohim died, but it was too late. By His obedience on the cross to suffer and die for forgiveness of sins, Yeshua fulfilled His Father’s Redemption Plan and at His second coming He will fulfill the curse on the adversary: He shall crush your head.
For more insight of the second coming of the Messiah, the reader is encouraged to refer to the article “The Revelation of the Seven Trumpets: the Greatest Prophecy Ever Told, Few Can Hear.”
The First-fruit of the resurrection presented before YHVH
And on the first day of His resurrection, Yeshua appeared to Miriam at the tomb and in attempt to touch Him He said to her,
Do not hold on to Me, for I have not yet ascended to My Father. But go to My brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to My Father and your Father, and to My Elohim and your Elohim.’ (Joh 20:17)
In contrast, however, when He appeared to His disciples, He asked Thomas, who doubted the resurrection, to put his finger into His wounds:
Bring your finger here, and see My hands. And bring your hand and put it into My side – and do not be unbelieving, but believing. (Joh 20:27)
What we see in these two scenes is: Yeshua before and after being presented as the First-fruit of the resurrection. When He appeared to Miriam, He had not yet ascended to the Father as the wave offering of the resurrection. As no one can have the First-fruits of the harvest before they have been waved before to YHVH, so Miriam could not have possibly touched Yeshua before He had been presented in heaven.
But when He appeared to Thomas and the other disciples, Yeshua asked His disciple to touch Him, because He had been already presented before the Father and accepted as the First-fruit of the resurrection and descended from heaven to meet them.
When Yeshua presented himself as the First-fruit, He being the High Priest according to the order of Malkitsedek (Righteous King), brought before the altar of YHVH and waved the first-fruits of His resurrection those who were resurrected with Him, as a wave offering in order to fulfill the requirements in Lev_23:5-11 concerning this festival. We read,
In the first new month, on the fourteenth day of the new month, between the evenings, is the Pesach to Yehovah. And on the fifteenth day of this new month is the Festival of the Unleavened Breads to Yehovah – seven days you eat unleavened bread. On the first day you have a set-apart gathering, you do no servile work. And you shall bring an offering made by fire to Yehovah for seven days. On the seventh day is a set-apart gathering, you do no servile work. And Yehovah spoke to Mosheh, saying, Speak to the children of Israel, and you shall say to them, ‘When you come into the land which I give you, and shall reap its harvest, then you shall bring a sheaf of the first-fruits of your harvest to the priest. And he shall wave the sheaf before Yehovah, for your acceptance. On the morrow after the Sabbath the priest waves it. (Lev 23:5-11)
With that being said, we came to the conclusion that Yeshua fulfilled His Father’s Appointed Time of the First-fruits as it was written. He became the Pesach (the Passover Lamb) to YHVH, the Unleavened Bread (the Bread of Affliction) to YHVH, and ultimately the First-fruit of the resurrection to YHVH.
Thus by His obedience to His Father’s will to take our punishment on the execution stake and through His resurrection, Yeshua made the day of the First-fruits the greatest of all appointed times of YHVH.
Without the fulfillment of the First-fruits as a day of the resurrection of the suffering righteous Messiah the Lamb of YHVH who died for the transgressions of His people, all other appointed times make little sense and our faith has no purpose, as the Apostle said it:
For if the dead are not raised, then neither Messiah has been raised. And if Messiah has not been raised, your faith is to no purpose, you are still in your sins! … Then also those who have fallen asleep in Messiah have perished. But now Messiah has been raised from the dead, and has become the first-fruit of those having fallen asleep. … And each in his own order: Messiah the first-fruits, then those who are of Messiah at His coming, (1Co 15:16-23)
But, Yeshua the Messiah has been risen from the dead as the First-fruit of the resurrection for the glory of the Father.
The death and resurrection of Yeshua the Messiah behoove us to see Him in His Father’s Appointed Times and prophecies.
If we cannot see Him in them, we have seen too little:
Truly, He has borne our sicknesses and carried our pains. Yet we reckoned Him smitten, stricken by Elohim, and afflicted. But He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our crookedness. The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed. We all, like sheep, went astray, each one of us has turned to his own way. And Yehovah has laid on Him the crookedness of us all. He was oppressed and He was afflicted, but He did not open His mouth. He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, but He did not open His mouth. (Isa 53:4-7)
This article is a part of series of articles dedicated to the Appointed Times of YHVH and how His Messiah Yeshua has fulfilled them. For the rest of the set-apart days of the Creator, please, visit The Appointed Times of YHVH.
May we merit seeing the coming of our Mashiach speedily in our days.