Pastor David B. Curtis

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Feasts of the Lord - Part 3:
The Feast of First Fruits

Leviticus 23:9-14

Delivered 05/12/2013

We are studying the Feasts of Yahweh. There are seven of them; seven being the number of completion. These seven Feasts represent and typify the sequence, timing, and significance of the major events of the Lord's redemptive career. The study of the Feasts is a study in typology. Biblical typology takes the unity of both covenants and sees in the Old Covenant types and shadows which prefigure something in the New Covenant. These types can be people, places, objects, events, and animals, etc. Typological language in the Old Covenant is called a "type." The counterpart in the New Testament is called the "antitype." A type always prefigures something future. A Scriptural type and predictive prophecy are in substance the same, differing only in form.

So these seven feasts are acted out prophecies to Israel on what Yahweh was going to do in their future to redeem them. As they rehearsed these year after year, at their appointed times, they were seeing a picture of Yahweh and His complete redemption.

The whole of the Tanakh pointed to the coming of Yeshua the Messiah:

According to his usual practice, Sha'ul went in; and on three Shabbats he gave them drashes from the Tanakh, explaining and proving that the Messiah had to suffer and rise again from the dead, and that "this Yeshua whom I am proclaiming to you is the Messiah." Acts 17:2-3 CJB

A "drash" means: a "searching"; the word denotes a sermon, exegesis or exposition. Sha'ul took the Tanakh and proved from it that Yeshua was the Messiah.

for he powerfully and conclusively refuted the unbelieving Jews in public, demonstrating by the Tanakh that Yeshua is the Messiah. Acts 18:28 CJB

Yeshua taught this also saying that the Torah was about Him:

"For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me, for he wrote about Me. John 5:46 NASB

Moses equals the Torah To the two downcast disciples on the road to Emmaus. Yeshua, "beginning at Moses and all the prophets, ... expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning Himself" (Luke 24:27).

So in the Torah, the first five books, and in the whole Tanakh, the complete Hebrew Scripture, Yeshua can be clearly seen. We see these feasts in the Torah, and they are all a picture of Christ. We talked some last week about the ancient Hebrew picture language and what it tells us. Let's look at the word "Torah" in ancient Hebrew.

In the ancient Hebrew language the word "Torah" looked like this(see video). Each letter had meaning, The first letter was tav, which looked like a cross; the second letter was a vov, which looked like a nail; the third letter was the rash, which looked like a persons head; and the last letter was a hey , which looked like a window as if to say, "Behold." Taking the meaning of each letter of Torah we get the meaning: "Revealing the highest person that is nailed to the cross." The Torah is all about Yeshua.

So far in our studies we have looked at two of the feasts. Let's review them briefly before we look at our third feast.

The Feast of Passover: Passover occurs in the spring of the year, on the 14th day of the Hebrew month Nisan (March/April). Passover is a type, or picture of something much greater--it pictured the redemption of God's elect through the sacrifice of the sinless Son of God, the Lord Yeshua. In the evening of the fourteenth of Nisan, at exactly 3:00 p.m. the Passover lamb was to be killed. And 1600 years after Passover was instituted, Yeshua, our Lamb, was killed on the very same day, at the very same time as the Passover lamb; the 14th of Nisan at 3:00p.m. Like the lamb, Yeshua was without spot or blemish (1 Peter 1:19), and had none of His bones broken (John 19:33ff).

The lamb was the type, and Yeshua is the antitype.

The Feast of Unleavened Bread: takes place on the 15th of Nisan and lasts for seven days. Most people try to make this picture the burial of Yeshua. That way you have Passover picturing His death, Unleavened Bread picturing His burial, and First Fruits picturing His resurrection. I have always taught it that way. I said, "The Feast of Unleavened Bread pictures the BURIAL of Yeshua; this feast was to take place the day after Passover--Yeshua was buried the next day." This is wrong! So why did I teach that? I was following the "Calf Path":

For men are prone to go it blind, Along the calf-paths of the mind;

And work away from sun to sun, To do what other men have done.

They follow in the beaten track, And out and in, and forth and back,

And still their devious course pursue, To keep the path that others do.

(This is an excerpt from The Calf Path by S.W. Foss)

I apologize to you for following that path, it's so easy to do. That is why I'm always telling you not to believe me, but to study it out for yourselves. I'm kind of surprised that no one has ever called me out on this. It seems so clear to me now.

Unleavened Bread can't picture His burial, He was not buried on the Feast of Unleavened Bread on the 15th. Speaking of the dead body of Yeshua, Luke says:

And he took it down and wrapped it in a linen cloth, and laid Him in a tomb cut into the rock, where no one had ever lain. It was the preparation day, and the Sabbath was about to begin. Luke 23:53-54 NASB

What day was the "preparation day"? It was Passover, the 14th of Nisan. Yeshua was buried on the same day He was killed, Passover. He was put in the earth before the sun set on the 14th of Nisan. Unleavened Bread starts on the 15th of Nisan and pictures deliverance. The children of Israel left Egypt on the first day of Unleavened Bread and had crossed the Red Sea by the end of the seven day feast. Unleavened Bread is a seven day feast picturing a perfect redemption.

This Exodus out of Egypt was a type; the antitype is seen in the redemption Yeshua brings from the sin and the death. This second exodus, which was the antitype, was spoken of in the Prophets:

Then in that day The nations will resort to the root of Jesse, Who will stand as a signal for the peoples; And His resting place will be glorious. Then it will happen on that day that the Lord Will again recover the second time with His hand The remnant of His people... Isaiah 11:10-11 NASB

Isaiah 11:1-12 predicts the coming of Messiah's rule and the reuniting of the 12 tribes. This was to be accomplished by a second exodus. When did this second exodus begin? To answer that we need to know when did the first exodus begin? It began on the Feast of Unleavened Bread. So the antitype also began on the Feast of Unleavened Bread.

Notice what Matthew says of Yeshua:

And he arose and took the Child and His mother by night, and departed for Egypt; 15 and was there until the death of Herod, that what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet might be fulfilled, saying, "OUT OF EGYPT DID I CALL MY SON." Matthew 2:14-15 NASB

The NASB's all caps tells us that this is a quotation from the Tanakh. Matthew says that Yeshua and His parents fleeing to Egypt to escape Herod, and their return after his death is what Hosea was talking about:

When Israel was a youth I loved him, And out of Egypt I called My son. Hosea 11:1 NASB

According to the first verse of Hosea, this book is written by Hosea. But how can we know what his intention is in the passage? First, we know approximately when he lived. We also have the broader context of the whole book, which gives us a fuller idea of what Hosea intended to say in this one verse. When we study his text in the context of his entire book, we find that Hosea is referring to the exodus described in the book of Exodus.

But as we have just seen in Matthew 2:15, the writer applies Hosea 11:1 to Yeshua as a youth returning to Judea from Egypt. This reference does not seem in keeping with the intention of Hosea. It is here we must remember where the meaning of a text ultimately resides--in the intention of its author, Yahweh Himself. And as we read the Scripture in the context of the Bible as a whole, we see that He has made an analogy between Israel, God's son, being freed from Egypt; and Yeshua, God's Son, coming up from Egypt; a pattern that runs throughout Matthew's Gospel. "Out of Egypt I have called my son" is Exodus Typology, where Yeshua is the New True Israel.

The setting for the New Covenant story is the return to the desert, or wilderness, for Israel, and the 40 years between A.D. 30-70 are a second exodus, the antitype of the physical Exodus out of Egypt.

The crossing of the Red Sea was a beautiful type of salvation from bondage. Deliverance from sin's bondage, like theirs, is not possible by human means. As the crossing of the Red Sea was by a miracle of God's power, so the conversion of every sinner who is saved is a miracle. When the Red Sea was crossed, and the people found themselves free, they sang the "Song of Moses," a song of praise for salvation and deliverance. Let's look at that song:

Then Moses and the sons of Israel sang this song to the LORD, and said, "I will sing to the LORD, for He is highly exalted; The horse and its rider He has hurled into the sea. "The LORD is my strength and song, And He has become my salvation; This is my God, and I will praise Him; My father's God, and I will extol Him. "The LORD is a warrior; The LORD is His name. "Pharaoh's chariots and his army He has cast into the sea; And the choicest of his officers are drowned in the Red Sea. "The deeps cover them; They went down into the depths like a stone. "Your right hand, O LORD, is majestic in power, Your right hand, O LORD, shatters the enemy. Exodus 15:1-6 NASB

The term "God's right hand" in prophecy refers to the Messiah to whom is given the power and authority to subdue His enemies (Psalm 110:1; Psalm 118:16).

The third Feast is the Feast of First Fruits:

Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, "Speak to the sons of Israel and say to them, 'When you enter the land which I am going to give to you and reap its harvest, then you shall bring in the sheaf of the first fruits of your harvest to the priest. 'He shall wave the sheaf before the LORD for you to be accepted; on the day after the sabbath the priest shall wave it. 'Now on the day when you wave the sheaf, you shall offer a male lamb one year old without defect for a burnt offering to the LORD. 'Its grain offering shall then be two-tenths of an ephah of fine flour mixed with oil, an offering by fire to the LORD for a soothing aroma, with its drink offering, a fourth of a hin of wine. 'Until this same day, until you have brought in the offering of your God, you shall eat neither bread nor roasted grain nor new growth. It is to be a perpetual statute throughout your generations in all your dwelling places. Leviticus 23:9-14 NASB

Let's look at verse 10:

"Speak to the sons of Israel and say to them, 'When you enter the land which I am going to give to you and reap its harvest, then you shall bring in the sheaf of the first fruits of your harvest to the priest. Leviticus 23:10 NASB

When are they to start observing this feast? When they enter the land, that is at the end of the exodus period. Hang on to that thought. This is referring to the barley harvest-- the first crop planted in the winter is now, in the spring, beginning to ripen. The first sheaf of the harvest is cut and, in a carefully prescribed and meticulous ceremony, presented to Yahweh. The Lord's acceptance of the First Fruits is an "earnest," or pledge, on His part of a full harvest.

The word "First Fruits" is from the Hebrew re'shiyth, which is the same word used in Genesis 1:1 translated as "beginning." It can be used for the beginning of an event, but its literal meaning is: "summit" or "the choicest of the choice" or the "best." Notice how it is used in:

"All the best of the fresh oil and all the best of the fresh wine and of the grain, the first fruits of those which they give to the LORD, I give them to you. Numbers 18:12 NASB

"First Fruits" here is also from re'shiyth. It is to be the first and the best of the harvest. The people were to bring a sheaf of grain to the priest, who would wave it before Yahweh. A burnt offering, a meal offering, and a drink offering were also required at that time. Deuteronomy 26:1-10 gives even more detail on the procedure of First Fruits:

"Then it shall be, when you enter the land which the LORD your God gives you as an inheritance, and you possess it and live in it, that you shall take some of the first of all the produce of the ground which you bring in from your land that the LORD your God gives you, and you shall put it in a basket and go to the place where the LORD your God chooses to establish His name. "You shall go to the priest who is in office at that time and say to him, 'I declare this day to the LORD my God that I have entered the land which the LORD swore to our fathers to give us.' "Then the priest shall take the basket from your hand and set it down before the altar of the LORD your God. "You shall answer and say before the LORD your God, 'My father was a wandering Aramean, and he went down to Egypt and sojourned there, few in number; but there he became a great, mighty and populous nation. 'And the Egyptians treated us harshly and afflicted us, and imposed hard labor on us. 'Then we cried to the LORD, the God of our fathers, and the LORD heard our voice and saw our affliction and our toil and our oppression; and the LORD brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm and with great terror and with signs and wonders; and He has brought us to this place and has given us this land, a land flowing with milk and honey. 'Now behold, I have brought the first of the produce of the ground which You, O LORD have given me.' And you shall set it down before the LORD your God, and worship before the LORD your God; Deuteronomy 26:1-10 NASB

No grain was to be harvested at all until the First Fruits offering was brought to the Lord (Leviticus 23:14). The offering was made in remembrance of Israel's sojourn in Egypt, Yahweh's delivering them from slavery, and their possession of "a land flowing with milk and honey." So First Fruits was the first portion of a larger harvest.

'And he shall wave the sheaf before the LORD for you to be accepted; on the day after the sabbath the priest shall wave it. Leviticus 23:10-11 NASB

What date is this Feast to take place on? Passover was to take place on the 14th of Nisan. The Feast of Unleavened Bread was to take place on the 15th of Nisan. What date is First Fruits? There is no date given! The inspired text says that this third feast occurs "...on the day after the Sabbath..."! Most scholars say the Feast of First Fruits took place on the 16th of Nisan. They take the Sabbath here to be the Sabbath of the first day of Unleavened Bread. If that was true, why not just say, on the 16th? I believe that the Sabbath referred to here is the weekly Sabbath, the seventh day of the week. Let me try to explain why: If "First Fruits" occurs on the 16th of Nisan, and it pictures Christ's resurrection, this only allows Christ to be in the grave for a day and a half at best:

Then some of the scribes and Pharisees said to Him, "Teacher, we want to see a sign from You." But He answered and said to them, "An evil and adulterous generation craves for a sign; and yet no sign will be given to it but the sign of Jonah the prophet; Matthew 12:38-39 NASB

The word translated "sign" is Greek semeion, which means: "a sign or distinguishing mark whereby something is known, sign, token, or indication." It can also mean: "an event that is an indication or confirmation of intervention by transcendent powers, a miracle." So they are saying, show us a miracle!

for just as JONAH WAS THREE DAYS AND THREE NIGHTS IN THE BELLY OF THE SEA MONSTER, so shall the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. Matthew 12:40 NASB

I take this to mean 3 full days, or 72 hours. We know that Yeshua was buried at the end of the 14th of Nisan, just before the sun went down. He was in the tomb on the 15th of Nisan and would have remained in the tomb until the 18th of Nisan. There is no date given in Scripture for the Feast of First Fruits, because it is "...on the day after the Sabbath..."! It is always on a Sunday! So, the date would change from year to year, but it is always on a Sunday--the first day of the week. What is interesting is that on the year that Christ was crucified, there had to be three days between the 14th and the first day of the week. And it just so happens that there was. Another coincidence?

If Christ spent 3 days and 3 nights in the grave, this would mean that the traditional idea of Christ being crucified on Friday is incorrect. I believe that Yeshua was crucified on Wednesday and was buried by the end of the day. He was in the grave from Thursday at sundown until Saturday at sundown, which is 3 days, and 3 nights, or 72 hours. He rose from the dead on Sunday--sometime after sundown on Saturday evening.

Here is a time line: Passover the 14th of Nisan (Wednesday) Yeshua was tried early morning and declared faultless by Pilate. He was hung on the Cross from 9:00 AM until 3:00 PM. Yeshua dies the same time the final Passover lamb is being slaughtered in the Temple. He is prepared for burial and placed in tomb just before sunset.

Unleavened Bread the 15th of Nisan (Thursday)--the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread (which was a High Sabbath), Yeshua is In the tomb (1st night and 1st day). The 16th of Nisan (Friday) Yeshua spends the 2nd night and 2nd day in the tomb. The 17th of Nisan (Saturday, the Jewish Sabbath) Yeshua spends the 3rd night and 3rd day in the tomb. The 18th of Nisan (Sunday) Yeshua is resurrected at the close of the Sabbath, beginning the first day of the week. This is the day of First Fruits. Yeshua's body could not be found, the tomb was empty.

The confusion about Yeshua being crucified on Friday may come from:

The Jews therefore, because it was the day of preparation, so that the bodies should not remain on the cross on the Sabbath (for that Sabbath was a high day), asked Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away. John 19:31 NASB

Remember that the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread is a special High Sabbath and no work is to be done. We assume they had to get Yeshua's body in the tomb before the weekly Sabbath, but it wasn't the weekly Sabbath, it was the High Sabbath of Unleavened Bread.

So, Passover occurs on the 14th; Unleavened Bread occurs on the 15th (and lasts till the 22nd); and "First Fruits" occurs on the day after the weekly Sabbath, or Sunday, the first day of the week. So First Fruits is ALWAYS on a SUNDAY. As to the significance of the Feast of First Fruits, as with the other feasts, there is no room for doubt or speculation; it represents Christ's resurrection:

But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep. 21 For since by a man came death, by a man also came the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all shall be made alive. 23 But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, after that those who are Christ's at His coming, 1 Corinthians 15:20-23 NASB

On one particular morning, on the first day of the week, the Feast of First Fruits were being waved before the alter in the Temple, and that particular morning some women were heading to an empty tomb.

Note, this is the First Fruits of the barley harvest. This is a reference to Yeshua the Christ and His resurrection. The First Fruits were transferred to the Lord as an assurance of Divine blessing on the harvest. That is reiterated in:

If the first piece of dough is holy, the lump is also; and if the root is holy, the branches are too. Romans 11:16 NASB

The First Fruits consecrates the harvest. Yeshua is really the first of the First Fruits.

And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body. Romans 8:23 NASB

"...We ourselves"--this is the New Covenant saints (Paul and the Roman believers). Paul says that they have "the First Fruits" of the Spirit. It is likely that this expression of the Spirit is an appositional genitive, which we would render in English: "the First Fruits, which is the Spirit." The Spirit was given as a "pledge," which is the Greek word arrhabon. Arrhabon means: "a pledge, i.e. part of the purchase--money or property given in advance as security for the rest: earnest or guarantee."

God commanded the Israelites to present a portion of their harvest that ripened first as an offering to Him (Exod. 23:19; Neh. 10:35). This offering acknowledged that the whole harvest was from Him and was really His. It was an offering that the Israelites made in faith, confident that the rest of the harvest would follow. Similarly, God's gift of the Spirit to the first century believers is His pledge that He will complete the process of salvation.

Sixteen hundred years before Christ's resurrection, Yahweh predicted in type and shadow that Yeshua would be crucified on the 14th of Nisan and would rise from the dead three days later on the first day of the week, and it happened exactly as God said it would. Prophecy proves the truthfulness of the Bible. God said certain things would happen, and they happened. No other book in the world contains the kind of specific prophecies found all throughout the pages of the Bible.

Yeshua not only defeated death for Himself, He promises resurrection and life to all who put their trust in Him:

Yeshua said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me shall live even if he dies, 26 and everyone who lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?" 27 She said to Him, "Yes, Lord; I have believed that You are the Christ, the Son of God, even He who comes into the world." John 11:25-27 NASB

In verse 26, Yeshua asks, "Do you believe this?" What is this? It is the statement about Yeshua Himself that He gives in verse 25. He tells Mary that He is the resurrection and life. But that's not all; He asks her to believe. Yeshua is saying, "I guarantee eternal life to everyone who believes in Me." To believe that Yeshua is the Christ is in essence to believe that He is the guarantor of eternal life to everyone who trusts in Him.

Because of the Resurrection, these words carry weight they never would have carried otherwise. If He had remained in the grave, the question of whether or not He is the only way to heaven would be a matter of debate. However, the Resurrection answers the question and ends the argument once and for all. Yeshua has power over death, so I guess that means He is everything He claimed to be.

The resurrection of Yeshua was a historical fact witnessed by over five hundred people, many of whom accepted martyrdom rather than deny their testimony. Yeshua's resurrection also stands as a First Fruits symbol of the bounty of the resurrection in which was to take place at the end of the age. Just as the wave sheaf represented the bulk of the harvest to come, so the resurrection of Yeshua represents the resurrection which was to come. First Fruits always symbolized and prefaced the great harvest that was to come. "Christ, the First Fruits" is predictive of the great resurrection that was to come.

In the study of the Feasts, we see that every single piece of the Christian Bible falls right into the framework of the Hebrew world. The whole Christian message is in the feasts that Yahweh gave to the Hebrews.

So hundreds of years before Christ was ever born, God was teaching His people that their Messiah would come, and He would die for them on Passover, the 14th of Nisan. Yeshua was the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. God was teaching His people that for three days Yeshua would be in the tomb, and that He would arise from the dead on the first day of the week--the very day that Israel celebrated the Feast of First Fruits. Yeshua became the first to raise from the dead.

According to the Bible, when was the resurrection of the believers to take place? Yeshua was the First Fruit guarantee of the resurrection of believers. Remember what we saw in:

"Speak to the sons of Israel and say to them, 'When you enter the land which I am going to give to you and reap its harvest, then you shall bring in the sheaf of the first fruits of your harvest to the priest. Leviticus 23:10 NASB

When are they to start observing this Feast? When they enter the land, that is at the end of the exodus period. Just as the Feast of First Fruits began once they entered the land, so the antitype, the resurrection of the dead took place when the second exodus ended.

The Scriptures testify that the time of the resurrection was to be at the end of the Old Covenant age. We know this to have happened in A.D. 70 with the destruction of the Jewish Temple. The disciples knew that the fall of the Temple and the destruction of the city meant the end of the Old Covenant age and the inauguration of a new age:

"Now at that time Michael, the great prince who stands guard over the sons of your people, will arise. And there will be a time of distress such as never occurred since there was a nation until that time; and at that time your people, everyone who is found written in the book, will be rescued. 2 "And many of those who sleep in the dust of the ground will awake, these to everlasting life, but the others to disgrace and everlasting contempt. Daniel 12:1-2 NASB

Daniel says that this resurrection will come after a time of great trouble for the Jewish nation. That sounds just like:

for then there will be a great tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever shall. Matthew 24:21 NASB

Here, Yeshua is speaking of the destruction of Jerusalem, which happened at the end of the second exodus in AD 70.

FIRST FRUITS pictures the RESURRECTION of the Messiah. This Feast took place after the first weekly Sabbath, or Sunday, after the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Yeshua rose from the dead on the first day of the week after the first day of Unleavened Bread. Are these just coincidence, or was God teaching us the history of redemption?

Do you remember what happened after the resurrection at the tomb?:

Yeshua said to her, "Mary!" She turned and said to Him in Hebrew, "Rabboni!" (which means, Teacher). Yeshua said to her, "Stop clinging to Me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to My brethren and say to them, 'I ascend to My Father and your Father, and My God and your God.'" John 20:16-17 NASB

"Stop clinging to me..." is from the Greek word hapto, which is the normal word for touch. Why was she not allowed to touch the risen Yeshua? Let me give you a little tradition that just may answer this question.

Jewish Tradition says: As the lambs were taken off the Temple Mount and put in the ovens by the people, the high priest and his entourage would take their lambs into their chamber inside the Temple Mount (Mt. Moriah) and put them into the ovens. Then just before sunset, the high priest would lead his entourage over the Kidron Valley bridge on the side of the Mount Of Olives, where the priests had previously planted the barley for the First Fruit offering. The Levites would then bind ten stocks of barley together (still rooted in the ground). Then the high priest and Levites would go back to their chambers and eat the Passover lamb. The high priest would stay in the mountain in seclusion until the end of the weekly Sabbath, which was three days the year Christ was killed.

At the end of the weekly Sabbath, the high priest and his entourage would then leave their chamber with baskets and sickles. Once they were sure the sun had set, in front of thousands of on looking Israelites, they would cut the standing stocks of barley they had previously bound in the light, but now cut in the darkness. The high priest and Levites would then take the barley in their baskets to the Temple and grind the barley to make loaves of bread. Then the high priest would take them and offer them as a First Fruits offering to Yahweh on the morning of the first day of the week. Until this is done, no one may eat of the First Fruits of the barley.

It is said that the high priest had to remain in seclusion on the Temple Mount for the entire time between the sacrifice of the Passover lamb and the presentation of the First Fruits offering, lest he be defiled. Yeshua was also in seclusion for this time; which may be why He said to Mary, "Don't touch Me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father." But later He tells Thomas to put his fingers into the nail prints and his hand into the wound in His side. Why did He tell Mary, "Don't touch Me," but told Thomas to touch Him?

The answer may lie in the First Fruits offering. As the High Priest He had to offer the First Fruits of the resurrection "harvest" before the throne of God in heaven, before returning that afternoon to talk with the disciples on the road to Emmaus.

That Yeshua is the antitypical High Priest is abundantly shown in Scripture:

Therefore, holy brethren, partakers of a heavenly calling, consider Yeshua, the Apostle and High Priest of our confession; Hebrews 3:1 NASB
being designated by God as a high priest according to the order of Melchizedek. Hebrews 5:10 NASB
But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things to come, He entered through the greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this creation; Hebrews 9:11 NASB

Yeshua did just as the high priests had done for centuries, because He was the antitype of the high priest.

Let's look at another text that may have some light shed on it by understanding First Fruits:

And Yeshua cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit. And behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth shook and the rocks were split. The tombs were opened, and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised; and coming out of the tombs after His resurrection they entered the holy city and appeared to many. Matthew 27:50-53 NASB

When were these tombs opened? At the death of Christ on Passover. When did the bodies come out of the tombs? At the resurrection of Christ on the Feast of First Fruits.

The earth quaked and graves were opened on Passover, but none of the people in them had risen yet. Could this be the marking out of the First Fruits as the priests did on Passover? Then three days later when Christ rose from the dead after sundown at the end of Sabbath, He took those whose graves had been marked and raised them from the dead, effectively "harvesting" them for the First Fruits offering the next morning.

Remember when Yeshua said to the Pharisees:

But Yeshua answered, "I tell you, if these become silent, the stones will cry out!" Luke 19:40 NASB

Could the stones Yeshua was referring to be grave stones? All over the side of the Mount Of Olives were cemeteries. And now the empty grave stones were in fact crying out. Maybe, it's possible:

These are the ones who have not been defiled with women, for they have kept themselves chaste. These are the ones who follow the Lamb wherever He goes. These have been purchased from among men as first fruits to God and to the Lamb. Revelation 14:4 NASB

They were purchased from among men and offered as First Fruits to God and the Lamb.

So, hundreds of years before Christ was ever born, God was teaching His people that their Messiah would come and He would die for them on Passover, the 14th of Nisan. Yeshua was the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world. God was teaching His people that for three days Yeshua would be in the tomb, and that He would arise from the dead on the first day of the week--the very day that Israel celebrated the Feast of First Fruits. Yeshua became the first to rise from the dead.

Passover pictures the substitutionary DEATH of Yeshua as the Passover Lamb. The Feast of Unleavened Bread pictures the REDEMPTION that that death purchased. First Fruits pictures the RESURRECTION of the Messiah. This Feast took place on the third day after Passover. Yeshua rose the third day. Are these just coincidences, or was God teaching us the history of redemption?

You may remember that Joseph of Arimathea requested the body of Yeshua from Pilate. Joseph had to be extremely wealthy and influential to be able to approach Pilate personally. We also understand from Roman law that he had to be the next of kin to receive the body. In an extra biblical conversation, we learn that Pilate was surprised at Joseph's request. "I don't understand, Joseph. You are a powerful and influential man and have just completed this new tomb for your family. And now you're going to use it to bury this criminal?" To which Joseph responded, "Why not? It's just for the weekend!"

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