Chag HaBikurim -
Feast of the Firstfruits
Birgit Barandica, April 2009

Firstfruits is the first of three harvest feasts of the year. Here it is about barley. The second harvest feast is Shavuot and the third one is Sukkot, the Feast of Tabernacles.

Chag HaBirkurim is part of Pesach. It is held during the Feast of the Unleavened Bread, one day after Shabbat, which is always the first day of the week, a Sunday. The first grain of barley was given to God and the priest was to offer it to the Lord as a swing offering:

"He is to wave the sheaf before the LORD so that it will be accepted on your behalf; the priest is to wave it on the day after the Sabbath," (Leviticus 23:11). Until then, no bread was to be eaten from the first crop.

The bible goes on to say in verse 14, "This is to be a lasting ordinance for the generations to come, wherever you live." Why would God consider it to be so important as to give this intraction for a harvest feast? Pesach, and with it Chag HaBikurim, has always been the highest feast in the Jewish calendar - yet now, it reached its absolute high point! It was part of God's redemption plan for all of humanity, prepared by Himself!

Inside the Garden Tomb
For it was this feast, Chag HaBikurim, when the women found Yeshua's grave empty - He had risen on this feast! So the feast had always been a foreshadow to His resurrection, which made Him to be the firstborn, "the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep" (1. Corinthians 15:20; see also Romans 8:29).

Thus the Feast of the Firstfruits is fulfilled in Yeshua's resurrection!

Yet HaBikurim has a second point of importance: in the same

chapter, it goes on to say, "'From the day after the Sabbath, the day you brought the sheaf of the wave offering, count off seven full weeks," (Leviticus 23:15). This is the so-called Omer-counting (Omer is the Hebrew word for sheaf), e.g. 50 days or 7 weeks. It begins on Chag HaBirkurim and goes up to Shavuot, which is therefore also called "Feast of Weeks", for Shavuot is the plural form of shavua = week.

Yet why should God want people to count exactly 50 days, such a long time ago? Everything God does, serves a purpose - people should get used at an early stage already to the fact that this harvest feast is something very special, for the Holy Spirit fell for the first time on all people - it is the feast that we also know as Pentecost. This is where God's plan of redemption came to its finish!

You can read about how the name "Easter" came about at the end of the Pesach article. And read here about why the Christian feasts don't correspond with the biblical feasts anymore.

A beautiful song "First Fruits"
by Steve McConnell

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