The Sheaf of the First Fruits

by Rick Joyner

March 5, 2001

 As we have studied in Exodus 12, the Passover Lamb was to be taken into the house five days before it was to be sacrificed. During that time, the people were to examine it for any flaws because the Passover of the Lord had to be a lamb without blemish. As we are told in Matthew 11:13, "the Law prophesied until John." This was a prophecy of how Christ, "our Passover" was to enter Jerusalem five days before He was to be crucified.

  As Jesus was entering Jerusalem, the Jews all over the city were taking the Passover lambs into their houses in preparation for the feast. During the five days when all of the people were examining their Passover lambs, the priests, Pharisees, and Sadducees examined Jesus continually seeking to find any flaw in Him, and they could not.  The Jewish day begins with evening, and Jesus was crucified on the Day of Preparation for the Passover. At the very time when Jesus was dying on the cross, the Jews all over the city were putting the knives to their Passover lambs.

  In Leviticus 23, we have another ritual that was to be performed after the Sabbath of the Passover (all such days in which there was to be no laborious work were also called Sabbaths). This was called "the waving of the sheaf of the first fruits." This ritual required that the priest go out and gather a sheaf of the first fruits, which was at that time of the year just beginning to sprout. (What the priests actually did was a ceremony at the time of the sounding of the Shofar for the new day in the barley field they would cut a portion from the bound sheaf for the barley tithe and that would be presented as a wave offering.  The rest would be given as unleavened cakes or grain offering to be tested by fire for the abib or full mature head.) Italics mine. 

He then brought it in before the Lord and waved it. After the Passover on which the Lord was

Crucified, at the very time when the priest was waving this sheaf of the first fruits, Jesus was coming forth from the grave, the first fruits of  the  resurrection. This sheaf of the first fruits was the promise of a great harvest to come.

  Only a few people in Israel understood the significance of what was happening in their midst on that fateful Passover. Even the Lord's disciples did not seem to fully comprehend it. However, as we look back at how perfectly on time the Lord fulfills His Word, we can have confidence in the unfathomable promises that He has given to us. The Lord is always faithful, and He is always on time.

  That the Lord would send His own Son to die for our sins is a marvel that all of creation will certainly be in awe of for eternity. A wonder of wonders is that He would also give us the promise of eternal life, that just as He raised His own Son, He will raise us from the dead that we may ever live before Him. This is the hope that empowers us to live beyond the cares of this present world, and live for the gospel of the age to come. As we read in Hebrews 12:1-2:

  Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance, and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfector of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

  Just as it was the hope of the resurrection and the glory that He was to receive that enabled Jesus to endure the cross, it is the truth of the resurrection that empowers all of the sacrifices that we too may be called to make for the sake of this gospel. It was the knowledge of the resurrection that has sustained and empowered the martyrs of every age, and it is as we behold the glory that is set before us that we are able to take up our crosses and "die daily."

  The ultimate fear by which the enemy has mankind in bondage is the fear of death. It is the truth of the resurrection that breaks this ultimate bondage, and truly sets us free from the powers of this present evil age to live by the power of the age to come. As we are set free in this way, we no longer live for the things that are temporary, but for the eternal. In this way we die to this world, and if we are dead to the world, there is nothing that this world can do to us. That is the greatest freedom that we can ever know on this earth, and it is the freedom that the enemy fears more than any other. Those who are already dead have nothing to fear, and will therefore be fearless in standing for the truth of the gospel. Their very fearlessness is an irresistible witness of the resurrection.

  We are called to live a life that is free from fear-we are called to live by faith. The linchpin of faith is our faith in the resurrection. The cross displayed for all time the great love that God has for us. The resurrection magnifies it. If God loves us this much, whom should we fear?

  Next week we will continue examining the resurrection, this great foundation of our faith, that we might live in the victory that was gained for us, having been liberated from every fear.

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