Daughter of Zion Eternally
The First Fruit Connection
It is Resurrection Sunday 2020 and the United States is under a mandatory self quarantine. CoVid 19 aka Corona Virus hit before this day and the Pope actually cancelled Easter. Now if the head of the Catholic church gets the idea of staying home until this blows over, I hope the Protestants follow suit.
Yet all is not lost. For no congregant head or Papal authority can actually cancel the Resurrection, its already done. Happily when Jesus rose on the third day there was no pandemic with the hashtag AloneTogether displayed on wood plackards on the streets.
Previous to this day of days, Jesus was dragged through the streets with a Cyrenian assisting His carrying of His cross. As the Lambs for the Passover (Pesach) were being slaughtered the one whom John the Baptiser called the "LAMB of God who takes away the sins of the world" (John 1:29) As the lambs were being slaughtered in Templ, an eerie darkness hung like a pall over the whole area for about three hours. (Matt 27:45) Then the cry rang out "My God My God why have you forsaken Me?" (Matt 27:46)
There in that darkness we will never actually know what Jesus experienced and in mercy to the onlookers there was a cloak of darkness so they could not see well either. But there on the "tree" hanging accursed for our sakes the One who knew no sin was now become sin. The Father simply hammered out His wrath upon the Son until at last He was finished... it, the wrath pouring out, was finished and now the Debt note of sin will have become Paid in FULL.
And so they take the body down and lay it in the tomb wrapped in linen clothes with myrrh and aloes and spices (John 19:40). (A note here for Turin shroud enthusiates. In that this body is encased in wrappings with thick gum like layers and spices, it might not have been able to imprint a simple linen cloth.) However it is that He leaves behind the grave clothes, Jesus does rise and it is speculated that the wrappings which had encased His corpse were not disturbed although the face covering was set aside in a certain manner, possibly denoting intentional human placement... in a sealed closed tomb... with noone but a corpse occupying. When John the Disciple saw this he believed. (John 20:7-8)
Now it is the Third day and women, not men are going to the Tomb with more spices. There is some debate as to why, but apparently the ritualized ceremony utilizes much gum resin myrhh and liquid aloes possibly using a shroud ove the body, binding hands and feet but leaving the face only covered with a cloth, so why the need of more spices to anoint? First off why anoint anyway? Of course, niether Joseph of Aremethea of Nicodemus would have known that Mary, the sister of Lazarus had poured pure nard on His head and feet and had wiped the excess away with unbound hair. So we have an burial anointed man marking Himself out for death as God's sacrifice in our place going forward through everything to His death and burial. But why this ... thing? The answer comes in the death of Lazarus. John 11:31 tells us that the people who were with Mary when she ran to meet Jesus, thought she was going to the tomb to MOURN. Apparently visiting the tomb during the three days after death was the norm and if after a certain length of time you are going into a stone closed tomb whose temperature might be hotter than outside, there will be quite aroma wafting out to meet you. These are AROMATIC spices that might be able to POURED onto the wrappings afresh to mask the smell so they can MOURN Him. After four days Jesus will have been considered to be definitely dead and the tomb stone white washed and closed so the body can decompose to bones which after one year would be relegated to an ossuary, or bone box. However, the women never did do that third anointing did they? Instead they became the first Evangelists to tell the Disciples of the Resurrection.
Now understandably the disciples are in hiding and a small Roman cohort was, nowhere to be seen as they KNEW how the Body was "taken away". (Whether He rises up and walks away from His graveclothes and funerary rock slab or someone undoes His graveclothes and removes His lifeless body it is still very much missing.)They had endured the shaking of the ground and the appearance of the men who looked for all the world like gods and been made to sleep deeply while the Glorified Risen man they were gaurding dissapeared from His temporary entombment. They also KNEW who they were working for, not Rome but the Jewish Sanhedrin. So while our ladies are telling the begginings of His Body that the Head now lives, a very white face set of Roman men are telling the High Priest that men like gods had shown up and there was a ground shaking and they went unconscious and when they came to, there was no corpse to guard. The Governors seal was broken and the Tombstone closure, rolled away. (So we have two sets of Evangelists!)
So our women have been deterred from the mourning visitation to the tomb by the Passover Sabbath and the day after which is also a Sabbath (Shabbat), this will be the last day they can ever visit the body to pour over it added spices to allow them to be in the same space as the body without becoming ill. On the fourth day He will be BEYOND REACH.
But you would think they might be stopped by men going about their daily chores wouldnt you? So why is it that there are no men at all? Ordinarily one might presume that a set of men would accompany these women, men who are not disciples in hiding with a bounty on their heads, but mere righteous upstanding men. They are all elsewise occupied.
This is the day of Hag ha Bikkurim. Feast of First Fruits. See The Sheaf Of The First Fruits for more information on the ritual. But what is the big deal with His rising on this particular day? Well, as He is the LAMB slain among the Passover animal lambs being slain to be eaten, their flesh is in remembrance of the LAMB slaughtered whose blood marked door post and lintel which caused the Death Angel to pass on as Holy Spirit HOVERED over these dwellings. Jesus rising was going to identify with the Barley Harvest. Barley is the first grain to sprout at about this time and thus is the sheaf waved. In fifty days the wheat will be harvested. They will be brought in leavened loaves to be waved. Leviticus 23:9-14
9 And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying,
10 “Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them: ‘When you come into the land which I give to you, and reap its harvest, then you shall bring a sheaf of the firstfruits of your harvest to the priest.
11 He shall wave the sheaf before the LORD, to be accepted on your behalf; on the day after the Sabbath the priest shall wave it.
12 And you shall offer on that day, when you wave the sheaf, a male lamb of the first year, without blemish, as a burnt offering to the LORD.
13 Its grain offering shall be two-tenths of an ephah of fine flour mixed with oil, an offering made by fire to the LORD, for a sweet aroma; and its drink offering shall be of wine, one-fourth of a hin.
14 You shall eat neither bread nor parched grain nor fresh grain until the same day that you have brought an offering to your God; it shall be a statute forever throughout your generations in all your dwellings.
1 When you enter the land that the LORD your God is giving you as an inheritance, and you take possession of it and settle in it,
2 you are to take some of the firstfruits of all your produce from the soil of the land that 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,
3 to the priest who is serving at that time, and say to him, “I declare today to the LORD your God that I have entered the land that the LORD swore to our fathers to give us.”
4 Then the priest shall take the basket from your hands and place it before the altar of the LORD your God,
5 and you are to declare before the LORD your God, “My father was a wandering Aramean, and he went down to Egypt few in number and lived there and became a great nation, mighty and numerous.
6But the Egyptians mistreated us and afflicted us, putting us to hard labor.
7So we called out to the LORD, the God of our fathers; and the LORD heard our voice and saw our affliction, toil, and oppression.
8 Then the LORD brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, with great terror, signs, and wonders.
9 And He brought us to this place and gave us this land, a land flowing with milk and honey.
10 And now, behold, I have brought the firstfruits of the land that You, O LORD, have given me.”Then you are to place the basket before the LORD your God and bow down before Him.
11So you shall rejoice—you, the Levite, and the foreigner dwelling among you—in all the good things the LORD your God has given to you and your household.
There is no scriptural mandate for crushing the barley grain, however Josephus records that apparently the offering was waved then parched crushed and used in the offering. ( Josephus, Antiquities 3.250-251, in Josephus IV Jewish Antiquities Books I-IV, Loeb Classical Library, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, 1930, pp. 437-439.)The Yearling Lamb and requisite drink offering are placed together with a fine flour offering as the food of God, or Meal Offering.
One more thing to consider. Jesus is RISEN but He is not the only "risen person". Sheaves not a single stalk is offered up. Jesus would represent a Single Stalk. For He is FIRST BORN and FIRST FRUIT of the dead (Col 1:18, 1 Cor 15:20) means there are more dead now raised walking about. Why? When Jesus died there was a siezmos event powerful enough to rip the dividing curtain of the Holy Place from the place of the Ark or Holy of Holies top down (Matt 27:51). Something that powerful in an Earthquake as there are a lot of fault lines in that area, would also have done significant damage to anything right at the epicenter. Matt 27:51-52 records that not only did rocks "rend" but tombs opened. Now where these sepulchre rolled stone enclosed tombs of the righteous who were recently dead or, as I suspect, ALL the righteous who had been in the bosom of Abraham in Sheol. The Scripture is explicite and indicates that at the moment of Jesus bodily function ceasing THEY CAME TO LIFE. But these sit tight until Jesus Himself is Risen. Then they come out of broken open tombs and go into Jerusalem and appear to a lot of people. This was foretold in Isaiah 26:19 Your dead will live; Their corpses will rise. You who lie in the dust, awake and shout for joy, For your dew is as the dew of the dawn, And the earth will give birth to the departed spirits. Ezek 37:12-13
12Therefore prophesy and tell them that this is what the Lord GOD says: ‘O My people, I will open your graves and bring you up from them, and I will bring you back to the land of Israel.
13 Then you, My people, will know that I am the LORD, when I open your graves and bring you up from them.
In fact the whole of Ezekiel chapter 37 may well be speaking to this event. For it starts with an earthquake the dry "valley of dry bones". There is only one place for DRY BONES... an ossuary. Bone boxes or Ossuaries were commonly placed in family tombs. The slab for the present corpse is used for one year to allow for the rot of the flesh. When the "rot" is done it leaves the bones which are interred into a bone box leaving the slab free for the next fresh corpse. Everywhere there were the Righteous Dead they awoke. Their bone boxes were emptied. They were a "lifeless" army of witnesses to the power of the one who was Crucified preceding the Quake. But we also have this verse. Ezekiel is also called Son Of Man, the very Messianic Title Jesus had used over and over again in the service of His ministry on Earth.
Once the Father sent the Spirit to raise the Son the ones raised went out to testify of Christ. They are the First Fruits of THE RESURRECTION. The First Fruits of that which will happen in the Book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ. He is the First Born the one who causes the Resurrection and is First Raised. We could speculate about the two days of bodies in tombs all over the land or area near the Cross and how they were before He rose but why?
So while the Ceremony is being carried out in Temple with grains sheaves, One Perfect Sacrifice whose death brings Life to the dead is up and about to His own. He is not the only one. What of the Righteous Living who are wondering about this Jesus who just died? The witness of these Righteous First Fruit wouldve given such hope. Is it any wonder that when the Spirit of the LORD falls a mere 50 days later that so many are pierced to the heart by Peter's speech? Jesus was spending time with His Apostles to be, preparing them for the event that would transform them. It would be a full ten days of frantic prep for the Feast of Weeks until that Blest event takes place and in that time those so visited had much to think about.
One last little tidbit from the Jewish Language. Apparently, The word bikurim itself is related to bechor, a firstborn son. (https://www.thejc.com/judaism/jewish-words/chag-habikurim-1.5927)
This is the First Fruit Connection.