The Feast of First Fruits

Jesus' Resurrection Had to Occur on a Levitical Feast

I believe when God established the Feasts in Leviticus Chapter 23, He had Yeshua in mind; and when He sent Jesus to the earth, He had the Feasts in mind. Certainly this fits the little known, but powerfully important Feast of Firstfruits, Yom HaBikkurim in Hebrew. There is some religious controversy concerning the timing of this Feast, dating back to the time of Yeshua. According to Leviticus 23:11, it was to be celebrated “on the day after the Sabbath.” However the Sadducees and Pharisees had different interpretations of what was meant by Sabbath.

While the Sadducees believed only in the written Word of God, the Pharisees also embraced the oral traditions which had been passed down through the centuries, which eventually became part of the Talmud. So the Sadducees subscribed to the meaning of Sabbath in the scheduling of this Feast as the literal seventh day Sabbath. That results in HaBikkurim always falling on a Sunday. 

Conversely, the Pharisees, the forerunners of modern day rabbinic Judaism, followed the oral tradition that the first day of a feast was considered a different kind of Sabbath, a High Sabbath. Since Firstfruits occurs within the Feast of Passover/Unleavened Bread, which start on the 14th and 15th of Nisan on the Hebrew Calendar, the day after the Sabbath was determined to be the 16th. That could fall on any day of the week. More on this below.

We do know Jesus was raised from the dead on a Sunday, the Sunday during Passover. Therefore, if reckoned precisely with the Word of God, as per the Sadducees, Resurrection Day took place on HaBikkurim.

This is acutely embellished by the Jewish Apostle Paul. Writing in First Corinthians 15:20, he made the connection between Resurrection Day and the Feast of Firstfruits, “But now Messiah is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.” Firstfruits was a barley harvest feast. The understanding was to bring the beginning of the harvest to the Lord in anticipation of a great harvest yet to come. Likewise, Yeshua’s resurrection set the stage for a great resurrection yet to come.

Furthermore, as God gave instruction about the various Feasts in Leviticus 23, He aligned the starting times with days of the month according to the Hebrew calendar. For example, Passover is the 14th of Nisan. That means it can be any day of the week. Compare that to the 4th of July which is similarly justified by a day of the month, not a day of the week.

But not so with the Feast of Firstfruits (and the following Feast of Shavuot). It is not reconciled to a day of the month. God didn’t ordain it on the 16th day of Nisan, but rather on a day of the week, the day after the Sabbath. Compare that to Thanksgiving which always occurs on a Thursday, not on a particular day of the month.

I believe that’s because God wanted to anchor the timing of Resurrection Day to Firstfruits.

Remember, my Jewish brethren follow the Pharisees in the dating of HaBikkurim. That means they will deny the association to Yeshua. But take note, even if they are correct, it is possible, since no one knows the exact year, the 16th of Nisan was a Sunday back then, which would keep the astounding connection in tact.