The Sheaf of the First Fruits

 

As [previously] 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, 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.  Since the Jewish day begins with evening and Jesus was crucified on the Day of Preparation for the Passover, at the very time Jesus was dying on the cross, Jews all over the city were putting the knives to their Passover lambs.

In Leviticus 23 we have another ritual which was to be performed after the Sabbath of the Passover (all 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 the “the sons of Israel” to go out and gather a sheaf of the first fruits, which at that time of the year were just beginning to sprout.  Then they delivered it to the priest who brought it 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 the Lord fulfills His Word, always perfectly on time, we can have confidence in the unfathomable promises He has given to us.  The Lord is always faithful, and He is always on time.

The fact 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 all eternity.  That He would also give us the promise of eternal life, and just as He raised His own Son, He will raise us from the dead so we may ever live before Him, is another wonder of wonders.  This is the hope that empowers us to live beyond the cares of this present world and 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 perfecter 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.  The knowledge of the resurrection has sustained and empowered the martyrs of every age, and it is as we behold the glory which is set before us that we are able to take up our cross 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.  If we are dead to the world, there is nothing this world can do to us.  This is the greatest freedom we can ever know on earth, and it is this freedom that the enemy fears more than any other.  Those who are already dead have nothing to fear — those who are already dead 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, and 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, then whom should we fear?

We will continue to examine 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.

 

~ Pastor Rick Joyner


Rick JoynerPastor Rick Joyner is the founder and executive director of MorningStar Ministries and Heritage International Ministries and is the Senior Pastor of MorningStar Fellowship Church.

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