Leviticus 23:10 “Speak to the sons of Israel and say to them, ‘When you enter the land which I am going to give to you and reap its harvest, then you shall bring in the sheaf of the first fruits of your harvest to the priest. 11 He shall wave the sheaf before the Lord for you to be accepted; on the day after the sabbath the priest shall wave it.” (NASB 1995)
Today, 26 Abib on the first day of the week (evening of 4/13 and morning of 4/14), marks First Fruits (Heb. Bikkurim), aka the wave offering (Heb. tenufah) of the barley sheaf (Heb. korban omer), the first of four agricultural feasts with each being 49 days apart, exclusive:
- 26 Abib (barley) – Early Firstfruits (Bikkurim),
- 15th of the third month (wheat) – Feast of Weeks (Shavu’ot)/Latter Firstfruits (Yom HaBikkurim),
- 3rd of the fifth month (grapes) – Feast of New Wine (Chag Tirosh), and
- 22nd of the sixth month (olive oil) – Feast of New Oil (Chag Yitzhar).
What is interesting is that Rabbinic Jews — with their “wise sages” — interpret “on the day after the sabbath” in Leviticus 23:11 to mean the first sabbath after Chag HaMatzot begins. The Dead Sea Scrolls made it abudantly clear that it was referring to the first sabbath after the Feast of Unleavened Bread ends. They also recognize the fig, pomegranate, and date harvests which are extrabiblical. That is exactly what happens when “learned men” attempt to discern the Scriptures for themselves instead of reading them plainly and simply.
There are numerous references to these four crops together throughout the Bible; note that barley and wheat are at times combined under the generic term “grain.” The Levitical priests’ portion came from these (focusing on v12):
Numbers 18:11 This also is yours, the offering of their gift, even all the wave offerings of the sons of Israel; I have given them to you and to your sons and daughters with you as a perpetual allotment. Everyone of your household who is clean may eat it. 12 All the best of the fresh oil and all the best of the fresh wine and of the grain, the first fruits of those which they give to the Lord, I give them to you. 13 The first ripe fruits of all that is in their land, which they bring to the Lord, shall be yours; everyone of your household who is clean may eat it. (NASB 1995)
A bountiful harvest of these four were the reward for obedience to the Lord’s commandments:
Deuteronomy 11:13 “It shall come about, if you listen obediently to my commandments which I am commanding you today, to love the Lord your God and to serve Him with all your heart and all your soul, 14 that He will give the rain for your land in its season, the early and late rain, that you may gather in your grain and your new wine and your oil. (NASB 1995)
In prophesy, the third seal is famine. See how these four staples are explicitly mentioned:
Revelation 6:6 And I heard something like a voice in the center of the four living creatures saying, “A quart of wheat for a denarius, and three quarts of barley for a denarius; and do not damage the oil and the wine.” (NASB 1995)
Here is the Law regarding Early Firstfruits; it is not an annual nor high Sabbath:
Leviticus 23:9 Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 10 “Speak to the sons of Israel and say to them, ‘When you enter the land which I am going to give to you and reap its harvest, then you shall bring in the sheaf of the first fruits of your harvest to the priest. 11 He shall wave the sheaf before the Lord for you to be accepted; on the day after the sabbath the priest shall wave it. 12 Now on the day when you wave the sheaf, you shall offer a male lamb one year old without defect for a burnt offering to the Lord. 13 Its grain offering shall then be two-tenths of an ephah of fine flour mixed with oil, an offering by fire to the Lord for a soothing aroma, with its drink offering, a fourth of a hin of wine.14 Until this same day, until you have brought in the offering of your God, you shall eat neither bread nor roasted grain nor new growth. It is to be a perpetual statute throughout your generations in all your dwelling places. (NASB 1995)
The TaNaKh (OT or Hebrew Bible) provides the beautiful redemptive story of Ruth and Boaz, which leads to the birth of Obed the father of Jesse the father of David the father of Solomon (and so forth onto Joshua the Anointed One mistranslated as Jesus; see Matthew 1:1-17), as Naomi and she return to Bethlehem from Moab destitute after a drought that had devastating effects on the family. As always, God provides for His people – even the poor (needy) and foreigners (aliens):
Leviticus 23:22 ‘When you reap the harvest of your land, moreover, you shall not reap to the very corners of your field nor gather the gleaning of your harvest; you are to leave them for the needy and the alien. I am the Lord your God [lit. Yahoah ‘elohekem].’ (NASB 1995)
Ruth gleaned from Boaz’ fields from the barley harvest (culminating on Bikkurim) as well as the wheat harvest (culminating on Shavu’ot) in Ruth 2.
Christ blessed five barley loaves and two fish to feed the five thousand before Passover in 35 CE:
John 6:8 One of His disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said to Him, 9 “There is a lad here who has five barley loaves and two fish, but what are these for so many people?” 10 Jesus said, “Have the people sit down.” Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, in number about five thousand. 11 Jesus then took the loaves, and having given thanks, He distributed to those who were seated; likewise also of the fish as much as they wanted. 12 When they were filled, He said to His disciples, “Gather up the leftover fragments so that nothing will be lost.” 13 So they gathered them up, and filled twelve baskets with fragments from the five barley loaves which were left over by those who had eaten. 14 Therefore when the people saw the sign which He had performed, they said, “This is truly the Prophet who is to come into the world.” (NASB 1995)
Be sure to read the companion articles in the Mo’edim (appointed times) and Agricultural Feasts series:
- HaDerech: It’s About Time
- Mo’ed: Shabbat (Weekly Sabbath)
- Mo’ed: Pesach (Passover) – The Paschal Lamb of God – 14 Abib
- Christ’s Crucifixion: Cross or Tree? Does it REALLY Matter?
- Mo’ed: Chag HaMatzot (Unleavened Bread) – 15-21 Abib
- Mo’ed: Pesach Sheni (Second Passover)
- Mo’ed and Agricultural Feast: Shavu’ot (Feast of Weeks) – Wheat
- Agricultural Feast: Chag Tirosh (New Wine)
- Agricultural Feast: Chag Yitzhar (New Oil)
- Other Feast: Korban Etzim (Wood Offering)
- Mo’ed: Zichron Teru’ah (Memoral of Blasting) NOT Rosh Hashanah!
- Mo’ed: Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) and Future Judgment
- Mo’ed: Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles/Booths) and the Marriage Supper of the Lamb
Shema Yisrael! (Hear, Israel!)
Copyright (C) 1995-2018, L. Alan Schuetz. All rights reserved.
2 Timothy 2:15 Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth. (NASB 1995)