- Rev. Thomas Abraham
The Feasts of the Lord (Part 5)
The Festival of First Fruit
Leviticus 23:10 - “The Lord said to Moses, “Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘When you enter the land I am going to give you, and you reap its harvest, bring to the priest a sheaf of the first grain you harvest.”
The Feasts of the Lord
Leviticus 23:1-2 “And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them: ‘The feasts of the Lord, which you shall proclaim to be holy convocations, these are My feasts.”
The Lord Jehovah established seven feasts for the children of Israel to celebrate before their God, who brought them out of Egyptian slavery.
The Lord said the following about these feasts:
These are the feasts of the Lord
These are Holy convocations
These are My feasts
The idea of these gatherings did not originate in the human heart, rather in the mind of God.
It is not the church’s or any committee’s proposition that we should gather together to worship our Lord. Rather, God delights to be in the midst of His people.
Thus, we need to give due respect to meeting for worship and the place where we gather. Irreverence and disrespect to the church and the worship service is a dangerous thing.
Our weekly meetings and Sunday worship services are feasts of the Lord; they are Holy convocations and the Lord says it is on MY Sundays that you are coming to MY holy place to worship ME.
God has ordained seven festivals for the people of Israel (they are on the first month, the third month and the seventh month in their calendar) to celebrate.
Whether they lived in Israel or in other parts of the world, they were to come to Jerusalem three times to celebrate these feasts.
For the people of Israel, celebrating these feasts represented something.
By observing these feasts:
God wanted Israel to remember their Lord, who was the source of all their blessings.
God wanted Israel to remember their past experiences.
How God miraculously delivered them from their bondage.
Remember how God punished Pharaoh with ten plagues.
Remember how the Passover lamb was slain on the 14th of the first month.
Remember how the blood was posted on the door.
Remember how God spared their first born while all the firstborns of the Egyptians were killed.
Remember the night they left Egypt after 430 years of captivity.
How God miraculously led them through their wilderness journey.
Walking through the desert for forty years. (Their clothes did not wear out and their feet did not swell during these forty years – Deuteronomy 8:4)
How the cloud was a shade for them and a cloud of fire was over them at night.
Through the crossing of the Red Sea and the fall of the wall of Jericho.
With the Manna they ate and the water they drank.
With the Ten commandments they received from God.
With the punishment of the rebellious people in the wilderness.
And how God miraculously gave them the promise land.
Remember how God divided the Jordan River.
Remember how God removed the Gentiles from the promise land.
Remember the systematic way in which the land was allotted in the promise land.
Remember their leaders, Moses, Aaron, Miriam and Joshua.
Finally, God wanted them to share their past to their future generations.
The Festival of First Fruit
Leviticus 23: 10 - "The Lord said to Moses, 10 “Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘When you enter (i)the land, I am going to give you (ii) and you reap its harvest, bring to the priest (iii) a sheaf of the first grain you harvest.
As Christians living in the 21st century, why do we need to study the Old Testament and the Old Testament feasts which God ordained for the people of Israel? (THE LAW)
The truth is that Jesus’s preaching and teaching were only from the Old Testament Law (OT)
The Old Testament was a shadow, and Jesus came to fulfill it:
Hebrews 10:1 – “The law is only a shadow of the good things that are coming—not the realities themselves. For this reason, it can never, by the same sacrifices repeated endlessly year after year, make perfect those who draw near to worship.”
The law is only a shadow of the good things to come, it’s not reality.
What is reality? Christ and His Church!
In each and every chapter in the OT we see the SHADOW of Christ and His church.
But in each and every chapter in the NT we see the REALITY that is Christ and the nature of his church.
Luke 24:25-27 – “He said to them, “How foolish you are, and how slow to believe all that the prophets have spoken! 26 Did not the Messiah have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?” 27 And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.”
Luke 24:44 – “He said to them, “This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.”
Colossians 2:17 - “These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ.”
We need to understand the reality of each shadow mentioned in the OT.
Leviticus 23:10 - The Lord said to Moses, 10 “Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘When you enter (i)the land, I am going to give you (ii) and you reap its harvest, bring to the priest (iii) a sheaf of the first grain you harvest."
“The land, I am going to give you”
The Lord is the one who is the owner of the land – in fact, He is the source of all our blessings. We bring nothing into this world and we don’t take anything away from this world.
The Lord is the owner of your life, your health, your education, your job, your family, your house; you are simply a temporary tenant.
Who gave you these bountiful blessings?
Who gave you the money in your wallet and bank account?
“And you reap its harvest bring to the priest a sheaf of the first grain you harvest”.
The Lord gave them the land, the strength to labor, the seed to sow, the sunlight and rain to grow and produce fruits.
“A sheaf of the first grain you harvest.”
My Lord is worthy to receive the first of everything.
Exodus 23:19 - (iv) “Bring the best of the firstfruits of your soil to the house of the Lord your God.”
Bring the FIRST and BEST to the house of the Lord your God.
The FIRST and the BEST belonged to the Lord.
It was brought even before Israel reaped the harvest for themselves.
It was also an expression of gratitude to the Lord for giving them the harvest and supplying their daily bread.
Every month we give a nice check to our mortgage company, to our insurance companies, and to so many other places, which is good and all. But let us not forget our REAL landlord, our REAL insurance provider, and our REAL protector. We are stewards of his provisions and blessing.
Write your FIRST and BEST check to your loving Lord.
Leviticus 23: 11- “(v) He is to wave the sheaf before the Lord (vi) so it will be accepted on your behalf; the priest is to wave it on the day after the Sabbath.”
v: “He (the priest) is to wave the sheaf before the Lord”
This first sheaf represents the whole harvest yet to come from the field - there are thousands of sheaves expected to come to the barn.
So that bountiful blessings and divine healing come upon you– from the north and south; and from the east and west.
vi: “So, it will be accepted on your behalf”
Exodus 23: 19 – 20- “Bring the best of the firstfruits of your soil to the house of the Lord your God. See, I am sending an angel ahead of you to guard you along the way and to bring you to the place I have prepared.”
Divine protection by heavenly angels
23:25 – “Worship the Lord your God, and his blessing will be on your food and water. I will take away sickness from among you, 26 and none will miscarry or be barren in your land. I will give you a full life span.”
Bring the BEST of the firstfruits
To the house of the Lord your God
I am sending an angel ahead of you - Divine protection by heavenly angels
I will bless your food and water.
I will take away sickness from among you
None will miscarry or be barren in your land.
I will give you a full life span.
“On the day you wave the sheaf, you must offer couple of sacrifice”
Leviticus 23:12-13 - (vi) “On the day you wave the sheaf, you must sacrifice as a burnt offering to the Lord a lamb a year old without defect, 13 together with its grain offering of two-tenths of an ephah of the finest flour mixed with olive oil—a food offering presented to the Lord, a pleasing aroma—and its drink offering of a quarter of a hin of wine.”
Serving the Lord was quite costly for Israel.
Even though Israel is a very tiny country on the world map, it is blessed among the nations.
Why is Israel so blessed among the nations?
Why is Israel so great?
Why is Israel so important among the nations?
Why is Israel so powerful in the world?
Why are there more Nobel Prizes winners from the Jewish nation?
The reason is simply this: they know how to give to their Lord.
Their Father taught this golden principle to the generations:
Genesis 14:19-20 – “and he blessed Abram, saying, “Blessed be Abram by God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth.20 And praise be to God Most High, who delivered your enemies into your hand.” Then Abram gave him a tenth of everything.”
Genesis 24:1 – “Abraham was now very old, and the Lord had blessed him in every way.”
If you are tight – check your tithe.
If you are suffering financially –check your offering.
Does God really need your money for Himself? No
Then why does he demand giving?
The Lord recycles your offering and gives it back to you tenfold in the form of many blessings.
Luke 6:38 – “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”
Why do I have to give to the Lord? - To get a good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over.
Philippians 4:16-19 - “For even when I was in Thessalonica, you sent me aid more than once when I was in need.17 Not that I desire your gifts; what I desire is that more be credited to your account. 18 I have received full payment and have more than enough. I am amply supplied, now that I have received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent. They are a fragrant offering, an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God. 19 And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.”
God keeps an account book in heaven and I will receive the profit which increases in my heavenly account, the blessing which is accumulating for me.
They are a fragrant offering, an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God.
And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.
Is giving to the Lord an Old Testament practice? No
Leviticus 23:14 – “You must not eat any bread, or roasted or new grain, until the very day you bring this offering to your God. This is to be a lasting ordinance for the generations to come, wherever you live.”
The Lord said this is to be a lasting ordinance for the generations to come, wherever you live.
Regardless of whether you lived in the Old Testament or the New Testament, regardless of whether you live in India or the U.S., and regardless of whether you are a new Christian or a traditional Christian, our Lord said “this is to be a lasting ordinance for the generations to come, wherever you live.”