The Feast of First Fruits, The Omer, Leviticus 23

 The Feast of Firstfruits is centered around the barley harvest. 

The harvest schedule in Israel showing correlation to the harvest and the Feasts of the Lord.
The harvest schedule in Israel showing correlation to the harvest and the Feasts of the Lord.

 

The Feast of First Fruits in Leviticus 23 is centered around the barley harvest
The Feast of First Fruits in Leviticus 23 is centered around the barley harvest

   After the destruction of the Temple in 70 AD it was impossible to keep any part of this feast except the counting of 50 days to the next feast. It became an insignificant feast to their worship services. The only part this feast plays in modern Judaism is that it is the time to start counting days to the next feast. Modern Judaism places all their importance in the feast that follows, the Feast of Shavuot “Pentecost”.

   Without understanding that Jesus was the Paschal Lamb and fulfilled every detail of Passover it would be impossible to see that every detail in each of the remaining five feasts would be literally fulfilled.

   The Feast of the “sheaf of the firstfruits” is called the “Omer rme of the firstfruits” in Hebrew. This makes quite a difference when we search for the details in the fulfillment of the feast.

As you can see on the chart below that shows the time of harvest in Ancient Israel, barley was the first harvest. This is also seen in the plague of hail Moses brought to Egypt.
And Moses said unto him, As soon as I am gone out of the city, I will spread abroad my hands unto the LORD; and the thunder shall cease, neither shall there be any more hail; that thou mayest know how that the earth is the LORD’S.  But as for thee and thy servants, I know that ye will not yet fear the LORD God.  And the flax and the barley was smitten: for the barley was in the ear, and the flax was bolled.  But the wheat and the rie were not smitten: for they were not grown up. Exodus 9:29-32

And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,  Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye be come into the land which I give unto you, and shall reap the harvest thereof, then ye shall bring a sheaf of the firstfruits of your harvest unto the priest:   And he shall wave the sheaf before the LORD, to be accepted for you: on the morrow after the sabbath the priest shall wave it.  And ye shall offer that day when ye wave the sheaf an he lamb without blemish of the first year for a burnt offering unto the LORD.  And the meat offering thereof shall be two tenth deals of fine flour mingled with oil, an offering made by fire unto the LORD for a sweet savour: and the drink offering thereof shall be of wine, the fourth part of an hin.  And ye shall eat neither bread, nor parched corn, nor green ears, until the selfsame day that ye have brought an offering unto your God: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations in all your dwellings. Leviticus 23:9-14

Torah Scroll written in Vilnius, Lithuania around 1750 showing the word omer as the sheaf of Firstfruits
Torah Scroll written in Vilnius, Lithuania around 1750 showing the word omer as the sheaf of Firstfruits

 

Complete Hebrew Torah Scroll written in Lithuania around 1750
Complete Hebrew Torah Scroll written in Lithuania around 1750

 

The chronological order of the Feasts of the Lord is very important
The chronological order of the Feasts of the Lord is very important

 

This feast is not about the death of The Messiah.

It is about His resurrection.

Chronological chart of Leviticus 23 showing the feasts by order including the Old Testament name and the New Testament fulfillment of each.
Chronological chart of Leviticus 23 showing the feasts by order including the Old Testament name and the New Testament fulfillment of each.

 

This Hebrew calendar chart shows the order of the feasts of the Lord and amount of time between each feast.
This Hebrew calendar chart shows the order of the feasts of the Lord and amount of time between each feast.

 

It became impossible to correctly keep any of the Feasts of the Lord 2,000 years ago. To keep any of the feasts would simply be a Bible study. To keep the feast would produce no efficacious value in redemption according to the Torah.
It became impossible to correctly keep any of the Feasts of the Lord 2,000 years ago. To keep any of the feasts would simply be a Bible study. To keep the feast would produce no efficacious value in redemption according to the Torah.

 

In the fulfillment of this feast, the Passover lamb became the sheaf of the first fruits.
In the fulfillment of this feast, the Passover lamb became the sheaf of the first fruits.

 

Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken:  Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory?  And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.
Luke 24:25-27

   Many prophetic passages about the fulfillment of the Feast of First Fruits can be seen in the Scroll of Ruth. Some of these are:

* Bethlehem Judah the place of the Messiah’s birth,

מבית לחם יהודה


* Beginning of the Barley Harvest,

בית לחם בתחלת קציר שׂערים


* The Kinsman-Redeemer,

ותאמר לה נעמי קרוב לנו האישׁ מגאלנו הוא


* The Linage of The Messiah

ושׂלמון הוליד את בעז ובעז הוליד את עובד 
  ועבד הוליד את ישׁי וישׁי הוליד את דוד

  The following photograph is of the entire Hebrew Scroll of Ruth. It was written with a quill on sheep skin with iron gall ink. The Scroll was written in Poland in the 18th century and survived the Holocaust. This Scroll came from Jerusalem to America in 2005. 

The Hebrew Scroll of Ruth written in Poland many years ago. It is written on sheep skin using iron gall ink.
The Hebrew Scroll of Ruth written in Poland many years ago. It is written on sheep skin using iron gall ink.

 

  The Scroll of Ruth is centered around Bethlehem just after Passover at the beginning of the barley harvest which started with the Feast of First Fruits. The story is about Boaz a Kinsman Redeemer of the household of Naomi. Many details about the fulfillment of the Feast of First Fruits in Jesus Christ can be seen in this Scroll.

Ruth 1:22 So Naomi returned, and Ruth the Moabitess, her daughter in law, with her, which returned out of the country of Moab: and they came to Bethlehem in the beginning of barley harvest. 

ותשׁב נעמי ורות המואביה כלתה עמה השׁבה משׂדי מואב והמה באו בית לחם בתחלת קציר שׂערים

  The following photograph shows the view of Boaz threshing floor at Bethlehem.

photograph shows the view of Boaz threshing floor at Bethlehem

  At Bethlehem Judah on the ground where Boaz threshing floor was located, this woman is holding a parcel of threshed, winnowed, barley grain exactly as Ruth did thousands of years ago.

Photo 1890 At Bethlehem Judah on the ground where Boaz threshing floor was located, this woman is holding a parcel of threshed, winnowed, barley grain exactly as Ruth did thousands of years ago.
Photo 1890 At Bethlehem Judah on the ground where Boaz threshing floor was located, this woman is holding a parcel of threshed, winnowed, barley grain exactly as Ruth did thousands of years ago.

 

 The story of Naomi, Ruth, and Boaz and the child born to Boaz and Ruth is in the linage of Jesus The Messiah. Over a thousand years later Jesus would be born at Bethlehem and would lay in a stone manger.

Ruth 4:21 And Salmon begat Boaz, and Boaz begat Obed,  And Obed begat Jesse, and Jesse begat David.

ושׂלמון הוליד את בעז ובעז הוליד את עובד 
 ועבד הוליד את ישׁי וישׁי הוליד את דוד

A carved stone manger used to feed sheep was found near Bethlehem at Boaz threshing floor.
A carved stone manger used to feed sheep was found near Bethlehem at Boaz threshing floor.

 

A vast complex of buildings, presses and animal shelters including an inn have been found at Boaz threshing floor  as you enter in to Bethlehem. It is quite possible Jesus was born at this animal shelter which was found under an inn on this complex.

A complete complex of an inn and cave for animals was found at Boaz threshing floor at Bethlehem
A complete complex of an inn and cave for animals was found at Boaz threshing floor at Bethlehem

 

   There was very little wood in Israel so all structures were made of cut stone. Around Bethlehem the hillsides are dotted with many limestone caves which made a ready made climate controlled home for poorer families.  The more shallow caves offers protection to a few animals.
A travel bureau is advertising the following:
“Escape the heat in Israel’s top 10 caves.
Cool off this summer in some of Israel’s thousands of caves. We’ve picked a few of the ones most accessible to the public.

   This family chose one of the smaller caves to set up a home.

A family is living in a small cave originally made for animals near Bethlehem. Photo early 1900s
A family is living in a small cave originally made for animals near Bethlehem. Photo early 1900s

 

   And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,  Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye be come into the land which I give unto you, and shall reap the harvest thereof, then ye shall bring a sheaf of the firstfruits of your harvest unto the priest:   And he shall wave the sheaf before the LORD, to be accepted for you: on the morrow after the sabbath the priest shall wave it.  And ye shall offer that day when ye wave the sheaf an he lamb without blemish of the first year for a burnt offering unto the LORD. Leviticus 23:9-12

This is speaking about Jesus death and resurrection  - Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. John 12:24
This is speaking about Jesus death and resurrection – Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. John 12:24
 
The words from John 4:35, “white unto harvest” are hard to imagine if a person has no idea of what a field of barley looks
The words from John 4:35, “white unto harvest” are hard to imagine if a person has no idea of what a field of barley looks

   In the 21st. century in a Western society we think of sheaves as something neatly bundled and easy to stack and handle. It may be presumed that a sheaf of barley was brought into the Temple, but that is highly unlikely. In fact the word sheaf in Leviticus 23:10 “bring a sheaf of the firstfruits ” is omer rme threshed, winnowed, clean grain about half gallon dry measure. The photo below shows what a sheaf looked like in Israel before modern machinery was used in the harvest.

Christian song, Bringing in the sheaves - most people have no idea what a sheave is
Christian song, Bringing in the sheaves – most people have no idea what a sheave is

 

The Book of Micah from the Scroll of the 12 Prophets. Micah begins at the bottom right hand side where the yad, pointer, is indicating and ends at the bottom left hand side where the quill is pointing.

The book of Micah from the Scroll of the 12 Prophets. It is very rare for a Gentile to ever view one of these Scrolls.
The book of Micah from the Scroll of the 12 Prophets. It is very rare for a Gentile to ever view one of these Scrolls.

The following photograph is from the Scroll of the 12 Prophets showing the book of Micah. In the Hebrew Scroll and printed Hebrew Bibles chapter 5 of Micah starts with these words:

But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting. 

 ואתה בית לחם אפרתה צעיר להיות באלפי יהודה ממך לי יצא להיות מושׁל בישׂראל ומוצאתיו מקדם מימי עולם

Matthew 2:1-6 1   Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem,  Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.  When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.  And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born.  And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judaea: for thus it is written by the prophet,  And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel.

Photograph of Micah chapter 5 verse 2 which has always been known at the prophecy of the birthplace of the Messiah.
Photograph of Micah chapter 5 verse 2 which has always been known at the prophecy of the birthplace of the Messiah.

And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,  Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye be come into the land which I give unto you, and shall reap the harvest thereof, then ye shall bring a sheaf of the firstfruits of your harvest unto the priest:   And he shall wave the sheaf before the LORD, to be accepted for you: on the morrow after the sabbath the priest shall wave it.  And ye shall offer that day when ye wave the (rme) sheaf an he lamb without blemish of the first year for a burnt offering unto the LORD. Leviticus 23:9-12

Messiah Jesus was The Lamb in the Omer

   The only way this omer could be brought to the Lord and accepted was with the blood sacrifice of a spotless lamb. That Lamb was The Messiah, Jesus.
The Scripture says He “made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Philippians 2:7-11

Remember, the Resurrection is represented in the Hebrew Scriptures as a barley harvest at the beginning of the feast of First Fruits. It is also represented the same way in the New Testament in John 12: 23, 24   And Jesus answered them, saying, The hour is come, that the Son of man should be glorified.  Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.

Let’s follow our Lord Jesus Christ in the visual aids of the barley harvest.

Jesus the Messiah was the lamb sacrifice in the omer presented to the Father.
Jesus the Messiah was the lamb sacrifice in the omer presented to the Father.

 

The Threshing of The Messiah

Every single detail of the feast of Firstfruits was fulfilled by Jesus The Messiah. Follow the barley grain:

  • He dwelt among mankind (the harvest) for 33 1/2 years
  • He was separated from the harvest field
  • He was threshed (beaten) as grain
  • He was winnowed as grain (His Spirit was separated from His body)
  • He arose from the dead in His body with many (following Him, about an omer)
  • He took the omer (many with Him to the Father to be accepted for the entire harvest which would follow 

Behold, my servant shall deal prudently, he shall be exalted and extolled, and be very high.   As many were astonished at thee; his visage was so marred more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men:  So shall he sprinkle many nations; the kings shall shut their mouths at him: for that which had not been told them shall they see; and that which they had not heard shall they consider. Isaiah 52:13-15

כאשׁר שׁממו עליך רבים כן משׁחת מאישׁ מראהו ותארו מבני אדם׃

And Jesus going up to Jerusalem took the twelve disciples apart in the way, and said unto them, Behold, we go up to Jerusalem; and the Son of man shall be betrayed unto the chief priests and unto the scribes, and they shall condemn him to death,  And shall deliver him to the Gentiles to mock, and to scourge, and to crucify him: and the third day he shall rise again. Matthew 20:17-19

  Then Pilate therefore took Jesus, and scourged him. John 19:1

Threshing is the process of loosening the edible part of cereal grain from the inedible chaff surrounding it.
Threshing is the process of loosening the edible part of cereal grain from the inedible chaff surrounding it.

 I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair: I hid not my face from shame and spitting.

Isaiah 50:6  strike, beat, scourge,

גוי נתתי למכים ולחיי למרטים פני לא הסתרתי מכלמות ורק

Threshing removed the grain from the head and loosens the chaff so the kernel can be seperated
Threshing removed the grain from the head and loosens the chaff so the kernel can be seperated

 

Winnowing barley at Bethlehem. Photo 1890s  Jesus was winnowed as He was separated from the “shell” of His body. We all have such a “shell” which the Scripture calls a “tabernacle” which we will leave and return to as it is changed. 

2 Corinthians 5:1 For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven: If so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked. For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life. Now he that hath wrought us for the selfsame thing is God, who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit. Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord: (For we walk by faith, not by sight:) We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.

 Jesus was winnowed as He was separated from the "shell" of His body.
Jesus was winnowed as He was separated from the “shell” of His body.

Jesus is separated from His body

  And it was about the sixth hour, and there was a darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour.   And the sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was rent in the midst. And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus, he gave up the ghost. Luke 23:44-46

And after this Joseph of Arimathaea, being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews, besought Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus: and Pilate gave him leave. He came therefore, and took the body of Jesus.  And there came also Nicodemus, which at the first came to Jesus by night, and brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about an hundred pound weight. Then took they the body of Jesus, and wound it in linen clothes with the spices, as the manner of the Jews is to bury. Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden; and in the garden a new sepulchre, wherein was never man yet laid. There laid they Jesus therefore because of the Jews’ preparation day; for the sepulchre was nigh at hand.
John 19:38-42

Looking down at the garden tomb from Golgotha - Photo 1905 Jerusalem
Looking down at the garden tomb from Golgotha – Photo 1905 Jerusalem

 

   Golgotha and the garden tomb were both outside the walls of Jerusalem. The distance from the crucifixion to the tomb was less than the length of a football field.

The distance from the crucifixion to the tomb was less than the length of a football field.
Golgotha and the garden tomb were both outside the walls of Jerusalem. The distance from the crucifixion to the tomb was less than the length of a football field.

And after this Joseph of Arimathaea, being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews, besought Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus: and Pilate gave him leave. He came therefore, and took the body of Jesus.  And there came also Nicodemus, which at the first came to Jesus by night, and brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about an hundred pound weight. Then took they the body of Jesus, and wound it in linen clothes with the spices, as the manner of the Jews is to bury. Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden; and in the garden a new sepulchre, wherein was never man yet laid. There laid they Jesus therefore because of the Jews’ preparation day; for the sepulchre was nigh at hand. John 19:38-42

Jesus was wound, wrapped in about 75 pounds of spices and linen
Jesus was wound, wrapped in about 75 pounds of spices and linen

 

  When the even was come, there came a rich man of Arimathaea, named Joseph, who also himself was Jesus’ disciple: Matthew 27:57
  This is a very expensive and heavy amount of ointments and linen cloth. None of the common people could have afforded these items. The body of Jesus was then wrapped again and again like a mummy with spices and linen.

The body of Jesus which had been separated from Jesus Spirit, His Life, is now wrapped and laid in a stone tomb to await Jesus return to take back His body.
The body of Jesus which had been separated from Jesus Spirit, His Life, is now wrapped and laid in a stone tomb to await Jesus return to take back His body.
The stone tomb where the body of Christ was laid is just outside the walls of the old city of Jerusalem.
The stone tomb where the body of Christ was laid is just outside the walls of the old city of Jerusalem.
The tomb in Jerusalem
The stone tomb where the body of Christ was laid is just outside the walls of the old city of Jerusalem.
  

Peter therefore went forth, and that other disciple, and came to the sepulchre.  So they ran both together: and the other disciple did outrun Peter, and came first to the sepulchre.  And he stooping down, and looking in, saw the linen clothes lying; yet went he not in.  Then cometh Simon Peter following him, and went into the sepulchre, and seeth the linen clothes lie, And the napkin, that was about his head, not lying with the linen clothes, but wrapped together in a place by itself.Then went in also that other disciple, which came first to the sepulchre, and he saw, and believed. John 20:3-8

  The following quote by Dr. Lance Wallnau is a very good explanation of the miracle that Jesus body was resurrected through the wrapped grave clothes rather than cutting the cocoon open.
  “The Greek words translated, “wrapped together” in John 20:7, actually mean, “twisted together” or “rolled up” –- it speaks of a fixed position – much like a cocoon. The linen cloths were “wrapped” or “rolled together,” however the body was missing. The “linen clothes” had not been unfolded, loosed or disturbed in any way! They just lay there! An empty shell of the linen clothes that had been wrapped around and around the body of Jesus.

THE COCOON WAS EMPTY…

  All these liquid spices would soon harden and would cause the cloth wrappings to become an encrusted cocoon around the body of Jesus. All the wrappings followed the contours of the body; it would be a tight solid covering that would protect the body, and from which the body could not be pulled by any human means. The only way, humanly speaking, a body could be removed from such encrusted wrappings, would be by cutting the cloth from end to end and laying back each side so the body could be pulled from its wrappings. 

PROOF – THE BODY COULD NOT HAVE BEEN STOLEN”

Jesus body was wrapped as a mummy with much spices and much linen around and around many times. He could have nor been removed from the wrapping unless the wrapping was unwound.
Jesus body was wrapped as a mummy with much spices and much linen around and around many times. He could have nor been removed from the wrapping unless the wrapping was unwound.

 

 The shroud of Turin is very interesting however it could not have anything to do with the burial of Jesus The Messiah. The body in the shroud would not be lying flat as it was wound with linen and with each turn of the body spices of aloe and myrrh were added. The amount of linen would have been considerable to accommodate the “hundred pound weight” about 75-86 American pounds of ointments. The body would be crunched together in the cocoon. The details on the body would be obscure by the amount of linen and ointment.

 

The body in the shroud of Turin shows no sign of being wrapped
The body in the shroud of Turin shows no sign of being wrapped

 

What happened to Jesus from the time he was placed in the tomb and the resurrection?
What happened to Jesus from the time he was placed in the tomb and the resurrection?