Jesus is called “the Firstfruits of those that rise from the dead”. (I Corinthians 15:20) Three days and nights after His crucifixion and early in the morning Jesus rose again from the grave. The correct date is believed to be the 17th of Nisan, right on the Feast of Firstfruits. Note that the sabbath or ‘high day” of the first day of the seven days of Unleavened Bread is then followed by a regular seventh day Sabbath, (or Saturday). There were two Sabbaths that year, which was 32 A.D.
Jesus Christ is the Firstfruits of eternal life. Thoughout the Bible, God uses the analogy of the harvest of Firstfruits to illustrate aspects of his plan of salvation. Israel observed this day in the late Spring after the Barley and Wheat harvests. A special offering of the first ripe grain during the Days of Unleaven Bread, called the Wave-Sheaf offering, marked the beginning of these harvests, which continuted during the next 50 days and led up to the Pentecost. This spring harvest was the Firstfruits of the yearly agricultural cycle.
The marrow after the Sabbath was the day for the priests to wave the sheaf of Barley. This was in celebration of the Feasts of Firstfruits. From this day, seven Sabbaths were counted off or 49 days. The following day, the fiftieth day, was the Pentecost or Shavuot. This was called “counting out the omer”. Lev 23:15-16.
One of the first Harvest lessons of the New Testament is that Jesus Christ is risen from the dead and has become the Firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep (the dead). The Wave-Sheaf offering represented Jesus Christ, who was the firstborn over all creation and the first born from the dead. He presented himself to God, The Father, on the Sunday after his resurrection.
Firstfruits was the first day after the sabbath following Passover. The risen Jesus Christ was seen that morning by Mary near the garden tomb (John 20:10-18). Later He walked through the wall to visit with the disciples in a closed room. Thomas felt the wound in His side and confirmed that He was not a ghost. He was real. He had a spiritual body. His spiritual body was solidly manifest in this world. He could be touched and felt as a material body (John 20:24-29). Jesus also met up with James and John by the Sea of Galilee. They were out in their boat fishing. He had bread and was frying some fish for them there by the seashore(John 21:3-14). Later He joined up with some disciples as they walked down from Jerusalem on the road to Emmaus. This was the manner in which our risen Lord operated in this cosmos during those weeks before He ascended to the Father. He would appear among His people, join in fellowship with them, minister to them, and then disappear.
The Messiah is the beginning of God’s harvest of humanity. He is the first to be raised from the dead. He is the first to be resurrected. The first to get a glorified, perfected, resurrection body, designed to live forever in the New Heavens and the New Earth that God will create. And, we very much needed the Great Passover Lamb to rise from the dead so He could be the “first fruits of those who have fallen asleep” (see 1 Corinthians 15:20).
The resources for this article are: Gavin Finley, endtimepilgrim.org; Claus Tondering, Calendar.org; Pastor David Middleton, Feast of Firstfruits-Archive, Pastor Mark Biltz, Passover to Pentecost- Utube, or click below to purchase your personal copy of many Mark Biltz CDs.