Firstfruits

Exodus 23:14-17 Three times thou shalt keep a feast unto Me in the year.
15 Thou shalt keep the feast of unleavened bread: (thou shalt eat unleavened bread seven days, as I commanded thee, in the time appointed of the month Abib; for in it thou camest out from Egypt: and none shall appear before Me empty:)
16 And the feast of harvest, the firstfruits of thy labors, which thou hast sown in the field: and the feast of ingathering, which is in the end of the year, which thou hast gathered in the labors out of the field.
17 Three times in the year all thy males shall appear before the Lord God.

The Feast of Unleavened Bread is connected with Passover. The Feast of Harvest is usually called the Feast of Pentecost, because it is fifty days after Passover. It is also called the Feast of Weeks and the Feast of Firstfruits. The Feast of Ingathering is the Feast of Tabernacles. It is a feast of culmination. The Feast of Pentecost celebrated a harvest of firstfruits. The Feast of Tabernacles was a celebration of the final ingathering. There was great rejoicing because all the harvest was in, and the barns were full.

There is spiritual significance to these harvests. The Lord is interested in harvesting people. Look at Exodus 23:16 again; And the feast of harvest, the firstfruits of thy labors. Which thou hast sown in the fieldÖ In Matthew 13:38 Jesus said that the field was the world. Verse 19 of the same chapter says that the seed sown is the Word of God. This means we have a Feast of Harvest to experience. The Word of God is sown in the world, and there is a firstfruits harvest. It will be the firstfruits of our evangelistic labors.

The feast of ingathering, which is in the end of the year (verse 16) speaks of the culmination of the ingathering of Godís people at the end of the Church Age.

Exodus 34:22 And thou shalt observe the feast of weeks, of the firstfruits of wheat harvest, and the feast of ingathering at the yearís end.

The Feast of Pentecost and the Feast of Tabernacles are grouped together again in the same verse. There is a relationship between Pentecost and Tabernacles. Both are a part of the same harvest. The Feast of Pentecost has to do with the firstfruits of the harvest and the Feast of Tabernacles the completion of the harvest.

The Feast of Firstfruits harvest is usually related to the Day of Pentecost in Acts chapter two. It was like a firstfruits harvest. It was the beginning of the Church Age. The Holy Spirit filled 120 believers, forming the New Testament Church. And those who responded to Peterís sermon on that day were added to the church, making them the firstfruits gathered in by the church.

That experience in Acts two, though, does not exhaust the prophecies concerning Pentecost. When Peter stood up to begin his sermon, he said, This is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel (Acts 2:16). Then he quoted Joelís prophecy. Many of the things Joel prophesied did not take place at that time, which means the prophecies concerning the Feast of Harvest of Firstfruits are waiting for a greater fulfillment.

We understand from the Scriptures that the Body of Christ, with Jesus at its head, will be the ingathering ministry that completes the harvest. Paul tells us in Ephesians 4:11-16 that the Body of Christ comes into its maturity by the ministry of the apostolic company Ė the apostles, prophets, evangelists, and pastors and teachers. The Body of Christ cannot function in its ministry, until it comes unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ (Ephesians 4:13). Since they need to be created first, they become the firstfruits of the harvest.

We must understand that the Body of Christ is not just a conglomeration of all Christians. The Body of Christ is made up of those through whom the Lord is ministering. It is, and will be, the ministering Christ in the earth. It is the firstfruits harvest. It will be the bread of life to all those who come to the Lord during the ingathering. Obadiah says, Saviours (Body of Christ) shall come up on mount Zion to judge the mount of Esau; and the Kingdom shall be the Lordís. Joel prophesied saying, And it shall come to pass, that whoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the Lord hath said, and in the remnant whom the Lord shall call (Joel 2:32). This remnant is the Body of Christ, the firstfruits harvest of the Lord.

Leviticus 23:15-16 And ye shall count unto you from the morrow after the sabbath, from the day that ye brought the sheaf of the wave offering; seven sabbaths shall be complete:
16 Even unto the morrow after the seventh sabbath shall ye number fifty days; and ye shall offer a new meat offering unto the Lord.

The meat (meal) offering consisted of flour, oil, and frankincense. It was offered with the whole-burnt offering. The burnt offering was life offered to God. It was man dedicating his life to God. Its counterpart in the New Testament is Romans 12:1. I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. The meal offering, on the other hand, indicated life being ministered to man. In that sense Jesus was a meal offering. He said, I am the bread of life (John 6:35). He was the provision of God, the bread of life, that we might feed on Him and partake of His divine nature. The meal offering, then, is that which ministers divine life to man. When Jesus ministered the bread of life, He was the meal offering. The church being represented by the meal offering means that it has entered into the ministry of the bread of life.

Now we know what the Lord meant in verse 16, when He said there shall be a new meat offering at the Feast of Firstfruits. The disciples on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2) became a new meat offering, because they became the ministry of life to man.

Leviticus 23:17 Ye shall bring out of your habitations two wave loaves of two tenths deals: they shall be of fine flour, they shall be baken with leaven; they are the firstfruits unto the Lord.

From the firstfruits harvest of wheat two loaves of bread are baked and presented to the Lord as a wave offering. Two is the number of Christ in His many-membered Body. The 120, who received the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost, were a wave offering unto the Lord. The two loaves waved before the Lord also speaks of the Body of Christ that God is raising up in this day. They become living bread for all those who would open their hearts to the Lord. The fine flour indicates that their flesh has been crushed by the dealings of the Lord, so that His Spirit may flow through them unhindered. Being baked speaks basically the same thing. The Body of Christ is exposed to the fire of God, which purges them and brings them forth as pure gold (Malachi 3:2-3; I Peter 1:7). The leaven represents sin. The bread of the Passover representing Christ was baked without leaven because He knew no sin. The bread of the wave offering representing the Body of Christ is baked with leaven because mankind has a sinful nature.

Acts 1:5, 2:1-4 For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.
2:1 And when the Day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.
2 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.
3 And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them.
4 And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

John the Baptist had prophesied, I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but He that cometh after MeÖshall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire (Matthew 3:11). Jesus repeated Johnís prophecy to His disciples in Acts 1:5. Then on the Day of Pentecost the prophecy was fulfilled: They were all filled with the Holy Ghost. Acts 2:4.

Without minimizing what happened on the Day of Pentecost, we understand that what God does in these last days will be greater than what was done in former times. Haggai prophesied, The glory of the latter house shall be greater than of the former (Haggai 2:9). Jesus prophesied, He that believeth on Me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do (John 14:12). The End-time Church will do greater works than the Early Apostolic Church. Therefore, it will need a greater anointing of the Holy Spirit.

Explaining what happened on the Day of Pentecost, Peter said, This is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel (Acts 2:16). He then quoted Joelís prophecy. Everything Joel prophesied was not fulfilled on the Day of Pentecost. There will yet be a greater fulfillment of his prophecy. In like manner, we understand that the prophecy of John the Baptist has not been exhausted, either. There is still a baptism of the Holy Spirit for the Body of Christ to experience, which will be greater than what the 120 experienced on the Day of Pentecost.

What we need now is far more than anything the Church has experienced up to this point. But it wonít happen to those who are uninterested. Much of the Christian world is satisfied with its present state. Only a remnant will open its heart to walk on with God. We will have to be willing to leave everything behind. We will not be able to confine the movings of God in our present religious systems. The new wine of the Kingdom will burst the old religious wineskins (Matthew 9:17).

The church splits that took place at the beginning of the Charismatic Movement will be as nothing compared to what will be happening in the days ahead. God is going to move on hearts that are open to Him, and because church hierarchies wonít be willing to change, church after church will burst at the seams.

People have talked about the end-time move of God for a long time. Well, itís coming! Many churches wonít like it, though. They will want Godís movings to conform to their doctrinal statements, but God will refuse to be boxed in. He is not going to fit into our little molds. So letís throw away the molds and get ready for change. God is ready to harvest His firstfruits.

Copyright © 1999 by Henry DuBose

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