FEAST OF FIRSTFRUITS
The Day of Firstfruits, known today as Resurrection Day, is the third of the seven annual feasts of God in the Bible. As the seven feasts are grouped into three, Resurrection Day is part of the second group of feasts together with the Pentecost. Resurrection Day is celebrated the day after the first Sabbath following the Feast of Unleavened Bread. In other words, it’s the Sunday after the Feast of Unleavened Bread. This is why Resurrection Day is always on a Sunday.
Throughout the Bible, a feast can have multiple names to help show its proper meaning based on the context. In the Old Testament, the Day of Firstfruits is also called the feast of the wave offering and the festival of first harvest.
“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. He is to wave the sheaf before the Lord so it will be accepted on your behalf; the priest is to wave it on the day after the Sabbath.”
The Day of Firstfruits is a commemoration of God’s great power through the resurrection of Christ.
Origin of the Feast of Firstfruits
After demanding the Israelites to leave Egypt, Pharaoh immediately changed his mind and sent his army to capture them. As Pharaoh’s army chased after them, God helped the Israelites cross the Red Sea on dry ground with walls of water stretched high on both sides. As soon as they crossed the sea, it went back to its place and the Egyptian army was buried in the water.
God commanded the Israelites to commemorate the day every year so that they might remember His mighty power revealed on that day. This is the origin of the Day of Firstfruits (Ex 14:26-31).
On the day after the first Sabbath following the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the Israelites brought a sheaf of the first grain to the priest. The priest waved the sheaf before God so it could be accepted as an offering on behalf of the people (Lev 23:9-11).
Then the Lord said to Moses, “Give the following instructions to the people of Israel. When you enter the land I am giving you and you harvest its first crops, bring the priest a bundle of grain from the first cutting of your grain harvest. On the day after the Sabbath, the priest will lift it up before the Lord so it may be accepted on your behalf.”
Leviticus 23:9-12 (NLT)
But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.1 Corinthians 15:20 (NIV)
Celebrating Resurrection Day Today
As they talked and discussed these things, Jesus himself suddenly came and began walking with them. But God kept them from recognizing him.
Luke 24:15 (NLT)
“The things that happened to Jesus, the man from Nazareth,” they said. “He was a prophet who did powerful miracles, and he was a mighty teacher in the eyes of God and all the people. But our leading priests and other religious leaders handed him over to be condemned to death, and they crucified him. We had hoped he was the Messiah who had come to rescue Israel. This all happened three days ago.”
Luke 24:19 (NLT)
Then Jesus took them through the writings of Moses and all the prophets, explaining from all the Scriptures the things concerning himself. … As they sat down to eat, he took the bread and blessed it. Then he broke it and gave it to them. Suddenly, their eyes were opened, and they recognized him.
Luke 24:27, 30-31 (NLT)