I cried out to the Father, the Most High God, "Just Give Me The Truth!"
Just Give Me The Truth
The Feast of First Fruits was never negated or cancelled. Jesus/Yahshua and His followers celebrated it, the apostles celebrated it, the early church celebrated it. So why has western Christianity ignored it?
It's time to get back to our roots as followers of HIM.
But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming. Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.--1 Corinthians 15:20-26
Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost. And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent; And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many.--Matthew 27:50-53
And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.--Acts 2:1-4
John answered, saying unto them all, I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire: Whose fan [winnowing fork] is in his hand, and he will thoroughly purge his floor, and will gather the wheat into his garner; but the chaff he will burn with fire unquenchable.--Luke 3:16,17
According to Edersheim, one of the peculiar things about Pentecost was the two wave loaves. There were two loaves but everything regarding them was done separately (the measuring of the wheat for each loaf was done separately, the kneading of each loaf was done separately, they were baked separately, etc.). They were both to be used at the same feast, but yet there was great effort expended to make sure that each loaf was somehow different than the other.
Another thing to note is that these loaves are leavened which is unusual seeing leaven is often associated with sin. Apparently both loaves have an element of sin to them (or the leaven constitutes the kingdom of God like in the parable of the yeast [Matt 13:33]. The sin as leaven parallel is more prevalent).
Next point of interest is that one of the loaves is given to the high-priest and the other to all the other priests. The church's high-priest is Jesus and if we continue with the analogy of Jesus fulfilling these feasts it looks as if at some Pentecost in the future one loaf will be given to him and the other to the priests/Israel.
Modern Jewish observance of Shavuot/Pentecost includes this thought that Israel is a kingdom of priests. Exodus 19-20, Ezekiel 1, and the scroll of Ruth are read to celebrate the day Moses was given the Torah. It's rather long, but I'd like to include all of Exodus 19-20 and Ezekiel 1 so that you can get a feeling for exactly what would be in the minds of those coming out of the synagogue on that day (and maybe give an idea of how they would perceive the fulfillment of Shavuot/Pentecost some day when the Lord is given his loaf--or if that was the day Moses as one of the two witnesses returned?).
In the third month, when the children of Israel were gone forth out of the land of Egypt, the same day came they into the wilderness of Sinai. For they were departed from Rephidim, and were come to the desert of Sinai, and had pitched in the wilderness; and there Israel camped before the mount. And Moses went up unto God, and the LORD called unto him out of the mountain [Sinai], saying, Thus shalt thou say to the house of Jacob, and tell the children of Israel; Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagles' wings, and brought you unto myself. Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine: And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel. And Moses came and called for the elders of the people, and laid before their faces all these words which the LORD commanded him. And all the people answered together, and said, All that the LORD hath spoken we will do. And Moses returned the words of the people unto the LORD. And the LORD said unto Moses, Lo, I come unto thee in a thick cloud, that the people may hear when I speak with thee, and believe thee for ever. And Moses told the words of the people unto the LORD. And the LORD said unto Moses, Go unto the people, and sanctify them today and tomorrow, and let them wash their clothes, And be ready against the third day: for the third day the LORD will come down in the sight of all the people upon mount Sinai. And thou shalt set bounds unto the people round about, saying, Take heed to yourselves, that ye go not up into the mount, or touch the border of it: whosoever toucheth the mount shall be surely put to death: There shall not an hand touch it, but he shall surely be stoned, or shot through; whether it be beast or man, it shall not live: when the trumpet soundeth long, they shall come up to the mount. And Moses went down from the mount unto the people, and sanctified the people; and they washed their clothes. And he said unto the people, Be ready against the third day: cone not at your wives. And it came to pass on the third day in the morning, that there were thunders and lightnings, and a thick cloud upon the mount, and the voice of the trumpet exceeding loud; so that all the people that was in the camp trembled. And Moses brought forth the people out of the camp to meet with God; and they stood at the nether part of the mount. And mount Sinai was altogether on a smoke, because the LORD descended upon it in fire: and the smoke thereof ascended as the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mount quaked greatly. And when the voice of the trumpet sounded long, and waxed louder and louder, Moses spake, and God answered him by a voice. And the LORD came down upon mount Sinai, on the top of the mount: and the LORD called Moses up to the top of the mount; and Moses went up. And the LORD said unto Moses, Go down, charge the people, lest they break through unto the LORD to gaze, and many of them perish. And let the priests also, which come near to the LORD, sanctify themselves, lest the LORD break forth upon them. And Moses said unto the LORD, The people cannot come up to mount Sinai: for thou chargedst us, saying, Set bounds about the mount, and sanctify it. And the LORD said unto him, Away, get thee down, and thou shalt come up, thou, and Aaron with thee: but let not the priests and the people break through to come up unto the LORD, lest he break forth upon them. So Moses went down unto the people, and spake unto them. And God spake all these words, saying, I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt have no other gods before me. Thou shalt not make unto thee any grave image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generations of them that hate me; And showing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments. Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain. Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it. Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee. Thou shalt not kill. Thou shalt not commit adultery. Thou shalt not steal. Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour's. And all the people saw the thunderings, and the lightnings, and the noise of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking: and when the people saw it, they removed, and stood afar off. And they said unto Moses, Speak thou with us, and we will hear: but let not God speak with us, lest we die. And Moses said unto the people, Fear not: for God is come to prove you, (see wormwood file for more on testing of the people) and that his fear may be before your faces, that ye sin not. And the people stood afar off, and Moses drew near unto the thick darkness where God was. And the LORD said unto Moses, Thus thou shalt say unto the children of Israel, Ye have seen that I have talked with you from heaven. Ye shall not make with me gods of silver, neither shall ye make unto you gods of gold. An altar of earth thou shalt make unto me, and shalt sacrifice thereon thy burnt offerings, and thy peace offerings, thy sheep, and thine oxen: in all places where I record my name I will come unto thee, and I will bless thee. And if thou wilt make me an altar of stone, thou shalt not build it of hewn stone: for if thou lift up thy tool upon it, thou hast polluted it. Neither shalt thou go up by steps unto mine altar, that thy nakedness be not discovered thereon.--Exodus 19, 20
(For word-for-word explanation of some of these verses using Strong's see living beings file.)
Now it came to pass in the thirtieth year, in the fourth month, in the fifth day of the month, as I was among the captives by the river of Chebar, that the heavens were opened, and I saw visions of God. In the fifth day of the month, which was the fifth year of king Jehoiachin's captivity, The word of the LORD came expressly unto Ezekiel the priest, the son of Buzi, in the land of Chaldeans by the river Chebar; and the hand of the LORD was there upon him. And I looked, and, behold, a whirlwind came out of the north, a great cloud, and a fire infolding itself, and a brightness was about it, and out of the midst thereof as the colour of amber, out of the midst of the fire. Also out of the midst thereof came the likeness of four living creatures. And this was their appearance; they had the likeness of a man. And every one had four faces, and every one had four wings. And their feet were straight feet; and the sole of their feet was like the sole of a calf's foot: and they sparkled like the colour of burnished brass. And they had the hands of a man under their wings on their four sides; and they four had their faces and their wings. Their wings were joined one to another; they turned not when they went; they went every one straight forward. As for the likeness of their faces, they four had the face of a man, and the face of a lion, on the right side: and they four had the face of an ox on the left side; they four also had the face of an eagle. Thus were their faces: and their wings were stretched upward; two wings of every one were joined one to another, and two covered their bodies. And they went every one straight forward: whither the spirit was to go, they went; and they turned not when they went. As for the likeness of the living creatures, their appearance was like burning coals of fire, and like the appearance of lamps: it went up and down among the living creatures; and the fire was bright, and out of the fire went forth lightning. And the living creatures ran and returned as the appearance of a flash of lightning. Now as I beheld the living creatures, behold one wheel upon the earth by the living creatures, with his four faces. The appearance of the wheels and their work was like unto the colour of a beryl: and they four had one likeness: and their appearance and their work was as it were a wheel in the middle of a wheel. When they went, they went upon their four sides: and they turned not when they went. As for their rings, they were so high that they were dreadful; and their rings were full of eyes round about them four. And when the living creatures went, the wheels went by them: And when the living creatures were lifted up from the earth, the wheels were lifted up. Whithersoever the spirit was to go, they went, thither was their spirit to go; and the wheels were lifted up over against them: for the spirit of the living creature was in the wheels. When those went, these went; and when those stood, these stood; and when those were lifted up from the earth, the wheels were lifted up over against them: for the spirit of the living creature was in the wheels. And the likeness of the firmament upon the heads of the living creature was as the colour of the terrible crystal, stretched forth over their heads above. And under the firmament were their wings straight, the one toward the other: every one had two, which covered on this side, and every one had two, which covered on that side, their bodies. And when they went, I heard the noise of their wings, like the noise of great waters, as the voice of the Almighty, the voice of speech, as the noise of an host: when they stood, they let down their wings. And there was a voice from the firmament that was over their heads, when they stood, and had let down their wings. And above the firmament that was over their heads was the likeness of a throne, as the appearance of a sapphire stone: and upon the likeness of the throne was the likeness as the appearance of a man above upon it. And I saw as the colour of amber, as the appearance of fire round about within it, from the appearance of his loins even upward, and from the appearance of his loins even downward, I saw as it were the appearance of fire, and it had brightness round about. As the appearance of the bow that is in the cloud in the day of rain, so was the appearance of the brightness round about. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD. And when I saw it, I fell upon my face, and I heard a voice of one that spake.
WHEAT, the chief cereal crop for human beings and animals. Rivaled only by oats and corn, it is a primary source of flour and breakfast foods for peoples all over the world...Many ancient peoples considered it a gift from Heaven...Wheat is hardy and adaptable, but because of many years of cultivation, selection, and breeding, it has become weakened in character and has lost its ability to compete with other plants in uncultivated areas...Although it can be raised in widely differing climates...it would soon die out if left untended...Hundreds of varieties of wheat have been developed and classified variously as hard and soft, bald and bearded, red and white, spring and fall...The plants of fall wheat produce a crown of leaves which protect the roots during the dormant season...To prevent smashed heads and loss of ripe grain, wheat is harvested in the dough stage, or just before it is fully matured...The principal foreign countries competing with the United States in the world market are Russia, Canada, Australia, and Argentina. The United Kingdom and Europe are the chief importers, although the United States imports great quantities to be milled and manufactured for export.
(Collier's Encyclopedia, 1963)
WHEAT. With the possible exception of rice, wheat is the most important cereal crop in the world; certainly it is the most valuable. From it, white and whole-wheat breads are made, and one has only to observe the universal use of bread to realize the necessity of this golden grain...It probably originated in Asia, man's earliest home, but it was not grown in America until after the coming of the white man...Wheat has a number of enemies. They include rust, the Hessian fly, the chinch bug, and wheat midge.
(The Wonderland of Knowledge Encyclopedia, 1965)
rust: a reddish brittle coating formed on iron esp. when chemically attacked by moist air and composed essentially of hydrated ferric oxide; corrosive or injurious influence or effect; any of numerous destructive diseases of plants produced by fungi; to degenerate esp. from inaction, lack of use, or passage of time.
After this I saw in the night visions, and behold a fourth beast, dreadful and terrible, and strong exceedingly; and it had great iron teeth: it devoured and brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with the feet of it: and it was diverse from all the beasts that were before it; and it had ten horns.--Daniel 7:7
hessian: a German mercenary serving in the British forces during the American Revolution; broadly: a mercenary soldier.
(Webster's Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary)
WHEAT. The principal diseases of wheat are connected with the presence of parasitic fungi. The chief of these diseases are rust, smut and bunt. Wheat is also liable to injury from several insect pests, especially the Hessian fly and sawfly.
(Universal Standard Encyclopedia, 1956)
smut: matter that soils or blackens; any of various destructive diseases esp. of cereal grasses caused by parasitic fungi and marked by transformation of plant organs into dark masses of spores; obscene language or matter.
sawfly: any of numerous hymenopterous insects whose female usu. has a pair of serrated blades in her ovipositor and whose larva resembles a plant-feeding caterpillar (see locusts).
(Webster's Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary)
Most of the wheat and barley have been reaped. So, if it is to be found, it is scarce (notice the admonition to leave the wine and oil alone):
And when he had opened the third seal, I heard the third beast say, Come and see. And I beheld, and lo a black horse; and he that sat on him had a pair of balances in his hand. And I heard a voice in the midst of the four beasts say, A measure of wheat for a penny, and three measures of barley for a penny; and see thou hurt not the oil and the wine.--Revelation 6:5,6
Notice the difference between the produce of the ground (barley, wheat, corn) and produce of the trees (wine, oil). Most of the produce of the ground is harvested at the beginning and middle of the year, but some is left to be harvested with the produce from the trees at the end of the year.
Nehemiah speaks of this distinction between produce of the ground and trees in chapter 10:
And to bring the firstfruits of our ground, and the firstfruits of all fruit of all trees, year by year, unto the house of the LORD: And that we should bring the firstfruits of our dough, and our offerings, and the fruit of all manner of trees, of wine and of oil, unto the priests, to the chambers of the house of our God; and the tithes of our ground unto the Levites, that the same Levites might have the tithes in all the cities of our tillage.--10:35,37
The tribe of Levi was divided between the priests and temple attendants (the Jews recognize three divisions of Israel: 1. priests, 2. temple attendants and 3. everyone left over [see "to the angel of the church]). All these divisions are confusing but it's interesting to see that even those who were about the business of the Temple were in two distinct groups--though they're all Levites, they don't all have the same job.