Sabbath Message by Donovan Schricker


Sabbath 15/3/29/120

Dear Friends.

In this message we will consider the firstfruits of Pentecost. This Feast of Pentecost is the closing festival of the Passover season as it is the fiftieth day of the Omer count. The firstfruits of the barley harvest were waved before the Lord during the Feast of Passover, which began the Omer count. The firstfruits of the wheat harvest were waved before the Lord during the Feast of Weeks called Pentecost in the New Testament. Pentecost marks the end of the barley harvest and the beginning of the wheat harvest. We are now into the Wheat Harvest based on the Bible seasons in the Middle East. We find these firstfruits of the wheat harvest first mentioned in Exodus 23:16.

Exodus 23:14-17 "Three times in the year you shall keep a feast to me. 15 You shall keep the feast of unleavened bread; as I commanded you, you shall eat unleavened bread for seven days at the appointed time in the month of Abib for in it you came out of Egypt. None shall appear before me empty-handed. 16 You shall keep the feast of harvest, of the first fruits of your labor, of what you sow in the field. You shall keep the feast of ingathering at the end of the year. When you gather in from the field the fruit of your labor. 17 Three times in the year shall all your males appear before the Lord God. (RSV)

The next place that the firstfruits of the wheat harvest is specifically mentioned is in Exodus 34:22. It is in connection with the Feast of Weeks or Pentecost.

Exodus 34:22 And you shall observe the feast of weeks, the first fruits of the wheat harvest, and the feast of ingathering at the year's end. (RSV)

With the wheat harvest in mind as a cereal offering of new grain we go to Leviticus 23:15. Here the requirements for the Omer count and the offerings are mentioned with regard to the Feast of Weeks.

Leviticus 23:15-21 "And you shall count from the morrow after the sabbath, from the day that you brought the sheaf of the wave offering; seven full week shall they be, 16 counting fifty days to the morrow after the seventh sabbath, then you shall present a cereal offering of new grain to the Lord. 17 You shall bring from your dwellings two loaves of bread to be waved, made of two tenths of an ephah; they shall be of fine flour, they shall be baked with leaven, as the first fruits to the Lord. 18 And you shall present with the bread seven lambs a year old without blemish, and one young bull and two rams; they shall be a burnt offering to the Lord, with their cereal offering and drink offerings, an offering by fire, a pleasing odor to the Lord. 19 And you shall offer one male goat for a sin offering, and two male lambs a year old as a sacrifice of peace offerings. 20 And the priest shall wave them with the bread of the first fruits as a wave offering before the Lord, with the two lambs; they shall be holy to the Lord for the priest. 21 And you shall make proclamation on the same day; you shall hold a holy convocation; you shall do no laborious work: it is a statute for ever in all your dwellings throughout your generations. (RSV)

As the wheat is ground into fine flour so the Church is refined and perfected. The flour is baked into two loaves. They are baked with leaven, which is symbolic, not of sin, but of the Holy Spirit which was given at Pentecost. The next place that firstfruits is mentioned is in Numbers 28:26. Here we read:

Numbers 28:26 "On the day of the first fruits, when you offer a cereal offering of new grain to the Lord at your feast of weeks, you shall hold a holy convocation. (RSV)

We as the Body of Christ are the Firstfruits being called and chosen now in God's plan of salvation. This is the calling of the Church, which has continued from Pentecost, 30 CE. We will participate in the second harvest, which is indicated by the Feast of Ingathering also known as Tabernacles when all who have not been given salvation as yet will be brought in after the second
resurrection, both mankind and fallen angels.

The first of the firstfruits was Jesus Christ being the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. He ascended to the Father on the morning after his resurrection from the dead and presented himself as the sheaf of the wave offering. His resurrection in regard to the firstfruits is found in 1Corinthians 15:20.

1Corinthians 15:20-23 But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21 For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive: 23 But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ. (RSV)

Our calling to be in the First Resurrection is as a kind of firstfruits of those who belong to Christ at his coming. In the book of James chapter 1 starting in verse 16 we read:

James 1:16-18 Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren. 17 Every good endowment and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. 18 Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth that we should be a kind of first fruits of his creatures. (RSV)

We thank the Father for giving us His Word of truth, which is His Scriptures. He willed that we be brought in as the firstfruits of mankind. The last place that we find the firstfruits mentioned is in the book of Revelations 14:

Revelation 14:1-5 Then I looked, and lo, on Mount Zion stood the Lamb, and with him a hundred and forty-four thousand who had his name and his Father's name written on their foreheads. 2 And I heard a voice from heaven like the sound of many waters and like the sound of loud thunder; the voice I heard was like the sound of harpers playing on their harps, 3 and they sing a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and before the elders. No one could learn that song except the hundred and forty-four thousand who had been redeemed from the earth. 4 It is these who have not defiled themselves with women, for they are chaste, it is these who follow the Lamb wherever he goes; these have been redeemed from mankind as first fruits for God and the Lamb, 5 and in their mouth no lie was found, for they are spotless. (RSV)

Let us, indeed, follow the Lamb wherever he goes as the firstfruits of the wheat harvest of Pentecost.

Donovan Schricker

US Conference

© Copyright 2006 Christian Churches of God, All Rights Reserved