First Fruits Lev. 23:10



Part of the obligation of Israel in their covenant relationship with the LORD was to offer unto Him the firstfruits of their harvests.  Leviticus 23:10: "Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye are come into the land which I give unto you, and shall reap the harvest thereof, then ye shall bring the sheaf of the first-fruits of your harvest unto the priest:…"

The offering of this was to be without delay.  Leviticus 23:14: "And ye shall eat neither bread, nor parched grain, nor fresh ears, until this selfsame day, until ye have brought the oblation of your God: it is a statute for ever throughout your generations in all your dwellings."

People would normally put the first harvest aside in case something happened to the rest of the crop. This would provide not only food but a seed for planting again.  Israel offered this unto the LORD.  This became known as the 'feast of first fruits'.  Exodus 34:22 reads: "And thou shalt observe the feast of weeks, even of the first-fruits of wheat harvest, and the feast of ingathering at the year's end."  This feast was also known as the feast of harvest (Ex. 23:16) and the feast of Weeks or Pentecost as it was celebrated fifty days after the Passover.

Leviticus 19:23-25 says that they were to NOT eat the fruit of trees they planted for the first three years. Then, the fourth year, all the fruit was to be offered unto the LORD.  Beginning with the fifth year they were allowed to eat of the fruit of the harvest from such trees.  God promised that this would result that the tree 'may yield unto you the increase thereof: I am Jehovah your God" (ASV).   This seems to be alluded to in Proverbs 3:9-10 which reads: "Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the firstfruits of all your produce; then your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will be bursting with wine."  The offering of such firstfruits was an expression of their trust that the Lord would provide for them.

Turning to the New Testament produces some interesting thoughts. Jesus of course was crucified and raised during the feast of the Passover.  He then met with the apostles over a period of 40 days. On the day of Pentecost (harvest, first fruits) Peter preaches the first gospel sermon on the resurrection and glory of Jesus. This resulted in 3000 of Israel being baptized and added together into a holy body unto the Lord.  A common way for the apostles to speak of such early believers was to call them 'first fruits' (Rom. 16:5; 1 Cor. 16:15; Jas. 1:18; Rev. 14:4). Such was just the beginning of God's harvest of souls. Soon multitudes were believing and being baptized.

Then in 1 Corinthians Paul speaks of Jesus being 'the firstfruits': "But now hath Christ been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of them that are asleep" (15:20).  Then he states "… each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; then they that are Christ's, at his coming" (1 Cor. 15:23).  Our resurrection is the promised provision of the resurrection of our Lord. He is the firstfruits and we also will be raised. Praise the Lord for His promises unto us.