The Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them: ‘When you come into the land which I give to you, and reap its harvest, then you shall bring a sheaf of the firstfruits of your harvest to the priest. He shall wave the sheaf before the Lord, to be accepted on your behalf; on the day after the Sabbath the priest shall wave it.’” (Vayikra [Leviticus] 23:9-11).
While the third appointed feast was delayed until the people of Israel took possession of their Promised Land, once they began taking its harvest, they began observing the feast of firstfruits “on the day after the Shabbat.”
There is reason to see a messianic significance to this third appointed feast. The Brit Hadashah (New Testament) refers to the resurrected Yeshua as the firstfruits of those who will be resurrected (1 Corinthians 15:20, 23). In this light it is important to see how the resurrection of Yeshua links Him to the historic Feast of Firstfruits.
The Gospels tell us that “After the Shabbat, as the first day of the week began to dawn, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to see the tomb” (Matthew 28:1). Firsthand reports about the resurrection tell us that Yeshua rose from the grave on the first day of the week after the seventh-day Shabbat. Yeshua rose from the dead not on just any day. The Messiah rose according to God’s intentional design in order to fulfill the Torah. He rose on HaBikkurim – the Feast of Firstfruits. His resurrection was a promise of the life and everlasting freedom that would come to all who believed in Him.
Like Passover and the Feast of the Unleavened Bread, the Feast of Firstfruits is ripe with messianic overtones. Each feast has a connection to the others and to the events of Israel’s past. Each feast also has a prophetic and messianic connection to Israel’s future.