Firstfruits (not Easter) is the Biblical festival commemorating Jesus’ resurrection.
There are two reasons why this is important for you to understand and accept:
- The Biblical Firstfruits festival is rich in symbolic truths that God designed to teach you about your spiritual condition now and for eternity.
- While some Easter traditions are good (i.e., sunrise worship services), obviously pagan fertility traditions (i.e., bunnies and eggs) pollute most Easter holiday celebrations.
What is Firstfruits?
This 3-minute video does an excellent job of explaining the Firstfruits festival, both in its historical Jewish context and what it means to us today.
Firstfruits Brings Pentecost
Most Christians know the Feast of Pentecost is when God poured His Spirit into Jesus’ disciples in Acts chapter 2.
But, what they don’t realize is that the timing of the Feast of Pentecost is calculated as the 50th day after Firstfruits — Jesus’ resurrection day.
50 = 7 x 7 + 1
Significantly, this 50th day is the ‘new’ day after 49 days (7 times 7) elapse.
God uses such patterns and symbols to teach us His ways. Seven times seven represents ‘a fulness of time.’ According to E.W. Bullinger, in his classic 1894 book Number in Scripture, “the number 7 is the great number of spiritual perfection.” Here are some of the many spiritually significant Biblical uses of the number 7 that he lists:
- 7 days of creation (Genesis 1)
- 7 Spirits of God (Isaiah 11:2)
- 7 branches of the menorah (Exodus 25:37)
- Abraham’s seven-fold blessing (Genesis 12:2-3)
- YHWH’s sevenfold covenant with Israel (Exodus 6:6-8)
- 7 churches in Revelation, chapters 2-3
- 7 seals, 7 trumpets, 7 bowls of wrath in Revelation
- and many more…
Pentecost: the Gift of the Father
For 40 days after His Firstfruits resurrection, Jesus appeared to His disciples many times. Then, just before His ascension into heaven, He gave this command,
“Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift the Father promised, which you have heard Me discuss. For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.Acts 1:4-5
Then, as the disciples watched Him ascend into the clouds, two angels told them,
This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen Him go into heaven.”Acts 1:11
Ten days later, on the 50th day after Jesus’ resurrection, Jesus poured the Holy Spirit into His 120 disciples.
How are Firstfruits and Jubilee Related?
I see an obvious similarity between Pentecost and Jubilee. I don’t have all the answers about this yet, but here are some tantalizing thoughts for you to ponder.
What is Jubilee?
Leviticus chapter 25 instructs us about the 7-year Shmita cycle, which started when Israel entered the promised land in 1406 BC. (See this article for more about Jubilee, including why the 70th Jubilee will start in 2024.)
The yearly Shmita cycle mirrors the weekly Sabbath cycle.
- The weekly Sabbath cycle, established at creation in Genesis 2:3, is 6 days of labor followed by the 7th day of rest. Every year, after 7 Sabbath week cycles following Firstfruits, or 49 days, the following (50th) day is Pentecost.
- Similarly, the yearly Shmita cycle is 6 years of crop planting followed by a 7th year of allowing the land to rest, with no planting allowed. Then, after 7 Shmita cycles, or 49 years, the following 50th year is the Jubilee year.
In the Jubilee year, every Israelite regained his freedom from all debts and reclaimed ownership of his ancestral land.
Jubilee Remains Unfulfilled
Israel entered the promised land in 1406 BC but never celebrated the Year of Jubilee afterward. Therefore, Jubilee remains for us to fulfill in the future. I believe it will be when we regain our celestial glory and inheritance in God’s heavenly promised land.
Both Pentecost and Jubilee occur after a time pattern of 7×7+1.
- Pentecost occurs 50 days (7×7+1 days) after the resurrection festival of Firstfruits.
- Jubilee (see Leviticus 25) occurs 50 years (7×7+1 years) after Israel enters the promised land.
- Symbolically, crossing the Jordan represented Israel’s resurrection, from bondage and slavery and wandering, into their own land. YHWH then allotted each tribe and family a portion of the land for an eternal inheritance.
- For more about you and I regaining our celestial glory, read the free eBook, The Overcomers’ Treasure Map.
So, just as a day is much smaller than a year, I believe the glory of Pentecost is a ‘mini’ version of what we’ll experience when Jubilee arrives.
- If the fulfillment of Pentecost was glorious, how much more for Jubilee!
- Pentecost is celebrated for one day, but Jubilee lasts an entire year.
There are many questions to be answered before we can better understand Jubilee. For example:
- How do we measure when Israel enters the promised land?
- Does this refer to Joshua leading the children of Israel into the land in 1406 BC?
- Or, is it referring to our heavenly Joshua (Jesus) opening the way into our promised land in 33 AD? (Hebrews 4:14, 6:20)
- Which concept of Israel applies to Jubilee’s fulfillment?
- Physical descendants of Jacob
- Spiritual Israel from every ethnicity, through faith?
- Which promised land applies to Jubilee’s fulfillment?
- Physical Israel’s land (Genesis 15:18-21, Exodus 23:31, Numbers 34:1-15)
- Our celestial inheritance (1 Peter 1:4)
To Learn More about Firstfruits
I recommend this article by Hebrew4Christians