The Sheaf of First-fruits

Leviticus 23:9‑14  •  3 min. read  •  grade level: 8
(Lev. 23:9-149And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, 10Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye be come into the land which I give unto you, and shall reap the harvest thereof, then ye shall bring a sheaf of the firstfruits of your harvest unto the priest: 11And he shall wave the sheaf before the Lord, to be accepted for you: on the morrow after the sabbath the priest shall wave it. 12And ye shall offer that day when ye wave the sheaf an he lamb without blemish of the first year for a burnt offering unto the Lord. 13And the meat offering thereof shall be two tenth deals of fine flour mingled with oil, an offering made by fire unto the Lord for a sweet savor: and the drink offering thereof shall be of wine, the fourth part of an hin. 14And ye shall eat neither bread, nor parched corn, nor green ears, until the selfsame day that ye have brought an offering unto your God: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations in all your dwellings. (Leviticus 23:9‑14); Luke 24:44-5344And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me. 45Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures, 46And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: 47And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. 48And ye are witnesses of these things. 49And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high. 50And he led them out as far as to Bethany, and he lifted up his hands, and blessed them. 51And it came to pass, while he blessed them, he was parted from them, and carried up into heaven. 52And they worshipped him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy: 53And were continually in the temple, praising and blessing God. Amen. (Luke 24:44‑53))
The sheaf of firstfruits was, typically, Christ risen. “On the morrow after the sabbath” it was waved, and that was the first or resurrection-day.
In the ordinance of waving it we observe the following particulars:-
1. The Jew, i.e., Israel as a nation, was to bring the sheaf to the priest.
2. The priest was to wave it before the Lord, to be accepted for Israel.
3. Israel was, then, to offer a burnt offering with its meat and drink offering.
4. Israel was not to eat of the new corn, in any shape, till this was done.
The disciples bring the sheaf, i.e., they apprehend and believe the fact of the resurrection. (Ver. 44, 45.)
Christ, the true Priest, teaches them that this resurrection was for them—that the sheaf was accepted of the Lord for them, and He gives theta a blessed pledge of this. (Ver. 46-51.)
They make their offerings, because of this, offerings of worship and joy. (Ver. 52.)
They know of no eating, no feast, no communion, but in connection with the waved sheaf, or risen Christ. They occupy the temple only as in company with that very story. (Ver. 53.)
Such is the simple and direct illustration of this beautiful type, which the earliest moment, 1 may say, in the experience of the saints after the resurrection of the Lord affords us.
The disciples can do nothing but rejoice in the wave sheaf. It affords them their one commanding, absorbing thought. They fill the temple, not as worshipping Jews, with sacrifices and remembrances of sins, but as believing souls with thanksgiving for the resurrection and the remission of sins.
It was the first day of harvest with them. They have lost sight of the temple, save as the due spot for rendering of on the leaving of the firstfruits.
And in all this we have another form of owning, as David did in his day, a new place of service. (1 Chron. 20) The wave sheaf or Christ risen tells us, like Oman's threshing-floor, that “mercy rejoices over judgment.” David, therefore could not seek the former altar, or the high place at Gibeon; and so the disciples here forget the old temple, or the temple in all its wonted services, except that which belonged to the first day of harvest.
The resurrection had already done much sweet service for them. It had removed their fears, cleared up many a doubt and perplexity, gratified their poor wounded affections, anticipated the toil of their hands at the great stone of the sepulcher, and the value of their spices for the body of their Lord. But now it does the sublimest service of all for them: it changes their religion. As it had already rolled away the heavy stone for them from the door of the sepulcher, so does it now roll away a yoke which neither they nor their fathers had been able to bear. It builds a temple for them fairer than Solomon's. They serve now in the sense of the victory of Jesus, in the waving before the Lord of the sheaf of firstfruits accepted for them. “They returned to Jerusalem with great joy, and were continually in the temple, praising and blessing God.” Their's was now, as the Church's still is, the religion of the victory or resurrection of Christ.