Easter must break the Father’s heart—the Father who so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son. I can’t begin to imagine how His Son Yeshua, our Passover lamb, must feel. After all, Yeshua called those who honor God with their lips, who hold to the traditions of men while laying aside His Father’s commandments, hypocrites. (Mark 7: 6-8) They reject the commandments of God so that they can keep their traditions! (Mark 7:9)
Sun rise services!
Easter baskets filled with dyed eggs!
Forty days of Lent! Hot cross buns!
Anyone who does a bit of research can easily discover the origin of these pagan practices.
In his book De Ratione Temporum, Christian scholar, the Venerable Bede (672-735 AD), was one of the first to assert that Easter was named after Eostre/ Eastre / Ishtar. She was the great mother goddess of the Saxons in Northern Europe, known in ancient Israel as Ashtoreth. Worship of this goddess–Ashtoreth (Easter)–infuriated God so much, according to 1 Kings 11:29-35, He ripped Israel in two, creating the House of Israel and the House of Judah.
1Ki 11:33 states: “…because they have forsaken Me, and worshiped Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians, Chemosh the god of the Moabites, and Milcom the god of the people of Ammon, and have not walked in My ways to do what is right in My eyes and keep My statutes and My judgments…”
HOW SERIOUS IS IT?
God’s word makes it very clear He does not permit those in covenant with Him to worship Him the way those Nations not in covenant (pagan nations) worship their gods.
Deu 12:30 “Take heed to yourself that you not be snared to follow them after they have been destroyed before you; and that you not inquire after their gods, saying, How did these nations serve their gods? And I shall do so…”
God is so adamant He ordered their complete destruction.
Deuteronomy 7:16 Also you shall destroy all the peoples whom the LORD your God delivers over to you; your eye shall have no pity on them; nor shall you serve their gods, for that will be a snare to you.
God even commands his people to never mention the names of pagan gods.
Exo 23:13 “And in all that I have said to you, be circumspect and make no mention of the name of other gods, nor let it be heard from your mouth.
SO WHAT DOES THE CHURCH DO?
In 325 AD, the Council of Nicaea outlaws the Appointed times (Feast Day of YHVH). Constantine changes God’s 7th day Sabbath to the first day of the week – Pagan sun-god worship day. Christians were forbidden to keep Passover to commemorate Messiah’s death.
Think about it! What nerve! Passover! YHVH’s appointed time! One He commanded to be observed forever! And up to then it had been!
They also outlawed First Fruits, a shadow picture of Yeshua’s resurrection. In place of God-ordained appointed Feasts–to distance themselves from the hated Jews–they do what is right in their own eyes, and decide to celebrate Yeshua’s resurrection, not as Scripture ordains, but on the first Sunday following a full moon after the vernal equinox. Then, adding insult to injury, they name this day after the pagan goddess, Easter, whose Hebrew name is Ashtoreth. 1Ki 11:33 states: “…because they have forsaken Me, and worshiped Ashtoreth…”
Deuteronomy 12:8 “You shall not at all do as we are doing here today—every man doing whatever is right in his own eyes—”
Oh, but they did! And, sadly, we still do!
WHAT DOES THE GOSPEL SAY?
Enough about doctrines and traditions of men! Let’s see what God’s word says about First Fruits. Before we get started, you must understand that every one of YHVH’s appointed times, His Feast Days, are shadow pictures. They tell the GOSPEL! They are shadow-pictures of the Messiah!
WHAT WAS THE ORDER OF EVENTS?
Yeshua was executed on a stake on Passover, Wednesday, the 14th of Nisan.
At 3 p. m, at the very moment the High Priest, having sacrificed the last lamb, called out, “It is finished!” so said Yeshua. Then he bowed his head and released his Spirit. His body was removed from the stake and placed in the tomb before the High Sabbath, Nisan 15th, the first day of the Feast of Unleavened bread.
He was buried just before sunset as Thursday was about to begin. At sunset, according to God’s time-clock, the new day begins. Yeshua arose 3 days and 3 nights later, as he said he would. (Matthew 12:40) He was buried on the 15th, which was the First Day of Unleavened Bread, a High Sabbath.
Yeshua remained in the tomb all of the 15th, 16th, and 17th. Thursday, Friday, Saturday. His time in the grave began on a High Sabbath and ended on the Weekly Sabbath. Thursday – High Sabbath, Friday, and Saturday (which began at sundown on Friday) was the weekly Sabbath. Therefore, Yeshua arose on the Sabbath because we see that he was already gone from the tomb when Mary arrived ‘early’ on the first day (Sunday) while it was still dark.
Good Friday is a myth started by the Roman Catholic Church, like so many other traditions of men found in Christendom. It is impossible to complete three days and three nights in the grave if He was crucified on ‘Good Friday’ and arose on Sunday!
But believers are called to worship Yeshua in Spirit and in TRUTH!
What is important about Sunday, the first day of the week? What happened after the Lord of the Sabbath arose and appeared to Mary on that particular Sunday?
A CURIOUS THING!
While it was still dark that Sunday morning, John 20:1 tells us, Mary Magdalene arrived at the tomb to find the stone rolled away. A little while later, after she ran to tell the disciples that the Lord’s body had been moved, something curious happened!
The disciples followed her and found the linens and grave clothes that had wrapped Yeshua’s body and head folded neatly but in separate places. That was startling enough, but after they left Mary saw two angels in white! They asked why she wept and she told them she was crying because the body of her Lord had been moved and she didn’t know where they put him. That is when the curiosity happened!
The scene went something like this: (John 20:2-17)
“Woman, why do you weep? Whom do you seek?”
Thinking that it was the gardener, Mary said, “Sir, if you carried Him away, tell me where you put Him, and I will take Him.”
“Mary,” Yeshua said.
At that point, Mary must’ve reached to embrace him, but Yeshua said, “Do not touch Me!”
For years, I wondered what that was all about! For only a few passages later, Yeshua tells Thomas to go ahead, touch him, his hands and his side! Why was it okay for Thomas to touch Him, but Mary was told not to?
Yeshua, our High Priest, had not yet ascended to present His body and blood in the tabernacle in Heaven. He had to remain ceremonially undefiled (untouched) in order to perform his priestly duties and apply his shed blood on the mercy seat in Heaven. All this is to fulfill his duties according to the pattern proscribed by the TORAH.
Remember, the earthly tabernacle is a copy of the one made in Heaven, and the rules for proper protocol that YHVH gave to Moses are the rules of protocol in Heaven.
WHAT IS THE FIRST FRUIT OFFERING?
According to information at Jewishvirtuallibrary.org, “the Hebrew term bikkurim and related terms for the “first fruits” derive from the same root as bekhor, “firstborn.” On the same general principle that the firstborn of man and beast belonged to the God of Israel and were to be devoted to Him, the first fruits, including the first grains to ripen each season, were to be brought as an offering to God. Every Israelite who possessed the means of agricultural productivity was under this obligation (Ex. 23:19; 34:26, Num. 15:17–21; 18:12–13; Deut. 26:1–11). A frequent synonym for bikkurim is reshit, “the first [fruits].”
Leviticus 23:9 And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 10 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. 11 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. 12 And you shall offer on that day, when you wave the sheaf, a male lamb of the first year, without blemish, as a burnt offering to the LORD. 13 Its grain offering shall be two-tenths of an ephah of fine flour mixed with oil, an offering made by fire to the LORD, for a sweet aroma; and its drink offering shall be of wine, one-fourth of a hin. 14 You shall eat neither bread nor parched grain nor fresh grain until the same day that you have brought an offering to your God; it shall be a statute forever throughout your generations in all your dwellings.
According to Leviticus, First Fruits is offered on ‘the day after the Sabbath’ and the priest shall wave it. The bikkurim of the barley was marked by tying a sheaf together while it was in the field. Then when it was to be offered as the first fruits it was harvested and presented by the High Priest in the Temple along with a blood offering.
However, chapter 23 of Leviticus also says this:
Lev 23:14 You are not to eat bread, parched grain, or fresh grain until that day when you’ve brought the offering of your God. This is to be an eternal ordinance throughout your generations, wherever you live.”
Since Passover and Unleavened Bread are spring feasts, the day after the Sabbath (the first and last day of Unleavened Bread is a Sabbath) the 8th day (which was a Sunday of the crucifixion week) was the first opportunity for First Fruits to be offered. This is likely since no bread, parched grain, or fresh grain of the spring harvest (barley) could be eaten until the offering had been made.
It was also made accompanied by a lamb of the first year (verse 12). It seems likely then, that Yeshua (our Passover Lamb of the first year without blemish) offered ‘first fruits’ as his first duty as High Priest. What would those first fruits have been? Did he go to perform the first fruits offering empty-handed?
First Fruits is another observance that seems to have multiple answers and traditions associated with it. Some research says that First Fruits is synonymous with Shavuot. Shavuot is the appointed time when YHVH gave the Ten Commandments. Shavuot (Pentecost) is also when the outpouring of the Holy Spirit came upon the believers following Yeshua’s ascension to Heaven.
In that way, we have all become ‘first fruits’ when we receive His Holy Spirit. Just as the barley was bundled into a sheaf, we have been gathered together (marked) for the harvest when He returns for us!
Have you ever wondered what happened to all of the dead that were broken out of their graves at the time of the crucifixion? Only Matthew speaks of it, and he leaves us wondering what happened afterwards.
Mat 27:50 And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice and yielded up his spirit. 51 And behold, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. And the earth shook, and the rocks were split. 52 The tombs also were opened. And many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised,
Mat 27:53 and coming out of the tombs after his resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many.
So, upon his death, an earthquake happened, graves were opened, and saints were ‘raised’ but they remained in their tombs until his resurrection! Then they were alive and left their own tombs to appear to many!
Then what happened? The scriptures are silent!
According to the accounts in the gospels, Mary saw Yeshua shortly after his resurrection. It was the early part of the first day of the week and she was told not to touch Yeshua because he had not yet ascended to his Father. What did he do between that sighting and when he appeared to the disciples later that evening?
According to the Chronological Gospels by Michael Rood, the graves were opened as an offering. The saints were ‘marked’ when their graves were opened, and then presented as the ‘first fruits.’ It was Yeshua’s first duty as the High Priest of the order of Melech Tzadek. This would explain the 24 elders that are seen by John and recounted in the book of Revelation as well.
OUR PERFECT LAMB AND HIGH PRIEST
At the very moment the Temple High Priest waved the sheaf of the First Fruits before the Lord, our High Priest presented his sheaf of first fruits. His body and blood as the perfect sacrifice. Yeshua fulfilled the Feast of First Fruits perfectly. For like all God’s feasts, they are shadows pictures of His reality. His appointed TIMES!
1Co 15:20 But now Messiah has been raised from the dead, and has become the first-fruit of those having fallen asleep. 21 For since death is through a man, resurrection of the dead is also through a Man. 22 For as all die in Ad?am, so also all shall be made alive in Messiah. 23 And each in his own order: Messiah [,] the first-fruits, then those who are of Messiah at His coming,
And not only they but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body. (Romans 8:23)
More information may be found at http://www.truthnet.org/Feasts-of-Israel/6-Feast-Firstfruits/Index.htm