And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying,…
cf. Proverbs 3:9; 1 Corinthians 15:20. The Feast of the Firstfruits began on the second day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, as the fifteenth and sixteenth verses about Pentecost imply. And curiously enough, the sheaf of the firstfruits was to be waved "on the morrow after the sabbaths" that is, on what corresponds to our present "Lord's day." Such a coincidence should not be overlooked, and was manifestly designed. If the Passover speaks of the death of Jesus, the firstfruits are surely intended to speak of his resurrection. The death of the Paschal lamb and the presentation of the firstfruits occupy the same temporal relation as the death of Jesus and his resurrection. Hence we find in this arrangement the following lessons: -
I. THE FIRSTFRUITS HALLOWED THE SUBSEQUENT HARVEST. They were a grateful acknowledgment of God's hand in the harvest, and at the same time the condition of its being properly gathered. As one writer has very properly said, "It removed the impediment which stood opposed to its being gathered, the ceremonial impurity, if I may so say, which was attached to it previous to the waving of the sheaf before the Lord, until which time it was unlawful to make use of it. The prohibition on this head was express. 'And 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' (verse 14). There was, then, you perceive, an imputed uncleanness attached to the harvest before the offering of the firstfruits, but which, when the sheaf was presented, was done away; and thus it is written, 'he (the priest) shall wave the sheaf before the Lord to be accepted for you." Now, it is very plain from this that Christ, the Firstfruits, hallows the subsequent human harvest. The great ingathering of souls depends on the preceding Firstfruits for consecration and acceptance. Thus do we see in symbol that he was "raised for our justification" (Romans 4:25).
II. THE FIRSTFRUITS WERE THE EARNEST OF THE COMING HARVEST, Here was a sample of what was coming and was at hand. It was first ripe, but the rest was on its way. In the very same way, the resurrection of the Saviour is the earnest and pledge of that of his people. Hence Paul says, "But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the Firstfruits of them that slept. For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order: Christ the Firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming" (1 Corinthians 15:20-23). Hence we take the risen Saviour as at once the pledge of the resurrection of his people, and the sample of what our resurrection is to be. On the pledge implied by his resurrection we need not dwell. It is clear from 1 Corinthians 15 and from other Scriptures that his resurrection is the sure guarantee of ours. The other thought involved is quite as precious. "Our citizenship is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: who shall change our body of humiliation, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself" (Philippians 3:20, 21). Just as Jesus in his post-resurrection life of forty days on earth showed marvelous superiority to the laws of nature by which these bodies of humiliation are bound, just as he was able on ministries of mercy to pass with the speed of thought from place to place, to enter through barred doors, and vanish like a vapour when he had dispensed his peace, - so do we hope to be possessed of an organ more consonant to the aspirations of our spirits, and better adapted than our present bodies can be to fulfill the purposes of God. The forty days before the ascension of our Saviour afford the insight now needed into the conditions of our future life, when we too are gathered as sheafs that are ripe into the garner above. "We know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him." - R.M.E.
Parallel VersesKJV: And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,