And you shall count to you from the morrow after the sabbath, from the day that you brought the sheaf of the wave offering…
cf. Acts 2; also Jeremiah 2:3; Romans 11:16; and James 1:18. Having found in the firstfruits a typical reference to the resurrection of Christ, we have no difficulty on the same line in finding in the harvest festival seven weeks thereafter typical reference to the harvest of the Church Of God. Primarily it was eucharistic in character, but this does not exhaust its meaning. It was exactly fifty days after the Exodus that the Law was given on Sinai, and so Pentecost was associated from the outset with the "revival of the Church of God." What happened in the Pentecost after our Lord's last Passover was the baptism of the Holy Ghost and a revived interest in God's holy Law. Now, on turning to the directions about Pentecost, we find that "firstfruits "were again to be presented to the Lord, but, unlike the earlier firstfruits during the week of unleavened bread, these were to be prepared with leaven, and they were to be accompanied by a sin offering as well as burnt offerings and peace offerings. It is evident, therefore, that there is an element in the Pentecostal ritual which is not to be found in the previous ritual at all. If Christ is typified by the first of the firstfruits presented without leaven, his people gathered out of the nations may well be typified by the second firstfruits, the accompanying leaven indicating their sinful character, notwithstanding that they are his, and the sin offering most appropriately accompanying their typical dedication.
I. LET US OBSERVE THAT THE IDEA OF THE FIRSTFRUITS IS APPLIED TO THE LORD'S PEOPLE SEVERAL TIMES IN SCRIPTURE. Thus Jeremiah calls Israel "holiness unto the Lord, and the firstfruits of his increase" (Jeremiah 2:3). The same thought reappears in Paul's Epistle to the Romans, "If the firstfruits be holy, the lump is also holy" (Romans 11:16). James also speaks of the Lord's children in such terms as these: "Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures" (James 1:18). The harvest-field of God is the world, and those who are already gathered are the firstfruits. They are so far the consecrated element in the mighty population, and in spirit are laid upon God's altar.
II. THERE SEEMS A SIGNIFICANCE IN THE TWO LOAVES. "Why," it has been said, "should the lump be divided into two parts, and not be presented whole? In order, I would venture to suggest, to set forth the two component parts of the Christian Church - the Jews and Gentiles, both made one in Christ." Out of the harvest-field of the world the Lord requires two loaves to be presented, the Jews and the Gentiles, laid in their unity on his altar. Paul brings out this with great beauty in Ephesians 2:14-18, where the unity of Jews and Gentiles in Jesus Christ is pointed out.
III. AFTER ALL, THE CONSECRATION OF THE LORD'S PEOPLE IS AN IMPERFECT THING. Christ's consecration was perfect because sinless. Ours is imperfect and "mired with the trails of sin." Well may the firstfruits be baked with leaven; well may a sin offering be presented along with them. Our holiest acts could not stand alone, but need to be repented of. Atonement has to cover the holiest efforts of the Lord's people. Thus is all spiritual pride kept under, since at our very best we are "unprofitable servants."
IV. THE PENTECOSTAL OUTPOURING AFTER OUR LORD'S ASCENSION PRESENTS THE REALITY OF WHICH THE RITUAL WAS THE TYPE. In this glorious ingathering there was:
1. A penitential spirit. It was for this Peter called (Acts 2:38).
2. A worldwide imitation (Acts 2:39). The promise was to those" that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call."
3. A separation of many from the world, that they might consecrate themselves to God (Acts 2:41).
4. A great unity of spirit (Acts 2:44-47). It is this vivifying inspiration we all need; and may God send it soon! - R.M.E.
Parallel VersesKJV: And ye shall count unto you from the morrow after the sabbath, from the day that ye brought the sheaf of the wave offering; seven sabbaths shall be complete: