Posts Tagged ‘Easter’

Jeremiah: Ishtar and God

This week’s Sabbath reading from the prophets was Jeremiah 7:21-8:3. I began reading the portion and wondered about the backstory so I began reading in Jeremiah 7:16.

“So you, [Yirmeyahu,] don’t pray for this people! Don’t cry, pray or intercede on their behalf with me; because I won’t listen to you. Don’t you see what they are doing in the cities of Y’hudah and in the streets of Yerushalayim?  The children gather the wood, the fathers light the fire, and the women knead the dough to make cakes for the queen of heaven; and, just to provoke me, they pour out drink offerings to other gods! Are they really provoking me,” asks Adonai, “or are they provoking themselves, to their own ruin?” (Jeremiah 7:16-19).

These words are actually an answer to prayer. In the past few days, I have been struggling with how to pray for a nation that no longer cares to hear what God has to say? How am I to pray for people that I know won’t repent because evil has been transformed into good? Is there even a prayer for a nation that considers righteousness wicked?

The answer God gave Jeremiah is “Don’t.” Don’t pray for them because He isn’t going to listen! For those who would argue that God hears every prayer, Adonai tells Jeremiah why He won’t listen and His words are for this exact day and time.

The people of God are worshiping the Queen of Heaven. The Queen of Heaven is Istar who is called Easter. The short story of the goddess Ishtar is that she had a son, Tammuz, who died by a wild boar attack. Those who worshiped the trinity of the mother Ishtar, the son Tammuz, and the father Nimrod mourned the death of the ‘son’ for a period of six weeks. That ‘mourning’ time is called Lent and, according to the prophet Ezekiel, is considered disgusting by Adonai.

“He brought me to the entrance of the north gate to Adonai’s house; and there before me were women weeping for Tammuz.  ‘Human being,’ he asked me, ‘have you seen this? You will see practices even more disgusting than these'” (Ezekiel 8:14).

The designated reading for today:

“Thus says Adonai-Tzva’ot, the God of Isra’el: “You may as well eat the meat of your burnt offerings along with that of your sacrifices. For I didn’t speak to your ancestors or give them orders concerning burnt offerings or sacrifices when I brought them out of the land of Egypt.  Rather, what I did order them was this: ‘Pay attention to what I say. Then I will be your God, and you will be my people. In everything, live according to the way that I order you, so that things will go well for you.’  But they neither listened nor paid attention, but lived according to their own plans, in the stubbornness of their evil hearts, thus going backward and not forward” (Jeremiah 7:21-24).

There are no burnt offerings today because there is no Temple standing in Jerusalem. When there is another Temple, the sacrifices will begin again. It is even possible that this year, 2020, there will be a Passover sacrifice at the Temple mount for the first time since its destruction nearly 2000 years ago.

The significant part of today’s reading is “Pay attention to what I say … living according to the way that I order you.” Because of stubborn hearts and the desire of people to live according to their own will, those who worship other gods and goddesses will continue to go backward. The Hebrew word for ‘backward’ refers to ‘turning away.’ The Hebrew word for ‘forward’ is lepanim and refers to ‘the face of Elohim.’ Rather than seeking the face of Adonai, they turn away and cling to their false gods and goddesses.

“Therefore, say to them, “This is the nation that has not listened to the voice of Adonai their God. They won’t take correction; faithfulness has perished; it has vanished from their mouths. Cut off your hair, and throw it away, take up a lament on the bare hills, for Adonai has rejected and abandoned the generation that rouses his anger'” Jeremiah 7:28-29).

Such a nation will not heed the voice of Adonai. They won’t be corrected for their worship of Ishtar and Tammuz. They like what they are doing and have justified the idolatry as honest worship. Their mouths no longer speak the Truth. For these people, one should not pray, but only feel sorrow for their impending death because they have been rejected and abandoned by Adonai.

“For the people of Y’hudah have done what is evil from my perspective,” says Adonai; “they have set up their detestable things in the house which bears my name, to defile it” (Jeremiah 7:30).

The weekly reading continues with Adonai saying the ‘houses’ that bear His name are defiled because of detestable things. Defiled with the Queen of Heaven, Ishtar. Defiled with mourning for Tammuz, Lent. This generation rouses His anger.

“For the time has come for the judgment to begin. It begins with the household of God; and if it starts with us, what will the outcome be for those who are disobeying God’s Good News?” (1 Peter 4:17).

Peter says that judgment begins with the ‘house’ of God because throughout the world, they have embraced the false gods and goddesses. As the fast of Tammuz comes to an end, the nations prepare for Ishtar by baking of cakes (hot cross buns), pouring out drink offerings, and preparing their ‘wild boar’ roasts. Adonai calls these things abominations and they will bring destruction.

We live in serious times. We need to be serious about God’s Word or suffer His anger.

“Now this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, but people loved the darkness rather than the light. Why? Because their actions were wicked” (John 3:19).

I entitled one book I have written Journey With Jeremiah because so much of what Adonai teaches me comes from the prophet Jeremiah; today was no different.

©2020 Tentstake Ministries Publishing, all rights reserved.  No copying or reproducing of this article without crediting the author or Tentstake Ministries Publishing.

The Easter Women

I had a little book I read to my children every Easter about the women going to the tomb and seeing the empty grave. It wasn’t until I understood who the ‘Easter women’ really are that I stopped reading the book. I realized that combining the holy with the pagan didn’t reveal God’s plan of salvation through Yeshua to the world, but kept alive the worship of foreign gods and goddesses that I didn’t want in the lives of my children.

“So Samuel said to all the Israelites, “If you are returning to the LORD with all your hearts, then rid yourselves of the foreign gods and the Ashtoreths and commit yourselves to the LORD and serve him only, and he will deliver you out of the hand of the Philistines’  (1 Samuel 7:3).

Nimrod, from Genesis 10, had wife whose name was Semiramis. She was an adulteress and an idolator. When her husband died, she gave birth to an illegitimate son claiming that he was supernaturally conceived in order to hide her own immoral behavior. She even claimed that he was ‘the promised seed’ so there would be no judgment against her behavior. When the child was born, she named him Tammuz and declared him, Nimrod reborn. This allowed her to have an immoral mother-son relationship. Not only was Tammuz worshiped, but so was his mother.

Semiramis is also called Ishtar, and from where is derived the English, word, Easter. She is also the goddess Ashtoreth/Asherah in the Scriptures; King Solomon fell away from worshiping the God of Israel and worshiped Ashtoreth.

A Little More Background

Tammuz became a shepherd, and one day while herding his flocks, he was killed by a wild boar.  Ishtar, his mother turned lover, mourned for him.  She descended into the underworld, or Hades,  to deliver him from death. She weeped for 40 days which eventually made the god of water and wisdom send a heavenly messenger to Hades to rescue her and her son. All the women in Babylon began a 40-day time of mourning on the second day of the fourth month. According to the prophet Ezekiel, this lamenting time was detestable to God.  

“Then he brought me to the entrance to the north gate of the house of the LORD, and I saw women sitting there, mourning for Tammuz.  He said to me, “Do you see this, son of man? You will see things that are even more detestable than this” (Ezekiel 8:14)

After the 40 days, when Ishtar and Tammuz were set free from the underworld, there was a festival that was full of sexual immorality, including dancing around Asherah poles. The worship of Ashtoreth (Ishtar) and Asherah combined over time and she became known in ancient Israel as the Queen of Heaven.

“Judah’s sin is engraved with an iron tool, inscribed with a flint point, on the tablets of their heart and on the horns of their altars. Even their children remember their altars and Asherah poles beside the spreading trees and on the high hills” (Jeremiah 17:1-2).

The church fathers in the second and third centuries embraced the pagan ‘trinity’ worship of Nimrod, Tammuz, and the Queen of Heaven, but tweaked it to make it palatable for Christians. As preparation for the Easter celebration, there is a 40-day fasting period called Lent. The day before Lent begins, there is great feasting on Shrove Tuesday with immoral parties. Remnants of these pagan traditions are embedded in Carnival of Brasil and Mardi Gras in New Orleans. When the first day of Lent arrives, Ash Wednesday, those same immoral crowds, including Protestants and Evangelicals who have embraced catholic doctrines, flock to churches to receive ashes on their forehead, a symbol of mourning for the dead.  For the next 40 days there is soulful preparation through fasting culminating in the great celebration called Easter after the Queen of Heaven, the memorial of Tammuz being released from Hades.  How deceptively the catholic church gave this pagan tradition a Biblical twist!

“The children gather the wood, the fathers light the fire, and the women knead the dough to make cakes for the queen of heaven; and, just to provoke me, they pour out drink offerings to other gods!” (Jeremiah 7:18).

The God of Israel warned His people about Tammuz and honoring the Queen of Heaven with cakes known today as ‘hot cross buns.’ Dancing around a ‘May Pole’ honors the pagan goddess Asherah. Even coloring eggs has been embraced by the church. Traditionally, during the season of Lent, all eggs were removed from the home for 40 days, then they were colored red as a ‘blood sacrifice’ for Ashtoreth and Asherah on the day of Ishtar. The Easter ham is nothing more than a massive sacrifice of pigs to take vengeance for Tammuz’s death by a wild boar.

“Then all the men who knew that their wives were offering incense to other gods, along with all the women standing by, a huge crowd answered Jeremiah: “As for the word you have just spoken to us in the name of the LORD, we will not listen to you.  Instead, we will certainly continue to fulfill every word our mouths have spoken: we will offer incense to the queen of heaven and pour out drink offerings to her, as we have done, we and our ancestors, our kings and our leaders, in the cities of Judah and the streets of Jerusalem. For then we had plenty of food; everything was fine, we didn’t experience anything unpleasant.  But since we stopped offering to the queen of heaven and pouring out drink offerings to her, we have lacked everything, and we have been destroyed by sword and famine” (Jeremiah 44:15-18).

Jeremiah’s warning was not heeded by the men and women of Israel. They didn’t care that they worshiped other gods contrary to what God commanded. Instead they remained rebellious in their stony hearts and fervently declared they weren’t going to change their wicked ways. They believed that their prosperity came from the Queen of Heaven and not from the God of Israel so they continued their abominations until judgment came.

“For everything written in the past was written to teach us, so that with the encouragement of the Tanakh [Old Testament] we might patiently hold on to our hope” (Romans 15:4).

We are to learn from Israel’s mistakes and not imitate them. We are not to harden our heart when we hear God’s voice, read His Word, and learn from His Son.  As gentiles join with Israel through faith in Yeshua, all pagan practices must be removed in order to have a pure worship of the God of Israel. Cutesy little stories or poems do not justify unholy traditions that are abominable to Go.  We have been given the promise of eternal life through the death and resurrection of Yeshua, not with the traditions surrounding a pagan god murdered by a wild pig that honors the Queen of Heaven.

©2015 Tentstake Ministries Publishing, all rights reserved.  No copying or reproducing of this article without crediting the author or Tentstake Ministries Publishing. For a hard copy of this article,  please purchase Journey with Jeremiah: Nourishment for the Wild Olive.

Sign of Jonah: Three Days and Three Nights

“For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth” (Matthew 12:40).

Many people raise questions about the three days and three nights of Yeshua’s death, burial and resurrection. Let’s face it, Friday night to Sunday morning is not three days and three nights no matter how one interprets the rendering of days, hours, times, kingships or even religious tradition. Yet, Yeshua’s prophesied that he would be in the grave three days and three nights –– no less, no more.

Creating a Timeline

Using Scripture along with the Feasts of the LORD is the perfect way to determine when Yeshua died, was buried, and rose from the dead. To create the timeline, it is more effective to work backwards from Yeshua’s Resurrection to the Sabbath to Unleavened Bread and to Passover. All ‘days’ are rendered from ‘evening to morning’ as established by God at creation. The sunset time of 6:00 p.m. is an arbitrary time that I chose to make my timeline, and may not have been the actual time of sunset in the year that Yeshua died and rose from the dead.

The Resurrection – The Feast of Firstfruits

“The LORD said to Moses, ‘Tell the people of Israel, After you enter the land I am giving you and harvest its ripe crops, you are to bring a sheaf of the firstfruits of your harvest to the priest.  He is to wave the sheaf before the LORD, so that you will be accepted; the priest is to wave it on the day after the Sabbath’” (Leviticus 23:9-11).

“But the fact is that Messiah has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have died” (1 Corinthians 15:20).

Paul says that Yeshua is “the firstfruits of those who have died” using similar terminology as the Feast of Firstfruits found in Leviticus. The Feast of Firstfruits included waving of a sheaf of grain on the “day after the Sabbath” or “the first day of the week.” In fulfillment of God’s ‘appointed times,’ the evidence in the Gospels, and the explanation in Paul’s letter to the Corinthians, Yeshua rose from the dead as the Firstfruits on ‘the day after the Sabbath.’

Because our modern-day calendar differs from the Biblical one, Passover will occur on a different day of the week each year. Using the time sequence from the Scriptures, the Feast of Firstfruits must come after Passover, and it has to fall on a ‘first day of the week’ after the weekly Sabbath. If Passover falls on any other day of the week except Sabbath, the following ‘first day of the week’ will be the Feast of Firstfruits because there is a weekly Sabbath between the two. If Passover falls on the Sabbath, then Firstfruits is the following week.

Day After the Sabbath

“After Sabbath, toward dawn the first day of the week, Miriyam of Magdala and the other Miryam went to see the grave” (Matthew 28:1).

The details surrounding the empty tomb are recorded in Matthew chapter 28 and Luke chapter 24. On the ‘first day of the week,’ after the seventh-day Sabbath and before dawn, some women found Yeshua’s tomb empty. It wasn’t until after the seventh-day Sabbath that the women found the tomb empty because they “rested according to the commandment” (Exodus 20:8-11)

“On the Sabbath, the women rested, in obedience to the commandment; but on the first day of the week, while it was still very early, they took the spices they had prepared, went to the tomb, and found the stone rolled away from the tomb!” (Luke 24:1).

Sometime before dawn on ‘the first day of the week,’ Yeshua rose from the dead because he was not in the tomb. In other words, during the hours between Saturday’s sunset ending the Sabbath and Sunday’s sunrise, Yeshua rose from the dead. There is no specific time given for his Resurrection so for sake of explanation, I will say the seventh-day Sabbath (Saturday) ended at a 6:00 p.m. sunset. It is possible that at 6:01 p.m. at the start of ‘the first day of the week,’ Yeshua rose from the dead. However, it is also possible that he rose at 5:59 p.m. moments before the weekly Sabbath ended.

Sabbath: Big ‘S’ or little ’s’

In Leviticus 23, when God gave His ‘appointed times’ to the Israelites, the first Feast listed is the seventh-day weekly Sabbath. It is the only ‘appointed time’ that He called ‘Sabbath’ –– all of the other ‘appointed times’ were given specific names: Feast of Unleavened Bread, Feast of Firstfruits, Feast of Weeks, Feast of Trumpets, and Feast of Tabernacles. Though several of the commanded Feasts included ‘no regular work’ like the seventh-day Sabbath, God did not call them ‘sabbaths.’ When Judaism began referring to God’s ‘appointed times’ as ‘sabbaths,’ confusion with the timing of the holy days began.

For example, Leviticus 23:15 gives the timing for the Feast of Weeks (Pentecost), “From the day after the Sabbath, the day you brought the sheaf of the wave offering, count off seven full weeks.”

If this verse is understood as the Sabbath being the seventh-day weekly Sabbath given only 12 verses earlier, then the counting of seven full weeks would begin on the ‘day after the Sabbath’ or ‘the first day of the week,’ Sunday. Counting from the ‘day after the Sabbath’ would allow for the Feast of Firstfruits to consistently fall on the ‘first day of the week’ which has tremendous prophetic significance for the Resurrection.

However, when the first day of another Feast like Unleavened Bread is referred to as a ‘sabbath,’ everything changes. Depending on which day of the week the Unleavened Bread ‘sabbath’ falls, counting from the ’day after that sabbath’ makes the day of Firstfruits change yearly leaving no connection between the Feast of Firstfruits and Yeshua’s Resurrection. Also according to Jewish tradition, some ‘sabbaths’ are considered ‘higher’ than others; some weekly Sabbaths more important when they occur during a festival week. Though these delineations may not be departing from God’s commands to keep His ‘appointed times,’ it does cause confusion between the celebrations of the Jews and the Body of Messiah regarding the Resurrection of Yeshua.

Yeshua followed many Jewish traditions because he was Jewish and lived as a Jewish man. However, when those traditions nullified the commands of God, he refuted them and taught the correct view. It would follow that if a Jewish or even Christian tradition nullified the ‘appointed time’ of a Feast, Yeshua would fulfill it correctly. When it comes to the timing of the Feast of Firstfruits, Scripture should be used over Jewish tradition.

Unleavened Bread – Day 3, Day 2, Day 1

“In the first month on the fifteenth day of the same month is the festival of matzah (Unleavened Bread); for seven days you are to eat matzah (unleavened bread).  On the first day you are to have a holy convocation; don’t do any kind of ordinary work.  Bring an offering made by fire to Adonai for seven days. On the seventh day is a holy convocation; do not do any kind of ordinary work” (Leviticus 23:6-8).

Counting backwards from the time of the Resurrection, we need three nights and three days for grave time.

Once again, I will use 6:00 p.m. as the sunset time for beginning each day.

Day 1: 6:00 p.m. Saturday evening to 6:00 p.m. Friday evening. This would be the seventh-day Sabbath (Saturday), Day 3 of Unleavened Bread, and Day three in the tomb.

Day 2: 6:00 p.m. Friday evening to 6:00 p.m. Thursday evening. This would be Friday, Day 2 of Unleavened Bread, and Day two in the tomb.

Day 3: 6:00 p.m. Thursday evening to 6:00 p.m. Wednesday evening. This would be Thursday, Day 1 of Unleavened Bread, and Day one in the tomb.

Using this time sequence, Yeshua would have been put in the tomb sometime before 6:00 p.m. Wednesday evening which began the first of the prophesied three nights and days in the tomb (Thursday, Friday, and Saturday). By being buried in the tomb before 6:00 p.m., three days and three nights would have him rise sometime before the end of the seventh-day Sabbath. It was only after the Sabbath, and the command to rest, that Mary and the others went to the tomb and found it empty.

In the year of Yeshua’s death, Unleavened Bread, called a ‘sabbath,’ would have begun, according to the three days outlined above, on Wednesday evening at 6:00 p.m. Before sunset, the daytime hours of Passover were also known as Preparation Day for Unleavened Bread. It was on this Preparation Day of Unleavened Bread that Yeshua’s body was removed from the cross. He needed to be buried before the start of the ‘sabbath’ which began at sunset on “the fifteenth day of the month.”

Yeshua was placed in the tomb as the unleavened, sinless bread from heaven. He was wrapped in linen and buried in the tomb of a rich man from Jerusalem. He was in the tomb for the first three nights and days of the Feast of Unleavened Bread.

“There was a man named Joseph, a member of the Sanhedrin.  He was a good man, a righteous man, and he had not been in agreement with either the Sanhedrin’s motivation or their action.  … This man approached Pilate and asked for Yeshua’s body.  He took it down, wrapped it in a linen sheet, and placed it in a tomb cut into the rock, that had never been used.  It was Preparation Day, and a Sabbath was about to begin” (Luke 23:50-54).


“In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month, between sundown and complete darkness, comes the Lord’s Passover” (Leviticus 23:5).

Using the same time sequence, “on the fourteenth day of the month,” Passover would begin at 6:00 p.m. Tuesday and end at sunset 6:00 p.m., Wednesday. After sunset on Tuesday evening, the Passover meal was celebrated.

“He [Yeshua] replied, “Go into the city to a certain man and tell him, ‘The Teacher says: My ‘appointed time’ is near. I am going to celebrate the Passover with my disciples at your house’” (Matthew 8:29).

Yeshua eagerly desired to celebrate this Passover with his disciples (Luke 22:15). This specific Passover was God’s ‘appointed time’ for Yeshua fulfill his purpose as the Lamb of God.

The Passover celebrated by Yeshua was only a memorial to the Passover that occurred in Egypt. No one put on sandals or carried staffs. No one prepared for a great exodus from Egypt into the wilderness. No one went outside their door to sacrifice a lamb and put its blood on the doorposts. Israel was no longer a people enslaved, and they celebrated their freedom with a traditional meal called a seder. Matthew records, “When evening came Yeshua reclined with his disciples” (Matthew 26:20).

After the Passover seder, Yeshua and his disciples went to the Mount of Olives. Yeshua prayed. He asked that the final Passover cup be removed, but submitted to the will of His Father. While his disciples slept, he prayed for all who would believe in him through the testimony of his followers. Soldiers arrived in the night’s darkness with the high priest. They arrest him, take him to the Sanhedrin, and eventually to Pilate.

Before sunrise of Passover ‘day,’ Peter denies Yeshua three times before the shofar blast bringing the priests to prayer. The crowds cry out for Yeshua to be crucified. Yeshua is beaten, bruised, mocked, and condemned to death. He goes to Golgotha where he is nailed to the cross and dies quickly without having any of his bones broken.

The events of “the fourteenth day of the month,” Tuesday evening to Wednesday evening, were completed. Yeshua gave up his spirit at the exact same time the Levite priests were offering the last Passover sacrifice at the Temple before sunset on Wednesday. Yeshua’s final words, “It is finished.”

Some teach that Yeshua could not celebrate Passover and be the Passover Lamb on the same day; however, every day, there was an evening, morning, and afternoon sacrifice. At the evening sacrifice, Yeshua celebrated the Passover seder with his disciples. By the morning sacrifice, he had been arrested, judged, and condemned to death. By the final afternoon sacrifice, he had walked to Golgotha, been nailed to the cross, and died. He was buried quickly before the evening sacrifice that began the Feast of Unleavened Bread.

Two Feasts with Matzah

“On the first day of the Festival of Unleavened Bread, the disciples came to Jesus and asked, ‘Where do you want us to make preparations for you to eat the Passover?’” (Matthew 26:17).

Though this verse suggests that Passover and Unleavened Bread begin on the same day, Yeshua would have celebrated the dates and times of His Father’s Feasts as given in Torah, apart from Jewish tradition. Even though matzah was eaten at Passover and Unleavened Bread, the two ‘appointed times’ have different dates, memorials, and purposes.

Historically, the Israelites did not kill the Passover lamb and then suddenly leave Egypt three hours later. They had to wait throughout the night for the ‘death of the firstborn.’ In the morning, they plundered the Egyptians and prepared for their exodus. On “the fifteenth day of the month,” they left Egypt so quickly that they had no time for their bread to leaven.

“Celebrate the Festival of Unleavened Bread, because it was on this very day that I brought your divisions out of Egypt. Celebrate this day as a lasting ordinance for the generations to come.  From the evening of the fourteenth day of the first month until the evening of the twenty-first day, you are to eat matzah” (Exodus 12:17).

The Year of Yeshua’s Death and Resurrection

In the year that Yeshua died, was buried, and resurrected, he celebrated the Passover at sunset on “the fourteenth day of the month” with his disciples on a Tuesday evening. Tuesday, during the night, he prayed for his disciples and those who would believe in him through their testimony. He sweat drops of blood and submitted himself to death. He was arrested before sunrise, beaten, hung on a cross, and died late afternoon Wednesday at the exact time of the final Passover sacrifice. The Temple curtain was torn in two; many who saw the events of the darkened sun and earthquake, knew he was the Son of God. He was taken from the cross and buried in the tomb during the Preparation Day, for a ‘sabbath’ of Unleavened Bread.

Wednesday evening to Saturday evening, the first three nights and three days of Unleavened Bread, his followers mourned. A Roman centurion contemplated the earth shaking and the idea that Yeshua was truly the Son of God. Mockers who had read the sign, “The King of the Jews,” were wondering why many of the ancients who had died were walking around Jerusalem. Peter, John, and the rest of the disciples went into hiding for fear of their lives. The women who followed Yeshua went home grieving. They prepared spices knowing they had to wait three days until they could prepare Yeshua’s body. The soldiers anxiously guarded the tomb hoping no one would steal the body. All Israel rested on the seventh-day Sabbath day according to the command. For the followers of Yeshua, it was a long three days and nights.

After resting on the seventh-day Sabbath, before dawn on the first day of the week, as the time for waving the sheaf in the Temple approached, several women went to the tomb. They carried spices and walked through the garden wondering who would roll away the huge stone. They could hear the whoooosssshhhhhhh of the sheaves being waved back and forth by the priests at the Temple nearby. It was the Feast of Firstfruits. After a long, confusing, heart-wrenching week of Passover, Unleavened Bread, and a seemingly endless Sabbath, could they endure another ‘appointed time’ of God?

“Yeshua said to her, “Woman, why are you crying? Whom are you looking for?” Thinking he was the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you’re the one who carried him away, just tell me where you put him; and I’ll go and get him myself” (John 20:15).

“Yeshua said to her, “Miryam!” Turning, she cried out to him in Hebrew, “Rabbani!” (that is, “Teacher!”)   “Stop holding onto me,” Yeshua said to her, “because I haven’t yet gone back to the Father. But go to my brothers, and tell them that I am going back to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God” (John 20:15-17).

The sorrow of the women turned to joy at seeing Yeshua risen and alive; they wanted to touch their Rabbi, but he needed to return to his Father. The women ran to the disciples with amazing news –– “He is Risen!” While the priests in the Temple waved the firstfruits grain offering, Yeshua went to his Father and offered himself as the Firstfruits of those who are raised from the dead. The counting of the 50 days until the next ‘appointed time,’ the Feast of Weeks, began.

©2010 Tentstake Ministries Publishing, all rights reserved.  No copying or reproducing of this article without crediting the author or Tentstake Ministries Publishing. For a hard copy of this article,  please purchase Journey with Jeremiah: Nourishment for the Wild Olive.  

The Feast of Firstfruits – Yom HaBikkurim

“The LORD said to Moses, ‘Speak to the Israelites and say to them: “When you enter the land I am going to give you and you reap its harvest, bring to the priest a sheaf of the first grain you harvest. He is to wave the sheaf before the LORD so it will be accepted on your behalf; the priest is to wave it on the day after the Sabbath. On the day you wave the sheaf, you must sacrifice as a burnt offering to the LORD a lamb a year old without defect, together with its grain offering of two-tenths of an ephah of the finest flour mixed with olive oil—a food offering presented to the LORD, a pleasing aroma—and its drink offering of a quarter of a hin of wine. You must not eat any bread, or roasted or new grain, until the very day you bring this offering to your God. This is to be a lasting ordinance for the generations to come, wherever you live’”” (Leviticus 23:9-14).

The Firstfruits Offerings

When Israel entered the Promised Land, they were to celebrate the Feast of Firstfruits by offering an individual sheaf of grain from their harvest. The sheaf was to be waved by the priest along with a burnt offering of a lamb, a fellowship offering of fine grain mixed with olive oil, and a drinking offering of wine.

For the burnt offering, a lamb without defect was presented to Adonai. The person making the offering laid hands on the lamb’s head. Laying hands on the animal’s head was called semichah. It was actually a physical ‘leaning’ on the animal so that the weight of the person was transferred to the animal. This symbolized transferring the identity of the person onto the lamb. In effect, the lamb represented him/her before God. The lamb was sacrificed and its blood was splattered on the sides of the Altar. The lamb was then completely burnt up on the Altar as a food offering and a pleasing aroma to Adonai.

The grain offering was a free-will offering. It was to be fresh kernels of grain, dry roasted, covered in olive oil and frankincense or it could be a fine flour mixed with olive oil and frankincense poured over it. A grain offering could be baked in an oven like bread, cooked on a griddle like a pancake or boiled in a pot like a dumpling.

offering was a quarter of a hin of wine or close to one liter –– the size of a modern-day Coke. It was to be poured out at the foot of the Altar as part of the burnt and grain offering. These three offerings were presented to Adonai by the priest from the individual acknowledging that all life comes from Adonai.

“You have put more joy and rejoicing in my heart than [they know] when their wheat and new wine have yielded abundantly” (Psalm 4:7).

The Sheaf of Grain

“Those who go out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with them” (Psalm 126:6).

There was another offering on Firstfruits, a sheaf of grain. According to Zondervan’s Bible Dictionary, sheaves are the stalks of grain left behind by the reaper. They were gathered by the handfuls and bound by women or children in a joyful manner. Some sheaves were left behind for the poor while collected sheaves were carried by donkeys or on heavily loaded carts to the threshing floor. The sheaves offered as Firstfruits were only the amount that an individual could hold or just a handful.

According to the Biblical command, this handful of sheaves from the spring harvest was to be brought to the priest. He became the intercessor between the individual and God as he waved the sheaf before Adonai. With the wave offering, a small breeze was created making the offering acceptable to God. Until the Firstfruits sheaf was accepted by Adonai, no one could eat any roasted or new grain.

Yeshua, The Firstfruits

“Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds” (John 12:24).

In the beginning, eternal fellowship with God was cut short by sin and death. God promised a ‘Seed of woman’ who would have victory over death and restore fellowship with Him. In order to have a sheaf of grain, there has to be a planting of one seed. Once put into the ground, it dies and then produces a harvest.

Yeshua is the promised ‘Seed of woman’ from Genesis. He died as the Seed, was buried in the ground, and rose to life producing a Firstfruits sheaf of grain. He became the Firstfruits harvest of those who have fallen asleep.

“But Messiah has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep” (1 Corinthians 15:20).

Yeshua is the Firstfruits, plural, of those raised from the dead, not the singular. According to the Gospel of Matthew, at the moment of Yeshua’s death, when the temple curtain was torn in two, the bodies of holy people who had died were raised to life. A Firstfruits resurrection of the dead had occurred.

“At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split and the tombs broke open. The bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life.  They came out of the tombs after Yeshua’s resurrection and went into the holy city and appeared to many people” (Matthew 27:52-23).

The Day After the Sabbath

Over the centuries, confusion has developed about the timing of the ‘day after the Sabbath’ because the first and last days of the Feast of Unleavened Bread are also called ‘sabbaths.’ God never called these days ‘sabbath’ even though He commanded complete rest. This subtlety of this tradition has allowed the Feast of Firstfruits to occur on whatever day of the week the ‘day after the sabbath’ of Unleavened Bread begins. This rendering has blurred the tremendous differences between the Feast of Unleavened Bread and the Feast of Firstfruits putting much less emphasis on the day of the Firstfruits –– the resurrection of Messiah and the hope of the resurrection. If the sheaf were to be waved by the priest ‘on the day after the weekly Sabbath’ during the week of Unleavened Bread, this would always place the Feast of Firstfruits on the ‘first day of the week.’ This would concur with the Scriptural witness of Yeshua’s resurrection on ‘the first day of the week’ his fulfilling in another of God’s ‘appointed times.’

When the [weekly] Sabbath was over, on the first day of the week when it was still dark, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so they might go anoint Yeshua’s body. Just after sunrise, they were on the way to the tomb and they asked each other, ‘Who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb?’ When they arrived at the tomb, they saw the stone had been removed from the entrance. They entered, but they did not find the body of Yeshua. While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, ‘Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’ Then they remembered his words. ‘Go quickly and tell his disciples, “He has risen from the dead.’” They told this to the apostles, but they did not believe the women, because their words seemed to them like nonsense. Peter, however, got up and ran to the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there, as well as the cloth that had been wrapped around Yeshua’s head. The cloth was still lying in its place, separate from the linen. Finally the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed” Matthew 28:7-10, Mark 16:1-3, Luke 24:1-8, John 20:1-8 15-16).

Yeshua’s Sheaf

“Yeshua said, ‘Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God’” (John 20:17). 

In order for the sheaf of grain to be accepted on Yom Habikkurim, the high priest had to wave it before God. After being raised from the dead, Yeshua, ascended to Adonai to offer himself as the sheaf of Firstfruits. Once his sheaf of grain, filled with innumerable seeds was accepted, the spiritual harvest of souls could begin. Yeshua’s family would not only include his brothers and sisters in Israel, but those brought forth in the harvest from the nations.

“Because those whom he knew in advance, he also determined in advance would be conformed to the pattern of his Son, so that he might be the firstborn among many brothers” (Romans 8:29). 

“Yeshua said to her, ‘I am the Resurrection and the Life! Whoever puts his trust in me will live, even if he dies; and everyone living and trusting in me will never die. Do you believe this?’” (John 11:25-26)

While the priests were preparing for the Feast of Firstfruits offering in the Temple, the women found the empty tomb, met with angels, and spoke with the risen Yeshua. While the women ran to tell the disciples that Yeshua was alive, the men of Israel began to offer their lambs, grain and wine to the priest who acted as intercessor. As individual sheaves of grain were taken by the priests, Yeshua ascended to his Father and presented himself as the sheaf offering, the intercessor between mankind and Adonai. As the sheaf of grain was being waved, a gentle breeze like the Spirit of God drifted throughout the Temple, and Yeshua’s offering was accepted in the heavenly realm. Soon after, the disciples entered the empty tomb and saw the strips of linen and the cloth that had been wrapped around Yeshua’s head. They immediately believed he had risen from the dead. The resurrection of the dead had begun with the Firstfruits and a promise of a harvest to come. Yeshua had fulfilled another of his Father’s ‘appointed times’ –– Yom Habikkurim.

 For more about Yeshua fullfilling the ‘appointed times,’ purchase Yeshua in His Father’s Feasts.

©2014 Tentstake Ministries Publishing, all rights reserved.  No copying or reproducing of this article without crediting the author or Tentstake Ministries Publishing. For a hard copy of this article,  please purchase Journey with Jeremiah: Nourishment for the Wild Olive.