The Resurrection of Jesus Christ
The Wave Sheaf Offering
For years the Protestant world has celebrated the resurrection of Jesus Christ
on their Easter Sunday. Men and women deck themselves out in their finest
clothes. There are sunrise services, Easter bunnies, Easter eggs and Easter
candy, and so on and so on. Unfortunately, with their introduction of so many
pagan symbols, their celebrations have become so pagan that one is inclined to
forget the reason for their festivity, the resurrection of the Christ from the
grave. Indeed, during their celebration, he is so often still pictured nailed
to the cross, that one would almost never know that he had been laid in the grave
for three days and three nights, and then that he rose and came out of the
grave, and that he was alive, that he lives! Nevertheless, there was still the Protestant
recognition and celebration that he who was dead, was resurrected, and was
By contrast, there seemed to be no recognition or celebration of the
resurrection of Christ in our own
churches. We do the foot washing ceremony and the night to be remembered, but
really no celebration of any significance to commemorate the tremendous event
of his resurrection. And after all, if Christ has not been resurrected, then we
really have no hope for eternal life.
1 Cor. 15:13 And if Christ
has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your
Faith. More than that we are found to be false witnesses about God, for we have
about God that he raised Christ from the dead. But he did not raise him if in
dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been
and if Christ has not been raised, your faith is
futile; you are still in your sins. Then
those who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. If only for this life we have
hope in Christ,
we are to be pitied more than all men. But Christ has indeed been raised from
the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep.
The resurrection or the harvest of Christ from the grave was indeed a
tremendous event. Else as the scripture says, we would have absolutely no hope.
So why do only the Protestant churches celebrate and
commemorate this glorious victory over death? Why is there no recognition in
any of our churches? This
question certainly puzzled me. But then I read about the wave sheaf offering.
And about how the priests would go out into the field where a special site had
been blocked off for the ceremony of the harvest of the wave sheaf offering. A
large crowd would show up for this event. And afterwards, the priests would
take the harvested grain into the temple and prepare it to be waved before the
Lord. They were probably totally unaware that this ceremony celebrated the harvest
of Christ into the kingdom
So I thought that at least this was some recognition of the resurrection of our
Savior and of his harvest into the kingdom
of God. But this still
seemed to me to be some kind of hole in the corner event. Where was the
participation of the rest of the people of Israel? Why was there no
recognition by them of this truly
phenomenal event? Well, it turns out that they were celebrating it. They just
didn't know they were. I'll
explain how in a moment.
As I said before, though we keep the Passover week, the foot washing ceremony,
and the night to be
remembered, there is still no ceremony that celebrates the resurrection of our
Savior. But then something
made me look at the wave sheaf verse again. I was totally shocked and blown
away by what I read. It just goes to show once again that you cannot trust
anyone else to do your thinking for you. We must read what God has to say ourselves.
More on that in a moment, too.
One of the ways that God teaches us about his plans on earth is through the
basic activities of our lives. And
nothing is more basic than gardening and farming which produces the food we eat
and without which we
could not survive. So God had deliberately aligned his three harvest feasts
with our three major harvest
seasons to demonstrate to us how he means to reap three harvests of mankind
into the kingdom of God
God calls the first reaping of these harvests firstfruits.
Barley is the first crop to be harvested in the new year.
It is the firstfruits
of the barley harvest, the wave sheaf offering, that symbolizes the harvest of
Christ into the kingdom
of God. 1 Cor. 15:20 describes Christ as the firstfruits
of the dead. Let's look at Lev. 23:9 to see how the wave sheaf celebrates this
Lev. 23:9-11The Lord said to Moses, "Speak to the Israelites and say to
you enter the land I am going to give and you reap its harvest, bring to the
priest a sheaf of the first grain you harvest. He is to wave the sheaf before
so it will be accepted on your behalf, the priest is
to wave it on the day after the Sabbath.
1 Cor.15:20 But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the first fruits
of those who
have fallen asleep.
Christ was crucified on Preparation Day which would have been on a Wednesday
afternoon, For three days
and three nights, he lay dead in the grave. After sunset which would have begun
day of the next week, Christ rose from the dead. He was harvested from the
earth. At about the same
time, the temple priests went out in their field of barley, and harvested the
first sheaf of barley. Then
hey would take the barley into the temple to prepare it to be waved before the
Lord the next morning
which would have been still the first day of the week. Whether or not they were
aware of the
significance of the event, they were nonetheless celebrating the harvest of the
Savior into the
Kingdom of God.
Now note once again that the Israelites were to bring a wave sheaf from the
first harvested grain,
from the barley which ripens in the spring of the year at Passover time . Now this is what astounded
me so much. And that was that ALL the Israelites were required to bring this
wave sheaf offering.
Not just the priests going out to their little plot of ground to gather their
wave sheaf, but ALL of
Now it has been legendary how the Karaites scour Israel for ripe
barley every year so that the wave
sheaf can be offered in the temple, and the priestly rite could be fulfilled.. This past year they
managed to find some and thought that they could safely proceed with the Feast
of Passover. But
notice what the Bible actually says. It is not just the priesthood, but that
the sons of Israel
Israelites were to bring a wave sheaf to their priests to be waved before the
Lord. In other words,
everyone in the country was expected to participate in this event.
Do you see what this means? It means that there had to be ripe barley
throughout all of Israel,
just in one or two places for the priesthood's needs. God would not issue
commands that would be
impossible to obey. So Passover had to be kept late enough in
the year so that there would be ripe
barley everywhere so that all the people could bring in their wave sheaf
offerings. This certainly was
not the case this past year when there were only patches of ripe barley.
Because the Jews use the Hilliel calendar to
determine their feast days rather than God's biblical
clock, they will sometimes begin their new year with the new moon before the
During those times, the days are still so short, that the sun does not shine
enough hours of the day to
ripen the barley. That is why they must search all of Israel to find
ripe barley so that the priests can
fulfill their wave sheaf ritual.
But God commands that all of Israel
must bring wave sheaf offerings to their priests. Therefore there
must be ripe barley throughout all of Israel, so that the people can obey
the commandments. That is
only possible if the new year begins with the new moon
after the spring equinox. The longer days
would warm the earth sufficiently to ripen the barley throughout the whole
land, not just in several
places. Then there would be no need to look for ripe barley. It would be
And so it turns out that the wave sheaf offering was not just
a hole in the corner event after all,
celebrated only by the priesthood with a large crowd. Instead, all of Israel
participated in this
wonderful event even if they really did not understand what they were
celebrating. Thus it was not
just the priesthood who were to reap the barley for a wave sheaf, but all of Israel were
the first fruits of their barley crop also.
Because some barley would tend to ripen a little earlier then others depending
on the location, the
Israelites were probably permitted to harvest it according to when it ripened.
But they were not
permitted to eat of it until they had brought the first fruits of their barley
to the priests. Anyone who
has ever farmed knows that it is best to harvest their crops as soon as they
ripen. Otherwise, rain,
storms, or pestilence could take their toll.
Now notice in Lev. 23.11 that the wave sheaf offering was to be waved before
the Lord. This
demonstrates what kind of a harvest Christ was to be. He was to be harvested
into the spiritual
kingdom of God.
Lev. 23:11 He is to wave the sheaf before the Lord ...
1 Cor. 15:42 So it will be
with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown
is perishable, it is sown in dishonor, it is raised to glory, it is sown in
weakness, it is
raised in power, it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body.
These verses symbolize and teach the kind of harvest God is reaping. The waving
of the sheaf before
the Lord symbolizes that what has been planted a natural body will be harvested
as a spiritual body.
The two loaves of wheat bread that the Israelites are to take to their priests
to be waved before the
Lord at the Feast of Firstfruits also symbolizes a
spiritual harvest demonstrating that the elect who
are sown as physical bodies will also be harvested as spiritual bodies.
Lev.23:17 From wherever you live, bring two loaves ...
as a wave offering of
first fruits to the Lord.
Notice that this is not the case concerning the fall harvest at the time of the
Feast of Tabernacles.
None of the fall harvest produce is to be waved before the Lord. This infers
that those sown as
physical bodies will be harvested as physical bodies. Lev. 23:37-43
Throughout the Bible God uses agricultural terminology to symbolize his plans
for mankind. Thus
the three main harvest festivals are timed to coincide with the main harvests
of the year. The first
wave sheaf from the barley harvest symbolizes the harvest of Jesus Christ into
the spiritual kingdom
of God. The two loaves of
bread made from the summer wheat harvest symbolize the harvest of the
saints into the spiritual kingdom
of God. And the produce
from the fall harvest symbolizes the
physical harvest of the rest of mankind into the kingdom of God.
You might even say that these
three festivals are birthday celebrations of those reaped into the kingdom of God. That is probably
why these three birthday festivals will be celebrated throughout all eternity.
There has also been some controversy as to which day the wave sheaf was to be
offered. The Bible
says in Lev. 23:11 ...the priest is to wave it on the day after Sabbath. But,
Sabbath? Is it the day after the weekly Sabbath? Or is it the day after the
High Sabbath during
Passover? Some do believe that it was to be waved on the day after the first
day of unleavened bread
during the Feast of Passover. Their reasoning can be read in other
publications. Others believe that
it was to be waved on the morning after the regular Sabbath day during the
Several reasons substantiate this position. One is that just as the seventh day
of the week will always
be the seventh day of the week, just so will the first day of the week always
be the first day of the
week. Since Jesus Christ was resurrected on the first day of the week, we can
always feel that we are
being obedient to God in commemorating the resurrection of his Son on the first
day of the week.
Another reason is that God commanded that seven full weeks from the waving of
the sheaf should be
counted until the keeping of the Feast of Firstfruits.
. Notice that God said seven full weeks, not six
and half weeks or seven and a half weeks, or seven weeks and part of a week, or
seven weeks and
one or several days. He said seven full weeks. A full week would constitute the
time from one
Sabbath to another Sabbath.
A third reason is that if the count began on any other day of the week, the
final day would never fall
on the seventh Sabbath. Remember that the wave sheaf is waved on the day that
harvested from the grave which was the day after the weekly Sabbath on the
first day of the week.
The count must begin on that first day.
A fourth reason is that on the day after the high Sabbath of the Passover week,
Christ was still buried
in the grave. He had not at that point been resurrected. He had not been
harvested. So there was
absolutely nothing at that point to celebrate. As every farmer knows, it is not
what is planted that is
celebrated, but the produce that is harvested. As every farmer also knows, too
many things can
devastate a crop before it is successfully harvested. Too much rain can rot the
seed or the crop. Too
little moisture can produce feeble plants, susceptible to blight and disease.
Wind and hail can destroy
a crop. Even if it's too damp when it is harvested and stored in the barn, it
can ferment and produce a
gas which can catch fire, burning down the barn and all its contents. All of
this is why a farmer can
breathe a heartfelt sigh of relief when his crop is successfully harvested.
Then he is ready to
celebrate. Certainly not at any time beforehand.
The same is true of Jesus Christ. There is absolutely nothing to celebrate
about him buried and sown
in the ground. Rather it seems rather satanic to do so. It is not until he is
reaped from the soil, when
he has been harvested from the ground, that we have cause to celebrate. For if
he was not
resurrected, then we would have had no hope for eternal life ourselves Just as
the barley sheaf was
cut free from the ground just after sunset, just so was Jesus Christ cut free
from the ground. And just
as the sheaf of barley was waved before the Lord the following morning, just so
was Christ harvested
into the spiritual kingdom
Now back to the question of why the Protestants so vividly celebrate the
resurrection of Christ from
the grave, and why there is scarcely any commemoration of the event among our
own churches. First
note the total simplicity of the wave sheaf offering in contrast to the gaudy
paganism of the
Protestant celebrations. The colorful paganism of Easter eggs, Easter bunnies, Easter candy quickly
and easily smothers the message of the resurrection of Jesus Christ so much so
that we diminish and
forget the reason for the celebration. The simplicity of the wave sheaf
offering seems to lose out to
its gaudy rival. But when we concentrate on the meaning so exemplified in the
simplicity of the
wave sheaf offering, the message is very powerful.
Jesus Christ lives! He was raised from the grave. He was the first fruits of
those who will be born
into the spiritual kingdom
of God. Because he lives,
we will also live!
So why do we not commemorate this day also? Barley is not easily available, and
there are really no
priests available for us to take our barley to so that it can be waved before
the Lord and accepted on
our behalf. Until such time that we can obey this statute, perhaps the least we
can do is to celebrate
the harvest of our beloved Savior on the first day of the week during Passover
with praise, hymns and
thanksgiving. Thank God! Our Savior lives!!!