By Bob Barney:
History of the Feast of First Fruits
Leviticus 23:10-12 (KJV): 10 Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye be come into the land which I give unto you, and shall reap the harvest thereof, then ye shall bring a sheaf of the First Fruits of your harvest unto the priest: 11 And he shall wave the sheaf before the LORD, to be accepted for you: on the morrow after the sabbath the priest shall wave it. 12 And ye shall offer that day when ye wave the sheaf an he lamb without blemish of the first year for a burnt offering unto the LORD.
When Israel entered the Promised Land, they were to observe the God's Holy Feasts - one of which is named THE FEAST OF THE BARLEY HARVEST (First Fruits): When the standing barley harvest was ready to be reaped, the owner of the field would take a sheaf of barley to the priest. This sheaf was called "the sheaf of first fruits". The priest will then take the sheaf and wave it before YHWH(Yahweh-LORD) in the House of YHWH(Yahweh-LORD) . Other offerings were prescribed as well with the sheaf offering (Lev 23:13-22).
The timing of this offering was made in a way that can be confusing. The sheaf was to be waved the day after the Sabbath (Lev 23:11). Which Sabbath? Upon further reading, it becomes clear that the Sabbath isn't a weekly one, but the last day of Unleavened Bread - or the 22nd of the 1st month. The Feast of Unleavened Bread is a celebration for seven days, that starts the Day after Passover.
Messianic Fulfillment of the Feast of First Fruits by Jesus:
The Bible is about Jesus Christ. He is the LORD or Yahweh of the Bible. All Holy Days (holidays) are representations of Christ's plan of salvation and the construction of His Kingdom: The Holy scriptures clearly command us to not only celebrate God's Holy Days, but to keep them holy and separated to the LORD (Exo 23:16,19; 34:26 Lev 2:12,14; 23:20; Num 18:12-15,26; Deu 18:1-5; 26:2-4,10; 2 Chr 31:5; Neh 10:35-39; Pro 3:9; Jer 2:3; Eze 44:40; 48:14; Mal 3:8-14; Heb 6:20; 7:1-8).
Jesus was the firstborn in many respects:
Firstborn of Mary (Mat 1:23-25)
First-begotten of God (Heb 1:6)
First-begotten of all creatures (Col 1:15)
First-begotten of the dead (Rev 1:5)
Firstborn of many brethren (Rom 8:29)
First fruits of the resurrected (1 Cor 15:20,23)
Begin of the creation of God (Rev 3:14)
The preeminent One ( Col 1:18)
Jesus is our High Priest forever (Heb 5:10; 7:1-3; Psa 110:4). He Himself, upon returning to Heaven, in the heavenly Temple of the LORD, literally waved Himself as this offering to the Father. In John 20:15, Mary sees a man outside the tomb and thinks it is the gardener since the man wore filthy garments. It was in fact Jesus in these filthy garments. In John 20:17 after Jesus calls her by name whom she recognizes Him. However, He strangely tells her not to touch Him for He has not been ascended unto the Father! What did that mean? Read Zechariah 3 to get a picture of what took place in heaven when Jesus waved Himself as First Fruit in heaven before the Father.
Notice upon His resurrection, he told Mary not to touch Him! A week later, Thomas could touch him - that's because until the Feast of First Fruits, he had not yet risen to heaven and became "born-again." Some think that First Fruits is resurrection day-- IT IS NOT!
Spiritual Implications of the Feast of First Fruits:
The sheaf or bunch of barley typifies a person or persons in the scriptures (Gen 37:5-11). When Jesus returns to rule over all the Earth as King he will bring with Him His sheaves (CHRISTIANS). The believers are the fruits that were produced from the seed. His own death and resurrection (Psa 126; Jer 31:9-14; Joe 3:11-13; Zec 14:3-5; Mat 13:37-39; Mar 4:26-29; Jude 14; Rev 1:7). This HOLY DAY is another Festival called First Fruits- It's called PENTECOST- 50 days from TODAY!!!!! Today STARTS THE COUNTDOWN TO PENTECOST as JESUS on the first FIRST FRUITS began the countdown to His return!
So believers who follow Him and His plan will become First Fruit of the seed He has sown (Jam 1:17-18; 1 The 4:13-18).