Feast Of First Fruits (Reishit ראשית)

What is the Feast of First Fruits?

  • The first fruits is a picture of Jesus’s resurrection.
  • Jesus rose on the third day of Passover season, the day of first fruits. That event gave new meaning to this original agriculture holiday of the Old Testament.
  • Historically it has been a day when the first of the barley harvest is gathered in the land of Israel.
  • Paul wrote-
  • Jesus’s resurrection is the promise of the future resurrection of believes.

Origins of the First Fruits

  • On Reishit/ First Fruits, people offered the first ripe sheaf (first fruits) of barley to the lord as an act of dedicating the harvest to him.
  • On Passover, a marked sheaf of grain was bundled and left standing in the field. On the next day, the first day of Unleavened Bread, the sheaf was cut and prepared for the offering. on Reishit/ First Fruits, the priest waved the sheaf before the lord, counting the days of omer then beings the and continues until the day after the 7th Sabbath, which is called Shavuot or Pentecost (the next feast on the calendar).

When is the Feast of First Fruits?

  • The First fruits is to be held on the first day after the Sabbath (Saturday sundown to Sunday sundown) in the week of Passover.
  • Some think this is on the 16th of Nisan or the third day after Passover. Because Passover doesn’t always land on the same day of the week (on most calendars), it’s important to note that First Fruits doesn’t always land three days after Passover – but it did when the Messiah was executed. There is no biblical stance to move the date to the 16th of Nisan permanently. it should always be observed on the first day after Sabbath, which is not always necessarily the 16th of Nisan.

How do you celebrate the Feast of First Fruits?

As this holyday falls along with two other holydays Passover, and the Feast of Unleavened bread, the celebrations are not as extensive as these two holidays.

High Holy Day

  • On this day we are to do no ordinary work.
  • It is to be treated like a Sabbath day.
  • This means no going to work, take the day off, no cleaning, or laborious tasks.

Start of the Counting of the Omer

  • Similar to an advent calendar, it is customary to count from the first fruits to the Feast of Shavuot/ Pentecost that happens in May/ June. 7 weeks after the First fruits.
  • Most Omer counts start from 50 and count down. Just keep in mind the date for Shavuot/Pentecost is not always 50 days to be exact it can be longer than that depending on when the first day of the week- the day after the Sabbath (Saturday sundown to Sunday sundown) occurs.
  • You can count down however you want, if you create your own Omer for 50 days each year, or just count from 7 Sabbaths. Just keep in mind we are commanded to count the days. Creating a countdown helps build excitement to the holiday of Shavuot/ Pentecost.
  • Some Omer counters include chocolate or goodies for children.

No leavened bread

  • As this holiday usually falls during the Spring Holidays, Passover and the Feast of unleavened bread, we are not to eat any leavened products.
  • These products are:
    • Yeast
    • Grains
    • Leavened Bread (bread made with yeast to rise)
    • Beer and Grain Alcohol
    • Barley
    • Baking Powder and Baking Soda
    • Bakers Amonia
    • Sourdough Starter

See the Feast of unleavened bread for more details

Read Scripture

  • This is a great time to read the Gospels- Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.
  • Celebrate in the life and death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Have a Feast!

  • With 2 other holidays already during this time of year its hard to keep in mind how important the first harvest of the year was for Ancient Israel/ Farmers. Long before grocery stores, you lived off of the fruits of your last harvest until the next year. When the Spring hit, supplies would start dwindling and this could be a venerable time. but you now have your first harvest of the year! The Barley Harvest showed that more provisions were coming.
  • Celebrate that with a special meal. If you’re a gardener include the first bits of produce that are starting to come up.