Moses asked Israel to remember their Exodus Passover on the 14th of the Hebrew month of Nisan (Lev 23:5). He said the next day (the 15th) was to begin seven days of Unleavened Bread and called the first day a no-work/Sabbath (vv 6-7).
Moses went on to say that, once Israel was in their promised land and harvesting their crops, the day after the Sabbath was to be a celebration of Firstfruits (vv 10-11). On this day Israel was to sacrifice an unblemished lamb and bring the first of their barley harvest to the Lord as an expression of thanksgiving for the rest of the harvest that was to follow.
As we read the ancient text of Isaiah now, we might wonder whether the firstfruits of harvest were to be brought after the first or last days of Unleavened Bread, since both days were no-work days/Sabbaths (vv7-8). But as indicated in an earlier post, the Jewish historian Josephus said that first century Israel recognized this as a third feast to be celebrated on the 16th after the first Sabbath (the first day of Unleavened Bread).
Today we remember that day! Although we do not bring first fruits of barley, we do thank God for the first-fruits of a far greater harvest (1Cor 15:23).
By rising from the dead, Jesus became the first of all who will be one day be resurrected to eternal life.
Almost 2000 years ago today, the resurrected Lord also fulfilled the mysterious words of the 53rd chapter of Isaiah. After describing a Lamb of God who would be sacrificed to bear the sins of his people, Isaiah writes,
10… It pleased the LORD to bruise Him; He has put Him to grief. When You make His soul an offering for sin, He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days, And the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in His hand. 11 He shall see the labor of His soul, and be satisfied. By His knowledge My righteous Servant shall justify many, For He shall bear their iniquities. 12 Therefore I will divide Him a portion with the great, And He shall divide the spoil with the strong, Because He poured out His soul unto death, And He was numbered with the transgressors, And He bore the sin of many, And made intercession for the transgressors” (Isa 53:10-12).
Now the mystery is solved. Now we can see how the feasts of Passover, Unleavened Bread, and First fruits together were fulfilled by the death, burial, and resurrection of Israel’s Messiah.
Now we can also see how the Apostle Paul could speak of a fulfillment of the Scriptures when he wrote, “For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures (OT); And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures (1Cor 15:3-4).