When is the “Feast of First Fruits”? As we are finishing up the feast of Unleavened Bread, this question has been going over in my mind now since there are many Messianics, or believers in Yeshua (Jesus), who have already begun celebrating First Fruits and have begun counting the Omer. The Feast of First Fruits, as seen in the book of I Corinthians is the day in which Yeshua (Jesus) rose from the dead (so no, it was not on Easter). For example, in I Corinthians 15, we read,
But now is Christ [Messiah] risen from the dead, and become the FIRST FRUITS of them that slept…But every man in his own order: Christ [Messiah] the FIRST FRUITS, afterward they that are Christ’s [Messiah’s] at his coming. (I Corinthians 15: 20, 23; emphasis added)
Rather than keeping the feast day that Yeshua (Jesus) rose to fulfill, the Christians (the non-Jewish believers) changed the day of worship – which is no where commanded by God to do – they, therefore, assumed authority which God never gave any believer – Jew or Gentile (non-Jew). We do not have the right to change God’s calendar simply because we don’t find His to be convenient for us. But are those who are already counting the Omer, are they doing so in accordance to the teaching of Scripture, or are they merely following Jewish tradition? Just like not every Christian tradition is Scriptural, so not every Jewish tradition is Scriptural either. This is why it is critical that we need to study the Scriptures for ourselves.
This year, 2021, has been rather strange for many reasons, but one reasons is that unlike in many years past, the weekly Sabbath this year came before Passover, rather than after it. If the feast of First Fruits, the day we begin to count the Omer, begins on the day after the first day of Unleavened Bread, then the count that many are doing would be biblically correct, but if it isn’t, then what they are doing may be in line with “Jewish tradition,” but it is not in line with the Scriptures. Therefore, I believe this question is extremely critical and relevant.
This question about First Fruits has been argued over now since the days of the Second Temple in Israel. In Leviticus 23, the Feast of First Fruits is supposed to be “on the day after the Sabbath,” but the question has been, which “Sabbath” is being referred to here? During the Second Temple period, the Sadducees argued that the word “Sabbath” referred to the weekly Sabbath, placing the feast of First Fruits on the first day of the week (aka, “Sunday”) that came immediately after Passover and during the week of Unleavened Bread; however, the Pharisees argued that the word “Sabbath” was used to refer to the day of Passover, consequently, making it fall on the second day of the week of Unleavened Bread (Nisan 16).
And as I said, since Yeshua (Jesus) rose on the feast of First Fruits, then this argument should be especially relevant for us as Messianic believers, since I am sure we all want to properly honor the feast day that He arose upon. To the best of my ability, I want to commemorate the Lord’s resurrection on the day that Scripture teaches that it was, rather than doing it because that’s the day everyone else is doing it. Again, therefore, the question, “What Sabbath is being referred to in the phrase ‘the day after the Sabbath’?” is an extremely important one.
MY PERSONAL POSITION
Now If you are not aware of my personal position, I am a Whole Bible believer, which means that I believe that all of the Bible, from Genesis 1:1 to Revelation 22:21, is for everyone for all time. I do not believe that any part of the Bible has been “annulled,” “replaced,” or in some way “fulfilled,” meaning, as most Christians do when they say this, that because Yeshua (Jesus) lived a sinless life in obedience to God and His commandments, then we do not have to keep God’s commandments. I don’t agree with them on this, but instead, I believe that Yeshua (Jesus) lived His life as our EXAMPLE of how to live out the Torah, but not as our SUBSTITUTE. He was our SUBSTITUTE in His death, but not in His life.
After spending over forty years of my life studying the Scriptures and Jewish and early Christian history, I have discovered that there are many mistaken ideas in Christianity when it comes to Judaism and God’s laws. For example, Christianity traditionally takes the New Testament out of context since it interprets it apart from the context of the Tanakh (aka, “Old Testament”) and Second Temple Judaism. By removing the New Testament from these two contexts, they open the door to misinterpretation, misunderstanding, and error, which we see plenty of in the dominant American church today.
For example, one chapter that Christians traditionally misinterpret is Acts 10 since it is removed from the context of the Tanakh (aka, “Old Testament”). In this chapter, Shi’mon Petros (Peter’s) has a vision in which a sheet full of unclean animals is lowered down to him. He is then told by the Spirit, “Arise, Peter, kill and eat.” However, he responds, “By no means, Lord, for I have never eaten anything unholy or unclean.” The Spirit then says, “What God has cleansed, no longer consider unholy” (Acts 10:13-15). Christianity has traditionally used this passage to say that God has overturned His food laws and is declaring all foods to be clean and holy. But this, in fact, is a misinterpretation and misunderstanding of this passage.
By Christianity removing this vision from the context of the Tanakh (aka, “Old Testament”), they have traditionally open the door to misinterpretation and misunderstanding of this vision, since the vision is not about food at all, but about the Gentiles. For example, unclean animals, like in Daniel 7-8, are used to represent Gentiles (non-Jews). We know that there wasn’t any clean animals in the sheet, because if there were, he would have killed one of the clean animals and left the unclean alone. But there weren’t any clean ones, which is why he refuses to “kill and eat.” “Eating” in this vision is not to be taken literally, but it is to be seen as a symbolic act of making something an intricate part of who you are, much like when Ezekiel is told to “eat the scroll” (Ezekiel 3:1-3). By eating the scroll, Ezekiel made the words an intricate part of his life, in much the same way, as Shi’mon Petros (Peter) is being told to “kill and eat” unclean animals (i.e., Gentiles) to indicate that he was to make them an intricate part of his life. And later on in the chapter, Shi’mon Petros (Peter) interprets his own vision to be about people – not food – when he tells Cornelius, “God has shown me that I should not call ANY MAN unholy or unclean” (Acts 10:28b; emphasis added). He does not say “ANY FOOD,” which is what Christianity says the vision is about. So obviously, Christianity’s traditional interpretation that this is about food does not line up with Shi’mon Petros’ (Peter’s) own interpretation. They are in conflict with it. And personally, I think it is pretty arrogant of many Christians to argue that they have a better understanding of Shi’mon Petros’ (Peter’s) vision than Shi’mon Petros (Peter) himself, particularly since they didn’t have the vision – he did.
Christianity also errors in interpreting this chapter because they remove it from the context of Second Temple Judaism. During the time period between the Tanakh (aka, “Old Testament”) and the New Testament, there was “a law” that came into existence that Christianity does not acknowledge or consider when reading and studying the New Testament. For example, let’s consider Acts 10 again. In this chapter, when Shi’mon Petros (Peter) gets to the home of the Roman Centurion, Cornelius, he tells him, “You yourselves know how UNLAWFUL it is for a man who is a Jew to associate with a foreigner or to visit him;….” (Acts 10:28a). I have heard Christian ministers preach for most of my life that “Peter’s vision was for the purpose of overturning God’s laws.” In this case, of allowing Jews to associate with Gentiles (non-Jews). But did you know that there is no such command given by God in the Tanakh (aka, “Old Testament”) at all? It does not exist. So what “law” is he referring to? He is referring to a “law” that is taught in “the oral traditions of the elders” (i.e., the “Oral Law”) or what is now called the Mishnah, which is a collection of teachings of the ancient sages and the early founders of the two schools of Pharisees that were embraced and taught during this time, the Second Temple period.
The Pharisees, who are the direct ancestors to the modern rabbis, believed that these teachings found in the “Oral Law” (or Mishnah) were God’s oral explanation of how to keep the written laws of God. Rabbinical Jews still maintain this belief. It was this belief that both the Written Law and the Oral Law constituted the Law of God that made one a Pharisee and since the Temple’s destruction, a rabbinical Jew. And during the Second Temple period (i.e., the days of the New Testament), these teachings were taught to the general public by the Pharisees, and was accepted as “law” by the “general masses,” as we can see from the mouth of Shi’mon Petros (Peter) himself, who was part of the masses and not a Pharisee.
Is there proof that this teaching was part of the “oral traditions of the elders,” the “Oral Law,” or what has become known as the Mishnah? Actually, there is. In the Mishnah, we read, “a [Jewish] woman should not be allowed to be alone with them [i.e., Gentile men], because they are suspect in regard to fornication” (Tractate Abodah Zarah 2:1C-D), or in other words, there is a good chance they might rape her. It then goes on to say, “and a [Jewish] man should not be alone with them, because they are suspect in regard to bloodshed” (Tractate Abodah Zarah 2:1E, F), or in other words, there is a good chance they might kill him. Obviously, then, we can see here in these lines where this teaching or “law” would provide the basis for what Shi’mon Petros (Peter) tells Cornelius. Therefore, based on this, we can see that Peter’s vision was not to overturn God’s food laws, as Christianity erroneously continues to teach, but to overturn this idea that Jews should continue to separate themselves from the Gentiles (non-Jews) that was taught by the Beyt Shammai Pharisees, the dominant school of Pharisees during this time. Consequently, then, many of Christianity’s teachings regarding God’s law is in error, because they have taken things in the New Testament out of context of the Tanakh (“Old Testament”) and Second Temple Judaism as I have shown here by these examples.
THE PRINCIPLE OF DEUTERONOMY 13
So in order to properly interpret the Scriptures, one of the basic biblical principles I follow is the one discussed in Deuteronomy 13: 1-4. In this passage, we are given the first test to know whether “a prophet or a dreamer of dreams” is really from God. In this passage, we are told that if the prophet or “dreamer of dreams” tells us something miraculous and it happens, but then tries to encourage us to “worship other gods,” we are to ignore the teachings of this prophet or “dreamer of dreams.” Although what they said prophesied or dreamed came true, we are not to give in to their encouragement or teachings that would take us away from God and/or His commandments. God allows us to be exposed to this [false] prophet or “dreamer of dreams,” because He is allowing us to be tested to see if we truly love Him and His commandments. The example of going and worshipping other gods is just an example, it is not the only situation. Consequently, then, the principle being taught here is that any teaching that takes us away from God and/or His commandments, we are to ignore and not do. If it takes us away from God and/or His commandments, then it fails the test.
THE EVIDENCE WITHIN THE TORAH
So with that in mind, I want to go back and look at God’s Torah (His instructions) in the first five books of our Bible to answer the question, “What does the Bible mean by ‘the day after the Sabbath?” And what I found was greatly enlightening to me. In looking through the first five books of the Bible, the word “Sabbath” is used solely for the seventh day, the seventh year, or Yom Kippur (“Day of Atonement”), but it is never used to refer to Passover or the feast of Unleavened Bread.
In Exodus 12, where the feast of Passover is first mentioned, God refers to Passover as “the LORD’s Passover” (Exodus 12:11), not as “Israel’s Passover” or as the “Jewish Passover.” Also, we are told in this chapter that it will be “a memorial to you”:
Now this day will be a memorial to you, and you shall celebrate it as a feast to the LORD; throughout your generations you are to celebrate it as a permanent (or “eternal”) ordinance. (Exodus 12:14).
Now what is interesting is not only does God call the Passover an “ordinance” here in Exodus 12:14, but He repeats this statement that Passover is an ordinance three more times (Exodus 12:17, 24, 43) in this same chapter, and then once more in chapter 13:10, or for a total of five times in these two chapters. But do you know what word He does not use in reference to Passover in this section? He does not call it “a sabbath.” In fact, I checked the whole book of Exodus, and the only day that is called “the Sabbath” is the weekly Sabbath – no other day. So if God does not refer to Passover as a “sabbath” in this section and book, then where do the Pharisees get the idea that Passover, or the first day of Unleavened Bread, is “a sabbath”?
IN THE BOOK OF LEVITICUS?
If it is not called “a Sabbath” in the book of Exodus, then what about in the book of Leviticus? In this book, I did find another day that God called “a Sabbath” – but it was Yom Kippur (“the Day of Atonement”), not the Passover or the feast of Unleavened Bread. In Leviticus 16, we read,
And this shall be a permanent (eternal) statute for you: in the seventh month, on the tenth day of the month, you shall humble your souls, and not do any work, whether the native, or the alien (non-Jew) who sojourns among you; for it is on this day that atonement shall be made for you to cleanse you; you shall be clean from all your sins before the LORD. It is to be a SABBATH of solemn rest for you, that you may humble your souls; it is a permanent (eternal) statute. (Leviticus 16:29-31; emphasis added)
As we can see, God specifically calls Yom Kippur (“the Day of Atonement”) “a Sabbath.” But what about the other biblical feasts in Leviticus 23, the chapter where God specifically discusses His seven mo’edim, His “appointed times”? In Leviticus 23, we read,
Speak to the sons of Israel, and say to them, The LORD’s appointed times which you shall proclaim as holy convocations (assemblies) – My appointed times are these: For six days work may be done; but on the seventh day there is a SABBATH of complete rest, a holy convocation (assembly). You shall not do any work; it is a SABBATH to the LORD in all your dwellings. These are the appointed times of the LORD, holy convocations (assemblies) which you shall proclaim at the times appointed for them. (Leviticus 23:2-4; emphasis added)
Now twice in this passage, God calls the seventh day “a Sabbath,” but in the following three verses, He does not call Passover or the Feast of Unleavened Bread “a Sabbath” at all:
In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month at twilight is the LORD’s Passover. Then on the fifteenth day of the month there is the Feast of Unleavened Bread to the LORD; for seven days you shall eat unleavened bread. On the first day you shall have a holy convocation (assembly); you shall not do any laborious work. (Leviticus 23:5-7)
Now in this passage, it does not say we cannot do “any work,” like He does for the Sabbath, but on the fifteenth day, we are not to do any “laborious (or hard) work.” In fact, in Exodus 12, we are told the following:
And on the first day you shall have a holy assembly, and another holy assembly on the seventh day; no work at all shall be done on them, EXCEPT what must be eaten by every person, that alone may be prepared by you. (Exodus 12:16; emphasis added)
When it comes to the seventh day Sabbath, there is to be no work done at all, and there is no exception to that rule given. However, when it comes to Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread, no work is to be done, EXCEPT when it comes to preparing the food that is to be eaten on that day. This exception, therefore, differentiates Passover and Unleavened Bread from the weekly Sabbath. So again, where did the Pharisees (and modern day rabbis) get the idea that the Passover is “a sabbath”?
THE FEAST OF FIRST FRUITS
In the book of Leviticus, the next feast we find discussed is the Feast of First Fruits. In this passage, we read,
Speak to the sons of Israel, and say to them, “When you enter the land which I am going to give to you and reap its harvest, then you shall bring in the sheaf of the FIRST FRUITS of your harvest to the priest. And he shall wave the sheaf before the LORD for you to be accepted; on THE DAY AFTER THE SABBATH the priest shall wave it.” (Leviticus 23:10-11; emphasis added)
This brings us to the passage upon which my question is based: What is meant by “the day after the Sabbath”? As I mentioned before, the Sadducees taught that the word “Sabbath” here refers to the weekly Sabbath, whereas the Pharisees argued that it refers to the Passover. However, as I have discussed, in the books of Exodus, the word “Sabbath” is used in reference to the weekly Sabbath (Exodus 16:23-26, 29; 20:8-11; 35:2-3), and God also says that the weekly Sabbath is a sign between God and His people (Exodus 31:14-16). And up until Leviticus 23, Yom Kippur (“Day of Atonement”) is the only day also called “a Sabbath” (Leviticus 16:31; 23:32) besides the weekly Sabbath (Leviticus 19: 3, 30; 23: 11-16), but these days are the ones called by that name.
Now if we look at the passage that follows God’s instructions for the Feast of First Fruits, we read,
You shall also count for yourselves from THE DAY AFTER THE SABBATH, from the day when you brought in the sheaf of the wave offering; there shall be SEVEN SABBATHS. You shall count fifty days to THE DAY AFTER THE SEVEN SABBATHS; then you shall present a new grain offering to the LORD. (Leviticus 23: 15-16; emphasis added)
In this passage, it says that we are to count “SEVEN SABBATHS” from the day of First Fruits. Obviously, these “SEVEN SABBATHS” we are counting are NOT seven Passovers or seven feasts of Unleavened Bread – but SEVEN WEEKLY SABBATHS. Therefore, if we look at the phrase “THE DAY AFTER THE SABBATH” within the context of the chapter, there can be only one interpretation: the term “Sabbath” here refers to the weekly “Sabbath” – not to the feast of Passover or the first day of Unleavened Bread. Consequently, then, based on the evidence of the Scriptures so far, the Sadducee interpretation is correct in this instance – not that of the Pharisees or Rabbinical Jews. First fruits and the beginning of the counting of the Omer begins the day after the weekly Sabbath, which on our calendar would be the first Sunday after Passover and during the feast of Unleavened Bread.
WHAT ABOUT THE REST OF THE TORAH?
In looking at the rest of the Torah (the first five books of the Bible), beyond the weekly Sabbath and Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement), the only other time called “the Sabbath” by God was the seventh year Sabbath:
Speak to the sons of Israel, and say to them, “When you come into the land which I shall give you, then the land shall have a SABBATH to the LORD. Six years you shall sow your field, and six years you shall prune your vineyard and gather in its crop, and during the seventh year the land shall have a SABBATH REST, a SABBATH to the LORD; you shall not sow your field nor prune your vineyard. (Leviticus 25:2-4; emphasis added)
In this passage, the seventh year is called a “Sabbath rest, a Sabbath to the LORD.” During this seventh year, God commanded His people to allow the land to rest for this one year. They were not to sow (or plant) in the fields, nor were they to prune their plants.
After giving His instructions about the seventh year Sabbath for the land, God then tells His people,
You are also to count off SEVEN SABBATHS OF YEARS for yourself, seven times seven years, so that you have the time of the SEVEN SABBATHS OF YEARS, namely forty-nine years. You shall then sound a ram’s horn abroad on the tenth day of the seventh month; on the day of atonement (Heb. Yom Kippur) you shall sound a horn all through the land. You shall thus consecrate the fiftieth year and proclaim a release through the land to all its inhabitants. It shall be a JUBILEE for you, and each of you shall return to his own property, and each of you shall return to his family. You shall have the fiftieth year as a JUBILEE; you shall not sow, nor reap its aftergrowth, nor gather in from its untrimmed vines. For it is a JUBILE; it shall be holy to you. You shall not eat its crops out of the field. (Leviticus 25: 8-12; emphasis added)
As we can see, we are commanded to count “seven SABBATHS OF YEARS,” or 7 x 7 years or 49 years, and then the 50th year is called “JUBILEE,” but it is NOT called “a Sabbath.” So again, the word “Sabbath” is reserved for the 7th day, the 7th year, and for Yom Kippur (“Day of Atonement”), but it is not used for any other day or feast.
But what about the book of Numbers and Deuteronomy? In Numbers, the word “Sabbath” is always used to refer to the weekly Sabbath (i.e., Numbers 15:32; 28:9-10) and in the book of Deuteronomy, it also refers to the weekly Sabbath (Deuteronomy 5:12-15).
Consequently, then, there is NO textual evidence from the written Torah – the five books of Moses – that the Passover or Unleavened Bread is ever called “a Sabbath” by God. So this is why the Sadducees, who only believed that the first five books of the Bible came from God, believed that the word “Sabbath” as it is used in the phrase “the day after the Sabbath” referred to the weekly Sabbath. And when we examine the first five books, there is clearly no evidence that the Passover or the feast of Unleavened Bread were ever called by God “a Sabbath.” So if we base our decision on the Written Torah, then we would have to agree with the Sadducees, as opposed to the Pharisees or rabbinic Jews.
THE BEREAN TEST
Another test that I use in properly interpreting the Bible is found in Acts 17. In this chapter, Sha’ul Paulus (Paul) and Silas are sent away by the brethren in Thessalonica to go to Berea, and when they arrive in Berea, we read,
,..and when they arrived, they went into the synagogue of the Jews. Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily, to see whether these things were so. Many of them therefore believed, along with a number of prominent Greek women and men. (Acts 17: 10b – 12)
In this passage, we read about another test for a proper understanding of the Scriptures. In this passage, it says that the people in the synagogue where more noble than those in the city of Thessalonica because although they “received the word with great eagerness,” they still continued to examine “the Scriptures daily, to see whether these things were so.” They listened to what Sha’ul Paulus (Paul) and Silas taught them, but they did not believe it just because they said it, but instead, they diligently searched the Scriptures to see if what they were saying was taught and supported in the Hebrew Scriptures. Many of them believed because the Scriptures supported what they said. If the Hebrew Scriptures had not supported their teachings, then the people would have rejected Sha’ul Paulus (Paul) and Silas, as well as their teachings. Therefore, the principle being taught here is that if we diligently search the Hebrew Scriptures, and they also teach and support the same thing, then we are to believe it as they did.
The Berean Test is really built on, and an extension of, the Deuteronomy 13 Test. If it is true, then it will agree with what the Hebrew Scriptures teach. However, what “Scriptures” were they diligently searching? It was not the New Testament since it was not written yet, except perhaps, the Hebrew version of the book of Matthew. But the Scriptures they had been searching were the same ones they had been studying in the synagogue – “the Law and the Prophets.” Consequently, then, if what we are being taught aligns and agrees with the teachings of “the Law and the Prophets” (i.e., the Tanakh, or “Old Testament”), then it is okay for us to accept.
WHAT DOES THE TANAKH (“OLD TESTAMENT”) SAY ABOUT PASSOVER BEING A SABBATH?
In going through all of the passages where the word “Sabbath” is used, there is NOT ONE SINGLE VERSE where the Passover or the first day of Unleavened Bread is ever referred to as “a Sabbath.” What we do find in the book of Isaiah, for example, is that there is a special blessing for anyone who takes hold of God’s covenant and keeps from profaning His Sabbath (i.e., the weekly 7th day Sabbath):
How blessed is the man who does this, and the son of man who takes hold of it; who keeps from profaning the SABBATH, and keeps his hand from doing any evil. (Isaiah 56:2; emphasis added)
After this, God then offers a special blessing to any non-Jew who would embrace His covenant and keep from profaning His Sabbath:
Also the foreigners (non-Jews) who join themselves to the LORD, to minister to Him, and to love the name of the LORD, to be His servants, every one who keeps from profaning the SABBATH, and holds fast My covenant; even those I will bring to My holy mountain, and make them joyful in My house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and their sacrifices will be acceptable on My altar; for My house will be called a house of prayer for all the peoples. (Isaiah 56:6-7; emphasis added)
Tell me, if God’s Law, including the Sabbath, was only for the Jewish people, then why does God offer this special promise to non-Jews (Gentiles) who also “hold fast [His] covenant” and “[keep] from profaning the Sabbath”? Obviously, then, the idea that God’s Law was only for the Jews does not line up with the Scriptures.
Also, just two chapters over, God offers a special blessing to all people – Jew and non-Jew alike – who observe the weekly Sabbath:
If because of the SABBATH, you turn your foot from doing your own pleasure on My holy day, and call the SABBATH a delight, the holy day of the LORD honorable, and shall honor it, desisting from (or “not doing”) your own ways, from seeking your own pleasure, and speaking your own word. Then you will take delight in the LORD, and I will make you ride on the heights of the earth; and I will feed you with the heritage of Jacob your father, for the mouth of the LORD has spoken. (Isaiah 58:13-14; emphasis added)
As we can see, when we honor the weekly Sabbath in the way that God has outlined here in His word, He promises us to specially bless us for it. He will make us to “ride on the heights of the earth,” and He will “feed [us] with the heritage of Jacob [our] father.” And how do we know that God will, in fact, do this? Because He says, “the mouth of the LORD has spoken.” There is no higher authority backing this promise than God Himself.
And if we study Isaiah 66:22-23 and Ezekiel 44-46, we discover that all people – Jew and non-Jew alike – is going to be keeping the Sabbath and New Moon feasts. Therefore, how can Christianity turn around and say that God brought His Law, including the Sabbath, to an end at the death of Christ [Messiah] when, obviously, such a teaching is in direct contradiction to the teaching of the Scriptures?
In summary of this study, then, what we must conclude is that there is not a single verse in the entire Tanakh (aka, “Old Testament”) where Passover or the feast of Unleavened Bread is called “a Sabbath.” Therefore, if it is not based on the Hebrew Scriptures (aka, “Old Testament”), then it must be based on some other source. And since this was taught by the Pharisees, it is reasonable to assume that this teaching came from “the Oral Law” (or Mishnah), or what is called in the Gospels, “the traditions of the elders” (Matthew 15:2-3; Mark 7: 1-5).
So if the Feast of First Fruits happens on the day after the weekly Sabbath, that comes after the Passover and during the feast of Unleavened Bread, then First Fruits this year began Saturday night, April 3, 2021, and it will end at sunset on Sunday, April 4, 2021. This is the feast during which Yeshua (Jesus) rose from the dead, even though there’s been more than three days this year between Passover and First Fruits. Also, today, April 4, 2021, is biblically the 1st day of the counting of the Omer this year.
As a whole Bible believer, I am not interested in keeping the commandments because I am a “Jewish-wanna-be,” but according to the Scriptures, the Torah was given to both Jews and Gentiles (non-Jews) at Mt. Sinai (see Exodus 12:38; Numbers 11:4). Therefore, the Torah is for all people for all time, and since it is, then it is for you and me today. As a result, I want to walk in all that God has for me – NOT just what some religion, whether we call it Judaism or Christianity, says God has for me.
I do realize that there are some things we cannot do right now because there is not a Temple in Jerusalem right now, but I believe there is coming a day when that will change, and there will be a Temple. Even though the Temple does not presently stand, we should do all that we can do in obedience to God’s commandments, just like Daniel and his friends did while in Babylon, after the destruction of the first Temple, until the Temple is rebuilt. Daniel and his friends did not quit keeping what commandments they could after the first Temple was destroyed by the Babylonians, and God blessed them for it, so in the same way, God will bless us for keeping what commandments of God we can at this time.
Excellent article! Never realized the limited application of the term sabbath to the weekly sabbath and Day of Atonement.
I would like your thoughts. Apparently the original manuscripts and most if not all Bible translations (as originally written such as the Luther Bible of 1545) prior to the King James Version indicate in all seven resurrection accounts that Christ was resurrected just prior to sunrise on the weekly sabbath during the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Even the later day, literal translations say Christ was resurrected on the Sabbath (see the Concordant literal translation by Knoch, Young’s Literal Translation, or Julia Smith’s literal translation). If Christ was indeed raised on the Sabbath, and He is the First Fruits of the dead, then would that not suggest that First Fruits was celebrated on the weekly Sabbath? Also, I have discovered that some of older or more literal translations of Leviticus 23:11 do not say “on the day after the Sabbath” but “on the morrow of the sabbath”. Here is an example from Julia Smiths literal translation: “And he lifted up the handful before Jehovah for your acceptance: on the morrow of the Sabbath the priest shall lift it up”. In its archaic usage “morrow” meant “morning” or “in the morning” (from the Germanic word “morgen” for morning). Finally, the description of the first fruits procession (from the oral law?) has the wave sheaf being reaped after sundown by a delegation from the temple on the evening of the sabbath. Why would they have reaped the omer on the evening of the sabbath if it were not to be waved until Sunday? Why wouldn’t they have reaped it Saturday evening after the conclusion of the weekly sabbath? These three threads of evidence suggest to me that Christ resurrected on the weekly sabbath and that was the day of First Fruits. Can you shed any light on this? A friend and I have been examining this for several weeks now, and we are in a bit of a quandary. The claims that the original manuscripts have the resurrection on the sabbath appear to be correct based on our research to date (but we are not linguists). God bless.