Rabbi Schneider - Who was the First Fruit?
I'm going to show you, beloved one today, number one, this is a historical fact. I'm also going to talk today about how that should practically affect our lives as we're living in the here and the now. And finally, I'm going to conclude by showing us what His resurrection means for us in terms of our future destiny. Before we launch into all that, it's important to make note of the fact that the resurrection of Yeshua was prophesied in the Hebrew Bible in a number of places. But the primary text that I want to refer to today is in the book of Leviticus that we call in Hebrew Vayikra. Everything that Yeshua accomplished in His earthly ministry, His coming, His death took place at Passover. He was buried on the Jewish holy day called unleavened bread. And then He rose on the Jewish holy day referred to, in Leviticus 23, as the Feast of First Fruits.
So let me say it again another way. Everything that Jesus accomplished in His earthly ministry, the key acts, His death, burial, and resurrection were all foreshadowed in the Torah. It's also interesting to note that these spring holy days: Passover, unleavened bread, First Fruits, and then the giving of the spirit on the Hebrew day called Shavuot, which is translated in English as Pentecost, this all took place in a season, the spring holy day season. And so today as we have concluded Passover, as we've concluded celebrating the burial of Yeshua on unleavened bread, we're going to focus now on the holy day called first fruits in the Torah, which represents and symbolizes and foreshadows the resurrection of Jesus from the dead.
And so before we launch into the historical fact of the resurrection, its present-day reality for us as we're walking on the earth and what it means for us in terms of our future glory, I want to first go back to the beginning to the Hebrew Bible and show you where the resurrection of Jesus is pre-shadowed or foreshadowed there. I'm going once again to the Book of Leviticus or Vayikra. I'm going to the 23rd chapter. We're going to simply be looking today at verses 10 and 11. Now Moses has already written about Passover in this section, which symbolizes, of course, the crucifixion of the Lamb of God for the sin of the world. Moses has already talked about, in Leviticus 23, the Feast of Unleavened Bread, which symbolizes the burial of King Jesus. And then finally, today, we're going to be looking, once again, at verse number of Jesus shadowed in the Hebrew Bible.
Here we go. "Speak to the sons of Israel and say to them, 'When you enter the land which I'm going to give you and reap its harvest, then you shall bring in the sheaf of the", get this now, "first fruits". The reason I want you to get that term "first fruits" is because when Paul talks about the resurrection of Jesus from the dead, He says that Jesus was the first fruits of those that are raised from the dead. So this term "first fruits" is used first of all here on the Torah, and then Paul's going to use the same term in describing the resurrection of Jesus. So once again, "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".
So when that sheaf of the first fruits was lifted up by the priest and waved before the Lord, then that Israelite farmer and his whole harvest was then sanctified and accepted to the Lord. In other words, they took the first fruit, they took that first sheaf, they dedicated that to the Lord, waved it unto Him, honoring Him, and then the Lord counted the farmer and his whole harvest as being acceptable and sanctified. And of course, I'm going to make an application to that because Jesus is the first fruit, the first one raised from the dead. And because the Lord accepted Him, the Lord now accepts us, His harvest, even as the Lord accepted the first sheaf of the harvest. And as a result of that first sheaf being consecrated, the rest of the harvest was then consecrated. You're accepted, beloved one, in Jesus because of His shed blood and His resurrection. He rose from the dead after giving His life for you. And because He's accepted, when you come to Him, you become accepted as His harvest.
Now, I want to point out as we're moving now into the Brit Chadashah or New Testament, that after Yeshua, after Jesus rose from the dead in the book of Luke 24, He appeared to His disciples two different times. And in these appearances after He had been raised from the dead, Jesus took His disciples on a journey through the law of Moses, the Prophets, and the Psalms, and He opened their eyes to be able to see how the Hebrew Bible pointed to Him. In other words, they couldn't see it before. When they read the Hebrew Bible, they didn't see the Messiah hidden in the pages of the Hebrew Bible. But then Jesus took them on a journey through the Torah, through the whole Tanakh, the whole Hebrew Bible, and He showed them, "You see this, guys, this was actually foreshadowing and pointing to Me".
And so I say that because all these holy days of the Lord in Leviticus 23 actually pointed to King Jesus and were foreshadows of His person and His ministry. And so everything that Jesus did, finally, once again, everything He did, His death on Passover, His being buried on the Jewish holy day in Leviticus 23 called unleavened bread, and now His rising from the dead, all were foreshadowed in the Torah. Now with that foundation being laid, knowing now that your faith does not rest on the writings of the New Testament alone, but it is resting on the entirety of the Bible, the entirety of the Word of God, the Hebrew Bible being the first foundation, knowing that, let's move now into the reality of the historical, physical resurrection of Messiah from the dead. We live in a culture today, I know I'm talking to you the choir right now, the vast majority of you, we believe that Jesus Yeshua is the only way to God.
I hope you believe that today. If you consider yourself a Christian but you don't believe Jesus is the only way to God, you really don't understand the message of the gospel. Because the message of the gospel is this. Jesus say, "I am the way, the truth and the life, and no man come unto the Father but through Me". It's the blood of Jesus alone that atone for the sin of humanity. There is no way to God other than through an atonement. And the Lord told us in the Torah, the life of the flesh is in the blood. And I've given it to you on the altar to make an atonement for your soul. Leviticus 17:11. There is no atonement apart for shed blood. The blood being shed represents that an innocent life had been given on behalf of the guilty.
To think that people could just wander into a relationship with God any way they want you, to think that you could just be spiritual and have a relationship with God without coming to God through Jesus is absolute deception. The blood of Jesus alone is what creates a pathway for God to have a relationship with those that have sinned against Him. And the resurrection of Jesus the Father, literally, physically, historically, beloved Church, raising Yeshua from the dead demonstrates that Father God accepted Yeshua's death as an acceptable means of atonement, as an acceptable sacrifice for sinful humanity. And so the next thing to press is this. Did Jesus really rise from the dead? Did Father God really raise Him up from the dead? Or is the resurrection just a myth as many suppose?
Many even sit in our churches today, they don't really believe that Jesus' resurrection is a historical reality. But I want you to hear me today. As we get into the Word of God now in the book of Corinthians 15, you're going to see that Paul hit this question straight on. I mean, Paul dove right into this question. Paul says, "If Jesus has not truly been raised from the dead, then you and I are fools for giving ourselves to a lie". Paul makes this case squarely on the fact that Jesus' resurrection is a historical reality. And so this is what we're going to do today as we're focusing on and celebrating the resurrection of Messiah Jesus. I'm picking up now in I'm going to begin there in verse 1. Hear the Word of God. The grass withers and the flowers fade, beloved one, but the Word of God abides forever.
Paul says this. "Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you," he said, "unless you believe in vain". In other words, if you don't hold on to this, whatever believing you had at first is in vain. You need to hold on to this reality. "For I deliver to you as a first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins", there's no other way, "according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures". This is the gospel. This is why the Apostles Creed includes these key concepts as declarations of true saving faith. "And that He appeared", after He was raised from the dead in verse 5, "to Cephas, then to the twelve. After that He appeared to more than five". And I love this, "He appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time, most of whom," Paul said, "remain until now".
Paul is saying, he appeared to five hundred people at the same time and most of those five hundred are still living. "Now some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, and last of all, as to one untimely born, He appeared," Paul said, "to me". So Paul, once again, he is talking about a present literal reality. He physically appeared to all these people. Last of which Paul said, "he appeared to me". I'm going to pick up in the 14th verse as we continue to demonstrate this. Paul is now challenging those that are saying that He had not been raised from the dead. See, there were two primary religious parties during the time of Yeshua's walk that we read about in the New Testament. We had the Pharisees and the Sadducees. There were also the Essenes and some other groups. But the primary religious element of Yeshua's day were the Pharisees and the Sadducees. The Sadducees did not believe in the resurrection. So there were many that did not believe in a physical resurrection of the dead.
So Paul is challenging those that have this kind of anti-supernatural, anti-resurrection mindset. And he's also challenging those that say it's just a myth, just a fairy tale. So here's what Paul says in verse 14. "If Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain". Once again, we have to really appreciate the fact that Paul is tackling this argument head on. He's not avoiding it. He's saying if the resurrection of Jesus is not a historical reality, he said, "Then my preaching is in vain because this is the first foundation of everything," he said, "and your faith is in vain if He hasn't been raised from the dead because you're believing in something it's not true". So listen again, "If Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is also in vain. Moreover we are even found to be false witnesses of God, because we testified against God that He raised Christ, whom He did not raise, if in fact the dead are not raised".
Now, Paul is saying, not only is my preaching in vain, not only is your faith in vain if Christ hasn't been raised, but he said, even beyond that, he said, We're liars and we're lying against God. Because if we're telling people that Christ was raised from the dead if in fact He hasn't, then we're just liars before both God and man. Paul, once again, he's tackling the issue head-on. He continues in verse 16. "For if the dead are not raised, then not even Christ has been raised". Again because the Sadducees didn't believe in the physical resurrection. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless and you are still in your sins. The whole thing hinges on the resurrection. The resurrection is God's certification that Jesus' death in your place and my place is an acceptable means of atonement for our sins. So he's saying if Christ hasn't been raised, then we're still in our sins. It was the resurrection that certified that His blood atonement was enough to save us. And then he also says, "Then those who have fallen asleep in Christ they've perished".
Now, they didn't go to be with the Lord when they fell asleep as the New Testament teaches. Now, if Christ hasn't been raised, those that die, they're just gone. There's nothing left for them. Then Paul says, "If we have hoped". I love this verse, verse 19. "If we have hoped in Christ in this life only, we are of all men most to be pitied". I mean, Paul is standing before the Lord, and he's standing before man. And he's saying, "If Christ has not been raised," he's basically saying, "I am the most pitiful person in the earth for believing something that's not true, for preaching something that's not true, for giving my life to something that's not true, for encouraging other people to give their life to something that's not true. If Christ hasn't been raised, then I am the most pitiful creature in the world". But of course Paul was who he was because he knew that Messiah had been raised from the dead.
I want you to hear me, beloved one. The Scriptures teach that the same power, that literal power that physically lifted Jesus out of the grave and then brought Him up to be seated at the right hand of heaven, as those that were witnesses physically saw Him ascend into the heaven, that same power lives in you and me. We have the resurrection and the life. We have a super natural power in the earth right now to conquer. We have an abundant life. We're called to be overcomers. We're called to transcend every circumstance that we will ever face. Sure, we struggle. But as we cling to God, as we continue to depend on Him, as we continue to call out to Him, we are going to ascend and transcend everything that we will ever face. Neither height nor death, or any created thing can separate us from the love of God because we have been made partakers of the divine life and the spirit of the resurrection is our portion. So I want to bless you today to look up and know that you are an overcomer. In fact, the Bible says that you have been raised up with Christ and are seated with Him in the heavenly places. This is Rabbi Schneider saying to you today, I love you. God bless you. And until next week, shalom.