There are three feasts, as prescribed by the Lord, that are associated with the early Spring harvest. The week long Feast of Unleavened Bread, Passover and the Feast of Firstfruits all occur within a seven day period, usually in April on our calendar. On the first Sunday after Passover (Resurrection Sunday) a sheaf of the first grain from the fields was brought to the priest, who waved the sheaf before the Lord. (Leviticus 23:10-11)
Then there was a countdown of fifty days to Pentecost. At Pentecost (called Shavuot by the Jews) the Israelites were instructed to bring more new grain to the Lord. (Leviticus 23:16-17) The grain was made into two loaves of bread, which were again called Firstfruits and waved before the Lord. You can see there is a definite connection between the Feast of Firstfruits and Pentecost.
There is a further connection. Fifty represents redemption. After fifty years all land in Israel was to return to the original family that owned it. The land was redeemed after fifty years. Modern rabbis recognize the connection between Pentecost and redemption, but sadly, they do not connect that redemption to Jesus.
Another connection for Christians is the fact that Jesus arose from the grave on the Feast of Firstfruits, the first Sunday after Passover. Jesus was the Firstfruits of the grave. (First Corinthians 15:20) Fifty redemptive days later the Church was initiated by the gift of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost (Acts 2:1-41), and through that redemption we Christians have the hope of resurrection just as Jesus was resurrected.
There is a further connection between the two harvest festivals as recognized by the Jews. The rabbis consider Passover and Pentecost as one big festival. The days between the two are noted in what is called the “Counting of the Omer.” The rabbis consider Pentecost to be the Atzeret, or the completion, of the earlier Passover feast. In their minds Pentecost completes what was begun on Passover.
They are so right!
The beginning of our Salvation started at Passover and was completed on Pentecost. I would not be surprised if the Lord did not resurrect the Church on Pentecost as the Early Harvest. What a glorious completion of our Salvation! This would be the beginning of the Lord’s move to redeem the Land of Israel to its original owners, and the ultimate redemption of the Jews.
I pray that the Jews could recognize Jesus and this connection, also. However, currently the Jews are blinded. (Romans 11:25-26) The Lord has a Plan and that Plan includes the Jews. Praise His wonderful name for including us in His Plan.