The Saturday after this blog goes out is the reference date for First Fruits. This blog explores some of the stories that provide parables for understanding the First Fruits holiday.
The link here is into the calendar app. It is highlighting the First Fruits holiday this year.
We added back this holiday once we started seeing parables for the holidays in the high level narratives. We have not observed this holiday for several years, probably to our detriment.
This holiday is not defined by calendar date in any specific story. It is defined as being by observation. Normally this is driven by some sort of harvest when working land.
Because it is tied to the harvest cycle, the date can fall at essentially any time of the year. Harvests depend on the hemisphere, distance from Equator and type of crop in the harvest.
Wheat harvests, in the USA alone, span across several months. Wheat farmers in south Texas are harvesting long before wheat farmers in North Dakota. So by definition it is not tied to the calendar at all.
In actual harvest scenarios a first cutting is taken of the field of grain. It is take to a lab and examined.
For grains like wheat, modern farmers have the wheat tested for moisture content, protein and other variables. These are used to estimate the expenses for the harvest and the expected value of the crop when the harvest is done. In the worst case the crop is so poor that it will be left to rot in the field. In the best case, the farmer knows he will have a profitable bumper crop.
First Fruits is a holiday where Joshua is doing these things with us. He tests us every year at this time. This happens even if we know nothing about the holiday itself. He is managing his crop of souls and this is how he does it.
We tend to get a better grade in those years when we go along with his plan, rather than fight him. We never know for sure what he is testing in each year. We may know prophetically about the year's tests, or we may not.
Assigning A Date
There are many reasons why this holiday should be assigned a date and so be visible on the calendar. As a bare minimum it warns users of calendars to beware that First Fruits exists.
If you know the technical definition, then you can observe it at any time that makes sense given your situation.
On the other hand, there are many professions that are not tied to specific harvest cycles at all. Most work in our modern world is not tied to harvest cycles. In these situations picking a date by math is not a bad practice.
The calendar app sets a reference First Fruits date by backing up exactly 6 months from incarnation day. If that day is a Sabbath, then done. If not, the following Sabbath is marked as the First Fruits holiday.
This is in some sense arbitrary, but it is a simple to understand rule. This rule also causes a 40 day interval to follow the end of UNLB week, which is an interesting day count in the Exodus stories. This is a reference we saw prophetically this year. It may turn out to be baked into the holiday schedule for some reason we do not fully understand.
First Half Of The Year
In all cases in the text, First Fruits shows up following prophetically after Passover. There are no exceptions, so it is NEVER seen as a holiday that follows Tabernacles in the end of the year.
Note that the holiday of Weeks is always 7 full weeks later. There is always enough room in the year for this to complete before Tabernacles.
We are seeing that Joshua is pleased with this otherwise arbitrary assignment of the holiday to a calendar date. He has been pushing us prophetically to observe it this year. We are traveling for the weekend in order to do that.
The technical definitions for all of the holidays are simple. The text basically names the holiday and gives dates. They are under stated in that they do not have elaborate explanations as to why they are important.
In years past we were trying our best to understand the entire set of holidays. We were not having very much luck. In part because the purposes of the holidays is not in the definitions of the holidays.
People object to observing these holidays because they seem like left over Jewish Holidays. They are seen as a different religion's set of holidays, a comparable match to the holidays found in Christianity.
In both religions, holidays are seen as a time for family reunions. They are sometimes elaborate and shared with the popular culture. Sometimes they involve elaborate Church ceremonies.
The answer to this sort of objection lives in the way many passages in the text are structured following holiday runs. This means there are a bunch of stories spread across the text that are parables for each holiday.
None of the inspired holidays is fundamentally a time of social gathering nor of church ceremony. They are not like how modern holidays are observed.
In order to explain First Fruits, I will take a slice of our notes for the entire holiday set. I will only deal with First Fruits.
Note this holiday is usually paired in prophetic passages to Weeks. Weeks, as a holiday, lands 7 weeks or 50 days later. Some process, in some domain of life, is begun on First Fruits which culminates at the holiday of Weeks. Let me now briefly share some of our notes on First Fruits.
Jacob's arrival at Haran is the story in his life that matches First Fruits. At this encounter at a well he will meet his future wife. He will meet her family, which in his case is a distant branch of his own family.
His version of the harvest is to work for his wife. His later holiday of weeks is the wedding banquet where he ends up with 2 wives.
Notice that there is a triplet here which is common to the First Fruits and Weeks holidays. There is an opening encounter at the start. At that opening event there is a sample of what is to come. This is like a cutting sheaf of grain from a wheat field.
Then there is some number of weeks to conduct the harvest. In a normal calendar year this is 7 weeks. But in prophetic versions this can be 7 weeks, but is more commonly 7 years later.
In Jacob's case it was 7 years between his first encounter at the well, and his wedding feast(s) that came 7 years later.
Note the pattern, the First Fruits is the sample. Weeks is the conclusion of some sort of work related harvest.
Joseph's life narrative is also structured around a run of the holidays. He gets to his own First Fruits when he meets the Cupbearer and Baker while they are all in prison.
In that encounter the 2 men have both dreamed dreams. Joseph interprets the first dream. After hearing the good report from the first, the second man shares his dream. It is a poor report that second time.
Both men leave prison, the cubbearer restored, and the baker hanged.
Note these men were both tested, just as grain is tested with a sample before the harvest begins. One man passed, one man failed.
This is a First Fruits to Joseph. Like Jacob's encounter at the well, Joseph is demonstrating an ability to interpret prophetic dreams.
Joseph's harvest happens when he can later interpret Pharaoh's dream.
This is the other end of the weeks period in Joseph's life. He now has a major and important dream to interpret. That interpretation for Pharaoh will get Joseph out of prison and into high Egyptian society. It is the other end of the this holiday.
The timing is unclear, but likely a 7 year interval between these events.
Joshua son of Nun had a life ark that also followed the holidays. His First Fruits was conquering Jericho. The story begins at Joshua 5:13.
Conquering Jericho was but a First Fruits to the general problem of conquering the entire country. That work would take another 7 years to complete. Conquering the entire land is like finishing a harvest cycle. It was to Joshua son of Nun a prophetic type of Weeks.
Elisha is another witness to us with a life arc that is following the holidays. In his case the First Fruits story begins at 2 Kings 4:38.
His First Fruits story is marked by cooking pottage for the community of prophets. There is death in the pot which must be healed so they can eat. By verse 42 First Fruits is mentioned by name as some bread is brought to the group.
In Elisha's case he will deal with Namaan the commander who came to him to be healed. Namaan was told to dip 7 times in the Jordan in order to be healed of leprosy.
Though the text does not say so directly, we suspect that Namaan had to go once a week for 7 weeks to dip in the Jordan in order to be healed. This is why he complained and wanted a river closer to home to dip in. This travel is important and why he was told 7 times of dipping to be healed.
When Namaan is finished with those weeks he returns to Elisha and gives a gift in thanks. In stock Bibles Namaan's gift is turned down. Editors don't like funding of prophets, so this turning down of Namaan's gift is likely at their hand.
We strongly suspect that Namaan's gift was received. Why? Because it was Elisha's harvest of weeks AND because that community of prophets then builds new digs at the Jordan. They were funded in that work by Namaan.
Note that this story is told from the perspective of the prophet. His First Fruits is receiving a small gift while in famine. His Weeks is receiving enough finances to build something large enough to house a community of prophets.
The prophet Daniel is another writer whose written story is following a progression across the holidays. Our realization of this fact is what caused us to recently restore several of Daniel's stories into the TT app.
There has probably been detail editing within Daniel's stories. But all the stories make up the structure and are required by the holiday grid.
In Daniel 4 we read about a story involving king Nebuchadnezzar. Note that this is not Daniel's own story, but part of the chronicle of stories that Daniel provides in his book. So here the holiday grid is in a 3rd person voice.
In this chapter we read about how the king is cut down from his lofty position. He then will eat grass for 7 years. Then he is restored and majesty is added to him.
Here the holiday is acting like a curse. If Nebuchadnezzar had been more humble he might have had a positive example to share with us.
Instead Nebuchadnezzar is like the sheaf of a first cutting himself. He then hits the standard 7 time units, in this case years, and he is then restored as a parable for a full harvest at weeks.
Anyone proud or caught up with themselves risks this negative example of this holiday. Instead of life going well, First Fruits can be a time of personal disaster. It will take a harvest cycle before they are restored.
These disasters often unfold across 7 years because it takes time for Joshua to break a rebellious soul of some deep personality problem.
Starting in Matthew 16:13 is a series of stories that are parables for all of the holidays. Our interest here is for the First Fruits part of this run which is in 17:24, as linked here.
Here a question posed to Joshua about paying head tax. This story is complex because it tells us he is covering taxes for some of his disciples. Joshua then explains in parable that members of the same family do not collect tax from each other. So the religious authorities who are asking for the tax are not of the same family.
But, in any case, Joshua then tells Peter to catch a fish and find the coin needed to pay the tax.
This tax payment is like First Fruits as an offering. It is a sample of what is to come with a larger harvest.
The weeks side of this story begins in Matthew 18:1. The narrator's voice calls out 'at that hour.' Hours are of course sets of 7, so the normal 7 weeks is seen in parable form here.
For those that want more, there are 2 more holiday runs in the Book of Acts. In the first holiday run, First Fruits starts at Acts 4:32. The story involves bringing proceeds from sold fields to the feet of the apostles.
Here the apostles are on the receiving end of a First Fruits holiday cycle. We believe they are getting refugees tickets out of the region ahead of the Roman invasion. This is like Elisha, and is seen from the receiving side of the holiday. Elisha and his crew apparently moved from near Damascus to near the Jordan.
In the second holiday run in Acts, First Fruits is seen at Acts 13:1 when Paul and Barnabas go on their first missionary trip. This is their test case for these trips. They will have many more that follow. Of course Paul will make a career of missionary journeys and we get his epistles from the trips that follow.
Our First Fruits
The examples I have listed here are enough to start to get your head around First Fruits and the paired holiday of Weeks.
First Fruits is the start of the pair, ending 7 weeks later at Weeks. When done right there are 7 full weeks between First Fruits and Weeks. These usually involve working on some sort of harvest.
The base line action for us is to take a sample of our work to Joshua. This could be from our actual farm. But, this applies to any important aspect in life. Joshua will judge it and determine if he is happy with us.
This could be as simple as a bumper crop from our fields. It could be more complex. Any other work we could be doing for him can be tested in this season.
Because his inspection of us is such an important aspect of the First Fruits holiday, it often does not demand anything other than appearing when and where he wants. He can inspect everything about us, not just what is obvious to us ourselves.
Joshua reviews each of us just like a farmer does a field of standing grain. When he likes what he sees he will often trigger a response that can be seen 7 times later.