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The Wave Sheaf

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The Wave Sheaf

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The Wave Sheaf

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Why is the wave sheaf offering still important for a Christian?

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7 April 2012 Sermon: The Wave Sheaf Presented by Dan Dowd

God commands us to keep these days year after year, not only to remember what He has done in the past for His people but also what He is doing for us now and what He will do for all mankind as His plan unfolds. Many in Christianity look upon the events of that week of Christ’s crucifixion, looking back in time, they find meaning and yet in the very next breath unfortunately, many will negate much of that meaning by dismissing any fulfillment of those Holy Days that God gave ancient Israel and all of mankind. The downside to that outlook, that dismissal, is that by doing that they’re without understanding of what the Holy Days picture. In setting aside the three days and three nights, the Biblical fulfillment of Christ’s crucifixion, the fulfillment of the wave sheaf is also missed. The wave sheaf offering is all but forgotten in mainstream Christianity and even we, if we’re not careful, can allow that event to come and go without much remembrance or even much thought as to what it pictured and what it means for us today.

You might even be asking yourself at this point, “What is the wave sheaf offering? Why is it important during Days of Unleavened Bread?” Today we’re going to answer that question, we’re going to review the wave sheaf and its connection to the Days of Unleavened Bread and even moving forward and its importance to remembering the connection to all God’s Holy Days. So let me back up and ask the question again, “What is the wave sheaf offering?” In simple terms the wave sheaf offering was a grain offering harvested during the first days of Unleavened Bread. Depending on when the Sabbath falls in this week it was to be harvested on the Sunday following the weekly Sabbath. In the instruction God gave ancient Israel, the priest was to take a sheaf of the early barley harvest, it was to be cut, it was to be beat out and made into fine flour, put in a bowl, a certain measure, and it was to be waved before God in acceptance before the congregation. Let’s read of that in Leviticus chapter 23. Seems like an odd thing to go through but it is deep with meaning. I’m hoping to show you some of that today.

Leviticus 23 and in verse 9, let’s pick up the thought here. Leviticus 23:9 Leviticus 23:9And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying,
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– And the Eternal spoke to Moses, saying, Verse 10 – "Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them:`When you come into the land which I will give you, and reap of its harvest, then you shall bring a sheaf of the firstfruits of your harvest to the priest. Verse 11 – `He shall wave the sheaf before the Eternal, to be accepted on your behalf; on the day after the Sabbath the priest shall wave it. Verse 12 – `And you shall offer on that day, when you wave the sheaf, a male lamb of the first year, without blemish, as a burnt offering to the Eternal. Verse 13 – `It’s a grain offering shall be two-tenths of an ephah of fine flour mixed with oil, an offering made by fire to the Eternal, for a sweet aroma; and its drink offering shall be of wine, one-fourth of a hin. Verse 14 – `You shall eat neither bread nor parched grain nor fresh grain until the same day that you have brought the offering to your God; it shall be a statute forever throughout your generations. And as we just read, “the morrow after the Sabbath” – so this would be a Sunday and this year that’s tomorrow. This was to be done before that spring harvest was to begin in earnest.

Now, God instructed Israel to begin the spring harvest season by waving this ephah of barley. That’s a measure of about two quarts in our modern measurement system. This grain was not on the stalk, the wave was to be cut, as we’ll read here in a moment, it was to be beaten out fine. Let’s just do that, in verse 13. Verse 13 – grain offering two-tenths of an ephah of fine flour… That’s beaten down, like we would use to bake. It’s not the rough, on the stalk barley. This is interesting, the significance of this. Now barley was the spring harvest grain, it wasn’t the primary grain, but it was an easy one to sow because it could be placed in the ground in the fall before everything went dormant. Then in the spring as the ground began to warm up this barley would start to grow. The Israelites, as we read, were not to eat of any other harvest of the early crop until this wave sheaf took place. Now in our modern society I would speculate that very few of us actually had a connection to farming in terms of our living and we may not understand how that works. But if you’re driving around you notice that a lot of the fields that are green.

There’s a lot of clover already out there that the farmers had planted. This is the same sort of principle. They were to take this early harvest, this sheaf of grain and they were to beat it out as we just read. But what’s the symbolism of all that? I mentioned in my introduction that if a person sets aside the understanding of the three days and three nights that Christ gave as proof of his Messiahship, then they’ll begin to forget the importance of this wave sheaf offering. So let’s read Matthew 12. There’s only one thing Christ said that would show his Messiahship. You remember the Pharisees came to him and they wanted a sign. Now perhaps some of them were sincere in their request. They wanted to know if he was the Messiah or not. There should have been ample evidence for them to see that he was but in answering this question he only gave one statement. Matthew 12:40 Matthew 12:40For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale's belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.
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– "For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.”

In other words, he’s telling them the proof of my Messiahship is that I will be dead in the grave three days and three nights and then I will rise. Why is this proof of Christ’s Messiahship important in regarding this wave sheaf offering that we’re talking about? A Friday to Sunday crucifixion/resurrection loses the connection to the wave sheaf. But a Wednesday evening burial, late Sabbath resurrection puts Christ in place to be that wave sheaf offering. The wave sheaf represented the resurrected Christ. As he ascended to be accepted by his Father, the very first human to be born of God, if Jesus Christ wasn’t in the grave three days and three nights (Matthew 12:40 Matthew 12:40For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale's belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.
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), that’s the only proof we have – if he did not do that, then he’s not the Messiah, he cannot be the wave sheaf offering. Let’s then look at the context as this played out if you will. In John chapter 20, at the end of those three day and three nights Christ was resurrected. Just by way of quick review, Wednesday afternoon he was crucified. They needed to hurry and get him in the grave because of the Sabbath coming. This is why most mistakenly think it was Friday afternoon, not understanding the annual Sabbaths that were being kept. Thursday was the first Day of Unleavened Bread that year so they needed to get him in the grave Wednesday evening.

So Wednesday evening we start counting: Thursday evening, Friday evening, Saturday evening. And if you remember what we just read back in Leviticus, the wave sheaf was to be done on what we would call Sunday morning. So John 20 verse 11. John 20:11 John 20:11But Mary stood without at the sepulcher weeping: and as she wept, she stooped down, and looked into the sepulcher,
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– Mary stood outside by the tomb weeping, and as she wept she stooped down and looked into the tomb They had arrived, trying to prepare the body. Friday they went and bought these spices and herbs and such and then the Sabbath came and they didn’t have time to do it on Friday. So they went back out Saturday evening hoping to do this but when she arrived and the others with her, the tomb was already empty. This is why she’s crying. Verse 12 – And she saw two angels in white sitting, one at the head and the other at the feet… (that is where the body would have been) Verse 13 – Then they said to her, "Woman, why are you weeping?" She said to them, "Because they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid Him."

Verse 14 – Now when she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, and did not know that it was Jesus. Now this might seem odd to us but think about you not ever having a record of what someone looks like. We can take pictures and we have albums, we can hold them even on our phone and carry them around with us. They didn’t have this in that day and age. But also remember what Christ went through. It says his visage was marred. He didn’t look like what they remembered when he died and that was the last image they had in their minds. I suspect in part, too, with the glory that he now had taken on, he looked different. So she didn’t recognize him and so Christ in verse 15 asked her the same question. Verse 15 –"Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?" She, supposing Him to be a gardener, said to Him, "Sir, if You have carried Him away, tell me where You have laid Him, and I will take Him away." Verse 16 – Jesus said to her, "Mary!" There must have been something in the tone of his voice, the way he addressed her, something and then it clicked with her. Verse 16 (cont’d) – She turned and said to Him, "Rabboni!" (which is to say, Teacher).

Verse 17 – Jesus said to her, "Do not cling to Me, for I have not yet ascended to My Father; but go to My brethren and say to them,`I am ascending to My Father and your Father, and to My God and your God.'" Christ had not yet gone to the Father. He was that wave sheaf in the bowl waiting to be accepted by the Father. Let’s go forward in time then by going back to Matthew 28. Matthew 28, we have the conclusion, if you will, of this part of the story. Matthew 28:9 Matthew 28:9And as they went to tell his disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, All hail. And they came and held him by the feet, and worshipped him.
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– And as they went to tell His disciples,… Remember what he had told them there in John 20 where we were… he said, ‘Go tell them this took place, tell them that I’m ascending to my Father and our God’. Matthew 28:9 Matthew 28:9And as they went to tell his disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, All hail. And they came and held him by the feet, and worshipped him.
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– And as they went to tell His disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, "Rejoice!" So they came and held Him by the feet and worshiped Him. Now remember in John 20 he said don’t cling to me, I’m not yet ascended. But when he came back he didn’t tell them don’t do this. Verse 10 – Then said Jesus unto them, Do not be afraid: go tell my brethren to go to Galilee, and there they will see me. By this point in the story he had gone to heaven, God had accepted him, and he came back and let them know that had been taken care of or had been brought to pass.

When we consider the wave sheaf offering what we’re talking about in connection to what we just read here concerning Christ was that no other human could be harvested, as it were, brought into God’s family until Christ was made the accepted wave sheaf. Remember the context of Leviticus. They were to not harvest any of the spring grain until this took place. There’s great symbolism behind that. Now as a personal aside, I’ve often wondered: What did Christ do for that time Sabbath evening until Sunday morning. Some have speculated that he went to preach to those in hell. Of course, we would reject that teaching. He hadn’t yet ascended to the Father so did he go and teach the angels, maybe expounding to them more understanding of what they knew of God’s plan? Did he reflect on what he had learned? We know from Hebrews 5:8 Hebrews 5:8Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered;
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that he learned through his obedience and his suffering. Perhaps he was reflecting on everything that took place. Whatever occupied his time during this period he waited. Everything in its order; everything according to the plan God has laid out. But I think there were other things happening here. I don’t think he was bored in his waiting. I think there was an excitement about everything that was being done here.

I think he was excited to see for himself God’s plan of salvation unfolding. Even though he knew this was being done and why it was being done, it was done now. This was moving forward and if he was our Passover, he came to do that with joy, then how much joy was associated with this part of it as well? I think he was excited to be united once again with the Father. When he was hanging on that stake or that cross and he finally became our sin, remember what happened? He felt God’s presence leave him. God couldn’t stay with him. He was sin at that moment and God will not dwell with sin. For the first time probably ever in his existence he was separated from the one we know as the Father and that must have been just a horrible feeling. But now he’s united with the Father again. The wave sheaf was not just a physical act for an agrarian society. God uses physical things to teach us spiritual lessons because if He’s starting out teaching us the abstract, we’ve got no frame of reference. We have no imagery, if you will, to sort of hang this on. Much like the other Old Testament Passover symbols, the wave sheaf was pointing to a completeness, to something else that would take place, that would bring a fulfillment.

The physical type was fulfilled with the true wave sheaf, what we’ve read so far about Jesus Christ, that true wave sheaf accepted by God during the Days of Unleavened Bread. But why is that important? Why is it important that Christ was the wave sheaf? What was impossible to have before Christ died? God could do it but it was very limited and still based on the fulfillment of this act. To give His holy spirit. Christ himself said that unless I die I can’t send the comforter. That comforter that will lead you into truth and understanding, that was held back until this took place. With the giving of God’s holy spirit, our understanding can be opened, can’t it? We begin to see in these days the meaning that God has laid out. The Jews don’t have that understanding even though they still keep these days because they don’t understand what Christ fulfilled in them. We also understand because of this that it is possible to put sin out of our lives as we even heard in the sermonette message. The giving of God’s holy spirit also allows us to be part of the first fruits and this again helps to explain much of God’s plan of salvation, doesn’t it? If you talk to most people, even in Christianity, about first fruits and Pentecost they probably won’t have a clue what you’re talking about. But again it lays out an understanding of God’s plan of salvation, doesn’t it?

He’s got a plan in motion, He’s working with a select few at this point and He is bringing to fruition His plan for saving all of mankind. There’s another interesting connection with this wave sheaf, and especially with it during the Days of Unleavened Bread. What begins on the Sunday during the Days of Unleavened Bread? The counting toward Pentecost. I love how God weaves these things back and forth. They’re not separate, disconnected observances; they’re not memorials dead in time that picture something with no meaning to us now. They’re still very rich with meaning and purpose. When that priest waved that bowl of grain before God it was also symbolizing things to come and that’s why I’m talking about the first fruits as well, that we picture more completely with the Feast of Pentecost. Let’s go back to Leviticus 23 and read that. Lev 23, we read up to verse 14 so let’s pick up in verse 15. Leviticus 23:15 Leviticus 23:15And you shall count to you from the morrow after the sabbath, from the day that you brought the sheaf of the wave offering; seven sabbaths shall be complete:
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– And you shall count for yourselves from the day after the Sabbath, (that’s a Sunday, what we call a Sunday) from the day that you brought the sheaf of the wave offering: seven Sabbaths shall be completed. Verse 16 – Count fifty days to the day after the seventh sabbath and you shall offer a new grain offering to the Eternal.

Verse 17 – You shall bring from your dwellings two wave loaves, two tenth of an ephah: they shall be of fine flour; (again, beaten out) they shall be baked with leaven; they are the firstfruits to the Eternal. God had them connect the Feast of Pentecost to this wave sheaf offering during the Days of Unleavened Bread. There’s great symbology in that as well that perhaps we’ll talk more about as the Feast of Pentecost comes upon us. Jesus’ resurrection from the dead and his ascension to God the Father’s throne shows us that we have a savior that’s no longer dead. We don’t worship a Christ on a cross. We have a living savior, vibrant, alive and all powerful, sitting now at the right hand of God. Without this condition or this concluding part of Jesus Christ’s sacrifice we would not have any hope of eternal life. Through that payment of sin we now can have a relationship with the Father. Let’s turn next to Romans chapter 5. Romans chapter 5 and we’ll begin in verse 6. Romans 5:6 Romans 5:6For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.
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– For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. Verse 7 – For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. And when this happens it makes the news, doesn’t it?

Someone stands in front of someone that’s going to be harmed, a soldier that throws himself on a grenade… these sort of stories that we’re familiar with. They’re lauded as heroes and rightly so, but it doesn’t happen all the time does it? Verse 8 – But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. If we want to put it in a context, human context, we didn’t even know Christ cared and he died for us. He wasn’t even a close friend, a buddy, someone that we hung out with. Before we existed he did this. He cared so much for the plan that God was putting in place. Verse 9 – Much more then, having now been justified by His blood,… That is because of his sacrifice and his blood covering our sins… Verse 9 (cont’d) – we shall be saved from wrath through Him. That is, we’re no longer under the death penalty. We know from other scriptures that say the wages of sin is death. Without Christ’s sacrifice that’s where we would end up. We would have to pay for those sins but Christ did that for us while we were still sinners. It says now that we are saved from that wrath, as long as we continue in that path that’s what God is working with us to accomplish.

Verse 10 – For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. Verse 11 – And not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation. Saved by his life – we often think of that in terms of the Days of Unleavened Bread. That’s more of a Passover concept perhaps, Feast of Trumpets concept. But again, when we look at God’s holy days these themes weave in and out, back and forth of all these days. We even picture this reconciliation in the Days of Unleavened Bread. As this sin is put out of our life we become closer to God. He can be closer to us and we can be part of the firstfruits He’s working with moving forward even connecting to the Feast of Pentecost. Let’s turn next to Colossians chapter 3. Colossians 3:4 Colossians 3:4 When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall you also appear with him in glory.
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(Paul writes) – When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory. Now why do I read that in connection with everything that we’ve already covered? We’re talking about Christ’s sacrifice and what that has put in motion, the fact that we could not have eternal life without it. That as the wave sheaf offering he was the first of the firstfruits. I read Colossians 3:4 Colossians 3:4 When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall you also appear with him in glory.
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so that we’re reminded that we’re still in the process of this reconciliation.

We’re still in the process of becoming heirs with Christ. But as long as we do that, when Christ who is our life appears, then we will also have the same glory. We picture that in the Feast of Trumpets, don’t we? Those that are dead in Christ and those that are alive will meet him in his coming. Again, all of these days connect back and forth. We turn back to Ephesians chapter 2 and in verse 5, we read: Ephesians 2:5 Ephesians 2:5Even when we were dead in sins, has quickened us together with Christ, (by grace you are saved;)
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– even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), As I mentioned earlier, if Christ had not stepped into our lives to change where we were headed, we would be dead in our sins, essentially. All of mankind faces that until God changes that situation. Now God has already covered the price of sin if you will. But they’ve not been called yet. You and I have. We’ll come back to that thought in a moment. So in Ephesians 2:5 Ephesians 2:5Even when we were dead in sins, has quickened us together with Christ, (by grace you are saved;)
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here, it says that God started this process when we were dead in our sins. Verse 6 – And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: One of the fascinating things in my mind to consider what Christ does with us is that he does not look at where we are, he looks at where he wants us to be.

He’s not fixated on our past sins; he’s not keeping a checklist and marking it off and when we make a mistake it’s “Oop, he repeated that again and how many times is he going to do that?” Or when we pray and ask forgiveness it’s like that covered a couple of these but it’s still a long list. He doesn’t look at us this way. When he talks about these things in scripture, it’s as if it’s already taken place. I find that very encouraging in that when we consider that Christ is our life, that God sees us as alive then as well because Christ is in us. We’re part of that first harvest now. That wave sheaf that started the harvest process – we are part of it. Back up to this spot again. What does God see when He looks at us? We tend to see our weaknesses don’t we? As we approach Passover especially, we talk about examining ourselves and oftentimes that can be a very overwhelming process, when we see our carnal nature, when we see our weaknesses, when we see how much the world around us has too much negative influence. That can be very disconcerting. We should also see though, God’s hand in our lives. We should see the blessings, we should see the times that God intervened, we should see what we’ve talked about here, what Christ has already done to help us in the process and the successes we can have in having Christ live in us. But more to the point, what does God see when He looks at us? Let’s turn to Galatians, just back a little bit. Galatians chapter 2.

We’re going to read verse 20. Paul here writes: Galatians 2:20 Galatians 2:20I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ lives in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.
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– "I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; We covered this in a couple of sermons. I talked about connecting Passover with our baptism. When we went through that baptism process, came up out of the water, we symbolized being dead. The old man, the old woman, that old way of life was not working and it lead to death and we now said we would now focus our life with Christ living in us. So as we read verse 20, Paul is saying that if we acknowledge that then it’s no longer us living but Christ living in us. Galatians 2:20 Galatians 2:20I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ lives in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.
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(con’t) – and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. To answer the question, God views each one of us through Christ’s holiness. There’s a filter, if you will. When He looks at us He doesn’t see, doesn’t focus on our shortcomings, our flaws, our inconsistencies, the mistakes and the sins that we go through. They’re there. Don’t be mistaken. But when He thinks of us, He doesn’t think of a car that smells like gas and cherries (ref to sermonette). He sees us as He sees His son because if Christ is living in us that should be the primary thing that is reflected in everything that we say and do.

Let’s turn back to John 14. Perhaps this was read as you went through the Passover service wherever you were. John 14 verse 6. John records for us: John 14:6 John 14:6Jesus said to him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man comes to the Father, but by me.
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– Jesus said to him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. This was in response to Thomas’s question saying, Lord, we don’t know where you’re going or what you’re going to be doing. Jesus was reminding them: John 14:6 John 14:6Jesus said to him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man comes to the Father, but by me.
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(cont’d) –"I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. Remember that wave sheaf offering. None of the rest of the harvest was to be done until that was finished. We can’t be harvested, the rest of humanity can’t be harvested, in that analogy, until Christ went through the process and he’s reminding them here. This is why it’s possible, I’m the life, I’m the way, I’m the truth. No one comes to the Father except through me. We have to go through that wave sheaf, we have to follow in his footsteps to be part of that process and understand that Christ is also our life through his truth, through following his way. The Passover season – both Passover and the Days of Unleavened Bread – include both the death and the life of Jesus Christ. It’s not just one or the other. 1 Corinthians 15. We like to read this chapter especially during the season of the Feast of Trumpets because of what it pictures in terms of our eternal life being a reality.

1 Corinthians 15:20 1 Corinthians 15:20But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the first fruits of them that slept.
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– But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. Those that have died in the faith. He is the firstfruits, the first of the firstfruits I would put it. The rest of the firstfruit harvest begins with Pentecost. Those God has called in their lifetime, those that have died in that faith, those of us still alive and working in that process… and again there’s so much to talk about and we don’t have time. We’re justified, we’re reconciled by Jesus’ death and through we’re saved (Romans 5:10 Romans 5:10For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.
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), we’re delivered by his life (Revelation 5, a big section of that chapter), but it all begins with that wave sheaf offering. Until he was harvested the rest could not take place. Now let’s look at another aspect of this analogy in John chapter 12. Those that even garden will understand this principle that Jesus talks about here. John 12:24 John 12:24Truly, truly, I say to you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it stays alone: but if it die, it brings forth much fruit.
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– "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains alone; It doesn’t grow. It needs water, it needs soil, it needs sunlight. But when you look at the process of how a seed grows, it basically has to die for that genetic material to be opened up so that it can transform into the plant and bear more fruit. He uses this analogy here.

John 12:24 John 12:24Truly, truly, I say to you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it stays alone: but if it die, it brings forth much fruit.
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(cont’d) – unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain. So this is an interesting exercise to go through when summer progresses and we can buy sweet corn, count up the number of grains, heads if you will, on one ear of corn and then multiply that by the number of heads on the stalk and then roughly in an acre. You can see how exponentially that grows. That’s what God has put in place here. We continue in John 17 verse 1. John 17:1 John 17:1These words spoke Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify your Son, that your Son also may glorify you:
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– Jesus spoke these words, lifted up His eyes to heaven,… Now this is his prayer after he had given his disciples instruction. He’s praying directly to the Father. John 17:1 John 17:1These words spoke Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify your Son, that your Son also may glorify you:
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(cont’d) – "Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son, that Your Son also may glorify You, Now remember what we just read in John 12. He knows he has to die for this process to move forward. Verse 2 – "as You have given Him authority (speaking of himself) over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as You have given Him. We read that in John 14 as well, right? We don’t come to God, God calls us. We can yield but it’s not through anything that we’ve done. The interesting thing is the end of that verse to me: That he should give eternal life to as many as YOU have given Him. We move to verse 20 of this chapter.

John 17:20 John 17:20Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word;
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– "I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; In other words, we basically have been taught by those that were taught by those that were taught all the way back to Jesus Christ. He says I’m praying for those as well, those at the very end of time that will follow this instruction. Verse 21 – "that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. Verse 22 – "And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: This unity of thinking, of attitude, of love and service and humility – these are all aspects that are supposed to be coming from what Christ has done in us. Verse 24 – "Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You have given Me; for You loved Me before the foundation of the world. Now how can we be with Christ where he is? Well, where is he?

Certainly he’s at the right hand of the Father but more to the personal aspect of it, where is he? He’s supposed to be in us and if we’re not with him then we’re without hope. But he’s praying for us here. He says I want them to be unified with me as You and I are and they would be with each other. Verse 25 – "O righteous Father! The world has not known You, but I have known You; and these have known that You sent Me. Verse 26 – "And I have declared to them Your name, and will declare it, that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them." Remember the question I asked a little while ago. How does God view us? Here’s another part of the answer. Christ prayed that He would view us through that love. He’s not a harsh God looking for a reason to dismiss us. He’s not a harsh God Who has set the bar so high that He sort of chuckles and says, They’ll never get that. He’s on our side; He’s cheering us on and He sent His son to die for us.

As we picture this week as eating that unleavened bread, and every time we do it, of letting Christ live more fully in us. Matthew chapter 9. God can get frustrated because He has not made it so difficult that it’s not possible. It is possible. He was extremely frustrated with Israel as He led them out of Egypt and they began to complain and wanted to go right back into the sin that He was bringing them out of. It’s always sort of a sad, humorous point of “be careful what you wish for” as they complained and said, Oh that we had died in Egypt. And God said Okay, we can make that happen. He said no one over the age of 20 or so is going to see the promised land. He didn’t want that to be the case. If you remember the story, He took them up to the edge of the promised land, didn’t he? They sent in the spies and He said, Look at it; it’s a good land; clusters of grapes so big that it took two men with a pole to carry one cluster. That’s a lot of grape jelly. But they were focused on the things that they thought were a problem, instead of looking at it the way God did. He had given them the wave sheaf offering to say it is possible for you to move out of sin. I’m taking you out of that bondage and their same lesson is for us as well.

In Matthew 9 and verse 37, Christ himself says: Matthew 9:37 Matthew 9:37Then said he to his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the laborers are few;
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– "The harvest truly is plentiful,… And he’s the beginning of the harvest; he should know. He’s looking back and he sees individuals like us that God has made to be part of His family now and he says… Matthew 9:37 Matthew 9:37Then said he to his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the laborers are few;
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– "The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Verse 38 – "Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers to His harvest." God depicts Himself as a master harvester if you will. He’s looking to bring us all and the rest of humanity into His family. James chapter 5. James touches on this point as well and adds a little different perspective. James 5:7 James 5:7Be patient therefore, brothers, to the coming of the Lord. Behold, the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, and has long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain.
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– Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. We’re very impatient, aren’t we? And I suspect there’s a little bit of saving our skin in there. None of us wants to see the tribulation let alone go through it. We know it’s coming. We want God to hurry things up but even James here says, “…be patient… until the coming of the Lord.” James 5:7 James 5:7Be patient therefore, brothers, to the coming of the Lord. Behold, the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, and has long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain.
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– See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, waiting patiently for it until it receives the early and latter rain. Those are the two harvest seasons in Israel, the early and the latter rain. God’s acceptance of the wave sheaf offering in type, what we read of back in Leviticus 23 and in the reality as we read in John 20:17 John 20:17Jesus said to her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brothers, and say to them, I ascend to my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God.
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That allowed Israel to begin their harvest and more importantly, covering what we’re talking about today, depicted God’s spiritual harvest beginning for all of mankind, based on God’s orderly design for the salvation of mankind. The resurrection for any other man or woman could not take place until Christ was accepted before the Father. Let’s look at that in Acts chapter 2. And again, it impacts all of this doctrine, this understanding of what we have of God’s way of life. You and I can take that for granted because we read it, we study it, we hear it, we live it so much that we can forget that this is not the view of the world around us. But there are many that think that if they didn’t accept Christ in this lifetime they’re in hell, and many other false understandings. In Acts 2:29 Acts 2:29Men and brothers, let me freely speak to you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulcher is with us to this day.
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, Peter in his sermon on the day of Pentecost reminded his audience of this day. Acts 2:29 Acts 2:29Men and brothers, let me freely speak to you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulcher is with us to this day.
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– "Men and brethren, let me speak freely to you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. Now, if this were true for David, a man after God’s own heart, then it stands to reason that it would be true as well regarding Abraham, Moses, Noah… name your person, especially from the Old Testament, or anyone else. No one had preceded Christ in resurrection to eternal life.

Process couldn’t have been started yet. The world as a whole does not understand their purpose for living. Why were you created? Ask somebody that. If they’re inclined to answer, they probably won’t give you much of an answer; most people don’t know. We do. We’re gathered here in part on this Holy Day and others that will follow it because God has given us an understanding of His plan of salvation. We know the purpose of life; we understand what God is doing and it gives us hope and it gives us peace. There are a lot of fearful people out there; they don’t know what the government is going to do; they don’t know what’s going to happen on the international scene; they don’t know what’s going to happen to their retirement or even if they’re going to be able to retire. Our calling is now; we’re part of what followed that wave sheaf offering; we’re part of that first harvest. God in His wisdom has chosen to call only a few now before reestablishing His kingdom. Unless we get a big head we can read 1 Corinthians 1:26 1 Corinthians 1:26For you see your calling, brothers, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called:
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where God says, “I choose the foolish and the base.” We’re at the bottom of the list, not the top. But God wants to choose those so that He can work with us and He can say, See, if I can do it with them, then certainly I can do it with you. Write in your notes James chapter 1 and roughly verses 16 to 20. James talks about a kind of firstfruits.

He’s talking about us and again, we can discuss that more as we approach Pentecost; all this process because of what Jesus Christ was able to start because of his death and his resurrection. Romans 8:14 Romans 8:14For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.
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– For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. This defines a Christian. Are they led by God in all aspects of their life, not just in what they verbalize, but what they do, what they live. Verse 15 – For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear… That’s what we had before our baptism, our repentance, before God called us. Verse 15 (cont’d) – but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, "Abba, Father." Verse 16 – The Spirit Itself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, Remember what I said earlier. God’s looking at these things as if they’ve already taken place. Technically, we’re not children yet, are we? We’re still in the womb if we draw out the analogy. We’re not born yet, but we’re in that process. Verse 17 – and if children, then heirs-- heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.

Verse 18 – For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. That is, looking back afterwards, we’re going to look back and say, You know what, I shouldn’t have complained as much. When we realize what it is that God has given us; when we fully realize it internally and we’ll probably see how merciful God was to us. Verse 22 – For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now. Verse 23 – Not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body. And I am firmly convinced that a big part of our calling, what God hopes to see in us, is a general move to the point where there is nothing in this life that stands before Him, in our life. It’s not money, it’s not family, it’s not jobs, it’s not… whatever else the world values… that we finally get to a place where we realize what it is that God is offering.

Verse 24 – For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees? That is, it’s not here yet. We’re still hoping for that, even though God looks at it as if it’s as good as done. We’re still in the process, aren’t we? Verse 26 – Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we should, but the Spirit Itself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. That is, we have the helper. To go back to the original analogy, that wave sheaf … until it was offered … this could not be put in place. You and I couldn’t be the firstfruits; you and I weren’t going to be part of that harvesting that would take place. Verse 27 – Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God. As we talked about, hopefully where you were for Passover evening, we now have a High Priest, perfect High Priest, sitting at the right hand of God that can say, You know what, that’s not very clear. I know what they’re trying to say there. They can’t express it; I know what they’re going through.

Verse 28 – And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. It’s all good. As long as we continue in the process, it’s all good. That doesn’t mean it’s going to be comfortable; doesn’t mean it’s all going to be happy times, but it’s all good. This is our calling, this is what we are. We’re part of those firstfruits, we’re part of that harvesting that can take place now, and as I mentioned, the world doesn’t understand the purpose of life, but we do. God in His wisdom called a few, but He called a few so that He could show the rest of humanity that He’s not forsaken His creation. God’s not a disinterested Creator. He didn’t wind the watch of the universe and just walk away from it. He’s also showing through us that it’s possible to overcome Satan and the false way of life he promotes. We’re here in Romans; let’s move over to chapter 11 and verse 16. Romans 11:16 Romans 11:16For if the first fruit be holy, the lump is also holy: and if the root be holy, so are the branches.
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– For if the firstfruit is holy, the lump is also holy;… So you’re a holy lump.

Romans 11:16 Romans 11:16For if the first fruit be holy, the lump is also holy: and if the root be holy, so are the branches.
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(cont’d) – and if the root is holy, so are the branches. We have to stay connected to the body though don’t we? You take a branch, cut it off, unless it’s at the right point of the branch and you have some rooting compound and do something with it, it’s going to die, isn’t it? You’ve separated it from its source of being able to sustain itself. We’re part of a bigger body now; it’s not just a matter of what we like, what we want, what we hope to have – that’s also mitigated now by being part of something bigger. This is part of the understanding, the excitement to me of the Days of Unleavened Bread. We have a personal calling but it’s bigger than that. God has not only accepted the Passover Lamb that we rehearsed two nights ago, covering the sins of the world, but He has also accepted the wave sheaf offering setting in motion the teaching and the training of the firstfruits – you and me – and everyone else that submits to God at this point, who will assist Him and the Son in restoring God’s government on earth and making everything on earth the way it was supposed to be from the beginning.

After the firstfruits are harvested a time will be ushered in where God will remove the veil of sin from all mankind. Once Satan is moved out of the picture, He’ll be able to point at us and say, I’m going to have them teach you the right way to live according to My truth. We’re to be learning now as firstfruits, how to be leaders, how to be teachers, how to be servants and all that is connected with having God’s holy spirit in us. It can’t just be waiting for Christ’s return. We’re supposed to do more because He has placed Christ in us. In my estimation, we will have the BEST jobs in the universe, serving God’s people. With the acceptance of the wave sheaf, God has now begun with the first step – the harvesting of mankind. He started with Jesus Christ and then with those whom He has called to believe and live a sinless life now. The conclusion of all this will be the great harvest of mankind in the second resurrection, moving all the way down to the Last Great Day. The Holy Days give us a complete picture of what God is doing, of His plan of salvation for all those who have ever lived and died. These are the Holy Days that we keep and observe. This is the God that we worship. Rejoice in the knowledge that God has also fulfilled the wave sheaf and that He has begun to harvest all of mankind and will eventually bring into His family all who are willing and will follow Him.