Today’s article is part of Brother Frank Natoli’s guest column on the Seven Feasts of Israel.
The Feast of First Fruits is a type and shadow of Christ’s Resurrection.
- Leviticus 23:10-11
- Occurs on the first Sabbath after the 15th day of the first month
In general, the Feast of the First Fruits was an open acknowledgement of God’s providence in the lives of His followers — that all that they possessed ultimately belonged to Him.
In a more specific purpose, it was an acknowledgment of the fertility of the land that God had provided Israel as an inheritance. The First Fruits was a spring offering to God as a preview, by faith, for the greater harvest to come, later in the fall (1 Corinthians 15:23).
A Preview of the Resurrection to Come
In the more specific sense, Christ’s fulfillment through His own resurrection was a sample (or preview) of the greater harvest (resurrection), which was to come for mankind who would also resurrect one day.
And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, and came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many. Now when the centurion, and they that were with him, watched Jesus, saw the earthquake, and those things that were done, they feared greatly, saying, truly this was the Son of God. (Matthew 27:52-54)
The importance of this first resurrection should not be overlooked because Jesus scolded the Nephite disciples for not including this vital information in their records.
And Jesus said unto them: how be it that ye have not written this thing, that many souls did rise and appear unto many and administer it to them? And it came to pass that Nephi remembered that this thing had not been written. And it came to pass that Jesus commanded that it should be written; therefore it was written according as he commanded. (3 Nephi 23:11-13)
Do We Celebrate the Feast of First Fruits Today?
This spring celebration of fertility has been incorrectly labeled by Christianity as Easter. Though traditionally accepted as Christian in origin, Easter’s beginnings can be traced back to the Babylonian Goddess, Ishtar, the pagan goddess of fertility. Today, perhaps unknowingly, the desire to carry on with using objects of fertility such as the rabbit (our present-day Easter Bunny) and the egg (Easter eggs) are still quite evident and symbols of fertility.
We know that the real celebration of Easter is meant to focus on God’s faithfulness in bringing forth Jesus from the dead — a temporal sustenance from the earth. In a very real type and shadow, the celebration of Jesus Christ is essential, as the First Fruits of God who came forth from the earth, bringing spiritual sustenance for all who believe and follow Him.
A very important scriptural truth that we cannot overlook is using the term “First” Fruit. Jesus was the “First,” and it indicates and differentiates, from others — that there will be a second harvest or resurrection, which both the Bible and Book of Mormon indicate will occur (Revelations 20:5-6; Mosiah 15:20-26; Alma 40:15-21).
Join us next Friday for an in-depth look at the Day of Pentecost.
This article has undergone ministry review and approval.