As Yahshua the Messiah fulfilled the Passover through His death, so He fulfilled the Feast of Unleavened Bread through His resurrection. It was during this time when our Savior conquered death and the grave.
I have often considered which is greater – Yahshua’s death or His resurrection? I believe they are equal in importance. Without Yahshua’s death we would have no redemption from sin, and without His resurrection we would have no hope of the resurrection.
If He had never conquered the grave, we would die eternally. It is only through Him that we find the promise of redemption and the hope of eternal life. In John 11:25 Yahshua said, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live.”
As we reviewed His death during the Passover, let us now focus on His triumph over death and proclaim that the Messiah is risen!
A key biblical concept is firstfruits. It was during the Feast of Unleavened Bread when the wave sheaf was offered, being the firstfruits of the barley harvest, Leviticus 23:10-14.
“Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye be come into the land which I give unto you, and shall reap the harvest thereof, then ye shall bring a sheaf of the firstfruits of your harvest unto the priest: And he shall wave the sheaf before Yahweh, to be accepted for you: on the morrow after the sabbath the priest shall wave it. And ye shall offer that day when ye wave the sheaf an he lamb without blemish of the first year for a burnt offering unto Yahweh. And the meat offering thereof shall be two tenth deals of fine flour mingled with oil, an offering made by fire unto Yahweh for a sweet savour: and the drink offering thereof shall be of wine, the fourth part of an hin. And ye shall eat neither bread, nor parched corn, nor green ears, until the selfsame day that ye have brought an offering unto your Elohim: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations in all your dwellings.”
This a description of the wave sheaf offering. As we see from Deuteronomy 16:9 and from Jewish antiquity, including from Josephus and the Mishna, the Israelites could not harvest or eat the new grain until the wave sheaf was offered:
“Seven weeks shalt thou number unto thee: begin to number the seven weeks from such time as thou beginnest to put the sickle to the corn” (Deut. 16:9).
Ancient historian Josephus writes, “And while they suppose it proper to honor [Elohim], from whom they obtain this plentiful provision, in the first place, they offer the first-fruits of their barley, and that in the manner following: They take a handful of the ears, and dry them, then beat them small, and purge the barley from the bran; they then bring one tenth deal to the altar, to [Elohim]; and, casting one handful of it upon the fire, they leave the rest for the use of the priest. And after this it is that they may publicly or privately reap their harvest. They also at this participation of the first-fruits of the earth, sacrifice a lamb, as a burnt-offering to [Elohim],” (Antiquities of the Jews, book 3, chapter 10).
The Mishna further teaches with regard to the five grains: “And it is prohibited to reap them prior to the omer offering. The Gemara asks: From where are these matters derived? Rabbi Yoḥanan said: It is derived by means of a verbal analogy between ‘the first’ written in conjunction with the new crop: ‘You shall bring the sheaf of the first fruits of your harvest to the priest’ (Leviticus 23:10), and ‘the first’ written with regard to ḥalla: ‘Of the first of your dough you shall set apart a cake for a gift’ (Numbers 15:20). Just as the obligation to separate ḥalla applies only to bread prepared from the five grains, so too the prohibition against reaping the new crop prior to the omer offering applies only to crops of the five grains” (Menachot 70b:11).
This point is important when confirming the barley for the beginning of the biblical New Year. From the above citations, the harvest could not begin until the wave sheaf was offered.
Knowing the nature of barley, it was crucial that Israel not postpone the harvest by waiting an additional month once the barley was in Abib.
This offering consisted of the very first ripened grain, meaning that the barley had to be sufficiently mature to produce flour, which first occurs in the soft dough stage. This offering also began the count to Pentecost or the Feast of Weeks.
The wave sheaf offering occurred during the Feast of Unleavened Bread, which is why we count firstfruits from the Sunday within the Feast. We also know that the wave sheaf consisted of an omer of barley, roughly one-tenth of an ephah, or about five pints or a half gallon.
So how does all this relate to Yahshua the Messiah? As we see in 1Corinthians 15, Yahshua was to become the firstfruits of those to be resurrected. “But now is Messiah risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Messiah shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order: Messiah the firstfruits; afterward they that are Messiah’s at his coming.”
Here we find Paul speaking about Yahshua’s resurrection. He says that Yahshua has become the firstfruits of them that slept. When Paul uses the word “slept,” he’s referring to death or the grave. He goes on to say, “For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead.”
As we know, the man who was resurrected from the dead was Yahshua the Messiah, our Savior. He was the first to be resurrected to eternal life. While certain believers may have been resurrected before Yahshua, none were resurrected to everlasting life as He was.
This is why Yahshua’s resurrection is special. Just as the wave sheaf was the firstfruits of the barley harvest, Yahshua was the firstfruits of mankind to be resurrected to eternal life.
We see a connection here between the wave sheaf of the Old Testament and Yahshua’s resurrection in the New Testament and why the concept of firstfruits is so important during the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Remember that it was during this time when the wave sheaf was offered AND when Yahshua rose from the grave.
Yahshua the Fulfilled Firstfruits
In John 20:10-16, we see evidence of how Yahshua might have fulfilled the wave sheaf.
“Then the disciples went away again unto their own home. But Mary stood without at the sepulchre weeping: and as she wept, she stooped down, and looked into the sepulchre, And seeth two angels in white sitting, the one at the head, and the other at the feet, where the body of Yahshua had lain. And they say unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? She saith unto them, Because they have taken away my Master, and I know not where they have laid him. And when she had thus said, she turned herself back, and saw Yahshua standing, and knew not that it was Yahshua. Yahshua saith unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? whom seekest thou? She, supposing him to be the gardener, saith unto him, Sir, if thou have borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away. Yahshua saith unto her, Mary. She turned herself, and saith unto him, Rabboni; which is to say, Master.”
Several amazing incidents are seen in this passage. Mary was at the tomb weeping for Yahshua. Looking into the sepulcher, she sees two angels who ask her why she’s weeping, and she replies by saying that she did not know where they had laid the body of Yahshua. Upon saying this she turned and saw Yahshua, whom she believed to be a gardener.
There’s a lot of speculation as to why Mary did not recognize Yahshua. Some believe that Yahshua somehow concealed His appearance; others believe Mary’s view of Him may have been obscured. Either of these explanations may be possible but I tend to believe that Yahshua supernaturally concealed his appearance, as we see when Yahshua met the disciples.
Yahshua eventually called out to Mary and when she heard Him she realized it was Yahshua and said, “Rabboni,” which is to say, “Master.” Prior to this moment, she believed Yahshua was dead and that His body had been taken elsewhere. She must now have been beyond thrilled.
Just as the high priest offered the wave sheaf in the Old Testament, Yahshua, being the High Priest after the order of Melchizedek, ascended to His Father to offer Himself as the new wave sheaf, John 20:17.
Timing of His Burial
We know from the Bible that Yahshua was in the tomb for three days and three nights. In Matthew 12:40 Yahshua said, “For 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.”
Based on the Greek, when He said, “three days and three nights,” it referred to three full days and three full nights. “Nights” as well as “days” confirms days of 24 hours each. Most believe that our Savior died on Friday and was resurrected Sunday morning. But counting Friday afternoon to Sunday morning, it’s impossible to get three full days and nights.
So, what was the chronology of Yahshua’s death and resurrection? We find the answer in Luke 23:51-56. “(The same had not consented to the counsel and deed of them;) he was of Arimathaea, a city of the Jews : who also himself waited for the kingdom of Elohim [Wednesday/Passover]. This man went unto Pilate, and begged the body of Yahshua. And he took it down, and wrapped it in linen, and laid it in a sepulchre that was hewn in stone, wherein never man before was laid. And that day was the preparation [Thursday/start of Unleavened Bread], and the sabbath drew on. And the women also, which came with him from Galilee, followed after, and beheld the sepulchre, and how his body was laid [Friday]. And they returned, and prepared spices and ointments [Sabbath]; and rested the sabbath day according to the commandment.”
As we see from this event, Yahshua was placed in the tomb late Wednesday (before sunset) and He resurrected before the end of the Sabbath, Saturday evening. Dake’s Annotated Reference Bible agrees with this: “[Yahshua] was dead for 3 full days and for 3 full nights. He was put in the grave Wednesday just before sunset and was resurrected at the end of Saturday at sunset. Good Friday should be changed to Good Wednesday. No statement says that He was buried Friday at sunset. This would make Him in the grave only one day and one night, proving His own words untrue (v 40). The sabbath of John 19:31 was not the regular weekly one, but the special sabbath of the feast.”
I Am the Resurrection
Let us transition to the importance of Yahshua’s resurrection. As we’ve already seen, Yahshua was the first to be resurrected to eternal life, and our own resurrection is dependent upon His. Without Yahshua’s resurrection, we would have no hope of our own.
In John 11:20-27, we find Yahshua speaking to Martha, the sister of Lazarus. “Then Martha, as soon as she heard that Yahshua was coming, went and met him: but Mary sat still in the house. Then said Martha unto Yahshua, Master, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died. But I know, that even now, whatsoever thou wilt ask of Yahweh, Yahweh will give it thee. Yahshua saith unto her, Thy brother shall rise again. Martha saith unto him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day. Yahshua said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this? She saith unto him, Yea, Master: I believe that thou art the Messiah, the Son of Yahweh, which should come into the world.”
We know from the account that Yahshua resurrected Lazarus and everyone who witnessed it was amazed. But I believe the most important part of this story is what Yahshua shared with Martha: that He is the resurrection and the life.
As believers, it’s important that we recognize the source of our salvation. Without Yahshua the Messiah, our Savior, we would be without the hope of eternal life.
For me, this is the real message behind the Feast of Unleavened Bread. As Passover represents Yahshua’s death, the Feast of Unleavened Bread represents His resurrection and by extension our own resurrection.
In John 6, Yahshua said, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of Elohim is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world.” Yahshua is the source of life for all mankind. Again, without Him, there is no hope of a resurrection or eternal life.
Paul describes Yahshua’s coming and the first resurrection in 1Thessalonians 4:13-18. “But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Yahshua died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Yahshua will Elohim bring with him. For this we say unto you by the word of Yahweh, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Master shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Master himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of Elohim: and the dead in Messiah shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Master in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Master. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.”
Paul begins by encouraging us not to be saddened for those believers who die or pass away. The reason is, we serve a risen Savior. Again, this is the message we find throughout the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Without Yahshua’s death and resurrection, we would have no hope. It’s only through Him that we find these promises.
Paul also describes Yahshua’s coming and the first resurrection, wherein Yahshua will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of Elohim. Some believe that Paul’s describing a secret rapture, but we see here that Yahshua’s coming is anything but a secret. Everybody in this world will know that the Messiah has returned.
Some might wonder when this will happen. The most likely time is during the Feast of Trumpets. The Passover, Feast of Unleavened Bread, and Pentecost have been fulfilled through Yahshua’s death, resurrection, and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.
How then are the saints resurrected? The righteous dead will be raised first, followed by the living. They will both be changed from mortal to immortal, and they will then meet Yahshua in the clouds.
Can you even begin to imagine what this moment will be like? Not only will we have immorality and new bodies, but we’ll also be with Yahshua the Messiah forever. There’s not a greater promise in this life. Everything we do in this life should be motivated by this promise.
Resurrected in His Likeness
Many of us probably don’t spend enough time thinking about this promise. I believe this is one reason the Feast of Unleavened Bread is so important: it reminds us that we follow and serve a man who conquered the grave and offers us the same hope now.
Paul also speaks about this promise in Romans 6:4-11. “Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Messiah was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: Knowing this, that our old man is impaled with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin. Now if we be dead with Messiah, we believe that we shall also live with him: Knowing that Messiah being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him. For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto Elohim. Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto Elohim through Yahshua Messiah our Master.”
Here baptism represents Yahshua’s death. When we are baptized into Yahshua’s Name, we die to Him. When this happens, we are to walk in the newness of life, meaning anew in life. As believers, we’re to obey the commandments and follow the examples of our Savior.
We also find here the promise of a resurrection. Those immersed into Yahshua’s Name will share in the likeness of His resurrection, meaning we will be resurrected in the same form and body as Yahshua was with His own resurrection. As an example, as Yahshua was able to appear and disappear, I believe we too will have this same power and ability.
Paul also references sin in this passage. Even though many refuse to acknowledge or speak about sin, sin is something of which we MUST be cognizant. As disciples of the Messiah, it is our responsibility to avoid and abstain from sin. Nothing will do more harm to our relationship with Yahweh than willful and deliberate sin.
Confess and Believe
In Romans 10:9-11, Paul addresses the hope of salvation we have through Yahshua the Messiah. “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Master Yahshua, and shalt believe in thine heart that Yahweh hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.”
I want to focus on what Paul says about confession and belief. The word confession is from the Greek homologeo and is defined by Strong’s as, “to assent, i.e. covenant, or to acknowledge.”
Thayer’s Greek Lexicon defines this word as: “1) to say the same thing as another, i. e. to agree with, assent; 2) to concede; 3) to profess; and 4) to praise or celebrate.”
The King James Version translates this word in the following ways: “confess (17x), profess (3x), promise (1x), give thanks (1x), confession is made (1x), acknowledges (1x).”
As believers, we must be willing to confess and acknowledge the faith we have through Yahshua the Messiah. We should never be ashamed of our faith in Him; we should stand in boldness and confidence. In Matthew 10:33 Yahshua said, “But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.”
The word “believes” in Romans 10 is from the Greek pisteuo. Strong’s defines this word as, “to have faith (in, upon, or with respect to, a person or thing), i.e. credit; by implication, to entrust (especially one’s spiritual well-being to Messiah).”
The last part of this definition is about trusting our spiritual well-being to Messiah. As we see here, belief is more than a verbal acknowledgment; it’s a deep and sincere trust in our Savior, realizing and believing that only through Him do we find remission of sins and the promise of everlasting life. It also entails following Him. This is why it’s so important that we both confess and believe in Yahshua the Messiah, for it is only through Him that we find the hope of the resurrection and life eternal in Yahweh’s Kingdom.
Hope of the Resurrection
A remarkable passage with an amazing promise is found in 1Peter 1:3-5. “Blessed be the Elohim and Father of our Master Yahshua Messiah, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Yahshua Messiah from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, Who are kept by the power of Elohim through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.”
Through Yahweh’s abundant mercy He has begotten us with a lively hope by the resurrection of Yahshua the Messiah. According to Thayer’s, “begotten” means, “to produce again, beget again, beget anew; metaphorically: thoroughly to change the mind of one, so that he lives a new life and one conformed to the will of Yahweh.”
While we believe that being born again is not complete until the resurrection, the process begins when we are baptized into Yahshua’s Name. At this time we should also have a change in heart and mind, conformed to the will of Yahweh. This undoubtedly is what Paul meant when he wrote about walking in newness of life.
Peter also speaks of the resurrection and the promise of everlasting life. He describes it as an inheritance that is incorruptible, undefiled, which fades not away. The word “incorruptible” comes from Greek aphthartos, meaning, “uncorrupted, not liable to corruption or decay, imperishable.” “Undefiled” comes from the Greek amiantos and means “not defiled, unsoiled; free from that by which the nature of a thing is deformed and debased, or its force and vigor impaired.”
From this we discover that in the resurrection we will be free from death including those elements of nature that cause weakness or defilement of body. These promises will never fade away. All of this is based on Yahshua’s death and resurrection, without which we have no hope.