Exodus Chapter 23 Verses 14-17
:14 “Three times thou shalt keep a feast unto me in the year. 15 Thou shalt keep the feast of unleavened bread: (thou shalt eat unleavened bread seven days, as I commanded thee, in the time appointed of the month Abib; for in it thou camest out from Egypt: and none shall appear before me empty:) 16 And the feast of harvest, the
firstfruits of thy labours, which thou hast sown in the field: and the feast of ingathering, which is in the end of the year, when thou hast gathered in thy labours out of the field. 17 Three times in the year all thy males shall appear before the Lord GOD.”
This passage of scripture lays out the three great feasts that the children of Israel were supposed to observe each year. The details of these feasts are given to us in other places in the first five books of the bible. However, this passage brings together all three feasts and ties them together.
The feast of unleavened bread is also tied to the Passover. The Passover is a part of the feast of unleavened bread. Spiritually, this feast points us to the perfect life of Jesus (unleavened bread) and his perfect sacrifice to atone for the sins of his people.
The feast of firstfruits is connected for us in the New Testament to the feast of ingatherings at the end of the year: Rom. 11:16 “For if the firstfruit be holy, the lump is also holy: and if the root be holy, so are the branches” and 1 Cor. 15:20 “But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept.” If the offering of the firstfruits was acceptable
(holy) to the Lord, then the harvest at the end of the year would be greatly blessed and acceptable to the Lord. Spiritually, Christ offered himself without spot to God:
a. Heb. 9:14 “How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?”
b. 1 Pet. 1:18 “Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; 19 But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:”
Since Christ offering unto God was accepted (holy), then the lump (harvest) is also holy and the harvest is assured: 1 Cor. 15:51 “Behold, I show you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 53 For this
corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. 54 So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. 55 O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? 56 The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. 57 But thanks
be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Thus, Christ is the firstfruit to rise from the dead unto glory, and those who he atoned for will also arise one day (at the end of this time world) unto glory. This ties together for us the feast of firstfruits (Christ resurrection) and the feast of ingatherings (resurrection of God’s redeemed unto glory).
Verses 18, 19
;18 “Thou shalt not offer the blood of my sacrifice with leavened bread; neither shall the fat of my sacrifice remain until the morning. 19 The first of the firstfruits of thy land thou shalt bring into the house of the LORD thy God. Thou shalt not seethe a kid in his mother's milk.”
Without an understanding of the purposes of the animal sacrifices unto God, these verses along with many others would make not be understandable unto us. The God authorized animal sacrifices in the Old Testament all pointed spiritually to the sacrificial atonement of Christ.
Moreover, the offering of blood was tantamount to the offering of the life: Lev. 17:11 “For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul.” Thus, it was the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ that atoned for the sins of his people.
Many of the Old Testament sacrifices were made with both wine for a drink offering and unleavened bread for a meat offering. The Passover was observed with both unleavened bread and wine. The daily morning and evening sacrifices were observed with a meat offering of unleavened bread and a drink offering of wine. Besides there were many other sacrifices that were observed with both
wine as a drink offering and unleavened bread as a drink offering.
Christ instituted the communion service in Matt. 26:26 “And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body. 27 And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; 28 For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.” It
is very plain that the bread represented his body and the cup represented his blood.
Unleavened bread represents sincerity and truth: 1 Cor. 5:7 “Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us: 8 Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.” Here leaven is set to
represent malice and wickedness and unleavened bread set to represent sincerity and truth. The body of Christ is the very embodiment of truth. There was no sin, malice, or wickedness in the body of Christ. This should explain to us why the children of Israel were not to offer the blood of their sacrifices with leavened bread.
“Neither shall the fat of my sacrifice remain until the morning.” The fat was considered the richest or choicest part. The sacrifice points us to the sacrificial atonement of Christ. The fat being the riches or choicest part, we gather that the richest or choicest part was a completed sacrifice and was sufficient for the purpose that it was
offered. As a completed sacrifice, there was no need for another sacrifice later. Certainly this was true with the sacrificial atonement of Jesus Christ.
“The first of the firstfruits of thy land thou shalt bring into the house of the LORD thy God.” Christ is the first of the firstfruits: 1 Cor. 15:20 “But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. 21 For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, even so in
Christ shall all be made alive. 23 But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming. 24 Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. 25 For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet. 26 The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.”
Christ went into the eternal house of God when he ascended after his death, burial, and resurrection. He is the first of the first fruits and his ascension into heaven assures us of our resurrection and ascension into heaven.