April 14, 2017 Brethren Letter
The weekly Sabbath has now begun, and I was thinking about the “wave sheaf” offering, and what it pictures. On the “…morrow after the Sabbath” (Sunday), Jesus Christ became what is called the Wave Sheaf offering. Also, starting on this specific day, we are to count fifty forward to the Feast of Pentecost (the Feast of Firstfruits, Exodus 23:16).
Leviticus 23:10-11 shows us God’s instructions concerning the wave sheaf offering.
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 the ETERNAL, to be accepted for you: on the morrow after the Sabbath the priest shall wave it.
The waving of this handful of grain by the priest signified the beginning of the small spring harvest to ancient Israel. This offering was given with the expectation of being accepted by God as it was waved. Spiritually speaking, this “wave sheaf” was pointing symbolically to Jesus Christ and the events which followed His crucifixion, burial, and resurrection.
After Christ’s resurrection, it was necessary that He be accepted by God. Through His shed blood, He paid the death penalty for our sins. Here are some additional comments from the Ambassador College Correspondence Course on this subject…
COMMENT: Because Christ was a holy sacrifice, and was the FIRST human being to be resurrected, He fulfilled the symbolism of the Wave-Sheaf Offering. The morning after He was resurrected, He had to go before God the Father to be accepted, just as the High Priest in the Old Testament had to wave the sheaf of barley to be accepted by God before the spring harvest could begin. When Mary met Christ in the garden, she couldn’t touch Him because His sacrifice had not yet been accepted in Heaven.
In the book of John, we can see the example of Mary not being able to touch Jesus, prior to His ascension to the Father. “Jesus saith unto her, touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God (John 20:17).
After Christ was accepted by the Father, He could then be touched…
And 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. Then said Jesus unto them, Be not afraid: go tell my brethren that they go into Galilee, and there shall they see me (Matthew 28:9-10).
Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week [“…morrow after the Sabbath”, Sunday], when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you (John 20:19).
After the Wave Sheaf was offered, the small spring harvest began. It ended with the annual Sabbath of the Feast of Firstfruits (Pentecost). Spiritually, the small spring harvest began with Jesus Christ and will ultimately include us, as firstfruits.
But now is Christ 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 Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming. 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 (I Corinthians 15:20-24).
Brethren, on Monday we will be observing the Last Day of Unleavened Bread. This Holy Day pictures “completeness.” We as human beings cannot obtain perfection in this flesh. But, as God’s people, we must WORK diligently to completely remove sin from our lives, through God’s Spirit. That’s what these days show us!
In closing, I thought it would be good for each of to meditate on some of the words Mr. Armstrong wrote in the booklet – “What Will You Be Doing in the Next Life?”. We must continually grow in character through His Sprit … REMOVE SIN (spiritual leaven), and replace it with the RIGHTEOUSNESS OF GOD, as pictured by the unleavened bread we eat.
Mr. Armstrong’s booklet…
What Will You Be Doing in the NEXT LIFE?
by Herbert W. Armstrong
1967, 1969 edition
We are SAVED by GRACE, through Christ’s FAITH — given as God’s GIFT. But whatever “REWARD” — status, rank, position, degree of GLORY — is conferred, once we are changed to immortality IN God’s Kingdom, will be according to our “works” in this present mortal life — and according to the character and quality of those works. And remember, even the WORKS come through God’s Holy Spirit — the works of righteousness are not our self-righteousness, but GOD’S righteousness. That’s the KIND of “WORKS” I believe in and teach!”
Have a wonderful Sabbath, brethren!
Your Brother in Christ,