Are You Reed-y?
It's important to
reed about the Biblical feasts in order to prepare for end times. Yes, very bad pun. Keep reeding, though.
Jewish tradition according to Rashi says,
A man goes down into his field and sees a fig that has begun to ripen.
He wraps a reed-grass around the first fruit as a sign
, and says, 'This is hereby consecrated as
sign is something visible that
signifies something prophetic, like the Sign of Jonah is three days and three nights in the belly of the fish, and then resurrection. Fish and birds were created on the Fifth Day of Creation. The Feast of Trumpets is the Fifth
Moed, or feast of Israel.
signified by both the Third Day and the Fifth Day, for on the menorah, they are joined at the base. Because Yeshua resurrected on the Third Day, the righteous nation can resurrect on the Fifth Day, which is called the First Resurrection.
This First Resurrection is accompanied by a Last Trumpet and sealed with the Great Trumpet, and it is definitely the one to which you want to gather.
With Rashi's comments, it makes sense why Yeshua cursed a fig tree that had no fruit in the spring even though it was not the season for summer fruit (Mk 11:13). Anyone who has a fig tree knows that the first fruit buds with the
earliest leaves, not later. Yes, even the earliest leaves are accompanied by fruit buds!
If the tree were going to set fruit, it would be visible with the leaves in the spring, at the time of Passover, and then the farmer could tie a reed-grass around those early buds to consecrate them over until the first fruits offering of Sukkot. Yeshua's "bud" was evident with the first leaves at Passover; therefore, he will be the First Fruits of Many at Sukkot.
Now learn the
tree: when its branch has already become tender and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near; (Mt 24:32)
The spring fig buds will mature and be brought in baskets at Sukkot.
Ki Tavo's First Fruits basket recitation at Sukkot acknowledges two separate events:
- the destroying "oved" intent of Laban the Aramean against Israel [see earlier newsletters concerning Abaddon, the king of destruction in the Abyss in Revelation]
- the descent to Egypt in which Israel suffered both affliction and an intent to destroy by killing the males and assimilating the females.
Both Laban and Egypt welcomed Israel at first, then there was great increase of livestock, gradually imposed hard work, "changing wages" (10x), then slavery, then threatened annihilation. It took ten plagues to undo the slavery before Pharaoh granted permission for Moses' requested "three days" journey into the wilderness to celebrate a feast.
Jacob crossed the Euphrates, or
Perat River, three days before Laban was notified. He then pursued Jacob seven days (Ge 31), ten days from Jacob's departure. The Euphrates is the
Perat (Fruitful) River, or Great River, in Scripture, the River that ran out of Eden and watered the whole Lower Garden, the home of those awaiting the First Resurrection.
Each of the three pilgrimage feasts requires an offering of First Fruits, whether of Israel's national sheaves (Passover week barley and Shavuot wheat), or personal (Sukkot). In Jewish tradition, the Perat is the Burning River, the river that one must cross into the Garden. In fact, a "river" or
nahar, in Hebrew means "burning and shining."
Laban chased Israel for seven days and overtook them in Gilead, but he could not harm them. Laban still believes the women and children and all the livestock are his, but he cannot touch them. They part ways, and Jacob goes on to be named Israel and to build Sukkot in Israel.
From the second "
abad," or destruction, the Israelites left Egypt on Passover, crossed the
Reed Sea, and came up at First Fruits, the Third Day. According to Rashi, it was
reed-grass that was tied around the first fruits (
bikkurim) of the seven species.
See Part One for a list of the seven species.
Jacob descended to Egypt 70 in number, (Ge 46:27) so the symbolic seven species of first fruits subject to
bikkurim at Sukkot in the Land of Israel was multiplied in Canaan into 70, which is the number according to which the nations are represented:
Most High gave
nations their inheritance,
When He separated
According to the number of the
sons of Israel. (Dt 32:8)
Indeed, when the hundreds of thousands of Israelites left Egypt and camped at Elim, there were 12 springs of water, representing the 12 tribes of Israel, for 70 palm trees, representing the nations. In later Sukkot celebrations, 70 bulls would be offered on behalf of the nations. Early Passover buds set lots of summer fruit!
The bikkurim, or first fruits, is different from the
ma-aser, or tithe. The bikkurim is not a tenth, but the FIRST of the season's (
moed in Hebrew) ripening fruits. It's too early to qualify it as the best, but it can be set apart as the earliest FIRST to dedicate the whole crop, no matter what the various qualities it will produce.
When Israel left Egypt, they crossed the Reed Sea, which is in Hebrew the
Yam Suf [Yam = sea, Suf = reed], and the great number of Israel and the mixed multitude, like Jacob's cattle, had a "reed-grass" from the Reed Sea's sea-floor tied around them to represent first fruits from the dead. They were the first ripe fruits of the nations.
Like the seven species multiplied by 10, the minimum number of a congregation in the Biblical tradition, the 70 who went down to Egypt multiplied into a new prophecy of first fruits, the budding first fruits from the nations.
Without Yeshua's "sign" of descent to hell, Sheol, the pit, the deep, the nations would not yield first fruits. Without the dedication of the first fruits at Sukkot, the rest of the trees's fruit or the field is not holy! Holiness is to be set apart to Adonai, not mingled with the mundane or Jeremiah's second basket of rotten figs, those destined for destruction.
Romans 11:16 describes this understanding of First Fruits. "The first" is followed in italics with "dough," supplying an unwritten word, what the translator thought it meant, which was the first of the dough offered to the Levites:
If the first piece
is holy, the lump is also; and if the root is holy, the branches are too.
The Greek, however, acknowledges that the word is related to the first fruits offering, the bikkurim:
from a compound of
; a beginning of sacrifice, i.e. the (Jewish) first-fruit (figuratively):-first-fruits.
With the preposition attached, it means "[taken from] the beginning." If we insert what the Greek acknowledges, then Paul is saying that the first fruits make the whole "lump" holy. What lump? The translator assumes the first piece of dough given to the Levite, but the example is a double-entendre, taking in both the Sukkot first fruits and the first piece of dough, or "taking challah."
The first fruits bikkurim of the barley had to be offered on the Third Day of Passover before
anyone in Israel could make that season's barley into dough for bread. Paul clarifies in 1 Corinthians 15:20 -23:
But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep...
But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, after that those who are Christ's at His coming.
Yeshua resurrected after three days and three nights, the Sign of Jonah. The Last Trump of Yom Teruah, (Rosh HaShanah) will summon the rest of the fruits and sheaves, who have been made holy in their order. Even the
Mishnah recognizes that the nations pass under the shepherd's rod at Rosh HaShanah.
Yonah, means "dove," a symbol of the Holy Spirit, and the
yonah is the creature who carried the olive leaf in her beak. The birds and fish were both created on the 5th Day, reflections of one another, Heaven and Earth. In fact, ancient rabbinic tradition says that the Kingdom touches earth no higher than the height a dove can fly, which lends whole new meaning to the yonah that flew out of the cloud and descended upon Yeshua after he was immersed into the Yarden River! The pillar of cloud was always within sight of the Camp of Israel, so yes, the Kingdom of Heaven is near us.
The Sign of Jonah prophecy explains the
reed-crown in its parallel to escape from Sheol, the prison of the dead. One of the oaths in the Sukkot basket recitation is that the bikkurim have not been collected while one is in mourning, nor has first fruits been offered to the dead.
First fruits cannot be offered to the dead, which would be deceit, for apart from the "second wave," of the bikkurim basket, the resurrection following Yeshua's, they do not have physical bodies with which to eat physical food. They eat spiritual food in the Lower Garden. It would be unlawful contact with a separated soul.
Mourning is part of a post-mortem process of separating from the soul with which one has been knit together, and in one's heavy grief is not the time to experience the great joy of resurrection that one will celebrate with that loved one at a future Sukkot of the second wave, the First Resurrection. We may
know and believe beyond a shadow of a doubt that it will occur, but the emotion of grief in the first thirty days is strong enough to anchor the emotions in sadness in spite of the hope and moments of joy at the future resurrection. And this assumes the departed loved one is righteous.
The "voice of thanksgiving" is part of Sukkot in which one pays vows and first fruits, some of which, like the fig, may have been set apart by the reed-grass very early in the spring growing season. Yeshua also was prepared for his death and resurrection with a Roman reed to the head once he was crowned with thorns:
The Book of Jonah is read in the synagogues at Yom HaKippurim, the Day of the
Great Trumpet. Notice how this Fifth Day feast of Yom Kippur corresponds to the themes of the Third Day, Passover, First Fruits, and the Resurrection Barley in this Messianic prophecy:
Then Jonah prayed to the L
ORD his God from the stomach of the fish, and he said,
'I called out of my distress to the L
nd He answered me.
I cried for help from
the depth of Sheol;
You heard my voice.
For You had cast me into
the deep, i
nto the heart of the seas,
And the current engulfed me.
All Your breakers and billows passed over me.
So I said, 'I have been expelled from Your sight.
Nevertheless I will look again
toward Your holy temple.'
Water encompassed me to the point of death.
The great deep engulfed me,
Weeds [reeds: suf] were wrapped around my head.
I descended to the roots of the mountains.
The earth with its bars was around me forever,
But You have brought up my life from
the pit, O L
ORD my God.
While I was fainting away,
I remembered the L
my prayer came to You, i
nto Your holy temple.
Those who regard vain idols f
orsake their faithfulness,
But I will sacrifice to You w
ith the voice of thanksgiving
That which I have vowed I will pay.
Salvation is from the LORD
.' (Jonah 2)
Those who are like Jonah and Yeshua also receive a reed-crown of resurrection. Each year when we recount, "This is what happened to me when I came out of Egypt..." at Passover, we affirm that we, too, passed through the depths of hell, the Reed Sea, with Yeshua, the Salvation from YHVH, and he placed a crown of reedi-ness for the Trumpets upon our heads. Here is a rough sketch of the Fall Feasts:
Last Trump - Yom Teruah, the Feast of Trumpets, Rosh HaShanah
First resurrection begins with those crowned with a "reed," decrees are issued, judgments begin.
Great Trump - Yom HaKippurim, Day of Atonement
Resurrection is complete, decrees are sealed, gates of judgment are closed.
Sukkot Inside the Gates, Grapes of Wrath Outside the Gates
Judgment of those under the
sukkah begins with the Seven Shepherds for seven nights.** "How well are you dwelling in Clouds of Glory [Sukkot]?" they ask. After being hidden for a little while, Israel emerges from the sukkah on the Eighth Day.
The Little Scroll, or the
Mishneh Torah, including the Song of Moses, is read by the King of Israel in the Eighth Year of the Shmittah cycle during Sukkot. Everyone hears it, from the youngest to the oldest, in order to "learn":
At the end of every
seven years, at the time of the year of remission of debts, at the Feast of Booths [Sukkot]...(Dt 31:10-14)
The volunteer growth of the seventh year that stands in the eighth year falls under the same rules of the Shmittah year of release, so that growth is still "Shmittah" and free to the public whether they are landholders or not.
In this week's Torah portion
Vayelekh, Rashi notes that the gathering (
hakhilu) of the people for Moses' final teaching was not called by a trumpet blast, which is
karah, or called. He explains, "God did not give Joshua authority over the trumpets...the trumpets were hidden away..."
So when they had come together, they were asking Him, saying, 'Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom to Israel?'
He said to them, 'It is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority...'(Ac 1:6-7)
The disciples expected a Kingdom restoration of Israel such as Joshua's reclamation of the Land. Instead, Yeshua says such an event is in the Father's authority, not Yeshua's or theirs, even though like Yeshua, they will be leading a long return to the Land in the merit of Yeshua, our bikkurim. For now, the Heavenly trumpets will be silent while on earth, Israel prophesies with trumpets and shofars, awaiting the final return to hear the Song of Moses.
One last textual hint in Vayelekh gives a Messianic prophecy. Moses says, "After my death you will surely act corruptly" to Israel. We know, however, that Joshua 24:31 says that Israel worshiped YHVH all the days of Joshua." Rashi says that this verse teaches of the special relationship between teacher and student, for "all the while that Joshua was alive, it seemed to Moses as if he himself was alive." (Rashi to Devarim, Sapirstein Ed., p. 327) To Moses, "after my death" meant "after Joshua's death," the appointed leader who was instructed by the Shechinah. (Dt 31: 23)
In this early Torah wordplay, believers today can see that Yeshua's leadership was typified by Joshua, who embodied Moses himself, just as Yeshua embodied the Father Himself to Israel on earth. With this example, no parent or teacher who establishes a heritage of Torah in children or students dies when he or she crosses over to the Garden. The teacher continues teaching through the child or student!
In Part 3, we will resolve the resurrection of the Last and Great Trumpet as memorial feasts, the dove, the olive tree, and Yom Kippur. To access past newsletters or Part 1 of this one, go to www.thecreationgospel.com.
*Strangely, Rashi comments on Moses' admonition to Joshua in Deuteronomy 31:7, that the imperative of the verb "you shall bring" implies that the Israelites must be brought into Israel with force. "If necessary, take a rod and hit them on the crown of their head. There is one leader for a generation, and not two leaders for a generation." The Roman soldiers unwittingly are giving a signal that there is only one King of the Jews who can take Israel into the Land of Israel, a physical representation of the Lower Garden and home to those who will be resurrected.