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The Wave Sheaf Offering

 

Leviticus 23 contains a list of God-ordained festivals or appointed times we are to keep. All of the festivals or appointed times of Lev 23 except two fall on a specific day of the month on the Biblical calendar. The two exceptions are Pentecost or the Feast of Weeks, and the day of the wave sheaf offering.. To find out when Pentecost falls, we have to count days. Count from when? Count from the day of the wave sheaf offering. So these two appointed times are linked. Let’s read the scripture which tells us how that is done.

(Lev 23:15-16 NKJV) 'And you shall count for yourselves from the day after the Sabbath, from the day that you brought the sheaf of the wave offering: seven Sabbaths shall be completed. {16} 'Count fifty days to the day after the seventh Sabbath; then you shall offer a new grain offering to the LORD.

This scripture contains a wealth of information and we will refer to it repeatedly today.

 

Today I want to investigate the Wave Sheaf Offering as given to us in these and other verses, describe the fuller meaning of this event, and discuss questions we’ve received.

 

As I said, Lev 23:15-16 contains a wealth of information. Let’s start there.

“The day after the Sabbath.” What Sabbath? The word Sabbath is a translation of the Hebrew word “Shabbat”, Strong’s #7676, the seventh day of the week. So, no surprises here for most of us. But what Sabbath is this scripture referring to? To explain that, let’s begin by outlining the festivals of Lev 23. As we go through these verses, keep in mind that the sacrifices are no longer kept partly because there is no longer a temple from which sacrifices can be offered.

In Lev 23,verse 2 describes these appointed times as feasts (mow-ed in Hebrew) of the LORD. That means they are haShem’s feasts, God’s feasts, not man’s feasts or the Jew’s feasts. They are God’s feasts.

Verse 3 describes the weekly Sabbath as a day of rest, a day of convocation or gathering or public meeting. It is not a day to pursue worldly pleasures or pursuits. It is a day to rest and worship God.

Verse 5 specifies the 14th day of the first Biblical month as Passover.

Verses 6 through 8 specifies that the 15th day of the first month is the first of the seven days of unleavened bread. It is a day in which we are to have a holy convocation or gathering.

Verse 8 also specifies that the seventh day of unleavened bread is a day in which we should have a holy convocation or gathering.

Verses 9 through 14 describe an observance, not a holy convocation, of honoring God for the new crops which were about to be harvested. The observance is called the Wave Sheaf Offering. The day of the month is not specified but the method of determining the day is. Verse 11 tells us to observe the day on the day after the Sabbath. The word Sabbath is from the same Hebrew word as is used in verse 3, the weekly Sabbath. So we are to observe this day on the day after the weekly Sabbath, that is on the Sunday during the week of unleavened bread. The significance of this day is the subject of this sermon.

Verses 15 through 21 describe another observance, this time a holy convocation, when the day of the month is again not specified but where the method of calculating the day is. We are talking about the day of Pentecost. Verse 15 tells us to count seven weeks (the KJV translates the Hebrew word as “sabbaths”) from the Sunday in which the wave sheaf was offered, verse 11, until the day after the seventh Sabbath, another Sunday. That makes a total of fifty days, hence the name “Pentecost”, or “count fifty.” So Pentecost, like the wave sheaf offering always falls on a Sunday. We can now understand why there is a link between Passover and Pentecost. The day after the weekly Sabbath which occurs during the days of unleavened bread begins the count which establishes when Pentecost will occur. This wasn’t a complicated job. Remember what Acts 2:1 says? “When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.” Yes, they knew how to figure it out too.

Verses 23 through 25 specifies that the first day of the seventh month is a “sabbathown” or high day when we are to have a holy convocation and are not to do any regular work. A sabbathown, Strong’s number H7677, is a high day, but not a Sabbath like the weekly Sabbath of verse 3. It is commonly called the Feast of Trumpets and is associated by many as picturing Christ’s return.

Verses 26 through 32 specifies that the tenth day of the seventh month is a Sabbath of complete rest and fasting. In verse 32 the same word, Sabbath, H7676, is used as in verse 3. This day, the day of Atonement, carries the same prestige as the weekly Sabbath.

Verse 33 through 36 describe the seven day Feast of Tabernacles or Feast of Booths; in Hebrew: “Sukkot.” The first day, the 15th day of the seventh Biblical month, is a high day. Verse 36 also describes the eighth day, the 22nd day of the seventh month, as a high day.

OK, back to the subject of the Wave Sheaf Offering. Let’s look at some more scriptures which refer to this offering. We described verses 9-14 before but let’s read them.

(Lev 23:9-11,14 NKJV) And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, {10} "Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them: 'When you come into the land which I give to you, and reap its harvest, then you shall bring a sheaf of the firstfruits of your harvest to the priest. {11} 'He shall wave the sheaf before the LORD, to be accepted on your behalf; on the day after the Sabbath the priest shall wave it. . . . . . .{14} 'You shall eat neither bread nor parched grain nor fresh grain until the same day that you have brought an offering to your God; it shall be a statute forever throughout your generations in all your dwellings.

What is a wave sheaf? The word “sheaf” is translated from the Hebrew word “omer.” Strong’s H6016 states: 'Omer, i.e. a sheaf; also an omer, as a dry measure:--omer, sheaf.’ In English the word sheaf refers more to a bundle of cut stalks of grain. A more accurate translation of verse 11 might be: “He shall wave the dry measure of grains of the firstfruits of your harvest to the Priest.” What was actually done in the Temple was the waving of about two quarts (two liters) of new crop barley flour. After the flour was waved, the people were permitted to eat of the new crop. There is evidence that the grain was actually cut after sunset the night before, then thrashed and parched and ground into fine flour so it would be ready to be waved early the next (i.e. Sunday) morning.

In Lev 23:10 we see the word “firstfruits.”

(Lev 23:10 NKJV) "Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them: 'When you come into the land which I give to you, and reap its harvest, then you shall bring a sheaf [omer] of the firstfruits of your harvest to the priest.

The word’s meaning is obvious, but is there a deeper meaning? There certainly is. Let’s now look at the symbolism of this term. In the New Testament, more accurately called the New or Renewed Covenant or Testament, there are several references to this term as it relates to Christ himself. Let’s look at some of them.

(1 Cor 15:20-23 NKJV) But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. {21} For since by man [Adam] came death, by Man [Christ] also came the resurrection of the dead. {22} For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive. {23} But each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ's at His coming.

(James 1:17-18 NKJV) {17} Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning. {18} Of His own will He brought us forth by the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures.

(Rev 14:1,4,5 NKJV) Then I looked, and behold, a Lamb standing on Mount Zion, and with Him one hundred and forty-four thousand, having His Father's name written on their foreheads [a church or assembly of God]. . . . {4} These are the ones who were not defiled with women [false churches], for they are virgins. These are the ones who follow the Lamb wherever He goes. These were redeemed from among men, being firstfruits to God and to the Lamb. {5} And in their mouth was found no deceit, for they are without fault before the throne of God.

It is obvious from these scriptures that certain human beings will be redeemed into a group called firstfruits. Because our Messiah was the first to be both resurrected from the dead AND to have ascended to our Father, He has become the first of the firstfruits.

(Rom 8:29 NKJV) For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.

Let’s observe the parallel between Christ and the wave sheaf offering. The cutting of the sheaf of barley and the processing of the grain and the waving of the omer all provide us with a fitting review of the things which He experienced. For example, the barley grain was cut free from the earth at the same time of day that Yeshua was resurrected back to life from the emptiness of death. Just as the Priests had to prepare the barley grain for the Omer Wave Offering, so Yeshua had been prepared throughout His life for the sacrificial role He was to play. They thrashed the grain. Yeshua was thrashed by the Romans. They sieved [siv’d] the grain through thirteen sieves. Yeshua was sieved by constant testing throughout His entire life time. In other words, Yeshua was fully prepared to represent the finest human omer possible. He was fully prepared to be the Omer Wave Offering for the early harvest of the firstfruits just as the barley grain was fully prepared to be the Omer Wave Offering for the early grain harvest.

Then there was the actual cermony of the Omer Wave Offering which was held in the Temple itself. This was accomplished during the morning sacrifice ceremony on the first day of the week during the festival of the days of unleavened bread. (Today, Judaism calls these days Passover week.) As we are about to read, as the women made their way to the tomb very early Sunday morning, the priests in the Temple were about to offer their omer of barley grain in the traditional Omer Wave Offering ceremony.

And, while it was still dark, Yeshua met Mary Magdalene in the garden.

(John 20:17 NKJV) Jesus said to her, "Do not cling to Me, for I have not yet ascended to My Father; but go to My brethren and say to them, 'I am ascending to My Father and your Father, and to My God and your God.'"

Then, as the offering was being made by the priests, the Messiah was being accepted by the Father, after which He returned to earth to spend the next forty days with His disciples.

(Heb 9:11-12 NKJV) But Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come, with the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this creation. {12} Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption.

Earlier I mentioned two scriptures which showed that Christ was the first fruits of the rest of our Father’s and Christ’s harvest. I want to spend a little time discussing that subject.

1 Cor 15 is called the resurrection chapter. In it Paul defines the meaning of the resurrection and how he had been convinced of Christ’s resurrection by actually observing and hearing the voice of the risen Christ. But I want to address one aspect of resurrection: That of each man being in his own order. Christ being the first of the first fruits; the rest following. Let’s look at verses 20 and 23 again.

(1 Cor 15:20 NKJV) But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep (i.e. they have died). . . {23} But each one in his own order: Christ the first fruits, afterward those who are Christ's at His coming.

Christ the first fruits. Was Christ the first to be resurrected? What about Lazarus of John 11 and 12 and the widow’s son of Luke 7:11-18 who had been raised from the dead before Him? What of Elisha’s raising of the widow’s dead son that we read of in 1 Kings 17? Weren’t they resurrected? Yes they were. So verse 23, in describing Christ as the first fruits, has a deeper meaning.

The word “first” can have several meanings.

(1) That which is "first," i.e. at the beginning, or that which has the priority of time; and,

(2) That which is set apart and is a portion of the whole which is to follow, which is the down-payment or pledge of that; e.g., the "first" omer of ripe grain was not only the first in order of time, but it was the evidence of the entire harvest which was soon to follow.

But Christ being the first fruits is not describing His resurrection. It is describing His ascension to our Father for His acceptance of Christ’s sacrifice. It was not merely or mainly that Christ was the first in order of time that rose from the dead, for Lazarus and the widow's son had been raised before him; but it was that he was first in regard to his ascension. He was connected with all those who will ascend, just as the first sheaf or omer of the harvest was connected with the rest of the crop. He was a "part" of the mighty harvest of those who will ascend at Christ’s return. His ascending was a "portion" of that great ascending, as the sheaf was a portion of the harvest itself. He was connected with them all, and their ascending depended on his, just as the harvesting of the rest of the fields of grain had to wait on the wave sheaf offering. His ascension was a demonstration that they would ascend.

It may also be implied here that he is the first of those who were raised so as not to die again; and that, therefore, those raised by Elisha and by Christ himself do not come into the account. They all died again; but our Savior will not die again, nor will those whom he will raise up in the resurrection die any more. He is, therefore, the first of those that will rise, and a portion of that great host which shall be raised to die no more.

Isn’t there another aspect here? The first sheaf of the harvest was consecrated to God, and then all the harvest was regarded as consecrated to Him. Isn’t it implied that, like the wave sheaf offering, because of the ascension of Christ, all those of whom he speaks will be regarded as sacred to our Father, because they are consecrated by the acceptance of He who was the first of the first-fruits?

 

Now I want to shift gears a little and discuss five questions some have asked.

1. Whenever the First Day of Unleavened Bread occurs on Sunday, we receive a few questions from people asking why we count the days to Pentecost starting with the Sunday after Passover instead of the Sunday after the Days of Unleavened Bread. They are probably concerned because there are some churches which do start their count with the Sunday after the Days of Unleavened Bread. We briefly cover this subject in our calendar booklet “The Original Calendar for Our Day” and at www.studiesintheword.org, but it’s probably good to go over its explanation now while we are discussing the Wavesheaf Offering. So now let’s review which Sunday to begin the count for Pentecost.

Elaborating on what we just said, Lev 23, verses 11 and 15-16 state:

{11} 'He shall wave the sheaf before the LORD, to be accepted on your behalf; on the day after the Sabbath the priest shall wave it. . . . {15} 'And you shall count for yourselves from the day after the Sabbath, from the day that you brought the sheaf of the wave offering: seven Sabbaths shall be completed. {16} 'Count fifty days to the day after the seventh Sabbath; then you shall offer a new grain offering to the LORD.

We have already explained that the Sabbath referred to is the weekly Sabbath, H7676. So the omer of grain (barley) will be waved on Sunday, the day after the weekly Sabbath.

But which weekly Sabbath? Well, considering that Leviticus 23 lists the High Days beginning in the spring and ending in the fall, and that verse 11 falls between the Days of Unleavened Bread and Pentecost in the list, we would have to conclude that the sheaf of grain is waved then too. But again, verses 15 and 16 show us that we are to establish the date of Pentecost by counting, starting with the day after the weekly Sabbath (Sunday) when the sheaf of grain, actually the omer of grain, is waved. These verses link the wave sheaf offering, and hence the days of Unleavened Bread and even Passover, to the date of Pentecost.

The Passover can fall on any day of the week. Because of postponements in their calendar, Rabbinic Judaism doesn’t agree with this -- they think there are only four possible days, but it is Biblically true that it can fall on any one of the seven days. You can find a fairly complete explanation of Rabbinic Judaism’s postponed calendar in our calendar booklet, “The Original Calendar for Our Day.”

When the Passover falls on six of the seven days of the week, there is no argument about which Sunday to choose for the wave sheaf offering: We simply start counting with the first Sunday (the day after the weekly Sabbath) following Passover. Easy.

But their question is what do we do when Passover itself falls on a weekly Sabbath? That’s when some believers ask themselves, “Do we observe the next day as the wave sheaf offering with that day, Sunday, therefore falling on the First Day of Unleavened Bread? Or do we go to the next weekly Sabbath, which is the Last Day of Unleavened Bread, so that the next day, Sunday, falls after the Days of Unleavened Bread?” Does the specified Sabbath have to fall within the Days of Unleavened Bread or can it fall the day before the days of Unleavened Bread, i.e. on Passover? Well, herein lies the question which has confused some. To begin to answer their question, let’s reread our instructions from Lev. 23.

(Lev 23:9-11,14 NKJV) And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, {10} "Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them: 'When you come into the land which I give to you, and reap its harvest, then you shall bring a sheaf of the first fruits of your harvest to the priest. {11} 'He shall wave the sheaf before the LORD, to be accepted on your behalf; on the day after the Sabbath the priest shall wave it. . . . {14} 'You shall eat neither bread nor parched grain nor fresh grain until the same day that you have brought an offering to your God; it shall be a statute forever throughout your generations in all your dwellings.

Notice in verse 10 that this instruction specifically addresses the time when the Israelites come into the land which God is giving them. As we shall see in our next scripture which describes that time, their entry was near the city of Jericho, which the Jews have recently given to the so-called Palestinians. But that is another story. Let’s look at the scriptures which describes that entry. Please turn to Joshua 5:10.

(Josh 5:10-12 NKJV) Now the children of Israel camped in Gilgal, and kept the Passover on the fourteenth day of the month at twilight on the plains of Jericho. {11} And they ate of the produce of the land on the day after the Passover, unleavened bread and parched grain, on the very same day. {12} Then the manna ceased on the day after they had eaten the produce of the land; and the children of Israel no longer had manna, but they ate the food of the land of Canaan that year.

Joshua, being a man of God, kept the Passover on the fourteenth day. He wasn’t confused by the present day argument that it be kept on the fifteenth. Then in verse 11 we read that they ate of the produce of the land, including parched grain and unleavened bread, on the day after the Passover. Notice from verse 11 that God knew the grain would have to be parched. That means it was not thoroughly dry yet when they picked it. It was new grain. But more importantly, notice that they ate unleavened bread on that day too. Why would they eat unleavened bread if it wasn’t during the days of Unleavened Bread, such as would be the case if the day of the wave sheaf offering fell after the days of Unleavened Bread? .........Also, notice that the manna was discontinued the next day, Monday. Why Monday and not Sunday? The manna was given during the night and they gathered it during the early morning before the heat of the sun melted it. Notice the following scriptures:

(Exo 16:4 NKJV) Then the LORD said to Moses, "Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you. And the people shall go out and gather a certain quota every day. .

(Verse 14) And when the layer of dew lifted, there, on the surface of the wilderness, was a small round substance, as fine as frost on the ground.

(Verse 21) So they gathered it every morning, every man according to his need. And when the sun became hot, it melted.

So, the manna was gathered on Sunday morning because they could eat it before the wave sheaf offering was made, but it was not required on Monday and afterward because the produce of the land could then be eaten.

We read in Lev 23:14 that no grain or new growth could be eaten until the offering had been made. But in Joshua 5:11 we read that they ate of the produce of the land the day after the Passover. Kind of looks like the wave sheaf offering was made the next morning after Passover, doesn’t it. That year the next morning after Passover was Sunday morning. Following the waving of the grain offering, they harvested enough to parch and make unleavened bread. Now we should take a moment to explain the wording of verse 11 in the KJV where it says “they did eat of the old corn of the land....” The words “old corn” are correctly translated “produce” in the Tanakh and the NKJV. The Strong’s number for what is called “old corn” is H5669 if you want to verify it.

Some might say that they could have eaten old grain but Lev 23:14 strongly implies they could eat no grain until they had brought an offering of new grain to the Lord via the Priest (verse 10). Besides, you can be sure the residents of Jericho would not leave any old grain for the Israelites. No, they brought it all inside the walls of Jericho to use during the expected siege. Besides that, bringing an offering of old grain would not fit with the real meaning and significance of this offering which was to picture Christ’s ascension to our Father as the First Fruit of the harvest of Saints.

We read them earlier but let’s again consider the following scriptures:

(John 20:1, 17 NKJV) Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene went to the tomb early, while it was still dark . . . . .{17} Jesus said to her, "Do not cling to Me, for I have not yet ascended to My Father; but go to My brethren and say to them, 'I am ascending to My Father and your Father, and to My God and your God.'"

So here’s Mary from Magdala very early on Sunday morning, wavesheaf offering morning, and Jesus states he has not ascended yet.

Linking this verse with Lev 23:11 and Josh 5:11 shows that He ascended to our Father later that Sunday morning. In fact, as we have already pointed out, He ascended at the very time the omer was being offered.

The answer is that when Passover falls on a weekly Sabbath, the Wave Sheaf Offering is to be kept on the next day, Sunday, not a week later. We count “from the day after the Sabbath.” We start the count with the day after the Sabbath (what we call Sunday), not with the Sabbath. It is the Wave Sheaf Offering Sunday which must fall within the Days of Unleavened Bread, not the weekly Sabbath. Joshua 5:11 proves that with its instruction to eat unleavened bread. Why would they have to eat unleavened bread after the days of unleavened bread?

 

2. Another question: Some have claimed that the Wave Sheaf Offering could not have occurred on a High Day because that would have constituted working on the high day Sabbath. The answer is that there is no high day Sabbath during the Days of Unleavened Bread. Besides that, priests always worked preparing the offering on high days and Sabbaths. Notice the wording of the instruction about the days of unleavened bread:

(Lev 23:7-8 NKJV) 'On the first day you shall have a holy convocation; you shall do no customary work on it. {8} 'But you shall offer an offering made by fire to the LORD for seven days. The seventh day shall be a holy convocation; you shall do no customary work on it.'"

The word “customary” that is used in Lev 23:7 and 8, is Strong’s H5656 and means laborious or excessive work. The KJV uses the word “servile” which means slave-like. How laborious is harvesting enough grain for a loaf of unleavened bread, threshing it, drying it, and sieving it into fine flour? When the people harvested enough grain later this day to make unleavened bread, wouldn’t it be part of preparing food during the high days of the days of Unleavened Bread, as is permitted in Exodus 12:16?

(Exo 12:16 NKJV) 'On the first day there shall be a holy convocation, and on the seventh day there shall be a holy convocation for you. No manner of work shall be done on them; but that which everyone must eat; that only may be prepared by you.

(Mat 12:1-8 NKJV) At that time Jesus went through the grainfields on the Sabbath. And His disciples were hungry, and began to pluck heads of grain and to eat. {2} And when the Pharisees saw it, they said to Him, "Look, Your disciples are doing what is not lawful to do on the Sabbath!" {3} But He said to them, "Have you not read what David did when he was hungry, he and those who were with him: {4} "how he entered the house of God and ate the showbread which was not lawful for him to eat, nor for those who were with him, but only for the priests? {5} "Or have you not read in the law that on the Sabbath the priests in the temple profane the Sabbath, and are blameless? {6} "Yet I say to you that in this place there is One greater than the temple. {7} "But if you had known what this means, 'I desire mercy and not sacrifice,' you would not have condemned the guiltless. {8} "For the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath."

The Priests weren’t going to harvest the whole crop that day, just enough to make a wave offering symbolizing their thanksgiving for the new year’s crop. And, as we just read, the priests were permitted to work preparing offerings and sacrifices on High Days. Joshua 5:11 and Lev 23:14 states that they ate unleavened bread that Sunday. We don’t know if the “they ate” of Joshua 5:11 refers to the priests or the people but, it seems quite likely everyone ate at least some unleavened bread from the new crop.

Several interpretations of the Lev 23 instructions are in use: The Rabbinical Jewish calendar assumes the "Sabbath" in verse 11 is the First Day of Unleavened Bread. As we have already pointed out, the word “Sabbath” in verse 11 is from the Hebrew word “Shabbat”, H7676 in Strong’s Concordance, not Sabbathown, H7677, which is the word used to describe a High Day of rest. Of course, as we have also stated, the word Sabbathown is not even used in verses 7 and 8 where these Holy Convocation Days of Unleavened Bread are described. Why modern day Rabbinic Judaism confuses these words is unknown. The result is that the counting of Pentecost is affected. Let’s look again at the scripture which describes that counting.

(Lev 23:15-16 NKJV) 'And you shall count for yourselves from the day after the Sabbath, from the day that you brought the sheaf of the wave offering: seven Sabbaths shall be completed. {16} 'Count fifty days to the day after the seventh Sabbath; then you shall offer a new grain offering to the LORD.

The new grain is a wheat offering at Pentecost. Because Judaism counts from the First Day of Unleavened Bread, they always conclude that Pentecost is on the same day of the month, always on Sivan 6, so the day of the week for their Pentecost will be different every year. The Jewish calendar reflects what is known as the Pharisaic Pentecost.

When you count from the weekly Sabbath, Pentecost, the fiftieth day, will always be on a Sunday. This is known as the Sadducean Pentecost because the Sadducees counted from the weekly Sabbath too.

Knowing that our Savior was raised on Saturday night, three days and three nights after his death, enables us to determine which day of the week He was crucified. That day is Wednesday, the same day the Passover lambs were slain at the Temple. While the Jews were celebrating their Passover Seder meals, Christ was asleep in the grave. Let’s read Mat 12:38-40 and Jonah 1:17 to prove the three days and three nights concept.

(Mat 12:38-40 NKJV) Then some of the scribes and Pharisees answered, saying, "Teacher, we want to see a sign from You." {39} But He answered and said to them, "An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. {40} "For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.

(Jonah 1:17 NKJV) Now the LORD had prepared a great fish to swallow Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.

 

3. Another question which is sometimes asked is, “How did Yeshua spend Saturday night following His resurrection?” Probably preaching to the spirits in prison. See 1 Peter 3:18-20 and 2 Peter 2:4 which will be shown below. A thorough explanation of these scriptures is outside the scope of this sermon but let’s read them so we can see where this concept comes from.

(1 Pet 3:18-20 NASB) For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, in order that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit; {19} in which also He went and made proclamation to the spirits now in prison, {20} who once were disobedient, when the patience of God kept waiting in the days of Noah, during the construction of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through the water.

(2 Pet 2:4-5 NASB) For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell [the Greek word is Tartaroo (G5020) meaning a prison in the deepest part of the earth. [See also Jude 6.] and committed them to pits of darkness, reserved for judgment; {5} and did not spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah, a preacher of righteousness, with seven others, when He brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly;

Read our Giants in the Land sermon.

4. Here is an argument some give for postponing the Wave Sheaf Offering one week:

Some argue that the circumcision of all males who had been born since leaving Egypt (Joshua 5:2-8) would result in these males not being able to fight at Jericho if the day after Passover was observed as the day of the wave sheaf offering. Let’s look at that:

(Josh 5:2-8 NKJV) At that time the LORD said to Joshua, "Make flint knives for yourself, and circumcise the sons of Israel again the second time." {3} So Joshua made flint knives for himself, and circumcised the sons of Israel at the hill of the foreskins. {4} And this is the reason why Joshua circumcised them: All the people who came out of Egypt who were males, all the men of war, had died in the wilderness on the way, after they had come out of Egypt. {5} For all the people who came out had been circumcised, but all the people born in the wilderness, on the way as they came out of Egypt, had not been circumcised. {6} For the children of Israel walked forty years in the wilderness, till all the people who were men of war, who came out of Egypt, were consumed, because they did not obey the voice of the LORD; to whom the LORD swore that He would not show them the land which the LORD had sworn to their fathers that He would give us, "a land flowing with milk and honey." {7} Then Joshua circumcised their sons whom He raised up in their place; for they were uncircumcised, because they had not been circumcised on the way. {8} So it was, when they had finished circumcising all the people, that they stayed in their places in the camp till they were healed.

We know from Joshua 4:19 that Israel crossed into the promised land on the tenth day of Abib, the day the Passover lambs were selected.

(Josh 4:19 NKJV) Now the people came up from the Jordan on the tenth day of the first month, and they camped in Gilgal on the east border of Jericho.

How many males were there? Let’s turn to Numbers 26.

51 These are those who were numbered of the children of Israel: six hundred and one thousand seven hundred and thirty.

62 Now those who were numbered of them [talking about Levites] were twenty-three thousand, every male from a month old and above; for they were not numbered among the other children of Israel, because there was no inheritance given to them among the children of Israel.

Numbers 26:51 shows there were 601,730 twenty years old and older, not counting the tribe of Levi. This represents only those twenty years old and older so let’s assume there were a million males of all ages. Now we have to add the 23,000 males from Levi (verse 62). So there were about 1,023,000 males. Let’s assume half of the Levite males were old enough to perform circumcisions. How long would it take to circumcise all the males? Well, if all the circumcisions were performed by adult Levite males and it took 5 minutes to do each one, it would take about six or seven hours to do the non-Levite males. That may seem like a short time compared to today’s circumcision procedures, but in a production line, with a ready supply of sharp knives, it probably took less than 5 minutes per person. Some think that Joshua did all the circumcising himself but that would have taken him over 10 years to do. Not likely and not a very pleasant way to spend 10 years of your life. Once they started to circumcise their fellow Levites, the rate would drop due to the smaller and smaller number of circumcisers, so they would take about two hours more. So let’s figure about eight hours for everyone. Now they would have about two or three days to heal (from Abib 11-13) before the day of Passover. I have to assume their wives or mothers or someone would care for them during these few days. After Passover, Joshua 6:3 shows us that the Israelite men of war were to walk around the city of Jericho once a day for six days.

(Josh 6:3 NKJV) "You shall march around the city, all you men of war; you shall go all around the city once. This you shall do six days.

The NKJV uses the word “march” and the KJV uses the word “compass.” The word in question is “cabob,” H5437, which means “to walk around.” There was no fighting. They simply had to walk. So after recuperating for two or three days, they simply had to walk around the walled city once a day for six more days. Sounds like they had plenty of time to recuperate before circling the city seven times and charging in through the fallen walls of Jericho on the seventh day. The seventh day was a weekly Sabbath so it is unlikely God required much from them then either. The occupants of Jericho, who were already in shock after the river Jordan, during its spring runoff, dried up for the Israelites to cross, probably all but gave up when their walls all fell down. I suspect they wanted to defend themselves and their families and their property, but as Exodus 23:27 and Joshua 5:1 says:

(Exo 23:27 NKJV) "I will send My fear before you, I will cause confusion among all the people to whom you come, and will make all your enemies turn their backs to you.

(Josh 5:1 NKJV) So it was, when all the kings of the Amorites who were on the west side of the Jordan, and all the kings of the Canaanites who were by the sea, heard that the LORD had dried up the waters of the Jordan from before the children of Israel until we had crossed over, that their heart melted; and there was no spirit in them any longer because of the children of Israel.

The defenders of Jericho could only run away from the Israelites. They had no spirit to stand and fight. It was, to use the words of a world-war II naval operation in the Pacific, a turkey-shoot.

(Josh 5:13-15 NKJV) And it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted his eyes and looked, and behold, a Man stood opposite him with His sword drawn in His hand. And Joshua went to Him and said to Him, "Are You for us or for our adversaries?" {14} So He said, "No, but as Commander of the army of the LORD I have now come." And Joshua fell on his face to the earth and worshiped, and said to Him, "What does my Lord say to His servant?" {15} Then the Commander of the Lord's army said to Joshua, "Take your sandal off your foot, for the place where you stand is holy." And Joshua did so.

Verses 14 and 15 indicate that the One who was to become Christ was captain of the host (Captain of the Lord’s Army) and who could stand up before him, if anyone tried. No, I’m afraid that their recent circumcision didn’t deter them a bit. It only demonstrated to God that they were worthy of His leadership. The power of Christ would offset any weakness caused by soreness.

 

5. Now let’s consider one more question about observing the wave sheaf offering.

The question we hear most about this day is, “How do we observe it? We don’t have any grain to wave nor a temple to wave it in.” Well, here’s what I’d suggest: A service of the wave sheaf should be held on the first day of the week (Sunday) that occurs within the seven days of Unleavened Bread. This prayer service should include a prayer giving God the glory and the thanks for our sustenance both physically and spiritually. Just as the Passover instructions define the twilight period of the day for its observance, so this service is described by scholars as a morning event. It might be fitting to refrain from eating that morning until after the prayer service to help emphasize the historical significance of this special observance. And you might observe it with a special meal, dedicated to Christ, God’s Son, and our first fruit.

 

But as usual, there is a dark side, a counterfeit by the Adversary, Satan himself. Yes, he has designed another clever counterfeit of the wave sheaf offering and that counterfeit is Easter. Easter usually falls on wave-sheaf Sunday. How clever! To read about the origin of Easter, request a printed copy of our sermon “Easter - Truth or Fiction?

 

So in conclusion, consider the extremely important significance of the Wave Sheaf offering. Don’t be confused by when to observe it and when to begin your count for Pentecost. Scripture makes it perfectly clear why and when we are to observe it. But the significance of this seldom observed event is so important to God’s Saints that we must understand it. May God’s Spirit motivate you and direct you as you continue your studies into this important event.

 

 

 

Sermon Given By Wayne Bedwell

30 March 2013

 

 

 

 

Copyright 2013, Wayne Bedwell

 

 

 

 

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