You shall count seven full weeks from the day after the Sabbath, from the day that you brought the sheaf of the wave offering. You shall count fifty days to the day after the seventh Sabbath. Then you shall present a grain offering of new grain to the Lord. You shall bring from your dwelling places two loaves of bread to be waved, made of two tenths of an ephah. They shall be of fine flour, and they shall be baked with leaven, as firstfruits to the Lord. (Leviticus 23:15-17)
The ancient Hebrews were commanded to come before the LORD three times a year – at first to the Tabernacle, but then to the Temple in Jerusalem. The feasts were known as pasach (Passover) in early spring, shavuot (Pentecost or first fruits) in late spring and succoth (Tabernacles or booths) in the autumn. Collectively, they are known as the shalosh regalim, literally “the three walks” (regal is the Hebrew word for foot).
These feasts were more than just commanded appearances. Each marked a significant moment in the agricultural lives of the Israelites.
- Pasach marked the end of the lambing season, when the new lambs were born and the flocks replenished after the winter. It also marked the beginning of planting, as the early rains had prepared the land for seed. The last of the previous seasons grain was eaten in the unleavened bread that featured in the feast.
- Shavuot came at the time of the early barley harvests, the first of the crops to be ready. Each crop had a different harvesting season, ranging from barley in late spring to the grapes, olives and figs during the summer and then the wheat in the autumn.
- Succoth came at the end of the harvests, after all the crops had been laid in for the winter.
While this correspondence with the cyclical seasons of the region was convenient for the Israelites, it also provided a framework for their telling of their story – their origins, their slavery and ultimately God’s provision of the land to them as an inheritance. The tending of God’s creation was humanity’s first commission (Gen 2:15), so it should come as no surprise that this role is deeply embedded into the very calendar of nature.
In the Easter season, we pass from the Crucifixion (Good Friday) to the Resurrection (Easter Sunday) and then through a period of labor until the first fruits come to head. When we emerge from the darkness and want of winter into the sunlight and promise of spring, it is a reminder of the new life God has promised (Gen 1:14-14, 8:20-22). The calendar of nature reveals to us God’s provision.
This Easter season, we will consider LIFE – that single, undefinable attribute that makes creation animate and ever changing. Our discussion will turn to the NEW LIFE we have in Christ, exploring it through 2 Corinthians 5-7.
|2 Corinthians 5:16-21 (Part of the Made New series).|
|Preached by Erik DiVietro on 22 April, 2018 (Sunday Morning).|
|Made New Pt 2|
|2 Corinthians 5:11-21 (Part of the Made New series).|
|Preached by Erik DiVietro on 15 April, 2018 (Sunday Morning).|
|The "Just for Now" and the "Not Yet"|
|2 Corinthians 5:1-11 (Part of the Made New series).|
|Preached by Erik DiVietro on 8 April, 2018 (Sunday Morning).|
|Made New, Introduction|
|Matthew 28:1-19 (Part of the Made New series).|
|Preached by Erik DiVietro on 1 April, 2018 (Sunday Morning).|