The New Meat Offering

 •  3 min. read  •  grade level: 8
The waving of the sheaf of firstfruits was a prelude to the feast of weeks; it was the beginning of God’s harvesttime in the land of promise. No one could enjoy any of the fruit of the land until the sheaf and its accompanying offering had been presented. It is evident in this offering that we are altogether on new ground. In the Passover feast they were gathered on the ground of redemption, which could take place in the wilderness. The waving, too, of the Levites as a wave offering before the Lord by Aaron for service was on the same ground (Num. 8:10-1110And thou shalt bring the Levites before the Lord: and the children of Israel shall put their hands upon the Levites: 11And Aaron shall offer the Levites before the Lord for an offering of the children of Israel, that they may execute the service of the Lord. (Numbers 8:10‑11)). But in the wave sheaf, man is presented to God, not for service in a worldly sanctuary, but in a wholly new way, as an offering to God in resurrection.
The sheaf was waved on the morrow after the Sabbath, even as “Christ the firstfruits” rose from the dead on the morning following the Sabbath, the first day of the week. The convocation of the day of Pentecost must accordingly be on resurrection ground. God’s gathering a people around Himself in the present time is based upon this wondrous truth. Christ tasted death that He might bring us, in the power of resurrection, into that wondrous place of nearness and acceptance in which He now is as the risen Man with His God and Father. The high priest, therefore, had to “wave the sheaf before the Lord, to be accepted for you,” or more correctly, “for your acceptance.” We have thus a new place of acceptance in resurrection made known to us, and on the ground of this, the assembling of the day of Pentecost takes place, for the fifty days were reckoned from the waving of the sheaf. The new meat offering then presented is said to be brought “in the day of the firstfruits” (Num. 28:2626Also in the day of the firstfruits, when ye bring a new meat offering unto the Lord, after your weeks be out, ye shall have an holy convocation; ye shall do no servile work: (Numbers 28:26)). It is called new, because no such meat offering had before been presented to God. A meat offering with leaven in it had never before been offered. The Levites had indeed been waved before the Lord and were given to Aaron and his sons for service, but that was not on resurrection ground, nor was it exactly the presentation of man to God; rather, it was their service based on redemption. But now that the day of the firstfruits has come, the wave sheaf having been offered for our acceptance — the day of Pentecost being fully come — this new ground of God’s gathering around Himself is disclosed.
Men having sin in them are shown to be accepted in Christ’s acceptance by the descent of the Holy Spirit upon them. This is like the time when the tabernacle of boards and curtains was set up, and the glory of the Lord filled and took possession of it. Now men assembled on the ground of resurrection are taken possession of and sealed by the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:2424Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it. (Acts 2:24)). Thus God has a new meat offering for Himself. His people gathered around Him are “a kind of firstfruits of His creatures” (James 1:1818Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures. (James 1:18)), according to His own counsel. The loaves baked with leaven are “firstfruits unto the Lord.” These are firstfruits of His creatures; the loaves are the firstfruit produce of His land.
The blessed Lord even while on earth was “the Son of Man who is in heaven.” Adam, the first man, is out of the earth, made of dust; the second Man is out of heaven. But now, we see further, “such as the heavenly [One], such also the heavenly ones” (1 Cor. 15:48 JND). These are firstfruits of His creatures, though there be leaven in them; they are of the same order as the wave sheaf; they are the produce of His land.
T. Reynolds, adapted