The Feast of Harvest and the Church (Leviticus 23:9-22)
God commanded the Israelites that if they enter Canaan and reap the harvest, on the first day after the Sabbath, they must wave before God a sheaf of the first grain they harvested and offer God a year-old lamb as a burnt offering (Lev 23:9-14). After the grain is harvested and seven sabbaths have passed, on the next day (that is, the fiftieth day), they must wave before God loaves of bread made from the flour of that grain, and offer animals as sin offerings, burnt offerings and fellowship offerings. They must also proclaim a sacred assembly for the people (Lev 23:15-21). This is referred to as the ‘Feast of Harvest’ or the ‘Feast of Weeks’ (Exo 23:16, Deu 16:10).
1. The church is united with the resurrected Lord
This is a symbol about the work fulfilled through Jesus Christ. When Jesus offered Himself like a whole burnt offering, He became the firstfruits of the Resurrection (1 Cor 15:20), and because the Holy Spirit began to descend fifty days later, those who believed in Him participated in His resurrection (1 Cor 15:23). Like bread that is made of fine flower, they deny themselves, unite as the church, and serve God (Rom 11:6).
2. The church unites with joy and gives thanks
We commemorate the Feast of Harvest today to remember that God chose Jesus Christ as the firstfruits of the Resurrection, and gave us the grace to participate in His Resurrection by sending the Holy Spirit. All the saints rejoice in this and offer thanks to God (1 Thess 5:18). Just as the Israelites ate fellowship offerings together with joy, the saints eat and drink the flesh and blood of Jesus Christ, rejoice together and express their sincere thanksgiving to God (1 Jn 4:10).
3. The church performs the service of love
God commanded the Israelites that when they are reaping their harvest, they should not reap to the edges of their fields or gather the gleanings from the harvest, but they should leave them for the poor and foreigners (Lev 23:22). God is asking us (who are united to Christ) to remember God’s grace, and at the same time, help the saints who are weak and show compassion on those who are outside God’s grace (Heb 10:23-25).
June 13, 2021
Overseer Sung-Hyun Kim