Christian Churches of God
The Wave Sheaf Offering
(Edition 4.5 19950416-20000423-20080105-20100619-20140429)
The significance of the Wave-Sheaf Offering in the context of Messiah’s Advent and return on the Sunday after the resurrection the previous evening is explained. The sequence of the offerings and the concept of the first-fruits are also expounded. The meaning of the Old Testament offerings which show what Christ was accomplishing through his ascension and return that evening is explained.
The Wave Sheaf Offering
The Wave-Sheaf Offering needs to be kept in order to understand the full implications of Christ’s sacrifice and the power that he was given in terms of his resurrection from the dead. The Wave-Sheaf Offering is an ancient requirement of Israel within the Torah. The ordinance is found in Leviticus 23:9-14, and also in Exodus 29:24-25 and other texts. It is poorly understood by scholars and ignored by many (e.g. it is absent as a category in Schürer’s index in The History of the Jewish People in the Age of Jesus Christ). It is often thought of as being “done away,” as a part of the sacrificial aspects of the law. So why is it to be kept now? It is a day that commences the count to Pentecost. Whilst we don’t physically wave the sheaf of grain, we celebrate the acceptance of Christ before the Throne of God. In the same way we no longer sacrifice the animals at the Temple but we celebrate the actual days on which they were made. The days themselves represent aspects of the Plan of God fulfilled in Christ and the elect. The Wave Sheaf in like manner represents part of the Plan and part of the Story.
It is a mandatory ordinance associated with the Feast of the Passover and controls both the timing of Pentecost and the consumption of the new harvests (Lev. 23:9-14). To put it in its modern perspective, we should look at the significance of the timing of Christ’s death.
The sign of Jonah had to be completed in all of its phases. The only sign that was given to Christ’s ministry was the sign of Jonah. Christ said that the function of three days and three nights in the belly of the whale or great fish of Jonah was the same as his ministry, and he would be three days and three nights in the belly of the Earth (as the great fish). The sign of Jonah is much more than three days and three nights in the belly of the fish. The sign of Jonah was related to the ministry to Nineveh, where there were three days consisting of one day’s journey into Nineveh and two days preaching to Nineveh, and 40 days for repentance. Nineveh repented. Judah was given approximately three years under John the Baptist and the Messiah, and then 40 years to repent. Nineveh repented but Judah did not repent.
All of the Temple and everything associated with it was taken away. The ministry of Jesus Christ had to occur in the time and sequences as they in fact occurred. This was following on from the commencement of John the Baptist’s ministry in the fifteenth year of Tiberius, which appears to be from October 27 CE. The year commences from the civil calendar in the month of October in the East (see commentary in the paper Timing of the Crucifixion and the Resurrection (No. 159)). That is the earliest time that can be placed on the commencement of the ministry of John the Baptist (see the paper Reading the Law with Ezra and Nehemiah (No. 250)). He commenced to baptise in Israel, calling the nation to repentance. By calculations from the Gospels, Christ was baptised sometime from the beginning of October in 27 CE and before February of the year 28 CE, approximately 50 days from the Passover. After the Passover of 28 CE, John shows that Christ and his disciples were baptising away from Jerusalem, and John and his disciples were also baptising at Aenon near Salim (Jn. 3:23). We know that Christ did not commence his ministry until John the Baptist had been imprisoned (Mat. 4:17). Therefore, Christ commenced his ministry sometime after the Passover of 28 CE at the earliest.
The Synoptic Gospels are not clear on the duration of Christ’s ministry, but John is clearer and mentions three Passovers. For a 31 CE crucifixion, we know that there had to have been four Passovers, over 28, 29, 30 and 31 CE. The mention of the double Sabbath in Luke 6:1 is taken to be another Passover, which appears not to be so (see the paper Timing of the Crucifixion and the Resurrection (No. 159)). According to John, who mentions only three Passovers, the crucifixion would have been in 30 CE given the number of the Passovers and the duration of his ministry. Christ’s ministry could not have commenced earlier than subsequent to the Passover of 28 CE, given the time-frame of John the Baptist’s ministry, and could not have been any earlier than October 27 CE. The significance of the commencement of John the Baptist’s ministry in October of the year 27 CE in the fifteenth year of Tiberius was that it was a Jubilee year, and the blowing of the Jubilee occurred in October of 27 CE. That Jubilee was to sound the redemption of Israel through the Messiah.
Messiah, like the Old Testament example of Josiah’s restoration, commenced to preach for the restoration of Israel subsequent to the blowing of the Jubilee. Josiah’s reformation occurred in the first year – the year of return, after the Jubilee.
The assumption that Christ was baptised about February rests on a reconstruction of about 50-odd days from the Passover, based on the texts. Christ was probably baptised a little earlier nearer or before Atonement, and it may be that if the reckoning is according to the Mishnah (i.e. through early Jewish reckoning prior to the Mishnah at the time of Christ), the year of Kings would have been reckoned from 1 Nisan. So, according to the Jews, the fifteenth year of Tiberius would have commenced from 1 Nisan. That allows John the Baptist to have commenced his ministry from a little earlier than that; and perhaps for Christ to have declared the Jubilee in October at the blowing of Atonement.
The same sequence occurs with Christ, and subsequently in the second Jubilee of the final series. Christ’s ministry was less than three years, culminating in the Passover of 30 CE (31 CE according to some erroneous calculations). The biblical Passover of 14 Nisan fell on a Wednesday in 30 CE, so that the three days and three nights could be fully kept, and Christ would be three days and three nights in the belly of the tomb. He rose from the tomb on Saturday evening at sunset, and he spent all night in or near the tomb waiting for this next most significant event.
The Wave-Sheaf Offering seems to have been waved at 9 a.m. on the Sunday morning within the Feast of the Passover. The general wave offering was brought by the worshipper and made in conjunction with the priest (Ex. 29:24-25). We know that the Samaritans and the Sadducees kept a Sunday Wave Sheaf and a Sunday Pentecost. That is an important factor in history. The Jews do not keep the Wave Sheaf because they keep a Sivan 6 Pentecost, which came from the traditions of the Pharisees in rabbinical Judaism after the Temple was destroyed. We know that the Samaritans keep the 14th and 15th and the concept of the Wave Sheaf, and count the Omer from Sunday within the Feast. So the Temple period structure and right throughout, including the Samaritans, always kept Pentecost on a Sunday. The early Church kept Pentecost on a Sunday. Only the Jews kept a Sivan 6, and only after the Temple was destroyed.
Modern Judaism does not do this now. Pentecost was then counted from this day. This (the Sadduccean) position was held up until the destruction of the Temple in 70 CE (see F. F. Bruce, art. ‘Calendar’, The Illustrated Bible Dictionary, ed. by J. D. Douglas and N. Hillyer, IVP, 1980, Vol. 1, p. 225). After the dispersion, the Pharisaic position became the accepted practice, and the conflict is noted in the Mishnah (Hag. 2:4). After the dispersion, the Wave Sheaf was understood to be waved on the first Holy Day of Unleavened Bread, and Pentecost was then determined to fall on a fixed date, namely, Sivan 6. This practice was not followed during the days of the Temple priesthood and up until 70 CE and, hence, at the time of Christ.
It is perhaps important that we note that the word Shibboleth in Hebrew meant both flowing stream (cf. Isa. 27:12; Ps. 69:2,15) and also ear of grain (Gen. 41:5-7,22-24,26f.; Ruth 2:2; Job 24:24; Isa. 17:5) or bunch of twigs (Zech. 4:12). The Gileadites probably pronounced it Thibboleth (or perhaps with a guttural sh sound) (see ISBE, art. ‘Shibboleth’, Vol. 4, p. 478). Christ was both the flowing stream and the first of the grain harvest. However, the word in Leviticus 23 is based on omer, which means a small heap (of cut grain).
We will get the timing of the Wave-Sheaf Offering from Leviticus 23.
Leviticus 23:9-14 And the LORD said to Moses, 10 "Say to the people of Israel, When you come into the land which I give you and reap its harvest, you shall bring the sheaf of the first fruits of your harvest to the priest; 11 and he shall wave the sheaf before the LORD, that you may find acceptance; on the morrow after the sabbath the priest shall wave it. 12 And on the day when you wave the sheaf, you shall offer a male lamb a year old without blemish as a burnt offering to the LORD. 13 And the cereal offering with it shall be two tenths of an ephah of fine flour mixed with oil, to be offered by fire to the LORD, a pleasing odor; and the drink offering with it shall be of wine, a fourth of a hin. 14 And you shall eat neither bread nor grain parched or fresh until this same day, until you have brought the offering of your God: it is a statute for ever throughout your generations in all your dwellings. (RSV)
That is a significant point. It is from this offering forward that the new harvest is eaten in bread and as grain in the Feast of Unleavened Bread. From the offering on the morning (thought to have been 9 a.m.) on the Sunday of the Wave-Sheaf Offering, bread may be eaten, or parched (i.e. roasted) corn or green ears of corn made from the new harvest. In other words, from the Passover the unleavened bread is eaten with the Passover. It might be assumed there is no bread – even unleavened bread – eaten at all from 15 Nisan through, according to this text. The rabbinical understanding is that it was bread from the new crop (Abraham ibn Ezra, Soncino). This explanation is satisfactory in that the manna ceased after the Passover in Canaan when the produce of the new land was eaten (Josh. 5:12).
It is clear that it is the old corn that was eaten “on the morrow after the Passover” in the new land of Canaan (Josh. 5:11). Thus the distinction of the new and the old corn made by Ibn Ezra is the correct one. The new corn and produce cannot be eaten until after the Wave-Sheaf Offering is made following the Sabbath. The Wave-Sheaf Offering is made after the weekly Sabbath (or Shabbat) and not the Shabbatown of the Holy Day. The method of counting weeks for seven clear weekly Sabbaths makes it impossible for the offering, and thence the Feast of Pentecost, to be on any day other than the first day of the week, or Sunday, both in Passover and at Pentecost.
This Wave-Sheaf Offering is the first of the first-fruits, accompanied by offerings – literally a meal offering – of bread and wine. The he-lamb, of course, was Christ.
The offering of the he-lamb and the waving of the first-fruits symbolised Christ as a first-fruit ascending into Heaven to his Father. Compare the passage concerning Mary Magdalene. In John 20:1,14-18, we find that Christ had waited that night. He was resurrected and he was waiting to ascend to the Father, and that ascension took place on the Sunday morning. The resurrection did not take place on Sunday morning at all; it took place on the Saturday night, and Christ waited until Sunday morning in readiness to ascend into Heaven.
John 20:1 Now on the first day of the week Mary Mag'dalene came to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. (RSV)
So, in the early hours of the morning, while it was dark – before first-light on Sunday morning – Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and found Christ already resurrected. The same concept is found in Luke.
Luke 24:1 Now upon the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they came unto the sepulchre, bringing the spices which they had prepared, and certain others with them. (KJV)
The term here is the deepest dawn (orthros bathus). The term for first day is the one of the week, which is from Saturday sunset to Sunday sunset. Mark 16:2 shows it was just on sunrise. Jesus had already risen. Therefore, his resurrection took place on the Saturday evening, given the time-frame and restrictions around the dates of the Passover in 30 CE.
John 20:15-17 Jesus said to her, "Woman, why are you weeping? Whom do you seek?" Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, "Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away." 16 Jesus said to her, "Mary." She turned and said to him in Hebrew, "Rab-bo'ni!" (which means Teacher). 17 Jesus said to her, "Do not hold me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brethren and say to them, I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God." (RSV)
The concept here is that Christ was waiting to ascend. He could not be polluted by anyone of flesh touching him. While he was dead in the tomb he was unclean for 3 days and 3 nights. Christ had to be resurrected and come out of the tomb when it was dark as a person who has been in contact with a dead being or in such a circumstance is ritually unclean until dark. He could not let Mary touch him as he would become ritually unclean again and unable to ascend into before the throne of God.
He was waiting in order to fulfil this sacrifice. He was going to be waved as the first of the first-fruits, so that he could then take his place in Heaven as our High Priest. We know from Hebrews, that in order to do this he had to take a blood sacrifice to enter the Holy of Holies. That blood sacrifice was himself, and he was sent to earth for that purpose.
The symbolism was simply that God wanted a leader of His people who was willing to sacrifice himself for the benefit of his own people. Satan was not willing to do that. Satan had a different approach and a different mentality, which was not the way of God. Satan’s approach, quite simply, was one of me first; everyone else second. God wanted to show us by example that self-sacrifice – laying down ourselves for the life of our brother – was the example to us all. The first of us, the leader of us, had to show us what was required. It is no accident that most of the disciples died by martyrdom except John and a couple of others. In the same way as their Master, they demonstrated their love for all of the brethren in trying to overcome the Adversary and the forces of this world, and showing all of us what an example we should be to the world. That was a powerful example.
The real power of it is knowing that God has a Plan which incorporates all of the physical creation. It is not just the spiritual world that is being dealt with. It is the physical world as well as the spiritual world that rebelled over the plan of the creation and made a number of errors and a number of problems within the creation that required the sacrifice of Christ and a war. The whole concept of Wave Offerings is tied up in the sacrifices. Christ fulfilled in this sacrifice a number of other sacrifices also, all of which are tied up with Wave Offerings (see the paper I Thirst (No. 102)).
We will look at some of the sacrifices and the symbolisms. It is too detailed to deal with the whole concept of the sacrifice offerings in this paper. The Reading of the Law series shows the explanation of the sacrifices and how they were replaced. Only a short explanation of some of the sacrifices will be looked at here.
As we have seen, Christ had to be resurrected before the morning of the first day of the week following the weekly Sabbath because he was the Wave or Sheaf Offering, which was the first-fruits of all the harvests, from Exodus 29:24-27.
Exodus 29:24-27 ... and you shall put all these in the hands of Aaron and in the hands of his sons, and wave them for a wave offering before the Lord. 25 Then you shall take them from their hands, and burn them on the altar in addition to the burnt offering, as a pleasing odour before the Lord; it is an offering by fire to the Lord. 26 And you shall take the breast of the ram of Aaron's ordination and wave it for a wave offering before the Lord; and it shall be your portion. 27 And you shall consecrate the breast of the wave offering, and the thigh of the priests' portion, which is waved, and which is offered from the ram of ordination, since it is for Aaron and for his sons. (RSV)
The offering here is for the consecration of the Aaronic priesthood. Christ was to consecrate a new priesthood: the Order of Melchisedek. Exodus 29:29-30 shows that the first of the heave offerings was to consecrate the priesthood in the Children of Israel from their peace offerings. The consecration was to be of the garments of the priesthood from Exodus 29:29-30, so that they might minister within the Holy Place. Thus Christ sanctified the garments of the elect by the Wave Offering so that they might be consecrated as priests and be clothed to enter the sanctuary. The clothing of the end priesthood and the elect are mentioned in Ezekiel 44:17ff.; Zechariah 3:5; Matthew 22:11-12 and Revelation 3:4,18; 6:11; 7:9,13; 16:15.
Leviticus 7, from verse 1, deals with the sacrifice of the trespass offering, which is an offering for the priesthood.
Leviticus 7:5-7 the priest shall burn them on the altar as an offering by fire to the LORD; it is a guilt offering. 6 Every male among the priests may eat of it; it shall be eaten in a holy place; it is most holy. 7 The guilt offering is like the sin offering, there is one law for them; the priest who makes atonement with it shall have it. (RSV)
This trespass offering was also fulfilled in Christ, so that every male, every one of the priesthood, the entire tribe of Levi, every priest, was to be consecrated to the Lord. Christ consecrated every one of the elect; every person selected and brought into the Faith as a priest. The males of Israel were all consecrated as priests for the Passover sacrifice, which was general. There was only one Passover lamb presented before the High Priest at Jerusalem. The sanctification of the general body of the nation as priests foreshadows the extension of the priesthood to the elect in the Church from the Passover sacrifice and the establishment of the Church at Pentecost, determined from the Wave Sheaf. The sacrifices and offerings are thus typological.
The daily sacrifice was not a sacrifice of the priesthood entirely. The divisions in the priesthood were also divisions in the tribe, so that the nation was divided and sent its representatives to Jerusalem for the sacrifice. While its division was on duty, there were prayers and oblations offered in the divisions and areas, so that the whole of the sacrificial system as a part of Israel was continually responsible and organised for prayer and sacrifice. Every person in Israel was responsible for the operation of the divisions of the priesthood. This mirrors the responsibilities of the tribes, and later the responsibilities of the Churches. So, the priesthood did not operate as a separate entity to the nation. That’s why the Church of God cannot be divorced from the nation.
We were consecrated by Christ’s death as a trespass offering. The concepts also then go down to the peace offerings from verse 11, through the chapter down to verses 20 and 25, through the breast and the heave offerings. Christ also fulfilled these peace offerings so that we would be at peace and he would achieve the prophecies in Isaiah, as a Prince of Peace. He became the Peace Offering. He offered himself for peace and did away with the sacrifice of peace offering. When we say that Christ fulfilled all the sacrifices, he didn’t just fulfil them by his existence. His sacrifice fulfilled an aspect of the sacrifices which was to be reflected in his life.
The sacrifices themselves are an entire subject, which are covered in the Law series (cf. papers The Law of God (L1) and (Nos. 252-263)). In order to show what Christ actually fulfilled by his death, we need to examine each piece of legislation. To understand the sacrifices is to understand what aspect of Christ’s nature fulfilled each of the elements and reconciled us to God. In and by those sacrifices we were reconciled to God.
Leviticus 7:29-31 "Say to the people of Israel, He that offers the sacrifice of his peace offerings to the LORD shall bring his offering to the LORD; from the sacrifice of his peace offerings 30 he shall bring with his own hands the offerings by fire to the LORD; he shall bring the fat with the breast, that the breast may be waved as a wave offering before the LORD. 31 The priest shall burn the fat on the altar, but the breast shall be for Aaron and his sons. (RSV)
The concept of the consecration of the priesthood from the offerings of the Children of Israel, as first noted from Exodus 29, is continued. The consecration and the feeding of the priesthood are developed from the offerings delivered up as peace offerings and, hence, symbolise Messiah.
Leviticus 7:32-34 And the right shoulder shall ye give unto the priest for an heave offering of the sacrifices of your peace offerings. 33 He among the sons of Aaron, that offereth the blood of the peace offerings, and the fat, shall have the right shoulder for his part. 34 For the wave breast and the heave shoulder have I taken of the children of Israel from off the sacrifices of their peace offerings, and have given them unto Aaron the priest and unto his sons by a statute for ever from among the children of Israel. (KJV)
Messiah was understood to have been the Messiah of Aaron when he first came. He was the Priest Messiah. The Dead Sea Scrolls confirm that the view of Messiah was that he was to be of two Advents (see G. Vermes, Dead Sea Scrolls in English, re Damascus Rule VII and the fragment from Cave IV). Messiah reconciled all of these sacrifices and reconciled us as a priesthood. He consecrated us as a priesthood by these offerings. This text confirms that of Exodus 29.
Leviticus 8:27-29 and he put all these in the hands of Aaron and in the hands of his sons, and waved them as a wave offering before the LORD. 28 Then Moses took them from their hands, and burned them on the altar with the burnt offering, as an ordination offering, a pleasing odor, an offering by fire to the LORD. 29 And Moses took the breast, and waved it for a wave offering before the LORD; it was Moses' portion of the ram of ordination, as the LORD commanded Moses. (RSV)
We talk of the sequence of offerings. This is another aspect of the Wave Offering, which consecrates the priesthood and the prophets.
Leviticus 9:21 but the breasts and the right thigh Aaron waved for a wave offering before the LORD; as Moses commanded. (RSV)
This shows the continuation of this concept of reconciliation of the priesthood.
Leviticus 10:14-15 But the breast that is waved and the thigh that is offered you shall eat in any clean place, you and your sons and your daughters with you; for they are given as your due and your sons' due, from the sacrifices of the peace offerings of the people of Israel. 15 The thigh that is offered and the breast that is waved they shall bring with the offerings by fire of the fat, to wave for a wave offering before the LORD, and it shall be yours, and your sons' with you, as a due for ever; as the LORD has commanded." (RSV)
Out of this concept of the Wave Offering, the priesthood was given a due that is a portion in the Wave Offering. That portion now extends into the elect, and it shows a reconciliation of us with Christ as part of the Wave Offering.
Leviticus 14:12-20 And the priest shall take one of the male lambs, and offer it for a guilt offering, along with the log of oil, and wave them for a wave offering before the LORD; 13 and he shall kill the lamb in the place where they kill the sin offering and the burnt offering, in the holy place; for the guilt offering, like the sin offering, belongs to the priest; it is most holy. 14 The priest shall take some of the blood of the guilt offering, and the priest shall put it on the tip of the right ear of him who is to be cleansed, and on the thumb of his right hand, and on the great toe of his right foot. 15 Then the priest shall take some of the log of oil, and pour it into the palm of his own left hand, 16 and dip his right finger in the oil that is in his left hand, and sprinkle some oil with his finger seven times before the LORD. 17 And some of the oil that remains in his hand the priest shall put on the tip of the right ear of him who is to be cleansed, and on the thumb of his right hand, and on the great toe of his right foot, upon the blood of the guilt offering; 18 and the rest of the oil that is in the priest's hand he shall put on the head of him who is to be cleansed. Then the priest shall make atonement for him before the LORD. 19 The priest shall offer the sin offering, to make atonement for him who is to be cleansed from his uncleanness. And afterward he shall kill the burnt offering; 20 and the priest shall offer the burnt offering and the cereal offering on the altar. Thus the priest shall make atonement for him, and he shall be clean. (RSV)
This text says, in a nutshell, what the sacrifice of Jesus Christ was all about. This offering was done in order to cleanse, by blood, the individuals in Israel, and it was the role of the priesthood through the sacrifice to cleanse each individual. Christ fulfilled this sacrifice with his own blood (and the blood is the life of the flesh), and cleansed us once and for all. Christ’s blood was symbolically on his ear from the crown of thorns, and on his thumb and toe from the nails of the stake. From this point the elect were empowered, as priests, to mediate for Israel. When we say that Christ atoned for us, this is the form and the fulfilment of the sacrifice and system in which he atoned.
Leviticus 14:21-24 "But if he is poor and cannot afford so much, then he shall take one male lamb for a guilt offering to be waved, to make atonement for him, and a tenth of an ephah of fine flour mixed with oil for a cereal offering, and a log of oil; 22 also two turtledoves or two young pigeons, such as he can afford; the one shall be a sin offering and the other a burnt offering. 23 And on the eighth day he shall bring them for his cleansing to the priest, to the door of the tent of meeting, before the LORD; 24 and the priest shall take the lamb of the guilt offering, and the log of oil, and the priest shall wave them for a wave offering before the LORD. (RSV)
We were all unable to pay the price. Here there is a provision for the poor who could not afford the sacrifices. None of us could afford the sacrifice, so Christ paid. Christ then placed himself as the sacrifice that was required here in Leviticus 14:21ff. He became the Lamb and cleansed us whether we were rich or poor, because nobody could afford that atoning sacrifice. That is the reason why the atonement collection is not an offering; it is a tax. It is an offence to give an offering on the Day of Atonement. No man can enter the Temple of God or the Tent of the Tabernacle of Meeting, and give more or less than any other man on the Day of Atonement. It is an affront to God, and it is specifically against one law of the Torah. It is forbidden. We personally cannot pay the atonement tax. Christ paid that tax for us and fulfilled that tax in us; and as the Messiah, Christ will reinstitute that system.
Leviticus 23:11-14 and he shall wave the sheaf before the LORD, that you may find acceptance; on the morrow after the sabbath the priest shall wave it. 12 And on the day when you wave the sheaf, you shall offer a male lamb a year old without blemish as a burnt offering to the LORD. 13 And the cereal offering with it shall be two tenths of an ephah of fine flour mixed with oil, to be offered by fire to the LORD, a pleasing odor; and the drink offering with it shall be of wine, a fourth of a hin. 14 And you shall eat neither bread nor grain parched or fresh until this same day, until you have brought the offering of your God: it is a statute for ever throughout your generations in all your dwellings. (RSV)
The Wave Offering
The Wave Sheaf was of the green ears of barley offered for Israel. The month Abib means green ears. It was offered at Jerusalem, but was not gathered strictly from Jerusalem. The barley harvest came in some three weeks earlier in the south on the coastal plain and in the Trans-Jordan plain. The general harvest is also white at the harvest, and is fully ripe. This is distinct from the Wave Sheaf. Moreover, the Wave Sheaf was also presented with the sacrifices elsewhere. The Passover was kept in Egypt during the Temple period at Elephantine, from the early Temple period and right up until its destruction in ca. 410 BCE by Vidaranag, the Egyptian of the fortress at Knub. This Temple continued the sacrifice over the entire period that the Temple at Jerusalem was destroyed and in ruins. The Temple was rebuilt in Egypt by the High Priest, Onias IV, at the invitation of Ptolemy Philometor from about 160 BCE, and continued on until its closure at the order of Vespasian in 71 CE. This Temple was at Leontopolis in the nome of Heliopolis or the City of the Sun, as foretold by God through the prophet Isaiah (Isa. 19:19, see esp. RSV). It was here that the light was in Goshen during the original Exodus and it was to here that Joseph took Messiah as a child so that the prophecies of Isaiah and Hosea could be fulfilled.
The five cities mentioned in Isaiah 19:18 are probably: Leontopolis and Heliopolis (counting them as separate cities), Daphne, Migdol and Memphis (cf. The Companion Bible, n. to v. 18). Isaiah 19:18 says that one of these cities will be called the city of righteousness or ha-zedek, which is transliterated in the Septuagint (LXX). This was because Christ was to go there and from there be called to Israel. So as not to confuse it with Jerusalem, which bore this name also (Isa. 1:26), it was changed to read Cheres, which in Chaldee is the sun, and in Greek is Heliopolis. The KJV renders it City of Destruction, which is incorrect (the City of Destruction of the KJV is rendered City of the Sun in the RSV).
This sacrificial system in Egypt is typological or parabolic. The city was righteous because it would house Messiah. The sacrifice of Messiah was to be extended to the Egyptians and, hence, salvation was to be of the Gentiles. This aspect of the Wave Sheaf is not understood. The Wave Sheaf was the first of the harvest of all Israel even among the Gentiles. Thus, it was not logically confined to Jerusalem. The desire to confine the sacrifice to Jerusalem stems from a perversion of the tithe laws and system found in the late second-Temple period, when they tried to centralise the tithe to Jerusalem.
The aberrant practice was also found in the late twentieth century among the Churches of God in America. There is no biblical basis for the claim (see the paper Tithing (No. 161)).
This Wave Offering commences the countdown to Pentecost.
Leviticus 23:15-17 "And you shall count from the morrow after the sabbath, from the day that you brought the sheaf of the wave offering; seven full weeks shall they be, 16 counting fifty days to the morrow after the seventh sabbath; then you shall present a cereal offering of new grain to the LORD. 17 You shall bring from your dwellings two loaves of bread to be waved, made of two tenths of an ephah; they shall be of fine flour, they shall be baked with leaven, as first fruits to the LORD. (RSV)
These two loaves are leavened. Leaven is often incorrectly seen as sin. These fifty days on this Sunday following the weekly Sabbath, which constitutes the Feast of Pentecost, demonstrate the Jubilee system in man. The fifty days represent the fifty years of the development of the Holy Spirit in man. This offering also shows the descent of the Holy Spirit on the elect. We then received the Holy Spirit as a people in power at the first Pentecost. The leaven was the Holy Spirit. That fulfilled the symbolism of the leavened sacrifices.
Leviticus 23:18 And you shall present with the bread seven lambs a year old without blemish, and one young bull, and two rams; they shall be a burnt offering to the LORD, with their cereal offering and their drink offerings, an offering by fire, a pleasing odor to the LORD. (RSV)
The symbolism of the seven lambs is as the seven Churches of God. The symbolism of the bullock is the bullock that was sacrificed as the central leader of our people, and the two rams symbolise the Two Witnesses. This is also symbolised by the lampstands in the Temple, which build up to the return of the Messiah. There are ten in the sequence.
Leviticus 23:19-20 And you shall offer one male goat for a sin offering, and two male lambs a year old as a sacrifice of peace offerings. 20 And the priest shall wave them with the bread of the first fruits as a wave offering before the LORD, with the two lambs; they shall be holy to the LORD for the priest. (RSV)
This Wave Offering sequence, going on into Pentecost, then has a continuing concept. This offering sequence was set up to symbolise what would happen to us. None of the numbers of the sacrifices is without significance. Everything in the sacrifices reflects what God was going to do with us. That is why there were seven lambs, symbolising the seven Churches that would follow the bullock and be in addition to the two rams. All of these symbolise the activities from Pentecost until the return of the Messiah, and the job that we have to do in reconciling the planet to God. We have a job to do to bring in the Gentiles to their full number and to teach the meaning of the oracles of God – the Mysteries of God. We are the stewards of the Mysteries of God, and whatever any two of us together do and bind is bound in Heaven.
Matthew 18:18-20 Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. 19 Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. 20 For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst of them." (RSV)
It is not simply a function of the Elders of the Church. People can study that in their own right. Authority is delegated and the delegation occurs twice. It is not just when Christ said to Peter and the disciples: “I will give to you the keys to heaven and whatever you bind on earth is bound in heaven”, etc. It also occurs elsewhere as we see, and whatever two of us bind is bound in Heaven. Thus two can constitute a Church, and so we should not forsake the gathering together of each other. The structure allows us to continue on through these sacrifices – these symbolic stages – until the return of the Messiah and the end of the age. Because of the problems and the persecutions we face, we must be able to reorganise on a continuing basis. That facility was given to us so that we might fulfil the prophecies of these sacrifices. These sacrifices themselves are prophecies.
Numbers 5:25 is another concept of a Wave Offering which deals with a jealousy offering.
Numbers 5:25 Then the priest shall take the jealousy offering out of the woman's hand, and shall wave the offering before the LORD, and offer it upon the altar: (KJV)
The jealousy offering was a Wave Offering to reconcile the woman to her husband (Num. 5:12-31). The Wave Offering of reconciliation of the jealousy offering was to reconcile the elect of the nations to their husband. The woman is cursed for adultery (Num. 5:21). So too is Israel cursed for idolatry. Messiah reconciled Israel and the Host to God through his Wave Offering. The symbolism is the reconciliation of an adulterous people to a jealous God.
Numbers 6:13-27 "And this is the law for the Nazirite, when the time of his separation has been completed: he shall be brought to the door of the tent of meeting, 14 and he shall offer his gift to the LORD, one male lamb a year old without blemish for a burnt offering, and one ewe lamb a year old without blemish as a sin offering, and one ram without blemish as a peace offering, 15 and a basket of unleavened bread, cakes of fine flour mixed with oil, and unleavened wafers spread with oil, and their cereal offering and their drink offerings. 16 And the priest shall present them before the LORD and offer his sin offering and his burnt offering, 17 and he shall offer the ram as a sacrifice of peace offering to the LORD, with the basket of unleavened bread; the priest shall offer also its cereal offering and its drink offering. 18 And the Nazirite shall shave his consecrated head at the door of the tent of meeting, and shall take the hair from his consecrated head and put it on the fire which is under the sacrifice of the peace offering. 19 And the priest shall take the shoulder of the ram, when it is boiled, and one unleavened cake out of the basket, and one unleavened wafer, and shall put them upon the hands of the Nazirite, after he has shaven the hair of his consecration, 20 and the priest shall wave them for a wave offering before the LORD; they are a holy portion for the priest, together with the breast that is waved and the thigh that is offered; and after that the Nazirite may drink wine. 21 "This is the law for the Nazirite who takes a vow. His offering to the LORD shall be according to his vow as a Nazirite, apart from what else he can afford; in accordance with the vow which he takes, so shall he do according to the law for his separation as a Nazirite." 22 The LORD said to Moses, 23 "Say to Aaron and his sons, Thus you shall bless the people of Israel: you shall say to them, 24 The LORD bless you and keep you: 25 The LORD make his face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you: 26 The LORD lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace. 27 "So shall they put my name upon the people of Israel, and I will bless them." (RSV)
It is no accident that the shining of the countenance of the Lord upon the people should take place here following the vows of the Nazarite and the Wave Offering for the reconciliation of the Nazarite. The purpose of the vows of the Nazarite was to reconcile and become closer to God spiritually, because the Law by itself could not reconcile us to God. The closest one could get to God under the Old Testament was in the vows of the Nazarite. The attempt was then made to get as close as one could within a physical Law by shaving the head, taking no wine, and by making oneself ritually pure. John was a Nazarite to demonstrate the transition of this process into the Messianic. Christ was not a Nazarite. He polled his hair as required by Law, and he drank fermented wine (see the paper Wine in the Bible (No. 188)). He was set apart by the Holy Spirit.
One had to set oneself apart and the process and the purpose was to set self apart to become close to God. Samson was set apart as a Nazarite from his birth in order that the Holy Spirit, in its sequences, could be demonstrated in Samson in his lifetime (see the paper Samson and the Judges (No. 73)). That will demonstrate the power and the sequence of operation of the Holy Spirit. What he did as a Nazarite is what we accomplish without going through the vows of a Nazarite. We do not need to be a Nazarite because, in the Wave Offering, Christ reconciled us as Nazarites to the point where we can eat and drink of the bread and wine of Jesus Christ. The reason the Nazarite literally abstained from wine was because he did not have the Holy Spirit, and he was reconciled as a primary stage to show us that they could not reconcile without Christ, and that the Holy Spirit was not present in the Nazarite per se. The closest they could get was this ritual purification. Yet they still could not take of the Holy Spirit, even through the vows of the Nazarite unless God granted that privilege to some individuals, such as Samson. Christ reconciled us so that we could take of the Holy Spirit symbolised by the wine, and we could become part of the Body of Christ symbolised by the bread, without going through the shaving of heads, of putting aside and of taking the ritual Wave Offerings. By Christ’s sacrifice, he reconciled us as Nazarites to God. The vow of a Nazarite is no longer applicable to us. It is meaningless for us because it actually reduces our status, not increases it. We are Nazarites once and for all to God. All of that was done in Christ.
Therefore, the light of the countenance of God shines upon us, and the name of God is placed upon us as part of the Children of Israel. That is the meaning of the text in Numbers 6:27. The name of our God is placed upon us – upon our foreheads and our right hands.
Numbers 18:8-10 Then the LORD said to Aaron, "And behold, I have given you whatever is kept of the offerings made to me, all the consecrated things of the people of Israel; I have given them to you as a portion, and to your sons as a perpetual due. 9 This shall be yours of the most holy things, reserved from the fire; every offering of theirs, every cereal offering of theirs and every sin offering of theirs and every guilt offering of theirs, which they render to me, shall be most holy to you and to your sons. 10 In a most holy place shall you eat of it; every male may eat of it; it is holy to you. (RSV)
The heave offerings and all the hallowed things of the Children of Israel were placed within the priesthood. That was transferred when the Most Holy Place was instituted as the living stones of the elect. When the Temple was removed the authority of the priesthood was removed, and the Order of Melchisedek replaced the Order of Aaron. All of those things were then transferred to us. We became the priests of God through Jesus Christ. We are the Temple of God, as living stones.
Numbers 18:11-18 This also is yours, the offering of their gift, all the wave offerings of the people of Israel; I have given them to you, and to your sons and daughters with you, as a perpetual due; every one who is clean in your house may eat of it. 12 All the best of the oil, and all the best of the wine and of the grain, the first fruits of what they give to the LORD, I give to you. 13 The first ripe fruits of all that is in their land, which they bring to the LORD, shall be yours; every one who is clean in your house may eat of it. 14 Every devoted thing in Israel shall be yours. 15 Everything that opens the womb of all flesh, whether man or beast, which they offer to the LORD, shall be yours; nevertheless the first-born of man you shall redeem, and the firstling of unclean beasts you shall redeem. 16 And their redemption price (at a month old you shall redeem them) you shall fix at five shekels in silver, according to the shekel of the sanctuary, which is twenty gerahs. 17 But the firstling of a cow, or the firstling of a sheep, or the firstling of a goat, you shall not redeem; they are holy. You shall sprinkle their blood upon the altar, and shall burn their fat as an offering by fire, a pleasing odor to the LORD; 18 but their flesh shall be yours, as the breast that is waved and as the right thigh are yours. (RSV)
This sequence talks about everything that is clean in Israel, and the first-born are clean. These offerings and these sacrifices are symbolic. The wine and the drink offerings are the elect. It is only those that are baptised into the Body of Jesus Christ who are clean in terms of the sacrifices and the offerings. What this was pre-figuring was the concept of being clean in Israel, being acceptable to God. All of these offerings take the concept of being waved before the Lord so that they come before the Face of God and are taken into the system. Christ commenced this wave sequence, this first-fruits on this Sunday, a sequence of offerings, one after the other, all the way through until the Time of the Gentiles have been completed, and all of the 144,000 in Israel have been numbered, and all of the number of the elect has been taken out of the nations. The Earth cannot be harmed until the last one of us is numbered, baptised, redeemed and waved before the Lord. When the last one of us is taken out of the nations, then the end will come.
In Revelation, the angel says: “Harm not the earth until the number of our brethren are sealed” (Rev. 7:3). Christ was the first-fruits of the barley harvest, symbolised by this service and the Wave Offering on the Sunday. By that action, he set in motion a chain of events that would bring an army of priests out. It would separate them and consecrate them to God. It would prepare us for the Millennium. That is the significance of this service, and it is no accident that the Wave Offering commences the countdown to Pentecost, and Pentecost is a symbolism of the redemption of the elect of the First Resurrection.