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Rev. Ronald C. Purkey, an ordained Baptist minister, claims no originality for this Bible study outline.

However, every Bible study posted on this website has been taught by Rev. Purkey.

To see more Bible study outlines go to “The Archives Page”: More Bible Study Outlines.



May 13, 2018


SCRIPTURE: Leviticus 23:9-14, 22


KEY VERSE: Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye be come into the land which I give unto you, and shall reap the harvest thereof, then ye shall bring a sheaf of the firstfruits of your harvest unto the priest: (Leviticus 23:10)


INTRODUCTION: God's primary focus is the salvation of people and their worship of Him. The Bible tells us that God created man to live with Him, and that God's desire is to reveal the riches of His grace to man throughout all eternity.


(Ephesians 2:7) That in the ages to come he might show the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.


To get this point across to the people of Israel, God set aside several religious holidays. Note some important points about the annual feasts or festivals:





I. GIVE GOD OUR FIRSTS. (Leviticus 23:9-11)


(Leviticus 23:9-11) And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, 10 Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye be come into the land which I give unto you, and shall reap the harvest thereof, then ye shall bring a sheaf of the firstfruits of your harvest unto the priest: 11 And he shall wave the sheaf before the Lord, to be accepted for you: on the morrow after the sabbath the priest shall wave it.


A. This festival was to thank God for the crops, for the harvest of food that gave people life.


B. This was a symbol of Christ's resurrection: He is the first of the harvest, the first to arise from the dead.


C. Note some specifics concerning this feast.


1. This festival could not begin until the people had entered the Promised Land (see Leviticus 23:10).


2. They, of course, could not plant crops out in the desert while they were marching to the Promised Land.


3. Once they arrived and began planting crops, they were to give the first of their harvest to the LORD during this festival.


4. They were to take a sheaf, that is, a stalk, here and there, bundle it together, and bring it to the priest.


5. He was then to take the sheaf and wave it as an offering before the LORD.


6. This was to be done on the day after the Sabbath, which would be Sunday.


7. After giving the wave offering to the LORD, the priest was to approach God for atonement through a special Burnt Offering.


8. Note also that a special Grain Offering was to be offered to the LORD, a Grain Offering two times larger than usual.


D. The result:


1. The aroma of the burning sacrifice and Grain Offering ascended up, symbolizing God's acceptance.


2. He was pleased with the aroma of the sacrifice, the obedience of the people.


3. But, there was one clear prohibition: the people had to put God first.


4. They were not to eat any of the harvest until the Firstfruit Offering was given to God.


5. This was to be a permanent law for all the generations to come, no matter where the Israelites lived.


II. GIVE GOD OUR BEST. (Leviticus 23:12-14)


(Leviticus 23:12-14) 12 And ye shall offer that day when ye wave the sheaf an he lamb without blemish of the first year for a burnt offering unto the Lord. 13 And the meat offering thereof shall be two tenth deals of fine flour mingled with oil, an offering made by fire unto the Lord for a sweet savour: and the drink offering thereof shall be of wine, the fourth part of an hin. 14 And ye shall eat neither bread, nor parched corn, nor green ears, until the selfsame day that ye have brought an offering unto your God: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations in all your dwellings.


A. The application for Christians today.


1. The believer is to give God the first of his harvest, the first of his income.


2. He is to tithe, for the tithe belongs to the LORD.


3. The tithe should be an expression of appreciation and thanksgiving to God, for God is the One who has given us all that we have.


4. Our crops and jobs are due to Him; so is our health that enables us to work and earn a living.


5. We are to honor God by giving Him the firstfruits to support the local church and the work of God around the world.


(1 Corinthians16:2) Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come.


(2 Corinthians 9:6-7) But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.


(Leviticus 27:30) And all the tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land, or of the fruit of the tree, is the LORD's: it is holy unto the LORD.


(Deuteronomy 16:17) Every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessing of the LORD thy God which he hath given thee.


(Malachi 3:10) Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.


B. The Festival of Firstfruits is also a symbol of the LORD's resurrection.


1. Christ is the first of the harvest, the first to arise from the dead.


2. It is Jesus Christ and His resurrection that give the believer hope of arising from the dead to live eternally with God.


3. The prophetic picture of salvation is this:


a. The Passover symbolized the believer's deliverance or redemption from the world.


b. The Festival of Unleavened Bread symbolized the urgency of the believer to leave the world to begin his march to the promised land.


c. The Festival of Firstfruits symbolizes the glorious hope the believer has as he marches toward the promise land, the hope of being raised from the dead to live eternally with God all because of the resurrection of Christ.


(Acts 26:23) That Christ should suffer, and that he should be the first that should rise from the dead, and should show light unto the people, and to the Gentiles.


(1 Corinthians15:20-23) But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming.


(2 Corinthians 4:14) Knowing that he which raised up the Lord Jesus shall raise up us also by Jesus, and shall present us with you.


(1 Peter 1:3-4) Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you.




(Leviticus 23:22) And when ye reap the harvest of your land, thou shalt not make clean riddance of the corners of thy field when thou reapest, neither shalt thou gather any gleaning of thy harvest: thou shalt leave them unto the poor, and to the stranger: I am the Lord your God.


INSIGHT: This concerns the Feast of Harvest (also called the Feast of Pentecost) (Leviticus 23:15-22).






A. The historic observation.


1. The people were to give a wave offering of Firstfruits to the LORD, using two fresh loaves of bread (see Leviticus 23:17).


2. In this particular offering, leavened bread (bread with yeast; a symbol of corruption or sin) had to be brought (see Leviticus 2: 11; 7:13).


3. The people were to approach God for atonement, seeking God's reconciliation and acceptance through the Burnt Offering (see Leviticus 23:18).


a. Note that they were to sacrifice seven male lambs, one young bull and two rams -- all with no defect.


b. Remember that the number seven symbolizes completion, fulfillment, and perfection.


c. This was a symbol of Christ, His perfect and sinless sacrifice.


4. The people had to approach God through the sacrifice of the Sin Offering and another sacrifice for the Fellowship and Peace Offering (see Leviticus 23:19).


5. The people were to have the priest take the animal sacrifices and wave them before the LORD as a wave offering, together with the bread of the Firstfruits.


6. Note that these were holy offerings belonging to the priest (see Leviticus 23:20).


7. The people were to declare a sacred assembly on that day: they were to take a day of rest and gather together for worship (see Leviticus 23:21).


8. The people were to make this a permanent, lasting law for all generations (Leviticus 23:21).


9. The people were to help and to protect the poor.


INSIGHT: How did they help and protect the poor? When they reaped the harvest, they were to leave enough for the poor to enter the fields to gather food for survival (see Leviticus 23:22).


B. The prophetic application.


1. Remember, the Festival of Firstfruits symbolized the resurrection of Christ; now the Festival of Harvest symbolizes the events of the day of Pentecost. (see Acts 2)


2. These two festivals were celebrated fifty days apart. (see Leviticus 23:16)


3. In God's sovereignty, centuries before Christ ever came, God appointed these festivals to paint the prophetic picture of salvation for men and women.


4. What strong evidence for the sovereignty and the truthfulness of Holy Scripture!


5. The Festival of Harvest or Pentecost symbolized the great harvest of souls, of people giving their lives to God on the great Day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit was to come upon men.


INSIGHT: In looking at the prophetic picture of salvation, this is what we have seen thus far:


·        The Passover symbolized God's salvation, the deliverance and redemption from the world by God.


·        The Festival of Unleavened Bread symbolized the need and urgency of the believer to be freed from the world, freed from the enslavement of sin and death.


·        The Festival of Firstfruits symbolized the great hope for the believer as he marched toward the Promised Land, the great hope of being raised from the dead by the power of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.


As the believer marches to the Promised Land, he is to be filled with God's Holy Spirit and bear strong testimony, seeking a great harvest of souls.


A Worthy Offering
By Joe Stowell


If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him. – Genesis 4:7


·        I was delighted when a mutual friend gave my neighbor a Bible.


But my neighbor told me she stopped reading it because she couldn’t understand why God would be so unfair as to reject Cain’s offering. “After all,” she said, “as a farmer, he simply brought to God what he had. Did God expect him to buy a different kind of sacrifice?” Sadly, she had missed the point.


·        It wasn’t that God didn’t like vegetables.


Rather, He knew that Cain’s offering was masking an unrighteous attitude. Cain wasn’t fully committed to God, as expressed by the fact that he wasn’t living according to God’s ways.


·        It’s easy to worship God on the outside while stubbornly keeping territory from Him on the inside.


Jude writes about outwardly religious people who use religious activities to cover the reality of their sinful lives: “Woe to them! For they have gone in the way of Cain” (Jude 11). We can faithfully serve God, sing His praises, and give sacrificially to His work. But God doesn’t want any of that without our hearts.


·        Does the Lord take priority over our plans and dreams?


Is He worth more than the sin that tempts us? When we express to Him that He is more worthy than anything or anyone else in our lives, it’s an offering He won’t refuse.


Lord, may our worship and our praise,
From hearts surrendered to Your ways,
Be worthy offerings of love
For all Your blessings from above.
-- Sper


 -- Adapted from Joe Stowell, Our Daily Bread, May 20, 2010


CONCLUSION: What have we learned from our Bible study today?


·        We learned that Christians are to show appreciation to the LORD for all the amazing things He has done for us.


(1) We are to give the LORD our first fruits from the harvest that God has provided us.


(2) We are to give to the LORD first, and we are to give the LORD our best.


(3) We are to give to OTHERS; we are to give to the poor and those in need.


·        We learned that all good things come from God the Father; He supplies all our needs, and He gives us the increase -- the LORD should be on the top of any giving list that we have.


THOUGHT TO REMEMBER: “God won’t refuse a heart that is surrendered to Him.”


* * *


REFERENCES: References used in these Bible studies are the King James Bible (KJV), The Moody Bible Commentary, Dr. J. Vernon McGee © Thru the Bible Radio Network ( www.ttb.org ), the Scofield Study Bible, the Believer’s Bible Commentary, Dr. Charles J. Woodbridge Bible Outlines, Dr. Lee Roberson’s Sermons, Dr. Charles Stanley: ( http://www.intouch.org/ ), Don Robinson’s Bible Outlines, Women’s Study Bible, The Bible Reader’s Companion Ed. 3, The Nelson Study Bible: New King James Version, KJV Bible Commentary, Wiersbe’s Expository Outlines of the New Testament ed. 4, Dr. David Jeremiah: ( http://www.davidjeremiah.org/site/ ), Dr. Cliff Robinson’s Bible Outlines, Wiersbe’s Expository Outlines of the Old Testament, Dr. Alan Carr’s The Sermon Notebook ( www.sermonnotebook.org ), With the Word Bible Commentary, Wiersbe’s “Be” Series: Old & New Testaments, RBC Ministries ( http://rbc.org/ ), selected illustrations, and other references.



E-mail: Ronald Purkey


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