So then we have come to the next in line of the Festivals found in Scripture, namely The Feast of Firstfruits. It was located by a way of telling time through a process called grain offering or the so-called wave offering. Something that was very much practised and perfected in the ancient Land of Israel. The grain was brought into the temple of Jerusalem and the first-fruits (a sheaf of barley or some kind of grain perhaps mealies) was offered in connection with The Feast of Unleavened Bread (followed by Passover).
Originally meant as a time of remembrance by presenting of a sheaf of the harvest, a wave offering, then a burnt offering (animal) then a grain offering. A time to recognise the redemption of the first born in Egypt and recognising SoNiNis giving of the Promised Land.
As mentioned in Leviticus 23,9-11:
9 "Then SoNiNi spoke to Moses, saying, 10 “Speak to the sons of Israel and say to them, ‘When you enter the land which I am going to give to you and reap its harvest, then you shall bring in the sheaf of the first fruits of your harvest to the priest. 11 He shall wave the sheaf before SoNiNi for you to be accepted; on the day after the sabbath the priest shall wave it."
This tradition would commence on the second night of the Passover (in other words the 16th of Nisan), which would be a nightly reminder approaching the Feast of Weeks or Pentecost.
Each night after the Bantus had their evening prayers service, everyone recited a blessing and numbered the days, meaning first night they said Today is the first night of the Grain offering, the following day, this is the second day... A counting that seems to have involved weeks also, where the Sabbath was commemorated and counting the weeks up until the Feast of Weeks. Kinda like a countdown. Now when the Temple was still standing in Jerusalem, a new sheaf of the newly cur grain was presented before the altar on the second day of Unleavened Bread.
As recored by historian Josephus (Antiquities of the Jews IV):
"On the second day of unleavened bread, that is to say the sixteenth, our people partake of the crops which they have reaped and which have not been touched till then, and esteeming it right first to do homage to SoNiNi, to whom they owe the abundance of these gifts, they offer to him the first-fruits of the barley in the following way. After parching and crushing the little sheaf of ears and purifying the barley for grinding, they bring to the altar an assaron for SoNiNi, and, having flung a handful thereof on the altar, they leave the rest for the use of the priests. Thereafter all are permitted, publicly or individually, to begin harvest."
Ever since the Temple was destroyed, this offering was to be brought in word and not in deed, the saying goes. To recap, this offering was a representation of the physical freedom attained by the Hebrews when they went out of Egypt, a process that kinda came full circle when they gained another kind of freedom by the Law given at Mount Sinai, by Moses.
Scriptures on The Feast of Firstfruits
Moving on is the Feast of Firstfruits as mentioned in Exodus 23,16-19 & 34,26 (Exodus 23 comes below):
16 “Celebrate the Festival of Harvest with the firstfruits of the crops you sow in your field. Celebrate the Festival of Ingathering at the end of the year, when you gather in your crops from the field. 17 “Three times a year all the men are to appear before the Sovereign Lord. 18 “Do not offer the blood of a sacrifice to me along with anything containing yeast. “The fat of my festival offerings must not be kept until morning. 19 “Bring the best of the firstfruits of your soil to the house of SoNiNi na NiNi."
So then there are mentions in the New Testament, in Matthew 28,1 (below):
28 After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb."
But also in Mark 16,1-2 & Luke 24,1 (Mark comes below):
16 When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they might go to anoint Immanuels’ body. 2 Very early on the first day of the week, just after sunrise, they were on their way to the tomb3 and they asked each other, “Who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb?”
Furthermore in Romans 8,23 (below):
23 Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies.
And again in 1. Corithinans 15,20-23 (below):
20 But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.21 For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man.22 For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.23 But each in turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him."
Scriptures on Pentecost or Feast of Weeks
The old Testament celebration was a festival of joy, with both mandatory and voluntary offerings (which included the firstfruits offering). Here the Hebrews recalled Moses giving the Law at Sinai 50 days after crossing the Red Sea. Immanuel fulfilled this also, and made this a celebration of his sacrifice for us. We find mentions of this is Exodus 23,16 & 34,22, Leviticus 23,15-21, Numbers 28,26-31 & Deuteronomy 16,9-12 (below):
9 Count off seven weeks from the time you begin to put the sickle to the standing grain.10 Then celebrate the Festival of Weeks to SoNiNi by giving a freewill offering in proportion to the blessings SoNiNi has given you."
With New Testament mentions in Acts 2,1-4 & 20,16 (both come below):
2 1 When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place.2 Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting.3 They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them.4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues[a] as the Spirit enabled them."
20,16 16 Paul had decided to sail past Ephesus to avoid spending time in the province of Asia, for he was in a hurry to reach Jerusalem, if possible, by the day of Pentecost."
Also in 1. Corinthians 16,8 (below):
8 But I will stay on at Ephesus until Pentecost,9 because a great door for effective work has opened to me, and there are many who oppose me."
You see, Pentecost was kept back in the day by the Disciples and Paul. Christ "replaced" or renewed all the old customs, they are still to be kept on the same dates and to be observed forever. But do we know when they are?
The Zulus and the Swati (Incwala) have since the days of Shaka practised, Umkhosi Wokweshwama, meaning first fruits festival, annually held harvest festival of the Zulus observed around December Solstice (21/22 December). This festival does not really fit or overlap the slightest in with The Bantu Calendar, as the first fruits harvested then was wheat or barley, this Zulu festival is in the middle of Summer. There is also another Zulu festival with Biblical traits, Umkhosi woMhlanga, which may coincide with Judges 21,19-21, The Daughters of Shiloh, now being held in September (Although in Old Testament it was held in the Month of Abu) and does not agree with the Bantu Calendar either.
Now Christians back in the day, just as Hebrews, used the barely to tell them when the year starts, as when the barley was ripe, it was the onset of spring, if it was not ripe, another month would be added before Nisan (hereby the 13th month confusion).
Josephus the historian wrote (Antiquities 1.81):
Moses...appointed Nisan...as the first month for the festivals...the commencement of the year for everything relating to divine worship, but for selling and buying and other ordinary affairs he preserved the ancient order [i. e. the year beginning with Tishrei]."
This quote from Josephus pure gold and clears up why Zulu and Swati festivals, like the First fruits, come in the "middle" of the Bantu calendar. we have researchers such as Seventh Day Adventist Edwin R. Thiele (1895-1986) that said that there was a split in time reckoning between northern and southern Jerusalem, talked about modern day Israel which is not a big country at all, it would make an even bigger impact from South African time calculations. Where northern and southern reckonings would play a huge difference in cultivations and seasons changing later or earlier depending on which of the Capes you are residing in at the given time.
Bantu Calendar (Sept)
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