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Deuteronomy 26:1-11 - Congratulations on your first fruits

Updated: Jan 15, 2022

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[1] When you have come into the land that Yahweh eloheka is giving you as an inheritance to possess, and you possess it, and settle in it, [2] you shall take some of the first of all the fruit of the ground, which you harvest from the land that Yahweh eloheka is giving you, and you shall put it in a basket and go to the place that Yahweh eloheka will choose as a dwelling for his name. [3] You shall go to the priest who is in office at that time, and say to him, "Today I declare to Yahweh eloheka that I have come into the land that Yahweh swore to our ancestors to give us." [4] When the priest takes the basket from your hand and sets it down before the altar of Yahweh eloheka, [5] you shall make this response before Yahweh eloheka: "A wandering Aramean was my ancestor; he went down into Egypt and lived there as an alien, few in number, and there he became a great nation, mighty and populous. [6] When the Egyptians treated us harshly and afflicted us, by imposing hard labor on us, [7] we cried to Yahweh eloheka of our ancestors; Yahweh heard our voice and saw our affliction, our toil, and our oppression. [8] Yahweh brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, with a terrifying display of power, and with signs and wonders; [9] and he brought us into this place and gave us this land, a land flowing with milk and honey. [10] So now I bring the first of the fruit of the ground that you Yahweh have given me." You shall set it down before Yahweh eloheka and bow down before Yahweh eloheka. [11] Then you, together with the Levites and the aliens who reside among you, shall celebrate with all the bounty that Yahweh eloheka has given to you and to your house. ס


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This is the Old Testament selection to be read aloud on the first Sunday in Lent, Year C, according to the lectionary for the Episcopal Church. It will precede a singing of verses from Psalm 91, which includes: “For he shall give his angels charge over you, to keep you in all your ways.” That pair will be followed by a reading from Romans, where Paul wrote: “The scripture says, "No one who believes in him will be put to shame." For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; the same Lord is Lord of all and is generous to all who call on him.” All will accompany the Gospel selection from Luke, where Jesus was tested in the wilderness. There we read, “[The devil said] to him, "If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here, for it is written, 'He will command his angels concerning you, to protect you,'" leading Jesus to respond, saying "Do not put the Lord your God to the test.”


In the above translation, one will note that in nine places I have restored “Yahweh eloheka” where the NRSV has translated that as “the Lord your God.” That is not the meaning of “eloheka;” and, “your gods” would be more accurate, but the construct that adds “your” means the word “elohim” is being stated in the possessive case, where the “elohim” is possessed by Yahweh. By this being stated TEN times in eleven verses that repetition says it is very important to see the truth and ponder what that means. In addition, there are four single used of “Yahweh” that have been restored, with all namings of “Yahweh” being placed in bold text. Finally, these verse end with a samekh [the 15th letter of the Hebrew alphabet, shown above as "ס"], which is a signal that a section of writing has concluded. That symbol says these verses read aloud are separate from others that appear in this chapter of Deuteronomy.


You will also take note that I have inserted the verse numbers, in bold type, within brackets. This will make it easy for the reader to reference verses, as needed. I needed the numbers to edit so many uses of "Yahweh" and "eloheka."


This reading selection needs to be seen as its surface meaning, which is rather clear: It states a commandment to recognize the first fruits of the land each year. The specific details to the procedures pertaining to this reading are found in Leviticus 23; and, this gathering of first fruits is related to the Passover festival recognition, leading up to the Festival of Weeks [Shavuot]. To read it as such means those Gentiles who would become today's Christians find little importance coming out of this surface meaning, as it can then be seen as only pertaining to the Israelites [ergo Jews later]. There are no rules for gathering anything (other than money), to be deposited into church buildings, to be watched by priests, pastors, or ministers. That denigrates Yahweh to the level of some lesser god [the popular Mammon], seen as one who has no clue that all these plans would go to naught, because of lack of interest to come [Christians are the epitome of that lack of interest in first fruit gathering, to be set in holy places].


To see the grander value of this reading selection and to be able to connect it to the concept of Lent (a wholly Christian church theme, Catholic varieties), one must see the repetition of “Yahweh eloheka” as a designation as ALL forever who will be chosen by Yahweh to be His possessions. This means “eloheka” – meaning “your gods” or “those in whom Yahweh lives spiritually, as His angels in the flesh” – the “land” one is given is therefore one’s body of flesh. That eliminates all exclusivity that would make this pertain only to Jews who had (then lost, then stole back) a spot on the earth, as if God told only them to put first fruits there, as if this reading acts as a deed to physical property. Realizing that a body and soul earns the name “Israel" because that flesh’s soul will have wrestled with its worldly demons (ordinary “elohim”) and won, thereby becoming the possession of Yahweh – willingly becoming His spiritual wife – then this reading can apply to any who are truly Yahweh elohim, anywhere on the earth.


Here, it is important to realize that being one of the "Yahweh eloheka" (possessed by His Spirit) means having been reborn with the soul of the Son of Yahweh (called Adam, but reincarnated under the name Jesus - Yah[weh] Saves). Being Jesus reborn comes with the Anointment of Yahweh, which the Greeks call a "Christ" [the Hebrew says "Messiah"], so that pretty much removes all Jews who still reject external (historical) Jesus as part of the aforementioned "inheritance" (in verse 1). That means those Jews no longer need to play with trying to understanding what "first fruits" are. So, that rejection of the Son acts as a deal breaker for all the Spiritual divorcees of Yahweh having any claim to anything written in Deuteronomy.


When that aspect O "Yahweh eloheka" is seen, then the symbolism of the first fruits become more than the early figs, grapes, wheat, and olives picked and put into a basket (an omer size). The first fruits are the “elohim” of Yahweh. This becomes a reenactment of that which follows the first four verses. When the reenactment then requires one to tell where one came from, as the fruit of the Aramean who went into Egypt, that becomes the purpose reflected in fruits gathered.


The Aramean has to be seen as Jacob [a.k.a. the first Israel], who left the Syrian plains due to drought, taking his family (wives, sons, daughter … and livestock) with him. That time spent in Egypt then reflects the maturing of a people, who were then released from bondage. THAT must be seen symbolically as why this ritual of first fruits is commanded. Jacob going to Egypt is metaphor for planting a seed into a womb; and, when the time came for the new growth to come out of the womb, then the fruits of the Aramean were born into the world. They, in turn, were to be likewise planted into the womb of “a land flowing with milk and honey.” Thus, the ritual to do a reenactment every year is to repeat the symbolism of planting a seed and waiting for it to burst forth, producing good fruits. Therefore, by harvesting the first fruits of the land, placing them in a bushel basket and placing those in the 'womb' of the Tabernacle, there the high priest can care for the seed until ready to be put to good use. That careful womb watcher is Yahweh, because He watches over all His elohim.


This means that Yahweh never intended for His elohim to only be a place on the earth to call a people’s “inheritance to possess.” The greater “inheritance” is becoming a seed of Yahweh that will be His possession to be replanted into the world, so new fruit can always be coming forth. Just as Jacob’s seed was placed in Egypt, it was not expected to forever be replanted in Egypt. Just as it would be taken by Moses from Egypt to be planted in the land of Canaan, it would be expected to die of outer covering and grow forth, producing new seeds, which would be taken elsewhere to be planted anew. Thus, the ritual of taking first fruits to the place where the high priest would determine the next step becomes a fertility rite for Yahweh elohim.


When this is read on the first Sunday in Lent, one must realize Lent is a forty day period of sacrifice; but it is only sacrifice of the old, in preparation for the new that is to come. It is more a time of patience and waiting. The forty days must be seen as the time of waiting that Noah was in the Ark, waiting for the flood to subside and land could be found. Forty days is the time the Israelites had to wait at the foot of Mount Sinai (as the first fruits taken from Egypt, placed at the Tabernacle) for Moses to come down with the Law (making them the first fruits when they said, "I do" to the Covenant). Moses was the high priest of the Tabernacle and he was who deemed the plan for the first fruits (given to him by Yahweh). Forty days must also be seen as the time Jesus spent in the wilderness, waiting patiently, until being tested by Satan. This says Jesus was placed as the first fruit of the New Covenant, as the Tabernacle of Yahweh’s Spirit and the High Priest of what would become Christianity [with “Christ” meaning an Anointment by Yahweh as His elohim]. The same can then be said of Moses, as the first fruit of the First Covenant, who was the High Priest of what would become Judaism [the Law named for him]. Finally, after Jesus had risen – as the seed covering that died [his body of flesh], so his growth could be raised to produce fruits – his disciples were placed at his feet [the Tabernacle] for forty days. His soul is the High Priest that determines who will become him reborn as good fruit (as happened on Pentecost Sunday, back when).


The forty days is then a test of patience, rather than some ill-conceived sacrifice of something physical. It is a time to grow silently, within. It is a time to let the Spirit of Yahweh – His possessing flow within – nourish the soul and lead it to both establish a firm root (the body that is the Law), as well as reach towards the surface, so a new shoot can come forth (the blood of the Anointed by Yahweh - His Christs). It means Lent is like a time of pregnancy, where one knows a good growth is going on within, which must be born into the world. It cannot be kept in the womb forever. To serve its purpose, the baby (the fruit of the vine) must be born. However, the time of growth in the womb is when the mother (the high priest) determines what the fetus needs, in order to fulfill its purpose.


This means Lent must be celebrated, not mourned. To see the symbolism of the Catholic-style churches, when colors are chosen to mark a somber mood, makes it difficult for people to want to get pregnant or want to welcome the Spirit of Yahweh into their wombs. The only reason to be somber is if one mourns the loss of virginity, from having never had one’s soul penetrated by Yahweh’s Spirit. Sadness then marks the loss of immaturity, where fears of responsibility – that of motherhood and becoming good fruit – keep one crying over a past that will be no more. The only aspect of Lent that is negative are the labor pains, which come when Satan tempts a mother-to-be with taunts that say, “See! Your contractions could have been avoided if you had never gotten pregnant! Abort the fetus now and Yahweh will make you well again.” The test of patience will be rewarded by the newborn that comes in due time; and, all the pains that come with that growth breaking ground will be long forgotten, when Spiritual love replaces physical aches.

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