The Meaning of the Waved Firstfruits of Barley

A Re-examination


The Issue

Although many students have come to understand the biblical and historical evidence documenting that Shavuot (Pentecost) is determined by counting from the end of the first high day of Unleavened Bread (Counting the Feast of Weeks), nevertheless because they have repeatedly been told that the wavesheaf of barley found its ultimate fulfillment in the person of Yeshua the Messiah, they are loathe to accept the weight of evidence. The statement "Christ is the Wavesheaf" has become a mantra upon which they fall back in the face of evidence to the contrary. And so this statement gets passed on by rote to others without much consideration of the need for possible re-examination. But upon what foundation does this mantra exist?

Searching the Scriptures

In Leviticus 23:10-11 the Eternal commands Moshe to tell the Israelites,

10When you come into the land which I give to you, and reap its harvest, then you shall bring a sheaf of the firstfruits of your harvest to the priest. 11He shall wave the sheaf before the LORD, to be accepted on your behalf....[1]

There are various understandings among believers in Yeshua as to what this offering was and how it was performed and as to what possible meaning it might have in regard to Yeshua and his talmidim (disciples).

In this study we will examine the following:

What exactly is a "wave" offering? Most people who are somewhat familiar with the sacrificial system under the Mosaic law understand that some offerings were "waved" before the Eternal. The word in Leviticus 23:11 translated "wave" is נוף (nuph) meaning wave, shake, lift, swing, or brandish. Putting all of these shades of meaning together, one can gain an insight into what took place when an offering was "waved". As we will see in our study of the various rituals involving waving, that which was being offered was typically lifted and shaken or brandished and then swung or waved first to the Eternal and then back to the priest. This word is used in noun form in Isaiah 19:16 and 30:32 in describing the brandishing of a sword in battle:

Isaiah 19:16 - In that day Egypt will be like women, and will be afraid and fear because of the waving (Waving Image) of the hand of the LORD of hosts, which He waves over it. (Explanations are in parentheses throughout this study)

Isaiah 30:32 - ...And in battles of brandishing (Brandishing Image) He will fight with it.

In examining the wave offerings prescribed in the Torah, we will also augment our mental image of how these offerings took place.

The Wave Offerings

Exodus 29:24-27, the consecration of priests:

24and you (Moshe) shall put all these (the usual internal fatty parts of the animal, in this case a ram, and its right thigh together with the unleavened bread) in the hands of Aaron and in the hands of his sons, and you shall wave them as a wave offering before the LORD. 25You shall receive them back from their hands and burn them on the altar as a burnt offering, as a sweet aroma before the LORD. It is an offering made by fire to the LORD. 26Then you shall take the breast of the ram of Aaron's consecration and wave it as a wave offering before the LORD; and it shall be your portion. 27And from the ram of the consecration you shall consecrate the breast of the wave offering which is waved, and the thigh of the heave offering which is raised, of that which is for Aaron and of that which is for his sons.

We should notice here several points. Firstly, that which is to be waved is placed in the hands of the offerer, but Moshe, acting as priest, does the waving by guiding the hands of the offerer(s). Secondly, the initial wave offering was received back by Moshe to be burnt on the altar. Then the second wave offering, that of the breast, was also received back by Moshe for his portion, i.e. his food. As we will see, this is a salient point regarding the wave offering: it is lifted up and presented to the Eternal, but then waved back toward the priests and given to them for their use in doing the Eternal's work. (In this special circumstance, Moshe is the recipient because he is acting as the priest since this is the initiation of the priesthood, which had not previously existed. For this reason also, Moshe waves the breast himself.) This section of Exodus 29 is the instruction for consecrating the priesthood while Leviticus 8:25-29 describes, in almost identical language, the actual investiture.

Leviticus 7:29-31, in conjunction with the peace offerings (thank, vow, or freewill):

29Speak unto the children of Israel, saying: He that offereth his sacrifice of peace-offerings unto the LORD shall bring his offering unto the LORD out of his sacrifice of peace-offerings. 30His own hands shall bring the offerings of the LORD made by fire: the fat with the breast shall he bring, that the breast may be waved for a wave-offering before the LORD. 31And the priest shall make the fat smoke upon the altar; but the breast shall be Aaron's and his sons.

Note again how that which is waved before the Eternal is returned to the priests for their use after having been waved by the priest while in the worshiper's "own hands".

Leviticus 14:11-13, the trespass offering for lepers:

11Then the priest who makes him clean shall present the man who is to be made clean, and those things, before the LORD, at the door of the tabernacle of meeting. 12And the priest shall take one male lamb and offer it as a trespass offering, and the log of oil, and wave them as a wave offering before the LORD. 13Then he shall kill the lamb in the place where he kills the sin offering and the burnt offering, in a holy place; for as the sin offering is the priest's, so is the trespass offering. It is most holy.

Once again, we see that the lamb and the log of oil are returned to the priest after having been waved before the Eternal. In this case, apparently, the leper, who, according to the Mishnah (Nega'im 14), was not yet allowed back into the court of Israel until after the ceremony described in vv.14-20, did not take part in the waving. We now again quote the text with whose meaning we are predominantly concerned.

Leviticus 23:10-11, the firstfruits of barley:

10Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them: When you come into the land which I give to you, and reap its harvest, then you shall bring a sheaf of the firstfruits of your harvest to the priest. 11He shall wave the sheaf before the LORD, to be accepted on your behalf; on the day after the Sabbath the priest shall wave it.

Here we again see a special situation in which the priest does the waving by himself because this offering was congregational (or national), as were all the offerings in Leviticus 23, and therefore no individual worshipers were before the altar to take part. Although the text does not say here that the remainder of this special grain offering was returned to the priest, the law regarding grain offerings in Leviticus 2:1-3 tells us that it was so:

1When anyone offers a grain offering to the LORD, his offering shall be of fine flour. And he shall pour oil on it, and put frankincense on it. 2He shall bring it to Aaron's sons, the priests, one of whom shall take from it his handful of fine flour and oil with all the frankincense. And the priest shall burn it as a memorial on the altar, an offering made by fire, a sweet aroma to the LORD. 3The rest of the grain offering shall be Aaron's and his sons'. It is most holy of the offerings to the LORD made by fire.

The Mishnah (Menachot 10.4o) confirms that this was true at the waving of the omer. This public offering, for the whole people, is followed by another presented fifty days later.

Leviticus 23:17-20, at Shavuot involving the two bikkurim loaves together with the two lambs as peace offerings:

17You shall bring from your dwellings two wave loaves of two-tenths of an ephah. They shall be of fine flour; they shall be baked with leaven. They are the firstfruits to the LORD. 18And you shall offer with the bread seven lambs of the first year, without blemish, one young bull, and two rams. They shall be as a burnt offering to the LORD, with their grain offering and their drink offerings, an offering made by fire for a sweet aroma to the LORD. 19Then you shall sacrifice one kid of the goats as a sin offering, and two male lambs of the first year as a sacrifice of a peace offering. 20The priest shall wave them with the bread of the firstfruits as a wave offering before the LORD, with the two lambs. They shall be holy to the LORD for the priest.

Once again the priest waved the offerings himself (because it was another congregational/national offering with no individual worshippers present) and received them back for his own use in the service of the Eternal.

Numbers 5:25-26, the grain offering of the trial for jealousy:

25Then the priest shall take the grain offering of jealousy from the woman's hand, shall wave the offering before the LORD, and bring it to the altar; 26and the priest shall take a handful of the offering, as its memorial portion, burn it on the altar,...

Notice in this case the officiating priest takes the grain (according to the Mishnah, barley without the customary oil or frankincense) from the woman's hands, apparently because she stands accused, and waves it himself before the Eternal. After a portion is burned on the altar, the remainder, as we have seen before, belongs to the priest (again according to the Mishnah, except if the accused were the wife of a priest, in which case all of the offering was burnt on the altar).

Numbers 6:14-20, the peace offering at the conclusion of the Nazirite vow:

14And he shall present his offering to the LORD:...one ram without blemish as a peace offering, 15a basket of unleavened bread, cakes of fine flour mixed with oil, unleavened wafers anointed with oil, and their grain offering with their drink offerings. 16Then the priest shall bring them before the LORD and offer his sin offering and his burnt offering; 17and he shall offer the ram as a sacrifice of peace offering to the LORD, with the basket of unleavened bread; the priest shall also offer its grain offering and its drink offering. 18Then the Nazirite shall shave his consecrated head at the door of the tabernacle 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. 19And the priest shall take the boiled shoulder of the ram, one unleavened cake from the basket, and one unleavened wafer, and put them upon the hands of the Nazirite after he has shaved his consecrated hair, 20and the priest shall wave them as a wave offering before the LORD; they are holy for the priest, together with the breast of the wave offering and the thigh of the heave offering. After that the Nazirite may drink wine.

This reiterates the instructions for peace offerings we previously examined in Leviticus 7, in which the breast of the ram was waved. In addition, the Nazirite here has the boiled shoulder of the ram as well as the loaf and wafer of unleavened bread placed in his hands and a second wave offering is effected. Both of these wave offerings belonged to the priest as well as the thigh of the heave offering.

The single most consistent feature of the wave offerings is that, except for a memorial portion of the grain offerings which is burnt on the altar, the wave offerings were given, by the Eternal, back to the priest who does the work. It is a part of his "payment" for his service in the holy tabernacle or temple. This feature will take on added significance as we continue.

Before we go on to examine the remaining wave offering, which is different from the ones we have studied thus far, in that what is waved is not part of a sacrificial animal or a measure of grain, but a group of people, we should return to Leviticus 23:10 to examine another important term used there, namely, the firstfruits.

Firstfruits

The word used in Leviticus 23:10, translated "firstfruits", is Reshit Image (re'shit) meaning beginning, chief, first. The first book of the Torah is named in Hebrew Bereshit Image (b're'shit): In beginning, the opening words of the scriptures. Reshit Image is used with regard to agricultural produce, not just grain, but all types of produce (II Chronicles 31:5). It is even used metaphorically of the firstborn of Egypt whom the Eternal destroyed:

Psalm 78:51 - And smote all the first-born in Egypt, the first-fruits of their strength in the tents of Ham. (Jewish Publication Society Tanakh 1917)[2]

Psalm 105:36 - He smote also all the first-born in their land, the first-fruits of all their strength. (Jewish Publication Society Tanakh 1917)

It is important to note that, just like the wave offerings, all the firstfruits of whatever type of produce belonged to the priests, wherever they lived in the land. The Eternal spoke directly to Aaron (Numbers 18:8) and told him in verse 12,

"All the best of the oil, all the best of the new wine and the grain, their firstfruits which they offer to the LORD, I have given them to you.

We can conclude then that the waved sheaf (omer) of the firstfruits (Reshitim Image - re'shitim) of barley was, in a sense, doubly for the priest's use, by virtue of being both a wave offering and a firstfuit offering.

The Levites as a Wave Offering

Now let's return to the one wave offering which we did not discuss above, namely the special dedication of the Levites in Numbers 8. Numbers 8:5-22 reads as follows:

5Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying: 6Take the Levites from among the children of Israel and cleanse them ceremonially. 7Thus you shall do to them to cleanse them: Sprinkle water of purification on them, and let them shave all their body, and let them wash their clothes, and so make themselves clean. 8Then let them take a young bull with its grain offering of fine flour mixed with oil, and you shall take another young bull as a sin offering. 9And you shall bring the Levites before the tabernacle of meeting, and you shall gather together the whole congregation of the children of Israel. 10So you shall bring the Levites before the LORD, and the children of Israel shall lay their hands on the Levites; 11and Aaron shall offer the Levites before the LORD, like a wave offering from the children of Israel, that they may perform the work of the LORD. 12Then the Levites shall lay their hands on the heads of the young bulls, and you shall offer one as a sin offering and the other as a burnt offering to the LORD, to make atonement for the Levites. 13And you shall stand the Levites before Aaron and his sons, and then offer them like a wave offering to the LORD. 14Thus you shall separate the Levites from among the children of Israel, and the Levites shall be Mine. 15After that the Levites shall go in to service the tabernacle of meeting. So you shall cleanse them and offer them, like a wave offering. 16For they are wholly given to Me from among the children of Israel; I have taken them for Myself instead of all who open the womb, the firstborn of all the children of Israel. 17For all the firstborn among the children of Israel are Mine, both man and beast; on the day that I struck all the firstborn in the land of Egypt I sanctified them to Myself. 18I have taken the Levites instead of all the firstborn of the children of Israel. 19And I have given the Levites as a gift to Aaron and his sons from among the children of Israel, to do the work for the children of Israel in the tabernacle of meeting, and to make atonement for the children of Israel, that there be no plague among the children of Israel when the children of Israel come near the sanctuary. 20 Thus Moses and Aaron and all the congregation of the children of Israel did to the Levites; according to all that the LORD commanded Moses concerning the Levites, so the children of Israel did to them. 21 And the Levites purified themselves and washed their clothes; then Aaron presented them, like a wave offering before the LORD, and Aaron made atonement for them to cleanse them. 22 After that the Levites went in to do their work in the tabernacle of meeting before Aaron and his sons; as the LORD commanded Moses concerning the Levites, so they did to them.

Did you notice that no less than four times in this account that it says the Levites were presented as "a wave offering" (vv.11,13,15,21). What is this talking about? The Levites were obviously not agricultural produce and yet they are being singled out using agricultural terminology. Not only that, but there is an echo of the Nazirite vow from two chapters earlier in v.7. Remember the thank offering of the Nazirite was also waved before the Eternal. Notice also that the Levites are now taken instead of all the firstborn of Israel (v.16-18). They are now the "firstborn" of Israel. Remember how the firstborn of Egypt were equated with the "firstfruts" of that land in Psalm 78:51 and 105:36, using the word Reshit Image (firstfruits)?

Earlier we made the statement that the most consistent feature of the wave offerings was that, except for the memorial portion of the grain offerings which was burned on the altar, the bulk of it was given back to the priests for their use. Notice the consistency here with the Levites. The Eternal says that He has "taken" the Levites but then He immediately gives them as a "gift" to the priesthood.[3] To what purpose? "To do the work for the children of Israel in the tabernacle of meeting, and to make atonement for the children of Israel" (v.19). The Levites did the work of the Eternal at the behest of the priesthood. After the ceremony "the Levites went in to do their work in the tabernacle of meeting before Aaron and his sons..." (v.22).

Later the Eternal again speaks to Aaron (Numbers 18:1-6):

1Then the LORD said to Aaron: You and your sons and your father's house with you shall bear the iniquity related to the sanctuary, and you and your sons with you shall bear the iniquity associated with your priesthood. 2Also bring with you your brethren of the tribe of Levi, the tribe of your father, that they may be joined with you and serve you while you and your sons are with you before the tabernacle of witness. 3They shall attend to your needs and all the needs of the tabernacle; but they shall not come near the articles of the sanctuary and the altar, lest they die -- they and you also. 4They shall be joined with you and attend to the needs of the tabernacle of meeting, for all the work of the tabernacle; but an outsider shall not come near you. 5And you shall attend to the duties of the sanctuary and the duties of the altar, that there may be no more wrath on the children of Israel. 6Behold, I Myself have taken your brethren the Levites from among the children of Israel; they are a gift to you, given by the LORD, to do the work of the tabernacle of meeting.

Clearly, the eighth chapter of Numbers is crucial in understanding the concepts of both wave offerings and firstfruits, since both are referenced. What is crucial is that a group of people is presented as a wave offering, a gift to the priesthood to be used in the service of the tabernacle and they are identified as typical firstborn (the "firstfruits" of the nation).

Firstfruits in the Messsianic Writings

Earlier we identified the Hebrew word translated "firstfruits" as Reshit Image (re'shit). In the Septuagint (LXX) this word is consistently translated into the Greek using άπαρχή (aparche). It is used in all the scriptures referenced above which use Reshit Image in the Hebrew. It is very easy then to find this word in the New Covenant scriptures and see how the students (talmidim) of Yeshua used it. Here are the passages where we find this word in the New Covenant scriptures:

Romans 11:13-16

13For I speak to you Gentiles; inasmuch as I am an apostle to the Gentiles, I magnify my ministry, 14if by any means I may provoke to jealousy those who are my flesh and save some of them. 15For if their being cast away is the reconciling of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead? 16For if the firstfruit is holy, the lump is also holy; and if the root is holy, so are the branches.

The context here is Paul speaking of Israel's rejection and blindness. When Paul says "if the firstfruit (άπαρχή) is holy, the lump is also holy; and if the root is holy, so are the branches", he appears to call the patriarchal fathers firstfruit and root and their descendants, the Israelites, lump (of dough) and branches, for he goes on to say that the Gentiles, as grafted branches, must not "boast against the branches (those Israelite branches broken off for unbelief). But if you do boast, remember that you do not support the root, but the root supports you" (v.18). Paul then goes on to say, in v.28, "Concerning the gospel they (the broken branches) are enemies for your sake, but concerning the election, they are beloved for the sake of the fathers." (Emphasis added by the author throughout this study)

Romans 16:5

Likewise greet the church that is in their house. Greet my beloved Epaenetus, who is the firstfruits of Achaia[4] to Christ.

Epaenetus is an individual who apparently was among the first in this province to convert.

I Corinthians 15:20-23

20 But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. 22For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive. 23But each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ's at His coming.

Here Paul says the Messiah has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. He had told Agrippa that He "would be the first to rise from the dead" (Acts 26:23). It is important to note that Paul here links Christ as firstfruits to His resurrection from the dead. If the Messiah was in the earth for three days and three nights (Matthew 12:40) and He was buried late in the afternoon on the Passover, just before the sabbath of the first day of unleavened bread (Luke 23:53-54), then He arose about that same time of day, which was late afternoon on the weekly Sabbath. He therefore became a firstfruits late Sabbath afternoon upon His resurrection, which is not the same as the presumed wave sheaf offering the next morning as the Sadducean understanding would have it.

I Corinthians 16:15

I urge you, brethren -- you know the household of Stephanas, that it is the firstfruits of Achaia, and that they have devoted themselves to the ministry of the saints.

Having named Yeshua as a firstfuits just a chapter earlier, Paul now also calls the household of Stephanas (a group) as firstfruits also.

II Thessalonians 2:13 (New Revised Standard)[5]

But we must always give thanks to God for you, brothers and sisters beloved by the Lord, because God chose you as the first fruits for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and through belief in the truth.

We use the Revised Standard Version here because it follows the critical text instead of the received text.[6] Here Paul calls the Thessalonian brothers and sisters (fellow believers) "firstfruits for salvation". Once again we see a group of people are called firstfruits.

James 1:18

Of His own will He brought us forth by the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures.

Ya'akov (James) here calls believers, including himself, "a kind of firstfruits". Here again we have a group of people, brought forth by the word of truth, much as grain or other produce is "brought forth" by the light of the sun and by water and by good soil.

Revelation 14:4

These are the ones who were not defiled with women, for they are virgins. These are the ones who follow the Lamb wherever He goes. These were redeemed from among men, being firstfruits to God and to the Lamb.

This passage is referring to the 144,000 who were redeemed from the earth. This is a large group and the text does not say that these are necessarily all of the firstfruits.

Taking all of these New Covenant scriptures together, we understand that both Yeshua and various groups of saints, all the way down to the 144,000 are called firstfruits. When Paul says in I Corinthians 15:23, "Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming" clearly those "that are Christ's" are those same individuals whom Paul, James (Ya'akov), and John (Yochanan) call "firstfruits" also. In other words, just because Yeshua is firstfruits does not mean that those who are his at his coming are not also firstfruits. He is just "the first of the first." In what sense? Just as the firstborn Egyptians whom the Eternal slew at the Passover were called the "firstfruits" of Egypt's strength, so the New Covenant scriptures equate being a firstborn with being a firstfruit. Yeshua is called "the firstborn from the dead" in Colossians 1:18 and Revelation 1:5. It is in this sense that Yeshua is "the firstfruits". Again, He is called "the firstborn (πρωτότοκον) among many brethren" in Romans 8:29. These brethren are also "firstborn" as attested to in Hebrews 12:23, being referred to as "the assembly (έκκλησία ekklesia) of the firstborn (πρωτοτόκων) who are enrolled in heaven..." (New Revised Standard).[7] We can see that Yeshua is a firstfruit and a firstborn and the saints are also firstfruits and firstborn. Clearly, Yeshua is the first of the firstfruits and the first of the firstborn "that in all things He may have the preeminence" (Colossians 1:18).

The Meaning of the Barley Firstfruits

So then, how do all of these scriptures from the Tanakh and the New Covenant writings which we have examined enlighten us concerning what possible meaning the instructions given in Leviticus 23:10-11 might have in light of Yeshua and His followers? We know that Yeshua is likened to the passover lamb (I Corinthians 5:7) and the One by whom we have received the reconciliation or atonement (Romans 5:11). See also Hebrews 9:11-12. He is also called firstfruits as we have seen (I Corinthians 15:23). But we also have seen that the saints are called firstfruits, so we are left to wonder whether the firstfruits of barley more nearly represent Yeshua or His talmidim (the saints). The answer must lie with the concept of a wave offering. Nowhere in the New Covenant writings is Yeshua referred to as the wavesheaf or a wave offering. Since no wave offering is directly mentioned in the New Covenant writings, we must rely on what we know from the passages concerning wave offerings in the Tanakh.

We know that all wave offerings were waved toward the Eternal but then brought back and given to the officiating priest for his use. In the case of the Levites, an entire tribe of Israel was offered to the Eternal as a wave offering, but given back to the priesthood to do the work of the Tabernacle. The omer of barley, considered to be a lesser quality of grain than the later wheat, was derived from many stalks and thousands of heads of grain. A handful of the barley flour, representative of the entire omer, was waved toward the Eternal, then burnt on the altar, while the rest of this firstfruit belonged to the priest.

The account in Numbers 8 of the Levites being dedicated to the work of the Tabernacle by being offered like a wave offering and being taken in place of the firstborn of Israel, as a type of firstfruit, so closely parallels the wave sheaf of barley firstfruits in Leviticus 23 that we are led to conclude that the barley represents a group dedicated to doing the work of the tabernacle of God under His priesthood. Who could this be?

Note: Some words are emphasized by the author.

Hebrews 8:1-2.

1Now this is the main point of the things we are saying: We have such a High Priest, who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens, 2a Minister of the sanctuary and of the true tabernacle which the Lord erected, and not man.

Revelation 7:13-15

13Then one of the elders answered, saying to me, Who are these arrayed in white robes, and where did they come from? 14And I said to him, Sir, you know. So he said to me, These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. 15Therefore they are before the throne of God, and serve Him day and night in His temple. And He who sits on the throne will dwell among them.

James 1:18

Of His own will He brought us forth by the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures.

2 Thessalonians 2:13 (New Revised Standard)

But we must always give thanks to God for you, brothers and sisters beloved by the Lord, because God chose you as the first fruits for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and through belief in the truth.

Colossians 3:23-24

23And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, 24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ.

The firstfruits of barley are those who have been chosen by God, dedicated to Him, and returned to their high priest, Yeshua the Messiah, for His use and to serve in His spiritual tabernacle.


Footnotes

1New King James version used throughout unless otherwise noted. Copyright statement: "Scripture taken from the New King James Version ®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved." Copyright statement for the font used in the images of Hebrew words in this essay: "BWHEBB, BWHEBL, BWTRANSH [Hebrew]; BWGRKL, BWGRKN, and BWGRKI [Greek] PostScript ® Type 1 and TrueType fonts Copyright © 1994-2013 BibleWorks, LLC. All rights reserved. These Biblical Greek and Hebrew fonts are used with permission and are from BibleWorks (www.bibleworks.com)."

2Copyright statement: "Copyright 1917, By The Jewish Publication Society of America. All rights reserved."

3The consistency is not lost because some of the Levites were not burnt on the altar. There was a grain offering (v.8) associated with the bulls upon which the Levites collectively laid their hands (v.12).

4The critical texts read "Asia" (the westernmost province of Anatolia)

5Copyright statement: "New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright 1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved."

6The textual issue here is whether to follow the texts which read απ αρχης (from the beginning) or those which have άπαρχή (firstfruits). Paul often uses άπαρχή but nowhere else does he use απ αρχης. What Paul originally penned is, of course, uncertain. Copyright statement: "Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright 1952 [2nd edition, 1971] by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved."

7Copyright statement: NRSV - "From the New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved."7


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