Torah Portion: Ki Tavo  (When You Come) Deut. 26:1-29:8

HafTorah: Isaiah 60:1-22

In the days of the Temple farmers were to set aside the first of the seven things mentioned in Torah in Deut. 8:8. How did they do this? The farmer went out into the fields at the first sign of blossoms or heads of grain and marked them with a ribbon on the stems. When they reached maturity he would harvest them and take them to the Temple in Jerusalem during Shavuot. He would give them to the priest and recite the words of Deut 26:5-11. What was the purpose of this ritual to the farmer? It kept it in his mind and spirit that all things come from the Father, and gave him an opportunity to show his gratitude for G-d’s provisions.

Where do we see this in the New Testament? Most striking is in Acts 2 where the believers gathered in the Temple on this holiday. They received the outpouring of the Holy Spirit and thousands were added to the faith. They were the first fruits of Yeshua’s ministry.

We see other references to first fruits through scripture on a spiritual level. Hosea 9:10 –“I saw your forefathers (Abraham, Isaac and Jacob) as the earliest fruit on the fig tree in its first season.” I Cor. 15:22-23, I Cor. 16:15 and I Cor. 15:20 all talk of first fruits. You could say we are still part of the harvest.

In Isaiah 2:2-3 we read about non-Jews streaming to Mt. Zion seeking truth, seeing G-d’s word. We are privileged to see this starting to happen with Jews returning to Israel from all over the world, and non Jews seeking the truth of G-d. All these can be compared to First Fruits.

Now to look at the first question that I sent out: In Deut. 26:14 we read about the statement that is made by a person when he brings his tithe to the Temple. In this he states three things that have not happened in connection with this offering. They are mourning, uncleanness and none was offered for the dead. Why were these three important?  The Temple was a shadow of the Heavenly Temple. Anything tainted by any of these could not be brought into G-d’s house for it was a reflection of heaven, where there is no sadness, tears are wiped away and replaced with joy and purity. In the heavenly Temple only life exists.  So we read in Luke 14:15 that everyone who will eat bread in the Kingdom of G-d is blessed. No sorrow, no death, nothing unclean can be in G-d’s presence.

Now to jump back to Deut. 26:1 and talk about entering, possessing and dwelling. I want your thoughts on how this applies to each of us on a spiritual level. First entering: how do we enter the Promised Land spiritually? I think it comes when we step into faith in the Messiah. We enter into that covenant relationship with Him. Garry sent an answer to this point looking at it from G-d’s view. He enters us through His spirit. So as Israel entered the Land, so we too enter the Land spiritually.

Possessing: How do we possess the spiritual land? By growing in the L-rd, by maturing in our faith, by going deeper and deeper into Him. By that we possess the Land as our inheritance and He possesses us.

Dwelling: What does it mean to dwell? We come to the place of being in His rest. We can meet each day and each challenge knowing the security of that dwelling, no matter what comes.