Mid-summer my husband walked in the door and filled a small bowl with beautiful ripe red grape tomatoes. Grape describes their size. Those first ones filled my mouth with their sweet flavor and the promise of more to come.
The firstfruit of harvest in scripture belonged to the Lord. The people offered them to God as a sign of trust for what was yet to come and in thanksgiving. That may have proven my testing to return those first tomatoes to the Lord but I could definitely offer thanksgiving.
The apostle Paul tells us of the most important of firstfruits in 1 Corinthians 15:20.
“But now is Christ risen from the dead and
become the firstfruits of them that slept.”
Paul makes the truth of Christ’s resurrection clear in chapter 15 through many eyewitnesses. Other scriptures reveal why He had to be risen from the dead.
*Christ’s resurrection declares He is God the Son.
- “Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh;
- And declared to be the Son of God with power,
- according to the spirit of holiness,
- by the resurrection from the dead.” Romans 1:3,4.
*His resurrection declares He is Lord of all.
“For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived,
that he might be Lord both of the dead and living.”
“And he is the head of the body, the church:
who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead;
that in all things he might have the preeminence.”
Without the resurrection of Christ we are told,
“And if Christ be not raised,
- your faith is vain;
- ye are yet in your sins.” (15:17).
Now back to the firstfruits.
“Christ… become the firstfruits of them that slept.”
This verse doesn’t mean Jesus became the first to be brought back to life from the dead. We know scripture mentions a few – Jairus’s daughter, the widow’s son, and Lazarus. Each of these faced death a second time. Jesus became the first to be raised in the heavenly body we, who believe, would all receive one day never to die again.
Christ’s becoming the firstfruit insures our entrance fee has been paid and accepted by God the Father.
- No other sacrifice is needed.
“By the which will we are sanctified
through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ
once for all…
For by one offering
he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified…
Now where remission of these is,
there is no more offering for sin.”
- More are to be harvested.
“For as in Adam all die, even so
in Christ shall all be made alive.”
This is wonderful good news to the followers of Christ.
“But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you,
he that raised up Christ from the dead
shall also quicken your mortal bodies
by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.”
“For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God:
and the dead in Christ shall rise first:
Then we which are alive and remain
shall be caught up together with them in the clouds,
to meet the Lord in the air;
and so shall we ever be with the Lord.”
But the “all” includes those who are not followers of Christ.
“Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation: but is passed from death unto life…
Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming,
in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice,
And shall come forth;
they that have done good,
unto the resurrection of life;
and they that have done evil,
unto the resurrection of damnation.”
“And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God;
and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life:
and the dead were judged
out of those things which were written in the books,
according to their works.
And the sea gave up the dead which were in it,
and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them:
and they were judged every man according to their works.
And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire.
This is the second death.
And whosoever was not found written in the book of life
was cast into the lake of fire.”
Followers of Christ have been entrusted with the gospel message. The good news,
- “Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;
- And that he was buried,
- and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:” (15:3,4).
And Jesus said,
“I am the resurrection, and the life:
he that believeth in me,
though he were dead, yet shall he live:
And whosoever liveth and believeth in me
shall never die.
Believest thou this?”
How do you answer Jesus? What you answer determines whether you are raised to eternal life or to eternal death. Which harvest will you be in?
*My go to resources for information beyond the scriptures include, Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words, The Hebrew Greek Key Study Bible, and Blue Letter Bible on line which includes the study guides from David Guzik.