We have entered into the fourth week of the Feast of Weeks which begins and ends with a firstfruits harvest. Why are there two harvests with the same name, one at the beginning and one at the end of the Feast of Weeks? What do they represent? Is there more God wants us to understand about ourselves and His great plan of salvation through these feasts? You will be amazed to learn about the role of the saints as firstfruits.
In Lev 23:9, God instructed His people Israel to observe the Feast of the Firstfruits. He said to Moses in verse 10, “Speak 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. (11a) He shall wave the sheaf before the LORD, to be accepted on your behalf; on the day after the Sabbath the priest shall wave it. … 14 You shall eat neither bread nor parched grain nor fresh grain until the same day that you have brought an offering to your God.
Before Israel could eat any of their harvest, they had to give the first reaping (the firstfruits) to God. What was the significance of giving the firstfruits of the harvest to God? Notice, God required the firstfruits (which is the first reaping of the harvest) before the crop could be owned by the people. The people were prohibited to eat any portion of the crop before they handed over the first reaping to God. The firstfruits of the harvest was therefore the purchase price paid by the people to God for the harvest. So that by giving God the first fruits of their harvest Israel could now own the harvest. They could now eat all they wanted because the price was paid.
You know the value of an item can be measured by the price paid for it. Jesus Christ as firstfruits is the price God paid to purchase us. What a value God has placed upon the life of each of us! If only we knew our worth! Jesus said in Mark 8:36-37 36, “What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul? 37 Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?” The greatest tragedy of human existence is that man has not come to know his worth and his potential. We squander our time our energy and intellect pursuing the material things of this world not realizing that the whole universe combined is not worth a single one of us.
The apostle Paul who caught the vision of this worth God has placed on us said in Phil 3:8 … I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ. He says in 1 Cor 6:19-20 Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own ; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.
The Firstfruits Guarantee the Harvest
1 Cor 15: 17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. 18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. 19 If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men. 20 But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.
Rom 11:16 tells us that the harvest attains to the status of the firstfruits “For if the firstfruit be holy, the lump is also holy: and if the root be holy, so are the branches” Christ says in John 17:19 For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified.
Why is There a Second Offering of Firstfruits?
The apostle James says in 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”.. Why are Christians called “a kind of firstfruits?” To understand this term let us go to Leviticus 23: 15 “‘From the day after the Sabbath, the day you brought the sheaf of the wave offering, count off seven full weeks. 16 Count off fifty days up to the day after the seventh Sabbath, and then present an offering of new grain to the LORD. 17 From wherever you live, bring two loaves made of two-tenths of an ephah of fine flour, baked with yeast, as a wave offering of firstfruits to the LORD.
Notice, this is a second offering of firstfruits. The difference with this second set of firstfruits are:
- It is offered fifty days after the first set of fruits
- The bread is baked with leaven added
- There are two loaves of bread instead of one
- The harvest is wheat not barley as is the earlier harvest.
The clear explanation is this: Christians are imperfect firstfruits because we sin even though we strive to live upright Christian lives. We are therefore the firstfruits of an imperfect harvest – the harvest of the people who will come up in the second resurrection in their sins. This contrasts with Christ the firstfruits who was sinless when he was in the flesh. Christ, therefore, could not be the firstfruits of the second harvest because the second harvest is an imperfect harvest. We, on the other hand as imperfect firstfruits, represent the second harvest. At our resurrection, we will attain to the status of Christ. At their resurrection, the rest of humanity will attain to the status we as Christians now have. That is, they will have received their calling. Like us they will have to be taught and learn to live faithful, righteous lives through God’s Spirit. Many will enter into God’s Kingdom while others will refuse to obey God and will be condemned (Matt 25:. 31-35).
As Firstfruits, We Become to the World What Christ is to the Church
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” The second set of firstfruits guarantees the second harvest of humanity – that is, those who will come up in the second resurrection. What an honour God has bestowed on us! Christ is the firstfruits that guarantees the resurrection of the saints. The saints are the firstfruits that guarantee the resurrection of the rest of humanity.
The Role of the Firstfruits in the Millennium
The firstfruits of God’s harvest, will come up in the first resurrection to reign with Christ on earth as kings and priests so many others can enter God’s Kingdom (Revelation 5:10; 20:6). Jesus promised that “he who overcomes, and keeps My works until the end, to him I will give power over the nations” (Revelation 2:26). These nations over which the resurrected saints will rule are nations that are ignorant of God’s truth, and will need to learn the truth about God for the first time. The firstfruits will work with Jesus Christ to bring the nations to God. God is depending on you! The world is depending on you! Let us be faithful to the end!