The Verse of the Day for April 19, 2016 makes reference to “firstfruits” as found in 1 Corinthians 15:20-22 (Amplified Bible):
But the fact is that Christ (the Messiah) has been raised from the dead, and He became the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep [in death]. For since [it was] through a man that death [came into the world, it is] also through a Man that the resurrection of the dead [has come]. For just as [because of their union of nature] in Adam all people die, so also [by virtue of their union of nature] shall all in Christ be made alive.
Actually, “Firstfruits” was one of the three feasts established by God for the Children of Israel to observe when they left Egypt for the Promised Land. Passover was instituted on Day 14 of Nisan (the first month), the Feast of the Unleaven Bread was to begin the next day, Nisan15, and the Feast of the First Fruits to begin three days following Passover on Nisan 17. They are referred to as one feast.
Jesus Christ appears as a type, a foreshadowing of events to come, throughout the Old Testament, as in the case of the Passover Lamb. Jesus was recognized as “The Lamb of God that takes away the sins of the world.” Those previous indications are fulfilled in Jesus Christ, whom Paul describes as “our Passover.” Indeed, Jesus died at the very time that the Passover lamb was being sacrificed in the Temple.
Although generally mistaken for Passover, the Feast of Unleavened Bread lasts seven days, while Passover is only one 24-hour period. When the Children of Israel departed from Egypt on the evening after Passover, God specifically told them not to allow their bread to rise, but to grab everything and leave in haste. There was to be no leaven or yeast to speed up the process of preparing the bread for baking, but God instructed them that no leavening should touch the bread: Just bake it and depart. God then told them that in the future they were to commemorate this feast by removing all leavening or yeast from their houses for seven days. In the New Testament, Jesus Christ makes a connection with this feast when He says, “I am the Bread of Life.”
“Firstfruits,” in its most literal sense, refers to the first portion of the harvest which belongs to God. In terms of time, this portion of the harvest comes first; it is a token or pledge dedicated or given to God in expectation of a greater harvest to follow. When the Children of Israel prepared to enter into the Promised Land, they were instructed to offer the first portion of their produce to God. The “first born,” whether human or animals, was also considered as God’s special possession and can be considered a type of first fruit. Just as Jesus Christ is described as “the “firstfruit “among those who died, so also are believers “a kind of firstfruits of His creation,” so described in James 1:8, which introduces this poem:
Of His own will He brought us forth by the word
of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits
of his creatures.
Transform and then so fashion our visage
To be like Christ, the brightness of your glory.
In your fire refine us that we might be
Fashioned and cast in His express image:
As boldface type printed upon the page,
As a new coin minted in your treasure,
Stamped with the essence of your character
To convey the power of your message.
So saturate each spirit, heart, soul and mind,
Every fiber of our being, each pore;
So permeate our presence that we might find
Our true calling as Christ’s ambassador.
More than vessel, vehicle, or instrument,
Like Christ, we are firstfruits of God’s intent.
Steve McConnell offers a musical expression entitled “First Fruits.”