Posts Tagged ‘1 Corinthians 15:20-22’

Feasts converge in April

April 19, 2018

1 Corinthians-15-Verse-20

As the month of April moves toward its conclusion, we recognize that this year the celebration of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ began on Sunday, April 1. During that same time, the Jews observed the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the 8-day festival that began at Sundown on Sunday, April 1 and ended in the evening of Saturday, April 8.  Passover, also known as Pesach, the first event of the celebration, commemorating the Jewish exodus from Egypt, also took place on April 1. Following the Feast of Unleavened Bread, was Feast of First-Fruits, which began at sundown on April 7 and ended at sundown April 8.

The Verse of the Day for April 19, 2018 makes reference to this observance:

1 Corinthians 15:20-22:

But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the first-fruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.

In the Old Testament, the first-fruits of the ground were offered unto God just as the first-born of man and animals. The Law required that newly harvested grain corn should be waved by the priest before the altar, as every individual, besides, was required to consecrate to God a portion of the first-fruits of the land.

Leviticus 23:9-10 offers these instructions:

The Lord said to Moses, 10 “Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘When you enter the land I am going to give you and you reap its harvest, bring to the priest a sheaf of the first grain you harvest.”

In the New Testament, Jesus Christ has become the first fruit offering as described in the Old Testament.  Jesus Christ’s resurrection is a promise that we, too, will be resurrected. In a similar manner the Church, the Body of believers, has become “a kind of first-fruits,” as James 1:18 declares:

18 He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of first-fruits of all he created.

This message is reinforced in this poetic offering:

First-fruits

Of His own will He brought us forth by the word

of truth, that we should be a kind of first-fruits of his creatures.

James 1:18

 

Transform and then so fashion our very visage

To be like Christ, the brightness of all of your glory.

In your refiner’s fire melt and mold me,

Cast my being 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 my spirit, heart, soul and mind,

Every fiber of my being, each of our pores;

So permeate our presence that we also might find

My true calling as Christ’s chosen ambassadors.

The promised fulfilled that the Earth has awaited:

Like Christ, we are first-fruits of all God’s created

We close with a musical expression “First Fruits” by Steve McConnell

 

 

First fruits are first

April 19, 2016

 

1 Corinthians-15-Verse-20

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:

Firstfruits

Of His own will He brought us forth by the word

of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits

of his creatures.

James 1:18

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.”

Firstfruits: Taking a look

April 19, 2014

1 Corinthians-15-Verse-20

But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. 1 Corinthians 15:20-22 KJV

The Verse of the Day for April 19, 2013 with its reference to “firstfruits” brought to mind a journal entry that I made in January of 2004, after having received Rick Warren’s best-selling book, The Purpose Driven Life, as a Christmas gift. The book was divided into 40 chapters, each of which was read daily for forty days. There were scripture verses to memorize and journal entries to be made each day as I, the reader, sought to discover “What on earth am I here for?” I made particular entries in my Journal for the Journey in 2004 in response to the “Question to Consider” at the end of each chapter. Here is one such question:

In what area of my life do I need to ask for the Spirit’s power to be like Christ today?

I responded, “. . . I am continually striving to become more Christ-like, not just in what I say but in how I live.” Two poems came to mind as I reflected upon this desire, one of which is entitled “Firstfruits.” The same term is also used in I Corinthians 15:23, the next verse following the Verse of the Day:

But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming.

Firstfruits

I Corinthians 15:23

James 1:18

Transform and then so fashion my visage

To be like Christ, the brightness of your glory.

In your refiner’s fire melt and mold me,

Cast my being 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 my spirit, heart, soul and mind,

Every fiber of my being, each pore;

So permeate my presence that I might find

My true calling as Christ’s ambassador.

More than vessel, vehicle, or instrument,

Like Christ, I am firstfruits of God’s intent.

 

In actuality, “firstfruits” refers to one of the three feasts instituted 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.

Firstfruits was a feast of a thanksgiving offering to God for His goodness in providing food from the land for the Israelites, acknowledging that all good things come from God and that everything belongs to God. Giving the firstfruits was also a way of expressing trust in God’s provision; just as He provided the first fruits, so He would provide the rest of the crops that were needed. A firstfruits ceremony is described in detail in Deuteronomy 26:1-11.

Note that the Feast of Firstfruits was instituted when the nation of Israel was still wandering, without land or crops. It was observed in faith that God would lead the people to the land He had promised.

In its most literal sense, firstfruits refers to the “first born” which belonged to God, whether humans or livestock as Exodus 22:29 notes:

You shall not delay to offer the first of your ripe produce and your juices. The firstborn of your sons you shall give to Me.

Exodus 34:19 echoes the same pronouncement:

All that open the womb are Mine, and every male firstborn among your livestock, whether ox or sheep.

Israel was described as the “firstfruits of God’s harvest” (Jeremiah 2:3). Israel was to be a pledge or a token of a greater harvest, inasmuch as she would experience God’s redemption and witness of this redemption to the nations, that they too might come to know the God of Israel.

In a similar manner all believers are especially dedicated to God in the manner of first fruits, as James 1:18 declares,

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 recognition of our lives as “firstfruits” remind us that we belong to God. Our Father desires that we know who we are as well as whose we are, recognizing that we are dedicated and set aside for His service.

Steve McConnell provides a musical offering “Firstfruits.”