Christ the Firstfruits

Penang Assemblies Combined Easter Conference 2017: Session 2.

Speaker: Dr Peter Wong

Day 2 (3)

“And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, “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. 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. And you shall offer on that day, when you wave the sheaf, a male lamb of the first year, without blemish, as a burnt offering to the LORD. Its grain offering shall be two-tenths of an ephah of fine flour mixed with oil, an offering made by fire to the LORD, for a sweet aroma; and its drink offering shall be of wine, one-fourth of a hin. You shall eat neither bread nor parched grain nor fresh grain until the same day that you have brought an offering to your God; it shall be a statute forever throughout your generations in all your dwellings.” ~‭‭Leviticus‬ ‭23:9-14‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

 

“Now if Christ is preached that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ is not risen. And if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty. Yes, and we are found false witnesses of God, because we have testified of God that He raised up Christ, whom He did not raise up—if in fact the dead do not rise. For if the dead do not rise, then Christ is not risen. And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins! Then also those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable. But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive. But each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ’s at His coming.” ~‭‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭15:12-23‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

Feasts foreshadow future
1. Passover: Christ dying on the cross
2. Unleavened Bread: Communion of believers
3. Firstfruits: Resurrection of Christ
4. Pentecost: Descent of the Holy Spirit
Last 3 feasts events in the future
5. Trumpets: Israel’s redemption and awakening
6. Atonement: Israel’s restoration
7. Tabernacles: God’s eternal kingdom

Recommended reading: Feasts of Jehovah by John Ritchie

feasts-of-jehovah

Passover is on a specific day: 14th day of the first month for 7 days.
Firstfruits is not assigned a specific date (unlike Passover and Unleavened Bread).
But Firstfruits is on a fixed day of the week (the 1st Sunday after the Sabbath Passover).

Offering required of Israelites
• Sheath of grain
• Burnt offering 1 year old male lamb
• Flour offering
• Drink offering of wine
Is there any offering missing? (Read on below)

What lessons could the Israelites learn from this?
To Jews: in the midst of prosperity, the claims of Jehovah were to be first remembered. What God blesses them, first give a portion to God.
Firstfruits is a successful joyous celebration.

Perfectly fulfilled picture or type of feast of firstfruits.
The timing of the resurrection on Sunday after Sabbath of Passover.

Sheath of grain in expectation of harvest which would follow.
Likewise Christ in His uniqueness and preeminence resurrection, and then many others would follow.

They who are Christ’s at His coming. (1 Cor 15:23)

1st resurrection (Rev 20:5)
2nd resurrection (John 5:29)

Resurrection of life, and damnation.
Resurrection of the just, and unjust.

Two resurrections are 1,000 years apart.

1st Resurrection
Resurrection of God’s people.
Resurrection from among the dead.
“Out” resurrection meaning never to die again.

2nd Resurrection
Where the lost are raised.
To face judgment.
Nowhere in Bible is this called as resurrection from among the dead (but “of the dead”).
Bible considers them still dead.

Paul’s letters often refer to “in Christ” referring to New Testament saints.
Those “who are Christ’s at His coming” covers a larger group:-
1. Old Testament saints
2. Infant & children who have yet to reach the age of accountability
3. Tribulation saints

1. Old Testament Saints
Job, David & other OT saints died before the time of Christ.
For us, we look back at the past and are saved by grace through faith.
For them, they were also saved by the cross – looking forward to the Messiah.
Even the first animal that had to die when Adam & Eve sinned.

2. Infants and Children
2 Samuel 12:22-23
Matthew 18:10-11

3. Tribulation Saints
Those who turn to Christ after the rapture of the church. They will be martyred and be with Christ after the 7 year tribulation.

But each one in his own order (1 Corinthians 15:23)

Christ at the head of the army.
Followed by resurrected.
Lastly tribulation saints.

Christ is the firstfruits.
Main harvest: 1st resurrection
Tribulation saints: gleanings

What do the waving of sheathes of grain signify?
Leveticus 23 ESV: so you may be accepted

What is the significance of Christ the firstfruit?
God’s acceptance of the sacrifice of Christ.
More than that, God’s acceptance of believers together with Christ because of what He has done.
This is as Christ has made the end of all the sins.

Which Levitical offering is not mentioned?
No sin offering!

“so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation.” ~‭‭Hebrews‬ ‭9:28‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

Christ completed the work atoning for our sin.
From that point on no more sin offering.
It is Christ’s resurrection that declared sins are forever gone for those who believe.

God accepts us in Christ (Ephesians 1:6).
Risen with Christ (Colossians 3:1).
God has raised us together with Christ (Ephesians 2:5).
Christ raised for our justification (Romans 4:25).

The one who is the waved sheath – Christ

“And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent.” ~‭‭Colossians‬ ‭1:18‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Firstfruits and the first born from the dead.

Is Christ’s resurrection the first one from the dead?
No. Six resurrections are recorded in Bible before:-
1. Son of widow of Zarephath raised by Elijah
2. Son of Shunammite’s son raised by Elishah
3. Body of man who touched Elisha’s bones
4. Son of widow of Nain raised by Christ
5. Daughter of Jairus raised by Christ
6. Lazarus raised by Christ
Thus Christ is the 7th resurrection.

How then is Christ the 1st resurrection?
All of them temporarily and all of them died again.
Christ is triumphant over death and raised never to die again.
Christ is raised with a spiritual body.

Christ is first raised and we shall follow.

I will make him my firstborn (Exodus 4:22).

Let all angels revere Him (Hebrews 1:6).

By the resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ was declared to be the son of God with power. In everything He may be preeminent (Romans 1:4).

Preeminent: unrivalled; Having first place of the highest rank

 

Does the Lord Jesus Christ have preeminence on your life?

Is He unrivaled among all things? Does He have first place in your heart?

What do you think God felt when Christ presented Himself as the firstfruit?
God is delighted with the offering of firstfruits. How much more God’s delight must have been on resurrection morning as the perfect fulfillment of the foreshadow.

What will occupy your heart as you go from hear tonight?
Will your heart be occupied with Christ our firstfruit?
Will your life be transformed?
Will you point others to our unique preeminent Lord Jesus Christ who is alone the Savior, Passover lamb and firstfruit.