the FeasT of FirasTFmiiTs rael had to possess the land be fore they could present to Jeho vah its Firstfruits. They could not give to Him what they did not have. Nor can the Christian offer to God what he does not possess. Much that passes for worship among professing Chris tians is not worship at all. We may gather in so-called worship services, enter into every form and ceremony prescribed for us with nothing whatever to offer the Lord. God has blessed us with every spiritual blessing, but until we appropriate those blessings, there can be no real sense of Christian stewardship. It is im possible to pass on to another that which we ourselves have never had. kept and concluded the Levitical Feast o f Firstfruits by presents ing Himself alive from the dead on the day after the sabbath (Matt. 28:1; Mark 16:1, 2; Luke 24:1; John 20:1). Paul said that “He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures” (I Cor. 15:4). What Scriptures? None but the Old Tes tament, and among them we have this type now under considera tion. The grain of wheat had fall en into the ground and died (John 12:24), but now that He is risen from the dead, His resurrection is a promise of the harvest to come, His ascension a pledge of the be liever’s acceptance with God. We too shall rise. God received Him and is satisfied with the price paid for our redemption, so that all who believe in His substitu tionary death and resurrection will God bring with Him (I Thess. 4:14 cf. Rom. 10:9). Just as the waving of the first sheaf indicated that the entire harvest belonged to God, even so Christ’s resurrection guarantees another harvest, the resurrection o f all Christians who have died in the Lord.
dignity: the First, both in time and importance, o f all who will be raised. Let no one make the mistake that some of the Jews made in our Lord’s day, namely, that there is but one general resurrection. The teaching o f Scripture is clear that there are two resurrections, “ They that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the res urrection of damnation” (John 5:29). Both Paul (Acts 24:15) and John (Rev. 20:4, 5) seem to make a clear distinction between the two, John stating that one thousand years separate them. It is an austerely solemn fact to be weighed reflectively that all men from the start of man’s history will be raised from their graves to stand before God. All who are sheltered by the blood of the Lamb shall not come into judg ment, but will have the full bene fits of His death and resurrection. But let us return to the all- important practical application of the Feast of Firstfruits. The rea son for God’s giving the land of Canaan to Israel was to give the Israelites something to give back to Him. Jehovah had said, “When ye be come into the land which I give unto you, and shall reap the harvest thereof, then ye shall bring a sheaf o f the firstfruits o f your harvest . . . before the Lord” (Lev. 23:10, 11). God was still the owner of the land even as He is sovereign owner of all the earth, and of this principle of divine ownership we must always be aware. We must put God first with the realization in our hearts that He has first claim upon us and all that we possess. My first and my best belong to my Lord at all times. How very personal this all be comes to the believer in Christ! By rising from the dead our Lord
Again the Bible is its own in terpreter. We know that our Lord, the true Passover Lamb, was sacrificed for us (I Cor. 5: 7). But in this same Epistle to the C o r in th ian s Paul adds, “ Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at His com ing” (15:23). It was at the very time of these first three Feasts that our Lord died on Calvary and rose again. He kept the Passover with His disciples on the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread (Matt. 26:17). He was slain and laid by friends in Joseph’s tomb. On the first Sunday after the cru cifixion, “on the morrow after the sabbath” (Lev. 23:11), the San hedrin delegates took a sheaf of grain to the temple, the firstfruits o f the harvest. But, blessed be God, on that very day, the first day of the week, “on the morrow after the sabbath,” the Anti-type in the Levitical Feast had risen from the dead and was waved be fore the Lord, becoming the first- fruits of them that slept. He kept and concluded the Levitical Pass- over by offering Himself as the true Passover Lamb. Then He
The first two feasts speak of our redemption and sanctifica tion ; the third has guaranteed our justification (Rom. 4:25) and our glorification (Rom. 8:30). The resurrection of Jesus Christ presented to God the “ firstfruits,” which simply means the chief or principal part as in Numbers 18: 12. The resurrection of our sov ereign Lord is the pledge and as surance that all who are asleep in Jesus, and those who will ever sleep in Jesus, will be raised in their glorified bodies. As the prin cipal part of His Body, the Head, Jesus Christ is “ the first begotten [First-born] o f the dead” (Rev. 1 :5), which means that He is first in rank and pre-eminent in
THE KING'S BUSINESS
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