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The Resurrection Plan: 20-28
Now, the resurrection of Jesus Christ was very, very, very unique.
And that’s where he begins.
Let’s look at point, the redeemer.
“Now as Christ risen from the dead and become the first fruits of them that slept.”
Now he affirms again that Christ has risen.
That’s a fact they already believe from verses 1–11, he reminded them they believed it.
In verses 12–19, he showed them they better believe it or they’ve lost everything.
So now reaffirming Christ is risen from the dead.
Now you drop out the words and become because they don’t appear in a better manuscript.
“Now as Christ risen from the dead, the first fruits of them that slept.”
Now what were the first fruits.
The Redeemer
Leviticus 23:10 required at Passover that before the harvest could be made, before you could harvest your whole field and bring your crop in, you had to cut down the first fruits of barley in that case, and you had to bring it in a sheaf all wrapped up, present it to the priests.
That was before you could harvest.
Before the harvest could be made, the first fruits had to be given.
Now when you planted your crop, you usually planted your crop in somewhat of a progression, so that when your fields of grain came in, it would come in a little like this, because what you had planted earliest would come in first.
And this was one way to hedge against problems.
You might be a storm by planting a little early.
You might gain some rain by coming a little later.
So very frequently they would plant in a slower way so that the crop might come in at little different times and hedge a little bit against what might be the elemental involvement.
So what happens here is that the first crop that comes in, you know that’s good, that’s there.
And to show your love to God, you take the first part rather than stashing it away in case the rest doesn’t come, you give it to God as an act of faith.
You’ve given right off the top the very best you have.
And you can’t harvest the rest until you’ve done that at Passover, Leviticus 23:10.
And the whole point that he’s making here is just as the full harvest could never be made until the first fruits was given so we will never rise until Christ has risen.
That’s his point.
It is the resurrection of Christ and He comes out of the grave and He offers Himself to God and then in that offering He secures for us our resurrection.
First fruits was a sign, mark it down in your mind, first fruits was a sign or symbol of the coming harvest.
And the resurrection of Christ was a sign or a symbol of the coming resurrection of believers.
That’s what he’s saying.
In other words, now watch people, you can’t have Christ being raised and it have no impact or no effect.
Christ is raised not in isolation, He is not a piece of grain grown in a special garden, He is not a piece of grain, a seed that falls into the ground and dies and grows up in a greenhouse.
He is just a part of the whole harvest resurrection and He was thrown into the ground in terms of the seed that dies.
He springs forth to life and becomes the guaranty of the rest of us who fall into the ground and die and shall also rise in life.
You can’t isolate that.
They must go together.
Now, here we see the first fruits.
People say well does that mean that Christ is the first to ever rise from the dead?
No, no, it doesn’t say He is the first to ever rise from the dead.
Some people in the Old Testament, right, rose from the dead.
Elijah brought a boy back to life.
You have resurrection.
Jesus Himself.
The New Testament records that He brought back to life three different people.
Gyrus daughter, the son of the widow, and Lazarus.
He is not the first out of the grave.
He is the first fruits.
He is the guarantee of resurrection harvest.
By the way, let me give you an interesting footnote.
Every other person in the Bible who was ever raised from the dead, died again, except Jesus.
So His resurrection was the only one where He was raised to glory.
You say what about Enoch and Elijah?
Well, they never died any time.
They just took off one day.
Took a walk with God and walked right up into heaven, but they never died.
Of those that died, only one has risen never to die again and that’s Christ.
And that’s because He was the first fruits.
He was the unique one whose resurrection was a resurrection of life that could never be killed which is passed on to the rest of the field of grain, the rest of us who will be raised in the days to come.
So Christ had a unique resurrection.
You say what about Colossians 1:18
Colossians 1:18 (KJV 1900)
18 And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.
where it says “He’s the first born from the dead.”
Or what about Revelation 1:5 where it says
Revelation 1:5 (KJV 1900)
5 And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth.
Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood,
“He’s the first begotten of the dead.”
The word first born and first begotten in the Greek is prototokos.
It doesn’t mean first in terms of one, two, three, four, five.
It means the primary one.
It means the best one.
It means the greatest one.
Christ is not the first person to rise from the dead.
He is the greatest person whoever rose from the dead.
That’s what Paul is saying.
He is the … He is the prototokos of all of whoever risen.
The greatest, the best.
And He is the first fruits, that is He is the guaranteer of the ultimate resurrection harvest.
Those are the uniquenesses.
Now he says then look Christ rose and He is the first fruits or the guaranty of them that slept.
Now who are those that are sleeping?
Now, this is not talking about soul sleep, and it’s not talking about the folks that are taking a nap, it’s talking about death.
But it’s talking about the body.
They referred to death from the physical as the sleep of the body.
The soul went right to be with the Lord.
When any Christian dies, now mark this, since Jesus’ death and resurrection on through history, when a Christian dies, the moment he dies, he’s in the presence of Jesus Christ.
“Absent from the body, present with the Lord,” 2 Corinthians 5:8.
Paul says in Philippians 1:23, he says,
“I’d like to stay with you far better to depart and be with Christ.”
The believer goes immediately to be with Christ in his spirit, but his body sleeps in the grave awaiting resurrection.
It’s really a beautiful term.
It’s better than saying and become the first fruits of them that rotted in the ground.
It’s just a nice way of saying it.
They were sleeping waiting resurrection.
Now you say oh my.
The argument’s going to be what are you … you’re saying that resurrection of one person can have such an effect on all other people, that everybody who ever slept in Christ, everybody who ever was a believer who died, every body ever put in the grave that belonged to somebody who loved God, they’re all going to come out of the grave just because of what Jesus did?
How can the resurrection of one man have such an impact on all those other people.
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