Names of God: First Fruits

God as First Fruits
by Ruth Siebring

At the time of harvest, the Israelites were required by the law to bring some of the crop as offering to the Lord, essentially, the first fruits that had been picked. This was a symbolic, but also a tangible offering, admitting that it all come from God and all belonged to God.

After all the planning, preparing, working, weeding, watering, watching and waiting, we relish the idea of tasting the first of any crop. When we went to Myanmar, we looked forward to trying our first Myanmar bananas and the other fresh fruits which were reported to be so much better eaten as close to the place where they were harvested. And it was true! And while our first tastes were wonderful, it wasn’t enough. We wanted more.

And so it is:

“But each, in His own time:
Christ, the first fruit,
then, when He comes,
those who belong to Him.”
~I Corinthians 15:23

The Jewish world waited for over 4000 years for Jesus’ coming. They waited through suffering, conflict, exile, and silence.

And we also wait. Sometimes with great anticipation and sometimes with impatience for Christ to come again. The first fruit, Christ, gave us a longing for the whole harvest. We cannot get enough. And since we have tasted and have proof of the first fruit, we all the more anticipate the full harvest.

Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.” John 17:3

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iCnqxVNXvw8

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Advent 2015 –Jesus as First Fruits

Two devotional writers today!  What first fruit riches!  Thank you both Barb and Nate!

  “But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits 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.  But each in his own turn:  Christ, the firstfruits; then, when He comes, those who belong to Him.”  1 Cor. 15: 20-23
  Have you ever longed for that first juicy tomato plucked from the vine, that first tasty apple picked from the tree, or that bright orange carrot that has the sweet fragrance of the soil from which it was just pulled?
  Firstfruits.  The best.  The ones we long for and can taste before they reach our tongue.
  In the Old Testament, the Israelites were told to bring the firstfruits of their crops to celebrate the Feast of Harvest, to the house of the Lord.  The olive oil, the new wine, grain, wool–all the best they had was a holy offering, given to the priests, the Levites as their inheritance.
In Proverbs 3:9 we are told to “Honor the LORD with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops…”
  And later in Jer. 2:3,  Israel was called “holy to the LORD, the firstfruits of His harvest.”
  There are many references to firstfruits in the Old Testament, and they all point to Jesus, as in this passage above, He is called the “firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.”  God, in His great mercy, has offered us His firstfruits, His best, His only begotten, sinless Son, Jesus Christ, as the only atonement that can satisfy His righteous wrath on mankind.  And to those who belong to Him, our resurrection after death, comes through this Jesus, who has gone before us.  Eternal life.  Because of Him. “For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.” (vs 22)
  And then, to cap it off with more beauty, the saints are the final offering, for in Rev. 14:4, the vision in heaven given by the Spirit to John, says “They were purchased from among men and offered as firstfruits to God and the Lamb.”  Wow!
  So consider God’s great mercy on your behalf next time you partake of the harvest from your land.
  “I know that my Redeemer lives,
     and that in the end He will stand upon the earth.
  And after my skin has been destroyed,
     yet in my flesh I will see God;
  I myself will see Him
     with my own eyes–I, and not another,
     How my heart yearns within me!”           Job 19:25-27
  I pray that you will have that same longing in your heart as you await the coming of our Savior this Advent season.
~Barb Hoelle

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We who have sown or planted something with the hope that it would produce a harvest know the longing expectation for the ripe fruit to appear.  First the seed is placed in the ground, then the excitement comes as the first sprout appears pushing through the earth.  Further joy follows as the leaves appear, followed by more leaves and further growth.  Soon you are looking for the buds to form and the plant that has been watched produces blooms.  Over time the blooms fall away leaving a miniature version of the larger fruit.  Each day you check it to see it progress, noticing carefully the color and size, waiting for that first ripe fruit.  After waiting and hoping, one day you check and it is ready, that first strawberry, ripe at last.  With excitement you pick it and if you have any restraint, bring it to your family and show them the first fruit of the season.  Perhaps you even divide up that first berry and let everyone have a taste.

In one way it is all so ridiculous; one strawberry divided (in my own family) between 7?  But that is not all it is.  The excitement consists in the fact that it is only the first of many to follow.  It bears within it the promise of a full harvest to come.  It is not just itself, it contains in it the picture of the hundreds and thousands of berries and that is exciting.  I can almost taste it now, lots of strawberries warmed by the sun, picked fresh and eaten right away or maybe sliced up with a splash of cream.  Each bite is savored with exclamations of delight.

Paul in 1 Corinthians 15:20 compares Christ to the first fruits.  This has more meaning than just the first harvest. God in his wisdom had given the people of Israel an annual reminder of the first fruits.  They were to take that first harvest to the tabernacle and present it before the Lord and eat it in His presence.  This annual feast reminded them whom it was they had to thank for the harvest.  They were to go before the Lord and feast in his presence, thanking him for the good things he had given.

Paul is thinking of this when he calls Christ the first fruits. The Corinthians had taken a line from Festus, the Roman governor (Paul, your great learning is driving you insane!), and were teaching or were being tempted to believe that something as impossible as the resurrection of the dead was, well, impossible.  The only things that are certain are death and taxes after all right?  Paul gives them a resounding NO.  There is a bodily resurrection of the dead and he uses the image of the first fruits to teach it.  It is not that death isn’t certain for Paul says, as in Adam all die, but just as certain is the fact that those who are in Christ will be made alive again.  The proof is in Christ.  He was raised from the dead, he is at the right hand of God the Father, and he is reigning forever and ever.

As we remember the birth of our Savior this advent season, remember this little, real, human baby, born as we are yet without sin, grew up, lived as we lived, died for our sins and was raised on the third day, conquering death and hell in a real, perfect, human body and now has all rule, authority and power and wisdom and one day will return and gather the promised harvest, even us, in resurrected, perfect human bodies to reign with him forever and ever.  Christ our first fruits, to him be all honor and glory forever.
~Nate Lovegren

First Fruits

20 But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21 For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. 22 For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.

1 Corinthians 15:20-22 (NIV)

 

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FIRST SUN OF THE DAY!

Contemplate with me if you would please the number of firsts since time began….
I can’t even imagine the number….
the figure is to the moon and back several times of more, I’m sure!

The number of firsts in a day….. 147,000,000 results according to Google

SO….let’s talk about a few  firsts!

…this morning….the first slug of the year!

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….my time in the fire service.

Some big changes and firsts:

Women in the fire service…..it was no longer a MALE clubhouse.

Computers….we could now track everything.

My first Big fire….$10.5 million…..Uniflite boat builders

….my time on the farm.

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We had cows and horses.

So I understand FIRST BORN and FIRST MILK!…. also having an animal die every now and then.

Some  of the biggest joys here on the farm happen in the spring….

The first frogs croaking…normally it happens in February….just before the pussywillows bloom….frogs from all around…. the orchestra and choir of frogs….making music and praise to God!

The barn swallows….this year I saw the first barn swallows on March 22…every year they return plus or minus only a day or two in that range on the calendar.

In the spring all our fruit trees bloom….it’s special….very special and glorious  ….apples….pears….plums…..prunes….cherries… peaches….nectarines…..Asian pears…..I like to rate them as GOOD-BETTER-BEST!

SO……let’s talk about these verses.

In the fall of the year we get fruit…. As the fruit ripens the first fruit ripe is called firstfruit

The fruit is no different in the Bible…..firstfruit.

the Lord came to earth….was born of the virgin Mary …. was tortured …died on the cross….was buried…. The third day he arose from the dead….FIRSTFRUIT ….. he was and is firstfruit!…the first human to die and arise from the dead …. And taken home to be with his father GOD.

By his death he paid for our sins….by asking for forgiveness and believing in him we too can be picked as fruit from the tree of life to be taken home to heaven at the second coming of Christ!

On a daily basis I am grateful to be here on earth sharing time and space with each of you… praying and thanking the Lord for being FIRSTFRUIT for me.

“Be the person God made you to be and you will set the world on fire”

~Harry Rodenberger from 3R Farms

midnight2

Midnight is a great listener, and even the trees in the background
seem to be talking to each other, and are good listeners!

 

First Fruits

But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.
1 Corinthians 15: 20

Firstfruits are the best of the crop and flock to be turned over with gratitude to God.   There is no stinting or pushing forward the flawed or blighted.  It must feel like a sacrifice to be a sacrifice.
Abraham was willing to offer up his son but was stopped from having to go through with the sacrifice.

God was willing to offer up His perfect Son and absolutely did so.

So we offer ourselves, pitiful as we are, dead through Adam, but saved by that firstfruits sacrifice of Christ.  We are swept into His basket of offering and presented alongside Jesus the Man, blessed by the grace and mercy of Jesus the Messiah.

We who have fallen asleep, dead and hopeless in the ground,  are awakened with the tenderness of the Father, to rise and bloom, reflecting His glory.

A grounded rainbow of life shines in the new kingdom.