Enjoying Christ as the First Fruits
Christ the Reality of the Old Testament
God gave His Son to us so we can feast on Him every day! This means we can enjoy Christ as the living Savior in so many rich ways. So far we have seen Christ as our Passover and our Unleavened Bread. These feasts reveal the experience of 1) the crucified Christ dying for us to free us from the power of the world, and 2) Jesus in resurrection becoming our daily bread, our spiritual food to reconstitute us. In this, the third of a series from Leviticus 23, we will see how to enjoy Christ as our First Fruits:
9 Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 10 “Speak to the sons of Israel and say to them, ‘When you enter the land which I am going to give to you and reap its harvest, then you shall bring in the sheaf of the first fruits of your harvest to the priest. 11 He shall wave the sheaf before the Lord for you to be accepted; on the day after the sabbath the priest shall wave it. " (Lev 23)
It was early summer and time to partake of the first produce of the land. God gave the earth to us to be our complete physical supply. Spiritually, Jesus Christ is the same. He is everything we need (Col. 3:11). God sowed Himself into the virgin Mary by the Holy Spirit (Matt 1:20), incarnating Himself (John 1:14). This was the germination of the life of the God-man—Jesus Christ. He was eternally God (John 1:1-2). Now He would partake of human nature (Heb 2:14). He was born and grew up as a plant on the earth (Isa 53:2), living in Nazareth for 30 years, growing with grace, which means the divine virtues of the Father (Luke 2:40). God’s goal in growing such a wonderful divinely human Person was that both God and man would partake of Him, transforming the entire earth into a new kingdom, the Kingdom of God, filled with many sons of God, all conformed to Christ (Rom 8:28-29; Heb 2:10).
- Enjoying Christ as the Passover
To enjoy Christ as the Passover Lamb entails applying His blood for our forgiveness, and partaking of His Person in our heart. This strengthens us to live a life separated unto God to bless others
- Enjoying Christ as the Unleavened Bread
God is good for food! This is the primary revelation of the Bible. God in Christ as the Spirit can flow into us as spiritual food with the goal of transforming us to be His many sons. Leviticus 23 shows us 7 feasts, all of which portray Christ. Here
The Full Grown Christ
This Jesus had to go into death, just like a grain of wheat (John 12:24), in order to reach fruition. His death took care of all our sins (Rom 5:10; Rev 1:5). Then in resurrection, He imparted His divine-human life into His believers (John 20:22; 1 Peter 1:3). Thus when Jesus was raised from the dead over 2,000 years ago, He was the First Fruit:
20 But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep. 21 For since by a man came death, by a man also came the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive. 23 But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, after that those who are Christ’s at His coming (1 Cor 15).
Jesus rose from the dead on the day after the Sabbath—what many call Sunday, or many believers call The Lord’s Day (John 20:1; Rev 1:10), in fulfillment of the type in Leviticus 23:11. That same day Jesus also ascended to the Father, so the Father could enjoy the God-man Jesus:
Jesus *said to her, “Stop clinging to Me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to My brethren and say to them, ‘I ascend to My Father and your Father, and My God and your God.’” (John 20:17)
This ascension was before His public ascension recorded in Acts 1, which happened 40 days after His resurrection. This private ascension was the fulfillment of the word in Leviticus 23:11 –"He shall wave the sheaf before the Lord for you to be accepted; on the day after the sabbath the priest shall wave it.” This waving was the lifting up the Lord Jesus to the heavenlies so the Father can enjoy Him.
God wanted people on earth filled with His divine virtues of love, righteousness, and glory so He could enjoy fellowship and companionship with him
Enjoying the Fruit Daily
God, from the beginning in Genesis 1, desired to have humanity as His counterpart, His expression, His image, and dominion (Gen 1:27-28). God wanted people on earth filled with His divine virtues of love, righteousness, and glory so He could enjoy fellowship and companionship with him (Exo 19:5; Heb 8:10-11). But Satan had frustrated that plan by imparting rebellion, sin and death into man. Now finally, after thousands of years, God had His Son, Jesus, in resurrection--a man in the glory (Acts 3:13), fully expressing God’s image and dominion! (Col 1:15; Rev 1:6) What a joy to the Father! No wonder Jesus told Mary in John 20 to stop clinging to Him---the Father was to have the first enjoyment of His crop—the God-man Jesus, which He labored for so long!
Eventually, after all of the Lord’s transforming work in this Age of Grace, the Father will have many more sons of God to reap in the harvest at the end of this age. Thus Paul says “But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, after that those who are Christ’s at His coming”(1 Cor 15). Every farmer knows this. Some fruit, regardless of the crop, ripens first. Then the rest later. Christ is fully ripened, so both God and man can enjoy Him today. James says the same thing about us:
In the exercise of His will He brought us forth by the word of truth, so that we would be a kind of first fruits among His creatures. (James 1:18)
While we are not the literal first fruits, we are a kind of first fruits, since God already can enjoy the riches of His son in us now, every day, when we express His divine attributes. We are not fully grown as sons of God yet. But to the extent Christ has made His home in our hearts, and we live according to His life in us, we express the fruits of Christ for God to enjoy. These rich attributes of God are not of ourselves, but of the Spirit of Christ who dwells in us:
And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for sonship, the redemption of our body. (Rom 8:23)
So right now we have the first fruits of the Spirit in our heart, even though the completion of salvation is in the future when Christ fully saturates us with Himself, redeeming even our physical bodies to express Him.
Growing Out of the Great Tribulation
So how do we enjoy Christ as our First Fruits? Enjoy His riches in us every day! When we turn to Him, He can strengthen us into our inner man by His Spirit (Eph 3:14-19). When we enjoy His word, His rich Personality can be infused into us (Col 3:16). We can call on His name, sing and thank Him all day long (Eph 5:15-20; 1 Thess 5:16-17; 1 Cor 1:2). We can meet with the other members of His Body to encourage, console, and build each other up in love (1 Cor 14:3, 26; Eph 4:15-16). When we set our mind on this Spirit of Christ in us (Rom 8:5), putting to death the practices of the body by His Spirit (Rom 8:13), and crucify the flesh (Gal 2:20), the wonderful, sweet virtues of Christ flow out of us for all to see and enjoy (2 Cor 2:15). These virtues are the Fruit of the Spirit:
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 meekness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24 Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. (Gal 5)
By living such a life, we will ripen quickly with the divine virtues and become a treasure to God. Because of our faithfulness and diligence, God will take us first when He comes to gather His people to Himself:
These are the ones who have not been defiled with women, for they have kept themselves chaste. These are the ones who follow the Lamb wherever He goes. These have been purchased from among men as first fruits to God and to the Lamb (Rev 14:4).
If you read Revelation carefully, it shows us that God is a farmer. He has sown Himself in Christ on the earth, into human souls (c.f. Matt 13:3). And He expects a harvest. Some believers will grow well, and be harvested early as His First Fruits. The rest will stay on earth to ripen in the sun. What is the sun? Tribulations and sufferings (Matt 13:6,21). At the end of the age Jesus tells us there will be a time of Great Tribulation (Matt 24:21). From our perspective, this tribulation is designed to help us grow. Those believers left behind during the Great Tribulation will grow very quickly as they face the intense persecution. Eventually, all believers will be ripe, and the harvest will come (Rev 14:15).
Next: Enjoying Christ as the Pentecost
- Enjoying Christ as the Pentecost
Christ has poured Himself out as the Spirit of Power, which can be experienced by us today. He is the Spirit of Life within us, and the Spirit of Power upon us. There are three principles to experience Him.