Comparisons of the Feast of the First Fruits, Jesus' Resurrection and the First Fruit of Mankind
FEAST OF FIRST FRUITS
‘When you enter the land I am going to give you and you reap its harvest, bring to the priest a sheaf of the first grain you harvest.
The land (promised land or final Kingdom Harvest) was to become a period of the harvest of souls for the Kingdom of God. This would be the first fruits of the harvest (the redemption of those old testament believers that waited in Abraham's Bosom) through to Pentecost, the beginning of the Age of Grace to both Jew and Gentile believers, and on to the Rapture (the lifting up of the Body of Christ) and finally those saved during the period of Tribulation. This began by Jesus Christ being raised from the dead as the first fruit presented to God the Father, followed by the resurrection of old testament believers from Abraham's Bosom being the first fruits of mankind. This festival following the Feast of Unleavened Bread was known as “Reshit Katzir” meaning "the beginning of the Harvest." On this day as was the custom, a sheaf (or omer) of barley (the first grain crop to ripen) was waved before the Lord in a prescribed ceremony to begin at the start of the "counting of the omer." From the first ripened grain; 49 days would be counted until the Harvest Festival of Shavout (Pentecost) when the crop would be harvested. The meaning of this is that the resurrected old testament believers were the first fruits of the resurrection after Christ and 49 days later the Age of Grace (or Church Age/Bride of Christ) would begin and end with the rapture of the Bride to Heaven. This Kingdom Age does not finish here, but includes all those that will be redeemed during the period after the rapture known as the Period of Tribulation.
He is to wave the sheaf before the LORD so it will be accepted on your behalf; the priest is to wave it on the day after the Sabbath.
The waving of the sheaf (the ultimate peace offering) is Christ’s death and resurrection when he appeared to many exactly on the day after the Sabbath. The first day of the week – Sunday, this began at 6:00 P.M. on Saturday evening.
Thus having been dead for three days and three nights as he predicted.
This can be seen below:
But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. For as a man came from death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. Jesus resurrection was in this context a "Wave Offering" presented to the Father as the beginning of the harvest. This was followed by the "first fruits" of mankind into the Kingdom. This can be seen in the following scripture:
The tombs also were opened. And many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised, and coming out of the tombs after his resurrection they went into the Holy City and appeared to many.
Jesus offered Father God the first grain of the early crop which will finish with a great harvest of souls at the end of the age.
Jesus is the first begotten of the Father.
Jesus is the first born of creation.
Jesus is the first begotten of the dead.
Jesus is the first fruits of those who are to be resurrected.
1 Corinthians 15:20-22
Matthew 27: 52-53
1 Corinthians 15:20-23
The First Fruits - 144 000 and their Purpose and Ministry
Time Frames and Comparisons
Then I looked, and there before me was the Lamb, standing on Mount Zion, and with him 144,000 who had his name and his Father’s name written on their foreheads. 2 And I heard a sound from heaven like the roar of rushing waters and like a loud peal of thunder. The sound I heard was like that of harpists playing their harps. 3 And they sang a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and the elders. No one could learn the song except the 144,000 who had been redeemed from the earth.
Without knowledge of the Jewish Feasts (The Appointed Times) and their manifest meaning it is almost impossible to interpret these scriptures and their intended revelation. This is specifically the case in the Feast of First Fruits. This is why there is so much mystery to who the 144 000 are.
This scene could either describe an event physically on Mount Zion after the resurrection from Abraham’s Bosom, but before ascension to Paradise with Jesus Christ, or an event in Paradise after ascension.
It is possible that this event may even be after the period of Tribulation in Jerusalem.
The secret is that the 144 000 are those redeemed from the earth. Jesus went to redeem those from the earth in Abraham’s Bosom through the perfect sacrifice on the cross.
4 These are those who did not defile themselves with women, for they remained virgins. They follow the Lamb wherever he goes. They were purchased from among mankind and offered as firstfruits to God and the Lamb. 5 No lie was found in their mouths; they are blameless.
Who are they?
There is absolutely no question as to who the 144 000 are. They were those who remained in Paradise below the earth (from the 12 Tribes of Israel) in Abraham’s Bosom where they remained in a state abstinence from all earthly things that defile. They were those who were purchased among mankind (the first to be redeemed through Jesus death on the cross), the first fruits offered to Jesus and God (Father, Son and Holy Spirit). Many commentators believe they would be the first fruits of salvation during the period of Tribulation. This simply cannot be so according to the Word of God and to the Truth and immense significance of the resurrection of the Old Testament Saints during the Feast of Weeks at the Resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ who was the first fruit
1 Corinthians 15: 20-23
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. 23 But each in turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him.
Proof of Who the First Fruits Are
Jesus rose first from all who had died. Then the first fruits, those who waited in Abraham’s Bosom for the perfect atonement and sacrifice of His Blood. Then those who die in Christ from Pentecost and those martyred during Tribulation who will be raised and seen upon the earth at His second coming (The Day of Atonement and the Final Ingathering of the Harvest) before the Millennium begins.
The Time Sequencing of this entire Chapter is incredibly important to prove who the 144 000 are. This time sequencing continues after the resurrection of those who had fallen asleep (died) and kept in Abraham’s Bosom until the Perfect Sacrifice to atone for their sins and to Redeem them was attained.
Then I saw another angel flying in mid-air, and he had the eternal gospel to proclaim to those who live on the earth—to every nation, tribe, language and people. 7 He said in a loud voice, “Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of his judgment has come. Worship him who made the heavens, the earth, the sea and the springs of water.”
The Age or Period of Grace or the Church Age
This proclamation is the Period of Grace. A time of restitution for both Jew and Gentile to be able to receive salvation through the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross to reconcile man to God. This involves the rebirth experience (To be Born Again) or Salvation in which we become a new creation in Christ Jesus. This is achieved through repenting of all sin and receiving Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. We are then Baptised into the Body of Christ by the Holy Spirit and we are Baptised into the Holy Spirit by Jesus Christ. Thus being reconciled to God and becoming Children of God. Only through the grace and unmerited favour by the act of Jesus Christ as the perfect sacrifice to save us from our sin and to cleanse us of all wrongdoing. This period began at Pentecost (the birth of the True Church or rather the Body of Christ) and is extended through until the Rapture of the Church, rather the Body of Christ, also and very significantly known as the “Bride of Christ.”
Those who do not accept this incredible sacrifice and redemptive offer are judged immediately upon death. The good news of Jesus Christ is that all can be saved from this terrible predicament and torment.
8 A second angel followed and said, “‘Fallen! Fallen is Babylon the Great,’[a] which made all the nations drink the maddening wine of her adulteries.”
The Second Period to Follow
This is most likely to be after the Rapture or the Snatching away of the Bride of Christ by the way the different periods are described.
Who or what is Babylon the Great? In old testament times it is described as Babylon which is today close to Bagdad in Iraq. If the periods described are chronological, then it is not describing the present site. It must be looked at in what spirit is carried from Babylon to the present day incumbent. Most likely Babylon will be the most important city-state/nation/empire on Earth. Today there is only one nation that fits this bill and that’s America. It may not be physically America, but a vast economic system that traverses nations. Perhaps, something like the intended New World Order. It could also be a combination of both. This period could occur in the first half of Tribulation.
Revelation 14: 9-11
9 A third angel followed them and said in a loud voice: “If anyone worships the beast and its image and receives its mark on their forehead or on their hand, 10 they, too, will drink the wine of God’s fury, which has been poured full strength into the cup of his wrath. They will be tormented with burning sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and of the Lamb. 11 And the smoke of their torment will rise for ever and ever. There will be no rest day or night for those who worship the beast and its image, or for anyone who receives the mark of its name.”
The Third Period
Undoubtedly, this is the period of the second half of Tribulation.
There is far too much to cover here in this context, but a study of Tribulation in its entirety would bring greater revelation.
More importantly those who take the mark of the beast will suffer the consequences of God’s wrath during this period.
This period will end with the Day of Atonement and Christ’s return to earth. At this time redemption and judgement are meted out by the Lord Jesus Christ. It would appear that this judgement to hell is contained where they drink from the wine of God’s fury, which has been poured full strength into the cup of his wrath. Towards the end of the Millennium, after the revolt of those who follow Satan, once he is released from the Abyss, they and Satan are judged at the Great White Throne Judgement and are thrown into the Lake of Fire. This alludes more directly to:
“They will be tormented with burning sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and of the Lamb. 11 And the smoke of their torment will rise for ever and ever. There will be no rest day or night for those who worship the beast and its image, or for anyone who receives the mark of its name.”
Revelation 14: 12-13
12 This calls for patient endurance on the part of the people of God who keep his commands and remain faithful to Jesus.
13 Then I heard a voice from heaven say, “Write this: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.”
“Yes,” says the Spirit, “they will rest from their labor, for their deeds will follow them.”
Reflection on Knowledge Given
This knowledge given to believers encourages us to keep all God’s commands and live by His Word and Spirit as we wait for all things to happen.
Only because of our adoption as Sons of God, or Children of God our blessed hope is that even if we should die, yet we will live and be resurrected and have everlasting life.
God will give us final rest from this life and our deeds of choosing and following Jesus Christ as our saviour, will reap huge reward insofar as it is described in 1 Corinthians 2:
1 Corinthians 2:9
“What no eye has seen,
what no ear has heard,
and what no human mind has conceived” the things God has prepared for those who love him—
The Reward of Accepting Jesus Christ as Saviour and Receiving Salvation
1 Thessalonians 4: 13-18
14 I looked, and there before me was a white cloud, and seated on the cloud was one like a son of man with a crown of gold on his head and a sharp sickle in his hand.
This depicts two events at the Trumpet Call of God - Rapture of the Bride of Christ and the beginning of the Seven Days of Awe or Tribulation:
1. 13 Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. 14 For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. 15 According to the Lord’s word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. 18 Therefore encourage one another with these words.
At this time, the believers in Christ will escape the tribulation on earth and will be taken to Heaven in the Rapture along with the righteous who had died before this time. The righteous that have died include the Old Testament believers who were justified through Jesus’s death and brought from Abraham’s bosom and seen in Jerusalem and ascended to heaven. Also all believers after Pentecost who have received Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit at rebirth and have since died.
Revelation 14: 15-20
Isaiah 63: 1-6
15 Then another angel came out of the temple and called in a loud voice to him who was sitting on the cloud, “Take your sickle and reap, because the time to reap has come, for the harvest of the earth is ripe.” 16 So he who was seated on the cloud swung his sickle over the earth, and the earth was harvested.
17 Another angel came out of the temple in heaven, and he too had a sharp sickle. 18 Still another angel, who had charge of the fire, came from the altar and called in a loud voice to him who had the sharp sickle, “Take your sharp sickle and gather the clusters of grapes from the earth’s vine, because its grapes are ripe.” 19 The angel swung his sickle on the earth, gathered its grapes and threw them into the great winepress of God’s wrath. 20 They were trampled in the winepress outside the city, and blood flowed out of the press, rising as high as the horses’ bridles for a distance of 1,600 stadia.
2. This trumpet call of God will also herald the beginning of the seven days of Awe or the Seven Years of Tribulation upon the earth. It will begin at the Feast of Trumpets (Rapture) and end on the Day of Atonement (the Lords second coming to earth).
This can be described further
in Isaiah 63 –
Who is this coming from Edom, from Bozrah, with his garments stained crimson?
Who is this, robed in splendor, striding forward in the greatness of his strength?
“It is I, proclaiming victory, mighty to save.”
2 Why are your garments red, like those of one treading the winepress?
3 “I have trodden the winepress alone;
from the nations no one was with me. I trampled them in my anger and trod them down in my wrath; their blood spattered my garments,
and I stained all my clothing.
4 It was for me the day of vengeance; the year for me to redeem had come.
5 I looked, but there was no one to help, I was appalled that no one gave support;
so my own arm achieved salvation for me, and my own wrath sustained me.
6 I trampled the nations in my anger; in my wrath I made them drunk and poured their blood on the ground.”
While the terrible period of the Days of Awe is in progress, there will also come a great harvest of souls, what is called “the final ingathering of the harvest of souls.” This is the very last of those who can find salvation in the redemption through the sacrifice of the Lamb of God (Jesus) who died upon the cross. As the Age of Grace, or Church Age has closed at the rapture, these souls, as the old testament saints who died before crucifixion, will not be born again nor form the “Bride of Christ,” but will be redeemed into the Kingdom of God (the final harvest of the Kingdom).
2 Thessalonians 2: 5-12
5 Don’t you remember that when I was with you I used to tell you these things? 6 And now you know what is holding him back, so that he may be revealed at the proper time. 7 For the secret power of lawlessness is already at work; but the one who now holds it back will continue to do so till he is taken out of the way. 8 And then the lawless one will be revealed whom the Lord Jesus will overthrow with the breath of his mouth and destroy by the splendor of his coming. 9 The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with how Satan works. He will use all sorts of displays of power through signs and wonders that serve the lie, 10 and all the ways that wickedness deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. 11 For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie 12 and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness.
Further Evidence of this is:
Due to the Holy Spirits significant part in Christians receiving Salvation during the Age of Grace. They are Born-Again of the Spirit (Holy Spirit). When the Body of Christ is lifted from the earth at the Rapture, so is the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit’s drawing away in His role in Rebirth (as the Age of Grace closes) is also to allow the lawless one to be revealed (the Anti-Christ). The Holy Spirit’s role during this period, because He is also part of the Godhead, is one of immense power of God on the earth, as He worked and ministered in Old Testament Times, so will He during Tribulation.
During the bridal week (seven days translated literally as seven years), the groom and bride have relations in the bridal chamber. At the end of the week, there is a marriage supper. Compare Judges 14, Rev. 19, and Genesis 29:22-28.
This bridal week will be the tribulation week on earth, while the bride of Christ is in heaven.
Revelation 7: 1-4
Revelation 14: 1
After this I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding back the four winds of the earth to prevent any wind from blowing on the land or on the sea or on any tree. 2 Then I saw another angel coming up from the east, having the seal of the living God. He called out in a loud voice to the four angels who had been given power to harm the land and the sea: 3 “Do not harm the land or the sea or the trees until we put a seal on the foreheads of the servants of our God.” 4 Then I heard the number of those who were sealed: 144,000 from all the tribes of Israel.
30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.
Are the 144 000 two different groups of people in Revelation 7 and 14?
The answer clearly has to be no, they are the same group. Evidence of this is:
1 Then I looked, and there before me was the Lamb, standing on Mount Zion, and with him 144,000 who had his name and his Father’s name written on their foreheads.
3 “Do not harm the land or the sea or the trees until we put a seal on the foreheads of the servants of our God.”
4 Then I heard the number of those who were sealed: 144,000 from all the tribes of Israel.
The seal is in the name of the Father and of Jesus and it appears in all probability that it was inserted at the same time.
What is Significant about the Seal?
At Re-birth (Salvation) we are Baptised into the Body of Christ through the Holy Spirit and we are Baptised into the Holy Spirit by Jesus Christ. This is what is meant, “To be born again of the Spirit of God.” When this happens, we are sealed as an authoritive guarantee that we belong to God and are His alone.
The Seal of the 144 000 is somewhat different. They are sealed with the Name of the Father and of Jesus. The seal of the Holy Spirit is not mentioned. Is this a scriptural oversight?
It appears the Old Testament Believers were not Born Again, but Redeemed through the perfect sacrifice on the cross. Likewise, believers in Christ after the Rapture and during Tribulation receiving salvation, will not be Born Again, but Redeemed . Redeemed by Christ and reconciled to the Father.
Is there further evidence that the 144 000 were taken with Jesus Christ at His Ascension?
Ephesians 4: 7-10
7 But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it. 8 This is why it says:
“When he ascended on high, he took many captives and gave gifts to his people.” 9 (What does “he ascended” mean except that he also descended to the lower, earthly regions? 10 He who descended is the very one who ascended higher than all the heavens, in order to fill the whole universe.)
At Jesus Ascension, he took captives (those previously held in Abraham’s Bosom) while he also gave gifts to His Children, Authoritive Ministry Offices and the Gifts of the Spirit to all believers.
Revelation 9: 2-4
The sun and sky were darkened by the smoke from the Abyss. 3 And out of the smoke locusts came down on the earth and were given power like that of scorpions of the earth. 4 They were told not to harm the grass of the earth or any plant or tree, but only those people who did not have the seal of God on their foreheads.
God deals specifically with the Nation of Israel from the beginning of time to Pentecost. He calls Israel to be a Holy Nation of Priests unto God. Old Testament Believers are the first to be resurrected, but their ultimate purpose is not fulfilled. They Ascend to Paradise with the Lord and await their final purpose in this dispensation. The Age of Grace or Church Age only lasts from Pentecost to the Rapture. In this time God calls Believers in Jesus Christ a Holy Nation of Priests.
1 Peter 2: 9
9 But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.
Once the Bride of Christ has been Raptured, God turns His attention fully once again to the Nation of Israel to fulfil His purposes.
God does this in two ways:
1. Enoch and Elijah are returned to the earth to become witnesses to the Nation of Israel and to the World and oppose the Anti-Christ. A very significant point as to why these two Prophets are selected is that they never died. They were lifted from the earth while they were still alive. They are martyred on earth during Tribulation fulfilling the scripture:
27 Just as people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment
To fulfil the truth of God’s Word, they could not die twice.
There is only one generation that will not experience death. That is the generation of Born-Again believers at the time of the Rapture.
It is most likely that the three and a half years they witness on the earth starts somewhere between the beginning of Tribulation and mid Tribulation and ends somewhere between Mid and the End of Tribulation.
2. The Old Testament believers were also set aside to conclude the Great Harvest or the final ingathering of the Harvest. Like the two final witnesses, they too are returned to the earth to form the final witness. They become the greatest evangelicals ever as they bring multitudes to Christ who cannot be counted. As many or most of the multitudes will give their lives in martyrdom during these gravely distressed days, the 144 000 witnesses are unharmed. This is because they have the Seal of God upon their Heads. As in the Passover, the Door Frames were Sealed or Painted with Blood so the Angel of Death would pass over them and be spared. So in Tribulation will the Judgements upon the earth be passed over them without harming them.
If this 144 000 were to be normal Jewish Messianic Believers, it is very unlikely they would have the ability to bring so many to Christ. In the present Church Age, with all the gifting and power given to us by the precious Holy Spirit, we are unable to accomplish what they will in the very end times.
This is the reason this will be achieved:
• Like the two witnesses, they will be the final witness.
• Why will they be different and accomplish so much. Amongst the 144 000 will be Adam, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Aaron, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, the Minor Prophets, King David, Solomon.
• Such men of the foundation of faith in God and of the Patriarchs of Israel, resurrected upon the earth and witnessing, will convince the hardest unbelieving Jew and Israeli.
• This will also convince the Gentile multitudes that the witness and truth of Salvation through Jesus Christ is “the way, the truth and the life.”
• Together with this witness and the final appearing of Jesus Christ as King in His second coming will fulfil the scripture.
25 I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers and sisters, so that you may not be conceited: Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in, 26 and in this way all Israel will be saved. As it is written:
“The deliverer will come from Zion; he will turn godlessness away from Jacob.
27 And this is my covenant with them when I take away their sins.”
28 As far as the gospel is concerned, they are enemies for your sake; but as far as election is concerned, they are loved on account of the patriarchs, 29 for God’s gifts and his call are irrevocable. 30 Just as you who were at one time disobedient to God have now received mercy as a result of their disobedience, 31 so they too have now become disobedient in order that they too may now receive mercy as a result of God’s mercy to you. 32 For God has bound everyone over to disobedience so that he may have mercy on them all.
Revelation 7: 9-17
9 After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. 10 And they cried out in a loud voice:
“Salvation belongs to our God,
who sits on the throne,
and to the Lamb.”
11 All the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures. They fell down on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, 12 saying:
Praise and glory
and wisdom and thanks and honor
and power and strength
be to our God for ever and ever.
13 Then one of the elders asked me, “These in white robes—who are they, and where did they come from?”
14 I answered, “Sir, you know.”
And he said, “These are they who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. 15 Therefore, “they are before the throne of God and serve him day and night in his temple; and he who sits on the throne will shelter them with his presence.
16 ‘Never again will they hunger; never again will they thirst.
The sun will not beat down on them,’ nor any scorching heat.
17 For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd;
‘he will lead them to springs of living water.’
‘And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.
At the fullness of the Gentiles coming in (the Rapture) Israel gets another chance to receive Salvation in Jesus Christ, their true Messiah. Through the 144 000 who follow the Lamb in obedience wherever He goes, the last of the Israelis and the Gentiles will come in at the last “great ingathering of the Harvest.”
Their Divine and extraordinary Ministry will fall mainly in the second half of Tribulation.
At the return of Jesus Christ, He comes to rule on earth from Jerusalem. Hence the words “They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands.”
As on Palm Sunday, it celebrates Jesus Triumphant entry into Jerusalem, this time not as the sacrificial lamb, but who He truly is, King of Kings. From here Jesus rules on earth as King for a thousand years and His throne is established on earth from where these redeemed believers in God (washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb) will serve Him day and night in His Temple.
Jesus will lead them in perfect peace during His Millennium Rule on earth.