The word “firstfruits” is found 32 times in Scripture, 25 times in the Old Testament, and 7 times in the New Testament. In most cases it refers to “the beginning of the harvest” and it also carried with it the thought of “a sample and pledge of the full harvest to follow.” The first mention of this word is found in Exodus 23 where God commanded the nation of Israel to observe three feasts to Him a year. Let’s read verses 1416, “Three times a year you shall celebrate a feast to Me. You shall observe the Feast of Unleavened Bread; for seven days you are to eat unleavened bread, as I commanded you, at the appointed time in the month Abib, for in it you came out of Egypt. And none shall appear before Me empty-handed. Also you shall observe the Feast of the Harvest of the first fruits of your labors from what you sow in the field; also the Feast of the Ingathering at the end of the year when you gather in the fruit of your labors from the field” (NASB). The “Feast of the Harvest” was a time to celebrate God’s goodness to them in providing food for them. As the children of Israel presented the firstfruits of their crop as an offering to the Lord, they looked on to the larger harvest to come.

In the New Testament the word firstfruits has a symbolical meaning, yet it still has the thought of “a sample and pledge of the harvest to come.” The first reference is found in Romans 8:23: “Not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body” (NKJV). Just as a handful of grain was a sample and a pledge of the full harvest to follow, so the Holy Spirit has given us a foretaste of the full “harvest of blessing” that is coming when Christ returns to give us a new body and to take us home to glory.

Our blessed Lord Jesus is also referred to as the firstfruits in 1 Corinthians 15. In verses 20-23 we read these precious words, “But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming.” Christ’s glorious resurrection from the dead is a sample and a pledge of the resurrection of all who belong to Christ! He conquered death and rose in the power of an endless life, as He stated in Revelation 1:18, “I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore, Amen” (NKJV). Soon He will come again and all those who died believing in Christ will rise from the dead to experience the same victory over death. What a harvest that will be!

Believers are also referred to as firstfruits in James 1:18, “Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.” James is writing to the first believers of the present Age of Grace and they were a sample and a pledge of all who would believe on Christ. Together all believers make up the harvest of souls who are redeemed by God’s amazing grace. Are you among that number, dear friend? If not yet saved, won’t you turn to Christ in true repentance and faith and receive Him as your Savior? If you do, you will experience the firstfruits of the Spirit as He gives you a foretaste of the coming glory as we wait for the Christ, who is the firstfruits of them that slept.  (190.5)  (DO)