First Fruits —what & how many?
Greetings to you brethren! People in the COG know or at least should learn that they must have the Holy Spirit to even be considered a first fruit. There is a recorded message in the Gospel section called the “Heart of a first fruit” that explains some of what that is. On Pentecost of 31 A.D. is when the NT church of God was born, by the pouring out of the Holy Spirit. So let us talk about the first fruits, because there still seems to be confusion on this among some who consider themselves to be brethren! Pentecost for 2019 has now come and gone, (See Acts 2 for more.) fast approaching two thousand years since the time of Christ’s ministry.
I am sure, if you have been in or even grew up around the COG for any length of time, you have probably heard about the first fruits that will be resurrected when Christ returns! (1Thess.4:16-18) The Bible talks about them in various places and in various ways. How many will there be and who are they is the talk and speculation of many; you may even know what some of these COG organizations teach about them. Of course, you may also know that not everyone teaches the same thing on that subject, even based on the SAME passages. Some add to and take from Scripture in their sermons, sad to say. This commentary is not going to go into any elaborate explanation of how “I have come” to know just exactly who they are or will be—from what organization they are going to come from and so on; no, not any of that because you may or may not believe me anyway and I could be wrong! The Bible is what we need to go by anyway, not the ideas of various men or organizations.
However, I am going to comment on some Scriptures that do talk about the first fruits, saying how many and that they will meet Christ when He returns. These first fruits are also called the “Saints” in many places of Scripture. The saints are usually the same as the first fruits, so be sure and check your Bible for and PROVE this material from your own Bible. (For more on the return of Christ and more about that subject, please read “A second time” and also see the Bible study titled “Christ’s return” with its audio, for more.)
The Old Testament talks about the first fruits, which is very relevant to this subject, because those individuals will come up with the NT first fruits (See Heb.11) but for this short commentary, I am only going to focus on the New Testament and what we find there, except for Christ as the God of the Old Testament. (Lev.23:9-14 points to Christs coming and His sacrifice fulfilling the “Wave Sheaf”.) The saints, as stated above can also be a reference to first fruits and that word is mentioned at least 65 times in the NT; which does not count the times when they are called specifically first fruits.
In a nut shell Christ is the first of first fruits, the Head of the Church (Col.1:15-18) having preeminence over them all and is also the King of the saints (See Rev.15:3) that will rule with Him for a thousand years. (Rev.20:4) Let us see this about the first fruits; first Christ in Rom 11:16 “For if the firstfruit be holy, the lump is also holy:” (KJV) 1 Cor.15:20 “But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept.” Now V.23 “But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming.” (KJV) These Scriptures are all common knowledge for the long time members of the COG.
So Christ came to pay the penalty for mankind and to be the first of first fruits, making the way available for the other first fruits, to be revealed at His coming. Paul spoke of those in Rom 8:22-23; “For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. 23 And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, (Given on Pentecost, 31 A.D and thereafter to those who become converted.) even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, (actually “Son-ship”) to wit, the redemption of our body.” KJV The same thing is being talked about in Eph. 1:11-14, saying “In Him (Christ) also we have obtained an inheritance, (the first fruits) being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will, 12 that we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory. 13 In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, 14 who (or which) is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.” NKJV
Those “Sealed” with the Holy Spirit, and stay faithful as this says, are also “first fruits” and await the coming of Christ, but how many will there be? Were there “millions” down through time or just a few? We have to remember not all that were called are actually chosen and not all those chosen actually make it if they do not remain faithful. Then we can learn that those who end up being martyred through the coming tribulation make up the rest of the “number” GOD has previously planned for. So there seems to be a number! (Rev 6:11 “Then a white robe was given to each of them; and it was said to them that they should rest a little while longer, until both the number of their fellow servants and their brethren, who would be killed as they were, was completed.” (NKJV) So whatever the number is, it seems to be very few. (Matt.7:13-14)
Does God leave us with no real number of how many first fruits there will be in the first resurrection? There is a lot of speculation about this, but God does give us a number to focus on in His Word! Many do not want to believe this number and actually add to it, but here it is! Rev 14:4 “These are they that were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These (are) they that follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were purchased from among men, (to be) the firstfruits unto God and unto the Lamb.” (ASV) So why did I focus on this number from these older manuscripts? Because it says they are the first fruits!
Here it is again, in cased you only have a KJV; Rev 14:4 “These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb.” KJV Other more modern translations do not use these words, exactly—so what do you believe or want to believe?
Well my friends, like I said before and in a nut shell—there it is! The Bible says those things! Oh yes, there can be far more to the story, when all is put in place and we should be studying and honest with Scripture and what it really says; (For example, the New Jerusalem seems to have the 144,000 stamped all over it, when you actually focus on the wording!) but these recorded words given here cannot be denied and should not be reasoned around! This is what some of the Scriptures say of those who are “The First fruits” unto God and the Lamb! There is not that many but do we understand everything there is to know about it! For the majority of us, probably not yet but it will be in line with Scripture and what that reveals, being consistent with the rest of what the Scriptures say, not adding to it nor taking from it. (Deut.4:2 & ch.12:32)
(The editor for tcogmso.com)
Back to Home