The Ďfirst-fruití means the start of the harvest. In a farmerís field, a small part of the crop becomes ripe before the rest of the crop is ready. It is a very happy time for the farmer when he can gather that first food from his field. He has waited many months for the harvest and now, at last, it has begun.
We can see that the first-fruit was very special. It was proof that the harvest was coming. It was evidence that the farmer had not waited in vain. It seemed like a promise that people would have food for another year.
In ancient Israel, people gave the first-fruit to God. Only God deserved something that was so special and wonderful. They gave the first part of both their grain and their fruit to God.
Paul calls Christ Ďthe first-fruití. When Christ became alive again after his death, that special event was just the beginning of something wonderful. It was evidence that Christ had defeated death. It was proof that the bodies of Godís people, and not just their spirits, will live again. It acted as a wonderful promise about the future of all Godís people.
Paul refers to Ďthe people who sleepí. He means Godís people who have died. Paul refers to death as Ďsleepí because it is not permanent. A person who sleeps will wake again. In the same manner, Godís people who are dead will become alive again. That is as certain as the fact that the harvest follows the first-fruit.
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© 2014, Keith Simons.