The Law of First Fruits--Part 2
Feb 11, 2008
There is one area of confusion that I want to clarify. People have often asked me how it is that the barley harvest (i.e., the first resurrection) would occur at the feast of Trumpets in the seventh month, instead of at the time of Passover.
There are layers of meaning and application on many Bible prophecies. Many prophecies have both a corporate and a personal application, and these must be seen in their respective contexts. For instance, the Tabernacle of Moses and the Temple of Solomon had a physical application in the Old Testament. In the New Testament, however, we find that those were just types and shadows of a greater Temple that God intended to inhabit from the beginning. "Do you not know that you are a temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?" Paul asks in 1 Cor. 3:16.
That is the personal application, where you are the complete temple, with body, soul, and spirit representing the outer court, Holy Place, and Most Holy Place. But there is also a corporate application, as Paul tells us in Ephesians 2:20-22. In this corporate application, individual believers are not the whole temple, but are only "living stones" fitted together with many others in that temple (1 Peter 2:5).
So also is it with the Law of First Fruits. In the personal application of this law, we are called to experience three levels in our relationship with God as we grow to maturity. Those levels are depicted through the feasts of Passover (justification), Pentecost (sanctification), and Tabernacles (glorification). The manifested Sons of God are the first to come to maturity and will be given the glorified body in the first resurrection--the barley harvest.
They form the barley harvest because barley was the first of the first fruits to be offered to God. It is the first crop to ripen. But who makes up that company of overcomers? Those who have--as individuals--gone through Passover and have allowed Pentecost to do its work within them. As individuals, they will fulfill the feast of Tabernacles. But as part of the corporate body, they are the barley harvest--the first fruits offered to God.
The second body of first fruits--represented by the wheat--will be brought in at the time of the Great White Throne Judgment. These two groups (barley and wheat) are the only ones properly called first fruits as such, because the rest of creation is the general harvest. As a corporate body, they are referred to as "grapes." But as individuals, they will all bow their knees to Jesus Christ and confess Him as Lord at the Great White Throne Judgment, and this will bring them all into the experience of Passover. This will put them all on the path toward Pentecost, and ultimately they too will be given the glorified body of Tabernacles at the Creation Jubilee.
I hope that this helps to clarify the difference between the personal and the corporate applications.
There also can be more than one corporate application. For instance, Moses' tabernacle and Solomon's temple were both corporate types of the Kingdom, but one was moveable and temporary (a tent), while the other was a house (indicating rest). The first was in a developmental stage, while the other signified permanence. Of course, in the bigger picture, both were types and therefore both proved to be temporary.
A similar relationship existed between the tabernacle of David and the temple of Solomon. David's tabernacle was a temporary tent that functioned until the temple itself was built. This tent to temple relationship can be seen, then, either from Moses to Solomon or from David to Solomon.
In the New Testament, we have the antitypes for each. The tabernacle of David was raised up at the time of Christ's first coming (Acts 15:16), which has functioned during the Pentecostal Age. But this is about to be replaced by the antitype of Solomon's Temple, which was glorified on the eighth day of Tabernacles. So also the first fruits, the Sons of God, will be manifested on the eighth day of Tabernacles in some year. This will be the real fulfillment of the dedication of Solomon's Temple.
We see the same multiple layers when we speak of Timing as well. For instance, the time of Jacob's trouble was originally two periods of 21 years each--first when Jacob was off the land working for Laban, and second when Joseph was separated from his father and his brethren. But these times of Jacob's personal trouble were prophetic of Israel's two times of trouble in the Old Testament, each 210 years long.
The first 210-year period was their stay in Egypt. The second was the separation of Israel from Judah when the Kingdom split in two after the death of Solomon. This separation of the two kingdoms lasted from 931-721 B.C., a period of 210 years, ending with the fall of Samaria.
But there is a second corporate fulfillment to this as well, for when Samaria fell, it did not end with the reunification of Judah with Israel. It merely began a more long-term fulfillment of 12 x 210 years (i.e., 2,520 years). This brings us to the conflict between Britain and America just 200 years ago, where the whole scenario began to replay itself in world history on a new level. I wrote of this in chapter 2 of my book, The Prophetic History of the United States.
It would be much simpler for people to understand these things if there were just one type and one antitype. It would be much easier if people could be justified by faith, and that was all that God required of them. It would be much easier to understand if everyone got the same reward at the same time, and there were not two resurrections followed by a Jubilee later. But I did not draw up the Divine Plan. Complexity may be a problem for us, but it is not a problem for Him. Things are just not so simple that everyone can comprehend the mind of God. I understand this, and for this reason I take it as a divine mission to try to explain divine complexities in an organized manner using common language instead of the language of theologians.
One final matter: In speaking of the wave-sheaf offering of barley, which was to be offered on the day after the Sabbath after Passover, Lev. 23:14 tells us,
"Until this same day, until you have brought in the offering of your God, you shall eat neither bread nor roasted grain nor new growth. It is to be a perpetual statute throughout your generations in all your dwelling places."
In other words, the first fruits of barley had to be waved to God in the temple before men could harvest or eat of the "new growth" of barley. The barley offering waved in the temple was the signal when all could begin harvesting their barley fields. The first fruits offering sanctified the harvest and signaled the time of harvest.
At the first resurrection, the first fruits of "barley" will sanctify a greater harvest for the next thousand years. Some have been taught that this would be the END of the harvest, that this resurrection was somehow a DEADLINE. They have thought that at that time, all believers will go to heaven, and all unbelievers will go to hell. But in fact, this moment signals something much greater in the history of the world. It will be a time of unprecedented world evangelism (harvest), where representatives of many nations will come to learn the ways of God in the heavenly Zion and the New Jerusalem (Isaiah 2:3; Heb. 12:22).
It will be a Sabbath millennium. God will overthrow Babylon, that great oppressor of the earth. This will allow people the freedom and the time to study His Word and His ways. We should be preparing today for that opportunity, instead of preparing to retire in a heavenly rest home on Golden Street. There is much work yet to be done, and soon the first fruits will be properly equipped to do a greater work.
This is the second part of a series titled "The Law of First Fruits." To view all parts, click the link below.
Dr. Stephen Jones