A drive through the countryside shows that this year’s long harvest season is finally drawing to a close. After a very wet October and long backups at the grain elevators in November, the crops are finally in.
Perhaps it’s no coincidence that our annual Thanksgiving celebration comes at this time of year, at the close of the harvest, when we can clearly see how the Lord has blessed the land and us.
In Bible times it was different. Their thanksgiving came at the beginning of the harvest. The farmers would take the very first of their produce, put it in a basket, and present it before the Lord as their offering of “firstfruits,” as it is described in Deuteronomy chapter 26. In this way they gave honor to God. It was their way of saying “This is just the beginning, O Lord, and it all belongs to You, for it is You who made the soil and the sun. You are the one who brings the rains, and causes the seeds to grow.”
Our annual in gathering of crops should be a reminder to us all of a greater harvest day that is coming. It will be a harvest of all people, on the day that our Lord Jesus will return and raise all the dead. He will gather all His believers to His right hand side and invite them to enter with Him into eternal life. The Bible says that there will be a great many others who will not be a part of this harvest that leads to life, but will instead be condemned for eternity.
Will you and I be at the Lord’s right hand side on that day? How can we know?
The answer can be found in the harvest picture that God provides in His Word. Remember the firstfruits of the farmers in those days? When the very first produce of the harvest was brought to the Lord, it meant that the rest would surely follow, and all of it really belonged to Him.
In the same way, the first Man who was raised to eternal life is also called the “firstfruits” in 1 Corinthians 15:20: “Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.”
Jesus died because of sins, not His own but for the sins of the world, including yours and mine. When His body returned to life and He rose up into heaven, He became the firstfruits of a great resurrection harvest which will happen on the day that He returns to judge the world.
And you know what that means. It means that the rest will surely follow, and it all belongs to the Lord. When our trust is in His death for us, our own resurrection to eternal life is as certain as the fact that HE is now truly alive! God guarantees it in His Word: “If the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit, who lives in you” (Romans 8:11).
These bodies of ours which grow old and tired and finally fail will find a temporary resting place in the cold ground. But our Lord will come to harvest His own as surely as spring follows winter.
Because Jesus, our firstfruits, has risen, those who belong to Him by faith will not be far behind!