Easter (Resurrection Sunday), the First Fruits and the First Resurrection (31 Mar 2013)


Easter (Resurrection Sunday) for Christians speaks of the victory of Christ over death. The synoptic Gospels declare “He has risen!” (Mat 28:6-7; Mark 16:6, 14; Luke 24:6, 24). In the Gospel of John, the risen Christ said to Peter, “Follow Me!” This call to follow Christ is the same call that Peter first received at the beginning of His ministry.
The word “Easter” appears only once in the English Bible (Acts 12:4 KJV). It was translated incorrectly from the Greek word is “pascha” (Passover). All other English translations have “Passover.” The same word “pascha” is translated as Passover in the KJV in 1 Corinthians 5:7 and Hebrews 11:28.
Just like Christmas, the world commercializes the pagan origins of Easter. So many churches prefer to call it “Resurrection Sunday.” So while the world celebrates with eggs and rabbits, we the Christian church should celebrate Christ’s resurrection. He has conquered sin, death, and defeated the devil.
We greet one another with the Gospel greeting: He is not here (in the tomb)! He is risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia! (Praise the Lord!)
The First Fruits. The Feast of First Fruits is the third major feast of Israel. This comes after the Passover Feast and the Feast of Unleavened Bread.  The the first harvest of Israel is the barley harvest. Then after counting fifty days, there is the Feast of Pentecost (Lev 23:15-16).
Jesus fulfilled the Feast of First Fruits when He rose from the dead. Then on the day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit descended on the twelve apostles of Jesus (Acts 1:26-2:1, 14).  About 3000 God-fearing Jews and heard the gospel preached to them, each in their own language, and believed. Thus the Church was born on the day of Pentecost in Acts 2.
The First Resurrection
Blessed and holy are those who have part in the first resurrection. The second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him for a thousand years” (Rev 20:6).
“I tell you the truth, I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it anew in the kingdom of God” (Mar 14:25 NIV).
The kingdom of God refers to the millennial kingdom of Jesus Christ.
After Jesus Christ Himself the “first fruits” (1 Cor 15:20), those who have part in the first resurrection are (1) “the dead in Christ” at His coming (1 Thess 4:16), (2) those who are alive at the Rapture, and (3) the resurrection of the OT saints and Tribulation martyrs at the end of the Tribulation (Revelation 20:4).

So like the Tribulation saints who follow the Lamb through the Great Tribulation (Rev 14:4), we ought to heed the same call that the risen Christ has given to Peter, “Follow Me!” Are you still following Christ, the risen Lord and Saviour?

Elder Yoong Yuen Soo