At the resurrection of Christ, He was called the firstfruits of many that rose from the Grave. Note the fact that many bodies of the saints were resurrected when Christ resurrected.
• 1 Cor 15:20… But now is Christ risen from the dead,and become the firstfruits of them that slept.
• Matt 27:50-53…Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost. And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent; and the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, and came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many.
*Biblical resurrection is seen in relation to the Hebrew people and nation of Israel as God continues to redeem those who accept Christ as Savior. Remember, the Church is a living testimony to Israel “Now” and the Church is a testimony to Israel “when it’s removed from this world in the Rapture”. The testimony of the Church that changes the moral make-up of man is a great factor that provokes Israel to jealousy and, her acceptance of Christ before the Great White Throne Judgment. All redeemed saints within the body of Christ receive a holy heart in this present life; but in final redemption there is a reward of Eternal life beyond the grave. Bodily resurrection with a glorified body is Christ’s final redemption.
At the Rapture of the Church a child of God’s body is changed and glorified by the redemptive power of Christ in bodily resurrection. The perfect work of God’s redemption is not limited to the present life only (through deliverance from the bondage of sin). Redemption permits the soul of a believing saint entrance into eternal life in Heaven*. Through the righteous Judgment of a Living God the physical bodies of all believing souls in the Rapture are subsequently changed and glorified into bodies like Christ had after His resurrection.
• Phil 3:21…Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.
*For saintly men and women that die before the Rapture of the Church, Heaven is the Eternal abode of all regenerated souls. For those redeemed, natural life passes and the body goes to the grave, thus Eternal life begins “On the other side, in Paradise”. Jesus from the Cross told the penitent thief on the cross beside Him, “Today you will be with me in Paradise”. For those who are not redeemed by the blood of Christ, torment awaits that soul in Hells Fire of Eternal damnation. In the resurrection of the wicked dead the bodies and souls of the wicked are eternally condemned into a second death at the Judgment seat of the Great White Throne. Jesus spoke more on the subject of Hell and damnation, than He did Heaven.
After natural death a saint’s physical body goes to the grave and remains sown in corruption until redemption of that body takes place in glorification. In this operation of God’s redemption of the physical a resurrected body is, “Raised from the grave and changed by God…incorruptible”.
• 1 Cor 15:42-50…So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption: It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power: It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body. And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit. Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual. The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven. As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly. And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly. Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.
• Rom 8:30…Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.
Through a righteous Judgment of Christ’s redemption of the soul and body, the Rapture of the Church and; the resurrection of the body are seen as an eternal reward received by the child of God. This reward will touch every believer’s soul and body (since the death of Christ), from the “Church in Heaven” where Christ presently makes His abode. The Apostle Paul looked forward to this reward and called it, “the Prize of God’s high calling in Christ”.
• Phil 3:11-15… If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead. Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you.
From the Hebrew basis of the Bible, the firstfruits, the harvest, and the gleanings were various offerings made to God for the redemption of Israel through their worship of God and obedience to the Torah. In contrast to grain offerings and worship made by Israel, living offerings are likewise made by those who receive and accept the Messiahship of Christ.
1. The Firstfruits were Christ himself and all saints that died believing in Him. Like Christ, these Firstfruits were resurrected when Christ rose from the grave.
2. The Harvest, which will happen at the closing of the Church Age are those taken up by God in the Rapture of the Church.
3. The gleanings are those martyred for Christ’s sake during the Great Tribulation and are raised from the grave at the righteous Judgment of Christ. These men and women died for the cause of Christ during the Seven Year Tribulation where the Anti-Christ and satanic activity reigns without the mercy of God. At the end of the seven year Tribulation and the beginning of the 1000 year reign of our Lord the gleanings are glorified, or perfected in a bodily resurrection. That’s why John said, “Blessed and holy is He who has part in the first resurrection on such the second death hath no power”. Revelation 20:4-6
*Bodily resurrection is God’s redemption of the physical body and a righteous Judgment of believing saints. It takes place at various times in the Bible. Calvary was the first resurrection recorded, then the Rapture, then at the end of the seven year Tribulation. These resurrections which are likened to Hebrew offerings to God are summarized as the Firstfruits, the Harvest, and the Gleanings.
The Firstfruits consist of Christ and those that rose at His resurrection from the tomb.
• 1 Cor 15:20… But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept
The Harvest is the dead in Christ that rise from the graves in the Rapture of the Church.
• 1 Thess. 4:16…For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first
The Gleanings are the Tribulation Saints, who were martyred for the cause of Christ. These men and women are those who accept Christ after the Rapture has taken place. The gleanings are called the first resurrection and are those who would not receive the mark of the Beast during the Great Tribulation. This bodily resurrection for Eternity on Earth takes place at the righteous Judgment seat of Christ where the redeemed saints will reign with Christ for 1000 years.
• Rev 5:9…And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take
the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation;
• Rev 20:4-6 And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.