First Fruits in Revelation

First Fruits is celebrated in the spring and falls on Sunday after the first Sabbath during Unleavened Bread.  The spring festivals include holidays celebrated on fixed dates, but First Fruits is celebrated on a certain day of the week.  In the US we celebrate Thanksgiving on a certain day of the week, Thursday.  First Fruits is like that but is celebrated on a Sunday.

Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye come into the land which I give unto you, and shall reap the harvest thereof, then ye shall bring a sheaf of the firstfruits of your harvest unto the priest:  And he shall wave the sheaf before the LORD, to be accepted for you: on the morrow after the sabbath the priest shall wave it. Leviticus 23:10-11

God's command to the Israelites was to celebrate First Fruits as soon as they entered the Promised Land.  This command was based upon the promise of a bountiful harvest.  God will bring them into the land right in time for harvest so they can reap what they did not sow.  

First Fruits is a celebration of a promised harvest and an opportunity to flex your faith muscles by praising God for delivering a promise before it has been fulfilled. It is "knowing" that God will deliver a bounty in due season. 

While still in the wilderness God gave them first fruits in the form of the water he brought forth from the rock and the manna he sent down from Heaven.  This was to inspire faith in the Israelites that God would make good on His promise of the land flowing with milk and honey.  The faith of the Israelites was not increased by these demonstrations so when they reached the land of promise, they were afraid to take what God had promised to deliver to them. 

Israel came into the land right at the beginning of the barley harvest, the first of the grains to be harvested in Israel.  The priest receives the first sheaves of the barley harvest and waves it before the Lord as an acceptable sacrifice because all first fruits belong to the Lord.  Jesus is the first fruits of the dead.  1 Corinthians 15:20-23  He was presented to the Father as a first fruit wave offering on resurrection Sunday.  John 20:17

In the midst of Unleavened Bread on Resurrection Sunday, the women at the crucifixion came to the tomb to tend the body of Christ; but it was not there.  He had risen just as He said!  When the women recognized Jesus, they ran toward Him with great affection wanting to touch and hold Him.  Jesus resisted their touch because He had not ascended to the Father.  I never understood these passages until I understood First Fruits.  I believe it was in this moment that the mysteries hidden in the message of First Fruits began to unfold for the disciples.

The women were anxious to tell the other believers.  They had silently crept through the back streets to the tomb, but now they flew through the city without fear of witness to tell the others that He had indeed risen from the dead.  Peter could not be constrained and ran out before they could even finish their testimony eagerly seeking the face of Jesus.

Jesus was resurrected and offered as first fruits to the Father on what the church now calls Resurrection Sunday. 1 Corinthians 15:20-23  Mary could not touch or hold onto Jesus because He had not ascended to the Father. Later that day, after His presentation to the Father, He met with the disciples and they embraced. John 20:17

First Fruits is a celebration of the barley harvest which precedes the wheat harvest by fifty days.  The first sheaves of barley must be brought to the temple and waved by the priest to be received by God as an acceptable early harvest.  Jesus had to ascend to the Heavenly Temple and present Himself to the Father as first fruits of the dead, those that Christ will resurrect at His coming.  1 Corinthians 15:12-23  Just as the barley harvest is a first fruit of the full harvest of the grains in israel, Jesus is the first fruit of the dead that will be harvested through resurrection at the end of time.

Despite the hardship, how wonderful to have been born at that time and witnessed the resurrected Christ.  What an amazing thing to see.  Certainly, you would be changed forever.  The saints will witness something similar.  The 144,000 will be resurrected as first fruits of the final generation.  They will ascend to the Father and the Son as an acceptable early harvest.  Revelation 11:11-12; 14:1-5  

Throughout the bible the theme remains constant.  Where there is a First Fruits, there will be a Pentecost.  First Fruits always follows Unleavened Bread and Passover.  Now that we have reviewed what God has demonstrated to us through the Israelite nation and how Christ fulfilled the spring festivals at His first coming, we are ready to learn about the end-time application of First Fruits in Revelation 14

These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb.  Revelation 14:4

In Revelation 14 we find a passage that identifies a group of people as being offered to God and the Lamb as first fruits.  The entire harvest depends upon the acceptability of the first fruits.  Therefore, my primary question would be, "Are the 144,000 an acceptable first fruits harvest?"  The answer is clear in the very next verse.

And in their mouth was found no deceit, for they are without fault before the throne of God.  Revelation 14:5

In this passage, the first fruits are before the throne of God in the heavenly temple.  Therefore, the first fruits have suffered earthly hardship, but reaped heavenly reward.   The have been redeemed from the earth and are in Heaven.  Their ascension is a promise to those that behold the wrath of God and live through it, that resurrection is real and the coming of Jesus is certain.  

They sang as it were a new song before the throne, before the four living creatures, and the elders; and no one could learn that song except the hundred and forty-four thousand who were redeemed from the earth.  Revelation 14:3 

The 144,000 sing the redemption song sang by the twenty-four elders.  They have been redeemed from the earth.  Like the elders, they are before the throne of God singing their song.  God has proclaimed them worthy to be in His presence.  And all of Heaven accepts His proclamation and supports their singing by joining in with their voices and their harps.  It is the voice of God (of many waters and loud thunder) that is leading the choir. 

And I heard a voice from heaven, like the voice of many waters, and like the voice of loud thunder.  And I heard the sound of harpists playing their harps.  Revelation 14:2

It is a blessing of magnificent proportion for all humanity when the first fruits are received as an acceptable sacrifice assuring the bountiful harvest of the earth.  We know that it will soon be time to receive all the saints of God.  Those that are dead in Christ awaiting the resurrection have assurance because He was the first fruits of the dead.  The living waiting on the final harvest have assurance because God and the Lamb received the 144,000 prophets as first fruits of the final generation.

And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with him an hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father's name written in their foreheads. Revelation 14:1

The 144,000 are standing on Mount Zion have the Father's name on their foreheads identifying them as prophets.  Ezekiel 3:8-9  They are on the mountaintop serving in the same position as Moses in the wilderness.  He ascended to the mountaintop to be with God and descended with the law on Pentecost.  The 144,000 will appear with the Lamb and the Father when they come bringing in the sheaves of wheat on Pentecost, also known as Ingathering.  Matthew 13:24-30  The law will be revealed at their coming and those that cannot stand will be slain by the two-edged sword of the Word, but those that love the Word of God will be redeemed.  Revelation 19:11-15  When did God mark the 144,000 with His name and identify them as prophets?

And after these things I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree.

And I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God: and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea,
Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads.

And I heard the number of them which were sealed: and there were sealed an hundred and forty and four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel.
  Revelation 7:1-8

When the winds of strife begin to blow, people will be terrified.  They will suddenly have a need to know.  The blowing of the winds of strife brings catastrophe to the earth providing opportunity for the 144,000 to minister to the nations of the world during a time of great need.  God desires to reveal His plan and purpose to those that have ears to hear so He will provide the 144,000 with special understanding regarding end-time events. 

The frontal lobes of the brain are behind the forehead.  This is where we process information and make good decisions.  God's name is mysterious, but the 144,000 know His name, His character and His plans.  When the angels let go of the winds of strife, the days of awe begin.  The days of awe provide the world's opportunity to be reconciled to God.  God will make as much noise as possible to get the attention of the people and anything that can be shaken will be shaken.  He marks this time with the sounds of the shofar trumpeting in the Days of Awe to wake us up!  He is coming and we need to make preparation to meet Him.   The knowledge shared by the 144,000 during this time will help us make good decisions during a time of great delusion.  Our preparation during this time will determine if the Day of the Lord is a blessing or a curse to you and me. 

The sealing in the forehead has long been the mark of a prophet. Ezekiel 3:8-9; 9:4  The 144,000 are known as servants of God which is also an Old Testament title given to prophets.  Amos 3:6-8  God is about to do some great thing.  Will He do something great and not reveal it to his servants the prophets?  No, because God does not work like that. 

God is about to chastise the world because He loves us and hopes to draw all mankind to Himself in the time of trouble mixed with mercy before He pours out His wrath without mercy.  Men and women are the most inclined to have an ear for God during travailing times; therefore, God's prophets, anointed with the Holy Spirit will speak on His behalf during a time of sorrow.  It is His desire that the nations seek The Way and avoid God's wrath.

Shall a trumpet be blown in the city, and the people not be afraid? shall there be evil in a city, and the LORD hath not done it?  Surely the Lord GOD will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets.   The lion hath roared, who will not fear? the Lord GOD hath spoken, who can but prophesy?  Amos 3:6-8

Just before the winds of strife begin to blow initiating the beginning of sorrows for the whole world, the 144,000 will be identified as prophets.  When God is about to make Himself known in a mighty way, the first thing He does is identify His voice of authority. Revelation 10:1-7 He did so with Moses as the Israelites were leaving Egypt.  Exodus 11:1-3   He did it again with Joshua as the Israelites were about to take the land of Canaan.  Joshua 3:7

Many will hear the voice of God in the prophetic message delivered by the 144,000.  Many more will not.  The result of the prophecy of the 144,000 will be the repentance of a great multitude which will come out of Babylon (the world) and worship the Living God.  Revelation 7:9-17  This is the process of bringing in the sheaves, or the harvest of the world.

The 144,000 willingly prophesy to a people that are in spiritual Babylon, as hardhearted as Pharaoh himself and unwilling to leave Egypt.  However, God will make the forehead of the 144,000 like the forehead of Ezekiel when he had to speak to the Israelites.  Ezekiel 3  God knew the Israelites were not going to hear Ezekiel because they would not listen to Him, but He sent Ezekiel as a witness against them. 

In Ezekiel 3 God tells Ezekiel to eat a scroll.  It tastes as sweet as honey to Ezekiel, but when he went to speak to the Israelites, he went in bitterness.  In fact, he sat down by the river bank in dismay for seven days.  The Lord comes to Ezekiel and commands that he gets up and delivers his message.  God has to remind him of the cost of being a prophet.  You must deliver the message or bear the blood of the intended audience.  The Spirit of God enters Ezekiel so he can stand and speak the words of God.

The 144,000 will have a similar experience.  The human body, which is just a clay vessel, cannot do the work of God unless the witness of God is within it.  There were two that were sent to the earth to witness of God.  One is the spirit of God that moves upon men and the other was the Word of God that became flesh.  1 John 5:6; John 8:17-18  

When a clay vessel embodies these two witnesses, the power that can emanate from that clay vessel is beyond human measure.  Ezekiel had to have it before he could carry out his mission and the 144,000 must have it as well.  All prophets must have the spirit of prophecy or the testimony of Jesus.  Revelation 19:10

The world hates these two witnesses because the world hates Jesus.  Every time a believer embodies the two witnesses, the world will abuse them.  The reason John was banished to the Isle of Patmos was because of the two witnesses.  Revelation 1:9-10  However, John would not have been chosen to receive the vision if he were void of the two witnesses.  Revelation 1:2 

Without the two witnesses, the souls that were under the altar would not have been sacrificed by the world.  Revelation 6:9  However, they were not fit sacrifices without the two witnesses.  The brethren that were accused by Satan could not have overcome his accusations if they had not had the two witnesses.  Revelation 12:11  The saints can not possess enough patience to wait on God without the two witnesses.  Revelation 14:12  The 144,000 will embody these two witnesses to the degree demanded by the last days, and they will be the most powerful prophets (except Jesus) ever anointed.

In Revelation 10 an angel with the rainbow on his head, with his feet on the land and the sea, swears by God (Who can swear by God but God?) that the delay is almost over.  When the seventh trumpet sounds, the mystery that has been declared to the servants the prophets (144,000) will be revealed.  How do you get to be one of these prophets?  It is by invitation.  When you hear the lion roar, immediately submit your RSVP.   Amos 3:6-8; Revelation 10:3  Before the trumpets begin to sound, God invites today's believer to take and eat the book He has opened before you.  When you eat it, it will be the sweetest spiritual experience of your life.   Revelation 10:8-9  You are then commanded to tell what you know by prophesying to all the people of the whole world regardless of their race or class. 

Who are the 144,000?  There is much debate about the identification of the 144,000.  I have studied all the explanations I can find and see merit in most of them; however, they all leave me short in their explanations.  I haven't read any of commentaries that find it significant for the 144,000 to be first fruits.  I think it is such an important detail in their description that it sets parameters for the other identifying facts.

Certainly the 144,000 are the ones that eat the open book and follow the command to prophesy.  This kind of faith makes you a descendent of Abraham.  A greater claim than that is to be born from The Seed of Abraham which is Christ.  This inheritance surpasses that of Abraham which is earthly, but permits you to partake of the Heavenly heritage of Christ.  And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.  Galatians 3:29

The Jewish nation has been called chosen by God.  The Jewish people were not chosen by God because they were special; but because they chose God, He made them special.  They are the chosen people because they were the choosing people.  The 144,000 will enter Heaven's Promised Land as First Fruits of the harvest because they will choose to serve God as prophets to the last generation. 

After reading Revelation 10 and comparing it to Ezekiel 3, I believe the 144,000 have ears to hear their calling.  They choose like Isaiah to say, "Here am I. Send me."  Isaiah 6:7-9  The 144,000 will weigh the things of this world against the kingdom of God and will forfeit all they are and all they have in this world for the one to come.  I believe many will be called, but only a few will answer the call because everyone wants to sit around the banqueting table, but workers in the field are harder to find.  John 4:35-36 

The rich young ruler asked Jesus what he could do to inherit the kingdom.  Jesus told him to sell all he had.  He weighed his stuff in the balance against his treasures in Heaven and the things of the kingdom came up short.  His mind could not perceive the richness of his inheritance in Christ; yet, he was sad.  Why was he sad?  He went away sad because his spirit revealed to him that his mind lacked vision.  Intuitively, he knew he made a bad financial decision.  What do you have in this world that is worth more than the kingdom?  What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses his soul?  Matthew 16:26  That is the message of the 144,000.  As first fruits, they will demonstrate their love for Christ by willingly putting aside their lifestyles, livelihood and lives to be workers in the fields preparing for a bountiful wheat harvest at Pentecost.  Hope to see you there!

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