[April 15]
Now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. I Corinthians 15:20
OTHERS have been awakened from the sleep of death temporarily merely to relapse into it again subsequently, but our Lord Jesus was "the firstborn from the dead," the "firstfruits of them that slept"—as the apostle declares, he was the first that should rise from the dead. His resurrection was the life resurrection— to perfection on the spirit plane. In that he was the firstfruits of them that slept, the implication is that others slept similarly and are to come forth in the resurrection as spirit beings after the same manner. To be the first-fruits implies that the others will be of the same kind, for although our Lord was the first-fruits of all that slept in the sense that his resurrection preceded all other resurrections, in another sense he is the firstfruits of the church, which is his body. It is in a still larger sense that The Christ, Head, and body, is the firstfruits brought up to life of the whole world; as the Apostle James expresses the matter, "Of his own will beget he us with the Word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures." Z'04-173 R3377:5(Hymn 285)