By Jack Eberle
This is a Greek word found in our Scriptures and generally translated “first fruits”. Now, I have to admit that the idea of someone or something coming out of the dead back onto the earth and becoming alive seems a little macabre. Yet, every spring, we rejoice to see the tulips, crocuses, and other flowers begin to break through the “lifeless” ground. The life is in the seed, and God put it there. Make no mistake. Only God is the Lord of life. We may speak of firstfruits of the grave or death, but only our great Lord has this power.
There are eight Scriptures which refer to aparché or firstfruits. Just as God knows every seed or particle, which falls dead in the fall and winter into the cold and death of the ground, and just as He brings some of those dead scraps of matter to life and fruitfulness, so He does with the human being. Yet, none of His believers will march into new life with the haggard shackle of decrepit death clinging to their new body structures. Romans 8:21-23 indicates better this reality. “Because creation itself shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption…ourselves also (groan) which have the firstfruits of the Spirit.” God, the Spirit brings back His own bought ones to life!
“What shall the receiving of them be, but life from the dead? For if the firstfruit be holy, the lump is also holy.” The term “lump” here refers to the aggregate, which remains to be understood if not tangible. Resurrection does not occur from forces apart from God. Yet God has the option to “program-in” any of His particular wishes. “But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept.” “Christ, the Firstfruits” (I Cor. 15:20,23)
Yes, Christ, the anointed One, left the grave to the wrathful disappointments of those who wish Him dead. Satan cannot abide a living Christ. Believing in the living Christ and KNOWING His resurrection power truly puts the quietus to Satanic ambitions and turns the “roaring” of the lion into an impish whisper. Another example: “I beseech you, brethren, (ye know the house of Stephanus, that it is the firstfruits of Achaia, and that they have addicted themselves to the ministry of the saints” (I Cor. 16:15) is somewhat different. These people were perhaps the first Greek family to have believers in Christ.
“That we should be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures” (James 1:18). Here the Jewish believers are addressed. They certainly had prime opportunities to know the truth. While most of the Jews rejected their Saviour, these people to whom James wrote, braved the displeasure of the fleshly families and embraced the “Way, the Truth, and the Life”. Certainly they would look forward to resurrection in Christ.
Finally, the overcomers of Revelation would be the aparché of God and the Lamb! What a joy! Rev. 14:4