Firstfruit from Death Guarantees the Coming Harvest

The farmer handed buckets to us, the blueberry pickers. "You're kinda early," he said. "The main crop's not ready yet, so you're gonna have to be choosy. Pick only what is fully ripe. Leave the rest. The good part is, all of the biggest and best is still here."

He was right. It took a lot longer, but we got some of the best blueberries ever. The firstfruit is the best, but it signals a greater harvest to come.

To prove to some skeptics that the resurrection is not foolish, Paul ties our future rising to a sure event of the past: "Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruit of those who have fallen asleep" (1 Cor. 15:20).

Nicodemus and Joseph mourn as they wash and then wrap the lifeless, pale body. Just hours ago he was warm, animated, and healthy. Now he is cold, still, and dead. So sad. Yet on the third day that corpse was transformed. It was not just restored to life, but taken beyond resuscitation to an imperishable, immortal, and glorified state. God's harvest thus began with the Best of the best, raised from the dead.

Yes, He's the Best of the best, but some day--soon, we hope--will come the rest: a tremendous crop of resurrected human beings, joyfully finding their bodies metamorphasized into incorruptibility and spiritual vitality. The Firstfruit has already been picked; the rest of the harvest will follow.

The firstfruit is its guarantee. Nothing is more certain. Meanwhile, the planting continues. As we commit body after body to the earth, God assures us that after the planting will come the harvest, rich and full. When you stare at death's toothy smile, look over his shoulder at the smile of another--the Firstfruit. This is not the end, but only the beginning.

* * *

Copyright ©2005 Steve Singleton, All rights reserved.

Steve Singleton has written and edited several books and numerous articles on subjects of interest to Bible students. He has taught Greek, Bible, and religious studies courses Bible college, university, and adult education programs. He has taught seminars and workshops in 11 states and the Caribbean.

Go to his DeeperStudy.org for Bible study resources, no matter what your level of expertise. Explore "The Shallows," plumb "The Depths," or use the well-organized "Study Links" for original sources in English translation. Sign up for Steve's free "DeeperStudy Newsletter."

In The News:

Deadly attacks in Sri Lanka tap into global anxiety about Christian-Muslim violence  Washington PostThe Easter attacks in Sri Lanka, a Buddhist-majority country not known for religious violence or intolerance, are tapping into global worries about safety.
A Changing World: Global Views on Diversity, Gender Equality, Family Life and the Importance of Religion  Pew Research Center's Global Attitudes ProjectPeople see diversity and gender equality increasing in their countries but say family ties have weakened. Views on the importance of religion vary widely.
What Research Says About How Religion Affects Your Health  The FederalistDespite ample reason to believe that faith is associated with improved health, very little is still known about the effect religion has on the body.
Fewer students identifying a religion fuels push to scrap scripture  Sydney Morning HeraldThe number of NSW public school students who do not identify with a religion surged by 13 per cent in the three years to 2018, making non-believers the ...
2020 Election Revives Debate: Should Religious Faith Guide One's Voting?  NPRMayor Pete Buttigieg says Christian faith leads in a "progressive" political direction. Conservatives disagree. The debate reshapes old questions about the ...
Religious Minorities Across Asia Suffer Amid Surge in Sectarian Politics  The New York TimesThe bombings of three churches in Sri Lanka highlighted the growing vulnerability of religious minorities across Asia, from Christians in Hindu-majority India to ...
The hollowing out of American religion  Religion News ServiceThe biggest American religion story of the past decade has been the rise of the Nones—those who answer “none” when asked what their religion is. Over the ...
Future - How and why did religion evolve?  BBC NewsHumanity's most puzzling behaviour has deep roots in our evolutionary past.
Aesthetic appreciation is my “religion”  Luther College ChipsI am currently in the REL485: “Religion, Violence, and Terrorism” course, taught by Associate Professor of Religion Todd Green on Monday nights. At 8:00 a.m. ...
Is China Conducting A Crackdown On Religion?  ForbesIn recent months, the persecution of religious groups in China has been making headlines. The picture that these news stories create is one of China as a state ...
How Did Religion “Evolve”?  Discovery InstituteIt's not easy being a contributor to Evolution News. To wit, on Easter morning I had to read this bilge from the BBC: How and why did religion evolve? “This is my ...
2019 ELECTIONS: God and elections: Religion and politics meet behind – and in front of – the pulpits this Easter  Daily MaverickEaster weekend saw politicians from across the spectrum attending religious services nationally. It happens every year, but in 2019 there is a sense that religion ...
'Global warming is a religion, not a science'  The AdvertiserSky News host Andrew Bolt has hit out at the Opposition, arguing that everything about 'Labor's global warming policy is a con' as thousands rally around the ...
Coexisting is key: Religions on UK's campus help unite students  Kykernel.comOn a campus with over 500 student organizations, the University of Kentucky has 23 organizations with a religious or spiritual self-designation that are registered ...
When Religion Is Too Free  Washington MonthlySteven Waldman's Sacred Liberty is an ardently evangelical book. Waldman's faith, however, is not in any particular creed or sacred text; the First Amendment's ...
In Charts: Religion  The GlobalistA collection of charts, maps and graphs exploring global religion.
Navigating Religion in the U's Theatre Department  Daily Utah ChronicleThe University of Utah Theatre Department does not shy away from controversy. In November, the play “Big Love” featured onstage nudity, explicit sexual ...
Losing their religion? New report shows Spaniards are turning their backs on faith  EL PAISNearly one-third of people in Spain are either atheists, agnostics or non-believers, according to a study by the Ferrer i Guàrdia Foundatio.
Science Says: Religion Is Good For Your Health  ForbesTheologists, scientists and thought leaders have attempted for centuries to understand the impact that religion can have on human beings; both mentally and ...
Easter party cuts across religious divide in India  UCA NewsEaster party cuts across religious divide in India. Rattled by Sri Lanka bombings Christians in Madhya Pradesh focus on peace as Hindus Muslims Sikhs enjoy ...
Evidence for ancient religion discovered in Lake Titicaca  National GeographicGold artifacts, precious shells and evidence of animal sacrifice in Lake Titicaca point to a belief system that helped organize the ancient Tiwanaku state, ...
The Guardian view on religious freedom: protect believers  The GuardianThe massacre in churches in Sri Lanka forms part of a global pattern of religious persecution and hostility. To target Christian churches on their holiest day of the ...
60 Minutes: Former members of cult-like religion ‘The Truth’ speak out on child sex abuse  9news.com.auThe Truth Church is a hard-line religion which has been operating in regional communities for more than 100 years, with around 10,000 members. The sub-sect ...
Dangerous Tactic: Democrat Lawmakers 'Weaponize' Religion  CBN NewsThese days, religion is being referred to far too often as a disqualifier for public office, in direct violation of the US Constitution.
I’m not passing my parents’ religion on to my kids, but I am teaching their values  The Washington PostMy children, a 3-year-girl and a 1-year-old boy, aren't baptized. Many people take issue with this parenting decision — especially the people I know from my ...
‘If ex-Catholic was a religion...’: Why independent Catholic churches are flourishing  Philly.comOn Holy Thursday, a solemn day in the most sacred week in the Catholic calendar, St. Miriam's felt like any other Catholic church: The altar featured a crucifix ...
We must unify religions – UG lecturer | General News 2019-04-23  GhanaWebReligious affairs lecturer at the University of Ghana, Legon, Ben-Willie Golo says Ghana can further douse religious tensions by working on measures to unify ...
Dune and religious appropriation  SYFY WIREFrank Herbert's Dune is an appropriation of many cultures and religions - but is that a bad thing?
Does religion do more harm than good?  Church TimesRupert Shortt weighs up the evidence in a new book. Here is an extract.
Santa Claus, God and Lord Buddha: the difference between a belief and a religion  The Conversation - UKVeganism is not a religion, and nor is belief in Santa Claus. So why are Christianity, Islam and Buddhism classed as religions?
Let reason, not religion, govern the aid-in-dying issue  The CT MirrorThe Medical Aid in Dying bill (HB 5898) once again didn't make it out of committee this year. Be that as it may, I was appalled to learn from State Rep. Jonathan ...
Network on conservation and religion  Times of IndiaBy WWF-India Jainism is fundamentally a religion of ecology and has turned ecology into a religion. It has enabled Jains to create an environment-friendly value ...
Rediscovering religion: McCall forges analytical relationship with faith  The Flat HatAs a high school student in a conservative Southern Baptist family, Visiting Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at the College of William and Mary Robin ...
COGAT prepares for Ramadan, increased freedom of religion and worship  The Jerusalem PostSecurity preparations are underway for the month of Ramadan, which will begin this year on May 6.
60 Minutes: Cult-like religion allowed ‘convicted paedophiles back into its congregation’  9news.com.auA 60 Minutes investigation has exposed the shameful secrets of a fundamentalist religion operating in regional Australia. Reporter Allison Langdon spoke ...
Pete Buttigieg, Gay and Christian, Challenges Religious Right on Their Own Turf  New York TimesMr. Buttigieg has confronted evangelicals like Vice President Mike Pence, questioning the moral authority of religious leaders who have stayed silent on ...
There are now as many Americans who claim no religion as there are evangelicals and Catholics, a survey finds  CNNThe non-religious edged out Catholics and Evangelicals in the long-running General Social Survey. The three groups remain within the margin of error of each ...
Global jihadists turn increasingly against religious targets - Carnage in Sri Lanka  The EconomistTWO DECADES ago al-Qaeda made its name by mounting a succession of bombings against America across the world. These included the American ...
Review of Nicholas Wolterstorff, "Religion in the University"  Inside Higher EdThe title of Nicholas Wolterstorff's Religion in the University (Yale University Press) seems disproportionate for a small volume of lectures. It sounds more like the ...
Buttigieg plays the religion card  Religion News ServiceMayor Pete Buttigieg, who this week formally announced his candidacy for the Democratic presidential nomination, has caused a stir by criticizing the religiosity ...
What's crazy about religion on Game of Thrones  Religion News ServiceThere's a scene in Season 2 of Game of Thrones in which a high priestess for whom red is the new black gives birth to a . . . thing. A smoke monster, writhing and ...
Talk of a rising religious left is unfounded. It already exists.  The Washington PostIn small but meaningful ways, the religious left lives on.
Coachella 2019: Kanye West brings religion to festival and Twitter is torn  Press-EnterpriseSocial media reactions to Kanye West's Easter *service* at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival campgrounds were mixed on Sunday, April 21.
Unaffiliated with any religion, they still seek Easter traditions  OregonLiveAmerica's fastest-growing "religious" group is composed of people who say they don't have a religious affiliation, or are "nothing in particular."
Deus Ex Machina: Religions Use Robots to Connect With the Public  The Wall Street JournalThe 15th century had the printing press. Today, a handful of religious institutions are developing interactive machines to share doctrine and converse with the ...
Bhutan Doesn’t Allow Religious Figures And Organisations To Participate In Politics; Is There Wisdom In It?  The Logical IndianBhutan experienced a significant change in its governance in 2008, as the Kings of Bhutan renounced absolute monarchy and adopted.
Organized religion is losing its followers  The Washington PostCNN reports, “For the first time 'No Religion' has topped a survey of Americans' religious identity, according to a new analysis by a political scientist.
Alliance of Religions for Community Security expresses regret over Sri lanka attacks  All India RadioThe Alliance of Religions for Community Security expressed its regret over the terrorist attacks that targeted churches and hotels in Colombo, the capital of Sri ...
The legal conflict between equality rights and freedom of religion  The Conversation - CanadaFrom conflicts over wedding cakes to university admissions to religious schools, the tension between equality rights and religious freedom is often in the news in ...
Why Does Religion Place Women In A Long Distance Relationship With God?  Mashable India“I distrust those people who know so well what God wants them to do, because I notice it always coincides with their own desires.” - Susan B. Anthony (America ...
Indonesia election: Another big democracy sees religious divide deepen  QuartzIndonesian president Joko Widodo's Twitter account has been interspersing tweets that show him on a minor pilgrimage in Mecca with videos that show off new ...
Death v. Religion at the Supreme Court  Religion News ServiceIn February, by a vote of 5-4, the U.S. Supreme Court turned down a petition from a death row inmate in Alabama who asked to have his execution delayed so ...
How the Left Keeps Me Religious  National ReviewThe most godless, religion-free, and Bible-free institution in the West — the university — has become the both the stupidest and most morally corrupt institution in ...
Emperor performs ritual to report abdication to Shinto gods  Religion News ServiceTOKYO (AP) — Emperor Akihito prayed at a Japanese shrine Thursday (April 18) in a ritual to report his upcoming abdication to the Shinto gods.
West African religions are on the rise in Maryland as practitioners connect with roots  Washington PostThe religions appeal to African Americans who have been struggling with questions of identity.
Religion in the death chamber: Supreme Court’s 2 rulings, one of which served justice  Los Angeles TimesJust a few weeks after horribly bungling a 1st Amendment issue raised by a death penalty case out of Alabama, the Supreme Court made the right call Thursday ...
Evangelicals helped get Trump into the White House. Pete Buttigieg believes the religious left will get him out.  The Washington PostThe gay mayor from Indiana says he thinks Democrats — and the vice president — have lost touch with religion.
Malaysia police likely behind religion-linked abductions: Inquiry  Al Jazeera EnglishThe Christian pastor and Shia Muslim, who were kidnapped by masked men more than two years ago, are yet to be found.
Short of electricity, food and water, Venezuelans return to religion  The Washington PostCARACAS, Venezuela — The lights in Petare had gone dark. Again. The people of Venezuela's largest slum were used to the blackouts that halt the flow of ...
Secular lobby advocates equality as religious leaders weigh in on election  The GuardianCampaign aims to remind candidates that majority of Australians don't want religion to dictate social policy.
Should veganism receive the same legal protection as a religion?  The Conversation - UKVeganism is on the rise globally – but it can be contentious. Only recently, the editor of a food magazine joked that vegans should be force-fed meat while a bank ...
How Prominent Women Built and Sustained the Religious Right  Religion & PoliticsIn September 1983, Beverly LaHaye gave a press conference in Washington, DC, to announce that her four-year-old lobbying group Concerned Women for ...
A Simple Form of Spirituality Brings More Satisfaction Than Religion  InverseA study published Thursday in the journal 'Psychology of Religion and Spirituality' challenges the idea that being religious is the most consistent way to feel ...
The Cathedral: Mirror of the West, Then and Now  National ReviewThe recent fires at the medieval Catholic cathedral of Notre-Dame de Paris almost immediately were seen as a referendum on the West, even by those who are ...
Is being gay compatible with religion?  Duke ChronicleEvery day on my walk to class, I stroll past the stunning Duke Chapel that towers above me. Sometimes I stop to stretch my head up and take in the glorious ...
Quebec wants to ban public servants from wearing religious clothing  The EconomistA LARGE CRUCIFIX has long hung above the speaker's chair in Quebec's legislature. The first one was installed in 1936 to acknowledge the bond between the ...
Keep religion out of politics, S'poreans say; young people more accepting of extremists sharing views online: IPS report  The Straits TimesSINGAPORE - Most Singaporeans may be religious but they still frown on religious behaviour that could influence politics or disrupt social harmony, a new ...
What Hail Satan? director Penny Lane learned from her doc on Satanists  Vox.comA documentary called Hail Satan? seems aimed squarely at provocation, which is fitting: Filmmaker Penny Lane (as her website URL proclaims, it's her real ...
Workers install tarps to protect gutted Notre Dame from rain  The Philadelphia TribunePARIS — Professional mountain climbers were hired to install synthetic, waterproof tarps over the gutted, exposed exterior of Notre Dame Cathedral, ...
Pete Buttigieg confronts Pence about religion ahead of 2020 bid  CBS NewsGay rights and religion are at the heart of a simmering feud between Vice President Mike Pence and potential Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg.
Is Religious Decline Inevitable in the United States?  ChristianityToday.comIf you take a course in the sociology of religion at any college or university, the professor will inevitably spend some time on what is known as secularization ...
Quebec's religious symbol ban targets minorities in the name of secularism  The GuardianBill 21 is the fruit of over a decade of institutionalized animus directed towards the province's religious minorities.
Freedom From Religion Foundation objects to Ten Commandments at Welty Middle School  New Philadelphia Times Reporter"The District is conducting its due diligence and will be making the best decision for its students, district, and community. The New Philadelphia City School ...
Supporters of hospitalized Christian author pool funds to cover medical costs  Religion News Service(RNS) — Friends, family and supporters of prominent Christian author Rachel Held Evans are pooling funds to help cover her medical expenses after she was ...
Openly Gay, Openly Christian Buttigieg Challenges the Religious Right  New York MagazineSouth Bend mayor Pete Buttigieg is openly gay and openly Christian, and in addition to his other qualities, presents a challenge to Trump and his religious right ...
Religion, and Israel Folau, must keep up with the times  Stuff.co.nzScriptural interpretation is in the eye of the beholder.
Future of decades-old CBS religion documentary program in doubt  Religion News Service(RNS) — The future of a decades-old CBS documentary series focused on religion is in doubt, as the network is potentially discussing cutting back or even ...
Quebec to ban public employees from wearing religious symbols  The GuardianThe Canadian province of Quebec will ban public sector employees from wearing religious symbols during work hours, in legislation introduced on Thursday, ...
Scientists establish a link between religious fundamentalism and brain damage  SalonA study published in the journal Neuropsychologia has shown that religious fundamentalism is, in part, the result of a functional impairment in a brain region ...
Pete Buttigieg on faith, his marriage and Mike Pence  CNNIn a Q&A with Father Edward Beck, the South Bend, Indiana, mayor discusses his views on the morality of military *service*, abortion, love, marriage and being ...
How outrage for a death row inmate may have flipped the justices for religious liberty  Religion News Service(RNS) — Within the last two months, the U.S. Supreme Court has issued two important religious liberty decisions with strikingly similar facts and diametrically ...
Issues, not religion have more weight for young voters in Kerala | The GroundTruth Project - Issues, not religion have more weight for young voters in Kerala  The GroundTruth ProjectSHARE. April 10, 2019. By Briana Trujillo. KOCHI, India — At the National University of Advanced Legal Studies, students in crisp white shirts and black slacks ...
Kevin Smith’s ‘Star Wars’ Theory Is that ‘Rise of Skywalker’ Means the Creation of New Religion  IndieWireThe reveal that “Star Wars: Episode IX” is officially titled “The Rise of Skywalker” has sent a lot of fans into overdrive as they try to figure out what exactly the ...
Vast majority of NSW hate crimes race and religion related: study  News - The University of SydneyA new Sydney Institute of Criminology study provides the most comprehensive picture of the patterns of hate crime in Australia to date.
Watch: India, like art, has no religion, says Shah Rukh Khan  gulfnews.comShah Rukh Khan is praised on social media for calling India a.
For The Left To Get Religion, They'll Have To Give Up Abortion And LGBT  The FederalistKirsten Powers recently made the case for an 'awakening of the Christian left.' But to get religion, the left will have to change.
“But ma'am… you have to put a real religion”  ABS-CBN News“Huh? But what do you mean you weren't baptized?” Frowns. Glazed eyes. Confusion stamped all over their faces. As a Filipino without religion, and an atheist ...
The new religion: why trying to be perfect is doomed to fail  The GuardianDeep down, we're using work, politics, family and romance to achieve our own salvation. But the truth is we're flawed.
China city offers cash for information in religion crackdown  Fox NewsA southern Chinese city is offering cash rewards for information about "illegal religious groups" as the ruling Communist Party continues to tighten its grip over ...
The 'God factor' - Politics  WORLD News GroupWASHINGTON—Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg is openly courting religious voters on the left and encouraging his opponents to do the same.
Pope in Morocco: Protect 'multi-religious' Jerusalem  Al Jazeera EnglishJoint statement with Moroccan king comes after US President Trump recognised Jerusalem as capital of Israel last year.
Religion worldwide, 1 billion guns and other top stories of the week  World Economic ForumAlso in this week's round-up: find out which are the world's happiest countries, and which nations are poised to switch from coal to renewable energy.
Survey: Most Americans continue to oppose religious service refusals to LGBT people  Religion News Service(RNS) — A new survey finds that Americans continue to oppose the idea that small-business owners should be able to refuse products or services to gay or ...
Which countries have the 10 largest Christian and Muslim populations?  Pew Research Center“Top 10” lists can often be helpful in displaying and illuminating data. For example, the two tables of countries with the largest Christian and Muslim populations ...
The Last Jedi's message of spirituality over religion is a much-needed shift in the Star Wars saga  SYFY WIREThe journeys of Luke Skywalker and Rey speak to a larger theme of religious deconstruction that values the individual connection over traditional beliefs.
Review: 'Hail Satan?' Is Devilishly Compelling  NPRWhen they write the bible on the great trolls of history, the Satanic Temple should be on the cover. Founded in 2013 as a poke in the eye of religious ...
'Hunchback of Notre Dame' is a love letter to the cathedral and shaped my views of religion  USA TODAYAmid the news of yesterday's fire at the Notre Dame Cathedral, I found myself among the large group of people who felt profoundly affected by the tragedy, ...
So Yale Law School endorses anti-religious bigotry now?  USA TODAYWhat starts in the ivory tower of academia — including blatant discrimination against religious groups and students — won't stay there for long.
Shattered statues and satanic symbols mark rise in attacks on French church  Religion News ServiceThe Saint-Jean Cathedral, foreground, and the Fourviere Basilica, top, are pictured in Lyon, central France, on March 7, 2019. (AP Photo/Laurent Cipriani).
The other Russian collusion story  Religion News ServiceAs we wait to learn exactly what's in the Mueller report, there's another Russia story that deserves our attention. It's about collusion between the Christian right in ...

Kingdom of Heaven

Kingdom of Heaven is Ridley Scott's way of trying to... Read More

The Pope Hates Potter ? Both of Them

This month a court in Burlington, Kentucky issued the largest... Read More

Why Doesnt God Answer My Prayers?

I heard a story about a girl who wrote to... Read More

The Warped Psychology of Islam

The London Bombings are just the beginning. Londoners are probably... Read More

What If We Are Getting Paid For Prayer (Salat)...

What will be the effect on general public if the... Read More

What Did I Do To Deserve This?

"You must have done something awful for this to happen... Read More

Fellowship Forever

Today I would like to share with you the word... Read More

Dante and Hell

DANTE: - Dante Alighieri is the tour guide of Hell.... Read More

A Partnership With God

Hey, God is trying to partner with you! He wants... Read More

6 Keys to Successfully Screening Church Staff and Volunteers

Whether you are in the process of formulating a screening... Read More

Why More Priests Need To Train As Fighters (And Why We Dont See Many Boxers In Church)

"Therefore I do not run like a man... Read More

The Athiests Enigma

As an ancient African-American gospel song laments, life is filled... Read More

Knowledge Of The Power

For it is written in Proverbs 1:7 it says The... Read More

Let Her Be Covered Part Two

The framework for the message this morning will consist of... Read More

Prayer Secret #1 - Your Relationship with God

This, in my opinion, is the #1 "secret" for getting... Read More

Become Enlightened

The other day I had a meeting on the web... Read More

Real Nobility And Gods Love

Real nobility feeds on its own intrinsic value, as a... Read More

Churchless Christianity: A Move of God?

There's another "move of God" that's sweeping the nations. Have... Read More

The Emmaus Journal ~ Strangers In A Strange Land

The Emmaus Journal Strangers In A Strange LandDo you often... Read More

The Gospel Of Convenience

The subject of this document is so unpleasing to the... Read More

Amy Grant Cashes in Once Again on Jesus Coat-Tails

Jesus made her famous, now Amy Grant cashes in one... Read More

Jesus the Pharisee

RESPONSE TO PAULINE CHRISTIANITY: - The whole of Christendom is... Read More

Smith Wigglesworth on the Power of the Word

You have all heard me talk about Smith Wigglesworth. He... Read More

Doctrine of the Nicolaitanes

When the Lord was showing John on Patmos what the... Read More

Why Churches Die: Denying The Gift Of Healing The Sick

Recently a question was posted on a Christian forum asking... Read More