Infinitesimally few people have known God’s truth through the ages! Few know it today! Would you be able to recognize a true Christian? Are you one yourself?
People who are beginning to learn about God’s truth through the Work done by the Church of God New World Ministries are often puzzled about why it is so hard to share that truth with relatives and friends.
The following examples are typical:
Mrs. “Middle-aged housewife” had been reading our articles and listening to our sermons and was inspired by the solid answers to the basic questions of life she learned. She had on numerous occasions attempted to share her new views with others. But she met only indifference and even hostility. She became confused. Why did others seem so reluctant to understand? As she had not met anyone else who read our articles and listened to our sermons, she began to think she was the only one in her town who did. Perhaps in her state.
Mr. “Young Carpenter” found our website, he attempted to tell his parents, but they were uninterested. He went to his aged grandmother, a religious woman. Surely she would be overjoyed to hear new biblical truth. Again he drew a blank. His friends thought he was odd, “going religious,” they said. He retorted, “When all these things happen, just remember I told you so!”
Why is it so difficult to get others to understand? The answer lies in knowing that God at this time is only working with a special group of people He calls “firstfruits.”
What is a “firstfruit”? Why so few at this time? What are their attributes? What are they learning and doing right now? What is their awesome future responsibility on planet earth?
The Bible describes Jesus Christ as the first of the firstfruits (I Cor. 15:20-23) and as the “firstborn from the dead” (Col. 1:18). The Bible reveals-- and this is a truth almost no one knows – that all humans will eventually have an opportunity to qualify to be born into God’s Family – to be God-- living on the God plane. Does this seem strange to you? Have you ever heard this teaching before? It is right from the pages of your Bible.
Church members understand this amazing aspect of God’s master plan. But God is not giving everyone the chance for salvation-- being born into His Family – right now.
There’s no use trying to “convert” relatives and friends. If God is not calling them, they can’t understand! God reveals, in His plan for mankind, that He is now only dealing with very few people. Jesus said, “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him” (John 6:44).
Today God is working with just a small part of the huge spiritual harvest of the billions of humans who have lived since the world began. The majority of all who have lived before, and who are alive in this age, will yet have their opportunity to know God’s truth at a different time. But in this present day God is only ready to extend His truth to the few, known as His firstfruits.
It is a divine miracle for any person to be called, because only God can unlock the human mind to spiritual understanding. He is the one who removes blindness from the human heart so it can readily grasp and accept His truth (Isa. 25:7).
When this miracle happens, a person becomes overjoyed with newfound spiritual knowledge. He or she begins to grasp truths simply not available to the average person, no matter what the crusading evangelists of his world’s Christianity tell you. Inspired with this knowledge, it is only natural for one to want to share it with others.
However, a firstfruit realizes that this special knowledge can only be appreciated by those who have been similarly called by God. Why, then, are only a few called now? What is the responsibility of a firstfruit, as a possessor of knowledge made personally available by God the Father in heaven? Such knowledge is given at this time for a specific purpose, and it must be used well.
God reveals in advance what a spirit-born firstfruit will be like in the resurrection at Jesus Christ’s return to earth (Rev. 14:1-5). Firstfruits must be developing Godly attributes now. The qualified saints in the first resurrection are pictured as being without guile. What does this mean?
To be without quile means to be free of deception, falseness, evasiveness, pretense, window-dressing or lip service. It means being characterized by honesty, by being true, as good as your word. It means plain dealing and being truehearted.
Verse 3 shows that the resurrected saints sing a new song that only they know. What might that be? Could it be a song of repentance that only changed sinners can know? A song of the experiences of being one of the firstfruit Christians in a world that lies in darkness? A song of conversion and overcoming in an evil age? This is the matchless opportunity God gives firstfruit Christians who faithfully live out their lives in this world that is given to evil.
Few people would argue against the evidence that earth is a dangerous place to live. A firstfruit is called by God to demonstrate that God’s Commandments can be kept even in an evil time, with God’s help.
Firstfruits learn through a type of “aversion therapy” about what is wrong with this world. Living in this world, but not being part of it, they come to understand the cause of the world’s ills, which is sin, and learn to want no part of breaking God’s laws.
They learn to hate evil – to detest pomposity and violent dictatorships. They learn to hate vanity, lying, cheating, stealing and politicking. They abhor the manipulation of the poor, innocent and defenseless by bullying humans.
They see these traits in themselves, in their human nature. They see this same human nature-- actually Satan’s nature injected in humans – in others. They yearn for the New World to come. They pray, “Your kingdom come” (Matt. 6:10). True Christians learn that man’s government over man doesn’t have the answers. They see the just suffer and the corrupt prosper. They see man’s history as lurching from one war to another.
In the midst of this learning experience they must endure, keep balance and stay zealous for God’s ways. At times the way seems long and hard, having to wait for the ultimate application of the answers they now know would solve man’s problems, obedience to God’s laws, the government of God set up on earth.
The apostle Peter explained that God views time differently than we do (II Peter 3:8-9). A thousand years to God is as one single day. We can gain encouragement when we understand God’s immense patience compared to our human impatience. What seems interminably long to us may only be a brief period for God. After all, He has been patiently waiting for 6,000 years. And most of that time He has had to put up with man’s inhumanity to man.
Down through history, only a few people have been privileged to be called by God (Heb. 11).Today the earth’s population is nearly seven billion. Of this number only a minuscule few are firstfruits.
By definition a firstfruit is one who understands the Commandments of God and obeys them, one who knows that the Bible is the guide for life and the authority for all that is done.
What did Abel and Enoch (Heb. 11:4-5) understand that the rest of their contemporary ages did not? They knew the true God. They knew His ways, and they kept them. They knew sin, and avoided it.
What was Noah’s message (v. 7)? Noah was called a preacher of righteousness (II Peter 2:5), and righteousness is defined by God’s commandments (Ps. 119:172).
God’s people exemplify God’s law in the way they live. They understand and use the power of the Holy Spirit. They understand their battle with human nature. They understand that they are fighting a spiritual battle against an unseen devil who rules this world (II Cor. 4:4; 10:4-5, Eph. 6:12).They know the sanctity, purpose and symbolism of marriage and the family (Eph. 5:32-33).They know the power of prayer and healing (James 5: 14-18).They know the nature of God the Father and Jesus Christ (Phil. 2:5-11).They are the first members of their entire families to be called by God.
But God’s firstfruits in our day are not called just to get salvation for themselves. God has always had special commissions for those with whom He worked. Today, God’s called firstfruits-- you, if you understand this message and want to obey your Creator – are commanded to help God’s ministry preach the Gospel of the coming Kingdom of God as a witness to this dying world (Matt. 24:14), and to prepare to teach God’s way to all humanity in the New World to come (Isa. 2:2-4).
The technological revolution has provided ways of preaching the Gospel that never before have been imagined. The Church uses the printing press, radio, television, satellite communications, the internet to trumpet God’s message to the world and to teach the present-day disciples of Jesus Christ (Matt. 28:19-20). Just as you are learning via the internet today!
The firstfruits are so few. They are precious to God. It is important to known whether you are called as a firstfruit. If you are, you must make that calling sure (II Peter 1:10).
The Israelites of old were instructed to present the best possible offerings to God (Num. 18:12). So, too, must firstfruit Christians. Their spiritual character is to be the finest they can produce. Firstfruits down through history, along with those alive today, will eventually become the examples and models for the rest of the world. That will occur when God finally steps in to replace man’s world with utopia, when He set up the Kingdom of God on the earth.
Until that momentous time the daily goal of a firstfruit, a true Christian, is to support God’s great worldwide Work of preaching the Gospel and to patiently produce the finest spiritual character possible!