When we sow a grain of wheat, that grain disappears and dies; it becomes a root and stem. Its genetic code transmits so that the root goes downward to seek more constituent parts for new seeds, and the stem grows upward to make many seeds. (Note Isaiah 37:31.) An average stem may produce a head (fruit) with thirty seeds. However, the seeds are the same grain, wheat if wheat is sown, rye if rye is sown, etc. ". . . to each seed its own body" (verse 38). The bodies built look just like the sown seed! They are made of different parts, but the genetics made each of them look like a wheat seed, not like maize or grass seed!
Some people confuse as fruits the plant stem. The fruit is the multiple seed produced that looks like the original seed, not the stem or leaves. They are just the means, becoming the chaff and straw. You only get wheat from wheat seed, barley from barley. These people were skeptics. They did not believe in a resurrection! (See verse 12). They were attempting to make fun of the resurrection by saying, "if you know so much, then what kinds of bodies will they possess?" Paul was telling them they were going to have a body that looked just like the human body they now had, except it would be composed of different "stuff", and most importantly, quickened by spirit instead blood (verses 44, 50). Paul was so amazed, because any farmer or gardener knew you get back the same type of seed you plant. Now notice carefully Jesus statement:
" . . . unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain." (John 12:24).
The planted grain dies, but it produces multiple new grains. Jesus planted his flesh and blood body also in the earth.
Was Jesus the only one resurrected?
In July in North Carolina, the wheat is already in harvest. I found a head of wheat, rubbed it back and forth in my hands to break the grains out, blew away the chaff, and counted 29 grains. Of course, one planted grain often sprouts into two or three stems or branches, each bearing thirty or so grains, as it is written:
"But others fell on good ground and yielded a crop: some a hundredfold (three or more stems), some sixty (two stems), some thirty (one stem)." (Matthew 13:8).
Of course, any farmer is very interested in what kind of crop he is going to have. My parents grow wheat and beans. They go to the field after the wheat head is out, pull up a root, and see how many stems it has produced and how many grains per head. That is their profit! The chaff and the straw are not important.
Another analogy may be confusing: The Bible refers to Jesus in several ways as a root or stem (Isaiah 11:10; Romans 11:16, 15:12; Revelation 5:5, 22:16). However, in Revelation 22:16 Jesus also shows that he is ONE of the grains that comes back, "the root and the offspring of David."
In Revelation 1 it says:
" . . . Grace to you and peace from Him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven Spirits who are before His throne, and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead . . ." (Revelation 1:4-5)
The word firstborn refers to the resurrection to glory -- spirit, and not to flesh and blood. Therefore, Jesus is the seed sown, but also one of the seeds produced.
What does Jesus' resurrection from the dead symbolize?
Jesus was the wavesheaf for the firstfruits, the first resurrection, and the better resurrection of Hebrews 11:35. However, what about the physical resurrection of people as symbolized in God's Feast day known as the Last Great Day? Was Jesus the wave offering for the physical resurrection, or were there others? Notice again the instruction in Leviticus 23:10, 11:
"'. . . then you shall bring a sheaf (margin: handful or omer) of the firstfruits of your harvest to the priest. He shall wave the sheaf before the Lord, to be accepted on your behalf; on the day after the Sabbath the priest shall wave it . . .' " (Leviticus 23:10-11).
The wavesheaf was not one grain, abiding alone, but a handful. In addition, this handful was but a type of the harvest to come. Notice what happened when Jesus died:
"And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit.
"Then, behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth quaked, and the rocks were split, and the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised; and coming out of the graves AFTER His resurrection, they went into the holy city and appeared to many." (Matthew 27:50-53).
Therefore, they were waved around earthly Jerusalem "before God's eyes" in a sense. This would have caused a great stir in Jerusalem, as probably many of the priests saw them with the bringing of the wave offering. Caiaphas and Annas (the current and former High Priests of the temple) were undoubtedly in Jerusalem and saw these people as well. These resurrected saints were a wavesheaf for the resurrection to physical life to come in the great white throne judgment. Jesus said:
Notice what God says about Jerusalem in 1Kings:
" . . . I have consecrated this house which you (Solomon) have built to put My name there forever, and My eyes and My heart will be there perpetually." (1Kings 9:3)
So, they were waved around earthly Jerusalem "before God's eyes" in a sense. This would have caused a great stir in Jerusalem, as probably many of the priests saw them, even as the wave offering was to be brought to them. Caiaphas and Annas (the current and former High Priests of the temple) were undoubtedly in Jerusalem and saw these people as well. These resurrected saints were a wavesheaf for the resurrection to physical life to come in the great white throne judgment. Jesus said:
"'Most assuredly, I say to you, the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God; and those who hear will live . . .
"'Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice and come forth - those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation (judgment).' " (John 5:25, 28-29)
Thus, Jesus showed there were two kinds of resurrections, one kind to a physical fleshly life (judgment), and the other kind to an eternal, spiritual life.
Jesus was the wave sheaf for the spiritual resurrection to life. The saints resurrected with Jesus were the other grains of the "handful" waved. They are the wave sheaf for the resurrection to judgment. Like the grain of wheat in his parable, Jesus died and did not "remain alone" anymore! These saints would have to be planted again, however - next time to be spiritual firstfruits at Christ's coming! As it is written:
"For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself." (Philippians 3:20-21)
Written by: Bill Hillebrenner