In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. (Genesis 1:1)
The word “beginning” is an interesting one, as it is placed here, and is the purpose of the study today. In the Hebrew the word translated as beginning is rêʼshîyth meaning: the first, in place, time, order or rank (specifically, a firstfruit):—beginning, chief(-est), first(-fruits, part, time), principal thing. The Hebrew word is translated 11 times in the Old Testament as firstfruit.
Therefore, Genesis 1:1 could be translated: As the firstfruits, God created the Heaven and Earth.
What is a firstfruit? The Webster’s American Dictionary of the English Language, 1828 edition, defines firstfruit as:
- The fruit or produce first matured and collected in any season. Of these the Jews made an oblation to God, as an acknowledgment of his sovereign dominion.
- The first profits of any thing. In the church of England, the profits of every spiritual benefice for the first year.
- The first or earliest effect of any thing, in a good or bad sense; as the first-fruits of grace in the heart, or the first-fruits of vice. (Link)
The BibleDictionary states a firstfruit as “Regarded as belonging to God, and offered by the nation as a whole at the great feasts.”
It is clear then from the scripture, that the earth is God’s, as the “first or principle thing.” Israel was commanded to offer, as an oblation to God, an offering of the firstfruit of the land, as a symbol of their willingness to recognize that all things belong to God, who created the earth:
The first of the firstfruits of thy land thou shalt bring unto the house of the Lord thy God. (Exodus 34:26.)
As for the oblation of the firstfruits, ye shall offer them unto the Lord. (Leviticus 2:12.)
Honour the Lord with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase. (Proverbs 3:9.)
Later, after His sacrifice, death and resurrection, Christ was called the firstfruit:
For if the firstfruit be holy, the lump is also holy: and if the root be holy, so are the branches. (Romans 11:16.)
But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. (1 Corinthians 15:20.)
But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming. (1 Corinthians 15:23.)
Combine this idea with what took place next:
And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. (Genesis 1:3.)
Who is the light of the world?
Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life. (John 8:12.)
So God created the earth and provided us a Savior, who offered Himself as a sacrifice to God for us. The firstborn, who was then raised from the dead, the firstfruits of our Father in heaven. In return, we honor the Father and His Son by accepting the Fatherhood of the Creator and obeying His words.