Barley signifies Christ in resurrection. In the land of Canaan, barley is the first of the grains to ripen. Christs resurrection is prefigured in Leviticus 23:10 where God instructed his people, Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them, when ye be come into the land which I give unto you, and shall reap the harvest thereof, then you come into the land which I am giving you, and reap its harvest, then you shall bring the sheaf of the firstfruits of your harvest to the priest. First Corinthians 15:20 interprets this figure: But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. Thus, barley is a picture of Christ as the first One to come out of death in resurrection.
Additionally, it is significant that the loaves that the Lord used to feed the five thousand were made of barley (John 6:9). This indicates that Christ in resurrection is unlimited and thus able to supply His people beyond even their need. We can experience the unlimited, abundant Christ in resurrection. In fact, it is by experiencing Christ in His empowering resurrection that we are able to also experience Him as the limited Jesus in His incarnation and death. Christ first experienced death and then resurrection, whereas the believers experience the reverse. According to Paul, we should first know Him and the power of His resurrection and then go on to experience the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death (Phil. 3:10). It is only by being strengthened and supplied with the resurrection life of Christ that we are enabled to experience His cross. (Witness Lee, All-Inclusive Christ, 51-55)
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