“But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept.”
King James Version (KJV)
15:20 But now - St. Paul declares that Christians have hope, not in this life only. His proof of the resurrection lies in a narrow compass, #1Cor 15:12 |- 19. Almost all the rest of the chapter is taken up in illustrating, vindicating, and applying it. The proof is short, but solid and convincing, that which arose from Christ's resurrection. Now this not only proved a resurrection possible, but, as it proved him to be a divine teacher, proved the certainty of a general resurrection, which he so expressly taught. The first fruit of them that slept - The earnest, pledge, and insurance of their resurrection who slept in him: even of all the righteous. It is of the resurrection of these, and these only, that the apostle speaks throughout the chapter.
1Co 15:20 But now is Christ risen from the dead. This is certain. Paul had seen the risen Lord. So had many other credible witnesses. But since he is risen, the resurrection of his disciples must follow. Become the first fruits of them that slept. Of those who have slept in death. On the morrow after the first Sabbaths of the passover a sheaf of the first fruits of the barley harvest was "waved before the Lord" (Le 23:10-16) as a pledge of the harvest to come So on the morning after the first Sabbath of the passover, Christ, the first fruits arose and appeared living, "the first fruits" of the great harvest of souls gathered into eternal life.