Study to show thyself – Do firstfruits refer to tithes?

There seem to be a bit of confusion as to what firstfruits are. Quite a number of people actually believe it means tithes. This error has given rise to a lot of false teachings surrounding tithes.

What are firstfruits? Some say it is the best and choicest part of what you earn. Others, say it is any increase you have experienced e.g. if you were unemployed and you suddenly got a job that pays you £2000, then the £2000 is said to be your firstfruits.

Can all be the above definitions of firstfruits be found in the bible? The Smith’s bible dictionary gives us the following references:

  1. The law ordered in general that the first of all ripe fruits and of liquors, or, as it is twice expressed, the first of first-fruits, should be offered in God’s house. (Exodus 22:29; 23:19; 34:27) It was an act of allegiance to God as the giver of all. No exact quantity was commanded, but it was left to the spiritual and moral sense of each individual.
  2. On the morrow after the passover sabbath, i.e. on the 16th of Nisan, a sheaf of new corn was to be brought to the priest and waved before the altar, in acknowledgment of the gift of fruitfulness. (Leviticus 2:12; 23:5,6,10,12)
  3. At the expiration of seven weeks from this time, i.e. at the feast of pentecost, an oblation was to be made from the new flour, which were to be waved in like manner with the passover sheaf. (Exodus 34:22; Leviticus 23:15,17; Numbers 28:26)
  4. The feast of ingathering, i.e. the feast of tabernacles, in the seventh month, was itself an acknowledgment of the fruits of the harvest. (Exodus 23:16; 34:22; Leviticus 23:39) These four sorts of offerings were national. Besides them, the two following were of an individual kind.
  5. A cake of the first dough that was baked was to be offered as a heave-offering. (Numbers 15:19,21)
  6. The first-fruits of the land were to be brought in a basket to the holy place of God’s choice, and there presented to the priest, who was to set the basket down before the altar. (26:2-11) The offerings were the perquisite of the priests. (Numbers 18:11; 18:4) Nehemiah, at the return from captivity, took pains to reorganize the offerings of first-fruits of both kinds, and to appoint places to receive them. (Nehemiah 10:35,37; 12:44) An offering of first-fruits is mentioned as an acceptable one to the prophet Elisha. (2 Kings 4:42)

Does any of the above six descriptions of firstfruits marry up with the general belief of many? Definitely not! The firstfruit was not 10%. Firstfruits, like tithe referred only to food items and agricultural produce and never to money. Can any of the six points raised above be applied to money? Hardly! Can we conveniently apply the commonly held belief of it being the choicest and best to money? How can you determine the choicest part of £2000? Are you going to break it down into all the denominations of the British pound and offer the highest? Where would you even begin?

The misconception occurs from the misapplication of Proverbs 3: 9 and we would look at it from the New Living Translation

9 Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the best part of everything you produce.

10 Then he will fill your barns with grain, and your vats will overflow with good wine.

There is no reference to money and tithe was not even hinted (some use this scripture to justify the doctrine of tithing). It referred to agricultural produce.

For today’s believer, firstfruits mean something different – Christ!

But now is Christ risen from the dead, [and] become the firstfruits of them that slept. 1 Cr 15:20

But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming. 1 Cr 15: 23

He represents, as the firstfruits, the rest of the believers who shall share in the blessed hope of resurrection. The harvest is ripe, Christ as the firstfruit has been offered up to God and in the fullness of time the rest of the harvest, us as believers, shall be offered up onto God.

Misconceptions in scripture usually arise when people try to bend it to suit their personal beliefs. The truth is revealed in scripture but the personal opinions of man have greatly distorted this, giving rise to a different Gospel.

Because a thing sounds good, doesn’t mean that it is God ordained. Search scriptures properly and let it speak for itself.

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4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Russell Earl Kelly
    Jun 15, 2009 @ 17:55:15

    You left out Deut 26:1-10, Num 18:1-20 and Neh 10:35-37.

    Reply

  2. Gomez
    Jul 24, 2009 @ 04:42:45

    Good points. It always surprises me a bit when a tithing proponent says that since I don’t believe in the tithe then I don’t believe in giving or I don’t believe in firstfruits. Its as if they think they’re somehow joined at the hip and you can’t have one without the other. And the tithe on cattle really blows a hole in the whole tithing = firstfruits idea since it was the tenth cattle and not the first that was to be given to God. Thanks for you work on this concept.

    Reply

    • eliteinchrist
      Jul 24, 2009 @ 11:04:45

      Tell me about it. I think the problem is that this lie has been preached so much that it now sounds like the truth. And it makes it difficult for them to understand that you can give freely and cheerfully without holding unto a so called ten percent bench mark.

      It has become so that bad that some preachers even link it with salvation!

      God bless you Gomez

      Reply

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