Disclaimer – this article seeks to present all the scriptures to you and allow you reason it out yourself.
Some weeks back, someone in the fellowship asked a question – Should I give firstfruits? This is my answer.
I was raised in a Christian home and in a particular church that believed in giving of the First fruits offering and everyone who has told me about first fruits or asked about it as used this one scripture Proverbs 3:9 Honour the LORD with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase (KJV). However, I haven’t heard anyone teach about the origin, basis and reason for this offering. I endeavour to do that today and with that answer the question above.
It’s going to be a lot of scriptures, please open your heart and know that The Word of God is supreme over your belief, feeling or church’s doctrine. When we face God we would be judged against his word not against your person beliefs, feelings or church doctrine.
The firstfruit offering was first mentioned in Exodus 23:19
The first of the firstfruits of thy land thou shalt bring into the house of the LORD thy God. Thou shalt not seethe a kid in his mother’s milk. (KJV)
The chapter that explains the firstfruit offering is Deutronomy 26, I advise you to read the whole chapter.
1 And it shall be, when thou art come in unto the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee for an inheritance, and possessest it, and dwellest therein; (KJV)
2 That thou shalt take of the first of all the fruit of the earth, which thou shalt bring of thy land that the LORD thy God giveth thee, and shalt put it in a basket, and shalt go unto the place which the LORD thy God shall choose to place his name there. (KJV)
Another scripture is Leviticus 23:10
Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye be come into the land which I give unto you, and shall reap the harvest thereof, then ye shall bring a sheaf of the firstfruits of your harvest unto the priest: (KJV)
Let’s bring it into context (to understand a verse, look at the context). The children of Israel had been delivered from slavery in Egypt and brought into the Promised Land; and here God is saying when you sow in the land I have given you and you reap a harvest, from the harvest bring a measure, the best, the first of the harvest to the temple of God. This was to be done to give honour to God for bringing them into the Promised Land. It carries no stated promise of future harvest or specific blessing (pls note, every act of giving instructed by God carries a blessing because every genuine giver must receive an harvest of his giving; what I mean here is that God didn’t say bring the firstfruit into my house and you would always have a harvest like he did for tithe)
Secondly, the first fruit offering wasn’t giving the entire harvest; in this times it is not giving your entire salary or income. One thing we can notice from all these scriptures above is that the offering given wasn’t the entire firstfruit harvest but a measure of it. The scriptures say the first of firstfruit of a sheaf of firstfruits.
Now that we have established the origin, basis and method of giving the firstfruit. Lets see the firstfruit in the new testament.
Roms 8:23 And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body. (KJV)
Roms 8:16 For if the firstfruit be holy, the lump is also holy: and if the root be holy, so are the branches. (KJV)
1 Cor 15:20,23 But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept….But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming. (KJV)
Rev 14:4 These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb. (KJV)
James 1:18 Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures. (KJV)
None of these scriptures refer to firstfruit as an offering to be presented; rather they refer to first fruit as a type, to describe something.
Law or Grace
Now, we are aware that as redeemed children of God, we are not under law anymore but under grace and that Christ has fulfilled the law thus we are no longer under it.
Matthew 5:17 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. (KJV)
The law is not destroyed i.e. we won’t say it doesn’t exist but Jesus has fulfilled it what this means is that he has abided by all the law (he is the only one able to live without breaking the law) for us and in him we live under grace.
Romans 7: 6 But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter. (KJV)
We are called to serve now not under the law but under the spirit; i.e. all our actions shouldn’t be guided by the law but by the Holy Spirit’s leading in our hearts.
Some argue that the law is still in place and we should still follow it. Let’s pretend for a minute that that’s true; I have a question then;
If you pay firstfruits according to the law, why don’t you pay grain offering, sin offering, celebrate feast of unleavened bread, feast of harvest, feast of in gatherings etc. why do you pay only firstfruit and neglect the other offerings aren’t they also commanded under the law? The book of Exodus, Leviticus and Deuteronomy are full of many laws that the Israelites lived by; why do we pick and choose which law we would obey?
James 2:10 – 12 For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. For he that said, Do not commit adultery, said also, Do not kill. Now if thou commit no adultery, yet if thou kill, thou art become a transgressor of the law. So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty. (KJV)
I advise you to judge yourself; if you choose to live under the law and not under the finished work of Jesus when he carried the burden of the law and nailed it to the cross then live under the entire law and redeem yourself by yourself!
Colossians 2: 14 -20
14 Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; (KJV)
15 And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it. (KJV)
16 ¶ Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: (KJV)
17 Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ. (KJV)
20 Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances, (KJV)
21 (Touch not; taste not; handle not; (KJV)
22 Which all are to perish with the using;) after the commandments and doctrines of men? (KJV)
23 Which things have indeed a shew of wisdom in will worship, and humility, and neglecting of the body; not in any honour to the satisfying of the flesh. (KJV)
Conclusion: Paying of the firstfruit offering isn’t paying of the entire harvest/salary/income, its giving a portion/measure. While it was practiced and commanded of the Israelites, Jesus has fulfilled the law and thus it isn’t required of us under the finished work of Jesus. You can however on your own volition and not under compulsion by the law or guilt decide to give a portion or all of your income to God as a sign of honour; that’s willful giving and is between you and God.
I pray that the eye of your understanding be enlightened. Kindly try to not swallow doctrines blindly but be like the Berean Christians and study the word for yourself!