First Fruits (How True?)

First Fruits (How True?)

First Fruits

May the Lord perfect that which He began in you and perfect everything that concerns you in Jesus name, Amen. Hope your week was good?
I know this topic is one of those very controversial ones Christians usually would either shy away from or debate on, ignorantly too. But let’s go about it as the Spirit of God gives us the permission. I humbly and honestly employ you to be patient, carefully and prayerfully consider what you are about to read on this topic. Thank you and God richly bless you as you do.
“First what?”
“Firstfruits! You must give your firstfruits, the whole of your January salary or else…”
“Or else what?” Ada quarried
“Or else God will not bless you for the rest of the year. You heard the man of God’s teaching earlier today” Bayo explains with a terabyte of concern.

That was a conversation that ensued between a dear brother and sister over paying her first salary of the year as firstfruit offering to the church like the pastor had earlier told them, “from the scriptures” but the thing is, this sister wanted a New Testament instruction on this subject. The Pastor had not provided any. He had taught them according to the ordinances of the Old Covenant Law instead of the realities of the New Covenant in Christ.
This sister mailed me asking what the true New Testament position was. I told her then that I needed to be led of the Spirit to treat any subject. That was around the month of May last year. This is the time for this topic.
Please, like I said before, I employ you by the mercies of God, be patient with me and hear me out. Thank you for your time.

Let me make this abundantly clear now. As a New Testament believer, when it comes to your finances, it is entirely up to you what arrangement you want with the Lord. He will never cram anything down your financial throat. Grace is a gentle and an understanding teacher NOT a task master

So I start by asking:
“What was a firstfruit offering in the Old Testament? Should a Christian be COMPELLED to give a firstfruit offering today?”
Firstfruit was a Jewish feast held at the beginning of the grain harvest. It was observed in the month of Nissan 16, which was the third day after Passover and the second day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Firstfruits was a time of thanksgiving for God’s provision.

Today there is an increasing number of Christians that are confused over this doctrine of first fruits and rightly so. The confusion stems from those that teach believers in the New Testament Church that they are OBLIGATED to pay the firstfruits of their income according to an ordinance from the Law of Moses found in Leviticus 23:9-12,
“And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, 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: And he shall wave the sheaf before the LORD, to be accepted for you: on the morrow after the sabbath the priest shall wave it. And ye shall offer that day when ye wave the sheaf an he lamb without blemish of the first year for a burnt offering unto the LORD.” The people were to bring a sheaf of grain to the priest, who would wave it before the Lord. A burnt offering, a meal offering, and a drink offering were also required at that time. “And the feast of harvest, the firstfruits of thy labours, which thou hast sown in the field: and the feast of ingathering, which is in the end of the year, when thou hast gathered in thy labours out of the field” Exodus 23:16,
God told the Israelites that the firstfruits’s offering was to be given in thanks for “…great and goodly cities, which thou buildedst not, And houses full of all good things, which thou filledst not, and wells digged, which thou diggedst not, vineyards and olive trees, which thou plantedst not…” Deuteronomy 6:10-11. The offering was brought to the temple where it was displayed before God, and then given to the priests for their sustenance Numbers 18:11-12. Prov. 3:9-10 does say that offering firstfruits will bring blessings, but it’s unclear if this is a general proverb or a specific promise of God to His people; in the majority of appearances, firstfruits is associated with thanks to God for bringing the Israelites from Egypt to Canaan.

The law is somewhat vague in the specifics, and has opened itself up to rabbinic interpretation. For instance, Scripture does not dictate how much the first fruit offering should be in comparison to the harvest. So how does a preacher arrive at what he requests from his congregation?
Deuteronomy 26:1-10 gives even more detail on the procedure of firstfruits.

But like a brother rightly wrote saying, we need to answer two critical questions, what is a firstfruit and what constitutes first fruits?
“Honour the LORD with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase: So shall thy barns be filled with plenty, and thy presses shall burst out with new wine.” Proverbs 3 vs. 9-10
The passage above from Proverbs should help us to answer the first question. A firstfruit is best described as the initial gain or profit you derive from every NEW activity that increases you.
Now to the second part of the question- What constitutes firstfruits? Let us check out more passages. “And the feast of harvest, the firstfruits of thy labours, which thou hast sown in the field….the first of the firstfruits of thy land thou shalt bring into the house of the Lord thy God” Exodus 23 vs. 16 and 19
“The first of the firstfruits of thy land thou shalt bring into the house of the Lord thy God” Exodus 34 vs. 26
“Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, when ye be come unto the land which I gave unto you, and shall reap the harvest thereof, then ye shall bring a sheaf of the firstfruit of your harvest unto the Priest: And he shall wave the sheaf before the Lord, to be accepted for you:…” Leviticus 23 vs. 10
If we study Proverbs 3 verse. 9-10 in conjunction and in the context of Exodus 34 verse.19, Exodus 34 verse. 26, and Leviticus 23 verse. 10, then we can reach some conclusions.
In Exodus 34 verse.19, the Bible mentions the ‘first of the firstfruits’ NOT all the firstfruits; in Exodus 34 verse. 26 the Bible talks again about the ‘first of the firstfruits’ and NOT ALL the firstfruits; and lastly in Leviticus 23 verse.10 God demands a “sheaf’ of the firstfruit of your harvest” NOT ALL the firstfruits of all your harvest.
If we consider this analysis dispassionately, it is clear, unambiguous and obvious that God DOES NOT expect us to give him all the firstfruits of our profits (for Business people), or the first salary (for paid workers), or the first month salary in the new year as some Churches are preaching. This is the truth as laid out in the scriptures.
What God expects us to do is to give the BEST of our firstfruits to honour Him as the source of all increase. It is now left to the individual to decide what constitutes the ‘best’ or to use the Bible language what you consider as the ‘first’ or a ‘sheaf’ out of your firstfruits.
What is a SHEAF? The Advanced English Dictionary defines it as “a package of several things tied together for carrying or storing“ That means it constitutes a number of things for they were that “which thou hast sown in the field” Exodus 23:16 It’s a part of the best. If you consider 20% or more out of your first salary in a new work or 20% or more out of your initial business profit as the best sheaf out of your firstfruit, so be it. If you consider the whole salary or the whole profit as the ‘best’ ‘first’ or ‘sheaf’ out of the firstfruits, so be it, It’s ’ all entirely up to you.
But the express injunctions in some Churches that members should give ALL the first salary in any new work place, in a new year, or all the profit of a new business endeavour as firstfruits, is carnal and definitely has NO SCRIPTURAL BASIS.
The truth is that the Spirit of mammon has taken over most of our Churches and various sorts of doctrines are being propagated as the Gospel truth. In any case, there is no scriptural injunction that defies rationality. Jesus came to carry our burdens and lighten our yokes, not to add to it. He said “For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:30 But like I stated earlier, decide what constitutes the ‘first’ or best ‘sheaf’ out of your firstfruits and act according to you faith.

Confusion always results when people try to put the yoke of the law upon those that are called to live entirely by God’s grace. “For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them. But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith” Galatians 3:10-11
The good news is that this confusion can be remedied very quickly. Clarity comes to us when we really grasp and understand this one vital truth: “…FOR YE ARE NOT UNDER THE LAW, BUT UNDER GRACE…” Romans 6:14b

This powerful true revelation taught by the Apostle Paul is a must for every believer to be free from the yoke of the Law, to live in the power of Christ and receive the realities that He has given us under the New Covenant. The New Testament scriptures have given overwhelming proof that all born again believers have been set free from the law by Christ and now that we have been set free, we are warned not to let ourselves be burdened again by this
yoke of slavery or allow others to try to place it on us either. “For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace” Romans 6:14
“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” Romans 7:6
“I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed. For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.” Galatians 1:6-10

“…ye are not under the law, but under grace” Romans 6:14b

The truth is, under this dispensation of Grace, there is ABSOLUTELY NOTHING THAT IS A MUST. You always have a choice. God expects that you obey Him. You do not have to understand why, He just wants you to obey. But He will never make anything mandatory for you. He allows you make the choice. Even as important as salvation is, it is still a choice for every choice has a reward, good or bad.

In the New Testament, the firstfruits offering is mentioned SEVEN times, but each time it is presented symbolically. I will share a few with you.
In Romans 16:5 Paul calls Epaenetus and the household of Stephanas “…the firstfruits of Achaia” 1 Corinthians. 16:15. Meaning, just as the firstfruits offering was the first portion of a larger harvest; these people were the first of many converts in their areas. James calls believers “…a kind of firstfruits of His creatures” James 1:18. Just like the sheaf of grain was set apart for the Lord, so are believers set apart for God’s glory.

The firstfruits offering was fulfilled in Jesus. “But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep” 1 Corinthians. 15:20. His resurrection paved the way for our resurrection.

THE FIRSTFRUITS OFFERING IS NEVER DIRECTLY APPLIED TO CHRISTIAN GIVING IN THE NEW TESTAMENT. However, Paul taught the Corinthian believers to set aside a collection “…on the first day of the week” 1 Corinthians. 16:2. It was a free will offering, as God had prospered them for that week. And just as the offering of firstfruits was an occasion of thanksgiving in the Old Testament, likewise the Christian today is to give WILLINGLY with gladness, NOT OUT OF COMPULSION. “For if there be first a willing mind, it is accepted according to that a man hath, and not according to that he hath not” 2 Corinthians. 8:12 if scriptures did not give us a command on this issue, why do some of our ministers burden their congregation with such? My conclusion on that is simply, ignorance of the truth in the scriptures.

Some preachers today use the concept of firstfruits to encourage mandatory sacrificial giving. Today the firstfruit itself varies, it could be:
The first salary of a new job or of the year. It is usually to show sacrificial faith that God will provide or give thanks that God did provide. It could also mean to “sow a seed” so that God will make the giver rich and ensure God’s blessings throughout the new year

The problem is, the firstfruit offering was primarily meant for the Jews the children of Israel, for a specific purpose. You are not a Jew but a Christian bought with a price. “Ye are bought with a price; be not ye the servants of men.” 1 Corinthians. 7:23. You are secured in a better covenant. “But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises.” Hebrews 8:6. So, if we have a better and a more excellent arrangement with God, why do we have to revert to an inferior arrangement? NOWHERE DOES THE NEW TESTAMENT MENTION THAT THE CHURCH IS REQUIRED OR EVEN ENCOURAGED TO GIVE A “FIRSTFRUITS OFFERING. Like tithing, giving to the church is left up to the PERSONAL CONVICTIONS OF THE INDIVIDUAL believer. There is no blanket policy for giving in the New Testament Church. “Every man according AS HE PURPOSETH IN HIS HEART, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.” 2 Corinthins. 9:7

There are seven different dispensations and God deals with man differently in each of them. You must understand the work of God in a dispensational manner instead of following the teaching of replacement theology.
1 Replacement theology teaches that the church has replaced Israel in God’s plan for the world. All of the promises God gave Israel including material blessings for obedience are transferred to the church.
2 Dispensational theology claims that God gave Israel and the church different promises, and many of Israel’s promises will not come to fruition until the Millennial Kingdom.
It is the belief of this ministry that Dispensational theology best interprets the Scriptures. The church cannot claim all the promises God made to Israel in the Old Testament. The Church is the Bride of Christ, NOT the Jewish Nation.

Let me say this at this point. It doesn’t mean that giving a firstfruit offering is bad in itself. Like tithing, “firstfruit” can be used as a voluntary offering of thanks by faith. The key word there is VOLUNTARY. There is nothing wrong with giving above and beyond what is regularly budgeted for—as long as the motivation is personal and NOT PRESSURED BY CHURCH LEADERSHIP. “Every man according AS HE PURPOSETH IN HIS HEART, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.” 2 Corinthians. 9:7

The ways some ministers use the phrase and the practice (firstfruits) is a source of concern to me. If ministers will study and teach their members that the New Testament church does not have a “forceful and woe betide you if you don’t give order” from God when it comes to offering and perhaps take a little time to show them that a joyful and free will giving from the heart is all God wants and expects of His people. The Church will be a lot better for it.

“Every man according AS HE PURPOSETH IN HIS HEART, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.” 2 Corinthians. 9:7. That is the scripture.
To give sacrificially is to follow the example of the widow’s mite story “And Jesus sat over against the treasury, and beheld how the people cast money into the treasury: and many that were rich cast in much. And there came a certain poor widow, and she threw in two mites, which make a farthing. And he called unto him his disciples, and saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That this poor widow hath cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury: For all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living” Mark 12:41-44.
The “widow’s mite” practice is only commendable if it is not coerced. To give an offering in thanks because God provided is perfectly acceptable. Ministers should be straight with their members. If a church wants to raise funds for whatever reason, it would be better to specify the purpose and not just spiritualize the desire to have more money in their bank accounts.

You say but how are the ministers of God meant to survive and pay all the bills? The truth is, when God gives you a vision He gives you the provision to succeed, simple. “Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine. For the scripture saith, Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. And, The labourer is worthy of his reward” 1 Timothy. 5:17-18 that means it is the responsibility of the Church to support those who run the Church. Ministers should not manipulate their members into giving. 1 Corinthians. 9:14 says “…Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel”.

Several times the New Testament exhorts believers to give to those who are in need “For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.” Matthew 25:34-36; 27 “But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him? My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth” 1 John 3:17-18. The New Testament says we are to give in faith, but it doesn’t say that we are to give to the point of destitution so that our faith can grow 1 Corinthians. 16:2. There is a difference between faithful sacrifice and bad resource management.

As far as the first fruit offering as described in the Old Testament in concerned, the Church of Jesus Christ of the New Testament is exempt.
Jesus did not come to abolish the law, He came to fulfill it—including being the first fruit, Himself “But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept.” 1Corinthians. 15:20. If the usage of the term “first fruit” in the New Testament is to be considered, the manifestation of first fruit in the Church age means that those who were saved in the early Church were a promise that more would follow. And Jesus’ resurrection is a promise that we, too, will be resurrected. Any other use of “first fruits” can be regarded as abusive, fraudulent or careless. There are better terms to use when a Church collects a special offering, and there are more biblical ways to do so than to insist, cajole, and threaten people with Malachi 3:9, a scripture that has nothing to do with the Church of Jesus Christ.

Ironically, what the New Testament teaches about giving is more extreme. God says to us all to “…present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.” Romans 12:1. Because of that, every monetary blessing we have is His, and we should do with it as He leads—whether to use on ourselves or to use for others. Matthew 25:14-30 tells us that we should be responsible with His blessings. This includes giving for a purpose, giving by the leading of the Holy Spirit, giving for the spread of the Gospel and the aid of the needy, and giving cheerfully. Whatever you choose to call that, it’s simply Christian giving.
You need to understand that believers in Christ have in reality died to not only sin and death
but also to the law and that Christ died in order to set all men free from all of these.
Romans. 7:1-6, Galatians. 2:19-20
When Jesus died upon the cross, the scriptures declare that we also died with him. We died with him to sin, the law and death through his vicarious sacrifice. Romans 6:1-14; Galatians 2:19-21
Some people are not able to have a revelation of this astounding truth because they have chosen to become blinded by the law. 2 Corinthian. 3:14-16
Some have had a false gospel preached to them instead of the true gospel of Christ. They have received a gospel of “works” instead of the gospel of grace. It is your job in “…rightly dividing the word of truth.” 2 Timothy 2:15

Today, those that teach giving a first fruit offering according to the law are actually teaching believers of the New Testament to earn their blessings through works of the law instead of receiving them freely by grace and faith in Christ as God has intended. Romans 4:13-16, Galatians. 3: 14-18
It is true that Jesus and the first converts in the Church were Jewish, this does not mean that you and I must become Jewish and live under the law in order to live a life in Christ. The New Testament scriptures make this very clear. We are not to live by the law but by faith in Christ. The scripture says that the law is not of faith. Galatians 3:11-12.

Different ministers teach giving a first fruit offering for different reasons. Although we might not know their motives for doing so, we definitely should be judging whether or not their teaching is scriptural and is it meant for the Church of the New Testament?

Some teach mandatory works of the law like tithing, first fruit offering, Hebrew Festivals, etc. because they may have been sincerely deceived by false teaching. Others may do so because they erroneously believe that mixing law and grace will help believers be balanced spiritually.
Then there are some, unfortunately that teach this because they are greedy and see this as a sure way to make a lot of money off of the people of God.

Let me say this again, as a New Testament born again Christian, you can appropriate any promise from either the Jew or the Gentile nation to yourself by faith with knowledge and it will work for you. But those things from the legalistic chambers of Moses MUST NOT AND SHOULD NEVER EVER BE MADE MANDATORY FOR THE NEW TESTAMENT CHRISTIAN. IF WE AGREE THAT SALVATION OF THE SOUL IS THE GREATEST THING IN THE NEW TESTAMENT YET IT IS BY CHOICE, HOW CAN ANY OTHER LESSER THING BE MANDATORY?

When we are doing works of the law we are not walking by faith. Scripture tells us that “…NO MAN is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith.” Galatians. 3:11 Living by works of the law actually frustrates the grace of God in our lives and renders our faith impotent or inoperable. Living like a Jew, i.e., keeping works of the law also cannot justify us before God or give us any more favor with Him than those who do not. We are to walk by faith in Christ and what He has done for us. We cannot earn our blessings from God. Everything we get is a gift and as a result of His grace and nothing less.

A careful study of the New Testament teaches us that those who teach the Church to observe the works of the law are in direct opposition and disobedience to the Gospel of Jesus Christ whether knowingly or unknowingly.
These words may sound heavy for you but please understand that this can be fully backed up with many New Testament scriptures.
It’s very detrimental to our spiritual life if we bring ourselves back under the dominion of the law and this is not something to be taken lightly as we see in Galatians 1:6-10, 2:14, 5:1-4

Many Christians today have been deceived into believing that it’s not harmful to keep the law or that it is actually beneficial. But the letters of Paul teach different. As Paul wrote in his epistle to the Galatians, “Tell me, ye that desire to be under the law, do ye not hear the law?” Galatians 4:21.

The law requires that if you want to be under it then you MUST keep it in its entirety, every word of it. If you break even one law you have broken all of it “For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all” James 2:10 “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.” Galatians 5:1 Paul taught that this is an impossible system for man to keep and this is why Jesus came to fulfill the law for us and die for our sins. The dangers of bringing ourselves back under the Mosaic Law is that we will alienate or cut ourselves off from Christ and his sacrificial atonement and fall from grace. NOTE: Not lost salvation. Galatians 5:1, “Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace” Galatians 5:4; see also verses 5-11, Galatians 4:8-11

Some in the Church falsely or ignorantly assume that since we’ve been given the entire Bible both Old and New Testaments by God that He intends for us to adhere to all of it. Again, nothing could be further from the truth. I once said to you that everything stated in the scriptures are truly stated but not everything stated is a statement of truth. “Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace” Ephesians 2:15,
The Church is totally and completely a brand new creature away from the Jewish nation. The priesthood, the nationality of the priesthood and the covenant arrangements are totally different from each other. “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” Colossians 2:14, read Hebrews 10 There are two major covenants in The Bible. The Gospel declares that the first or Old Testament is now obsolete and the second or New Testament is an eternal covenant that has been instituted by Christ. “…In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away” Hebrews 8:13 “Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second” Hebrews 10:9. The false teaching that Christians have to keep both covenants has caused many believers to be caught in the trap of legalism.

The Gospel of Christ declares that we cannot mix law and grace. God does not want us to be in bondage to legalism by serving rules and regulations of the law. Instead, He wants us to receive His grace and serve Christ in freedom and newness of the Spirit. “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” Romans 7:6, 2 Corinthians 3:6-8. It is written: “Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.” 2 Corinthians 3:17

True freedom can only be found by following Christ and His Spirit. The apostle Paul reminded the Galatians of the freedom that Christ had obtained for them through the cross. He then admonished them to stand firm in this salvation and NOT to bring themselves back under the yoke or bondage of the law. He said: “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.” Galatians 5:1.

We must stand firm against those that would want to enslave us with the rules and regulations of the Mosaic Law.
Whoever tells you that you MUST keep works connected to the law, i.e. keep the Sabbath, Feast Days, Tithe and give first fruit offerings you must reject their message. You are not under law but grace! If you choose of your own accord to practice them by faith and WITH KNOWLEDGE AND UNDERSTANDING it will work for you but no man should be coerced or blackmailed into doing it. That is not the spirit of the New Testament.
It is a Jewish practice but it will work for you because you are a blood covenant child with unlimited privileges and above all it is the word of God. But no man should be coerced or blackmailed into it.
My point is, as a New Testament believer anything you do with God concerning money has to be born out of your personal conviction, your free volition not because somebody hoodwinked you into doing it. “…Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.” Romans 14:5. Do not get me wrong, “…It is more blessed to give than to receive.” Acts 20:35.

Let me state here again, you must understand that Jesus didn’t come to form another religion, but came to restore all men back into a relationship with God. He was not making an extension of Judaism, Paganism or any other “ism”, but making new creatures in Christ that have been born again from above from a Kingdom not of this world. We are born again of the Holy Spirit and have become sons of God through spiritual adoption. John 3: 1-8, John 1:12
I said all of that to help you understand that those who teach believers today that they MUST give a first fruits offering according to the law, regardless of their status or size of their congregation are in effect bringing believers back under its dominion rules and regulations.
This is a very dangerous way to go. The Law of Moses was a total and complete system that could not be broken up into parts. We cannot just pick and choose which parts that we want to keep and ignore the other parts because it was a covenant that was to be kept in its entirety. The problem with going back to the law is that all we will continue to find is more and more rules and regulations to keep.
Paul had a saying that described this perfectly. He said, “A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump.” Galatians 5:9. A little legalism leads to a lot of it if not stopped.
This is one of the reasons the Lord came to die for us. He died to set us free and bring an end to the law for all who believe and who have received the atonement or reconciliation to God. Romans 4:10; Romans 5:11 To go back under the ordinances of the law is to trample on the blood of the New Covenant and to insult the Spirit of Grace. See Hebrews 10: 28-29.

There are some ministers that cite scriptures from the book of Nehemiah as proof that first fruits are separate from the tithes so that you will give a first fruit offering above and beyond the tithe. Nehemiah 10:29-35, 12:44. In doing this they are adding more weight of the yoke of the law upon the Lord’s sheep in order to extract additional money from them. It’s like adding an extra brick to those already loaded down. See Matthew 23:1-4. To make their teaching credible, they must bring believers back under the dominion of the law to try to give the first fruit offering some sort of legitimacy. They use the ordinances of the law to impose commands from a first covenant that is no longer in effect and has been set aside by Christ due to the Cross. “Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second.” Hebrews 10:9

The truth is, it makes no difference that tithes and first fruit offerings were separate under the law. They are both ordinances under the law and believers in Christ are no longer under the dominion of the law! Nehemiah 10:32-35, Malachi 3:7-11, “…you are not under the law but under grace” Romans 6:14. The law, its commandments and ordinances were nailed to the cross and abolished in Christ. Ephesians 2:14-15, Colossians 2:13-14
God only made the Old Covenant and all its commandments with ancient Israel and throughout their generations and only up until the time of the coming of the Christ or Messiah: “These are the words of the covenant, which the Lord commanded Moses to make with the children of Israel in the land of Moab, beside the covenant which he made with them in Horeb.” Deuteronomy 29:1 The children of Israel not the Church of Jesus Christ
God commanded the Israelites and their generations ONLY to keep all the Law including the first fruit offering until the Lord would establish a New Covenant with the house of Israel.
God made it clear through the prophets of old that this New Covenant would not be like the old one. Leviticus 23:9-21, Nehemiah. 10:34-37, Jeremiah. 31:31-34,
“But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises. For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second. For finding fault with them, he saith, Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah: (Judah is the tribe in which our High priest came from. Doesn’t that point to the New Testament Church?) Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they continued not in my covenant, and I regarded them not, saith the Lord…” “…In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away.” Hebrews 8:6-13

Doesn’t this scripture show the remarkable difference between the two Covenants? The rules, regulations or commands that were given to the Israelites under the law were only carnal and temporary according to Hebrews 9:10. “Which stood only in meats and drinks, and divers washings, and carnal ordinances, imposed on them until the time of reformation” If you back up to Hebrews 9:9, you will find that the writer is speaking of not only the sacrifices of the law, but also the gifts or offerings of the law as well. This would include all the offerings of the law, which definitely would have included first fruits.
In conclusions let me repeat what I said before.
IF WE AGREE THAT SALVATION OF THE SOUL IS THE GREATEST THING IN THE NEW TESTAMENT YET IT IS BY CHOICE, HOW CAN ANY OTHER LESSER THING BE MANDATORY OR BY FORCE? You are not under law but grace!
Whatever financial arrangement you choose to have with the Lord is entirely up to you. But let no man coerce or blackmail you into doing it. My point is, as a New Testament believer whatever you do has to come out of your personal conviction, your free volition not because somebody coerced you into doing it. “…Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.” Romans 14:5 Do not get me wrong, “…It is more blessed to give than to receive.” Acts 20:35.
When you WILLINGLY get into any financial partnership with God, it is the greatest, most rewarding experience you can ever have.
God bless you

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