ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

First Fruits Giving and Modern Day Christians

Updated on March 23, 2020
Cheryl E Preston profile image

Cheryl is a freelance writer, newspaper columnist, poet, licensed/ordained minister and founder of two outreach ministries.

Biblical context of First Fruits.

When it comes to Old Testament commands the first rule of thumb is to examine the context. Who was speaking and whom were they addressing? There are many things our Heavenly Father spoke to the Israelites, for a specific purpose and during a certain period of time that are not commanded of Christ followers today. There is controversy regarding one such practice which many churches are implementing. A growing number of Christian pastors in recent decades have been implementing first fruit giving and requiring it from their congregants. Let us take a look at First Fruits and determine what the word says to New Testament believers. Compelling Truth reveals that in the Old Testament the first fruits offering was required by our Creator of the children of Israel. Here are scripture references.

Exodus 23:19a-: "The best of the first fruits of your ground you shall bring into the house of the LORD your God."

Leviticus 23:10-"'Speak to the people of Israel and say to them, When you come into the land that I give you and reap its harvest, you shall bring the sheaf of the first fruits of your harvest to the priest."

Proverbs 3:9-10-Honor the LORD with your wealth and with the first fruits of all your produce; then your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will be bursting with wine."

Deuteronomy 26 explains in detail that the purpose of the first fruits was to acknowledge how our Heavenly Father led the Israelites into Egypt, multiplied them, delivered them from bondage and gave them the land of Canaan as their inheritance.


The children of Israel were required by the Almighty to give a first fruits offering as thanks for His giving them cities they did not build, houses full of things that they did not fill, and wells full of water that they did not dig, The Israelites also ended up with vineyards and olive trees they did not plant. They inherited all of this from the Canaanites, whom the Lord had them remove from the land. The first offering was brought to the temple where it was displayed before the Creator and then given to the priests. This was how the priests received their sustenance. (Numbers 18:11-12 and Proverbs 3:9-10). Many theologians believe that more than likely this was a specific promise to the chosen people,only. This offering was a thank you for the Lord for bringing them out of Egypt and was set up so the priests would be taken care of as they did the work of the Lord. Please note that first fruits was not money but bread, and other food items.which included barley, figs, wheat, olive oil, grapes, pomegranate, honey and date,wheat, barley, grapes, figs, pomegranates.




First Fruits in the New Testament

First fruits are mentioned in the New Testament but not in the same context as the OT. In Romans 12:13-16 Paul speaks of the first fruits metaphorically related to Jews and Christians and the first Jewish Christians. In Romans 8:23 the Apostle says ''Not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit…" Paul is using this as a metaphor for the first appearance the Holy Spirit, the "helper" who Jesus promised. The very first followers of Christ were also the very first to experience the blessing of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit and received the "first fruits" of the work of His Spirit in the lives of believers.

In I Corinthians 15:20-24 Christ is referred to as the "first fruits" of all who will be raised from the dead. Jesus is the firstborn, the only begotten Son of the Father resurrection is the first promise that all who accept Him will also be raised from the dead. He is a guarantee of our salvation future blessings in eternity.

In James 1:18 and 2 Thessalonians 2:13 New Testament believers are referred to as "firstfruits." because they were the first to follow the risen Christ., The Christians in the early church were the "firstfruits" and the promise that creation itself will be restored.

Revelation 14:4 tells of the 144,000 Jewish witnesses as first fruits who will spread the Gospel during the Tribulation. Thr bottom line is that the term "firstfruits" in the New Testament, is not referring to giving money to the church.


Abusing First fruits


Today first fruits is used by a number of preachers to encourage their church members to give an offering above and beyond tithing, that goes to the pastor. Remember that in the Old Testament the Leviticus priests did not have a source of income and the first fruits offering was food so keep these three things in mind. 1.Modern day American preacher are not descendants of the Levite’s, 2. There is no New Testament scripture which says to change the first fruits into money. 3. If a pastor receives a love offering or salary his church is already taking care of him or her financially. Another thing to consider is if that pastor has a secular job, he already had a source of income. Therefore, there is no necessity for first fruits today but here is what is taking place. Church goers are read the Old Testament promises and told to give one of the following. Either their entire first paycheck from a new job, the entire increase from the first raise of the year, or the first paycheck of the year. Some preachers ask for the amount earned from any sales that net income, or a portion of each subsequent paycheck where there has bern a raise. Some theologians day this is similar to how the tithe is being taken out of context and forced on the modern day church. Old Testament promises are being guaranteed to New Covenant believers. I am certain there are good hearted pastors who simply use the first fruit method as a way to bring in extra money to their church. Perhaps there are shepherds who receive first fruits as their income and do not take a salary.

Some churches may use the money to fund projects that tithes and offerings don’t cover but; The first fruits in our modern day were initiated by greedy pastors to fill their own personal coffers.I was a member of a church where the pastor received a salary, and 100% of the seeds down at the altar. He also received first fruits said he was the modern day priest but that is not backed up by scripture and members were encouraged to give him Holy Ghost handshakes where you slipped money in his hands on a regular basis. This church also had other preachers coming in four or five times a year asking the congregation to give up to $1000 each to the pastor, In this setting the first fruits were a manipulation to put more money in the pastor’s pocket and was not going to maintain the church or help the poor. Some unsuspecting churches may be innocently utilizing first fruits without understanding their original purpose or not knowing why this was set in place in modern times.



The bottom line

The prosperity teachers use all these methods to obtain money from their congregations in order to lie that ”God” blessed them. They ingorce all these methods of giving to themselves while falsely claiming that ”God” will abundantly bless those who give to them. In such settings the money is not going to bless the work of the Lord, but to bless the preacher,It’s dangerous to misuse scripture and promise what God will not deliver. It’s always not wise to simply pull a scripture out of the Old Testament and teach it to your congregation without first researching it. For this reason 2 Corinthians 9:7 should be our model of New Testament giving. Each person should give what they have purposed in their own hearts which is between them and their heavenly Father. If what people choose to freely give is not meeting needs there are many ways to raise money without misrepresenting scripture.

If a church decides to follow the first fruit principle as a way to pay the pastor or pay the bills there is nothing wrong with using that model. The problem comes in when modern day American preachers call themselves the priest of the church. Priests were from the tribe of Levi and any descendants today would be Jewish. Furthermore scripture says New Covenant leaders are Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Teaches, and Pastors. Bishops are also mentioned. In closing I will leave the reader with something mentioned in The Compelling Truth article. It said that there is nowhere in scripture that indicates the doctrine of transference, which taking all things in the Old Testament and transferring what was written to the Israelites to New Testament believers. In my opinion if transference was real, we would still be sacrificing sheep and goats which negates Christ being the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2020 Cheryl E Preston

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • Cheryl E Preston profile imageAUTHOR

      Cheryl E Preston 

      2 months ago from Roanoke

      Yes so true.

    • OGUNDARE OLUSEGUN profile image

      OLUSEGUN 

      2 months ago from NIGERIA

      When our understanding of gospel is shallow we shall always be played upon.

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      2 months ago from Sunny Florida

      A long time ago I visisted a couple of churchs that really pressed the congregation for money. It made me very uncomfortable. The church I have attened for the past 20 years does not do that, thank goodness.

      You have written an excellent article that carefully explains the difference between the old and new testaments. Thank you for discussing this problem and enlightening us.

    • Lorna Lamon profile image

      Lorna Lamon 

      2 months ago

      It's sad that people are being taken in by those they should be able to look up to, and yet I can see why this happens. Another excellent article Cheryl which shines the light on this issue.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://maven.io/company/pages/privacy

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)