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Often the term firstfruits and tithes are intertwined as if they are one in the same. When I began my tithe research several years ago I thought the same thing. However, I found out that firstfruits are not tithes and vise vera. The argument goes that the first check you write is the tithe check which qualifies as the tenth as your firstfruits. Now that sound good but it is not fact. The firstfruits doctrine takes on many forms. In some churches, they may ask for the first week’s pay of the year or the first day’s pay for the year as your firstfruits. This also sounds good but does the Bible support claims like this. When the Bible speaks of first fruits, you don’t have to guess at what God meant. The picture above is a representation of what the firstfruits are. So how does money play a role in this issue? Once again, you have to suspend common theological sense in order to convince people that money qualifies as firstfruits.
In my initial tithing presentation, I put together 10 slides describing the contents of firstfruits. Not one time does the Bible ever identify money as firstfruits. So to put to rest what the firstfruits are, let the Scripture be your guide in Deut 26:1-4. and Deut 18:4 which describe some of the firstfruits. You can also look up firstfruits in Numbers 18:8-13.
1“And it shall be, when you come into the land which the LORD your God is giving you as an inheritance, and you possess it and dwell in it, 2 that you shall take some of the first of all the produce of the ground, which you shall bring from your land that the LORD your God is giving you, and put it in a basket and go to the place where the LORD your God chooses to make His name abide. 3 And you shall go to the one who is priest in those days, and say to him, ‘I declare today to the LORD your God that I have come to the country which the LORD swore to our fathers to give us.’ 4 “Then the priest shall take the basket out of your hand and set it down before the altar of the LORD your God.
4 The firstfruits of your grain and your new wine and your oil, and the first of the fleece of your sheep, you shall give him [in a basket].
What must be understood is that firstfruits are only the first produce that grows from the ground, and to say that firstfruits are really the first tenth of a person’s paycheck is absolutely incorrect. So how do we know that tithes, first fruits, and offerings are not the same? The Bible in Nehemiah 12:44 classifies them as separate and they cannot be conflated. First fruits were food for the priests and tithes were limited and specific, which was food for the Levites. The verse reads: And at the same time some were appointed over the rooms of the storehouse for the offerings, the firstfruits, and the tithes, to gather into them from the fields of the cities the portions specified by the Law for the priests and Levites; for Judah rejoiced over the priests and Levites who ministered (NKJV). They were gathering everything (first fruits, tithes, and offerings) that was eatable from the field. Money from your wallet or purse does not qualify as a tithe.
I’m sure many of you who been in the institutional church for any length of time probably have heard sermons about bringing firstfruits to the man of God. A couple of scriptures that may be familiar are Neh 10:37, “to bring the firstfruits of our dough, our offerings, the fruit from all kinds of trees, the new wine and oil, to the priests, to the storerooms of the house of our God; and to bring the tithes of our land to the Levites, for the Levites should receive the tithes in all our farming communities” (NKJV) and Eze 44:30 “And the first of all the firstfruits of all things, and every oblation of all, of every sort of your oblations, shall be the priest’s: ye shall also give unto the priest the first of your dough, that he may cause the blessing to rest in thine house” (KJV). Even though both of these verses clearly indicate the context is about food, they are often taken as sermon topics to conflate dough with money. For example, A typical sermon title would be, “Pay the Man His Dough.” In the African-American community, the term dough is a term often used in blacksploitation movies when referring to money. Today not so much, though. In conversation, it is not uncommon to hear someone say, “Man, you better pay me my dough or else. The context of the term in the cultural dialect is that dough always refers to money. Now when you translate that to the preacher’s sermon which says, pay the man his dough, he is eisegetically engaging in a process that misinterprets the text or a portion of text in such a way that he introduces his own presupposition and biases into and onto the text by taking the cultural influence of the word dough to repackage it as money as if the preacher is now somehow connected to the priest and the Levite who received dough. In the case of the preacher dough is not what he wants but the dough as it relates to money. As I researched tithes and firstfruits it was clear to me that they were both different and so did many authors who wrote tithing books. One author, M.D Ewing writes:
The giving of tithes was totally different from giving of first fruits offering. These were two different types of offerings, and the phrase, “the first fruits of all your increase is not to be considered the same as the rendering of tithes, as people generally teach. There were no commands or requirements that governed tithing in the days of Abraham and Jacob.
So if your church asks you to bring firstfruits to the church or the man of God, the bible says you are to bring, grapes/wine, barley, wheat, figs, olives/oil, honey, pomegranates and put them all in a basket and carry them to the temple. But because you are not a farmer, this requirement on your cash does not apply and never will. To sum up, the Bible defines first fruits literally as food. The real story is that money does not qualify. Fruits are nothing but items placed in a basket to be presented to the High Priest to eat at the place of worship. Remember, Levites in the Old Testament never received the first fruits. First Fruits only belonged to the Hight Priest and Aaron’s sons and their generations. Giving first fruits in the form of money is non-biblical. The practice of money as firstfruits is foreign to the Bible. Christ fulfilled the Feast of First Fruits. When someone asks you to pay first fruits in the form of money, hold onto your wallet and purses and run for your financial life. They are spiritualizing the biblical text for the purpose of money and preying on your ignorance and the basic human need for wealth
Check out my videos on first fruits. Maybe even post your comments about what you have learned about true tithing and firstfruits.
Here is a quote from my upcoming book, KLEPTOMANIAC: Who’s Really Robbing God Anyway? In Chapter 8, I propose that:
Hypothetically, if firstfruits were converted into money today according to the law and rabbinical teaching as understood by the Hebrew people, it would look something like this: let’s say your first weeks pay of the year is $900.00. Based on the math calculation, 1/40th of this is considered generous firstfruits, which is about $3.60. So why do tithe teachers ask for your first weeks pay or first days pay when God only asked for 1/40th of the amount, which is much less than 10 percent?
For an extensive word study on first fruits go to firstfruits 101. I hope this first fruits study provides insightful information that will help you get to the truth. Since this web site is not about just what I’ve learned, I always like to post articles the provide insight. Whether we are talking about tithes, firstfruits, and offerings any time a pastor chooses to tell the truth about tithing, there is a risk. It’s almost financial suicide to teach that tithing money is no in the bible and yet one pastor does teach why you should not tithe even though it is a risk.
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