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What are first fruits offerings?


When should we give a first fruits offering?

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In the natural sense the first fruits are those first harvested of any plant grown for food.

Under the Law of Moses all the first fruits belonged to God.

Exodus 23:19 The first of the firstfruits of thy land thou shalt bring into the house of the LORD thy God.

Proverbs 3:9 Honour the LORD with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase:

To honour God by giving him the first fruits is a recognition that it is God who gives the increase.

Israel’s first fruits offered to God were given to support the Levitical priesthood who had no inheritance in the land.

Deuteronomy 18:3 And this shall be the priest’s due from the people, from them that offer a sacrifice, whether it be ox or sheep; and they shall give unto the priest the shoulder, and the two cheeks, and the maw. 4 The firstfruit also of thy corn, of thy wine, and of thine oil, and the first of the fleece of thy sheep, shalt thou give him. 5 For the LORD thy God hath chosen him out of all thy tribes, to stand to minister in the name of the LORD, him and his sons for ever.

The principle is that we should honour God with the first fruits of all that we acquire, because everything we have is from him.

In the New Testament first fruits is used as a metaphor for people responding to the preaching of the gospel. James speaks of the early converts made by preaching the word of God (the Gospel) being first fruits begotten by the will of God.

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.

As in the case of plants it is God that gives the increase.

1 Corinthians 3:6 I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase.

Romans 16:5 Likewise greet the church that is in their house. Salute my wellbeloved Epaenetus, who is the firstfruits of Achaia unto Christ.

This means that Epaenetus was one of the first of Achaia to be baptised into Christ. More importantly Jesus Christ by his resurrection to eternal life is said to be the first fruits from the dead.

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

Those who believe and obey the gospel will be raised from the dead in a similar manner when Christ returns from heaven.

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

Those who are raised at the beginning of the 1000 year reign of Christ are said themselves to be the first fruits in relation to those who will complete the harvest at the end.

Revelation 14:4... These were redeemed from among men, being the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb.

We are not under the Law of Moses and there is no commandment to give of the first fruits of anything we grow or acquire to the ‘church’.

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.

There should be no separate priesthood in Christ to receive it. The separation of believers into ‘clergy’ and ‘laity’ is unwarranted apostasy.

Matthew 23:8 But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren.

Instead we should make provision of our increase for those in need.

Galatians 2:10 Only they would that we should remember the poor; the same which I also was forward to do.

Luke 12:33 Sell that ye have, and give alms; provide yourselves bags which wax not old, a treasure in the heavens that faileth not, where no thief approacheth, neither moth corrupteth.

Being first fruits, those who believe and are baptised into Christ are required to bring forth fruit in their lives.

Romans 6:4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.

Ephesians 4:22 That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; 23 And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; 24 And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.

Being renewed in the spirit of our mind we are to bring forth spiritual fruit in the way we deal with our fellow man.

Galatians 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. 24 And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.

Ephesians 5:9 (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;)

This is what Peter exhorts.

2 Peter 1:1 Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ: 2 Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord, 3 According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: 4 Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. 5 And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; 6 And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; 7 And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness love. 8 For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins. 10 Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall: 11 For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

We shall be judged on how the fruit of the love of Christ has been applied to others.

Matthew 25:40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

Matthew 25:45 Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.

I hope this helps.

Glenn Smith

 
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