FIRSTFRUITS WERE NEVER TITHES
by Russell Earl Kelly, PHD
the Church Teach Tithing?” chapter one, by Russell Earl Kelly, PHD
The first-fruit was a very
small amount of the first crop harvest and the first-born was the first offspring of animals. The first-fruit was small enough
to fit into a hand-held basket (Deut. 26:1-4, 10; Lev. 23:17; Num. 18:13-17; 2 Chron 31:5a). First-fruit and first-born offerings
went directly to the Temple and were required to be totally consumed by ministering priests only inside the Temple (Neh. 10:35-37a;
Ex. 23:19; 34:26; Deut. 18:4).
1. In the New Testament,
“firstfruits” occurs 7 times:
A. Christ; 1 Cor 15:20; 1 Cor 15:23 (1x)
B. First persons converted; Rom 16:5; 1 Cor 16:15; James
C. Pre=eminent persons;
Rev 14:4 (1x)
D. Spiritual blessings possessed
by believers; Rom 8:23 (1x)
In the New Testament “firstfruits NEVER refers to substance, money, food or increase.
2. In the Old Testament “firstfruits”
occurs 24 times from two key words (Strong’s 1601, 7225).
A. Firstfruits were never the same as tithes (2 Chron 31:5; Neh 10:37; 12:44)
Firstfruits were always only FOOD increase from inside Holy Israel.
C. Firstfruits were brought to the Temple in Jerusalem for priests to eat (Ex 23:19; Neh 10:35-37).
D. Firstfruits were never the same as substance, wealth, possessions or non-food items.
3. Proverbs 3:9-10
A. Is a blessing for Hebrews who call God the LORD, Yahweh
B. Is in two distinct parts separated by “and”: substance
C. “Substance” refers to wealth, possessions and non-food
D. “Firstfruits,” like the other 23 occurrences in the
O.T. refers to FOOD from inside HOLY Israel
was calculated after expenses of producing the food was subtracted
“Increase” did not apply in years of famine, drought or crop failure
G. “Increase” did not include those with no increase; they brought freewill offerings
H. “barns” and “presses” prove that the blessing came in the form of
1. It is an abuse of biblical integrity and sound principles of interpretation to
teach that firstfruits in Proverbs 3:9-10 (or anywhere else in the Bible) refer to the first tenth of tithes of anything other
than food from God’s HOLY land of Israel during the Old Testament.
2. The sole reference to firstfruits in Proverbs is given far too much value; it ignores the context, definition and
descriptions of all 31 uses of the word “firstfruits” in God’s Word.
3. Teaching that tithes are the
firstfruits of modern paychecks robs poor Christians of money they should be spending on basic living essentials such as medicine,
food, shelter and heat (1 Tim 5:8).
4. Post-Calvary New Covenant
giving principles are: faith driven, freewill, sacrificial, generous and cheerful (2 Corinthians 8 and 9).
TEXTS FROM THE BIBLE:
Ex 23:16 the feast of harvest, the firstfruits of thy labors, which thou hast sown in the field
Ex 23:19 The first of the firstfruits
of thy land thou shalt bring into the house of the LORD thy God.
Ex 34:22 the feast of weeks, of the firstfruits of wheat harvest
Ex 34:26 The first
of the firstfruits of thy land thou shalt bring unto the house of the LORD thy God.
*Lev 2:12 oblation of
the firstfruits .… they shall not be burnt on the altar for a sweet savor.
Lev 2:14 meat offering of thy firstfruits unto the LORD,
thou shalt offer for the meat offering of thy firstfruits green ears of corn dried by the fire, even corn beaten out of full
23:10 harvest … a sheaf of the firstfruits of your harvest unto the priest
*Num 18:12 the best of the oil, and all the best of the
wine, and of the wheat, the firstfruits of them which they shall offer unto the LORD, them have I given thee.
Num 28:26 in the day
of the firstfruits , when ye bring a new meat offering unto the LORD
Deut 18:3-4 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.[stomach] The
firstfruits also of thy corn, of thy wine, and of thine oil, and the first of the fleece of thy sheep, shalt thou give him.
*Deut 26:10 I have brought
the firstfruits of the land, which thou
2 Kings 4:42 bread of the firstfruits , twenty loaves of barley, and full ears of corn
Chron 31:5 the firstfruits of corn, wine, and oil, and honey, and of all
the increase of the fields; and the tithe of all things brought they in
Neh 10:35 And to bring the firstfruits of our ground, and the firstfruits of all fruit of all trees
Neh 10:36 Also the firstborn
of our sons, and of our cattle, as it is written in the law, and the firstlings of our herds and of our flocks, to bring to
the house of our God, unto the priests
Neh 10:37 And that we should bring the firstfruits of our dough, and our offerings, and the fruit of all manner of trees, of wine and of oil, unto the priests, to
the chambers of the house of our God; and the tithes of our ground unto the Levites, that the same Levites might have the tithes in all the cities of our tillage.
*Neh 12:44 for the offerings, for the firstfruits , and for the tithes
Neh 13:31 And for the wood offering, at times appointed, and for the firstfruits.
3:9-10 Honor 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.
*Jer 2:3 Israel was holiness unto the LORD, and the firstfruits of his increase: all that devour
him shall offend; evil shall come upon them, saith the LORD. [Gen 12:1-4]
Ezek 20:40 in the land … there will I require
your offerings, and the firstfruits of your oblations
Ezek 44:30-31 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. The priests shall not eat of any thing that is dead of itself, or torn,
whether it be fowl or beast.
Ezek 48:14 And they shall not sell of it, neither exchange, nor alienate the firstfruits of the land:
for it is holy unto the LORD.