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by Don Costello
7/14/2008 / Bible Studies
Honour the LORD with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase
1."Honour the LORD with thy substance"
a. Honour [3513 * kabad or kabed] [Strongs: to be heavyin a good sense (numerous, rich, honourable.] [AMG: "In the factitive or intensive sense stem, the verb expresses the idea of causing or making somethingthe act of honouring people or God.]
b. Scripture clearly shows that one aspect of giving in obedience to God is honouring Him. The Apostle Paul made this clear in his first letter to Timothy, but he was just repeating a Jewish principle of giving.
1). 1 Tomothy 5:17, 18 "Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially they who labor in the word and doctrine.
For the Scripture saith, Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. And, the laborer is worthy of his reward."
c. We know that he is speaking of financial things because of the passages he quoted.
1). Deuteronomy 25:4 "Thou shalt not muzzle the ox when he treadeth out the corn."
d. Paul quoted this passage earlier in his ministry and enlarged upon its principle.
1). 1 Corinthians 9:7-14 "Who goeth to warfare any time at his own charges? Who planteth a vineyard, and eateth not of the fruit thereof/ Or who feedeth a flock, and eateth not of the milk of the flock?
Say I these things as a man? Or saith not the law the same also?
For it is written in the law of Moses, Thou shalt not muzzle the mouth of the ox that treadeth out the corn. Doth God take care for oxen?
Or saith he it altogether for our sakes? For our sakes, no doubt, this is written: that he that ploweth should plow in hope; and he that thresheth in hope should be partaker of his hope.
If we have sown unto you spiritual things, is it a great thing if we shall reap you carnal things?
If others be partakers of this power over you, are not we rather? Nevertheless we have not used this power; but suffer all things, lest we should hinder the gospel of Christ.
Do you not know that they which minister about holy things live of the things of the temple? And they which wait at the altar are partakers with the altar?
Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel."
e. He also quoted Luke 10:7. This verse is part of the passage that includes Luke 10:1-16, where Jesus gave specific directions to the seventy persons he sent into the towns and villages that he himself would go.
1). Luke 10:7 "And in the same house remain, eating and drinking such things as they give: for the labourer is worthy of his hire. Go not from house to house"
f. From these passages we can say with certainty that honoring someone whether God or man can mean material and financial blessing.
2. "and with the firstfruits of all thine increase.'
a. Many Christians mistakenly believe that this verse is referring to the tithe, when really it is not. The offering of the tithe and the offering of the first fruits are two different offerings. We know that because of the different directions and different destinations for each of them.
b. Scripture clearly teaches that the tithe and the firstfruits were two completely different offerings. In the first passage we see the destination for the tithe, where it was to go and for whom it was given.
1). Numbers 18:21-24 "And, behold, I have given the children of Levi all the tenth in Israel for an inheritance, for their service which they serve, even the service of the tabernacle of the congregation.
Neither must the children of Israel henceforth come nigh the tabernacle of the congregation, lest they bear sin, and die.
But the Levites shall do the service of the tabernacle of the congregation, and they shall bear their iniquity: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations, that among the children of Israel they have no inheritance.
But the tithes of the children of Israel, which they offer as an heave offering unto the LORD, I have given to the Levites to inherit: therefore I have said unto them, Among the children of Israel they shall have no inheritance."
c. The passages below will deal with the firstfruits. The first passage listed is Numbers 18:8-19 where the LORD determines the destination of the offering of the Firstfruits, which went to the priesthood. The second passage listed is Deuteronomy 26:1-11, that determines how they were to offer the firstfruits.
1). Numbers 18:8-19 "And the LORD spake unto Aaron, Behold, I also have given thee the charge of mine heave offerings of all the hallowed things of the children of Israel; unto thee have I given them by reason of the anointing, and to thy sons, by an ordinance for ever.
This shall be thine of the most holy things, reserved from the fire: every oblation of theirs, and every meat offering of theirs, and every sin offering of theirs, and every trespass offering of theirs, which they shall render unto me, shall be most holy for thee and thy sons.
In the most holy place shalt thou eat it; every male shall eat it: it shall be holy unto thee.
And this is thine; the heave offering of their gift, with all the wave offerings of the children of Israel: I have given them to unto thee, and to thy sons and to thy daughters with thee, by a statute for ever: every one that is clean in thy house shall eat of it.
All 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.
And whatsoever is first ripe in the land, which they shall bring unto the LORD, shall be thine; every one that is clean in thine house shall eat of it.
Every thing devoted in Israel shall be thine.
Every thing that openeth the matrix in all flesh, which they bring unto the LORD, whether it be of men or beasts, shall be thine: nevertheless the firstborn of man, shalt thou surely redeem, and the firstling of unclean beasts shalt thou redeem.
And those that are to be redeemed from a month old shalt thou redeem, according to thine estimation, for the money of five shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary, which is twenty gerahs.
But the firstling of a cow, or the firstling of a sheep, or the firstling of a goat, thou shalt not redeem; they are holy: thou shalt sprinkle their blood upon the altar, and shalt burn their fat for a offering made by fire, for a sweet savour unto the LORD.
And the flesh of them shall be thine, as the wave breast and as the right shoulder are thine.
All the heave offerings of the holy things, which the children of Israel offer unto the LORD, have I given thee, and thy sons and thy daughters with thee, by a statute for ever: it is a covenant of salt for ever before the LORD unto thee and to thy seed with thee."
a). Notice carefully that the firstfruits were to go to the priesthood, but the tithe is not in the list.
2). Deuteronomy 26:1-11 "And it shall be, when thou art come in unto the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee for an inheritance, and possessest it, and dwellest therein;
That thou shalt take of the first of all the fruit of the earth, which thou shalt bring of thy land that the LORD thy God giveth thee, and shalt put it in a basket, and shalt go unto the place which the LORD thy God shall choose to place his name there.
And thou shalt go unto the priest that shall be in those days, and say unto the LORD they God, that I am come unto the country which the LORD sware unto our fathers for to give us.
And the priest shall take the basket out of thine and, an set it down before the altar of the of thy God.
And thou shalt speak and say before the LORD thy God, A Syrian ready to perish was my father, and he went down into Egypt, and sojourned there with a few, and became there a nation, great, mighty, and populous:
And the Egyptians evil entreated us, and afflicted us, and laid upon us hard bondage.
And when we cried unto the LORD God of our fathers, the LORD heard our voice, and looked on our affliction, and our labour, and our oppression:
And the LORD brought us forth out of Egypt with a mighty hand, and with an outstretched arm, and with great terribleness, and with signs, and with wonders:
And he hath brought us into this place, and hath given us this land, even a land that floweth with milk and honey.
And now, behold, I have brought the firstfruits of the land, which thou, O LORD, hast given me. And thou shalt sset it before the LORD thy God, and worship before the LORD thy God:
And thou shalt rejoice in every good thing which the LORD thy God hath given unto thee, and unto thine house, thou, and the Levite, and the stranger that is among you."
a). The first reason to believe this passage is specifically referring to the firstfruits, is because two verses specifically mention the firstfruits. Verse 2 says, "thou shalt take of the first of all the fruit", and verse 10 says, "And now, behold I have brought the firstfruits of the land"
b). The second reason is the destination of the offering: In verse 3 it says, "Thou shalt go unto the priest" Verse 4 says, "the priest shall take the basket out of thine hand"
c). It is very clear from the passages above that because the tithe goes to the Levite and the firstfruits go to the priesthood, that they are two separate offerings.
d. Another witness to the different regulations regarding the tithe and the firstfruits is given in Nehemiah 10:35-37. And in agreement with the passages in Numbers, the following witness says the tithe went to the Levites and the firstfruits were to go the the priesthood.
1). Nehemiah 10:35-37 "And to bring the firstfruits of our ground, and the firstfruit of all fruit of all trees, year by year, unto the house of the LORD:
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 that minister in the house of our God:
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."
e. Many of the topics, persons and institutions of the Old Covenant as important as they were then and are now, are merely shadows of not only the New Covenant but also the millennial reign of Jesus Christ and beyond.
1). Hebrews 10:1 "For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things,"
2). Colossians 2:16,17 "Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the Sabbath days:
Which are a shodow of things to come; but the body is of Christ."
a). The Temple in Jerusalem was ordained by God to be the center piece of Jewish worship: Deuteronomy 12:5. Yet it was a shadow of Jesus and us.: 1 Corinthians 3:16.
b). The Priesthood of the Old Covenant was a shadow of the High Priesthood of Jesus Christ Hebrews 3:1; and the universal priesthood of the New Testament believer: 1 Peter 2:5.
3). Likewise, the firstfruits of the Old Covenant were shadows of images in the New Covenant.
a). The firstfruits of the Spirit: Romans 8:29
b). The first people saved in an area: Romans 16:5.
c). "Christ the firstfruits" referring to the order of his resurrection, 1 Corinthians 15:23.
d). "The firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb", in Revelation 14:4, refer to the 144,000 of Revelation 14:1.
e). In James 1:18 it says, speaking of us, that "we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures."
f. Conclusion: Scripture is clear. The tithe went to the Levites, and the firstfruits went to the priests. Deuteronomy 26:1-11 does not refer to the Old Covenant practice of tithing. It is referring to the Old Covenant practice of offering the firstfruits. To say that it is about tithing is sloppy scholarship.
1). Kenneth E. Hagin, in his book, The Midas Touch, A Balanced Approach to Biblical Prosperity, said this about the firstfruits. "Making a New Testament application of Old Testament technicalities violates every principle of Bible interpretation, especially when there isn't a single New Testament usage of the word "firstfruits" in the context in which it is being preached by some ministers. The concept of firstfruits is not used in the New Testament in reference to financial giving. There is not even the vaguest hint of it by any New Testament writer in reference to money or the support of ministers."
My name is Don Costello. Ever since I received Christ in November of 1976 I have had a passion to study and know God's word.My wife Melissa and I have 5 children.
My e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org
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