By Paul Dada
The Error Called First Fruit Offering. Some denominational preachers require their subjects ( I used the word “subjects deliberately) to give a first fruit offering. First fruit according to them could mean any or all of the following:
1. Your first salary of the year
2. The first salary of a new job
3. A portion earned from the sale of something
4. A portion of every salary earned
Those who insist on believers or their parishioners giving first fruit are either ignorant or fraudulent.
A. First fruit as God’s Commandment in the Old Testament:
Make no mistake about it. First fruit offering was commanded by God for the Israelites. Deuteronomy 26 is somewhat explicit in its explanation of the first fruit.
The Israelites were to take of the first produce harvested in their farms to the priest in a designated place, in appreciation of their deliverance from the Egyptian bondage. Leviticus 23:9-14, 15-16 also give insight into how the First Fruit was celebrated.
It is said that the First fruit feast was marked on 16th Day of Nissan, few days after the Passover. Nissan is the first month in the Jewish calendar. It corresponds to March-April ( NOT JANUARY) in our own Gregorian calendar.
B. First Fruit in the New Testament
Nowhere in the New Testament are believers commanded to give any first fruit offering. Yet the term first fruit is used( in different contexts.)
1. Paul in Romans 16:5, I Corinthians 16:15 called Epaenetus and the household of Stephanas first fruits of Achaia. This simply means they were the first of the souls harvested in that Achaia ( a region in Corinth). In other words, they were the first to receive the Gospel
2. James in James 1:18 called believers a kind of first fruits of his creatures. Commentators think James was referring to the believers of his time who first believed the Gospel before those of other eras. It is also thought that first fruits in this context refers to believers as being special to God among other creatures.
3. Paul in I Corinthians 15:20 called Christ the first fruit of dead saints as his resurrection gives the hope that all those who are dead in Christ will also rise.
It is clear that first fruit in the Old Testament is only a shadow or symbol of its spiritual and deeper meaning in the New Testament.
More Refutation of First fruit Offering
1. The Redeemed Christian Church of God on its website teaches that first fruit offering goes straight to the G.O’s office since same was given to the High Priest or priest to the nation. Hence the G.O is the High Priest.
This is wrong. In the New Testament, all believers are priests ( 1 Peter 2:5, 9) and the only High Priest is Jesus ( Hebrews 2:17, 4:14). Besides, he is G. O of RCCG and not G.O of the country called Nigeria.
2. First fruit offering was given on Nissan (Nissan is March-April). Why do denominations demand it in January?
3. First fruit was given from farm produce. Why do denominations demand money?
4. Most denominations don’t celebrate Passover because they believe it is an Old Testament practice abolished by Jesus’ death. Why do they then hold on to first fruit offering given a few days after Passover?
Conclusion: The demand for first fruit offering is a scam. True believers must not get trapped in this bondage.
-Paul Dada is a Pastor and a journalist
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