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Difference Between Tithes and Firstfruits

The has been a consistent preaching today that involves the question “Will a man rob God?” to make its interpretation seem plain-dealing. You cannot rob God of what is his. These issues are more complex than many sermons on the subject may pertain.

Whether the believers today are to give at least ten percent of their income and offer their “first fruits” or not involves broader issues like the connection between the two Testaments; the question whether the Law of God given through Moses is still applicable to believers in the New Testament period; the relationship between the Old Testament and New Testament at large; and the nature of progressive revelation and salvation history.

Tithe and Firstfruit are the main programs that people use today on how to give back to God. The examination of these two manners of giving has importance for the understanding of what really is the origin of the religious giving.

Difference Between Tithes and Firstfruits

What are Tithes?

While tithing was a Mosaic Law requirement in which the Israelite people were to give a percentage of  the crops they grew and the livestock they raised to the tabernacle/temple


What is Firstfruits?

First fruits offering can be referenced on Leviticus 23:9-14.  Israelite people must provide bundles of grain to the priest, then that priest would present it before the Lord through waving. A burnt offering, a meal offering, and a drink offering were also needed at that time.

Difference Between Tithes and Firstfruits

Difference between Tithes and Firstfruits

Origin of  Tithes and Firstfruits

A practice of Ancient Israel, tithes were first documented when God accepted the tithes of Abraham and Jacob (Genesis 14:18-24; 28:20-22). Afterwards, the tithing system was used to provide a budget for the needs of the nation of Israel (Numbers 18:21; Leviticus 27:30). Throughout the times of the judges and of the Israelite kings, tithing continued even after the Jews were freed from captivity. The Israelite people were rebuked by God for stealing his tithes (Malachi 3:8).

While firstfruit was a Jewish feast held in the early spring at the beginning of the grain harvest. It was observed on the third day after Passover and the second day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread.

Tithes are similar to the tax levied on Israelite people and are mandated and not an option. It is distributed to support the help the poor and the Levites..

Reason of Tithes and Firstfruits

For the Israelite people first fruit symbolizes how God harvest souls, it is an offering to God from a heart of gladness, and it sets a standard of giving back to Him the best of what He has given them in those times. The first fruit offering was given in memory of Israel’s stay in Egypt, their freedom from slavery, and how they possess the Promised Land. The day of the firstfruits offering was also used to calculate the proper time of the Feast of Weeks (Leviticus 23:15-16).

The truth is, the Mosaic Law required multiple tithes—one for the Levites, one for the use of the temple and the feasts, and one for the poor of the land—which would have pushed the total to a percentage higher than. Some understand the Mosaic Law tithe as a method of taxation to provide for the needs of the priests.

Methods involved in Tithes and Firstfruits

Those who brought the firstfruit to the Temple needs to recite an Avowal, which can be found in Deuteronomy 26:3-10. The firstfruits would be brought by Native-born Israelite people and non-natives would and would say the Avowal, but women are prohibited to do so. The Avowal was included into the grandiose and beautiful celebration of the feast with pilgrims marching up and conducting processions to the Temple and also many parts of Jerusalem carrying silver, gold or baskets to which they tie their live birds as found in the Hebrew Scripture Bikkurim 3:3,5 and 8.

For the tithe, A tenth of the remainder of the farmer’s yield was separated. Then the one who will offer the tithe will go to Jerusalem while carrying it and afterward the tithe must be eaten there in a sincere heart. Sometimes there is a difficulty on traveling to Jerusalem, if that happens the tithe can be substituted for a sum of money for it to be redeemed then the food and drink bought may be eaten in Jerusalem.

In other instances, the poor people will receive the tithe and was known as ‘poor man’s tithe. After the Temple was destroyed, only a few were used for the tithe to be redeemed and afterward, he can eat it anywhere he resides. The produce was not separated for tithing were strictly forbidden but after the separation of tithe the offering can be delayed. An Israelite who wants to offer can select whose Levite he would give his offering.

You can only tithe if you are in the territory of God which is Israel so that those Jews who are Exiled was not obligated to tithe, even though some people groups in Egypt that have a system of tithing.

Modern Usage of Tithes and Firstfruits

Other Rabbinic references confirm a tithe of money as well as of produce, but there is no clarity whether this was an obligation or voluntary contribution. In actuality, many people today who are observant Jews really donate to charity an annual tenth part of their income. This is called maaser kesafim, wealth tax’ or ‘the money tithe’.

Additionally modern Israel celebrates first fruit offering on Shavuot which is reminiscent of the ancient Temple ritual. There is a procession in which children participate in a festival involving carrying of agricultural products and donations to the Jewish National Fund for the reclamation of their land.

Amount in Tithes and Firstfruits

For first fruit, No specific amount or percentage of seasonal harvest is required for the offering of first fruits, but on the other hand, there exists a text for the recitation which was to accompany the offering, in Deuteronomy 26:5–10.

While on tithing, The Law of God through Moses says that the Israelite people need three-way of tithing, the tithing for Levites found on Leviticus 27:30-32; and Numbers 18:21,24, yearly feast tithing as seen on Deut. 14:22-27, and the tithe for the poor (Deut. 14:28-29).  The tithe for the Levites was the standard tithe.  It required all Israelites to give 10% of their increase (crops, fruit, livestock) to the Levites.  That kind of tithing may mean that the tithe is given infrequently the whole year.

Tithes vs.  Firstfruits: Comparison in a tabular form

Tithes VERSUS Firstfruits

Summary of Tithes and Firstfruits

The first fruits offering is mentioned seven times in the New Testament, but always symbolically. Just as the firstfruits offering was the first piece of a larger harvest, those Christians that Paul was talking about in the Epistle to the Romans were the first of many converts in that region. Believers who are  “a kind of firstfruits of His creatures” were used by God according to Apostle James (James 1:18).  Just like the bundle of grain true Christians are set apart for God’s glory.

The Lord Jesus Christ is the fulfillment of the first fruit offering. 1 Corinthians 15:20 says “But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep”. The resurrection of the Lord Jesus gives way for the resurrection of the elect.

Paul of the New Testament taught Corinthian believers to set aside a collection “on the first day of the week”  as we see in 1 Corinthians 16 verse 2 but this is not tithing or first fruits offering.

Because Christians are redeemed by the Lord Jesus Christ and Jesus became their representative who perfectly obeyed the Law for those Christians, therefore they have no obligation than to give cheerfully and freely according to 2 Corinthians 9:6-7.

According to the  New Testament giving has benefits and is therefore important. You need to give if you are able and for that reason giving is more than 10 percent sometimes; Giving less is appropriate if you don’t really have the financial capability to do so. Giving tithes and offerings with a grateful heart must be the main concern.

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  1. I appreciate your article on the firstfruits. Just for some clarification any input that you have on the following would be greatly appreciated:
    1. Are the first fruits just on the grain or were they on other fruits that ripened throughout the season? ie. grapes, olives, figs, etc.
    2. Why is Pentecost called “Feast of firstfruits” if the first fruits were waved during Feast of Unleavened Bread?
    3. What does the Greek word “firstfruits” in Romans 8:23 and James 1:18 and a few other places in the NT mean? I looked it up in Strongs and it is #536 and the definition is “a beginning of sacrifice”.
    A. “beginning”?
    B. what “sacrifice” is it referring to?

    I know I asked quite a few questions, but I have pondered these issues for a few years now and would appreciate any insight.
    Thank you,
    Dan Reyer

    • Good day. What I believe in my heart has worked for me,is that I offer a tithe of my monthly income as a a tithe. I then proceed to offer the amount I receive as an increase only on the first month of getting an annual increase together with my tithe offering. Thereafter I will continue with a tithe of my new salary. Eg.
      Current monthly income = R10
      Tithe = R1
      Salary increase in January = R2
      New monthly income R12
      January offering = R3 being first increase + thither
      February to December = R1,20 per month.
      Hope this helps.

      God bless.

  2. I was reading the first fruit and tithing explanation you gave. Thank you for that but I’m still not clear what is really required of a true follower of Christ Jesus who wants to please God in all things at this end time.
    I read Nehemiah 10:32-38 and Deut 26 but I’m still not clear in what to do.
    I do pay tithe every pay check, and over the required amount.
    Is the first fruit at the beginning of the new year now a different amount over my tithe, or my whole pay check?
    My desire is to please God however possible even with all that He has given me.
    Please clarify for me so I can be rest assured that what I’m doing is pleasing unto the Lord.
    Thank you kindly. Yvette

    • Praise God yes first fruit is the beginning of the year January u give your whole check up just that one

      • What are you talking about? Give your whole first paycheck. Wow, we need to talk. That’s a bit of a stretch…

        So, the person who is paid weekly pays more than the person who pays monthly?

        It’s a PORTION of your first ‘crops’.

      • Pls show the Bible reference

  3. From this explanation I think the first fruit should be the Best or biggest of our harvest in any new job or contact God has given us…

  4. I am still confused! I want to do what pleases God my Father not what pleases man.I give a tithes every month but I am confused about the first fruit offering. I was also giving that every month. I stopped because of my confusion. I only give tithes and offerings now. Am I wrong?

    • Okay I find it very simple and easy to explain once you look at what God did with the Israelites he put them out in the wilderness to bring them to worship and that means trust in him notice he fed them and kept them clothes all those years there was no need for tithing or offering of firstfruits because God provided and that was the main reason why he took them out there breaking their chains from all bondage now man-made doctrines put people in chains once they initiated a tax called the money tithe bringing God’s people back into bondage this is nowhere to be found in the New testament even Paul in 1st Corinthians 16 says to have no gatherings on the first day which is Sunday and to take a portion of your prosperity and give that money onto a messenger to bring it 2 the saints those are the ones that have nothing so we take care of our brothers in the lowest form on the front line this is the foundational teaching God does not require any of our money below what we need now more importantly is the first fruits Jesus himself is the first fruits and we can see and understand that through the shroud of Turin his body was literally burnt into that cloth offering to God so the word of God says that in the last day they shall change times which are years and laws and the only law that we are to follow is the law of Christ so in so doing you are set free not to be under bondage of man’s doctrine and God is going to judge the house of God first any beckons us to get out of this harlot Church which started the foundational teachings of tax money tithing back in 600 AD by the Roman Catholic diocese please do your research you will find everything I’ve said to be factual and truthful laid out in God’s word amen and peace be with you

    • Because we operate under the period of grace our dispensation is quite different to the dispensation of the Old Testament. We are the seed of Abraham and co heirs with Christ so we do everything through the lense of a crucified and resurrected Christ !
      Tithes – offering of obedience not by force but we must give with joy …. aligns with seeking first the kingdom of God. To me the Tithe is like an insurance policy because in Malachi 3:11 it offers me protection over the 90 % left with me! Tithe therefore is for me a symbol of putting God first in my life especially subjecting my flesh not to serve mammon but to serve God!

      First fruits are given of a portion of all first increase. So if I invest $100 and get a return and now have $110 I need to give a portion of the $10 …..while also continuing with the tithe if I withdraw this full amount !

      Giving offering in obedience to the word – this offering results from a word preached for example and the church has a project to serve the poor in another country or to send missionaries – this offering is about being part of building the kingdom of God and fulfilling the Great commission to preach the gospel to all nations

      • It is worth studying the full economy of God. This is one of the most least studied area by Christians and yet it is a subject matter that confuses even the best believers! God has his own economic system of provision with very specific keys which unlock these we need to understand these things and not be ignorant as Christians in the age – there has to be something that distinguishes us from mere men who do not believe – it is the kingdom of God and how it works and we see this because of the finished work on the cross and the resurrection! The first Adam lost everything in the garden the second Adam ( Jesus) received everything back – ( Revelations 5:12) – if you look at these 7 things Jesus received it shows that we have a superior economy in the kingdom of God if we unpack each of these attributes received you will know that they cover the entire bible one way or the other….. but the key to our economy is found in a simple thing – our work is to believe in Jesus – John 6:29

      • The Money Tithe was started just before 600 AD by non other than the roman catholic diocese ! Mans Doctrine !!! No Tithe of Money is Mention is Scripture to Give and in Herbrews chapters 8 and 9 ,Clearly explains the Old Tithe and How Our Lord Jesus Annulled this and Offered Himself as the First fruits ! Paying Once for all Our Sins !!! Set yourself Free ,Study to show yourself Approved ! Amen in the Love of Jesus

  5. While I do believe in giving cheerfully I have a very big issue with the word tithe it is not in the New testament at all and I was raised in Catholicism thank God he woke me up at 12 years old to all the hypocrisy and the Roman Catholic diocese started the money tithe in the middle ages that’s the origin of it changing from Farmers goods to enslaving and forcing people to pay a tenth of there money such as a tax according to God’s word is a curse and as long as we are obedient and give without grudgingly God accepts what we offer not what a false doctrine of men has ensnared God’s children with so I choose to be free of all religions and I believe anyone that follows the pattern of the Roman Catholic diocese is in Jeopardy of being a harlot with her amen

  6. Thank you so much for clarity,I tithes and give offering I’m not overly concerned about the old or new testament debates bcuz God has honored my faithfulness and I will continue with both

  7. Thank you so much for clarity,I tithes and give offering I’m not overly concerned about the old or new testament debates bcuz God has honored my faithfulness in giving and I will continue with both

    • Amen!
      You came too late to tell me God does not honor a “tithe” of money when done with the right motive (to bless God’s Kingdom). Tithing is training wheels for your giving. Offerings is where sacrifice comes in. God said the rich shall not give more nor the poor less. Greed can only be broken by giving!

  8. Good discussion

  9. I would like to receive notifications

  10. Beautiful piece it is an eye opener
    Stay blessed.

  11. This is really confusing. Church leaders have different views on this subject. New testament is quite on this subject. May Hid help us.

  12. To me Tithes,First fruits and Free will offerings are important.

  13. The first fruit offerings is the whole first pay cheque of the year or first salary from new job. Get your pay, remove your tithe which is 10 percent and the remaining is your first fruit.
    Due to the fact that most people get paid monthly and have commitments and bills to pay, you can pay your first fruit offering in instalments.
    Know the amount to pay and then pay what you can afford till you pay all but before the end of the year, so it does not get into a new year. That is you are free to pay it off once or twice etc

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References :

[0]Cozby, Dimitri. “Tithes and Firstfruits”. Dneoca.org. 17 February 2018. Web.

[1]Moses. “Firstfruits and Tithes.” Book of Deuteronomy. Bible.

[2]Moses. “Firstfruits and Tithes.” Book of Leviticus. Bible.

[3]Image credit: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/a/a7/Tithing_forms_and_envelopes.jpg/597px-Tithing_forms_and_envelopes.jpg

[4]Image credit: https://media.defense.gov/2010/Mar/30/2000380153/888/591/0/100314-F-8623T-126.JPG

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