The word “tithe” means tenth.  The children of Israel were commanded under the law to give a tenth of their possessions to the Lord. As we read in Leviticus 27:30, “And all the tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land, or of the fruit of the tree, is the Lord’s: it is holy unto the Lord.” Today we are not under the law. We read in Romans 6:14, “For sin shall not have dominion over you: for YE ARE NOT UNDER THE LAW, but under grace.” Some of our instruction for today concerning giving to the Lord is found in 1 Corinthians 16:1-2.  These verses read, “Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given order to the churches of Galatia, even so do ye. Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come.” It is wonderful to be under God’s grace instead of His law. We are not required to give a full 10%, but the grace of God can motivate us to possibly give much more than 10%! As the Apostle Paul said to the Ephesians in Acts 20:35, “I have shewed you all things, how that so laboring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how He said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.” There is real joy in giving!  We may not have much money, but we can give our time, love, and attention to those in need.

An offering is something that is brought, given, or produced. The children of Israel were required in the Old Testament to offer many offerings of animal sacrifices to the Lord as a covering for their sins. Each of the offerings was a picture of Christ in some way. In the New Testament we learn that the offerings of animal sacrifices could not take away our sins. We read in Hebrews 10:4, “For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins.” However, there is Someone who can take away our sins!  We read in 1 John 1:7, “But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin.” Praise the Lord! Christ has offered Himself for us and now we can follow His example of offering love to each other. We read in Ephesians 5:2, “And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given Himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savor” (Ephesians 5:2). Our Savior deserves an offering of praise from us. We read in Hebrews 13:15, “By Him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to His name.” We can also offer ourselves to the Lord and to others. As we read in 2 Corinthians 8:5, “And this they did, not as we hoped, but first gave their own selves to the Lord, and unto us by the will of God.”

In the Old Testament there are two Hebrew words for firstfruits that have different meanings. The Hebrew word “resiyt” means the chief or best part. We have this word in Numbers 18:12, which says, “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.” The Hebrew word “bikkur” means the first or earliest of the crops that was ripened. We have this word in Exodus 23:16, which says, “And the feast of harvest, the firstfruits of thy labours, which thou hast sown in the field: and the feast of ingathering, which is in the end of the year, when thou hast gathered in thy labours out of the field.” In the New Testament the Greek word “aparche” means to make a beginning. We have this word in 1 Corinthians 15:20, which says, “But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept.” Because Christ rose from the dead, all believers who die will also rise from the dead. Wonderful reality! Christ is also first in rank as the chief one who has risen from the dead. The Greek word “aparche” is applied to believers in Romans 8:23. This verse reads, “And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.” The indwelling Holy Spirit is only the beginning of all of the spiritual blessings that we will experience in heaven when we have glorified bodies.

There is much more that could be said about tithes, offerings, and firstfruits. May we be in prayer to be led of the Holy Spirit with the giving of ourselves and our money, possessions, time, and love for His honor and glory.  (349.6)  (DJ)