I have a question about the giving / bringing our best gifts for First Fruits. Is this always monetary?
Great question. I have had the same question. Here’s my viewpoint so far.
1. As one people when we gather, whether on Zoom or in person, we have the pleasure of giving the Lord the first hour of our lives/ devotion at the start of the first day of the new month. He receives the first pinch of our time each month, and He is faithful to bless the whole lump of our time, directing us to be in the right place at the right time, and helping us to move through time well, not getting stuck or sidetracked. He receives the first of our praise, joy, fellowship, and testimony; and He is faithful to bless the whole lump with quality of LIFE! He sees the faithfulness of this Embassy of Zion Troop each month as we put Him first. And I believe He lavishes back on us corporately all month with the pleasure of His presence, causing us both corporately and individually to flourish in our Spirit-led endeavors. He is our great reward. Seek first the Kingdom…
2. In addition to giving Him the first of our heart’s devotion, each month individually we can decide to give the Lord the first of our increase. I most often give monetarily. I want to do it as a faith expression pleasing to the Lord, giving neither legalistically nor as a give-to-get thing. If I did crafts/ write songs/ repair cars/ run a commercial fishery I may give the first of those things to the Lord some way, instead of money. And then He would bless the remaining produce from the business endeavor. And yet, money is the medium for trade in our economy today. May we be bountifully blessed in all our finances. I see it as more about the giving of the first pinch than the medium for giving. Robert gave his book, and James gave his song. I have observed that Chuck often gives a check in the amount he has prayed about. On the First Fruits page of this website I’ve posted the video Jonathan’s First Fruit offering.
3. In doing a study of Scriptures regarding first fruits, I see it is ultimately about Jesus our Savior. (And linked with living in Promised Land spiritually.)
Deuteronomy 26 1 When you have entered the land the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance and have taken possession of it and settled in it, take some of the firstfruits of all that you produce from the soil of the land the Lord your God is giving you … and say to the priest in office at the time, “I declare today to the Lord your God that I have come to the land the Lord swore to our ancestors to give us.” … So the Lord brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, with great terror and with signs and wonders. 9 He brought us to this place and gave us this land, a land flowing with milk and honey; 10 and now I bring the firstfruits of the soil that you, Lord, have given me.” Place the basket before the Lord your God and bow down before him. 11 Then you and the Levites and the foreigners residing among you shall rejoice in all the good things the Lord your God has given to you and your household. …16 The Lord your God commands you this day to follow these decrees and laws; carefully observe them with all your heart and with all your soul. 17 You have declared this day that the Lord is your God and that you will walk in obedience to him, that you will keep his decrees, commands and laws—that you will listen to him. 18 And the Lord has declared this day that you are his people, his treasured possession as he promised, and that you are to keep all his commands. 19 He has declared that he will set you in praise, fame and honor high above all the nations he has made and that you will be a people holy to the Lord your God, as he promised. (Note the individual action, but corporate result!)
-> Giving him preeminence in our lives - first place Matt 6:33; Col 1:15-20 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist. And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence. For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell, and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross.
1 Corinthians 15:20-26 But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. But each in turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him. Then the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death. (Selah!)
-> And it also is used to help us understand the remnant, One New Man (Ephesians 2:15), with the grafting in of wild branches and the re-grafting of natural branches that had been cut off (Romans 11.)
Romans 11 - one new man - the context for verse 16 “If the part of the dough offered as firstfruits is holy, then the whole batch is holy; if the root is holy, so are the branches. If some of the branches have been broken off, and you, though a wild olive shoot, have been grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing sap from the olive root, do not consider yourself to be superior to those other branches. If you do, consider this: you do not support the root, but the root supports you. You will say then, branches were broken off so that I could be grafted in. Granted. But they were broken off because of unbelief, and you stand by faith.”
Jeremiah 2:3 Israel was holy to the Lord, the firstfruits of his harvest; all who devoured her were held guilty, and disaster overtook them,” declares the Lord.
2 Thess 2:13-14 But we ought always to thank God for you, brothers and sisters loved by the Lord, because God chose you as firstfruits to be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through belief in the truth. He called you to this through our gospel, that you might share in the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.
James 1:18 He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of first fruits of all he created.
-> Jesus is the firstborn from the dead, and we are part of the rest of the (batch of) resurrected ones - BLESSED with eternal life! Rev 1:4-6 "Grace and peace to you from him who is, and who was, and who is to come, and from the seven-fold Spirit before his throne, and from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood, and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father—to him be glory and power for ever and ever! Amen.”
Proverbs 3:9-10 Honor the Lord with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops; then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine.
Exodus 22:29 "Do not hold back offerings from your granaries or your vats. You must give me the firstborn of your sons. Do the same with your cattle and your sheep."
Leviticus 23 The Lord said to Moses … 10 “Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘When you enter the land I am going to give you and you reap its harvest, bring to the priest a sheaf of the first grain you harvest. … 14 You must not eat any bread, or roasted or new grain, until the very day you bring this offering to your God. This is to be a lasting ordinance for the generations to come, wherever you live.
Num 10:9-10 "When you go into battle in your own land against an enemy who is oppressing you, sound a blast on the trumpets. Then you will be remembered by the Lord your God and rescued from your enemies. Also at your times of rejoicing - your appointed festivals and New Moon feasts - you are to sound the trumpets over your burnt offerings and fellowship offerings, and they will be a memorial for you before your God. I am the Lord your God.”
Num 28:11-15 “On the first of every month, present to the Lord a burnt offering of two young bulls, one ram and seven male lambs a year old, all without defect… This is the monthly burnt offering to be made at each new moon during the year…
2 Chron 31 Hezekiah - restoration of temple - verse 3 “the king contributed for the morning and evening burnt offerings and for the burnt offerings on the Sabbaths, at the New Moons and at the appointed festivals as written in the Law of the Lord.” Verses 20, 21 “This is what Hezekiah did throughout Judah, doing what was good and right and faithful in the eyes of the Lord his God. in everything that he undertook int he service of God’s temple and in obedience to the law and the commands, he sought his God and worked wholeheartedly and he prospered.”
Psalm 81:1-5 Sing for joy to God our strength; shout aloud to the God of Jacob! Begin the music, strike the timbrel, play the melodious harp and lyre. Sound the ram’s horn at the New Moon, and when the moon is full, on the day of our festival; this is a decree for Israel, an ordinance of the God of Jacob. When God went out against Egypt, he established it as a statute for Joseph.
-> Free in Jesus for how we celebrate New Moon festival / First Fruits. Col 2:9-17 “For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and in Christ you have been brought to fullness. He is the head over every power and authority. In him you were also circumcised with a circumcision not performed by human hands. Your whole self ruled by the flesh was put off when you were circumcised by Christ, having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through your faith in the working of God, who raised him from the dead. When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross. And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross. Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ.”