Published on February 2nd, 2016 | by Millennium Magazine Staff0
Pastor Paula White: The Biblical Promise of Abundance
What is the kingdom principle of “first fruits”? First fruits establishes the law of first things being first in your life. It establishes the promise of what is to come and positions the believer to receive the promises of God. The first fruits offerings signal the beginning of the harvest for God’s people. First fruits offerings are not only an offering, but also a promise of abundance.
The Hebrew word for “first fruits,” reshiyth, means “the first in place in time, order or rank.” It also means “the beginning, first or principal thing, captain or chief, excellent, forefront, ruler, sum top, summit, upper part and primary.” First fruits, which belong to God, govern the rest that follow and set the pattern, or the promise of what is to come.
Another Hebrew word first fruits is bikkurim, which means ‘a promise to come,’ and shares the same root word,bekhor, as the word meaning “firstborn.” This Hebrew word is referring to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. He is thefirst fruit!
“After the Lord brings you into the land of the Canaanites and gives it to you, as he promised on oath to you and your ancestors, 12 you are to give over to the Lord the first offspring of every womb. All the firstborn males of your livestock belong to the Lord. 13 Redeem with a lamb every firstborn donkey, but if you do not redeem it, break its neck. Redeem every firstborn among your sons.”
God claims the right to every first – the first of the crops, every firstborn male of herds and flocks, every firstborn male child. Every first is to be devoted to God through His covenant. Any time something is called a first thing, a first fruit, a devoted thing, it belongs to God. Exodus 22:29 states, “Thou shalt not delay to offer the first of thy ripe fruits, and of thy liquors; the firstborn of thy sons shalt thou give unto me.”
The principle is that all first things belong to God. In Leviticus 27:28-29, God again lays out instructions for first fruits,“But nothing that a man owns and devotes to the Lord – whether man or animal or family or land – may be sold or redeemed; everything so devoted is most holy to the Lord.” (NIV).
Thankfully, we no longer sacrifice the firstlings of our sheep or cattle at a Temple; nor are we required to redeem our firstborn sons with gold. Jesus paid for all redemption through His death, burial and resurrection, giving a New Covenant “founded on better principles” (Hebrews 8:6). Jesus is God’s only begotten son. God gave up His son to set Him apart as a holy first fruit. The first fruit then sanctified all who came after (That’s you and me who believe in Him!)! Jesus became the first fruit of many brethren (Romans 8:29, 1 Cor 15:23). We bear forth the same power and image of God because we are the fruit of His firstborn.
The principle of first things still remains in operation in the kingdom of God. In ancient days, the process of gathering the first fruits of the crops involved meticulous preparation. Each family among the Israelites had to carefully watch for the first budding fruits or grains. Once spotted, they would designate it as the first by tying a piece of red yarn around the branch, limb or vine.
As the crops matured and were harvested, those first fruits were brought into the Temple and presented to the High Priest according to God’s pattern. The Priest would accept the offering from each household, and lift it in a wave offering above his head, presenting it to God in thanksgiving and recognition of His continued provision and blessing. Once the offering of first fruits had been made, the people rejoiced, enjoying the rest of the harvest because the first had already sanctified the rest. This is vital to recognize the order and pattern of God.
The principle of first fruits was not limited to plants, as we saw before in the case of Cain and Abel. The principle of first fruits is found throughout the Bible, and deals with all “first things.” “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.”(Exodus 22:29-30)
Even the first born of twins were marked in such a way. While Tamar was in labor with Judah’s twin sons, one of the twins put out his hand first.
God does not change in His character or principles. He is the same yesterday, today and forevermore. God is serious about things being in order in our lives. That is why it is so crucial that we understand the principle of “first things first.” When you do not put first things first, there is disorder, which can affect your life. On the other hand, when you do put first things first, your life can and will fall into place as it is supposed to.
Just as God promised – when we are faithful to follow Him, we will live an empowered life and be blessed! When we serve the Lord with our whole hearts, His blessing, peace, victory, and wholeness is upon our lives so strong thateveryone can see it. The harvest for giving the Lord your all is so abundant and rich! Give the Lord your “first” and best in all that you do…He will reward you beyond what you thought possible!