The spiritual understanding of tithing and first fruits
The whole levitical priesthood has three components,
The three are intertwined.
The sacrifice is brought to the temple and the Levites take it and offer it to God on behalf of the people. Simple right?
But the temple is now spiritual. Jesus is the temple. And Jesus is the High Priest. And Jesus is the offering (all the shades of offering point to him) to God, (so that we are accepted by God, if we accept the sacrifice).
What Jesus is in the ultimate sense, we are in a relative sense.
So we are the temple of the Holy Spirit
We have been made priests unto God
And we offer our lives a living sacrifice
And the works of our hands are tried in fire as an offering to God to see what sort it is.
So where does tithing as practised by many in the church (a type of offering in the Old Testament) fit in here? It fits into our greed, it has no place in the New Covenant, no place in the New creature.
As I have stated in an earlier post, the tithe (and first fruits also) has to be a product of the earth, animal and crop, as a product of your labour in that context, that is under the Old Testament. It has to be a living thing.
We are the product of the labour of Jesus. The Bible says that he shall see the travail of his soul and he will be glad, rejoice.
He fell to the ground and died and many sons emerged who are also called to die, carry their cross and follow Jesus in an unending cycle of sacrifice on the earth. One offering to God leads to many offerings to God.
The corollary to the old testament offerings of first fruit and tithing in the New Testament is us as Christians, living things (in a spiritually alive sense). (remember that man is a product of the earth also.)
The people labouring over us (as representatives of Jesus in the five fold cadre) are the labourers with God; we are God’s farmland, field. All these are established in scriptures.
It was never about cash, Old Testament tithing I mean, but just living things from the earth (ref Genesis 1, 2).
Paul calls certain people the first fruit of Achaia. So we see clearly that in the New Testament, the first fruit are human beings.
He said he wants to offer to God the offering of the gentiles sanctified by the Holy Spirit.
In another place Jesus is called the first fruit from the dead (and we are raised up in him).
So it is triply clear that the first fruit has taken on a new meaning in the new testament and it refers to human beings.
So to bring first fruits in the sense of the Old Testament now is to obey the law and to be under obligation to obey all the laws and you have fallen from grace. The Bible did not mince words in this regard. It is without regard for how you feel about it.
The tithe is an offering to God, and in the new testament, offering to God has been given a new meaning. What is physical in the Old is spiritual in the New, what is animal and crop in the old is human lives in the new. Just as the first Adam was made a living soul, but the second Adam, a life giving spirit.
Paul said we should present (offering) our bodies as a living sacrifice.
I want to reiterate that when you emphasise first fruits and tithing in a physical/monetary sense, you are advocating the obedience to the law and you have fallen from grace (and making people fall from grace, make them slaves, because obedience to the law is termed by Paul as being in bondage in his letter to the Galatians), you have trampled underfoot the blood of Jesus. Those things have nothing to do with how you feel about it.
To do those things is to reject the New Covenant in the blood of Jesus.