Wednesday, February 4, 2015

First Fruits - March 22

First Fruits began as a Jewish feast at the beginning of grain harvest called Festival of Feasts.  It is observed in the middle of the first Hebrew month of the year, Nissan 15-21, at the start of spring around March through April.   It began with Passover with the liberation of Jewish slaves from Egypt. The Bible discusses the freedom encounter in Exodus 12:21-27.  The scripture shows that Israelites were exempt or passed over from death and spared slavery to become free.    Following their liberation, the Jewish celebrated their deliverance from slavery with the Festival of Feasts.  The ritual is described in the Bible: Deuteronomy 26:1-10.     The celebration is now called Passover as a religious holiday.    Passover began as an agricultural gift to the church with wheat, barley, wine, figs, pomegranates, olives, dates.   It is described in the Bible in Leviticus 23:10.    The purpose was to give spiritual thanks for the start of an abundant harvest season.  

Today, First Fruits represent a specific offering beyond weekly tithing.    It is equivalent to a person's one week of pay or two percent of annual wages serving to experience a sacrifice while having faith that God will provide necessities.    The First Fruits are a voluntary offering motivated by personal faith and given in thanks to God.  First Fruit offerings are not given resulting in destitution or poverty.  It is a planned responsible offering as described in First Corinthians 16:2.   This religious practice is not pressured by church leadership.    First Fruits is initiated as a personal wish as seen in the Bible in Mark 12:41-44.      It is intended to keep the church active and flourishing as seen in First Timothy 5:17-18 and First Corinthians 9:14.

The Bible explains Jesus died on Passover and resurrected three days later.    Just as the original First Fruits was offered by the Jewish on Nissan 16, three days after Passover, Jesus became our First Fruits.  This is shown in First Corinthians 15:20.   First Fruits offerings are worship appreciation of souls saved through Jesus Christ.     The offering is voluntary and given in celebration and love as seen in Second Corinthians 9:6-7.

In the Bible, the New Testament discusses how First Fruits are presented.     The Bible says in Romans 12:1-2 that God reaches to faithful Christians.  In Matthew 25:14-30 it says we should be responsible for the blessings from God and we shall receive more through our obedience to principle.    If we are not responsible, the blessings are taken away.   The First Fruits are presented by the congregation to the altar as a worship of thanks to God.   For example, they are presented in baskets with the financial First Fruits as well as flowers, fruits, and vegetables.    Parishioners give thanks to God with the faith that a return in blessing in their lives shall take place.

This year, the Resurrection Center will celebrate the offering of First Fruits on Sunday,  March 22, 2015, also known as Easter.      The financial offering will be included with any fruit and delivered to a decorated basket that will be at the altar.    This celebration is one of excitement, harvesting, growth, enrichment, and love.   It can’t get better than that.    


·         — Exodus 12:21-27
·         —Deuteronomy 26:1-10
·         — Leviticus 23:10
·         — First Corinthians 16:2
·         — Bible in Mark 12:41-44
·         — First Timothy 5:17-18
·         — First Corinthians 9:14
·         — First Corinthians 15:20
·         — Second Corinthians 9:6-7
·         — Romans 12:1-2
·         — Matthew 25:14-30