3 Nov 2013 by Donna Uning CM –
Sibu – The church was filled to the brim on Sunday night as members and visitors packed SIB Hosanna to catch the teachings of Dr Robert Heidler from Glory of Zion International Ministries here. In his message on the first night here, Dr Heidler talked about Rosh Chodesh, Giving God the Firstfruits of each new month.
“Today, I’m giving you a new holiday! A holiday that is very important to God; yet most of us has never heard of,” he said. Many questioned why they are not experiencing what the Bible promised. “If you are not experiencing what the Bible promised, it’s because you are not doing what the Bible commands!” he told. He added that there are many things the Bible tells us to do that have not been part of our religious traditions. “But God is restoring us!”
In God’s cycle of life, there are not just weekly celebrations like the Sabbath or the yearly feasts, but God also gave a monthly feast called “Rosh Chodesh”. What is Rosh Chodesh? Most Christians have never heard of Rosh Chodesh. “Rosh Chodesh is an expression of firstfruits,” he said, explaining “to understand Rosh Chodesh we need to understand firstfruits.”
When Israel entered the land and received its harvest, they were to put the first portion of that harvest in a basket and take it to God’s Sanctuary. At the Sanctuary, they were to give the firstfruits of their land to the priest and publicly declare the goodness and faithfulness of God.
“God promised if they would honor Him by giving Him the firstfruits of their harvest,” he continued saying in verse 26, “The Lord will set you high above all the nations which He has made, for praise, fame, and honor; and you will be a people holy to the Lord.” That is God’s incredible promise! “There is something very important about firstfruits!” he said.
Firstfruits was not the largest gift of the year; so why was it important? When they brought in the full harvest, one tenth of the harvest was God’s (the tithe). “Firstfruits was often just one sheaf of wheat, yet it was the key to massive blessing,” he explained, telling “There’s something special about the first.”
Dr Heidler explained the act by asking: how many remember their first date or how many remember their first car? Who was the first man on the moon? Just like a business that framed their first dollar. “The first is special! Giving the first expresses honor,” he said. He also told about the times his new book comes out. “I take the first two copies out of the box and give them to Linda and Chuck (Pierce)!” he said. This shows honor. Just like a birthday party, who gets the first piece of cake with all the extra icing?
“Firstfruits is honoring God by giving back to Him the first and the best of all He has given us,” he said.
In understanding firstfruits giving, firstly, it must be the first offering, and secondly, it must be the best. The first is your income or profit.
Give the firstfruits of your grain, new wine and the first wool from shearing …
Deuteronomy 18: 18: 4-5
“When you receive a first for the year or first from a new source, the first portion of it is God’s,” he said. He described the act as bringing tribute to a King and giving Him the best you have!
Bring the best of the firstfruits of your soil to the house of the Lord.
“Many assume that if they tithe, they are giving the firstfruits,” he said, but “No! Tithing is one kind of giving and firstfruits is something very different.” The Bible described three categories of giving: contributions, firstfruits and tithes.
At that time men were appointed to be in charge of the storerooms for the contributions, firstfruits and tithes.
We also assume responsibility for bringing to the house of the Lord each year the firstfruits of our crops and of every fruit tree.
And we will bring a tithe of our crops to the Levites, for it is the Levites who collect the tithes
bring their contributions of grain, new wine and olive oil ..
Dr Heidler explained that offerings or contributions are voluntary expressions of thanksgiving. “The three forms of giving are different, but they are all important,” he said. Some people say they tithe but do not see God’s blessing. “Tithing is just part of the picture!” he said. Tithe or your 10 percent is obedience to God. Firstfruits, your first and best, are honoring God. Offering is thanksgiving to God.
“When you put all three together, the blessing of God is released,” he said telling of how many are not taught about this. “The significance of firstfruit giving is that it honors God as your source,” he said adding, “A declaration that God has blessed you.”
If the part of the dough offered as firstfruits is holy, then the whole batch is holy.
Sometimes we don’t know where the money has been but if you give to God, then it is holy. “If the firstfruits is holy, then the whole batch is holy,” he said.
“Firstfruits brings blessings,” he said.
The best of all the firstfruits and of all your special gifts will belong to the priests. You are to give them the first portion of your ground meal so that a blessing may rest on your household.
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.
In Genesis 4:3-4, Cain brought some of his crops but Abel brought the first of his flock. Both Cain and Abel brought offering from their work, but what was the difference? “If you read carefully, Cain brought some and Abel brought the first of his flock,” he told.
How to give the firstfruits? How much do we give? A portion is one lamb, one sheaf, one basketful. “Of all that is your first and best, give a portion to God to honor Him for your increase,” he said. How is it given? “It is brought to the sanctuary and given to the priests; the priests released the blessing of God,” he explained.
Some of the biblical examples of firstfruits releasing blessings are: Abraham, who was willing to put Isaac on the altar and all promised blessings were released to him. In Jericho when the spoils of the first city were given to the Lord, the rest of the land was theirs. Hannah gave her first son Samuel; she then had more sons and an entire nation was transformed. When God gave His firstborn Son, Jesus, all promised blessings became ours!
“By His resurrection, Jesus released the firstfruit blessing of a new creation,” he said concerning the principle of firstfruits in the New Testament.
But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.
1 Corinthians 15:20
“Jesus died on Passover as Lamb of God!” he said. “The day after the Sabbath of Passover week is the feast of the firstfruits.” Jesus died as the Passover Lamb to redeem us but was raised as firstfruits of a new creation, he continued.
As a Christian, the first converts in a location are the firstfruits of those to be saved there.
Greet also the church that meets at their house. Greet my dear friend Epenetus, who was the first convert to Christ in the province of Asia.
You know that the household of Stephanas were the first converts in Achaia, and they have devoted themselves to the service of the Lord’s people.
1 Corinthians 16:15
“If you are first in your family or workplace to be saved, you are the firstfruits of the full harvest God wants to bring in,” he said. “You have special anointing for harvest!”
Dr Robert Heidler was in Sibu on October 27-29, 2013 for a special meeting at Hosanna Bible School. Dr Heidler and his wife Linda are from Glory of Zion International.
References For Pics