Paula White is telling people they can have a good 2018 if they give God the firstfruits of their wages at the outset of the year. You could give a month’s salary as she tries to do, but admits that sometimes she can only afford a week’s wages. If you can only afford to send her a single day’s earnings, that’s good too. (Paula White Ministries, The Principles of First Fruits.)
She claims this annual giving is based on “a specific principle that I am deeply convicted about and MUST share with you after years of studying the Word of God.” She then presents a jumble of passages, relying on an analysis that reminds one of numerology, all the while ignoring the fact that the ultimate and final Firstfruit has already been given in Jesus.
Rather, in her analysis, firstfruits is a sacrifice to be renewed annually in order to acquire wealth through God.
When you give your first fruits offering, you are planting a seed for the remainder of the year. There is a greater portion that awaits you- Your sacrificial offering will be a seed for blessings the remainder of the year. …
As you remember the Lord your God, according to Deuteronomy 8:18, through your first fruits offering, He gives you the power to acquire wealth to establish His covenant.
In looking at her post on firstfruit giving, it is clear where your wealth must first go. She has a button at the beginning and again at the end of the post labeled “Give Your First Fruit Offering Today” and when you click on it you arrive at a web page designed for you to give your money to Paula White.
Her post isn’t completely one-sided, though.
I want to bless you this season when you give your very best First Fruits Offering! It is important to me. With your best first fruits seed today, I will rush to you my powerful book, “First Things First.” This book goes in-depth throughout the Bible and teaches everything around prioritizing God and the details of God’s Principle of First Fruits.
The more you give, the more you get. If you send her $50, she sends the book and a devotional on the same subject. If you send $75, you’ll not only find the book and devotional in your mailbox but also “A PAULA WHITE 2018 WALL CALENDAR!” (Emphasis in original.)
Jesus never asks you to give before you receive from him.
Jesus, the ultimate and eternal Firstfruit
Ms. White’s insistence that your sacrificial offering of firstfruit is an annual necessity ignores that Jesus’ sacrifice happened once and never needs to be supplemented or repeated.
For by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy. (Hebrews 10:14.)
Of course, that passage was written in the general sense of sacrifice for sin. Yet within that general truth is the more specific fact that Jesus’ sacrifice satisfies the principle of firstfruits as well. Look closely at the timing of his sacrificial death and resurrection.
Discussions of Jesus’ death and resurrection often focus on the Passover Feast, associated squarely with salvation, which in the year of his death coincided with his crucifixion. Less well-known is that the resurrection on the third day coincided with another feast, as explained by Ann Spangler and Lois Tverberg in Sitting at the Feet of Rabbi Jesus (pp 108-109).
As significant as Passover is, another important feast sheds light on the meaning of Christ’s death and resurrection. We know that he was raised to life on the third day … . Remarkably, that day happens to be another feast day, the Feast of Firstfruits. This feast could occur on various dates, some years falling several days after Passover. On the year Jesus died, it exactly coincided with his resurrection. …
Listen to what Paul concluded years later:
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 his own turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him. (1 Corinthians 15:20-23.)
The principle of firstfruits is all about what Jesus has already done for you, not (as Ms. White argues) what you have to do to have a year of wealth and God’s blessings.
It’s all about numbers
Ms. White attempts to bolster her analysis with a look at some supposedly significant numbers:
Let me explain…
The word “eighteen” is made up of two letters of the Hebrew alphabet – Chet (ח) and Yod (י), forming the word “chai”, meaning “alive”, or “living”… In Hebrew, the related word chaya means “living thing” and is derived from the Hebrew word chai (חי),meaning “life”. We are demanding LIFE to your purpose. And with obedience to this first fruits instruction, which is PUTTING GOD FIRST NOW, your purpose, your year, your prosperity, and your power will have LIFE and be resurrected! In the name of Jesus!
The Bible says, “On one particular Sabbath, while teaching in a Synagogue, Jesus healed a woman that had a ‘spirit of infirmity’ which had bent her over for 18 years!” That which has plagued you IS REBUKED AND DONE FROM YOUR LIFE NOW. 2018 is a year of life and deliverance from struggle. It begins right now with First Fruits.
This sounds much like numerology, which is:
… belief in the divine, mystical relationship between a number and one or more coinciding events. It is also the study of the numerical value of the letters in words, names and ideas. (Wikipedia.)
The ancient Israelites had no concept of our modern calendar numbering, and how Hebrew words can be coordinated with the fact this is the year 2018 goes unexplained. Ms. White’s reliance on the healing of the woman in the synagogue (Luke 13:10-17) is even more inexplicable.
Apparently her healing after 18 years of suffering is tied to calendar years with the number 18 in them, according to Ms. White, but if so then not only this year but every year of our modern calendar with an 18 “is a year of life and deliverance from struggle” as she puts it. That would also mean the entire 19th Century would be blessed, since every year in the 1800s had an 18 in it. Of course, this blessing only comes to those who follow Ms. White’s principle that blessing “begins right now with First Fruits.”
Yet firstfruits is nowhere mentioned in that passage about the woman’s healing. There is no indication the healing occurred in conjunction with the Feast of Firstfruits, Jesus does not call the healing an example of the blessing of firstfruits, and no New Testament Writer or Old Testament example is given by Ms. White for relating this type of healing to firstfruits. It just is because Ms. White says so: the passage has the number 18 in it and this is the year 2018 and that means blessings will come if you give your firstfruit offering. Which the woman healed did not, yet she received the blessing of healing from Jesus anyway.
Fine sounding arguments may be quite unsound
Ms. White promises wealth and prosperity and claims the Bible backs her up. Even a cursory review of her arguments show they are unsound, and Paul warned about unsound arguments.
My goal is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. I tell you this so that no one may deceive you by fine-sounding arguments. (Colossians 2:2-4.)
The deception of fine-sounding arguments is that your treasure is found somewhere other than in the richness of understanding who Jesus is and in having a relationship with him. Your wealth is godly wisdom and knowledge, not worldly money and possessions. Let no one tell you otherwise and deceive you.
The numbers just don’t add up.
[The irony that this post is going up on 1/8, a number visually resembling Ms. White’s 18, is not lost on me.]