How to Keep Your Money Safe From Paula White’s Troubling Numbers

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.]

***

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35 Responses to How to Keep Your Money Safe From Paula White’s Troubling Numbers

  1. CaroG87 says:

    If you’ll allow me a moment of numerology as well…….. 18 = 6 + 6 + 6.

    There: proof that Paula White and her prosperity gospel ilk really are The Debbil!

  2. Headless Unicorn Guy says:

    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!”

    What?
    No Magick Prayer Cloth Personally Blessed by Paula White?

  3. Headless Unicorn Guy says:

    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”.

    And now we are officially into Kook Numerology Country.
    Like Brainbeau’s 4-way Peace Plan centering around permutations of the number “22”.
    (Or the Discordian Society’s “Rule of 23”, though that was done as a deliberate hoax.)

    • Tim says:

      But … but … how can you miss the significance of this being the year 2018?!

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        The same way I missed the significance of the years 1848 according to the Millerites or the years 1914 and 1975 according to the Jehovah’s Witnesses. (Though I did get caught up in the 1975 Rosh Hashanah Rapture Scare which the JWs started but nobody at the time would admit to it.)

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        In the words (and calculations) of the prophet Homer Simpson:

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      P.S. The random ads on your blog are showing two in a row for a Biblical(TM) fad diet called “The Shepherd’s Code” — “Has Nutritional Science Finally Caught Up with The Bible?”

  4. Jeannie Prinsen says:

    Oh brother! It must take her a while to get unraveled from the knots she ties herself into to make these claims. It’s heartbreaking, though, that anyone would actually believe this and send her money.

  5. Tim says:

    My apologies to all. I should have made explicit that comments cannot touch upon any political connections Ms. White might have.

  6. Kathy Heisleman says:

    “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”.

    Looking at the last phrase of her statement about God giving power to establish His Covenant–this is a common belief in certain circles that we are responsible to ‘usher in God’s kingdom” or acquire “Dominion” in a country to claim it for God.

    This is a subtle but compelling theory; the reader feels that he must help God! Without his efforts, God might be thwarted….

    This of course goes against clear teaching in the sufficiency of Christ, the fact that Christ taught clearly that his kingdom was not of this world, not to mention that God in His very nature is complete, all powerful and sufficient for all things.

    This appeal to our pride, to the overwhelming need to perform “a work” for God instead of acknowledging our utter inability to please God on our own merit has lead to the establishment of countless legalistic, works based systems of “Christianity”, which have all done nothing but enslave the adherents and obscured the true Gift of the Gospels–Faith Alone in Christ Alone.

    The appeal to our pride and our greed is a very powerful and pernicious teaching which leads only to disappointment and possibly missing the blessings God has for us that come in trusting Him alone for our life, wealth and eternal destiny.

    • Tim says:

      It truly is an appeal to pride and greed, Kathy. First it’s “God can’t do it without me” and then it’s “God is going to reward me here and now for all I’ve done for him.” What a self-focused and works-based gospel that is.

    • Anu Riley says:

      Yeah! The appeal to pride and the sense of “I gave, I helped” is very attractive but misleading. I am sure others have contributed to other such evangelists and have been very disappointed, frustrated or discouraged when the results were not as they expected.

      “For the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power.” (1Corinthians 4:20)
      “For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you.” (Luke 17: 21)

      Those would have been better verses to illustrate what giving is all about: His kingdom, not her books and/or merchandise.

      More verses about not being able to serve 2 masters (God and money), or how the love of money is a root of evil, and how the Pharisees were lovers or money would also have been more beneficial, but it doesn’t sell books.

      Verses like that deflate pride, instead I feel like she’s trying to puff us up, not to mention herself and all the “wisdom” she supposedly has in this department (giving).

      You know, some of the best forms of godly giving have nothing to do with money. Money did not ensure our salvation. Money did not give the poor and suffering the hope they so desperately needed. Money doesn’t give us eternal life. It also doesn’t guarantee joy in this life (if so, all the rich people in the world would be problem free and happy as clams)

      Jesus was born into a poor family, and was a simple carpenter as an adult. In His ministry, He didn’t have a lot of money, if any. He relied on others to support him (including women). When He died for us, He even lost all His clothing except for one undergarment.

      The best forms of giving is of ourselves: our time, our attention, or affection—and our hearts. These are the harder forms of giving. It’s easier to write a check, even a sacrificial one. Note: writing checks can absolutely be a form of worship of Him. Just not the only one

      No one wants to hear about that, per say. It contradicts a “prosperity gospel” that’s infecting the church and deceiving many.

      • Tim says:

        And, Anu, did you notice she never said what good works the money will support? Just that you have to give in order to acquire your own wealth.

        • Linn says:

          She reflects an entire section of evangelicalism that believes this teaching, and often preys on the poor and elderly. I have known people who have said, “I’ll make this sacrifice with my medication/food/rent/gas money because, if I do, God will really bless me.”

        • Tim says:

          Makes me wanna puke, Linn.

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

          Gotta keep up with the Furticks, you know.

          16000-sq ft mansions and private jets (for the Ministry, of course) are Sooooo Expensive.

  7. Anu Riley says:

    It sounds like she’s more interested in selling books and merchandise (all with her name on them) than anything else. Now, she makes it seem as though her books will be such a blessing, that the money part is fairly insignificant. You’ll get so much out of her writings and teachings that you won’t regret what you gave, because it so paid off. It sounds so believable, especially after her “years of studying the Word of God.” (her words).

    Okay, before I say anything else, I too have followed what I now see as fads and popularism in Christians authors or speakers or anyone who promised great wisdom or growth through them. They’re don’t come off as evil or self-
    promotional; they really do think they have something wonderful to offer us.

    These are the people to watch out MOST for. The sincerity will grab you and frankly almost throttle you into buying their books or going to hear their sermons or paying money to attend a life-promising conference.

    Keep in mind one of my favorite verses. So short and simple: “apart from Me you can do nothing.” (John 15:4). If you are hungry to know Him, abide in Him. If you want to grow on Him, spend time with Him. If you are in need, financially or otherwise, ask of Him (Matthew 7:9).

    Our brother said it well: “Jesus never asks you to give before you receive from Him.” We don’t “pay” for the Holy Spirit. We don’t “earn” gifts or love or the fruit of the Spirit from Him. He gives because He loves us, and loves to give.

    Apologies, the numbers part confused me so I skipped it. Over my head!

    • Tim says:

      It brings to mind the parable of the talents. None of the servants gave anything to the master before receiving wealth to manage.

    • Laura Droege says:

      Anu, your comment about how these are the people to watch out most for reminded me of one thing I’ve learned in writing fiction: the scariest antagonists aren’t the bad-because-they’re-bad villains. No, the scariest ones are the ones who believe they are RIGHT and sincerely believe they are doing the morally right thing–sometimes even the Biblical thing!– even as they work against the protagonist’s goals. They sincerely believe in whatever rhetoric they are using. They are self-deceived. We have to watch out for that tendency toward self-deception in ourselves, as most (all?) people can fall prey to that.

      • Tim says:

        Good point, Laura. Those who work hard to convince themselves of their rightness can fool others based on apparent sincerity alone.

  8. There’s a ballad that goes “tv preachers want you to send your money to God but they give you their address…” I think of that every time I see things like this.

  9. Laura Droege says:

    Good post, Tim. Do you think Ms. White actually believes her own rhetoric? It’s hard to imagine someone believing this number-business, but I’ve known people to believe some bizarre ideas. If she does believe it, she is self-deceived. I’m not sure whether that possibility is less or more disturbing that the possibility that she is willfully deceiving others as a con to gain wealth.

  10. Tim, sorry to interrupt, but could you please pray for me and my family again?

  11. Could you also pass my name around to people at your church, office, etc. who would be willing to pray for me?

  12. Thank you so much! God bless Tim!

  13. Elle says:

    Oiy. I don’t know who Paula white is but she sounds like all those other name it claim it wolves. Hagin, Copeland, Joyce Meyer, Joel Osteen….they all live by the same play book. First fruits…lol. I grew up hearing that word used a lot. Ministries like these thrive off of fear and desperation. They target peoples insecurities and twist scripture to their liking. I grew up attending a church like this and the only benefit I had from that experience is learning how to spot a snake.

  14. Lucie Winborne says:

    I feel like I’m being a bit dense, but I didn’t understand what was meant by “…He gives you the power to acquire wealth to establish His covenant.” Can you explain, Tim?

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