KLEPTOMANIAC is a journey into the annuals of biblical history concerning what the Bible teaches about tithing and giving. This book will take you on the proverbial archeological quest to uncover the true meaning of biblical words that deal with money. When confusion exists about what certain words mean in the Bible, such as tithe, tithing, tenth or ten percent, this book will examine the Hebrew and Greek language to bring to life what these words actually mean in context. This book will upend the common beliefs held by believers concerning giving and tithing based on the history of the original people of the Bible and how they related to money. From the very beginning to the end of the book, everything is supported by Scripture and research. You will know from the onset why the author, Dr. Frank Chase Jr., wrote the book and learn about his personal story of what happened as a result of embracing New Covenant giving principles from the New Testament. No book asks questions like this book. And some of those questions are: does the Bible talk about tithing? Did God change the tithe at some point in biblical history? Are first fruits money? Is the tithe food or money? Is the church the storehouse? Did Jesus, Paul and the Disciples tithe? Did the early church honor a money tithe system? Are Christians really cursed for not tithing ten percent of their income?
Frank Chase, Jr. was born in 1959. He is the son of Frank Chase and Romaine Berry. He grew up in Baltimore Md. and graduated from Walbrook High School in 1978. After high school, Frank spent four years in the United States Army and during that time became a follower of the Messiah. After completing his tour of duty, he attended Washington State University (WSU) and graduated in 1989 with a Bachelor’s degree in Communications and a minor in Sociology. Because Frank believes in education, he pursued religious degrees and graduated from North Carolina College of Theology with a Bachelor of Biblical Studies, a Master of Arts in Theology, and a Doctor of Theology. You can follow is blog at http://tithenomore.com and the ebook is available on now on Book Baby and the paperback June 1st at https://store.bookbaby.com/book/kleptomaniac. For signed copies go to the Author's website at http://www.fcpublishing.com/about_kleptomaniac
This part of the book that deals with first fruits was fascinating to write about. This is important because little did I know, first fruits in the Bible had nothing to do with paying money to the church. This is important because at a time in my previous church, the doctrine of paying first fruits become another money collection tactic. The dogma stated that, if you pay a tenth of the first paycheck of the year God would reign down blessings on you. Imagine my shock, when I started researching the meaning of first fruits and found it that these were nothing but, grapes/wine, barley wheat, figs, olives/oil, honey, and pomegranates. Deuteronomy 8:8, 18:4, and 26:1-11 reveals all the details about first fruits. So the book excerpt about this important subject in analyzing tithing. First fruits being paid as money is total manipulation of the scriptures. So how do churches get away with inventing fundraising schemes by taking scripture out of context? Anybody with a simple concordance can look up the meaning of first fruits and discover they were eatible items and money money. Remember, if someone asks you for first fruits, give them some grain, barley, figs. It’s fruit people and nothing else.
Can Money Be Required as Firstfruits?
Another teaching used as a slick fund raising tool is the topic of first-fruits. If the 10 percent tithe doesn’t burn a hole in your pocketbook or wallet, watch out because tithe’s first cousin, the firstfruits doctrine, will sure hit you up for more money.
The modern day version of the firstfruits doctrine is causing fervor among believers around the country and the world. This phenomenon is emptying wallets and pocketbooks of many unsuspecting believers. Fundraising gimmicks and twisted scriptural misinterpretations that promise wealth easily sifts money out of people’s wallets and purses. Many people accept new teachings from the Bible without questioning the views of the teachers. It is amazing how many Christians interpret tithes and firstfruits as money without undertaking an in-depth word study to seek biblical truth on the issue. A general definition from the dictionary ought to settle the argument. So why would people toss out that firstfruits are nothing but the earliest harvest of fruit dedicated to a Deity acknowledging the blessings of fruitfulness?
This doctrine of firstfruits that emanates from the mouths of credible authoritative spiritual figures in churches should not be taken at face value. You must examine every word with a fine toothcomb like an investigative reporter and ask who did God authorize to receive firstfruits and in what form. Take a step to investigative what firstfruits mean. It is important to understand that it is a common practice to define a person’s income as firstfruits based on current cultural and financial norms outside of the Bible. However, that’s where the error begins because the Bible defines firstfruits as literal fruits, not first money. The first occurrence of firstfruits is in Exodus 23:16:
And the Feast of Harvest, the firstfruits of your labors which you have sown in the field; and the Feast of Ingathering at the end of the year, when you have gathered in the fruit of your labors from the field (NKJV).
The NKJV implies that firstfruits come from the labor of what the people planted. Reading this same verse in the NIV version actually reflects the correct rendering of the Hebrew word in Exodus 23:16, which states,
Celebrate the Feast of Harvest with firstfruits of the crops you sow in your field. Celebrate the Feast of Ingathering at the end of the year, when you gather in your crops from the field (NIV).
The Hebrew word for firstfruits is “bikkuwr” (Strong’s #1061).51 It is the first of the grain, fruit and crop harvested from the field. When Israel celebrated the three feasts, it was their acknowledgment that the fruits of the harvest were from Yahweh. Further, that means the firstfruits were from God’s labor not man’s labor. Let’s explain this in more detail. Everything we have comes from God. He gives us food, water, clouds, atmosphere, vapors, crops, grain, and animals to sustain life. For example, cotton comes from seed planted; our houses are built of wood, which comes from seed planted. God’s labor includes the rain, sunshine, and the right environment for cotton and trees to grow. This allows us to use cotton to make clothes and have wood to build homes. This could not happen without God using his labor to make things grow. So with God’s effort, he requires the first-fruits from His effort, not the effort that comes from man’s labor to build houses or when making clothes for example. Yahweh’s effort produced firstfruits and tithes; our labor involves planting and harvesting. And that’s the difference between man’s labor and God’s labor.52 The tithe and first-fruits always came from God’s effort/labor and not from what a person makes in income. That’s because we earn income from selling our labor to an employer for a price and receive a paycheck. That means our labor is not holy nor can our money be firstfruits.
One author writes that since the Israelite community (in a full theocratic government) had the tithe, it took care of Levites, priests and other social services for the less fortunate. As a result, the theocracy would have no need of a further common fund to address social services because the tithe took care of that. Taxes as we understand it did not exist in Israel per se. That means if the tithe took care of everything, then an Israelite’s personal labor (money from a job) could not be forfeited partially or wholly for the community, social services, a king, a church as a tithe or as a tax to a government. The tithe was paid on the land’s yield. That means the laborer of antiquity and those who work every day in this current economy own their labor. Since God owned His own labor by providing produce, herds and flocks, then the farmers and ranchers who inherited the land had to pay God a tithe from His labor (produce, herd and flocks). The non-farming and non-rancher community who were daily workers owned their own labor and did not owe God a tithe. God’s owns the land because His labor created the tithe and the firstfruits, so a tenth of the yield belonged to Him. A worker like you and I own our labor because we create it and the fruits of it belong to no one else because we produced it through work. When you follow the tithe law in the Bible and the rules God set up for the user and the leaser of the land with God as the legal owner, you realize the community, the central government, or any church cannot confiscate the money you work for in part or in whole for any good reason either as a tax or a tithe. Today, tithes of money and taxes are collected because we live in a democracy and not a theocracy. Although the Levites did not receive a land inheritance, it is presumptuous to assume they were never without income. Numbers 18:20-32 is where you read about their income. The Levites inherited the tithe from Yahweh and had to work for income. Individuals in the Bible sold their labor for a price and the profit from selling their labor belonged to them as a worker. The tithe came from the land, which God owned, not on the labor paid in wages by other workers outside of the farming and herding community.53 It is important to never confuse the tithe with firstfruits because they are not the same.
In Exodus 23:19, the same Hebrew word is used for firstfruits. “The first of the firstfruits of your land you shall bring into the house of the LORD your God.” When you read this verse in the NIV, RSV, KJV or the NKJV, notice that either the word land, ground or soil is used and all three refer to crops. Firstfruits are exactly what the Bible says and that means they are the fruits that grow from the ground first or that which ripens first that qualifies as firstfruits.