Tithes vs Firstfruits: Difference and Comparison

Several theories vouch for the origin of humankind. One of them is that God created human beings and granted them life. For this, we worship him every day and give offerings to him. In some way, it can be considered a return gift of sorts.


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A tithe and first fruits are offerings that are given to God. These offerings are people’s gratitude for all that God does for them. The first evidence of tithing and the first fruits can be found in the Book of Genesis. It is one of the earliest books known to mankind.

Key Takeaways

  1. Tithes are one-tenth of one’s income or produce, while Firstfruits are the first and best of one’s harvest.
  2. Tithes are given as a form of worship or obedience to God, while Firstfruits are a way of showing gratitude and acknowledging His provision.
  3. Tithing is practiced regularly, while first fruits are given only once per harvest season.

Tithes vs Firstfruits

The difference between a tithe and first fruits is that a tithe is a ten per cent tax levied on people by the church, but first fruits are a celebration where a person offers their first harvest to God. Men mainly carry out these traditions, and women do not participate.

Tithes vs Firstfruits

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonTitheFirstfruit
OriginThe tithe originated in the Ancient Near East during ancient times.The firstfruit originated in Israel at the time of Thanksgiving.
ReasonA tithe can be considered a tax that the church, the monarchs or the governing bodies demand.Firstfruit is a celebration on Thanksgiving that includes giving grain to a priest.
MethodTithe can be in any form; it may be monetary, in the form of grains, meat or any produce you are associated with.Firstfruit entails bringing a bundle of grain to the priest.
Modern UsageToday, the tithe has been replaced by taxes that can only be paid monetarily.Today, firstfruits are given in the form of any products you can give to a priest.
AmountThe tithe has to be the tenth amount of what you have produced.Firstfruit is seen as charitable, and hence any first produces works.

What is Tithe?

A tithe is the one-tenth part of something paid to religious organizations or the government. In earlier times, tithes were paid as agricultural produce, but now they are paid in cash or cheques.

‘Tithe’ literally means ‘tenth’ in Hebrew. A tithe is primarily a religious belief of Christians and Jews.

The concept behind tithe is giving back a part of what is earned due to God’s help. Many proverbs in the Bible talk about tithing. Offering a tithe to God helps us let go of our selfishness. It also helps the local church and the pastor to make a living.

The origin of the first tithe can be traced back to when God accepted a tithe from Abraham and Jacob. Since then, the system has been in existence and continues. A tithe was mandatory and not an option. It was later distributed to help the poor. 

The tithe is to be carried to Jerusalem by whoever has offered it and then eaten with a sincere heart. If they cannot go to Jerusalem, money can be offered to redeem it. You can only offer a tithe traditionally if you live in Israel. 

tithes 1

What is Firstfruits?

Firstfruit is a religious offering to the gods. It is in the form of the first agricultural produce of the harvest. These offerings are seen in the Greek, Roman and Hebrew religions. The African American holiday of Kwanzaa is the harvest festival derived from firstfruits.

Along with the harvest, giving a drink, a meal and a burnt offering to the priest was customary. The festival of firstfruits is observed in Spring when the crop is ready to harvest. It happens after the Feast of Unleavened Bread and the Passover.

Firstfruits symbolises the process of how God harvests our souls. It is giving back to God what he has granted to us.

The first fruit offering was given in memory of Egypt when they freed themselves from slavery and returned to their land. Firstfruits is also observed to calculate the time for the Feast of Weeks. 

Women cannot celebrate Firstfruits. They can be offered by men in temples by reciting an avowal. After the recital, a feast is held with pilgrims marching up and conducting processions. 


Main Differences Between Tithes and Firstfruits

  1. Tithes originated in the ancient Near East while firstfruits originated in Israel.
  2. Tithes were invented for exacting taxes, while firstfruit originated for religious reasons.
  3. Tithe can be in money, grain or meat, whatever the person produces. Firstfruit, on the other hand, is always a bundle of grain.
  4. A specific amount (10%) of tithe is to be paid, while any amount of the first harvest can be given to a priest at firstfruit.
  5. Tithes were a compulsion, while firstfruits were considered charitable. Under special circumstances, the tithe amount could be decreased.
  1. http://cbfa-jbib.org/index.php/jbib/article/download/373/374
  2. https://www.jstor.org/stable/1155216
  3. https://www.jstor.org/stable/179032
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