American Tract Society Bible Dictionary
Presents made to God of part of the fruits of the harvest, to express the submission, dependence, and thankfulness of the offerers. The portion given was instead of the whole, in acknowledgement that all was due to God. They were offered in the temple before the crop was gathered on the fifteenth of Nisan, in the evening, and threshed in a court of the temple. After it was well cleaned, about three pints of it were roasted, and pounded in a mortar. Over this was thrown a measure of olive oil and a handful of incense; and the priest, taking the offering, waved it before the Lord towards the four cardinal points, throwing a handful of it into the fire on the altar, and keeping the rest. After this, all were at liberty to get in the harvest. When the wheat harvest was over, on the day of Pentecost they offered as first fruits of another, in the name of the nation, two loaves, of about three pints of flour each, made of leavened dough, Leviticus 23:10,17 . In addition to these firstfruits, every private person was obliged to bring his firstfruits to the temple, but Scripture prescribes neither the time nor the quantity.
There was, besides this, another sort of firstfruits paid to God, Numbers 15:19,21 Nehemiah 10:37 : when the bread in the family was kneaded, a portion of it was set apart, and given to the priest or Levite of the place; if there were no priest or Levite, it was cast into the oven and there consumed.
Those offerings are also often called firstfruits, which were brought by the Israelites from devotion, to the temple, for the feast of thanksgiving, to which they invited their relations and friends, and the Levites of their cities. The firstfruits and tenths were the most considerable revenue of the priests and Levites.
Christians have "the firstfruits of the Holy Spirit," Romans 8:23; that is, more abundant and more excellent gifts than the Jews; these were also a foretaste of the full harvest. "Christ is risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept," 1 Corinthians 15:20 , the forerunner of all those who, because he lives, shall live also, John 14:19 .
These files are public domain and are a derivative of the topics are from American Tract Society Bible Dictionary published in 1859.
Rand, W. W. Entry for 'Firstfruits'. American Tract Society Bible Dictionary. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/eng/ats/f/firstfruits.html. 1859.