“Who will rise up for me against the evildoers? or who will stand up for me against the workers of iniquity?” ~ PSALM 94:16
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Thursday, October 31, 2013
To Tithe or Not to Tithe???
How long is it acceptable to be wrong under the assumption of right without proper investigation? For thousands of years mankind believed the world was flat. For over 1,000 years most Christians were Catholics who also worshipped Mary equally with Christ, and believed the Pope was God's chief and final authority on the earth in the place of Christ. For hundreds of years in the United States it was taught, believed, and accepted that black people were inferior to white people. I've heard it taught that non-tithers are cursed, should not be allowed to participate in church activities, should be kicked out of church, should be shot, and are robbing God among other things. The
constant threats and reminders of doom take the joy out of giving for
many born again believers who suffer in silence out of fear and
in church has almost felt like being the victim of strong armed robbery
or paying a bill to prevent your blessings from getting repossessed for
some. Others seem to take great satisfaction in being able to say they
are tithers with an air of pride and smug self-righteousness they may be
unaware of, and for which the LORD is not impressed but displeased. Here are a few points for consideration concerning the widely accepted and long standing teaching on the subject of TITHING:
1) Every tribe in Israel paid tithes but Levi because the tithes were meant to help support them and the service of the temple due to them not having an inheritance among the tribes of Israel, and because they were sanctified unto the Lord for ministry. Messiah Yeshua made us all priest after the order of Melchizedek unto whom Abraham already paid tithes that was counted as payment for the priesthood of Levi; which is why they weren't required to pay by Yah. The priesthood of Melchizedek is a higher and eternal priesthood than that of Levi and Aaron, and Yeshua the Messiah is the real Melchizedek.
If Abraham already paid for the priesthood, and we're the new priesthood in place of Levi after the order of Melchizedek why do we still have to pay?
2) The Roman Catholic church created the division between believers by creating "clergy & laity"; making themselves the new Levites of sorts to justify their right to rule over the people, but this was never a biblical concept or teaching. Christ never taught this kind of division among believers nor did the apostles, and the scriptures teach that we are all "priests" unto God as a singular priesthood. Those who teach tithing never bring up the fact Jesus Christ and his apostles didn't teach tithing.
The one time Christ mentioned it he was rebuking the Pharisees and only mentioned spices and herbs, not money. The Bible never teaches tithes as money. Tithing was re-instituted by the Roman Catholic church about five hundred years after the true Church began as a way to finance the papacy of Rome as a sort of tax; with the catholic clergy declaring themselves the defacto priesthood in place of the Levites to try to legitimize it.Only the Levites were allowed to receive tithes in Israel, and Christ nor the apostles took tithes or taught it so why do we?
3) Do we have more revelation on tithing than did Christ himself and his apostles? Does our traditional understanding and teachings of scripture trump the early teachings of the first church? Have we forsaken the original model of the New Testament Church for a false Roman Catholic model? As born again spirit filled, or protestant believers for some, we often imitate the Catholic leadership structure with many of the same titles, symbols, and ceremonies. We teach many of their doctrines but label them with our own persuasion or denomination name. We ask too few questions while accepting and defending too many wrong answers without research.
PROVERBS 16:25; "There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death."
The tithe as a tenth (10%) is a good goal to set as an offering like Abraham and Jacob did, but not as an obligation like many have been taught. These are the kinds of things many of those in the ministry don't want being taught because they fear it will mess up the money flow and adversely effect their income and that of the ministry. Well, it needs to be messed up for truth's sake. We would get more money for the work of the gospel if we trusted Yah enough to teach folks the whole truth, and admit when we've been wrong. We honor God with our total being as a living sacrifice, and not just with our money as some believe. Yah doesn't need your money, and he will never value your money over your soul for which he paid the price in the person of Christ.
Honor Yah by living holy and righteously in obedience to his Word. We are to give generously and cheerfully to support the ministry and help advance the gospel, but never out of fear and under pressure. This is a hard teaching for many of us because all of our lives we've been taught one particular way and made to believe in the threat of being cursed if we failed. I know of churches operating on this non-tithing principle with no financial problems that directly refute anyone saying tithing is the only way the church can survive financially, and some of these ministries have large memberships in the thousands with willing givers not threatened givers. Many of us have been taught fear based religion instead of faith based relationship. God loves a "cheerful" giver, not a "fearful" giver.
2nd CORINTHIANS 9:6 (NHEBM); "Let each man give according as he has determined in his heart; not grudgingly, or under compulsion; for God loves a cheerful giver."
I urge you to study this for yourself and seriously consider the questions asked as well as the points made. Think about all the things you've accepted as true and be brutally honest with yourself as to whether you accepted what you were taught blindly without ever questioning it because you had confidence in those teaching it, and now after all this time you have a hard time seeing things any other way because that teaching is so deeply embedded in your mind as truth when it may possibly be an error.
We've repeated many such teachings like a parrot without knowing what we were always saying, but saying what sounded good to our ears and seemed right to our meager understanding. We've given our experiences and senses greater credibility than the Word of God by which they must be validated, and in doing so we end up in error. Carefully consider all the information presented without bias so you won't taint your study. The search for truth must be colorblind and truth must be allowed to color itself in to be genuine. If you've never done the actual and factual research then you really don't know.
2nd TIMOTHY 2:15; "Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth."
What we repeat is often the "company line" based on a conclusion drawn in the grip of tradition. We don't question these things because we can't accept that it and those who taught us may have been wrong all this time. Think about it:Christ never taught tithing and only mentioned it once when rebuking the Pharisees; WHY?He said it was right to titheunder the law (of which they still were when he spoke this), and only mentioned the tithes as spices and never money because Israel never tithed money. The verses of scripture most often used to justify tithing and nearly "terrorize" people into giving like a "stick-up" is found in: MALACHI 3:8-10;"Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings. 9) Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation. 10) Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it."
The book of Malachi was written primarily to the priests(religious leaders, preachers & teachers)who were stealing the tithes and misappropriating it for their own means. The "storehouse" mentioned in the above scripture is not the temple/church, but they had an actual storehouse where they housed meat and other supplies but not money. We are "joint heirs" with Christ which means we can't rob him of something we co-own or that would be robbing ourselves.
ROMANS 8:17; "And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together."
*Please examine closely the following scriptures on the priesthood and tithes:
HEBREWS 7:5-12 (NHEBM); "They indeed of the sons of Levi who receive the priest's office have a commandment to take tithes of the people according to the Law, that is, of their brothers, though these have come out of the body of Abraham, 6) but he whose genealogy is not counted from them has accepted tithes from Abraham, and has blessed him who has the promises. 7) But without any dispute the lesser is blessed by the greater. 8) Here people who die receive tithes, but there one receives tithes of whom it is testified that he lives.
9) We can say that through Abraham even Levi, who receives tithes, has paid tithes, 10) for he was yet in the body of his father when Melchizedek met him. 11) Now if there was perfection through the Levitical priesthood (for under it the people have received the law), what further need was there for another priest to arise after the order of Melchizedek, and not be called after the order of Aaron? 12) For the priesthood being changed, there is of necessity a change made also in the law."
Notice how verse 12 says there must be a change in the law because of a change in the priesthood, and above that in verse 9 it says Levi "paid" as in not needing to pay anymore because Abraham's payment for him is perpetual. If in Abraham the inferior and temporary priesthood of Levi was relieved of having to pay tithes then how much more those who are also seed of Abraham by faith and have been made priest after the superior and eternal priesthood of Melchizedek in our Lord Yeshua the Messiah? Christ watched the people put their offerings in the treasury separately from bringing their tithes to the actual storehouse because the Jews didn't confuse the two. In fact, modern day Jews consider it a sin to take tithes without the proper restoration of the Levitical priesthood.
It's clear from the scriptures that this aspect of the law, as with all the ceremonial and sacrificial laws, was discontinued by the perfect sacrifice and atonement of Christ who also established a perfect order which the law could not do. We are still to keep the moral aspects of the law concerning our service and behavior unto the Lord God, and our treatment of our fellow human beings. We've been wrongly teaching "the law of Moses" to raise money and following Catholicism instead of following Christ by teaching faith in our giving. We've made people believe in the wrong things as a means to get close to God. You can't pay your way into His presence or favor.
HEBREWS 7:18-19; "For there is verily a disannulling of the commandment going before for the weakness and unprofitableness thereof. 19) For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did; by the which we draw nigh unto God."
If believers at the turn of the 20th century of barely over 100 years ago rediscovered for themselves the already available truth about the baptism of the Holy Spirit with evidence of speaking in other tongues as revealed in the book of Acts after over 1600 years of false Catholic doctrine distorted it, then why won't we more closely examine what we believe on tithing, five-fold ministry, the biblical invalidity or validity of the "sinner's prayer", baptism in the name of "Yeshua (Jesus)" versus in the name of the "Father, Son, and Holy Ghost" as the correct way to baptize, or the doctrine of the trinity as to whether it is the true and accurate biblical description of God Almighty or is it actually accepted Christian paganism brought in by Gentiles due to a lack of understanding and revelation about Yahweh and Yeshua?
The issue of tithing is a sacred cow that now needs to be sacrificed. We make sacred doctrines out of the traditions and teachings of men and then call anyone who questions them a heretic or false prophet, but never imagine that we may be the heretics and false messengers because we so easily accept and teach what appears to be the truth without truly knowing. We don't search the scriptures as Christ said to do so we miss the truth and embrace the errors. STUDY! ~ I.J. West
JOHN 5:39; "Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me."