Guest: Tex the Tithe
Pink curls bouncing,
Gigi Conway did a girlish jig as the magic drum stopped rolling and
revealed a new total for the semi-annual Give-a-thon. O-o-oh.
thank you Jesus! Were up to two million, six hundred thousand
dollars! Can you shout amen, everybody?
Frenzied whistles and cheers split the air. Gigi giggled and jiggled
Rich Conway, President
of the worldwide Hallelujah TV Network, cried, Praise God for
another MIRACLE! After our next song, sung by our incomparable Susie
Sweet, we have a special treat in store for you. Bill Blessing manages
our studio in Tomahawk, Texas, and hes the earths most expert
expositor on Biblical economics. He hosts our daily program Reaping
Richly. He hasnt been feeling up to par these past few months,
but I do believe the Lord is healing him. Still, he serves the Lord
with all hes got. And man, has he ever got a message for you thatll
knock your socks off! Now, Susie, well just sit back and let you
minister to us all in song.
Her voice velvety,
and her smile angelic, the winsome young soprano sang the hymn I
Surrender All. Scattered sniffles broke out in the studio audience.
Many wondered whether theyd really given their all to Jesus.
The telecast shifted
to a subsidiary station in Tomahawk, where a lanky Texan stood behind
a pulpit, his trademark grin subdued. Thank you, Brother Conway,
he said in his lazy drawl. Now before I begin, Ive got a
confession to make. The Bible exhorts us ministers of the Gospel to
faithfully share the full counsel of God. Now, thisll surprise
many of yall, but Ive failed yall in this area. For
years Ive withheld certain precious truths that would have set
your lives free from financial bondage.
And why did I do this? Cause I was afraid some of yall
watchin might not be able to bear the deeper truths of the Word
of God. Remember, the Word of God pierces through the joints and marrow
like a two-edged sword. Will you please forgive me, Brother Conway,
for the way Ive failed Gods people?
Back in Hallelujah TVs home studio in California, Brother Conway
said, softly and tremulously: Praise Jesus for such humility in
one who has suffered so greatly in his body, after so many years of
faithfully breaking the Bread of Life to us all. Brother Bill, if theres
anything at all to forgive, all Ive got to say is this: Step boldly
out in faith. Never fear to speak the truth in love. Our precious brothers
and sisters have a right to hear the inspired exhortations of Scripture,
however difficult they may be to receive. The Bible says in Hebrews
12: Now no discipline from God seems to be joyful, but painful.
But in the end it yields the good fruit of righteousness to all who
Brother Conway brushed away a timely tear.Father, he prayed,
in the Name of Jesus I ask that You would soften many hardened
hearts today through the words Brother Blessing is about to share. Help
me and all our viewers around the globe receive the sincere milk of
Your Word into our souls, that we may grow thereby. Amen and amen.
Thank you, Brother Conway, Brother Blessing said, lifting
his eyes to the overhead monitor. Brothers and sisters, were
all fixin to have a Hallelujah good time! Can you
shout amen everybody?
Whistles and shouts, and rousing amens shot back at him
from the jam-packed TV studio.
A curious grin played at the corner of his lined mouth. Lets
get down to business, then, praise God. Im gonna speak tonight
on The Fruits of Tithin.
Moans of mortal agony.
Hey now, yall, dont look at me like that, like youre
fixin to git a whippin. Thisll be the best message
youve heard in a long time, and I guarantee youll never
hear another cow-pokin pulpiteer preach it with the pizzazz Im
gonna give it.
Sprinklings of applause, and a few guarded smiles.
For years Ive said that if you give your all to Jesus, its
a package deal, and your wallet goes to the foot of the Cross with you.
Nobody can argue that, now. And I also said, if God dont have
your 10%, He dont have your 90% either. Fact is, He owns us lock,
stock, and barrel. Everything weve got is His too, and Hes
the One Who entrusts us as good stewards to wisely use the money in
our pockets. Tonight, he said gravely, Ill show yall
how to pay a proper tithe, cause I want yall to benefit
from wisdom I gleaned from my personal Bible study.
He turned his head and called: Honey, bring all the tithes into
the storehouse of God!
From the side exit came his wife, leading a caravan of calves, muzzled
and roped together. A cowpoke in denim duds followed sheepishly, pushing
a wheelbarrow piled high with equally odd offerings: squash, beans,
onions, melons, okra, tomatoes, corn, cucumbers. Presiding over the
pile was a squawking hen in a chicken wire cage.
The already deafening ruckus increased when the man tripped and banged
his wheelbarrow against a chair, toppling the cage. When it hit the
floor the bird flew out, squawking. Crazily it ran around, exulting
in its liberty.
Hank! cried Sister Blessing, catch it!
Hank ran round and round, finally cornering the hen against a showy
floral display. He carried it to Brother Blessing, who shoved the bird
back in its cage. He held it up for all to see and shouted: Even
a dumb chickens got enough sense to know when its in bondage!
Tonight Im lettin yall out of your cages! Can you
shout hallelujah, everybody!
Effervescent joy filled every Hallelujah Network studio which didnt
catch a sudden technical difficulty.
Back in California, Brother Conway frantically dialed his cell phone.
He didnt want to make a scene in front of all these people. After
all, he had publicly pledged to receive the Lords admonitions
in a spirit of meekness.
No one answered. Ignoring all the merriment, he slipped away to the
Heart hammering wildy, he pummeled the ponderous door. Its sole window
was shaded over. Again, no answer. He yelled as loudly as he dared:
Let me in! NOW! No one replied.
Ill fire all of you if you dont open right now!
No luck. He paged Security on his cell phone.
Arrest the Control Room engineers! he yelled. Break
the door down if you have to!
No need to, sir, a voice droned back at him through a loudspeaker.
And why not!
Were interrogating them right now, Brother Conway. Relax.
Everythings under control.
Oh, Jake, please, the preacher pleaded, make them
scramble that signal from Tomahawk!
We will, Brother Conway, when were done questioning them.
The offering cleared away, Brother Blessings sermon was in progress.
Thats right, folks, thats the kind of tithe people
in the Bible really paid, the kind I never did preach on. I own a big
spread fifteen miles west of here, the Big Blesing Ranch. We raise cattle,
hens, hogs, and organic produce for the yuppie market. Only reason I
didnt tithe on the hogs, he sniffed, was they aint
kosher enough. Which triggers off a powerful point: If money-hungry
preachers hung onto Moses dietary regulations like they hang onto
tithin, they wouldnt have their fingers stuck in the pork
barrel all the time.
Deafening laughter, claps and whistles. At length Brother Blessing said,
Now Im gonna tell yall why Ive done this about-face,
and truthfully, part of my reason is selfish. For months now Ive
been mighty sick of a blood disorder, and short of a miracle, Ill
be meetin my Maker in a year or so. Even after I found out, I
still kept Gods truth secret, hopin theyd find a miracle
cure so I could keep livin high on the hog off your money!
Yall probably know, cause I recognize a lot of your
faces, but when Im home from all my travels, I serve as a lay
preacher at Green Harvest Assembly, here in Tomahawk. Our pastor, Brother
Wiley Butcher, is the one with the cemet...er, I mean, seminary degree,
but he lets himself decrease, so I can man the pulpit and make his funds
increase. After tonight, I expect hell cross me off his list,
but Ive always been top man in his inner circle of cronies. He
says Im the one who put Tomahawk, Texas on the map.
I remember after one tear jerkin sermon at our church, one
unhappy guy shoved his way through our entourage of ushers and yelled:
Brother Blessing, youve just gotta help me! They just laid
me off at the plant! I lost my health insurance and everything! Yesterday
my boy fell off his skateboard and broke his arm. He ran up a big emergency
bill at the hospital. Not only that, theres no food left in the
Im awful sorry to hear about your boy,
I said, and have you tried the local food bank?
His head hung low and he said, Ive always been
a hard-workin man, Brother Blessing, and Im just too ashamed
to go over there.
All I could contribute was: Well, Brother, maybe you oughta
review your personal givin record. Have you kept current with
Well, he said, I did borrow the
tithe a couple of times to pay the rent, and patch up my old pickup
so I could get to work.
Now, yall can guess what came out of my mouth next: Did
you ever pay God back?
He shook his head no. I couldnt, Brother
Blessing. They closed the plant.
I put that poor man to shame, right there in front of a whole crowd
of church bigwigs, dressed in their sharp suits and gold jewelry. He
looked like he coulda crawled into a hole. NOT ONE of us fancy
kingpins offered him any kind of help, except I said: No wonder
your lifes under a curse. You broke faith with God, so you paid
the piper. Doesnt the Bible say: God whups every believer
who disobeys Him?
Ill never forget the look in his eyes as he slunk away.
Then he straightened up and said: My Billy didnt deserve
that accident, and you know it! All of yall have got a right to
talk, when now youre about to take a rich tour group to the Holy
Land,to get closer to Jesus! Well, let me tell yall somethin!
If yall cant see Jesus, Who had no place to lay His head,
in the poor folk here in Tomahawk, Texas, yall might just as well
go blow all your excess money in Las Vegas!
Needless to say, folks, that guy grabbed the attention of a gang
of ushers who looked a lot better-fed than he did. But as they gave
him a polite escort out he turned round and left a bombshell to eat
at my conscience, loud enough to hush up all the noisy chitchat of folks
leavin the sanctuary: If youre like Jesus, Im
through with Him!
That softened me up just enough to interest me in helpin
him, but in a way that saved his dignity. I took him on at the ranch
as a hired hand, on condition hed start tithin each pay
day and set aside a little extra to pay installments on his past due
tithes he owed ...ahem!... the Lord from the job he lost
at the plant. He didnt sound too thrilled about that idea, but
as he had a family to feed, he swallowed his pride and accepted. I gave
him an advance on his wages, but I let him know he was on probation,
and hed better put in a mans day.
Brother Len, the preacher choked, Im so glad
you come tonight, and thanks for lettin me tell the story. I truly
value you now, not just as an employee, but as a wonderful friend and
brother in the Lord. You showed me a lot more about the real Jesus than
I learned from most anybody else. Would you please stand up? Everybody
give our brother a big love clap.
A tall, lean man in the second row rose up,acknowledging the commendation
with a shy smile and a quiet thank you.
Were so happy you came to help out on the ranch, Brother
Len, and youve blessed us here as well. Thanks, brother. We really
love you in the Lord.
It wasnt long after that the doctor told me why Ive
had all those blackout spells, and have lost so much weight. Then last
week, I had the scariest dream of my entire life. I dreamt I was standin
before Jesus. Thought Id passed away in my sleep.Wasnt too
thrilled to see Him, either. Uh-oh, I thought, the
jigs up! This boys in BIG trouble now!
But Jesus didnt look mad, just sad. He came closer and asked
me: What do you have to show for your long life, Bill Blessing?
What treasures did you bring to lay at My feet?
Everything I ever loved and worked for appeared before me in a
sort of vision. My very first Cadillac. My first Rolex watch. My big
wardrobe full of Armani suits. My gold rings sparklin with diamonds.
All those jaunts to the Holy Land, always first class, of course. The
Caribbean cruises. My two Lear jets. My luxury yacht. The Social Security
income bilked out of old ladies who ate cat food, and could barely keep
their lights on. All the five-star restaurants. My summer cabin in the
Rockies. My winter home in Palm Beach. My condo in Hawaii. All the fancy
cocktail parties. The heady power I wielded over fearful saints who
swallowed my lies hook, line, and sinker and were suckered into tithin
out of their poverty, while all along I half-suspected the truth: The
Scriptures only commanded Old Testament saints to tithe! Even then,
they were to bring their tithes to a place of worship presided over
ONLY by priests of the Tribe of Levi, and even that tithe they brought
the Lord was to be ONLY ON THEIR FARM YIELD! Paul the Apostle says in
I Corinthians 16:2: Let everyone give AS GOD HAS PROSPERED HIM! God
doesnt demand a dime if youre destitute! He wants to give
to you first! God aint so broke He needs your childrens
milk money! Can you shout amen, everybody?
There was an explosion of rejoicing. Tamborines rang. My, the crowd
was in a real good mood.
His voice breaking, Brother Blessing said, All those things I
set my heart on in this life got thrown in a big bonfire and burnt up.
And Jesus said, Is there nothing left for Me, Bill? I poured out
My lifeblood on the Cross of Calvary to save your soul from hell, and
all you labored for was things which perish.
Oh, how the tears rolled down my face. Id gotten saved when
I was barely seven. My, how I loved Jesus back then. But what a wily
old fox Id grown up to be. I was scared stiff as I faced my Righteous
Judge. All I could think was: If only Id gone home to Glory
before I learned enough street smarts to turn Jesus into a big con game!
Jesus voice shook me to the depths of my being, yet it was
oh, so sorrowful. Why, He asked me, did you rob My
little lambs and lead them down the path of covetousness?
At that point I saw another vision. It was like I was transported
to somebodys kitchen back down on earth. A heated argument was
in progress, and guess who was responsible for it? I saw a woman yellin
at her husband. Her eyes were wild. He was coverin his head, and
her fists were a-flyin at him. Their words are branded in my mind
to this day.
You numbskull! that angry woman yelled at him. Whyd
you send our rent money to that clown on TV? Theyre gonna throw
us out on the street! I just lost my job, so I cant take up the
slack for your stupidity!
But dear, Brother Blessing said faith without works is dead!
Your brain must be dead to fall for that one!
But sweetheart, he said, its in the Bible!
So is this one: Judas went out and hanged himself! So why dont
you go out and do likewise!
Now, saints, heres the whole dirty psychology of religious
racketeerin in a nutshell. He said to her, and I quote: But
Brother Blessing made me feel like a stingy jerk, the way he laid it
on thick about givin by faith even when I cant afford to.
He said if I really loved Jesus Id give till it hurts. After all,
He died for me, didnt He? So whats a little money? The preacher
promised the Lord would pay it back 100-fold. It might just take Him
a little time, thats all. Now calm down, dear. Ill think
of somethin to bail us out of this mess.
Ill never forget what that woman said next: Joe, I
just give up! First, it was the dog track! When you got tired of that,
you got mixed up in a pyramid scheme and that fell through! Then you
blew all our savings on lottery tickets! I guess you got those screwy
ideas from the Bible too!
Folks, that man was speechless. And you wont believe what
she said to him: Joe, I might not be a Christian, but I find it
incredible that Jesus runs a protection racket!
Then I was lifted up out of their kitchen, back into the presence
of the Christ Whose Holy Name Id dishonored. By then I was flat
on my face squallin like a baby and pleadin for mercy. Jesus
raised me to my feet and looked me square in the eye. His eyes were
shinin with such love for me, though I felt lower than a snakes
belly. How my heart broke, just to see how bad Id hurt Jesus by
usin Him to get rich. Just so I could enjoy a life style my TV
viewers could only dream about.
It was then I remembered I was a mighty sick man. I asked
Jesus right then and there: Lord, will I get well so I can mend
my ways and serve You like I should?
He only said: My child, learn to number your days so you
might apply your heart to My wisdom. What you do to the least of My
children, you do also to Me. Consider in your heart that mortal life
is not forever. Then I woke up with a start and knew I had to
tell yall the truth, and hang the consequences.
Folks, anybody with a mind to study the Scriptures and take em
at face value can learn the real truth about givin and tithin,
irregardless of what any slick preacher might say to pull the wool over
your eyes. Now Im gonna reiterate what I said earlier: Among the
sons of sinful men, only the sons of Levi were ever authorized by Moses
to collect tithes! Ive read the Bible through several times, and
not once did Paul the Apostle to the Gentiles ever command his converts
to pay tithes! And if any preacher alive today, especially someone who
cant claim an unbroken line of descent way back to Aaron the High
Priest, lays a guilt trip on you for not coughin up 10% of your
salary, hes either ignorant of what God really says about tithin,
or if he does know the truth about it, hes just takin advantage
of your ignorance!
Amid shocked gasps, Brother Blessing continued: If yall
have your Bibles, turn with me now to Deuteronomy chapter 12, verses
17 to 21.
Dont eat the tithe! Now youve heard me hammer you
over the head with that line thousands of times. Now for a real bombshell
of a sermon, one youll remember the rest of your life!
The viewers could hardly believe what their ears were hearing or their
eyes were reading. Scriptures glossed over or ignored by ministers over
the centuries sprang to life. God had commanded the Israelites to bring
in tithes of grain, wine, oil, and livestock to their place of worship.
And thats not all, folks! Now lets go to the fourteenth
chapter, and examine verses 22-29. Excitedly he read the passage,
amid shouts of Thank You, Jesus, and hallelujah!.
Now, heres a heart-stopper for preachers who try to slap
Old Testament ordinances on Gods people who are under the New
Covenant of Grace. Not only is the tithe an edible product,but it was
levied on the yield of the land, not on peoples paychecks! Furthermore,
it was to be EATEN by the tither as well as the Levite, fatherless and
widow. And if the journey to the tabernacle was too long to haul all
that produce, it was to be converted into...ah! CASH MONEY, to use to
buy substitute farm produce when they got there, so they could consume
it before the Lord! That, folks, is the ONLY time in all of Holy Scripture
that money is ever mentioned in conjunction with tithin!
So what did the people do with that money once they got to their
place of worship? Yee-haw! Heres where the fun begins! In verse
26 it says: You shall spend that money on whatever food or drink you
desire; for oxen, or for sheep, for wine, or strong drink, or whatever
you (not some religious dictator) desires! Even the Prophet Malachi,
so often misquoted by modern Pharisees, tells us the reason for tithin
was to keep food in Gods House!
Child of God, listen! If any preacher insists on saddlin
you with Old Testament Laws, let em go whole hog and tell you
to go buy a six-pack of Bud with your so-called tithe! Just kiddin,
of course. Though were under grace, were constrained by
the Love of Christ, and no true believer would ever use that scripture
as an excuse to go out and get plastered. We are to give ourselves,
not just 10%, but 100% to the Lord. Everything we do, even partakin
of food and drink, is to be done to the glory of God. Youll read
that in I Corinthians 10:31. Some people say only fastin can make
you more spiritual, but there you have it. But thats a tangent
I wont take time to go off on right now.
Turn with me now to Leviticus 27, verse 30: And all the tithe
OF THE LAND, whether OF THE SEED or OF THE LAND, or OF THE FRUIT OF
THE TREE, is the LORDS. It (not money) is holy unto the Lord.
And its the tithe OF THE LAND, not your paycheck!
Verse 31 says: And if a man will at all redeem ought of his tithes,
he shall add thereto the fifth part thereof. Now, how can filthy lucre,
which probably passed through the hands of dirty-dealin sinners
before it got to you, possibly be redeemed as a holy thing? How can
you redeem money with money? Let me put it this way: Is Gods Church
supposed to be a Savins and Loan, chargin the saints 20%
interest? Are preachers supposed to be loan sharks for Jesus, then?
Have I ever got a surprise for yall now! Another trick preachers
use is to say: Youve gotta tithe on your first tenth to
God. But, child of God, I can prove right out of this Bible that it
just aint so.
Loud gasps of sheer shock.
What a rousing roar filled the room. Brother Blessing said: I
cant wait, yall will love this one: Verse 32 says: And concernin
the tithe OF THE HERD, OR OF THE FLOCK, even of WHATSOEVER PASSETH UNDER
THE ROD (Yall ever seen a twenty-dollar-bill walkin by on
two legs to be counted by the preacher)? Sheer pandemonium before
he could go on: Anyhow,the verse goes on to say: the tenth shall
be holy unto the Lord.
Hang onto your hats, saints: Verse 33: He shall not search whether
it be good or bad, neither shall he change it: and if he change it at
all, both it and the change shall be holy; it shall not be redeemed.
Brother Blessing rocked back on his boot heels and clapped. Who-o-o!
man, am I ever havin fun tonight, I hardly feel sick anymore!
Youve heard this a lot of times, now: Put your best tithe
, the very first 10% of your hot-off-the-press paycheck, into the offerin
plate, before you pay any other bill. But these verses show that it
was every TENTH cow which was counted holy unto the Lord as a tithe,
not the first one passin under the rod. Even if a rancher counted
nine prize heifers walkin past him, and then a sickly, scrawny
runt turned up as the tenth in line, the cowpoke wouldnt be allowed
to pass that poor lil critter over for the honor of bein
the Lords tithe, even though he might feel to ashamed to call
it a tithe. If he did decide to substitute his prize bull for the runt,
hed be charged 20% of its value for doin so. Occasionally
it would be the least desirable animal which constituted the tithe.
And, by the way, tithe means tenth, not first!
Yes, child of God, it was the land which produced the tithe, not
the Federal Mint! And it was wheat plants, grape plants, and olive plants
which produced the tithe, not the plant where Brother Len worked! If
you werent a landowner, you didnt tithe, plain and simple.
If locusts gobbled up your barley patch, you didnt tithe on it!
And nowhere do you read that God ever taxed poor wage slaves one-tenth
of their income! Can you shout praise the Lord, everybody!
Brothers and sisters, God is settin His people FREE!
It was several minutes before the joyful din subsided. Brother Blessing
glanced down at his notes.
Child of God, there were four types of tithe paid in any given
seven-year period, three of em by the people, and one by the Levites.
On the seventh year no tithe was collected at all, cause the land
was to be allowed to lie fallow. Now have you ever heard of any so-called
spiritual Levite stoppin his fund-raisin every
seven years to give Gods people a break?
More deafening pandemonium.
It worked like this: One tithe, the Festival Tithe, was eaten
by the worshipper, as well as the poor and the Levites. Another
tithe, the Poor Tithe, was just for the poor and the Levites. Did you
know, saints, the Levites were considered poor because God didnt
assign em a share of the Promised Land? One special tithe was
reserved just for them. It was given to them as compensation. The Levites
assisted the altar priests by takin care of humbler tasks, and
they served as Israels health inspectors and policemen. Still
another tithe was paid by the Levites themselves out of what they received,
and they gave it to the Priests, a tenth of their tithe, or one percent.
All priests were Levites, of the Tribe of Levi now, but not all Levites
were priests. None of em ran big dude ranches like I do, either.
Brother Blessing grinned. Saints, I know quite a few spiritual
Levites who own very real real estate. They not only own their
own land, but big sprawlin mansions sittin on em free
and clear, while some of you tithe-payin slaves pay rent on rabbit
hutches with whats left of your shriveled-up paychecks. Now if
theyre gonna be consistent, its the landownin Levites
who oughta pay tithes to help you out, dont you think?
Amen, brother! shouted a man in the front row.
Saints, the Bible is clear about this, and you cant just
pick and choose what parts you like and toss out the rest. Most wage
slaves dont have an Old Testament-style inheritance to pass on
to their future generations! Some people cant even afford to own
a dog, much less a herd of cattle! How can people be taxed on crops
they dont possess the land to grow, and what right do preachers
have to substitute slave wages, produced by human sweat in Gentile territory,
for crops springin up from the soil of Israel! How in Sam Hill
can they yield the tenth of their non-existent crop to men who arent
descended from Levi in the first place, men who disobey Gods commandment
to Levitesnot to have any inheritance in this world?
Shouts of Preach it, Brother! Glory! Hallelujah!
Thank you, Jesus! Praise the Lord! and Amen!
mingled with wild applause. More than a few leaped for very joy.
The preacher shook his head and whistled. Man alive, have I got
one for you now. I have yet to hear any televangelist lay claim to this
New Testament Scripture: 3 John 7...here, now...its a little hard
to find, way in the back, just before Jude and Revelation, the end of
the story. Maybe those preachers had already found so many other Scriptures
to make money from, they didnt bother to go on to this one ...now...
lets see if I still know how to read. Yall found it yet?
It says...ahem! Because that for their fames sake, they went forth,
takin filthy lucre of the Gentiles.
What a buzz broke out. Just tryin to catch yall off
guard, like those wily Prosperity foxes do, but now yall are learnin
fast. Now to get the cobwebs outa my eyes and Ill try again: Because
that for His Names sake they went forth, takin NOTHIN
of the Gentiles. See? Now, those preachers were perfectly within their
rights to take up freewill offerings, though tithe-takin was strictly
taboo. But they gave up the right to collect donations from poor Gentiles
and ministered to them free of charge. Now, I know a few of yall
might be of Jewish origin, but I know my listeners are predominantly
Gentile. When was the last time a TV preacher was in a hurry to claim
3 John 7 as the foundation of his ministry?
Know somethin else, child of God? Ill bet if I got
hungry and went out to some prosperity Levites vineyard
to stand around and eat my fill of grapes, hed call the law down
on me; although that same Old Testament Law he uses to get extra cash
contains a provision in Deuteronomy Chapter 23: 24-25 that says if youre
hungry, its okay to go onto your neighbors property and
eat some of his grapes, provided you dont haul any away in a container.
Saints, he sniffed, you oughta see the big buckets makin
their rounds at some of these so-called miracle crusades. Those spiritual
Levites dont have any compunction about carryin your
money crop away to consume somewhere else...in Hawaii, maybe?
Riotous laughter. My, but the viewers were enjoying Gods
The biggest miracle in those services, saints, is that folks would
rather shut up and pay up than make waves when they smell a rat as some
fisher of funds makes a fishy sales pitch for prosperity! Whooo! Im
on a roll tonight! Can yall shout amen!
Brother Blessing was grinning from ear to ear from all the jubilation.
The other side of the coin is to tell poor folks that God is gonna
disinherit them if they dont measure up to some preachers
standards of generosity and prove their love for Jesus by tithin
by faith even if their kids have to go hungry or do without
decent school clothes! What right have they got, anyway, to tell you
God cant be pleased with you unless youre sufferin
in that way? Well, I sure dont see many skinny, raggedy TV preachers!
Laughter, swelling to hysterics when he added: Yeah, child of
God. Where is that money-hungry preacher when you take a big leap of
faith off the cliff, and end up in the fryin pan? Man, youve
just landed on his plate, and hes havin you for lunch! Hes
like that Pharisee who devours widows houses!
A lot of Pharisees encouraged their disciples to take money which
could have eased the sufferin of elderly parents and consecrate
it to God. Jesus rebuked them for it, too. Believe me, brother, you
dont rack up Brownie points with God when you treat your family
that shabby, especially the ones who borned you and put clothes on your
back and food in your belly. But thats just like whats happenin
today, when shifty televangelists tell you a vow of faith
will get you out of a jam. In my book itll only get you deeper
into the doghouse with your Maker. Woe unto those who railroad spiritual
babes into makin stupid vows they cant finance. It says
in Ecclesiastes that its better not to make a vow, than to vow
and not pay. If youve tangled your life up like that, humble yourself
before God now and pray: Father, forgive me my debt, and accept
instead the sacrifice of a contrite heart sprinkled by the Blood of
the Lamb. Saints, Jesus taught us to pray that our Heavenly Father
would forgive us our debts. How dare anyone undercut the mercy and grace
of God by tryin to get you to jump the gun and get into bondage,
carried away on a wave of hyped-up, pre-orchestrated carnival emotion!
Ill let yall in on another secret too, said
Brother Blessing. In Malachi 3, the chapter most used as a crowbar
to pry tithes out of churchgoers, youll see the word hireling
spoken of in the very same breath as the orphans, fatherless, widows,
and strangers, which means foreigners. Now, lets see here...
he flipped open his Bible...verse 5. And I will come near to you in
judgment; and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, and against
the adulterers, and against false swearers, AND AGAINST THOSE WHO OPPRESS
THE HIRELING IN HIS WAGES, THE WIDOW, AND THE FATHERLESS, and that turn
aside the stranger (or alien) from his right, and fear not Me, saith
the Lord of Hosts.
Saints, it just dont make sense. Ever since I was knee-high,
Ive heard preachers use this chapter to heap condemnation on humble
folk who struggle from paycheck to paycheck, even against some who dont
even have a steady income. But how in the world can this verse, which
happens to be in the same chapter as the Tithin Scripture, be
aimed at poor wage-earners, who were clearly classed as bein among
the needy who had no inheritance in the Land to tithe on? How can the
hireling be accused of oppressin the hireling? its very
clear to me that the hireling was classed with the poor, the fatherless
and the widows because people dependin on meager wages are just
as vulnerable to exploitation as they are.
And just how would they turn those poor people from their
right? By denyin em access to the food in the tithin
storehouses, thats how! The tithe for the poor, which just happened
to include the landless Levites, was collected on the third and the
sixth year of the seven-year tithin cycle, then stored up in storehouses
in all the cities of the Children of Israel. Those were, by the way,
the very same storehouses pastors condemn the saints for not fillin
up with bigger bills. Now if were gonna compare apples with oranges,
we oughta be a bit more consistent, dont you think? When I told
Brother Len to to go to the food bank, I shoulda just passed him
the offering plate, and told him to help himself to some of the tithes,
so he and his family could eat! Can you say amen, everybody!
The people stood up, clapped, and clamored for more. This was one sermon
on finances that didnt feel llike a shakedown. Now,
Brother Blesing continued, Ive got another question, folks.
Just who is this Book of Malachi addressed to in the first place? Granted,
its bedrock principles of righteousness ought to have been observed
by all the people, but I think it was primarily aimed a thievin
priesthood. If youll bother to read the whole book, youll
unearth some hidden worms about the Priesthood which tithe-hungry preachers
have whizzed past for a long time, those spiritual Levites who
are so eager to claim all the financial perks of that office, but who
sure as shootin wouldnt be so quick to claim the rebukes
of that chapter. The not-so-fun stuff like the rebukes theyve
reserved for the peons out in the pews, can you say amen?
When it was quiet enough he continued: Youll discover that
corrupt priesthood rebuked by God for some heavy-duty sins: profanin
His holy offerings, neglectin the care of orphans and widows,
adultery, corruption, and for causin the other Israelites to stumble
out of the way of holiness. Just to be brief, well look at some
key Scriptures which prove its for the priests Malachi 1, verse
6 to 8. A son honoureth his father, and a servant his master. If then
I be a father, where is Mine honour and if I be a master where is My
fear? saith the Lord of Hosts unto you..unto whom, saints? Lets
go on. O PRIESTS that despise my name. And ye say, Wherein have we (THE
PRIESTS!) despised thy name?
The Lord goes into detail about how those crooks palmed off the
worst of their animals on the Altar of Sacrifice, and as if that wasnt
bad enough, they made the Table of the Lord contemptible. And God asks
them whether theyd feel it was okay to present such sacrifices
to their earthly governor.
Again in Chapter 2, verse 1: And now, O YE PRIESTS, this commandment
is for YOU! This chapter denounces the dirty-dealin, adulterous
ways of that Old Testament Priesthood modern preachers are so eager
to identify with.
Ah, but maybe Chapter 3 is for the laity. Not so fast, folks.
In verse 3 we read: And He shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver:
and he shall purify the SONS OF LEVI, and purge them as gold and silver,
that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness.
Why was that necessary, saints? Because God had just rebuked the
priesthood for profanin His holy offering, and they had to be
purified before their work could be pure before God.
Brother Blessing did a little dance. Come on now, you spiritual
Levites! You who strain at a gnat and swallow a camel! You can
dish out rebukes, but you cant take em! Ive been set
free! Glory hallelujah!
Saints, even in the secular workin world, its usually
the department bigwigs who get chewed out first by the company president
when company profits nosedive, and theres lots of consumer complaints.
And I know God lays much more responsibilty upon blind leaders of the
blind than He does upon the so-called lay people theyre
layin a big guilt trip on with their baldfaced lies. Yes, child
of God, Malachi was addressed primarily to priests whose sins led the
whole nation astray. They were the ones to blame for why the whole nation
stopped bringin in tithes and offerings. The tithe wasnt
bein used to care for the widow, the poor, and the fatherless,
and the priests were givin God only those animals they wouldnt
miss anyway. We can only speculate about what they did with the best
of the beef. Maybe they were runnin an illegal butcher shop on
Now, how can anyone worship a Holy God in the midst of such greed
and corruption? And, after makin it clear that it was the priests
who were bein dealt with, why should God suddenly decide to switch
his focus to the lower-rankin Israelites? That tithe was brought
to the storehouse to keep meat (food, not money!) in Gods
House, not only for landless Levites, but for all the truly vulnerable
people of that society---even the hungry hireling whos been beat
over the head with that very same Scripture!
Child of God, can you see how ridiculous those religious bigwigs
are bein? Why dont they latch onto all the rebukes aimed
at the Levites of the Book of Malachi, if they want all the exaltation
of bein one? Why dont preachers claim the curses laid on
those Levites for the miserable ways they sinned against God, if theyre
so eager to be the New Testament counterparts of those varmints ? Why
on earth dont they go the whole nine yards and keep all the less
lucrative rules and regulations of playin their Levite game; a
game they play just to make you think theyve got the God-given
right to garnish 10% of your paycheck by threatenin you with Gods
His eyes flashed fire. God is sick and tired of prayer peddlers
preyin on poverty-stricken saints with empty refrigerators and
emptier bank accounts! And He aint gonna hold His peace about
it no more! Thank God I repented while there was still time! Yall
pray for me that Godll let me live long enough to be a blessing
in deed as well as in name, so I can spread a little of His Love around
before Im gone.
Warm-hearted amens resounded. Brother Blessing smiled. Talk
about miracles. No hecklers to speak of, just a few disgruntled folks
leaving the studio. He felt both forgiven and revitalized.
What few times Christ mentions tithin in the Gospels, it
is ALWAYS in conjunction with rebukin the scribes and Pharisees
for their ugly attitude toward the Love of God; the way they robbed
poor widows and misrepresented God to the people, and were really blind
guides of the blind. Turn with me now to Matthew 23:23-24. Christ is
in the middle of chastisin some high-and-mighty hypocrites for
shinin off on the weightier matters of the Law: justice, mercy,
and faith, even while they meticulously tithed mint, anise, and cumin
out of their gardens (again, no mention of money!) Every archaeologist
worth his salt knows that money was minted in the time of Christ, so
wily preachers cant wiggle out of this one by sayin that
in Moses time, cash money didnt exist, and thats why
they had to tithe on commodities instead!
Ah, you might say, but Christ still told the Pharisees they were
supposed to tithe on those herbs. But dont forget now, Jesus and
the Pharisees were still livin in the Old Testament when He rebuked
them. After Christs resurrection, the Old Law got replaced by
the New Covenant of Grace. Now, praise God, Gentiles could enter the
Kingdom of God through faith in Christ alone and not have to worry about
keepin hundreds of Old Testament ordinances. Lots of preachers
wish yall were to stupid too know that!
In Acts Chapter 15, the apostles were convenin in Jerusalem
to settle once and for all a long, drawn-out dispute over whether Gentiles
should be obligated to keep the Law of Moses after conversion, and if
so, how much of it were they supposed to observe. The Holy Spirit led
the Council of Jerusalem to a simple resolution of the whole matter.
The Apostle Peter, chief spokesman for the council, reaches this conclusion:
Seein that God has saved those Gentiles by faith even as
he did us, why should we provoke God by layin a yoke upon their
necks which neither we nor our fathers were able to bear?
God sure dont like it when some preacher tries to put a
yoke on your neck that He never told him to put there!
In verses 19 and 20 James says: Lets not burden them
with the Law of Moses. If theyll just abstain from four forbidden
things, theyll do well. These four things are: idolatry, fornication,
eatin strangled animals, and consumin blood.
Brother Blessing cackled. Oops! Did they forget somethin?
What about compulsory tithin? If its so all-fired important
for Church Age saints to tithe on somethin which Old Testament
saints never tithed on, why on earth didnt the Big Fisherman give
James a jab in the ribs and say: Hey, buddy, wake up! You forgot
the most important part! Incidentally, folks, Peter never paid
tithes on his smelly fish, neither.
Roars of good-natured laughter, and surging applause.
Another rousing ovation. Meekly Brother Blessing lowered his eyes.Folks,
Paul the Apostle became the Apostle to the Gentiles because the Jews
wouldnt listen to him. Read all of his epistles to these non-Jews
who never were under the Law of Moses to begin with, and that includes
me too. Not once will you ever find Paul puttin the screws on
these people, demandin one-tenth of everyones earnings.
Man, if that dude had gotten his hands on that kind of loot, he never
would have had to do without or say: At this very hour we are hungry,
and thirsty, and goin in rags. Saints, anybody with half an eyeball
can see Paul never took one penny of tithe money from anybody. In fact,
some congregations were so stingy with love offerings they would have
made Scrooge look like Santa Claus. Amazingly, Paul continued to minister,
even when he suffered need. Now that testifies to the Love of Jesus
in that preacher.
Now lets talk about Jesus Himself. NOT ONCE did He ever
charge His followers 10% of their wages to finance His earthly ministry!
And if anybody had a right to, He surely did. Jesus could have feasted
on the fatted calf single night if that had been the case, and He and
His disciples never would have had to forage from fig trees or pick
through other peoples grainfields to kill their hunger pangs;
especially that day they were caught red-handed pickin a few measly
grains of barley on the Sabbath, which raises still another point: Why
on earth hadnt they bought a few groceries the day before the
Sabbath; if, as a lot of scripture-twisters claim, Jesus and His disciples
lived and preached earthly prosperity?
If Jesus was loaded, folks, He sure didnt flaunt it. And
He never would have said: Foxes have holes, and the birds of the air
have nests. But the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head. I say to
every faith preacher out there who claims to follow Christ:
It takes more faith to live without money than with it! Can you give
the Lord a big hand-clap offering, everybody!
Paul the Apostle said that legalizers would try to keep you under
the Old Law. If you back em into a corner, they might concede
that Gods people are no longer under the 600-odd ordinances of
Mosaic Law, which were later added to the Ten Commandments. Yet theyll
latch onto their favorite one_tithin_because it aint very
lucrative for them to let Gods people go.
Theres way too much gravy to skim off of other peoples misery.
Paul did, however, encourage Christians to give liberally to support
Gods work. Dont forget, folks, God owns you, and every cent
you have, and its only by His permission you may spend any of
it on your own needs, and youd better not be a Scrooge with Him
and withhold that portion He clearly tells you to set aside for His
Kingdom. But, I would stress, Paul directed each individual to give
only what he was truly able to give, out of a willin heart, not
out of constraint, or legalism. II Corinthians 8: 11-12 tells us that
God wants us to give what we can out of what we have, not what we dont
have! Saints, I ask forgiveness for every time I badgered yall
into puttin God to the test by sendin in a big love
offering beyond your means. How unlovin of me! Jesus Himself
said to satan: Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God; that is, put God
to foolish tests of so-called faith! God knows how many
saints Ive put in such a bind that they had to take an extra job
just to pay Uncle Sams 30% AND the Lords 10%,
on top of all the sacrificial love offerings which gave
me a little taste of heaven on earth! God forgive me!
Some of yall are wonderin: What about the widow who
gave her very last penny to God? My, but preachers have milked that
story for all its worth. Her contribution was a freewill offering,
not somethin forced out of her by law. She simply didnt
want her poverty to rob her of the joy of givin. She gave ( not
paid, as some would have you think! )her all, because she was rich in
faith. She believed that God, the Defender of orphans and widows, would
surely provide for her. How it breaks my heart, to think how Ive
badgered Gods children into givin beyond their means, and
way beyond their level of faith! It sure wasnt faith that drove
my ministry, and whatsoever is not of faith is sin! For an eternal
moment he hung his head, amid softly whispered prayers. He shuffled
and cleared his throat.
Jesus heart went out to that poor little widow. He knew
that corrupt religious leaders were skimmin the fat off a system
which had been intended by God to be a safety net for poor people. Rich
priests were oppressin the people of God by enforcin their
own traditions on the needy, like so many do today. No wonder Jesus
got so hoppin mad He drove the money-changers out of the Temple
with a whip!
Preachers, youve got not right to hang onto an ordinance
of a legal system which was nailed to the Cross of Christ, and Christianize
it by substitutin money for farm produce! Nor does God authorize
just any old Tom, Dick and Harry to dun any man for 10% of his wages,
especially if he aint a Jew from the Tribe of Levi, and especially
since the Jewish Temple got burnt to rubble long ago. It grieves God
to see some Levite-wanna-be chain Christians to laws Jesus died to set
them free from!
My, but preachers worm out of that one. Know how they manage that?
By sayin theyre the New Testament counterparts of the Old
Testament Levites. So thats their ticket to ride on the gravy
Wow, have I ever got news for them! I Peter 2:9 says: But YOU
are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation. Just who
did Peter write this epistle to? Ordinary, everyday Christians, like
you and me. Now if professional pulpiteers have a right to collect tithes,
so do you! Brother Blessing said, pointing to one grinning man.
You too, Sister!
When I get through talkin, Im gonna SHOW my repentance
the same way Zacchaeus the tax-collectin crook showed Jesus he
was sorry. Im gonna liquidate all my extra fat and use the proceeds
to help brothers and sisters in need. After the service, my associates
will get the names of those of you who need our help to recover from
any onslaught of satan which has left you destitute.Besides preachin
the true Gospel of Salvation, well concentrate on helpin
to feed and clothe needy people. As God enables, we also hope to provide
emergency rent relief for those who need it. Our trust fund will will
be called the Blessing Bank. But this time, well be
doin the givin! Whatever comes in is gonna go right back
out to bless others. Ive discussed this plan with Jeremy and David,
two of my fellow laborers in Christ. They also have forsaken the love
of Mammon for the Love of Jesus, and wholeheartedly support me in this
As the Lord provides, well undertake that ministry in Jesus
Name. But never again will we make appeals for tithe money, which is
a man-made doctrine of bondage. And I know you wont lie to me
about your circumstances, either. God is with me and in me as never
before. Its Christ in me youll be approachin for help,
and God forbid you should lie to the Spirit of God. Its a wonder
I wasnt struck dead like Ananias and Sapphira, after all the brazen
ways I filched funds prayed over and consecrated to God by Christians!
Now well throw the floor open for questions. Ill stay up
here onstage, so I can sit down if I get to feelin weak. Brother
Ray will go around with the microphone, and take just a few questions
on this subject. Please speak into it so everybody can hear, and try
not to interrupt me when I answer, cause I know this subject makes
emotions run high. Yes, you sister in the blue dress? He pointed.
Brother Ray hurried down toward her.
Brother Blessing, one preacher told how a poverty-stricken church
in Macedonia gave a big donation to Paul. Why did he take money from
Well, Sister, in the first place, Paul didnt force them
to give anything. In fact, they insisted he take it, despite his very
human reservations. Their sacrificial offering went to provide famine
relief for saints in Jerusalem, and God would bless the Macedonians
for their contribution. Yes, Brother? he pointed at a man toward
Brother Blessing, didnt Abraham pay tithes to Melchisedek
long before the Old Law was given?
Yes, Brother, one occasion is mentioned. Its in Genesis
14, I believe, and it tells how Abraham took back some property stolen
from his nephew Lot and other citizens of Sodom. He led his army against
a confederacy of kings and beat em in battle, then rescued Lot
and the other captives. As a thank-you offering to God,
Abraham presented a tithe of the spoils to Melchisedek, King of Salem,
who prefigures the eternal Priesthood of Christ. The tithe itself consisted
of the plunder of war, not some of Abrahams personal wealth. What
sticks out in this story is this: That booty didnt even belong
to him, cause it had been stolen from the people of Sodom. We
dont dare follow Abrahams example in tithin,
he winked. Wed have to give somebody elses stuff away,
and wed end up in the pokey for it!
Didnt Jacob promise to pay God tithes, Brother Blessing?
called a man from the far right.
He sure did, brother, on one occasion, and even then, strictly
on his own terms. In Genesis 28: 20-22, Jacob, a natural-born wheeler-and-dealer,
says: IF God will be with me, and protect me, and give me food to eat,
and clothes to wear, and bring me safely back to my fathers house,
THEN shall the Lord be my God, and of all that thou shalt give me, surely
I will give a tenth back to thee. We dont even know if Jacob kept
his end of the bargain, and it was at least twenty years before he got
back home, at which time his vow would become payable.
Notice this runs contrary to to what prosperity peddlers preach.
Theyll say: Saints, youve just gotta give to God first,
or He wont give anything to you. No pain, no gain. But Jacob
says God must give to him first, and meet his needs first, before he
is able to tithe to God.
Yes, folks, God agreed to Jacobs terms. He would first give
to Jacob before expectin a tithe back from him. Paul the Apostle
says in I Corinthians 4:7: Now what do you have that you did not FIRST
RECEIVE? Remember, Paul exhorts His converts to give out of what they
have, not out of what they dont have yet. Not once did he ever
tell his followers to go into debt to finance a $2000 vow to save
his ministry. Actually, Paul disapproved of gettin into
debt. He said in Romans 13:8: Owe no man anything, but to love one another.
God have mercy upon my soul if any one of you got yourselves into hock
just to keep me in Ferrari coupes! Oh, dear sweet Jesus, forgive me!
lady was unimpressed. Brother Bill, she snapped, your
heart isnt right with God, the way you peddle a cost-free Christianity,
even if you do know how to play on peoples sentiments. There were
times money was paid by worshippers at the Temple and you know it.
Brother Blesings eyes darted a moment, then he brightened. Sister,
lets start off by askin you your name, and do you have any
My name is Martha Smith. I have five children, and theyre
all upstanding Christians.
Whats the name of your oldest, Sister Smith, and how old
is that child?
Phil, hes fifteen.
Sister, grinned Brother Blessing, did you remember
to pay your redemption fee for your firstborn child, and if you did,
where did you pay it, to whom, and what currency did you use to pay
What redemption fee? she snapped.
Oh, but didnt you know? Under Old Testament Law, the firstborn
of every human and animal is holy unto the Lord, and you cant
keep it unless you pay so many shekels to a Levital Priest as a redemption
fee. Wheres the money, Sister Smith, and who are you gonna pay
it to? It surely cant be me.
But I dont have any shekels! protested the woman,
But if you want to be under the Law of Moses, sister, or any part
of it, you still owe God that money.
I was planning to give a $100 offering tonight, but I dont
know about that now.
Sister Smith, I dont care if you were gonna give me $1000.
As everybody heres my witness, Id rather turn my back on
questionable donations than turn my back on Jesus. Youve kept
the good Lord waitin fifteen years now, and I can prove from Scriptures
in Numbers 18 and Leviticus 27 that your redemption bill for that boy
has accrued to 20 specially minted Shekels of the Sanctuary. God could
care less about Uncle Sams money, thats in Caesars
I certainly havent heard that one before, said Sister
Smith. Just why wont U.S. currency do?
Well, sister, if youre keep the Old Law, youve gotta
do it on Gods terms. Remember how Jesus showed some people a coin
with Caesars picture on it and said: Render to God what
belongs to God, and to Caesar what belongs to Caesar? To put it
bluntly, Caesars money just aint holy enough to settle Old
Testament religious debts with. Under the Old Covenant, it was expressly
prohibited to worship God with anything that had an image of any livin
creature on it. In Jesus day, secular currency had to be exchanged
for the Sanctuary Shekel before it could be offered unto the Lord. Secular
coins bore the image of Caesar, a heathen emperor, just like our own
money has American presidents on it.
Surely God isnt that picky, said the lady.
Oh, but He is, sister. Back in King Davids day, a man got
killed just for puttin his hand on the Ark of the Covenant, to
keep it from fallin from an oxcart onto the road. That tragedy
coulda been avoided altogether if only that Ark had been transported
back to Jerusalem the right way, as God commanded. Levites were supposed
to pick the Covenant Box up with specially made poles and carry it on
top of their shoulders. Even the Priests were forbidden to touch this
Most Holy object with sinful hands, a place where Gods Presence
rested. But those people didnt listen to God, and that poor guy
died. Whenever we tinker around with the way a Holy God wants things
done, its downright lethal. Thats exactly what tithe teachers
are doin today, as they reintroduce, reinterpret, and rigidly
enforce old laws nailed to the Cross of Christ.
Now, sister, if you still think the New Covenants too easy
to suit you and you insist on goin back to the Old Law, its
a package deal, and youve gotta shoulder the whole burden of it.
The Bible says that whoever offends in just one point of the Law is
guilty of breakin the whole thing. So lets just tackle this
knotty problem first. Its enough to chew on. If you fail to find
a way to keep that Law about payin the redemption fee, youll
come under a curse, just like those rascally priests who robbed God
in Malachis day. Galatians 3:10 says this: As many as are under
the Law are under the curse. Now, if a professional priest who knew
all the ordinances of Moses inside out couldnt keep the whole
Law, neither could you.
Well, hedged the woman nervously, I live a very commendable
Christian life, considering the kind of husband I have to put up with
Sister, Gods gonna hold your husband accountable for his
own sins, and they probably are worse than yours in some ways. But know
this: Our God will settle for nothing less than absolute perfection,
and if you cant deliver that degree of perfection, you wont
inherit the Kingdom of God any more than he will. That is, unless you
place your trust in none other righteousness than that of our Savior,
Who alone was able to fulfill all the points of the Law in His own sinless
life. Think you can do that, sister?
I think God expects me to stand on my own two feet, she
huffed, as any mature person would! Ive made a covenant
with God, too. He doesnt have to bless me unless I pay Him 10%
of all the money that falls into my hands. After all, it takes two to
fulfill a legal agreement. Tithing is a far more reasonable bargain
than you give it credit for. After all, I still get to keep 90%. dont
So that 90% is all yours, not Gods, and He has absolutely
no say in what you do with it.
I never said that! she snapped.
Brother Blessing frowned. I think youre missin my
whole point, sister. If you first offer yourself up to God, as Paul
says in Romans 12:1, then He owns you and everything else you have.
He really owns 100%, not just 10%, but I think He might be just a bit
more compassionate than we give Him credit for.
But if I tithe, I obligate Him to bless me! cried the woman.
Sister Smith, God aint some puppet on a string you can control
with cold, hard cash. From what I gather, you think that the day you
welsh on payin tithes, you cant expect any further blessings
Thats right. God promised the ancient Israelites earthly
blessings, but only if theyd be faithful to observe all His Law.
I certainly dont want to be a poor church mouse who has to wait
till I get to heaven before God blesses my basket and my store,
and Im above and not beneath. I want Abrahams blessings
to be mine, NOW, while Im still on earth, and people can SEE how
God rewards those who keep His statutes! And I dont expect any
favors from God unless I keep my end of the bargain. God is my Partner
in prosperity, and I dont intend to let Him down! He can count
on Martha Smith to tithe to all those fine men on this Network who shed
tears of tender compassion as they pray for all the Christian viewers
who are bound by poverty; souls who could be set free, if only theyd
keep Gods Laws of Prosperity.
Look what youve gone and done now, Sister Smith. Youve
been taken in by crococile tears shed by money-hungry sharks, I oughta
know. God forgive me, I used to spend hours in front of a mirror practicin
my Sarah Bernhardt faces to get ready for the show. Every actor knows
how to turn on tears like a water faucet. It just aint that hard
to do, once you get the knack of it. This is me doin my bit for
the Hallelujah Telethon.
He looked up at the TV cameras, squinched his eyes, and stretched his
wide mouth into a contorted grimace. Oh, Je-e-e-sus! He
gyrated wildly and jerked his hands heavenward. Set your people
free, he groaned in his deepest tremolo. Set em free
to sow a seed out of their need. Helpem believe so theyll
receive. O-h-h-h...JE-E-ESUS!... he shrieked, gripping his chest and
swooning. O-h-h-h. child of God! his twiddling fingers outstretched
like a hungry beggar, you gotta GIVE, or God cant give to
you. Those who sow in tears shall reap in joy, and itll come back
to you packed down like a cup of brown sugar, shaken together, and runnin
over so you wont have nowhere to put it.
And, he said matter-of-factly, thats where the
canned organ music would come in to play peoples hearts like a
fiddle. Only thing we forgot was the fake angels flyin around
my head to go with it.
A noisy hubbub broke out. A few shouts, a few getting up to go. Brother
Blessing bowed his head. His wife rushed to his side. She took the mike
and said: Saints, my husband didnt find it easy to come
clean. Weve got no excuse for how weve done yall over
these past few years. Like Jesus in the Wilderness, we were tempted
by satan to seek after earthly riches and power. But the difference
is, we gave in, and believe me, weve suffered for it. You know
what trial were goin through, her voice quavered.
All we can do now is ask your forgiveness, and for you to remember
what Jesus said: If you refuse to forgive your brother for his
trespasses, neither shall My heavenly Father forgive you your sins.
And as Bill said, were gonna do our utmost to make it up to every
one of yall. Now, could yall please give my husband the
greatest blessing one child of God can give to another...forgiveness
and love in a time of great sorrow? Tears brimmed in her eyes.
The studio quieted, except for a few whispered prayers and sniffles.
Thank you, brothers and sisters, she said. And thanks
to everyone who asked questions tonight...
Brother Blessing took the mike from her hand. Id like to
say more to Sister Smith, honey. Thank you for what you just said to
all our brothers and sisters out there. Thank you for puttin up
with me all these years. He gave his wife a quick peck on the
cheek. Aint she wonderful? he smiled warmly at his
audience, most of whom smiled and applauded--except Sister Smith. She
was determined not to let the rascal off that easy.
Sister Smith, he asked, can you forgive me too?
For all your silly theatrics, she said unctuously, Ill
forgive you. But one thing thats unforgiveable is the disgraceful
attitide youve developed toward Christian finances.
So you thought my attitude was more Christlike when I robbed people
And you attacked the anointed ministry of other preachers by calling
them crooks and thieves.
If my memory serves me right, Sister Smith, I didnt assign
any names to those crooks or thieves, except I pointed the finger at
myself; Bill Blessing of Tomahawk, Texas.
But what about Brother Conway, and your pastor? You mentioned
All I said was they had much to gain by me helpin em.
God knows their hearts, and every preacher out there who knows hes
guilty of the same tricks I pulled isnt accountable to me, but
to God. And those who know theyre scammin the saints are
skatin on thin ice if they claim their ministry is
anointed of God. As for me, I was crafty about it. I dont think
I ever labelled my ministry as anointed; I just hopped on
the same gravy train others were ridin , and I told so many truth
twisters that I ended up brain-washin myself as well as others.
I wanted with all my heart to really think I had a right to get everybody
elses money. Until Christ Himself got through to me, I doubt I
was even in my right mind anymore, I was so far gone. Sin had deadened
me to true righteousness, and I was a blind leader of the blind.
Well, still, Sister Smith shrugged, Ive spent
years listening to Prosperity tapes and going to conferences, and Prosperity
teachers seem to be bright, intelligent men in their right minds. Ive
stored a wealth of information in my heart and head I didnt know
before, thanks to those preachers you just condemned.
I condemn nobody, said Brother Blessing. People are
condemned before God when they knowingly twist Holy Scripture to make
an easy buck off of poor people in Jesus Name, and cast a shadow
of reproach on His Holy Name. It was only by the sheer grace of God
Ive been forgiven.
Her eyes narrowed into angry slits. Unless you repent and do your
first works, you are cursed with a curse! Not only are you robbing God
of His tithe by teaching people their ticket to heaven is free, but
youre undermining one of the bedrock doctrines of the church!
One which gives religious people a chance to put their money where their
mouth is, if they expect to get anything from God!
Brother Blessing looked so sad. You really dont believe
in the grace of God, do you, sister?
Whatever gives you that absurd notion! she snapped.
Well, sister, out of your own mouth youve made a pact before
God not to take any blessings from Him you didnt earn. All our
viewers, far and wide, just heard you pledge to keep all 600-odd of
Moses ordinances, which involve ceremonial washings, dietary laws,
savin a bit of your biscuit dough for the preacher, and offerin
up animal sacrifices for your sins. Where do you think youll do
that? Out on your backyard barbecue grill?
My, what a chorus of Texas hee-haws broke out. The woman looked round,
glaring. Youre being ridiculous! she snapped. Those
people should be laughing at you, not me!
Oh, theyre not laughin at either of us, Sister Smith.
Theyre laughin at the very notion of tithin today
as God commanded it in the Bible. Thats whats plum ridiculous.
So youre saying its ridicuous to be faithful to the
inerrant Word of God, from Genesis to Revelation?
Sister, inquired Brother Blessing, answer me this,
if you will. Do you work on Saturday, or just rest?
When do I ever get time to rest? she sighed. Ive
got my washing to do, my meals to make, my house to clean, cakes and
pies to bake to get ready for company coming the next day for Sunday
Aha! Then you, Sister Smith, are in violation of Gods law
about not doin any work on Saturday, the Jews Sabbath Day!
Did you know how terrible the penalty is for breakin that law?
But thats different! she cried. God changed
the Sabbath to Sunday!
Well, thats as clear as mud to me, said Brother Blessing.
No Scripture says: Thou shalt switch from Saturday to Sunday.
Now Ive heard strong cases argued for either day, but we wont
get sidetracked on that issue. Paul said in Romans 14:5: One man esteemeth
one day above another; another esteemeth every day alike. Let every
man be fully persuaded in his own mind. But there is a spiritual sabbath
we enjoy each and every day.We who enter into Christs finished
work on our behalf also enter into Gods spiritual Sabbath of Rest,
by ceasin from our own labors as Hebrews 4:10 tells us. But even
if you are bent on keepin Sunday in the same way the ancient Jews
kept their Sabbath, youre still breakin Gods rules
by not doin it the right way. Just like the tithin teachers
change Gods rules on how to do that.
Oh, youre just being stubborn as a mule! she protested.
You, who supposedly represent the Lord, are making a mockery of
holy things! Wait! Ive got you now, Bill Blessing, and youve
got no answer for this one! My Bible says this, and its found
in the New Testament: ALL Scripture is profitable for instruction in
righteousness. That must include Old Testament Scriptures as well.
By the works of the Law shall no man be justified, Brother
Blessing countered. Thats in My Bible too. Still, the one
you quoted is very true, sister. Now, can you remember what Scripture
says the tithe was used for in the first place?
To provide for the priests and feed the defenseless and hungry,
Right. Although there are no Levitical priests today, the Book
of James asks us this question: If ye see a brother or a sister
lackin food or clothes, and ye say: Go in peace, be ye warmed
and filled; yet give them not those things necessary to meet the needs
of their body, what good does it do? He also said: Pure
religion and undefiled in the sight of God is this: to visit the fatherless
and widows in their affliction.
Despite all the cheers, Sister Smith gritted her teeth and acted like
she hadnt heard him. One more quick point, Brother Blessing,
she said, breathlessly. How about this one? Jesus said Whosoever
shall break one of the least of these My commandments and shall teach
men so, he shall be called the least in the Kingdom of Heaven.
Here we go, runnin round the same old mulberry bush,
said Brother Blessing. As I said earlier, Jesus never did command
tithin on money. If yall will all turn with me now to Matthew
Chapter 5, youll notice Jesus sayin right before that verse
you quoted, there in verse 17: Think not that I am come to destroy the
law or the prophets: I AM NOT COME TO DESTROY, BUT TO FULFILL. And in
Luke 16:16 Jesus says: The Law and the Prophets were until John (John
the Baptist, that is). He was considered the last of the Old Testament
prophets who served under the old economy of Law, and he said of Christ:
Behold, the Lamb of God, Who taketh away the sins of the world.
At that time Jesus was about to offer Himself up as an Atonement for
the sins of the world, and usher in the New Covenant of Grace.
Now what would cause Christ to bring up the subject of destroyin
the Law? I suspect because there were lots of times the Scribes and
Pharisees accused Him of law-breakin; like that time He healed
people on the Sabbath Day, when no work was supposed to be done. He
chose the way of mercy over the way of sacrifice. And Paul teaches in
Romans 10: Christ is the end of the Law for righteousness to every one
that believeth. In other words, Christ fulfilled the Law of Moses in
His own perfect Life, which was a sinless Life He could offer up as
payment for our sins. And In that passage we quoted earlier Christ warns
us that if our righteousness isnt greater than that of the Scribes
and Pharisees, we just cant make it into the Kingdom of Heaven.
Saints, thats a mighty tough challenge to undertake, to
live independent of Christs righteousness, and goin about
to establish our own. In Romans 10:3, Paul speaks of those who, bein
ignorant of Gods righteousness, will try to create their own kind
of righteousness; instead of acceptin Christs Gift of Righteousness,
which God, the perfect Record-keeper, posts to the account of those
who believe on His sinless Son.
Sister Smith said nothing, only gnashed her teeth and furrowed her brow.
Remember, sister, Christ came to dwell in our hearts by faith,
to fill us with His own Life, and to give us His zeal for holiness.
Before Gods people could be born again through the Spirit, and
have the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus dwellin in their hearts,
ancient Israelites struggled to keep a complicated legal code written
on tablets of stone. They followed the letter of the Law out of fear,
because the spirit of the Law hadnt been written on their hearts
yet. The Bible says: Love is the fulfillment of the Law. If you love
your needy brother or sister, youll do anything you can to lighten
their load, even if you cant bear it altogether. Id say
since the goals of the old tithin Law were: to rejoice before
the Lord in a fellowship meal with Gods other people, and
provide for the poor and the priesthood; it must be that you serve its
purpose when you share meals of thanksgiving with every class of people
in the congregation; and also, give free-will offerings to feed the
poor and support the true work of God both at home and abroad, dont
But what about those tithing storehouses spoken of in the Bible?
Sister Smith persisted. Arent they analogous with the church treasury?
Do we have to go through all that again, Sister Smith? asked
Brother Blessing, wiping his brow. Food was stored in those storehouses,
not money. Dollar bills dont satisfy hunger, at least not directly.
They dont grow from the soil of the land, unless you mean the
trees they grew from, before they were cut up in a pulp mill somewhere
to make paper for the money.
Ripples of laughter.
Another thing, sister. Ive already explained that the tithin
system was enforced by Mosaic Law, which also served as the civil law,
at least so long as the Israelites werent under foreign occupation.
Israel was a theocracy. We live in a secular democracy, and our elected
leaders are accountable to the people, not to God, insofar as the carryin
out of their duties is concerned. Theres a Separation of Church
and State here in America, and in most of the worlds other democracies.
God knew that people who didnt have His Law of Love written on
their hearts would not by nature keep it, and were less likely to support
the Priesthood and look out for the welfare of needy neighbors. Until
Christ came and fulfilled the Old Testament ceremonial ordinances, people
brought in farm produce to feed the hungry because it was against the
Law not to. When I was a kid, I didnt always like doin what
Pa said, but I knew what Id get if I didnt.
But Brother Blessing, I still think youre supposed to keep
the best of the Old Testament Laws. Its sometimes a sacrifice
to, but I want everyone here to know this: it builds character. Besides,
it would be a waste to discard such noble precepts instead of making
some use of them.
Brother Blessing shook his head. It would be a waste of good sacrifices.
Hmmm.... Thats the same excuse King Saul gave when he disobeyed
Gods order to utterly destroy all the wicked Amalekites
and everything they have. Now, as Paul says, the Law is perfectly
just and good and righteous, but the same principle applies here. King
Saul spared King Agags life and kept the best of the animals for
sacrifice. But the prophet Samuel got mad at Saul and said: Hath
the Lord so great a delight in sacrifice, as in obeyin His voice?
Just as God would rather have mercy than sacrifice, as I said earlier,
God delights more in obedience than sacrifice. And in our case, the
righteous can only please God when they obey Him by remainin connected
to the Life of Christ through faith in Him alone. It wasnt long
after that fiasco, Saul lost his Kingdom. Ive read too many stories
of cult members tithin themselves into utter destitution, and
wonderin why God didnt come through with all the big juicy
rewards they were promised by their leaders. Its just as if one
of my men did a job the wrong way, then expected to get paid for it.
Well, maybe they are doing Gods work the right way,
said the lady pertly, but God intends to reward them in heaven.
Thats a more spiritual attitude to take.
Ah, said Brother Blessing, theres another point.
As a rule, there was much more emphasis on earthly blessings in the
Old Testament. Now, if youre gonna live under the old economy
of law, you might as well set your sights on temporal rewards like wealth,
perfect health, wipin out your enemies, length of days, descendants
as numerous the stars of heaven, and prestige in the community. These
things were mentioned much more often in the Old Testament than in the
New, which tells us to set our hearts on things above. And, he
added, what did you just tell me about wantin Abrahams
blessings in the here and now?
Now look whos sassing me! snapped Sister Smith, after
all your sermons on hundred-fold harvest blessings for giving big donations!
Look, Sister Smith, said the preacher gently, I know
where youre comin from, believe me. Its hard to break
with wrong ways of thinkin, and I had the most awful struggle
to get out of bondage to the Prosperity Gospel. Its harder than
breakin the cigarette habit. Satan sold me a lie, I swallowed
it hook, line, and sinker, and turned around and passed it on to you.
All my gold toys were nothin but chains on my spirit, and I very
nearly lost my soul. I feel like I wasted the best years of my life,
so Im givin God back what few days I have left. I cant
do more than that to say Im sorry.
She frowned and bit her lip.
What I was tryin to say is: If Old Testament ordinances
were still in force, and could be enforced in any way we saw fit, even
with no Temple and no Levitical priesthood, it seems God would have
to keep His end of the bargain and bestow the Old Testament reward of
material prosperity for fulfillin Old Testament obligations. Else,
I never woulda read such shockin stories about poverty-stricken
Remember what the devil said to God, Brother Blessing, said
Sister Smith. Does Job serve God for nothing? Maybe theyre
being tried in the furnace of affliction, and it will be a long time
before they reap their harvest of prosperity. I certainly dont
tithe on my income expecting an immediate return. God always demands
costly sacrifices of His people, because Ive never had an easy
ride. My ticket to heaven has cost me plenty. Ive always said
you get just what you pay for, and theres no free lunch. We must
pay as well as pray. Youre making it sound too easy to get to
Look, Sister Smith, said Brother Blessing, looking a bit
peeved, you cant have it both ways. Mixin the Old
Covenant of Law with Christs New Covenant of Grace is just as
hopeless as mixin oil with water. You either choose one or the
other, and if you pick the Old Law to live under, youve gotta
take the whole kit and caboodle. Why do you think the early Apostles
forgot to add tithin to that long list of four things required
of us Gentiles, in addition to walkin in the Love of Christ?
Well, for that matter, she snapped, they didnt
ordain Christian TV or pipe organs, either!
Before he could reply to that, someone called: Brother Blessing,
if I can cut in, werent the Old Testament saints saved by faith
too? Thats what I heard once.
Good question, brother. Even the Old Testament saints looked forward
in faith to the comin of Christ, Gods Perfect Sacrifice
for sin. As Hebrews Chapter 10 teaches, the old animal sacrifices could
never take away sins. Even back then, it was really their faith toward
God their Redeemer which saved them. Galatians 3:6 says: Abraham believed
God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. Take the Prophet
Daniel. There he was, away off in Babylon, mournin because the
Temple had been destroyed. He couldnt worship at the Temple, but
still he was counted as a righteous man. The angel Gabriel said he was
beloved by God. Why? Not because Daniel could bring sacrifices to a
Temple which didnt exist anymore, because he couldnt, except
in his heart. No, he was justified by faith because he looked forward
through eyes of faith to His Redeemer. Now, Sister Smith, if youre
dependin on your own ability to keep Gods Law and buy your
way into heaven with sacrifices, youll surely buckle under that
heavy load and incur His wrath for fallin short of His Glory.
But, she cried, JESUS helps me bear my burdens!
Sister, hell shoulder all your burdens Himself if only youll
let Him, and if you acknowledge by faith that Christ is the end
of the Law for righteousness to every one that believeth, as Romans
10:4 says. And, Christ took the whole body of Mosaic ordinances which,
in the breakin of them, only served to expose us as sinners before
a Holy God, us, and nailed them to His cross, as Colossians 2:14 says.
I really dont know why youd want to go get em back
But Ive got to do my part to please God! she cried.
Sister, its your faith in Christ, not your donations, which
keeps you in salvation. Galatians 3:3 says: Are ye so foolish? Having
begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh? You can still
take the hard road if you choose, but it wont get you to Glory.
Proverbs says: There is a way that seems to be right, but it ends in
the ways of death. Sister, the Law never could minister life to fallen
man, only death. It only served as a school teacher to show us how far
short we fall of Gods perfection, and teach us our need for a
Redeemer. And as for keepin the Law, I say again, its a
package deal. You can either trust in Christ to be your all-sufficiency
before God, or youll fall short of enterin into Christs
perfect Rest of Faith. It cant be part you and part Jesus makin
you righteous before a holy God.
Youre leading these people down the Broad Way to Destruction!
accused the woman. Youre making it too easy for people by
telling them they dont have to keep part of the Bible! And,
she said pointedly, if I were you, Id be afraid to face my Maker
with that attitude!
At that point, Brother Blessings right-hand-man, Brother Jeremy,
took the podium. Sister,please. you know the trial Brother Blessing
is under. Just sit down, and listen, please. Brother Bill, you look
tired, and I think we should wrap things up with a song or something.
No, Jeremy, Brother Blessing whispered back. I know
shes hard as nails, but there are others who need this. The Lordll
give me the strength.
Sister, he called, its OKAY. Just stand up again
if you will, and well finish our friendly discussion.
Pleased he was showering so much attention on her, she stood back up.
Again Brother Ray held up the microphone for her. Then Ill
just rephrase my question, Brother Blessing, she said airily.
Dont you think your approach to salvation is a bit lax,
considering the transitory nature of earthly life?
The preacher winced, but stood his ground.Listen, sister, Im
sayin this in love, Im not tryin to give you a hard
time. With my track record, Id be mighty scared if I had to face
a holy God standin on my own merits instead of Christs.
When He hung on that Cross, He said: It is finished,
and Hes the Author and the Finisher of my Faith. And: He is able
to save to the uttermost those who come unto God through Him, seein
He ever lives to make intercession for them. Now how can I possibly
put in my two cents worth to improve on my chances of makin
it to Glory?
Well, she sniffed, God helps those who help themselves.
You just seem to have a cavalier attitude to it all.
Brother Blessing grinned. Sister, Ill take back everything
Ive said up to now, if only youll show me that verse God
helps those who help themselves.
A collective cry of shock broke out in the studio, and in TV Land. Pages
rustled as people flipped through concordances in the back of Bibles,
searching for that time-honored scripture.
Ive got news for you, Sister Smith, her opponent finally
said. Thats the worlds most popular scripture,
but it just aint in the Bible. Anything more youd like to
Her face reddened. Let me tell you this, Brother Blessing, I have
set my face like a flint that I will not depart from any of Gods
statutes, and you cant charm me off my straight and narrow path
with your cunning words of deceit!
Well, fine, shrugged Brother Blessing, if youre
determined to travel that hard road, instead of takin Jesus
light yoke and easy burden upon yourself. But before we even start in
on hundreds of other laws youve got to keep, lets settle
the issue about the redemption fee for your son, which is fifteen years
overdue. How do you propose goin about payin it? Do you
know where you can get hold of one authentic Temple shekel, let alone
twenty, and even if you could, who could you pay em to, and where?
The Temple in Jerusalem hasnt even been rebuilt yet, and the Levitical
priesthood hasnt been reestablished. That probably wont
even happen till after the Rapture of the Church.
Sister Smiths eyes darted. A well-educated woman of great refinement
and dignity. she was ever one to shrink from a challenge. She must be
victor in this controversy, and win over all those millions of viewers.
Well, she said, its no fault of mine the Temple
hasnt been rebuilt yet.Surely God cant demand more of me
than my best.
Oh, but he does, sister, and if you dont pay your sons
redemption fee, youre robbin God.
It burst out. But JESUS redeemed my son, eight years ago! What
more does God want!
Brother Blessing chuckled, as did lots of other people. I rest
my case. Thats my sermon in a nutshell. Christ has redeemed us
from the curse of the Law, and He is the end of the Law to righteousness
to every one who believes on Him and rests on His perfect righteousness
by faith. Sister Smith, would you like to join me onstage so I can pray
for you to be set free from the bondage of legalism?
Not thank you, she said primly. There are plenty of
other preachers who are willing to pray a blessing on my tithe, then
present it to God so I can receive my harvest. Youre the first
preacher Ive ever heard of whos turned down a big donation
and turned his back on revolutionary new doctrines that a few faithful
preachers are teaching to bless millions.
Brother Blessing rolled up his eyes. Sister, if your soul wasnt
at stake, Id laugh. Yeah, plenty of preachers will twist Gods
Word to prey on your tithe, and theyll sure present it to their
god, their bank account. And millions of gullible givers
bless a few faithless preachers with millions. And youll get your
harvest, too, just like I did. A heart full of regret in later years,
when you realize how much youve hurt Jesus by tryin to manipulate
him with your money. And as for Prosperity bein a revolutionary
new doctrine, youre contradictin what you said earlier
about stickin to what the Bible says. When it comes to sound doctrine,
this adage holds true: if the Bible says it, it cant be
new. If its new, it cant be true.
Furthermore, Sister, do you really think tithe teachers are bein
faithful to the inerrant Word of God, the way they transfer the tithe
to modern Christendom?
She gave him a funny look. And I suppose youre getting ready
to pull still another rabbit out of your hat? Dont you know when
to quit? Dont you ever get tired of resisting God?
Sister Smith, all Im doin is untyin a few knots
that have tied up Gods people for a long time.
You said youd rested your case, Brother Blessing. Long-winded
as you are, I bet you cant think of any other argument against
tithing on money.
He only grinned and said: All yall listeners out in the
studio audience, do you want to know the biggest reason of all why I
cant preach monetary tithin anymore? Tell me right this
minute, or Ill quit right now.
A rash of shouting broke out as his studio listeners rose to their feet.
Soon they were crying in unison: We want more! We want more!
as feet stomped and hands clapped.
Praise the Lord, he said, praise Jesus. I got a question
somebody in out my audience can answer. Now can anybody tell me what
Scripture says is the earnest, or down payment of our inheritance in
Christ Jesus? Think about that one a minute.
To his delight, Brother Len, seated in the second row, rose to his feet.
Brother Len, I believe you can answer it better than anybody here.
What is the earnest of the inheritance God has promised us as believers
in Christ Jesus?
Its none other than the blessed Holy Spirit, Brother Bill,
and Ill look it up for you right now. He thumbed through
his concordance and read Ephesians 1:13-14, to the delight of those
who already had an inkling of what the preacher was driving at.
Thank you, Brother Len, he said. I believe God has
saved the best for the last.
Brothers and sisters, remember how back in the Old Testament,
the Israelites received an earthly inheritance from God in the land.
But the Levites didnt get any. Rather the Lord says to Aaron in
Numbers 18:20: I AM thy part and thine inheritance among the children
of Israel. And as for the other eleven tribes, the tithe was taken from
the fruits of their inheritance, and shared with those who had no inheritance
of farm land.
Now New Testament believers are called a Royal Priesthood. And
Scripture says we are strangers and pilgrims in the earth. Our sights
are to be set on a heavenly inheritance. The Holy Spirit Himself is
the down payment, or earnest, of our inheritance as born-again believers.
And if He is the down payment, plain logic tells us we have yet to receive
the rest of our inheritance. And even if God has deeded the entire earth
to us, it isnt yet in our hands. Besides, God only ordered tithes
to be taken of the produce of the Land of Israel, and not all His people
are engaged in agriculture. Now, if God had meant for tithin to
be carried over to the New Testament, seems to me like He woulda
carried over the bedrock principles of tithin along with it. And
even if we ignore the fact that only Levites were supposed to take tithes,
and that those tithes were to consist only of edible agricultural produce,
that still leaves the fact that mandatory tithes were to be collected
only on the Israelites inheritance!
Now how on earth do you expect to tithe on the fruits of that
portion of your heavenly Inheritance youre enjoying right
now, the Holy Spirit Himself? Can you tithe on His fruits of love, joy,
and peace? Sounds plum ridiculous to me!
Everybody laughed good-naturedly--except Martha Smith, who shut her
soul to that wondrous revelation. Undeterred, she raised her hand and
said: But the Bible says this: all things are ours, whether
Paul, or Apollos, or life or death, or things present, or things to
come. That, by the way, is in I Corinthians 3:21-22. That must include
means of livelihood as well.
Now, Sister, I know Scripture says all things are yours,
but at this present time we do not yet hold all things in our hands.
As Paul points out in II Corinthians 6:10, As having nothing,
yet possessing all things. Now, do you think Brother Len has the
title deed to a big inheritance of farm land he can grow Biblical tithes
from, or is he just like me, a sojourner in this world whose treasures
are laid up in heaven?
Wild applause. Sister Smith only retorted: Well, potentially all
things are Brother Lens, arent they?
But experientially theyre not, Sister. Even if Len did own
the plant which employed him, and this supposedly constituted his personal
harvest field that he was supposed to get Gods tithe from, seems
to me like youd still have to pick out Gods tithe in Gods
way. Now, did the Israelite farmer present the tithe of his wheat, sheep
and cattle to the storehouse, or did he just sell those things and bring
money to beef up the priests bank balance?
Sister Smith said, I wont dignify that with an answer! Youre
treating me, a college graduate, like an imbecile!
Brother Blessings eyes twinkled. No, Im not here to
cut anybody down. I just asked a simple question. Whoever gave
preachers the right to rewrite the rules for correct tithin procedure...if
theyre supposed to ask for tithes to begin with? Tithes never
were presented to the priests in the form of money, but in their original
form: as products of the Israelites inheritance of land, which
was also the landowners harvest field.
Now if, as some contend, the pesticide plant where Len worked
really was his harvest field, then it follows that in order to be true
to the correct Biblical principle of tithin on the fruits of your
field, he woulda had to take the tithe from the produce of that
particular plant. If so he woulda had to take 10% of the fruits
of that entire plant and put em in the offering basket. But Lens
way to smart to do that. He knew that plant was neither in his possession
nor under his authority, and he couldnt just go in there with
his pickup truck and haul away 10% of the plants annual output
of rat poison, tick dip, herbicide and bug spray to present to the Lord
as a tithe.
What devilish dribble! cried the lady, struggling to be
heard over the side-splitting hysterics. How dare you call yourself
a Christian, let alone a gospel preacher! I never heard such a crazy
thing in all my life!
Because most preachers I know dont want you to hear the
real truth, Sister, that its crazy to pry tithes out of modern-day
Christians. In Lens case, pesticides, not grapes or grain, constituted
the fruits of the plant which provided his livelihood. And if he had
said: All things, even this pesticide plant, are already mine
by faith, and tried to bring in the tithe of its fruits, he would
be behind bars today.
Thats blasphemy! wailed Smith wailed, above all the
wild commotion. Poking fun at Gods holy tithe!
He continued: No, Sister, its just plain old horse sense
to know you cant transfer a law without transferrin all
the terms and conditions of that law too. God never took tithes off
poor laborers, just off the fruits of the Israelites inheritance.
God was very clear on that point, and He never gave anybody the right
to change the stipulations of a Law He enacted under the Old Covenant.
God never intended for preachers to resurrect any ordinance of the Old
Testament so they could make a gold mine out of it in the Church Age.
I committed that sin with my eyes wide open, and its a miracle
God could forgive me for it.
But all those other TV preachers cant be wrong! she
cried, dismayed by all the wild jubilation around her. They make
up the vast majority, and they sound so spiritual! Youre the odd
Sister Smith, as I said before, Gods Kingdom aint
a democracy, its a theocracy. Majority, minority, they count for
nothin with God. Back in the days of Noah, only he and his family
were spared, while the rest of the world drowned, though the sinners
were in the majority. I expect churches to go on collectin tithes
till the day Jesus calls His Church home, but that dont make it
sound doctrine. Brother Blessing glanced at his watch. Hey,
Im runnin way overtime, but Id say much was accomplished
tonight. Im gonna invite all my friends out in the studio audience
up for prayer. Sister, the invitations still open.
The womans mouth trembled with fury, as she looked round at the
people who sat on the edge of their seats, wondering if shed concede
the debate and go up. Nose aloft, she stalked out, muttering who was
he, a semi-literate bumpkin, to dare suggest she stood in need of his
Brother Blessing shook his head, hoping the seed hed sown would
bear some fruit_spiritual, that is. He drew encouragement from all the
bright smiles he saw in the studio, all the joyful people rising to
their feet, and more than a few coming forward. They hadnt really
laughed at Sister Smith, just from experiencing the quiet joy of liberation
There were no more questions on tithing.
Back in California, a frantic televangelist was practically pushing
two cops toward the Control Room. Harry, the bigger one just moseyed
along, munching his jelly doughnut. His comrade choked back a chuckle.
Brother Conway looked at his Rolex. Its been two hours since
I called! Why did you drag your feet so long?
Cant be everywhere at once, Reverend, said Gus, who
fumbled through a forensic kit. A KT-UP3 was in progress, and
all units had to be on the scene.
What the heck is a KT-UP3? demanded the televangelist.
Cat up a tree, sniffed Harry. It was a delicate mission,
getting him down safely.
Yeah, Reverend, put in Gus. Poor little thing had
his paw caught in a nest full of bird eggs.
Then it was lunch time and we got hungry, said Harry. You
know how it is to be hungry, Reverend, dont you, for bread cast
upon the waters in green pastures?
Very funny, Brother Conway fumed.
So whats the problem, Preacher? inquired Harry, laconically.
Please, Officers, you must arrest those people in there,
Brother Conway wailed. Bill Blessing is wrecking my ministry!
Easy now, Reverend, said Harry, licking his fingers. Were
here to protect and defend.
He banged his truncheon on the Control Room door a few times, and barked:
Police! Open up now!
Guess well have to nuke the door. Its solid steel.
Know where the blowtorch is, Gus?
Dont look at me, Harry. You forgot to load it in the trunk!
Brother Conway was sobbing. Why dont you force open the
rear exit, then?
With minimal effort the cops flung open the back entry to the Control
Room, which had been left unguarded. No one was in there.
Look, Gus said, the computer is doing a nifty job
running this room. See how clear the broadcast is? Is this where you
stash the cash, Reverend?
Watch it, smart guy! snapped Brother Conway. Youre
just a public servant, and I pay your salary!
Well, drawled Harry, you just got your moneys
worth. Case closed. They just left your studio on cruise control so
they could pop out for a Danish.
High in the sky, aboard a luxury Lear jet, a conference was underway.
Jake, said one of Brother Conways security men, weve
really stepped out in faith now. Its a good thing Brother Blessing
promised to meet our every need until we all find new jobs.
Yeah, Ricky, said his associate. I told Mary and
the kids wed all be gone a few days, but not to worry. Were
paying the price for following Jesus, but God will surely provide. Did
you notice, Brother Blessings face was positively radiant, and
there was a new spring in his step?
To God be the Glory, said Ricky softly. Theres
You know, said Rufus, a Control Room engineer, Ever
since he changed, Bill Blessing is so much like Jesus, I really do hate
having to take money off him.
Amen, the others agreed.
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