GODS PEOPLE FREE
Today, plenty of televangelists can boast: At this very hour we are feasting at five-star restaurants, sipping champagne, and wearing $1000 suits. We enjoy lavish buffets on cruise ships and dwell in million-dollar mansions. One eminent evangelist boasts a stable full of pedigree Arabian horses. Another flies around in a gold-plated jet. Believe it or not, still another boasts that he wears a pair of new shoes only once because he has a shoe fetish. Are Gods people to blame for waking up to their game? Are they to blame for not saying amen to the amenities enjoyed by carnal ministers of the Word? How do they get all that mad money so easily? They sure dont get it by punching a time clock everyday!
One reliable source squeezed out of Christians is the tithe. But is the Christian tithing ordinance God-given or man-mandated? What was the purpose of the biblical tithe, what did it consist of, and to whom was this regulation really given?
The Tithe: An Edible Product
What launched me on the most exhaustive Bible study I have ever done on any topic? A burning desire to know the real truth. God has guided me in my search. Heres how it all began.
One day I was taking a tour of the Word of God when I happened across a passage of Scripture Id never head any preacher expound on in all my long life. I thought my eyes must be playing tricks on me, so I read it again to make sure it really was in the Bible! It made me ask myself: Could my suspicions be well-founded? As a student of the New Testament, Id always had a question nagging at the back of my mind: Why didnt the apostles ever remind church-goers to pay their tithe every Sunday?
So I began digging and researching. I accumulated an overwhelming body of evidence to prove that no minister, whatever his credentials, is authorized by Scripture to collect tithes today, only freewill offerings!
Those shocking Scriptures contradicted a sacrosanct exhortation Id heard all my life: DONT EAT THE TITHE! But what was the original purpose of the tithe, and what did it consist of?
14: 22-27 deals with the Festival Tithe, one of three tithes brought
by the Israelites to their place of worship.
Verse 24 introduces the only context in all of Holy Scripture where money is mentioned in conjunction with tithing! Lets read. And if the way be too long for thee, so that thou art not able to carry it; or if the place be too far from thee, which the Lord thy God shall choose to set His Name there, when the Lord thy God hath blessed thee;
Verse 25 Then thou shalt turn it into money, and bind up the money in thine hand, and shalt go unto the place which the Lord thy God shalt choose:
Verse 26 And thou shalt bestow that money for whatsoever thy soul lusteth after; for oxen, or for sheep, or for wine, or for strong drink, or for whatsoever thy soul desireth: and THOU SHALT EAT there before the Lord thy God, and thou shalt rejoice, thou and thy household,
Verse 27 And the Levite that is within thy gates; thou shalt not forsake him; for he hath no part nor inheritance with thee (in the Promised Land).
The Tithe: Ancient Israels Public Service and Social Welfare Tax
the prophet Malachi, so often quoted to keep the funds flowing, says
the purpose of the tithe was to keep FOOD, NOT MONEY, in Gods
House (Malachi 3:10). Why? God doesnt need farm produce to stay
alive! The Levites (priestly tribe of Israel) were denied an inheritance
(of real estate) in the Promised Land. The tithe was their compensation
for this, and their reward for their Tabernacle service (Numbers 18:21-24).
there was a fourth tithe paid not by the people, but by the Levites
on the tithe they received, 10% of the tithes offered by all the other
tribes of Israel to the tribe of Levi., or 1% of all the produce of
the land. This tithe of the tithe was hand-picked and presented by
the Levites to the High Priest; who in turn presented it as a heave
offering to the Lord, as described in Numbers 18: 25-32. This
best part of the crop was eaten by the Priestly division of the tribe
of Levi, who were descended from Aaron, brother of Moses. To qualify
for the Levitical Priesthood, the highest calling among the Levites,
only physically perfect male specimens (no ladies, please!) of Aarons
clan qualified to serve as priests at the Altar (Leviticus 21:16-24).
All other Levites ate the remainder of the Levites tithe (Maaser
rishon) brought by the people. It was their wages for the service
they rendered in the Tabernacle of the congregation, under the authority
of the Priesthood. These subordinate Levites played supporting roles.
They served as policemen, health inspectors, and ministers of public
education. Some Levites (the sons of Kohath) were responsible for
transporting the sacred articles of the Tabernacle during the Israelites
wilderness wanderings. All priests had to be Levites (members of the
Tribe of Levi) but not all Levites were priests; just like all Alabamians
are Americans, but not all Americans are Alabamians.
poor Christians do not possess any Biblical inheritance (land), and
poor people must rent their living space at exorbitant rates. Surprisingly,
a lot of spiritual Levites own luxurious mansions situated
on prime real estate (privately owned, of course), although Old Testament
Levites were not given a stake in the land, except for a few scattered
towns set aside for them to dwell in.
The Tithe: Old Testament Law Reimposed By Men
clergymen simply do not trust God to inspire a spirit of liberality
in His people. Compulsory tithing helps ensure a minimum contribution
from each parishioner. In this paper Ill present some solid
support for my firm conviction that the early church did not compel
its members to tithe.
In fact, Paul, who said, bless, and curse not (Romans 12:14) pronounces a curse on anyone who preaches any other gospel than the one he himself presented (Galatians 1: 8). To drive home that point, he repeats that curse in verse 9. That in itself shows Gods disapproval of seasoning the Gospel of Grace with a little legalism!
Now for even more Scriptural evidence that mandatory tithing violates your liberty in Christ Jesus.
Under the New Covenant Denies Who We Are in Christ
in Scripture is any believer authorized to waive the Old Testament
preconditions of being a physically perfect male descended from the
line of Aaron in order to lay claim to imaginary perks of that ancient
priesthood (Rolexes, perhaps?). Nor is any pulpiteer supposed to officiate
as a feudal lord collecting rent in Gods name from lowly peasants
out in the pews (at least thats the way worshippers are often
treated!). Even Pharaoh pressured Gods people with quotas. Tithing
on money is an example of offering strange fire before the Lord,
which He commanded not (Leviticus 10:1). If Gods people
give a set amount of money because some preacher threatens them with
divine retribution, that springs from fear-mongering, not faith, and
whatsoever is not of faith is sin (Romans 14:23). We who have entered
into Gods perfect rest of faith (prefigured by the Jewish Sabbath)
have ceased to rely on our own works to earn Gods approval (Hebrews
4: 1-13). Notice verse 10: He that has entered into his (Gods)
rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his.
Israelites blew it big time. It was only through the intercessions
of Moses that the entire nation wasnt wiped off the face of
the earth. It was then an uneasy distance was created between God
and the people because of rebellion. Only the Levites were willing
to take sides with Moses against their idolatrous brothers. Instead
of the entire nation serving as priests, only the tribe of Levi would
execute that office.
But, some might say, theres still a difference between a vocational evangelist who wins thousands of souls to Christ and somebody who toils at a secular job. Well, Paul made tents, and that didnt make him any less of an apostle! Somebody who prays with a friend over a cup of coffee at work is doing the same type of work on a smaller scale as a big-time evangelist, and whos to say such obscure faithfulness is not just as precious in Gods sight!
I might not be a seminarian, but Im filled with the Spirit of the Living God, and He gives me a few insights Id otherwise miss. Id say it is much more wonderful to have the Spirit of God dwelling in our hearts by faith than to live as an Old Testament Israelite; someone who truly loved the Lord but didnt dare approach His glorious Presence within the Veil, for he would have died for doing so. Now if our position in Christ is far superior to what any of the Levites had, how can any religious leader exalt himself over us as Gods IRS agent?You Just Cant Improve on Gods Ways
King Saul performed an unauthorized religious rite out of personal expediency (I Samuel 13:8-14).On another occasion, he kept the best of what God ordered destroyed (I Samuel Chapter 15). These acts of self-will cost him his kingdom and led to his spiritual ruin. Oh, it might prosper preachers to compromise the liberty of the saints by latching onto their favorite Mosaic ordinance, but in the end they must answer to God for painting a picture of Him as a stern landlord, rather than a loving Heavenly Father. Even innovations which seem to be spiritually motivated can ultimately spring from satan, who often appears as an angel of light in order to distort the simplicity of the Gospel message (II Corinthians 11: 3, 14).
Contrary to what modern-day charlatans teach, we are to give freely, not tithe, as God has already prospered us (I Corinthians 16:2). And, if you choose to be part of a church which is paying off a big mortgage on a beautiful building, it is only fair that you contribute what you can to help pay it. If you dont feel right about worshipping there because you cant afford the fixtures, go elsewhere, but dont get caught in the tithing trap. Perhaps you could find a fellowship meeting in a private home (Romans 16:5; I Cor. 16:19; Colossians 4:15; Philemon 2). Some churches meet in storefronts, which is cheaper than paying a mortgage on a fancy building situated on prime real estate.
If the 10% standard of surrender to God transfers to money, it should transfer to everything else, dont you think? Otherwise the whole equation gets a little lopsided. If 10% of your earnings belong to God, by inference, 90% is your property, and you, not Christ, are lord over it! That means you can fritter it away as you like, and He has no say in the matter! And what about your most precious possession, your soul? Does God own only 10% of that? Christ is either Lord of all, or Hes not Lord at all!
By the way, a question is nagging at the back of my mind: Why arent preachers as eager to claim 10% of the squash and butter beans in peoples gardens as they are to demand a tithe of their other greenery? And yet these same preachers go on and on about people straying from the inerrant Word of God! Talk about hypocrisy!
suspect a lot of preachers who claim to feed on the pure Word of God
add their own seasonings to it so they can get others to swallow the
parts they like, sections theyve yanked out of context and given
a facelift. Theres money to be made from doing that. Years ago,
I would give away money on a tidal wave of emotion, stirred up by
faith teachers who bamboozle people into giving to God
out of their want. That can easily turn into an addictive bondage
of gambling with God; a compulsion to mail off money your
family needs to miracle ministries in hopes God will multiply
your seed of $20 into a bumper crop of $2000. But its
more likely youll suffer a spiritual crop failure, following
that slick sales pitch.
gave tithes of other peoples stuff to Melchisedek, King of Salem
(Genesis 14:18-20), who typifies the eternally living Christ. This
loot had been plundered from the citizens of Sodom by the Kings of
the Plain, who were defeated in battle by Abrahams men. This
was Abrahams spoil. But far from coveting this treasure he tells
the King of Sodom in Genesis 14: 22-23: In the Name of the Most
High God, Possessor of heaven and earth, I will not take so much as
a shoe latchet, lest you say you have made Abraham rich.
In Genesis 28:20-22, Jacob makes a voluntary vow to give back to God one-tenth of all that thou (God) shalt (future tense) give me. But first Jacob attaches conditions. First God must protect him from harm, provide the necessities of life for him, and bring him back again safely to his fathers house. Jacob didnt get home for 20 years, so his vow wasnt even payable until then! A far cry from preachers who say God will disinherit you you if you dont keep their Law of Tithing to them, before youve provided for your family, regardless of the level of your faith! No one has the right to use these two isolated examples of voluntary tithing as an excuse to levy an unscriptural religious tax on paychecks, a man-made statute which bears little resemblance to its supposed precedent in the Law of Moses, either in substance or implementation.
Tithing Ordinance Suspended During Babylonian Exile
After the destruction of the Temple of Solomon in 586-587 B.C., the Jewish nation was taken captive by Babylon, and deported from the Promised Land. As a rule, while they were captive in Babylon, the Jews did not tithe on the fruits of the pagan soil where they lived. Why? Because Babylon was not holy unto the Lord. It was not that place which He had chosen to set His name there (Deuteronomy 14:22-23). Viewed strictly from an Old Covenant perspective, no other territories on earth are holy unto God except the land He promised the seed of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and He did not desire tithes of the Gentiles agricultural produce, much less tithes of their money. The only tithing Jews did during the Exile was if a Jewish community wanted to tithe on crops grown in the lands of the Diaspora (dispersion in Gentile nations). In that case, they had to get a special Rabbinical dispensation declaring that because a large number of Jews lived in their area, its produce was kosher enough to tithe on. Nevertheless, the Law required tithes to be levied only on produce of Israel, not that of foreign lands.
Although mandatory tithing ceased during the Exile, Jews of the Diaspora still found ways to look after their own poor, as Esther 9:22 shows. Gods beloved children live in all nations. But where it concerns Mosaic ordinances given strictly to Gods Holy Land, no other places on earth fall under their jurisdiction. Enforcing a tithing law in Oklahoma is just as ridiculous as trying to collect Nevada state property taxes on an estate in New Jersey!
ARE FREE! THE TITHE HOLDS NO JURISDICTION IN 21st-CENTURY GENTILELAND!
GIVE YOUR HEART TO JESUS, AND LET GOD TELL YOU WHAT TO DO WITH YOUR
HARD-EARNED TAKE-HOME PAY! NOBODY ELSE, AND I DO MEAN NOBODY! (except
maybe your spouse, ha!)
To show what God thinks of people tampering with His divinely ordained instructions Ill give you a case in point. After King Solomon died, his son Rehoboam took charge. First thing he did was leave no room for doubt as to who was boss. The elders of the Tribes came pleading with him to ease up on them, for Solomon had been a hard taskmaster. But the new king let the elders know they were in for a rough ride. He would be an iron-fisted tyrant, and theyd better get used to the idea.
threw such a scare into the Chosen People that they were afraid not
to rebel against Rehoboam. The northern tribes had an ongoing rivalry
with giant Judah anyway, and it had taken much delicate diplomacy
for King David to weld them all together as a single powerful nation
in the Middle East, and then pass that peaceful Kingdom on to Solomon.
But crude, rude Rehoboam blew it big-time.
an insult toward the true God of Israel, Who had shown Jeroboam such
incredible favor! Jeroboams clever ideas didnt get a rubber
stamp from God, they only made God mad. Not only had Jeroboam deliberately
violated Gods divine order for sacrifice and worship, he committed
and promoted idolatry, the very same sin which had cost Solomons
dynasty ten tribes.
No, not just any ol place will do. If youre intent on keeping an old Testament ordinance given exclusively to Jews living in the Promised Land, youd better do it according to Old Testament guidelines, or youll be guilty of sin like Jeroboam. Regardless of whether your tithe is a twenty or even a hundred, paying money in fulfillment of a tithing law is still unscriptural and wrong. If you feel God wants you to donate money in a New Testament church service, better just call it a gift. And always give out of love, not a sense of coercion.
Liberality vs. Legalism
was born and raised in the Holy Land long after the Jews ( who were
mostly members of the tribe of Judah, along with some Benjamites and
Levites) returned from Babylonian captivity and their Temple was rebuilt.
Didnt Jesus mention tithing in the Gospels? He sure did, but
always in a negative context. In Matthew 23:23, Jesus is rebuking
some Pharisees for neglecting the Love of God. He says to them: Woe
unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For ye pay tithe of mint
and anise and cummin , and have omitted the weightier matters of the
Law, judgment, mercy, and faith; these ye ought to have done, and
not to leave the other undone.
Which brings us back to penniless Paul, who repeatedly exhorts the saints (preachers and parishioners alike) to follow his own example in following Christ (I Cor. 4:16;11:1; Phil. 3:17). He plainly says to the tightwad Corinthians: We seek not yours, but you (II Cor. 12:14).
if tithing was mandatory under the New Covenant, why didnt Paul
mention that minor point when he defended his right to financial support
( I Cor. 9: 1-11)? If modern preachers profess to follow Pauls
example, why do they do something he didnt do: dun parishioners
for 10% of their salaries and wages? And that, in spite of the fact
Paul, a descendant of the tribe of Benjamin, compares himself to a
priest who serves at the Altar, and ought to live off the things offered
Paul rightly expected, being in full-time ministry, that his basic needs should be met by the saints, and he shouldnt have to go hungry or in rags. Jesus told His evangelizing disciples to eat and drink such things as their hosts offered, for the laborer is worthy of his hire (Luke 10:3-8). Amazingly, Jesus told them to take nothing for their journey, save a staff only; no scrip, no bread, no money in their purse!
Heres one Scripture I have never ONCE heard any Prosperity preacher expound on: III John 7 (yes, theres 3 epistles written by the Apostle John, in addition to the Gospel of John). That tiny gem of a book comes right before Jude and Revelation. That one little verse throws a monkey wrench into the notion that money must be collected at each and every church meeting. It says:Because that for His Names sake they went forth, taking NOTHING of the Gentiles. Even today, most of Gods Church is composed of Gentiles. It is perfectly scriptural and often necessary to collect offerings from people, but even freewill offerings arent compulsory under the New Covenant, or they cease to be freewill offerings. Obedience to God, however, is mandatory for believers, and if He tells you to give, by all means give, or youll feel like youve missed an opportunity to do good for Gods Kingdom. God desires His people to have a liberal heart; then the giving and good works will follow, as you are truly able. In this context, Johns fellow laborers in the Gospel chose not to take donations from poor Gentiles they preached to.
vast proportion of Pauls converts were unpaid, penniless slaves.
But the prosperous Corinthians were without excuse. In refusing to
lighten Pauls heavy load, they disobeyed the heart of the Law:
Thou shalt love they neighbor as thyself (Galatians 6:2; James 2:8).
In I Corinthians 4:6-18, Paul draws a sharp contrast between their
wealth and his privations. He says in verse 8: Now ye are full. Now
ye are rich, ye have reigned as kings without us. Clearly, these people
were abusing their liberty, and Paul was suffering need as a result.
But never once did he ever use that as an excuse to suspend their
God-given liberty and impose a new tithing tax upon them.
If love for God wont inspire godly liberality, some ministers think, fear of His punishment might. Paul might have threatened the much wealthier Corinthians with the wrath of God for refusing to share their bounty with him, but he didnt. If Paul knew that tithing on wages was binding on Christians and still refused to teach this doctrine, even out of softheartedness, he stands guilty of gross negligence and failure to declare the whole counsel of God. But he didnt fail on that point (Acts 20:27).
Mercy vs. Sacrifice
have used fear to prevent hungry saints from eating the so-called
tithe. But Christ tells in Matthew 12:3-4 of how the starving David
ate the sacred showbread, which was meant for the priests only. Jesus
says in verse 7: But if ye had known what this meaneth, I will have
mercy and not sacrifice, ye would not have condemned the guiltless.
Even if tithing on money was compulsory, Gods mercy would surely
take priority over sacrifice. Im sure He would allow some poor
mother to buy a bit of food for her hungry child, rather than pressure
her to tithe her meager welfare check to the church. In Matthew 15:
3-6 and Mark 7: 10-13 Jesus upbraids some Pharisees who have plenty
of religion but no love. They taught their disciples to offer a corban,
a monetary gift which could have relieved the want of elderly parents.
Thus, the true Word of God was rendered ineffectual by their vain
Tithing: Money Just Doesnt Fill the Bill
One unscriptural scripture preachers use as leverage over the laity is: The first tenth of your paycheck belongs to God. Wrong! It ALL belongs to God, because we ourselves are His purchased possession!
Some think theyre doing God a favor by reinventing and transplanting Old Testament Laws (ones they deem profitable) into the Body of Christ. But did God really tell the people to take the first item off the pile to pay as a tithe, or the tenth? Lets dig into a little more Scripture, and you just might get an even more vivid picture of how ridiculous it is, trying to marry the Old Covenant, with its obsolete rules and regulations, to the New, which is a Covenant of Liberty in Christ Jesus. Talk about strange bedfellows!
review our definition of tithable commodities with 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.
Verse 31: And if a man will at all redeem ought of his tithes, he shall add thereto the fifth part thereof. How can a dirty dollar bill, which has passed through countless sinful hands, possibly be redeemed as a holy thing? How can you redeem money with money anyway? Does God run a Savings and Loan, authorizing His supposed representatives to charge His children a prime rate of 20% interest? I maintain that if some of the rules of Old Testament tithing on farm produce apply to tithing on a New Testament Christians cash wages, then they all do! If you borrow $100 of tithe money to go see the doctor, youve gotta pay God (the preacher?) back $120, or you break that same Law youre so anxious to return to, and youre counted as a transgressor!
Verse 32: And concerning the tithe OF THE HERD, OR OF THE FLOCK, EVEN OF WHATSOEVER PASSETH UNDER THE ROD (Ever seen a twenty-$ bill toddling on two legs to pass under the rod?) , the tenth shall be holy unto the Lord.
onto your hat: 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. How comical,
the idea of applying this principle to filthy lucre. Imagine dividing
your $1000 salary into 10 $100 bills, then putting them in a bag to
shuffle them up. Then you pull them out one by one, till you get to
the last one. That one, not the first, counts as the tithe.
And even if its a dirty, faded bill, youve still got to
count that one as the tithe. But money-hungry preachers tell you,
regarding tithing: Give of your best and first tithe (money)
to the Master, before you meet every other obligation. But the
aforementioned passage is proof that it was the TENTH item counted
in a series of tithable commodities which was set aside by farmers
and herdsmen as the holy tithe under the Old Law; not the first, and
not necessarily the best one. The word tithe simply means
tenth. Even if a ranchers tenth cow was the scrawniest
of the whole lot, it was still counted as the tithe, although it could
certainly be redeemed (bought back) if it wasnt fit to be eaten
at the Festival. The best of the tithes, or a mere 1%
of the total, were to be offered by the Levites, not the laity, as
Offerings brought to the Altar always had to be without spot or blemish (Deuteronomy 15:21). Since tithes were taken at random from every tenth item counted, and worshippers were not to search (check) a tithed animal whether it be good or bad before counting it as the tithe, the peoples tithe didnt qualify for the Altar anyway. All this sanctimonious spin about rank-and-file Gentile Christian laity offering up tithe money, an inedible item on the Altar just doesnt wash with Scripture! Only that 1% of all the produce OF THE LAND OF ISRAEL, the Heave Offering (KJV) hand-picked from the peoples tithe and PAID BY THE LEVITES to the High Priest, was ever presented at the Altar!
What about those times where terms like without spot or blemish, firstfruits or redemption money are applicable? Lets dig up a few more Old Testament observances, and after reading the following sections tell me whether youd like to go back to keeping this mind-bogglingly complicated Scroll of the Law, with its 600-odd ordinances. Or rather, just read it so you can better appreciate what a colossal burden Christ has delivered you from!
The Law: Fulfilled In Christ, but Misapplied
God has opened my eyes. Now I am able to see through the religious hoopla going on in churches and miracle crusades presided over by Prosperity gurus. One favorite fund-raising gimmick is to prime the pump of pious fervor by bandying about a lot of Old Testament buzzwords, and doing it with the right theatrics. At least once I was in a meeting where the preacher appealed to his flock to present a wave offering to the Lord (with cabbage of the highest denominations, what else?).
Knowing his trusting, bah-h-h-ing sheep would readily follow, the man said, God loves a cheerful giver. Lets see you wave your biggest bill as your firstfruits offering unto the Lord. Thats it! Wave those bills high now, and make a joyful noise unto the Lord.
in a crowd of thousands of excited people, you must have enough sanctified
common sense to master your own emotions and be grounded in Gods
truth enough to judge the collective blessing by the strict
yardstick of Scripture. Have you ever read of the Apostle Peter groaning
to organ music and appealing to Levitical laws to make the money flow
like milk and honey? What did the Firstfruits offering and the Wave
offering consist of anyway, and what was the significance of these
Pick One Law, You Marry Em All
any religious leader still insists on playing Levite, let him go the
whole gamut and keep all the 600-odd points of the Old Law. Stop eating
pork, ham and shrimp. Southerners, youll have to give up catfish,
as that has no scales (Deut. 14:9-10). Cease all work on Saturdays.
Wear a beard and side locks. Dont order cheese on your Big Mac,
or youll break he law against consuming meat with dairy products.
If your brother dies childless, marry his widow to raise up a son
to perpetuate his name. It works both ways, now!
Under the Old Covenant, the first-born of every man and beast was the Lords (Exodus 13:1-2; Numbers 18:15-16; Leviticus 27: 26-27). Human males under 5 had to be redeemed with a payment of 5 Temple shekels, 3 for females. The redemption fee was higher for an older person. The firstborn of all unclean (non-kosher) animals had to be redeemed instead of being offered, e.g. the jackass (Exodus 13:13; Leviticus. 27:27) This is one example of hundreds of Mosaic ordinances preachers have neglected to transfer over to our Dispensation of Grace. James 2:10 says: For whosoever shall keep the whole Law, and yet offend in ONE point, he is guilty of ALL. Where commitment is concerned, the Law of Moses is indivisible. If you vow faithfulness to one law, you yoke yourself to the whole clan. You cant just covenant with God to keep one law you like and shine off on all the rest. How long has it been since anybody sent their friendly TV preacher a redemption fee for a firstborn kitten or puppy! If anybody hopes to score points with God by observance of one Mosaic ordinance, that individual must place himself under ALL of the Law of Moses! Its a package deal! If one Mosaic ordinance is transferable to the New Testament Age of Grace, every other Mosaic ordinance is transferable and binding, not just the money-makers! The whole Law includes circumcision for men, periodical seclusion and pigeon offerings for women, ritual cleansings and washings, animal sacrifices, physical inactivity on the Sabbath, abstinence from pork BBQ, going to the Priest to have your zits checked, and paying a redemption fee for your firstborn child.Thanks to Christ, we are redeemed from the condemnation of imperfect Law-keeping, without having to muddle through all those Levitical Laws and fees (Isaiah 52:3; I Peter 1:18).
really open up a can of worms when you try to enforce Old Testament
Laws in this Dispensation of Grace. Even if monetary fees still had
to be paid today in fulfillment of ancient Levitical law, God wouldnt
accept U.S. currency, with its mystical inscriptions and images of
men, as these violate His Law against making images (Exodus 20:4).
Ministers simply couldnt accept $3.00 as a redemption fee for
a baby girl, instead of three Shekels of the Sanctuary! The Jews of
Christs time had to exchange their Roman coins, engraved with
images of Caesar, for acceptable Temple shekels (Matthew 21:12). Even
then, those coins were not used to pay tithes, but taxes for the maintenance
of the Temple, as in the census tax taken of every Israelite over
twenty (Exodus 30: 11-16). Each person, whether rich or poor, was
charged the same amount--half a shekel. That would constitute far
less than 10 %of a rich mans income. Under Nehemiahs leadership,
God allowed this small sum to be reduced to one-third of a shekel,
perhaps because the people at that time were under foreign tribute
and needed a bit of relief. This is one example of Gods compassion.
The Temple Tax, however, cannot be used to argue that money secured the eternal redemption of the Israelites, even if this tax was easily affordable by most everyone. Psalms 49: 7-8 tells us that nothing we can give God can ransom anyones soul from death, and the redemption of our soul is precious (costly). It is the Blood which makes atonement for sin (Leviticus 17:11; Hebrews 9:22). Rather, paying that census tax was a tangible reminder (memorial) of the faith each person directed toward the God Who inhabited the Temple, and also symbolized the fact each Old Testament saint had an equal vested interest in the benefits of its rites. The money paid for the upkeep of a Temple which performed substitutionary animal sacrifices on their behalf. These rites were crucial in the salvation of believing Israelites in that they served as promissory notes before God until their ultimate fulfilment in Christ, the perfect Lamb of God. The Blood of Christ, not silver and gold, has redeemed us (John 1:29; John 1:29; I Peter 1: 18-19). Faithfulness to ritual obligations, as in paying the Temple tax, showed their faith in the future coming of the final Sacrifice for sins, Jesus. In every dispensation, good works spring from true faith ( James 2:26).
Back then, census-taking was a sin unless God authorized it. King David, a man after Gods own heart, committed a census sin once. He, rather than the Lord, ordered a national census taken of Israel, Gods heritage. He wanted to know how many warriors he had on hand to protect his kingdom. As a result of this transgression, a plague fell on Israel ( II Samuel Chapter 24).Some preachers keep a watchful eye on who gives what by requesting that envelopes be filled out, supposedly for purposes of tax deduction. Carnal preachers feel their kingdom is more secure, just knowing they have a core group of big tithers they can count on. Its easier to trust in the Lord if the projected numbers for the coming fiscal year are already predictably high. Then the building committee can go ahead and set a firm time frame for the new choir loft, or the renovations on the parsonage. But that doesnt excuse the tithe. Besides, drawing attention to your big contributions is not Gods way. Jesus prefers us to give in secret (Matthew 6:1-4).
Lay Your Money Down....Where?
and tax money could enter the Temple, as when Jesus referred to the
gold of the Sanctuary in Matthew 23:17 But gold was never placed
on the Altar but in the treasury (Luke 21:1). When Jesus referred
to placing a gift on the Altar ( verse 18) he clearly
meant animal sacrifices, as He did when he told one leper he had cleansed:
Go and offer the gift that Moses commanded as a testimony to
others (of his cleansing). This process of ceremonial, in contrast
to the actual cleansing Jesus did, was a complicated business: The
first phase of the gift consisted of an initial offering of two sparrows,
and then, after a week of shaving, washing, and ritual seclusion,
another offering had to be given, comprised either of two lambs, or
one lamb and two birds. (Leviticus chapter 14).
But money was never sacrificed on either Altar! Can you imagine a pile of fat checks and $20 bills going up in smoke? That would be a televangelists worst nightmare! So much for preachers pleading: If you dont lay your money on the Altar, you cant offer yourself to the Lord, either! Paul says in Romans 12:1: I beseech you, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present YOUR BODIES (no mention of money!) a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. Giving, not tithing, as God leads to meet genuine needs comes as a result of a transformed heart. The Law of Moses had the power to show a person his faults, but never to impart righteousness to him (Romans 8:3). When we walk according to the Love of the living Christ within, we walk in the the Law of Liberty. We obey His leadings out of love, rather than fear. For example, Acts Chapter 4:35 says believers were of one heart and one soul (true unity) and there was none that lacked.
Distribution was made to each person (not just the clergy ) according to his need, not his greed!
Those same preachers
who so eagerly seize upon the Old Testament Law of tithing to increase
funds dismiss as impractical the example of the newborn Church, where
nobody claimed exclusive ownership of anything. The Tyrannical Tithe
The cults ruling elite only paid two tithes (to themselves?), and had all their expenses paid. Their imperious founder, the so-called endtime Elijah would host fancy dinner parties for aristocratic dignitaries using golden plates and Steuben crystal. When lowlier luminaries came to dinner, hed serve on silver instead. He jetted around in champagne luxury.
King David, father
of the ostentatiously wealthy King Solomon, decries the vanity of
a life lived walking in a vain show (Psalms 39:6). This
is exactly what that lying Elijah did. He lived a life
of showy luxury, at the expense of impoverished followers. And did
the windows of heaven ever pour out a blessing upon his tithe-paying
peons? I should say not. Their poverty only worsened, because their
meager means were dedicated to (God?!?); the corban
trap spoken of earlier. People skipped meals while the leadership
dined on delicacies. Many children who grew up in that cult were traumatized
for life. They recalled a hardscrabble hand-to-mouth struggle for
bare necessities, and work-weary parents who barely saw them because
tithes had to be earned to render to lords over Gods heritage
who lusted after filthy lucre (I Peter 5:1-4). How absurd to identify
the holy, hardship-hardened Elijah of the Bible with the decadence
of that tithe-consuming tyrant.Sins of the Priesthood
Cant Be Laid on the Laity
Ezekiel, in Chapter 34, prophesies against ministers who feed themselves and not the flock.
Verse 4 paints
a stark picture. The diseased have ye not strengthened, neither have
ye healed that which was sick, neither have ye bound up that which
was broken, neither have ye brought again that which was driven away,
neither have ye sought that which was lost; but with force and with
cruelty have ye ruled them.
Again in Chapter 2, verse 1: And now, O YE PRIESTS, this commandment is for YOU! This chapter rebukes THE PRIESTHOOD for setting a bad example for the people and causing the entire nation to stray from the knowledge of God. This is the priesthood of Malachi, the crowd the tithe teachers love to compare themselves to.
3 continues on in the same vein, rebuking the priesthood for its moral
decay and for how they either shined off on their duties or performed
them with crass negligence.This passage was aimed primarily at the
LEVITES, NOT THE LAITY! The whole nation defrauded God, but the lions
share of all the rebuke in the Book of Malachi is directed at a corrupt
Priesthood who were supposed to teach righteousness to the people,
but instead led them astray. In this case Jesus principle of
stewardship holds true: Unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall
be much required (Luke 12:48). James 3:1 says: My brethren, be not
many masters (teachers), knowing that we shall receive the greater
condemnation (judgment). So why should Gods primary focus suddenly
shift in mid-stream from the spiritual leaders of the nation to rank-and-file
Israelites, especially poor people who had no inheritance of land?
Chances are, youve never heard this minor point expounded by experts on Christian financial stewardship. In Chapter 3, verse 5, youll see the word hireling (wage-earner) lumped together with the orphans, fatherless, widows, and strangers (foreigners). If a man was a laborer in ancient Israel, rather than a prosperous landowner, he was considered poor, period. He was exempt from having to tithe, for he had nothing to tithe on. Sort of like when you enter a foreign port and are asked by customs agents: Anything to declare? You might be well-heeled, but unless youre bringing in taxable commodities, you dont have to pay customs duties. Money never was subject to the Levitical tithing tax, plain and simple!
The poor are
the ones who live hand-to-mouth and are most vulnerable to exploitation.
To this day, people who earn minimum wage and get no paid sick leave
or other benefits must depend on their own health and strength to
keep them going. My own mother once worked for a cruel boss who had
no compunctions about firing any employee who took off a single sick
day! Less privileged folks have just got to keep pace with the demands
of their jobs, and pray they dont suffer some accident or health
catastrophe they arent insured for, just so they wont
become too disabled to keep on working to pay bills on time, and end
up homeless and hungry. Even white-collar professionals are only two
or three paychecks away from the street, Ive often heard. People
dependent on paychecks feel somewhat more secure than the unemployed,
but in todays world even there is still an uneasy element of
I have to laugh when tithe-collectors resort to this analogy to defend an unjustifiable doctrine: You reap your tithe from the harvest field of your job. What a shaky argument! Even if company profits shoot through the roof, theres no way you can reap anything other than a basic living from a waged job or a fixed salary, unless you own stock in the corporation which employs you. It is those who own the means of production (boardroom execs or big share-holders) who get rich from the prosperity of the company, not the wage earner. A fry cook at a fast-food restaurant knows hes toiling in someone elses field, and he isnt free to run it as he likes. His boss will pay him exactly the wages specified for his job description, nothing more. The only way he could get a bit more pay is if the owners let him do overtime, or if he gets a small raise. And if business dries up and company profits fall, his hours and his paycheck will also be cut. Or, he might even be fired from his harvest field if its true owners mismanage the business and it goes belly-up.
It was the landowners who owned the means of production (land) in Israels agricultural economy. In that context, the haves were charged with paying the tithe to keep meat (food) in Gods House for the have-nots. Hirelings were classified among the have-nots. Those who were paid wages to reap the fields of land-owners were not taxed on their wages! Ruth the Moabitess got to eat the grain she gleaned; she didnt have to convert it to cash to help buy a belfry for the local synagogue!
The tithe, as
it is reinterpreted and enforced today in Christendom, makes the hireling
(wage-earner) responsible for bringing an unscriptural tithe (money)
into a building to finance the church mortgage and maintain church
leadership in the style to which theyve become accustomed. Just
who do you think God is addressing in Malachi 3:5 anyway, the haves
or the have-nots?
Ever since I
can remember, Ive heard preachers use this chapter to heap condemnation
on the heads of ordinary folks who must struggle from paycheck to
paycheck, even against some who dont have a dime. But how in
the world can this verse possibly be aimed at poor wage-earners (the
hireling), who were clearly classed as being among the needy who had
no inheritance in the Land to tithe on? How can the hireling be accused
of oppressing the hireling? Rather, it is this pseudo-Levitical priesthood
who is oppressing the wage-earner. Prosperity gurus tell you to cast
your bread upon the waters, and a boat-sinkin load will
come back to you on every wave. Believe, me, your boat WILL sink,
along with your heart! And whats more thrilling to those guys
than beating the bread rolls of the needy into Rolls and
Rolexes for the greedy? Those same rascals have got the gall to reroute
rebukes aimed at a corrupt priesthood (which they happily identify
with) to the poor wage-earners out in the pews, or to white-collar
Christians who earn salaries instead of wages; humble souls from all
income strata who can truthfully say their inheritance is in heaven,
not in this world! A lot of professional pulpiteers sure couldnt
say that, theyre too busy going shopping with your tithes!
After all the
trouble those rascals got into, it was necessary for God to clean
up the Levitical priesthood before theyd be fit to officiate
at the Altar ever again.Compulsory Tithing: A Tax on Misery
If preachers can play your emotions like a fiddle to make you feel like Judas Iscariot for non-tithing, I can appeal to what I know of the compassion of God, Who prefers mercy to sacrifice. Ive already painted a stark picture of the hardship and insecurity suffered by the working poor, who must continue their struggle in sickness and in health; people who enjoy no Sabbath of Rest from their cares, except perhaps the spiritual rest of a poor Christian who trusts in God (Psalms 132:15: Matthew 11:28).
Even though church leaders expect their flock to toil long and hard to earn their tithe, theyve got the nerve to complain their people arent getting involved enough in serving the Lord on evangelistic teams, or volunteering for church committees to free up their leaders for more spiritual tasks! They might be theological experts, but I reckon their math skills are so deficient they cant figure out theres only so many hours in the week, eh?
I strongly doubt
that harried wage slaves would have been required to pay a tithe in
ancient Israel, especially the harsh, merciless variety invented by
the clergy of Christendom to fill their bottomless collection plates.
They would have been helping to eat it instead.
read this little book of Malachi in its entirety youll unearth
some hidden worms about the Priesthood which tithe-hungry preachers
have glossed over, those spiritual Levites who are so
eager to claim all the IMAGINARY financial perks of that office, but
who arent so keen on appropriating for themselves the rebukes
and curses directed at that erring hierarchy of hypocrites.
Tithing Brings Bondage to Men
Legalism brings the soul into bondage of fear (Romans 8:14-15). In I Samuel 8:11-18 Samuel delivers grim warnings to the people, who were clamoring for a human king to replace Gods direct government. What does Samuel say about tithing to men? And he will take the tenth of your seed, and of your vineyards, even the best of them, and give them to his servants. And he will take your menservants, and your maidservants, and your goodliest young men, and your asses, and put them to his work. He will take the tenth of your sheep, and ye shall be his servants. And ye shall cry out in that day because of your king which ye have chosen you; and the LORD will not hear you in that day.
Thats just the opposite of preachers saying if we dont pay what they say, God will scrap our prayers. But God is not pleased when we put our trust in men rather than in His goodness, and think our contributions to men will bring us blessings. I think thats why some people get poorer after sending in donations, not richer. I havent paid a dime in tithes for years, and God is blessing my life as never before!
When we pay homage
to a silver-tongued preacher, hoping his intercessions will soften
Gods heart toward us, and hungrily devour his sales pitch instead
of the pure Word of God, we have made ourselves a king to whom we
Tithing is part of the Law. If you try to curry Gods favor by trying to keep Old Testament Law or any portion of it, you fall under a curse, for humans cannot keep the whole Law perfectly. Galatians 3:10 says: Cursed is every one that continueth not in ALL things (its a package deal!) which are written in the book of the Law to do them. Church leaders should fear to put such an onus of certain condemnation on the backs of their parishioners, especially vulnerable babes in Christ. Colossians 2:14 clearly says: Christ has blotted out the handwriting of ordinances (among them the tithe) that was against us (which, in the breaking of them, condemned us before God) and took it (the whole body of Mosaic ordinances) out of the way, nailing it to his cross. But some would take their favorite ones back down to exploit for gain! Have they no shame?
Jesus accepted freewill offerings from His followers, but never collected tithe money. At times He asked for everything a person had, but never to enrich Himself. He said to the rich young ruler in Matthew 19:21: Go sell all you have, give the proceeds to the poor, and follow me. God owns everything we have (Romans 12:1; I Corinthians 6:19-20); not just 10%, and it is only by His permission we can spend anything on ourselves. With liberty comes responsibility to support true works of God as He leads us.
Tithe money collectors cannot appeal to early apostolic teaching to justify their doctrine, and Ill boldly call it what it is: a doctrine of demons,which satan, the Prince of Darkness, sneaked into the Church a long time ago; a rose-tinted heresy which has caused much heartache and hardship for struggling families and filled many hearts with devil-instilled guilt over the centuries. It has made sinners more resistant to the Gospel of the Kingdom of God. What penniless person is going to feel at ease visiting a church whose members either pay tithes or are treated like pariahs?
Oh, but satan is very crafty about it. Hell get Christians thinking theyd better compromise their liberty just a little, to maintain unity in the Church. There are a few disputable gray areas, such as card-playing, worldly fashions, magazines, movies, tastes in music, etc. One sticky example: Some believers think a bit of wine with dinner is okay, because Jesus turned water into wine and drank it Himself. But if your brother or sister sees this as a stumbling-block (Romans 14:21), order a Coke instead.
Tithing Contributes to Inequality and Disunity
But where it concerns coming back into bondage to the Law of Moses, thats a different kettle of fish altogether. Id say its the tithe-collecting overlords of Gods church who are causing divisions: dividing the Body of Christ, Whose members are supposed to have the same tender care one for another, into a caste system of: a moneyed leadership and their inner circle clique of affluent Christians who can pay big tithes; middle-class and poor tithe-payers; and, finally, a bottom rung of poor believers who often dont get the love they need simply because they are valued less. Because offering envelopes are filled out and its hard for parishioners to give in secret, tithing contributes to envy and strife between the haves and the have-nots; between the serving laity and the ones who serve themselves of them.
Just look through the parking lots of any large church on a Sunday morning. In the sections reserved for the leadership you will generally find classier cars than those driven by most of the tithe-paying laity. In II Corinthians 8:8-15, The Apostle Paul shows us the purpose of giving offerings was to supply the needs of the saints, to promote equality in the welfare of the Body of Christ, and those who have much should help those who have little. Those benefited should, when they are able, turn round and help others in need. And, should the more prosperous saint fall into adversity and need help, it should be there for him. Whenever Paul speaks of taking up offerings (never tithes), it is always to supply the lack of the saints, never to purchase luxuries for a privileged few at the top.
Tithing Warps Our Concept of a Loving Heavenly Father
We pay bills and taxes to keep the wolf away from the door, just so well be left alone in peace, not because we think its so much fun. One favorite catch-phrase is often recited before a Prosperity church collects tithes: I give this not as a debt I owe, but as a seed I sow. And this Scripture: God loves a cheerful giver. But if tithing is compulsory, it is paying one bill among many, and especially in the case of struggling poor people, it incites no more cheer than paying the rent!
The harshest tithe enforcers will say youre still defrauding God if you tithe only on the net (whats left over after tax deductions and actually in your possession). Theyll insist you must surrender to God (i.e. themselves) 10% of your gross salary or wages. Lots of people work until May just to pay the tax man. So, in effect, people are really paying God a tax on money they never even see!
Jesus poses a profound question to Simon Peter in Matthew 17:25 when collectors of the Temple tax came calling (Translators notes in the margins and other versions indicate thats the kind of tax it was). What do you think, Simon? inquires Jesus. From whom do the kings of this earth take custom, or tribute? From their own children, or strangers?
Peter replied, From strangers.
Jesus said: Then the children (of the overlords) are free (exempt from paying taxes to them). That same usage for free is found in I Samuel 17:25, where one of the rewards offered for dispatching Goliath is that the giant-slayers father and his house will be free in Israel (free from taxation).
All who have experienced the New birth are free children of God. God does not appoint His more privileged children as religious tax collectors over His humbler ones. In the Old Testament a Temple tax was levied, but not under the New Covenant. Believers of the New Testament ARE the Temple of God! The tithe is a tax, not a gift!
Fear: A Cruel Crowbar
When veiled threats fail to bring in the tithe, the cruelest tithe collector will pull a devilish ace out of his sleeve: unfounded fear of sinning against the Holy Ghost, which is widely known to be an unpardonable sin. Fear of having committed this sin has driven countless Christians crazy with worry. I was shocked by one web page which leads folks to think that withholding tithe money constitutes the sin against the Holy Ghost! Theres no possible way a preacher could sink lower than resorting to this lie of satan!
This misguided tithe teacher appealed to Acts 5:1-11 as his proof text, immediately zeroing in on the part where the Apostle Peter confronts Ananias with his sin and Ananias drops dead. He and his wife Sapphira had lied to the Holy Ghost about the amount of money they were contributing to the church charity fund.
Notice how verse 1 begins: BUT a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession (KJV). The word but tips us off that the beginning of this chapter was a continuation of the context of the final passage of the preceding chapter, Acts 4.
In referring back to the final six verses of Acts 4, we find the context within which Ananias and Sapphiras sin was committed. The earliest believers held all things in common, and nobody claimed exclusive ownership of anything (verse 32). Those who possessed lands were often moved to sell them and lay the purchase price at the apostles feet (verses 34-35), so that distribution could be made to the needy in the congregation.
But even this
sacrifice wasnt compulsory, as Peters words to Ananias
imply: Ananias, why hath satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy
Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land? (Acts 5:3).
Peter emphasizes that Ananias was free to do as he liked with his own land. He could either keep it or sell it. And even after it was sold, the price of the land was still his to do with as he wished. I wonder why that tithe teacher overlooked this minor point when he used this passage to scare tithes out of Gods people!
That web preacher missed the real REASON Ananias and his wife suffered such severe judgment from God. He inferred that this couple died for withholding a REQUIRED contribution from the Holy Spirit (I hope the webmaster wasnt saying that when you give in to fishers-for-funds youre really giving to the Spirit!!) But that wasnt the issue at all. The sin lay in Ananias LYING to the Spirit of the Lord about where HIS OWN money went just so he could sponge off the communal fund and save money on living expenses, while claiming credit for a bigger contribution than he actually made!
Another serious, unforgivable sin against the Holy Spirit is to deliberately slander Him by knowingly attributing His holy nature and wonderful works to satan. This is what Jesus enemies did in Mark 3:22-30. They accused Him of having an unclean spirit and performing His miracles through the power of satan, although they knew full well Christ fulfilled ancient prophecies about the promised Messiah and really was Who He claimed to be. These same Pharisees were very meticulous about tithing (Matt. 23:23; Luke 18:12), yet they still committed the sin against the Holy Ghost. This sin had nothing to do with disobeying the Law of Monetary Tithing, a tradition of men.
God knows each persons heart. He can have mercy on those who stumble out of ignorance (Luke 23:34; Acts 3: 17; I Tim. 1:13.) But as for tithe enforcers who DELIBERATELY misapply scary Scriptures to put a ransom price on the peace of Gods people, these rascals put themselves in the same league as satan, who also resorted to Scripture-twisting to further his own ends (tempting Christ in the wilderness in Matt. 4:5-6).
Such pulpit bullies
are in very deep trouble with their Maker. I sure would hate to be
in their shoes when God calls them to account for cashing in on the
unforgivable sin by using it as a crowbar to pry tithes out of believers!
I suspect the only sin they cant forgive is people wising up
to their sick game and breaking free of their spiritual abuse. Charging
innocent saints with the unforgivable sin is the sickest, meanest
trick pulpit bullies can pull out of their hat. And those hypocrites
do it in the name of the God Whose values of love and mercy they reject.
Hard-hearted pulpit bullies will someday find out what God considers an unforgivable sin! A Hypothetical Case:
Sally in Titheland
Sally, a widow with a two-year-old son, makes $300 a week at her nursing job. 30% of her salary goes for Social Security, state and federal tax, BEFORE she even tackles her spiralling rent, which seems to increase every other month. More goes for child care, utilities, work-related expenses, and car payments. Her net income, before paying all those whopping bills, is only $210, but her pastor habitually warns: (I actually heard something like this once): Just try and withhold Gods tithe. If you break this Law He has set in motion, youll reap the consequences. God will withdraw His protection and youll end up paying it anyway, either through a hospital bill, or for medicine and doctors!
Sally looks at her little son. Fear has tied her to the tithe. What responsible mother could risk her own childs safety and well-being over a little money? So with more heaviness than hilarity she writes out a check for $35. The extra $5.00 constitutes her love offering, so God wont think shes a tightwad. The $30 was one-tenth (the tithe) of her gross income, but exactly one-seventh of her net (disposable) income. By appealing to the punitive force of a law God never meant for New Covenant believers, tithe teachers snag much more than 10% of a persons take-home pay.
So what is poor Sally to do, moonlight at McDonalds so she can afford to tithe on her first paycheck? Doesnt she deserve a few minutes of quality time each night with her son so she can read him a bedtime story and tell him how much Jesus loves him? Doesnt she deserve a decent home life at least as much as the tithe-extractors do? Does God really prefer sacrifice to mercy? Is He, as some insinuate, only pleased with His children when they are suffering privation for the Kingdom of God?
and turns all Saturday night. Next morning, shes way too tired
to go to church. She can just go for the evening service, she reasons.
Surely the church wont go bankrupt before she delivers her tithe
How odd, she thinks, hes never preached on THESE Scriptures! A weight of oppression lifts from her soul. She has church right there in the privacy of her home, worshipping and praising God.
She tears up
her tithe. Thats one pastor she just cant afford.
Hold fast to the truth as revealed in the Gospel of Grace. Trust in God to be your Defender against all the deceiving spirits who would fill your heart with fear of breaking with bad traditions. He will give you courage to hold fast to the truth, although others might prefer traditions of men to truth, and would deny your liberty as a blood-washed, Spirit-indwelt child of God.
Sally would have found tithing much more merciful under the Old Covenant. As a landless widow, she wouldnt have been expected to tithe at all. She would have helped consume the tithe instead.
law of the ancient Israelites never imposed the payment of other big
income taxes before bringing in the tithe of the land. Big taxes only
came with big government, such as when Israel demanded
that God give them an earthly king. Todays tithers pay heavy
secular taxes before tithing on the original figure, which is never
even in their possession.
They play on the fact that while most adults can read, lots of folks cant yet rightly divide the Word of Truth in order to discern solid truth from hyped-up error based on one or two Scriptures twisted and taken out of context. And, playing on their innate fears of offending God, these wolves in sheeps clothing judge those who refuse to cough the money up as being cursed with a curse for not giving in to their ransom demand!
These greedy wolves dare paint God as just another wolf at the door! Shame on them!
And, in the minds of petrified parishioners, those self-serving lords over Gods Heritage are equated with God Himself, to be paid off with fear and trembling.
Liberty Must Be Defended
Be on your guard.
Let the Scriptural truths I have just shared with you fortify you
against the wiles of the devil, who appears as an angel of light.
He will even use zealous, unscriptural sermons to try to shame you
into tithing anyway, to try to steal more and more your God-given
liberty by degrees. Give satan an inch and hell surely demand
a mile. He has as his end the impoverishment of the Bride of Christ,
and its re-enslavement into the bondage of fear. So he uses spiritually
blind religious leaders to enforce a Law of Tithing by using his favorite
below-the-belt tactic: instill guilt toward God into a people who,
at conversion, received the gift of peace with God through faith.
Those who are keen on filling their coffers but cant fool believers
who have studied their Bible will say: If you really loved Jesus,
you wouldnt be so contentious about it, or resort to intellectual
arguments to get out of it. Lacking Scriptural backing for this
destructive doctrine, theyll resort to mysticism, and wrest
(twist) Scripture to their own advantage, as Peter warns in II Peter
3:16. Scripture correctly applied in context must be the final authority,
not the biased reasonings of someone who has an extensive seminary
on science and world events are well-researched, but on the subject
of tithing he misses by a country mile. Without any Scriptural backing
he just glibly assumes its a given that the tithe applies to
modern Christians, and applies to money, and it should fill Christians
with joy to comply with this tradition. The central theme of Malachi
is never mentioned: Gods efforts to set a crooked priesthood
straight. I, a housewife with a Junior College degree and 30-odd years
informal teaching by the Holy Spirit, have already shared more than
enough solid evidence to rest my case on that point, and Id
be surprised if tithe-collecting theologians have never come across
or wondered about the very Scriptures Ive shared with you. Peter
and John didnt even have a high school diploma (Acts 4:13),
but their words rang with a truth which set people free. Even Jesus
held his own in the Temple when He was a boy of twelve discoursing
with some very learned Rabbis.
Hogwash! If anybodys being greedy, its those blind leaders of the blind who are living like royalty at the expense of the Body of Christ! And the more luxuries they enjoy, the more they want.
Lots of Christians believe in defending their Constitutional liberties, because they realize much blood was shed in the past to secure those freedoms. I maintain that it is infinitely more important to defend your spiritual liberty in Christ from unwarranted encroachment. Jesus did indeed shed His own precious Blood so we could live in liberty. Scripture instructs us to earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints (Jude 3). Paul tells us to prove ALL things (even deeply entrenched religious traditions); hold fast that which is good (I Thessalonians 5:21). And the flip side of the coin is to reject that which isnt good. Never, never, never shrink away from your God-given right and duty to examine all teachings in the light of Scripture just because some bigwig in a fancy suit tries to pull rank on you to lay claim to the fruits of your labor. Remember your position in Christ Jesus as an heir of God, and joint-heir of Christ (Romans 8: 14-17). You have the mind of Christ, and He will reveal all truth to you through the Spirit, so that you are able to distinguish between doctrine which springs from mans so-called wisdom and the true counsel of God (John 6:45; 14:26; 16:13, I Corinthians 2:11-16; I John 2:20, 27). We are not to be bound by questionable doctrines, but our hearts are to be deeply rooted in the grace of God ( Hebrews 13:9).
Weve feasted on the solid meat of the Word, now for the dessert:
In Numbers 18:20 the Lord says to Aaron: Thou shalt have no inheritance in their land, neither shalt thou have any part among them: I am thy part and thine inheritance among the children of Israel.
So we read that the Lord Himself was the inheritance of the Levites, rather than the land which grew the tithe. In Ephesians 1: 12-14 it says: That we should be to the praise of His Glory, who first trusted in Christ. In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the Gospel of your salvation: In whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of His glory. Like the Levites, we can truly say the Lord Himself is our inheritance!
Now remember, it was the fruits of the Old Testament worshippers inheritance that mandatory tithes were paid on, and nothing else! In applying principles of Scripture, you must do it strictly by Gods rules, or your doubtful doctrine is built on shifting sand, and collapses like a house of cards! Now if we must tithe, we ought to do it the Biblical way, dont you think? That means we must tithe just like the Israelites did, on the inheritance God has given us! Now I challenge any expert on Christian finance to answer me this: How can a modern believer tithe on the fruits of his God-given inheritance, which is a heavenly inheritance, of which the Holy Spirit Himself is the down payment! Can you tithe on the fruits of the Spirit? Nonsense! How do you put 10% of the Spirits love, joy, and peace into the offering plate!?!
Now for the final nail in the coffin of compulsory tithing:
Acts Chapter 15 tells of a great theological dispute among early church leaders. Were non-Jewish believers obligated to keep the Law of Moses in order to earn and keep their salvation? None other than the Apostle Peter says that if the Old Law was hard for Jews to bear, why should Gentile believers, who were already justified by faith, have that burdensome yoke placed on them?
The apostles reached a sensible decision. Only four restrictions would be placed upon the liberty of the Gentile believers:
To refrain from: