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The Body Of Christ Is Not Under The Old-Testament Ordinance Of Tithing No Matter What Covenant Theologist May Believe And Teach!

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Page One, Part One. Tithing: "Law Versus Grace."

 

1. If the readers desire to have a part in the Lord's work as soul workers, it would be great for them to begin their own tract ministry by down loading our messages and send or give copies to others. What could be more important for you as an ambassador for Christ than to support the Body of Christ in this way? The messages are already written, so why not pass them on to others? {See I- Corinthians 5:17-21}.

2. As to the writer's belief and doctrine, we are strictly Biblical! We adhere to no denominational beliefs unless what they teach is taken from the true Word of God, and taught in the correct context. We believe that we are to be busy proclaiming the truths for the present age of grace, in view of the soon coming of our Lord.

3. The reader will notice that we have put words in parenthesis in the various Bible verses, this is done to help the student have a better understanding of the old King James language which is often a little bewildering to some folks who are not use to that kind of speech. Therefore, please bear with us as we teach the message. One more thing we might mention, sometimes when writing a message, we may recopy various verses to bring out something that may have been over looked the first time. In addition, we will also paraphrase various verses at different times to give a more comprehensive interpretation of the text.

4. A good idea would be to read your Bible along with each verse we have quoted. It is also very important for the student to look up all the added Bible texts that we have referred to in the Message. This will give the reader much added information! Another thing we should mention is that when we copy a verse from the Bible we will change much of the spelling from the archaic 16th century King James language to the modern way of spelling ---such as : "searcheth to searches, thy to your, standeth to stands, knoweth to knows, maketh to makes, nay to no, bringeth to bring or brings, hath to has or have, saith to says, doeth to does, wherefore to therefore, thee to the, justifieth to justify, helpeth to help, liveth to lives, ever to always, etc." None of this will take away from the true meaning of the original text.

The Question Is: "Where Did Tithing Originate?"

5. It seems that "Tithing" actually begin with Abraham as a freewill offering, and later his grandson Jacob also offered a tenth as a freewill offering. When we turn to the following verses we receive a better view of this promise.

6. {V. 10} Scripture: "And Jacob went out from Beer-sheba, and went toward Haran.

7. {V. 11} And he lighted [came] upon a certain place, and tarried there all night, because the sun was set; and he took [one] of the stones of that place, and put them [used it] for his pillows, and lay down in that place to sleep.

8. {V. 12} And he dreamed, and behold a ladder [more likely a stairway was] set upon the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven: and [he] beheld the angels of God ascending and descending on it.

9. {V. 13} And, behold, the Lord [Jehovah: Jesus] stood above it, and said, I am the Lord God of Abraham your father, and the God of Isaac: the land whereon you lie, to you will I give it, and to your seed [descendants];

10. {V.14} And your seed [offspring ... descendants] shall be as [countless as] the dust of the earth, and you shall spread abroad to the west, and to the east, and to the north, and to the south: and in you and in your seed [descendants] shall all the families of the earth be blessed. See {Galatians 3:16}.

11. {V. 15} And, behold, I am with you, and will keep [watch over] you [with care] in all places wherever you go, and [ I ] will bring you [back] again into this land; for I will not leave you, until I have done that which I have spoken to you of.

12. In {Vs. "13-15}" after identifying Himself as the God of Abraham and Isaac, the Lord confirmed to Jacob the Abrahamic covenant and added the promise of His presence with Jacob wherever Jacob would travel].

13. {V. 16} And Jacob awakened out of his sleep, and he said, Surely the Lord is in this place; and I knew it not.

14. {V. 17} And he was afraid, and said, how dreadful [how to be feared and reverenced] is this place! This is none other but the house of God, and this is the gate [way to] of Heaven.

15. {V. 18} And Jacob rose up early in the morning, and took the stone that he had put [under his head] for his pillow, and set it up for a pillar [a monument to the vision he had had], and [he] poured oil upon the top of it [in dedication].

[The pouring of oil was a procedure that consecrated the altar].

16. {V. 19} And he called the name of that place Beth-el [which means house of God]: but the name of that city was called Luz at the first.

17. {V. 20} And Jacob vowed a vow, saying, If God will be with me [and protect me] in this way that I go, and will give me bread [food] to eat, and raiment [clothing] to put on,

18. {V. 21} So that I [may] come again to my father's house in peace; then shall the Lord be my God;

19. {V. 22} And this stone, which I have set [up] for a pillar [monument], Shall be God's house [a sacred place to me]: and of all [the increase of possessions] that You shall give me I will surely give the tenth [as a "tithe" back] to You, {Genesis 28:10-22}."

20. [Giving a tenth, or "Tithe," was common among Semitic peoples and was an act that acknowledged the superiority of the one to whom it was paid]. See {Ch. 14:20}.

21. The word ladder would be better rendered ramp or staircase. It is related to the mound thrown up against a walled city, see

{2- Samuel 20:15}. The many angels [messengers] that were seen ascending and descending on the staircase indicate the appropriateness of the rendering. Jesus took this figure of a means of access between heaven and earth as a picture of Himself, see {John 1:51}. The Lord standing above the ladder makes this no small occasion, for Jehovah and His messengers are shown to be present. And in {V. 15} Jehovah stated: "Behold, I am with you." The Almighty God lovingly comes to Jacob and confirms to him what Isaac - Jacob's father had promised Him, see {Genesis 28:3-4}. The Lord's promise of His presence was suited to Jacob and his circumstances; in addition, it was God Almighty's [Hebrew "El Shaddai's] confirmation of the Abrahamic covenant. The land promised to Abraham was now guaranteed to Jacob and his descendants.

22. The pillars and oil are the symbols normally used for a memorial, see {Deuteronomy 27:2; and Isaiah 19:19} and consecration - {Leviticus 8:10-11}. The pillars that were later forbidden were related to Baal worship, {Deuteronomy 12:3} and objects of worship, {Micah 5:13}. The word "Beth-el" means "House of God," and became the name of nearby 'Luze.' The words: "Then shall the Lord be my God" is actually a part of Jacob's account of what the Lord would do for him. Jacob's own promise begins in {Genesis 28: 22}, "I will surely give the tenth." This was voluntary on Jacob's part; God had not commanded it, see {Genesis 14:20} where Abraham's tenth to Melchizedek was also a voluntary offering. It has been considered that there were three "Tithes" to be given by the Israelites as follows:

23. "Tithing" wasn't a requirement until the Law was given to Israel; and then two "Tithes" were given, not one as most Believers assume. There was [the annual "Tithe" for the maintenance of the priestly tribe of the Levites in {Leviticus 27:30-34; and Numbers 18:21}; and one for the Lord's feast in {Deuteronomy 14:22-24}. It may be that every third year the second "Tithe" was not brought to the sanctuary, but kept at home and used to feed the Levites and the poor according to {Deuteronomy 14:28-29}. If not, then there was a third "Tithe" every third year. Therefore, an Israelite might give 23 1/3% or more annually, Plus offerings for sin, love, and etc.; which could add up to as much as 30 percent.

24. At the present time our economy is said to be in shambles. But, as far back as I can remember, there has always been something wrong with the economy. This writer was present all the way through the great depression of the 1930s and later have witnessed inflation's, recessions, high unemployment, trade deficits, high interest rates, stagflation, oil shortages, oil gluts, a weak dollar, a strong dollar, an arms race, a steadily rising poverty level, and we are sure that more of the same is going to follow, but perhaps, not in the same order.

25. Now personally, I am not an economist, but perhaps I will be forgiven for suggesting that there is something a little weird in all this. In case you haven't noticed, try analyzing what they tell you and see if I'm wrong. No matter what the economy does, there will be no shortage of economists on the morning news with worried faces, gloomy forecasts and grim predictions of what can happen if this remedy or that cure is not forth-coming. It's almost as if we were surrounded by economic hypochondriacs. Truthfully now, Is our economy really bad off?

26. Well, it certainly isn't all that good, and most of us can sympathize with some ancient Israelites who according to the prophet Haggai, earned wages only to put them into a bag with holes. If we aren't being cursed, we at least don't feel very blessed. In their case, there was a reason why things were going wrong. In the earlier years, the Jewish people had made a start in building the Temple only to cease when intimidated by their neighbors. Since that time, no work had been done on the house of God. Then one day a prophet arrived with a message:

27. {V. 1} Scripture: "In the second year of Darius the king [of Persia, successor to King Cyrus], in the sixth month, in the first day of the month, came the Word of the Lord by Haggai the prophet [in Jerusalem after the Babylonian captivity] unto Zerub'babel the son of Sheal'tiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua the son of Jos'edech [or can be spelled Jehozadak], the high priest, saying, {Haggai 1:1}." ... [keep reading] ...

28. Darius 1 (Hystaspes) ascended to the throne of Persia in 522 B.C. and appointed Zerubbabel, grandson of Jehoiachin, king of Judah {1-Chronicles 3:17, 19}, as governor of the newly constituted province of Judah, "Six months," Elul (September). Josedech, was the high priest at the time of the Babylonian invasion, see {1- Chronicles 6:1-15}. Nadab, and Abihu were killed for defiantly offering "strange fire, {Leviticus 10:1-2}." The names that follow are successive Aaronic priests through his son Eleazar to the Babylonian captivity.

29. The Ithamar line of priests are also omitted: e.g; Meraioth {1- Chronicles 9:1}. This book of kings mentioned in the verse is not the same book of Kings that is displayed in our Bible. The verse is speaking of the court records and registers of that day that have been lost long ago. Jehoi'ada {2- Chronicles 22:11}, and Uri'jah {2- Kings 16:10}. Zadok was the first priest under king David {2- Samuel 20:25} and Solomon {1- Kings 4:1-4}. Special attention to the temple ministry of Azariah may be a reference to the incident described in {2- Chronicles 26:17}. Hilki'ah was the priest who discovered the book of the Law in 622 B.C. which initiated Josiah's reform, {2- Kings 22:8; 2- Chronicles 34:14. See also 34:28}. Jehozadak [variant spelling is Josadak , {Ezra 3:2} was taken captive in 586 B.C. at the fall of Jerusalem. His son Joshua returned from exile to Jerusalem as his successor {Ezra 3:2, 8; 5:2; and Haggai 1:1}.

30. {V. 2} continuing from {V. 1} above, Scripture: "Thus speaks the Lord of hosts, saying, This people say, The time is not [yet] come [it isn't], the time that the Lord's house should be built,

31. [Although Cyrus had ordered it done sixteen years before; rebuilding of the Jerusalem walls had later been forbidden, but not so of the Temple].

32. {V. 3} Then came the Word of the Lord by Hag'gai the prophet, saying:

33. {V. 4} Is it time for you, O you [yourselves], to dwell in your ceiled houses, and this house [of the Lord] lies waste [in ruins?] {Haggai 1:2-4}."

34. [Ceiled houses, actually this meant that the people were living in paneled houses.' This was a sign of the fact that they were living in luxury since expensive timber had to be imported for the building of their dwellings. But, the Temple, the Lord's house was ignored and left in an unfinished state, it had began to be built about 16 years previously], see {Ezra 3:2- 4:5}. According to Haggai, the people had left off building God's house, and instead built their own homes, planted crops, and gone about their own business. Meanwhile, the Temple of God lay still in ruins. The Lord seems to have taken this neglect quite seriously because He stated ...

35. {V. 5} Scripture: "Now therefore thus says the Lord of hosts; Consider your ways [and set your mind on what has come to you].

36. {V.6} You have sown much, and bring in little; you eat, but you have not enough; you drink, but you are not filled with drink; you clothe you [yourself], but there is none warm; and he that earns wages earns wages to put into a bag with holes [in it], {Haggai 1:5-6}."

37. Even in this present century, that Scripture has a familiar ring. We know how it feels to work hard for our money and then wonder where it all went. The prophet continued and said ...

38. {V. 7} Scripture: "Thus says the Lord of hosts; Consider your ways [your previous and present conduct, and how you have fared].

39. {V. 8} Go up to the mountain [or hill country], and bring wood [for lumber], and [re:] build the [Lord's] house [Temple]; and I will take pleasure in it, and I will be glorified, says the Lord [by accepting it as done for My glory, and by displaying My glory in it].

40. {V. 9} You looked for much [harvest], and, lo, it came to little; and [even] when you brought it home, I did blow upon it [and blew it away because of your disobedience to Me, therefore I am chastising you]. Why? says the Lord of hosts. Because of [the fact that] My house that is [laying] waste, and [yet you ignore it and] you run every man unto his own house [being eager to build and adorn it], {Haggai 1:7-9}."

41. [And it's true in any age of man, that covetousness is a carnal sin, one of the Lord's parables tells us of a certain rich man who was guilty of this sin. The Lord now tells the story of such a man: who, after an exceptional harvest, considered what to do with it]:

42. {V. 15} Scripture: "And He said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man's life consists not in the abundance of the things which he possesses.

43. {V. 15} above paraphrased: " And Jesus said to His disciples, Guard yourselves and keep free from all covetousness ... the immoderate desire for wealth, the greedy longing to have more; for a man's life does not consist and is not derived from possessing overflowing abundance, or that which is over and above his need]."

[Concerning "{Vs. 14-15}," Jesus refused to assume the position of judge in this secular matter].

44. {V. 16} And He spoke a parable to them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man [was fertile] brought forth plentifully:

45. {V. 17} And he [the rich man] thought [considered and debated] within himself what shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits?

46. {V. 18} And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns [storehouses], and build greater [larger ones]; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods [grain and produce, and what other goods I may acquire].

47. {V. 19} And I will say to my soul [self], Soul, you have much goods laid up [enough] for many years: take your ease, eat, drink, and be merry [enjoy yourself].

48. {V. 20} But God said to him, You fool, this [very] night your soul [life] shall be required of you: then whose shall these things be, which you have provided? {Vs. 19-20}: Man proposes; the Lord disposes. See {Job 27:8; and Jeremiah 17:11}.

49. {V. 21} So is he that lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich [in his relationship] toward God, {Luke 12:15-21}."

50. But why? What evil had he done? What law had he broken? Christ introduced this parable as a warning against covetousness, {V:15}, but in some cases, neither the Greek nor the Hebrew words for "covet" necessarily imply evil. The words may also be translated "greatly desired." For example, Paul encouraged the Corinthians to "covet earnestly the best gifts, {1- Corinthians 12:31}. Under what circumstance then is coveting a sin? The 10th commandment reads this way:

51. Scripture: "You shall not covet your neighbor's house, you shall not covet your neighbor's wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass [donkey], nor any thing that is your neighbor's, {Exodus 20:17}.

Read {V. 15} above again.

[The other commandments basically concern actions; this one deals with thoughts. Sin usually originates from the wrong desire]. Read what James states]:

52. {V. 13} Scripture: "Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempts He any man:

53. {V. 14} But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust [desire], and enticed.

[The words "drawn away" means to be enticed. One picture behind these words could refer to the hunter or fisherman luring their prey away from its safe retreat].

54. {V. 15} Then when lust has conceived, it brings forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, brings forth death, {James 1:13-15}."

55. To tempt is to test, try, prove, or solicit to evil. In {Vs. 2 and 12} that same Greek word for "temptation" is used to mean those trials which are designed to prove the quality of one's character. In {V. 13} the word means "a solicitation to evil," and this, James says, is not from God but from man's own inner lust {V. 14}. Any attempt at self-excuse is based on ignorance, both of God and of the nature of temptation.

56. {V. 5} Scripture: "Mortify [put to death] therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence [desire], and covetousness, which is idolatry.

57. {V. 6} For which things' sake the wrath of God comes on the children of disobedience, {Colossians 3:5-6}." See {Ephesians 2:2}.

58. {Vs. 5-6} above paraphrased: "So kill deaden, deprive of power" the evil desire lurking in your members ... those animal impulses and all that is earthly in you that is employed in sin: sexual vice, impurity, sensual appetites, unholy desires, and all greed and covetousness, for that is the same thing as idolatry, [idol worship, which one can be guilty of the deifying of self and other created things instead of God ... It is on account of these very sins that the holy anger of the Lord is time after time coming upon those who are obstinately opposed to His Divine will, this concerns all the children that are disobedient to the will of the Lord."

59. Coveting is a sin when you desire something unlawful or something that belongs to someone else. But the rich man in this parable had planted his own seed in his own land. He had cultivated with his own sweat. He had gone into his own field and harvested his own crops. How could he covet what he already owned? The only way this man could be guilty of covetousness is if God laid prior claim to some portion of his wealth. You must remember that at that time, this rich man was still under the Kingdom system, and that "Tithing" was an ordinance of that legalistic system. The grace period had not as yet been introduced through the Apostle Paul.

60. Legalism was tremendously powerful and in full force during the Kingdom administration and was to be enforced by the Hebrews themselves. Jesus plainly teaches in this parable that the man who had enjoyed the bounty of God's good green earth owed a material obligation to God. The existence of an obligation implied a standard. If a man was not free to give little or no offering as he saw fit, he was not free at all. The person was obliged to be "rich" toward God, but how rich? And, more to the point, Why?

The Power to Get Wealth:

61. When Israel was ready to enter the promised land, God gave them a set of laws and promises which taken together comprised a covenant - or agreement. Speaking through Moses, He laid out the foundation of the Law and followed it with promises of blessing and warnings of responsibility. He made it clear to them that one result of obedience to the commandments of God was material blessings ... even wealth! {Deuteronomy 7:12-14}.

62. But today, don't you believe, that things are very similar to the past age of the law, in that folks do not want to share their wealth with the Lord? There is a perversity in human nature. We remember the Lord when times are bad, and we forget Him when times are good. It was true of the ancient Israelites and it is still true of modern man. The solemn warning of Moses to the Hebrews carries just as much urgency today because people still rob God. Since the Jews were under law , and we are now under grace, this does not mean that we are not to fulfill our obligations in giving! The Israelites were told to ...

63. {V. 11} Scripture: "Beware that you forget not the Lord your God, in not keeping His commandments, and His judgments, and His statutes, which I command you this day:

64. {V. 12} Lest when you have eaten and are full, and have built goodly houses, and dwelt therein;

65. {V. 13} And when your herds and your flocks multiply, and your silver and your gold is multiplied, and all that you have is multiplied;

66. {V. 14} Then your heart [mind] be lifted up, and you forget the Lord your God, which brought you forth out of the land of Egypt from the house of bondage;

67. {V. 17} And you say in your heart [mind], My power and the might of my hand has gotten me this wealth.

68. {V. 18} But you shall [earnestly] remember the Lord your God: for it is He that gives you power to get wealth that He may establish His covenant which He swore to your fathers, as it is this day, {Deuteronomy 8:11-14; 17-18}."

[This is an important lesson to remember: all we have, is of God's grace, see {1- Corinthians 4:7}.

69. So during the Kingdom Administration under this parable that Jesus uttered, the rich man was condemned because he was ignoring the source of his power to get wealth ... he was denying God. It is required of every man in every age to acknowledge God as the source of his wealth. But what form does this acknowledgment take? Of course, we can always get on our knees and thank God for the good things God has given us. But it seems Jesus even in this age of grace requires some sort of material acknowledgment from the Believer. As King Solomon put it to the Israelites, he said:

70. {V. 9} Scripture: "Honor the Lord with your substance [capital and sufficiency from righteous labors], and with the first-fruits of all your increase [income]: See {Deuteronomy 26:1-4; Malachi 3:10; and Luke 14:13-14}.

71. [Repeating ourselves, let me say again that there was more than one "Tithe" offered by the Israelis, and we will likely repeat this again before this message is finished. One was an annual "Tithe" for the maintenance of the Levites.

{Leviticus 27:30; and Numbers 18:31}, and another "Tithe" was brought to Jerusalem for the Lord's feast, and remember also, grain from the field was also to be "Tithed" {Deuteronomy 14:22}. Every third year, however, a different "Tithe" was kept at home and used for the poor {Deuteronomy 14:14-28}.

72. {V. 10} so shall your barns [storage houses] be filled with plenty, and your presses [vats] shall [overflow and] burst out with new wine, {Proverbs 3:9-10}." See {Deuteronomy 28:8}.

[There is a clear connection between our generosity toward God and our own economic well being].

73. In this age of grace, one's use of money is often a barometer of his spirituality as the following verse makes clear :

74. Scripture: "But whoever has this world's goods, and sees his brother have need, and shuts up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwells the love of God in Him? My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth, {1- John 3:17-18}."

75. The above {Vs. 17-18} paraphrased: "[But if anyone has this world's goods ... resources for sustaining life ... and sees his brother and fellow Christian Believer in need, yet closes his mind of compassion against him, how can the love of God live and remain in him? Little children, let us not love merely in theory or just in words but in deed and in truth ... practice and in sincerity]."

[Does this mean that we should support every poor person we meet? of course not! There are people in many places who believe the world owes them a living. These people sometimes lay around and refuse to work, thus allowing their families to go without . Naturally this isn't always the case. Many go hungry because they are unable to work. There will always be poor people, and it would be unwise to believe everybody should be supported].

76. Self- sacrificing love is required of the Believer. Though very few are called on to sacrifice their lives, practically all Christians can give sacrificially of their substance, referring naturally to their worldly goods. This of course, is not necessarily referring to money alone. In the past, usually when the word "Bowels" was mentioned, it referred to the "Mind" which was considered as the seat of affection. Today most folks say "heart." But, 99 times out of a hundred, when the heart is mentioned in the Bible, it is referring to one's mind.

Who Does This World Belong To?

77. The rich man had also broken the tenth commandment. He had coveted something that had belonged to God. But why does God lay prior claim to our substance? Because this whole world plus the rest of the universe belongs to Him, He created it out of nothing, therefore He can do with it as He pleases! The Lord wants humanity to worship Him as the one true God. The Lord is a jealous God. He wants us to study and live by His Word. He wants us to comprehend the fact that His Word is all true, and any other source that may refer to another religion or god is plainly unacceptable to Him. To turn away from the Lord as the United States and the other nations of this earth are rapidly doing makes God angry, and you can be sure, an angry God is a just God, and will judge each nation accordingly.

78. Under the Old Law the "Tithe" was used for various purposes. Presently, just as in the past Kingdom age, the question is considered whether the Lord really needs our substance. Is the Lord impoverished, and are Christians called upon to give sacrificially in order to somehow enrich Him? Hardly. God needs nothing from the hands of humanity. All is already His,

79. Scripture: "The earth is the Lord's, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein, {Psalm 24:1}."

See {1- Corinthians 10:26}. [Not only does God own the world and its wealth, but He owns us as well. In another Psalm God says to man]:

80. {V. 8} Scripture: "I will not reprove you for your sacrifices or your burnt offerings, to have been continually before Me.

81. {V. 9} I will take [accept] no bull out of your house nor the goats out of your folds.

82. {V. 10} For every beast of the forest is Mine, and the cattle upon a thousand hills.

83. {V. 11} I know [and am acquainted with] all the fowls of the mountains: and the wild beast of the field are Mine!

84. {V. 12} If I were hungry , I would not tell you for the world is Mine and the fulness thereof.

85. {V. 13} Will I eat the flesh of bulls, or drink the blood of goats?

86. {V. 14} Offer to God the sacrifice of thanksgiving; and pay your vows to the most High, {Psalm 50:8-14}."

87. The Lord did not reprove the Israelis for failing to bring their offerings {V. 8}, but for bringing them with the motive of trying to make Jehovah, Who had created everything that exists and Who owns all that is in existence, dependent on their generosity.

88. By this reckoning, everything the rich man had placed in his barn actually belonged to God. In that case, he not only had coveted, he was a thief as well. Unless or until he had fulfilled his obligation to God under the old law, none of this produce was really his. But, just what was that obligation?

Continued on Part two of "Tithing."

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