The Lords Tithe – Should A Christian Pay Tithes To The Church? – Part 2
December 8, 2008 by A Watchman
10And I perceived that the portions of the Levites had not been given them: for the Levites and the singers, that did the work, were fled every one to his field. 11Then contended I with the rulers, and said, Why is the house of God forsaken? And I gathered them together, and set them in their place. 12Then brought all Judah the tithe of the corn and the new wine and the oil unto the treasuries. 13And I made treasurers over the treasuries, Shelemiah the priest, and Zadok the scribe, and of the Levites, Pedaiah: and next to them was Hanan the son of Zaccur, the son of Mattaniah: for they were counted faithful, and their office was to distribute unto their brethren. 14Remember me, O my God, concerning this, and wipe not out my good deeds that I have done for the house of my God, and for the offices thereof.
15In those days saw I in Judah some treading wine presses on the sabbath, and bringing in sheaves, and lading asses; as also wine, grapes, and figs, and all manner of burdens, which they brought into Jerusalem on the sabbath day: and I testified against them in the day wherein they sold victuals. 16There dwelt men of Tyre also therein, which brought fish, and all manner of ware, and sold on the sabbath unto the children of Judah, and in Jerusalem. 17Then I contended with the nobles of Judah, and said unto them, What evil thing is this that ye do, and profane the sabbath day? 18Did not your fathers thus, and did not our God bring all this evil upon us, and upon this city? yet ye bring more wrath upon Israel by profaning the sabbath.
19And it came to pass, that when the gates of Jerusalem began to be dark before the sabbath, I commanded that the gates should be shut, and charged that they should not be opened till after the sabbath: and some of my servants set I at the gates, that there should no burden be brought in on the sabbath day. 20So the merchants and sellers of all kind of ware lodged without Jerusalem once or twice. 21Then I testified against them, and said unto them, Why lodge ye about the wall? if ye do so again, I will lay hands on you. From that time forth came they no more on the sabbath. 22And I commanded the Levites that they should cleanse themselves, and that they should come and keep the gates, to sanctify the sabbath day. Remember me, O my God, concerning this also, and spare me according to the greatness of thy mercy.
A man named Nehemiah looked at (took notice of, thought about) what was happening around him, and the scriptures say that he perceived (discerned) that things were not right. His intellect and reason told him that something was wrong. He saw that the Levites and the singers, that did the work in the house of God were out working in the field (the Levites had the tithe as their inheritance so that they wouldn’t have to work in the field, but could devote themselves wholy to God), the King James version of the bible says that they had fled there (infering that they were chased, or driven away), so he went to the rulers to contend (grapple, hold a controversy, defend) with them. I don’t know where the tithe was but when Nehemiah had set things right, the verse tells us “he set treasurers over the treasury“. Then he prays and says, “Lord, remember this one thing, that I have done”.
The previous scripture also says that Nehemiah saw that the people were profaning the Sabbath. In their greed they were working and buying and selling on the Sabbath day, a commanded cease from work, purposed as a day of joyful rest and recreation, in communion with YHVH. When he commanded that they no longer come into the city to buy and sell, they hung around outside the gates, no doubt looking for a way that they could continue to do business. In the end, Nehemiah had to threaten them with physical violence to make them desist from trading on the Lords‘ day.
12After this he went down to Capernaum, he, and his mother, and his brethren, and his disciples: and they continued there not many days. 13And the Jews’ passover was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem, 14And found in the temple those that sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the changers of money sitting: 15And when he had made a scourge of small cords, he drove them all out of the temple, and the sheep, and the oxen; and poured out the changers’ money, and overthrew the tables; 16And said unto them that sold doves, Take these things hence; make not my Father’s house an house of merchandise.
Nehemiah may have temporarily stopped those who were money hungry from profiteering on the Lords day, however, Yahu’shua, coming from Capernaum to Jerusalem for the Passover, perceived that the religious folk were up to their same old tricks again. The Jews were told that if their tithe was too much to carry on the journey that they could sell it before they left and upon arrival at Jerusalem they could buy “whatever their hearts desired”, so in actual fact, what they were doing was not wrong, and they could have felt completely justified in what they were doing. The problem was, that Gods temple is supposed to be a holy place, a place where men should go in awe of God to worship Him, not to buy and sell merchandise.
Today, the church is supposed to be a place of worship unto YHVH.
I want to tell you something. The world today sees the church as a house of merchandise and hypocrisy, rather than a house of worship. Many, many, many men and women have turned away from the church because of money hungry preachers.
It seems that a lot of church buildings you walk into today are into merchandising. I feel ashamed to sit in a church service while the promotion of books, tapes, CD’s, videos and t-shirts goes on around me. It almost seems that today’s ministerial success is measured by the amount of wealth the church can generate. In many Churches we hear a twenty minute message, three times a week, telling us that the Lord has commanded us to give ten percent of our income to the church.
They tell us that it will cost us ten percent of our income just to have God rebuke the devourer for our sakes, and that it is our extra offerings that will cause God to make us prosper.
Meanwhile they are building for themselves a kingdom.
The shameful part is … … … They do this in the name of God.
Some of the ministers teaching these things are ignorant (for want of a better word) of the scriptural methods and principles of tithing. Some have taken a doctrine handed down to them from other, more mature Christians without investigating its scriptural basis (their intentions may be pure), but some, as seen in the scriptures, are greedy men, eager to line their own pockets, they “come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves“ (Matthew 7:15).
11And Jesus entered into Jerusalem, and into the temple: and when he had looked round about upon all things, and now the eventide was come, he went out unto Bethany with the twelve. 12And on the morrow, when they were come from Bethany, he was hungry: 13And seeing a fig tree afar off having leaves, he came, if haply he might find any thing thereon: and when he came to it, he found nothing but leaves; for the time of figs was not yet. 14And Jesus answered and said unto it, No man eat fruit of thee hereafter for ever. And his disciples heard it. 15And they come to Jerusalem: and Jesus went into the temple, and began to cast out them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves; 16And would not suffer that any man should carry any vessel through the temple. 17And he taught, saying unto them, Is it not written, My house shall be called of all nations the house of prayer? but ye have made it a den of thieves. 18And the scribes and chief priests heard it, and sought how they might destroy him: for they feared him, because all the people was astonished at his doctrine. 19And when even was come, he went out of the city. 20And in the morning, as they passed by, they saw the fig tree dried up from the roots.
This time Yahu’shua rides into Jerusalem on a colt from Bethany. When He arrives in Jerusalem He heads straight for the temple of God. He stood inside the temple and looked around. They were back. It was evening, and nobody was there, but he perceived that they were back.
He turned and walked out of the Holy temple of God, went back to Bethany and slept.
In the morning he arose and headed back into Jerusalem with his disciples. From afar He saw a fig tree, in full foliage, and assuming that it bore fruit, being hungry, He approached it. The tree looked good from a distance, but upon inspection, it bore no fruit. There was nothing there to satisfy His hunger. Some translations say that Yahu’shua cursed the fig tree, and He commanded “No man eat fruit of thee hereafter for ever“.
I wonder if, as He spoke those words over that fig tree, He wasn’t thinking about the temple. I wonder if in His minds eye He saw men approach the temple of God, seeing from the outside its full glory, approaching it with a hunger for the reality of the things of God. But when they arrive there is no fruit to quench their hunger. The men there are hungry for money. They use the commandments of God, to their own advantage, to gain material wealth and status for themselves.
And Then … He turns His back and keeps on walking.
Now He approaches the temple.
He enters the doorway to the sanctuary of the Most High God. “They are here again, I told them once and they didn’t listen, this is beyond just merchandising, this is beyond ignorance, these people are full of greed and all kinds of evil. They have turned My house into a den of thieves”.
In a jealous rage of righteous anger for the house of God He upends their tables and chases them out yet again.
“Don’t you realize what you are doing???”
But these men don’t repent, like cowards; they run away and try to devise a plot to destroy Him.
The House of God has not changed much in 2000 years. It is still full of greedy men trying to extort money. They say that it is for God’s kingdom, but in reality, they are building their own kingdom.
19And when even was come, he went out of the city. 20And in the morning, as they passed by, they saw the fig tree dried up from the roots.
6He spake also this parable; A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came and sought fruit thereon, and found none. 7Then said he unto the dresser of his vineyard, Behold, these three years I come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and find none: cut it down; why cumbereth it the ground? 8And he answering said unto him, Lord, let it alone this year also, till I shall dig about it, and dung it: 9And if it bear fruit, well: and if not, then after that thou shalt cut it down.
Notice that in the above verse, “A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard;”
1I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. 2Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. 3Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you. 4Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. 5I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. 6If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. 7If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. 8Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.
It is a vine that our Lord selects to show the spiritual union that subsists between himself and his members (the true church). The rebellious people of Israel are compared to “wild grapes,” “an empty vine,” “the degenerate plant of a strange vine,” etc. Isa. 5:2, 4; Jer. 2:21; Hos. 10:1.
I believe that in these verses, it is a fig tree that our Lord selects to show the union that subsists between Himself and the religious order of the day (priests, pastors, etc).
In the book of Genesis God told Adam and Eve, “17But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die“. When Adam and Eve became sin conscious it was fig leaves that they used to cover their nakedness.
Today (and in Yahu’shuas day), there are men using the priesthood to cover their nakedness.
13But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in. 14Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye devour widows’ houses, and for a pretence make long prayer: therefore ye shall receive the greater damnation. 15Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves. 16Woe unto you, ye blind guides, which say, Whosoever shall swear by the temple, it is nothing; but whosoever shall swear by the gold of the temple, he is a debtor! 17Ye fools and blind: for whether is greater, the gold, or the temple that sanctifieth the gold? 18And, Whosoever shall swear by the altar, it is nothing; but whosoever sweareth by the gift that is upon it, he is guilty. 19Ye fools and blind: for whether is greater, the gift, or the altar that sanctifieth the gift? 20Whoso therefore shall swear by the altar, sweareth by it, and by all things thereon. 21And whoso shall swear by the temple, sweareth by it, and by him that dwelleth therein. 22And he that shall swear by heaven, sweareth by the throne of God, and by him that sitteth thereon. 23Woe 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 ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone. 24Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel. 25Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess. 26Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also. 27Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness. 28Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity. 29Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! because ye build the tombs of the prophets, and garnish the sepulchres of the righteous, 30And say, If we had been in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets. 31Wherefore ye be witnesses unto yourselves, that ye are the children of them which killed the prophets. 32Fill ye up then the measure of your fathers. 33Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?
Just as Adam and Eve covered their nakedness with fig leaves, men try to cover their spiritual nakedness with religion.
Notice what the priests eyes are on:
verse 14: widows houses
verse 16: the gold of the temple
verse 18: the gift upon the altar
verse 23: tithes
verse 25: extortion and excess
All these things they lust after, and they do it in the name of God.
Yahu’shua says to these men “and for a pretence (outward showing: – cloak) you make long prayers:” They disguise their lust and greed, hiding behind their fig leaf of religion.
In the Strongs Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, the word hypocrite infers “an actor under an assumed character, a stage player”. Jesus never used that word in reference to any of His disciples; He did however use it repeatedly in reference to the scribes and Pharisees.
The lord says that because they are using God, and His kingdom to satisfy their own lusts, “therefore ye shall receive the greater damnation” (v 14)
1My brethren, be not many masters (teachers), knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation (James 3:1). My prayer today is that if the Lord were to make reference to you, He would not refer to you as a hypocrite, but as a genuine seeker, and doer, of the truth.
9And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: every tree therefore which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. 10And the people asked him, saying, What shall we do then? 11He answereth and saith unto them, He that hath two coats, let him impart to him that hath none; and he that hath meat, let him do likewise. 12Then came also publicans to be baptized, and said unto him, Master, what shall we do? 13And he said unto them, Exact no more than that which is appointed you. 14And the soldiers likewise demanded of him, saying, And what shall we do? And he said unto them, Do violence to no man, neither accuse any falsely; and be content with your wages.
And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees
Now is the point of decision.
Are you a servant of the most high God, or a religious actor following the doctrines of men? Some of you pastors may say, “It is too hard to change“, or “I have a mortgage to pay, I cannot do it”. Still others will call me a raving lunatic, a heretic. But some of you will change your way of thinking, stand up for what is right, and enter yourselves into the beautiful, God inspired, fellowship oriented form of tithing that God ordained.
35By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.
A Greek transliteration (the original language that the verse was written in) of the word ‘love’ in the above scripture is the word ‘agapē’ which means:
1) affection, good will, love, benevolence, brotherly love
2) love feasts
As you can see… The above scripture (John 13:35) is the full embodiment of the tithing principle