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The unholy tithe: Defiling God’s name December 20, 2011

Posted by Henry in Tithing.
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9 comments

10Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it. (Mal 3:10)

Most of us who know a little about the “tithe” are aware that the Biblical tithe is Holy unto God (Lev 27:30-33). However, the practice of tithing in the church today is an “unholy” practice which does not bring glory to God but rather defiles His name. I believe the practice of tithing in the New Covenant church creates confusion amongst believers and since God is not the author of confusion (1 Cor 14:33), it is arguably whether God does preside over churches that create confusion and are defiling His name.

Some people may think that to tithe or not to tithe is no big deal and put it down to mere “theological differences”. In this regard they don’t think that this is a topic worth discussing. However there are ministers who teach that if you don’t tithe you can’t go to Heaven. In my view therefore, this topic warrants a serious debate as most of Christendom is caught up in a practice that is unbiblical where the new church is concerned. I further believe that this is one of the central tenets of the church, which instead of empowering it, weakens the fabric of the church. It begs the question of whether God actually preside over such defilement. How can a church collect tithes under false pretences and then pray to the Lord to bless it and use it according to His will in furthering the work of His Kingdom? We may think we are doing God a service but we are actually doing Him a disservice by declaring things from the pulpit in His name that He did not command the church to observe. This is a SIN before GOD.

Let me state categorically here that if anyone wants to give 10% of their income to the church, there is nothing wrong in principle in doing so. However, if you are giving because you feel obligated to do so because of what was said under the Old Covenant (such as the verse of Malachi 3 stated above), then you are effectively saying that Christ did not do enough – that He only fulfilled part of the Law but not the whole Law. In this way you are denying Christ and make His cross of no effect.

Pastors and other ministers of the Gospel are defiling God’s name when they declare from the pulpit that He did not abolish the tithe and that the church today are required to observe tithing. When they quote from Leviticus 27 they are careful to leave out verse 34 which says:

34These are the commandments, which the LORD commanded Moses for the children of Israel in mount Sinai.   

 

The tithing commandments were given to Israel and Israel alone, which they were to observe in the Promised Land. Hebrews 7:5 confirms that only the Levites had a commandment to take a tithe of their brethren, not modern-day pastors. How can church leaders therefore quote Leviticus 27 in support of reasons why the church should tithe without being deceitful? Similarly, the scriptures in Malachi 3 tell us plainly who the passage was speaking to in verse 9 when it says “this whole nation” referring to the Nation of Israel. Verse 7 of the said passage was a rebuke to Israel that from the days of their fathers they had gone away from the ordinances (laws) of God. This was the reason they were cursed and not simply for not paying the tithe. The history of the curse is set out in Deut 11:

26Behold, I set before you this day a blessing and a curse; 27A blessing, if ye obey the commandments of the LORD your God, which I command you this day: 28And a curse, if ye will not obey the commandments of the LORD your God, but turn aside out of the way which I command you this day, to go after other gods, which ye have not known. 29And it shall come to pass, when the LORD thy God hath brought thee in unto the land whither thou goest to possess it, that thou shalt put the blessing upon mount Gerizim, and the curse upon mount Ebal.

We see here that it was a blessing if Israel obeyed the commandments they were to observe in the Promised Land but a curse if they didn’t and the reference in Mal 3:9 relates to this very curse. How can a pastor, prophet or evangelist rebuke the church to tithe based on Mal 3 when it was NOT spoken to the church, without being deceitful? How can they threaten the church with the curse of the Law, which Christ has redeemed us from (Gal 3:13)? According to Paul in 1 Tim 1: 5-7 however, such people who desire to teach the Law have no understanding of what they teach or what they affirm:

5Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned: 6From which some having swerved have turned aside unto vain jangling; 7Desiring to be teachers of the law; understanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm.

 

Pastors who teach tithing from the Law do not know what they are talking about and moreover they have a distinct lack of understanding of the Gospel. For if they understood the Gospel they would not seek to teach from the Law.

Supporters of the tithe will of course say that Jesus endorsed tithing thereby implying that Christ intended for the church to observe tithing. They make their assumptions based on Jesus’ rebuke of the Pharisees in Matt 23:23:

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.

 

If Jesus endorsed tithing then perhaps New Testament believers should start planting herbs and tithe it to the church but of course those deceitful supporters of the tithe will argue that the church cannot pay bills with herbs. It is however a mindless argument to that Jesus supported or endorsed tithing. Jesus came to fulfill the Law and whilst He was yet alive in the flesh He was bound to endorse the whole law including tithing. Jesus did not endorse tithing in the church but the practice of tithing under the Law that the Pharisees were observing but neglecting the weightier matters. To teach tithing based on this reference in Matt 23 is to deceive the church and defile the name of Jesus in the process.

Of course there are those who will further argue that tithing is a principle that existed before the Law but so what? If Abraham volunteered a tithe to Melchizedek (Gen 14:20) and Jacob promised to give a tithe to God of all God gave to him (Gen 28:22), how can these be used to command the church to tithe? The truth is that those who teach tithing declare that the first 10% of one’s income belongs to God yet the only commandments given to tithe were set out under the Law, which incidentally has already been abolished. Those who teach tithing cannot fully establish their doctrine without making reference to scriptures that related to the Law. This practice however is dishonest and defiles God’s name by declaring things to the church that God did not command the church to observe.

Leviticus 27:30-33 sets out what the holy tithe was and these included: “tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land, or of the fruit of the tree” and “tithe of the herd, or of the flock, even of whatsoever passeth under the rod”. The holy tithe was clearly not money nor could it be substituted for money, though it was already in existence, yet the church today has changed what God has instituted into the mammon of unrighteousness. The tithing doctrine is thus built upon false premises and as such the tithe in the church, except it be a voluntary gift, is unholy.

Church, do you not know that you are defiling the Lords name by changing His Laws and declaring pronouncements in His name that He did not command the church to do and to observe?

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Of Blessings, Breakthroughs and Divine Favour! October 14, 2010

Posted by Henry in Matters of the Faith.
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4 comments

Are you frustrated that the Lord has not answered your prayers for the breakthroughs and divine favour which you seek?

 

Have you faithfully tithe but find that the “windows of heaven blessings” continue to elude you?

 

Have you diligently sown your seeds into “good soil” and confessed daily but you are still not receiving a harvest?

 

Do you “give to God” faithfully but feel like the Lord has abandoned you as you are not receiving anything in return?

If any of these questions apply to you then I have good news for you. The reason why you are feeling frustrated and disappointed is because you have been fed a false gospel. God is not man that He should lie so do not be disappointed in God. God did not make the above promises to you – the man in the pulpit did. The man in the pulpit who presents himself as God’s mouthpiece is the lier and I will demonstrate as I examine those questions one by one.

Firstly, the Lord did not promise you “breakthroughs” or divine favour, man did. The Lord gave you divine favour when He sent Jesus Christ to die on the cross for you and I so that we may obtain mercy – this is Grace, which is divine favour. Man however changed the meaning of divine favour to mean that you can receive “supernatural abundance” in earthly things and sup with kings, which the Lord did not promise you. To obtain true divine favour therefore all you need to do is seek the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all else shall be added unto you. This does not mean that you will receive all the material desires of your heart but the Lord promises to meet your needs. You should also remember that before you ask, the Lord already knows what you need. In much the same way a parent takes care of a young child without the child needing to ask the parent for anything so too the Father will take care of His children. What “breakthroughs” do you seek therefore?

Paying your tithes and expecting the “windows of heaven blessings” is foolhardy to say the least and no amount of “confessing” will bring those benefits to you. Under the New Covenant a Christian is NOT required to tithe and the Lord will not honour your tithe according to Mal 3:10 because that scripture was not spoken to the church but to Israel under the Old Covenant. Under the Covenant Israel were required to give a tithe not because this would ensure God’s blessings but they were required to give it because the Lord had blessed them. In this sense the tithe was like a tax that the Lord required to sustain the Levites, who had no inheritance in the Promise Land. As such you do not pay taxes to ensure future income but rather you pay it because you already have an income and because it is required by Law. If you are therefore paying the tithe because you think that this will compel the Lord to do something extra for you then you are already giving it with the wrong motives. The Lord is not a debtor to any man – so if you pay the tithe thinking that the Lord owes you something then you have been deceived. In the first place the tithing practice today is a violation of God’s Law – it is therefore the man that collected the tithe from you that owes you, not God.

Some preachers within the Word of Faith movement will tell you that the Kingdom of God operates on the “principle” of sowing and reaping. I contend however that this is not the case. Indeed the analogy of sowing and reaping is often used to describe the Kingdom of God or certain aspects of it but the Kingdom of God is not reactive. It doesn’t depend on us doing something but it is rather all about the sovereign Will of the Father. The Kingdom of God is about salvation which comes by Grace. Grace is God’s sovereign will to lay down the life of His Son, Jesus Christ, to save us from our sins (John 3:16). It was because God first loved us and not that we did something to appease God in order to earn His love, why He gave us this FREE gift. The Lord does not need you to “sow” therefore in order for you to receive a “harvest” from Him. Did Christ not say, “Does the rain not fall upon the just and the unjust?” What did the unjust do to deserve rain from God? Absolutely nothing! Yet even his harvest is being multiplied because of the rain. The following verses which Jesus spake should also be considered:

26Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?

32(For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. 33But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

 Since the Lord did not ask you to sow therefore He does not need to honour your sowing with a harvest. You have therefore sown in vain  because you were deceived – you have given your money to a man who lied to you instead of exercising due diligence and being a good steward of what the Lord had already given you.

Lastly, this idea of “giving to God” is perhaps one of the biggest misnomers in the church. How does giving some money to the offering plate or bucket constitute giving to God? Indeed when you give money to church you are contributing to financing the activities of the church but the Lord is not getting a single penny of that money. Man it is that collects the money and man it is that disburses these monies according to how they see fit. The Lord does not need your money, moreover, this idea that money is needed to finance the gospel is simply not true. The Lord Himself was the first pastor and minister of the Gospel yet He did not collect tithes and offerings and other monies to finance the Gospel He came to establish. He did not build a church and set up an administrative structure to which money would flow into. Yet today we are being told that the Gospel cannot go forth without money. This is somewhat ironic when we consider that Jesus called the Twelve and sent them out and specifically told them not to take money or food with them. On their return the Lord asked them if they lacked anything when they went out to deliver the gospel to the Lost Sheep and their response was no. Indeed money is needed to sustain people but we have subscribed to the Roman church model in creating the cash machines we call church today, and financing these cash machines are seen as tantamount to financing the Gospel. The reason why you might not be receiving the blessing therefore is that you mistakenly think that by giving to church you are giving to God and as such the Lord owes you something. You would be more blessed however if you gave to the poor and needy as shown in the following scriptures (noting that it is more blessed to give than to receive, Acts 20:35):

17He that hath pity upon the poor lendeth unto the LORD; and that which he hath given will he pay him again.( Prov 19)

 

 

27He that giveth unto the poor shall not lack: but he that hideth his eyes shall have many a curse. (Prov 28)

No "Should" in Tithing September 18, 2009

Posted by Henry in Tithing.
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2 comments

In a discussion about tithing a young woman once said to me that I “should” pay my tithes. That basically was her final word on the matter. But is the tithe something that I or the church should observe? It is interesting however to see how close-minded some church people can be on the subject of tithing. They refuse to apply any rational thought to proper application of scripture but instead take it as a given that if one is a Christian and a churchgoer one should pay their tithes. For them the question doesn’t even merit discussion as the attitude generally is “this is what we believe in and this is what we do at our church”.

If however, we say that someone “should” pay their tithes then effectively what we are saying is that we are obliged by some law to pay a tithe. From a Biblical point of view however are we under a legal or other obligation to tithe? We should remember of course that we are no longer under the Law but under Grace because Jesus has redeemed us from the curse of the Law. This is not to say however that since we are under Grace we can do what we like. Of course not! But does scripture support the view that the New Testament church should pay a tithe and are obligated to do so. Under the Old Testament which we sometimes refer to as the Law Israel was obligated under the Law to pay tithes but surely this Law does not apply to us today, or does it or perhaps you don’t really know? The Law that governed the tithe was part and parcel of the very same Law that Jesus has redeemed us from. But you ask, “What about Malachi 3:9-11?”

Many a minister has wrongly used this passage to convict their members to pay the tithe, suggesting that they are “robbing God” if they don’t and that they are cursed as a result. But clearly a close look at the passage will tell us who this passage was speaking to and it was not the New Testament Christians but the nation of Israel. Only the Levite priests of the nation of Israel had a commandment to take a tithe of their brethren (see Heb 7:5). The curse mentioned in Malachi 3 referred to the curse of the Law and not specifically to the issue of not paying the tithe. Some will argue however that the tithe was before the Law since Abraham tithe to Melchisedec in Gen 14. But on close examination of what occurred we can clearly see that this is no basis for establishing a tithe teaching in the church. What then is the motivation of pastors and church leaders to demand a tithe? Again others will ask if we shouldn’t tithe then what should we do? We should bear in mind that tithing is not supported anywhere in the New Testament. Paul’s instructions on giving to the work of the ministry were thus:

Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver. 2 Cor 9:7

Clearly we all have freedom in Christ to give according to how we feel led. Do you therefore still think that you are obligated to tithe, and on what Biblical basis do you make such a conclusion?