(03/19/2015) Some Points on Tithing

Posted: March 18, 2015 in Commitment, Covenants, Duty of Believers, Faith and Works, Inheritance, Law, Sacrifice
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Offerings, sacrifices, and tithes are topics, today.  Within the divine economy for believers, at no time do crops, livestock, or money become sacred objects that are to be worshiped. Yet, their meaning and merit are transformed when they appear as aspects within divine operations, eternal purposes, and sacred use. We say offerings are commanded and mandatory; sacrifices are whatever one promises and volunteers to give.  Correctly understood, paying tithes for Christian believers is a commitment to make visible on earth the priesthood of Jesus Christ as Risen Lord in heaven.  Tithing is a priestly duty and sacred practice as opposed to private charitable giving, philanthropy, or benevolence and donations that express impulses and sentiment.  Paying tithes is as much a contractual obligation and lawful duty as having to compensate ones bank or lending institution.  For many followers of Christ there is confusion on ones accountability regarding tithes due to the false teaching that the covenant and Ten Commandments once given to Israel are annulled along with circumcision and the many other obligations from Jewish culture and tradition.  The Adversary has taught, Ye shall not surely die—for refusing to continue gestures of obedience, covenant, and respect by tithing.  Consider this:  An employer and a worker are in a relationship that is maintained and structured on the basis of more than familiarity, friendliness, and personal integrity.  There are legal obligations for payment and reward defined and regulated through civil law.  Similarly, where believers in Jesus Christ sign a contract for church membership (that may include pledging (promising to give) tithes as a fiscal device to maintain the physical plant, the clergy, and the programs of the church), they enter a formal relationship that also must respond to civil and ecclesiastical law.  While the church does not pursue or punish believers by confiscating a members property or using debt collection, late fees, liens, and proceedings against the membership to expose fraud, finances for the congregation must be made regular and stable in the same way the billing cycles to the institution (mortgage, repairs, utilities) are scheduled and routine.  Therefore, in some situations, failure to pay ones tithe may even be regarded as misrepresentation and criminal neglect.  A writer at “Yahoo! Answers” using the ID “Zachary” (Level 1 with 104 points, a member since February 13, 2015) posted the following:

 

What do i tithe on?

recently ive made about 500 dollars but it was all a mix of birthday money and money i made off of ebay. the money off of ebay has technically already been tithed on (the items were older gifts i outgrew and i know my parents tithed on the money they bought them with originally) and birthday money is kind of a bonus..

 

THE GOLDEN ARROW:  Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings.  Ye are cursed with a curse:  for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation.  Bring 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.  And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith the LORD of hosts.  And all nations shall call you blessed:  for ye shall be a delightsome land, saith the LORD of hosts.  Your words have been stout against me, saith the LORD. Yet ye say, What have we spoken so much against thee?  Ye have said, It is vain to serve God:  and what profit is it that we have kept his ordinance, and that we have walked mournfully before the LORD of hosts?  And now we call the proud happy; yea, they that work wickedness are set up; yea, they that tempt God are even delivered.  Then they that feared the LORD spake often one to another:  and the LORD hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the LORD, and that thought upon his name.  And they shall be mine, saith the LORD of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him.  Then shall ye return, and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God and him that serveth him not.  (Malachi 3:  8-18, KJV)

 

THE DOUBLE DAGGER:  Ananias, Liar, Thief or Blasphemer? (01/12/2015); Consecrated in Christ? (06/21/2014); On Being Good Stewards (12/17/2013); Traditional Marriage? (12/18/2013); Sacrificial Relationship? (10/23/2013); Relationship by Unselfish Giving? (10/24/2013)

 

“Zachary”, here are a few points shared among Christian believers who are careful to make serving GOD their focus so they avoid the sin of making it “all about money” (idolatry):

(1.)  For those who accompanied Moses, the “tithe” is a tenth from (we say, 10% of) whatever one may plant and produce using their portion within the Promised Land.  While the land itself is not anointed, consecrated, and sanctified (specifically set apart for service to GOD), and the crop itself is not holy, the tithe is to be understood as though already resting upon an altar of sacrifice that serves as the point of contact for earth and heaven.

(2.)  The primary income and inheritance for those serving as priests was a portion from the offerings and sacrifices brought to them by those among the twelve tribes.   In this sense, Jehovah was the inheritance and their portion for the clergy.  While prayer, study and worship could be carried out everywhere using the system of local synagogues, offerings and sacrifices were to be made only at the place that GOD would name as the divine residence (e.g., Shiloh, Jerusalem).  Those who received tithes also were expected to give a tithe that would be used to maintain the tabernacle (later, temple)  services.

(3.)  For many today, the tithe is a portion of ones income (meaning whatever they receive from GOD—found money, gifts, return from investments, etc.).  Filthy lucre is held to be wealth from illegal and immoral activity, and may include money from cheating on ones taxes, drugs, gambling, loan sharking, lotteries, pornography, prostitution, robbery, sale of stolen goods, and usury.  Others understand it differently:  the tithe is a 10% “tax” upon whatever they earn as wages (before federal and local taxes, or other deductions).  Still others, insist that the principle of tithing only is correct where ones labor and resources are handled and respected in terms of seed and harvest.

There is far more to be plainly said, correctly understood, and properly apprehended.  (For example, (4.)  The person who tithes must understand, they are a manager and steward within the household of GOD.  The tithe is not their own, and must be rendered for continuing the ministry of Jesus Christ in the earth.  The enrollment of a believer as a new member of an assembly or congregation, in effect, establishes a legal contract requiring their regular financial support, and is not merely a personal oath and promise to perform the peculiar duties for spreading the Gospel.  Therefore, indebtedness and mismanagement of ones own finances is damaging to the church.  As in Malachi 3:  8 (KJV), a man may rob GOD; and there will be judgment against him.)  Even so, I trust this fragment will be useful.  Be it unto you according to your faith and spiritual maturity.

THE BLACK PHOENIX
Washington, DC

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