Hope of Israel Ministries (Ecclesia of YEHOVAH):
Tithing and the New Testament
The Biblical tithe is HOLY and it is NOT to be used in the fashion that preachers, priests and evangelists are using it today. The time has come to get back to the teachings of the Bible and QUIT the OVERT SINNING of demanding and MISUSING the ordained tithe of the Bible that Christian denominations are doing on such a large scale today!
by HOIM Staff
Tithing is a Biblical law. But so is circumcision; and so too is the sacrificing of animals. Does this mean that Christians today should ritualistically circumcise their children or sacrifice animals because these laws were once ordained in the Word of YEHOVAH God? Most Christians today would agree that such Old Testament legislation is NO LONGER obligatory for Christians who live in this age. And the Bible clearly backs this up.
Tithing, however, has been looked on quite differently by many people -- especially by certain "Christian" ministers who need a ready supply of money to operate their organizations! It is often argued that YEHOVAH God still demands tithing and that a person who does not give a tenth of his or her income for the maintenance of a Christian ministry is stealing from YEHOVAH God! But is this true?
The fact is, it is a SIN against the Word of YEHOVAH God for preachers, priests, evangelists, rabbis and theologians to receive and to spend the tithe that YEHOVAH God ordained for Israel -- even if the tithe is used to teach the truth!
It is equally a SIN for church members to GIVE the tithe that YEHOVAH God ordained for Israel to preachers, priests, evangelists, rabbis or theologians so that the tithe can be spent in spreading the gospel or other teachings of the Bible.
Preachers, priests, evangelists, rabbis and theologians who have received the ordained Biblical tithe MUST REPENT of their SINFUL WAYS and inform the church membership to also REPENT of their sins in this regard. Why? Because the ordained tithe has been ILLEGALLY used by those who are CARELESS with Biblical teaching!
In a nutshell, it is a SIN against the teachings of YEHOVAH God for the ordained Biblical tithe to be used today, in ANY capacity, in the propagation of the Gospel, in paying ministerial salaries, in building churches or synagogues, to print books or tracts, hymnals, or to send to missionaries. The Biblical tithe is HOLY and it is NOT to be used in the fashion that preachers, priests and evangelists are using it today. The time has come to get back to the teachings of the Bible and QUIT the OVERT SINNING of demanding and MISUSING the ordained tithe of the Bible that Christian denominations are doing on such a wide scale today!
So how should YEHOVAH's work be financed today? The Bible provides a logical and very workable VOLUNTARY system for financing His work in this age. It is similar to that which supported Old Covenant Israel before the introduction of tithing in the second year of the Exodus. Its principle is found in Matthew 10, Mark 6, Luke 9 and 10 and I Corinthians 9. The whole matter -- from beginning to end -- is that of FREE WILL offerings -- NOT tithes!
Based On Faith and YEHOVAH's Spirit
We want all of you reading this to understand one thing: This work is built on and based on FAITH! It is accomplished on SHEER FAITH -- faith in YEHOVAH God! He is the One behind this work, and He is the One who will make it succeed -- despite all the obstacles, road-blocks, threats from radical Islamic groups, and the opposition of Satan the Devil and all his devious undertakings!
We wholeheartedly believe the words of the apostle Paul, who declared: "And I am sure of this: that the One who began a good work among you will keep it growing until it is completed on the Day of the Messiah Yeshua" -- that is, right up until the appearance of the Messiah and YEHOVAH God Himself! (Philippians 1:6 -- Jewish New Testament).
How, then, is this work being accomplished?
We can tell you literally -- as YEHOVAH said to Zerubbabel -- "Not by might, nor by [human] power, BUT BY MY SPIRIT, saith the LORD of Hosts" (Zechariah 4:6). This work is being done by the power of the divine spirit of YEHOVAH God! Money, human finances, are completely secondary. They are virtually non-existent! But they will increase if it is YEHOVAH's will for them to do so. After all, ALL the money in all the world belongs to YEHOVAH God. He could provide all the money in the U.S. Treasury if He so chooses!
Financing YEHOVAH's Work
But the question has arisen -- how should this work of YEHOVAH God be supported?
It costs money to print and publish articles, Bible Study lessons, maintain websites and all the other things involved with YEHOVAH's work. If YEHOVAH opens other doors in the future, they also will cost money. However, YEHOVAH God has ways of opening doors that could cost very little. Even persecution often works to our benefit -- causing even more people to hear of the TRUTH who otherwise wouldn't even know about it!
So, should we charge a price for the literature that we publish? Let me ask YOU a question: How valuable, of what "monetary worth" is the TRUTH to you?
The Messiah spoke a parable of a man who found a "pearl" in a field, and went and sold ALL HE HAD, just so that he could "buy" or "purchase" that pearl! The pearl represented the TRUTH -- the truth of the Kingdom of YEHOVAH God! Would YOU, like the man in the parable, be willing to spend ALL YOU HAVE in order to purchase the "TRUTH" of YEHOVAH God, as it becomes available to you?
To put it another way, "How much do you LOVE THE TRUTH"? Do you love it enough to PAY for it? While we do not put a price on our articles or on the Bible Correspondence Course, we do suggest a free will offering to help defray the costs we incur. Whatever you might donate is as nothing -- peanuts -- mere dust of the earth -- compared to the INCREDIBLE intrinsic value of the TRUTH to your life!
Consider: A small down-payment now, so that you can receive the precious TRUTH that can literally SAVE YOUR LIFE, both now and in the future -- not to mention, guide you safely along the pathway to ETERNAL LIFE in the Kingdom of YEHOVAH God!
The apostle Paul had a very important ministry. To support his ministry, he allowed people to "contribute" to his cause. In fact, he said to the elders of Ephesus, "I have showed you all things, how that SO LABORING you ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive" (Acts 20:35).
Paul understood that "tithing" -- although a principle of YEHOVAH God from the beginning -- was not a "law" of YEHOVAH God in New Testament times (see Hebrews 7:18). As a result, he never taught tithing as a commandment. However, in I Corinthians, chapter 9, he reminded the people, "Did you ever hear of a soldier paying his own expenses? or of a farmer planting a vineyard without eating its grapes? Who shepherds a flock without drinking some of the milk?" (I Corinthians 9:7 -- Jewish New Testament).
It takes money to carry out YEHOVAH's work. But YEHOVAH forbid that we should foolishly allow His work to go broke, or bankrupt! If we just gave away all the materials that we publish, we would very soon run out of money and have nothing left. Remember, we do NOT send out "co-worker" letters begging people for money. Nor do we send out blistering "tithing" articles demanding that people pay their tithes to this work. We do NOT accuse people of "stealing" from YEHOVAH God if they do not support this work -- as many have the gall to do!
No, we do not want to be spiritual "thieves," stealing the hard-earned money of people by misleading them, or falsely accusing them, or demanding that they pay us "ten percent" of all their income!
However, we have suggested that people pay what they can when ordering articles and other materials we have published, in order to stay in business as a hopefully "wise steward." If we simply gave away the articles and books we print it's possible that some "enemies" of YEHOVAH's Truth would combine together to order massive quantities and pay nothing -- who would then shortly drive us out of business! It would be sheer foolishness on our part to allow this to happen!
At the present time we send books, articles and the Bible Correspondence Course free of charge to a number of congregations and individuals in the African continent, India, Pakistan and Southeast Asia. They have no money to send. Every package of articles, etc., we send to them costs us in the order of $15.00 each to mail -- plus the original cost of the articles or books. But we do this as a service to help them to grow in grace and knowledge of the Messiah, as YEHOVAH God provides us the income and means to do so.
The apostle Paul clearly showed that it is right to pay for services rendered. He went on to quote the law of Moses, "You are not to put a muzzle on an ox when it is treading out the grain." Paul then asks, "If God is concerned about cattle, all the more does he say this for our sakes. Yes, it was written for us, meaning that he who plows and he who threshes should work expecting to get a share of the crop."
Paul goes on, "If we have sown spiritual seed among you, is it too much if we reap a material harvest from you?" (I Corinthians 9:9-11 -- Jewish New Testament).
Every time we send out the Bible Correspondence Course, and every time we mail out articles and books, etc., we think of it as distributing, sowing packages of spiritual "mustard seeds." Each article is a tiny mustard seed. We send it out. YEHOVAH God will then water it, and cause it to take root in the hearts and minds of His people. It will then grow into a giant tree of faith, knowledge of YEHOVAH God, and indomitable TRUTH!
In the Book of Proverbs, YEHOVAH says, "Godly men are growing a TREE that bears life-giving fruit, and all who win souls are wise" (Proverbs 11:30 -- Living Bible).
There are times to give the truth away freely, and we are most happy to do so when we can. There are also times, YEHOVAH says, when people should "BUY THE TRUTH, and sell it not; also wisdom, and instruction, and understanding" (Proverbs 23:23).
Of What Value is Truth?
In Proverbs, YEHOVAH God clearly shows that we should be willing to PAY for the TRUTH -- as well as wisdom, instruction, and understanding! Not only that, but YEHOVAH God actually COMMANDS us to do so! He commanded, "BUY the truth!"
The Messiah showed that if necessary, we should be willing to sell all that we own in order to possess the truth -- give up everything for TRUTH! How much do YOU love the truth?
Some might ask, "Why does this verse also say, 'sell it not'"? Other translations make it much clearer. Notice! The Moffatt translation says: "BUY TRUTH, never part with it, buy wisdom, sense, and knowledge."
The Living Bible says, "Get the facts AT ANY PRICE, and hold on tightly to all the good sense you can get."
The Jamieson, Fausset and Brown Commentary explains the expression "sell it not" as meaning -- "part with it for no consideration, money, pleasure, fame, ease; for it is incomparably more precious than all things else, being the one pearl of great price."
Adam Clarke comments on this verse, and the expression "But the truth," saying, "Acquire the knowledge of God at all events; and in order to do this, too much pain, industry, and labor cannot be expended." He then comments on the expression "sell it not," by declaring, "When once acquired, let no consideration deprive thee of it. Cleave to and guard it, even at the risk of thy life."
It is clear to see that this verse is NOT a prohibition against selling articles, books, etc., rather it is an exhortation to DIG for the truth, HUNT for it, and PAY whatever it costs -- it is far too precious to allow it to slip away from your grasp! And once you have it, GUARD it, PRESERVE it, MAINTAIN it at all costs -- never depart from it, or allow it to depart from you!
So again we ask -- of what value is TRUTH to YOU?
The apostle Paul wrote about those who don't value the truth very much -- including modern-day Pharisees and church leaders who resist and despise the truth. He wrote, "But God shows his anger from heaven against all sinful, evil men who PUSH AWAY the truth from them" (Romans 1:18 -- Living Bible).
Paul went on, "Instead of believing what they KNEW was the truth about God, they deliberately chose to believe lies" (verse 25). Those who deliberately reject the truth of YEHOVAH God today, and deliberately believe and teach lies, will receive the undiluted WRATH and ANGER OF YEHOVAH GOD! As Paul continues, "But he will terribly PUNISH those who FIGHT AGAINST THE TRUTH of God..." (Romans 2:8).
What, therefore, is YOUR attitude toward the truth?
Is it precious to you -- more valuable than gems, pearls, jewels or diamonds? Or is it something you can treat with cavalier disdain and contempt?
Speaking of Satan's deceptions and power to deceive in this end-time generation, Paul writes a serious warning to true believers and followers of the Messiah. He warns that Satan and his cohorts will "deceive, in all kinds of wicked ways, those who are headed for destruction because they would not receive the love of the truth that could have saved them. This is why God is causing them to go astray, so that they will believe the Lie. The result will be that all who have NOT BELIEVED THE TRUTH, but have taken their pleasure in wickedness, will be condemned" (II Thessalonians 2:10-12 -- Jewish New Testament).
How to Minister to Others
Each of us should want to help others as much as we possibly can to learn the truth of YEHOVAH God. We should be willing to share it and give it as best we can. You can share the truth and knowledge you receive from us by passing it on to others who are interested. You can explain it to them as YEHOVAH God gives you the ability.
You can also help us out by sending any free will offering, donations, or gifts that you can afford, so that we can better serve and help others.
The entire 9th chapter of II Corinthians is devoted to the subject of Christian giving and sharing. In this chapter Paul is not even discussing the prospect of people sending large donations to finance hugely expensive television ministries or similar modern "evangelical techniques" that seem to create idols out of men and wastes tremendous sums of money. Most money sent to so-called television evangelists goes to pay overhead, salaries, and especially to buy the television time! Very little goes to really preaching the gospel (which they generally don't understand anyway!).
In II Corinthians, Paul is talking about Christians helping each other in dire straits and bad times (verses 1- 5). He is talking about giving generously to help other brethren who are suffering need and privation (verses 12-14).
However, it is not wrong for people to send money to help finance, distribute and support the work of publishing and proclaiming the Good News of the soon-coming Kingdom of YEHOVAH God to the world. In fact, YEHOVAH God wants us to work together in order to achieve this goal. He wants the people of YEHOVAH God to get behind the work of YEHOVAH God and support it however they possibly can -- whether in prayers, offerings, free will donations, various gifts, or whatever they can do.
Our faith is in YEHOVAH God, but we also know that YEHOVAH can use people to distribute His resources. We value highly every freely given gift, knowing that YEHOVAH is able to multiply it and bless it and cause it to bring forth wonderful fruit!
That is why we have plainly said that we do welcome free will gifts, donations and contributions. In order to preserve our financial integrity and remain financially solvent, we do suggest a donation for our literature, materials and any books we may offer. There are simply too many people who, if they received something free, or "cheap," would treat it "on the cheap" -- and not value it highly. Too many would just throw it away, causing great waste and financial stress.
The truth is that on the whole we cannot afford to simply "give" away material that costs us time, effort, energy and literal cash expense in order to produce. It would not be right. It would be a guaranteed way to plunge into debt. It would be like a soldier paying himself to fight his country's wars, or a farmer working his farm -- for free!
Rather, as Paul so clearly explained, "If we have sown unto you spiritual things, is it a great thing if we shall reap your carnal things?" (I Corinthians 9:11). What's fair is fair.
YEHOVAH God does not expect us to do the impossible. Nor does He expect us to give away that which we cannot afford. He expects us to serve Him with love -- and WISDOM.
What, then, about the verse where the Messiah said, "Freely you have received, freely give"? Let us read this verse in context. The Messiah was sending forth the twelve apostles to preach the Good News of the Kingdom of YEHOVAH God (Matthew 10:7). He told them to heal the sick and raise the dead, to cleanse lepers and to cast out demons (verse 8). After giving these instructions, the Messiah added: "Freely you have received, freely give." What was the Messiah saying, then?
It should be very obvious -- he was telling them that they were to perform all these miracles FREELY -- and not charge any money for their services! And as they went, doing all these things, they were to proclaim the gospel of the Kingdom of YEHOVAH God -- to shout and thunder it out, for all to hear. Again, they were to do this freely -- not charge an admission price! The Messiah was NOT talking about the publishing of literature, or printing of books, or the sale of physical goods, at all!
Can we not see the difference?
Those who MISQUOTE this Scripture, and who then boast how they give away their magazines "freely," don't tell you that they pay for this "method" of publishing by making incessant demands upon poor people for their hard-earned money, tithes, offerings, and virtually beat them over the head for contributions on holy days! Nor do they dare quote the very next verse (which they surely don't practice) -- "Don't take money in your belts, no gold, no silver, no copper; and for your trip don't take a pack, an extra shirt, shoes or a walking stick -- A WORKER SHOULD BE GIVEN WHAT HE NEEDS" (Matthew 10:9-10 -- Jewish New Testament).
The simple truth, then, can be summarized as follows: There is a time to charge, and a time to give freely; a time to ask for a donation on materials offered, and a time to give free of charge. In this light, the strong financially should help support the weak. Those who are able, should pay for what they receive, and even send contributions to help out others who are not so fortunate or so blessed. In this way, all will have their needs taken care of, as YEHOVAH God provides.
We would love to be able to publish and send out articles and books free of charge to everybody, as a service of love and a work of faith. However, that would not be wise. First of all, if YEHOVAH intended such a thing, we believe that He would provide the means to do it. Secondly, I fear that people really treat with suspicion and contempt things that they receive "free" through the mail. They call it "junk mail," and that's about how much respect they have for it!
Therefore, we hope that you can see clearly why we have elected to ask for donations for our literature. We do sincerely covet your prayers -- not your money. YEHOVAH God has put the desire in our hearts to serve Him, and He has given us the opportunity to publish and print materials that carry forth His truth in clarity, simplicity, forcefulness and power.
We do not seek people's tithes and hard earned money. We trust YEHOVAH God to provide our needs. We believe YEHOVAH will bless the work He has given us to do, so that it will maintain itself, pay for itself and even continue to grow and increase, as YEHOVAH prospers it.
YEHOVAH says to us -- and to all who serve Him faithfully -- "I have created you and cared for you since you were born, I will be your God through all your lifetime, yes, even when your hair is white with age. I made you and I will care for you. I will carry you along and be your Savior" (Isaiah 46:3-4).
For this reason we say with Isaiah, "Because the LORD God helps [us]...[we]...will not be dismayed; therefore, [we]...have set [our]...face[s] like flint to do His will, and [we]...know that [we]...will triumph" (Isaiah 50:7).
YEHOVAH says of His Word, "I send it out and it always produces fruit. It shall accomplish all I want it to, and prosper everywhere I send it" (Isaiah 55:11). When we think of all the little "mustard seeds" being sent out every month, it gives us an inward thrill of satisfaction, joy and warmth.
Yes, YEHOVAH's Word will accomplish His purpose. We can trust Him to do it!
When we stop to consider the amazing lengths to which modern, so-called ministers, evangelists and others will go in their attempt to separate men and women, widows and children, from their money, it amazes us no end. From their frantic efforts to induce and seduce more people to send more money, you would think that the Kingdom of YEHOVAH God must be built on a foundation of gold.
It's incredible how far modern ministries have gotten from the way of the Messiah -- and the way of YEHOVAH God! They don't even begin to think that they should support themselves as the Messiah did, and the apostle Paul. Rather, they think that they must live high off the hog, and travel around the world in their privately owned jet aircraft. They think YEHOVAH will reward them because they have built great buildings and edifices "in His name."
Yet, as the Messiah said, when his disciples marveled at all the stones and buildings of the Jerusalem Temple, "Do you see all these things? Verily I say to you, There shall not be left one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down" (Matthew 24:2).
The Messiah warned us: "Beware of the scribes [religious leaders], which love to go in long clothing, and love salutations in the market places, and the CHIEF SEATS in the synagogues [churches], and the uppermost rooms at feasts [the best hotel accommodations for the ministers!]: WHICH DEVOUR WIDOWS' houses, and for a pretence make long prayers: these shall receive greater damnation" (Mark 12:38-40).
But then we should think about the example set by Yeshua the Messiah. He preached the Good News of the Kingdom of YEHOVAH God, but never once did he beg for money, or browbeat the Ecclesia or his disciples to give him more money. He undoubtedly accepted offerings and contributions, but he never made a point of going after people's tithes and offerings. He simply preached the gospel -- the GOOD NEWS of the Soon-Coming Kingdom of YEHOVAH God on this earth! He did not use great sums of money. It was not needed. What a wonderful example to follow!
Is Tithing Commanded Today?
Many religious institutions have become rich and wealthy because they teach that YEHOVAH commands people to tithe on all their income. Most of them refer to the Scripture in the Book of Malachi where YEHOVAH says, "Will a man rob God? Yet you have robbed Me. But you say, Wherein have we robbed You? In tithes and offerings" (Malachi 3:8).
This Scripture is found, of course, in the Old Testament. The context is clearly speaking of the NATION OF ISRAEL, and the entire book is directed to "Israel" (chapter 1, verse 1). The book is also directed to those offering physical sacrifices on YEHOVAH's altar (Malachi 1:6-14). Chapter 2 is specifically directed to the "priests" of Israel descended from ancient Levi (Malachi 2:1-9).
Literally, this Scripture does not refer to the Ecclesia of YEHOVAH God collecting tithes, or any other institution, except that which YEHOVAH God Himself authorized to collect tithes -- THE LEVITICAL PRIESTHOOD!
The Bible shows that tithing was NEVER a "commandment" of YEHOVAH God until YEHOVAH instituted the Levitical priesthood. At that time He first made tithing a law (Leviticus 27:30-34). Prior to that time, tithing was purely optional and voluntary!
Proof? If you search high and low through the Book of Genesis, dealing with the time prior to Moses, you will NOT FIND a single commandment to tithe! However, you WILL find that Abraham, after he defeated the kings who took his nephew captive, VOLUNTARILY "gave him [Melchisedek] tithes of all" (Genesis 14:20). Similarly, after Jacob had a vision of YEHOVAH God at Bethel, he VOLUNTARILY vowed that if YEHOVAH would protect and bless him, as the vision said He would, he would give the tenth to YEHOVAH God. He declared, "And of all that you shall give me I will surely give the TENTH to you" (Genesis 28:22).
The Levitical Tithing Law
But notice! Even when YEHOVAH God instituted tithing for the Levitical priesthood, just what did He say had to be tithed upon? Was there EVER any commandment to tithe upon all one's "increase"? The answer is a shocking, resounding, NO!!
Notice! YEHOVAH God said, "And all the tithe of the land, whether OF THE SEED of the land, or the FRUIT of the trees, is the LORD's: IT is holy unto the LORD" (Leviticus 27:30). Then, in verse 32, YEHOVAH says, "And concerning the tithe of the HERD, or of the FLOCK, even of whatsoever passes under the rod, the tenth shall be holy unto the LORD."
Why do we often read into the Bible what simply is NOT there? Why do we ASSUME?
There was NEVER any commandment of YEHOVAH God -- even in the Old Testament -- to tithe upon other kinds of profit or increase in business. The tithe was purely AGRICULTURAL! There was NO COMMANDMENT to tithe upon minerals (gold or silver, etc.) mined out of the earth. There was NO tithe commanded on fish caught in the sea. NO tithe was ever commanded -- even in the Old Testament -- on monetary wages! NONE!!
YEHOVAH God NEVER COMMANDED the Israelites to tithe upon the money they received for selling pottery, chariots, horses, sandals, garments, cloth, mirrors, jewelry, or anything else -- ONLY upon agricultural produce! And even that was only tithed upon by the farmer, the original producer -- not by others down the line, such as market wholesalers, grocery stores, or meat markets!
In fact, even the Jewish Encyclopedia and The Encyclopedia of Jewish Religion state (under "Tithes") that the Israelites tithed ONLY ON AGRICULTURAL PRODUCE AND LIVESTOCK!
It is shameful beyond measure that modern churches -- including many of the Churches of God -- have not dealt honestly with this Biblical TRUTH!
The New Testament Teaching
The principle of tithing, clearly, goes back to ancient times; but it was strictly VOLUNTARY until YEHOVAH established the Levitical priesthood. Today, however, since there is no Temple or Levitical priesthood, the laws that pertain to it are annulled or abolished -- temporarily suspended. As the apostle Paul wrote,
"If, then, perfection were really through the Levitical priesthood (for with it as a feature the people were given the Law), what further need would there be for another priest to arise according to the manner of Melchizedek and not said to be according to the manner of Aaron? For since the priesthood is being changed, there comes to be of necessity a change also of the LAW" (Hebrews 7:11-12 -- The Kingdom Interlinear Translation of the Greek Scriptures)
What was this CHANGE in the law? It obviously included a change in the tithing law, which Paul had been discussing throughout this chapter (Hebrews 7:1-10).
Notice! After Paul shows that now the Melchizedek priesthood has REPLACED the Levitical priesthood, and the Messiah is our High Priest after the order of Melchizedek, he goes on to say very plainly,
"Certainly, then, there occurs a setting aside of the preceding commandment on account of its weakness and ineffectiveness. For the LAW [including the law of tithing] made nothing perfect, but the bringing in besides of a better hope did, through which we are drawing near to God" (Hebrews 7:18-19 -- ibid.)
How clear! Tithing, today, is once again a voluntary matter -- depending on a person's circumstances, finances, and own desire to serve YEHOVAH God. It is NO LONGER a mandatory law, as it was during the Levitical administration!
For this reason, obviously, we NOWHERE read in the New Testament any direct emphasis on Christians tithing, or Paul ever teaching the churches that they should be tithing on all their income. Not at all! Paul would have been totally remiss if tithing were a law of YEHOVAH God today. But Paul clearly taught that the laws of Moses were a forerunner, a type, a schoolmaster, to bring us to the Messiah -- the TRUE sacrificial Lamb of YEHOVAH God.
The Galatians and the "Yoke of Bondage"
Paul wrote of the law of Moses, which included the tithing law, "But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident; for, The just shall live by faith. And the law is not of faith" (Galatians 3:11-12).
Paul went on, "But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up to the faith which should after be revealed. Wherefore the law was our SCHOOLMASTER to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after that faith is come, we are NO LONGER UNDER A SCHOOLMASTER" (Galatians 3:23-25).
How clear! We are NO LONGER under the tithing LAW for it was part of the Law of Moses, given at Mount Sinai, to support the Levitical priesthood (Leviticus 27:30-34). Righteousness does not come by tithing today, or by obeying the letter of the laws of Moses. It comes through faith in Yeshua the Messiah!
Paul goes on, "But if you be led of the spirit, you are NOT under the law" (Galatians 5:18).
The apostle Paul was very concerned about the Galatian brethren because false teachers were subverting their faith, and trying to bring them back to bondage to the laws of Moses and the Levitical system. He warned them, "Stand fast therefore in the LIBERTY wherewith Christ has made us FREE, and not entangled again with the YOKE OF BONDAGE" (Galatians 5:1).
The voluntary giving of offerings and donations is NOT a yoke of bondage -- but mandatory, regimented, legislated tithing, for all people regardless of circumstances, becomes a terrible yoke of bondage, economic slavery and cruel hardship on people! Plus the fact they are made to feel terribly "guilty" if they simply cannot afford to "tithe"!
By using this "guilt trip" against people -- and thundering to them about "YEHOVAH's tithing law" -- ministers have fleeced the flock of YEHOVAH God and impoverished millions while enriching their own church coffers.
There is NO EVIDENCE whatsoever that the New Testament Ecclesia commanded tithing or required a tithe from the people of YEHOVAH God -- much less two or three tithes as some teach today! You will NOT find tithing taught in any of the epistles of the apostles, from Romans to Jude. It is NOT mentioned in Revelation, and the Gospels barely touch upon it. When the Messiah told the Pharisees that they were right to tithe -- although they overlooked the weightier matters of the law (Matthew 23:23) -- the Temple was still standing and the Levitical priesthood was still in operation. That is, the laws of Moses still applied! But after the Messiah's death for our sins, as the Lamb of YEHOVAH God, and the REPLACEMENT of the Levitical priesthood by the Melchizedek priesthood, the laws of Moses were annulled -- including the tithing laws.
How Tithing Became Enforced
How, then, did tithing become enforced on the "Christian world" again -- after the time of the apostles? The truth will shock you!
Astounding as it may seem, it was the Roman Catholic Church which re-established tithing as a "law" in the professing Christian Church. Notice this admission in the New Catholic Encyclopedia, Vol. 14, pages 174-175:
"The early Church had no tithing system. The tithes of the Old Testament were regarded as abrogated by the law of Christ...But as the [Catholic] Church expanded and its material needs grew more numerous and complex, it became necessary to adopt a definitive rule to which people could be held either by a sense of moral obligation or by a precept of positive law. The tithing of the Old Law provided an obvious model, and it began to be taught....The Council of Macon in 585 ORDERED payment of tithes and threatened excommunication to those who refused to comply."
Thus it was the Roman Catholic Church in 585 which enjoined the tithing law upon "Christians." This law was commanded upon all Catholics, and disobedience brought the penalty of excommunication. In reality, the state police, sheriff, and legal authorities were often used to forcibly "collect" an estimated "tithe" from recalcitrant parishioners in Ireland and throughout Europe. The tithing law was religiously enforced on the people -- whether they wanted to or not!
Excommunication, of course, was a very serious penalty. It could mean loss of job, loss of income, ostracism by the community and former friends, and loss of lands, houses and possessions. It could even lead to charges of heresy, and imprisonment or death!
How wonderful it is that YEHOVAH God has called us -- not to financial slavery and economic ruin through a man-enforced system of tithing instigated by Satan the Devil (who has deceived the entire world -- Revelation 12:9) -- but to LIBERTY and FREEDOM through Yeshua the Messiah!
Paul had to rebuke the Galatian brethren who were being led down the path to spiritual slavery by certain Pharisaical teachers who had crept into the Ecclesia unawares in that day. Paul called them "false brethren unawares brought in, who came in privily (secretly) to SPY OUT OUR LIBERTY which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage" (Galatians 2:4).
Paul rebuked the foolish Galatians, saying -- "You did run well. Who did hinder you that you should not obey the truth?" (Galatians 5:7).
To those who were trying to bring the Ecclesia back under the Mosaic law, Paul thundered, "You are parted from Christ, whoever you are that try to be declared righteous by means of law; you have fallen away from his undeserved kindness" (Galatians 5:4 -- The Kingdom Interlinear Translation of the Greek Scriptures).
In fact, this problem so stirred Paul up that he said, "I would they were even CUT OFF which trouble you" (Galatians 5:12). This verse is not very clear in the King James English. However, the Jewish New Testament makes it clear. Paul actually wrote, "I wish the people who are bothering you would go the whole way and CASTRATE themselves!"
That is the way we feel about those ministers who demand that Church members pay tithes -- and then use the modern computer to snoop into their tithing records to see who has been "cheating" and who hasn't! Let them go castrate themselves!
Yeshua the Messiah said of such self-righteous Pharisees, "They tie heavy loads onto people's shoulders but won't lift a finger to help carry them" (Matthew 23:4 -- JNT). Many of the Churches of God enforce tithing of a first, second and third tithe upon their members -- but they exempt ministers from having to pay the second and third tithes! What hypocrisy!
Shades of Catholicism! Shades of Roman Catholic religious tyranny!
Thank YEHOVAH God that He has revealed to us His merciful, wonderful TRUTH about tithing, offerings and the RIGHT way to support His end-time work! Isn't it about time we truly get back to the faith of the apostles and the New Testament Ecclesia of YEHOVAH God?
The apostle Jude wrote:
"Dear friends, I was busily at work writing to you about the salvation we share, when I found it necessary to write, urging you to keep contending earnestly for the faith which was once and for all passed on to God's people" (Jude 3).
The Poor Widow
Although tithes are not commanded by YEHOVAH God in the times since the Messiah, YEHOVAH does love those who are generous to help accomplish His work. Paul wrote that YEHOVAH "loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound toward you" (II Corinthians 9:7-8).
Paul wrote to the Corinthians, "But this I say, he which sows sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which sows bountifully shall reap also bountifully" (verse 6).
Luke tells us of the time when the Messiah "looked up, and as he watched the rich placing their gifts into the Temple offering-boxes, he also saw a poor widow put in two small coins. He said, 'I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put in more than all the others. For they, out of their wealth, have contributed money they could easily spare; but she, out of her poverty, has given all she had to live on'" (Luke 21:1-4 -- Jewish New Testament).
What a marvelous example of faith and love of YEHOVAH God for us today!
The early New Testament Ecclesia solved its own financial problems as they arose -- and they did it with a sense of fairness to all. There are many ways that are scripturally proper to fund YEHOVAH's Ecclesia -- but the biblical tithe is NOT one of them! The Bible makes it clear that the Ecclesia should be furnished with the necessary funds to operate; and we truly appreciate the free will offerings and donations that many of you have sent to us. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts.
Writes Ernest L. Martin --
"...what is needed today are churches that will return to the REAL TEACHINGS of the Holy Scriptures and get rid of the FALSE DOCTRINES and idolatrous practices that now pervade the teachings of the majority of mainline churches. The ministers need the gumption to instruct their members in the real Word of God without the flippancy in biblical interpretation that is so prevalent at present. If this occurred, the ABUSE of misinterpreting the teachings of the Bible would begin to cease and ministers would get back to a proper use of the Holy Scriptures...If ministers of the various churches could begin their change by showing that their use of the biblical tithe is WRONG, it would be a good start to a further riddance of the false doctrines and idolatrous practices now in the churches" (The Tithing Dilemma, pages 75 and 76).
Amen to that!
Hope of Israel Ministries -- Courage for the Sake of Truth is Better Than Silence for the Sake of Unity!
Hope of Israel Ministries
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