What? Will a man rob God? Well, yes, he certainly will! Well, just who are these men, who rob God? And how does this robbery occur?
All aboard! And be sure to buckle up, because it is going to be a bumpy ride! In this post, we will touch the deadly “third rail” of religion. I am referring to the electrically charged financial rail that most religious machines ride upon. This deadly sacred cow of rails that I speak of is, of course, ” tithing“. Feel the electricity yet?
Let me warn you: This ride is a little longer than normal, but it is well worth your time. And as we move down the tracks, I will probably offend a few people, and loose some friends, but if that is the price for standing up for truth, I will gladly pay it. The next stop is freedom from religious control, so lets start our engines, and head out!
If you have read the introduction on the home page of my website, you know that religion was one of the main reasons that I turned to drugs for comfort. Religion told me that I had to perform the right tasks , in just the right way, so that God would accept, and bless me. And my long series of lackluster performances left me in torment.
As a child, I had no option, other than to endure the inner turmoil. The guilt, shame, rejection, self-hate, and isolation that I endured overwhelmed me, and there was nowhere I could run to for relief. Religion had tricked me into believing that the only One, Who could take away the pain, would not, because He was the One causing it!
I felt like a rat on a sinking ship. There was no way out. I scurried around in the sinking ship from one emotional deck, to another, in a vain attempt to escape the inevitable. Dreams of Hell tormented me at night, and robbed me of the rest that I so desperately needed. And, sadly, this spiritual dis-ease, produced disease in my body.
In my teen years, I discovered sex, drugs, and rock and roll. These servants served me well, and took away the pain, and gave me rest. That is, until my servants became my masters, and enslaved me.
So, as you can see, religion almost killed me. Since then, I have recovered from drug addiction, and religious control. And I want to help others get free also. Who the Son sets free, is free indeed.
We tend to underestimate Beliefs. Make no mistake, however. Our beliefs have consequences, in the material realm, and in our lives.
Our physical reality is a matrix of excited energy fields, which have collapsed into “particles” in various configurations. Information governs these patterns of collapse, and holds everything together. The informational matrix that, in the end, is everything, and holds everything together, is God’s thoughts, manifested in His Words. (Genesis 1:1-3; John 1:1; Colossians 1:16-17; Hebrews 11:3)
That which is above the physical realm, and, is its source, is the spirit realm. We are citizens of the spirit realm, who live in physical bodies. We can’t explore the spirit realm with our physical senses, because it is not a physical realm. We can, however, explore the spirit realm by embracing different beliefs. This is dangerous, but easily done, because nonmaterial beliefs connect us to the nonmaterial realm.
We manifest our nonmaterial beliefs, in our material brains. Then, these materialized beliefs direct our lives, here on the earth. Hence, belief is the gateway between the spirit realm, and the physical realm. Friends, don’t be deceived: Belief will either cut you off from God and His blessings, or bring God and His blessings into your life.
In my early years, religion tricked me into believing that God had rejected, and cursed me. And it was this demonically inspired false belief that cut me off from the grace of God, and His blessings. God’s grace and blessings were available, but I could not experience them.
Religion had me performing like a circus animal, and, in the end, it “rewarded” me with disease, addiction, and lack. Words cannot express how much man’s religion angers me. And, it angers God too!
As far as I can tell, there are only two instances, in the New Testament, where it says that Jesus was angry. The first is recorded in Mark 3:5, where Jesus was angry with the religious rulers for allowing their religion to blind them to, Who was standing right in front of them performing miracles. The second is in Matthew 21, Mark 11, Luke 19, and John 2. The gospels record a time when Jesus entered the Temple complex, and drove the religious profiteers out.
Jesus was Yahweh manifested in human flesh, and this was the source of His authority. Contrary to what some people teach, Jesus was not a classically trained rabbi, who had been given authority by men. No, if this would have been the case, then the religious rulers would not have been amazed by the wisdom that this uneducated man possessed, nor would they have had to ask Him by what authority He had done these things. (John 7:15; Matthew 21:23)
Yahweh required every male to travel to the Temple, during the three pilgrim feasts. (Deuteronomy 16:16) These males had to offer sacrifices to Yahweh. It was problematic, however, to bring animals on a long, and difficult journey. And besides that, the pilgrims never knew if the priests would accept their animals or not, so the religious leaders authorized the selling of animals, in the Temple’s outer court. The sacrifice-sellers charged worshipers exorbitant prices for “priest approved” animals, and gave the religious rulers a piece of the action.
The prices that the sacrifice-sellers charged in the outer court were ridiculous. Jewish history testifies of a famous rabbi, who once successfully negotiated a 99% discount for an animal sacrifice!
Male worshippers of Yahweh were also required to pay a yearly Temple tax, which helped run and maintain the Temple, build Israel’s roads and aqueducts, and take care of Israel’s poor, disabled, widows and orphans. (Exodus 30:13) Israel was supposed to be a theocracy, and the Temple was supposed to be the seat of the government.
Yahweh specified that the Temple tax was to be a half shekel. So, in order to keep the letter of the law, the religious rulers set up money-changers in the outer court of the Temple, who exchanged foreign currencies for shekels. Sadly, the religious rulers exploited Yahweh’s Word, and made a profit from this exchange. Some scholars say that they made as much as 12% on each of the 2.5 million transactions!
As I stated before, Jesus was Yahweh in human flesh. So, Jesus had no problem with the economic system, which helped worshippers fulfill His law. What disturbed Jesus was the religious rulers, who exploited His Word, in order to make a profit, at the expense of the poor. The religious rulers were actually stealing from the poor! This is why Jesus said that these despicable religious profiteers had turned His Father’s house of prayer, into a den of thieves!
Once again, the religious rulers were keeping the letter of the law, while violating it’s intent (the spirit of the law). And since these despicable activities occurred in the court of the gentiles, or the court of the nations, everyone saw them, and Yahweh’s name was blasphemed by the unbelievers, who visited Israel. (Romans 2:24)
Now that we have seen what fallen human beings tend to do whenever they have an opportunity to profit from the spiritual lives of others, we can better understand why the tithe was never given as money. The tithe was never about money, it was about food.
The priests did not possess, or inherit land in Israel. Consequently, the priests could not grow crops, or raise animals. To ensure that the priests did not starve to death, Yahweh instituted the tithes.
The first tithe was 10% of a land owner’s crops, and animals, which was to be given to the Temple storehouse. The second tithe was to be taken to the Temple, and eaten by the tither, before the Lord, to celebrate His goodness. This tithe was to be shared with the Levites (the Temple workers), the poor, the disabled, the widows and the orphans. (The land owner could sell his goods, and make the journey to Jerusalem with money, but when he got to Jerusalem he had to buy whatever he wanted to eat or drink, and share it with everyone.) The third tithe was to be given every 3 years. On the 3rd year, the land owner would take 10% of his crops, and animals and throw a “big party” for the Levites, the poor, the disabled, the widows, and the orphans, who lived near him. (Deuteronomy 14:22-29)
Remember this: In its purest form, Israel was a theocracy, and the Temple was the seat of the government. The religious rulers were government officials, who collected taxes. These taxes (the Temple tax) was used to build, and maintain Israel’s infrastructure. Tithes were about food, not money. The tithes were not intended to enrich the religious rulers, the tithes were intended to feed the religious rulers, the poor, the disabled, the widows, and the orphans.
The Ekklesia, which is more commonly called the Church, is a universal Spiritual body. I describe it this way, because the Holy Spirit is in us, here on the earth, and the Holy Spirit, is in Jesus, in heaven. The Holy Spirit unites us with Jesus, and hence, we are, “In Christ“. Jesus is our King, and He has established His Kingdom in our hearts. And where two or more of us are gathered together, in His name, Jesus is in the midst, and His Kingdom begins to operate.
Our bodies are now the Temple of God, and the government of God operates in our hearts, through our Great High priest, and King. As Spirit filled believers, we no longer need an earthly Temple, human priests, or animal sacrifices. And thankfully, we no longer have to travel to Jerusalem three times a year, and buy expensive animals, pay a Temple tax, or three tithes! It is finished! We have a perfect union with Yahweh, through the precious blood of the Lamb of God!
The Visible Ekklesia
The invisible, universal, Spiritual body of Messiah manifests, where two or more believers are gathered together, in His Name, and, at that place, His Kingdom will operate, in order to bring direction, correction, edification, peace, and healing to all in attendance.
There are small pockets of the Messiah’s Kingdom all over the world. In these small assemblies, there are not two classes of people. There is not an elite class of religious rulers, who have authority over the common worshipers. No sir, we are all brothers and sisters with different assignments, and different functions within Messiah’s Spiritual body. No one has the authority to lord over an assembly. The leaders of an assembly must be its humble servants. (Matthew 23:8; Mark 10:42-45; 1 Corinthians 12:12-18; 1 Peter 5:3)
Paul appointed a group of elders to oversee each assembly. These elders were to guard the flock (their fellow assembly members), from false doctrine, and teach the Scriptures, so that they would grow up, and go out and do the work of the ministry. Paul said that the local elders, should perform their duties willingly, and not for personal gain. Paul said that we owe the elders, who serve well, double honor. However, Paul said that each assembly should help support traveling apostles, and evangelists, who couldn’t hold a steady Job. (Ephesians 4:12; 1 Corinthians 9:11; 1 Peter 5:2; 1 Timothy 5:17)
So, here’s the question: How did the assemblies help support traveling apostles, evangelists, the poor, the widows, the orphans, and fellow believers in other assemblies? Did the members of each assembly pay a tax, or a tithe? No record of any such tax, or tithe is recorded in the New Testament. No, the only offerings that were ever given to apostles, evangelists, the poor, the widows, the orphans, or struggling assemblies were free will offerings. (1 Corinthians 16: 1-9; 2 Corinthians chapters 8 & 9)
It doesn’t matter what I think about the tithe. It doesn’t matter what your pastor thinks about the tithe. The only thing that really matters is what the Scriptures say about the tithe. And, strangely enough, the tithing system is only mentioned in the New Testament twice.
First, the tithe is mentioned in Matthew 23:23, and Luke 11:42. In these verses, Jesus tells the religious leaders that they should tithe their herbs, and not neglect the more important things of the law. Well, of course, Jesus Christ would tell these men to tithe, because they were under the law for righteousness. If Jesus would have told them anything else, He would be telling them to break the law (to sin), and He would become a law-breaker (a sinner)Himself!
Secondly, the tithe is mentioned in Hebrews chapter 7. In the ancient eastern world, to pay a tithe was to submit to someone greater than yourself. People would pay tithes of things to kings, to get on their good side, and receive favor from them. The writer of Hebrews, is addressing Hebrews, who are familiar with tithing. The Jews revere Abraham, and hold him in very high spiritual regard. The writer of Hebrews is emphasizing the greatness of Melchisedec’s priesthood. This priesthood is so great that even Abraham, and the Levitical priests, who were in his loins, paid tithes to it! Without any doubt, the Melchisedec priesthood is superior to the Levitical priesthood. And Jesus is the High priest of the Melchisedec priesthood! This lets the Hebrews know exactly how great Jesus is.
Some preachers say that tithing is a general principle, or “a spiritual law“, which is why people tithed in the Old Testament, and so should we. The writer of Hebrews, however, says in verse 5, that the Levites were commanded to take tithes from the people according to the law. (Tithing is not a general principle, or a spiritual law, it is a Mosaic ordinance to those, who were under the law for righteousness.)
And in verse 12, the writer of Hebrews says that since the priesthood has changed, the law has also been changed.
God sent Peter to instruct the Jews. The Jews knew all about tithing, but yet the Apostle to the Jews never mentioned tithing one time. This is very telling. God sent Paul to instruct the gentiles, that is, the people of the nations. The gentiles did not know a single thing about tithing. And the Apostle Paul never mentioned it one time! The Apostle Paul’s silence on the issue of tithing is truely deafening.
If our ability to be blessed rested on, whether or not we tithed, and if our assemblies were to be funded with mandatory tithes, don’t you think that Paul would have explained the tithing requirements to us?
Paul told us to follow him, as he followed Jesus. Jesus Christ didn’t pay tithes, because He wasn’t a farmer, He was a carpenter. Paul, being a Pharisee, didn’t pay tithes (unless he paid them on the herbs he grew in his window sill). More importantly, Jesus and Paul did not collect tithes to support their ministries. Both of their ministries were supported by free will offerings. Both of them were outside of the Temple tithe system, because they were not Levites. Only Levites could receive tithes. (Mark 6:3; Luke 8:1-3; Philippians 4:15)
If the Son of God, and the greatest Apostle in the New Testament, did not collect “monetary tithes” (because there was no such thing), to support their ministries, then what in the world makes preachers today, think that they can compel people to give them “monetary tithes”? Once again, tithes were not about money, they were about food for the priests, disabled, poor, widows, and the orphans.
There is absolutely no Scriptural basis whatsoever for requiring New Testament believers to tithe 10% of there monetary gains to their elders, in order to be blessed by God. None. Zip. Zero. Notta.
The fact that tithing is not possible today, and that it is not meant for New Testament believers, because God has changed the priesthood, and changed the laws that govern it, has not stopped those, who wish to profit from the spiritual lives of others. Today, Doctors of theology skillfully twist the Scriptures, and threaten God’s people with curses, if they do not give them 10% of their gross income. This behavior sickens me, and, more importantly, it sickens God.
This is no different from what the money-changers, and sacrifice-sellers did in the Temple’s outer court. These preachers are taking money from the saints, by force. These preachers are thieves, and robbers. And this spiritual thievery hits the poor the hardest.
I know a lady, who can’t buy a much-needed new car, because, her pastor has told her that she has to tithe, or be cursed by God. Another couple that I know had to choose between buying diapers, and baby food, or angering God, and falling under His curse!
Not long ago, a dear woman that I love very much came over to my house in tears. She told me that her pastor said that God had cursed her for not tithing. She said that she could not afford to tithe, and pay her rent, and she had no hope of ever prospering!
This dear lady really believed that God had cursed her. And since belief is the gateway to the spirit realm, that was her reality!
And all these despicable actions are taking place before the eyes of the world, and for this cause many unbelievers blaspheme God’s name. I know this to be true, because I have relatives, who want nothing to do with God, because they see “His leaders” swindling money from people. It is really a sad, and sickening situation.
Shutting up the Kingdom
Today’s thieving preachers are doing the same thing that the Jewish religious leaders in Galatia were doing. They were shutting up the Kingdom of God unto believers, and perverting the Gospel, counting the blood of Messiah as a worthless thing. “For if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.” (Galatians 2:21)
These preachers proclaim Malachi 3:7-11, at the top of their lungs. Pronouncing a curse of God on the non-tithers. Now, obviously, if you are under God’s curse, you are not right with Him. That is to say, you are not righteous in His eyes. What a perversion of the truth!
The Gospel, the good news is that Christ fulfilled the law and earned His righteousness, along with all the blessings of God, and then He freely gave us His righteousness, and all the blessings that He earned. There is no way that a believer can be cursed by God.
Little do these thieving preachers know that when they proclaim Malachi 3:7-11, they are actually testifying against themselves.
Will a man rob God?
Malachi 3:7-11, asks if a man will rob God. How could a man rob God? We can’t hold a gun on God, and take His stuff. We, however, can rob God by not supporting the people He tells us to support. The tithes were to help feed God’s people, who could not provide for themselves. The priests couldn’t provide for themselves, they didn’t own land, and then there were the poor, the disabled, the widows, and the orphans. Robbing God, is, in fact, robbing God’s people.
So, will a man rob God? Definitely, it is done routinely, every Sunday, when men put on fancy suits, and rob God, as they rob His people!
New Testament Giving
Let me be clear: God expects us to give, whatever we are able to give, to help the less fortunate. (2 Corinthians 8:2) And if we want to be a member of an institutionalized corporate assembly, then we should help with its expenses. We should do our part. If you give 10% of your gross income, or more, simply because you want to, then God bless you! There will be a lot of fruit in your account, so rejoice, and be glad that God has given you so much!
In the New Testament dispensation, God will prompt you to give money to support your assembly. God will also prompt you to help the poor, the disabled, the widows,the orphans, and all the saints, who are in need. If you fail to obey God’s promptings, you will sin, and you will rob Him, and you will miss an opportunity to sow a good seed, which may have brought you a great harvest. Nevertheless, God is no longer counting your sins against you, so, one thing is for sure, God is not going to curse you for not giving money to a church!
Wow! This would really put the Ekklesia to the test. It would prove, which leaders are true shepherds (God-appointed), and, which are hirelings (self-appointed). It would really take faith to believe God would prompt the flock to support the elders, and keep the doors open every month. I guess that’s why they pull the tithing scam.
New Testament giving is summed up in 2 Corinthians 9:7, when Paul says, “Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.”
Isn’t it telling that Paul was collecting an offering for the saints in Jerusalem, who were starving, and suffering great need? Think about it, if the saints in Jerusalem were starving, shouldn’t the Temple tithes have been used to feed them? They weren’t, because Messiah’s followers were outside of the tithe system, and did not benefit from it. So, Paul had to collect a free-will offering for them.
It is abundantly clear that the Old Testament Temple tithing system is not for us. So, make no mistake, every Sunday morning, God is being robbed, and it is the man in the fancy suit, who is robbing Him!