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Sunday, October 2, 2011

How Many Tithes?

How Many Tithes?
Tithe # 1 - Ma'aser Rishon in Hebrew was a tenth of the crops and the tenth animal that passes through the rod every year. The Levites were the recipients and this tithe could be eaten anywhere in Israel. Sub-tithe: A tenth of this tithe must be given to the Priests. Livestock was not redeemable but the crops were by paying 20% of money in addition to the actual value.
Other name(s): Levitical tithe, first tithe
Supporting scriptures: Leviticus 27:30-33, Numbers 18:25-32 and Hebrews 7:5-11

Tithe #2 - Ma'aser Sheni in Hebrew was a tenth of the crops only, not livestock. But Jews were commanded to add the firstborn animals, but not a tenth of the animals. The original owners were the recipients, could be eaten only in Jerusalem.  Buy back option not available. This tithe could be converted to money for transportation purposes only but in Jerusalem the same money must be used to buy food and it must be eaten by the owners, their families, relatives and the Levites. This tithe must be paid every year in one of the 3 festivals. No sub-tithe involved.
Other name(s): Festival tithe, feast tithe
Supporting scriptures:  Deuteronomy 12:16-21, 14:22-26, 16:16 & Exodus 23:14-17
 

Tithe # 3 - Ma'aser Ani in Hebrew - every 3rd year of the 7 year cycle. widows, orphans, Levites and the poor were the recipients and it should be only eaten within the gates of the city. No sub-tithe involved and no buy-back possible. 
Also after paying the 3rd tithe the tithers were required to offer a specific declaration and a prayer as prescribed in Deuteronomy 26:13-15. There are no instructions in the Mosaic law to offer any specific prayer after paying the 1st or 2nd tithes.
Other name(s): Welfare tithe, charity tithe, poor tithe
Supporting scriptures:  Deuteronomy 14:28,29 & Deuteronomy 26:12 – 15
 
The break down total of all three tithes:  20% over a 7-year period / 23.3% over a 6 year period are given below:

Year 1 = 10% (Tithe #1) + 10% (Tithe #2) = 20%
Year 2 = 10% (Tithe #1) + 10% (Tithe #2) = 20%
Year 3 = 10% (Tithe #1) + 10% (Tithe #2) + 10%  (Tithe #3) = 30%
Year 4 = 10% (Tithe #1) + 10% (Tithe #2) = 20%
Year 5 = 10% (Tithe #1) + 10% (Tithe #2) = 20%
Year 6 = 10% (Tithe #1) + 10% (Tithe #2) + 10%  (Tithe #3) = 30%

Year 7 = 0% - the seventh year land Sabbath (Exodus 23:10-11, Leviticus 25:20-22 and Deuteronomy 31:10-13) - Shmita (Hebrew: שמיטה‎, literally "release"), also called the Sabbatical Year, is the seventh year of the seven-year agricultural cycle mandated by the Torah for the Land of Israel.

140% / 7 = 20% - in 7 years

140% / 6 = 23.3 % - in 6 years

Wondering why the so-called tithe teachers never bother to mention multiple tithes?!
Are there proofs about practice of multiple tithes?
Yes, there are 3 important proofs outside the 66 books of the Bible.

a) Famous Jewish historian Flavius Josephus who lived in the first century:

Antiquities of the Jews – Book 4, Chapter 8 and verse 22

“Besides those two tithes, which I have already said you are to pay every year, the one for the Levites, the other for the festivals, you are to bring every third year a third tithe to be distributed to those that want; to women also that are widows, and to children that are orphans.”


b) The Apocryphal book of Tobit:

Tobit the son of Tobiel, son of Ananiel, son of Aduel, son of Gabael, of the descendants of Asiel and the tribe of Naphtali in his own words.
Tobit 1:6 – But I alone went often to Jerusalem for the feasts, as it is ordained for all Israel by an everlasting decree. Taking the first fruits and the tithes of my produce and the first shearings, I would give these to the priests, the sons of Aaron, at the altar.
Tobit 1:7 – Of all my produce I would give a tenth to the sons of Levi who ministered at Jerusalem; a second tenth I would sell, and I would go and spend the proceeds each year at Jerusalem;
Tobit 1:8 – the third tenth I would give to those to whom it was my duty, as Deborah my father’s mother had commanded me, for I was left an orphan by my father.

c)  Christian Church Fathers who wrote about multiple tithes:

i) Jerome who included the book of Tobit in the Latin Bible (Vulgate)
Jerome says one tithe was given to the Levites, out of which they gave a tenth to the priests; a second    tithe was applied to festival purposes, and a third was given to the poor (Commentary on Ezekiel 45:1, 565. quoted in McClintock and Strong, 10, 434).


ii) John Chrysostom who was Archbishop of Constantinople (349–407 A.D) and a contemporary of Jerome believed that multiple tithes existed:

Homily 64 on Matthew 19:27 section 4

And how much did they bestow in alms? One may ask. For this very thing, I am minded to say now, that they who do not give may be roused to give, and they that give may not pride themselves, but may make increase of their gifts. What then did they give? A tenth of all their possessions, and again another tenth, and after this a third, so that they almost gave away the third part, for three-tenths put together make up this. And together with these, first fruits, and first born, and other things besides, as, for instance, the offerings for sins, those for purification, those at feasts, those in the jubilee, those by the canceling of debts, and the dismissals of servants, and the lendings that were clear of usury. But if he who gave the third part of his goods, or rather the half (for those being put together with these are the half), if then he who is giving the half, achieves no great thing, he who does not bestow so much as the tenth, of what shall he be worthy? With reason He said, “There are few that be saved.”

Jewish View Of Multiple Tithes:


a) The 12 century Jewish Halachic arbitrator Moses ben-Maimon called Maimonides also known as HaRambam

Maimonides: “On the third and sixth years from the sabbatical year, after they have separated the first tithe, they separate from what remains another tithe, and give it to the poor, and it is called the poor’s tithe; and not on those two years is the second tithe, but the poor’s tithe.” — Gill on Deuteronomy 14:28; Maimonides, Hilchot Mattanot Anayim, c. 6, sect. 4. See also Speaker’s Commentary on Deuteronomy 14:28-29, and McClintock and Strong’s Cyclopaedia, vol. 10. p. 433.]


b) Selden and Michaelis also argue in the same direction, saying that a third tithe should be an excessive demand upon the income of a man who had already expended two-tenths of his increase (McClintock and Strongs Cyclopaedia, vol. 10, p. 434).


c) Peake likewise says: “It may be urged that it is not probable that a double tribute should be exacted from the crops.” And again: “Nor is it probable that a tax of nearly one-fifth of the whole produce should be imposed on the farmers.” (Article “Tithe,” in Hastings Dictionary of the Bible, I, p. 780.)


d) Jewish Talmud (Mishna & Gemmarah)

Tithingstudy Response to Judaism's view on tithing:  So did the Jews pay only the welfare tithe (which we call as the 3rd tithe) on the 3rd and 6th years instead of the 1st and/or 2nd tithes?





a) Deuteronomy 26:12 mentions about “the year of tithing” because years 3 and 6 were the most expensive year for the Jews.


b) If the 3rd tithe had replaced the 1st tithe how did the Levites survive for those 2 years because they paid this tithes only at the end of the 3rd and 6th years.


c) If the 3rd tithe had replaced the 2nd tithe did the Jews not celebrate the 3 pilgrimage festivals during the 3rd and 6th years or did they celebrate the 3 pilgrimage festivals without bringing any food to Jerusalem?.


d) The Levites needed to survive during the sabbatical year. Therefore they got tithes twice during years 3 and 6, especially on year 6.


e) There is no verse in the Old Testament which says (as its primary subject) that the 3rd tithe should be replaced by 1st and/or 2nd tithes during the 3rd and 6th years.


f) Christians do not believe in the Jewish concept of the oral law. Post-exile Jewish Rabbis added a lot of man made laws and interpretations into their lives. Therefore the 39 books of the Old testament is enough to justify that there was a 3rd tithe apart from the first two. We need not rely upon the interpretations of HaRambam and Rashi.


g) Even though Jewish commentators overwhelmingly agree with Maimonides’ interpretation of the 3rd tithe, Abraham Ibn Ezra, a contemporary of Maimonides who was also a great Jewish commentator recognized that the 3rd tithe was distinct from the other two.


Christian Objections To Multiple Tithes:

How did 2.2% of Levites receive tithes from all six years from the rest of the Israelites continuously is a good question.

Here are some thoughts:

a) During their journey to the promised land, the tithing system was not implemented yet.

b) Under the leadership of Joshua - On going wars and they were still settling down.

c) During the period of Judges - Apostasy, idol worship, wars, ad hoc rulers, invasion by surrounding nations.

d) Saul-David-Solomon period:  United Kingdom of Israel, establishment of Jerusalem, Kings intervention in the affairs of people which was not God's perfect will.

e) After Solomon: Divided Kingdom, Jeroboam fired Levites from their positions and appointed mean and evil people as priests, YHWH worship was abolished by Kings like Omri and Ahab, True God worship was rare.  A large number of Levites/Priests and Jews loyal to YHWH  migrated to the southern Kingdom during King Asa's period.  Destruction of the Northern Kingdom

f) Only Southern Kingdom - Godly Kings like Hezekiah and Josiah were able to bring revival to Judah & Benjamin but those effects were destroyed by ungodly Southern Kings like Ahaz, Manasseh and other pre-exile Kings.

g) Babylonian captivity - no tithing at all.

h) Return from exile, never became a sovereign nation until 1947.

In all the above periods mentioned only during the period of Saul, David and Solomon Israelites (all 12 tribes) had the opportunity to practice YHWH's law under a stable political and religious climate.     However that was not God's perfect will either in the 1st place because God wanted to be the ONLY King over all the 12 tribes.  Also the taxes enforced by Kings added spin to the tithing system.  Therefore the ancient Jews never had a perfect opportunity to practice the tithing laws continuously  when all 12 tribes were intact.  Probably during the time of certain Judges they attempted to do that but we have to bear in mind, Jerusalem was not established as God's chosen place then!



 

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Whatever Happened To Offerings In Malachi 3:8

Malachi 3:8 - "Will a man rob God? Yet you are robbing Me! But you say, 'How have we robbed You?' In tithes and offerings.


Have you ever heard of a tithe teacher pointing out "offerings" in Malachi 3:8 ?   The tithe teachers cherry pick tithes alone and leave the offerings part for their own convenience in order to manipulate God's people.



Exodus 13:12            First offspring of every womb



Exodus 29:14            Sin offering


Exodus 29:18            Burnt offering


Exodus 29:40            Drink offering


Exodus 29:41            Grain offering  (by fire)


Exodus 30:10, 16       Annual atonement






Leviticus 3:1              Fellowship offering


Leviticus 5:15            Guilt offering


Leviticus 7:12            Thanks offering


Leviticus 7:37            Ordination offering


Leviticus 19:24          Praise offering for new fruit trees


Leviticus 22:18          Freewill offering






Numbers 5:15           Grain offering for jealousy

Numbers 5:15           Reminder offering


Numbers 5:26           Memorial offering


Numbers 19:17         Purification offering


Numbers 28:14         Monthly burnt offering
 
 
If our modern day tithe teachers are intellectually honest, shouldn't they also emphasize about the above various offerings while teaching about tithes from Malachi 3 ?  
 
If we say that the tithes were only for Old Testament, then they would say that all scriptures are profitable according to 2 Timothy 3:16! 
 
2 Timothy 3:16
 
All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness;


Why don't the tithe teachers consider the various offerings mentioned in the Old Testament as useful scriptures in order to be consistent?

Wake up Christians!

http://www.wickedshepherds.com


Links:

http://www3.telus.net/public/kstam/en/tabernacle/details/offerings.htm

http://bible-studies.cephasministry.com/offerings.html






Sunday, June 5, 2011

Is The New Testament Local Church, The Modern Day Storehouse?

Is The New Testament Local Church, The Modern Day Storehouse?

by tithingstudy on June 5, 2011
 
Is the New Testament Local Church The Equivalent Of Old Testament Storehouse?
The sentence “the local Church is the New Testament storehouse” has been repeated over and over again by multitude of Pastors all over the world.

Okay, for heck sake let us make the following assumptions:

1. The New Testament local Church is indeed the storehouse and Christians must bring the whole tithe to the local Church.

2. Money was a tithable item in the Old Testament.

3. Jews actually tithed ONLY 10% and not 23.3% in the span of 6 years.

4. The early Church practiced tithing and the early Church fathers taught tithing.

Let us see how the early Church functioned:
Ephesians 4:11 – And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers.
Ephesians 4:12 – for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ;
Ephesians 4:13 – until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the
fullness of Christ.
1 Corinthians 12:28 – And God has appointed in the church, first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, various kinds of tongues.
Ephesians 4:11 – 13 clearly states that there are supposed to be 5 fold ministries in order equip the saints.

According to 1 Corinthians 12:28 in the Church 1st apostles, 2nd prophets, 3rd teachers and the Holy Spirit skips evangelists and pastors.

Therefore would it not be logical to conclude that apostles collected the money and distributed to the rest of the ministers.

Even the following verses do not mention about pastors and evangelists.
1 Corinthians 12:29 All are not apostles, are they? All are not prophets, are they? All are not teachers, are they? All are not workers of miracles, are they?
1 Corinthians 12:30 All do not have gifts of healings, do they? All do not speak with tongues, do they? All do not interpret, do they?
What we see around us are two man-made systems of church government:

(a) The pyramid system a.k.a . hierarchical pattern. This is a centrally-controlled system headed by a General Superintendent like what we see in the Assemblies of God, Church
of God and other similar Pentecostal denominations. Senior pastors in these kind of pyramidal systems consider themselves matured and treat the immatured junior pastors badly.

(b) The independent system. In this system, each church is totally independent, called non-denominational and answerable to no one. One Charismatic religious leader builds an empire collecting all tithes and offerings. He has the ultimate control over all decision making processes. Or a Senior Pastor with many associate pastors under him running a huge religious enterprise. Many Churches that practice the Word-of-Faith theology belong to this category.
Neither of the 2 models conform to the New Testament standards but call themselves as New Testament storehouses.

The pastoral calling is a gift given to the church and not the title of the leader of a church. The leaders of the New Testament church were called elders – not pastors – and there was always more than one elder in every church. There New Testament leadership was always in plural.

Now those who think that New Testament Christians need to tithe to their local Church need to answer the following questions:

1. Can the pro-tithers show one Church or denomination that has all 5 fold ministries in it? All we see is a single pastor controlled religious enterprise.

2. How can a single pastor attempt to equip the saints without the help of apostles, prophets, teachers and evangelists contrary to Ephesians 4:11-13?

2. If a Pastor gets the whole 10% what about the rest of the 4 ministerial offices?

3. If the early Church had practiced tithing how did they “divide” the tithes amongst all 5 fold ministers?

4. How did the early Church support miracle workers, ministers who operated in the gifts of healings, helpers, administrators and interpreters of tongues?

4. Since 1 Cor. 12:28 says “first apostles”, did Apostles collect 10% and distributed to other type of ministers. Apostles appointed PastorS (actually elderS). So is it safe to
conclude that ONLY Apostles got the tithes and gave a small percentage to Pastors and other ministers?

5. 1 Cor. 12:28 also says “second prophets, third teachers” and it does not even mention Pastors and think about how Pastors could have collected tithes.

6. Also in the early Church pastorS were in plural and no where the Apostles appointed a single pastor to shepherd a Church. So how can it be right for a single pastor to collect the whole tithe?

7. All of us may not agree that the offices of Apostles and Prophets exist today but most of us agree that the other 3 offices do. So should the “teachers” get the tithe first and distribute it to the evangelists and pastors ?

8. Also according to Acts 13:1 same people were holding 2 ministerial offices. In the Church of Anitoch there were 5 individuals holding dual offices.
Acts 13:1 Now there were at Antioch, in the church that was there, prophets and teachers: Barnabas, and Simeon who was called Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene, and Manaen who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul.

Did they get more money for operating in 2 ministerial offices simultaneously?

Later in Acts 13:2, Paul and Barnabas were promoted to hold the office of the apostles!
Acts 13:2 While they were ministering to the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.”

No where in the New Testament we can find any pastor collecting money neither in the form of tithes nor in the form of offerings.

Malachi 3:10 says “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in My house, and test Me now in this,” says the LORD of hosts, “if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you a blessing until it overflows.

In our modern day Churches there is not food for Apostles, prophets, teachers, evangelists, helpers, administrators, faith healers, interpreters of tongues and miracle workers do not get their share. They are at the mercy of the senior pastors. Many fellow ministers are asked to “live by faith” by the senior pastors.

Therefore even if we assume that the New Testament Church is the modern day storehouse, it does not function like a storehouse.

In the New Testament, the Lord’s workers were supported financially in two ways: Some were supported by the gifts of believers, while others like Paul supported themselves.

What a glaring discrepancy from what we see today!

Christians wake up!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

The Third Tithe!

                                                   The Third Tithe!

Our modern day tithe teachers are leaving an indelible impression in the minds of their followers that the ancient Jews tithed only 10% of their gross income and demand that Christians must also tithe 10% of their gross income to their local Churches.

However, to make such an assumption is totally false and contrary to the scriptures.

There were multiple tithes prescribed in the Mosaic law contrary to popular opinion.  Let us focus on the 3rd tithe in this article.

Definition of the 3rd tithe:

After the Sabbatical year, on every third and sixth year the farm owning Israelites must keep the increase of their produce within their gates and distribute it to the Levites, the widows, the poor and the strangers.

The 3rd tithe is also known as:

The Charity tithe /  Tithe for the poor / Welfare tithe

Some of the distinct things about the 3rd tithe were, little to no traveling and transportation involved and this is the only tithe for which God promises to bless the works of the giver.  No promises were given for the givers of the 1st and 2nd tithes in the Mosaic law.  Also after paying the 3rd tithe the tithers were required to offer a specific declaration and a prayer as prescribed in Deuteronomy 26:13-15.   There are no instructions in the Mosaic law to offer any specific prayer after paying the 1st or 2nd tithes.

Proof from the law of Moses (Scriptures about the 3rd tithe):

Deuteronomy 14:28

"At the end of every third year you shall bring out all the tithe of your produce in that year, and shall deposit it in your town."

Deuteronomy 14:29

"The Levite, because he has no portion or inheritance among you, and the alien, the orphan and the widow who are in your town, shall come and eat and be satisfied, in order that the LORD your God may bless you in all the work of your hand which you do."

Deuteronomy 26:12 - 15

"When you have finished paying all the tithe of your increase in the third year, the year of tithing, then you shall give it to the Levite, to the stranger, to the orphan and to the widow, that they may eat in your towns and be satisfied."

Questions and Answers about the third tithe:

1. What was tithable as the third tithe?

*  One tenth of the increase in the produce.   Money (Shekel) is not mentioned and the cattle are not mentioned either.

2. Who were the recipients?

*  The Levites, the widows, the poor and the strangers (aliens) were the recipients and the final owners of this tithe.

3. Where should they bring the tithes?

* Within their gates and within the boundaries of their town.

4. What was the purpose?

*  In order that the Lord God of Israel may bless you in all the work of your hand which you do.

5. How often it should be paid?

*  Every third year, that was on the 3rd and 6th year from the Sabbatical year.

6. Was it redeemable?

*  No, it could not be redeemed.  It must be given out and no redemption option was specified in the Mosiac law.  The third tithe must not be converted into money.

7. When it was paid?

*  At the END of the 3rd year.

8. Were livestock involved?

*  No, animals were not part of the 3rd tithe.

9. What was the difference between the third tithe and the other two tithes?

A 65-year-old wheelchair-bound woman with congestive heart failure was kicked out of her church because she was not paying her tithe, NBC 4 reported. Loretta Davis told NBC 4's Mike Bowersock she was shocked when she received a letter saying she was no longer considered a member of her church, The Living Word Tabernacle. Davis made an agreement with the church that she would give 10 percent of her income.  Then she became ill and stopped making payments, so the church revoked her membership. "Since Jan. 5, I've been in the hospital 15 times," Davis said.  "I've suffered with cellulites since I've had the open heart (surgery)." Davis is no longer paying the church $60 per month from her $592 per month Social Security check, Bowersock reported. "I have my tithes that I was supposed to pay, but I have not paid them since this has went on," Davis said. "In the time of (Davis') need, they should be caring, supporting, asking what she needs -- help her if she needed help," said Teresa Meeks, who is Davis' daughter.  "I was so hurt on what they did to her." The church moved out of its building in Waverly earlier this year and Davis' dismissal has become the talk of the town, Bowersock reported. In a letter to the editor of the local paper, the former pastor said it is true that Davis lost her membership for not paying her tithes. In the same letter, he said Davis was not kicked out of the church for not paying her tithes. The Rev. Paul McClurg, who started the church, said Davis is still welcome to attend church but is not allowed to be a member. The issue upset Davis' 83-year-old mother so much that she quit the church. The members have been holding services in a Lion's Club hall while waiting to build a new church.  There are at least two former members who will not be attending with them."



Only for the 3rd tithe a return blessing is promised in the Mosaic law unlike the first 2 tithes.  Why this principle is ignored by the prosperity preachers today?  Testing God in Malachi 3:10 was specific to the Jews who returned from the Babylonian captivity and not to the Christian Church!

Tithe teachers gleefully quote Jerome and Chrysostom as tithe proponents in the early Christianity but hide the fact those 2 men also believed in multiple tithes.

Christians, please understand, how tithing was practiced in the Old Testament period and be on guard against the mammon loving wolves.

How many tithes? Here is a brief description about all 3 tithes:

Tithe # 1 – Ma’aser Rishon was a tenth of the crops and the tenth animal that passes through the rod every year. The Levites were the receipients and this tithe could be eaten anywhere in Israel. Sub-tithe: A tenth of this tithe must be given to the Priests. Livestock was not redeemable but the crops were by paying 20% of money in addition to the actual value.
Other name(s): Levitical tithe, first tithe.

Tithe #2 – Ma’aser Sheni was a tenth of the crops only, not livestock. But Jews were commanded to add the firstborn animals, but not a tenth of the animals. The original owners are the receipients, could be eaten only in Jerusalem. Buy back option not available. This tithe could be converted to money for transportation purposes only but in Jerusalem the same money must be used to buy food and it must be eaten by the owners, their families, relatives and the Levites. This tithe must be paid every year in one of the 3 festivals. No sub-tithe involved.
Other name(s): Festival tithe, feast tithe

Tithe # 3 – Ma’aser Ani every 3rd year of the 7 year cycle. Windows, orphans, Levites and the poor were the receipients and it should be only eaten within the gates of the city. No sub-tithe involved.
Other name(s): Welfare tithe, charity tithe, poor tithe.

The total of all three tithes = 20% over a 7-year period / 23.3% over a 6 year period as follows:

Year 1 = 10% (Tithe #1) + 10% (Tithe #2) = 20%
Year 2 = 10% (Tithe #1) + 10% (Tithe #2) = 20%
Year 3 = 10% (Tithe #1) + 10% (Tithe #2) + 10% (Tithe #3) = 30%
Year 4 = 10% (Tithe #1) + 10% (Tithe #2) = 20%
Year 5 = 10% (Tithe #1) + 10% (Tithe #2) = 20%
Year 6 = 10% (Tithe #1) + 10% (Tithe #2) + 10% (Tithe #3) = 30%

Year 7 = 0% – the seventh year land Sabbath

140% / 7 = 20% – in 7 years

140% / 6 = 23.3 % – in 6 years

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Church Father Justin Martyr On Tithing

Who was Justin Martyr?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Justin_Martyr

Did Justin Martyr record incidents of early Christians tithing?

Justin Martyr – First Apology
http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/anf01.viii.ii.lxvii.html
    Chapter LXVII.—Weekly worship of the Christians.
And we afterwards continually remind each other of these things. And the wealthy among us help the needy; and we always keep together; and for all things wherewith we are supplied, we bless the Maker of all through His Son Jesus Christ, and through the Holy Ghost. And on the day called Sunday, all who live in cities or in the country gather together to one place, and the memoirs of the apostles or the writings of the prophets are read, as long as time permits; then, when the reader has ceased, the president verbally instructs, and exhorts to the imitation of these good things. Then we all rise together and pray, and, as we before said, when our prayer is ended, bread and wine and water are brought, and the president in like manner offers prayers and thanksgivings, according to his ability, and the people assent, saying Amen; and there is a distribution to each, and a participation of that over which thanks have been given, and to those who are absent a portion is sent by the deacons. And they who are well to do, and willing, give what each thinks fit; and what is collected is deposited with the president, who succors the orphans and widows and those who, through sickness or any other cause, are in want, and those who are in bonds and the strangers sojourning among us, and in a word takes care of all who are in need.

In chapter 67 of his book first apology Justin Martyr explains how the early Church collected money.
…And the wealthy among us help the needy

- Tithe collection was not mentioned and obviously no one gave “seed offering”.
…and what is collected is deposited with the president, who succor the orphans and widows and those who, through sickness or any other cause, are in want, and those who are in bonds and the strangers sojourning among us, and in a word takes care of all who are in need.

- No mention about the collection of “His” tithes!!! 

There is no proof of early Christians following the “eternal moral principle” of tithing in Justin Martyr’s writings.
Church father Justin Martyr never advocated tithing and the early Christian Church never practiced tithing as we see in today’s Churches.

Justin Martyr – Second Apology
There is no mention about Christians tithing in Justin’s 2nd apology either!
Dialogue with Trypho, the Jew – Justin Martyr

http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/anf01.viii.iv.xi.html

Chapter XI – The law abrogated; the New Testament promised and given by God
But we do not trust through Moses or through the law; for then we would do the same as yourselves.
Now, law placed against law has abrogated that which is before it, and a covenant which comes after in like manner has put an end to the previous one; and an eternal and final law—namely, Christ —has been given to us, and the covenant is trustworthy, after which there shall be no law, no commandment, no ordinance.
These were the statements made by Justin Martyr to Trypho, the Jew which obviously indicate that Justin did not follow the law of Moses!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Tithing Study Tabular Columns

Download Comparison Chart Between Levirate Marriage Law & Tithing Law
http://tithingstudy.files.wordpress.com/2011/05/leverite_marriage_law_vs_tithing_law.pdf

Levitical Tithes Versus Festival Tithes

~~~~~~~~~~ Levitical Tithe Festival Tithe
Scripture Verses Leviticus 27, Numbers 18:25-32 and Hebrews 7:5-11 Deuteronomy 12:16-21, 14:22-26, Exodus 23:14-17 and
Deuteronomy 16:16
Where to Eat Eaten anywhere in the promised land (only Levites could eat)

Only Eaten In Jerusalem
Who Received Tribe of Levi excluding Aaronic Priests All tribes of Israel
Final Ownership 90% owned by the Tribe Of Levi and 10% went to Aaronic Priests Original Owners
Why Substitute for Land inheritance Teach the fear of The Lord
Option to convert to money Add 20% to the monetary value to redeem the crops and bring it to Levites. Animals cannot be redeems. No redemption option specified
Further Action Levites Tithed 10th of the Tithe to Aaronic Priests No further action – all consumed during festivals


Levirate Marriage Law Versus Tithing Law
 
~~~~~~~~~~ Levirate Marriage Law – Marrying deceased husband’s male relative Tithing Law
Definition Marrying deceased husband’s nearest male relative if there are no surviving male heirs ALWAYS food, agricultural products, seed of the land, produce, oil, wine and livestock INSIDE the promised land but
NEVER referred to earned income or money
How it started? Unknown and no specific reason or commandment given Unknown and specific reason or commandment
Purpose To continue and preserve the male line of the deceased husband Levite tithe is to offset the loss of land inheritance for the tribe of Levi & Festival tithe is to teach the fear of the Lord
Before the law of Moses Practiced Practiced
Compulsory or Optional? Mandatory in many parts of the ancient Middle East Not compulsory but done as a free will offering or part of a previous vow
Incorporation into the Law of Moses Modified and adapted into the Mosaic law, also affected inter-tribe marriages Modified and codified into the Mosaic law, different tithes introduced
How did it start? Unknown and no specific reason or commandment given Unknown and specific reason or commandment
Frequency Does not matter, could happen in any year 6 years of continuous tithing and on the 7th year no tithing
Mentioned in the Talmud Discussed at least in one tractate Discussed at least in one tractate
Question posed to Jesus? Sadducees posed a specific question to Jesus No one asked Jesus about tithing
What did Jesus say? Never explicitly abrogated and did not command the Jews to discontinue the practice Never explicitly abrogated but asked the Jews under the law to tithe from garden herbs
Elsewhere in the New Testament Mentioned only by Jesus and the Sadducees, not mentioned elsewhere Mentioned by Jesus and mentioned in the book of Hebrews
Primary Subject of in the mentioned New Testament verse? No, resurrection was the primary subject when the Sadducees questioned Jesus No, pride vs. humility (in the parable – Luke 18:9-14), emphasis on justice and mercy (Matt. 23:23/Luke 11:42) and
comparison of Levitical and Melchizadek’s priesthood (Hebrews
7:1-10).
Apostle Paul’s position Paul never made a statement about the custom of Levirate
law
Paul never mentioned about tithing
Commanded to New Testament Christians? No, A Christian woman need not marry her deceased husband's
nearest male relative if there is no surviving son
No, A Christian is not commanded to tithe to the local Church

How today’s Christian church (various denominations)
follow both?
No Pastor asks a Christian widow to remarry or ask her to
marry her husband’s nearest male relatives if she does not
have a son even though it is practiced before the law of
Moses
Pastors exhort Christians to give 10% of their gross income (money earned)
stating that tithing was practiced even before the law of Moses!
 


Comparison Between Abraham’s tithe, Jacob’s tithe and tithing under the law of Moses
 
Abraham’s Tithe Jacob’s Tithe Under the law of Moses
Only Abraham tithed and not his servants Only Jacob (promised to) tithe and not his sons and
servants
Only Land owners growing crops and cattle owners tithed to Levites and Levites tithed to the priests. Poor and workers in the farms did not tithe
Only once paid Promised to pay only once Levitical and Festival tithes were yearly paid for 6 continuous years and Charity tithes were paid once in 3 years
Not from possessions but consisted of war spoils only Promised to pay from whatever God would give him Yearly paid Levitical and Festival tithes and Charity tithes were paid once  3 years
Abraham wanted to pay tributes to God and return the rest to the King of Sodom after rescuing his nephew Lot Hebrew language says Jacob had fear and doubts about God
and to manipulate God he made a conditional vow to tithe!
It was mandatory
Voluntary (or probably a custom in that area at that time) and tithed to Melchizadek and returned 90% back
to the King of Sodom!
Voluntary but no record of Jacob paying tithes Compulsory and followed at least levitical, festival and charity tithing systems.

Not commanded to tithe Not commanded to tithe Commanded to tithe
Gave the rest of the 90% to the King of Sodom Did not give the rest to of the 90% to anyone Levites tithed 10% to the Aaronic Priests and kept the rest of the agricultural products and livestock to
themselves.
Vow (either before or after) Previous Conditional vow Not subject to vow
Only one variety – war spoils Only one type Multiple – at least 3 different tithes specified in the
law
Melchizedek was the recipient No record about the recipient Levite got the 1st tithe and in turn tithed to the Priests, poor received the tithes and consumed by the owners during festivals
Total – 10% Total – Uncertain Total – 23.3% (10% Levitical, 10% Festival and 3.33 % Charity – 6 year average 23.3% & if Sabbatical year included it averages about 20%)
 


Old Testament Levites, Early Church Pastors And Modern Day Pastors
 
Old Testament Levites Early Church Pastors Modern day Pastors
Physical Descendents of Jacob’s 3rd Son Levi One of the five fold minsters Anyone who runs a Church
Got their authority to minister by the commandments given
in the law of Moses
Appointed by Apostles Seminary/Bible college qualification or self-appointments
or being the son of a Pastor qualifies them. Only a few of them have a
genuine calling from God
Were NOT full-time workers Most of them were NOT full-time workers Most of them are full-time workers
Received tithes from the rest of Israel Never received tithes from early Christians but sometimes
accepted free will gifts/offerings
Most of them receive tithes from modern-day Christians in
the form of money
Received tithes from the rest of the tribes to offset their loss of land inheritance Received freewill offerings/gifts for their labor in the Lord Have an entitlement mentality and force believers to give, sometimes with threats
In turn tithed to Priests and the Priests did not tithe to
anyone!
Never tithed to any central authority or any
denominational head quarters
Usually tithe to denominational headquarters or tithe to
their Pastoral friends
Always functioned as a team Always mentioned in plural and the Apostles came
first
Mostly single pastor controlled systems and per-eminence
to his family
Accountable to Aaronic Priests and were not supposed to go
inside the Holy of Holies
Accountable to Apostles and inter-dependent of other
ministerial offices
CEOs of a religious enterprise, sometimes accountable to
their denomination
Only Aaronic priests had special privilege in the tabernacle and the
Levites did not control all the resources in the religious enterprise
Apostles had greater authority and followed by Prophets. (1 Cor 12:28).No single Pastor and his family controlled all resources of a religious enterprise Usually a single Pastor controls all the resources of the religious enterprise and other associate Pastors and Church workers are employed by the Pastor
Only received money when the Israelites decided to redeem
the tithe by adding 20% of the monetary value
Most of them were in secular jobs and sometimes received
voluntary monetary gifts
Compulsorily collect tithes from the gross money earned from believers

Monday, May 31, 2010

If Jesus Addressed Matthew 23:23 To Christians...

Matthew 23:23 and Luke 11:42 are the favorite verses for the tithe teachers because in this verse Jesus “commands” people to tithe!!!

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cummin, and have neglected the weightier provisions of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness; but these are the things you should have done without neglecting the others.

Tom Brown, a Word of Faith preacher says the following in this website:

Notice Jesus said, “You should have practiced the latter (justice, mercy and faithfulness), without neglecting the former (tithing)….Some argue that Jesus’ words are not applicable to us today, because Jesus was under the Law and spoke to those under the Law. Their theory goes something like this: Jesus was giving an instruction to the Jews so His words are not binding to us. The problem with this interpretation is that these teachers are bringing Christ down to the level of a Jewish prophet or Teacher of the Law. Jesus is the Word of God made flesh, so this means every word that comes out of His mouth is eternal. He cannot say anything without it being “spiritual law” and everlasting. Jesus emphasizes this point by saying, “Heaven and earth may pass away, but my words will never pass away” (Matt 24:35). These supposed Bible teachers are making the words of Jesus pass away—obsolete and out of date.

If Christians need to use the logic of the likes of Tom Brown, then we should also consider the other saying of Jesus and obey them! Shouldn’t we?

1. Thou shalt not tell anyone about thy healing…

Matthew 8:4 / Mark 8:40-44

Then Jesus said to him, “Don’t tell anyone about this. Instead, go to the priest and let him examine you. Take along the offering required in the law of Moses for those who have been healed of leprosy. This will be a public testimony that you have been cleansed.

Matthew 9:30

And their eyes were opened. And Jesus sternly warned them: “See that no one knows about this!”

a) Christians are not supposed to tell anyone if they get healed.

b)Take the offering prescribed by Moses to the Pastor of the local Church?

2.Thou shalt evangelize ONLY the Jews and not other people group.

Matthew 15:24

Then Jesus said to the woman, “I was sent only to help God’s lost sheep–the people of Israel.

3. And say to non-Jews that God’s blessings are not for gentiles

Matthew 15:26

Jesus responded, “It isn’t right to take food from the children and throw it to the dogs.

4. Thou shalt not proclaim that Jesus is the Messiah to anyone…

Matthew 16:20

Then He warned the disciples that they should tell no one that He was the Christ.

Wondering if tithe teacher John Hagee referred this verse before declaring that Jesus was not the Messiah.

5. Christians must sell all their possessions and give them to the poor.

Matthew 19:21

Jesus said to him, “If you wish to be complete, go and sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.”

6. Christians must follow all man made laws including Corban offering!

Matthew 23:1-3

v1. Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples,

v2. The teachers of religious law and the Pharisees are the official interpreters of the law of Moses.

v3. So practice and obey whatever they tell you, but don’t follow their example. For they don’t practice what they teach.

Notice, in verse three Jesus says “So practice and obey whatever they tell you…”

7. The Word of Faith people should NOT call Kenneth Hagin Sr., Dad/Papa.

Matthew 23:9

Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven.

The WoF community often describes Kenneth Hagin Sr., as Dad Hagin or Papa Hagin.

8. No tithe “teachers” in our midst, only tithe brothers!

Matthew 23:8

But do not be called Rabbi; for One is your Teacher, and you are all brothers.

We have a lot of WoF teachers.

9.Christians need to call Apostle Peter as Apostle Satan (and remember the scripture cannot be broken)

Mark 8:33

But turning around and seeing His disciples, He rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind Me, Satan; for you are not setting your mind on God’s interests, but man’s.”

10. Justification is NOT by faith but by obeying the commandments of Moses!

Matthew 19:17

And He said to him, “Why are you asking Me about what is good? There is only One who is good; but if you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments.”

So in order to lead an unbeliever to salvation, Christians must ask them to keep the commandments of Moses instead of asking them to trust Jesus.

11. Thou shalt randomly enter into any house and thou shalt not stay in Hotel rooms!

Luke 9:4 / Luke 10:7

“Whatever house you enter, stay there until you leave that city.

When we go to minister to the lost, Christians should randomly enter into a house and stay if they accept Christians. We should not make reservations to stay in hotel rooms! No continental breakfast and wireless internet for tithe teachers!!!

12. Thou shalt not attend thy Father’s wake/funeral and when thy Father dies, thy shall proclaim the Gospel everywhere!

Luke 9:60

But He (Jesus) said to him, “Allow the dead to bury their own dead; but as for you, go and proclaim everywhere the kingdom of God.

13. Christians should not carry wallet,money, check book, credit card when they go for ministry!!!

Luke 10: 4

Carry no money belt, no bag, no shoes; and greet no one on the way.

Christians are not supposed to wear shoes, boots and sandals and we should go bare foot while going for ministry. No bags are allowed and we can save on flight ticket. Greet no one on the way…. Christians should not say Hi to anyone on the way, no smiling, no good mornings and no good afternoons. No eye contacts but frown at whoever you come across on the way!

13. Follow Jesus’ method while evangelizing:

Luke 10:25-26

v25 One day an expert in religious law stood up to test Jesus by asking him this question: “Teacher, what should I do to inherit eternal life?”

v26 Jesus replied, “What does the law of Moses say? How do you read it?”

Christians must ask seekers “What does the law of Moses say? How do you read it?”

14. Thou shalt not wash thy hands and thou shalt not use hand sanitizers!

Luke 11:38

When the Pharisee saw it, he was surprised that He had not first ceremonially washed before the meal.

15. Never invite friends and relatives for lunch or dinner!

Luke 14:12

And He also went on to say to the one who had invited Him, “When you give a luncheon or a dinner, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, otherwise they may also invite you in return and that will be your repayment.

16. Only invite poor, crippled, lame and blind

Luke 14:13

But when you give a reception, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind,

17. Thou shalt celebrate the passover!

Luke 22:8

And Jesus sent Peter and John, saying, “Go and prepare the Passover for us, so that we may eat it.”

All the above mentioned points were uttered by Jesus Himself and we know His words will not pass away even when heaven and earth pass away!

Therefore tithe teachers, why do you need to obey Matthew 23:23 alone? What about the other sayings of Jesus?

Friday, May 21, 2010

Church Father Irenaeus On Tithing!

Let us first examine the writing of Saint Irenaeus who was one of the early Church Fathers:

Who was Irenaeus?

Saint Irenaeus, was bishop of Lugdunum in Gaul, which is now Lyons, France. His writings were formative in the early development of Christian theology. He was a notable early Christian apologist. He was also a disciple of Polycarp, who was said to be a disciple of John the Evangelist. His best-known book, Against Heresies (c 180) enumerated heresies and attacked them. Irenaeus wrote that the only way for Christians to retain unity was to humbly accept one doctrinal authority—episcopal councils.Irenaeus was the first to propose that all four gospels be accepted as canonical.

From Irenaenus’ Popular Book – Against Heresies

Chapter XIII.-Christ Did Not Abrogate the Natural Precepts of the Law, But Rather Fulfilled and Extended Them. He Removed the Yoke and Bondage of the Old Law, So that Mankind, Being Now Set Free, Might Serve God with that Trustful Piety Which Becometh Sons.

Section 3

“And for this reason did the Lord, instead of that [commandment], `You shall not commit adultery,’ forbid even concupiscence; and instead of that which runs thus, `You shall not kill,’ He prohibited anger; and instead of the law enjoining the giving of tithes, to share all our possessions with the poor; and not to love our neighbors only, but even our enemies; and not merely to be liberal givers and bestowers, but even that we should present a gratuitous gift to those who take away our goods”

Please pay attention that Irenaeus saying “…instead of the law enjoining the giving of tithes, to share all our possessions with the poor…”.

Here is another passage by Irenaeus on the same book “Against Heresies”:

Chapter XVIII.-Concerning Sacrifices and Oblations, and Those Who Truly Offer Them.

Section 2:

“And the class of oblations in general has not been set aside; for there were both oblations there [among the Jews], and there are oblations here [among the Christians]. Sacrifices there were among the people; sacrifices there are, too, in the Church: but the species alone has been changed, inasmuch as the offering is now made, not by slaves, but by freemen. For the Lord is [ever] one and the same; but the character of a servile oblation is peculiar [to itself], as is also that of freemen, in order that, by the very oblations, the indication of liberty may be set forth. For with Him there is nothing purposeless, nor without signification, nor without design. And for this reason they (the Jews) had indeed the tithes of their goods consecrated to Him, but those who have received liberty set aside all their possessions for the Lord’s purposes, bestowing joyfully and freely not the less valuable portions of their property, since they have the hope of better things [hereafter]; as that poor widow acted who cast all her living into the treasury of God.

Please notice that Irenaeus saying ” …And for this reason they (the Jews) had indeed the tithes of their goods consecrated to Him, but those who have received liberty set aside all their possessions for the Lord’s purposes…”

Here he contrasts between the Jews living under the law and the New Testament Christians who were living in the liberty of Jesus Christ.

Conclusions:

* Irenaeus believed that tithing was part of the law of Moses.

* These statements by Irenaeus proves that the early Christians did not tithe.

* The early Christians believed that they were commanded to share all their possessions with the poor INSTEAD of tithing.

* Irenaeus recorded that the Jews had tithed but Christians set aside all their possessions. He actually contrasted between Old Testament Jews and New Testament Christians!

* Money is not mentioned by Irenaeus at all.

It is interesting to see that these writings appear in his book “Against Heresies“. Irenaenus probably would have labeled all modern day tithe teaches as heretics!

Therefore my friends, please realize that the early Church never practiced tithes and they did not even believe that they were commanded to tithe unlike what our modern day tithe teacher tell us.

May the Lord open the eyes of whoever reads this blog post about the dangers posed by the mammon loving Word of Faith preachers.

Sources:

http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/text/irenaeus-book4.html

http://slaveoftheword.blogspot.com/2006/03/tithing-in-ante-nicene-period-second_05.html

Friday, January 1, 2010

Questions Tithing Advocates Fail To Answer!

Many Unanswered Questions From The Pro-Tithe Camp:


Most of the pro-tithers cling onto Matthew 23:23 & Luke 11:42 and say that even Jesus said
so, therefore the NT Christians need to tithe.


If they take Matthew 23:23/Luke 11:42 as a command for New Testament Christians to tithe here are the questions they need to answer:


1. According to Mishna and Flavious Josephus the 1st century Jews practiced
multiple tithes (almost 3). How did the early Christians practice all 3 tithes?


2. Did the early Christians who did not own farms and cattle give 23% of their earned income to their Churches?


3. Levitical tithes were yearly and it went to Levites according to their
locations. Who are the Levites today and who were the Levites in 1st century
Christianity?


4. How did the “NT Levites” take the 10% of the 10% to the "NT Priests"?


5. If the NT Pastor is the priest don’t we have to tithe to the ushers, choir,
greeters and other Church staff members and let them tithe from their tithes to
the (senior) Pastor?


6. Why does the Senior Pastor collect all tithes today and give salaries to the
staff members and leave many Church workers unpaid? The OT High Priests did not
do that. The OT Aaronic Priests received only 1% of the total tithe.


7. In the OT the High Priests themselves did not tithe but why do our modern day prosperity
preachers tithe to their cohorts?


8. Regarding the festival tithe, do Christians need to go to Jerusalem to observe it as the Jews did? What is our Jerusalem now? Did the NT Christians practice pilgrimage to Jerusalem?. The festival tithe must be taken to Jerusalem. If that was prescribed to NT Christians we should make pilgrimage to Jerusalem like the Muslims visit Mecca?!?!?!


9. The 3rd tithe for poor (Charity Tithe): Why don’t tithe asking Pastors give their congregation the liberty to take care of the poor? Why would it go to the benevolent funds controlled by the Church board? Poor people need to go through hoops to get some help. That really complicates the process?


10. Even if we assume that tithing was commanded to NT Christians the pro-tithes fail to consider one important thing:

* The plurality of the NT Church leadership.

a. In the first century Christianity no Church was run by a single Pastor. The Churches were founded by Apostles and they in turn appointed elder a.k.a Pastors (in plural - more than one). Why can't the tithe seeking Pastors follow that model today?

b. Also the early Church had all 5 five fold ministries in the Church.
Apostles, Prophets, Teachers, Evangelists and Pastors. Well, we all cannot agree if the offices of Apostles and Prophets exist today but we all can agree at least the offices of Pastors, Evangelists and Teaches exist in our contemporary Christianity. So the point is, even if the early Church received tithes it was divided amongst all 5 fold ministers and the money DID NOT GO TO A SINGLE PASTOR unlike what we see today. The tithing advocates today need to answer this question as well. They are unwilling to accommodate other types of ministries but want to dominate and control the finances which is totally unfair.

c. Many Senior Pastors have their associate Pastors. Most of them are not paid well and some of them are asked to "live by faith". These tithe hungry Pastors not only forget the poor but also neglect their own staff members. This example was certainly not followed by the first century Christian church.

Therefore the pro-tithers still would not meet the NT model of tithing even
if it was practiced by the early Christian church.

New Testament Christians Don't Be Deceived By these Mammon Lovers!!!