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Freedom From "The Tithe"
What doth the LORD require of thee?
As far as comparing the Old Covenant with the New Covenant ... please let me have my two pennies worth here, while expounding a little:
Firstly and lastly, we don't come to the Lord because we come for the benefits in knowing Him. But because, after all said and done, He is GOD!!! End of story!
Therefore, it is God who calls the shots at the end of the day. Not us. Meaning, when He calls, we heed! Instantly that is! Immediately! Spontaneously! With no 'ands', 'ifs' or 'buts' thrown in! Nor religious alibis bandied around! This is the crux of the matter and what religiosity has done a great job in barring us from. Or obscuring or confusing the issue. While blocking out the saints from much liberating revelation.
Way wait until God's (apparently "fogged and fuzzy") will, is eloquently narrated on, to act on? Or cleverly expounded upon? At the appropriate time. At an appropriate place. By an appropriate person. Namely ... a paid, religious professional! As opposed to God Almighty. Who is someone greatly to fear, believe it or not!
However, the great thing is ... God is a compassionate God. Who also happens to be just and fair. Understandably, He actually declares and records His decrees for our safeguarding and spiritual well being. Whereas, treacherous man being what he is, and when he finds himself in the seats of power, will play his greatest card to boot ... namely religion!. Cos at the the end of the day, ambitious man doesn't like it when he looses control over his religious constituency, due to some spiritual Maverick taking things to task and actually declaring the truth.
Therefore, religious man will do all he can to keep you hedged in by his rules and regulations, and by planting spiritual minefields across your path. All for your common good of course. Cos, in the end, they don't want to see others getting "ahead" of them. After all, this could threaten their power-hold and financial security.
This is also why we are wise to heed God and please Him above all. Even when it means being unpopular or not. Or castigated or not. Simply because, by heeding man instead, we will always find ourselves falling into some sort of obligation trap. One of the biggies today of course, being tithing!
Tithing!? "For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men's shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers."
Yes ... tithing!
Moreover, many of us have been there or are still locked in there. Due to fear, guilt, emotional blackmail, ministerial intimidation, religious obligation ... call it what you like!
Tithing and striving. Winding and grinding. Turning over the religious machinery that is! The world of unnecessary (or obsolete) mundane systems and routine. Upholding the liturgy. Plus the proceeds of the mechanism, going back to the mechanism. To make the bloom'n thing work. As well as keeping it ticking over. But here's good news to quote, when the religious Gestapo come knocking on your door: Acts 15: 5-10! This is ... to take up your sword, it is both scripturally legitimate and expected. And to use, both swiftly and effectively (ECC 9: 1)! Thatz in resisting the Devil and the nonsense he always wants to place on you, through his trained and religious (human) hit squads! Being aware ... 'plausibility' and 'justification' are always his most effective ploys. Here it iz (embrace it to heart):
"Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear?"
Meaning, being under a better covenant actually means being under a BETTER covenant! Believe it or not? It also means living by faith and not compulsion. Nor living under condemnation and obligation. Being free to choose, in other words! Tithing (as already mentioned) being one of the biggies (if not the biggest) in the obligation trap. Like wielding the old, 'outta context', 'Malachi Chapter Three' stick. As emotional blackmail. Or a great fear tactic ...
"You'll be under a nasty curse if you fail to come up with the cash this Sunday morning. Remember, thatz at least 10% of your net income before the tax is removed. Being mindful, this does not include your extra required and expected offerings on top!!"
"Oh, and as a reminder ... remember also what happened to Ananias and Sapphira!!!"
Were they tithing? Were they really? Thatz Ananias and Sapphira! Can't see it in that passage of ACT 5:2 myself! I thought they were holding back a part instead of giving a part? De opposite in fact to dealing with EVERYTHING and not just a portion whether set or unset! Yes, the whole issue here was nothing to do with why they didn't give a part (like 10%), but why they didn't give ALL! Yet the system has again cleverly turned this passage around (like they quite often do) so that you are indebted to them instead of Christ. Another incredible clerical spin, when you think about it!
Tithing ... "what doth the LORD require of thee?"
Isn't it to do with doing justly, and loving mercy, and walking humbly with thy God? Nothing to do with sacrifice or offering! Or is this too simple? I mean ... over simplifying walking by faith and just looking to Jesus? Whereas, it is more religiously expedient to complicate things, while working things in favour of the priesthood elite. This way they sit in the front seat. While those in the back seat find they have no say and are not free to turn the wheel, when God leads them. Let me explain:
Tithing is first mentioned in scripture with Abraham, when he gave a tenth to the Lord (just the one occasion may I add!). The commonsense here (as everyone knows) is that it is the easiest way to work in accurate increments of tens out of 100 (10X10), when pointed out to them.
Later, this simple formula was incorporated into the law system of Israel, as there became different tithes for different things. The main tithe was given to the Levites, the priesthood, and not to a special figure-head by the way! Whereas, they in turn, were to give a tenth of the peoples tenth (gets quite involved eh!) as an offering to the Lord. Read Num. 18:26!
Note ... as an offering to the Lord! Not to the those in charge of the "Sanctuary"! And like all religious observations ... on it goes!
Tithing (take special note here) was always to do with produce, not money! Go on ... check it out! Today, it is taught by many churches as a New Testament requirement, and is always to do with loot. The $$$s and cents (non-cents) stuff! This is coz it is largely used for paying the minister's wages as well keeping the organization on the map. Even though there is no scriptural back-up whatsoever for tithing in the New Testament. Nor 'rules and methods' for giving money. Just as there is no New Testament backing whatsoever for a "one" man/pastor show. Furthermore, even though Paul mentioned five times, that elders were to feed the flock not by constraint, but willingly; and not for filthy lucre (financial revenue/proceeds, that is!).
Look 'em up ... 1 Tim. 3:3 & 8, Titus 1:7 & 11, and 1 Pet. 5:2!! May the truth set you free! May you also understand why the beautiful, biblical word 'charity' has been twisted and given a reinvented meaning.
Then there is also the verse where Paul said he did not have dominion over the faith of the Corinthians. Who did then? They did (while the elders watched over them)! Thatz the individual saint before the Lord. "Giving" was an individual choice/heart thing. It was the individual who sat in the drivers seat, in other words! Just like the spirit of the prophet being subject to the prophet himself, according to Paul, and not the Holy Ghost. The opposite to a crowd being forced en mass because of damnable consequences. Or being fleeced, because they thought it was their duty to provide for, and sustain, the nice bullies who subjugated them.
Yes, Jesus tithed before going to the cross as he was fulfilling the Old before He ushered in the New (Heb. 10:9) at His death. Yes, in regards to Abraham, along with Israel, tithing is mentioned in Hebrews. However, we must remember ... Abraham also circumcised. Which by the way, was also practiced before the ceremonial law was introduced. Therefore, is circumcision a requirement today? Nope! GAL 5:6! Abraham is our father according to the Promise, not circumcision! ROM 4:14-16! Just the same way, Abraham is also our father according to the Promise, not tithing! Simply meaning ... if we no longer have to circumcise to prove we are in the faith, then we also no longer have to tithe!
Also, when the letter was written by the Jewish apostles for the new Gentile intakes into the Way (Acts 15: 20-29), as a recantation (Gal. 2: 11- 3:1) for yielding to the demands of the religious Mafia (the concision - Phil. 3:2) and enforcing it to other believers, this letter was to do with warning against placing heavy burdens on them. Nothing more! Nor bullying them as they had been from onset, before Paul come along and put them right about the truth. Bearing in mind, much of Jewish custom by then was add-ons and inventions of men, and not scriptural anyway. Therefore, this letter was not only timely and crucial, but was an outright reversal and written public declaration, against bringing new converts back under the yoke of the Old. Or under any new form of Judaism, for that matter.
This was also, by the way, their big moment when tithing could have been made into a very convenient (and compulsory) doctrine by the apostles. Or when they could've really abused their leadership by wielding the big law stick, and exploited their flock. Like finding great opportunity in a heavy push for centralization of power and justifying "apostolic-elitism" or ascension. Plus extracting doe out of the saints, for their building plans and income. When tithing, circumcision, Sabbath or Sunday keeping, submission to clergy, and so forth, could have been reinforced. Or reintroduced. If these things were still indeed valid. Or had become valid, under the NC.
However, these guys were not in the business of taking advantage of novices in the faith. Nor lording it over flocks, as some. Nor exploiting them. Coz in the end, only four things were required for these new converts to abstain from. Moreover, it was nothing to do with cranking along ceremony or routine. Nor propagating or sustaining religious hierarchy, for that matter! Nor building a good stash of income from the siphoned offerings of the peasants (meaning laity) as proof of divine blessing, or being made rich from these escapades! Here we go:
"To our new Gentile brothers (fellowworkers together with us) ...
Gidday folk! Welcome to the fold! With no religious strings attached! Nor excuses to lord it over you! Nor believing the myth we are more privileged and important than you. Nor have more authority to lead you, due to us being first. We only want to use some practical, spiritual, pointers here. To benefit you and encourage you in the Way. He we go then:
As we have not been raised up to do your thinking for you (Nor make you into Jews. Nor bring you under bondage to the now defunct ceremonial laws), and after much heartfelt discussion amoung ourselves, we will only ask one thing of you. That is to take note of abstaining from the following dreaded four. Nothing more:
Meats offered to idols ("which direction is the abattoirs facing ... East or West? Mecca or the bank?" - "You mean, I don't have to be a vegetarian after all?"), And from blood (goodbye black pudding and rear, dripping, juicy red steak), And from things strangled (pushing home the point and problem with raw - unhealthy - blood), And from fornication (tough on the New Wave trend and Bible traitors).
Taking our advice ... you'll do well. Have a nice day!!"
The (humbled and broken) Twelve.When it comes to the New Covenant, the Lord requires all! As said ... nothing more, nothing less! Just like the illustration of a certain poor widow in Luke 21: 2-3 ... giving up the only couple of coppers to her name (ever tried tithing 10% of two pennies?). However, when it comes to giving, the balls in our court. The freedom of choice can be exercised. Yes, we are in the drivers seat! Yes, we turn the wheel! And Dad does not want us to respond like a robot. Or give out of compulsion. For God loveth a cheerful giver (2 Cor. 9:7). And guess what? God never changes!
Therefore, this basically means the LORD does not demand some sort of a "spiritual" tax from us (in the same manner rebellious Cain and apostate King Saul, responded to God). But a whole heart.
Yip, all means all, under the New Cuv! Without excuses. Without spiritual mumbo jumbo and doctrinal hiccups. Without religious side-issues and clerical red-tape. Not living behind a closed veil.
How does the Sunday morning chorus go? Oh, yes ...
"I want to worship the Lord with all of my heart, give Him my all and not just a part."
Next verse, similar to the first ... and added without censorship (please feel free to sing-a-long!):
" I want to worship the Lord with all of my life, give Him my all and not just a tithe!"
In conclusion, again: Let me just ask you this one simple question (seriously) ... "Have you ever tried tithing 10% of two pennies?"
Impossible!? Then welcome to the New Covenant!
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