There is Rest in Release

From the Repairer’s Fellowship Service Notes from 2011, seems pertinent right now:

One of the reasons that the people of His day missed/couldn’t receive Jesus was that they didn’t know where the Battlefield was, or who the real enemy was.  They were looking at Rome, they were looking at their freedom from Rome as true liberation.

Much like today, people are looking for whatever nonsense is forefront in the media, when the real battlefield is elsewhere.

But we know where the real battlefield is:

Ephesians 6:10-18 – Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints; (Eph 6:10-18)

A Jewish colleague of mine asked me this week, how it could be that the people of Israel for the most part stayed together during the Exodus. I explained the concept of the ‘galvanizing them’ or ‘galvanizing other’

Often what unites a people is having a common enemy, a ‘them’. One of the reasons that our country is in such turmoil is that there is no galvanizing ‘them’. The pressure exerted from without, forces the compressed to become stronger, closer, more resilient, and unified. We see this in the natural with diamonds, in the Flesh with wars. We see this played out in our various arenas, (sports, politics, religion, family)

What do we understand? We have a ‘galvanizing them’.

I – Satan

1 Peter 5:6-11 – Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you. Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world. But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you. To him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

Revelation 12: 10-11 – And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night. And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death. (The blood is the substitutionary atonement, which makes us not guilty in the eyes of the Father, the sacrificial love, and word of our testimony is what identifies to one another and to the world)

(see John 13:34-35, Acts 2:42-47, etc)

II – Sin – Romans 7 (whole Chapter)

How do we overcome?

  1. The blood of the Lamb
  2. The word of our testimony
  3. The whole armor of God
  4. Putting the things of God above the things that we prize the most.

But the Bible is full of paradoxes like this:

*lose to gain*

Luke 9:18-27 – And it came to pass, as he was alone praying, his disciples were with him: and he asked them, saying, Whom say the people that I am? They answering said, John the Baptist; but some say, Elias; and others say, that one of the old prophets is risen again. He said unto them, But whom say ye that I am? Peter answering said, The Christ of God. And he straitly charged them, and commanded them to tell no man that thing; Saying, The Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be slain, and be raised the third day. And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it. For what is a man advantaged, if he gain the whole world, and lose himself, or be cast away? For whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he shall come in his own glory, and in his Father’s, and of the holy angels. But I tell you of a truth, there be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the kingdom of God.

*I live, yet not I *

1st Corinthians 15: 9-10 –  For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.  (10)  But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.

Galatians 2:19-21 – For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God.  (20)  I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.  (21)  I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.

*The things which we do, which we believe are for the bettering of our lives,, often in actuality, are a waste of time and energy, and are spending our lives…

Luke 12:16-34

*When pain can’t be released it is shared and if it is not shared, it is spread.*

Romans 15:1-2 – We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves.  Let every one of us please his neighbour for his good to edification.

*We are to share (bear one another’s burdens)*

Galatians 6:1-10 –  Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.  (2)  Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.  (3)  For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself.  (4)  But let every man prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another.  (5)  For every man shall bear his own burden.  (6)  Let him that is taught in the word communicate unto him that teacheth in all good things.  (7)  Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.  (8)  For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.  (9)  And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.  (10)  As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.

This is after all, the example of Christ

Isaiah 53:4-6 – Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.  (5)  But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.  (6)  All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.

We have to let go, if we’re going to grow – and we cannot be the body of Christ until we are ready/willing to let go…

Fulfillment in life comes from the letting go, not the grabbing. 

In Closing, this:

Matthew 6:19-34

19 “Don’t store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves don’t break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

22 “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light. 23 But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. So if the light within you is darkness, how deep is that darkness!

24 “No one can serve two masters, since either he will hate one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.

The Cure for Anxiety

25 “Therefore I tell you: Don’t worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Isn’t life more than food and the body more than clothing? 26 Consider the birds of the sky: They don’t sow or reap or gather into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Aren’t you worth more than they? 27 Can any of you add one moment to his life-span by worrying? 28 And why do you worry about clothes? Observe how the wildflowers of the field grow: They don’t labor or spin thread. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was adorned like one of these. 30 If that’s how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and thrown into the furnace tomorrow, won’t he do much more for you—you of little faith? 31 So don’t worry, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear?’ 32 For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you. 34 Therefore don’t worry about tomorrow, because tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” – Jesus The Christ

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A ‘lose lose’ situation…

Several years ago, I was in negotiations to become the ‘worship pastor’ of a local denominational church. I had served there previously in several capacities (choir director, worship leader, and more) in two previous spans.

The situation seemed really good; The church,suffering numerically and financially, was seeing dwindling numbers especially in the key 25-40, and 40-59 demographics, (Key of course since these are the two groups who normally bring both energy and steady income to the church)  and was looking for a way to turn the situation around…

Per the negotiations that I had with the pastor, I would work directly with him on worship planning, service structure, and have responsibility over the music and arts ministries. In that capacity, I was to:

1) Implement training (Biblical, Musical, Theological) for both the adults and children, re: Worship, the use of music, etc.

2) Create/develop a band and choir from among existing membership so that the church would not have to hire outside musicians, (especially those of a different faith as they were doing, which is another post in itself).

Additionally, the pastor told me that he was looking to build what amounted to a ‘two-winged’ system (aka the cell-celebration model) where leaders were trained and empowered, and the cells met and sought to experience/manifest their faith in a much more intimate way, and that he needed my help to do it. I was hooked…

I even agreed to commit to the work for less than one half of what I knew the work was worth in terms of time, effort and value.

Keep in mind that I was going to take this on in addition to my other duties, including pastoring/teaching the Repairer’s Fellowship. (What was I thinking? In retrospect, I’m not sure)

As we went into the process however, things began to change subtly. After a while it became clear that the pastor’s aims/goals and mine were not in alignment.

He wanted Immediate results, performance and pomp, (especially since he was aware of my prior work with a very large ministry of which he is enamored), while I was looking for steady growth, community development, and long-term success.

Additionally, I began to see during meetings that what we had discussed privately was clearly not being communicated to the board members of the church, in particular those whose support would be key, if the endeavor would be successful.

Most importantly  however, I began to see (in these same meetings) that the Theological positions which we seemed to share on key issues must have been figments of my imagination. In short, we were at an impasse.

The last straw was a meeting which I was invited to, which took place a mere 3 days before my scheduled ‘official’ start date. I had been attending events, getting familiar with the people with whom I’d be working closely, some of whom were new to me, some were not. Several things took place at the meeting which did nothing to assuage my growing discomfort with the formerly idyllic enterprise, in fact it was looking more and more like an elaborate gimmick-filled program designed to bolster/rally support for the pastor, at the expense of the people… Then, the coup de grace. I was asked to stay behind after the meeting, and I was told by the pastor and a key board member, that they then wanted me to come in and work for the first couple of months gratis, and then at the beginning of the third month, they would ‘by faith’ be able to pay me…

I told them that I would pray and think about it, and what emerged was the following (edited for names etc.)

Date: —-

To: Rev. ——, and committee

Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.

I am writing to you because there is much that needs to be said, and it is my desire to be thorough and concise, neither do I wish to be misunderstood, therefore, I ask that you read completely what follows, and then if you’d like to discuss any part of it, I will be happy to at a time that is mutually convenient.

I came out of the meeting that I attended on March xxth, conflicted and concerned for several reasons which I will, if you will indulge me, make clear below. I will first lay out the various situations as I see them, followed by a conclusion…

The liturgical situation:

Clearly we are on different trajectories in terms or our understanding of what it means to be, and function as the church.  As we are all aware, I am not (denomination), and there are many reasons for that. I thought however,  that we could surmount those differences and try to come to a middle ground, but I am now no longer so sure that this can happen successfully.

By nature, due to experience and years of study, I am antagonistic towards doctrines and practices foisted on the church (the people of God) that I do not see Biblical support for. Things that are in my view, destructive to the simple clarity of the Gospel and what it means to be the Ekklesia. Things like Paedo-Baptism, tithing, and consubstantiation to name a few.

I realize also that we have very different ideas about, and definitions of, words like ‘Worship’,’ church’, and ‘service’. I was in error because I thought that we could find a place of agreement, especially when in conversation with Rev. —, I was told that he envisioned eventually the (cell groups) functioning almost like individual house churches. As a house church Pastor, trainer and planter, this appealed to me greatly. But this, like a few other things that we have discussed during this process, I heard (I realize now) through the filter of my definitions and therefore did not hear what was really being said. Again, this is my error.  

That said, I am very concerned about the shape that the (leadership training unit) is taking. I see now that I did not understand the purpose as it has been defined. I thought, (better yet, I assumed) from our discussions that you (church name) were seeking to develop a group of servant leaders, who would, as the Aposle Peter commanded, shepherd the flock which is ‘among them’ (1 Peter 5:2). What I saw the other night instead, was the institution of another level of religious bureaucracy and separation. Another level set in place between the congregation and God, and I am not in agreement with this at all.

Using Exodus 28, Rev. — set up the premise of a level of priests among priests. While this is clearly the way that Israel functioned, it is clear that we are not Israel, we are the body of Christ, a body fitly joined together, where everyone is equally important, with differing gifts which edify the whole. As I say to our group consistently, Pastor is my gift, not my rank.

The spiritual situation:

The essential message of Jesus’ interactions with the Pharisees was that they had put so many things (practices, systems, dogmas, doctrines) in between the people and the Lord that the people’s vision of the true God was obscured, and they were being destroyed because of it.

The ultimate end of what I teach regarding Worship is paradoxical:

  1. The truth that the blood bought believer is a slave. Completely captive to Christ, His will and desire. This understanding shapes everything else in life.
  2. That there is freedom in Christ of the individual, who having come to a place of true liberty can function freely, fully and passionately in the community of believers.

In short, in Christ we are both slave and free simultaneously.

That is what I see in the New Testament, people being set free, as they come into the knowledge of the truth. Simply and sincerely. And those same people becoming willing slaves to the will and purpose of their Master. Utterly and completely…

Instead, in churches all over, we add pomp and circumstance, extra-biblical rituals and forms, and the clever plans of men, which now as then, obscure God from the people, this is why members that I have spoken to recently, identify themselves as (denomination) before they are Christian, if they identify in a meaningful way as Christian at all.

The solution to most all of the issues in the body of Christ (including factionalism, church growth struggles, marital issues, the so-called ‘worship wars’, etc) is quite simple. “Deny yourself, take up your cross and follow Jesus”.  Not on our terms but on His. It is not about professional presentation, more complexity in our rituals, new levels of hierarchical structure or worship planning that focuses on entertainment or experience. Rather it is about education and edification.

In John 4, Jesus makes clear that true worship is accomplished not in location, ritual, or tradition, but rather in spirit and truth. Teaching before practice, and holiness unto the Lord which comes from within…

Regarding my ‘rigidity’: I have been at various and sundry times been called that and much worse, because I regard the Worship and things of God as holy, and His people as precious. It is clear that the holiness of God is the primary focus of our Worship, it is clear that worship is for God’s glory and for our benefit. I regard Worship (and its associated events) the same why that you, brother (Rev—) , guard the pulpit.Why? Because God does.

This is the same God who killed his own priests, denied his own chosen man the promised land, killed people in the church gathering, and will deny many who profess belief, access to heaven and his throne. Why? Because He is Holy.

This is the same God who admonishes the shepherds to follow His example and lay down their lives for the sheep, the same one who says that a fate worse than death awaits those who Abuse his children, and promises a harsher judgment for those who claim this gift of Pastor/Teacher. Why? Because His people are precious.. His Bride is precious.

As Paul Washer says, ‘If I knew that someone had assaulted my wife, and that people had seen it but did not help, I would first hunt down and destroy the ones who had assaulted my Bride, but then I would hunt down the ones who saw and did nothing. How do you think that Jesus will deal with those who abuse His bride, and those who see and do nothing?’

I refuse to be on either list…

You see brothers and sisters, for us to think that it is ok to bring people in, or put people up to minister who are at best unregenerate, have doctrinal positions which are not Biblically supported, or at worse, do not follow Christ at all, is dangerously errant, and is ‘strange fire’ (see Leviticus 10) .  For us to have ecumenical services with those who follow different gods or hold heretical beliefs about Christ, claiming that they are ‘brothers’ is ‘strange fire’.

This seems not to be an issue for the folks at (church name), and though I am concerned, I understand why. They have not been taught, and many do not have a clear understanding of the depth of it. Clear Biblical teaching will easily fix that, and those who are given grace to hear, will. That is your task, brother (Rev—), and I pray that you will be up to the challenge by God’s grace.

(discussion of the financial situation redacted)

As such, I hereby remove my name from consideration for the position or Worship Pastor/Director of Worship Arts at (Church name) . It is my prayer that in the coming months,  the Lord will guide you towards the best candidate, even as He prepares you in every way to accommodate he or she at that time

In His Service, by His Grace,

Pastor CT. Jermin

Examining the tithe

Blessings to you dear reader.

Thank you for taking the time to read the following. It is my prayer that it will edify, and bring clarity, and provoke thought and a closer walk with our Savior. Please note that wherever scripture is quoted, it is taken from the American Standard Version (ASV)
In His service,
Pastor.ctj

One of the most heavily debated doctrines of the modern church is the doctrine of the tithe.
Many Christians generally accept that the law of tithing, as other Jewish laws, was abolished upon Jesus’ crucifixion, when he fulfilled the Old Testament law.
For the most part, Christians do not follow Jewish community laws such as the extensive dietary restrictions in the Old Testament, for example, and tithing was part of that group of laws.

Others believe that because Jesus spoke about tithing, he was instructing his followers to continue the practice, and for many, not only is the tithe still an active doctrine, it is proof of one’s commitment to God.

The doctrine is a simple one: The believer is required to give 1/10th of their earnings/wages to their home church. The word ‘tithe’ means simply ‘a tenth’.
The doctrine is based on the following passages of scripture:

The first is Malachi 3: 8-11 which states:

Will a man rob God? yet ye rob me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings. Ye are cursed with the curse; for ye rob me, even this whole nation. Bring ye the whole tithe into the store-house, that there may be food in my house, and prove me now herewith, saith Jehovah of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it. And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast its fruit before the time in the field, saith Jehovah of hosts.
(Malachi 3:8-11 ASV)

The second is found in Genesis 14, specifically verses 14-20:

And when Abram heard that his brother was taken captive, he led forth his trained men, born in his house, three hundred and eighteen, and pursued as far as Dan. And he divided himself against them by night, he and his servants, and smote them, and pursued them unto Hobah, which is on the left hand of Damascus. And he brought back all the goods, and also brought back his brother Lot, and his goods, and the women also, and the people. And the king of Sodom went out to meet him, after his return from the slaughter of Chedorlaomer and the kings that were with him, at the vale of Shaveh (the same is the King’s Vale). And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was priest of God Most High. And he blessed him, and said, Blessed be Abram of God Most High, possessor of heaven and earth: and blessed be God Most High, who hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand. And he gave him a tenth of all.
(Genesis 14:14-20 ASV)

While these passages are indeed admonition and example, two questions must be asked;
1) For whom? And
2) Do these passages constitute a doctrine that should be in effect for the church?

Specific Points re: the tithe

Section a: Abraham’s tithe

While Genesis 14, (and its reference in Hebrews 7) is commonly used to bolster the claim that we (Christians) should tithe, I think that we should take a closer look: Please take a moment to read the ENTIRE 14th Chapter of Genesis…

After you’ve read it beloved, consider the following:
1. That Abraham’s tithe was a ONE TIME event. (There is no other Biblical record of Abram/Abraham EVER tithing again)

2. Abraham’s tithe WAS NOT on his personal possessions; rather it was only on the war plunder that resulted from his rescue mission for Lot, his nephew. . (Note: In Numbers 31:31-41, God only required 1% of spoils of war.)

3. There is NO evidence that Abraham tithed on his personal possessions to anyone at any time. 4. As it was from the spoils of war, and pre-dated the law, Abram’s gift was NOT a holy tithe from God’s holy land gathered by God’s holy people under God’s holy Old Covenant. For this reason alone, this example should not be used in conjunction of Malachi 3.

5. Abraham kept nothing for himself; he gave everything back.Genesis 14, verse 21-23, is the key text.

6. Abraham’s tithe is not quoted anywhere in the Bible to endorse tithing to Israel or to the church. If Abraham is an example for Christians to give 10% to God, then he should also be an example for Christians to give the other 90% to Satan, or to the king of Sodom!(Thanks to Russell E. Kelly PhD for that one)

(Please note that I am purposefully not dealing with the identity of Melchizedek. That discussion is for another time, and will only serve as a distraction from our central theme)

Section b: Malachi 3, and the Mosaic Law

1. The Mosaic tithes were always edible and from the crops and flocks.
Mal 3 says “bring all the tithes into the storehouse that there may be Meat/Food in my house.” Meat/Food is a very specific thing, in that it means something edible. In the Hebrew, the word is: טרף ṭereph (teh’-ref)
Meaning: From H2963; something torn, that is, a fragment, for example a fresh leaf, prey, food: – leaf, meat, prey, spoil.

2. The teaching which states that everybody in the Old Testament was required to begin their giving to God at the ten per cent level is false.
The poor were not required to tithe at all! Neither did the tithe come from the results of man’s craft, hands and skill. Only farmers and herdsmen gathered what God produced as tithe increase.
Note: Please note the implication here, beloved: Jesus was a carpenter; Paul was a tentmaker and Peter was a fisherman. None of these occupations qualified as tithe-payers because they did not farm or herd animals for a living. It is, therefore, incorrect to teach that everybody paid a required minimum of a tithe and, therefore, incorrect to teach that in keeping with the law, New Covenant Christians should be required to at least begin at the same minimum as Old Covenant Israelites.
This common false assumption is very often repeated and completely ignores the very plain definition of tithe as food gathered from farm increase or herd increase. The easy argument to make here, is that being that we are no longer in a primarily agricultural society, we give money instead of food, but if we are honest with the text, how do we decide who is to tithe?

3. There are three Different Tithes Described in the Bible.

The first religious tithe, called the “Levitical tithe,” had two parts. Again, the whole first tithe was given to the Levites who were only servants to the priests (Numbers 18:21-24; Nehemiah10:37). The Levites, in turn, gave one tenth of the whole tithe to the priests (Numbers 18:25-28; Nehemiah10:38]. According to Deuteronomy 12 and 14,

The second religious tithe, called the “feast tithe,” was eaten by worshipers in the streets of Jerusalem during the three yearly festivals (Deut. 12:1-19; 14:22-26).

The third tithe, according to Deuteronomy 14 and 26, called the “poor tithe,” was kept in the homes every third year to feed the poor (Deut. 14:28, 29; 26:12, 13).

Here is some more info re: the tithes discussed in Deut 14:

Occasionally, the discussion of Deut 14:22 comes up. This verse is often taken out of context, because if one reads verses 22-29 in context, the passage puts the tithing doctrine to bed once and for all: Here is it (continuing in the ASV)

22 Thou shalt surely tithe all the increase of thy seed, that which cometh forth from the field year by year.

23 And thou shalt eat before Jehovah thy God, in the place which he shall choose, to cause his name to dwell there, the tithe of thy grain, of thy new wine, and of thine oil, and the firstlings of thy herd and of thy flock; that thou mayest learn to fear Jehovah thy God always.

24 And if the way be too long for thee, so that thou art not able to carry it, because the place is too far from thee, which Jehovah thy God shall choose, to set his name there, when Jehovah thy God shall bless thee;

25 then shalt thou turn it into money, and bind up the money in thy hand, and shalt go unto the place which Jehovah thy God shall choose:

26 and thou shalt bestow the money for whatsoever thy soul desireth, for oxen, or for sheep, or for wine, or for strong drink, or for whatsoever thy soul asketh of thee; and thou shalt eat there before Jehovah thy God, and thou shalt rejoice, thou and thy household.

27 And the Levite that is within thy gates, thou shalt not forsake him; for he hath no portion nor inheritance with thee.

28 At the end of every three years thou shalt bring forth all the tithe of thine increase in the same year, and shalt lay it up within thy gates:

29 and the Levite, because he hath no portion nor inheritance with thee, and the sojourner, and the fatherless, and the widow, that are within thy gates, shall come, and shall eat and be satisfied; that Jehovah thy God may bless thee in all the work of thy hand which thou doest.

So, in short:
— One Tithe—
v.25 exchange your livestock and/or crops for money if you have to travel too far,
v.26 Spend the money however you see fit
v.27 Don’t forget the Levites, because THEY CAN OWN NOTHING (Some of you who attend traditional or megachurches may wish to ask your Pastor about that one)
—Another Tithe—-
v.28 Bring the tithe every three years
v.29 so that the Levites (who could not own anything) , the travelers, the orphans and the widows may have food. THAT was the reason for the tithe… Clearly,this is NOT a New Covenant practice of doctrine…

Also, according to First Samuel 8:14-17, the ruler collected the first and best ten per cent for political use. During Jesus’ time Rome collected the first ten per cent (10%) of most food and twenty per cent (20%) of fruit crops as its spoils of war.

Conclusion: The current tithe teaching ignores all other tithes and focuses on an incorrect interpretation of the first religious tithe.

4. What does the phrase ‘windows of heaven’ mean in context?

No other Scripture has had greater mileage than Malachi 3:10
“Bring ye the whole tithe into the store-house, that there may be food in my house, and prove me now herewith, saith Jehovah of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.

Malachi 3 has been greatly misused for God’s blessing to come to his people.
A closer look of this verse in the context shows that it has nothing to do with wealth or material blessings. The term ‘windows of heaven occurs 3 times in the scriptures: We first find this same term used by God back in Genesis 7:11 the windows of heaven were open and rain contributed to the flood, as the fountains of the deep were broken open.

In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, on the seventeenth day of the month, on the same day were all the fountains of the great deep broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened. And the rain was upon the earth forty days and forty nights.
(Genesis 7:11-12)

In Genesis 8:2 it says the windows of heaven were stopped and the rain from heaven was restrained.

And God remembered Noah, and all the beasts, and all the cattle that were with him in the ark: and God made a wind to pass over the earth, and the waters assuaged; the fountains also of the deep and the windows of heaven were stopped, and the rain from heaven was restrained; and the waters returned from off the earth continually: and after the end of a hundred and fifty days the waters decreased.
(Genesis 8:1-3)

Clearly this phrase is consistently used for water. In Genesis it was a judgment. In Malachi 3 it was to be a blessing on their crops. The nation lived by their agriculture (Husbandry) and depended upon the rain. God’s blessing had to do with his provision of water; no rain and they would starve. If they did not give God their tithes which was part of the blessing in the Mosaic covenant God would bring a curse on them, the ground would not yield food because he would not allow it to rain.

Summary:
Let’s take a side by side look at the life of the Mosaic Law abiding Jew, and the Christian:

The Jew:
God’s Mt. Sinai legislation regarding tithing is spelled out in the books of Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. As we discussed earlier, there are as many as three separate tithes that can be distinguished:

1) The annual tithe for the support of the Levites, the tabernacle/temple workers Leviticus 27:30-33; Numbers 18:21-24). This was the only visible means of support for them, since they inherited no land when Canaan was conquered under Joshua. The Levites, in turn, passed along a tithe of this tithe to the priests, the highest echelon of worship leaders (Numbers 18:26).

2) An annual feast tithe, which apparently went for the support of the house of God and its services (Deut 14:22-27).

3) A “social ministry” or ‘poor’ tithe, received every third year, for helping the poor and needy (Deut 14:28; 26:12).

4) A further examination of point 1: According to Deuteronomy 18, and Numbers 18, the priests and Levites were not allowed to own anything. Please consider that carefully, beloved. The priests and Levites could not own anything.

The priests, the Levites, all the tribe of Levi, shall have no part nor inheritance with Israel. They shall eat the offerings of Jehovah made by fire, and His inheritance. Therefore they shall have no inheritance among their brothers. Jehovah is their inheritance, as He has said to them.
(Deuteronomy 18:1-2 ASV)

And Jehovah said to Aaron, You shall have no inheritance in their land, neither shall you have any part among them. I am your part and your inheritance among the sons of Israel. And behold, I have given the sons of Levi all the tenth in Israel for an inheritance, for their service which they serve, the service of the tabernacle of the congregation.
(Numbers 18:20-21 ASV)

5) Also remember that the Old Testament tithing code specified the bare minimum amount to be contributed; it commanded the starting point for giving, not a goal toward which the worshipper should strive. The tithing code presupposed an agricultural existence, targeting the offering of grain, wine, oil, and livestock.

The Christian:

1) Keeping in mind that several things happened After Christ died on the cross for our sins:
1. He rose from death on the third day,
2. ascended into heaven to rule all things, and
3. He sent his Spirit on all flesh.

As a result, the New Testament church is under a new (and better) covenant, of which Jesus is the surety of, and the Old Testament had been fulfilled. This means that the ceremonial laws which pointed to Christ have served their purpose, and are now no longer in effect. From the day of Pentecost onward the rite of circumcision, the temple sacrifices, and other observances have lost their Spiritual importance. Clearly, the early church knew this, which is why the practice of tithing seems to have fallen by the wayside in those days. The Jewish historian Josephus states that all three tithes listed above were firmly in place in first century A.D. Judaism, but nevertheless tithing is never mentioned in the New Testament’s description of the first century church.
If tithing was to be practiced by and in the church, I would think that it would have been mentioned in the Epistles, especially to the church at Galatia, because they were primarily a gentile congregation.

2) All three tithes became obsolete.

1. The tithe for the Levites became unnecessary when the Levites were replaced by the apostolic ministry. Concerning the material support of ministers of the Gospel, all the New Testament says is that they should eat what is set before them (Matt. 10:10) and that the church should take care of them (Gal 6:6).

2. Secondly, the tithe for the support of the temple services outlived its usefulness: the sacrifices of the temple, soon to be leveled in AD. 70, gave place to the one Sacrifice for all sin.

3. Thirdly, the “social ministry” tithe was no longer needed because Christian brothers and sisters helped one another by way of special collections, as was the case with the famine-stricken Christians in Jerusalem (1 Cor 16). While giving for the Lord’s work obviously continued in the church, no amounts or percentages are prescribed in the New Testament. All that is said is that early Christians had everything in common (Acts 2:44 – this is not a tithe, it is 100%!), that they gave sacrificially (2 Cor 8:1-3), and that they gave as God had prospered them (1 Cor 16:2)

3) Jesus’ comments in Matt 23:23 were directed at those still under the Mosaic Covenant.
Clearly this is so, and the proofs of this are many, so I will not go into detail… Additionally, many things Jesus did and commanded would be sinful to bind on Christians.
– Jesus commanded animal sacrifice, in accordance with the Law. Once HE, the perfect sacrifice was given, there was no longer any need for animal sacrifice (Matt 8:4)
– Jesus observed the Sabbath (Luke 4:16) although he rejected their man made up regulations concerning the Sabbath.
– Jesus observed the Passover (Matt 26:18)
– Jesus commanded JEWS (Matt 23:23) to tithe their crops and flocks to support the Levitical priests, but such would not work well as the support system for the work of the Church.

4) The early church DID NOT TITHE!
According to the Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia of The Bible, P. 758
“For several centuries in the early Church there was no support of the clergy by a systematic giving of a tithe…rather freedom in Christian giving was emphasized.”

So what then do we say dear reader? Is tithing for the church? For the believer?
No, but GIVING is! Give freely, abundantly, and with Joy!
May God richly bless you!
Pastor.ctj

Sources and Resources:

Pastor George Greene
In Your Bible Ministries
http://www.inyourbible.com/video.html

Dr. Russell Earl Kelly
Should the Church teach tithing?
http://www.tithing-russkelly.com/

Gary Amirault
The tithe is illegal
http://www.tentmaker.org/books/TheTitheisIllegal.html

Let us reason website
http://www.letusreason.org/Wf34.htm

Dr. James Bollhagen
Tithing: The 10% Rule and the Church
A Topical Summary for “Issues, Etc.”
Broadcast July, 2001
http://www.mtio.com/articles/bissar56.htm

One man’s experience…
http://www.hydesvilletithing.com/