November 2014

“Give God What’s Right, Not What’s Left”

by Ronald W. Robey

We’ve all seen the bumper sticker, refrigerator magnet, or even seen the picture while surfing through cyberspace on the worldwide web. We’ve even heard preachers exclaim it from the pulpit from time to time… “Give God what’s right, not what’s left!”

The stickers, magnets, signs, preachers, etc., of course, are speaking of the tithe of your paycheck that you bring home from work on a weekly or bi-weekly basis. The message is, “The money you earn belongs to God. He has given it to you, and all He asks in return is that you give Him 10% of it back, by taking it to the local Church you attend or are a member of.”

But, we must ask, “Is ten percent right? Does God really ask for 10% of our money?”

In reality, He does not. If one does a careful study of God’s Word, searching the Scriptures diligently, rightly dividing the Word of Truth, one will find that not once in the entire Bible did God ever command or instruct anyone to tithe his or her money to either the Tabernacle, Temple, or the Church.

In other words, there is no justification for the sentence, “Give God what’s right, not what’s lift” to be used in conjunction with any sermon dealing with tithes.

The Old Testament records that God’s holy tithe consisted of food grown in Israel and the livestock bred in Israel. (Leviticus 27:30-33) God’s holy tithe did not come from Gentile nations. Other nations were never given the command to tithe. It was given to Israel alone.

Psalms 147:19 He sheweth his word unto Jacob, his statutes and his judgments unto Israel.
Psalms 147:20 He hath not dealt so with any nation: and as for his judgments, they have not known them. Praise ye the LORD.

So many today do not even know that the above verses are found in their Bibles. They are presented with the command given to Israel to tithe, and told that God expects them to tithe also. Those who would impose Israel’s laws and ordinances on the Church are identified in God’s Holy Word by the Apostle Paul as “Judaizer’s”. They are attempting to subvert the souls of Church members by imposing Israel’s tithing Law on the flock to whom they minister to. (Acts 15:24) When they impose Law given to Israel on the Church, they are also tempting God. (Acts 15:10)

Do you really want to “Give God what’s right”? Do you want to please God in your giving? Here’s how to do it…

2 Corinthians 9:6 But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully.
2 Corinthians 9:7 Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.

It’s that simple. Just give what is on your heart to give. Not as others’ dictate, but what your heart says to give. It may be ten percent. It may be 20%. It may be more, it may be less. But God says, “You choose what you want to give.” The word “purposeth” in the verse above is translated from the Greek “proaireomai”. It means, “to choose for oneself”.

If you see a need, and you have the means to meet that need, then consider doing so. God will be pleased. Don’t give because of necessity, (because you are being forced to give by someone else) but out of love and compassion.

In the Book of Acts, the early Church members saw other’s needs, were moved with compassion, and sold possessions to help meet those needs. Now, don’t think I am saying to sell your possessions to meet the needs of others. I’m not. The early Church members were not forced to sell their possessions. No one told them they had to sell them. They did it out of love.

So, what’s “right” is to give out of love, not due to coercion. And in giving out of love to those in need, you are giving to God. Jesus said in Matthew 25, “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me”.

Another way to “Give God what’s right” is to yield yourself over to His service. Be a willing and faithful servant who is attentive to His Master’s call. The Apostle Paul told the Romans, “present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.”

Present your bodies a living sacrifice”. This exhortation was given by our Lord Jesus Christ in the Book of Matthew, where we read:

Matthew 22:21 They say unto him, Caesar’s. Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s.

The coins were made in man’s image. The government owned the coins. Man is made in God’s image. (Genesis 1:27) and God owns us. (1 Corinthians 6:19-20 ) We are to yield ourselves over to God as His willing vessels, instruments of His work in the Earth today.

So, I do encourage you, “Give God What’s Right, Not What’s Left”. Yield yourself to His work when opportunity arises. It may be by feeding the hungry, giving drink to the thirsty, clothing the naked, visiting those in prison, etc.. Above all, share Christ with those who are lost. This will please God more than if you place money in an account of a rich corporation doing business as a Church.

1 John 3:17 But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?

Matthew 6:19 Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:
Matthew 6:20 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:
Matthew 6:21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

2 Chronicles 31:1 Now when all this was finished, all Israel that were present went out to the cities of Judah, and brake the images in pieces, and cut down the groves, and threw down the high places and the altars out of all Judah and Benjamin, in Ephraim also and Manasseh, until they had utterly destroyed them all. Then all the children of Israel returned, every man to his possession, into their own cities.
2 Chronicles 31:2 And Hezekiah appointed the courses of the priests and the Levites after their courses, every man according to his service, the priests and Levites for burnt offerings and for peace offerings, to minister, and to give thanks, and to praise in the gates of the tents of the LORD.
2 Chronicles 31:3 He appointed also the king’s portion of his substance for the burnt offerings, to wit, for the morning and evening burnt offerings, and the burnt offerings for the sabbaths, and for the new moons, and for the set feasts, as it is written in the law of the LORD.
2 Chronicles 31:4 Moreover he commanded the people that dwelt in Jerusalem to give the portion of the priests and the Levites, that they might be encouraged in the law of the LORD.
2 Chronicles 31:5 And as soon as the commandment came abroad, the children of Israel brought in abundance the firstfruits of corn, wine, and oil, and honey, and of all the increase of the field; and the tithe of all things brought they in abundantly.
2 Chronicles 31:6 And concerning the children of Israel and Judah, that dwelt in the cities of Judah, they also brought in the tithe of oxen and sheep, and the tithe of holy things which were consecrated unto the LORD their God, and laid them by heaps.
2 Chronicles 31:7 In the third month they began to lay the foundation of the heaps, and finished them in the seventh month.
2 Chronicles 31:8 And when Hezekiah and the princes came and saw the heaps, they blessed the LORD, and his people Israel.
2 Chronicles 31:9 Then Hezekiah questioned with the priests and the Levites concerning the heaps.
2 Chronicles 31:10 And Azariah the chief priest of the house of Zadok answered him, and said, Since the people began to bring the offerings into the house of the LORD, we have had enough to eat, and have left plenty: for the LORD hath blessed his people; and that which is left is this great store.
2 Chronicles 31:11 Then Hezekiah commanded to prepare chambers in the house of the LORD; and they prepared them,
2 Chronicles 31:12 And brought in the offerings and the tithes and the dedicated things faithfully: over which Cononiah the Levite was ruler, and Shimei his brother was the next.
2 Chronicles 31:13 And Jehiel, and Azaziah, and Nahath, and Asahel, and Jerimoth, and Jozabad, and Eliel, and Ismachiah, and Mahath, and Benaiah, were overseers under the hand of Cononiah and Shimei his brother, at the commandment of Hezekiah the king, and Azariah the ruler of the house of God.
2 Chronicles 31:14 And Kore the son of Imnah the Levite, the porter toward the east, was over the freewill offerings of God, to distribute the oblations of the LORD, and the most holy things.
2 Chronicles 31:15 And next him were Eden, and Miniamin, and Jeshua, and Shemaiah, Amariah, and Shecaniah, in the cities of the priests, in their set office, to give to their brethren by courses, as well to the great as to the small:

Recently, I was in a discussion with a monetary tithe requirement teacher who informed me that the above passage proved that money was a titheable item in Israel. He said the phrase, “tithe of all things” proves that everything in the land of Israel was titheable.

The more I reflected on the claim, the more it caused me to want to delve into both the Word of God and History to find out if there is any truth in the young man’s claim that “tithe of all things” proves more than agricultural produce and livestock was tithed.
First, I went to the Biblical text. (that alone should be enough for one who believes in Sola Scriptura; Scripture alone is all that one needs for all matters of faith and practice) In my studying, I had to look at the obvious text found in Leviticus 27:30-34 & Numbers 18:21,24,26,28

Leviticus 27:30 And all the tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land, or of the fruit of the tree, is the LORD’S: it is holy unto the LORD.
Leviticus 27:31 And if a man will at all redeem ought of his tithes, he shall add thereto the fifth part thereof.
Leviticus 27:32 And concerning the tithe of the herd, or of the flock, even of whatsoever passeth under the rod, the tenth shall be holy unto the LORD.
Leviticus 27:33 He shall not search whether it be good or bad, neither shall he change it: and if he change it at all, then both it and the change thereof shall be holy; it shall not be redeemed.
Leviticus 27:34 These are the commandments, which the LORD commanded Moses for the children of Israel in mount Sinai.

Numbers 18:21 And, behold, I have given the children of Levi all the tenth in Israel for an inheritance, for their service which they serve, even the service of the tabernacle of the congregation.
Numbers 18:24 But the tithes of the children of Israel, which they offer as an heave offering unto the LORD, I have given to the Levites to inherit: therefore I have said unto them, Among the children of Israel they shall have no inheritance.
Numbers 18:26 Thus speak unto the Levites, and say unto them, When ye take of the children of Israel the tithes which I have given you from them for your inheritance, then ye shall offer up an heave offering of it for the LORD, even a tenth part of the tithe.
Numbers 18:28 Thus ye also shall offer an heave offering unto the LORD of all your tithes, which ye receive of the children of Israel; and ye shall give thereof the LORD’S heave offering to Aaron the priest.

Now, to me, it doesn’t get any clearer as to what God commanded the Israelites to tithe. The text clearly says that the tithes were agricultural; i.e., crops and livestock. The children of Israel had an option to buy back the crops tithe if they so desired for the assessed value of the tithe plus an additional 20% interest. If the crops tithe was worth 100 shekels of silver, the farmer had the option of buying it back for 120 shekels of silver. The animal tithe could not be bought back. If a farmer attempted to exchange the tenth animal to pass under the rod for one that looked plumper or healthier, then both animals were to be given to the Levite. The farmer forfeited both animals in such a case.

Saints, it doesn’t get any plainer than that. God said “all the tithes of the land,” and then proceeded to explain just what He meant by the word “all”. “All” was not inclusive of furniture, clothing, silver, gold, dinnerware and such like. “All” was solely agricultural produce and livestock.

Of course, some will not be persuaded of the truth of Leviticus 27 and Numbers 18, but will stubbornly hold to the idea that “tithe of all things” in 2 Chronicles is referring to more than agricultural products. And because of such stubbornness, we must examine historical writings.
In “Contra Ap.” i.22, Flavius Josephus quotes Hecateaus as saying that the Temple area was enclosed by a wall a plethra, or 500 Greek cubits in length and 100 Greek cubits in breadth; i.e., 485 ½ x 145 ½ English feet.

Given the dimensions of the wall of the Temple (70,640.25 sq. ft.) it is safe to conclude that “tithe of all things” in 2 Chronicles 31 cannot possibly have meant any more than the agricultural tithe that the Law commanded.

According to Nehemiah 10:37, the tithes that went into the Temple were those tithes brought by the Levites; e.g., a tithe of the tithe. Just 1% of all Israel’s produce was to go to the Temple storehouse chambers.

Had it been even 1% of all produce and products of Israel, as suggested by the aforementioned young man, there would not have been room in the Temple for any ministerial work to be accomplished at all. The outer area was 70,640.25 square feet, but we must realize that tithes were not taken to the outer courts… they were taken into the House of God and into the chambers. So the actual storage capacity for the tithes of Israel was far less than 70, 640.25 feet.

Just suppose that the young man was correct, that “tithe of all things” did mean furniture, dinnerware, clothing, food, silver, gold, etc.. Can you imagine the vast amounts of tithes that the chambers would have had to hold and the room needed for just 1% of Israel’s belongings? How much could fit in those chambers?

Certainly far, far less than 1% of all products and produce in Israel.

It is clear that when the author of 2 Chronicles wrote “tithe of all things,” he was not referring to products and produce. There would have been no room for the holy things of the Temple; i.e., the lavers, candlesticks, Ark of the Covenant, etc.. No, he was speaking of produce alone… the produce of the gardens and orchards just as the Law commanded.

When preaching on the topic of tithes, pastors often begin their sermon at Malachi 3:8. But why start at Malachi 3:8? They should instead start at Malachi 2:1. Then they will have proper context for the command in 3:10.

Malachi 2:1 says, “And now, O ye Priest’s, this commandment is for you.” What commandment? There is no commandment given in the entirety of that chapter.

In Chapter 3:6, we read, “For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.”

So, we see thus far that God was speaking to a specific people, Priests who were descendants of the patriarch Jacob.

When we arrive at Malachi 3:7, we see the commandment referred to in the previous chapter,…

“Return unto Me…”

Remember, God is addressing the Priests. They ask, “Wherein shall we return?”

God’s reply through His Prophet Malachi reveals that the Priests had robbed God. He then instructs them, “Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse that there may be meat in my House…”.

Nehemiah 10:37-38 reveals to us that it was not the congregation who were responsible for tithing to the House of God. Rather, it was the Levites.

Had the children of Israel not tithed to the Levites; had the Levites not tithed to the House of God; there would have been no tithes for the Priest’s to steal. But, there were tithes in the House of God. We see them removed in Nehemiah, not by the children of Israel, not by the Levites, but by the Priest Eliashib. The tithes were stolen by the Priesthood, as both Nehemiah and Malachi affirm.

The commanded tithes were agricultural, as revealed in Leviticus 27:30-33. They were not money.

By taking the tithes from the storehouse chambers, the Priests robbed God. But they not only robbed God, they robbed the nation as well. For their act of thievery brought a curse upon the nation, robbing them of rain from Heaven an also of food from their gardens and orchards.

So, now we have the whole truth. The command of Malachi 3:10 is not a command for a tithe of money. Nor was it a command for the congregation to bring tithes to the storehouse. It was a command for the Levitic Priest’s to bring the agricultural tithes that they had stolen to the House of God, to the chambers. “Return to Me.”

The Priest’s had stolen the tithes from the storehouse, and God wanted them back. (“O ye Priests, this commandment is for you”; “Return unto Me”; “Ye have robbed me, even this whole nation”; “Bring ye all the tithes…”)

Pastors have deceitfully handled the Word of God for too long. They have twisted the truth of Malachi 3:8-12, and used it as a tool to rob church members of their money.

We are to be faithful stewards of all that our God has given us. That includes being faithful with our money as well. Giving our money to thieves is not wise stewardship.

In 2 Corinthians 8:13, the Apostle Paul wrote that he did not want the Corinthians giving to be such that others were eased and the Corinthians themselves burdened. Many tithe teaching pastors place unnecessary burdens on Church members while they themselves are living “high on the hog”.

Time for Christians to wake up… stop feeding the Thieves.