April 2015

I was reading in my Bible this afternoon, when I came across this passage…
Exodus 30:13 This they shall give, every one that passeth among them that are numbered, half a shekel after the shekel of the sanctuary: (a shekel is twenty gerahs:) an half shekel shall be the offering of the LORD.
Exodus 30:14 Every one that passeth among them that are numbered, from twenty years old and above, shall give an offering unto the LORD.
Exodus 30:15 The rich shall not give more, and the poor shall not give less than half a shekel, when they give an offering unto the LORD, to make an atonement for your souls.
Exodus 30:16 And thou shalt take the atonement money of the children of Israel, and shalt appoint it for the service of the tabernacle of the congregation; that it may be a memorial unto the children of Israel before the LORD, to make an atonement for your souls.
The half-shekel of silver was a required offering. Not a temple tax, but an offering that the numbered were required to give each year.
Curiosity get the better of me, (which often happens) and I decided to research the value of the half-shekel of silver. According to Jewish Rabbi’s, the half-shekel was equal to 160 grams of barley.. This is equivalent to 0.564 ounces, just a little more than a half-ounce
Silver today is worth $16.28 per ounce. The yearly half-shekel atonement offering then, was a little over $8.20. This amounted to roughly $0.68 per month, or roughly $0.17 per week (our money today)
Were there other offerings of silver or gold required? I know that silver and gold were used in the building of the Temple and its furnishings, however, I am not sure of required offerings of silver and gold beyond the yearly half-shekel.
I said all this to say this. There are many today who preach and teach that if one fails to tithe one’s money to the House of God, that one is robbing God, (they base this on Malachi 3:8-10 ) and is therefore, a thief.
They then conclude that since the Bible says no thief will inherit the Kingdom of God, (1 Corinthians 6) then, all who fail to tithe their money will end up in hell.
Now, while the Old Testament passage from Exodus above does say silver was used as an “atonement offering”, we must take into account that Jesus Christ atoned for our sins “once for all” on Calvary’s cross. (Hebrews 10 ) There is no more atonement offering required of people of God today. Jesus paid it all!!
So, back to offerings. Since Jesus paid it all, He does not require more. To say more must be given or one will end up in hell is to deny the work of the Cross, the faithfulness of God, and the truth of the Scriptures.
If there were a required offering of money today, it would not be out of each paycheck. Rather, it would be in accordance to God’s Holy Word; i.e., 0.564 of silver per year… roughly $8.20.
Many give over and above that each week in the offering plate at their local assembly. If they are doing so because “the Bible requires us to tithe our money,” they are doing so for the wrong motives. If they are simply believing that “the pastor knows what he is talking about, and he says we are to tithe,” they are doing so for the wrong motives.
If they are giving for any other reason than “I love the Lord and want to see His work done in the Earth. Therefore, I am giving to the Lord’s work without coercion,” then they are giving for the wrong motives.
We should all have a heart to give. However, it should not be coerced giving, dictated by a man who says it must be done by his measure. And, in our heart for giving, let’s not rush that check to the local assembly if we know there is a needy person on our block, in our community, even next door to the Church’s place of assembly.
Stop by that needy person’s home and help that person out. Give him or her the check that you intended to give to the assembly instead. Sure, the pastor might be disappointed. He might even be angry. But God in Heaven will be pleased.
Proverbs 19:17 He that hath pity upon the poor lendeth unto the LORD; and that which he hath given will he pay him again.