Nicolaitans, Rubel Shelly

Rubel Shelly states that: In case you don't know, tithing is a 10-percent donation of one's income to the Lord.

From Rubel Shelly Sermon. Oct 29, 2001

The Jews took the land of Canaan. The houses were built, the vineyards planted, sheep and cattle abounded and Israel took them. The nation then belonged to the tribes. Farmers or shepherds were given free land often producing income. In return for that, the people paid 10% of their food produced on free land to the Levi tribe. Levi in turn provided religion, government, education and a host of civil services.

Notithing, rub Jew ever tithed money on things like shoemaking. Everyone paid things like import taxes. No Jew ever tithed outside of the FREE lands.

Therefore, to tell Americans that they shoud tithe when the EXTORTERS have not provided the MEANS OF PRODUCTION is gross robbery.

Americans may pay 50% of their income for the services bought by the tithe. In addition, they may give 2-5% for religion. The Tribe of Levie only gave 10% of FOOD ONLY to the religious institution.

If the "preacher" wanted a new chariot, he got off his rear and raised sheep when he was not on duty.

All of the priests had a vocation and were not to charge for their religious duties.

If you are EXTORTED about giving or tithing God wants you to know that the Gospel SETS YOU FREE since there are no PROFESSIONS in the Christian religion.

Paul did not command any contributions as a regular "act" of worship. Nor did he suggest proportional giving. Rather, while the poor might sacrifice, it was those WHO PROSPERED who should help those in urgent need. Justin Martyr spoke for all early churches which did not treat giving as an ACT of worship:

The wealthy and the willing then give contributions according to their free will,

and this collection is deposited with the president, who therewith supplies orphans and widows, poor and needy, prisoners and strangers, and takes care of all who are in want.

Free will and a commanded act of worship don't go together.

See also Tertullian There is no buying and selling of any sort in the things of God.

So, we say, "Not true." For Christians or those thinking of becoming a disciple of Christ it is important to understand that God announced the "gospel" which is good news. To understand the "bad news" we need to be aware of pagan forms of religious organization. Under these "like the nations" plans, the king was "God's agent." Because all property belonged to God, the king or high priest was the visible owner of all property. With that assumed power the king permitted the "tenants" or "serfs" to occupy his lands for which you must in most ancient plans give him a tithe or one tenth of the income from the king's lands.

The Jews enslaved themselves again to this scheme when they rejected the One True God and allowed the king to be their leader.

Therefore, one of the elements of the "gospel" or good news of Jesus Christ is that He has paid the redemption shekels and everyone is free from the legalistic tithe.

Under all of the Christian models, you may give all that you earn or you may give nothing if you are poor. You "owe" the product of your work only to the poor or those who are not "able bodied."

Ezekiel 35 is one prophecy of the gospel or good news that God will personally replace the priestly class.

The Law was added because of transgression as a result of the musical idolatry at Mount Sinai; the priesthood was ordained to stand between the people and the symbolic presence of God; the priests were mediators; the kings replaced God in His Theocratic government; the "castle" was the like the nations temple of a human king; the people gave 10% of their food product from the "rented lands" which belonged to God; they were not required to tithe unless they were Israelites, lived in Canaan and rented the common lands. There was no "increase" from wages and therefore were not tithed.

For the "lord" of the church land to suggest the tithe -- or insinuate the tithe -- he should give the tenants free land already cleared, planted with grapes and figs, stocked with sheep and cattle and probably with an already-existing house. He should fulfill all of the roles of the civil government including the education of the children, defense from the Philistines, judging crime and punishing lawbreakers. He should feed all of the "staff" and temporarily house the murderers. He should train panic musicians and get out in front of the army as it goes into battle. And, oh yes, his staff should stand with drawn swords to keep the people away from the pulpit -- the most holy place in the cathedrals.

If people are "legalistically made anxious" through the lack of minimal knowledge about the Bible then it is everyone's duty to try to "tell the rest of the story" to add the relief from burdens laded on the 'laity' by the 'clergy.' If one claims to be a chosen evangelist by God's sovereign grace, then connecting free-will giving to tithing is a pure power device in order to get money for things not essential to the operation of a New Covenant church. Not even Paul was willing to get close to "extortion." Pressure-giving is a device of the Nicolaitans after Jesus outlawed a surrogate priesthood by virtue of His once-for-all sacrifice:

"The root of the word (Nicolaitans) through historical evaluation shows us that the word Nicolaitans comes from Greek nikao, to conquer or overcome, and laos, which means people and which the word laity comes from. The two words together especially means the destruction of the people and refers to the earliest form of what we call a priestly order or clergy

which later on in church history
divided people allowing for leadership other than those led by the Lord Jesus Christ.

"A good translation of Nicolaitan would be "those who prevail over the people." This clerical system later developed into the papal hierarchy of priests and clergy over the laity. The Council of Trent stated that "If anyone shall say that there is not in the Catholic Church a hierarchy established by the divine ordination, consisting of bishops, presbyters and ministers, let him be anathema." This very idea was taken over by the Protestants with their own corruption of church leadership. Another of the seven churches, the Church of Ephesus was commended for hating the deeds of the Nicolaitans.

The wrong separation of the clergy from the laity is a great evil in God's sight and He hates the lust for religious power.

"There is an ungodly spiritual authority in the Church today, which is nothing more than the prideful spirit of control, manipulation, domination and intimidation and a rebellion of the rightful authority of Jesus.

It is thought by some that there is a linguistic connection between the words "Nicolaitans" and "Balaam." This is because the word "Balaam" is formed from the Hebrew words "Baal" ("lord," "master," or "boss") and "am" ("people"), so that it means something like "master of the people." The Greek word "Nicolaitan" is from the Greek "nikos" ("victory" or "triumph" [Nike apparel takes it name from this Greek word]) and "laos" ("people"), so that it could mean something like "victory over the people" or "triumph over the people." Because of the possible similarity in meaning, some think that the word "Nicolaitan" is a translation into Greek of the meaning of the word "Balaam," and they would point to the connection between the two in Revelation 2:14-15. Thus, the idea is that the deeds and doctrines of the Nicolaitans are the same as or similar to the deeds and doctrines of Balaam."

Psalm 41 promised that Judas would not "triumph over" Jesus and the Judas bag was for "carrying the mouthpieces of wind instruments."

Left Image: Nike or Eros often dominated with musical themes.

Woe unto them for they have gone in the way of Cain, and ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward, and perished in the gainsaying of Core. Jude1:11

These are spots in your feasts of charity, when they feast with you, feeding themselves without fear: clouds they are without water, carried about of winds; trees whose fruit withereth, without fruit, twice dead, plucked up by the roots; Jude 1:12

Nike, sculpture from a bronze vessel, probably made in a Greek city of southern Italy, c. 490 BC; in the British Museum By courtesy of the trustees of the British Museum

Nike is also portrayed erecting a trophy, or, frequently, hovering with outspread wings over the victor in a competition; for her functions referred to success not only in war but in all other undertakings. Indeed, Nike gradually came to be recognized as a sort of mediator of success between gods and men.

This background makes it doubly important that it is the people's initiative and people's will to begin grand barn-building programs without being lorded into it. Such programs will almost always direct the "giving" away from the poor and toward the bankers. This is why it is important to remember that Corinth found out about the poor in Judea and were the first who volunteered to help. However, a year later they were not passing the collection plate and their boast might bring contempt upon the church. To use this for proof-text for giving to other programs may be Nicolaitain's work in progress.

Therefore, the issue in giving must be determined by who is attempting to control whom.

2. generally of passions, etc., to conquer, to overpower, Il.; bareian [heavy burden] hêdonên nikate me ye force me to grant you pleasure against my will,

WE then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Rom 15:1

Aresko (g700) ar-es'-ko; prob. from 142 (through the idea of exciting emotion); to be agreeable (or by impl. to seek to be so): - please.

Airo (g142) ah'ee-ro; a prim. verb; to lift; by impl. to take up or away; fig. to raise (the voice), keep in suspense (the mind); spec. to sail away (i.e. weigh anchor); by Heb. [comp. 5375] to expiate sin: - away with, bear (up), carry, lift up, loose, make to doubt, put away, remove, take (away, up).

Airo has the same meaning as:


I. to sing, Il., etc.:--then of any sound, to twang, of the bowstring, Od.; to whistle, of the wind, Mosch.; to ring, of a stone struck
1. to sing, chant, mênin, paiêona, klea andrôn Hom.:--absol., aeidein amphi tinos to sing in one's praise, Od.:--Pass., of songs, to be sung, Hdt.; aisma kalôs aisthen Xen.
2. c. acc. pers. to sing, praise, attic

The result of disobeying God is not SPIRITUAL but has only one purpose:

Hêdonê [hêdomai]

1. delight, enjoyment, pleasure, Lat. voluptas, Hdt., etc.; hêdonêi hêssasthai, charizesthai to give way to pleasure, Thuc., Plat., etc.:--often with Prepositions in adv. sense, pros or kath' hêdonên legein to speak so as to please another,

Sophocles, Antigone


[791] You seize the minds of just men and drag them to injustice, to their ruin. You it is who have incited this conflict of men whose flesh and blood are one. [795] But victory belongs to radiant Desire swelling from the eyes of the sweet-bedded bride. Desire sits enthroned in power beside the mighty laws. [800] For in all this divine Aphrodite plays her irresistible game.

Commentary [800] empaizei, 'wreaks her will' in that contest which nikai implies. We find empaizô with a dat. (1) of the object, as Her. 4.134 empaizontas hêmin, 'mocking us': (2) of the sphere, as Ar. Th. 975 choroisin empaizei, 'sports in dances.' The en of empaizei here might also be explained as (a) in the imeros, or the blephara, i.e. by their agency: or (b) 'on her victim.' But the interpretation first given appears simpler. (Cp. Vergil's absol. use of illudere, G. 1. 181, Tum variae illudant pestes.)

Nikaô [nikê] I. absol. to conquer, prevail, vanquish,
2. generally of passions, etc., to conquer, to overpower, Il.; bareian [heavy burden] hêdonên nikate me ye force me to grant you pleasure against my will, Soph.; c. inf., mêd' hê bia se nikêsatô misein let not force prevail on thee to hate, id=Soph

Used with:
Aeidô (aWeidô), fut. aeisomai, aor. ind. aeise, imp. aeison, inf. aeisai: sing--I. trans., paiêona, klea andrôn, ‘lays of heroes;’ also w. acc. of the theme of minstrelsy, mênin, Il. 1.1; Achaiôn noston, Od. 1.326; with hôs, Od. 8.514; acc. and inf., Od. 8.516.--II. intrans., mal' aeisai, ‘merrily’, liga, kalon (adv.); met. of the bow-string, Od. 21.411

I. to sing, Il., etc.:--then of any sound, to twang, of the bowstring, Od.; to whistle, of the wind, Mosch.; to ring, of a stone struck

1. to sing, chant, mênin, paiêona, klea andrôn Hom.:--absol., aeidein amphi tinos to sing in one's praise, Od.:--Pass., of songs, to be sung, Hdt.; aisma kalôs aisthen Xen.

2. c. acc. pers. to sing, praise, attic

Those who use pleasure including music which is defined as sorcery are called demagogues;

dêmagôgeô , to be a leader of the people, kalôs d. Isoc.2.16 ; têi men exousiai turannôn, tais d' euergesiais dêmagôgôn Id.10.37 ; cf. dêmagôgei: stratêgei, Hsch.: usu. in bad sense, Ar.Ra.423, etc.

turanneuô: to be a turannos, an absolute sovereign or despot, and in aor. to become such, Hdt., etc.: to be a prince or princess, Eur.

The dêmagôgeô continued: 2. c. acc. pers., d. andras curry favour with, X.An.7.6.4 , cf. Arist.Pol. 1305b26, al.:--Pass., to be won over, conciliated by popular arts, J.AJ 16.2.5.

katadêmagôgeô , A. conquer by the arist of a demagogue, to be won by such arts,

Hesoid Theogony [915] And again, he loved Mnemosyne with the beautiful hair: and of her the nine gold-crowned Muses were born who delight in feasts and the pleasures of song. And Leto was joined in love with Zeus who holds the aegis, [920] and bore Apollo and Artemisdelighting in arrows, children lovely above all the sons of Heaven.

[74] But I must change my tone for Cato argues with me on rigid and stoic principles. He says that it is not true that good-will is conciliated by food. He says that men's [p. 366] judgments, in the important business of electing to magistracies, ought not to be corrupted by pleasures. Therefore, if any one, to promote his canvass, invites another to supper, he must be condemned. “Shall you,” says he, “seek to obtain supreme power, supreme authority, and the helm of the republic, by encouraging men's sensual appetites, by soothing their minds, by tendering luxuries to them? Are you asking employment as a pimp from a band of luxurious youths, or the sovereignty of the world from the  people?

Now, to help understand Legal tithing and New Testament "Alms" we will add our comments to Rubel Shelly's sermon which may be read in full here:

Great Themes of the Bible (#22-Generosity)

Rubel Shelly: "But who am I, and who are my people, that we should be able to give as generously as this? Everything comes from you, and we have given you only what comes from your hand."

Rubel Shelly: There is an African proverb that says: "Every selfish person is a pauper." As with many proverbs, this one may strike you as misguided because of the possibility that someone who has a lot of money and possessions may behave selfishly.

But that is precisely the point of the proverb. A homeless person may be wealthy; he shares the meager things he has, tells others like himself where to find an occasional hot meal, and cares about other people. A millionaire may be a pauper; he hoards everything under his control, lives in fear that he will lose his wealth, and cares only for himself.

Neither selfishness nor generosity is primarily about money. Both are about life perspective. Both are about attitudes toward people. Both are about basic spirituality.

Generous souls are light-hearted and set free from slavery to things; selfish souls are nervous and possessed by the things they possess. Generous people know that God owns it all, can enjoy whatever God entrusts to them, and can give some of it away easily and freely when called upon; selfish people are under the illusion that their "stuff" belongs to them, define their security in terms of it, and thus resent anyone's request that they turn lose any of it. Generous people enjoy the freedom of their security on the basis of spiritual resources; selfish people are tyrannized by the insecurity of thinking they are defined by something other than spiritual qualities.

This is not the issue: the issue is who has the right to demand that we give to them? The example of Jesus, Paul, Justin Martyr, Tertullian and others insist that only the poor or needy have any moral standing to request that we give them our money.

Rubel Shelly: I have been subjected to a great deal of good-natured teasing during the years I have preached for this church because of my failure to preach on giving. I suppose it's all right at this point to let you know why I seldom touch the topic. My conviction on the matter is just this simple: Preaching about money is the poorest of all ways to teach generosity. If, on the other hand, people grasp the goodness of God to them, they will find ways to express their gratitude to him first with their hearts and minds and then with everything else God has entrusted to them. On the other hand, I grant that the use we make of money is a good barometer to our general spiritual health. Look at the way today's text illustrates this principle.

Gifts for the Temple

hspace="10" vspace="5"Rubel Shelly: The united Kingdom of Israel had three kings. Saul, David, and Solomon reigned in succession with David the key figure of the three. David longed for Israel to have a well-defined national life with Jerusalem as its capital and a glorious temple to Yahweh dominating the city.

Three accounts: David's, Solomon's and God's

Because of David's personal spiritual failures, it was revealed to him that he would not be allowed to erect the temple. That task would fall to his son and heir, Solomon. Yet David was given the plan for the temple and permitted to pass it along to Solomon. In his farewell speech to the nation, he endorsed his son and called on the people to be generous in their gifts toward the construction of the center for worship that had long been his dream.

David praised the LORD in the presence of the whole assembly, saying,

"Praise be to you, O LORD,
God of our father Israel,
from everlasting to everlasting.
Yours, O LORD, is the greatness and the power
and the glory and the majesty and the splendor,
for everything in heaven and earth is yours.
Yours, O LORD, is the kingdom;
you are exalted as head over all.
Wealth and honor come from you;
you are the ruler of all things.
In your hands are strength and power
to exalt and give strength to all.
Now, our God, we give you thanks,
and praise your glorious name.

"But who am I, and who are my people, that we should be able to give as generously as this? Everything comes from you, and we have given you only what comes from your hand. We are aliens and strangers in your sight, as were all our forefathers. Our days on earth are like a shadow, without hope.

O LORD our God, as for all this abundance that we have provided for building you a temple for your Holy Name, it comes from your hand, and all of it belongs to you. I know, my God, that you test the heart and are pleased with integrity. All these things have I given willingly and with honest intent. And now I have seen with joy how willingly your people who are here have given to you. O LORD, God of our fathers Abraham, Isaac and Israel, keep this desire in the hearts of your people forever, and keep their hearts loyal to you.

And give my son Solomon the wholehearted devotion to keep your commands, requirements and decrees and to do everything to build the palatial structure for which I have provided" (1 Chron. 29:10-19).

David was a secular king of a secular city-state or temple-state. In order to bring glory to the secular kingdom David had to have a castle. And while David thought of the plan as coming from God, the temple in fact was built by Phoenician architects using Canaanite plans which were almost identical to the other national capital temples. Its very entrance was flanked by huge pillars given personal names. It was not a house of worship but a house of animal sacrifice by the priestly and civil authorities while the common "congregation" was excluded outside the camp.

Ecclesiasticus 48

1. Then the prophet Elijah arose like a fire, and his word burned like a torch.
2. He brought a famine upon them, and by his zeal he made them few in number.
. By the word of the Lord he shut up the heavens, and also three times brought down fire.
4. How glorious you were, O Elijah, in your wondrous deeds! And who has the right to boast which you have?
5. You who raised a corpse from death and from Hades, by the word of the Most High;
6. who brought kings down to destruction, and famous men from their beds;
7. who heard rebuke at Sinai and judgments of vengeance at Horeb;
8. who anointed kings to inflict retribution,
............ and prophets to succeed you.

O Israel, thou hast destroyed thyself; but in me is thine help. Hosea 13:9

I will be thy king: where is any other that may save thee in all thy cities? and thy judges of whom thou saidst, Give me a king and princes? Hosea 13:10

I gave thee a king in mine anger, and took him away in my wrath. Hosea 13:11

The temple, like the Law, was added because of transgression to prove that Israel would self destruct into idolatry:

"Israel was governed as a theocracy (immediate government by God). Israel's movements were directed by God (40:36, 37), war was proclaimed by God (Num 31.1, 2), leaders were appointed by Him (Num 27, 18, 20), and land in Canaan was distributed by Him (Jos 13. 1-7). God used Moses, Joshua, and later the prophets as the intermediaries through whom He governed." (Harper Study Bible, p. 109)

Therefore, David wanted to build something which, under Solomon would result in idolatry, civil war and destruction by the Egyptians as they carried all of the "people's" gold to Egypt.

If there is a theme, O ignorant sheep, it is that when men build temples it is both a sign and cause that they are moving the people into idolatry. Nevertheles, David prayed:

O Lord our God, all this store that we have prepared to build thee an house for thine holy name cometh of thine hand, and is all thine own. 1 Chron 29:16

And give unto Solomon my son a perfect heart, to keep thy commandments, thy testimonies, and thy statutes, and to do all these things, and to build the palace (castle) , for the which I have made provision. 1 Chron 29:19

However, David had already been warned by God. David thought that the temple could not be built because David was "Old bloody hands." Solomon thought that the temple could not be built until David had completed the shedding of blood. However, both were wrong:

And it came to pass the same night, that the word of God came to Nathan, saying, 1 Chron 17:3
............ Go and tell David my servant, Thus saith the Lord,
............ Thou shalt not build me an house to dwell in: 1 Chron 17:4

For I have not dwelt in an house since the day that I brought up Israel unto this day; but have gone from tent to tent, and from one tabernacle to another. 1 Chron 17:5

Wheresoever I have walked with all Israel, spake I a word to any of the judges of Israel, whom I commanded to feed my people, saying,

Why have ye not built me a house of cedars? 1 Chron 17:6

The answer is no. God allowed the temple to be built "like the nations" for a kingdom doomed to captivity and death. It was also the center of "like the nations" worship of idols and "the kings music grove" became the symbol of the ever-burning fires of hell.

"The instruments were used as worship to God and to give glory and elat to the earthly kingdom. They were tolerated by God as were many other things during this period, that he did not approve.

The establishment of the kingdom itself was an act of rebellion against God" (David Lipscomb, Queries and Answers, pp. 226, 227, and Gospel Advocate, 1899, pp. 376, 377

When people reject God and walk in their own ways God ordains it by His permissive will because you cannot force carnal people to live in a spiritual relationship with Him. When Israel "rose up to play" at Mount Sinai with Egyptian music God tore up the covenant and gave the Book of the Law to govern a lawless people.

The later Jews faced the fact that the Law and the Temple must have had some message which they did not understand. The mystical Jews came very close to the truth in some areas so that--

"It is recognized by the ZOHAR that the second Tables embodied another record,
............ which was the Law of opportunism,
............ the Law of mine and thine--of prohibition and denial, being that of bondage.

"It was sacred after its own manner because it was a shadow of the first intention, but it reflects at a very far distance. I do not know whether it is affirmed literally that it is the work of the Tree of Knowledge, but this must be held to follow from numerous impressive intimations and the Secret Doctrine,

with all the Oral Law by which that Doctrine is encompassed, is the Tree of Life." (Waite, A. E., The Holy Kabbalah, p. 308-9, Citadel Press)

However, he prophesied about their demand for a king who would ultimately lead Israel into destruction. Therefore, when the Monarchy was permitted it was an example of secular people who demanded to worship in a secular way.


"In one sense the creation of the monarchy was providential...In retrospect, one can say that events which brought about the collapse of the Confederacy and the rise of the Israelite state were not...devoid of divine purpose. God's revelation is relevant to the whole of human life--to economics, politics, and every sphere of human activity.

If God would speak to the nations through Israel,

then Israel must undergo the experience of being a nation in order that she might appreciate the wealth of nationhood and attack the idolatrous power of nationalism." (Anderson, p. 163)

We need to be careful because this "idolatrous power of nation hood" still lurks in the heart of the Nicolaitans among us.

Solomon was not ignorant of this:

When God promised to build David a "house" he promised to build him a family. This happened under Jesus Christ.

But who is able to build him an house, seeing the heaven and heaven of heavens cannot contain him? who am I then, that I should build him an house,
............ save only to burn sacrifice before him? 2 Chronicles 2:6

As the later Jews looked back at the Law and the Temple they grasped that the never comprehended the spiritual meaning. In the Kabbalah they confessed that they lost the Covenant at Mount Sinai and that the earthly temples was their ignorance of God's true plan.

Waite notes that no true temple had ever been built to this point but that Messiah would build the true Temple where

'in the absence of a place of sacrifice, devotion to the study of the Law will bring forgiveness of sin more readily than the burnt-offerings of old."

"It will be that period mentioned in Scripture: 'Behold, My servant shall deal prudently, he shall be exalted and extolled and be very high.' The reference is to the Messianic epoch, when the world will be restored, impurity will disappear therefrom, and death shall be cast out for ever. The Holy One will remember his people Israel and the Temple shall be rebuilt. Formerly it was based on severity and wrath, but it will be restored in charity and will be founded thereon." (Waite, A. E., The Holy Kabbalah, p. 316, Citadel Press)

In deciding how the different visions of Messiah will be united Waite notes that--

"Messiah who is the Son of Joseph will be united--that is, in his mission--to the Son of David but will be slain. The one is the conqueror of the great Rome and the other of the little Rome--whatever the distinction between these cities may signify. The number 60 is fixed for the manifestation of the first and the number 6 for that of the second." (Waite, A. E., The Holy Kabbalah, p. 320, Citadel Press)

"There are suggestions however which go much further than mere questions of substitution. It is said that from the day when the Holy One raised the Supreme Sanctuary

the celestial favours were never manifested in the terrestial Temple. built of stones and mortar. I suppose here is the house not made with hands which is termed elsewhere a place of spiritual nourishment which the kingdom of heaven accords to those in need of it and the sanctuary which brings all the poor under the shadow of Shekinah." (Waite, A. E., The Holy Kabbalah, p. 314, Citadel Press)

Don't miss the point of the context of the temple: if you are going to use it for proof-text for tithing (and more) then the authority rests totally upon offering a human sacrifice of the human senses rather than to worship "in spirit and in truth."

If you want to burn animals, collect taxes and employ mediating musical worship teams then go ahead and be my guest. But don't pretend that you have God's authority for it.

As in all temple-states, the common people were not involved in the temple worship rituals:

"Each of the important deities had, in one or more of the Babylonian cities, a large temple in which he or she was worshiped. Temple services were generally conducted in open courts containing fountains for ablution and altars for sacrifices.

Only the high priest and other privileged members of the clergy and court were permitted to enter the cella, or inner part of the temple,

[These were involved with the musical animal sacrifices for purifying temple or personnel in the Jerusalem Temple.]

which held the special statue of the deity. The needs of the deity were provided for in accordance with impressive ceremonies carried

out by a vast institutionalized clergy that included

priests, musicians, magicians, soothsayers, dream interpreters, astrologers, and hierodules

Sacrifices of food, drink, or incense were offered daily. Numerous festivals were held, the most important of which was the celebration of the new year at the spring equinox. [Encarta Encyclopedia]

In the temple-state in Jerusalem:

Alfred Edersheim points out that the "stationary men" represented the 'congregation" but that the people were shut out of the sacrificial offering:

First: As the last great gate slowly moved on its hinges, the priests, on a signal given, blew three blasts on their silver trumpets,

summoning the Levites

and the 'representatives' of the people (the 'stationary men') to their duties, and announcing to the city that the morning sacrifice was about to be offered.

Second: As the president gave the word of command, which marked that 'the time of incense had come,' '

the whole multitude of the people without' withdrew from the inner court, and fell down before the Lord, spreading their hands * in silent prayer. [People were not LEAD in prayer]

Third, The temple Music was blown and songs sung. This excluded all people not of the tribe of Levi. It also excluded all women.

Fourth: This closed the morning service. [Note: only representatives of the people were present. The common Jews did not participate in this temple service]

It was immediately followed by the sacrifices and offerings which private Israelites might have to bring, and which would occasionally continue till near the time for the evening service

Conclusion: the sacrificial worship was for the secular Temple-State and not for the congregation of Israel.

Again: fulfillment in the New Covenant: The animals were burned outside the "worship center."

Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate. Hebrews 13:12

Let us go forth therefore unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach. Hebrews 13:13

For here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come. Hebrews 13:14

By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to his name. Hebrews 13:15

The Testimony of Stephen

Stephen got himself killed in part because he understood that the temple was not in God's plan. However, because of God's grace when David could never return to Gibeon to "enquire of the Lord" he was permitted to build an optional alter and a new tabernacle in Jerusalem. Stephen shows that the portable tabernacle was according to God's plan but the temple was given to David as a concession. It was not a house of worship for the "congregation" because the "congregation" was "outside the camp" or walls when the sacrifices and loud noise began.

Our fathers had the tabernacle of witness in the wilderness, as he had appointed, speaking unto Moses, that he should make it according to the fashion (pattern) that he had seen. Acts 7:44

Which also our fathers that came after brought in with Jesus into the possession of the Gentiles, whom God drave out before the face of our fathers, unto the days of David; Acts 7:45

Who found favour (grace) before God, and desired to find a tabernacle (TENt) for the God of Jacob. Acts 7:46

But Solomon built him an house. Acts 7:47

Howbeit the most High dwelleth not in temples made with hands; as saith the prophet. Acts 7:48

This confirms the statement of Jesus that worship is not in "houses" made with human hands but the human spirit made by the Spirit of God as a "temple" of God.

One of the greatest Old Testament scholars agrees with God and Stephen:

"The Israelite state was not founded with divine blessing. Rather, it was allowed as a grudging concession, just as a parent lets a child have his way in order that he may learn his folly from experience." (Anderson, Bernard, Theology of the O.T. p. 163).

Rubel Shelly: What a marvelous prayer one that we might all consider praying with our families on Thanksgiving Day this year. Although the temple is a concern of the prayer, it is hardly its focus. God himself is the focus. It is a prayer of praise to him for his goodness to his people. He alone is worthy of the glory, majesty, and splendor of all things in heaven and on earth. And for mere mortals "aliens and strangers" in the sight of an Everlasting God to be permitted to worship him is a privilege greater than we could have asked.

So his petition is not for the building of the temple so much as for his son to be faithful to Yahweh and to lead the nation in uprightness.

In the meanwhile, he pleads for the construction of the temple and praises the Lord for allowing him and the rest of the Israelites to give to its completion. So he prayed: "Who am I, and who are my people, that we should be able to give as generously as this? Everything comes from you, and we have given you only what comes from your hand."

King David had a generous spirit. He knew that everything in his control was a gift from God, so he knew he was giving Yahweh only such things as were his already! So there was no trace of a selfish, begrudging spirit in what he did. And his personal example of generosity surely encouraged the great outpouring of gifts that came from the rest of the people. Humility, gratitude, joy, and obedience were demonstrated by generosity.

The People's Wealth Does Not Belong to the Dominant Rulers

All of the wealth of king David belonged to the people. When Israel "fired" God and demanded a king like the nations so that they could worship like the nations (Eze 20:32), God gave them a human king. However, God warned that the king would enslave them and they would be destroyed like the nations (Deut 8:20). The curse of Israel for demanding that God "set a king over us" is exactly what happens when self-selected elders insist upon setting a king over the church to consume the wealth of the people:

And he said, This will be the manner of the king that shall reign over you: He will take your sons, and appoint them for himself, for his chariots, and to be his horsemen; and some shall run before his chariots. 1 Samuel 8:11

And he will appoint him captains over thousands, and captains over fifties; and will set them to ear his ground, and to reap his harvest, and to make his instruments of war, and instruments of his chariots (trumpets). 1 Samuel 8:12

Furthermore, God warned about setting a king over even us. We are keenly aware of people extorted by being led to believe that they should sell their "good" car and buy "just transportation" in the interest of tithing and more:

And he will take your daughters to be confectionaries, and to be cooks, and to be bakers. 1 Samuel 8:13

And he will take your fields, and your vineyards, and your oliveyards, even the best of them, and give them to his servants. 1 Samuel 8:14 (team members)

And he will take the tenth of your seed, and of your vineyards, and give to his officers, and to his servants. 1 Samuel 8:15

And he will take your menservants, and your maidservants, and your goodliest young men, and your asses, and put them to his work. 1 Samuel 8:16

He will take the tenth of your sheep: and ye shall be his servants. 1 Samuel 8:17

And ye shall cry out in that day because of your king which ye shall have chosen you; and the Lord will not hear you in that day. 1 Samuel 8:18

Nevertheless the people refused to obey the voice of Samuel; and they said, Nay; but we will have a king over us; 1 Samuel 8:19

2 Chronicles 7-8 Dedicating the Temple. Click For More Facts.

Remember that God allowed kings "like the nations" who would rule like the nations, worship like the nations, enslave like the nations and destroy like the nations. This was by God's permissive will to demonstrate living without His direct guidance. Between David and Hezekiah we find Solomon who built the temple. That temple lost its significance five years after Solomon's death. This was because, as God predicted, the king enslaved God's people and even brought in idolatry to "keep the collection plates filled" by foreign alliances as an early "ecumenical movement."

"As soon as he acceded to the throne, Solomon consolidated his position by liquidating his opponents ruthlessly, one by one. Once rid of his foes, he established his friends in the key posts of the military, governmental, and religious institutions.

In an ancient Middle Eastern empire, this was almost the only means of establishing stable government."

"The vigour of Solomon's building program made it oppressive. For example, men had to put in one month out of every three in forced labour (33%). In theory, such labour was to be performed by the Canaanites--not by the noble Hebrew tribesmen, who were supposed to be the administrators, priests, and fighters.

But Solomon's demands were such that there were not enough Canaanites to go around,

so that Israelites were forced to do menial labour for the crown." (Britannica)

"But Do We Have to Tithe?"
Rubel Shelly: Earlier I made the claim that it is better to foster gratitude for grace than to say a lot about giving money. Perhaps I'm wrong. But let me give you a bit more of the reasoning that leads me to that conclusion.

When the subject on the floor is giving, the bottom-line question will eventually be this: How much? Specifically, the question I have been asked to answer time and again is "Are Christians under the 'tithing law' of the Old Testament?"

Here's my smarty-pants answer, always given with a smile and wink lest someone slap me: "Yeah, most Christians are around 5 percent or more under' the tithe!"

Of course, that only counts what the treasurer counts, doesn't it. How much more do people give. They give 40 50 50% in taxes to support the "Levi" tasks. They give to "church." the give in dozens of ways without "letting one hand know what the other is doing." So no one knows and no one should care.

The 3rd and 6th year INCREASE from free farms rented from the tribe was tithed to the TRIBE of Levi. There was no tithe on the 7th year.

The tribe of Levi lived in their own homes and farmed lands they had aquired. They gave a tithe of the tithe or 1% to the priests who got a daily dole of food WHEN ON DUTY. The rotating Levites were not clergy but did the musical and sacrificial SERVICE OUTSIDE OF THE Holy Place (church). Their service was called "hard bondage" and not worship.

Only the priests went into the Holy Place or Most Holy Place. Therefore, the leaders of worship got 1% of the PROFIT off the free lands 2 out of 7 years. They were not permitted to eat this food outside of the Temple area.

The other tithes were consumed at the temple by the tithers or in their communities along with the Levites and priests who were lumped with the widow and orphans.

Therefore anyone giving more than about 1/3% TO THE PRIESTS for religious duties is giving more than the tithing Levites.

Since modern tithers were not given free farms by Rubel Shelly, his suggestion means that those giving 2 or 3% are being ROBBED by the clergy even using the APOSTATE "law of giving" by defining themselves as DESTITUTE.

The tithe, like the Law of Moses, was added because of transgression. When Israel committed the musical idolatry at Mount Sinai they lost the Covenant and were saddled with the Levites to stand between them and the symbol of God's presence. If you don't know the story then no working class is obligated to feed the lazy hides of a ruling clergy missing the basic event of Israel's destruction. See how tithes began as a curse.

Rubel Shelly: In case you don't know, tithing is a 10-percent donation of one's income to the Lord.

Absolutely, 100% false! The Israelites while in the Land "rented" the tribal lands held collectively. Because they did not clear, plant, establish orchards and vineyards or raise the sheep they were to give 10% of the PRODUCE from the "rented" lands to support the Levi tribe who were now forced to bear the burden of sacrificing animals. This was only for the 3rd and 6th year when the priests got 1% for their purely religious duties as MEDIATORS.

Rubel Shelly: The Law of Moses certainly commanded it. "A tithe of everything from the land, whether grain from the soil or fruit from the trees, belongs to the LORD; it is holy to the LORD" (Lev. 27:30).

The editor to Smith's Bible Dictionary on the Tithe notes that:

"These tithes in early times took the place of our modern taxes, us well as of gifts for the support of religious institutions. --ED.

The modern "audience" already gives 40 to 50% of their income for jobs performed by the civil government such as David's "Castle" or government buildings. This included the system of law, prisons and education among the Jews.

All of this now belongs to Caesar.

Click for the evidence against a "Christian tithe."

Rubel Shelly: Prophets who came much later than Moses said that an Israelite's failure to pay the Lord's tithe was nothing less than robbing God (cf. Mal. 3:6-12).

Click Here for the Malachi "seed money giving" story.

Robbing God in Tithes

As prophesied when Israel sinned at Mount Sinai, Israel worshipped like the nations. Because of ignorance of the Word the entire nation went into captivity and most died or never returned to Jerusalem. (Amos 5; 6; 8, Isaiah 5). This was because the mediators robbed but couldn't teach: "

Yea, they are greedy dogs which can never have enough, and they are shepherds that cannot understand: they all look to their own way, every one for his gain, from his quarter (corner). Isaiah 56:11

When God restored the people to Canaan after 70 years in Babylonian captivity, the Levites had to be bribed to move back to a poor land. Because the singers and other Levites received a dole of food each day, they fled to the country to farm. The small supply of food was a failure of all, but Malachi addressed the priests and Levites and accused them of robbing God:

"And now, O priests, this commandment is for you. Malachi 2:1 The broken covenant was with Levi (Malachi 2:4) and the people couldn't get God's Words out of the mouth of the priests (Malachi 2:7). Therefore, they were the primary robbers: "And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness". Malachi 3:3

See how dangerous it is to seek the tithe and not even know the context of "robbing God?"

The religious leaders practiced an ancient (but modern) form of Babylonian "witchcraft." They "whispered a magical song or spell." They replaced food and Bible study with frequent religious rituals financed by obscene collections from the poor and wage earners. Therefore, God said:

"And I will come near to you to judgment; and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, and against the adulterers, and against false swearers, and

against those that oppress the hireling in his wages,

the widow, and the fatherless, and that turn aside the stranger from his right, and fear not me, saith the Lord of hosts. Malachi 3:5

These sorcerers will even demand that a widow on wellfare "give 10% because that is the law, breaking the law is sin, if you sin you go to hell. Yes! you must tithe!" No, a thousand times no. You have no legalistic authority to extort money from wage earners by "lading" them down with the burden of the law. This is the most dishonest concept in so-called Christendom! It repudiates the very idea of grace by making grace more burdensome law.

Only then did God ask of the whole nation:

Even from the days of your fathers ye are gone away from mine ordinances, and have not kept them. Return unto me, and I will return unto you, saith the Lord of hosts. But ye said, Wherein shall we return? Malachi 3:7

"Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings. Malachi 3:8

The ordinances were elements of the Law of Moses imposed after the loss of the Covenant through the musical idolatry at Mount Sinai. To use malachi as "proof-text" for a law of tithing (not abolished by Jesus) you must be consistent and keep all of the ordinances of the Law. Like the proof texts for music from the Law under David, the lust for the promoters of "grace only" is to return to the law of Moses when it meets the needs.

Again, the wage earner did not tithe. Therefore, they could never be called robbers. They worked eight hours for eight hours of wages and had no increase from the free land. Let us say it again:

Tithing was only food
It was only food grown on the free lands
It was only from lands inside of Canaan
The wage earner did not tithe
It has always been the clergy which robbed God!

Rubel Shelly: In addition to the mandatory tithe, there were other sacrifices and offerings faithful Israelites were expected to make. In particular, Amos was a prophet of social justice who challenged the people to care for the weakest and poorest members of their community and to avoid the temptation to selfishness and greed.

Amos was condemning the clergy in Israel because they STOLE from the poor to feed the musical worshipers who TOOK AWAY THE KEY TO KNOWLEDGE so that the people hungered and thirsted and starved for lack of the Word. Both Amos 5-6 and Isaiah 5 agree with Malachi that "this warning O Priest is for you."

We have linked Smith to show that these were not "cumulative." That is, there was never three, 10% going to the clergy. Rather, most of this was to be consumed by those who went up to Jerusalem or it was "set aside" in the local towns to feed the poor among whom the Levites were listed. God never asks the poor to give to the rich.

Amos warned of the dominant clergy which stole from the poor by increasing the "act of giving" to a daily ritual. The money went from the food table and the "college fund" to the lazy clergy classes. The leaders, in turn, starved the "congregation" to death by refusing to teach the Word of God. A key ingredient was luxury of food and houses for the idle people who refused to get an honest job.

Of Amos 6, Adam Clark Notes that:

"There must have been a great deal of luxury and effeminacy among the Israelites at this time; and, consequently, abundance of riches. This was in the time of Jeroboam the second, when the kingdom had enjoyed a long peace. The description in the fourth, fifth, and sixth verses, is that of an Asiatic court even in the present day.

Verse 5. And invent to themselves instruments of music, like David] See the note on 1 Chron. xxiii. 5; and see especially the note on 2 Chron. xxix. 25.

I believe that David was not authorized by the Lord to introduce that multitude of musical instruments into the Divine worship of which we read,

and I am satisfied that his conduct in this respect is most solemnly reprehended by this prophet;

and I farther believe that the use of such instruments of music, in the Christian Church,
............ is without the sanction and against the will of God;
............ that they are subversive of the spirit of true devotion,
............ and that they are sinful.

If there was a wo to them who invented instruments of music, as did David under the law, is there no wo, no curse to them who invent them, and introduce them into the worship of God in the Christian Church?

The wage earner, carpenter, tentmaker or servants never paid tithes but Amos and Malachi condemned it. Wages were never tithed because they did not come from the use of common lands.

Jesus and the Tithe

Jesus came to abrogate the Mosaic Law and return His people to a covenant of grace rejected at Mount Sinai. When He came the temple was, as usual, in the hands of the commercial interest which used religion for political and mercinary goals. However the Pharisees failed, they at least had moved all but perhaps less than ten thousand away from the temple and toward the synagogue which became the model of the church as "school" and not worship temple:

"Historians tend to explain the disappearance of the Hasideans as a gradual merging with the Pharisees. The Hasideans may also have had a doctrinal influence on the Essenes, an early Jewish sect that flourished in Palestine. Britannica

"The Pharisees emerged as a party of laymen and scribes
............ in contradistinction to the Sadducees, i.e.,

the party of the high priesthood that had traditionally provided the sole leadership of the Jewish people

The Pharisees were not primarily a political party but a society of scholars and pietists. They enjoyed a large popular following, and in the New Testament they appear as spokesmen for the majority of the population.

Around 100 BC a long struggle ensued as the Pharisees tried to democratize the Jewish religion and remove it from the control of the Temple priests.

The Pharisees asserted that God could and should be worshiped even away from the Temple and outside Jerusalem.

To the Pharisees, worship consisted not in bloody sacrifices--the practice of the Temple priests--but in prayer and in the study of God's law. Hence the Pharisees fostered the synagogue as an institution of religious worship, outside and separate from the Temple. (Britannica Members)

As it turns out, Jesus sided with the Pharisees more than with the legalists at the temple who promoted the musical spectacles.

Rubel Shelly: Insofar as I can tell, Jesus never abolished or wiped out the tithing rule.

He didn't have to. Do we need a law which says: "Thou shalt not tithe?" If the ordinances for the Levites have been abolished then the tithe has been abolished. Jesus did not command the tithe therefore there is not Jesus authority for tithing.

Remember that old "law of silence?"

Major Premise: The tithe was to pay the tribe of Levi while they were on duty performing their priestly or teaching duties. When they were not on duty they had their own cities and if they needed a new chariot they earned it the old fashioned way. It was only food products from the rented land.

Minor Premise: The clergy was fired by God and the temple destroyed for the third time. The poor no longer farm the land in Canaan.

Conclusion: There is no tithe for the clergy or temple. And there is no food grown in Canaan to give. And wages are not to be tithed.

All Jewish clergy had a secular job and were fed by the "congregation" only while they were on duty. Paul defended this practice.

This tithe was only food products from the common lands and it only applied in Canaan. Failure to grasp this may explain why Musical Worship Teams are established with the Levitical "noise makers" as proof text.

The tithe was a tax. Because the priestly class was done away with by the Grace of Christ there is no one to support. Modern Jews understand that. Furthermore, the "gospel" includes the fact that the sons of kings are free from tribute:

And when they were come to Capernaum, they that received tribute money came to Peter, and said, Doth not your master pay tribute? Matthew 17:24

He saith, Yes. And when he was come into the house, Jesus prevented him, saying, What thinkest thou, Simon? of whom do the kings of the earth take custom or tribute? of their own children, or of strangers? Matthew 17:25

Peter saith unto him, Of strangers. Jesus saith unto him, Then are the children free. Matthew 17:26

Notwithstanding, lest we should offend them, go thou to the sea, and cast an hook, and take up the fish that first cometh up; and when thou hast opened his mouth, thou shalt find a piece of money: that take, and give unto them for me and thee. Matthew 17:27

The Samaritan woman told Jesus:

Our fathers worshipped in this mountain; and ye say, that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship. John 4:20

Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father. John 4:21

Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship; for salvation is of the Jews. John 4:22

But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit (mind) and in truth (with the Word): for the Father seeketh such to worship him. John 4:23

If there is no temple or "place" to worship God Who is pure or Holy Spirit then there can be no legalistic "Staff" to permit to live in high style off the "sacrificial giving" of widows and welfare recipients. The Jewish tithe was "holy to the Lord" and no non-Levite had a right to eat from it.

And the priest the son of Aaron shall be with the Levites, when the Levites take tithes: and the Levites shall bring up the tithe of the tithes unto the house of our God, to the chambers, into the treasure house. Ne.10:38

Rubel Shelly: He only chided some legalistic Jews for tithing even the tiny herb gardens they kept while simultaneously neglecting the major issues of justice, mercy, and spiritual integrity (cf. Matt. 23:23). (Pronouncing a woe is not a "chide")

Ah, and that is where the discussion of tithing tends to land us still, i.e., smack dab in the middle of a legalistic dispute.

Didn't the Law of Moses get superceded by the Gospel of Grace? So do we really have to tithe?

If so, should we give 10 percent of gross or net income? If net, are we obligated to tithe only our take-home pay or that amount plus retirement benefits and health insurance? See how legalistic we get in trying to settle the tithing question?

New Testament guidelines shun percentages for principles when talking about giving by Christians. So we have exhortations like this: "Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver" (2 Cor. 9:7).

No. The New Testament has no guidelines for "tithing." This Corinthian event was a one-time gift for the poor in Judea. It was not a weekly act of worship. There is no Bible or early historical example of weekly giving for staff and buildings and grounds. It isn't illegal but it isn't a "law of giving."

The evidence is clear that it took up to a year for the people to finally begin collecting, they held it "by themselves" until an elected delegation got to Corinth, they took hold of it and deposited it directly to the elders in Judea. Paul might spend the winter in Corinth and he said that he didn't want any collections while he was there to exert undue pressure -- extortion.

Rubel Shelly: A ten-percent rule would incline some of us to think that my Sunday tithe is God's and the rest is ours. Both in David's prayer and in Paul's teaching, everything is presumed to belong to God not just a token or mandated percentage.

No, Peter said that it is all yours. There is no law. Keep it if you wish. The Law of tithing gave the 1st and 4th year tithe to the TITHER to be consumed before God (You could ONLY eat the tithe: you could not buy a house with it). This LAW insisted so strongly that this belonged to the tither that it says that they could even use it to buy strong drink (only in Jerusalem). The 2nd and 5th tithe belonged to the tither's community POOR which included the local priests and Levites.

Everything belongs to God but God took it away from the "Doctors of the Law" and gave it back to the wage earner or the poor--ONLY.

Ananias and Sapphira

In some "ministries," when you inherit Aunt Sally's sofa or sell a cow you might be told that "your revealer of tithes" gets 10% to 30% -- up front!

BUT a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession, Acts 5:1

And kept back part of the price, his wife also being privy to it, and brought a certain part, and laid it at the apostles feet. Acts 5:2

But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land? Acts 5:3

Whiles it remained, was it not thine own? and after it was sold, was it not in thine own power? why hast thou conceived this thing in thine heart? thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God. Acts 5:4

If the law had been in effect Peter would have said: "A tithe belongs to the Lord." He did not and therefore there was no "Sunday Tithe."

Rubel Shelly: Rather than think that freedom from the Law of Moses permits us to cut 10 percent down to 4 percent, why shouldn't we shoot for 15 or 20 or 30 percent?

Let's say it again: Sllloooowwwwllllyyyyyy." The Law of Moses imposed rent from the food producers to support the tribe of Levi WHILE ON DUTY AT THE TABERNACLE. If you didn't rent then you didn't owe. If you didn't serve you didn't eat. Nooooo Laaawwww. Get it? When you wanted a new house you GOT A JOBbbbeeee. You worked for a living.

The Levites took 10% of the 10% and gave it to the clergy priests. That is 1%.....! The rest was "income tax" as FOOD ONLY to help support the Levites.

The theory runs that under Law they gave 10% so under grace we should give 30%. Isn't this backwards? Why is there more duty to give under Grace than under Law? Grace may prompt us but your "hand" should not know anything about what my hand gives. That is part of the "gospel" Jesus preached. He clearly bypassed the temple "trumpets" and showed that alms went from the hand of the giver to the hand of the poor. Nooooo supernaturally selected by sovereign grace located evangelist.

Rubel Shelly: Selfishness and greed tend to make us think in terms of minimums for giving. Generosity takes us in the opposite direction.

Whose greed are we to feed? The money belongs to the one who works. There is no greed if he keeps that for which he has worked: greed The wage earner has no "increase" and therefore is under no law to tithe. Jesus never warned about honest laborers but said:

Beware of the scribes, which desire to walk in long robes, and love greetings in the markets, and the highest seats in the synagogues, and the chief rooms at feasts; Luke 20:46

Which devour widows houses, and for a shew make long prayers: the same shall receive greater damnation. Luke 20:47

Paul made it pretty clear:

I speak not by commandment, but by occasion of the forwardness of others, and to prove the sincerity of your love. 2 Corinthians 8:8

For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich. 2 Corinthians 8:9

And herein I give my advice: for this is expedient for you, who have begun before, not only to do, but also to be forward (volunteered) a year ago. 2 Corinthians 8:10

Now therefore perform the doing of it; that as there was a readiness to will, so there may be a performance also out of that which ye have. 2 Corinthians 8:11

The people had been laying by HIMSELF week by week. While they had not done a good job Paul insists that WHICH YE HAVE will be good enough since there IS NO LAW OF GIVING.

This unselfish and ungreedy attitude applies only to gifts for the poor. Remember this: Poooorrrreee!

Tertullian, Apology b. c. 155, /160, Carthage [now in Tunisia] d. after 220, , Carthage

In like manner, by public law you disgrace your state gods,

putting them in the auction-catalogue, and making them a source of revenue.

Men seek to get the Capitol, as they seek to get the herb market, under the voice of the crier, under the auction spear, under the registration of the quµstor.

Deity is struck off and farmed out to the highest bidder. But indeed lands burdened with tribute are of less value;

men under the assessment of a poll-tax are less noble; for these things are the marks of servitude.

In the case of the gods, on the other hand, the sacredness is great in proportion to the tribute which they yield; nay,

the more sacred is a god, the larger is the tax he pays. Majesty is made a source of gain.

If anyone teaches false doctrines and does not agree to the sound instruction of our Lord Jesus Christ and to godly teaching, 1 Tim 6:3

he is conceited and understands nothing. He has an unhealthy interest in controversies and quarrels about words that result in envy, strife, malicious talk, evil suspicions 1 Tim 6:4

and constant friction between men of corrupt mind, who have been robbed of the truth and who think that godliness is a means to financial gain. 1 Tim 6:5

But godliness with contentment is great gain. 1 Tim 6:6

THAT DOES NOT APPLY TO THE GREEDY: that applies to those who see PREACHING as one might see PLUMBER or occupation.

Chapter XXXIX notes that:

The tried men of our elders preside over us, obtaining that honour not by purchase, but by established character. There is no buying and selling of any sort in the things of God.

Though we have our treasure-chest, it is not made up of purchase-money, as of a religion that has its price.

On the monthly day, if he likes, each puts in a small donation;
but only if it be his pleasure,
and only if he be able:
for there is no compulsion;
all is voluntary.
[Translator's note: On ordinary Sundays, "they laid by in store," apparently: one a month they offered]
This is consistent with Paul's demand: they laid by themselves in store until the money was called for and on one Sunday they put it into the hands of the messengers to Judea.

These gifts are, as it were, piety's deposit fund.

  1. For they are not taken thence and spent on feasts, and drinking-bouts, and eating-houses,
  2. but to support and bury poor people,
  3. to supply the wants of boys and girls destitute of means and parents,
  4. and of old persons confined now to the house;
  5. such, too, as have suffered shipwreck;
  6. and if there happen to be any in the mines, or banished to the islands, or shut up in the prisons,

    for nothing but their fidelity to the cause of God's Church,

    they become the nurslings of their confession.

      But it is mainly the deeds of a love so noble that lead many to put a brand upon us.
Rubel Shelly: In a summary of research released on April 5, 2000, George Barna reports that only 8 percent of Christians tithed their income to their churches in 1999. Interestingly, he found that 33 percent of Christians say it is impossible for them to get ahead in life because they have saddled themselves with such a burden of financial debt. On the other hand, I'm not fully convinced that prosperity would automatically generate more giving. For several years now, studies from various sources have shown that less- wealthy Americans give a greater percentage of their income to churches and charities than their wealthier counterparts. Time reported that those who earned under $10,000 in 1998 gave 5.2 percent of their income, people earning $10,000 to $19,999 gave a smaller 3.3 percent, and those who earned between $75,000 and $99,999 gave only 1.6 percent of their earnings.

The widow gave her mites which was her giving: for that she was blessed. However, Jesus said in effect: "Woe and cursed are those who ACCEPT it." He walked out of the place and pledged that not one stone would be left resting on another stone. Saints give: thieves take.

"As you have prospered" does not mean everyone gave a certain percentage of their income. A widow who now makes 400 dollars a month cannot give much and indeed ought to be supported. One making $100,000.00 can give 25% or more. The literal word "prospered" means, "help on the road, succeed in reaching the journey." Luther translated it, "as he may be fortunate or prosperous." It literally teaches, as Paul will show later, "out of what you have" collected already. About 150 A.D., Justin Martyr agreed:

Justin Martyr spoke for all early churches which did not treat giving as an ACT of worship:

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

And they who are well to do, and willing, give what each thinks fit;

and what is collected is deposited with the president, who succours 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.

"Those who are prosperous and willing, give each one what he thinks fit and what is collected is deposited with the president,

who relieves orphans and widows and whoever through sickness or any other cause is in want, and prisoners and strangers sojourning among us. In short, he takes care of all who are in need." (Justin: First Apology, I.67.6)

The President was the presiding elder and he did not "take a cut."

There is no command, example or inference that any early church took up a weekly collection as an "act of worship" in order to pay "staff." The staff was the elders who if devoted to full time preaching and teaching might be given "double honor" or an honorarium. Consistent with all of the honest priesthood this would be food but never a salary.

However, there is no biblical authority for extorting money to hire located staff or build "temples" intended for entertainment

Rubel Shelly: Percentage formulas won't produce larger gifts. Only a generous heart can do that. In what he irreverently dubbed "The Reverse Catechism," Mark Twain wrote:

What is the chief end of man? to get rich. In what way? dishonestly if we can; honestly if we must. Who is God, the one and only true? Money is God. Gold and Greenbacks and Stock father, son, and ghosts of same, three persons in one; these are the true and only God, mighty and supreme.

For anyone whose "creed" is correctly represented in Twain's acrid quote, a tithing law is irrelevant. His or her spirit is infected with greed.

Keeping your own money is not greed. A TITHING LAW is both LEGALISTIC and GREEDY. Laying by HIM in store in a PRIVATE savings account was to keep the GREEDY from getting it until it got to Judea ONLY for the starving.

Anyone who wants an ADMINISTRATIVE FEE is Greedy.

Is a person "infected with greed" if they refuse to take their best calf down to the church building, lay it on the communion table, take a knife, slit its throat, throw the blood on the pulpit and burn the calf? Oh yes: the preacher gets to eat the fat. Outrageous, the tithe or any giving to an institution has been abolished along with the legalistic, priestly system.

Is this a legalistic guilt trip or what?

Rubel Shelly: You know the New Testament story of the widow's gift that Jesus honored. Luke tells it this way:

As he looked up, Jesus saw the rich putting their gifts into the temple treasury. He also saw a poor widow put in two very small copper coins. "I tell you the truth," he said, "this poor widow has put in more than all the others. All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on" (Luke 21:1-4).

Jesus shamed the people but he did not "command" the widow to put anything into the collection plates which were called "trumpets." Jesus condemned the temple just as had Nehemiah as "a den of thieves, a house of merchandise." He would permit it to be destroyed shortly and he "fired" the clergy. Therefore, the widow's mite was not a command to give to the temple or its lazy clergy whose 'evangelism' made people two-fold sons of hell.

Rubel Shelly: Generosity is not an amount but a spirit. The spirit of this unnamed woman has been duplicated in our own time by Miss Oseola McCarty. Born March 7, 1908, she died September 26, 1999. She dropped out of school at 12 to take care of her sick aunt. She never went back to school but began a lifelong career of washing and ironing clothes preferring a washboard to modern washing machines. She retired at age 86.

Oseola gave to the POOR: Not to the professional rich. Paul might iron clothes while others were working so that he could have credibility to preach to them when both were off duty:

Oseola McCarty was not "Audience" to the "clergy." Rather, she WAS the MINISTER. After all, Paul worked to help support others and never took a wage. She was this:

Diakoneo (g1247) dee-ak-on-eh'-o; from 1249; to be an attendant, i.e. wait upon (menially or as a host, friend or [fig.] teacher); techn. to act as a Chr. deacon: - (ad-) minister (unto), serve, use the office of a deacon.


Yes, shaming people works better than a law but Jesus didn't authorize her to tithe. The command of Jesus is called ALMS; not letting your left hand (clergy) know what the right hand is giving to the poor:

TAKE heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven. Mt.6:1

Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. Mt.6:2

But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand (second best) know what thy right hand (the best) doeth: Mt.6:3

That thine alms may be in secret (private): and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly. Mt.6:4

That means that the extorters have no right to know how much I give or when or where I give. Remember that the Corinthian common collection was a one time affair.

What are alms?

Eleemosune (g1654) el-eh-ay-mos- oo'-nay; from 1656; compassionateness, i.e. as exercised towards the poor beneficence, or (concr.) a benefaction: - alms (-deeds).

Jesus didn't AUTHORIZE ALMS for the professional Doctors of the Law who took away the key to knowledge. He specificially directed it ONLY to the poor. Paul's example is ONLY to the destitute BROTHERS AND SISTERS and does not authorize a Ministry to Homosexuals or a "Missionary in Residence."

Money for buildings and grounds or "staff" may be optional but Jesus does not envision any form of giving in the church except to feed and house the evangelist on his trips. Alms are private.

Rubel Shelly: She tithed to Friendship Baptist Church in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, paid her bills, and made monthly payments on her insurance and burial plot. Everything left over went into the bank. "The Lord portioned out the good things in life to me just fine," she said. "Who needs any more?" Miss McCarty proved Soren Kierkegaard correct:

"It is more blessed to give than to receive, but then it is also more blessed to be able to do without than to have to have."

That is exactly applied to anyone who claims the title of evangelist. Betcha Paul never got a percentage of the "take."

But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at the last your care of me hath flourished again; wherein ye were also careful, but ye lacked opportunity. Phil 4:10

Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. Phil 4:1

I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. Phil 4:12

Notwithstanding, ye have well done, that ye did communicate with my affliction. Phil 4:14

Now ye Philippians know also, that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church communicated with me as concerning giving and receiving, but ye only. Phil 4:15

For even in Thessalonica ye sent once and again unto my necessity. Phil 4:16

Not because I desire a gift: but I desire fruit that may abound to your account. Phil 4:17

"The Scripture that most preachers use is the one in Philippians 4:17 "Not that I seek or am eager for [your] gift, but I do seek and am eager for the fruit which increases to your credit the harvest of blessing that is accumulating to your account]." They use this to control and manipulate you into giving money. If you research the Scriptures in this chapter you will find that Paul was in jail. What did he need money for in jail? The things that were given were probably a coat, maybe food, but not a big offering as is taught." Demon Buster

Rubel Shelly: About five years before her death, Oseola McCarty became a national celebrity by giving $150,000 sixth-tenths of her life savings to found a scholarship for poor children wanting to attend the University of Southern Mississippi.

People with generous spirits are delivered from the tyranny of everyday worry and aggravation over money. They model humility. They are able to live healthy spiritual lives that are secure and deeply contented. They are able to receive the approval and blessing of their Lord.

Selfish people are paupers, and generous souls are spiritual millionaires.

Yes. Paul imposed this form of life upon the evangelist. His pay is the thresing oxen's nibbling, the soldier's daily dole of food, the temple workers daily food but not a wage as a profession.

We quote the Pulpit Commentary as it "dots the i's and crosses the t's" of the warning from the Old Testament, of Paul, and of the testimony of church history about one-man ministries-

"If this be so: Should Christian teaching be regarded as a profession? It is so now: men are brought up to it, trained for it, and live by it, as architects, lawyers, doctors.

Surely preaching the gospel should no more be regarded as a profession than the talk of loving parents to children.

Is the Church justified in confining its attention to the ministry of one man?

In most modern congregation there are some Christian men who, by natural ability, by experimental knowledge and inspiration,

are far more qualified to instruct and comfort the people than their professional and stated minister.

Surely official preaching has no authority, either in Scripture, reason, or experience, and it must come to an end sooner or later." (Pulpit Commentary, 1 Cor. p. 464).

As John Calvin asked: "Why should the plouging oxen starve and the lazy asses be fed." Indeed!

There is no LAW about laying by in store at church each Sunday consisting of .1%, 2% or ANY percentage of the week's income.

They are robbing you and claiming that YOU are robbing them. That's the old guilt clause: "I shot you in the heart but you are to blame for squirting blood on my new dancing shoes."

For more of the universal testimony about tithing, temples and high priests in the church.

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