Tithes Revisited (six)

(6)            The first ever tithe of Genesis 14:20 was in gold (a means of business transaction). Tithes, in Hebrew is ma‛ăśer (mah-as-ayr’) ‘a tenth; especially a tithe’; and ma‛ăśer comes from a root word ‛aśar (aw-sawr’) ‘ten (only in combination), that is, the “tens”; also (ordinal) a “tenth”‘; which also comes from ‛eśer (eh’ser): ‘ten (as an accumulation to the extent of the digits)’. Where ‛eśer comes from is: ‛aśar (aw-sar’) ‘to accumulate; to tithe, that is, take or give a tenth’, and ‛aśar is identical with ‛ashar (aw-shar’): ‘A primitive root; properly to accumulate; chiefly (specifically) to grow (causatively make) rich’. Tithes, therefore, interestingly, means riches. Jacob, having struck a providential deal with God in Genesis 28:22 decided, “….and of all that thou shalt give me I will surely give the tenth unto thee.” Where do you think Jacob got that prosperity formula from if not from his good grandfather, Abraham? God definitely did not tie him (Jacob) with any tithing law or did He?

Tithing is of the Church!

            This is the most important reason why tithing is of the Church. I did not see it until my Pastor, Rev. Chris Okotie, showed it to the congregation on the 3rd of March, 2019. Let us look at the Pauline Book of Hebrews. “And here men that die receive tithes; but there he receiveth them, of whom it is witnessed that he liveth. 9) And as I may so say, Levi also, who receiveth tithes, payed tithes in Abraham. 10) For he was yet in the loins of his father, when Melchisedec met him” [Hebrews 7:8-10]. Now, the ‘here’ of the eighth verse points to the Mosaic instituted Levitical priesthood; while ‘there’ is of the eternal stance of the priesthood after the order of Melchizedek. It is a good thing poring over what one learns from Church, as Rev. Chris Okotie has always enjoined. In my perusal, some questions popped up. Which of the priesthood is nobler, Melchizedek’s or the Levitical order? Of whose priesthood has the superiority, Levitical or the one according to the order of Melchizedek?

 Blessed Abraham of faith.

            “And without all contradiction the less is blessed of the better” [Hebrews 7:7]. The blessing from the priesthood of Melchizedek gives him a nobler personality role than, the tithe giving, faithful Abraham. This is the first element of Melchizedek’s superiority. If as verse 9 above, “And as I may so say, Levi also, who receiveth tithes, payed tithes in Abraham,” expounds, then Levi, the tithe collector from Jewish votary did not only receive what Abraham, his progenitor, received (the priesthood blessing that makes Melchizedek the better); he has continued to pay tithes, in Abraham, to Melchizedek. This is another fact of superiority of Melchizedek’s office. How do I know this fact? “And here men that die receive tithes; but there he receiveth them, of whom it is witnessed that he liveth” [Hebrews 7:8].

                On account of death, the first high priest from Levi, that is Aaron, was replaced. Up until the time of Pauline scripting of the Book of Hebrews, death had brought about an ineluctable replacements to that office. But of Melchizedek, whose natural genealogy the Scripture is silent about, is absolutely antitypical to the office of the Lord Jesus. The Holy Spirit, through Paul, teaches that this king-priest Melchizedek, said to be figuratively living, undying like the eternal Jesus, continues to receive tithes. How is this possible? It is a theological issue. Melchizedek signalizes the true High Priest, even the Initiator of the Old and the New Testaments, the Lord Jesus, the Alpha and the Omega; the One who was, is, and is to come, the Almighty.

               If Christ is our High Priest, and one of His priesthood functions (in order to pour forth His Providence) is a la tithing, and the indubitability of His body on terra firma happens to be Christians, then the only place of storeroom tithe collection is none other than the Church. Where else? Selah!  

(Conclusion)  

Read the 5th part here

Tithes Revisited (five)

Give unto Caesar…..and give unto the LORD….

(5)          A cautious look at tithing informs of its seed-faith stance. Jesus tells us to give in order to receive from divine operation. Paul teaches that the sown seed must die first, as a matter of fact, before its proliferation of scriptural thirty, sixty, hundred fold. Is tithing a giving act? So, where are some teachers getting their theological facts; from this same Bible? I will not encourage first-fruits offering (which some churches practice): for “But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept” [1Corinthians 15:20]; is a pellucid indication that Jesus is already our first-fruit. Can I give a more satisfying fruit of the Jesus’ kind to God? The Temple, half Shekel, money is meant to be a divine insurance policy that took annual care of the spiritual policy-holding Israelites. When Jesus says, “It is finished,” the main verb, ‘finished’ is teleō (tel-eh’-o) meaning ‘debt paid’ (in full)!

  ”…but I desire fruit that may abound to your account” (Philippians 4:17)

            All these giving, done in faith, are actually business transactions with the Possessor of heaven and earth. For the simple fact that tithes, originally given out of faith, and in theological facticity that Jehovah is the Possessor of the universe and heaven, and an offer devoid of any legality, most definitely makes it an act of faith, without which no man receives anything from God. “The just,” the Bible points out, “shall live by his faith” (Habakkuk 2:4). Christians are connected to their God by faith alone. What about a rich man like Solomon, does he need to tithe, having all his financial needs and wants answered? A Solomon-rich person is still a needy individual. The word of God, “But God giveth it a body as it hath pleased him, and to every seed his own body” [1Corinthians 15:38] is what gives the dead rotten seed of faith (your money) the desired body. The seed sown will take care of childlessness, ill health, ignorance, weakness, security et cetera. Amen.

 Benchmark of 10% given takes care of Satan’s cankerworm proclivity

            The tithing benchmark is ten percent, but truth is: Abraham gave more than 10%. The well informed born again Christian makes sure he does not give less than this benchmark. How I know that Abraham gave more than 10% is found in the Bible. “Now consider how great this man was, unto whom even the patriarch Abraham gave the tenth of the spoils” [Hebrews 7:4]. The noun ‘spoils’ is akrothinion (ak-roth-in’-ee-on) in the Greek and means, ‘top of the heap, the first fruits, best of the booty or crops.’ This needs a bit of explaining. Let me use global currencies of Liberian, Jamaican, USA, Zimbabwean dollars and British pound sterling of the present world economy for clarity.

                In the days of Abraham the dollar of Zimbabweans will go to the very bottom of the booty because of its lowest value. Liberian or Jamaican dollars heap (depending on the more valuable between them) comes next atop the least in value Zimbabwean dollar. The almighty US dollars takes its heap valuable position above the various dollars. The sterling quality of the British pound occupies the akrothinion displayed position. It is from the pounds sterling that Abraham gave his tithe. Supposing Abraham’s display of the booty from his conquest is two million of each currency, totalling ten million, a tithe of £1,000,000, from the two million pounds is definitely more than 10% of all five national currencies, considering the international strength of the British pound sterling.

                Customarily, the Greeks selected from the topmost part of the heaps and offered this to the gods.


  “…if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing…”

                It would not come as a surprise to me if some people should ascribe this Greek connection, to assume an inference to its heathen practice and a consequent vitiation of tithing. Those who preach or teach against tithing know very little about theology or are antagonists of the truth. Even if the universal historicity of tithing is heathenish, does the Bible not make it pellucid enough to whom Abraham gave the tithe? Even if the world’s economic system of tithe adoration had been to Lucifer, and Abraham decided to honour the Possessor of heaven and earth, Almighty Jehovah Jireh, with his own substance, what makes it a scriptural anomaly for Christians to do the same knowing, especially, of “prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it,” of Malachi’s prophecy? Selah!  

 (…to be concluded…)

Read part 4 here

Read the concluding part 6 here

Tithes Revisited (four)

(…continued from part three…)

4)              When Abraham offered the first ever tithes it was in an acknowledgement that the LORD God is the Possessor of the heavens and the earth. The giving, premised on this instance, he must give it to a priest. This Melchizedek, a priest and a king, prefigured Jesus, our High Priest and King. To consummate His adumbration, Melchizedek brought wine and bread. If the tithe had served as Jesus’ adumbration, there would not have been any need to pay tithe since His emergent incarnation would have taken care of it.

JEHOVAH, Abraham understood, is the POSSESSOR of the heavens and the earth.

                Abraham’s tithe is a sermon in praise of the Most High. It was a faith act, intended to keep him in riches. Christians, having received much, ought to give appreciatively more. Tithing, though not compulsory, is obligatory (akin to the half shekel expected to insure the life of an Israelite for a year –Exodus 30:11-16). Out of that which Abraham earned he took, to honour the LORD, his God, by faith. God did not thunder a threat of impoverishment to coerce father Abraham.

                The man felt obliged to perform a faithful act of giving. The bread and the wine were presented to foretell the breaking of His body and the offer of His blood for our redemption. It was, therefore, apropos when at the Last Supper, the One Melchizedek prefigured, had to perform the ritual of the new covenant: the harbinger of the eternal life mystery. Amen.   

                This is the pedagogical significance of Paul’s Hebrews chapter seven. Verse seven says, “And without all contradiction the less is blessed of the better.” The blessed, less, being Abraham, makes Melchizedek, the blessing priest, superior in this scriptural context. If the scriptural pellucidity, as concerning Melchizedek’s role, is in a contextual adumbration of Jesus Christ, his antitypical High Priest, does it not tell us that just as Levi metaphorically paid tithes, not to the legality of the Aaronic order, Abraham actually paid it to Christ, the Eternal head of the Christian Church?!

Gave not by the legalism of Mosaic Law

                Abraham was not prompted by the legalism of Mosaic Law. Abraham did not handover the tithes of his volitional drive to Aaron who, together with every priest of his progeny, did die (read verse 8). He paid it to the Melchizedek i.e. the ‘immortality’ in representation of Christ. If the appropriation of faith in Jesus is what makes one a Christian, then it is quite germane to say that Abraham’s faith in Jehovah makes him a Christian. Jesus, in Melchizedek, received the tithes from Abraham, a type of a Christian. Abraham’s tithes was not of an extraction of legality.

                What can one learn from this verse, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit [John 12:24]? We know that Jesus was talking about Himself, but why would the seed die before it bears fruits? The death of the sown seed brings human effort to an end so that God will take the credit for its germination. The death of Jesus led to the Resurrection, which is solely of Divine operation. Is this not also of the seed of faith that we drop into the offering bag? Should you not see it well enough, let us look at another scripture.

                1Corinthians 15:36-38 read, Thou fool, that which thou sowest is not quickened, except it die: 37) And that which thou sowest, thou sowest not that body that shall be, but bare grain, it may chance of wheat, or of some other grain: 38) But God giveth it a body as it hath pleased him, and to every seed his own body. What you give to God must die first. It must cease to be called yours before God can do something about your request. To prosper, you must give your substance, tithes inclusive. Abraham, who first gave the tithes, was being made to start the life of faith on behalf of man all over again, since we know that Adam had bungled it. He gave out of faith. Why? Christians must live all their lives in absolute faith.

                Melchizedek brought the bread and wine which sealed the New Testamentary order, which came from the beneficence of the Lord Jesus. A freewill engendered another. Melchizedek brought the communion elements which did rejuvenate the communion that Christ had with the sinless Adamic family in the Garden of Eden, when He came to them every cool of the evening. Praise the Lord. Tithes, as Rev. Chris Okotie puts it, truly belongs to the Church! Amen!!       

  (…to be continued…)

To read part three click here

Read part 5 here

Tithes Revisited (three)

(Continued from part two…)

(3)

                “But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept” [1Corinthians 15:20]. We do not only have Him as our firstfruit, the Lord Jesus performed a miracle with us as we read from James 1:18, “Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.” The physical encapsulation of the spiritual connotation of the firstfruit is presented in tithing: consummated in sacerdotalism.

 Jesus owns all!

             Everybody is of the knowledge that it is good to give and if Matthew 6:33 enjoins, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you;” and, it is clear that giving is a righteous deed, then tithing should be availed. Take a good look at Pauline didacticism to the Christians of Corinth. 1Corinthians 9:5-14. Verse 5, “Have we not power to lead about a sister, a wife, as well as other apostles, and as the brethren of the Lord, and Cephas?” Pauline erudition begins with the right to be involved in conjugal relationship as other apostles. His ebullience is leading somewhere. 6) “Or I only and Barnabas, have not we power to forbear working?” Barnabas and he can decide not to work again, and depend on the church for sustenance.

“Bring…tithes…into my storehouse…” THIS IS “THE HOUSEHOLD OF GOD CHURCH”

                Verse 7 of 1Corinthians chapter 9 reads, “Who goeth a warfare any time at his own charges? who planteth a vineyard, and eateth not of the fruit thereof? or who feedeth a flock, and eateth not of the milk of the flock?” Effective rhetorical questioning needing not any answer for the obviousness. 8) “Say I these things as a man? or saith not the law the same also?” The apostle’s teaching, in all honesty, is far from being arbitrary. Moses is his scriptural reference. 9) “For it is written in the law of Moses, Thou shalt not muzzle the mouth of the ox that treadeth out the corn. Doth God take care for oxen? 10) Or saith he it altogether for our sakes? For our sakes, no doubt, this is written: that he that ploweth should plow in hope; and that he that thresheth in hope should be partaker of his hope.”

                As God cares even for the domestic animals, so much more should He be expected to cater for the vineyard toiling ministers with the tithes and offerings of the congregating saints. 11) “If we have sown unto you spiritual things, is it a great thing if we shall reap your carnal things?” Any big deal taking your tithes for our upkeep? None, Paul and I believe. What the apostles render is eternally greater than the ephemera carnality of their material offering substances.

                Verse 12, “If others be partakers of this power over you, are not we rather? Nevertheless we have not used this power; but suffer all things, lest we should hinder the gospel of Christ.” Moving towards the didactic crescendo, Paul reminds them of the legal claim he possesses, more than the Old Testament priesthood, over the tenth part of their substantial worth. 13) “Do ye not know that they which minister about holy things live of the things of the temple? and they which wait at the altar are partakers with the altar? 14) Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel.” The tithes that have been brought to the temple form a good part of the things found on the altar of the Temple. God’s storehouse has not crumbled. Or has it?

Businesswoman Looking up at Camera and Standing Outdoors Surrounded by a Large Group of Business People

                The Church of the New Testament is authorised to receive the tithes in order to “open the windows of heaven, and pour out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it” by the One who made the promise. Amen. “In the morning sow thy seed, and in the evening withhold not thine hand: for thou knowest not whether shall prosper, either this or that, or whether they both shall be alike good [Ecclesiastes 11:3-6]. Every avenue of giving is an opportunity to sow seeds and should be explored (not in foolishness) by a wise child of God.

(…to be continued…)

Click to read part two

Read part four by clicking here

Tithes Revisited (two)

 Solomon in the Temple which houses the treasury

(Continued from part one…)

(2)          Now look at what he said in the 19th verse of Philippians chapter four, “But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” Is tithing an act of giving? Was tithing a route to the prosperity of Israel, God’s children? If Christians do have a better covenant of progeny, the only thing that can abolish Christian tithing must come from the express instruction of HIS protocol, the Bible. Nowhere in scripture is tithing forbidden after Christ’s resurrection. If God’s instruction is, “Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house…,” we understand that the storehouse is in the Temple i.e. the New Testament Church. Amen!

               When the Temple curtain tore in two at the death of Jesus, the Holy Spirit left the Jerusalem Temple. After the Pentecostal inaugural establishment of the Church, HIS place of assemblage with God’s children had always been the Church auditorium. That which was put in the storehouse must continue lest we be found guilty of “robbing God.” Amen. ‘Storehouse’ of Malachi 3:10 is ôtsâr (o-tsaw’): ‘a depository.’ Three verses prove that ôtsâr is of the temple.

Abraham brought the spoils; Melchizedek gave the communion of covenant.

                1Chronicles 9:26, “For these Levites, the four chief porters, were in their set office, and were over the chambers and treasuries of the house of God.” ‘Treasuries’ is ôtsâr in Hebrew. ‘Treasure’ is in the Book of Nehemiah 10:38, “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.” Nehemiah 13:12 reads, “Then brought all Judah the tithe of the corn and the new wine and the oil unto the treasuries.” Ôtsâr is the same Hebrew for ‘treasuries’ in Nehemiah 13:12. Malachi 3:8, “Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings.” If a refusal to handover tithes and offerings constitute robbery of God’s property, and I give out only my offerings am I not a thief in tithing? Selah!

            Those two things (tithes and offerings) keep the bodies and the souls of the children of Aaron together. It keeps them out of hunger. Their priesthood was a full-time job. 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.” The Christian headship of the Church is full-time, because God’s call is without repentance.

 The holy of holies

                Numbers 18:20, “And the LORD spake unto Aaron, Thou shalt have no inheritance in their land, neither shalt thou have any part among them: I am thy part and thine inheritance among the children of Israel.” For the physical sustenance of Aaron, who is expected to be limited to ecumenical work, Solomon says, in Proverbs 3:9, “Honour the LORD with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase:” By definition the word ‘proverb’ is: ‘a short saying that stood for a whole discourse, the words of which are metaphorical.’

                King Solomon is quoted, in 1Kings 4:32, to have reeled three whole thousand proverbs and additional one thousand songs. The breath involvement of the Divinity makes Solomonic wise documentation of an eternal consequence. A proverbial ‘substance’ must include your tithes. Hôn (hone), a noun masculine, is the Hebrew rendition of ‘substance,’ meaning: ‘wealth, riches,’ which definitely comes from the sweats of energetic business act. The king of proverbial utterances went on to divine the outcome of giving in the next verse 10, “So shall thy barns be filled with plenty, and thy presses shall burst out with new wine.” Tithing? It is not compulsory for those who hate to have affluence. Verse 9 mentions the giving of ‘first fruits’ which is not to be made practical for a good scriptural reason.

(…to be continued…)

Read the 1st part. Click here.

Click here to read part 3

Tithes Revisited (one)

 Melchizedek’s bread and wine is New Testamentary, ergo, of the Church.

(1)          It is quite unbelievable trying to fathom the obduracy of Bible studying, born again, Spirit filled Christians in their ceaseless didactic stand against tithing. With an amazing difficulty they fail to see the importance of tithing, even in this New Testament days of Christianity. They fan the legalistic arguments of the Old Testamentary economy to rationalize their belief. Some heads of churches, especially, that of Pastor J. O. Oludare, the General Overseer of Christ’s Trumpeters’ Church, Ilesa, Osun State of Nigeria, even teaches that it is a sin, for any pastor, to collect tithes. What they do with the copious scriptures that do support tithing is the million-dollar question.

           The legalism of Old Testament, concerning tithing, which they employ, does not hold any argumentative water at all. Abraham, who first offered his tithe did not have to comply out of any religious and coercive straitjacket terms. Father Abraham gave it out of sheer faith. Now we can comfortably say that God had no choice but to give an imprimatur to an idea solely envisioned by faithful Abraham, to bless HIS Israelites.

                It was not only a case of God knowing this in eternity of the past, HE was the One who deposited the thought into Abraham’s heart. Amen.

                Okay, it later became a Divine fiat, placing it under an Old Testament order. If all commandments of the Old Testamentary order ceased after the Upper Room experience of Christianity, what about those of: Exodus 20:13-15 “Thou shalt not kill. 14) Thou shalt not commit adultery. 15) Thou shalt not steal”? There is no doubt that these laws and many others which were bindingon Old Testament saints, still remain our teacher, as New Testament believers. We cannot neglect any of God’s instructions. This brings the rebuke of Jesus into remembrance.

Was tithing an Old Testament ordinance?

               Matthew 23:23, “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.” The ‘weightier,’ barus (bar-ooce’) in Greek, means: ‘burdensome, grave.’ It comes, grammatically, in a comparative sense. Tithing, as far as Jesus is concerned, in this verse, is a weighty instruction which emphatically catalyzes the spiritual process of prosperity.

                Malachi 3:10, “Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.” The LORD God, whose oracle was prophesied by Malachi, gave this promise only to Israel, with which HE had a covenant. The Lord Jesus, whose blood is our better covenant than that of Israel’s bulls, refused to deaden the tithing weight in Matthew 23:23. The Hebrew word for ‘blessing’ in Malachi 3:10 is berâkâh (ber-aw-kaw’): benediction; by implication prosperity.’

                And I do know also that another scripture of giving, Luke 6:38 says, “Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.” This is the prosperity formula taught by the Lord Jesus. The word ‘give’ is didomi (did’-o-mee): ‘to give {used in a very wide application: which include ‘bestow and minister.’}’

 “Render unto Caesar….. and unto God the things that are God’s

                They asked Jesus in Matthew 22:17, “Tell us therefore, What thinkest thou? Is it lawful to give tribute unto Caesar, or not?” The Lord’s answer was a simple, “Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s” [Matthew 22:21]. As an earthly emperor, they owe the Caesar obedience and two pecuniary duties: custom and tribute. While ‘custom’ is telos (tel’-os), and it is contextually ‘impost or levy,’ ‘tribute’ is kensos ‘poll tax.’ I do hear many contest that Jesus never told anyone to give tithes but “the things that are God’s” include 1) worshipping none other than Jehovah, 2) keeping His commandments, 3) bringing offerings to the temple which does not in any way exclude, as I can hear Jesus reminding them of Malachi, “And if you do not want to rob the LORD, your God, remember your tithes.” Tithing is a pecuniary responsibility of God’s children in the LORD’s Kingdom.

”…but I desire fruit that may abound to your account” (Philippians 4:17)

           Paul told the Philippians, “Not because I desire a gift: but I desire fruit that may abound to your account” (Philippians 4:17). As the Apostle, Paul holds as well the sacerdotal and the bucolic offices to the Philippi Church. He stands in a sacerdotal perpendicularity before God, like Aaron, to furnish their prosperity account. It was quite obligatory to give to the financial comfortability of the pastoral office.

(…to be continued…)

Please, click to read the 2nd part