Tithing: When we misquote our Lord Jesus-Christ (Part 2 of 2)

FraudInterestingly, the structure and meaning presented in Part 1 are found in all the occurrences of the word kakeinos, except in Matthew 23:23 and Luke 11:42. As we saw, kakeinos is used to refer to the object or subject “just spoken about”. It is a form of emphasis…that onethat “same one” I just spoke about. But now let us return to Matthew 23:23 again, where instead it is translated “and the other”. We see that when translated as such, kakeinos is made here to refer to the more “distant” object – i.e. the tithe of mint and anise and cumin – while it should be referring to the object Jesus had just spoken about – i.e. the weightier matters of the law… –. We contend that there is simply no rationale for changing the meaning of this word in this specific instance only. Therefore, if we re-insert its proper meaning, Matthew 23:23 becomes:

Matthew 23:23 [KJV] – Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted [aphiémi: neglected] the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye [dei: it is absolutely necessary] to have done, and those ones you should not have neglected [aphiémi].

NOTE: Please note that this is “our” belief, a belief we reached based on what we studied. It is not a guarantee for the truth, and we encourage you to challenge this view we are about to present. Therefore, although the language in the article is very assertive, it is only an assertion of our belief, not of the truth. Therefore, we strongly encourage you to do your own study and tell us whether you reach a different conclusion. 

To paraphrase, we believe Jesus was saying…“You pay tithe of mint and anise and cumin, and you have neglected the heavier (i.e. more important) matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these are the absolutely necessary things to do, and those ones (i.e. the heavier matters) you should not have neglected.”

Misquoting Jesus_2As such, we see that Jesus’ “entire” message was focused “exclusively” on the heavier matters of the Law. Compare it to what we believe is the counterfeit message found in the New Living Translation for example: “…You should tithe, yes, but do not neglect the more important things”. Big deal? Ohhhhh Yes! BIG deal, as we will see in the second half of the series! How did we put words in the mouth of our Lord which He never intended to utter! Is the NLT version what our Lord said?

Interestingly, a few of the older and lesser known versions of the Bible appear to translate Matthew 23:23 the exact same way we believe it is to be understood. Here are the Darby Bible Translation, the Young’s Literal Translation and the Douay-Rheims Bible.

Matthew 23:23 [Darby] – Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, for ye pay tithes of mint and anise and cummin, and ye have left aside the weightier matters of the law, judgment and mercy and faith: these ye ought to have done and not have left those aside.

Matthew 23:23 [Young’s] – Woe to you, Scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! because ye give tithe of the mint, and the dill, and the cumin, and did neglect the weightier things of the Law — the judgment, and the kindness, and the faith; these it behoved you to do, and those not to neglect.

Matthew 23:23 [Douay-Rheims] – Woe to you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites; because you tithe mint, and anise, and cummin, and have left the weightier things of the law; judgment, and mercy, and faith. These things you ought to have done, and not to leave those undone.

My dear brothers and sisters, if our understanding is correct, then Jesus never said “…and you should keep tithing” in Matthew 23:23 or Luke 11:42. True, from His own account, Jesus acknowledged that the scribes and Pharisees were pretty good at observing tithing. But did you also notice that He never offered them the slightest compliment for doing so? Context does matter, and therefore, we should either take the complete message of our Lord or take none of it! Furthermore, through this short study, we believe that we can come to the only logical conclusion that the scriptures themselves mercilessly shred all attempts to counterfeit the teachings from our Lord Jesus-Christ. A quick survey showed that among 21 of the most popular English translations, 17 of them – including the NIV, KJV, NLT, ESV, NASB, ISV, and ASV – misquote our Lord Jesus-Christ, yet they seem to understand perfectly well what “kakeinos” means in the other passages. The remaining four (4) do translate it the way we believe it should be translated: Darby’s, Young’s, Douay-Rheims and the Aramaic Bible in Plain English. And even among those four, only two Bible versions remain consistent between Matthew and Luke: Darby’s and Young’s.

Misquoting Jesus_3Some observations and questions:

There at least two elements we find truly remarkable here. The first observation is the timing of Jesus’s teaching on tithing: He uttered these words when the Law was still in “full effect”. In those days, the people were “commanded” to observe tithing. So we know that Jesus, who fulfilled the Law, Himself must have tithed. Yet, how amazing is it that He showed concern for other things only, those things which He described as “far more valuable” in the sight of God. We see that the only reason Jesus recognized their practice of tithing was in order to highlight just how really off the mark they were! “Woe unto you” He told them. Now, we know that the little word “Woe” in Jesus’ mouth carries a pretty big stick!

The second observation is that although He was addressing the scribes and the Pharisees, He was not addressing them because they were the “teachers” of the law, but because they were the worst at following it. Put it another way, if Jesus gave this message today, He would probably be speaking to our pastors, bishops, apostles and the like, not because they are our leaders, but because they are often the worst when it comes to obeying God’s commandments. But the greater message here is that Jesus’ teaching is “directed” toward us, you and me, servants and children of God. The message is not exclusive to leaders, but to anyone who does not obey God. Shouldn’t this statement of the Christ Himself here in Matthew 23:23 cause us to re-evaluate all the teachings on tithing? Aren’t translations such as the NLT truly dangerous? And aren’t these facts compelling incentives to become genuine students of the scriptures ourselves? And shouldn’t this statement by Jesus-Christ, our Lord, cause us to take a second, very hard look at “how” we tithe?

The implications of Jesus’s teaching on tithing can “really” be devastating. As we will see in the second half of this series, our tithing could be “literally” abominations in the sight of our Father, offers of a foul-odor to His nostrils! Yes my friends, what we are offering may be truly abominable! But the magnificent beauty of the Word of God, the majestic wisdom of our God, is that although tithing is no longer of this era, it can still be of the sweetest-smelling odor to our God. Indeed, as we shall see, it can! While it is true that many of us offer tithe of a foul-odor, some do offer tithe which brings immeasurable joy to our Father’s heart. For those who choose to tithe, a tithe of a sweet-smelling odor should be the goal. In fact, we actually do not believe that the true question is whether we should tithe or not. Yet, one could understand why “tithing” is one the biggest debated subjects among the followers of Christ today. 

But glory be to God, for the knowledge of His Truth makes us free! Glory to the Amen, the faithful witness, for as He promised, not one jot or tittle shall pass! His teachings endure forever. May our Father be with us, bringing us to an ever more perfect knowledge of His Will. Amen.

Tithing: When we misquote our Lord Jesus-Christ (Part 1 of 2)

FraudAnyone who loves to teach that the principle of tithing is a commandment of God still in full force in the New Testament has been confronted mercilessly with at least three facts from the scriptures themselves: First, occurrences of the word “tithing” are notoriously rare in the NT as shown previously. Second, our Lord Jesus-Christ Himself spoke of it only three times; and third, in each of these occasions, our Lord used tithing in a negative context. Nevertheless, the much more serious problem, as we shall argue, is that this lack of support from the New Testament has led – we believe – to the birth and cancer-like spread of arguably one of the most disturbing, disgustingly atrocious, and deceptive lies ever to taint the printed Word of God, which we know as the Bible. And the implications are equally damaging!

NOTE: Please note that this is “our” belief, a belief we reached based on what we studied. It is not a guarantee for the truth, and we encourage you to challenge this view we are about to present. Therefore, although the language in the article is very assertive, it is only an assertion of our belief, not of the truth. Therefore, we strongly encourage you to do your own study and tell us whether you reach a different conclusion. 

As we resume this discussion on tithing, we now focus mainly on the first time our Lord spoke about it. It is recorded in Matthew 23:23-28 (Luke 11:42 is a very similar but apparently a different account). Here and in Part 2, we argue that in just about “all” the popular English bible translations (and at least two prominent French translations too!), our Lord has been shamelessly misquoted. We do say “shamelessly” because in most cases, the mistranslation “appears” to have been deliberate, so as to convey a message that is “very” different than what our Lord really gave. In the second half of our study, entitled “What is my tithe worth?” we look at the larger context of Jesus’s message in order to assess the implications of what we believe are His “true” teachings on tithing. From this study, we reached the conclusion that our Lord’s teachings on tithing probably carry some of the most severe implications ever recorded in the scriptures. How would you feel if you found out that your tithing (even your “faithful” tithing) was a stinky and detestable abomination to God? Yes, an abomination to our Father! And indeed, it appears that for some of us, our tithing is just that…detestable, stinky and downright abominable to our Father. But that is for later. For now, let us focus on what we believe is a mistranslation.

Matthew 23:23 [KJV] – 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 [Greek: kakeinos] undone.

The message seems to be rather clear. Our Lord was calling the scribes and Pharisees hypocrites because while they tithed faithfully, they had neglected the more important matters of the law: Judgment, mercy and faith. In addition, the verse appears to suggest also that Jesus said…“you should do these more important things, and you should not forget to tithe either”. Here is how the New Living Translation, for instance, renders this verse to make this idea crystal clear.

Misquoting Jesus_1

Matthew 23:23 [NLT] – What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you are careful to tithe even the tiniest income from your herb gardens, but you ignore the more important aspects of the law–justice, mercy, and faith. You should tithe, yes, but do not neglect the more important things.

Let’s look at some of the instances of the the Greek word kakeinos:

The Greek word translated “and…the other” in the King James Version of Matthew 23:23 is the word “kakeinos”. It means “and that one” or “and those ones” in its plural form. It is used 22 times in the New Testament. Looking at some of those passages should help us understand the intended use of this word.

Matthew 15:18 – But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they [kakeinos] defile the man.

Mark 12:4 – And again he sent unto them another servant; and at him [kakeinos] they cast stones, and wounded [him] in the head, and sent [him] away shamefully handled.

John 7:29 – But I know him: for I am from him, and he [kakeinos] hath sent me.

Acts 5:37 – After this man rose up Judas of Galilee in the days of the taxing, and drew away much people after him: he also [kakeinos] perished; and all, [even] as many as obeyed him, were dispersed.

2 Timothy 2:12 – If we suffer, we shall also reign with [him]: if we deny [him], he also [kakeinos] will deny us:

Let us look very carefully at the structures of the verses above. It should be clear that Mathew 15:18 means “…and those ones defile the man”. Which things defile? The “same” things just spoken about, “…those which proceed out of the mouth”. Likewise, it should be clear that Mark 12:4 means “…and at that one they cast stones”. To whom did they cast stones? To the “same” other servant just spoken about. It should also be clear that John 7:29 means “and that one has sent me”. Who sent Jesus? The One just spoken about…“Him” (God). Likewise, it should also be clear that Acts 5:37 means “and that one also perished”. Who perished? The “same” one just spoken about…Judas of Galilee. And finally, it should be clear that 2 Timothy 2:12 means “that one also will deny us”. Who will deny us? The “same” one just spoken about…Jesus.

It should at this point be interesting to see how the structure and meaning of the Greek word kakeinos, as described above compare with the ones in Matthew 23:23 and Luke 11:42. Click here to continue.