What is my tithe worth? (Part 4 of 4)

Balance scale We have reached the concluding part of our short study of our Lord’s teaching on the subject of tithing. And we are inviting you to meditate strongly on this question: If how God perceives our tithe depends strongly on our attitude toward the weightier matters of the Law (judgment, faith, mercy), to the point where it would better for us not to offer any tithe if we do not practice those matters, why would Jesus simply state in Matthew 23:23… “you should keep tithing” as if there was no pre-condition for doing it? Clearly, if we understand verse 26, Jesus indicated quite clearly that there is a precondition to tithing…the inside should be cleansed “first”, otherwise our tithing is an abomination…it is the clean cup filled with everything that is despicable to God. Yet, when we read verse 23 in most English translations, there is no pre-condition to tithing, but simply a statement that we should do both: the weightier matters of the Law and the tithing.

Let us reason my people:

The dependency, and therefore the order of things, is not conveyed in most translations. And if such pre-condition did not exist (as these translations claim), then it stands to reason that the scribes and Pharisees were at least doing something right…they were tithing! So why didn’t Jesus at least applaud these people for being so adept at tithing, even if there were more important thing they were neglecting? We contend that for them to tithe so religiously actually “added” insult to injury. It probably would have been better for them not to tithe at all, just like you would rather have nothing to drink, than being served filthy sewage water on a perfectly clean glass. Isn’t this precisely the reason our Lord calls them hypocrites?

We shall at this point suggest the reader to look at a similar record in Luke 11:37-42, to verify that our Lord Jesus gave again essentially the same lesson. He said essentially …“Focus on the weightier matters, and behold…behold, all things…all things are clean unto you (yes, the inside and the outside)”. A quick recap of that record…people were supposed to wash hands before eating; Jesus comes to eat, and does not wash His hand. The Pharisee who invited Him to eat is flabbergasted by that, and that prompted Jesus to give him the teaching of his lifetime. In verse 41, He said the same peculiar thing…“give of the inside and everything (including the outside) will become clean”. As in Matthew 23, it is never the cleaning of the outside that makes the outside clean, it is the cleaning of the inside that makes the outside clean. As we discussed in the previous part, the inside sanctifies the outside. Puzzling and very interesting! Then He goes into verse 42 and denounces again how they (the Pharisees) had all this tithing practice completely backward.

Right debate/Wrong debateTithe Worth_Conclusion 1 

The debate over whether we should tithe or not today is the debate of whether the tiny mosquito  should still be considered an unclean animal or now considered clean, all that while there is actually a camel, the largest unclean animal, standing next to us. WHO CARES ABOUT THE MOSQUITO!? THERE IS A CAMEL AROUND FOR GOD’S SAKE!  If there is to be a debate, it should be about finding the most effective ways to ensure that we never swallow a camel, as our Lord put it so vividly. Are you following me my dear people? What are we going to do with the CAMEL…that is the debate! So, is it “good” to tithe? Well, obviously the answer to that is that…it depends…it depends on the quality of life we live. If we endeavor to live righteously (what we have been called to do), showing mercy where mercy is due, acting on faith instead of doubting God, being just and fair whenever and wherever we can, THEN, only then is our tithe (if we make it) of a sweet-smelling aroma to our Father. Tithing is a cherry on a cake, but it is NOT the cake, and never will be the cake. Yet, many of us treat our tithe as if it is the cake. Many of us believe that we are standing “right” with God because at least…we are very faithful at tithing. But think about this, when the cake is good, the cherry is that little extra that goes beyond, by showing the one receiving the cake just how much you care about him. But when the cake is filthy, that very same cherry changes role: it is now the insult to injury!

Now imagine this: You practice judgment, faith and mercy. What if you tithe, but are irregular in it because of honest circumstances that comes up in life? Then my friend, God says…IT IS OK! That “apparently” imperfect tithing lifestyle is sanctified by your walk in life!  What a comfort my people! What a comfort! Let us examine ourselves, and determine whether we endeavor to uphold those weightier matters of the Law. If we do not, then it is our conviction based on this study that we are better off not tithing at all, for God is not mocked! Allow us to cite from the Amplified Bible.

Galatians 6:7 – Do not be deceived and deluded and misled; God will not allow Himself to be sneered at (scorned, disdained, or mocked by mere pretensions or professions, or by His precepts being set aside.)… For whatever a man sows, that and that only is what he will reap.

We often hear this verse in the context of how faithfully we should be tithing or give to the church, because God is not mocked. “If we don’t tithe, we are stealing God, and God cannot be fooled”. But anyone who spends a little time on the context of this verse will see readily that God is emphasizing instead the practice of the far most important matters: judgment, mercy and faith. The context is about fulfilling the law of Christ.

Galatians 6:2 – Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.

God is not fooled by our tithe people. He is not fooled by any other things we use as substitute for what truly matters to Him. This is what this passage is saying!

My people, may my God, my Father, forgive me if I misinterpreted all these sayings from our Lord Jesus-Christ. BUT WHY ON EARTH ARE WE NOT BEING TAUGHT THESE THINGS? Have we become so consumed with our well-being or the well-being of our church that we cannot fathom the idea of teaching people what is true about tithing? How are we NOT hypocrites! And how will we not have to answer to God? What is giving 10%, 12%,…,20%…or 30% of our income to our church  if we do not practice those heavier matters? It is an abomination! That’s what it is! Who do we think we are fooling? We get praise from men instead of seeking God’s praise! Our tithing, giving, abundant sharing, etc. (however you want to call it) was never meant to be, and will never substitute for what really matters to God. Your tithing and mine, my brethren, is sanctified by our walk, BY OUR WALK MY PEOPLE…OUR WALK! Without the walk…forget the tithe!

Listen to our Lord Himself: Stop chasing away the mosquito while your are swallowing a camel! Stop looking like a polished sepulcher while your are full of dead bones. Stop being a cup that is perfectly clean outside while you are full of self-indulgence inside. And again we ask: How can one focus on those important matters and not have a life of giving, helping his or her brother? Do you see how focusing on what matters to God automatically takes care of everything. Let your church despise you because you are not tithing…but rush to seek God’s praise, by doing those things that are pleasing unto Him. Ask God, and you might just find that there is far more impactful things you can do for His kingdom with your money than giving it to the church.

We have a challenge for You:

If you have been thinking a bit too highly about your tithe, we have a challenge for you: Stop tithing for 6 months, and during those 6 months, always ask yourself how everyday you are endeavoring to please God. If you want, stop tithing for the whole year 2014 altogether, and ask yourself how you are being a servant of your Christ during that time. At the end of the period, evaluate your life as a son and a servant.

So what is Matthew 23:23 saying most likely?

We shall conclude by drawing a contrast between what we believe Jesus said (a loose paraphrase, so please don’t call it a translation…it is just “how” we understand it base on our study), and what one of the popular English translations states.

Matthew 23:23 [Our understanding] – Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithe of mint and anise and cumin, and you have neglected the weightier – the more important – matters of the law. I am speaking of judgment, mercy, and faith: these are the absolutely necessary things you were supposed to be doing; yes, those ones, the heavier matters of the law, you should not neglect.

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.

Father in heaven, forgive me if I have not spoken what is right concerning You, Your Son, and Your Holy Word. For while many may not share the view of this study, I did not see how your Holy Word speaks otherwise. You are merciful, for you see what is in man’s heart, as you are the searcher of it. Inspect my heart heavenly Father and judge me according to Your mercy and Your wisdom. If this writing is true to your Word, then let our hearts be convicted; Father, lift weights from the shoulders of the weary because of false teachings. And may we experience Godly sorrow if we have offered unto You what is undrinkable, and may You forgive us, for some of us did it out of ignorance. You are a Merciful God, Heavenly Father! May we experience Godly sorrow if we did not teach what was right. Cause us Father to focus on the weightier matters of the Law, for in those you delight, and for as we do so we will naturally fulfill the lighter matters. Oh Father, be merciful unto me, Your son, and the servant of Your Lamb, Jesus-Christ. 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.

Five facts about “tithing”…and Jesus!

heap of coins close upEver wondered if Jesus ever spoke about the practice of tithing? Now tithing is – for better or for worse – a “very” sensitive topic (although it really should not be). So here, we will focus on some facts, just plain simple facts. For a subject claimed to be of such importance, some of these simple facts may surprise you. So let’s go right to them.

Fact number 1: In the “entire” bible, the noun/verb “tithe” (or tithing) whether in the singular or plural appears 40 times. For comparison, the noun/verb “love” (and it derivations) appear 555 times. This is a ratio of almost 14-to-1!

Fact number 2:  If we focus on the New Testament alone, “tithing” is cited 8 times, while “love” is cited 261 times. This is a ratio of almost 33-to-1! And Oh…“Christ” is cited 555 times (this is 70-to-1)!

Now, if the number of times a concept appears in the bible is “some” indicator of its importance, what do you suppose the scripture is trying to tell us? Well, may be we should not guess and let Jesus speaks Himself. Here are some additional facts.

Fact number 3: The 8 times “tithing” is cited specifically in the New Testament appear to be only 4 accounts. One (1) of the four (4) accounts is by the Apostle Paul in the book of Hebrews (Hebrews 7:5-9). Interestingly, the other three (3) accounts are from the mouth of Jesus-Christ himself. Let’s put it bluntly: God wants us to know that Jesus spoke of tithing in none but 3 times! And He wants us to know what He said! Now, do you think that perhaps those three times deserve some attention? The first account is recorded in Matthew 23:23, the second is in Luke 11:42, and the third account is recorded in Luke 18:12. We look at them a little deeper in a separate article, especially the first account and the second, which we believe have even been mistranslated.  But for now, let’s resume with the facts.

Fact number 4: In the three (3) unique accounts where Jesus makes specific reference to tithing, He is using it in a “negative” context! And before you try to guess, it is NOT because the people were not doing it! Read those accounts for yourselves.

Five Facts_1

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.

Luke 18:9-14 – And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. 11 The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. 12 I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. 13 And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. 14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.

Fact number 5: The one account in the book of Hebrews is interesting for at least two reasons. 1) It is addressed to the Jews specifically, those people who were – and were supposed to be – “familiar” with the principle of tithing, and 2) it is referring to “past” events, events which belong to the era of the law!

These simple facts beg some questions:

One must ask: If tithing is as important as claimed by our church leaders today, why is there so little space dedicated to it in the “whole” bible, and even more stunningly, in the New Testament? If tithing is as important as claimed; how come there is not a “single” verse specifically addressed to the gentiles mentioning it? Gentiles were not familiar with this concept! So why did not God address it explicitly to introduce it to them, especially if it is so important? By the way, you may at this point be interested in our series entitled “A Very Inconvenient Truth”. If it is as important as claimed, how can one explain that the only reason Jesus-Christ ever spoke of it was to teach us that there are “far” more important things we should actually worry about?

If there is “one” subject in the Bible in which just about all churches and Christian denominations agree (of course, there must be a “few” exceptions) it is the subject of tithing: “We should give our tithes”, as they will gladly remind us as often as they deem necessary. But here is the non-trivial problem with this position: It is a fact that among these churches, some of them are run by demons, and some of them are led by false prophets and salvage wolves. Therefore, is this evidence, this undeniable fact suggesting that there is a truth in the scriptures that is SO TRUE that even false prophets and salvages wolves delight in it? Where in the scripture does God tell us that there is such a thing? Shouldn’t demons and false prophets delight instead in what is FALSE?! My brothers and sisters, there is too much at stake for us not to study the scriptures for ourselves. There is just too much at stake. Let’s do our own homework! The time to be mature is NOW. Praise, glory and dominion to the only true God and to His Lamb forever. Amen!