Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Did Fishermen Tithe?

Matthew 4:18, "And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers."

Luke 5:6, "And when they had this done, they inclosed a great multitude of fishes: and their net brake."

John 21:6, "And he said unto them, Cast the net on the right side of the ship, and ye shall find. They cast therefore, and now they were not able to draw it for the multitude of fishes."

John 21:8, "And the other disciples came in a little ship; (for they were not far from land, but as it were two hundred cubits,) dragging the net with fishes."

John 21:11, "Simon Peter went up, and drew the net to land full of great fishes, an hundred and fifty and three: and for all there were so many, yet was not the net broken."

*Note: When the author renders the word 'Church' as shown here, he is referring to Man's Business Entity, Religious Establishment, Institutional 'Church' System we are all familiar with. When he renders the word church in all lower case letters, he is referring to Christ's Authentic, Legitimate Home Based design, which He created and continues to build.

There are many occupations anyone can choose as their life's work. One can become a barber, an accountant, a salesman, a chef, a computer Programmer, a clergyman, a policeman, a politician, a teacher, a real estate agent, a banker, lawyer, physician, electrician, plumber, roofer, carpenter, mechanic, landscaper, butcher, baker or candlestick maker. In the above Scriptures we see the occupation of fishermen being highlighted. Being commercial fishermen, as were Peter and Andrew, meant that when a catch is made, they would take their catch to the marketplace for sale. What do you think they were going to do with this great multitude of fishes; throw them back in the water? They would derive an income from their catch to Provide for their families. So far there is no big mystery as to how they made their living.

I am sure that in their day there were people who made their livings in various other ways. We know that Jesus grew up learning the trade of a Carpenter. Levi was a Tax Collector. Luke was said to be a physician. We know that there were Innkeepers and merchants recorded in the Bible as well. The question arises, 'Did Fishermen Tithe?' For that matter, did Carpenters tithe? How about physicians, innkeepers, merchants or anyone else who didn't either farm or herd animals?

In our western world, we are taught to be good, God fearing people. We are admonished to tithe off our income no matter how we make our living. It has been taught that we are to obey God's Word when dealing with our finances. We are to give, give and give some more to "God's work." We are taught that when we receive our paychecks that ten percent is the Lord's. Others stress that one hundred percent is the Lord's and He let's us steward ninety percent of it. Either way, ten percent is to go to the upkeep, payroll, Programs and business interests of the local 'Church.' This is what we have been taught. If we don't want to be looked upon as "God robbers" and "thieves" in the eyes of our pastor and members of our congregation, we must tithe.

I see a definite Problem with this way of thinking. For one thing, it is not compatible with Scripture. And, for another, it does not apply to the New Covenant church. I have searched the Scriptures and have never found where Jesus ever tithed. I've never read that Peter, Andrew, or Luke ever tithed either! God Himself and the men who closely followed Him didn't tithe! Weren't they our great example? It never hit me until now, but why hasn't this question been brought up before? I always assumed that they all tithed. If these men were so close to Jesus, who they knew was God in the flesh, why then didn't they tithe as unto the Law of Moses? The answer is simple. According to the Law of Moses, they weren't required to tithe. Why? Because they didn't own land to farm or herd livestock.

The Bible teaches, if one is to be allowed to tithe, one must own land in Israel. The Bible calls land ownership for the Hebrew in the Old Testament an "inheritance." The only exception to this is if the person was a member of the tribe of Levi. God said that a Levite or Aaronic priest a.k.a. "the sons of Aaron", couldn't own land (have an inheritance of land). They could only work the land as share croppers. Mostly, the tithe they would give to the priesthood was derived from farming the Israeli land owner's crops or herds. They did this fifty weeks out of the year. Two weeks out of the year was their time of "service" in or around the Tabernacle or Temple. A person must own land within the borders of Israel to have the privilege of offering a tithe of the seed of that land. 

Part of the reason for having a tithe was to have a food Program for the widow, orphan, Levite and stranger (foreigner who converted over to Judaism). But, that wasn't the only reason God wanted them to tithe. The main reason was to show the world that God could bestow great blessings on the land of those He called His children. Food was more important than money. That stands true today! Without food, money doesn't really hold any value. So, what better way to showcase His blessings than miraculously adding to the Israeli's Produce and herds year by year? Fishermen, carpenters, tax collectors and physicians did not qualify under God's mandates under the Law to offer a tithe because they do not grow anything derived from the "seed of the land." Neither did any other Hebrew who didn't own land or was not a Levite. If they didn't qualify back then under those rules, then what make us think it is okay for us to do it today outside the borders of Israel? Why haven't we been taught this simple truth in our 'Churches' today? Let's look at it:

Leviticus 27:30, "And all the tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land, or of the fruit of the tree, is the LORD’S: it is holy unto the LORD."

Deuteronomy 14:22, "Thou shalt truly tithe all the increase of thy seed, that the field bringeth forth year by year."

Leviticus 27:32, "And concerning the tithe of the herd, or of the flock, even of whatsoever passeth under the rod, the tenth shall be holy unto the LORD."

Deuteronomy 14:23, "And thou shalt eat before the LORD thy God, in the place which he shall choose to place his name there, the tithe of thy corn, of thy wine, and of thine oil, and the firstlings of thy herds and of thy flocks; that thou mayest learn to fear the LORD thy God always."

In the above Scriptures we see that there are specific orders given by the LORD God to Israel (not America). First we notice that the LORD referred to the seed, corn, wine, oil, herds and flocks as "thy" or "thine." This means that the person who farmed these items had them derived from their own crop or stock. If we lived in a farming community, we would own our separate lands to farm. I would own my plot of land and you would own yours. I would grow potatoes and you would grow corn. Mr. Greenjeans a mile or two down the road would raise sheep. His neighboring farmer would raise bovine. This is the situation we see here for the Israeli farmer. But, back then, raising fish wasn't a business practice. Fish are derived from their own seed in the waters; not the land. In His Law, God was very specific as to what kind of seed He was referring to.

Also, money is never mentioned as a means to give a tithe. Only Produce derived from the seed of Israel whether from field, tree or herd. If one wanted to tithe money, it wasn't a tithe because one could not consume money. The tithe had to be eaten before the Lord in a time of celebration, in a community God approved for that year (Deut 14:23). Also, if one wanted to give money or other goods, it was called an heave offering. It was also a free will offering. A tithe was ten percent of one's harvest, not income. That means that Peter and Andrew couldn't tithe off of the fish they caught because their harvest didn't come from the seed of the field as God prescribed (Lev 27:30; Deut 14:22). Again, correct me if I'm wrong, but fish do not spawn or live on land. How could they pass under the priest's rod as sheep do? (Lev 27:32). 

The clergy and staunch 'tithe supporters' today try to justify the tithe by saying that our income is our harvest. But, this is just sleight of hand or come from blind follow-ship of a man in a pulpit. If today's rules for tithing do not match up with Scripture, then it is just a device concocted by man to fleece us out of a tenth of our livelihoods to support their own. It's the greatest ponzi scheme known to man. God never endorsed or commanded a tithe from an income. To say that He did is simply a lie. If one thinks Jesus commanded it, I challenge them to Produce a Scriptural piece of evidence that would support their claim. This is a concept that has been imposed upon generations of Christians here in America and western Europe since the Institute took over the world's perception of what 'Church' is. It is not Christian and it is not Biblical. It is however, unethical because, whether intentionally or not, the one's Promoting the tithe are misrepresenting the Lord Jesus Christ and His Holy Word. May God help them!

I had a nice lady e-mail me saying, "Who cares if Fishermen tithed or not?" Clearly, she didn't get the point of this message. The point is, if Fishermen didn't tithe, neither should we. To fully answer the questions that may have already flooded the mind of the reader as to how God commanded that the tithe was given (and by whom) within its Biblical context, I suggest that we visit the rest of the posts in this blog and see where we've been missing God's point regarding the tithe. The post to your left entitled, 'Take The Tithe Test' would be a great place to start. One owes it to himself to see what God says about tithing instead of what our pastor says about it. I guarantee you that most pastors are unaware of the false teachings they've been endorsing all their lives. Unfortunately, these false teachings have been wrought upon all of us.

If someone has an urge to give, then give! Poor widows, the lame, the blind could use your offerings. The best part is that one could give to them directly (anonymous or not) without funneling it through a 'Church' treasurer or pastor. The widow, poor, lame, blind, orphan and such have genuine needs. Our monetary offerings should go directly to them! If one is fearful that the money wouldn't be rightly spent by them, ask the Lord to direct you to what their need may be. One could always buy groceries, clothing, etc. The Lord did tell us that if we do this for others we are doing it unto Him. A 'Church' building and it's upkeep are a lustful 'want.' May the Lord help us to open our eyes to the fraud that has plagued our Christian society. Here's hoping that from this point forward, we are set free from the financial bondage of the false teaching of New Covenant tithing. So, did fishermen tithe? Absolutely NOT! So why should we?

17 comments:

  1. I agree with regards to the Old Covenant tithe. It was how God's people acknowledged that God was the Giver of all good things. If they did not, they would fall out of His favour. We are now living in an entirely different context, the Age of Grace, when the teachings of the Seven Church Epistles apply. There are no instructions to give a limited amount of 10 % of our income - BUT to help each other out, with a cheerful heart. Please refer to:

    2 Corinthians 9:6-8 King James Version (KJV)
    But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully.
    Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.
    And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work:

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  2. Thank you for your comment, April 11th reader.

    God's comments in Malachi 3:8-12 were directed towards the priesthood concerning the Levitical tithe. This tithe was offered in the Spring and was limited to animal sacrifices upon the altar by fire. God was displeased with the priest's murmuring and the fact that they offered mostly substandard livestock. They gave the best of the best to the local non-Hebrew Governor. That didn't make God happy at all! (See Malachi Chapters 1&2). This tithe was under Mosaic Ceremonial law and never applied to believers in the New Covenant.

    The verses you posted fit well when speaking to the Christian about giving. Believers gave directly to those in need, or to missionaries who transported it to the area in need. And, they were directed to give only of what they had to spare. As you've already pointed out, it was never a tithe of income nor assets.

    Thanks again for your insightful comment.

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    Replies
    1. You are so right! When we look at the First Century Church, just after the Day of Pentecost, thousands and their families were born again. What did they do?
      Acts 2:45 And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need.
      They understood the community way of life.

      As concerning leadership, it says in Timothy that ministering is not a way to make a living, to receive a salary.
      1 Timothy 6:5 Amplified Bible
      And protracted wrangling and wearing discussion and perpetual friction among men who are corrupted in mind and bereft of the truth, who imagine that godliness or righteousness is a source of profit [a moneymaking business, a means of livelihood]. From such withdraw.

      We are to help each other out as it says in:
      2 Corinthians 8:13-15 Amplified Bible
      For it is not [intended] that other people be eased and relieved [of their responsibility] and you be burdened and suffer [unfairly],
      But to have equality [share and share alike], your surplus over necessity at the present time going to meet their want and to equalize the difference created by it, so that [at some other time] their surplus in turn may be given to supply your want. Thus there may be equality,
      As it is written, He who gathered much had nothing over, and he who gathered little did not lack.

      The church is not a building of wood and stone but is made up of people.

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    2. "As concerning leadership, it says in Timothy that ministering is not a way to make a living, to receive a salary.
      1 Timothy 6:5 Amplified Bible"

      How do you reconcile that with Luke 10:1-12 (specifically vs 7) and 1 Timothy 5:17-18?

      Luke 10:7
      "And remain in the same house, eating and drinking what they provide, for the laborer deserves his wages. Do not go from house to house."

      1 Timothy 5:17-18
      " Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in preaching and teaching. 18 For the Scripture says, 'You shall not muzzle an ox when it treads out the grain,' and, 'The laborer deserves his wages.'"

      I have seen a lot of financial abuse by Church administrators and pastors, however, I do believe they deserve to get paid. The problem I have found is there is generally very little oversight, boards that rubber stamp what the pastor wants, and Churches that hide their books in an effort to limit accountability.

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    3. Thank you for your comment. I'll answer your question as succinctly as I can.

      In Luke 10, the account of the 70 being sent out was a temporary training missionary journey. The 70 were not pastors, elders or bishops. They were disciples (learners) being sent out by Jesus to certain cities to spread the gospel from house to house and to gain valuable experience for later on .

      The Lord instructed these disciples to receive hospitality from those who invited them into their house. The disciples also had skills. They would labour around the homestead to earn their bread (vs 7). They might stop at a house where the folks invited them in. Perhaps they would offer to fix something as a handyman would in exchange for some room and board. There's no mystery here. Paul was a great example of this same pattern later on in Acts. He stayed with people, but worked as a tent maker to provide his own bread for himself and those who were with him. These disciple didn't just waltz into someone's home, sit down and expound the Scriptures to those who lived there and expected to be fed, housed and waited on hand and foot.

      In Luke 10, the 70 disciples were gaining experience in the capacity of being a missionary for future adventures. But, in verse 17 they returned unto the Lord to give account of their experiences. "And the seventy RETURNED again with joy, saying, Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through thy name." Again, this was a temporary missionary journey and had nothing to do with being trained to become a stationary pastor for hire.

      1Tim 6:4-5, Paul is instructing Timothy that those who are proud, knowing nothing, doting abut questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings, Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself." Paul is speaking here of saved brethren who are under a saved master. If these discontented saved servants began murmuring against their own saved masters, who are treating them fairly under the doctrine which is according to godliness, he is to withdraw himself from them. They are to be content with the food and raiment and not seek gain.

      Jesus also instructs in Matt 20:25-26, "But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them. 26 BUT IT SHALL NOT BE SO AMONG YOU: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister." Here He is speaking to 10 if the twelve disciples after a remark 'Maw Zebedee' made about uplifting her sons in position. The other disciple were displeased to say the least. Jesus assures them that His church would not follow after the pattern of the gentiles where there are bosses over lessors in the body. He said emphatically, "But it SHALL NOT BE SO AMONG YOU,..." Everyone is o a level playing field inside the church, including pastors.

      As for 1Tim 5 17-18, I believe that most students forget that the places the body met were mostly homes of elder men. These men were older more seasoned men, who either was the head of their house or who was an older man who was wise in Scripture and in tune with the Holy Spirit's guiding. These particular men may have been widowers, or never married (as was Paul). They gave themselves to reading the Word and sharing and teaching those who had not reached spiritual maturity. There is nothing here to say that these men are paid pastors. The double honor spoken of here is double respect. Its as if you visited someone in their own home and would instinctively give the head of the house a certain higher regard or politeness while there. That's the double honor these verses are speaking about. It has nothing to do with paying the man a wage through tithes collected from the body. It does have everything to do about following his rules as to what happens under his roof.

      ~Bro. Bobby

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