Saturday, June 9, 2012

Rejoice and Celebrate

Leviticus 23:39-43, "Also in the fifteenth day of the seventh month, when ye have gathered in the fruit of the land, ye shall keep a feast unto the LORD seven days: on the first day shall be a sabbath, and on the eighth day shall be a sabbath. 40 And ye shall take you on the first day the boughs of goodly trees, branches of palm trees, and the boughs of thick trees, and willows of the brook; and ye shall rejoice before the LORD your God seven days. 41 And ye shall keep it a feast unto the LORD seven days in the year. It shall be a statute for ever in your generations: ye shall celebrate it in the seventh month. 42 Ye shall dwell in booths seven days; all that are Israelites born shall dwell in booths: 43 That your generations may know that I made the children of Israel to dwell in booths, when I brought them out of the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God."

Deuteronomy 12:10-12, "But when ye go over Jordan, and dwell in the land which the LORD your God giveth you to inherit, and when he giveth you rest from all your enemies round about, so that ye dwell in safety; 11 Then there shall be a place which the LORD your God shall choose to cause his name to dwell there; thither shall ye bring all that I command you; your burnt offerings, and your sacrifices, your tithes, and the heave offering of your hand, and all your choice vows which ye vow unto the LORD: 12 And ye shall rejoice before the LORD your God, ye, and your sons, and your daughters, and your menservants, and your maidservants, and the Levite that is within your gates; forasmuch as he hath no part nor inheritance with you."

Deuteronomy 14:22-26, "Thou shalt truly tithe all the increase of thy seed, that the field bringeth forth year by year. 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. 24 And if the way be too long for thee, so that thou art not able to carry it; or if the place be too far from thee, which the LORD thy God shall choose to set his name there, when the LORD thy God hath blessed thee: 25 Then shalt thou turn it into money, and bind up the money in thine hand, and shalt go unto the place which the LORD thy God shall choose: 26 And thou shalt bestow that money for whatsoever thy soul lusteth after, for oxen, or for sheep, or for wine, or for strong drink, or for whatsoever thy soul desireth: and thou shalt eat there before the LORD thy God, and thou shalt rejoice, thou, and thine household,"

*Note: When the author renders the word 'Church' as seen, he is referring to the Main-Stream, Corporate Business Entity, Institutional 'Church' we are all familiar with. When he renders the word in all lower case, (church) he is referring to Christ's design for the Authentic, Home based church, which still exists today.

A friend asked me, "What was the purpose of the tithe in Israel?" I told him that it was a lot different than the tithing practices we know of today in the States. The purpose of the tithe in Israel was twofold. The purpose of the so-called tithe in America is also twofold. The western world's idea of the purpose of the tithe is to support a pastor and a facility. That's not God's idea of what our tithe is, for He didn't command it! The western world's idea regarding the tithe is foreign to Him. Our modern day tithing system is prescribed by us, not God! God's prescription for the tithe was to Provide for the Levites, because they had no inheritance of owning land. This does not translate into superimposing a money tithe towards the clergymen of today. The LORD said that He would be the Levite's inheritance. And, that He is! But, He never said that regarding pastors and the rest of the clergy of today. He didn't say that the tithe was meant for any other people other than the Hebrew. Gentiles were not included. Actually, Gentiles are Prohibited by God to tithe as unto the Law of Moses. 'Giving' in the church is a much different doctrine and practice. The practice of giving has nothing to do with the tithe. The tithe in Israel was restricted to Israel alone. This modern day, Gentile tithing practice has been fraudulently superimposed upon us here in America through a false teaching conjured up by the so-called "Fathers" of the Institutional 'Church.' Check it out for yourself. If what we do, regarding what we know of as 'tithing' doesn't line up with Scripture, then we are practicing a false doctrine. And, I'm here to tell ya, it doesn't line up!

In Israel, of all the tithes that came in, only one percent went to the Levite priests. So, the Israeli farmer/herdsman would tithe ten percent of all of the increase of the seed derived from the land, whether vegetation or livestock. This ten percent went to the Levites. The Levites would in turn bring the best of the ten percent, of the ten percent they received from the farmer, and give that portion to the Aaronic priesthood. Notice in the above Scriptures that the tithe was either Produce or livestock. The money that is mentioned wasn't considered the tithe. Money was used for the convenience of the landowner. If the way to the celebratory location was too far, or he had too great a load to carry, he was permitted to exchange the tithes into money in his suburb, carry it to the location where the Lord chose to put His name, and when he got there he was to bestow (give) the money in exchange for whatever he wanted to consume (eat) at the celebration. Money didn't magically become the tithe. The tithe was always food Products.

Also, the celebration of the feasts took quite awhile. They were seven of them spread out during the year. In the Spring, one feast would take seven days to complete, and then another feast would begin shortly after. There was the Passover feast, the feast of Unleavened Bread, the feast of First Fruits (a.k.a. Easter), the feast of Weeks (a.k.a. Pentecost), the feast of the Trumpets (a.k.a. Rosh Hashana), the feast of Atonement (a.k.a. Yom Kippur), and the feast of Tabernacles (a.k.a. Booths or Ingatherings). The harvest alone took up to three months to complete from start to finish when we consider that the Summer/Fall harvests were pretty much connected (August through October). Anyway, the harvests happened [technically] three times a year. But for the purposes of this message, I'll keep it simple and say there was one harvest in the Spring and a more lengthy one in the Summer/Fall.

The Hebrew calendar is much different than our modern day Gregorian calendar in that it revolved around the ripening of the crops and the lunar activity of the new moon. There were some years when there were thirteen months counted. Also, a Leap Year could be consecutive. In our Leap Year, we add an extra day to our calendar every four years. In Israel, they add a whole month to the year called, "Adar Sheni," which could arrive more than once in a four year period. The first month of a Hebrew seasonal year is Nisan (March/April). The reason why it was either month is because of the appearing of the new moon in regards to when the winter wheat and barley started to turn yellow. This is called, "Abib." 'Abib' is not the name of a particular month, but the state of the beginning of the crop's maturity. This is why it is referred to as 'Abib' in either March or April. See my post, 'Understanding the Month 'Abib' for more on this.

The Civic (or Secular) Year begins in the seventh month of Tishri (September). Tishri is also known as 'Jewish New Years.' This is when the Lord commanded the Jews to celebrate the feast of Tabernacles (booths). In contrast, the Passover and Unleavened Bread feasts begin while the crops were in the state of (or month of) Abib. Again, when the LORD said, "in the month Abib...," He wasn't talking about the name of a month, but the state of the crops in a month during the early Spring. Also, there were three different tithes observed. The first was the Levitical tithe. The second was the Festival tithe and the third was the Third Year tithe. The Levitical tithe was when the priests received tithes of the livestock to be sacrificed and then consumed. The Festival tithe was when every family who tithed celebrated it in the first, second, fourth and fifth years in the seven year tithe cycle. This tithe was commanded by the LORD that the tither was "to eat before the LORD thy God,..."~ Deuteronomy 14:23 he and his family in a festive setting. The Third Year tithe was to be given all away to the Levite, the widow, the stranger and the fatherless (orphan) every third and sixth years. The Israeli landowner was not to partake in this tithe ~ Deuteronomy 26:13 shown below. What did he keep? Ninety percent of what came in that year. Only ten percent of the increase was tithed.

In the seventh year there was no tithe given, as the LORD commanded that the land was to "rest." Leviticus 25:4, "But in the seventh year shall be a sabbath of rest unto the land, a sabbath for the LORD: thou shalt neither sow thy field, nor prune thy vineyard." This poses a Problem for modern day tithers here in America. Why? Because, they tithe of their incomes every year! God commands that the Jew follow His prescription to the letter, and when He says do not tithe every seventh year, He means it. When He says to give the whole tithe away to the widow, stranger, orphan and Levite every third and sixth years, He means it. We totally disregard His commands and think we have free license to do as we will with His laws. If the Law is meant for the Jew only, then why do we tithe? And, if we tithe, why do we not do it unto the Lord's prescriptions? When we don't perform it as God ordered, He says we have transgressed His Law, and we are cursed with a curse.

Deuteronomy 27:19, "Cursed be he that perverteth the judgment of the stranger, fatherless, and widow. And all the people shall say, Amen."

Deuteronomy 26:13, "Then thou shalt say before the LORD thy God, I have brought away the hallowed things out of mine house, and also have given them unto the Levite, and unto the stranger, to the fatherless, and to the widow, according to all thy commandments which thou hast commanded me: I have not transgressed thy commandments, neither have I forgotten them:"

Galatians 3:10, "For as 'many as are of the works of the law' are under 'the curse' (Deut 27:19): for it is written, Cursed is every one that 'continueth not' in 'all things' which are written in the book of the law to do them."

Okay, let me ask something. If we're tithers, do we tithe every third year to only strangers (Gentiles who converted over to Judaism), the fatherless, widows and Levites? What about the sixth year? Do we even know any Levites? Do we observe the Tithe Cycle? If not, how come? God commanded the Jews to do it. We're Jews, right? Wait! We're NOT? Oh boy! We're in trouble! Even in the N.T. if we do the works of the law, we are under a curse. Why? Because if the Hebrews are freed from the law, we are freed from the Law as well. Actually, that's not entirely an accurate statement, because we've never been commanded to follow the Law of Moses. But there are some of us who try to live the Law anyway. When we do this we are demonstrating that Christ's efforts to fulfill the Law was for naught. If we are in Him, and He in us, we have no obligation to the Law. Why? Because He diss-annulled it. But, if we try and live the Law regardless of what Christ did, we are saying that we want to live as the Jews of Old and adhere to a Law, which was never meant for us. This is openly rejecting Christ's teachings. We may not know we are saying this, but we are by our actions.

Our modern day 'Pastors' are telling us that we are obligated to tithe off of our income to support him and a 'Church' Property. This was not the purpose of the tithe. Let me ask; Do we rejoice and celebrate every time we drop our tithe check into the offering plate? No? Do we have a feast that lasts seven days afterwards? No? According to Lev 23 and Deut 14, aren't those who tithe commanded to celebrate and rejoice? Yes! If we don't, then we are transgressing His Law. Galatians 3:10 says, if we "continueth NOT in ALL THINGS which are written in the book of the law to do them," (that's our Bible), we are cursed. Second question: If we tithe, and we haven't observed the tithe cycle, tithe only food derived from the seed within the borders of Israel, give THE WHOLE TITHE to the Levite, stranger, widow and orphan every third and sixth years, refrain from tithing every seventh year, and do not own land in Israel, how can we say that we are tithing to obey God's command? We can't! If we tithe, we need to tithe as He prescribes. Not our way, but His way! If we don't, we are transgressing His law, and we are cursed! Please don't be mad at me. I didn't write the law on tithing, God did!

Let's move on. The second purpose for the tithe was for celebration. Why celebration one might ask? Because the Israelites were commanded to rejoice. Why were they rejoicing? Because they were remembering what the LORD God did when He brought them out of Egypt. They were also rejoicing over the bounty God gave in the increase of the seed of the land. When the children of Israel came out of Egypt, they sent spies into the land of Canaan. What did they find? A land flowing with milk and honey. Where were the Israelites at that time? They were in a sand box. They were in the wilderness on the East side of the Jordan River. The only thing that prevented them from taking over the land of Canaan was lack of faith. Joshua and Caleb were the only two that dared to say, "Let's go in and take the land!" Consequently, they were the only two allowed in.

The others were afraid, so they wouldn't to go in. They were afraid to take God at His Word. The LORD wasn't happy with their attitudes. They just witnessed God destroy the mightiest army on Earth, and they were afraid of a few giants. Oh ye of little faith. God then put a restriction on the rest of the nation because of their unbelief. They were not allowed in no matter what. I'm sure that when others saw that nothing happened to Joshua and Caleb, they were sick over the decision they had made. That generation had to die off before they were allowed inside. Moses wasn't allowed in for a different reason. He disobeyed God when he struck the rock more than once to cause water to come out and quench the thirst of the people. God only commanded that he strike the rock only one time as a picture of God the Father bruising Jesus (the Rock) for the sin's of the world. Why did God only want to picture this future event with only one blow? Because He knew that Jesus was to be sacrificed only once. The Catholics try and crucify Him daily, putting the Son of God to an open shame ~Hebrews 6:6. God was against this practice then, and He's against it now.

A little side bar here. Money has absolutely no value without food. I'll continue with my point in a minute, but for now, there is need to explore this "Money has no value without food" statement. In Depressive Germany of the 1930's, people bought a loaf of bread for a wheelbarrow full of cash. In 2 Kings 6:25, a donkey's head sold for eighty pieces of silver and a forth part of a cab of dove's dung was sold for five pieces of silver. What did people do with donkey's heads and dove's dung? They ate it! There was nothing else to eat! When there is no food around, money isn't worth a whole lot. Think of it; eighty five pieces of silver would buy a donkey's head and dove's dung for supper! Yummmmmm! You say, "That's CRAZY!" Well, think of this; If we had ten thousand dollars, and we were at the point of starvation near unto death, and all there was to eat was a handful of bird droppings, and someone had it for sale for $10,000, what would we do? Hunger makes people do desperate things. Whatever is scarce, becomes valuable. Leonardo Di Vince once was commissioned to Produce a great piece of art for not so many liters of water! Why? Because clean drinking water back then, was very scarce. It was more valuable than gold. My point is, when the children of Israel was in the wilderness, there was a great shortage of food. All of the food was in Canaan and they weren't allowed in.

Now back to my original point. I'm not sure what years during this forty year 'Time Out' Moses finished Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy, but I do know it was before he died in Deuteronomy 34. Actually, I believe Joshua finished the last part of Deuteronomy, for he tells of Moses death. Yes, I know; real deep stuff, huh? Anyway, I'm coming to my point. If the children of Israel was stuck in No Man's Land on the East side of the Jordan River, where'd the food come from? Do we really believe that they ate manna and quail for forty straight years? Yes! Moses had noted that they ate manna for forty years until they crossed over Jordan. Exodus 16:35, "And the children of Israel did eat manna forty years, until they came to a land inhabited; they did eat manna, until they came unto the borders of the land of Canaan."

The tithing laws were written during the forty years of the 'Time Out' imposed by the LORD God, but they weren't activated until after they went in to possess the land. When they arrived, the Israelites farmed. God saw to it that there was an increase of the seed of the land. That's means they had food to eat, grapes to stomp into wine, olives to press into oil, cotton to weave, and hide to tan. They were able to make clothes, sandals, grind corn into meal, not to mention making other Products used for consumption. Okay, but some might ask, "Where did they get the seeds to plant all of this cotton, fruit and vegetables?" That's easy! Most of it was already there, but I'm sure they may have brought some with them. How? From the spoils of Egypt! Do you think that all they carried out was gold and treasure? No! They took it ALL! Egyptian cotton is prized the world over. Who do you think grew cotton and weaved it into fabric for four hundred years? That's right! The Hebrews! God is the One Who gave the Increase! On top of what God did at the Red Sea, that's a reason to rejoice! That's a cause to celebrate! God was showing His children, His mighty miraculous hand, despite their stiff-necked ways. He Provided for them during a difficult transition period in their history, and He Provided abundantly after the last generation died off to begin a clean slate.

God gave Israel ample reason to rejoice and celebrate and He alone gave them the means to do it. Here in America, and even across the globe, when people take a holiday into another city, eat with family and friends, what do we think they are doing? Rejoicing and celebrating! That's what the Israeli's were doing. They used the tithed foods to eat before the LORD. He wanted to see them enjoy themselves consuming His bounty. He wanted them to rejoice that they were at rest with their enemies. God wasn't a Party-pooper. He was a Party Planner. The only time He saw that no increase was deserved was when the people turned their backs on Him and went whoring after other gods. How did He stop the party? He would bring a dearth upon the land. No harvest, no tithe. No tithe, no Provisions. They only tithed off of the increase of the seed of the land. In times of famine, there was no increase. No increase, no tithe. He said that the Jew's were to tithe, "year by year." However, when they misbehaved, God stopped the celebration, and there was nothing to tithe. When the nation repented and turned back to God, the LORD did due diligence and blessed the land again. Pretty simple math.

Let's take this a step further. When the Pilgrims came to America, they knew a thing or two about Scripture. They knew what true tithing was. They knew it wasn't money, but food. They also knew that the law on tithing was meant for the Jewish nation and restricted to the land of Israel. How did they know this? The same way we know this. It's in the Bible! Anyway, during those first few years, things were very hard. After they planted and got the crops harvested, guess what they did? They had themselves a celebration! They called this time, Thanksgiving. What were they so thankful for? Among other things, they were thankful for God's increase on the seed of their new land. Why? Because without it, they'd starve to death!

Bringing in the harvest was a reason to rejoice. Now they had Provisions for the harsh winter ahead and most would survive. Unfortunately, the meaning behind Thanksgiving has greatly diminished in our society. But in Israel, after God delivered them from a great oppressor, and after God blessed their land, we see a pattern for what Thanksgiving must have meant to the Pilgrims. The Pilgrims escaped a great oppressor into a new but wild land, which hadn't been tamed. That Oppressor was the Institutional 'Church' Establishment in England who taxed the congregations. After God's Providence took over and blessed the Pilgrim's new land, they grew into a mighty nation of their own. But, just like with the Hebrews, their beginnings in their new wilderness was hard and their immediate future looked bleak. The Pilgrims didn't tithe to God because they knew there was only one people God had commanded the Hebrew to give a tithe to. That was the Levite. He didn't command the Pilgrims to tithe, and neither did He command us to tithe. I don't think there were any Levites on the Mayflower, do you? Tithing in America evolved when the Puritans arrived with their Religious Establishment traditions and pet doctrines.

In conclusion, we have seen that the tithe's purpose was to Provide for those who had no inheritance in the land (Levites), and for celebration to rejoice over the blessing of the LORD God on the children of Israel. What were they rejoicing over? Their deliverance from four hundred years at the hand of Pharaoh the great oppressor. They also rejoiced that God made a way to survive in a wilderness void of abundance, supplying manna to eat for forty years. They rejoiced that He had made a way to conquer Canaan and enter into the Promise Land. And, they continued to rejoice and celebrate His great mercy and grace on their nation by supplying an increase of crops and herds in their new land. The Pilgrims truly rejoiced and celebrated when God met their needs in the toughest of times, but they never tithed. They had no one to tithe to! The Aaronic Priesthood had ceased to exist as a priesthood when Christ died and the veil in the Temple was rent in two. The practice of tithing in America didn't begin until after the Bill of Rights was signed into law. This act forced the clergy to stop taxing their congregations. These taxes were called 'Assessments.' When these assessments were outlawed, the clergy of the Puritans switched tactics and they revived the tithe. Only, it was a different version from what God had prescribed in His Law.

Those who maintain that the true tithe of food gathered in Israel is on-going today here in America, have a lot to learn about what God says the tithe was for. It isn't to Provide for a pastor, a Program or a Property, such as a 'Church' building. It was for Providing for one tribe in Israel, and rejoicing and celebration in a land reserved for the Israelite. So, let us rejoice and celebrate that we do not have to tithe unto the Law today. Thanks for visiting and God bless.

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