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Woe to you
Woe to you, hypocrites...
The Tithe
by haRold Smith
a citizen of the Commonwealth
(Ephesians 2:19)

"Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law; justice and mercy and faithfulness. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others. Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and the plate, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. You blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and the plate, that the outside also may be clean. Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like white washed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people's bones and all uncleanness. So you also outwardly appear righteous to others, but within you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness." Matthew 23:23-28

An interesting observation about tithing is that the only place in scripture where tithing precepts are found originate in the Torah - what has come to be known as "the law" (click on highlighted words to view content). The only three places where Yeshua even mentions tithes is in castigation of the hypocrisy of "spiritual leadership" that used tithes to prey upon the people (Matthew 23:23, Luke 11:42, Luke 18:9-14). And, yet, how many times have you heard, "…don't forget to tithe", from a "Christian" pulpit where the preacher is also proclaiming that the Curse of the Law of the Old Testament is no longer applicable to us today? That is the definition of hypocrisy. The only place you hear tithing preached in our day is from those who have made of their "gift" an occupation. If people quit tithing, the preachers, pastors and those who have assumed "leadership" roles will have to go to work and get a real job - something they don't want to do. To pick and choose what is convenient for them out of the law to preach and disregard the rest is exactly the hypocrisy Yeshua spoke of to the spiritual leaders of His day. He called them benefactors. The teaching of "financial seeding" or "sowing" comes right out of the law of tithing. In the Tanakh (OT), it is found that the people would bring 10% of their harvest to YHVH. So, most Christians pay tithes because they were always taught to give 10% of their earnings to the Church. According to present day culture (not having been taught of YHVH about how to give) when paid, tithes go to an institution or to some "worthy" organization - headed by benefactors who are quick to endorse and teach tithing since that is from where their benefits (read wages) emerge. But this teaching is in opposition to the Essential Nature of Spirit revealed in scripture - the spirit of selfLESSness. Financial seeding is a perversion of tithing because it teaches giving in order to enrich oneself. How often have you heard the phrase, "…you can't out-give God" from the pulpit? This "prosperity" theology, so predominant among Christianity in this age, is the antithesis of selflessness for it teaches that personal material and financial gain are a just, deserved reward - ignoring Yeshua's teaching contrary to that theology.

This is why we should not be "taught" of anyone other than ruach ha kodesh (reading right to left is Hebrew for "the holiness of spirit" - 1John 2:27). The holiness of spirit is not some "third person" but, rather, something we cultivate by our adherence to YHVH's Words. Yeshua tells us that YaHoVeH IS spirit and those who worship Him must do so in spirit AND truth - not sacrificing one for the other. Scripture is given to validate that what we hear in spirit is truly from YHVH for He will never deny Himself, His Nature. Scripture is given for us to be able to discern between what we think we are hearing as His Voice and other voices out there - and there are many voices. The spirit of YHVH will not speak of Himself (i.e., what will benefit Him) but only speak of the example set by Yeshua's obedient Life to the Words of YHVH which will guide us into all Truth because He is Truth. The Life of Yeshua then becomes the benchmark for all prophecy. Revelation 19:10b says, "…the testimony of Yeshua IS the spirit of prophecy." Gesenius' Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon defines prophecy as the "spoken oracles of YHVH". So, the testimony of the Life of Yeshua reveals how YHVH's Words are to be construed. Words mean things. It does not matter what we "think" we hear as spirit - only if what the words of scripture validate what we believe we are hearing as Truth or not. If what we think the words mean are not found in the Life or Words of Yeshua - at the very least, those thoughts should be held suspect. Acts 7:38 also gives us the proper Hebraic persepective of prophecy as being the spoken oracles of YHVH. If we are to use the words of Yeshua as the benchmark by which all other words are measured including other words of scripture, then we need to have a true understanding of what His Words really mean. So, let us see what scripture actually has to say about tithing.

The Hebrew term terumah (translated "offering") is used in Exodus 25 to describe the gifts given from the heart of the people to YHVH for the building of His Temple. Scripturally, offerings are an acknowledgement that the fullness of the world originates and belongs to YHVH. Leviticus 27:30-32 tells us that the tithe of everything of His People - land, trees, crops, herds, houses, as well as money - belongs to YHVH and is to be given, made holy (or set apart) to YHVH for His use. Not to man - but to the Elohim of Israel. Later, in Numbers 18:20-24, YHVH says the Levites, the sons of Aaron set aside as priests, are granted permission, allowed to partake of the tithes set apart for YHVH since they have no inheritance in the Land they are to occupy. The tithes are not given directly to the priests, but are to be laid up in YHVH's storehouse which the priests oversee and it is from there the priests may partake of what is YHVH's. Hebrews 7:5-9 uses tithes as a talking point in regards to whom it is that occupies the priesthood. As far back as Exodus 19:6 YHVH's plan was to have a "Kingdom of Priests and a holy nation". The only reason a King was given in the interim was because of the grumbling of the people, but never was it part of the original blueprint - YHVH was to be their King. 1Peter 2:5&9 and Revelation 1:6 bring it all full circle back to the Body of Believers who embrace the Life of Yeshua as being the royal priesthood YHVH intended from the beginning - priests set apart to serve YHVH without having any inheritance in this world. Yeshua said His Kingdom was not of this world and, as the firstborn among many brethren, His Followers abide in His Kingdom as Gatekeepers. In other words, since those who have received the indwelling ruach hakodesh and keep the Words of YHVH are now the Temple of YHVH, giving should be to that part of the Body of Yeshua shown to have an immediate need - not to the world of which His Members do not have a part. This is the building up of the Temple addressed in 1Peter 2:5 (quoting Zechariah 6:12-13). Now, this shift in paradigm thinking requires some effort in praying and seeking YHVH as to where our offerings should be going - instead of just turning it over to a hireling, which is someone who works for wages, simply because it is easier to have someone else invest in that effort.

Did you notice in the verse opening this article where Yeshua mentions that justice, mercy and FAITH originate in "the law"? As stated earlier, benefactors love to pick and choose what is convenient for them out of the law to preach and disregard the rest. But, James 2:8-10 says that in breaking one point of the Law of YHVH's Nature, a person becomes guilty of the whole law. In other words, it only takes one affront to the Nature of Spirit to be separated from Spirit. If I do not steal from my brother but commit adultery, I will still be separated from Spirit until that offense is rectified. If I do not commit adultery but worship another god or do not keep YHVH's Sabbath - there will be, of necessity, a separation in Spirit because it is impossible for Light and darkness to abide in the same space at the same time. Yeshua said there is a judgment that has already come into the world. The standard of behavior against which that judgment occurs are the Ten Words describing the Nature of the Father found in Exodus 20:1-17.

So, who decides which part of "the Law" is to be observed and how it is observed? There were only Ten Words given by the Finger of YHVH to His People - not the world. All of the other 613 ordinances are derived from and are practical applications of the Ten - they contain the core Essence of Spirit which is selfLESSness (looking to the interests of another above the interests of my own) applied to the culture of the time. Consequently, when Leviticus 25:45-46 talks about owning slaves and how we treat them - should we return to owning slaves to obey the Law because we think YHVH condones slavery? Of course not, these instructions were given to a people whose custom it was to have slaves. And Leviticus 20:9 says everyone who curses his father or his mother shall surely be put to death. If we keep the part about tithes, but don't kill our children when they curse us (and it is the rare child that hasn't cursed their parents these days), the scripture in James says we are guilty of breaking it all. What Christianity has done is to undergo some serious rewriting and redefining of the words of the text to say the Law is not applicable to their religion. They are right - because His Words are not a religion. The word "religion" did not exist prior to the invention of Christianity. In the first century, Hebraic faith was considered a "way of life" - not a religion (Becker and Reed, The Ways That Never Parted, p. 19; John Gager, Kingdom and Community: The Social World of Early Christianity, p. 140). The Words of YHVH are the Words of LIFE coming from the Source of Life. Pretending the Words of YHVH do not apply anymore is like saying it is now possible to breathe under water. To know YHVH is to know LIFE - and to know Him abundantly.

widow's mite
...the widow's mites
Christians cannot have it both ways. If, in the language of "Christianeze", the Greek word, pleroo translated "fulfill" in Matthew 5:17-19 is redefined to mean something no longer has any validity to be embraced - then according to Luke 24:44 not only was Torah fulfilled (done away with), but so were all the writings of the prophets and all of the psalms. In another instance of this type of redefinition, we find that James 1:14-15 plainly tells us that temptation is not something that comes upon us but, rather, is the pull of our own "lusts" that originate from within. We are "tempted when we are drawn away of our own lust and enticed". The Greek word for "lust" used here is epithymia and means "a desire, craving or longing". Interestingly, this is the same Greek word translated "desire" in Luke 22:15 when Yeshua said it is with "desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you". It is from our own natural desires rising up from within us that entice us to exercise our own determination of what is good or evil apart from what the Words of Elohim have proclaimed as good. As our example of how we are to behave in like circumstance, Yeshua resisted the temptation to turn a stone into bread even though it is a natural desire to want to satisfy hunger and even though He knew the Power was available for Him to do so To then use something from the Original Writings like Psalm 37:4 to support a perverted Christian doctrinal platform of getting whatever you want is simply distorted. There is a distinction between YHVH's provision and what most consider a pursuit of provision or a right of prosperity. If Yeshua's Life is the benchmark by which we measure everything, then we see His Life abundantly provided for. When He needed money, He did not go to His bank of stored coins - but got some from the mouth of a fish at the instruction of His Father. When He needed transportation He did not go to a stable full of animals He kept to choose from, but sent His disciples to fetch a burro from someone they did not know - again, at the instruction of His Father. How do we know it was at the instruction of YHVH? We know because Yeshua says He does nothing unless He first sees the Father do it. When He was hungry, He fed not only Himself and the disciples - but thousands and thousands multiple times over. They carried a money pouch, but often used that money to buy bread for those who followed Him into the wilderness, not to buy a luxurious house - the Son of man had no place to lay His Head. The one person in scripture Yeshua praised for giving was the woman with two mites in the temple who gave out of her lack - not her abundance and not for anticipated gain. He meant what He said that if we are to come after Him we must first "deny ourselves", then take up whatever cross we have to bear on a daily basis and follow His example of Life (Luke 9:23).

Yeshua said that except our righteousness exceed the righteousness of the Pharisees, we will in no way enter into His Kingdom of righteousness, peace and joy in ruach hakodesh - He did not say that the Pharisees were not righteous. He castigated them for their hypocrisy in the manner in which they were attempting to appropriate that righteousness (Matthew 5:20, Romans 14:17). Should we give? Absolutely - and we should give abundantly, especially to those members in His Body who are in need (and this is important) as Spirit directs, when He directs and how much He directs with a cheerful heart because He first gave to us (Matthew 5:42, 10:8). But, giving should never be out of a sense of "duty" or obligation or because someone behind a pulpit says you should or from a sense of guilt because some catastrophe has occurred in the world (Matthew 5:45). His law of giving is to give 100%. In Matthew 5:17-19, Yeshua said He did not come to destroy the law and the prophets - He came to fulfill them. What, then, does it mean to "fulfill" something? If I fill a glass of water up to the very brim, it means that I am unable to put any more into it - it is 100% full, it is complete. It does not mean that I throw the container away for then there would be nothing to hold the water from which to take a drink. If you are giving 100%, then you have exceeded the law of 10% - the glass is full. You cannot put any more into the glass. But, guess what? The 10% is still in there! You cannot have 100% without the 10% for, if you throw away the 10%, you will only be left with 90% and it won't be complete - it won't be full. It has been my experience that, when directed by Him, I wind up giving much, much more than 10%. In fact, it is not uncommon for Him to direct me to give away the last of what I have; only to turn a corner and have what I need laid at my feet - given by another member of His Body. It is an incredibly exciting way of living (Matthew 5:8). It should be preferable, then, to abide under the law of giving which says to first give to members of Yeshua's Body in need - then watch the Father's faithful provision in action.
the Salt of the Earth series
Part One - Salt of the Earth
Part Two - Faith or Fear?
Part Three - Seasoning
Part Four - the Tithe

"...give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you." Luke 6:38

Please feel free to email me at While not claiming to have all the answers, it would be an honor to partake with you of what the Spirit is uncovering.