|Woe to you, hypocrites...|
by haRold Smith
a citizen of the Commonwealth
"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from a "Christian" pulpit where the preacher is also proclaiming that the Curse of the Law of the Old Testament is no longer applicable to us today?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.
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.
|...the widow's mites|
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. While not claiming to have all the answers, it would be an honor to partake with you of what the Spirit is uncovering.