We all minister out of our own revelation and understanding. While there is only one ultimate "truth", that ultimate truth IS the person of God Himself. God IS truth... that does not make the truth God but it does set the eternal standard for what (or in this case who) truth is.
Almost every Christian alive would agree with the statement I just typed... that God is truth. Jesus claimed to be "the Truth" in John 14:6. Since Jesus is God, it is common sense that God is truth. When God speaks, whatever He says instantly comes to pass. This is why in Genesis He spoke the worlds into existence. He uses His ability to speak as his ability to create. We in our fallen minds try to prove what truth is because we work from the fallen assumption that we do not yet know. God on the other hand IS truth so whatever He says automatically becomes truth.
If God were to suddenly declare 2 plus 2 equals 5, our entire concept and system of understanding would instantly shift and be transformed to come into alignment with His new declaration. All of these thousands of years of human history and understanding would suddenly be obsolete as a new system where 2 plus 2 equaling 5 was now somehow holding the universe together. Don't forget, the only reason 2 plus 2 equals 4 right now is because God said it did. That's why it seems so logical and "normal" to us.
As I look back on my life, I have matured in my views of doctrine as I have come to know the Lord better and in a more real, deep and honest way. For example, I was raised in the Church of Christ where it is drilled into you from a very young age that if you die and are not water baptised, you will split Hell wide open. You can accept Jesus, believe with your heart, confess with your mouth, turn your life completely over to him and if you don't get water baptised, you are simply not going to go to Heaven. I believed that strongly in my teen years but then something happened. I began to read the bible for myself and I began to spend chunks of time with the Holy Spirit in worship both alone and with other believers. As those activities continued, my relationship with the Holy Spirit strengthened and I began to hear His voice more clearly. I still believe water baptism is very important and should be done as soon as it practical as an outward sign to everyone else of an inward change that has taken place, but i do not believe it is essential to salvation any longer.
I could list a lot of other areas that I have grown or matured in but Ill just share one more... and it's BIG today in churches. It's the doctrine of the tithe. The most quoted set of verses to support this doctrine are from Malachi 3:8-10. You have likely heard it several times... You have robbed God with your tithe and offerings...bring the whole tithe into the storehouse so that there may be food in my house..etc" This raises several key questions.
What is the tithe?
Of course it would take me several volumes of books to write exhaustively about this topic, so instead let me try best I can to summarize and make what i consider to be valid points. My opinion of the tithe not being for today is not based only on what I am about to share with you, but on very deep study of many passages of scripture while asking the Holy Spirit for clear direction, conformation and proof...all of which He has delivered to me without fail in very clear, unusual and undeniable ways over the years.
Its a surprise to many to learn the original tithe didn't even have anything to do with money. In Leviticus 27, God sets out what the tithe is exactly. In verse 30 it spells out "of everything from the land" and that includes fruits, grains, animals that pass under a shepherd's rod and such. At no point is there a mention of any sort of currency or money in the tithe in that passage. Also see 1 Chronicles 31:5 and Deuteronomy 14:24.
So what was the tithe used for originally?
It was used to feed the Levite priests and their families who were required to minister and work in the temple round the clock on behalf of God's people. The Levites of the temple had no way of earning a living because their time was dedicated to the temple of God. the tithe was God's way of making sure these full time workers and their families can be taken care of back then.
1st Corinthians 16:2 is where Paul says "On the first day of every week, each of you is to put something aside and store it up, as he may prosper, so that there will be no collecting when I come". That is hardly a ringing endorsement of the tithe. In fact, The New Testament nowhere tells us, or even hints that modern Christians submit to the tithe doctrine. It DOES say however to not give under compulsion. It also reminds that God loves a cheerful giver. This infers that there is a Joy tied to spirit led giving and of course that Joy does not come from keeping the tithe law, it is instead a fruit of the Holy Spirit in our lives.
What is the storehouse spoken of in these verses?
In most churches it is taught that the modern church replaces the storehouse. The problem with this is that the lion's share of the tithe was not taken to the temple at all but instead to various Levitical cities. At first there were 48 Levitical and priestly cities. Later Judah had 13, including Hebron and Jericho. (Neh 10:37, Lev 25: 32-34, All of Num 35, all of Josh 20 and 21, 1st Chronicles 6, etc.)
The storehouse was quite small in relative terms and could not possibly even begin to hold the entire tithe from the entire nation of Israel. Ist Kings 6 has exact dimensions. This is because only the priests were commanded to bring their tithes to the storehouse. Everyone else's tithe went to the cities I mentioned earlier. In fact it was only one tenth of the original tenth that was to be in the storehouse. This is called "the tithe of the tithe" in Neh 10:38. Note also that only about 2 to 3% of the the Levites ever served at one time in the temple with the remaining 97 to 98% being in the Levitical cities. When you grasp this, Mal 3 takes on an entirely different meaning. When it says Bring "ye" the tithe into the storehouse... who is the "ye spoken of there? It is clearly the tiny percentage of ministering priests working in the temple at any given time. This very small group of Levite priests are who the Lord is talking to thru His Prophet, Malachi when he says you have robbed me in tithes and offerings.
Need more proof about the temple and what should have been brought there? Consider 1 Chronicles 31:11 and 12 as Hezekiah commands preparation for chambers in the house of the Lord. This was the temple David started and Solomon finished and it did not contain chambers to hold any sort of tithe. This was an error on Hezekiah's part and resulted in a build up of animals and skins that began to literally rot and never be used as God intended.
My single biggest issue with teaching the modern tithe is that it misses the fact that the temple was replaced, not by the church building, but by the indwelling Holy Spirit in the Temple of the believer's body (1 Corinthians 3:16 and 17, 1st Corinthians 6:19 and 20)
As with anything controversial in nature like this, you are going to need to get your bible out, study it and prayerfully consider what I have put forth here. If you believe after careful consideration that I am wrong about it, don't apply it to your life. It's that simple. on the other hand, if this helps you better understand the issue, then it has been worth it to share.
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