Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Is Tithing Different From Offering Or Both Means The Same?







Are Tithing And Offering, The God's Appointed Way To Receive All Of Heavenly Blessing?

Question: Are tithing and offering, the God's appointed way to receive all of heavenly blessing? Is tithing different from offering, or both means the same? Some people think that Christian ministers of God should support their own ministry and live like Paul who was in tent making business to feed himself and his co-workers in ministry, and therefore should not receive tithe or offering from people, what do you think regrading this thing? I need a deep understanding regarding this topic of tithing because some people confuse me saying that tithing is a Old Testament Law and not a New Testament commandment, and therefore we can give whatever we want to give to God, but it should be done always joyfully and willingly in our New Testament times. I have been viewing a lot of study views on Tithing for use in the New Testament, most views conclude that Tithing is not for us in the New Testament. Please Reply.

Answer: Greetings in Jesus wonderful name!

Deuteronomy 14:23
says we are to give the tithe “that [we] may learn to fear the Lord.” Whenever we give the tenth first, we’re honoring God as God and we are educating ourselves to fear the Lord and grow in it. There is a suffering to our flesh that is involved when we give anything. Even Jesus learned obedience through suffering which he experienced in the flesh (Heb 5:8), but the motivation for such obedience should come out of godly fear which has been inculcated through discipline of giving not just money, but our bodies & everything more we have to the Lord as a living sacrifice, of which money is only a starting test for stewardship towards God (Heb 5:7; Rom 12:1).

A good godly steward will not just give a tip to God to make him feel happy as though he or she has done a great favor, help and assistance to God, when in fact what they have given to God was out of their abundance of what God has already given them by sustaining their life breath. So every one of us who give an offering or tithe to God, must freely give to God with a thankful heart to honor God and show our faithfulness for all His innumerable blessings he has already lavished on us through Jesus Christ
(Mark 12:43; Luke 16:10-12). No man can ever out-give God, because all things are His, and out of His abundance and benevolence we live and move and have our being (Col 1:16; Rom 11:36; Acts 17:28).



Firstfruits Offering and Tithe


Firstfruits is a Jewish feast which they celebrated once a year on Nissan 16, which was the third day after Passover and the second day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread. It was a time of thanksgiving to God for his timely provisions of harvest, for sustenance of life and the abundant mercies that He has shown towards the people living in the land
(Lam 3:22-23). God commanded the people of Israel through Moses, to bring the firstfruits to the priest for their livelihood and sustenance when they are settled in the land that God had given them. God wanted all the people of Israel to remember Israel’s sojourn in Egypt, the Lord’s deliverance from slavery, and their possession of “a land that floweth with milk and honey,” so that they may be able to walk humbly with the Lord for all His blessings and protection (Mic 6:8). In Leviticus 23:9-14 the firstfruits offering was instituted. And more detailed instruction was given on the procedure of firstfruits in Deuteronomy 26:1-10, burnt offering, a meal offering, a drink offering, a peace offering, a sin offering, a tresspass offfering, offerings with restitution, and a grain offering were also required at that time according to the need of the situation (Lev 1:1-7:21). God commanded the people of Israel not to harvest, until the firstfuits offering was brought to the Lord (Lev 23:14). Thus, the day of the firstfruits offering was also used to calculate the proper time of the Feast of Weeks (Leviticus 23:15-16).

Apart from the offerings of firstfuits and more given out of gratefulness in remembrance for God's blessings of increase, protection and mercies, tithe is separately commanded by God for His people to give out a tenth of all the income that comes to them. So the firstfruits or any other offering for that matter are not the same, but totally different. The tithe was a requirement of the Law in which the Israelites were to give 10 percent of the crops they grew and the livestock they raised to support the divine activity of the tabernacle/temple to acknowledge that it was He who provides for them and worship Him for His continual care for them
(Leviticus 27:30; Numbers 18:26; Deuteronomy 14:24; 2 Chronicles 31:5). As a national law of Israel, the tithe acted as a tax which was given to the Divine King who ruled them from heaven who is God Himself. As the Law required multiple tithes—one for the Levites, one for the use of the temple and the feasts, and one for the poor of the land—it would have pushed the total tax to around 23.3 percent approximately. Apart from the tithe, these offering were given out of the first part of the investment returns of whatever has come, to honor God for bringing profit of the harvest in abundance when they have sown little on the land (Prov 3:9).



Obeying The Voice Of God The Prerequisite For All Blessings


We see from the instruction of Moses which was given to him and through him to us by God saying that tithe and first-fruit offering is not only an important part of the law, but it was equated to hearing the very voice of God and obeying it,
"9 He has brought us to this place and has given us this land, “a land flowing with milk and honey”; 10 and now, behold, I have brought the firstfruits of the land which you, O LORD, have given me.’ 1 “And it shall be, when you come into the land which the LORD your God is giving you as an inheritance, and you possess it and dwell in it, 2 that you shall take some of the first of all the produce of the ground, which you shall bring from your land that the LORD your God is giving you, and put it in a basket and go to the place where the LORD your God chooses to make His name abide. 3 And you shall go to the one who is priest in those days, and say to him, ‘I declare today to the LORD your God that I have come to the country which the LORD swore to our fathers to give us.’ 4 “Then the priest shall take the basket out of your hand and set it down before the altar of the LORD your God. 5 And you shall answer and say before the LORD your God: ‘My father was a Syrian, about to perish, and he went down to Egypt and dwelt there, few in number; and there he became a nation, great, mighty, and populous. 6 But the Egyptians mistreated us, afflicted us, and laid hard bondage on us. 7 Then we cried out to the LORD God of our fathers, and the LORD heard our voice and looked on our affliction and our labor and our oppression. 8 So the LORD brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand and with an outstretched arm, with great terror and with signs and wonders. Then you shall set it before the LORD your God, and worship before the LORD your God. 11 So you shall rejoice in every good thing which the LORD your God has given to you and your house, you and the Levite and the stranger who is among you. 12 “When you have finished laying aside all the tithe of your increase in the third yearthe year of tithingand have given it to the Levite, the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, so that they may eat within your gates and be filled, 13 then you shall say before the LORD your God: ‘I have removed the holy tithe from my house, and also have given them to the Levite, the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, according to all Your commandments which You have commanded me; I have not transgressed Your commandments, nor have I forgotten them. 14 I have not eaten any of it when in mourning, nor have I removed any of it for an unclean use, nor given any of it for the dead. I have obeyed the voice of the LORD my God, and have done according to all that You have commanded me. 15 Look down from Your holy habitation, from heaven, and bless Your people Israel and the land which You have given us, just as You swore to our fathers, “a land flowing with milk and honey.”’" (Deut 26:9-10, 1-8, 11-15).

The following important things are that which we learn from the above Scriptures regarding Tithe and first-fruits offering,

1) God wanted the Israelites to remember their pitiable past and be grateful for the prosperous present that they were experiencing, and expect by faith to ask God for the future blessing that He has promised to shower upon them.

2) Offering of first-fruits signifies the best of blessing given back to God which was actually an acknowledgment that it was God who had first given it to them, and thus worship before the Lord our God. Thus any offering we give to God is not just giving, but rather a worship of His Presence in thanksgiving and praise for His awesome ability of His help in the past, present blessing and future promise of security.

3) Anything offered to God must be shared with the men and woman of God who represent Him, the fatherless, strangers, widows who expect God to help them carry through their day to day life through the compassion and merciful heart of people moved by God because of their love towards Him.

4) Tithe is holy because it belongs to God and comes from God, God commanded His people to tithe because it fulfills the need to rejoice over every good thing that the Lord has given to maintain His temple which promotes their faith and His work of compassion and mercy.

5) The Levite, the fatherless, and the widow are kept appointed by God for the purpose of receiving the provision of God through His people directly, so that they may eat within the gates of the people of God and be filled.

6) Only when a person is faithful in tithing the blessing of God that come to him tangibly, then he or she will be able to say to God truthfully, "'I have removed the holy tithe from my house, and also have given them to the Levite, the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, according to all Your commandments which You have commanded me; I have not transgressed Your commandments, nor have I forgotten them. 14 I have not eaten any of it when in mourning, nor have I removed any of it for an unclean use, nor given any of it for the dead. I have obeyed the voice of the LORD my God, and have done according to all that You have commanded me. 15 Look down from Your holy habitation, from heaven, and bless Your people Israel and the land which You have given us, just as You swore to our fathers, “a land flowing with milk and honey.”’

When a person learns to hear the voice of God, that is when he will learn that he can only give to God what He has already given to him and nothing more than that whether through Tithe or offering. So tithing is a basic requirement in the Old Testament law, and is not optional but rather it is mandatory.

What has got changed in the New Testament times is not the law (Matt 5:17-20), but rather the enforcement of the law upon people. During Old Testament times, the law was enforced upon people by the people whom God chose as priests and levites to work in the temple of God, but now the Spirit of God is the one who is entrusted to teach the people of God to tithe and offer their firstfruits in the kingdom of God through educating them and writing the law not in the letter of the paper, but rather in the heart of people to make them a living epistle of Testimony for the Glory of God (Acts 5:1-11; 2 Cor 7-13; Heb 10:14-18; 2 Cor 3:2-3). Even though we can feel the wind of the Holy Spirit personally (John 3:3-8), collectively as a family of faith we can see His works through the displaying power of the gifts of the Holy Spirit but yet we cannot visibly see the person of the Holy Spirit who is invisible to our natural eyes (John 1:18), but for us to grow spiritually in our faith towards God we practice serving people and the God appointed means of the fivefold ministry gift of Jesus who are being led by Jesus to build a spiritual temple within a group of people for him to reside in our times and for eternity ahead (1 John 4:12; 2 Cor 3:4-6; Eph 4:7-16; 1 Peter 2:4-10). So the Holy Spirit teaches us to give out of a grateful heart of love towards God and men in our New Testament times (John 14:15-31), where tithe and firstfruit is not enforced by law, but rather becomes an act of love in obedience to the voice of the Holy Spirit who speaks the law of God within our spirit-man to guide us to receive greater and greater blessing of earth and heaven through giving until we die and go on to be with the Lord one appointed day of death physically (John 14:15; John 6:63; 3 John 1:2; Acts 20:35). Jesus gave Himself for us, setting a standard or setting the model for us, likewise we as Christians should also follow Jesus in not only giving our time, talent and treasure for the work of the Lord but even our very life. So Paul tells us that "he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity", which means we are to just give with no strings attached-giving of which the left hand will not know what the right hand has done which is what simplicity is and not blow our trumpet to the whole world about what we have given to the Lord in secret (Romans 12:8; Matt 6:2, 4). God loves the offering of the cheerful and willing giver and none else (Exo 25:2; 2 Cor 9:7).

Do you know that the first glorious judgment of God within the Church was regarding a untruthful gift of money given by believers for the work of the Lord? When both the husband and wife died one after the other before the man of God and apostle Peter at his words because of acting before him and lying to the Holy Spirit as though they were giving all their wealth to God when in fact they were only giving part of their wealth to God, the Bible says "fear came upon all the church" seeing the judgment of God (Acts 5:1-11). This teaches us that God is as much concerened about our attitude and motive with which we give, as much as giving in itself.

Jesus said, "And if ye have not been faithful in that which is another man's, who shall give you that which is your own?" (Luke 16:12), in context Jesus was saying that all riches and money of the world that we have as believers do come from God and belongs to Him (1 Chron 29:12), thus if we rightfully acknowledge and give to God in faith, he will give to us our own eternal blessing that rightfully belongs to us which are the good works that God has prepared for us beforehand to fulfill in this life as a service to God (Eph 2:10; Rev 3:11). Thus we only give to God that which already belongs to Him and that which He gives to us, to willingly and thankfully give back to him in praise as sacrifice (1 Chron 29:14; Psa 49:14-16; Heb 13:15). In other words, we exchange towards God the temporal passing treasures of this world now for the eternal treasures of the world to come that will never perish (Matt 6:19-21, 24). So we give not to get, but rather to serve God with what we have which God has already given to us. When we give to get back from God, our motives become impure and we will have no reward from God as our work will become dead work and not good work that pleases God (Heb 6:1, 10, 12; 9:14). When we are grateful for the blood of Christ that cleanses us constantly, we will give to God not only what we have materially, but our very physical life that He has given to us. Such faith can only please God. Amen!



Greedy Giving To Get, Gets Nothing In Return From God 


God proved His LOVE in Christ Jesus forever on the Cross, so there is nothing more for Him to prove. Only whether we give ourselves and our whole body as a living sacrifice will prove to God whether we really love Him and how much we love Him (Rom 12:1-2; 1 Cor 6:13, 19-20). Our money that we give to God should not be given to get something more from God, as He is not a casino machine to bring favor and good luck if we choose to invest or play his game, but rather out of gratefulness for what He has already done for us in Christ Jesus, thankfully with praise we should offer our everything, which includes money. So tithe and offering is not the end of the road, but only it is a starting point. We should move on with God further and further, to give anything He wants us to give, even our one and only son or daugther or wife or the one we most love like Abraham the father of our faith did as we grow in love with Him more and more by abiding in His word (Jude 1:21; John 15:10; Matt 10:37; Luke 14:26). Our giving of course proves our love for Him (Jam 2:21-22), but it does not have to be considered as a seed of investment for temporal gain but rather an investment for eternal gain which God has promised to us, in other words, it is more blessed to give to God and His work without expectation to receive it back materially (Php 4:14-17, 18-20; Titus 3:12-14; 1 Cor 16:1-4; Mark 10:21; Acts 20:35; Luke 6:35). The Old Testament encourages to freely lend without being tight fisted to brethren and without charging interest and also additionally at the end of every seven years, creditors were to cancel all the debts they were owed by fellow Israelites in expectation of God to release His abundant material and spiritual blessing over their lives (Deut 15:1), but New Testament encourages to lend even to our enemies without expecting anything in return, for which the Lord has promised heavenly blessing for earthly loss for the name sake of the Lord (Deut 15:7-8; Exo 22:25; Psa 15:5; Deut 23:19; Matt 5:42; Luke 6:35; 2 Cor 9:10).

Giving for selfish reasons is actually an insult to God, because it demands God to prove to our whims and fancies His integrity that is driven by the pleasure seeking desire within us (Jam 4:3). In fact, when we say we have given to God in order to get more from him, we have made ourselves to become god and we are demanding God to submit to our demands (Rom 11:35). What a baloney! The teaching of seed-faith giving encourages one to give in order to get something from God. It is not based on submission to the will of God, rather it is a demand to God out of our greed for more.

In Malachi God told the unfaithful Israelites to bring the tithes to the store house of God which was the temple, because most of them never obeyed God's law which demanded their submission to it (Mal 3:10). Blessing for obedience in the Old Testament also supplied curses for disobedience if they rebelled (Deut 28). So God was pointing to the Israelites that the fault of the curse they were experiencing was due to their own disobedience to the law and not failure on God's part in restraining blessings as He never changes like man to say one thing and do another thing (Num 23:19). This Old Testament law should not be applied to the New Testament believers, because all the promises of God are yes and amen to the believers for the Glory of God and praise of His name (2 Cor 1:20). In other words, only the New Testament believers who live by faith in praising and thanksgiving attitude can be able to experience only the blessings without the curses of the Old Testament law-keeping.

The Old Covenant of law keeping for blessings was faulty because it demanded obedience without giving those who keep it the power to overcome sin and avoid the curses that accompany it (Heb 8:7; Rom 7:16-17, 22-23), so from the day Christ fulfilled the law it is ready to vanish because it is growing old and obsolete for all the Spirit led Christians who keep not the law of the letter but the law of the Spirit by faith (Gal 3:24-25; 5:18; Matt 5:17-18; Rom 8:2).

So seed faith is not a New Testament model, but a deception of the Prosperity Gospel which expects the saints to keep the law and demand God for more blessing which will only bring more curse because no man can keep the law perfectly hundred percentage without breaking even one, which will again make them receive curse along with it (Jam 2:10).

Grace operates through the saints of the New Testament, bypassing their failures and bringing only the blessing of God in to their lives, it operates differently because it operates by the promises of God that supplies freely without demanding perfection but yet educating and inculcating perfection in Christ Jesus, because Christ has become the perfection that God demands and the Spirit helps the saints to live Christ's life based on their obedience and co-operation to Him which bypasses curses and brings various degrees of only blessings to a believers life and living based on their faith (1 John 5:4-5), New Covenant is as high as Jesus is to Moses and as better as Jesus is to Moses (Gal 3:18, 22, 29; 2 Cor 5:21; 1 Cor 1:30; Rom 12:3).

So how do we give to God in the New Testament age? We do not test God but rather trust God by seeking the Kingdom of God and His righteousness first and foremost in our lives and expect by faith according to God's promise that He will always provide to us out of His riches in Christ Jesus all things we need to fulfill His purpose for our lives (Php 4:19; Matt 6:32-34). Sacrificial faith giving brings provision to a New Testament saint just like Abraham by faith offered Isaac to God (Heb 11:17-19; Rom 8:31-32), and it is not just giving with expectation to receive more that brings provision but rather giving with a heart of gratitude and praise that comes out of faith that really pleases God to favor the giver with both temporal and eternal blessings forevermore (Heb 13:14-16). Praise the Lord!



Temple In The New Testament Times?


What is the temple that God gets pleased to reside? In the Old Testament it all started with the pilgrim tent and tabernacle that God told Moses to erect according to the pattern showed from God on the mountain, as it was copy of the true temple which exist in heaven where God resides (Heb 8:5, 24).

Remember, King David desired to build God a temple when he saw that the enemies of God were taking away the ark so easily away from Israel because of their own rebellion and disobedience, so he decided for the Lord to dwell in a house or temple rather than in a tent which will be more organized and guarded with (2 Sam 7:2). God allowed David’s son Solomon to build the temple in a size that was three times more than the previous temple in size and also in grandeur.

The first temple, built by King Solomon, had been destroyed by the Babylonians in 586 BC (2 Kings 25:8–10). In 538 BC, Zerubbabel, the leader of the tribe of Judah, was part of the first wave of Jewish captives to return to Jerusalem (Ezra 1:1–2). The Persian king appointed Zerubbabel as governor of Judah (Haggai 1:1), and right away Zerubbabel began rebuilding the temple with the help of Joshua, the high priest (Ezra 3:2–3, 8). It took Zerubbabel two years to rebuild the foundation of the temple. Samaritan settlers whose friendly overtures masked a hidden hostility (Ezra 4:1–5). As a result of the opposition to the temple construction, Persia withdrew support for the project, and for seventeen years the temple sat unfinished (Ezra 4:21). Four years later, in 516 BC, the temple was completed and dedicated with great fanfare (Ezra 6:16). The Jews also observed the Passover (Ezra 6:19), thus the "second temple" was completed.

Also, Solomon’s temple had housed the Ark of the Covenant, which was no longer in Israel’s possession. And at the first temple’s dedication, the altar had been lit by fire from heaven, and the temple had been filled with the Shekinah; attendees at the second temple’s dedication witnessed no such miracles. Even so, Haggai prophesied that the second temple would one day have a magnificence to outshine the glory of the first (Haggai 2:3–9). Haggai’s word was fulfilled 500 years later when Jesus Christ arrived on the scene (Luke 2:22, 46; 19:45). The Messiah Himself walked the courts of the temple that Zerubbabel built.

Herod who appears in the Christian Gospel of Matthew as the ruler of Judea who by his demonic orders allows the Massacre of the Innocents at the time of the birth of Jesus, around 74/73 B.C. – 4 A.D., who was also known as Herod the Great and Herod I, was a Roman client king of Judea, whose domain was referred to as the Herodian kingdom. He had a history of his legacy imprinted till today for building such as the construction of the port at Caesarea Maritima, the fortress at Masada, and Herodium, etc.. and above all refurbishing to restore the external grandeur of the second temple in order to please the Jews (Matt 2:1-23), as he is known for his colossal building projects throughout Judea, of which his expansion of the Second Temple in Jerusalem (Herod's Temple) was the most notable one.

So till the temple was working, tithe was given to the chosen tribe of Levi by Him to receive and use it (Num. 18:21), the Israelites returned their tithe to the Lord thus the tithe's holiness and giving it to God through those chosen by Him was maintained (Lev 27:30; Heb 4:1-4).

But now that the temple is no more physically present, rather the Messiah who is Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior have become the very temple of the living God in human form for all humans to relate to God and be in friendship through having faith and belief in Jesus's Christ virgin birth and resurrection to life as the only begotten Son of God (John 2:13-22; 1 John 5:11-13; John 14;9; 1 Cor 15:1-4; Jam 2:23), therefore a question might come in our mind, now to whom should I pay my tithe now?

No where in the Bible Jesus or his apostles have told to stop paying the tithe, but the only thing that they have not done is to put it as a commandment to receive the convenantal blessing like in the Old Testament times (Matt 23:23; Mal 3:10-11). We know that the Old Testament worked by law, but the New Testament works by love, and there can be no grudging or compulsion in love or else love will cease and law will become enforced, so as each one purposes in his heart because of his love for what the Lord has already done, we are instructed to give our tithe and offerings in the New Testament times (John 14;15; 15:10; 2 Cor 9:7; Luke 7:36-50).

So Ok we understand that there is a tithe and offering that continues without compulsion, but has God chosen and appointed any person like Aaron and Levite tribe in the New Testament times?

We know the chief priest who is appointed by God as a Mediator for all humans is Jesus Christ Himself who is our chief apostle from the Father (Heb 3:1; 1 Tim 2:3-7; Heb 4:14; 8:1). As He is in heaven right now in the original temple of God and representing all of us before God the Father, he has appointed the five fold ministry as the appointed gifts to the Church through the apostles and prophets chosen by Him, so that the tithe and offering should be given to them on behalf of God or in other words to God directly (Acts 1:20-26;2:40-47; 5:1-11; 8:20; 11:1; 15:6; 1 Cor 12:28-31; Eph 2:20; 4:11-12; Gal 6:6). They are supposed to be good steward found faithful till the end of age, in which Jesus Christ will come to reward all His servant leaders who have led the Body of Christ in excellence (1 Cor 4:2; 2 Tim 4:8; Jam 1:12; 1 Pet 5:1-4). If not, the judgment will first come to the leader of the Church first and then the Church as a whole which is under him (1 Pet 4:17; Luke 12:35-48; 1 Cor 3:14-17).

So no Church or a leader must be put in to ministry except through time tested means of good reputation in the midst of deacons and elders, or else God should exhibit through His works like he did for apostle Paul who later joined with the world apostolic council in the first century through his awesome reputation as God's servant (1 Tim 5:22; 4:14; Gal 1:15-17; 9:20-22; Acts 10:38). We should give tithe primarily to the Church we go, where we are fed by the Word of God through the God appointed man of God (Gal 6:6), then we can share with other poor people, needy and widows which will always please God (Jam 1:27).



Why We Must Never Stop Giving both Tithe And Offerings In The New Testament Times?


There is a greater blessing in store from God for the giver to God and humans, than for the one who just receives more and more (Acts 20:35). We can never out-give God because He is the greatest giver in the entire Universe.

We must never stop giving to God and brethren and other humans in need because, giving obeys God's command (Gal 6:6-10), giving submits to God's Lordship (1 Pet 5:5-6; Eph 4:11), giving exhibits God's heart (Jam 1:17), giving illustrates God's free salvation and his personal cost of sacrifice for love (2 Cor 2:9; John 3:16; 14:15), giving trusts God's provision (Matt 6:11; Mark 12:44; Eccl 11:1), giving widens God's smile especially when it is given for Gospel work of His Kingdom (2 Cor 2:7; 2 Cor 8:1), giving advances God's Kingdom on earth (Php 4:14-17; 1 Cor 16:1-4; Gal 6:6-10; Matt 6:30-34), giving promotes God's sanctification in us to break our sinful and selfish nature (Php 2:12-13; 1 Thess 5:23-24), giving testifies to God's power (Php 4:18-19; Eph 3:20) and finally giving praises God's character as it is an act of worship towards God (Psa 116:12; Rom 8:32; Luke 6:30, 38; Acts 20:35; Jam 2:15-16; Matt 25:45).

Though we are already blessed in Christ Jesus with all the heavenly blessings in the heavenly places (Eph 1:3), only as we share our material things with the God appointed people and needy in the name of Jesus (Matt 10:40-42; Col 3:17, 23-24; Exo 22:22; Psa 82:3; Prov 23:10; Deut 10:18; 14:28-29; 26:12), God considers the seed we sow through tithe and offerings in to the lives of others to make the harvest to come visibly by multiplication in the earthly realm which will make us be more blessed than we are already (Gal 6:7; Acts 20:35; 1 Cor 16:2; Php 4:17).

The clarion call of God to His people in the New Testament is, "And if ye are faithful in the money that you have that which is another man's [i.e. Creator Jesus Christ is the rightful owner of all the earth (John 1:1-5; Col 1:14-18)], who shall give you all the heavenly blessing which is your own to be manifested to make you become more blessed in the earthly places?" (Luke 16:12).

So indeed if you are faithful in your tithes and offerings to the Lord, then all heavenly blessings will be made available by God in the earthly places to make you live a blessed and favored life under the mighty hand of God. Praise the Lord!



Did Apostle Paul Support Himself In All His Ministry?


There is a lot of lack of understanding regarding this subject about Paul's ministry that they say supported itself through doing a business work along with its apostolic team.

Let us first see what Jesus and then Paul the apostle think about getting the material support to survive and carry on in the mission of the ministry from people who get ministered spiritually by us? In other words, did Jesus and Paul the apostle believed in material compensation for spiritual work? Is it right according to the New Testament Bible to be ministered back materially and financially for ministering spiritually?

We know Paul puts forth this question to the believers to whom he was ministering in Corinth saying, "7 Who ever goes to war at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard and does not eat of its fruit? Or who tends a flock and does not drink of the milk of the flock? 8 Do I say these things as a mere man? Or does not the law say the same also? 9 For it is written in the law of Moses, “You shall not muzzle an ox while it treads out the grain.” Is it oxen God is concerned about? 10 Or does He say it altogether for our sakes? For our sakes, no doubt, this is written, that he who plows should plow in hope, and he who threshes in hope should be partaker of his hope. 11 If we have sown spiritual things for you, is it a great thing if we reap your material things? 12 If others are partakers of this right over you, are we not even more?" (1 Cor 9:7-12).

We know that no one goes to war at his own expense, we know that those who plant a vineyard takes the fruit of it to eat and be fed, we know those who tend a flock, does drink of its milk. Is it a mere example from the world or is it taken from the Bible law which God has given, Paul further asks and then answers that according to the Old Testament law, no worker of the gospel should be restrained from receiving offering and gifts given by people and eating of it for their own survival under a proper leadership which God has appointed to work in as a team to spread the gospel of Christ to the world. God is more concerned about his human laborers who work for the spreading of the Gospel of Christ than just the beast of labor the Ox which he has created for human benefit (Matt 9:35-37, 38). Every Gospel worker who sow the seed of the Word of God should plow before hand in hope of the harvest of souls and also expect with faith the benefits for survival and abundant living through it that come along with it (Psa 125:5, 6; Luke 8:5, 11; Mark 4:14, 26-29; 10:26-27, 28-29, 30-31; Matt 19:27-28, 29; John 10:10). The plower is the one who sows the seed of the Word of God spiritually a little while later, and then rightfully takes control of the harvest as a reaper of the harvest. So according to Paul the apostles reasoning right from the Scriptural basis and its point of view, it is not wrong to expect material compensation for spiritual work.

Further Paul Himself refers to Jesus own words and the Old Testament tradition regarding the matter of Tithe and offerings in this matter saying, "13 Do you not know that those who minister the holy things eat of the things of the temple, and those who serve at the altar partake of the offerings of the altar? 14 Even so the Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should live from the gospel." (1 Cor 9:13, 14). Where did Jesus say those words, "those who preach the gospel should live from the gospel", perhaps Paul might have given a explicit explanation for the verse in which Jesus said, "the worker deserves his wages." (Lk. 10:5–7). So living by the gospel material wages is not an option for a gospel worker called by God in to the five-fold ministry of the Church edification and building of it (Eph 4:11-12, 13-14, 15-16), but a mandatory instruction of Jesus, so that the worker of the Gospel might come to experience the provision of God and his sovereign protection first in his own life and then can tell in their proclamation of God's faithfulness of His Provision and care to others around them to cause growth in the body of Christ around the world (Luke 11:28; John 13:17).

Then how come Paul who agreed with the words of Jesus and referred to it in his writing, chose to disobey it? The reason he did was because of the calling he had specifically to go to the Gentiles to preach the gospel and bring them in to the Kingdom of God (Gal 2:8). The calling of God to preach to the unsaved and teach to the saved people of God was so strong in his life, that he was desperate not to sit on the sidelines because of lack of money or material support which are needed to keep spreading the message of the Gospel of God (1 Cor 9:7), but instead he continued to work privately with a tent making business and also support his own ministry team to reach to the unsaved people of the world (1 Thess 2:9; 1 Cor 4:12; 2 Cor 11:27).

Paul desired never to demand money from unbelievers even though he has the right to receive financial support for spiritual supply to them, because Paul wanted to express to them that the grace of God that is provided by God is free through the Gospel of Christ (1 Cor 9:18). Paul the apostle wanted to keep his motive clean for doing the work of God (1 Cor 4:5), so that the spiritual reward he will get in eternity will be huge and untainted by wrong motives to cause loss in it (Matt 10:8-10; 1 Cor 9:17, 18; Matt 7:24-27). Then to the teaching of the word of God he did in Churches, he had every right to receive gifts of tithe and offerings and material support for the spiritual ministry done among them (1 Cor 9:12), but he only used this privilege with the willing Philippians Churches which voluntarily supported him and his team through a burden God had given them in their heart (Php 4:15–16, 17-18). In other words, Paul received only voluntary faith offering and tithe that churches gave for his powerful spiritual ministry and never once did be demand it from any of the Churches he ministered to in his lifetime even though he had every right to do so (Gal 6:6).

To the Corintian Church which was more gifted and richer than many other churches, Paul refused compensation because of their carnality from the Corinthians (southern Greece) after acknowledging his right to receive, so that none will be able to make void his boasting and dignity as a preaching and teaching ambassador of Christ (1 Cor. 9:12–18; 2 Cor 5:20). Even when he was in need of money and material to continue preaching the Gospel and teaching the Word of God to disciple them to make them grow in Christ, he received from the Churches in Philippi city of Macedonia who were always the voluntary givers of material and financial support for Paul and his team to do ministry (2 Cor 11:7-9). Paul did not “burden” the Corinthians with his need for the ministry because they were not spiritual people, but rather carnal people who could be used by the enemy of their soul to speak badly about the messenger apostle and His godly spiritual authority over them which he exercised for their spiritual edification (1 Cor 9:15-18; 2 Cor 11:7-10, 2 Cor 12:14-18; 1 Cor 3:1-4; 2 Cor 10:8; 13:10).

The Jewish Rabbis taught their students some trade in which they could have financial independence and also preach their doctrine and faith in all the world by traveling all over the world (Matt 23:15). The Rabbis it seems used to say in the first century times, "Whosoever does not teach his son a trade is as if he brought him up to be a robber". As Paul the Pharisee learned the law under one of the greatest and leading Rabbi of the Jewish world at that time named Gamaliel (Acts 5:34; 22:3), he must have learned the trade of tent making because in those days the construction and repair of tents would have been especially valuable, given the needs of the many travelers passing through along with them as travelers around the world. Sailors also often lived onshore in tents while their ships were in dock, so the port city of Corinth was something where he could practice what he already knew from his Pharisaical days. But it was not a gold or white collar job but rather was a strenuous blue collar job requiring “labor and toil”—and took substantial time as Paul describes it as working “night and day” (1 Thess 2:9; 1 Cor 4:12; 2 Cor 11:27). Thus Paul the apostle and his apostolic team when ministering to carnal churches and to unbelievers specifically, supported themselves in certain places weaving tents for those who wanted it until God provided support through others means and immediately they would shift gear to work in full time ministry for the Lord (Acts 18:1-3; 20:34; 1 Cor 4:12; Th. 2:9; 2 Th 3:8), especially as per 1 Cor 4:12 while ministering to Corinthian Church (southern Greece), as well as when in ministering to the Church in Thessalonica (northern Greece), Paul was working with his own hands to feed himself and his apostolic team (Acts 18:3; 20:34; 1 Thess 2:9; 2 Thess 3:8) until he and his team could receive the support of the Church in Phillipi which was sending it for him (Php 4:15–18; 2 Cor 11:7-9).

So according to the context of his writings, we know Paul did not work for livelihood when he had supplies from churches, but when it was dry, he and his apostolic team supplied all their basic necessities through being involved in tent making trade for themselves so that Gospel could continue to be preached and not stop because of their own need for material and finance (Acts 20:34) and for reasons given in 2 Cor 11:9-12. It appears that he had not taken money from any of the churches in this region of Greece as per Acts 20:34 in which both Corinth and Thessalonica were present, it is because of their carnality and trust in their riches rather than God unlike the Philippians who trusted in God's supply and gave for the need of the ministry of Paul and his team freely and voluntarily (Php 4:14-16, 17-18, 19-20). Timothy and Silas, two of Paul’s travel companions (Acts 16:1-3, Acts 15:40) whom he had left in Beroea (Acts 17:10-15), arrived in Corinth some time after Paul, and their arrival triggered a change. Acts 18:5 probably means, “Paul began to be fully occupied with proclaiming the word.” In other words, at that time, Paul gave himself full-time to proclaiming the gospel and no longer worked in tent making business. Later Paul teaches the same Corinthian Church which was much more mature spiritually than they were before to learn and excel in giving by citing the example of the Macedonian churches of Phillipi who sacrificially gave out of their poverty and helped Paul to continue to do the work of the ministry for the Glory of God (2 Cor 8:1-5). Thus Paul and his apostolic team coveted no man's silver, or gold, or apparel from anyone or from any Church. This is the characteristic of a true minister. Wolves are known by their greed, selfish interests, and other fruits (Mt 7:15; 1 Sam 12:3-5), but true ministers of God live by example of sacrifice just like Jesus did in His own life and ministry which Paul and his apostolic team followed day after day to do their ministry in excellence for the Glory of God (1 Cor 11:1).

Much Blessings....



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