Let’s Talk Tithe

One of the topics that preachers in all religions seem to bypass more often than any other biblical topic is the requirement to tithe.

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What is really interesting is that many Christian religions believe that because Yeshua referred to the tithe regarding the Pharisees and Mosaic Law, now under the “law of Christ” Christians do not have to tithe.

I always wondered what Christ’s law was: after all, isn’t he supposed to be the son of God? Wasn’t he supposed to live a sinless life? And wasn’t the only law when he lived the Mosaic Law?

So, if all those statements are true, then the law of Christ had to be the same Law of Moses, right? I mean, if Christ had done or taught or even implied people should not do what his father said they should, which is the same as teaching to reject God’s commandments, then wouldn’t that mean he sinned? Wouldn’t having those who followed him do differently than what God said to do be rebellion against God?

Well, that’s not really relevant to today’s topic, so let’s get back to tithing.

The Torah has many more forms of tithing than just the 10%, which (for the record) existing long before Moses wrote it down in the Torah. If you recall, Abraham gave a tenth of all he recovered when he saved Lot to Melchizedek (Genesis 14:20), and Jacob promised God 10% of all he would give him on his way to Laban’s house (Gen 28:22).

There are, in fact, taxes, redemption fees, and a three-year collection of tithes for the Levite, foreigner, widow, and orphan (Deuteronomy 26:12-13).

In fact, the Torah has many different forms of taxes, tithes, and mandatory contributions, all of which really amount to the same thing- a required return of one’s income to God.

There is a tithe levied to the Levites which can be a 40th, 50th or sixtieth of one’s income, depending on your personal generosity; there is an annual 10% tithe on the produce; there is the requirement to leave gleanings for the poor; and there was a half-shekel tax to the temple for upkeep.

Not to mention there was a 5 shekel tax on the first born male, whether of human or animal, which God required as redemption for all the first-born he killed in Egypt.

In all, the Torah required about 25% of ones total income to be given back to God in any number of ways, such as tithes, temple tax, leaving produce in the fields (not harvesting the outer 10% of the crops and not going back to reap the harvest twice), first fruits, and voluntary offerings.

But Christians are told that because there is no specific requirement in the New Covenant to pay tithes, then Christians don’t have to tithe.

Some of the justifications they give for not having to tithe are as follows:

  • Believers are not under the Mosaic Covenant (the old lie that Jesus did away with the law)
  • What Abraham and Jacob did was not the norm
  • Tithes were for the Levites and priests and there are none of those in the New Covenant (I guess that since Yeshua is our High Priest, he doesn’t need any other priests to help him?)
  • The New Covenant doesn’t mention tithing when talking about giving generously

For the record, the Gospels and the Epistles and all the other stuff in the New Covenant are eye witness accounts written by human beings, not dictation from God. God doesn’t say anything in the New Covenant, except at the transformation on the mountain when he told the three disciples that Yeshua is his son and to listen to him.

The only place where God, himself, tells us what he wants us to do is in the Torah.

There are other excuses for not tithing, but they are just as unfounded as the ones I have listed here.

Why do I say they are unfounded? Simple: Yeshua lived the way God said to live, and so if we are to live as Yeshua lived, then we should also live the way God said to live, and that is in the Torah, and the Torah tells us to tithe.

As I explained above, there is no way that Yeshua could have ever, in any way, told people not to obey the Torah; otherwise, he would have been rejecting God, thereby a sinner, teaching others to sin, and his sacrifice could not be accepted.

Once people agree that some form of a tithe is required by God, then we start to argue is the 10% off the gross, net after taxes (to the government), or from disposable income?

The Torah says every 10th animal under the hook, but it also says to leave the outskirts of your field unharvested and do not gather the gleanings (Leviticus 23:22). So, if I do not gather those amounts, are they my tithe?

But, if I never gather them, then I never gathered that produce, then it was never income I received, so then should I tithe 10% from what I actually harvested and took for myself?

If I do that, then is what I took considered my gross or my net? After all, gross is everything produced, whether I end up with it or not, and net is what I end up with, so which is the one I tithe from: everything in my field, which is my gross, or only what I harvest, which is my net?

Confusing, isn’t it?

And now for the kicker: In Malachi 3:6-10, God says that when we do not bring the tithe to the temple we are stealing from him. And then he says if we do bring it in, he will open the floodgates of heaven and pour more blessings on us than we can imagine.

So, if I am a Christian and I happen to open that Jewish part of the Bible- you know, the part my pastor says I don’t have to worry about, and see that by tithing God will hand out a ton of blessings, since Christians are not subject to that Jewish stuff, does that mean only Jews can be blessed if they tithe?

Look, I won’t tell you what to do. After all, if someone refuses to do as God says they should, why would they listen to me?

Then again, maybe they would, if I told them what they wanted to hear. Isn’t that why so many religions are popular?

So choose the way you will serve God: as God says you should, or as some religion says you should.

Thank you for being here and please subscribe to my website and YouTube channel; buy my books and join my Facebook group called “Just God’s Word” (please read and agree to the rules).

And remember that I always welcome your comments.

That’s it for today, so l’hitraot and Baruch HaShem!

Is it an Angel, or is it God?

There are any number of examples in the Bible, most of which are found in the Tanakh, where we read of an angel talking to someone, but then it suddenly seems to be God doing the talking.

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For example, in Judges 2:1-4:

“Now the angel of the Lord came up from Gilgal to Bochim. And he said, ‘I brought you up out of Egypt and led you into the land which I have sworn to your fathers; and I said, ‘I will never break My covenant with you…'”

Here we are told this is an angel, yet he is talking in the first person singular, as if he was God.

In other words, we are told this is an angel, but he is talking as if he were God; I say this because God made the covenant with the people and God brought them out of Egypt, and only God did the other things referenced in that passage.

So, was it really an angel, or was it God?

Often we hear Moses go from “The Lord says…” to “I have told you..”

So, even though we are told it is Moses speaking, is it really God?

And these are just a few examples- there are many others, too numerous to list, where we read that it was an angel speaking, but the angel speaks as if he is God.

So how can that be?

I think the answer is simple: angels are the messengers of God, so when they speak, it is no different than if it was God, himself, because they are repeating what God said they should say.

The prophets are in the same boat: they repeat what God says using the first person, singular, but they (obviously) aren’t God: what they are doing is quoting God.

When I was in the Marine Corps, I served as the Executive Officer for the 2nd Combat Engineer Battalion Headquarters and Support Company. I was not the CO, I was the XO- that means I was 2nd in command. As such, when I was performing administrative duties, I often had to sign documents that were supposed to be authorized by the CO.

So, when I did that, I signed my name, and underneath my signature I wrote, “By direction of the Commanding Officer”, or sometimes I just wrote “By Dir”.

That meant that even though I was the one giving the order or signing the document, it was no different than if the CO, himself, did it.

This is, I believe, why we read about angels speaking as if they were God, but all they were doing was using their “By Dir” authority.

So don’t be confused- unless the Bible clearly says it is God (as in Genesis 18), when angels talk as if they are God, it is just an angel speaking “By Dir”.

Thank you for being here, and please share these messages with everyone you know. Subscribe to my website, my YouTube channel, and buy my books- if you like what you get here, you will like my books, too. Guaranteed.

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And remember that I always welcome your comments.

That’s it for today, so l’hitraot and Baruch HaShem!

You Cannot Forgive Without Humility

When we read Matthew 6:14, we are told that if we do not forgive on earth, then our heavenly father will not forgive us.

That means being able to forgive is not just a nice thing to do, but is necessary for eternal life!

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Too many times people say that they just can’t forgive someone for the things they have done, or even worse, they say the person who did those things doesn’t deserve forgiveness.

Well, who the heck are you to say who does or who doesn’t deserve forgiveness? If God is willing- not just willing, but desiring- to forgive everyone (he says so in Ezekiel 18:23), then who are you or I or anyone, for that matter, to say someone doesn’t deserve to be forgiven?

But what about the person who is unrepentant? Certainly, if someone is a sinner, who sins on purpose and enjoys doing so, they don’t deserve to be forgiven, right?

Well, here’s the kicker, Folks- it doesn’t matter, one way or the other, if someone deserves to be forgiven, or wants forgiveness, or even cares about forgiveness, because you shouldn’t be worried about their relationship with God, but with yours!

Forgiveness of sin is between the sinner and God- no one else. Regarding the other side of this, meaning you, being the one who has been sinned against, God is concerned with how you react to that sinner.

Which brings us back to Matthew 6:14.

We are required to forgive; the sinner is not required to ask for forgiveness. Even though God has made forgiveness of sin available to everyone through the Messiah Yeshua, the onus is not on the sinner, but the one who has been sinned against.

And the most important thing we need to have in order to forgive someone is…humility.

It is hard for us to forgive others because we, ourselves, are sinful, selfish, and self-centered animals. We don’t want to see that person who has hurt us get off- we want to see them suffer as we have- maybe even more than we have- and the only way we can get over that feeling is to be humble enough to care for that hurtful sinner more than we care for ourselves.

So now we have to leave Matthew and Ezekiel behind, and go to Leviticus; specifically, Leviticus 19:18 where you are told to love your neighbor as yourself.

Love should be selfless; as Shaul said it should be. You remember Shaul, right? That nice Pharisee tent-maker from Tarsus? He told the kehillah he formed in Corinth, in his first letter, that without love we are nothing. No matter how many gifts God has given us, without love we will never measure up.

And with love comes humility- the ability to put someone else’s needs and desires ahead of our own.

What? You think humility is just being meek or unpretentious?

Moses was said to be the most humble of men, yet he was certainly not weak. He stood up to Pharaoh, he stood up to the 250 men under the influence (or should I say, rebelliousness) of Korach, and he was emotionally strong enough to judge the people for 40 years.

Humility is not weakness, it is strength. Believe me, it takes a lot more strength- spiritual and emotional- to be humble than to be vengeful.

In order to forgive someone who has hurt you takes a deep, spiritual understanding of the relationship between you and God.

It doesn’t matter if the sinner wants forgiveness or cares about you, or God, or anything- that is between that person and God.

Between you and God, God wants you to forgive that person, which means you have to put your feelings behind you and think of that person’s eternal condition.

It is hard to forgive; to really forgive, like God forgives, like as far as the east is from west forgive, is almost impossible for most humans. I know, because I can’t do it any better than anyone else can. There are things from my past that I still feel the need for closure, and that (to me) means letting them know what they did, and getting my own two shekels in.

But that isn’t forgiveness, and despite what some psycho-babbler might say about releasing the anger to help heal, releasing that anger is nothing more than just “getting back” at them.

I can tell you, absolutely, from personal experience (both giving and receiving), that getting it “off your chest” isn’t releasing anything, or healing anything: it is actually just throwing fuel on the fire.

Humility allows you to let go of the hurt and the anger, and I have found the best way to do that is think about what that person will have to deal with when they face God.

And we all WILL face God, eventually.

What someone does to you during this lifetime will not matter to you at all in the eternal hereafter, but it will determine their fate, and if you think of the eternal suffering that person will have to endure, well, if you have any sense of love for anyone, you will have to feel bad for them.

Realize that someone who hurts others is in more pain than any pain they can dish out, and that has to create some sense of compassion for them; even though what they did hurts- maybe hurts a lot- they are ignorant of the eternal suffering what they do will cause them.

If you find it very hard to forgive someone, even when you want to, then here is a trick: pray for them. I have found that when I pray for someone who has hurt me, my anger fades away and my compassion for their soul grows.

It also helps me to not feel anger: I may still want some sense of closure, to have my side heard, but I have learned (through the love God has shown for us) to be humble enough to not be angry about it, anymore.

And that is, at least, a good start.

Thank you for being here and please share these messages with everyone you know to help this ministry continue to grow. Subscribe to my website, YouTube channel, buy my books, and join my Facebook group called “Just God’s Word” (please make sure to read and agree to the rules).

And remember this: I always welcome your comments.

That’s it for today, so l’hitraot and Baruch HaShem!


Is Anyone Really Waiting for Us in Heaven?

Just about all religions have painted heaven as a wonderful place in the clouds, with winged angels and everyone you have every known and loved waiting, with open arms, to welcome you there when you die.

But is that really what awaits us?

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Yeshua tells us that there is no marriage in heaven (Matthew 22:30), so even if our dead spouses are there, the relationship we had when alive doesn’t exist anymore.

At the end of the Book of Revelation, the most definitive Bible book about the Acharit haYamim (End Days), we are told there will be a new earth and a new heaven, and that all things will be created, anew.

So, if earth and heaven are to be created new, not to mention that in 2 Corinthians Shaul says that we are a new creation in Messiah, as well, then it seems likely that all the earthly relationships will also be created new.

The Tanakh (Old Covenant) also has references to heaven, in the Psalms and some of the prophets, such as Daniel and Isaiah, although those references do not specify anything about meeting loved ones, or being in the clouds, or every time a bell rings someone in heaven gets their wings (good for you, Clarence!)

No.

In fact, there is no reference anywhere in the entire bible that tells us we will be floating in the clouds, or have halo’s, or playing harps, or for that matter being angels.

The angels are not human beings that go to heaven, the angels are created spiritual beings who are God’s messengers. Actually, we are a little lower than the angels; at least, according to David (Psalm 8:6), so if we are lower than the angels, where did people get the idea that we become angels?

And if the Bible doesn’t support any of the rose-colored glasses view of heaven that almost every Western religion has created, then why have the leaders of those religions told us this is what happens when we die?

Time Out: all religions are man-made because God never had, doesn’t have, and never wanted to have a “religion”. When God writes the Torah on our hearts, as he promises in the new covenant (Jeremiah 31:31), then we will not be practicing a form of worship- we will be a living worship!)

My answer to why religious leaders have created the heaven we all hear about is the same reason they preach about all the wonderful things God will do for you: it is designed to get you to join their religion.

If you do as my religion says to do, and you love each other, and you are a good person, then you get to go to heaven, where all your loved ones are waiting for you with open arms and you will be happy, forever after.

Well, who wouldn’t want that?

Of course, if you actually read the Bible, you might recall Yeshua telling us about how many people get into heaven in Matthew 7:13-14, where he says the gate to destruction is wide and easy to enter, but the gate to salvation is narrow and the way is hard, and only a few will ever find it.

The truth, as uncomfortable as it may seem, is that when you get to heaven, assuming you make it, it is unlikely that many, if any, of the ones you have loved will be there.

Your religion has probably told you more lies about the afterlife than truth.

Wait a minute! How can that be? I trust my Rabbi/Pastor/Priest/Minister- they would never lie to me or mislead me!

True- they can be trusted to tell you what they have been taught, by those who were taught by those who were taught- all the same drek since Christ was Corporal (that’s a military saying for something that’s been around for a long time).

Very few religious leaders will tell you anything other than what they were taught when they were getting their certification.

The sad truth is that religion is a business, and to survive they need customers- people who buy their product, so the product has to be desirable.

Telling people that they have to give up worldly pleasure and follow the rules that God gave to us in the Torah, such as restricting our diet, taking one day a week to rest and not just go to shul or church in the morning, to treat others with kindness, and study God’s word is not very attractive to most people.

And, of course, to accept that Yeshua is the Messiah God sent is even harder to accept, especially for my Jewish brothers and sister because religions has corrupted who the Jewish Messiah is.

(Get my latest book, “The Good News About the Messiah For Jews- Debunking the Traditional Lies About the Jewish Messiah” to really understand why accepting Yeshua as the Messiah is so hard for Jews to do.)

Why do we have to accept Yeshua? Because every sin is a sin against God (Psalm 51) and must be repented, and in order to receive forgiveness we must present a sacrifice. That sacrifice can only be made where God places his name (Deuteronomy 12:11), which since the time of Solomon, has been the temple in Jerusalem. Well, ever since 174 CE there has been no temple to bring a sacrifice to, and the only way to be forgiven now is to accept Yeshua as your Messiah so that by means of his sacrifice you can receive forgiveness.

Look, here’s the bad news: because religions have so lied and misled people, causing them to reject God instead of embrace him, the hard truth is that most everyone you know and love will most likely NOT be waiting for you in the afterlife.

The good news is that because all things will be new, the way we now feel about people and things will be very different.

I believe it is more likely than not the way we feel now, as corporeal beings, will not exist anymore. We will be emotionally evolved beyond what we can feel now, overcoming the emotional limitations to love we are restricted to as fleshly beings.

So look forward to salvation, and work at it because it is NOT religion’s “come as you are” party: it is God’s “come as I say you must” party.

Most people you have ever known will not be invited, but if you are there, you will be so full of joy reveling in God’s presence, you won’t even miss them.

Thank you for being here and please share these messages with everyone you know to help this ministry continue to grow. Subscribe to my website and YouTube channel, buy my books, join my Facebook group called “Just God’s Word” (please read and agree to the rules), and remember that I always welcome your comments.

That’s it for today, so l’hitraot and Baruch HaShem!

Smell the Roses, But Don’t Get Stuck by the Thorns

Often I see someone posting something to the effect of enjoy the journey, take time to smell the roses, or whatever other saying that indicates we should not just go from A to B, but check out all that we pass along the way.

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And you know what? I don’t necessarily disagree.

However, when it comes to a spiritual journey, specifically one going from worldly desires to a godlier lifestyle, you might find that when you stop to smell the roses you end up getting pricked by its thorns.

Life in the world is one which we must travel. Shaul, that nice Jewish tent maker from Tarsus, once wrote to the people in his kehillah in Corinth, telling them that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize, so they should run in such a way that they may obtain it (1 Corinthians 9:24).

In other words, know where you are going and make sure that is the goal you seek. Do not be turned away by worldly desires and attractions.

The rose is a beautiful flower, with a lovely aroma, but grabbing it will result in pain if you aren’t very careful.

Seeking God takes discipline- not just to reject worldly and hedonistic temptations, but to study God’s word, to reject sin and seek righteousness, and to follow what God says and not what some human being tells you God says, which is what religions do.

Remember: God has no religion!

God gave instructions telling us how to worship him and how to treat each other: he gave them to the Israelites through Moses, and told Moses that the Jewish people are to be God’s own nation of priests (Exodus 19:5-6), meaning they must learn God’s instructions and then teach them to the world.

That’s what priests do- they teach the people how to live in accordance with the way God wants us to live.

Way before God gave us the Torah, he told Abraham that his descendants would be a blessing to the world (Genesis 22:18) and in Deuteronomy 28, God promises that when we do as he says, we will receive blessings.

Nu? Can you now see how it all fits together?

The descendants of Abraham (the Jewish people) are God’s priests who received the Torah to teach everyone how to worship and live so that God can bless them.

So smell the roses, since we can’t help but live in a world that has roses, but always remember that the roses are not the destination, and grabbing hold of them will result in pain.

When it comes down to it, the destination, which is eternal joy in God’s presence, is so much better than any old rose.

Thank you for being here and please subscribe to my website and YouTube channel, share these messages with everyone you know, and buy my books.

Next time you are on Facebook, join my discussion group called “Just God’s Word” (please read and agree to the rules.)

And I always welcome your comments.

That’s it for today, so l’hitraot and Baruch HaShem!