Sabbath 15/11/35/120

Dear Friends,

This is the Eleventh month of the Sabbath Year and we are nearing the end. This year we studied the Laws of God and particularly those regarding tithing and of robbing God by failing to tithe. At the Reading of the Law we studied, among others, the work Law and the Eighth Commandment (No. 261) and how important it was to tithe.

Failing to tithe is robbing God and every nation is punished by its failure to tithe and its robbing of God.  From our observations the failure of some nations to tithe has plunged them into penury and they are starving directly as a result of not tithing.  Africa and India are classic examples of failing to tithe.  Ask this question:  Is your church tithing and if so are you tithing and if not are you prospering?  If you are not prospering it is probably a direct result of your failure to tithe.

Look now at the Law and the Eighth Commandment (No. 261) in this regard:

“It is written: Thou Shalt not Steal (Ex 20:15; Deut. 5:19).
Leviticus 19:11 Ye shall not steal, neither deal falsely, neither lie one to another. (KJV)

Property that is God owned
All things are ultimately God’s property. God has established laws that deal with the proper handling and disposal of His property. God had divided the creation up into categories concerning property we may use, and property we may not use. God had made the divisions based on a set of rules within which we must operate.

There are laws concerning the environment and what we may do with it; there are laws concerning the food chain and what we may eat of it; there are laws concerning the parts of the produce of the earth that we may eat and for those parts set aside for God’s purposes in the function of the creation.

First commandment and tithing
The entire creation centres on the One True God and hence the first commandment carries with it law regarding property, which God regards as His under the term Tithing (cf. the paper Tithing (No. 161)). Failure to tithe to the system God has set in place is theft.
Malachi 3:1-12 Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the LORD of hosts. 2 But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner's fire, and like fullers' soap: 3 And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the LORD an offering in righteousness. 4 Then shall the offering of Judah and Jerusalem be pleasant unto the LORD, as in the days of old, and as in former years. 5 And I will come near to you to judgment; and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, and against the adulterers, and against false swearers, and against those that oppress the hireling in his wages, the widow, and the fatherless, and that turn aside the stranger from his right, and fear not me, saith the LORD of hosts. 6 For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed. 7 Even from the days of your fathers ye are gone away from mine ordinances, and have not kept them. Return unto me, and I will return unto you, saith the LORD of hosts. But ye said, Wherein shall we return? 8 Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings. 9 Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation. 10 Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it. 11 And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith the LORD of hosts. 12 And all nations shall call you blessed: for ye shall be a delightsome land, saith the LORD of hosts. (KJV)

God set up a system that requires payment for the maintenance of His worship, for provision of the poor, and for the capacity of His people to participate in His ways on His Feasts and Sabbaths.

God’s sacrifices are to be unblemished as He regards a blemished offering as an abomination.
Deuteronomy 17:1-4 Thou shalt not sacrifice unto the LORD thy God any bullock, or sheep, wherein is blemish, or any evilfavouredness: for that is an abomination unto the LORD thy God. 2 If there be found among you, within any of thy gates which the LORD thy God giveth thee, man or woman, that hath wrought wickedness in the sight of the LORD thy God, in transgressing his covenant, 3 And hath gone and served other gods, and worshipped them, either the sun, or moon, or any of the host of heaven, which I have not commanded; 4 And it be told thee, and thou hast heard of it, and enquired diligently, and, behold, it be true, and the thing certain, that such abomination is wrought in Israel: (KJV)

This requirement of a perfect sacrifice without spot or blemish pointed towards the elect and the ultimate destiny of all mankind.

As well as the price of the tithe, the price for the numbering of Israel is to be given and failure to do this is also theft.
Exodus 30:11-16 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, 12 When thou takest the sum of the children of Israel after their number, then shall they give every man a ransom for his soul unto the LORD, when thou numberest them; that there be no plague among them, when thou numberest them. 13 This they shall give, every one that passeth among them that are numbered, half a shekel after the shekel of the sanctuary: (a shekel is twenty gerahs:) an half shekel shall be the offering of the LORD. 14 Every one that passeth among them that are numbered, from twenty years old and above, shall give an offering unto the LORD. 15 The rich shall not give more, and the poor shall not give less than half a shekel, when they give an offering unto the LORD, to make an atonement for your souls. 16 And thou shalt take the atonement money of the children of Israel, and shalt appoint it for the service of the tabernacle of the congregation; that it may be a memorial unto the children of Israel before the LORD, to make an atonement for your souls. (KJV)

This ransom was paid by Messiah, and that is why no man has now numbered Israel; neither does any man know the extent of the faith because salvation is now also of the Gentiles, and they are now able to become part of the Temple of God (1Cor. 3:17). There is a logical conclusion that, as Messiah bought for a price, we have no right to withhold ourselves from the Temple.

Those who serve the Temple have a right to eat of the Temple.
1Corinthians 9:9-14 For it is written in the law of Moses, Thou shalt not muzzle the mouth of the ox that treadeth out the corn. Doth God take care for oxen? 10 Or saith he it altogether for our sakes? For our sakes, no doubt, this is written: that he that ploweth should plow in hope; and that he that thresheth in hope should be partaker of his hope. 11 If we have sown unto you spiritual things, is it a great thing if we shall reap your carnal things? 12 If others be partakers of this power over you, are not we rather? Nevertheless we have not used this power; but suffer all things, lest we should hinder the gospel of Christ. 13 Do ye not know that they which minister about holy things live of the things of the temple? and they which wait at the altar are partakers with the altar? 14 Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel. (KJV)

The reward, as we see from Malachi and from Proverbs, is fruitfulness.
Proverbs 3:9-10 Honour the LORD with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase: 10 So shall thy barns be filled with plenty, and thy presses shall burst out with new wine. (KJV)

Proverbs 11:24-26 There is that scattereth, and yet increaseth; and there is that withholdeth more than is meet, but it tendeth to poverty. 25 The liberal soul shall be made fat: and he that watereth shall be watered also himself. 26 He that withholdeth corn, the people shall curse him: but blessing shall be upon the head of him that selleth it. (KJV)

There are a number of obligations that go with blessings and a place in society.

The whole law of God is directed at mercy and righteousness. The service of the Temple is not meaningless speeches and tradition, but the implementation of justice and righteousness.
Matthew 23:23 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone. (KJV)

The Temple under the order of Melchisedek received tithes from Levi. With the advent of Messiah, Levi made way for a new order of priesthood of which it was to become part. Levi paid tithes to Melichisedek (meaning My King is Righteousness) as an hereditary title of the prince of Salem or Urusalaim. This title was carried also as Adoni-Zedek meaning My Lord is Righteousness or Lord of Righteousness (Josh. 10:1). It is a prophecy concerning their inclusion in the new order and faith.
Hebrews 7:1-10 For this Melchisedec, king of Salem, priest of the most high God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings, and blessed him; 2 To whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all; first being by interpretation King of righteousness, and after that also King of Salem, which is, King of peace; 3 Without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life; but made like unto the Son of God; abideth a priest continually. 4 Now consider how great this man was, unto whom even the patriarch Abraham gave the tenth of the spoils. 5 And verily they that are of the sons of Levi, who receive the office of the priesthood, have a commandment to take tithes of the people according to the law, that is, of their brethren, though they come out of the loins of Abraham: 6 But he whose descent is not counted from them received tithes of Abraham, and blessed him that had the promises. 7 And without all contradiction the less is blessed of the better. 8 And here men that die receive tithes; but there he receiveth them, of whom it is witnessed that he liveth. 9 And as I may so say, Levi also, who receiveth tithes, payed tithes in Abraham. 10 For he was yet in the loins of his father, when Melchisedec met him. (KJV)

This aspect is covered more fully in the paper Melchisedek (No. 128).

God demands that the ordinance of Deuteronomy 14:28 is kept and that the tithe of the third year is brought before the Lord.
Deuteronomy 14:28 At the end of three years thou shalt bring forth all the tithe of thine increase the same year, and shalt lay it up within thy gates: (KJV)

This tithe of the third year of the seven is laid up and the Feast is kept within the gates. The entire proceeds of the second tithe are given to the priesthood for caring for the poor over the seven year period.

Amos also speaks of this. The daily sacrifice was eliminated with the destruction of the physical temple. At the completion of Ezekiel’s Temple only the morning sacrifice will be reintroduced. This sequence tells the story of the Temple and the progressive harvests. Amos here is speaking of the time until the destruction in 70 CE.
Amos 4:4 Come to Bethel, and transgress; at Gilgal multiply transgression; and bring your sacrifices every morning, and your tithes after three years: (KJV)

God says He has given Israel “cleanness of teeth” in their dwellings, yet they have not returned to Him. In other words, He inflicted them with famine and yet they still do not return to Him (cf. Amos 4:1-13). They who oppressed the poor and crushed the needy were driven to these lengths for their unrighteousness and they did not return to God. One seems to go with the other. If they rob God, they also seem to oppress His people and the poor and the fatherless.

We must be careful to make distinction between what is Caesar’s and what is God’s (Mat. 22:21; Mk. 12:17; Lk. 20:25). Thus all authority is from God and all are required to deal with the various powers as they are ordained of God.
Romans 13:1-10 Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. 2 Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. 3 For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: 4 For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. 5 Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake. 6 For this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God's ministers, attending continually upon this very thing. 7 Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour. 8 Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law. 9 For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 10 Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law. (KJV)

Those of the faith have a series of obligations in that they must render to God and the Ministry and to the authorities that which is their due.

The optimum system is by direct rule by the prophets of God as judges in Israel. The administrative monarchy was established as a secondary and more expensive system.
1Samuel 8:10-18 And Samuel told all the words of the LORD unto the people that asked of him a king. 11 And he said, This will be the manner of the king that shall reign over you: He will take your sons, and appoint them for himself, for his chariots, and to be his horsemen; and some shall run before his chariots. 12 And he will appoint him captains over thousands, and captains over fifties; and will set them to ear his ground, and to reap his harvest, and to make his instruments of war, and instruments of his chariots. 13 And he will take your daughters to be confectionaries, and to be cooks, and to be bakers. 14 And he will take your fields, and your vineyards, and your oliveyards, even the best of them, and give them to his servants. 15 And he will take the tenth of your seed, and of your vineyards, and give to his officers, and to his servants. 16 And he will take your menservants, and your maidservants, and your goodliest young men, and your asses, and put them to his work. 17 He will take the tenth of your sheep: and ye shall be his servants. 18 And ye shall cry out in that day because of your king which ye shall have chosen you; and the LORD will not hear you in that day. (KJV)

The Lord will not hear Israel under this burden and it is to be paid.

Time is money or theft by withholding
Offerings and tithes are not to be withheld.
Exodus 22:29-30 Thou shalt not delay to offer the first of thy ripe fruits, and of thy liquors: the firstborn of thy sons shalt thou give unto me. 30 Likewise shalt thou do with thine oxen, and with thy sheep: seven days it shall be with his dam; on the eighth day thou shalt give it me. (KJV)
On the eighth day all of Israel’s young are to be given to God: the young animals and the children in circumcision and dedication.

Deuteronomy 12:5-16 But unto the place which the LORD your God shall choose out of all your tribes to put his name there, even unto his habitation shall ye seek, and thither thou shalt come: 6 And thither ye shall bring your burnt offerings, and your sacrifices, and your tithes, and heave offerings of your hand, and your vows, and your freewill offerings, and the firstlings of your herds and of your flocks: 7 And there ye shall eat before the LORD your God, and ye shall rejoice in all that ye put your hand unto, ye and your households, wherein the LORD thy God hath blessed thee. 8 Ye shall not do after all the things that we do here this day, every man whatsoever is right in his own eyes. 9 For ye are not as yet come to the rest and to the inheritance, which the LORD your God giveth you. 10 But when ye go over Jordan, and dwell in the land which the LORD your God giveth you to inherit, and when he giveth you rest from all your enemies round about, so that ye dwell in safety; 11 Then there shall be a place which the LORD your God shall choose to cause his name to dwell there; thither shall ye bring all that I command you; your burnt offerings, and your sacrifices, your tithes, and the heave offering of your hand, and all your choice vows which ye vow unto the LORD: 12 And ye shall rejoice before the LORD your God, ye, and your sons, and your daughters, and your menservants, and your maidservants, and the Levite that is within your gates; forasmuch as he hath no part nor inheritance with you. 13 Take heed to thyself that thou offer not thy burnt offerings in every place that thou seest: 14 But in the place which the LORD shall choose in one of thy tribes, there thou shalt offer thy burnt offerings, and there thou shalt do all that I command thee. 15 Notwithstanding thou mayest kill and eat flesh in all thy gates, whatsoever thy soul lusteth after, according to the blessing of the LORD thy God which he hath given thee: the unclean and the clean may eat thereof, as of the roebuck, and as of the hart. 16 Only ye shall not eat the blood; ye shall pour it upon the earth as water. (KJV)

Exodus 23:17-19 Three times in the year all thy males shall appear before the Lord GOD. 18 Thou shalt not offer the blood of my sacrifice with leavened bread; neither shall the fat of my sacrifice remain until the morning. 19 The first of the firstfruits of thy land thou shalt bring into the house of the LORD thy God. Thou shalt not seethe a kid in his mother's milk. (KJV)
The failure to appear before the Lord on the three occasions, and with an offering, is rebellion and theft.

Exodus 34:19-20 All that openeth the matrix is mine; and every firstling among thy cattle, whether ox or sheep, that is male. 20 But the firstling of an ass thou shalt redeem with a lamb: and if thou redeem him not, then shalt thou break his neck. All the firstborn of thy sons thou shalt redeem. And none shall appear before me empty. (KJV)
None shall appear before the Lord empty. Withholding oneself as part of Israel is also theft.

Exodus 34:23-26 Thrice in the year shall all your men children appear before the Lord GOD, the God of Israel. 24 For I will cast out the nations before thee, and enlarge thy borders: neither shall any man desire thy land, when thou shalt go up to appear before the LORD thy God thrice in the year. 25 Thou shalt not offer the blood of my sacrifice with leaven; neither shall the sacrifice of the feast of the passover be left unto the morning. 26 The first of the firstfruits of thy land thou shalt bring unto the house of the LORD thy God. Thou shalt not seethe a kid in his mother's milk. (KJV)

Numbers 18:20-32 And the LORD spake unto Aaron, Thou shalt have no inheritance in their land, neither shalt thou have any part among them: I am thy part and thine inheritance among the children of Israel. 21 And, behold, I have given the children of Levi all the tenth in Israel for an inheritance, for their service which they serve, even the service of the tabernacle of the congregation. 22 Neither must the children of Israel henceforth come nigh the tabernacle of the congregation, lest they bear sin, and die. 23 But the Levites shall do the service of the tabernacle of the congregation, and they shall bear their iniquity: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations, that among the children of Israel they have no inheritance. 24 But the tithes of the children of Israel, which they offer as an heave offering unto the LORD, I have given to the Levites to inherit: therefore I have said unto them, Among the children of Israel they shall have no inheritance. 25 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, 26 Thus speak unto the Levites, and say unto them, When ye take of the children of Israel the tithes which I have given you from them for your inheritance, then ye shall offer up an heave offering of it for the LORD, even a tenth part of the tithe. 27 And this your heave offering shall be reckoned unto you, as though it were the corn of the threshingfloor, and as the fulness of the winepress. 28 Thus ye also shall offer an heave offering unto the LORD of all your tithes, which ye receive of the children of Israel; and ye shall give thereof the LORD'S heave offering to Aaron the priest. 29 Out of all your gifts ye shall offer every heave offering of the LORD, of all the best thereof, even the hallowed part thereof out of it. 30 Therefore thou shalt say unto them, When ye have heaved the best thereof from it, then it shall be counted unto the Levites as the increase of the threshingfloor, and as the increase of the winepress. 31 And ye shall eat it in every place, ye and your households: for it is your reward for your service in the tabernacle of the congregation. 32 And ye shall bear no sin by reason of it, when ye have heaved from it the best of it: neither shall ye pollute the holy things of the children of Israel, lest ye die. (KJV)
Offerings are to be of the best and are not to be polluted. Polluting another’s offering, or failing to provide a pure offering is theft or misappropriation. It is not simply malicious damage, as it appears, because the benefit or satisfaction of a pure offering has been stolen, as well as the offering being damaged.

Deuteronomy 14:22-29 Thou shalt truly tithe all the increase of thy seed, that the field bringeth forth year by year. 23 And thou shalt eat before the LORD thy God, in the place which he shall choose to place his name there, the tithe of thy corn, of thy wine, and of thine oil, and the firstlings of thy herds and of thy flocks; that thou mayest learn to fear the LORD thy God always. 24 And if the way be too long for thee, so that thou art not able to carry it; or if the place be too far from thee, which the LORD thy God shall choose to set his name there, when the LORD thy God hath blessed thee: 25 Then shalt thou turn it into money, and bind up the money in thine hand, and shalt go unto the place which the LORD thy God shall choose: 26 And thou shalt bestow that money for whatsoever thy soul lusteth after, for oxen, or for sheep, or for wine, or for strong drink, or for whatsoever thy soul desireth: and thou shalt eat there before the LORD thy God, and thou shalt rejoice, thou, and thine household, 27 And the Levite that is within thy gates; thou shalt not forsake him; for he hath no part nor inheritance with thee. 28 At the end of three years thou shalt bring forth all the tithe of thine increase the same year, and shalt lay it up within thy gates: 29 And the Levite, (because he hath no part nor inheritance with thee,) and the stranger, and the fatherless, and the widow, which are within thy gates, shall come, and shall eat and be satisfied; that the LORD thy God may bless thee in all the work of thine hand which thou doest. (KJV)
The second tithe is set aside for the enjoyment of the Festivals of God which are mandatory. If the sites are too far from home then the tithes may be converted to money and the necessary items purchased when we arrive. Nowadays people do not take produce; they take money instead and generally purchase their feast items at the sites. Thus the necessity for the poor to be fed is not as clearly seen. The funds, like the produce, must be collected on the evening before the Feasts, so that all may be given help before the Feast starts. Failure to give the offerings or help the poor and needy is also theft.

The withholding of tithes is theft. Where a person needs to redeem a tithe to use it for his own purpose, then the tithe redemption carries with it a penalty. If any tithes are redeemed the penalty is that the person redeeming or withholding has to add a fifth part to it. Thus a mandatory twenty percent is added to any tithes used for any purpose.

Time and the calendar
God has established a calendar in the heavens. It works to the phases of the moon, and is clearly identified from astronomical calculations and the New Moon. Failure to follow the calendar as it was originally (i.e. not Jewish Hillel calendar) is theft of time with God.

Failure to dedicate the Sabbath to God is theft of God’s time. Each person is expected to dedicate those days to the study of the Living God and His system. Every seven years at the Feast in the Sabbath Year, the Law is to be read and studied. Failure to observe all the Sabbaths and the Law is theft of God’s time and due worship. God requires all people to worship Him in spirit and in truth.

God’s Temple
God has given people skills and wealth so that they may dedicate those skills and blessings to His greater glory. Failure to use the skills God has given us for His worship and His system is also theft (cf Exodus 36:1-38).”

You are part of the Temple of God and you have a responsibility to act within God’s laws and to tithe and to make sure the Temple is developed in your nation.  If you have problems it is because you are not keeping God’s Laws and the other Churches of God can see that you are not keeping God’s Laws. Do not expect them to interminably fund you out of their tithes when you are robbing God and God is making it plain that you are doing so.

Wade Cox
Coordinator General