Wild and Natural Olive Branches

Matthew 5:17-19

Is Tithing for today?

Tithe – Yahweh’s provision for Levi’im & commonwealth of Israel

This study is an overview of two important truths:

  1. Biblical regulations for tithing
  2. Divine authority, contrasted against errant teachings of ‘tithing’ and ‘doctrinal authority’ promulgated by the church at large

Objective of this study:

  1. Brief historical overview of tithing [pattern for future]
  2. How to embrace truth and avoid errant doctrines
  3. Preview/action plan of how we will tithe in the future [shema = hear + obey]

For the sake of brevity, we will only address the tithing aspect of the covenant promises. We can focus on this within the context of the greater covenant.

Prior to gaining spiritual wisdom, our first question is: ‘By whose authority?’ Teacher & student  must engage in robust discussion, studying the bible, to understand truth.

If this critical question is not addressed, one is left with merely a doctrine, which is agreed to  with complicit, timid silence. Spiritual authority originates from G-d and his word. Spiritual authority does not originate from seminary, nor the denomination, nor the pulpit.

Let us engage in candid dialog using the bible, to build our foundation for belief and behavior. In this study, we ask the question: ‘By whose authority?’ We answer with biblical truth.

This whole study is predicated upon the intent to understand and obey G-d’s law. It is a both an  historical review and a preview of our future. [Psalm 50:16, Hebrews 10:16]

Before we start -

As we study Genesis 28:22, Ya’akov [Jacob] is typically seen as a prime example of one who  pays the tithe, and rightfully so. He made a vow to Yahweh to give Him a tenth of all his  increase. As the patriarch of the 12 tribes of Israel, Ya’kov demonstrates a pattern of how Israel  is to honor G-d in the future. Ya’akov did not vow to monetize various religious global franchises  - He made a vow to Yahweh to give Him a tenth of all his increase.

Ya’akov, father of the 12 tribes of the Jews, through whom salvation comes, is our prime  example of on who gives to G-d. He did this voluntarily several hundred years before the Law of  Moshe was given.

As we learn from a thorough study of Mishpatim and other mitzvot, tithes are the livelihood  prescribed by G-d for the Levi’im, since they had no land inheritance.

All Israel sent their required tithes to the Levi’im, who tithed to the Cohen Gadol [High Priest].  The Cohen Gadol was the one appointed and anointed to come into the Most Holy Place. He  made offerings on behalf of the nation to Yahweh.

2nd tithes of certain years were also set aside for the Jews themselves, also set aside for the  poor, widows and foreigners.

Can we see where this is going? In a grand sweep of replacement theology, the church has,  through erroneous misinterpretation, extracted a few key verses out of context to custom-build  a doctrine of tithing.

To create their idolatry, they have established these as foundational cornerstones of irrefutable  church doctrine; tithing to the church.

Social club is god. To maintain and proliferate the franchised social club requires real estate  holdings, taxes, corporate expansion, payroll and operating expenses. This is all administered by  a branch manager [pastor] in cooperation with the national franchise.

This tangible expression is the idol.

This is where tithes go.

What is the accurate biblical context within which this occurred? This pattern of Ya’akov was a  precursor to te tribes of Israel making tithes to the Levi’im [priesthood], so that the Levi’im  could make tithes and offerings to G-d, as we study Numbers 18:24-26.

Biblical truth regarding tithing -

Biblical requirements for properly rendering the Lord’s tithe:

  1. Mishkan [Tent] or Beit ha Mikdash [Temple] must be in operation.* (page 3)
  2. Levitical priesthood must be in operation.
  3. Descendant of Aaron/Zadok must be high priest.
  4. Tithe-payer must be Jew or convert.
  5. Tithe-payer must live in Eretz Israel.
  6. First Tithe is the first tenth of livestock [clean animals] after the wave offering at Yom ha  Bikkurim [Feast of Firstfruits] - applies to livestock ranchers and is paid to Levites. [Leviticus 27:30-33. Numbers 18:21-24]
  7. First Tithe is the first tenth of fruit/grain/crops – applies to agricultural farmers and is paid to Levites.
  8. T’rumah [10th of the tithe] is paid from what the Levitical priesthood receives from the  nation, and given to the Kohen Gadol. [Numbers 18:26-32]
  9. Second tithe of each year [Ma’asar Aakhaat] comes from produce and clean animals of  Israelites, taken to the House of G-d, spent on themselves in celebration. [Deuternomy 14:22-26]
  10. Second tithe of 3rd and 6th year [Ma’asar Shaalosh] comes from Israelites’ produce, set  apart for the poor, widows and outsiders. [Deuternomy 14:28-29]
  11. No tithes are taken in the Shmittah [7th] years, nor the Yuval [50th] years. When these conditions are met, tithes will again be paid from what grows on the land, according  to Torah. This provides for the Levitical priesthood, then to the Aaronic/Zadokite priesthood in  charge of the House, since that is their inheritance. This is important to remember, because in  the future, the Levitical priesthood will once again be in their proper place of ministry. [Jeremiah  33:15-22, Isaiah 2:1-4, 9:6-7] Sacrificial offerings will again be brought to the Temple, by the  ordained priesthood.

The sun and moon, prescribed order of day and night, were created after light was created, to  be ‘greater & lesser’ lights for earth. They also function as daily witnesses to this truth: the  restoration of the Levitical priesthood. [Micah 4:1-3, Zechariah 14]

Therefore, we as Messianic believers in Yeshua can learn, anticipate and prepare - it is important  for us to know how to tithe. By understanding this, we can look forward to the restoration of the  Temple service, how we can provide for the Levites, the poor, widows, outsiders and for the  commonwealth of Israel.

We will do this in the context of:

  • 7-day week cycle,
  • 7-year Shmittah cycle,
  • 50-year Yuval [Jubilee] cycle.

Errant doctrines regarding tithing -

Each errant doctrine is followed by its corresponding refutation of truth.

  1. Tithe 10% of your income to the church. If you don’t, you’re disobedient and your  family’s health, finances and home can be cursed, depending on various doctrinal  theologies du jour.
  2. truth:NOwhere in the bible is there a command to tithe to a local assembly.
  3. Avraham paid the tithe.
  4. truth: Avraham did not pay a tithe – he voluntarily gave 10% of war spoils to  Malki-Tzedek as a one-time tribute. [Genesis 14] **(page 5)
  5. Bring the tithe into the storehouse – do not rob G-d.
  6. truth:The command to bring tithe into the storehouse refers to the 2nd tithes of  the 3rd and 6th years, brought into the literal storehouses in the towns of Israel, for  the Levites, poor, widows and outsiders. [Malachi 3:8-10]
  7. Church is called the ‘house of G-d’.

truth: Church is not the house of G-d. A church [modern English usage] can mean a group or building, depending on the context. The word ‘church’ derives from 10th century mixture of different languages. King James, in one of his editorial mandates  for his 1611 KJV [translated from Greek Septuagint into then-current English]  declared that the word kahul[Hebrew/Aramaic for gathering or group of people]  and ekklesia[Greek for gathering or group of people] would now be translated  into the novel word church, which is an ambiguous word for a group or a building. [which is it?]

* There has only been ONE anointed Beit Elohim [House of G-d] ever, at any time  in history, on the planet. This was first the Mishkan/Tent/Tabernacle used in the  wilderness, then in Canaan. Later, it was the Beit ha Mikdash: 1st Temple, then  later the 2nd Temple. Where? [2 Samuel 24:24, 1 Kings 9:3, 1 Chronicles 21:25, 2 Chronicles 7:12-16] The final Temple [Ezekiel 43:7] 

- approximate location; 31° 46' 40.6416'' N, 35° 14' 7.548'' E

Evolution of errant doctrine -

It is important to note that in western christianity, the church establishes itself as the default  authority structure. By creating its own doctrines, it places the branch manager [pastor] on the  pedestal of spiritual authority. The pastor is an employee of the local corporate entity. The board  rules by democratic vote. Most evangelical churches of today are offshoots of the Roman  Catholic Church. They differ in style and liturgy, but all operate under man-structured authority,  rather than theocracy. Like multi-level corporate business organizations, churches have:

  • - CEO [bishop] at the top national/international level
  • - regional director [presbyter] at the state level
  • - branch manager [pastor/vicar/priest] at the local level

Monetization starts at local level, extracted upline to mid- and top-level offices, with some  trickle-down funding for high-producing mega churches and startups of new local branches in  foreign and domestic markets. Culture trends drive the lucrative worshiptainment genre.

There is much effort and finances expended for domestic and foreign startups, so that  denominational market share can be expanded. The main thrust is ‘...go and make disciples of  all nations, baptizing them in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and  teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you {join the church}’ see: great  commission [Matthew 28:19-20]

Although G-d is mentioned ceremoniously, He is not a required element of church, since His Law  is optional. If G-d is removed, people can still have church. How would people know if G-d were  removed?

G-d’s commands can be effectively removed from liturgy and practice, but as long as the  corporate elements and physical structure remain, people can still have church.

However, if one removed the corporate structure, physical structure, staffing & payroll, one could not have church.

This is where we desperately need to understand truth. There is a great chasm of understanding  between truth vs. errant church doctrine.

‘Doctrinal revisionism does not change the bible, it changes the way the bible is perceived. It is like placing an optical lens between the reader and the text. The lens refracts and/or colors the textual image that reaches the mind and heart. Once the lens is implanted, everything must pass through it.’

‘The one who looks through the lens thinks that everything he sees is in the text. He does not know that the lens is there. In fact, if the lens were to be removed, he would think that the true image he is seeing is a gross distortion.’ - Daniel Gruber

As studious believers in Messiah Yeshua, it is now critically important for us to study bible in its  proper Hebraic context, with the help of the Holy Spirit.

When we understand the clear simplicity of bible, then we see that ‘tithing’, as the western  church teaches, is a perversion of truth – it’s designed to monetize and proliferate the corporate, franchised religious system.

‘Tithing’ is something I’ve done for literally 50 years, up until Sep. 4, 2018. I then realized, with  accurate understanding of biblical truth, that I had never ‘tithed’ to the ‘House of G-d’ but made  contributions to 501(c)(3) state-licensed corporations.

Most churches disavow Torah, echoing ‘not under law’, yet they misappropriate and extract key passages from it, building specific doctrines, to monetize the billion-dollar western church enterprise. Therefore, this man-made doctrine is essential to the corporate franchising, payroll  and real estate holdings of the western church.

**In a brazen attempt to justify receiving the ‘tithe’, the local pastor, using this Genesis 14  passage, [in full cooperation with denominational requirements] arrogates special status and  places himself in the role of Malki-Tzedek [King of Righteousness / King of Salem] as a divinely appointed tithe-receiver, as the middleman forwarding funds upline, to the national office.

The local pastor also declares the local assembly [identified & franchised by a building] to be the  ‘house of G-d’, to justify receiving his own wages and to monetize the social club, of which he is  administrator.

It is important to note this false teaching, then to understand that Avraham voluntarily gave 10% of war-spoils to Malki-Tzedek. Malki-Tzedek did not ask for, nor require, any ‘tithe’; he accepted it as a one-time gift, which was a common practice when victors divided war spoils.

In typical biblical patterns, we see Malki-Tzedek as the precursor to the office of high priest, who  collected tithes from Israel, and most obviously to Yeshua, the future High Priest.  [Hebrews 7:3, 11, 17]

Celestial witnesses

G-d has called sun, moon and stars as witnesses. These celestial events, started 4 days after  creation, bear daily witness to G-d’s promises:

1] The offspring of Israel will be a nation in His presence forever. [Jeremiah 31:35] 2] The covenant with the house of David will continue; that he will have a descendant to reign  from his throne. [Jeremiah 33:19-22] The prophet Isaiah declares this to be Yeshua ha  Moshiach. [Isaiah 9:7]

3] The Levites will minister as priests.

4] G-d will increase the descendants of David.

5] G-d will increase the descendants of Levi.

The stars are a witness of G-d’s promise to Avraham that ‘his descendants would be as  numerous as the stars in the sky.’ [Genesis 15:5] This is recorded as being fulfilled by Moshe’s  declaration that ‘you are numerous as the stars in the sky.’ [Deuteronomy 1:10]

Looking to the grand event horizon, we can see that:

1] Israel’s population will grow exponentially.

2] Levites will increase proportionately.

3] Israel will be ruled by Yeshua.

This is required reading for Messianic believers, as we anticipate and prepare for the future. Study Ezekiel 40-48 for:

- Architectural description of the final Temple & kitchens,

- Zadokite priesthood,

- Regulations for offerings,

- Moedim,

- Civil protocol & clothing,

- Special land tracts of 3 miles x 8 miles,

- Tribal land divisions,

- Perimeter boundary of Eretz Israel,

- River of Life.

Proper tithing –

Now, we can understand clearly from the bible that proper tithing is G-d’s provision for;

- Levites

- poor, widows and outsiders

- commonwealth of Israel

This is important for us as we observe and obey G-d’s law, whether we are the ‘natural olive  tree’ of Israel or grafted in as ‘wild olive branches’. We are the commonwealth of Israel, just as  the other nations [goyim] were, at Mt. Sinai.

By G-d’s directive, the Levites were not assigned any tribal inheritance of land - they were  allocated occupational rights in 48 towns/pasturelands among all 12 tribal portions. Although  Levites were not landowners, they had the option to own a house within a city. The inheritance  of the Levites was the tithe and offerings from B’nai Israel. Their main focus is the Tent or  Temple, the priesthood and all responsibilities related to priestly functions. [Ezekiel 44:28]

This is important, as the commonwealth of Israel depended on the priestly functions to make  offerings of many types, which included sin and guilt offerings. Without the sin and guilt  offerings, Israel would stand guilty before Yahweh. When the proper offerings were made, they  restored the relationship between Yahweh and B’nai Israel, also between Yahweh and the  nations.

The tribes of Israel, with the goyim who had become grafted into the covenant, were provided  for by the 2nd tithes [ma’asar aakhaat], every year of the 7-year Shmittah cycle.

The poor, widows and outsiders were also provided for, by the 2nd tithes [ma’asar shaalosh], of  the 3rd and 6th years of the Shmittah cycles, along with whatever produce they could glean after  the harvesters.

Theocracy: our Father’s will - 

In the family structure, G-d rules by theocracy – He is the divine authority.

G-d’s theocratic authority structure: family

man’s democratic authority structure: church

The husband and wife make a covenant of marriage with G-d, Who is their provider and  authority. They can only make this covenant, because G-d provided for the institution of  marriage through covenant with Him.

The husband steps into his position as the authorized protector/provider for his wife and  children, and the wife steps into her position as the child-bearer and nurturer, infusing mother’s  love into homelife. The wife is the equal helpmate: Ezer Kenegdon - Hebrew: “power and  strength equal to and adequate for.” [Genesis 2:18-20] Husband and wife act as priests for their  family.

He is responsible as a priest to represent his family before G-d.

He is responsible as prophet to correctly study and teach G-d’s word to his family.  He is responsible as king to rule his house with compassion and courage.

The husband should never outsource the teaching of G-d’s word [for his wife] to any another  man, since he is responsible in his covenant, to represent her before G-d. [Ephesians 5:20]

The father should never outsource the teaching of G-d’s word [for his children] to the Sunday  school department, since he is responsible in his covenant to train them himself. [Proverbs 22:6]

As the bible teaches, the command given in Gan Eden to replenish the earth and bear G-d’s  image is accomplished through the marriage covenant, through family.

Family, as G-d’s revealed image, comes before any other institution on earth.

It is important to be generous, never stingy. We should therefore, as our first priority, lavish  generosity on our family to which we bear responsibility: always providing fully for our family.

Once our family [grandmother, grandfather, husband/father, wife/mother, children] is completely provided for, only then are we are free to sow generously outside to those in need.

Since our dependent children come from this marriage covenant, we have an implied covenant  with our children, to care for them until adulthood. To take anything away from family to build a  corporate enterprise is highly irresponsible, negligent and shortsighted.

We should save and provide for long-term financial responsibilities, planning as good stewards  for the growth of our family. G-d enters into marriage covenant with us, as a basis upon which  to build family.

As we study further into G-d’s word, we find more examples of His provision for us, as image bearers of Him. By studying and obeying His instructions, cleaving unto Him as Yahweh our  Creator, we can live in His perfect will with His blessings.

~ February 23, 2021 [11 Adar 5781] Steve Franklin ~