The Store House— Chapter 5

Hello Lovely Family. Sorry for posting this late but yipee we are up and we are excited to share this with you all. Today’s post is on the laws of Tithing

 

The Captivity of Oath Breakers
Allow me introduce you to another brief history of Israel. Being the people of God, the one thing this mighty nation spent many long years doing was wrestling with God. After all, that’s exactly how their father got that name. They went into repeated Covenants with God and God blessed them abundantly for it but generations later they break this Covenants and the curses of the covenant follows. If you read the Torah (Genesis – Deuteronomy) you would see in details most of the Covenant blessings, and curses that would follow if broken. Most curses led to loss of their homeland and captivity by their enemies. This they experienced greatly after the loss of the Davidic dynasty and the Medo-Persian Empire captured them. While in Persia, Babylon, God started to raise up those loyal to Him who would teach the people to remember His Holy Name. People like Daniel, Ezra and Nehemiah were very instrumental in taking the people back to the promised lands to help rebuild the temple, and revive true worship of the Covenant God [YHWH]. None of the chosen reformers found this task easy. As a matter of fact, they were so unsuccessful that prophets after prophets came after them with warnings and promises of the Messiah to come. The Chosen One himself wen go finish work.
This briefly summarized situation is what we see in the books of Ezra and Nehemiah. Understanding this story made it possible to see Malachi in its contextual light and that was when I had my first light bulb moment. That was when I found the storehouse.
Back from Captivity: the tithe of the returning sons
Ezra and some Jews in exile, by the permission of the Persian king, Artaxerxes, had come back to their strong city of peace (Jeru-Salem) to rebuild it and cause the people to purify their Israeli race. He discovered a lot of them had intermarried with non-Israelis and this was indeed a sin according to the law (Deut. 23:1-4). He and the elders gave decrees to divorce these foreign women and their foreign babies and send them away insisting they had polluted the people of God and made them slaves of idolatry. This was hurtful. Most importantly the Levites had to follow this decree so that they can uphold the law and begin to serve in the temple again. They were made to observe this divorce en masse and this became a very common practice.
Treasures and Supplies
After Ezra, Nehemiah had come to rebuild the walls and the people started to observe the laws faithfully again. That was when I first observed in scriptures that the Israelites tithed exactly as the law had instructed in Numbers 18. In Nehemiah’s days, the children of Israel took their tithe and paid to the sons of Levi, as was their entitlement for taking care of God’s house, then these Levites paid a tithe of the tithe they received to the priests in the store house. They also brought all the offerings into the store house so they will not neglect the house (Neh. 10: 38-39). These offerings and tithes were used for the maintenance of the house of God, the salaries to the Levites, since they had no inheritance in the land, and, very easily neglected, provisions for the poor. At the end of Nehemiah’s book, he observed that they had stopped observing the tithe laws and he corrects it, brings back the Levites to the House of God but is still unable to make them obedient to God. He kind of tells God that he has done his best but this him people no dey hear word (cf. Neh. 13) and he ends with asking God to at least remember him for his good attempts (Neh. 13:31).
The ease at which Israel found it to disobey the strict laws of Moses in a sense shows just how revolting Humans can be. However, when they were in their right state of mind, they knew just how important it was to ensure that all the storehouse was filled again with treasures and food supplies as in the glorious days of the kings of Israel. Every time they strayed from God, they neglected to fill up this treasury room and God would send prophets to rebuke their actions and remind them of just how important it was to do these things. Soon we would come to understand why Malachi said a few things to complain about as we contemplate the significance of the storehouse in ancient Israel.

Stay tuned and see you on Friday. God bless you all abundantly.

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The Store House— Those above the Law

Hello Lovely Family, Yea today is the fourth post in a series of engaging and inspiring posts. We are gradually getting to the nitty-gritty of the #Tithing post. This post is one you should not be in a hurry to finish. You need to take your time and understand the different characters from Abraham to Jacob to Melchizedek and their roles in the #Tithing journey. Have a Bible by your side as you undertake this journey of enlightenment. Now dig in.

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Biblical Ages and Laws

This time we would briefly go through three major ages in the bible before we run through the tithes of the Patriarchs. A little more background history to help us see the picture. The Laws were given by God to Moses. But we must understand that Sin existed before the Law came and justified sin [making it more valid] (cf. Romans 7). The Laws came to be in a Covenant God made with Israel through Moses. Before Moses there was no law so sin, though in existence, did not condemn those Patriarchs who were true Sons of God. These ancient fathers whose names portrayed special qualities were known to exist in the Patriarchal Age and they were way before the law. The next was the Law Age which makes up most of the Old Testament books of the Law & Prophets. These people received the Law and were bound by it. The last period is the Age of Grace in Christ Jesus.  Rejoice for even you & I are still in that age. Those who existed before the Law are above the Law and those who existed in the age of Grace are beyond it. Feel free to let every debate run through your head. It’s a really interesting topic.

The Tithes of the Patriarchs

I started to study the tithes of those above the law to understand why, in a sense, these people who were under no obligation chose to tithe. I began to ask myself the difficult questions so I can unlock some insights into this. Who is Melchizedek and why did Abram (Heb. Exalted Father) tithe to him (Gen 14:18-20)? Secondly, I asked Why did Abram refuse to take his share of the loot despite already tithing and being entitled to it (Gen 14:22-24)? When Jacob (Heb. Swindler) saw the famously sung dream “ladder ladder ladder ladder eh…”, what made him wake up from his dream and promise he will tithe (Gen 28:10-22)? I eventually got a bit of insights but I want to point out that this exalted father and his grandson the ancient 419er didn’t need to obey any laws to be blessed because blessings were already guaranteed to them by direct promises from God, yet they felt the need to. I’ve heard prominent teachers say they did this as an act of gratitude and this is acceptable. I’m sure Abram was grateful for winning a war alone with his 3 associates against 5 mighty kings and He had an existing mysterious Priest Melchizedek who would collect his tithe. I can’t help but wonder who his swindler grandson had promised to pay tithes to in a generation when there were no priests and the only mysterious one was, perhaps, passed away. This is the depth of how I’ve had to think about these two Patriarch tithers.

Although I haven’t found more fulfilling answers, I would say that Abrams act of gratitude and selflessly giving back to those kings who had lost everything to the 5 kings was heroic. Abram giving so heroically to the point of giving his only legitimate son, guaranteed his elevation him from the exalted father Abram to Abraham (Heb. father of Multitudes). This great Patriarch has merited children who are not even of his loins because his promised Offspring (the Christ) has done something similar to what he had done on that day of tithing. He sowed a seed that has become a tree of life till this day, forever immortalizing this selfless father and giving him selfless spiritual offspring from the Offspring who would do as He has done. As for Jacob, in a sense He must have realized that tithing in gratitude would be the secret to coming into success. I can’t be too certain but all I can say is that this swindler needed a transformation for his promises to be kept. By turning swindler Jacob into Israel (Heb. Wrestled with Angel/God) and ensuring that the law of tithing is being established in his generations, God had ensured that his vows may be kept all the days of his life. I believe at this point that God has ensured the establishment of this laws this so He can continue to bless the generations of Israel through tithing. Who can say for sure?

Like I said these are my shallow interpretations of these above the Law tithers. I would take a few more pages to introduce you to the tithers of the law and their alter ego who were law breakers. I wouldn’t be answering my questions about Melchizedek because there are mysteries so deep I am afraid my answers can only be confirmed in Heaven when I behold the Eternal Life… I’m star struck! Melchizedek’s role is indeed worth contemplating for him to be entitled to a tithe at the very foundation of God’s people. I believe this priest was indeed a great father with a great name because in ancient Israel, it was customary for Priests to be fathers themselves before being fathers at the altar of YHWH. Who he is would indeed be beautiful to understand because his order (office) must have been the only existing family institution that guaranteed the Sons of God, who were above the law, knew how to worship God in spirit and truth. Shalom!

 

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The Store House— The Laws of Tithing

Hello Lovely Family. Let’s continue with the third post in the series of #Tithing. Now Dig in. This has been a very interesting and revealing post and continues to enlighten the mind.

 

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How Israel did it

I’ll love to share a little background knowledge to give us a brief understanding of the scenery of our discussion. The Ancient Israelites were predominantly farmers who tilled the ground and reared animals. Some mastered other skills from neighboring countries like Egypt and Syria but their products mainly came from animals and grains. Example include meat, flour, textile, mints and of course wine; properly fermented wine that messed up Patriarchs like Noah and Judah so badly and still messed up many more in their generations before our Lord, the Messiah, did us the honor of turning some into His blood. Lol! If you still doubt that God instructed His people to drink you’re in for a shocker. But then I’m not here to debate the alcoholicity of wine in scriptures. Another major thing of note is their obsession with the number 7 which is similar to the Jewish word for “Covenant”. For them everything Godly revolves around the Covenant God YHWH. They observed a 7-year calendar in which the 7th year is the sabbath year and the entire land would experience a sabbath year rest. Everything is hallowed and consecrated to God that year. There’s so much juicy history and I can’t even share enough of it. Wow! Moving on!

In scriptures, I observed three types of tithing. I have given these 3 tithes my very own summarized name, however they have their Hebrew names, the details of which I would spare you but you could look it up on Wikipedia or any other encyclopedia you want to:

The first is the feast tithe (Deut. 14:22-27), which is a yearly tithe in which the People were ordered to bring these one tenth at the end of the year to an appointed place God chose (usually the place of worship) and make a feast in which family members consumed it. God made special exemptions in which he advised that if the ceremonial location was afar off, they could convert their tithes into cash and take the cash to the owambe venue where they would purchase any food and wine including other fermented drinks (feel free at this point to assume beer or Jack Daniels because the bible was really clear about varieties of alcohol in this place), to make their celebration into a reality. Note that I am yet to mention Priests or Levites. Also note that for the Old Covenant, worship went hand in hand with feasting. There would be sessions of prayers and benedictions (blessings) before a period of consummation (feasting/eating). This pattern of ancient liturgy remains the same and has been improved in New Covenant Liturgy.

The second I have called the third-year tithe (Deut. 14:28-29; 26:12-5) which is usually done in the third and sixth Jewish calendar year. This is not for family feasting but it has been exclusively designated to Levites, orphans, less fortunate, foreigners, the poor etc. This is where the Sons of Levi get their inheritance from the 12 tribes of Israel since they have no allocation except this entitlement. One special thing of note is that the sons of Levi were expected to pay a tithe of it to the High Priest Aaron and those of his lineage who were priests (cf. Num 18).

The SACRIFICIAL TITHE (Lev 27:32-33): at last, I can finally say this is the tithe that goes directly to God. It is a tithe of EVERY TENTH ANIMAL in the count. All the animals counted, regardless of their condition, were slaughtered and offered up as a tithe offering on an altar. Picture a shepherd with thousands of flocks at the end of the year counting all his flock and every tenth sheep/goat/cattle that walks out is taken to be butchered and completely destroyed by incineration so the smoke can rise to the heavens where God will receive it in all its sweet savor. This takes a lot of discipline.

Apart from the tithes there were several offerings that lawfully went straight to the priests, together with the tithes of tithes. These were much more than the one-tenth and they were mandatory. These were the major laws of tithing and they were observed to the letter. No excuses! Israel was not a nation to take these laws lightly. Or were they now? As we go further, we would see into their future to get more insight on how they implemented these precepts of the law and the curses that follow for breaking those laws.

 

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Stay Tuned and see you on Friday. Follow us on all our social media handles @godlywomenarising. 

The Store House— Passionate Tithers and the Non-Tithers

Hello Lovely Family, Welcome to the 2nd part of the #Tithingseries. This post is more in a story format but passes on the message. Monday is around the corner already and we will be posting the 3rd post. Stay tuned and now Dig in to this deliciously prepared meal.

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Woe unto you God-robbers? (Malachi 3:8-10)

All my life I knew I couldn’t rob God. I mean, who could? Every Sunday, right after Choir ministrations, I would watch that brother or sister get up the pulpit and resonate that repetitive warning from scriptures to those bold enough to think they can steal from the Almighty. Week on week, I watched this slim brother, who always wore colorful suits to service, take out clean notes from his pockets and put them in a tithe envelope with deep piety to the doctrine. I admired him so much, I asked God with a burning desire to bless me abundantly so someday I could afford to pay tithes like this big-nose-brother in colorful suits. Few years later, my friend’s elder brother Obi saw me greet him and asked if I knew him. I admitted to him being my church member and He whispered mockingly to me about how he was a successful Corporate Hustler (aka yahoo boy). “God must really be blessing his hustle because his tithes are coming in fat every Sundays”, I wondered to myself that day.

The day I earned my first holiday hustle which was big enough for me to pay a tithe of about 500NGN, I was tempted to let it pass when those woeful warning hit me hard somewhere in my soul. I pictured the strict faces of those teachers on the pulpit say to me “will a man rob God…” I couldn’t imagine puny mortal me robbing the Almighty immortal God so I gave myself some sense and prepared for Sunday. After all, being warned or not, I know if I give my tithes, a blessing would be unleashed from the windows [and flood gates of Heaven] and there will not be room enough to receive it.

I tried as often as possible to pay my tithes. Like every sin, one day I fell to the urge of chopping God’s 10% and like the first sin of purity it became a major battle. There is a human nature of robbing God just like our primordial parents (Adam & Eva) robbed (to unlawfully take) the only thing that belonged to God in Eden and I had begun to perfectly display those spiritual robbery traits. As far as I knew it, I had to pay my tithes and not paying it was a sin. A really big sin!

 

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No tithes in Rome

Many years passed and in 2010 I experienced my first spiritually intellectual conversion to Rome. That was when I had first become Catholic and I had the burning passion to share all the knowledge I had read about God and the History of Christianity and the Holy Catholic Church etc. but most importantly, I had just rekindled the burning passion to be Christian. I had to follow Christ in all totality and now I was convinced I had found His Church which was built on the foundation of the Apostles and Prophets, it was definitely time to follow God truly.

One beautiful Saturday, at the Opus Dei Centre in Akoka, I went to meet with Fr. Jude because I was becoming Catholic now and since I wouldn’t be having a pastor anymore, I had to find a new minister who I can actually pay my obligatory 10% to and feel like I am giving a real priest like a traditional Israelite would. After all, in the old testament tithes were paid to priests, so therefore I will joyfully give this priest my money, I told myself, feeling accomplished. After declaring my intention to this Priest with the Holy Pride of a new convert, he gave me the most shocking response that day. Fr. Jude assured me that the Holy Catholic Church does not teach the doctrine of tithe making me realize that since her foundation on the Apostles and prophets she has never put any Christian under the obligation to pay a tithe. All the Church had ever taught was the obligation to give. He advised me further to feel free to give my tithes, if I want to, but most importantly give as much as I can and understand that it’s important to give from the heart no matter the measure.

I went home with two things that day. Firstly, a freedom from the guilt of sin which was a pure reflection of the liberating power of the gospel to free us from sin; and lastly, an anger on whoever the unknown person must have been who invented the burden of tithing and placed it on Christians in recent generations. I dedicated myself to looking for scriptures that refute tithes rather than looking to understand why God ever introduced tithing as a Law on Israel. I never really knew a day would come when I would be more focused on understanding and discovering the hidden mystery of the store house