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Monday, March 19, 2012

An Unscriptural Offering Plate?

Back to Malachi and just what are God's "offerings"?
It was not just a matter of tithes in the passage from Malachi 3 so often used to pull 10% from our gross or net.
God gave equal emphasis to the "offerings" He required under the Law.

Church often skips over that part of the verse, just as with the "ordinances" in verse 7 with what God said He abolished in the new Testament.  "From the days of your fathers ye have turned aside from my ordinances"...

Let's look at what God required in those Old Testament "offerings",

because the tithe was cursed if the offerings were not brought.
Malachi 3:8-10: Will a man rob God? Yet you have robbed Me! 
                     But you say, 'In what way have we robbed You?'  In tithes and offerings.      
The Levite priests (not the people) were robbing from God in Malachi 3.
Those "offerings" were just as lawful as the tithes. When we see how God defined what the offerings were, we will see Christians do not give correct "offerings" as required in the Law from which Malachi was referring in 3: 7

Here is a list that includes most of them:
Ex 13:12 First offspring of every womb
Ex 29:14 Sin offering   the flesh of the bullock, and its skin, and it dung
Ex 29:18 Burnt offering  thou shalt burn the whole ram upon the altar
Ex 29:40 Drink offering   according to the drink-offering
Ex 29:41 Grain offering  the meal-offering of the morning
Ex 30:10 -16 Annual atonement (vs 13 The rich shall not give more, and the poor shall not give less, than the half shekel, ...the offering of The LORD, to make atonement for your souls)

Lev 3:1    Fellowship offering 
Lev 5:15  Guilt offering his trespass-offering unto Jehovah, a ram without blemish,
and    the shekel of the sanctuary, for a trespass-offering
Lev. 7:11 Thanksgiving offering    offer ...of thanksgiving unleavened cakes
Lev. 7:13 Peace offering   cakes of leavened bread he shall offer his oblation with the sacrifice of his peace-offerings

Lev 7:12   Thank offering  offer with the sacrifice of thanksgiving unleavened cakes
Lev. 7:32  Heave offering       the right thigh shall ye give unto the priest for a heave-offering 
Lev 7:37   Ordination offering  he law of the burnt-offering, of the meal-offering, and of the sin-offering, and of the trespass-offering, the sacrifice of peace-offerings;
Lev 19:24  Praise offering for new fruit trees  all the fruit ..shall be holy, for giving praise to Jehovah
Lev 22:18  Freewill offering  of the house of Israel, or sojourners in Israel, that offereth his oblation, whether it be any of their vows, or any of their freewill-offerings, which they offer unto Jehovah for a burnt-offering

Num 5:15 Grain offering for jealousy      meal-offering of jealousy,
Num 5:15 Reminder offering    a meal-offering of memorial
Num 5:26 Memorial offering for discovering sin the priest shall take of the meal-offering, as memorial
Num 19:17 Purification offering   for the unclean ... the ashes of the burning of the sin-offering
Num 28:14 Monthly burnt offering  in the beginnings of months ye shall offer a burnt-offering...

Deuteronomy 16:10  ...feast of weeks unto the LORD thy God with a tribute of a freewill offering .... according as the LORD thy God hath blessed thee:
Deuteronomy 12:11... Then there (in Jerusalem)  shall be a place which the LORD your God shall choose to cause his name to dwell there; there 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:

Those that insist on the tithe to avoid the curse and earn the blessings, often fail to keep the rest of Malachi 3:8

Those mandatory "offerings" very seldom get proper attention.
This is primarily because most church spokesman focus on that 10% to fund the church.
To add insult to injury, tithing may curse you for adding  practice to the New Testament scripture that neither God nor the apostles ever commanded Christians to do.

Have you ever heard of a tither getting sick, having problems with his children, borrowing money, losing their home, suffering pain or affliction? Those are some of the things mentioned in the "curse" that Malachi referred to, as also Paul in Galatians.

We have considered Malachi's tithes before, now let's turn on the truth-spotlight on Malachi's offerings.
We saw the weekly tithes and offering plate and envelopes distributed every time, and in every service, like God set it up that way in the Bible.
The truth is there is neither tithes NOR offerings are given to the church in the New Testament. Have you ever heard the phrase "bring your offering" or similar in church?

Here is every New Testament verse with "offering":

1  Mark 12:33 and to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the strength, and to love his neighbor as himself, is much more than all whole burnt-offerings and sacrifices.
2  Luke 21:5   And as some spake of the temple, adorned with goodly stones and offerings..
3  Acts 24:17  Now after some years I came to bring alms to my nation, and offerings:
4  Hebrews 10:6        In whole burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hadst no pleasure:
5  Hebrews 10:8        Saying above, Sacrifices and offerings and whole burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou wouldest not, neither hadst pleasure therein (the which are offered according to the law)

1  Matthew 5:23         If therefore thou art offering thy gift at the altar, hath aught against thee...
2  Luke 23:36   And the soldiers also mocked him, coming to him, offering him vinegar,
3  Acts 21:26  Then Paul took the men, and the next day purifying himself with them went into the temple, declaring the fulfilment of the days of purification, until the offering was offered for every one of them.
4  Romans 15:16      that I should be a minister of Christ Jesus unto the Gentiles, ministering the gospel of God, that the offering up of the Gentiles might be made acceptable, being sanctified by the Holy Spirit.
5  Ephesians 5:2       and walk in love, even as Christ also loved you, and gave himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for an odor of a sweet smell.
6  Hebrews 10:5        Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, But a body didst thou prepare for me;

7  Hebrews 10:10  ...we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
8  Hebrews 10:11      And every priest indeed standeth day by day ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, the which can never take away sins:
9 Hebrews 10:14      For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.
10 Hebrews 10:18    Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin.
11 Hebrews 11:17    By faith Abraham, being tried, offered up Isaac: yea, he that had gladly received the promises was offering up his only begotten son;
12 Hebrews 13:11    For the bodies of those beasts whose blood is brought into the holy place by the high priest as an offering for sin, are burned without the camp.

With few exceptions, offerings mentioned in the New Testament scriptures reference back to the offerings defined by God from back under the Old Testament Law which is done away in Christ.

Let's see what a search of the New Testament church yields in regard to what the church practices. 
We find  "collection" and "collections" mentioned once.
Chapter 16:1 Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I gave order to the churches of Galatia
2 Upon the first day of the week let each one of you lay by him in store, as he may prosper, that no collections be made when I come.

The word "giving" is found 26 times in the New Testament and only once in the epistles to the church:
Phillipians 4:15   And ye yourselves also know, ye Philippians, that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church had fellowship with me in the matter of giving and receiving..

This "matter" Paul spoke of was relating to his needs being met.
He was in prison and prisoners were supplied by friends and family.

2nd Corinthians 1:11   ye also helping together on our behalf by your supplication; that, for the gift bestowed upon us by means of many, thanks may be given by many persons on our behalf. and to the Philippians,
Phillipians 4:17   Not that I seek for the gift; but I seek for the fruit that increaseth to your account.

The word "give" is used many, many times (176 times) in the entire NT, but never in a context of a weekly church collection. The one collection mentioned was for giving TO the saints at Jerusalem.

However, there are many, many exhortations and reminders to meet the needs of others such as illustrated by these passages:

2nd Cor    9:9            as it is written, He hath scattered abroad,
                                    he hath given to the poor; His righteousness abideth for ever.
Galatians 2:10          only they would that we should remember the poor;
                                   which very thing I was also zealous to do.
Romans 15:26          For it hath been the good pleasure of Macedonia and Achaia to make
                        a certain contribution for the poor among the saints at Jerusalem.
Acts 2:45        and they sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all, according
                        as any man had need.
Acts 4:35        and laid them at the apostles' feet: and distribution was made unto each,
                        according as any one had need.
Phillipians 4:16        for even in Thessalonica ye sent once and again unto my need.
Ephesians 4:28   ... let him labor, working with his hands the thing that is good, that he may have whereof to give to him that hath need.
1st John 3:17   But whoso hath the world's goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his compassion from him, how does the love of God abide in him?

Acts 20:35     In all things I gave you an example, that so laboring you ought to help the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that he himself said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.
And let's throw in a Proverb:  (28:27)  He that gives to the poor shall not lack; But he that hides his eyes shall have many a curse.
Did Jesus teach His disciples to gather, collect, and take up offerings for themselves?
Mat. 25:35 for I was hungry, and ye gave me to eat; I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink; I was a stranger, and ye took me in; 36 naked, and ye clothed me; I was sick, and ye visited me; I was in prison, and ye came to me.

To whom was He referring?
40  And the King shall answer and say to them, Truly I say to you, Inasmuch as ye did it unto one of these my brethren, even these least, ye did it to me.

As it works in the typical church today, the building, organization, and most ministers are taking what the Lord intended for the needs of others, for their own  benefit.
The average pew-member participates with a nice, comfortable building once or twice a week for great music and a sermon from a hired messenger. 

This passage caught my attention and is very convicting for us former church-goers that were trained to feed the offering plate instead of God's people. And let's rethink where those offerings are to go while we are at it.:
 Jesus said in the strongest of terms: (Please read these and ask yourself, Did HE really mean what he said here?)

Mat.25:37        Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee hungry, and fed thee? or athirst, and gave thee drink?
45  Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not unto one of these least, ye did it not unto me.
46   And these shall go away into eternal punishment: but the righteous into eternal life.: 

Isn't it odd that God's people enrich famous ministers and for the most part ignore the poor? 
The comparison to our enrichment of preachers and televangelists is in stark, convicting contrast in our treatment of the poor. I saw a picture of the Jesse Duplantis estate the other day and was astonished. But there are many just like that and you can google their name and the word "house" to see for yourself.

The leaven of tradition has spoiled the definitions and meanings of both tithes and offerings as defined by God.
Church leaders have redefined (the scripture uses the word perverted) the meanings of both tithes and offerings for many years, right down to that weekly offering plate for which there is no instruction that it was to be an on-going permanent practice.

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