In this new series, we are going to talk about matters of Discipleship, the Kingdom, and You. We define a disciple as someone who is attempting to truly be conformed to Yeshua’s walk and to do everything that the Torah says to do. And some of our disciples have asked a number of questions about things that they are realizing in their walk. One of the questions that have come up is about the three-tithe system. We know that there are three tithes commanded in the Torah, but do those still apply to us today? Well, the answer is yes. And to find out why, stay with us for this study.
It is wonderful to watch people grow in their spiritual development. When we are newborn babies, someone else feeds us, someone else cleans us, and someone else changes us. If the room is too cold, they make sure we are warm, and the room is too hot, they try and cool us off. This kind of a thing. But as we grow older, we begin to take care of our own responsibilities. We learn to feed ourselves, clean ourselves, and pick up after ourselves in our rooms. Eventually, as we start to get to a certain age, we should then be able to start to help out with other things around the house. It is the same kind of thing when we get to adulthood. Now it is our job to take care of others who are not able to take care of themselves. We take care of the elderly, and we take care of children.
The same kind of growth takes place in the spiritual realm. First, as newborn infants in the Scripture, somebody else is feeding us, cleaning us, and taking care of us. But as we learn and grow spiritually, we need to come to the place where we are learning to take care of others. But when you begin to take care of others the commandments take on whole new importance and a whole new form. And then you end up with discipleship questions about how certain commandments apply to people individually.
For example, “Am I really required to give a third tithe to take care of the poor?” “What are my responsibilities?” “What am I supposed to do?” “How do I please my Elohim?” These are very adult questions to be asking. If this sounds like you and you have these questions, this series is for you.
One of the requirements we have in Nazarene Israel for all disciples is for them to read all of the doctrinal studies at least twice. And if you have questions, please ask. Because the purpose is for us to all be on the same page, or like-minded in the doctrine. First and foremost, we want to know what His word says so that we can be on the same page with Him and walk together with Him. And then, we need to be on the same page with each other, at least in doctrinal terms. The way we do it is by agreeing with what we believe Elohim’s word says. And if not, let us talk about it until we do know what Elohim’s word says.
The problem is that there are certain aspects of our walk that have to do with duties and responsibilities. You can get people excited really easy when they hear about the benefits of the kingdom, the promises to the disciples, and all the good things. You can get people to rest and read on the Sabbath. That is not too difficult. Because they are resting and reading, so they are getting rested, refreshed, and fed. That is very easy to get believers to do. And that is where you get your 4,000, your multitudes, crowds, and throngs. But then other people go quiet and into the dark, you could say, when you start to talk about the tithes. And other people are going to just kick up a fuss. Some people would rather go get major oral surgery done than listen to what Yahweh says about funding His Son’s kingdom work. If that describes you, then really, brother or sister. You might want to pray and think about it.
One of the things we are going to talk about in this first part is the reasons for Yeshua’s kingdom. We are going to talk about the things that we know we need to do and the reasons we need to do them. What are we trying to do here? But first, let us talk about the complaints.
A lot of times people have complaints. It is very interesting sitting back and receiving the complaints, the hate mail, and the nasty-grams over the years. You will probably see this also in your walk as disciples. But you can begin to break down the complaints into various categories. Sometimes we hear complaints from the church end of things (from the Catholics or the church system). And their basic argument is that all of the Torah is done away with except for the tithe, of course. Then you get the flip side to that in the Messianic or Ephraimite movement, which argues that none of the Torah is done away with except for the tithe.
|Catholicism / The Church||Messianics / Ephraimites|
|All of the Torah is done away with, except for the tithe.||None of the Torah is done away with, except for the tithe.|
The problem with that is pretty obvious. Either we are going to pray and submit to Yahweh and ask Him to lead and guide us in everything by His Spirit, in which case we adopt His whole Torah. Or we do not, in which case it does not matter whether we reject one percent of it or 99 percent. Either way, we are still rejecting His Torah. It is still the error of the Pharisees. The Pharisees believe that they can start with His original and then modify it and make their own rules. They can delete this one and add that one. Because they add their own fence laws and these kinds of things. And I believe that a lot of the Messianic and Ephraimites make the same kinds of errors. Because they are effectively attempting to do things their way instead of truly submitting to Yahweh and asking Him, “Dear Master and King, please treat me as Your servant. What would You like me to do?” That is the kind of way we need to approach the tithe, as well as every other topic.
Another pattern that you see is that 99 percent, the majority of people in the Hebrew Roots movement, are still on what you might call the Messianic Model, as well as specifically the Prosperity Doctrine Model. And so basically, they treat the tithe as if it belongs to them. And then they will say all kinds of things. They might believe that they are truly serving Yeshua, but they are not helping to build a unified, global ministry kingdom for Yeshua. They have forgotten all about that. And so they do not teach on congregational discipline, they do not teach upon proper structure and order, they do not teach upon the apostolic foundation. Rather, they teach what makes for a broader easier road. In reality, what they are trying to do is to get the people excited to get them to give. You can tell that because they take the money home. That is corruption. And so we understand that there are a lot of people that are opposed to giving. No one wants to give to corruption, that does not make any sense.
But we would contrast that with what we do here in Nazarene Israel. In Nazarene Israel, all of the tithes, donations, gifts, and offerings are carefully administered. Because we know that at the end of our lives we are going to go stand before Yahweh’s throne. And we are going to answer for everything that we did and everything that we failed to do. And when you think about the responsibility of that and how awesome that day is going to be, that is a lot of accountability.
So, that is the thing. Do we have our hearts set on earthly things? Are we still carnal? Are we still focusing on the money? Or is the money just something that Yahweh is giving us to help give us the time we need to do His ministry work, to further and build His kingdom? What is our relationship with money? Is it something that Yahweh provides for us so we can do more for Him, or is it something that we desire and lust after? These are important questions for any disciple. And if you see people who are refusing to tithe then the same questions apply to them.
But again, we do understand a lot of people’s reluctance. And you will meet a lot of people like this. For many, it is an excuse and for many, it is a legitimate experience. Most of us have been burned at some point or another in either the church or the orthodox system. The thing is, people are people, and we cannot let that impact us. Because we already know, as it tells us in Philippians, that there would be unfaithful ministers.
Philipim (Philippians) 3:18-19
18 For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Messiah:
19 whose end is destruction, whose Elohim is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame—who set their mind on earthly things.
Here, the apostle Shaul is telling us that there were many ministers, even in the first century, that have set their minds on earthly things. They are not keeping their mind on the requirement to build Yeshua a unified, global kingdom. Rather, they are trying to see what they can get for themselves. And so, we understand that people want to be cautious. But we also need to know what it is that we are called to do, and then we need to do it if we are going to be disciples.
As disciples, you will have already read The Torah Government study at least twice. We do not have time to do a full study on that. At some point we will have to do a full study on the tithe, we are hoping to work that into some other things in the future. But if anyone wants to check it out, The Torah Government talks about the three tithes system that was given under the Levitical Order and about how it still applies today in the Melchizedekian Order.
We have the first tithe which goes to the priesthood. That is basically what funds Yeshua’s kingdom work which is how Yeshua’s kingdom grows. Because we are not doing this to make money, but clearly, it still takes money. They do not give us rent for free and we do not get the cameras and the programs for free just because we are doing Yeshua’s work. Yahweh’s kingdom work is crowdsourced (or crowdfunded) and we are the crowd. So it is definitely a ‘pay to play’ system. If we want to help build Yeshua’s kingdom which is a global effort that takes absolutely everyone, then we each need to do our part. Most people do not have too big of a problem with that, they at least understand the concept. But the disciple is attempting to take that role on and say, “Okay, if this is what I am supposed to do, then let us do it.”
Then you have the second tithe which we could think of as the people’s tithe or the family tithe. Because the purpose of the second tithe is to take your family up to the feasts three times a year and to make the feasts a delight for you and your family. Because you want to raise your children the way they should go so that when they are older, they shall not depart from it. So the second tithe is to make the feasts a delight and then our children and our families are looking forward to Yahweh’s feasts three times a year.
Then, in the next chapter, we are going to explain about the third tithe which is for the poor, the widow, and the orphan. Basically, it is Yahweh’s pension (or social security) program. The third tithe is very important, and we are going to see that it still applies in the Renewed Covenant, under the Melchizedekian Order. The application is a little bit different, but mostly it stays the same.
|Levitical Order||Melchizedekian Order|
|First Tithe (priesthood)||First Tithe (priesthood)|
|Second Tithe (Feasts)||Second Tithe (Feasts)|
|Third Tithe (poor, widows, orphan, 2 years in 7 (but effectively 3 years in 7)— or 4.3% if cost-averaged annually)||Third Tithe (poor, widows, orphan, 2 years in 7 (but effectively 3 years in 7)— or 4.3% if cost-averaged annually)|
|First Fruit Offerings||First Fruit Offerings|
|10% tax (1 Samuel 8)||(Can be tax deductible)|
I believe that a lot of the reluctance people have to tithe is simply because they do not know what the three tithes are for. We see all these prosperity-gospel preachers talking about crystal cathedrals. And we see all kinds of “If I do not raise so many millions of dollars…” There is no submission. Where is the submission to Elohim’s Spirit?So that will be in the next chapter. Right now we just want to talk about the purpose of tithing and why it is still important. Why are we still supposed to be giving three tithes?
Well, we cannot do anything about the rest of the world. But what we can do is submit personally to Yahweh. And we can say, “Okay, Father, we want to be Your servants, what do You want us to do?”
He does not always answer directly. But one of the things that we know in general is that Yahweh is seeking a Proverbs 31 bride for His Son, and He has got the pick of everyone out there. We need to give Him reasons to choose us as His Son’s bride. He is seeking a Proverbs 31 bride for His Son who wants to help Him build His kingdom. She is using her mina as best as she can, this is what she wants to do. She loves her Husband, she wants to see her Husband succeed, and she is eager to do all she can to help build her Husband’s kingdom.
And when you hear the complaints from people, you just cannot help but think how they do not understand what we are trying to do. They do not understand that we are attempting to build a global ministry for Yeshua that eventually will be the ruling and reigning spiritual government of the world after the Babylonian system falls at trumpet seven. We will talk about it later. But you hear the complaints. And you understand people have been abused by the pastors and rabbis, they have been lied to. But there is still a job to do. There is still a global kingdom to build for Yeshua. And it takes every one of us. They used to have the concept of Christendom expanding over the whole globe. Well, that is still the scriptural mission and that is still something that we are called to do. Even if the rest of the body of believers is off course, we are still called to do the right thing.
What are we called to do? Yeshua gives us the Great Commission in Matthew chapter 28.
Mattityahu (Matthew) 28:18-20
18 And Yeshua came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.
19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, immersing them in My name*,
20 teaching them to observe [keep, guard, do, shomer] all things that I have commanded you; and behold, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amein.
Well, we get the Great Commission in Matthew chapter 28, starting in verse 18. Yeshua says, “All authority has been to Me”. Now, we know that Satan is the prince of this world. But there is a transition taking place and Yeshua’s government is going to be put in charge, all of a sudden, after the Tribulation. And the Tribulation is drawing near. There is a day when we are going to need to be ready.
What does Yeshua say for us to do? What are our marching orders for the last 2000 years? He says, “I have the authority, I want you to make disciples in all the nations, immersing them in My Name. And I want you to teach them to keep everything I have commanded you.” In Hebrew, ‘shomer’ is to keep, guard, observe and do. And what does He want?
We know that He wants us to build Him a global kingdom in His absence. That is the meaning of the parable of the minas. And so that is what we are attempting to do. But it is a kingdom of disciples. Not a kingdom of those who just call themselves disciples and then do not do what He says. Again, that is why it is so wonderful to get questions about the third tithe. Because it is a question of “Am I really required to look out for the poor among us?” “Am I my brother’s keeper?” In that sense, it is wonderful to see that awakening taking place.
What are the other things we are commanded to do? We are commanded to build a unified ministry for Yeshua worldwide that will eventually become the spiritual global government. This is what it says in Ephesians chapter 2.
Ephesim (Ephesians) 2:19-21
19 Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of Elohim,
20 having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Yeshua Messiah Himself being the chief cornerstone,
21 in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a set-apart temple in Yahweh….
We are no longer strangers and foreigners to the commonwealth of Israel. Now we are fellow citizens with the saints and the commonwealth of Israel, here called the members of the household of Elohim. It is a family thing because it is built on a single foundation of apostles and prophets, Yeshua Messiah Himself being the Chief Cornerstone in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a single, unified, set-apart temple in Yahweh.
It is just so amazing. You talk with other people and they do not know what Yeshua was trying to do. They have no concept of building a unified, global kingdom that will eventually serve as the spiritual government of the world for a thousand years. They do not understand this, yet it is right there in Scripture.
Yeshayahu (Isaiah) 9:7
7 Of the increase of His government and shalom There will be no end, Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, To order it and establish it with judgment and justice From that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the Yahweh of hosts will perform this.
We believe that. Do we understand that it is our job to make that happen? Because we are His body. We are His hands and His feet. We are doing what the Spirit of Yeshua is doing. If we are truly His disciples and are truly led by His Spirit, we are already manifesting the fruit of Yeshua’s Spirit. And the zeal of Yahweh of Hosts is going to be the One to perform this. So again, this is not something that we need to do. All we need to do is to hear what Yeshua’s Spirit is telling us and to do it. Because Yeshua’s Spirit is already building His kingdom worldwide, we just have to submit and do everything that His word says to do if we are to be His disciples. (And there is no fooling Him.)
Well, people say, “Are you sure we are going to a global spiritual government? Do you know how? Are you sure?”
We talk about that in The Torah Government as well as in Revelation and the End Times. We see how the Babylonian government is going to fall at the end of tribulation. Between tribulation and the cups in Armageddon, the Babylonian system will fall and be no more, just like the prophecy in Daniel.
26 “But the court shall be seated, And they shall take away his [the little horns; i.e.; the pope’s] dominion, To consume and destroy it forever.
27 Then the kingdom and dominion, And the greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven, Shall be given to the people, the saints of the Most High.
His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, And all dominions shall serve and obey Him.”
This is where discipleship comes in. It says, after the little horn’s (pope’s) dominion is taken away, the kingdom, dominion, and greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven shall be given to the people, the saints of the Most High. If those are not the disciples, I do not know who that is.
Brothers and sisters, are we ready for this? Are we ready to be given the kingdom and dominion? We do not set dates in the Revelation study. But we do study the timeline and the progress and the sequence of events. And brothers and sisters, we are coming right up on the tribulation. And at the end of the tribulation, there will be trumpet seven, that is when Babylon will fall. There will need to be a new system of government established at the fall of Babylon. That will be us and no, we are not ready. So, that is the reason for the discipleship training. Let us read verse 27 again.
27 Then the kingdom and dominion, And the greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven, Shall be given to the people, the saints of the Most High.
His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom,
And all dominions shall serve and obey Him.”
We interpret saints of the Most high as the Nazarene Israel disciples. There is kind of a riddle there because it goes on to say that His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey Him. So, on the one hand, it is saying the kingdom and dominion are given to the disciples (Nazarene Israel disciples), and at the same time His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all the dominions shall serve and obey Him. Our understanding is of this is because we are His body. And He is going to give authority, power, and dominion to us as His body as He continues to serve as our Head. We will then be His hands and His feet (effectively, one flesh with our Husband) at that point, and we will be His bride, one flesh doing His will here on earth. Are we sure? Yes, we are sure. We have been over this many times. Here is more witness.
Tehillim (Psalms) 2:7-9
7 “I will declare the decree: Yahweh has said to Me, ‘You are My Son, Today I have begotten You.
8 Ask of Me, and I will give You The nations for Your inheritance, And the ends of the earth for Your possession.
9 You shall break them with a rod of iron;
You shall dash them to pieces like a potter’s vessel.’” [Yeshua is receiving a rod of iron from His Father.]
Here in Tehillim chapter 2, verses 7-9, Yeshua is speaking. We see very clearly that Yahweh is handing His Son Yeshua a rod of iron with which He can now dash the nations to pieces as He rules and reigns over them, during the Millennium. But do we understand that that is our job as His hands and His feet? Let us continue reading what Yeshua says in Revelation chapter 2, starting in verse 26.
Hitgalut (Revelation) 2:26-27
26 “And he who overcomes, [Israel, the ‘overcomers of Elohim’] and keeps My works until the end, to him I will give power over the nations—
27 ‘He shall rule them with a rod of iron;
they shall be dashed to pieces like the potter’s vessels’—as I also have received from My Father…”
Now, we have said this in past studies. But as a reminder, ‘he who overcomes’ is just another name for Israel, the overcomers of Elohim. When you get problems, you pray, you listen, and you are supposed to overcome the problem in Elohim. Yeshua is saying that he who overcomes (Israel) and keeps His works until the end, to him will Yeshua give power over the nations, to rule them with a rod of iron. And they shall be dashed to pieces like the potter’s vessels as Yeshua also has received from His Father. Meaning, we need to be working for Him. Not just learning, we need to be working for Him.
We see the same scenario of Yeshua receiving a rod of iron in Psalms 2 and then handing it to His body (His bride) in Revelation. Because His bride is the one that is going to have the job of ruling and reigning over the nations, just like it also says in Daniel 7.
Now, in the Revelation and the End Times study, we also talk about the prophecy in Daniel, where the stone that is cut out of the mountain without hands strikes the image on the feet, and the whole Babylonian image falls to pieces and is blown away like chaff. And on that day, a different system will be required to replace the Babylonian system. Sound fantastic? We are the ones who are called to establish that system. And He is giving us lead-time, He is getting us started now. He wants to see which ones of us are going to respond.
In The Torah Government, we explain how Elohim wants us to build that global spiritual government for His Son and how He wants us to fund it, which is through the three tithes (plus gifts and offerings).
So, now that we have an understanding that Yahweh has been attempting to establish a global kingdom for His Son for a very long time, now we can begin to understand what is actually being said in Acts chapter 15, in the so-called Jerusalem council. We see what is really being discussed is global governance so that the gentiles can be brought back into the commonwealth of Israel.
Ma’asei (Acts) 15:15-17
15 And with this the words of the prophets agree, just as it is written:
16 ‘After this I will return and rebuild the Tabernacle of David, which has fallen down; I will rebuild its ruins, and I will set it up;
17 “So that the rest of mankind may seek Yahweh, even all the gentiles who are called by My Name, says Yahweh who does all these things.”
At this point, in Ma’asei chapter 15, the apostle Yaakov (James), who was the leader of the Nazarene assembly after Yeshua’s death, is speaking. And he is effectively speaking here about how Yeshua is going to bring the Ephraimites back into the fold. That is why they are discussing this in Ma’asei chapter 15. Because the faith in Yeshua is actually a spiritual government and for a thousand years it will be the global spiritual government. But it is our job between now and then to set it up, and we need to get busy.
So, that is the reason for the three tithes. In the next chapter, we are going to briefly describe the first and second tithes. And then we are going to talk about the third tithe, why is it still important, how it manifested in the Levitical Order, and how we still see it manifesting in the Melchizedekian Order. And we hope that will be pleasing, if not to most of the believers, at least it will be pleasing to the disciples who truly want to know what Yahweh’s word says so that they can do it. Because that is what a disciple is.
In the next chapter we will discuss how we can all please Yahweh by helping to fund His Son’s global spiritual kingdom. Especially for the needs of the poor, the widow, and the orphan.