they are forfeiting as a result of their disobedience. We need to remember that everything in the word of YHVH is there to bless us, even the things He asks of us.
We are servants of YHVH. It is not our place to argue with Him about anything, including financial giving. It is our privilege to be loved by Him, and it is in response to His love, faithfulness, and instruction that we are to make decisions about our tithes and offerings.
If there is one thing we see over and over in the Bible and in our personal lives, it is this: YHVH is our source and supply. When we carefully consider the abundance we have in our Messiah and how faithfully YHVH has provided for us, giving biblically will not seem like a risk. Remember, it is always the flesh, not our spirit man or woman, that causes us to fear when it comes to trusting and obeying YHVH.
Within the Bible, there are kingdom principles. Here are a few examples. “Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” Galatians 6:7 Another: “If you confess with your lips that Yeshua is Lord and believe in your heart that YHVH raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” Romans 10:9 One more: “Seek first the kingdom of YHVH and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” Matthew 6:33
The more you live by these kingdom principles and others that are found in the word of YHVH, the greater your personal growth and blessing will be, and the more you will strengthen the work of YHVH’s kingdom. Anything you do to strengthen the presence and position of YHVH in the world will bless you. And anything that will bless you will also strengthen YHVH’s presence and position in the world. They go hand in hand. Financial faithfulness is a vitally important issue because it affects both your personal blessing as well as the body of Yeshua and work of the kingdom of YHVH.
So, if I can show you that the word of YHVH teaches us to tithe, will you do it?
BEFORE THE LAW
Many people within the body of Yeshua choose not to tithe. They argue that tithing is part of Old
Testament law and say that we as believers in Yeshua are no longer under the law. The truth is, the tithe was established as the rightful gift for a king – particularly our King YHVH – before the laws of the Old Testament were given and long before they were written.
The first reference to tithing occurs only fourteen chapters into the Bible and is part of the story of Abram. In Genesis 14:17-20, YHVH’s word shows us that a tithe or a tenth of a person’s “income” or increase is the appropriate gift to be given to royalty. As believers, we have come to know that YHVH is the ultimate expression of royalty.
After Abram returned from defeating Kedorlaomer and the kings who allied with him, the king of Sodom came out to meet Abram in the Valley of Shaveh (that is, the King's Valley). Then King Melchizedek of Salem brought out bread and wine. He was the priest of YHVH Most High, and he blessed Abram, saying, "Blessed be Abram by YHVH Most High, Creator of heaven and earth. And blessed be YHVH Most High, who delivered your enemies into your hand." Then Abram gave him a tenth of everything.
As we consider the issue of tithing, this account of Abram giving a tenth to King Melchizedek of Salem should be very powerful and persuasive to us as believers and followers of YHVH and Yeshua. Why? Because most biblical scholars believe that King Melchizedek was Yeshua – and some are now teaching that King Melchizedek might have actually been Y’hovah Himself. There are a number of places in the Old Testament where Yeshua and/or Y’hovah make an appearance. This means that many years before YHVH ever gave the law to Moses, the tithe as an appropriate gift to the Living God was already established through the life of Abram and the gift he gave to King Melchizedek.
Let’s go one step further in establishing that the tithe preceded the giving of Old Testament law by looking at another story.
Jacob left Beersheba and set out for Haran. When he reached a certain place, he stopped for the night because the sun had set. Taking one of the stones there, he put it under his head and lay down to sleep. He had a dream in which he saw a stairway resting on the earth, with its top reaching to heaven, and the angels of YHVH were ascending and descending on it. There above it stood the LORD, and he said: "I am the LORD, the Elohim of your father Abraham and the Elohim of Isaac. I will give you and your descendants the land on which you are lying. Your descendants will be like the dust of the earth, and you will spread out to the west and to the east, to the north and to the south. All peoples on earth will be blessed through you and your offspring. I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you." When Jacob awoke from his sleep, he thought, "Surely the LORD is in this place, and I was not aware of it." He was afraid and said, "How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of YHVH; this is the gate of heaven." Early the next morning Jacob took the stone he had placed under his head and set it up as a pillar and poured oil on top of it. He called that place Bethel, though the city used to be called Luz. Then Jacob made a vow, saying, "If YHVH will be with me and will watch over me on this journey I am taking and will give me food to eat and clothes to wear so that I return safely to my father's house, then YHVH will be my Elohim and this stone that I have set up as a pillar will be YHVH's house, and of all that He gives me I will give Him a tenth."
This reading from Genesis 28, as well as the previous one from Genesis 14, demonstrates that early on the Bible establishes the tithe of one’s income or increase as the appropriate and rightful gift that is to be given to YHVH. For those who would argue that there’s no proof that King Melchizedek was Yeshua or Y’hovah, and that there is consequently no connection between YHVH and the tithe, the latter story from Genesis 28 negates that argument because Jacob makes his promise directly to YHVH.
A WAY OF LIFE
For Israel, tithing was a given. It wasn’t negotiable, nor was it considered unreasonable. It was truly a way of life. Although established before the law, tithing became part of the law of YHVH through Moses because the law’s whole intention was teach YHVH’s people how to live in a right relationship with Him and other people – and was setting them apart to be a light and example to the whole world.
"'A tithe of everything from the land, whether grain from the soil or fruit from the trees, belongs to YHVH; it is holy to YHVH. If a man redeems any of his tithe, he must add a fifth of the value to it. The entire tithe of the herd and flock - every tenth animal that passes under the shepherd's rod - will be holy to YHVH. He must not pick out the good from the bad or make any substitution. If he does make a substitution, both the animal and its substitute become holy and cannot be redeemed.'" These are the commands YHVH gave Moses on Mount Sinai for the Israelites.
Notice that at the end of the first sentence in Leviticus 27, the word of YHVH states that the tithe was considered holy. Why? Because it was YHVH’s portion of a person’s income. The word holy literally means sacred and set apart.
Many people today are spending the holy part of their income on whatever they please, as if it belongs to them. It is used for entertainment, bills, debt, internet service, cell phone plans, sporting events, eating out, golf, country club memberships, family life, houses, automobiles, college tuition, manicures, coffee, etc. How happy can YHVH be about this? And how can he fully bless us when we do this? Later, it will make sense to us why the word curse is used in Malachi 3 for those who don’t honor YHVH with their tithe. Curse is a strong word, but not too strong for using the holy portion of our income that belongs to the Lord for lesser, often selfish things. It would sort of be like playing tidally winks with the bread we use for our Shared Meal as a congregation. Most people would never do that, but they think nothing of spending YHVH’s holy tithe on just about anything. Sadly, many, if not most believers do this all of their lives with all of the income they ever receive.
In the Israelite community, every tribal group was given an allocation of land when the Promise Land was finally possessed, every group except the Levites. The Levites were not allowed to own property or farm it because the Levites, also known as the sons of Aaron, were set aside by YHVH to serve as priests in order to carry out priestly functions as prescribed by YHVH. This included leading worship and prayer, presenting offerings and sacrifices for the people, and tending to the holy places of YHVH – first the tabernacle and then later the temple. It was the tithes from the rest of the Israelites that supported the Levites and their families. Because tithing was a way of life for YHVH’s people, there were no exceptions, even for the Levites. They, too, were required to tithe on the tithes they received from others as noted in the scripture below.
"Speak to the Levites and say to them: 'When you receive from the Israelites the tithe I give you as your inheritance, you must present a tenth of that tithe as YHVH’s offering. Your offering will be reckoned to you as grain from the threshing floor or juice from the winepress. In this way you also will present an offering to YHVH from all the tithes you receive from the Israelites. From these tithes you must give YHVH’s portion to Aaron the priest. You must present as YHVH’s portion the best and holiest part of everything given to you.' Say to the Levites: 'When you present the best part, it will be reckoned to you as the product of the threshing floor or the winepress. You and your households may eat the rest of it anywhere, for it is your wages for your work at the Tent of Meeting. By presenting the best part of it you will not be guilty in this matter; then you will not defile the holy offerings of the Israelites, and you will not die.'"
Within our congregation at Yeshua’s Love, those who serve as elders and leaders are required to tithe. We believe that it is a biblical principle for leaders to lead. Just as YHVH required the priestly Levitical leaders of Israel to tithe, so too, we require the elders and leaders of our congregation to tithe.
FIRST FRUITS AND THE PROMISE OF LIFE & PROSPERITY
Many times people wonder whether they are to base their tithe on gross income (before taxes) or net income (after taxes and other expenses have been taken out of their check). The answer is clear. The tithe is based on gross income – not because it’s more, but because our gross income is our first fruits. Once deductions are taken out for taxes, retirement, insurance, etc., we are no longer giving from our first fruits – and we are not really giving on our total income. Leftover income after other bills are paid, even taxes, is not first fruits income and cannot be considered a first fruits tithe.
There are many references to first fruits giving in the Bible. The thing that makes this reading from Proverbs 3 so powerful is what precedes and follows the instruction to give first fruits. Verse one of Proverbs 3 teaches a universal truth, namely that obedience brings blessing. In this case, blessing is denoted as life and prosperity.
My son, do not forget my teaching, but keep my commands in your heart, for they will prolong your life many years and bring you prosperity. Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of YHVH and man. Trust in YHVH with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear YHVH` and shun evil. This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones. Honor YHVH with your wealth, with the first fruits of all your crops; then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine. My son, do not despise YHVH’s discipline and do not resent his rebuke, because YHVH disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in.
Take note of the last sentence in Proverbs 3. Sometimes people get angry or upset when the word of YHVH is taught, especially when it involves an issue that personally challenges them. Proverbs 3 tells us not to despise the Lord’s discipline and not to resent his rebuke.
Please understand that first and foremost, financial giving is not a financial matter. It is a spiritual matter. That is why we need to allow the word of YHVH to inform us, direct us, and if necessary, to discipline and rebuke us so that we may be faithful and obedient and receive the life and prosperity that YHVH has destined us to have.
A SPIRIT OF THANKSGIVING
In the history of Israel, there were many leaders who misled YHVH’s people and caused great harm and destruction. Some were kings, some military leaders, and some false prophets. One such leader was King Ahaz. Immediately following his reign, YHVH brought restoration through his son, Hezekiah.
In the book of 2nd Chronicles we read about the purification and restoration that occurred as a result of the obedience of King Hezekiah and the Israelite community. As you read the Bible passages below, pay special attention to the spirit of joy, generosity, and honor that accompanied the lavish offerings that were made by a grateful people.
2nd Chronicles 28:27 – 29:36
Ahaz rested with his fathers and was buried in the city of Jerusalem, but he was not placed in the tombs of the kings of Israel. And Hezekiah his son succeeded him as king. Hezekiah was twenty-five years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem twenty-nine years. His mother's name was Abijah daughter of Zechariah. He did what was right in the eyes of YHVH, just as his father David had done. In the first month of the first year of his reign, he opened the doors of the temple of YHVH and repaired them. He brought in the priests and the Levites, assembled them in the square on the east side and said: "Listen to me, Levites! Consecrate yourselves now and consecrate the temple of YHVH, the Elohim of your fathers. Remove all defilement from the sanctuary. Our fathers were unfaithful; they did evil in the eyes of YHVH our Elohim and forsook him. They turned their faces away from YHVH’s dwelling place and turned their backs on him. They also shut the doors of the portico and put out the lamps. They did not burn incense or present any burnt offerings at the sanctuary to the Elohim of Israel. Therefore, the anger of YHVH has fallen on Judah and Jerusalem; he has made them an object of dread and horror and scorn, as you can see with your own eyes. This is why our fathers have fallen by the sword and why our sons and daughters and our wives are in captivity. Now I intend to make a covenant with YHVH, the Elohim of Israel, so that his fierce anger will turn away from us. My sons, do not be negligent now, for YHVH has chosen you to stand before him and serve him, to minister before him and to burn incense." Then these Levites set to work: from the Kohathites, Mahath son of Amasai and Joel son of Azariah; from the Merarites, Kish son of Abdi and Azariah son of Jehallelel; from the Gershonites, Joah son of Zimmah and Eden son of Joah; from the descendants of Elizaphan, Shimri and Jeiel; from the descendants of Asaph, Zechariah and Mattaniah; from the descendants of Heman, Jehiel and Shimei; from the descendants of Jeduthun, Shemaiah and Uzziel. When they had assembled their brothers and consecrated themselves, they went in to purify the temple of YHVH, as the king had ordered, following the word of YHVH. The priests went into the sanctuary of YHVH to purify it. They brought out to the courtyard of the YHVH’s temple everything unclean that they found in the temple of YHVH. The Levites took it and carried it out to the Kidron Valley. They began the consecration on the first day of the first month, and by the eighth day of the month they reached the portico of YHVH. For eight more days they consecrated the temple of YHVH itself, finishing on the sixteenth day of the first month. Then they went in to King Hezekiah and reported: "We have purified the entire temple of YHVH, the altar of burnt offering with all its utensils, and the table for setting out the consecrated bread, with all its articles. We have prepared and consecrated all the articles that King Ahaz removed in his unfaithfulness while he was king. They are now in front of YHVH’s altar." Early the next morning King Hezekiah gathered the city officials together and went up to the temple of YHVH. They brought seven bulls, seven rams, seven male lambs and seven male goats as a sin offering for the kingdom, for the sanctuary and for Judah. The king commanded the priests, the descendants of Aaron, to offer these on the altar of YHVH. So they slaughtered the bulls, and the priests took the blood and sprinkled it on the altar; next they slaughtered the rams and sprinkled their blood on the altar; then they slaughtered the lambs and sprinkled their blood on the altar. The goats for the sin offering were brought before the king and the assembly, and they laid their hands on them. The priests then slaughtered the goats and presented their blood on the altar for a sin offering to atone for all Israel, because the king had ordered the burnt offering and the sin offering for all Israel. He stationed the Levites in the temple of YHVH with cymbals, harps and lyres in the way prescribed by David and Gad the king's seer and Nathan the prophet; this was commanded by YHVH through his prophets. So the Levites stood ready with David's instruments, and the priests with their trumpets. Hezekiah gave the order to sacrifice the burnt offering on the altar. As the offering began, singing to YHVH began also, accompanied by trumpets and the instruments of David king of Israel. The whole assembly bowed in worship, while the singers sang and the trumpeters played. All this continued until the sacrifice of the burnt offering was completed. When the offerings were finished, the king and everyone present with him knelt down and worshiped. King Hezekiah and his officials ordered the Levites to praise YHVH with the words of David and of Asaph the seer. So they sang praises with gladness and bowed their heads and worshiped. Then Hezekiah said, "You have now dedicated yourselves to YHVH. Come and bring sacrifices and thank offerings to the temple of YHVH." So the assembly brought sacrifices and thank offerings, and all whose hearts were willing brought burnt offerings. The number of burnt offerings the assembly brought was seventy bulls, a hundred rams and two hundred male lambs - all of them for burnt offerings to YHVH. The animals consecrated as sacrifices amounted to six hundred bulls and three thousand sheep and goats. The priests, however, were too few to skin all the burnt offerings; so their kinsmen the Levites helped them until the task was finished and until other priests had been consecrated, for the Levites had been more conscientious in consecrating themselves than the priests had been. There were burnt offerings in abundance, together with the fat of the fellowship offerings and the drink offerings that accompanied the burnt offerings. So the service of the temple of YHVH was reestablished. Hezekiah and all the people rejoiced at what YHVH had brought about for his people, because it was done so quickly.
Taken together, joy, generosity, and honor form the spirit of thanksgiving. This is the spirit we are to have when we give to YHVH. It is out of love for YHVH, remembering especially the gift He has given us in Messiah Yeshua, that we give our tithes and offerings to our great Elohim who has saved, purified, and restored us!
BLESSINGS AND CURSES
YHVH is our Elohim who desires to bless. More than any earthly father has ever conceived of blessing his child, your heavenly Father desires to bless you. When we disobey the Lord or do not walk in the right spirit, we put ourselves under a curse because we have separated ourselves from Him and His will. As much as we would rather not believe this, it is true and needs to be understood. If we doubt it, we need only to look closely at the story of Cain in Genesis 4. Our decisions, financial and otherwise, do not alter YHVH’s love for us, but they do greatly alter our growth, blessing, joy, peace, and usefulness in the kingdom of YHVH.
In Malachi 3, the people of YHVH seemed to be at a loss as to why things weren’t going as well as they thought they should. Out of love and a desire to set them on a path of blessing, YHVH spoke boldly and directly in order to help them.
"I, YHVH, do not change. So you, O descendants of Jacob, are not destroyed. Ever since the time of your forefathers you have turned away from my decrees and have not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you," says YHVH Almighty. "But you ask, 'How are we to return?'" Will a man rob YHVH? Yet you rob me. But you ask, 'How do we rob you?' In tithes and offerings. You are under a curse - the whole nation of you - because you are robbing me. Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this," says YHVH Almighty, "and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it. 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," says YHVH Almighty. "Then all the nations will call you blessed, for yours will be a delightful land," says YHVH Almighty.
This is the only place in all of scripture where YHVH says, “Test me.” In essence, his invitation for us to test Him turns out to be His test of us as well. Why does YHVH choose the area of financial giving for us to test Him, and in turn, to be tested ourselves? Because He wants us to be free and to be blessed. In YHVH’s great wisdom and knowledge, He knows that money is one of the most powerful strongholds in our lives, so powerful that it is a place of disobedience for the vast majority of His people.
This is why Yeshua spoke as often as he did about money. He said, "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:19-21 He said, "No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both YHVH and money.” Matthew 6:19-24 And St. Paul says, “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.” 1st Timothy 6:10
Beyond the personal, faith issue that is involved in this test, there is also a corporate issue. In every time and place, the tithe has served as an instrument of supporting the work of the kingdom of YHVH, particularly the household of faith. For us, that means our congregational fellowship. As was mentioned earlier, the tithes of the people of Israel supported the Levites and their families. Today, the tithe serves the same function. It is given to YHVH in order to honor him and to support the work of ministry. That is why YHVH says, “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house.” Food for who? For those who are called by YHVH and employed by his congregations. In our case, that’s our pastor, the staff, and their families. St. Paul says in 1st Timothy 5:17-18: “The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching. For the Scripture says, ‘Do not muzzle the ox while it is treading out the grain,’ and ‘The worker deserves his wages.’" Without the faithful giving of YHVH’s people, the ministry of the kingdom is adversely affected.
A prominent congregational leader is quoted as saying, “I will not have another leader on the platform with me who doesn’t tithe. I will not share the platform with someone who is cursed.”
A NEW TESTAMENT ISSUE
Many people assume that tithing is an Old Testament issue. Nothing could be further from the truth. Yeshua, Himself, affirms tithing in the following verses.
"Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices - mint, dill, and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law - justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former.
"Woe to you Pharisees, because you give YHVH a tenth of your mint, rue, and all other kinds of garden herbs, but you neglect justice and the love of YHVH. You should have practiced the latter without leaving the former undone.
Based on the scriptures, especially the New Testament, I have come to believe that tithing isn’t the finish line for those of us who are in Messiah, but should be the starting place. The spirit of this is seen in several places in the New Testament.
Yeshua entered Jericho and was passing through. A man was there by the name of Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was wealthy. He wanted to see who Yeshua was, but being a short man he could not, because of the crowd. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see him, since Yeshua was coming that way. When Yeshua reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, "Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today." So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly. All the people saw this and began to mutter, "He has gone to be the guest of a 'sinner.'" But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, "Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount." Yeshua said to him, "Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham."
They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising YHVH and enjoying the favor of all the people. And YHVH added to their number daily those who were being saved.
The fruit of the Holy Spirit includes the fruit of generosity. This fruit is to mark the life and spirit of those who follow Messiah and are filled with YHVH’s Holy Spirit. Yeshua said that you will know a tree by its fruit. James said that faith without works is dead. The measure of our faith is not in what we say, but rather in what we do. As a response to the love of Yeshua, Zacchaeus enthusiastically gave far beyond the tithe, as did those in the early New Testament community as recorded in the book of Acts.
“Not equal gifts, but equal sacrifice.” This was the motto used by a financial stewardship organization that helped us to raise funds for the purchase of a congregational building site many years ago. “Not equal gifts” means that we are not all going to give the same dollar amount because our income varies. “Equal sacrifice” means that there should be equal concern and sacrifice throughout our community of faith for the responsibilities we have as a congregation, that we should all be tithing and contributing at least a tenth of our income to the Lord. Imagine what would be accomplished if this were to become a reality. Imagine, also, what would happen to the ministry of Yeshua Messiah if everyone gave as you do. It could be great or it could be dismal depending on whose giving we use to complete the illustration.
One of the most important things for us to understand about tithing is that it is “proportionate giving,” or giving based on a percentage or proportion of our income. In YHVH’s economy, it’s not the dollar amount that is important. It is the percentage that really counts.
Sometimes people will say, “I can’t tithe or give very much because I’m on a fixed income.” The truth is, most people are on a fixed income. Others say, “I can’t tithe because I don’t make very much money.” Biblical giving is not about the size of the check you contribute, but what your gift represents in terms of your income. If you make a lot of money, your tithe will be larger. If your income is lower, your tithe will be smaller. In the kingdom of YHVH, someone who doesn’t make or receive much money – but who tithes (gives 10%) – is giving more than another person who makes a lot of money, gives a larger amount, but is giving a smaller percentage. A story from the New Testament will illustrate.
As he looked up, Yeshua saw the rich putting their gifts into the temple treasury. He also saw a poor widow put in two very small copper coins. "I tell you the truth," he said, "this poor widow has put in more than all the others. All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on."
Psalm 24:1 says, “The earth is the YHVH’s, and the fullness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein.” The truth is, everything belongs to YHVH. This fact is verified every time there is a death. We came into the world with nothing, we will leave with nothing, and everything we have while we are here is a loan. That should make it much easier for us to tithe and to share what has been temporarily loaned to us with others. When we see ourselves as owners rather than managers, and when we think that we are the ones who manufacture our own wealth and blessings, it makes it much more difficult for us to be generous.
The Bible teaches that we are to encourage one another. There are many ways to do this. Our words, our testimony, our integrity, our attitudes, and our faithful participation in worship and congregational events greatly encourage others in the body of Messiah. So, too, does our steadfast, financial giving. It is a sign of our commitment, not only to YHVH and Yeshua, but to each other and to the mutual work of ministry.
Every week. That is how often most of us earn wages for our labor. There are many people in the body of Messiah who give only when they attend worship. On the weeks they are absent, they contribute nothing.
There are three things that are short-sighted about this: 1) This completely undermines the discipline of tithing which in turn interrupts the blessing and prosperity that YHVH has planned for you as an individual or family – and perhaps the blessing and prosperity that YHVH has planned for us as a congregation [Malachi 3 was spoken to the corporate people of YHVH, not just to individuals]. 2) When you give only on the Sabbaths that you are in attendance, you ignore all of the blessing and provision that YHVH has given you during the weeks when you weren’t able to attend corporate worship. Please understand, you are not a tither if you fail to make-up for the weeks when you were absent. 3) The ministry responsibilities of the congregation don’t cease when you are away. Every week there are salaries, repairs, utility bills, ministry expenses, and unexpected operating costs.
In the kingdom of YHVH, there is only one acceptable way to live – in a spirit of humility and honesty. Whether malicious or not, dishonesty about our gifts to the Lord and our support of his kingdom is an abomination to Him and a deadly mistake. The story below illustrates how seriously YHVH takes a false word about this sacred issue.
Now a man named Ananias, together with his wife Sapphira, also sold a piece of property. With his wife's full knowledge he kept back part of the money for himself, but brought the rest and put it at the apostles' feet. Then Peter said, "Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land? Didn't it belong to you before it was sold? And after it was sold, wasn't the money at your disposal? What made you think of doing such a thing? You have not lied to men but to YHVH." When Ananias heard this, he fell down and died. And great fear seized all who heard what had happened. Then the young men came forward, wrapped up his body, and carried him out and buried him. About three hours later his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. Peter asked her, "Tell me, is this the price you and Ananias got for the land?" "Yes," she said, "that is the price." Peter said to her, "How could you agree to test the Spirit of YHVH? Look! The feet of the men who buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out also." At that moment she fell down at his feet and died. Then the young men came in and, finding her dead, carried her out and buried her beside her husband. Great fear seized the whole church and all who heard about these events.
Why were the words and actions of Ananias and Sapphira so offensive to YHVH? There are two reasons. First, our giving to the Lord is an inherently and overwhelmingly sacred issue as is demonstrated throughout the Old and New Testaments. For the longest time, it was even required that a person’s gifts and sacrifices to YHVH be approved by a priest – as much as anything for the protection of the person making the gift. Second, the scripture above from Acts 5 teaches us that a lie to a brother or sister in Messiah is a lie to the Holy Spirit of YHVH.
YHVH has great disdain for those who tell lies and mislead others. This is substantiated by the words of Revelation 22:13-15: “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last. Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city. But outside the city are the dogs and sorcerers and sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters and whoever loves and practices a lie.” With all issues, and in particular this one, we must strive for honesty with ourselves, other people, and the Lord.
Myth one. The body of Messiah is always talking about money.
Myth two. The body of Messiah only wants your money.
Myth three. It doesn’t matter if you give or what you give.
Myth four. We’re a small congregation and we can’t possibly make ends meet.
Myth five. Your giving is nobody else’s business.
Myth six. None of this matters to YHVH.
Myth seven. Blessings and curses aren’t real.
The devil is the fabricator of lies and myths. He is the “deceiver of the brethren.” If you give him a chance, he will twist everything you read in this study – even the word of YHVH. Our Elohim, YHVH, is a God of strength, power, and prosperity! He never asks us to do anything without also giving us the necessary provision to accomplish it. As YHVH says in Psalm 50:10, “For every beast of the forest is mine, and the cattle upon a thousand hills.” He is an Elohim of tremendous wealth, provision, and generosity who is able “to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine.” Ephesians 3:20
I am grateful for the opportunity to share this teaching with you. I believe that the Bible speaks clearly on financial giving. I take YHVH at his word and believe that tithing is a gateway to blessing, the content of which I leave completely to YHVH.
Yeshua was once asked by his disciples if there would be any reward for the sacrifices they were making for him and his ministry. He responded, “Everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or fields, for my name's sake, will receive a hundredfold, and will inherit eternal life.” Matthew 19:29
There are two more scriptures that I think are essential as we pray about our giving and press in to understand YHVH’s promise to bless us and his infinite ability to resource and sustain us.
Yeshua said: "Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap; for the measure you give will be the measure you get back."
2nd Corinthians 9:6-11
Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for YHVH loves a cheerful giver. And YHVH is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. As it is written: "He has scattered abroad his gifts to the poor; his righteousness endures forever." Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion.
I heard Pastor Jim Minor of the Harvest Tabernacle deliver a powerful sermon on the text above. I will never forget the words that he shared with us. He said, “The harvest you never see is in the seed you didn’t sow. Seed contains the harvest. We don’t receive because we didn’t sow. The harvest is in the seed.”
Throughout the Bible there are many stories of those who didn’t want to give YHVH his due. Adam and Eve didn’t want to give Him their obedience. Cain didn’t want to give Him an offering. Lucifer didn’t want to give Him worship. The rich young ruler didn’t want to give Him uncompromised allegiance. In all of the Bible you will not find one person who ever benefited by withholding what they should have given to the Lord.
For years now, YHVH has inspired me to help him build a Spirit-filled, biblical community that is ever growing in love, joy, maturity, and servanthood. This remains my heart’s desire. I know that an essential part of being such a community requires that we give in a way that honors YHVH and his word.
There is nothing that I have more passion for than seeing lives transformed. It is to that end that I commit my life, my energy, and my tithe ... and I am bold to ask you to join me.
Sola Gloria Deo. To YHVH alone be the glory.
Pastor David B. McCoy
Yeshua’s Love Biblical Fellowship
© October 2007. Revised, April 2010, June 2014.
Understanding Financial Giving in the Kingdom of YHVH
Most of us want to be faithful, but where do we go to get the answers and direction we need to make healthy, godly decisions? We go to the word of YHVH. For a believer in Y’hovah and a follower of Yeshua, the Bible should be understood as the handbook and foundation of your life. This includes the discipline of financial giving. Thankfully, the word of YHVH speaks very clearly about this issue – as it does every other foundational topic. I believe that if you will have an open heart, the scriptures will lead you to give in a blessed and appropriate way to the Lord.
There are many believers in the body of Yeshua who choose to ignore what the Bible teaches on any number of issues, including financial ones. They do not realize how much joy, blessing, and transformation