The Tithe of YHWH
The Cost of the Covenant
A written Version of the Audio Teaching
By Jame Scott Trimm
THE LABORER IS WORTHY OF HIS WAGE
But let us look to see what the Scriptures say about this very important matter. The prophet Malachi writes:
1 Behold, I send My messenger, and he shall clear the way before Me; and the Adon, whom you seek, will suddenly come to His temple, and the messenger of the covenant, whom you delight in, behold, he comes, says YHWH Tzva’ot.
2 But who may abide the day of his coming? And who shall stand when he appears? For he is like a refiner's fire, and like fullers' soap;
3 And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver; and there shall be they that shall offer unto YHWH offerings in righteousness.
4 Then shall the offering of Y’hudah and Yerushalayim be pleasant unto YHWH, as in the days of old, and as in ancient years.
5 And I will come near to you to judgment; and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, and against the adulterers, and against false swearers; and against those that oppress the hireling in his wages, the widow, and the fatherless, and that turn aside the stranger from his right, and fear not Me, says YHWH Tzva’ot.
6 For I YHWH change not; and you, O sons of Ya’akov, are not consumed.
7 From the days of your fathers you have turned aside from My ordinances, and have not kept them. Return unto Me, and I will return unto you, says YHWH Tzva’ot. But you say: 'Wherein shall we return?'
8 Will a man rob Elohim? Yet you rob Me. But you say: 'Wherein have we robbed You?' In tithes and heave-offerings.
9 You are cursed with the curse, yet you rob Me, even this whole nation.
10 Bring you the whole tithe into the store-house, that there may be food in My house, and try Me now herewith, says YHWH Tzva’ot, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall be more than sufficiency.
Now it is very clear that this is speaking of the last days judgment “And I will come near to you to judgment; and I will be a swift witness” (Mal. 3:5). In this context, YHWH calls the Body to return to keeping Torah, and the Body says “Wherein shall we return” (3:7) in other words “But YHWH, we HAVE been keeping Torah.” Then YHWH informs them to their surprise that they have failed to keep his Torah because they have failed to tithe, though they did not even realize that they were not tithing (3:8). The context here is clear, why would YHWH rebuke his last days people for not tithing, if there is not obligation to tithe in these last days?
We also get a reminder here. We do not GIVE the Tithe to YHWH, it was already His. He GIVES the 90% to us. When we do not tithe, we are not simply choosing not to give, we are actually stealing from YHWH!
Tithing is not restricted to the Mosaic covenant. Those who labor in the Word and teach the community, are entitled to be supported by the tithes and offerings of the community. In these last days YHWH says to his people “Return to my Torah”. The people say “But we are Torah observant.” YHWH responds, “Then why are you stealing from Me?”. The people say “what do you mean, stealing from You?” and YHWH says “You have been stealing My tithe”.
These are people in the last days who think they are Torah Observant because they have convinced themselves that they do not need to tithe. They are keeping the 612 commandments.
But to the contrary, they are oppressing the laborer in His Word, denying him his wage, when the laborer is worthy of his wage.
Now lets look at the phase “against those that oppress the hireling in his wages” (3:5).
What does this mean?
for nothing you have received,
for nothing you will give.
Sadly for years this passage has been quoted out of context and misused by many to "prove" that those in the ministry should not receive community support for our efforts.
In fact the verse in question is, in context, saying exactly the opposite of what these people represent it as saying.
Actually, Yeshua in the next few verses following this statement instructs his talmidim to request and subsist on community support:
Provide neither gold, nor silver, nor lesser coin in
your belts. Pack not for the journey, either two coats, or sandals, or a staff, for the laborer is worthy of his food. And into whatever city or town you will enter, enquire who in it is honorable, and there abide until you go out from there."
Some light on this text may be acquired by examining a statement by Josephus concerning the first century Essene
sect of Judaism:
...and if any of their sect come from other places,
what they have lies open for them, just as if it were their own;
and they go into such as they never knew before,
as if they had been ever so long acquainted with them.
For which reason they carry nothing with them
when they travel into remote parts,
though still they take their weapons with them, for fear of thieves. Accordingly there is, in every city where they live,
one appointed particularly to take care of strangers,
and provide garments and other necessaries for them.
(Josephus; Wars 2:8:4)
Yeshua's talmidim had for the most part, come from an Essene back ground. It would appear that they were therefore able to travel within Essene circles from town to town without having to carry additional supplies. Yeshua felt that his twelve were entitled to be supported by the community.
Yeshua drives the point home saying "the laborer is worthy of his food." A saying which Paul later cites to prove that "those who labor in the word and its teaching" are worthy of "double honor" which in context seems to indicate that they have the right, like any other laborer, to expect to be paid for their work in the ministry. In fact he even quoted this statement by Yeshua (Mt. 10:10) to support the point:
Those elders who conduct themselves well
should be esteemed worthy of double honor,
especially those who labor in the word and
in teaching, For the Scripture says that
`you should not muzzle the ox, while threshing,' (Deut. 25:4)
and `the laborer is worthy of his wage." (Mt. 10:10)
Paul also expands on this thought in 1Cor. 9:6-14:
Also, I only, and Bar Nabba, have we not the power not to work?
Who is this who labors in the service (ministry) by the expanse of his nefesh?
Or who is he who plants a vineyard and from its fruit does not eat?
Or who is he who tends the flock and from the milk of his flock does not eat?
Do I say these [things] as a son of man?
Behold, the Torah also said these [things]. For it is written in the Torah of Moshe,
`You shall not muzzle the ox that threshes.' (Deut. 25:4)
It is a concern to Eloah about oxen? But, it is known that because of us he
said [it] and because of us it was written, because it is a need [that] the plowman plow unto hope and he who threshes, unto the hope of the harvest. If we have sown spiritual [things] among you, is it a great [thing] if we reap [things] of the flesh from you? … those who labor [in] the Beit Kodesh [the Temple] are sustained from the Beit Kodesh and those who labor for the alter have a portion with the alter?
So also, our Adon commanded that those who are proclaiming his goodnews should live from his goodnews."
Certainly the context of Yeshua's statement "for nothing you have received, for nothing you will give." (Mt. 10:8) was that of a society in which all things were held in common and each person's needs were taken care of by that community (Mt. 10:9-11 and Acts 2:44 & 4:32) but we do not live in such a society, and so citing Mt. 10:8 to those in the ministry today, is akin to asking us to make bricks without straw.
To the contrary Paul quotes the verse shortly afterward (10:10) to reach a principle by which those who are proclaiming his goodnews should be supported for doing so, just as those who labor in the Temple and for the alter are supported for doing so. In other words, Paul draws a midrash from the fact that Levites and Priests received tithes and offerings to teach a principle that "those who labor in the word and teach" should be supported with tithes and offerings.
POURING OUT A BLESSING
“Bring you the whole tithe into the store-house, that there may be food in My house, and try Me now herewith, says YHWH Tzva’ot, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall be more than sufficiency.”
The Old Worldwide Church Of God under Hebert W. Armstrong are a good example of what tithing can accomplish. From time to time I have been asked my opinion of Herbert W. Armstrong and the Worldwide Church of God. Let me begin by saying that I do not agree with everything Armstrong taught. However Armstrong taught many truths that were definitely on the cutting edge for his time.
Armstrong taught seventh day, evening to evening Sabbath observance, while exposing the pagan origins and nature of Sunday Worship. Armstrong taught the Scriptural feasts (which also happen to be the Jewish Holidays) while exposing the pagan origins and nature of the Pagan holidays like Halloween, Christmas and Easter. Armstrong also criticized pagan customs in general, not just Pagan holidays and Sunday worship.
And long before the so-called “Two House” movement, Armstrong was teaching:
“The peoples of the United States, the British Commonwealth nations, and the nations of northwestern Europe are, in fact, the peoples of the Ten Tribes of the House of Israel. The Jewish People are the House of Judah.”
(The United States and Britain in Prophecy, ninth ed. P. 144; Herbert W. Armstrong)
Not long before his death in 1986, Armstrong finally came to the following far reaching conclusion:
"Satan has deceived this world's churches into the
belief that God's law was done away-that Jesus, rather than paying the
price in human stead for transgressing the law, did away with
it-"nailing it to his cross." The expression used by Protestants
"nailing the law to his cross" can mean only one thing. This is
Satan's teaching that by being nailed to the cross, Christ
abolished the law, making it possible for humans to sin with impunity.
What actually was nailed to the cross was Christ our sin bearer, who
took on himself our sins, paying the death penalty in our stead, so
that we are freed from the ultimate penalty of sinning, not made free
to sin with impunity. The very basic teaching, belief AND DOCTRINE OF
God's true Church therefore is based on the righteousness of and
obedience to the law of God."
(Mystery of the Ages; Herbert W. Armstrong p. 274)
For this reason I say that in a world that was blind, Armstrong saw with blurred vision.
The tithe is badly needed to finance the work of teaching the truth of Torah and Messiah as we "labor in the word". "Bring you the whole tithe into the store-house, that there may be food in My house" (Mal. 3:10). Back during the 70's and 80's Armstrong's "World Wide Church of God" distributed millions of free books and booklets and had a disproportionate impact on theology in America. Their free "Plain Truth" color magazine had a circulation reaching eight million! More than Time, Newseek and US News and World Report COMBINED at the time! They had a weekly TV show and owned two colleges, not to mention a world class auditorium. How was this small sect (they only numbered in the thousands) able to accomplish so much? Because their members were actually tithing!
Nazarenes need to get as serious. Nazarenes need to ask themselves if the cost of the covenant is more than they are willing to pay. Others have paid with their lives, just read 2nd and 4th Maccabees. They were tortured and killed..
Again, the Kingdom of Heaven is comparable to a man that is a merchant, seeking
good pearls: Who, when he had found one precious pearl, went and sold all that he had and bought it.
Is the cost of the covenant to high for you?
Nazarenes need to be as serious about tithing as about the Sabbath and eating kosher.
Bring you the whole tithe into the store-house,
that there may be food in YHWH's house.