A Physical Lesson to Teach Spiritual Principles
What if God Almighty were to appear before you, and command you to do something -- would you do it? Think about that for a moment! Would you, really? God does appear before you in the pages of the Bible, with direct and specific commands, ordering your every way of life. Ministers of God, or teachers, may assist you to see God's requirements.
Do you take what you see in the Bible as mere "suggestions"? If you do, may God help you to wake up before it's too late. You may not like the Biblical commands, Romans 8:7, but we are instructed to NOT do "every man whatsoever is right in his own eyes," Deuteronomy 12:8.
A great host of people have become "turned off" because of the real or alleged misuse of church funds. As a result, some have questioned the entire doctrine of tithing, and others have even let their love for God and His laws wax cold. Compare Psalm 119:97 with Matthew 24:10-13. These misguided people have thrown away their former respect for God and His laws, or have substituted the false Protestant-Catholic concept of "love" without the need for obedience to the law, Jude 4.
As in every case when someone points the finger at someone else, he is often guilty of the same or worse sins. Have you been angry over the misuse of funds by others? Consider rather how you have been handling your responsibility in the usage of God's second tithe. Have you "fueled the airplane" of your own desires, forgetting the command to remember the poor and needy, Deuteronomy 14:22-27, 16:11-15? Have you figuratively or literally "gambled away" your second tithe on a purely physical rather than a spiritual feast?
The purpose of this article is not to exhaustively prove the doctrine of tithing, but to point out the serious responsibility that every individual has in properly keeping the feasts and Holy Days of God. The second tithe is irrevocably tied to the observance of the Holy Days. Do away with one, and you do away with the other. For the end of properly spending the second tithe and keeping the Holy Days is the same: that we may learn to fear(respect reverently and lovingly obey) the Eternal our God always, Deuteronomy 14:23.
We learn of spiritual things, such as the existence of God, by and through the observance of physical things, Romans 1:20, Psalm 19:1. Likewise, we learn to spiritually keep God's law by and through His Spirit coupled with physical obedience. Only then can we truly worship God in spirit and in truth, John 4:24. To worship God spiritually, "in spirit," you must also worship Him literally, physically, "in truth."
There's a clever argument by some that you don't have to fast on the Day of Atonement. This is because Christ was our atonement and now we worship Him spiritually by having a humble mind instead of an afflicted body. James must have contemplated such devious reasoning when he wrote, "Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works . . . . But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?" James 2:18, 20. You can't keep "the seventh part of your time" in your mind and be keeping God's Sabbath, the seventh day. You can't keep the Day of Atonement "in the mind" -- supposedly spiritually -- without also fasting physically on that day. When you do keep these laws physically, you can also come to a spiritual understanding of them through God's Spirit andphysical obedience.
Likewise, it is the same with second tithe. If the physical law is kept, spiritual lessons can be learned. God doesn't need the tithe, because He owns everything, Psalm 24:1. We are not yet born members into the God family. We need physical laws to teach us spiritual lessons. God's physical laws are spiritual, Romans 7:14, because they accomplish a spiritual objective. Throw away those physical laws binding today and you destroy the way to the spiritual purpose and destiny of man.
What if the first, second, and third tithes, were misused and abused by some? What if nearly every major doctrine of God's Word has been changed, corrupted or watered down? "For what if some [of those very ones who taught us God's truth, and baptized us] did not believe? [later came to be corrupters of God's Word] shall their unbelief make the faith of God without effect? God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar," Romans 3:3-4.
Today, some are "chucking the whole thing" in effect saying, "Let us do evil, that good may
come," verse 8; "There is no fear of God before their eyes," verse 18. Proper usage of the
second tithe in keeping the Feasts of God should help us "learn to fear the Lord thy God always,"
Deuteronomy 14:23. Faith in the blood of Christ for the remission of sins that are past, Romans
3:25, does not void the laws of God, including that of the second tithe. It establishes the law,
Romans 3:31, makes it much more binding, to its full spiritual intent.
Perversion of God's Feasts
Bible prophecies clearly show that in the last days there will be a perversion of the feasts of God.
In the Last Days there will be "scoffers, walking after their own lusts," II Peter 3:3. "Spots they are and blemishes, sporting themselves with their own deceivings while they feast with you; having eyes full of adultery . . . with covetous practices . . . , Which have forsaken the right way, and are gone astray . . . ," II Peter 2:13-15. This is to occur within the Church of God, and manywill follow this perverse way of revelling instead of worshipping God, verses 1-2.
Thousands laughed at a cartoon (Worldwide News, October 14, 1974, page 8) depicting a middle-aged man looking with eyes full of adultery at a young lady while stating to his portly wife, "Mildred, I think we should ask . . . [name of a minister] to determine whether our preconversion marriage is still binding." Some have acted outsuch adulterous practices by openly admitting that they were literally "going after a mate at the Feast" now that they were supposedly "free" to remarry. See II Peter 2:18-19 in this light.
Jude likewise foretold that "in the last time," verse 18 there would be those who would turn -- change -- God's truth that they once had, into lawlessness, verses 3-4. There would be "spots in your feasts of charity, when they feast with you, feeding themselves without fear . . . carried about of winds [doctrinal changes, see Ephesians 4:14]; trees whose fruit withereth, without fruit, twice dead [once dead in baptism, now dead spiritually], plucked up by the roots [because they had no firm foundation]," verse 12.
These prophesies are being fulfilled before our eyes. Watch and beware that you don't fall into the category of those that pervert the feasts of God. For the manner of observance as well as the date of the feasts is prophesied to be corrupted and wrongfully changed, Daniel 7:25. The second tithe has everything to do with how we observe God's feasts.
Have you begun to compromise, just a little, in "feeding yourself without fear"? Take heed,
"earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints," Jude 3.
God Hates Corrupted Feasts
Isaiah contains many prophecies for "the last days" Isaiah 2:2. All but "a very small remnant," 1:9, of God's people are prophesied to rebel against Him, 1:2. God says to the ones who have corrupted the ways He originally gave to them, "Your new moons and your appointed feasts My soul hateth: they are a trouble unto Me; I am weary to bear them," 1:14. Why is this? Because God's people have become as Sodom and Gomorrah, verse 10, once faithful, but now like an harlot, verse 21. The "princes" or leaders "are rebellious, and companions of thieves: every one loveth gifts, and followeth after rewards: they judge not the fatherless, neither doth the cause of the widow come unto them," verse 23.
This prophecy is a warning for us today. Are we providing for the stranger (newcomer), the widow, and the fatherless? Or, are our feasts a stench in God's nostrils because we have not followed the admonition, "Learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow," verse 17?
God will never forsake us, His Church. Could it be that most of the Church has forsaken God? God says in Isaiah 1:28 that "they that forsake the Lord shall be consumed," and in 2:6, that God will forsake His people that have corrupted His ways, to become like the world around them.
Don't worry about what others do, what about you? Is your manner of observance of God's feasts a trouble to God?
In all the slick motels, condominiums, restaurants and night clubs, God's people have forgotten God and His word. Instead, we need to "feast upon" God's word during the Holy Days, Hosea 2:8. Because of our lack of feasting upon spiritual knowledge, God is soon going to act, "I will also cause all her mirth to cease, her feast days, her new moons, and her Sabbaths, and all her solemn feasts," verse 11.
Again God warns, "If ye will not hear, and if ye will not lay it to heart, to give glory unto My name, saith the LORD of hosts, I will even send a curse upon you, and I will curse your blessings: yea, I have cursed them already, because ye do not lay it to heart. Behold, I will corrupt your seed, and spread dung upon your faces, even the dung of your solemn feasts; and one shall take you away with it," Malachi 2:2-3. Unless we take heed, we, too, will be cursed.
God specifies why He is against such corrupted feasts: He hates the dealing treacherously against the wife of one's youth, the putting away in divorce, Malachi 2:14-16. He is 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 the LORD of hosts," Malachi 3:5. All of these things become part and parcel with corrupt observance of God's feasts, for which cause He will punish His people, unless they repent. Proper observance of God's feasts should teach us to fear Him. Do we?
For some, captivity and punishment is the only way they can come to repent of watering down God's Holy Days. In Egypt or Assyria or elsewhere, some will be forced to eat unclean things, Hosea 9:3. There will be much mourning and soul-searching in that day, as God asks in warning, "What will ye do in the solemn day, and in the day of the feast of the LORD?" verse 5. To a people that say, "God will never forsake us," God replies, "I will go and return to My place, till they acknowledge their offense, and seek My face: in their affliction they will seek Me early," Hosea 5:15.
Why not seek God now, be scrupulous in rightly observing His feasts, and escape all these things to come to pass, Luke 21:36?
Again and again this theme runs through the Bible: the corrupted observance of God's feasts results in certain punishment. If God warned you twice not to do something, you would feel it was mightily important to Him. What if He warns against something time and time again?
In Amos 5:20 God repeats the warning for the time just prior to "the day of the Lord." Verses 21-23: "I hate, I despise your feast days, and I will not smell in your solemn assemblies. Though ye offer me burnt offerings and your meat offerings, I will not accept them: neither will I regard the peace offerings of your fat beasts. Take thou away from me the noise of thy songs; for I will not hear the melody of thy viols."
Why is God so upset? What is lacking? What does God want, regarding His feast days? Verse 24, "But let judgment run down as waters, and righteousness as a mighty stream." He continues, telling exactly what He hates about the way His people have come to treat His feasts: "Woe to them that are at ease in Zion, and trust in the mountain of Samaria . . . That lie upon beds of ivory . . . , and eat the lambs out of the flock . . . , That chant to the sound of the viol . . . , That drink wine in bowls [margin, bowls of wine], and anoint themselves with the chief ointments: but they are not grieved for the affliction of Joseph," Amos 6:1-6.
Instead of being grieved at the nation's sins (and one of the leading sins is that of adultery and
divorce), they participate in them, having purely a physical feast, being filled with food and drink
and the music of this world, but empty of the waters of judgment and righteousness. This has
happened to some extent already, and tragically is still going on. The fate of those who "keep" a
feast in this manner is captivity, Amos 5:27, and the events described in the rest of Amos 6. Read
it in the paraphrased Living Bible.
Feasts Turned Into Mourning
Amos 8:4-9 describes those that "swallow up the needy, even to make the poor of the land to fail, saying, When will the new moon be gone, that we may sell corn? and the Sabbath, that we may set forth wheat, making the ephah small, and the shekel great, and falsifying the balances by deceit?" God is going to intervene mightily because of this. "And I will turn your feasts into mourning, and all your songs into lamentation; and I will bring up sackcloth upon all loins, and baldness upon every head; and I will make it as the mourning of an only son, and the end thereof as a bitter day," verse 10. A famine of God's word is to come, verse 11, because God's people did not seek God's word at the Feast. Instead, they wanted it to be over. They took from the needy and spent everything on their own wanton pleasure. Will you store up God's Word, or squander it and later have to face famine?
Isaiah further explains the connection between corrupted observance of God's Festivals and the resultant captivity of His people. God says, through Isaiah, "Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness . . . Which justify the wicked for reward, and take away the righteousness of the righteous from him!" Isaiah 5:20, 23. "Therefore My people are gone into captivity, because they have no knowledge . . . because they have cast away the law of the LORD of Hosts, and despised the word of the Holy One of Israel. Therefore is the anger of the Lord against His people . . . ," verses 13, 24-25.
What was one of the major signs of their corruption? Verses 11-12, "Woe unto them that rise up early in the morning, that they may follow strong drink; that continue until night, till wine inflame them! And the harp, and the viol, the tabret, and pipe, and wine, are in their feasts: but they regard not the work of the LORD, neither consider the operation of His hands." Yes they have plenty of wine and song at their "feasts." There is also wickedness, the breaking of God's laws. If God acted in the past because of perversion of His Feasts, will He not again punish His own people? Who are His people today? The ones who have known God's laws.
The Book of Lamentations states that God sent Judah into captivity, "for the multitude of her transgressions," Lamentations 1:5. God further stated that "Thy prophets have seen vain and foolish things . . . and they have not discovered thine iniquity, to turn away thy captivity; but have seen for thee false burdens and causes of banishment," 2:14. God is no respecter of persons, Deuteronomy 10:17. As He punished them, shall He not punish us also if we do such things?
Read these somber warnings for us: "How does the city sit solitary, that was full of people! How is she become as a widow! . . . among all her lovers she hath none to comfort her: all her friends have dealt treacherously with her, they are become her enemies . . . . The ways of Zion do mourn, because none come to the solemn feasts: all her gates are desolate: her priests sigh, her virgins are afflicted, and she is in bitterness . . . . her people fell into the hand of the enemy, and none did help her: the adversaries saw her, and did mock at her Sabbaths. Jerusalem hath grievously sinned; therefore she is removed: all that honoured her despise her, because they have seen her nakedness . . . ," Lamentations 1:1-8. Yes, because of sins, feasts are turned into mourning. Foreign "lovers" turn into enemies.
God will be an enemy to "the daughter of Zion" and "the daughter of Judah," Lamentations 2:4-5. He will even destroy His places of the assembly, verse 6. "The Lord has caused the solemn feasts and Sabbaths to be forgotten in Zion, and hath despised in the indignation of His anger the king and the priest." This happened in the past. Could it happen again? Have we forgotten the true spiritual significance of God's Holy Days, turning them into physical feasts? If we have, God says He will cause our feasts to be forgotten, to be turned into mourning.
The enemy gained control of the sanctuary, the place where God commanded heathen not to enter, 1:10, and 2:7. They, and not God's people who are taken captive, make a noise in the house of the Eternal "as in the day of a solemn feast," 2:7. The Living Bible more precisely gives the meaning of verse 7, "The Lord has rejected His own altar, for He despised the false 'worship' of His people; He has given their palaces to their enemies, who carouse in the Temple as Israel used to do on the days of the holy feasts!"
Carouse on God's Holy Feasts, and this is the fate awaiting you! "You have called, as in the day of a solemn assembly, my terrors on every side, and there was none in the day of the Lord's anger that escaped or remained . . . ," Lamentations 2:22, Jewish translation. Instead of rejoicing, God will cause mourning on the "feasts" of those who corrupt the observance of His Holy Days.
Will we take these somber warnings to heart and get back to the true, unadulterated observance
of God's Feasts?
Nehemiah Shows Proper Feast Observance
Let's all admit that we have let down in our observance of God's Feasts. How can we get back to "the faith once delivered"? There is an example in the Bible of a people that corrupted God's Holy Sabbaths and as a result were taken into captivity, Ezekiel 20:23-24. Through God's intervention, they were brought back into their land, and zealously sought to return to the proper observance of God's annual and weekly Sabbaths. Their renewed zeal was short lived, however. After their leaders died, God's ways were corrupted again. Bible history continually records the ups and downs of those who received the truth of God. They kept it for a time, then departed from it again. They were again taken into captivity, where they repented and began following God once more. This entire process was repeated again and again.
We must never wane in our zeal to obey God, abounding more and more, being "steadfast, unmovable," I Corinthians 15:58, not watering down God's ways. If we do not let down, we are promised protection against tribulation, Revelation 3:10-11. If we depart, we are certain to be led into captivity, Leviticus 26:33, Deuteronomy 28:64.
The Book of Nehemiah shows how to get back to proper observance of God's Holy Days. Nehemiah, the Jewish cupbearer to King Artaxerxes of Persia, knew why he and his people had been taken into captivity. He fasted and prayed and wept about this grievous situation, many days, 1:4. He prayed to God "day and night . . . for the children of Israel thy servants, and confess the sins of the children of Israel, which we have sinned against thee: both I and my father's house have sinned. We have dealt very corruptly against thee, and have not kept the commandments, nor the statutes, nor the judgments, which thou commandst thy servant Moses," verses 6-7. Do we feel this way about our brethren and ourselves for having corrupted God's ways? Are we willing to make the necessary changes?
Many who have turned from God's commandments are in spiritual captivity, II Peter 2:19-21. They are slaves to corrupt doctrines and the ways of death. Unless they repent, they soon will go into physical captivity in the latter days, Deuteronomy 4:25-30. Do we feel the same as Nehemiah did about this situation, or as Jeremiah did in the Book of Lamentations? Nehemiah knew that he too had sinned, he too had compromised and watered down God's laws. He now desired to fear God's name, Nehemiah 1:11, asking God to be with him in his efforts to rebuild the physical city of Jerusalem.
Are we as zealous as Nehemiah was to work towards rebuilding God's spiritual work, that has now been torn down by those corrupting God's truth? Jesus Christ defined the "work of God" as believing "on Him [Christ] whom He [God the Father] hath sent," John 6:29, that is, believing and obeying God's Word. Jesus' meat -- His whole purpose in life -- was "to do the will of Him that sent Me, and to finish His work," John 4:34. Is this our "meat?"
Nehemiah had confidence that God would prosper the work he was out to do, despite the persecution and mockery of Sanballat, Nehemiah 2:18-20, 4:1-3. Not the "nobles," the high and mighty, but the simple, weak and lowly people, supported Nehemiah in the work, 3:5. Those who sincerely wanted to obey God, "the people had a mind to work," 4:6, rose to the occasion, not those who wanted to allure the lusts of their flesh, II Peter 2:18.
Is there a work similar to Nehemiah's work going on today, and is there a modern Sanballat? Nehemiah let nothing dissuade him from completing his physical work, 6:1-3, and when the rebuilding was done, even his enemies "Perceived that this work was wrought of our God," 6:16.
In the eighth chapter, Nehemiah and the returned captives got back to "the book of the law of Moses," and began anew keeping the Holy Days of God. On the first day of the seventh month, the Day of Trumpets, Ezra the priest "brought the law before the congregation both of men and women and all that could hear with understanding, upon the first day of the seventh month. And he read therein . . . from the morning until midday . . . and the ears of all the people were attentive unto the book of the law," Nehemiah 8:2-3. From a pulpit of wood, Ezra and many Levites "caused the people to understand the law . . . . So they read in the book in the law of God distinctly, and gave the sense, and caused the people to understand the reading," 8:7-8.
Is this done in the Church of God upon God's Holy Days? Has the "book of the law of Moses," Nehemiah 8:1, been read and expounded on God's Holy Days as they were in Nehemiah's day?
The returned captives hadn't been properly observing God's Holy Days, so when they heard the law -- the first five books of the Bible -- read unto them, "all the people wept, when they heard the words of the law," 8:9. This is not what God wanted and Ezra and the Levites instructed them, "This day is holy unto the LORD your God; mourn not, nor weep . . . . Go your way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared . . . . And all the people went their way to eat, and to drink, and to send portions, and to make great mirth, because they had understood the words that were declared unto them," Nehemiah 8:9-12.
They came back the next day, learning about the proper observance of the Feast of Tabernacles, "for since the days of Jeshua the son of Nun unto that day had not the children of Israel done so. And there was very great gladness," verses 13-17. They were restoring something that hadn't been properly done since the days of Joshua!
Certainly, it pertained to the "dwelling in booths." Also notice what Ezra did in verse 18: "Also, day by day, from the first day unto the last day, he read in the book of the law of God. And they kept the feast seven days; and on the eighth day was a solemn assembly, according unto the manner."
Remember, Nehemiah himself admitted that even he had not been keeping "the commandments, nor the statutes, nor the judgments" which God gave to Israel through Moses, Nehemiah 1:7. Can we likewise admit that we have sinned in not keeping all of God's laws, not even knowing what some of them are?
Tragically, we as God's people have been "Bible illiterates" as far as the understanding of God's laws, which are part of the New Covenant to be written in our hearts and minds, Hebrews 8:10-12. It is indeed true that the foundation of God's way of life is Jesus Christ -- the Word, Ephesians 2:20. The foundation of that Word is the Law of God, the Ten Commandments, upon which every law, statute, judgment, and exposition of the Bible is based. If you were living during the Middle Ages when all Bibles were hand copied and fantastically expensive, which part would you want most of all to show you how to live? Obviously, the Law, the first five books of the Bible, upon which everything that follows is based.
Jesus gave no new law, but magnified and expanded the meaning of the laws of God, to their full spiritual intent, Isaiah 42:21. We are to remember this law, Malachi 4:4.
We talk about those that have changed God's laws, rejecting the revelation of God, but what about us? Do we even know all of God's laws? People tend to want a minister to tell them what to do and what not to do. We have a "book of Law" that is all-inclusive, covering in principle everything that can be sin. Because many have not known much about the laws of God, they have been easy prey for some so-called "scholars" who say that Jesus broke the "Old Testament" laws and that we only keep the Laws in our hearts. Or, they have come to hate a law that is good, but which man has corrupted by his tradition. How well do we know that Law?
To keep us knowing this law, God has given a statute requiring the reading of God's laws at least once every seven years. Have you ever heard about this statute? Ezra was not instituting some new idea of his own, but following a statute God gave in the Book of Deuteronomy.
At the close of Moses' life, when he turned over the reigns of leadership to Joshua, he had completed writing his portion of scripture, the Law, and had given it to the Levites and elders, Deuteronomy 31:9. Then, "Moses commanded them, saying, At the end of every seven years, in the solemnity of the year of release, in the Feast of Tabernacles, when all Israel is come to appear before the Lord thy God in the place which He shall choose, thou shalt read this law before all Israel in their hearing. Gather the people together, men, and women, and children, and thy stranger that is within thy gates, that they may hear, and that they may learn, and fear the LORD your God, and observe to do all the words of this law," verses 10-12.
Yet Israel failed to read God's law and live by it. As a result they turned to other gods and were punished and led into captivity, verses 16-18. "In the latter days," God says that His people, "will utterly corrupt yourselves, and turn aside from the way which I have commanded you," verse 29. Could it be that we could be guilty of doing this because we have forgotten God's Laws, Hosea 4:6?
Notice that Joshua followed God's command through Moses to read and expound God's law. "And afterward he read all the words of the law, the blessings and cursings, according to all that is written in the book of the law. There was not a word of all that Moses commanded, which Joshua read not before all the congregation of Israel, with the women, and the little ones, and the strangers that were conversant among them," Joshua 8:34-35.
Yet, from the time of Joshua until Nehemiah restored this practice, the reading and expounding of God's law was not done! We need to do what Nehemiah did, restoring "the faith once delivered." Read Nehemiah chapter 9 for a synopsis of the history of Israel. How they followed God for a time, rebelled and were led captive, returned by God's mercy, and did the same thing again. Will we repeat this tragedy, as so many have in the past?
This year, at the Feast of Tabernacles, we need to renew our covenant to follow and obey God, "to walk in God's law, which was given by Moses the servant of God, and to observe and do allthe commandments of the LORD our Lord, and His judgments and His statutes," Nehemiah 10:28-29.
To implement this, we need to do two things: First, separate ourselves from the unconverted, 10:30. The "mixed multitude" with whom we formerly mingled, 13:1-3. Secondly, zealously observe God's Sabbath and Holy Days, 10:31, 13:15-22. This means to cleanse our ways of the "mixed multitude" of our watered down concepts, getting back to the unadulterated ways of God. It means to truly "sanctify," keep holy and reverently, the annual and weekly Sabbaths.
Have we needlessly bought food or merchandise on the Sabbath or Holy Days, Nehemiah 10:31,
profaning the Sabbath day, which was the cause of Israel's captivity, 13:16-18? Or do we think
our own thoughts -- talk about daily business -- instead of God's ways on the Sabbath, Isaiah
56:1-2, 58:13-14? That is the message, the warning, of the Book of Nehemiah. Nehemiah shows
proper Sabbath and Feast observance. He shows how to get back to the "faith once delivered"
regarding the usage of the second tithe and proper festival observance.
Is Tithing in Force Today?
Nehemiah also exhorted the returned captives to not forsake the Levite and the house of God, to bring in the tithes that were due, Nehemiah 13:10-12.
Today, we do not have the Levitical priesthood. We have Jesus Christ, our one High Priest, who works through a called and chosen ministry, Ephesians 4:11-13. Christ, the Melchizedek of the Old Testament, had the power to take tithes, Hebrews 7:1-10, for He made heaven and earth, all the earth is His, Psalm 24:1. For a time, He gave the power to take tithes over to the Levitical priesthood. In Numbers 18:21, God states, "I have given the children of Levi ALL the tenth in Israel for an inheritance, for their service which they serve, even the service of the tabernacle of the congregation." Even during the time of the Levitical priesthood, the tithes were not automatically theirs. They had to faithfully execute their office of service; otherwise they would not receive the tithe.
Throughout this time, the tithe was still God's. Leviticus 27:30, "And all the tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land, or of the fruit of the tree, is the LORD's: it is holy unto the LORD." The tithe is not the Levite's, nor is it the Church's. The tithe has always been God's, to be given only to those faithfully continuing the service God has today, the work of the ministry, Ephesians 4:12. Christ was given all power in Heaven and earth, Matthew 28:18, and He has given power and authority to His faithful servants today.
It is up to the individual member to make sure that the powers of the ministry are used properly, according to God's word, or he could find himself supporting a system of corruption and oppression.
You cannot give something over to someone else that you don't have control over. Christ -- Melchizedek -- had the power to take tithes; He gave them over to the Levites for a time. Hebrews 7 shows that with the end of the Levitical priesthood, this power -- this part of the law -- was transferred back to Christ. His true ministers have this power today, the power to abstain from their occupation and to be supported by the brethren in their work of the ministry, I Corinthians 9:4-14. Paul, because of the times he lived in, the antagonism of the people to a system that coerced money from its followers, did not use this power so as not to offend, verses 18-22. Other apostles did use this power though, verses 4-6.
Hebrews 7 is today a forgotten chapter on the subject of tithing. Some say that this chapter says nothing definitive about the subject of tithing, but only discusses the superiority of the priesthood of Christ (Melchizedek). Read the first ten verses of Hebrews 7, and you will find that the law of tithing was in force before Moses, even at the time of Abraham. Melchizedek (Christ) has been a priest forever, verses 3, 17. He has always had the power to take tithes. For a time, He gave the tithe to the Levites. Perfection could not come by the physical system of sacrifices, the "carnal commandments," verse 16, of "meats and drinks, and diverse washings, and carnal ordinances, imposed on them until the time of reformation," 9:10. This "law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did," 7:19. So to bring in perfection, Christ (Melchizedek) who has always been in charge under God the Father, came in the form of a human being. He led a perfect, sinless life as our example, and died in our stead, once and for all, 10:10.
The Levitical system and physical sacrifices were a schoolmaster to bring people to Christ, Galatians 3:24. For just as David shall never want a man to sit upon the throne of the House of Israel, neither shall the Levites want a man to do physical sacrifices, Jeremiah 33:17-22. In the millennium, it appears that there will be sacrifices, Ezekiel 44-46.
However, for those of us who have accepted Christ, the priesthood (and the law of tithing relating to that priesthood) has been transferred from Levi to Melchizedek. We are now under the law to Christ, I Corinthians 9:21. Therefore, there is a change -- a transfer -- of who is our priest and to whom we pay our tithes, to whom we ask to sacrifice for us. There is a change in the priesthood AND the laws that accompanied it. Hebrews 7:12, in the King James states: "For the priesthood being changed [Greek: metatitheemi], there is made of necessity a change [Greek: metathesis] ALSO of the law." Have God's laws been changed or done away with? By no means! We need to know just what kind of change is meant by this verse.
Metatitheemi and metathesis are similar words. Both are used in Hebrews 11:5 to refer to the translation of Enoch. Enoch did not go to heaven, and he was not destroyed or done away with. God "took him," Genesis 5:24 to a different place, transferred him from one place to another. Metatitheemi is also used in Acts 7:16, referring to the bones of Jacob which were carried overinto Sychem to lay in his final resting place.
So, for a time, Christ gave the receipt of the tithes to the Levites. Then, He changed -- transferred -- them back to their final resting place, Himself, the Alpha and Omega. Because He is our one High Priest, there is for us a change in the priesthood. Of necessity, there is also a change in the law. What law? Hebrews 7:1-10, concentrates on the law of tithing, "a commandment to take tithes of the people according to the law," verse 5. Certainly, the transfer of the law includes the law of tithing, or the entire analogy of the first ten verses is meaningless.
As further verses explain, also the law of carnal commandments, physical oblations, washings, and animal sacrifices was transferred to Christ. These have been changed -- translated -- transferred from one form to another. Our sacrifices are spiritual, Romans 12:1-2, I Peter 2:5. They have been brought to the final resting place, as Jacob's bones were. Our high priest has "an unchangeable priesthood," Hebrews 7:24, which will never be removed, never transferred again.
Paul stated, during New Testament times, that the Levites have (present tense) a commandment to take tithes, Hebrews 7:5. They still do today from them that are under the law. We are not under the law, but under grace, Galatians 5:18, and Romans 6:14. Yet we under grace must not sin, Romans 6:15, but obey God's laws in the letter and the spirit. The priesthood has not been done away, it has been transferred. Likewise, the law of tithing has not been done away, but a change has been made as to whom we pay our tithes. The tithe has always been God's, Leviticus 27:30. Christ has always been a priest, Psalm 110:4. God's laws are spiritual, Romans 7:14. Woe be to them who are removed(metatitheemi) from Him, Galatians 1:6.
Hebrews 7 stands as a monument to the unalterable, eternal, priesthood of Christ and the laws of
God. Specifically it substantiates the continuance of tithing, a law which did not begin with the
Levitical priesthood, nor ended with them. Tithing is a law still in force today, just as sure as the
fact that Jesus is our High Priest today, Hebrews 4:14.
More Than One Tithe?
What about the idea that one must only tithe on agricultural produce? If the tithing law onlyrelates to an agricultural society, then why did Abraham pay tithes on all the spoils of war, Hebrews 7:4, and Genesis 14:20?
In fact, all increase comes from the land, from wool to timber, oil, coal, iron, glass, concrete, everything. It is the tithe of the land that is holy unto God, Leviticus 27:30. As we shall see, there is a festival, or second tithe. If tithing were only on agricultural produce, then fishermen and those in commerce such as those of the tribe of Dan that dwelt in ships, Judges 5:17, would not have been able to take part in the festivals of God. Neither would they be required to support the Levite, widow, and fatherless in the third year, Deuteronomy 14:28-29. All Israel was commanded to tithe, Numbers 18:21. Even those who did not farm!
The Bible definitely shows more than one tithe. The proof of this is simple. Notice again Numbers 18:21. God gave the children of Levi "all[Hebrew: kohl, 'the entire part of'] the tenth in Israel for an inheritance . . . ."
In Deuteronomy 14:22-23, the individual Israelite was to "truly tithe all [same word kohl] the increase of thy seed, that the field brings forth year by year. And thou shalt eat before the LORD thy God, in the place which He shall choose to place His name there, the tithe of thy corn, . . . that thou mayest learn to fear the Eternal thy God always."
Every year all of this tithe was to be used during the festivals of God, not given to the Levite. This has to be an "additional tithe" besides the tithe given to those doing the service of God.
Deuteronomy 14:28-29 says, "At the end of three years thou shalt bring forth all [kohl] the tithe of thine increase the same year, . . . [and this tithe is given to] the Levite, . . . and the stranger, and the fatherless, and the widow which are within thy gates [which] shall come and shall eat and be satisfied; that the LORD thy God may bless thee in all the work of thine hand which thou doest." Here again, all of a "second additional tithe" is given for a different purpose. One could not give all of the same tithe to the Levite, eat all of it during the festivals, and every third year give all of the same tithe to the poor. There must then be three distinct tithes.
The Septuagint translation of Deuteronomy 26:12, in speaking of the tithe given to the poor, states, "When you have completed tithing all[kohl] the tithes of your increase the third year, you shall bring the second additional tithe to the Levite, the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, that they may eat in your gates, and be merry."
The famous Jewish historian Josephus confirms the fact that the Bible speaks of three tithes. In his Antiquities of the Jews, Book IV, Chapter VIII, Section 22, he states, "Besides the two tithes, which I have already said you are to pay every year, the one for the Levites, the other for the festivals, you are to bring every third year a third tithe to be distributed to those that want, to women also that are widows, and to children that are orphans."
The Bible and secular writers confirm the fact that there is more than one tithe. The second tithe
is the means of enabling us to keep the Holy Days. If there is no second tithe, the festivals are not
to be kept. Far from being tied to only an agricultural system or a Levitical priesthood, tithing,
and especially the second tithe, transcends a narrow section of the history of mankind. From the
creation, God made the sun and the moon for signs and seasons (Hebrew moed, word used for
God's Holy Days), Genesis 1:14. In the new Heavens and new Earth, these same seasons, based
on twelve months (or moons) a year will be extant, Revelation 22:2, with the same constant
reminders of the plan of God, the annual Holy Days.
How Second Tithe Is To Be Used
Suppose that in your third year you decided to give all three tithes for the same purpose; that of frolicking in a gluttonous Feast of Tabernacles. Would you be keeping the laws of tithing? Decidedly not! You would be stealing from the widow and stealing from those doing the service of God.
Deuteronomy 12:5-8 shows that at the place that God chooses -- during the Festival times -- the tithes and offerings were to be brought and "there ye shall eat before the LORD your God, and ye shall rejoice in all that ye put your hand unto, ye and your households, wherein the LORD thy God hath blessed thee." May we do anything we please with this second tithe, give it for any purpose other than rejoicing at the Feast? NO! Verse 8, "Ye shall not do after all the things that we do here this day, every man whatsoever is right in his own eyes." Far from using the second tithe for another purpose (or any other of God's tithes for a purpose other than for which they are ordained), we are instructed to not pervert their proper use, after what seems right in our eyes.
Deuteronomy 14:22-27 again defines the purpose and use of the second tithe. Verse 26 is the often-misunderstood key, "And thou shalt bestow that money for whatsoever thy soul lusteth after [Hebrew: 'desires'], for oxen, or for sheep, or for wine, or for strong drink, or for whatsoever thy soul desireth: and thou shalt eat there before the LORD thy God, and thou shalt rejoice, thou, and thine household," (verse 27, and the Levite). Whatever is rightly desired must be consumed, and used primarily for the Festivals of God, used "there," at the place He chooses, not within your gates, Deuteronomy 12:18, not for the service of the Levites, but so that you, your household, and the Levite may rejoice in the Feast. There is no other proper use of the second tithe. Any other than the Bible instruction is stealing!
The true God is exact, precise. He allows no human reasoning around His laws. He states, "Ye
shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall you diminish aught from it, that
ye may keep the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you," Deuteronomy
Responsibility in Using God's Money
Many have erroneously come to believe that the second tithe is theirs, to do with as they please. Nothing could be farther from the truth!
God owns everything that exists, for all the earth is His, Exodus 19:5. The Christian cannot do what he wants, even with his own body, having been bought with the awesome price of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, I Corinthians 6:19-20. You are either a slave (servant) of the Devil and sin, OR, a slave of God and righteousness, Romans 6:16-22. It's just that simple. To fail to save -- and use properly -- the second tithe is to rob God (notice Malachi 3:8 uses the word tithes, more than one). The results of stealing God's tithes are curses, misery and unhappiness, Malachi 3:9.
NEVER use the phrase, "my second tithe." For that matter, never think of any physical possessions as yours by right of your own efforts. We would receive nothing if it weren't for God. The Hebrew language, a Jewish friend tells us, has no phraseology for "my land" or "my money," etc. Instead, the literal words used are "it is given to me." Yes, a second tithe has been given to you, as has everything you own. Just as the first tithe is God's, so is the second, the third, your offerings, your possessions, and YOU!
Are you properly using God's second tithe? Are you properly using all the physical things you have been given, including your body?
God holds you accountable for how you use the second tithe. The amount may be small, but remember, that, "He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much. If therefore you have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon [riches], who will commit to your trust the true riches?" Luke 16:10-11.
Part of the purpose for saving the second tithe is to test you. Will you "borrow" (steal) from it?
Will you waste it or use it improperly? God wants to know. In determining how to properly
spend God's second tithe, continually ask yourself the question, "How would God spend it?"
Second Tithe To Be Used For Seven Basic Needs
As noted earlier, Deuteronomy 14:26 shows us to use the second tithe for what we "rightly desire," rather than what our soul "lusts after."
God designed the second tithe to give His people seven commanded assemblies -- Holy Days -- in which they act out His plan, rejoice and worship before Him, and learn to fear Him always, for all eternity!
The second tithe is used in keeping God's annual Sabbaths, and Feast Days, especially the Feast of Tabernacles, and the Last Great Day, the culmination of God's Holy Day Season.
You need seven things to properly keep the Feast. Proper stewardship of the second tithe should
amply provide these seven needs, for all! Remember, it's God's money, but you are responsible
for using it!
(1) The Place God Chooses
Can you truly keep the Feasts without worship, holy convocation, instruction, study, prayer, singing, fellowship, living the World Tomorrow? Impossible! Travel, food, lodging, recreation, are accessories to the Feast. Learning to fear God always, is a result of the spiritual aspects of the Feast. This is keeping the Feast.
So, first of all, to keep the Feast, there is the need of a place to keep it, a place for God's people to assemble in holy convocation.
It is "in the place which He shall choose to place His name there," Deuteronomy 14:23, 12:5, that we are to partake of the second tithe. As we know, God chose Shiloh, and later, Jerusalem, as this place. Jesus told the woman of Samaria of the time then soon coming, when God would reject Jerusalem, and His people would continue to worship Him elsewhere, John 4:21. Paul kept the Feast of Unleavened Bread during one year at Philippi. New Testament Christians continued to keep the Holy Days at places God chose to raise up His people. We know that God will again choose Jerusalem as the headquarters of His true religion, Zechariah 2:12, at the Messiah's return.
Does God continue to choose places to place His name today? He does if He continues to call and choose people to give His Spirit and live His ways. Where His people are, and His ministers are gathered, God is in their midst, Matthew 18:20.
Certainly, the providing of the place of assembly for the Feasts is a proper function and usage of
the second tithe. In the past, a "tithe of the second tithe," or "tithe of the tithe" has been asked for
this purpose. This is not a wrong practice, being based on scriptural principles. In Nehemiah's
day, the returned captives "made ordinances for us, to charge ourselves yearly with the third part
of a shekel for the service of the house of our God," Nehemiah 10:32. We likewise, have an
obligation to provide for "the place God chooses." Those that are receiving second tithe
assistance would not be able to perform this, but those with excess should take it upon themselves
to remember these basic needs. Look to the needs of others, not just that of yourselves. This is
(2) The Levite, Widow, Stranger, and Fatherless
A second need -- necessary to keep the Feasts, especially Tabernacles -- is someone to teach us -- God's ministers, representatives sent out by our High Priest, Melchizedek. We need God's ministers to instruct us!
The ministry, supported by the first tithe, does not normally save a second tithe, Deuteronomy 14:27. A vital part of your second tithe responsibility is to provide for them.
God commands us to rejoice at the Feasts, but not to rejoice alone. "Thou shalt observe the feast of Tabernacles seven days . . . and thou shalt rejoice in thy feast, thou and thy son, and thy daughter, and thy manservant, and thy maidservant, and the Levite, the stranger, and the fatherless, and the widow that are within thy gates," Deuteronomy 16:13-14.
Not only the ministry, but other needy ones are to rejoice with us. They are to be provided for by our excess second tithe. This is a major responsibility for you and your second tithe. Especially don't forget "the stranger." These are newcomers who often have to travel many hundreds of miles farther to the feast than you do. God's Word continually warns us not to forget the widows and poor. A severe punishment is pronounced upon those who do, Matthew 23:14. Deuteronomy 10:17-19 states, "For the LORD your God is God of gods . . . which regardeth not persons, nor taketh reward. He doeth execute the judgment of the fatherless and widow, and loveth the stranger, in giving him food and raiment. Love ye therefore the stranger: for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt."
Try to plan for an excess second tithe, for those in need of festival assistance. You can personally help those that you know are in need, or ask your minister to do it anonymously for you.
The second tithe is to be saved "year by year," Deuteronomy 14:22. Unless you are unable to
attend the Feast every year, you should not normally save one year's second tithe for the next.
This means that if you have an excess, you should not waste it, but make sure provisions are made
for those who need assistance. Pure religion is to provide for those in real need, not to lavish all
"your" riches on yourself.
(3) Traveling to the Place God Chooses
Leaving your home and traveling to and from the Festival site is a very important and enjoyable part of "God's vacation plan" for you! In Old Testament times, the Feast of Tabernacles, with the Feasts of Unleavened Bread and Pentecost, were called "pilgrimage feasts" because of the travel to the place that God had chosen. King David wrote Psalm 120 through 134 as "songs of degrees" or "songs of ascent," to be sung by pilgrims on the way up to Jerusalem to keep the Feast of Tabernacles.
One of the lessons we are to learn in keeping the Feast is the fact of our transitory, temporal, life on this earth. We look toward a permanent, stable, eterna,l life void of confusion and turmoil. We must learn the lesson Abraham had to learn, "dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob," looking "for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God," living by faith and having confessed that we are "strangers and pilgrims on the earth," Hebrews 11:9-10, 13.
Israel was an agrarian nation, generally saving its second tithe in the form of produce. If the way was too far to the festival site to carry the tithe of their produce, they were told to turn it into money, and "go unto the place which the LORD thy God shall choose," Deuteronomy 14:24-25. This certainly does show the interchangeability of tithes from produce, or whatever the form of increase, into money. It shows that tithing is not limited to an agrarian people. Further, unless you simply don't have enough, you can't use the excuse that "the way is too far" for not attending the Feast.
Naturally, since travel is necessary to keep the Feast, necessary travel expenses should be provided for by the second tithe.
If possible, travel through scenic attractions where you can appreciate God and the beauty of His creation with your family. This is certainly a part of the Feast. Here, as in every other area of second tithe expenditures, balance is the key to proper usage.
The second tithe is to provide you with expenses necessary to attend the Feast, NOT to visit Aunt Jenny, or take a lengthy side trip far out of your way! Certainly, any trip that costs too much money so that you cannot fully enjoy and rejoice during the entire Festival is robbing yourself.
If you travel by car, the gasoline and operating expenses may be provided for by the second tithe. An essential preparation before the Feast is to have the car serviced and in good running order.
What about auto repairs? Does second tithe provide for them? Necessary costs in order to attend
God's commanded feasts may be partially provided for by the second tithe. All the yearly repair
needs of your car are not in the realm of second tithe, of course. If repairs are necessary, here is a
way is to prorate the expenses:
Festival Miles= Amount Financed
Total Annual Mileage by Second Tithe
Remember, the most important thing is that you need to attend God's commanded Festivals, Exodus 12:17, Deuteronomy 16:16. Travel expense should not ordinarily require a great amount of your total second tithe, unless you must travel great distances.
Traveling light or have extra room? Why not travel with another party and share expenses? Take along a widow, orphan, or newcomer to help them enjoy the Feast also?
God promises protection upon you in traveling to and from the Feast, as well as upon your
possessions you leave behind, Exodus 34:23-24. Do your part, and God will do His. Traveling
to and from the Feast is another test of how you will spend God's second tithe. Make your travel
enhance, and not detract from, the proper keeping of God's holy time.
(4) Providing for Your Soul
"And thou shalt bestow that money for whatsoever thy soul lusteth after [rightly, earnestly, desires], for oxen, or for sheep, or for wine, or for strong drink, or for whatsoever thy soul desireth: and thou shalt eat there before the Lord thy God, and thou shalt rejoice, thou, and thine household," Deuteronomy 14:26.
These are the only specific items mentioned as far as second tithe expense. We are commanded to eat and rejoice. God wants us to have a real Feast, Isaiah 25:6. Few realize why they eat and rejoice, or that eating and drinking, in the proper manner, is a religious act.
Jesus Christ was falsely accused of being a glutton and a winebibber, but He did joyfully eat and drink, Luke 7:34. One of the first things Christ will do upon His return is to hold a "great marriage feast" for the resurrected saints married to Him, Revelation 19:9. We eat and drink at the Feast to enable us to rejoice and praise God as the source of our blessings now and hereafter.
A sizzling steak, baked potato loaded with butter or sour cream, crisp salad, and fine wine with scintillating conversation, laughter and joyful company: this type of rejoicing fulfills what God wants for us. He wants us to experience the happiness and plenty of His kingdom.
Feast time is not a time to eat common everyday food, but the best you can afford, in moderation. With nearly a tenth of one's yearly income to spend, most of God's people should be anything but hungry during the Feast. The key to proper usage of God's second tithe with respect to food and drink is quality before quantity. Drunkenness and revelling is not the fruit of God's Spirit, Galatians 5:21.
A considerable amount of your time at the Feast is spent sitting. So to load up with three heavy meals a day is to invite becoming overweight or even sickness. One heavier meal and another one or two lighter meals is sufficient for most. Eat and drink the fine things, but remember: "Better is little with the fear of the LORD than great treasure and trouble therewith," Proverbs 15:16.
With regard to alcohol, remember not to go beyond pleasure to drunkenness. Would Jesus Christ consume cases of strong liquor at the Feast, so as to dull His mind and become incapable of profiting by instruction in God's law? One of the most important things to remember is NOT TO DRINK AND DRIVE. We have heard so much lately about the horrible accidents that are taking the lives of innocent people. This is a result of people drinking and then driving even though they may not be drunk.
Picnics, in parks and recreational areas near Festival sites, are an enjoyable Festival activity for the entire family.
Some wives may relish the thought of not having to cook. Others may desire kitchen facilities in
your Festival accommodations. Several unique homecooked meals (ever try roast duck, or baked
Alaska?) can make your Feast much more enjoyable.
(5) Your Tabernacle
The Feast of Tabernacles (Hebrew: sukkoth, booths, cottages, coverts, pavillions, tabernacles or tents, temporary dwellings) involves living in temporary quarters, picturing the temporary state of things in this present age preceeding the new heavens and new earth, Hebrews 11:9-10.
God's second tithe provides for your Festival accommodations. After you've paid for the cost of your accommodations, your responsibility has not ended. Will you leave your place in as good or better condition than when you arrived?
The biggest test of proper use of second tithe in paying for your lodging is one of attitude. Not all the quarters in any one area are always of the highest quality or in the best location. If your unit doesn't live up to your desires, stop and think: "do I want my way, or do I want God's way?" Don't murmur and complain the way Israel did when they lived in tabernacles. Of course, if the place is totally unsuitable, you can do something about it in the right spirit. In the past, people have been in places that have had to be completely cleaned before they could even stay in them. In that case, if there are other lodgings you can find, it is proper to switch to better accommodations.
Where is the spirit of adventure? In Nehemiah's day, the making of tabernacles was pursued with zeal and vigor, Nehemiah 8:14-17, Leviticus 23:39-40. Accept any temporary discomfort cheerfully, as a challenge. If you are truly adventurous, why not camp or rent a trailer if the weather is suitable? You gain more of the pioneering spirit by "roughing it" at the Feast.
"Ye shall dwell in booths seven days; all that are Israelites born shall dwell in booths: That your generations may know that I made the children of Israel to dwell in booths, when I brought them out of the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God," Leviticus 23:42-43.
Some who once knew and observed God's Feasts have now rejected them. God replies, "And I
that am the Lord thy God from the land of Egypt will yet make thee to dwell in tabernacles, as in
the days of the solemn feast," Hosea 12:9. Let's obey God now, and reap the magnificent
blessings, instead of being forced later to do what we know we should do!
(6) Recreation and Rejoicing in the Great Outdoors
Recreation (to create anew) is another of your Festival needs met by the second tithe. Recreation should be arranged so as to maximize both the spiritual and physical parts of the Feast. God's people should be given time to truly live the marvellous conditions of the World Tomorrow, Zechariah 8:3-6. Will you invest this valuable time, or squander it?
Recreational activity is a definite part of any Feast. Depending on one's age and interests, this may range from horseback riding, sightseeing, picnicking, airplane rides, go-carting, dancing, canoeing, and many other activities.
Feast time is family time, depicting our lives in the family of God. Certainly, families should do things together during the Feast. Plan ahead, before you leave for the Feast, some special family recreational activities. The days of the Feast slip by so fast. Don't lose them! Don't forget the "Levite, stranger, fatherless, and widow" in your recreation.
You should by all means (unless prevented by illness) not miss any of the services. There should still be plenty of time for recreation and relaxation. You should not "burn the midnight oil" staying up late every night and getting little sleep so you can't grasp the next day's sermon message.
One of the more serious problems that has been noticed at some large Feast sites is that of burdening some with too much service. Many of the widows, especially, have been given too many responsibilities so that they have had no time for themselves or others. Many times they weren't even at services because they were on duty somewhere. This has also been true of many family men. They have been so busy serving the multitude that they have had no time for their families. Consequently, the family is unhappy, the father is unhappy and miserable, and they return home with a feeling of discouragement. The ministers should be very aware of this and allocate duties to more, and give less to those who always seem to be the "servants." Every one of us should be willing to spend a certain amount of time serving others so that everyone has a marvelous time. It is very hard to enjoy yourself when you are rushing here and there, making sure everything is done, and still be able to attend services.
Are you beginning to see that you cannot "do as you please" with God's second tithe? That there is more responsibility upon you in spending the second tithe than you thought?
"Rejoice, O young man, in thy youth; and let thy heart cheer thee in the days of thy youth, and
walk in the ways of thine heart, and in the sight of thine eyes: but know thou, that for all these
things God will bring thee into judgment," Ecclesiastes 11:9. Yes, rejoice in the Feast, but
rejoice with purpose, as God would have you.
(7) Learning to Fear God Always
The above Festival needs provided by
God's second tithe are all physical. Yet all are vital in fulfilling the spiritual purpose of the Feast itself.
We are commanded to "eat before the Lord thy God, in the place which He shall choose to place His name there, the tithe . . . ," Deuteronomy 14:23. Why? " . . . that thou mayest learn to fear the Lord thy God always." Not just during the Feast, but for all eternity.
Your biggest need is God's Spirit! Without it, you will die, never becoming a member of the God Family, the purpose for which you were born. God gives His Spirit to those that are willing to obey Him, Acts 5:32. We obey Him by His Spirit living in us, Philippians 4:13, John 15:5.
The Feast of Tabernacles is a success, not only because of the place, the providing for the Levite, widow, fatherless and stranger, the travel, food, lodging, and recreation, but mainly because of God's Spirit, Zechariah 4:6. Without God's Spirit, God's inspiration in the prayer, study, fellowship, singing, and sermons at the Feast, there would be no purpose in the second tithe, no purpose in having a Feast.
If you used your second tithe wisely on all six items previously mentioned, you may still not be keeping the Feast! Unless you are earnestly striving to "learn to fear God always" you need not bother with the Feasts, or the Bible for that matter. If you desire to do what God wants, follow these guidelines.
Learn to give a Feast to others. Earnestly strive to get back to the faith once delivered in all things. In doctrine as well as in Christian living. Don't hear what you want to hear, read what you want to read! Apply the Bible and this article to yourself. Listen and heed the inspired sermons. Read God's Word, especially His Law, and ask for God's help in writing His laws in your mind. Learn to fear the Almighty God always!
What kind of Feast will you have? That of Deuteronomy 16:13-15, or that of Lamentations 1:4? Use GOD'S Second Tithe as He would have you. Learn to fear Him always, every day of your life and for all eternity.
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