ARE WE TO KEEP THE LAW OF TITHING

By Dan Luehrs

 

"But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man shall be blessed in what he does" (James 1:25).

 

As Christians we are no longer under the Law of Moses to keep its requirements. Jesus alone has and could fulfill them. When we turn from our sin and receive Him into our heart we, too, have fulfilled the Law of God. This is the good news of the gospel. In fact, if we try to keep the Law and its requirements and fail even one point, we are guilty of breaking the whole Law. "For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all" (James 2:10). This is very clear in the New Testament Scripture: we are free from the Old Testament Law. It was for freedom from the Law that Christ has set us free! But, we are not free from the perfect law of liberty; nor are we to be a forgetful hearer of it, but rather an effectual doer.  Just what is this perfect law of liberty? Love!

 

"If, however, you are fulfilling the royal law, according to the Scripture, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself," you are doing well" (James 2:8).

 

"Love does no wrong to a neighbor; love therefore is the fulfillment of the law" (Romans 13:10).

 

If we love everyone around us we will not be stealing from them, lying to them, lusting after them, or breaking any other commandment. This is because God's love has been shed abroad in our hearts and then people will know that we are Christians by our love! Not by what we own, how big our bank accounts are, or how large our church buildings are. No, only one thing will prove that we are Christians... Jesus' love flowing through us. God wants us to know and experience the fullness of His love for ourselves, then give it away; for this is who/what God is, "love."

 

"That you may be rooted deep in love and founded securely on love, the experience of that love which is the breadth and length and height and depth of it. That you may really come to know practically THROUGH EXPERIENCE for yourselves, the love of Christ, which surpasses mere knowledge, (without experience) that you may be filled (through all your being) unto all the FULLNESS of God, (that is) may have the richest measure of divine Presence and become a body wholly filled and flooded with God Himself" (Ephesians 3:17-19 AMP).

 

If loving God and others fulfills the Law of God in the New Testament, then why does church leadership still teach us that we must keep any other Law besides love? What other Law are they teaching? "Tithing!" Church leadership is still trying to make us keep this one Law under the Old Testament. As a pastor for many years, I also taught that we should tithe our income unto the church. But recently, the Lord opened to me the truth about New Testament free-will giving as being lead by the Lord, not by commandment of the Law or men. "For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God" (Romans 8:14). Those who keep the Law of Moses are not the sons of God, but those who are led by the Holy Spirit!

 

IS TITHING BIBLICAL?

 

Many church leaders use Malachi 3:10 as their basis to make the people that attend their weekly services pay tithes to their ministry and building projects.

 

"Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in My house, and test Me now in this," says the LORD of hosts, "if I will not open for you the windows of heaven, and pour out for you a blessing until it overflows."

 

Malachi is still in the Old Testament the last time I checked, and it comes under the dispensation of the Law, not grace. Even though it is the last book in the Old Testament, it is written around the time of the kings and priests of Israel. The writing of the book is sandwiched somewhere in the middle of Old Testament history and was to be obeyed as the voice of God to a people living under the Law. However, preachers use this book to bring guilt and condemnation on God's people saying, "If you do not tithe to this church you will not be blessed of God and you will come under the curse of God!" That is as bad as saying, "If you leave our church you are going to go to hell!" These ministers are speaking curses on the body of Christ! That, my friends is manipulation and control! This is what much of church leadership is trying to do: control God's people with the word of God! This is not bringing them into the freedom of following the voice of the Holy Spirit to give offerings, but to give under Law. They say that if you give money to God He is obligated to give back to you one hundred fold. When in truth, the one hundred-fold blessing pertains to the fruitfulness of God's word and character in a believer's life, not finances! I was in a church service of one thousand people where the pastor asked all the people to come for prayer that were having money problems. Ninety percent of the people came forward. It was obvious to me that tithing "didn't work" for these people. If tithing brought more money into our pocket books, why are we not richer than the world that is not tithing? For many churches tithing has become another get-rich scheme made up by the church to grab money.

 

Do you realize how much money comes into a local church a week? A congregation of two thousand will bring in about $40,000 a week in regular tithes and offerings. With this money many pastors and staff will be paid much beyond what their parishioners are earning. Many pastors will live in luxury saying, "I'm blessed of God because He has made me rich!" How blasphemous! If that is true, Hollywood and the Mafia are blessed of God because they're rich! Paul, then, was cursed of God when he said, "To this present hour we are both hungry and thirsty, and are poorly clothed, and are roughly treated, and are homeless" (1 Corinthians 4:11).

 

Another teaching preachers use to get people's tithe points to Abraham, saying, "Tithing was before the Law so we are obligated to tithe as Abraham did." Abraham did tithe "one time" the spoils from the kings of the land that he defeated in battle giving it to Melchizedek. This one incident of tithing does not give the church the right to standardize tithing to the New Testament believer! If tithing was to be kept by New Testament believers, don't you think that one of the New Testament writers would have written about this? Yet, not one of them did! Why not? "It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery" (Galatians 5:1). The Law is slavery, not freedom. Ignorance and traditional teaching is fueling much of this. Yet, I believe greed in the pulpits is fueling much slavery in the pews. The desire for the tithe by pastors is to build bigger and bigger ministries to show other Christians how successful they are. We are commanded to owe no man anything but to love him; this includes us tithing according to the control of men!

 

"Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law. For this, "You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet," and if there is any other commandment, it is summed up in this saying, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself" (Romans 13:8-9).

 

If we are to tithe because Abraham tithed once, should we also circumcise all males in the church because Abraham circumcised his own household once? Circumcision is also of the Law, yet we don't pressure people to get circumcised on the eighth day after birth. Why doesn't the church require this? Because it is the Law and we are again commanded by Paul not to circumcise in order to keep the Law.

 

"Behold I, Paul, say to you that if you receive circumcision, Christ will be of no benefit to you. And I testify again to every man who receives circumcision, that he is under obligation to keep the whole Law. You have been severed from Christ, you who are seeking to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace" (Galatians 5:2-4).

 

Paul is very strong with his words on circumcision. How about if we change the word "circumcision" to "tithing" in these verses.

 

"Behold I, Paul, say to you that if you "give tithes," Christ will be of no benefit to you. And I testify again to every man who "gives tithes," that he is under obligation to keep the whole Law. You have been severed from Christ, you who are seeking to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace"

 

Paul says very clearly that we are separated from Christ if we try to keep the Law. In fact, he says that we are under a curse if we try to keep the Law!

 

"For as many as are of the works of the Law are under a curse; for it is written, "Cursed is everyone who does not abide by all things written in the book of the law, to perform them" (Galatians 3:10).

 

I believe this is why so many Christian's finances are under a cursed, because they are trying to keep this one Law when God has not commanded it. If people would stop tithing, seek God and give as God has spoken to them, many of these money hungry preachers would just leave the ministry, if there was not so much money to be made. The ministry is supposed to be about self-sacrifice for the Lord and His people, not self-centeredness or how good and how big we are!

 

As we are now circumcised in heart, not flesh, we have also now become the tithe, we are not to pay it to someone unless directed by the Lord. We now are a living sacrifice of all we have and all that we are. In other words, everything I do is directed by obedience to the Lord and not by my own will. Whether I buy or sell something, it is the Lord's will to do so. Not my own, but His alone. 

 

THE HARLOT CHURCH

 

"And one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and spoke with me, saying, "Come here, I shall show you the judgment of the great harlot who sits on many waters" (Revelation 17:1).

 

In the Book of Revelation chapters 17 and 18 we find a "great harlot" being judged. There are two women found in the book of Revelation. One is the wife of the Lamb and the other is a harlot. (See Revelation. 21:9).  They are both women that have intimacy with a man. The wife has intimacy with one Man, the Lord, as an expression of her love for her Husband. The harlot however, has intimacy with many lovers and does it for pay, not out of love. In the Old Testament God was jealous of Israel because she had many lovers and was a harlot and He ended up judging Israel severely. He will also judge the harlot church today for her harlotries.

 

We must see that the harlot sits on many waters. That is, she controls the lives of many people on the earth. "And he said to me, "The waters which you saw where the harlot sits, are peoples and multitudes and nations and tongues" (Revelation 17:15). This is exactly what the harlot church is doing all over the earth today, controlling the masses of people to do their will instead of the will of God. This is harlotry when we do our own thing in the sight of God, rather than His will. "With whom the kings of the earth committed acts of immorality, and those who dwell on the earth were made drunk with the wine of her immorality" (Revelation 17:2).

 

The harlot is so in love with the world system and driven to be accepted by it that she is willing to do almost anything to receive the world's wealth. "And the woman was clothed in purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and precious stones and pearls, having in her hand a gold cup full of abominations and of the unclean things of her immorality" (Revelation 17:4). Notice how wealthy she has become, clothed in purple royalty and precious stones, just as the Laodicea church was in Revelation 3:17-18 (which many say is the last day's church.) "Because you say, "I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing," and you do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked, I advise you to buy from Me gold refined by fire, that you may become rich, and white garments, that you may clothe yourself, and that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and eye salve to anoint your eyes, that you may see."

 

As the bride of Christ, we are not to seek the treasures of the world, but the treasures of the Kingdom of God like love, faith, purity, and peace. These are the things in our life that are tried in the fires of adversity that come upon us daily. This will bring us true spiritual riches, lasting throughout eternity. Today the church of Jesus Christ seeks the things of the earth, not the things above. This will change, God will see to it.

 

"And I saw the woman drunk with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the witnesses of Jesus. And when I saw her, I wondered greatly" (Revelation 17:6).

 

When John saw the harlot he wondered greatly how she has become so rich and powerful. Much like the Catholic Church of old that used to sell penance's for a price to build large cathedrals, so the church of today has used tithing falsely to build large ministries and buildings in the name of Jesus. This harlot church is also like Israel that has killed many of its true witnesses of God by their words assassination. Throughout history every true prophet of God has either been killed, left to die in some prison, or excommunicated from the church as a heretic, warning no one to have fellowship with them.

 

GOD WILL JUDGES THE HARLOT

 

"And the ten horns which you saw, and the beast, these will hate the harlot and will make her desolate and naked, and will eat her flesh and will burn her up with fire. "For God has put it in their hearts to execute His purpose by having a common purpose, and by giving their kingdom to the beast, until the words of God should be fulfilled" (Revelation 17:16-17).

 

The beast system is the world system that carries the harlot. She is in love with the things and ways of the world. But God is going to turn the beast system against her as He turned King Nebuchadnezzar against Israel because of their great sin against the Lord. At that time great desolation came upon Israel and all their property was burned or stolen. This will happen again as it did to Israel, for Israel is a natural picture of what will happen to the church for her harlotry. (Note: I have another article written, "The Abomination of Desolation" that goes into greater detail of the judgment on the harlot church).

 

Because of her sin, judgment will come on her in one day. "For this reason in one day her plagues will come, pestilence and mourning and famine, and she will be burned up with fire; for the Lord God who judges her is strong" (Revelation 18:8).

 

"And the fruit you long for has gone from you, and all things that were luxurious and splendid have passed away from you and men will no longer find them. "The merchants of these things, who became rich from her, will stand at a distance because of the fear of her torment, weeping and mourning, saying, 'Woe, woe, the great city, she who was clothed in fine linen and purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and precious stones and pearls; for in one hour such great wealth has been laid waste!' And every shipmaster and every passenger and sailor, and as many as make their living by the sea, stood at a distance" (Revelation 18:14-17).

 

Everything that she has gained and enjoyed by manipulation/witchcraft over God's people will be given back to the beast system, for that is its origin.

 

The Lord warns us in Revelation 18:4, "To come out of her My People!" "And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, "Come out of her, my people, that you may not participate in her sins and that you may not receive of her plagues." We must come out of the religious controls of men and obey the Lord's leading in all things unless we, too, are destroyed by her plagues. What does this mean for us that are in the local church? Should we leave? If the traditions of men are holding us in bondage we must break free from them until their controls are broken. If missing Sunday morning services causes us to go through withdrawal symptoms, we are having a religious reaction to the traditions of men. Please hear me. I am not against Sunday morning services, but if we are in bondage to the system rather than God, we have a problem! Where does it say in Scripture that we are to attend weekly Sunday morning services? I know what you're thinking, Hebrews 10:25, "Not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more, as you see the day drawing near." This is not talking about looking at the backs of people's heads for one hour! This is talking about genuine fellowship with other believers and having common-union in a tight-knit home group as the New Testament believers did. Every believer should have a home group that they can share their burdens with and receive prayer and have close fellowship where everybody knows your name.

 

I believe very soon now that way we do church services is going to change radically where men are no longer in control of the service. The Holy Spirit is going to invade our meetings so much so that no one will dare get up and try and control it; for if they would try, they will fall dead! Let us press on to know the Lord and His leading so that we can flow with the Holy Spirit when He wants to move through us and bless others.

 

Dan Luehrs

PO Box 341

Intercession City, FL 33848

www.churchinhispresence.org