Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The Truth about Tithing

The Truth about Tithing

By R.S. Neaville

As we mature as Christians we come to find out that many of our practices are based more on tradition than biblical requirements. The thinking and concerns of men have long since ferreted their way into the practices and doctrines of Christian experience. The concept of tithing is one of these. In the following article this truth will be exposed in three basic points of biblical inquiry.

1. Tithing is of the Mosaic law.

2. The early Church did not practice tithing.

3. Tithing is bondage for the Christian

First it must be clarified at the beginning what it is we are not saying so that we will have no misunderstandings. Not every church that still practices tithing is aware of these truths. They aren’t trying to deceive or manipulate. They sincerely believe that what was passed on to them is true and right. The purpose of this article is to help Christians understand the true biblical understanding of giving and bring correction from the scriptures to this subject.

Tithing is of the Mosaic law.

The Old Testament is where the concept of tithing originated. It is based on the concept of the first fruits of a man’s increase. The word in Hebrew is ma’aser; literally meaning “a tenth”. In Hebrew culture a man always acknowledged God as his provider by the giving back of this tenth. It was to be the first and best of his increase. Later you will see what is spiritually demonstrated in this physical practice. The first recorded instance of a tithe in scripture is where Abraham offered a tithe to God through the High priest of God Melchizedek when he won the battle on the plains of Shinar and took spoil. This is a constant through out scripture. There can be no tithe without a priest of God to accept it.

Genesis14: 18. And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God.

19. And he blessed him, and said, Blessed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth

20. And blessed be the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand. And he gave him tithes of all.

In the later Levitical priesthood we see this truth again.

Numbers 18:20. And the Lord spake unto Aaron, Thou shalt have no inheritance in their land, neither shalt thou have any part among them: I am thy part and thine inheritance among the children of Israel.

21. And, behold, 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.

22. Neither must the children of Israel henceforth come nigh the tabernacle of the congregation, lest they bear sin, and die.

23. But the Levites shall do the service of the tabernacle of the congregation, and they shall bear their iniquity: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations, that among the children of Israel they have no inheritance.

24. But the tithes of the children of Israel, which they offer as an heave offering unto the Lord, I have given to the Levites to inherit: therefore I have said unto them, Among the children of Israel they shall have no inheritance.

The Mosaic Law is referred to in the New Testament in many different ways. It is called the law, the law of sin and death, the Law of Moses, etc. This is the law given to Moses by god to lead the Israelites. It consists of the 10 commandments and 613 ordinances that regulated the everyday lives of the Israelites. It is a law that we as new testament Christians are not under. We are under grace.

In the discussion of this Biblical fact it becomes necessary to demonstrate this truth with a number of Biblical examples from the New Testament. There are two distinct facts that readily present themselves in this examination of scripture. The first is that in general gentiles were not under the law to begin with. It is only when we learn of its righteous requirement that we come under it.

Romans 2: 6. Who will render to every man according to his deeds:

7. To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life:

8. But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath,

9. Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile;

10. But glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile:

11. For there is no respect of persons with God.

12. For as many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law: and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law;

13. (For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified.

14. For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves:

15. Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;)

When we were ignorant of the law we were free from it. We were not free from death however. Sin is only identified by the law. With out the law sin is not seen for what it is. The law labeled our evil acts as transgeressions and so we could see the corruption of sin through those actions. The penalty of death was added to show us sin ends in death. But even without the Law sin was as a corrupt nature working death in us. Hence the Apostle Paul says :

The second fact concerns Jesus paying the law for us with his life. This goes right to the heart of the matter. The penalty of the Law was death:

Romans5: 12. Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:

13. (For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law.

14. Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come.

15. But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many.

16. And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification.

17. For if by one man's offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.)

18. Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.

19. For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.

20. Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound:

21. That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.

We see from the above scripture that death was the penalty of the law for sin. And that Jesus laid his life down for us. We are there fore considered dead to the law through him.

Romans 6

1. What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?

2. God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?

3. Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?

4. Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.

5. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection:

6. Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.

7. For he that is dead is freed from sin.

The scriptures also tell us that for us who are dead with Christ, the law with its commandments and ordinances are effectively removed, even abolished where those of faith in Christ’s sacrifice are concerned. If we are dead with Christ then the Law is fulfilled in us through Christ. For the penalty of the law was death and it has been met. What can the law require of a dead man? Nothing. A dead man has passed beyond the scope of the law’s hold or judgment and through the hope of the resurrection even death has lost its dominion over us by the law.

Romans 6: 9. death hath no more dominion over him. Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more;

10. For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God.

11. Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.

12. Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.

13. Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.

14. For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.

Ephesians 2: 13. But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.

14. For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us;

15. Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace;

16. And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby:

17. And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh.

18. For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.

Colossians 2: 13. And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses;

14. Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;

15. And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.

16. Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days:

17. Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.

The bottom line of all of this is that we are dead to sin with Christ, and therefore dead to the law with its ordinances and commandments. This does not give us license to sin. Now it is all about the root of sin which is a corrupt nature;not a commandment or ordinance. We are not free from the law, but not righteousness. It is now all about what nature we sow to: Either the nature of Christ or the nature of Adam.

Romans 6: 11. Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.

12. Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.

13. Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.

14. For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.

15. What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid.

16. Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?

17. But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you.

18. Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.

19. I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness.

20. For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness.

21. What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things is death.

22. But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.

23. For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Romans 8

1. There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

2. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.

3. For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:

4. That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

5. For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.

6. For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.

7. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.

8. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.

9. But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.

10. And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.

11. But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.

12. Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh.

13. For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live

So it is clear. It is not about Laws and ordinances for the believer. It is about sowing to the new nature we have through the sacrifice of Christ. We are dead to the law and Alive to God through faith in Jesus.

Romans 3:19 19. Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.

20. Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.

21. But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets;

22. Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:

23. For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;

24. Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:

25. Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;

26. To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.

27. Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith.

28. Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.

29. Is he the God of the Jews only? is he not also of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also:

30. Seeing it is one God, which shall justify the circumcision by faith, and uncircumcision through faith.

31. Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law.

The early Church did not practice tithing.

Now that we have established that tithing is of the law, and that we are not under the law as Christians , but rather under grace, now we can go onto to examine how the early Church acted in this matter through a number of biblical references and examples.

1. The Christian viewed himself as one who was owned by God, bought with a price. (Jesus’ blood.) and there fore everything he owned already belonged to God. We are stewards over his possessions.

1 Corinthians 6: 19. What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?

20. For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.

1 Corinthians 7: 29. But this I say, brethren, the time is short: it remaineth, that both they that have wives be as though they had none;

30. And they that weep, as though they wept not; and they that rejoice, as though they rejoiced not; and they that buy, as though they possessed not;

31. And they that use this world, as not abusing it: for the fashion of this world passeth away.

1 Timothy 6: 3. If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness;

4. He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings,

5. Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself.

6. But godliness with contentment is great gain.

7. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.

8. And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.

9. But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition.

10. For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.

1 Peter4: 7. But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer.

8. And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins.

9. Use hospitality one to another without grudging.

10. As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.

11. If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

2. Giving is decided in our hearts with the holy Spirit. We Give of his stores in which we are stewards

Philippians 4: . Now ye Philippians know also, that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church communicated with me as concerning giving and receiving, but ye only.

16. For even in Thessalonica ye sent once and again unto my necessity.

17. Not because I desire a gift: but I desire fruit that may abound to your account.

18. But I have all, and abound: I am full, having received of Epaphroditus the things which were sent from you, an odour of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, wellpleasing to God.

18. But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

1 Corinthians 16

1. Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given order to the churches of Galatia, even so do ye.

2. Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come.

3. And when I come, whomsoever ye shall approve by your letters, them will I send to bring your liberality unto Jerusalem.

And if it be meet that I go also, they shall go with me.

Acts 5

1. But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession,

2. And kept back part of the price, his wife also being privy to it, and brought a certain part, and laid it at the apostles' feet.

3. But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land?

4. Whiles it remained, was it not thine own? and after it was sold, was it not in thine own power? why hast thou conceived this thing in thine heart? thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God.

5. And Ananias hearing these words fell down, and gave up the ghost: and great fear came on all them that heard these things.

6. And the young men arose, wound him up, and carried him out, and buried him.

7. And it was about the space of three hours after, when his wife, not knowing what was done, came in.

8. And Peter answered unto her, Tell me whether ye sold the land for so much? And she said, Yea, for so much.

9. Then Peter said unto her, How is it that ye have agreed together to tempt the Spirit of the Lord? behold, the feet of them which have buried thy husband are at the door, and shall carry thee out.

10. Then fell she down straightway at his feet, and yielded up the ghost: and the young men came in, and found her dead, and, carrying her forth, buried her by her husband.

11. And great fear came upon all the church, and upon as many as heard these things.

2 Corinthians 9

1. For as touching the ministering to the saints, it is superfluous for me to write to you:

2. For I know the forwardness of your mind, for which I boast of you to them of Macedonia, that Achaia was ready a year ago; and your zeal hath provoked very many.

3. Yet have I sent the brethren, lest our boasting of you should be in vain in this behalf; that, as I said, ye may be ready:

4. Lest haply if they of Macedonia come with me, and find you unprepared, we (that we say not, ye) should be ashamed in this same confident boasting.

5. Therefore I thought it necessary to exhort the brethren, that they would go before unto you, and make up beforehand your bounty, whereof ye had notice before, that the same might be ready, as a matter of bounty, and not as of covetousness.

6. But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully.

7. Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.

8. And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work:

9. (As it is written, He hath dispersed abroad; he hath given to the poor: his righteousness remaineth for ever.

10. Now he that ministereth seed to the sower both minister bread for your food, and multiply your seed sown, and increase the fruits of your righteousness;)

11. Being enriched in every thing to all bountifulness, which causeth through us thanksgiving to God.

12. For the administration of this service not only supplieth the want of the saints, but is abundant also by many thanksgivings unto God;

13. Whiles by the experiment of this ministration they glorify God for your professed subjection unto the gospel of Christ, and for your liberal distribution unto them, and unto all men;

14. And by their prayer for you, which long after you for the exceeding grace of God in you.

15. Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift.

The above verses are all that is recorded of giving and notice none of them speak of a tithe but rather a giving from the heart. . No. there is no tithe in the new testament Church. Giving is according to grace in the Spirit like everything else in Christianity. Not a tithe of the law.

Tithing is bondage for the Christian

We are givers by nature! We not need a levite priest, a Levitical storehouse or an ordinance to make us give!. As Christians and stewards over the things of God we naturally give beyond anything the law would or could require. The following verse has been used repeatedly by Churches and ministers who proclaim they teach grace to extort money from God’s people because they have no faith that God will work in peoples hearts to give.

Malachi 3: 8. Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings.

9. Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation.

10. Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.

11. And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith the Lord of hosts.

This is from the law! It is written to the physical nation of Israel who was under Law! Where is this storehouse now? Why do man made organizations masquerade as this levitical store house to extort money from you? Think about it! Who made them the store house? It is true that you must not rob God of what belongs to him..and that first and foremost is your heart! If God has your heart he has your money too! Only He can tell you where he wants it put. Thes men are usurping God in your life! Why do you let them put you under the law and therefore bondage?

The following is a perfect example of this type of manipulation and extortion. Read the following flyer carefully in light of all we have studied here. This was sent to me by a Dear brother from his Church!

Count the Number of Lies and Manipulations!

1. Tithing is not an issue of trust…It is an issue of money for them. It is also an issue of Bondage, Law and Extortion.

2. The flyer says our most difficult area of trust is our finances…That is a lie. Our most difficult area is trusting God period…with anything! Their focus is money!

3. Notice how if you don’t tithe to THEM then you don’t trust God! They harp on this.

4. Notice how they work hard to manipulate a commitment out of you.

5. Notice how the response is not yours as they claim...but theirs for you! They wont allow you the benefit of making your own decision.

6. Notice the two boxes….No third one for you to decide you don’t want to tithe to them. It is designed to make you feel bad if you don’t.

7. Notice how all that personal info they request, address, email…etc. It is all designed to make you feel the commitment…like a contract.

8. Notice how they lay claim to be God’s storehouse…who made them that?

This is a sad commentary. Wake up brothers and sisters. Do not give in to this bondage and extortion. There is no tithe. There is nothing but Cheerful givers in the Lord. Good and faithful stewards!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Rules for Biblical Prophecy

by R. S. Neaville

In these days the subject of biblical prophecy has become more of an industry that an area of serious study. So-called prophecy teachers and televangelists sell their speculations and musings for big money. Whether we are talking about Hal Lindsey, Grant Jefferies, Tim LaHaye, Jack Van Impe, or any other of a number of prophecy hucksters it all comes out to the same thing: guessing games instead of clear scriptural teaching.
The truth is biblical prophecy is governed by very clear rules according to Scripture. I believe that it is high time that these rules are defined for God's people with clarity so that we are no longer made merchandise of by these cash driven super salesman and their disregard for scriptural integrity. I do not use any of these adjectives lightly. Nor am I trying to be disrespectful or flippant. The men I have mentioned and many others too numerous to mention are guilty of misleading the people of God no matter what their intentions may have started out as. This is a fact that I believe will be made clear with remedy from the holy writ of the word of God. It is high time that all of us who claim to be Christians begin to live in the sober awareness of true biblical prophecy and its purpose as designed by God himself.
Rule number one: God never uses speculation. Never in all of the 66 books of inspired Scripture did a single Bible teacher, prophet of God, or writer of Scripture, ever engage in speculation as to what God would do or would not do were prophecy was concerned. The writers of Scripture spoke only what God gave them to say. Never once did a man of God guess as to how God would fulfill any prophecy. In the relationship between God and prophet interpretation was always in God's purview not in a man's. Never once has a man figured out God's intentions.

2 Peter 1:20 Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.
21 For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.

God never spoke in terms of maybe this will happen or maybe that. God always speaks in the absolute. Never once did God ever encourage men to speculate on what his will was. Man was always dependent upon what God himself chose to reveal. God can not be figured out with the guessing games of carnal minds.

Isaiah 55:9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.

Rule number two: prophecy was never recognized or understood as to how would be manifested before it began to be fulfilled. In all of Scripture not a single prophecy that was fulfilled was recognized until it began to be fulfilled. No man has ever known before hand exactly how God's will would be manifested. We can use the prophecies concerning Jesus Christ as an example it wasn't until after John the Baptist began preaching and Jesus began to do his work that the prophecies referring to him were recognized in him. The coming of the Messiah the well-documented throughout Scripture in the old covenant and yet the whole of the nation of Israel was caught flat-footed when he arrived on the scene.

John 1:10 He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.

This is the true nature of prophecy. You recognize it as it's been fulfilled. So prophecy is not so much focused on giving you knowledge of what will happen before it does but it rather it warns you and pinpoints the hour of God's visitation and confirms dramatically you can place your trust in God. A simple survey of the Scriptures will verify this in very stark terms.

Rule number three: You cannot place contemporary meanings on ancient symbols and figures in the Bible. If you'll notice many prophecy teachers do this. They try to interpret symbols in a modern context. They try to line up today's newspapers with the metaphor of ancient Scripture. In the process they twist the Scriptures to mean something totally different than what they were meant to. This is reading their own ideas and culture upon the text. The symbology and metaphor of Scripture is ancient. The Bible has already generated its own meanings for the symbology. Let me give you an example: Some prophecy teachers have looked at the bear mentioned in Daniel chapter 7. As being Russia because in modern times bears have become a symbol of Russia. But Daniel chapter 7 and 8 tell us very clearly that the bear is a reference to the ancient kingdom of Medo- Persia. So you see the identity of the bear has already been established and Scripture. They cannot be interpreted with a modern slant. Another example- Hal Lindsey in his books compares the locusts of Revelation Chapter 9 as being cobra helicopters. Now even he acknowledges that this is pure speculation yet this is become the most popular interpretation of the entities described in this verse. Again we see the substitution of contemporary understandings placed upon ancient symbols. Locusts are an ancient understanding of plague and the curse that can fall upon the land. This is the meaning that is applicable in Revelation chapter 9. While I do not want to get in to the full meaning of this chapter I think you begin to see the tone of what I'm trying to relate. These prophecy mongers are adept at inserting their own meanings and coloring the tone of Scripture while doing great damage to the text. Prophecy was never meant to be a guessing game, to be speculated over, or to be sold as merchandise. This is yet another area in which those who claim to be Christian must wake up.
There are more rules than the above mentioned that govern the use of prophecy in Scripture. These are only three that will help you see the need for greater understanding in this realm of study. I hope this is helpful. You can find more on this subject on my website
in Jesus, R.S.Neaville

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

All About The Benjamins

Let's face it folks modern  media Christianity is all about the money.  How much proof do you need?   All one has to do to verify  this truth is to turn on your TV any Sunday morning to any of the Christian channels and programs. and I do mean any of them.  The majority of all Christian television programming today teaches you that the way to sure blessings is based upon how much money you send them.  It is gotten way out of hand.  Whether it be Kenneth Copeland, Creflo Dollar, (why anyone would trust a preacher with the last name of "Dollar" is beyond me) Joyce Meyer, Rod Parsley, or any one of a number of TV hucksters it really doesn't matter. They all have the same theme " send me the money". And as they are begging or prodding you for your money they are telling you that it is so that they may continue to weekly and sometimes daily keep prodding you for your money under the guise of preaching the gospel. While I don't hear a lot of gospel I do hear a lot of solicitations for the green stuff. It is my personal feeling that most of these would not know the Gospel message if it bit them you know where. I've yet to hear one of them preach or teach any clear Christian doctrine.

     And this problem is not restricted to television.  It could be one of the Internet prophets seeking to sell you a prophecy, or the local church pastor extorting money out of you from the pulpit to build a new church building which I am sure that is all what we need as Christians; another church building; like we don't have enough buildings empty as it is. I even heard one pastor teach that the largest problem Christianity had is that not enough people tithed. He informed the people in his congregation and on television that God had told him this was the biggest problem Christians had  and why they were not blessed. It wasn't a sin, it wasn't adultery it wasn't a hard heart, it wasn't  ignorance of what the gospel message is, It all come down to whether or not the church was going to get money from them. Ludicrous!

   The simple fact is most of the works that we are called to do as Christians doesn't cost a whole lot. We simply show the Love of Jesus. Our resources are pooled to feed  and clothe people in order that that we may preach the gospel to them. Maybe together we rent a place where we can meet all altogether. And again maybe we pool our resources to help some needy family of the congregation that's a bad predicament financially. And when it comes down to supporting a ministry outside of our congregations it should be one that teaches the truth of the gospel and the people who work in that ministry should make every effort to live modestly so as not to be a burden to the congregation. As the Bible says the man of God is worthy of his hire but it was never God's intention that preachers live better than their congregations or that ministers gain so much fame it out shadows Christ , the one for whom they claim they are slave. The Golden rule still applies even for ministers: It is God first, others second, and us last. Just compare that idea to the current opulence of many so-called Christian ministries. As I said this is gotten way out of hand and if we truly are the people of God it's time the Reformation in this area began. In the coming war of words let mine be the first shot. And Lord let it strike true. Amen.