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CHRIST NOW PUTS
has been abundantly evident to most in the Church that in
considerable measure God had withdrawn
By Herbert W. Armstrong
At EVERY Feast site it was joyfully evident that God's Church has ABOUT-FACED - the direly needed SPIRITUAL REVIVAL has started. God's blessing on the Work is being RESTORED! There was a DIFFERENT dedicated, warm, loving and joyful spirit emphatically evident at all Feast sites. It's like a refreshing breath of fresh spiritual air!
How Christ has moved swiftly
First, midspring, Christ moved to set His CHURCH back on God's spiritual track. Then The Good News was restored and the radio and television broadcasts took on new life - and week by week more and more stations have continued to be added. Then CHRIST set Ambassador College back as GOD'S college, even though this necessitated starting all over with one freshman class. But it's GOD'S college once again.
The Plain Truth is being set back on God's track. As Feast time approached Jesus Christ inspired His ministry and brethren to put the FEAST OF TABERNACLES back on God's track - and what an inspiring, joyous, uplifting reborn Festival it was!
And now Jesus Christ is moving just as surely to REMOVE THE CURSE that has been allowed to come upon us.
Watering down God's TRUTH
When the sons of God came to present themselves before the Eternal in the day's of Job, "Satan came also among them." Satan is the author of fifth-column tactics - gradually slipping inside the Church, boring from within to water down God's TRUTH and attempting to destroy His Church.
The biblical teaching on TITHING was adroitly maneuvered so that paying God's tithe, which is His and which we OWE, was masqueraded as GIVING - if we want to - a 10th of WHAT is "OURS" as one would give charity and alms to a beggar! Poor God! But PRAISE OUR HOLY GOD! He is master over Satan, who has been pulling out all stops to DESTROY God's Church and His Work! I wrote you brethren some eight or 10 years ago that Satan had tried to destroy Christ's apostle but Christ intervened - that he would try to destroy those next in line and finally TO DESTROY ALL OF YOU!
Brethren, the real enemy is not flesh and blood, but Satan and his demons! They are unseen. Satan can outwit and deceive the ablest of us. None of us is clever enough to outsmart Satan. Our only defense is the living CHRIST, who has overpowered and mastered Satan.
And as our High Priest He intercedes for us at God's right hand. Satan knows better than we that he now has BUT A SHORT TIME! He "has come down unto [us], having great WRATH, because he knows he has but a short time" (Revelation 12:12).
So let me WARN YOU before I write further, that you and I - every one of US - NEED FROM NOW ON TO CONTINUE IN CONSTANT PREVAILING PRAYER - with frequent FASTING - for the protection of God's Work and of each other and of ourselves!
Removing the CURSE!
I have been giving you AMPLE PROOF recently that the very FOUNDATION of God's Church is the apostles and prophets, with Christ as living HEAD, Also that God's Church did originally, and MUST NOW, receive its teachings, practices and doctrines from Christ's chosen apostle. There is no other teaching or example in the New Testament!
To God's Church TODAY, one of the foundational prophets says very bluntly: "Will a man ROB GOD? Yet ye have robbed me, but ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? IN TITHES AND OFFERINGS. Ye are cursed with a curse, for ye have robbed me, but ye say, even this whole nation. 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 will not be room enough to receive it" (Malachi 3:8-10).
Brethren, THAT is NOT TEACHING FOR ANCIENT ISRAEL - IT IS TEACHING FOR THE CHURCH! That was written 397 B.C. Both Israel and Judah had long been driven out as slaves and scattered. The Kingdom of Israel was taken captive and moved as slaves to Assyria 721 to 718 B.C. Judah was taken as slaves to Babylon 604 to 585 B.C. Malachi's teaching never reached THEM, but God has seen to it that it has reached US!
A small contingent of Judah (with NONE of Israel) was sent back to Jerusalem about 515 B.C. to build the second temple - but this was ONLY A SMALL COLONY. They probably were still there when Malachi wrote in 397 - almost 200 years after Judah had been driven from their land, and more than 300 years after Israel was removed from the promised land.
There is NO WAY Malachi's prophecy could have reached the main nations Israel and Judah. It was a PROPHECY for OUR TIME - the time of the end - the time when God is going to send one in the power and spirit of Elijah, shortly before Christ's second coming (Malachi 4:5-6).
Tithing began in Abraham. In Galatians 3:7 Abraham is the father (humanly) of the faithful. All the PROMISES God gave for eternal salvation for you and me are based on God's PROMISES to Abraham.
Yet some 430 years before Israel as a nation, Abraham PAID tithes to Melchizedek, the ever-living High Priest (actually Christ). This was the foundation for making TITHE-PAYING a LAW in national Israel.
Speaking of this, the apostle Paul writes, "And as I may so say, Levi also, who receiveth tithes, PAID tithes in Abraham" (Hebrews 7:9). Not charitable giving of alms, but PAYING what rightfully belonged to God.
The historic account is in Genesis: "And Melchizedek king of Salem [peace] brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God. And he blessed him [Abraham], and said, Blessed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth: And blessed be the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand. And he [Abram] gave him tithes of all" (Genesis 14:18-20).
Here is the FOUNDATION of tithing. Note carefully the PRINCIPLE and the REASON for tithing. Quoted above are the words, "most high God, possessor of heaven and earth." All belongs to GOD the CREATOR and OWNER of all.
All wealth - everything you have, eat or use, has come out of GOD'S EARTH. Even you and I, ourselves, came out of the ground, which GOD OWNS. Need I, here, add the other scriptures declaring that GOD OWNS the earth, out of which God ALLOWS you and me to receive what the Bible terms "increase"? Your food, the materials for your clothes, your homes, even your places of entertainment and amusement, ALL COME OUT OF GOD'S EARTH.
Therefore it ALL belongs to GOD. Whatever you eat, wear, live in, use or enjoy BELONGS to GOD!
Now some would think God UNFAIR. Humans have always had tendency to think that. But NOTICE THE LOVE AND GENEROSITY OF GOD! He allows YOU to extract food, goods, materials of whatever kind, out of HIS GROUND that BELONGS TO HIM.
And even YOU belong to Him, for He created you in Adam and Eve, and HE gives you the breath you breathe and all you take, have or use. It ALL belongs to God. If God dealt with us as humans deal with God, God would selfishly and harshly DEMAND it ALL and, if need be, TAKE IT FROM YOU - for it BELONGS TO HIM! But God is not selfish, as man is!
But now notice the goodness and severity of God. He generously GIVES YOU nine tenths - 90 percent - of all you receive, gain or have, from His earth and CHARGES YOU a meager 10 percent for USING His EARTH, having things you need, want and desire out of it.
That shows the LOVE, the GENEROSITY, the COMPASSION and the GOODNESS of God. And He promises to bless and increase the 90 percent He gives you!
But, if you STEAL from God His rightful 10th, as well as the other 90 percent, then you are GUILTY OF ROBBING GOD, and YOU FALL UNDER A CURSE!
That's making it PLAIN. It's just that simple! Those who want to use HUMAN REASON to get around being HONEST with God, TWIST God's Word by representing that what you produce, earn or gain is YOURS, and it might be nice, IF you want (which most humans don't) to GIVE to God, as if you are a haughty MASTER giving charity or alms to a lowly beggar, 10 percent of YOUR money.
That is WRESTING AND TWISTING GOD'S HOLY WORD to, in plain language, KID YOURSELF that your STEALING is right.
And the irony of it is that those of you who have done this DO NOT HAVE A GUILTY CONSCIENCE as YOU most surely ought to have. And WHY? Because human conscience hurts you when you do what YOU think, in your own reasoning and understanding, is wrong! Millions have reasoned that STEALING is not wrong. Do you think that safecrackers, bank robbers, purse-snatchers or even shoplifters let their stealing trouble their conscience? Yet YOU are just as GUILTY in fact, when you STEAL God's TITHE.
God's Church has been under a CURSE, Jesus Christ is SPEAKING PLAINLY TO YOU THROUGH His apostle RIGHT NOW! You try to JUSTIFY YOURSELF by human reason by leaning to your own understanding (see Proverbs 3:5), and you may pay the price of losing ETERNAL SALVATION - WHY? Because you must be JUSTIFIED by God's GRACE, not by your own human reasoning to get around His TRUTH!
Now let's trace the history of the tithing LAW.
The New Testament speaks of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob as "the FATHERS" to whom the PROMISES were made. Jacob TITHED.
"And Jacob vowed a vow, saying, If God will be with me, and will keep me in this way that I go, and will give me bread to eat, and raiment to put on [ALL belongs to God - He GIVES us 90 percent of what is His] ... of all that thou shalt give me I will surely give the tenth unto thee" (Genesis 28:20-22).
Jacob (whose name was changed to Israel) was the grandson of Abraham. And God said of Abraham: "For I know him, that he will command his children, and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the ETERNAL, to do justice and judgment; that the ETERNAL may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him" (Genesis 18:19).
Jacob did follow in THE WAY of the ETERNAL, as his grandfather Abraham had done, and made a vow to be honest in tithing to God, GOD'S DEMANDED 10TH.
Later, 430 years after Abraham, when God called Abraham and Jacob's children - the children of Israel - to become GOD'S NATION in the world, God made OBLIGATORY BY His LAW the tithing system. God set apart the tribe of Levi for the sacrificial and priestly service with Aaron's descendants as high priests. Ten percent of the agricultural produce went to the Levites. Israel, on entering the promised land, was an agricultural nation. The Levites, in turn, tithed to the family of Aaron from the tithe they received.
There were various other offerings - peace offerings, burnt offerings, meat offerings, etc. The people of Israel were to tithe all of their produce, whether grain, food or livestock.
To provide for their expenses at annual Festivals, the Israelites were to set aside a second tithe. They were almost exclusively agriculturists. If the distance to the Feast was too far to carry the food, provisions, their herds and flocks, they were to turn them into money and take this money with them to provide for their needs at the Festival. They did not deal, however, in the exchange of money to the extent most of us do today. So today God's Church, we might say, altogether uses money instead of produce and livestock (Deuteronomy 14:22-26).
Then, at the end of three years they were to lay aside a third tithe, for the "stranger and the fatherless and widows, not forgetting the Levites, who had no inheritance in the land and therefore produced no foodstuffs, livestock or other production.
Now, coming to the Church of God, I have already quoted from one of the prophets of the very FOUNDATION of the Church, that to keep or use for yourself or your own purposes God's first 10th is STEALING from, GOD.
And STEALING is certainly breaking God's spiritual law - and is SIN, which will cost you your SALVATION!
Come now into the priesthood chapter, the book of Hebrews.
"For this Melchisedec, king of Salem [peace], priest of the most high God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings, and blessed him; To whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all; first being by interpretation King of righteousness, and after that also King of Salem, which is, King of peace." (This was "the Word," who later was born as Jesus Christ. Write for the free reprint article, "The Mystery of Melchizedek Solved.") "Without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life; but made like unto the Son of God, abideth a priest continually.
"Now consider how great this man was, unto whom even the patriarch Abraham gave the tenth of the spoils. And verily they that are of the sons of Levi, who receive the office of the priesthood, have a commandment to take tithes of the people according to the law, that is, of their brethren, though they come out of the loins of Abraham: But he whose descent is not counted from them received tithes of Abraham, and blessed him that had the promises ... And as I may so say, Levi also, who receiveth tithes, PAID tithes in Abraham" (Hebrews 7:1-9).
There is a slight distinction here. Apparently, though God led Abraham to tithe to Melchizedek, God made tithing a LAW in the days of the kingdom of Israel, 430 years later. Then it was no longer a matter of giving but of PAYING. Undoubtedly it was the same, IN PRINCIPLE, in Abraham's day - and that is why God led Abraham to do it - but God had not revealed to Abraham it was a legal obligation. Today it is a legal obligation to us. But even if this had not been revealed to Abraham, he was dedicated to God and more than willing to tithe anyway.
But no longer is it GIVING - with the decision of whether or not to do it up to you. It is now a LAW - an OBLIGATION TO PAY to God what BELONGS to God.
Yet what a wonderful God. He demands that we PAY the tithe to His ministry. We are STEALING if we do not - yet when we do, God GIVES us the nine tenths and blesses us financially, so that the nine tenths God gives us becomes (from God's special blessing) more than if we had been free to keep the ten tenths!
But now notice this teaching in Hebrews 7: Melchizedek was God's priest - eternally. During the Levitical priesthood, God made the Levites the priests in Israel. But now JESUS CHRIST (Melchizedek) is High Priest, and the ministry is NO LONGER a Levitical ministry, but that of JESUS CHRIST, living HEAD of God's CHURCH. The priesthood is now CHANGED, from Levi to Christ.
"For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law" (verse 12). The law of Moses commanded tithes to be paid to the Levitical priesthood. That is now changed so that the LAW (not abolished but CHANGED) commands that tithes go to Christ's ministry for the preaching of the GOSPEL. The Levites did not preach the GOSPEL to the world. Christ's priesthood - the Church - does!
Tithing was a LAW. That law has not been abolished or abrogated - but a change has been made in it so that the tithes today are to be PAID, on penalty of STEALING - of SIN - into God's Church! And one of God's prophets - of the FOUNDATION of the Church - says the Church is under a curse for failure to be HONEST in PAYING God's tithe, which we owe - which BELONGS TO HIM - and even our nine tenths actually does not belong to us UNTIL we have paid God His 10th.
Tithing was taken for granted by those Jews in Judea at the time of Christ. Even the Pharisees were meticulous about tithing. Jesus did not need to give special teaching to His disciples on tithing. It was well known, accepted and understood by them.
In fact the scribes and Pharisees, so deceitful and hypocritical and disobedient about so many things, were strict tithe payers.
To them Jesus said, "Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave, the other undone" (Matthew 23:23). Notice, these hypocrites did not GIVE tithe - they PAID it, as Jesus said "ye ought to have done."
Some, with a spirit as bad as the Pharisees, argue today, "Jesus did not say it was a New Testament law.
Jesus washed His disciples' feet. He did not make it a law or COMMAND that they do the same, but He said,'"... I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you" (John 13:15). The Church of God regards that as equivalent to a command. And we would not dare think of NOT doing it!
All who have the Spirit of God will not argue, but consider, also, as equivalent to a command, what Jesus said regarding tithes, "This ought ye to have done." We should FEAR NOT to tithe!
The apostle Paul said, "Does a soldier provide his own supplies? [Moffatt] who planteth a vineyard, and eateth not of the fruit thereof? or who feedeth a flock, and eateth not of the milk of the flock? Say I these things; as a man? or saith not the law the same also? ... If we [ministers] have sown unto you spiritual things, is it a great thing if we shall reap your carnal things? ... Do ye not know that they which minister about holy things live of the things of the temple? ..." - that is by the law of TITHING and offerings. "Even so [by tithes and offerings] hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of that gospel" (I Corinthians 9:7-14).
Paul says plainly the Lord Jesus Christ has ORDAINED the tithing system for His Church.
God says, "And all the tithe of the land [or, in our day, of the factory, the shop or store, or whatever earns wages]... is the LORD'S [He owns it, IT BELONGS TO HIM]: it IS HOLY UNTO the LORD" (Leviticus 27:30).
God's Sabbath is HOLY to Him. That's why we must not trample on it or desecrate it - it BELONGS to HIM, not to us.
God's NAME is HOLY. That's why we must not profane it in profanity.
Speaking of the sins of Judah and Jerusalem, God says: "Her priests have violated my law, and have profaned mine holy things: they have put no difference between the holy and profane, neither have they shewed difference between the unclean and ,the clean, and have hid their eyes from my Sabbaths, and I am profaned among them" (Ezekiel 22:26). WHAT A JUDGMENT AGAINST ANCIENT JUDAH! This certainly seems to indicate that if one profanes GOD'S HOLY TITHE, he will also profane God's Sabbath AND THUS PROFANE GOD!
Brethren of God's Church - and ministers - some of you either HAVE NOT TITHED - which means YOU HAVE STOLEN FROM GOD, YOU HAVE SINNED, and you are UNDER A CURSE and causing a CURSE to come on GOD'S CHURCH and HIS WORK - or you excuse it, saying, "Well, I'm just behind in paying my tithe. I can't afford to tithe until I get my debts cleared up.
But LISTEN and HEED! It is not your tithe - it is GOD'S - HOLY to HIM! IT IS THE FIRST 10th of your income - before all else - before paying bills. YOU HAVE NO RIGHT TO IT!
If you work for a bank, and you take some of the bank's money, that is EMBEZZLEMENT! But stealing from the GOD who GIVES you your breath of life, the food you eat, the clothes you wear - that is far worse in His eyes!
Pay up GOD'S TITHES FIRST - and assure yourself of God's special financial blessing, so you can pay off your debts to humans.
Christ's chosen apostle has SPOKEN OUT with straight-from-the-shoulder talk in the article! Do NOT MAKE EXCUSE! You simply have no excuse in GOD'S EYES!
And to you ministers, Christ's apostle says to you BY HIS AUTHORITY - the damnable watering down of so sacred a thing to God as being financially honest with God, and giving you ministers UNAUTHORIZED permission behind the back of Christ's apostle, and UNKNOWN to him, to change GOD'S LAW and COMMAND about one of His HOLY things, from PAYING into giving God alms - IF you want to - that foul teaching in the STP [Systematic Theology Project] was a STENCH in the nostrils of Jesus Christ. It was UNAUTHORIZED and TOTALLY UNKNOWN - that any such thing was being prepared or going out - to His apostle. I say to you before GOD, I knew NOTHING of any such project.
But PRAISE BE TO ALMIGHTY GOD, Jesus Christ our HEAD is now moving swiftly and relentlessly to ELIMINATE THE CURSE ON GOD'S WORK, that He may now PROVE to us that He will open the windows of heaven and pour us out a blessing, that there will not be room enough to receive it!