Monthly Archives: June 2016

Unto the King

You know I love to bless others with great worship songs. So, here’s another: Unto the King, by Joey Holder, another Vineyard song from about 25 years ago, that has always blessed me and that I have recently managed to find once more. Sing, worship and be blessed 🙂

Now unto the King eternal
Unto the King immortal
Unto the King invisible
The only wise God
The only wise God

Unto the King be glory and honour
Unto the King forever
Unto the King be glory and honour forever
And ever, amen, amen

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Blind Guides!

He also told them this parable: “Can the blind lead the blind? Will they not both fall into a pit? (Luke 6:39)

Here’s a great piece of insight from Jeff Turner, which I can really identify with. Remember, Jeff is the author of ‘Saints in the Arms of a Happy God’ and is into Grace and Nice God theology.  The insight is brilliant; I’ll let him explain:

“Jesus told us that the blind are incapable of leading the blind, as both will eventually fall into a ditch. While I agree with the statement, since, you know, Jesus said it and all that, I also think that the blind are, in an ironic sense, capable of leading both their blind selves and their followers to liberation.

“There are, for example, theological positions that I now find quite absurd, heretical even, that were instrumental in helping to lead me to where I am today. The doctrine of Penal Substitutionary Atonement (PSA), for instance, helped me believe that God was not angry with me, since it gave me a way of imagining his terrible wrath as having been dealt with at the cross. Now, of course, that is a tenuous and, I think, ultimately untenable, doctrinal position, but for a young man like me, who had grown accustomed to seeing God as angry and vengeful, the idea of there having been a moment when all of it was emptied onto a sacrificial substitute allowed me the freedom to not think of God in terms of anger or wrath. Now, yes, ultimately I came to see the fallacies inherent in this doctrine, its lack of biblical and historical merit, and straight up absurdity, but for a moment, it allowed me to think beyond my then-present paradigm.

“It was ultimately this idea that led me to consider the idea that God was non-violent, and non-retributive, an idea I would have never given a second thought to had I not been allowed the freedom to think of God’s wrath as having been set aside, or dealt with through Christ’s death. This was a case of the blind leading the blind. I was blind in my belief that God was angry, and the doctrine of PSA was blind in its assertions that God required the death of his son to deal with his anger management problems, but for a season, it led me. Ultimately, it led me into a ditch, wherein I realized that my eyes had been closed, and that I had been blinded all along. God did not need appeasement as the gods of the pagans did, and his anger against humanity was never a problem requiring a solution! It was the time I spent in this theological ditch, pondering the implications of my former doctrinal stances, and coming to terms with the God Jesus revealed, that led me to the path on which I currently trod.

“I needed the ditch. I needed the blind guide. It was God speaking to me in the only language I was capable of understanding in that moment, and it led me a place in which I realized just how blind I had been. And who knows? I might find this experience repeating itself numerous times throughout my life, before all is said and done!

“So, while the blind cannot ultimately lead the blind, they can, in a sense, help us to realize how enslaved we are, and how blind we have been. This is important, as we have a tendency to look back at our time beneath “blind guides” and consider it wasted, but those represent some of the most significant stretches of your journey, because it was in these times, in these ditches, that you learned you had eyes, and learned how to use them.

“Every leg of your journey is significant. Including the time you spend in darkness and in ditches.”

blind


Here’s the link to the original Facebook post:

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Darren’s Steam Engine

My friend Darren is a man after God’s Heart, and he’s also after Revival. Not just a small tent ‘revival’ like they do in the States, but a full-blown move of the Spirit in this day that will bring healing, blessing and righteousness to countless numbers of hurting people. He and I both want revival and, each in our own ways, we both work with God towards that end.

Yesterday, Darren shared a vision he was given while praying in the Moriah Chapel in Loughor, Wales, where the 1904 Welsh Revival began.

Here’s Darren’s post in full:

“I have something that I feel is very important to share with the Church…

“This morning as I was praying and soul-searching at the back pew in Moriah Chapel, God gave me a message in the form of an image in my head;-

“I saw an old steam train sitting on some tracks. It was not moving forward or backward but was just sitting there, unfulfilled in it’s purpose. Scattered in between the wooden sleepers that were supporting the rails were great weeds and the wheels of the train had rusted up and had probably also seized up too. It was clear that this train had not moved for a long time.

“The scene was then shifted and I was in the driver’s cabin of the train. I noticed that the water gauge indicated that there was no water in the reservoir. I then saw the door of the coal furnace open, revealing cold, long-burnt out coal. All of a sudden a shovel appeared out of nowhere and started to dig deeper and deeper into the coals, turning them over and over. I noticed that there were very dim ambers still barely alight right at the bottom of the pile and as the coal was being turned over and over, the ambers started to gradually heat up and ignite the cold coal. What seemed to be quite a long time went past but eventually the whole furnace was ablaze again. The heat was immense and the doors had to be slammed shut as the heat was unbearable.

“I then saw streams of water pour down from above and fill the reservoir until the needle on the gauge was indicating that it was full. Then the whistle blew louder than the loudest sound I have ever heard and thick black soot started to ascend until all was clear and clean steam was bellowing out of the chimney, to be seen for miles and miles.

“Then it happened! The rust fell off and the train broke free and start to slowly move forward. Then it picked up pace… faster and faster! Until it was speeding ahead at full speed, unstoppable! My heart was pounding.

“After seeing this, the Spirit spoke into my heart. He said that the coal furnace is the heart and the coals are the Word. He said that the Word needs to become a blazing fire within our hearts again. The water is Him. ‘What of the shovel Lord?’. His answer… prayer! For so long we have been thinking of ‘re-digging the wells’ in the sense of re-digging the ground but the reality is that we are re-digging the coals of the Word within our hearts!

“Then it hit me! His words… ‘The moment the water and the coal come together, the train will come alive! The water – the Spirit… and the coals – the Word… Wow, I’ve heard that before! Smith Wigglesworth prophesying in 1947. ‘When the Spirit and the Word come together…’ I always wondered what he meant! What a parable of revelation!

“Prayer is the key folks! Prayer is the key!! Turn over the coals of your heart! Use that God-given shovel! Pray that coal into a blazing furnace again and watch what happens when the Spirit ‘fills the reservoir’! Set your Bride alight again Lord for Jesus’ sake!”

Thanks Darren

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Do Not Be Afraid!

There is actually a spiritual point to this piece, so please bear with me in my buildup! 😉

In the UK, for the last few weeks, there has been a really nasty debate raging over whether or not Britain should stay in the European Union (EU). This is because today we have the ‘EU Referendum’; today is the day when voters in this country vote regarding whether or not they wish to remain in the EU.

remain-leave-brexit-graphic

There are people who wish to ‘Remain’ (called the ‘Remain’ campaign, funnily enough) and those who wish to ‘Leave’ (Yes, it’s called the ‘Leave’ campaign, also known as ‘Brexit’). Most of us have been fed up with the idiocy of both sides for quite a while:

poll_skit

And, in the midst of all the obfuscation, confusion, claims and counter-claims, we are going to have to make a choice.

I’m not going to give my opinion here, nor will I ever. But the reason I am writing this blog article is because in all the vicious campaign, with all its infighting, slander, personal attacks, lies, misinformation and what have you, the common thread in all the propaganda I have read from both sides of the fence is that of Fear. It’s as if the two sides know that facts will always be misquoted (my daughter and I have just had an entertaining few minutes today pointing out the contradictions in just one mailshot from one of the sides) and misrepresented (I bet they did so know) that actually what has happened is that all along, both sides have decided to play on people’s fears, as I said. Because facts are in question, they go for the emotions. And there are few emotions more powerful than that of fear. So the Brexit lobby say that if we remain in the EU, immigration will increase, thereby invoking the fear of losing jobs to the cheaper labour force consisting of immigrants. Alternatively, the Remain lobby might claim that the Brexit leadership want nothing more than to dismantle the NHS, thus playing on people’s health fears. And I make no comment about the veracity of either of these statements; I am simply using them as examples. No, Fear is a powerful weapon; let’s not underestimate it! Here’s an interesting quote someone posted on Facebook the other day:

“THE WORLD IS increasingly designed to depress us. Happiness isn’t very good for the economy. If we were happy with what we had, why would we need more? How do you sell an anti-ageing moisturiser? You make someone worry about ageing. How do you get people to vote for a political party? You make them worry about immigration. How do you get them to buy insurance? By making them worry about everything. How do you get them to have plastic surgery? By highlighting their physical flaws. How do you get them to watch a TV show? By making them worry about missing out. How do you get them to buy a new smartphone? By making them feel like they are being left behind. To be calm becomes a kind of revolutionary act. To be happy with your own non-upgraded existence. To be comfortable with our messy, human selves, would not be good for business.”
― Matt Haig, Reasons to Stay Alive

You see, the world’s systems are all based on Fear. Fear of loss; fear of being ‘left behind’ in technology; fear about ‘missing out’.

But you know, Jesus said, “So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own” (Matthew 6:31-34)

Jesus was saying that worrying – fear – was something that we do not need to do. I know it’s difficult not to, because our circumstances appear to belie the fact – yes the Fact! that Father God is in control. We feel we need to take control, so we can sort out our problems ourselves; but if God is in control, we need not worry, and we can just hand it all over to Him. The former system is Unbelief, the latter is Faith. Paul puts it another way in Philippians 4:6-7,

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus

So, that’s fear, and that’s some of what the Scripture has to say on the subject.

But today, I want to encourage you not to be afraid. In fact, I have heard it said that the most common phrase uttered in the entire Bible is this: “Do not be afraid”. Do not be afraid. 1 John 4:18 says, “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love“. You see? If we are aware of Father’s perfect love, we need not be afraid. Of anything! And I’m not referring to the outcome of the Referendum either; that was just my starting point for this piece which is intended to encourage those beset by fear.

It has been said that the opposite of Fear is Faith. And yes, that’s true to some extent. If we have faith in God, then we have assurance that He will provide in spite of our fears. But there’s something else: I’d say, based on the above, that the opposite of Faith is actually Unbelief. Unbelief, in terms of not believing that Father is actually in charge, and is more than capable of handling anything that worries us. And because Unbelief and Fear are on the same side of the equation (as in, opposite to Faith), then they actually work together to reinforce each other. Unbelief leads to Fear; Fear leads to Unbelief. (I’m beginning to sound like Yoda here!). And so Faith – faith in God, by Name, not just in some unseen ‘spiritual principle’, but in the loving, caring Father God that Jesus made known to us – having faith in Him is the key to the reduction of the citadel of our fears.

“Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in Me.” (Jn 14:1 NLT)

That’s what Faith is, really, at least in terms of practical outworking – simple Trust. Trust in God; trust in Jesus. Trust that He keeps His promises; trust in “…Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us…” (Eph 3:20 NKJV) Do you believe that God is more powerful than anything you feel afraid of? Do you trust Him? Yes!

So, whatever the outcome of the EU Referendum today, no matter what doom-and-gloom the two camps have been propagating – and no matter what fearful thing you are facing – please be encouraged!

You can rest assured that Father God has it all under control!

Do not be afraid!

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Great is Your Love!

See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” (1Jn3:1)

I love that word, ‘lavished’. It’s how children apply their Nutella spread to their toast – far too much of it, spread on far too thickly, falling off all over the place and it’s just yummy!

‘Slathered’ is another word we use for this type of thing.

And this is how Father God treats us with His love. He pours it on, slathers it on thick just like heavenly Nutella, and it just drips off of us. We are absolutely covered in the stuff. I think that few people have all that much idea of just how much Father God loves us; loves everybody for that matter. He’s just longing to pour out His love on everyone. And that means that He loves you; He loves you with a burning, fiery intensity, a fiercely jealous love that will never let you go; He will never let you stray out of His presence and He walks by your side every step of the way. He’s willing to give up everything just for you, as He showed at the Cross. No matter what you do, no matter what you have done and no matter what you will do, He will continue to love you just the same and He will never let you go. The Bible is full of this reassurance; that once you are in His hands then there is nothing, nobody nor anything in all creation that can separate you from His love (Romans 8:38-39) or take you from His hands (John 10:28) and, contrary to what the conditional salvation people believe, you can’t jump out of His hands either (Psalm 139:7-12). So not even you can separate yourself from His love. Because we are His children! That really is what we are! Can you imagine God being less loving than even the best earthly father? No, of course not. Nothing can separate you from Him, ever, ever, ever!1Jn3-1 TypedOne of the best things you can do with this Scripture is to think about it, soak in it, bask in it, take it in, live it out. We are the children of the Maker of everything! Now how’s that for lavishing love on us?

So here’s a lovely song that expresses this glorious truth. ‘Great is Your Love’, by Craig Musseau, from Mercy Music (Vineyard), 1989. Be blessed!

How great is the love
That You have given us
That we should be called
Your children

Great is Your love
Great is Your faithfulness
Great is Your gentle touch

 

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The March of the Resistance

Here’s another superb piece of John Williams music from Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens. This piece is called ‘The March of the Resistance’ and I love it. In fact, I love it so much that I have it as the ringtone on my mobile phone. The problem, of course, with having such a good ringtone, is that I never want to answer the phone; I’d rather listen to the music 😉

Williams makes full use of the orchestra in this piece, in terms of instrumentation. It is absolutely full of gorgeous counterpoints, it has a great chord structure, dynamics and lovely attack and emphasis. Some of it is even reminiscent of the piece ‘Battle in the Air’ from the film ‘Battle of Britain’, composed by Sir William Walton, which is a classic piece of movie music. John Williams is one of the greatest creative geniuses of our time.

Have a listen and see what you think!

Enjoy!

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I Just Want to Praise You

Previously, (here and here)* I’ve shared some vintage Vineyard worship songs because I believe that those early Vineyard songs carry an anointing like no others, for leading people into God’s Presence.

Well, here’s another: ‘I Just Want to Praise You’, by Arthur Tannous.

Let the song lift you into God’s Presence as you lift your heart towards Him.

Blessings!

I just want to praise You,
Lift my hands and say: “I love You.”,
You are everything to me,
And I exalt Your holy name on high.
 
I just want to praise You,
Lift my hands and say: “I love You.”,
You are everything to me,

And I exalt Your holy name,

I exalt Your holy name,
I exalt Your holy name on high.

*And two more Vineyard worship songs can be found on these blog pages: Precious Child and My Delight

 

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My Testimony

Just to let you know, I’ve just finished my ‘testimony’ page – the story of my Christian walk so far. It’s very long so you may fall asleep while reading it – you have been warned!

To visit the page, either hover your mouse over the ‘About This Site’ and find the page ‘My Testimony’ in the drop-down menu, or click this link.

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Wendy Francisco on the Good News

Wendy Francisco is a great Christian thinker who is just so honest and ‘out there’. She says it how she sees it; she would have made a great Yorkshirewoman 😉

Here’s a piece by Wendy that I read on Facebook recently – well worth a read:

“I struggle with words… and when I land so hard on evangelicalism… I am really not being accurate at all. The problem isn’t evangelicalism. There doesn’t seem to be a word for what the problem is. You can’t really call it penal substitution theory, because then everybody just silently thinks of jokes. ;-D You can’t really call it Calvinism because the scope is larger than that word. Substitutionary atonement gets close but is still confusing because Jesus did sacrifice himself.

So this post is longer but I will try and nail down what may seem confusing for some of my friends. Disclaimer, I am no expert, but this is where my feet seem to be on the journey so far.

The problem that I don’t know the name for is a belief in a god who is angry and needs blood to be appeased, whose forgiveness isn’t free, and whose character is capricious, unpredictable, and a bit scary. In this scenario, heathen religions sacrificed animals (and humans!) and appeased their god. Jews did that too, with animals, though scripture says (the real) God never advised them to do so. He owns the cattle on 1000 hills and doesn’t need us to cook them for him. This ancient and viral thought pattern, leaks into Western Christendom — god is angry and needs to kill His son in order to be appeased. The main aspect of importance is the >>>character of this god!!<<< Evangelicalism is built on this god, but so are many religions. Catholics and Protestants have basically the same god. In a nutshell — we need to be saved from this god.

Viewpoint two, also with no overriding term that I know of that matches the scope of what it is. God is love, (!!) sends Jesus to straighten out the terrible and false reputation God has. Jesus says those who came before him are thieves and a robbers …meaning Jewish teachers…. including scripture writers, ahem. The cross from this vantage point is something initiated totally by man, foreknown by God, yes, but accomplished by our violence and paranoia. Jesus does not retaliate… and THAT is what separates man from God. He rose from the dead, so He certainly had the power to retaliate. So we say…”well, wait till he comes baaaack and then He’ll kill millions of nasty non-christians”. Nope. He’s the same yesterday, today, forever. He won’t kill non-Christians just like He didn’t kill Romans. That is because He is Jesus, not Zeus. EVERYTHING sits on the >> true character of God<<<, and NOT what we do or don’t do to appease Him. In a nutshell, we need to be saved from ourselves.

When we saw Jesus, we saw God perfectly represented, in life, in death, and in new life. This destroys the power of anyone to accuse you with religious law, and frighten you into submissison to a capricious and scary God. It very much saves you from hell…from those who sell hell to capture and devalue you through your perceived sin. You already murdered Jesus, and He did not retaliate. It’s finished. Scripture says, we should move on from constant references to defeating sin. It’s taken as far away as east is from west…. and from what I know about basic Christian history… east is very far away from west.

Anyway, I wanted to write this because I know some might think I am all over the map…but that second viewpoint goes back to our roots, is all through scripture, and some say it was the predominant theory of atonement for the first 500 years of Christendom. It is hardly “new age”. And like anything, when you learn about it, you begin to see it in scripture more and more until it solidly unseats that other pretty nasty view. Then, when you factor in the unthinkable eternal collateral damage of view number one, and compare it to the complete triumph of love, it isn’t too hard to figure out which one should be called Good News.”

Amen to that.

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On Tithing

I must say straight away that the header picture on this post should also have the hashtag #stuffjesusneversaid on it; it was from their Facebook page!

It certainly is something that Jesus never said! While on the subject, I must recommend the StuffJesusNeverSaid site for excellent lampooning of many modern christian concepts that indeed Jesus simply never said. Take a look sometime!

This article is a debunking piece on the modern concept of tithing.

Tithing was an Old Testament practice that was originally designed as a system by which the Israelites funded their priesthood and religious services; there were a few more reasons for it, but this was the main one.

Put simply, they gave a tenth of all their income, whether money, food, wine, oil, grain and what have you, to the priests.

titheIt has also been adopted by many in the modern Church as a way of funding the Church’s activities. Naturally, like all the Old Testament laws and stuff, though, it has of course in many churches been made into a legalistic system of oppression and guilt.

Many churches even try to make God’s blessings conditional on a person giving his tithe, as if they as mere humans can set limits on God’s goodness based on their system of Rules!

I probably don’t need to tell you where I stand on this issue….

I saw a brilliant exposition on the complete scriptural concept of tithing as described by one Moses S M Kawuma, in response to StuffJesusNeverSaid’s post on tithing involving the original picture at the top of my post, which is linked to at the bottom of this post. But first, let’s take a look at Moses’s exposition:

“Let us look at the period before the law was given, the period during the law and the period after the law.

BEFORE THE LAW (GENESIS 1 – EXODUS 20)

Abraham’s tithe of all to Melchizedek

If you read through Genesis 14, your discover some interesting things:

1. Abraham’s tithe of all to Melchizedek was voluntary (Gen 14 & Heb 7), not a commandment from God.

2. There was only one recorded event of Abraham ever tithing to Melchizedek (Gen 14:20 & Heb 7:6).

3. Abraham gave 10% of the spoils he had captured during a war, not 10% from his own possessions (Gen 14:16, Gen 14:20 & Heb 7:4).

4. Abraham gave the remaining 90% of the spoils back to the king of Sodom (Gen 14:21-24). He kept nothing back for himself!

Should Christians imitate Abraham?

If Christians are to imitate Abraham’s example, I suggest they fight with others, take their stuff, give 10% of that to the church, give the remaining 90% away and keep nothing for themselves.

Jacob’s Vow to God

Gen 28:20-22 KJV 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, So that I come again to my father’s house in peace; then shall the Lord be my God: And this stone, which I have set for a pillar, shall be God’s house: and of all that thou shalt give me I will surely give the tenth unto thee.

There is no biblical record of Jacob fulfilling his vow to God. Jacob’s promise to give the tenth to God of all God gives him is an example of a vow and is definitely not a model for Christians to follow.

Those are the only mentions of tithing before the law.

UNDER THE LAW (EXODUS 20 – JESUS’ DEATH ON THE CROSS IN MATTHEW 27, MARK 15, LUKE 23 & JOHN 19).

Under the law, Israel is to give God a tithe of all its crops, flocks, and herds (Lev 27:30-32). These tithes are received by the Levites for their sustenance; they in turn tithed from all that they have received (Num 18:25-32). Deuteronomy specifies a yearly tithe eaten by the worshipers (You never hear of this being preached!) and every three years a storehouse tithe to provide for the Levites, the strangers, the fatherless and the widows (Deu 14:22-29). Malachi warns against slackness in tithing (Mal 3:8-10). Similarly, Jesus condemns scribes and Pharisees for giving tithes but neglecting weightier matters of the law (Mat 23:23, Luk 11:42 & Luk 18:9-14) BUT Christians are dead to the law (Rom 7:4 & Gal 2:19), are not under the law (Rom 6:14-15 & Gal 3:25), are delivered from the law (Rom 7:6) and the law is not made for Christians (1Ti 1:8-10).

If Christians believe they are under the law, I suggest they follow all the 613 commandments of the law and stop cherry picking a few commandments they want to keep. It is all or nothing (Gal 3:10 KJV)!

AFTER THE LAW (JESUS’ RESURRECTION IN MATTHEW 28, MARK 16, LUKE 24 & JOHN 20 – PRESENT DAY)

Hebrews 7 is the only chapter after the cross that mentions tithing and below is a summary of Hebrews 7:1-10 KJV:

Verse 1 – Melchizedek met Abraham and blessed him.

Verse 2 – Abraham gave a tenth part of all to Melchizedek.

Verse 3 – Melchizedek, who is made like the Son of God, remains a priest continually.

Verse 4 – Abraham gave the tenth of the spoils to the great man, Melchizedek.

Verse 5 – The sons of Levi have a commandment to take tithes of the people according to the law.

Verse 6 – Melchizedek, who did not have Levitical ancestry, received tithes from Abraham and blessed him.

Verse 7 – The lesser (Abraham) is blessed by the better (Melchizedek).

Verse 8 – Here men that die receive tithes but there he receives them, of whom it is witnessed that he lives.

Verse 9 & 10 – Levi who receives tithes, paid tithes through Abraham because he was in Abraham’s loins when Melchizedek met him.

Which of the above verses are instructing Christians to tithe today?

Hebrews 7:8 is the only verse that can be used to try to teach that tithing is for Christians today. There is only one verse after the cross that seemingly makes some people believe in tithing today and so let’s check it out:

Heb 7:8 KJV Here men that die receive tithes; but there he receiveth them, of whom it is witnessed that he liveth.

Let us paraphrase Heb 7:8 it the way it is commonly interpreted:

Here (in today’s day and age, before and after the cross) men who die (full time paid ministers) receive tithes (from their church members); but there (in Heaven) he (Jesus Christ) receives them, of whom it is witnessed that he lives.

This is not the correct interpretation of this verse because if we consider the context of Hebrews 7, “Here men who die receive tithes” is referring to the Levites who received tithes from the Israelites for their temple service and “There he receives them, of whom it is witnessed that he lives” is talking about Melchizedek, who was a “type” of Christ.

Let us now paraphrase it taking into consideration the context of Hebrews 7:

Here (during the era of the Levitical priesthood) men who die (levites who were performing temple service) receive tithes (from those who were under the law); but there (during the era of Abraham, when he tithed to Melchizedek) he (Melchizedek) receives them, of whom it is witnessed that he lives.

The [Amplified Version] brings this out clearly:

Heb 7:8 AMP Furthermore, here in the Levitical priesthood tithes are received by men who are subject to death; while there in the case of Melchizedek, they are received by one of whom it is testified that he lives perpetually.

Do the words “RECEIVETH THEM” indicate a continuous receiving of tithes?

No, look at the verse below:

Heb 7:8 KJV Here men that die receive tithes; but there he RECEIVETH THEM, of whom it is witnessed that he liveth.

“RECEIVETH THEM” is in italics in the KJV because these words were just added by the translators and are not there in the original greek new testament. It should read “RECEIVED THEM” based on Genesis 14.

What did we learn about Abraham’s tithe? Abraham was not commanded by God to tithe to Melchizedek, Abraham did not tithe every month to Melchizedek, Abraham gave 10% of spoils to Melchizedek and Abraham did not keep the remaining 90% for himself.

Should Christians give 10% of their money to the church today because Abraham gave 10% of the spoils of war to Melchizedek before the law? Really? May I point out a few things? Sacrificing of animals, Circumcision and Polygamy were all practised before the law but I do not hear anybody at church insisting that we ought to be practising these things today.

The logic behind retelling Genesis 14 in Hebrews 7 is as follows:

1. Abraham represents Levi. Melchizedek represents Christ.

2. Abraham is lesser than Melchizedek. Levi is lesser than Christ.

3. The priest of the old covenant is lesser than the priest of the new covenant.

4. The new covenant is superior to the old covenant.

Hebrews 7 proves the superiority of the priesthood of Christ (which was after the order of Melchizedek) over the Levitical priesthood.

Under the new covenant, there is no verse instructing Christians to give tithes (10%) of all their money to the church. Christians can give 0.5% or 1% or 5% or 11% or 29% or 50% of their money or whatever they decide in their hearts to the church, it is entirely up to them:

2Co 9:7 KJV Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.”

This is simply superb stuff and indeed mirrors my own ideas on the subject. I’m not going to tell you what/if/when I tithe, because that’s between me and God. But I will say that although I do not think the Bible is a book of Rules, I would like to point out to those who still like to think that they follow the Law with regard to tithing, that Deuteronomy 14:22-27 clearly states that the person tithing can in fact consume their tithe themselves. The only stipulation is that the tither rejoices and enjoys it. You won’t hear that preached from any pulpit!

My own take is of course that the believer is free to give whatever he wants, to whomever he wants, whenever he wants; freely, joyfully and without limit. God’s bounty is inexhaustible and we give from that bounty He has given us. You see the difference? Freedom-giving is giving from the heart out of true motivation from grace and freedom. Legalistic giving sucks all the joy out of it. Interestingly, when looking for a header picture about tithing for this article, I noted that virtually every picture I saw was related to legalistic giving, not Grace giving. It actually made me feel physically sick. (Try it yourself: Google ‘Tithing’ in Google Image Search and make sure you have a bucket to hand 😉 )

This was the worst:

tithing safe

…as if Christ has not already unlocked all of heaven’s blessings for us?! My goodness, how far some have fallen….

This is so far from the Gospel of freedom, Grace and joy that I feel like weeping for those trapped under its cage.

The phrase ‘By their fruits ye shall know them’ (Mt 7:16)? Joy is always the first fruit to disappear when the Law comes into action. It’s easy to distinguish whether Law or Grace is a person’s motivation by their joy level – not that we are to judge each other of course, but if you are going to listen to Christian teachers, make sure you are receiving from someone who is all about Grace, joy and freedom, rather than Law, misery and guilt. If someone’s emphasis is on what you have to do, do, do, rather than what Christ has already done, done, done, then you should run from that person’s teaching as they will only lead you into bondage. And this in no area more than that of tithing.

Everything that Jesus said, did, taught and lived was about Freedom. He set it out in His manifesto the first time He spoke in public in His home town:

“The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour.” (Lk 4:18-19)

Giving of any kind must flow from freedom. It’s what Jesus came to bring us; anything else falls way short of the mark!


Here is the link to Moses Kawuma’s post:


…and here’s the link to the ‘StuffJesusNeverSaid’ picture:

 

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