The Financing Of The Church
by Pastor Jack Hyles (1926-2001)
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, 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 shall not be room enough to receive it. Malachi 3:8-10
When the tithes are mentioned in the Bible, they are sometimes called the tenth; sometimes they are called the first fruits; and sometimes they are called the tithes. Occasionally they are even called the firstlings.
The life of Israel is basically divided into eight definite sections of time. I want to cover those eight sections of time going all the way to the New Jerusalem. There is something that each of these ages has in common.
1. Patriarchal. This was the time before the book of Exodus in the days of Joseph, Jacob, Isaac, and Abraham.
And he was afraid, and said, How dreadful is this place! this is none other but the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven. Genesis 28:17
And he called the name of that place Beth-el: Genesis 28:18a
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.
Jacob was at the house of God. Three times God's house was mentioned. Jacob said, this is the House of God. Then he said, I am going to call this place Beth-el, which means the house of God. Then he said, this stone shall be God's house. Three times Jacob brought the tithes to the house of God.
2. Wilderness. After they left the land of Egypt and crossed the Red Sea, they spent forty years wandering in the wilderness.
The first of the firstfruits of thy land thou shalt bring into the house of the LORD thy God. Thou shalt not seethe a kid in his mother's milk. Exodus 23:19
The first of the first fruits of thy land thou shalt bring unto the house of the LORD thy God. Thou shalt not seethe a kid in his mother's milk. Exodus 34:26
The Jews had started their journey toward the Promised Land. They had crossed the Red Sea and were being given the law. Moses had been to Mount Sinai, and the Ten Commandments had already been given. God was telling them how they were to behave in the wilderness. For the second time the house of God is mentioned as the place where the tithes were to be brought. While they were in the wilderness, they had the tabernacle with them. They followed the tabernacle everywhere they went, and they were told by God to bring the tithes into the house of God or that tabernacle.
3. The time of judges. This was the time after they had left the wilderness and gone inside the Promised Land. The first rulers were actually judges.
But when ye go over Jordan, and dwell in the land which the LORD your God giveth you to inherit, and when he giveth you rest from all your enemies round about, so that ye dwell in safety; Then there shall be a place which the LORD your God shall choose to cause his name to dwell there; thither shall ye bring all that I command you your burnt-offerings, and your sacrifices, your tithes and the heave-offerings of your hand, and all your choice vows which ye vow unto the Lord. Deuteronomy 12:10, 11
In the Book of Deuteronomy, the Israelites were getting ready to go inside the Promised Land. God was giving them instructions on what to do when they arrived. God told them that there would be a place to put the tithes, and that place was the House of God.
4. The time of kings.
And Jehoash said to the priests, All the money of the dedicated things that is brought into the house of the LORD even the money of every one that passeth the account, the money that every man is set at, and all the money that cometh into any man's heart to bring into the house o the Lord. II Kings 12:4
There again the money was to be brought into the house of the Lord. In the first four eras of Jewish history they brought their tithes to the house of God. In the time of the kings, the tithes were brought to the house of the Lord. Notice that it repeatedly says to bring the tithes, not to just send them.
5. The time of rebuilding. This is when they came back from captivity in Babylon and rebuilt the temple, the wall and the city.
And the priest the son of Aaron shall be with the Levites, when the Levites take tithes: and the Levites shall bring up the tithes of the tithes unto the house of our God, to the chambers, into the treasure house. Nehemiah 10:38
And I perceived that the portion of the Levites had not been given them: for the Levites and the singers, that did the work; were fled every one to his field. Then contended I with the rulers, and said, Why is the house of Godforsaken? And I gathered them together, and set them in their place. Then brought all Judah the tithe of the corn and the new wine and the oil unto the treasuries. Nehemiah 13:10-12.
The Jews were back from captivity, and God was instructing them what to do about the money. The Levites were the preachers, or those who worked at God's House. They were having to work in the fields in order to make a living. They were supposed to live on the tithes of God's people. Nehemiah said that the house of God was forsaken because the Levites were working in the field. God told them to bring the tithes to the house of God.
6. The post-rebuilding days. This is the period of about four hundred years between the rebuilding of Jerusalem and the coming of the Christ child in Bethlehem.
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, even this whole nation. Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse that there may be meat in 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. Malachi 3:8-10
God told them to bring the tithes to His house. The house of God was not always the same. For a time it was the altar. For a time it was the tabernacle. For a time it was the temple. For a time it was a place called the tent of meeting. Wherever the house of God was, that was where the tithes were to be brought.
7. The New Testament age. I am going to skip this era for now and cover it later in this chapter.
8. The millennium.
And the first of all the first fruits of all things, and every oblation of all, of every sort of your oblations, shall be the priest's: ye shall also give unto the priest the first of your dough, that ye may cause the blessing to rest in thine house. Ezekiel 44:30
.. and the Sanctuary of the LORD shall be in the midst thereof It shall be for the priests... Ezekiel 48:lOc, 11a
The last part of Ezekiel deals with the rebuilding of the house of God in the kingdom age, or millennium. We will bring the tithes in the millennium to the priest. The priest was at the sanctuary of the house of God.
That takes the Jewish people all the way from the patriarchs in Genesis, into the New Jerusalem. We have found that in every era they brought the tithes to whatever was called the house of God at that time. First it was the altar, then it was the house of God, then it was the tabernacle, then it was the tent of meeting, then it was the temple, and in the millennium it will be called the sanctuary of house of God.
Do you think that God would require His people in all seven of these eras to bring the tithes to His house and then change His mind in one New Testament era? God said, I am the Lord thy God, I change not. The Bible says, in whom there is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. The Bible says, Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, today and forever. Consider...
...If He wanted Jacob to bring his tithes to the house of God...
...If He wanted the Jews in the wilderness to bring their tithes to the house of God...
...If He wanted the Israelites in Judges to bring their tithes to the house of God...
...If He wanted the Jews under the kings to bring their tithes to the house of God...
...If He wanted the Israelites when they returned from captivity to bring their tithes to the house of God...
...If He wanted the Israelites during that silent period of four hundred years to bring their tithes to the house of God...
...If He wants us in the millennium to bring our tithes to the house of God.....
...Would you not think that He would also want us to bring our tithes in this age to the house of God?
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
Jesus said that tithing was not as important as mercy, judgment, and faith, but He said we still ought to do it. He said, these ought ye to have done. Tithing is a New Testament principle. That is the only place Jesus ever spoke about tithing, but Jesus did not have to say something twice to make it true. Jesus said we ought to tithe...
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. I Corinthians 16:2
This Scripture teaches proportionate giving. We are supposed to give according as God has prospered us. If one person makes more money than another, he is to give more money. The storehouse is the name used here for the house of God... God always wants His people to bring the tithes to the house of God...
But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, I Timothy 3:15
The house of God today is the church. The church is a called-out assembly. When God's people meet on the Lord's Day, that is a church. Anywhere that a called-out assembly meets, that is the house of God. Throughout history God always commanded His people to bring the tithes to the house of God...
In the patriarchal days it was the altar. In Exodus 25 it became the tabernacle. With David and Solomon, it became the temple. In the land of Canaan, it became the tent of meeting and later the rebuilt temple. In the millennium it will again become the rebuilt temple. In this age, the house of God is the called-out assembly. Every Sunday God's people are supposed to take the first tenth of their income to the house of God. The house of God is the church.
When God said, ye have robbed me in tithes and offering, what did He mean? One tenth of our income is already God's. If we do not put it in the church, we are robbing God. If we make a vow to a building program, or vow to give God more than the ten percent, as soon as we make that vow, the amount of that vow becomes God's, just like the ten percent. We are robbing God if we do not give Him what is already His.
Ananias and Sapphira were killed because they had promised God that they were going to give Him the selling price of some property. Barnabas had done the same thing. He had sold a piece of property and had given all the profit to God... They sold their property, but did not give it all to God as they had vowed.
Let me go a step further. If you surrender your life to full-time Christian service, your life becomes God's. You vowed your life to serve God full time. Vows were very sacred in the Old Testament. At the moment that vow is made, it becomes just as sacred as the tithes.
God will not allow us to live on more than ninety per cent of our income. A tenth of it belongs to God. If you make a million dollars a month, a hundred thousand dollars is supposed to go to the church... You have no right to divide it up and designate it as you choose... You are to give it to the regular offering of the church. There is nothing wrong with giving designated gifts, if they are over and above the tithes... There is no place in the Bible where any Christian designated the tithe. They brought it to the house of God, and the house of God disbursed it.
When I was ten years old, I got a newspaper route for the Dallas Morning News... I had about thirty-five customers and made about three dollars a week. I thank God that when I got those first three dollars, my mother said, "All of that money is not yours." She took out three dimes and said, "That belongs to God."
I said, "Why?"
She said, "Because we live on God's earth, drink God's water, enjoy God's sunshine, and breathe God's air... That is rent."
Through the years there has not been one dime I have ever made, without a penny of it going to the Lord, by way of the church (the house of God for this day).
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