What is One Third of One Percent?
Spanking Saints For Sentries
I have found myself living in a tragic twilight zone event that will not come to its end for 13 years. Tragic because there seems little hope that the institution we call church will ever see the truth of the gospel plan of God. A plan that was in place before time began - one in which God would accomplish whether man sinned or not – whether the cross event was needed or not.
1700 years ago Augustine introduced pagan ideas into Christianty and others have been building upon them ever since – a house of cards the size of New York City – yet few seem willing to slow down long enough to consider where the institution we call church has traveled as a result. We are living in a twilight zone in terms of our theology and relation to God.
It is like having a conversation with someone about a piston engine (like those in most cars) who is trying to use a turbine engine (like those on large aircraft) manual to understand it. Yes both have similarities – they are both internal combustion engines – they both have fans – but the foundational function of each system is very different – one functions on the basis of torque, the other on thrust.
In case anyone has missed the point, the bible is a thrust manual - "mounting up with eagles wings" rings a bell - it is not a torque manual and as long as people want to have a discussion in regards to their piston engine theology I have little to offer them – it ends badly whether I have something to add to the conversation or not. When we are headed toward a brick wall on the train of life it matters not what color we paint the cabins in the train.
In theological terms when someone suggests to people that they have discovered the most important aspect of the piston engine (theology) to be the fan, people either laugh at them or worse - if the person suggesting it has enough credibility or clout, everyone begins to look at the fan as the most important aspect of the piston engine.
Everyone knows it is not, but fear not, we can make it the most important - so we chrome the fan blades and mount LED’s on the blades so we can watch them as they spin – even including several colors and patterns. Books are written to show others how - or to support their particular system of making the fan the most important aspect of the piston engine. The whole discussion on spiritual gifts comes to mind.
This type of thinking and doing is palatable for folks to consider and it works very well in benefit of the institution we call church – but the torquing continues. The rub comes in when someone suggests it is about thrust not torque – that is not palatable – 1700 years of perfecting the piston engine and you want to suggest something completely different – who do you think you are – God would never allow such a thing. Really? Have you looked at the 8000 years before that.
The primary issue in the conversation is that people are just not willing to have a conversation regarding turbine engines. Their whole life is built upon concepts related to the piston engine. They immediately revert right back to what they know and are comfortable with - arguing from that premise. While it might be funny for observers to watch a conversation regarding piston engines using a turbine engine manual – it is also very frustrating for the person having to try and focus someone on turbine engines without them reverting back to what they know regarding piston engines. For piston engine lovers are experts at interpreting the turbine manual in light of piston engines. They spend years in school perfecting their abilities and the rest of their lives trying to convince others they have it all figured out in terms of piston engines.
I would like to illustrate this in such a way that many will hopefully relate. Most are familiar with what the institution we call church describes as a “tithe” - yes the dreaded tithe. Imagine trying to explain to a person what God’s intent was regarding the tithe and they have little knowledge of what the tithe actually is - or worse the wrong concept of what the tithe is. In other words if you have little understanding of what the tithe is, how can you know what God’s purpose for it might be. Hang on to your hat – you might find yourself being the one who knows less than you would ever have imagine. Don’t believe me, well consider the following.
Raising Cain With Cash
What if I suggested that putting the tithe into our contemporary American context, it would be like a family inviting along whoever they wanted – other family and friends – to go to Epcot Center and feast at all the different restaurants - enjoying prime rib, Filet Mignon, wine, and strong drink – whatever their little hearts lusted for. The celebrating would continue until the entire years tithe would be consumed. Does that sound anything like the tithe you are familiar with? I will put that up against anything that is preached today in the institution we call church - maybe I could hand out flyers at some of these institutions we call church and inform people - seems only fitting that they know what the scriptures suggest regarding the tithe.
Let’s unpack this whole tithe thing then. Hang onto your hats. According to the scriptures the tithe was done on a three year cycle. The first two years of the tithe were done essentially as I have suggested it above. You and your family would go to the place that the Lord designated and eat your tithe – it was a feast celebration of God’s provision through his design in creation. The third year – called ‘The Year of The Tithe” – the tithe was given to the Levites.
The Levites would be similar to what we today call public service or civil service folk. Like mayors, commissioners among others who provided for the general welfare of the public. They cared for and had oversight of widows, orphans, and foreigners. Providing choir and band services for parades, national events and celebrations along with logistical, facilitation, and custodial services to the temple were also part of the job description – typically serving from age 25 to 50 in their responsibilities. After entering the Promised Land, the Levites were given 48 cities as well as the land surrounding these cities for grazing their livestock. These cities along with every third years tithe were given to them because they were not given an inheritance of land as the other tribes of Israel were. Today some of our property tax, sales tax, and income tax are used to fulfill what the tithe essentially did in Israel’s regard back then.
Before I go on with further details regarding the distribution of the tithe, I would like to look at how the tithe was actually determined. There were two considerations when determining the tithe – Edible things that grew from the ground and livestock raised for human consumption. Things like birds, fish, eggs, milk, cheese, cotton, manufactured goods, mined minerals, and income were never tithed. Let me repeat that last one – INCOME WAS NEVER TITHED. Please pardon my yelling. Only things that were specifically for consuming as food products by the Israelites were tithed - things like oil from olives, grain from field crops, sheep and cattle livestock, and fruit from trees.
The tithe regarding livestock was determined by allowing the animals to pass under the shepherds (owners) rod. Every tenth animal was pulled aside for the tithe. Thus if you had 17 cows and 8 sheep you would have a tithe of 1 cow and no sheep. The tithe regarding edibles that grew from the ground was equal to 10% of the surplus produced from the ground. For example if you planted 10 pounds of wheat seed and as a result you harvested 100 pounds of wheat, your tithe would be 9 pounds wheat.
So where does the pastor and church (priest/temple) fit into the whole tithe thing? I am glad you asked. The Levites were instructed to take 10% of the best of what had been given to them in the third year of the tithe and give it to the temple/priests (church/pastors). Before I break this down further let me interject that many pastors today like to suggest that they are simply applying the PRINCIPLES of the tithe. Don’t fall for this ploy. The tithe was always and only edible in all three years. How silly this would look in our churches today if we practiced the tithe according to the scriptures but also included income as part of the tithe – you know that whole PRINCIPLE of the tithe idea. Imagine Mr. Smith would get up to present his tithe. He would announce – “the Smith family gives themselves $500.00” – and the rest of the church cheers??? Then we all go home with our tithe - Huh? What silliness that would be. People presenting cash to themselves is what you are left with. YOU ATE THE TITHE YOURSELF two of the three years in the tithe cycle. The lunacy of adding income as part of the tithe is exposed. So here is what a tithe might look like if you had an apple tree that produced 300 apples:
Sensing "Rev"ed Piston Engines
What this graphic indicates then is that the pastor/church would receive 3 apples from the 30 apples you gave to the Levite which came from the 300.
apples your tree produced. Keep in mind this was done once every three years, so priest/church would on average receive 1/3 of one percent of your tithe on an annual basis. This is shocking when we consider what is being promoted today. Even if we include that whole PRINCIPLE idea that pastors insist on applying – they are still suggesting at MINIMUM a tithe 30 times (or 3000%) what the scriptures suggest. In consideration of the tithe as depicted in scripture (without the income PRINCIPLE added) they are prescribing a tithe thousands of times greater than the scriptures ever ascribed. So where exactly would you like me to drop off my 5 tomatoes and 2 pounds of Moringa leaves? Yes that is my entire tithe obligation to go to the Levites for the entire year according to the scriptures. Maybe the mayor could use it – I’m sure he would be willing to give 10% of it to the church. Oh wait, this isn’t the third year of the tithe – never mind. Anyone up for a party – you may have to bring your own beer – and may be some food as well.
In the end the church has heaped a terrible burden upon millions of people also causing ill will towards God and painting God in a bad light. We twist and contort the scriptures even using coercion at times to mandate a 10% tithe system that does not even exist in the scriptures. May I very simply and with the fortitude deemed appropriate regarding this issue suggest - pastors please:
Stop Pimping The Bride Of Christ Like A whore!
Leaders of the institution we call church will continue torquing folks – most unsuspecting what is being done to them and their souls. But for those who do understand, there are options – people don’t have to participate in the tithe or be burdened by the lunacy - it was never meant to be a practice within the church. The institution shows little respect for you, the scriptures, or God in what they are promoting in the tithe. Tragically most will never come to realize that the tithe was a celebration of God’s provision in the design of creation – that he has provided for all our needs according to the richness of his glory – the tithe celebrated that. This is only the tip of the iceberg in regards to what the church has gotten wrong and in many ways the world is where it is today as a result – but that is a topic for another day – many topics for many other days.
At this point some might be wondering - where is the evidence - where is the scriptural support? Fair enough, but read them at your own risk - at this point you can still simply dismiss what I have said and go back to your piston life - however, reading further may require some repenting (which means to change your thinking) - there are many tithe passages to choose from, but here are a few of my favorites:
In regards to the first two years of the tithe cycle: Deuteronomy 14:22-26 (KJV)
“Thou shalt truly tithe all the increase of thy seed, that the field bringeth forth year by year. And thou shalt eat before the Lord thy God, in the place which he shall choose to place his name there, the tithe of thy corn, of thy wine, and of thine oil, and the firstlings of thy herds and of thy flocks; that thou mayest learn to fear the Lord thy God always. And if the way be too long for thee, so that thou art not able to carry it; or if the place be too far from thee, which the Lord thy God shall choose to set his name there, when the Lord thy God hath blessed thee: Then shalt thou turn it into money, and bind up the money in thine hand, and shalt go unto the place which the Lord thy God shall choose: And thou shalt bestow that money for whatsoever thy soul lusteth after, for oxen, or for sheep, or for wine, or for strong drink, or for whatsoever thy soul desireth: and thou shalt eat there before the Lord thy God, and thou shalt rejoice, thou, and thine household,”
In regards to the third year of the tithe cycle: Deuteronomy 14:26-29 (KJV)
“And the Levite that is within thy gates; thou shalt not forsake him; for he hath no part nor inheritance with thee. At the end of three years thou shalt bring forth all the tithe of thine increase the same year, and shalt lay it up within thy gates: And the Levite, (because he hath no part nor inheritance with thee,) and the stranger, and the fatherless, and the widow, which are within thy gates, shall come, and shall eat and be satisfied; that the Lord thy God may bless thee in all the work of thine hand which thou doest.”
In regards to the Levite tithe to the priests: Numbers 18:25-29 (KJV)
“And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Thus speak unto the Levites, and say unto them, When ye take of the children of Israel the tithes which I have given you from them for your inheritance, then ye shall offer up an heave offering of it for the Lord, even a tenth part of the tithe. And this your heave offering shall be reckoned unto you, as though it were the corn of the threshing floor, and as the fulness of the winepress. Thus ye also shall offer an heave offering unto the Lord of all your tithes, which ye receive of the children of Israel; and ye shall give thereof the Lord's heave offering to Aaron the priest. Out of all your gifts ye shall offer every heave offering of the Lord, of all the best thereof, even the hallowed part thereof out of it”