Further Challenges 133


Let's put on our thinking caps. Many of us have been taught conflicting things over the years, and steered into outcomes that benefited those who were doing the teaching. We know that the average Torah-observant person over the centuries would not carry something on Shabbat that required both hands, and walk around the town with it. Neither would they have a money bag hanging from their cloak-belt, jangling all over the place on Shabbat -- this would give the "appearance" of having just sold something, or the intention of going out to buy something. Even the giving of alms would cease on Shabbat. The beggars would have to take the day off from begging, no one would be carrying money anyway.

So, how is it that there are "collections" taken in to support the teachers (and calling them "tithes") on Shabbat? Going into an orthodox synagogue on a Shabbat might underscore my point here. If you asked the people there, "When's the collection to be taken?", you'd get some funny looks. It is not a custom, nor has it ever been, for observant Yahudim to carry even one coin with them on Shabbat. This illuminates the passage of 1 Cor. 16:1-5, where Paul writes concerning the "collections" for the set-apart ones (the saints — the poor Yahudim in Yerushaliyim like widows, and fatherless children):

(v. 2): "On the first day of the week, let each one of you set aside, storing up whatever he is prospered, SO THAT THERE ARE NO COLLECTIONS WHEN I COME."

Contrary to popular interpretation, this "first day of the week" collection was not a permanent policy, but was just to be done up until Paul passed through on his way to Yerushaliyim. Nor was it because "Sun-day" was a "meeting day", or the "new Sabbath" of believers. It was an organized way to prepare for Paul's arrival, that's all, and was for THE POOR. It was done on the "first day of the week" because Paul knew they wouldn't be carrying money with them on Shabbat. Christians (led in the ways of the Chaldeans) have had the basket-passing method conducted in their assemblies for centuries, done on the man-made "Sabbath" called Sun-day, and everyone who drops something into the basket is basically shamed into it -- everyone is watching around them. Many "Messianic" groups do this also, or provide a box for it. This is not intended to judge individuals who have been doing this to the flock, but rather to point it out, de-program our habits, and restore a more scriptural method. It should be apparent that our "assembling together" shouldn't cost us anything. Teaching the Torah for pay is also not to be done. Teach harp, harmonica, architecture, geometry, or square-dancing if you want to support your family; not Torah.

You may have heard the excuses about the "Sabbath distance" (Acts 1:12), insisting that we MUST assemble even if the distance is greater than 1000 cubits. The saying is, "it is more important that we assemble, so we over-rule the Sabbath-distance to keep the Command to assemble." What Command? Lev. 23 declares convocations "in all our dwellings", not "drive hundreds of miles", or "go find an elder setting up a meeting". We should assemble whenever and wherever we can, sure; especially the 3 appointed times in a year (but a convocation can be just 2 people). Is it possible that the over-ruling of the Sabbath distance principle is taught so that those who have been gathering wealth from the flock can continue to do so? I'm not criticizing, I'm just asking.

If Exodus 35:3 says "You shall not kindle a fire in any of your dwellings on the Sabbath day", do we just go outside and do it? Of course not. We just obey the Commandment -and this is decried as "Pharisaical". If we feel "others" are not observing the annual feast correctly, do we run to Yerushaliyim and cut the wave sheaf ourselves, wave it, and do what only the High Priest is to do? Of course not. If Exodus 16:29 says, "Let each one stay in his place, do not let anyone go out of his place on the seventh day", do we ignore this teaching and travel 60 miles? Of course "place" means immediate area, or village. But, if your "village" grows to the size of Los Angeles, can we rely on common sense?

The Body of Yahushua must endorse the decisions reached by the elders, and search out and prove all things. If we cease from carrying money on Shabbat, do you imagine this may be disagreeable to any of the pastors? A pastor who serves without pay is a true pastor, one who cannot be bought. Remember Balaam, the prophet for hire! Reading Acts 20:28-35 carefully may shed a great light on this plundering that has gone on unchecked for centuries. Speaking to the ELDERS of Ephesus (Acts 20:17), Paul says:

(v.20:28-35): "Therefore take heed to your selves and to all the flock, among which the Set-apart Spirit has made you overseers (elders), to shepherd the assembly of Elohim which He has purchased with His own blood. For I know this, that after my departure SA VAGE WOLVES shall come in among you, not sparing the flock. Also from among yourselves men shall arise, speaking distorted teachings, to draw away the taught ones after themselves.

"Therefore watch, remembering that for three years, night and day, I did not cease to warn each one with tears. And now, brothers, I commit you to Elohim and to the Word of His favor, which is able to build you up and give you an inheritance among all those having been set apart. I HAVE COVETED NO ONE'S SILVER OR GOLD OR GARMENTS. And you yourselves know that these hands supplied my needs, and for those who were with me. All this I did show you, by laboring like this, that YOU OUGHT TO HELP THE WEAK. And remember the words of the Master Yahushua, that He said, 'It is more blessed to give than to receive.'" Have we ever heard these words used to make you feel we should give more to your pastor?

I t may not be a very popular message with those making a bundle of easy money from the Body, but the Body needs to know they can now help support the poor in their own families, and it will be a true "tithe". (For further study, see Acts 4:32-35, Romans 15:27, 1 Tim. 5:3-16, James 1:27, 2 Peter 2:3.)

We do many things because it became customary to do them, never knowing about the "law of first discovery". If something is done a certain way, and amended or changed later because there is a better way, fine. But, the original way shouldn't be hidden or covered up. The origin of the word "cop" is an innocent example of doing something, yet very few knowing why. In Chicago, Illinois during the early part of the 20th century, policemen wore uniforms with very large, prominent COPPER buttons. The slang term "coppers" developed from this uniform, and the word was shortened to "cops". When we go back to Scripture and explain the TRUE reasons for things, and not the "invented" interpretations, the messenger of the Truth is often labeled "heretic". Study on your own, and expose the insidious lies to everyone around you, but do it with LOVE. All knowledge without love is worthless. A pastor who works "full-time" traveling and teaching the poor wanted to know how he is to receive support. Well, we all aren't called to travel full-time, but brother Paul did it extensively for a while. He claimed he supported himself and those with him at Acts chapter 20, and was not a burden in the least on anyone else -- and speaking to these elders, he told them to imitate his example. So, how do we manage it?

The tithe, or ma'aser, was for the support of the Lewite priests. If we were to continue in that pattern, we'd be amiss in our duty if we couldn't prove we were descendants of the tribe of Lewi, and even more so if we didn't continue in all the duties they were obliged to perform. But, in the Brit Chadasha, we are all priests, under our Kohen Gadol, Yahushua. It is not the PERSONAL responsibility of just one individual to go, teach, and immerse others into the Name Yahushua, but each one of us. Our "assembling" is for one reason: "let all things (done in the assembly) be for edification." 1 Cor. 14:26. This means we are to have the ultimate goal of getting "built up" in knowledge, meaning educated. This costs nothing. If we choose to create circumstances that require a huge crowd of us to congregate into a hall and listen to ONE PERSON PREACH, this is man-made situation. Mortgages, rents, utilities, and insurance costs are the result of circumstances we have control over, and we can make them disappear. 1 Cor. 14:26 also says that when we assemble, EACH ONE has a teaching, a prophecy, a message, a tongue, etc., -- and this is evidence that Yahushua has been GAGGED, because traditionally only one man gets to address His assembled Body. Try standing up in one of the Christian meetings, and telling everyone it's your turn to speak, and watch what happens to you. We've been led by the pattern of the Nicolaitans, which goes all the way back to the Chaldean priests.

How each of us gets out there and spreads the message of the Reign of YHWH, immersing others into the Name of Yahushua, should be facilitated by the specific GIFT we have been given by Yahushua's Spirit, not molded after a man-made technique, or one we've just cooked up by ourselves. The poor who receive sustenance through the social security and welfare programs in place will hear the message, because it will be carried to them for free as we learn to get out of Yahushua's way and let Him do His wonderful work. He is working in many others besides ourselves.

It isn't my personal responsibility to abandon

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