Some nations are known as "have not" nations. Their peoples live in the grip of grinding poverty. Why? Other nations are "have" nations -- with an abundance of natural wealth.
Who made it so?
Yet the prosperous nations are in DEBT! Individuals are deeply in debt. And in the United States of America -- the world's richest nation -- personal and national debt are skyrocketing! WHY? What is wrong with this world's economy?
ENDING YOUR FINANCIAL TROUBLES
THINK OF IT! -- 1,000 years of peace and PROSPERITY, a happy new world in which nobody has any financial troubles. That is the coming UTOPIA -- the wonderful World of Tomorrow!
But why isn't there a utopia TODAY? Why is there no ONE thing that plagues more people TODAY than the constant worry of making ends meet -- the constant round of serious financial difficulties in which MANY of YOU find yourselves?
Let us UNDERSTAND! -- there is a reason, a CAUSE for it!
When you stop to think about it, never in the history of the world were any nations so SEEMINGLY rich as are the English-speaking and the western European nations today. Our people possess more developed resources and national wealth than any people EVER had before. Yet these very nations OWE public and private debts so HUGE that the next ten generations will not be able to pay them off!
America alone owes 8,840,797,216,761.25 dollars in public and private debt! That means that every individual averages a public and private debt of over $29,340. THAT IS ABOUT A $120,000 DEBT FOR A FAMILY OF FOUR! This debt has been piled up because of preparation for war. WAR IS A CURSE!
Something must be WRONG! We have lost all sense of the value of money. And no wonder. What most people simply don't know, today, about their financial problems is that the ETERNAL CREATOR set definite LAWS in motion -- invisible, yet inexorable laws, which regulate personal economic conditions. A KNOWLEDGE of these LAWS would teach us to recognize the right value of money -- would give us joy and happiness by keeping us from LIFE-LONG FINANCIAL SLAVERY.
A recent poll of thousands of Americans revealed that not more than 3% of the people ever heard about these divinely established FINANCIAL LAWS. And not even 1% of the people follow these laws that regulate our prosperity!
World Ignorant of these LAWS
Let's understand how these FINANCIAL LAWS would operate to bring about a utopia -- both national and individual -- if we obey them.
Everything produced -- money and the things money will buy -- comes from the earth. You didn't produce the earth -- GOD produced it! You merely apply certain energy in thinking and planning and in labor to the earth, which God created and OWNS. Where does the energy you expend really come from? It comes from God. YOU do not create it. You merely UTILIZE what GOD supplies.
God even set your thinking processes in motion. You are entirely dependent on Him for your life -- for every breath you breathe.
Yes, all has come from God. It is GOD who sustains, preserves in motion, guides and directs all the natural forces and energies. God is not merely a Creator of long ago. He is the living DIRECTOR TODAY. It is GOD'S LABOR -- His thinking, planning and creating -- that REALLY produces all.
Therefore, God has a CLAIM to OWNERSHIP of all you have TAKEN FOR GRANTED THAT you produced. His claim is VALID. It is PRIOR to yours. God Almighty says: "The earth is the ETERNAL'S, and the fullness thereof; the world and they that dwell therein." These inspired words are repeated in the New Testament in I Cor. 10:26.
Yes, even the money -- the gold and silver -- is God's. "THE SILVER IS MINE, AND THE GOLD IS MINE, SAITH THE ETERNAL OF HOSTS" (Hag. 2:8).
Only the foolish would DARE to deny this claim of God! Let us admit, then, that our income BELONGS to God! It is HIS to do with as HE wills in carrying out His PLAN.
PHOTO CAPTION: Tremendous harvests -- produced from the land God created and watered with His rain. And it brings forth stalks of grain after His design.
God's Law Regulates Your Wealth
God is concerned about you. He has your interest and welfare in mind. Therefore God set FINANCIAL LAWS in motion regulating that portion of His WEALTH which YOUR thinking and YOUR labor extracted from the earth and developed.
God's LAW concerning what you earn is like a contract. He allows you to work on HIS EARTH, to use a part of the earth for food and other materials for your livelihood -- to utilize its soil, its timber, its water, its coal and oil, and to manufacture products from it. In turn, God wants YOU to understand YOU ARE WORKING WITH GOD IN PARTNERSHIP -- MAINTAINING AND DEVELOPING WHAT HE CREATED.
But GOD IS GENEROUS. In this partnership, God TURNS OVER TO YOU as your own not 5% or 20% or even 50% -- but NINETY PERCENT of all that you produce! And even the small fraction which He reserves for Himself He spends for the purpose of disseminating to the PEOPLE His message, His laws of life, that free us from financial fears and worries and give us peace of mind and enduring happiness, abundant joy and LIFE ETERNAL!
Think of it! God uses the one-tenth of all that we produce TO HELP IMPROVE US materially and spiritually, and to reveal to this UNHAPPY STARVING WORLD THE KNOWLEDGE OF HIS LAWS WHICH, IF OBEYED, WOULD PRODUCE UTOPIA! He keeps NOTHING for Himself.
God's financial laws are for MAN'S GOOD. OBEDIENCE TO GOD'S LAWS BRINGS BLESSINGS. "PROVE ME [by returning to God His tenth] 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 3:10).
When we violate His laws, we bring CURSES upon ourselves -- fears and worries, frustration, unhappiness and death! "YOU ARE CURSED WITH A CURSE: for YE HAVE ROBBED ME, even this whole nation." "'Wherein have we robbed Thee?' 'IN TITHES and OFFERINGS'" (Malachi 3:9, 8).
But God has ordained it that if He receives His rightful 10%, as a partner, of what is produced from the earth, the 90% which He gives us will soon grow bigger and accomplish more for us than we alone could ever have done with the entire 100%. God actually pays us for keeping the CONTRACT! "And all nations shall call YOU BLESSED: for ye shall be a delightsome LAND, saith the Eternal of Hosts" (Mal. 3:12).
It is time we understand the duties we owe God. The nations today have robbed God by withholding their tithes and are under a curse. BUT YOU, INDIVIDUALLY, CAN PROSPER BY TITHING!
God's Commission To His Church
Today you are seeing PROPHECY FULFILLED before your very eyes! You are beginning to realize that only an all-powerful God could FORETELL the present state of world affairs.
NOW dire events are about to fall on an unbelieving world unless those in it repent of their ways which have brought conditions in this world to a chaotic climax. Prophecy shows the vast majority will NOT repent -- only a FEW will. Christ knew this.
Nevertheless, in spite of the poor reception which Christ knew this world would give the Gospel Message, what did He command His apostles to do? He COMMANDED them, "Ye shall be witnesses unto me [witness that Christ would return to put down REBELLION and RULE the world] ... unto the uttermost part of the earth" (Acts 1:6-8). (See Lesson 2, also.)
Do you grasp the meaning of this?
The apostles were commanded by Christ to WARN the people of the wrath Christ will administer, at His second coming, to those who will not turn from their crimes. Also, when the unrepentant will say, when the plagues fall, "but we had NO WARNING from God," the gospel message which they heard will be a WITNESS against them that God DID warn them, but that THEY wouldn't heed!
Did Christ command the faithful -- His disciples of OUR day -- to carry out this same command? Yes! Here it is: Christ, addressing the disciples of His day concerning the spreading of the gospel warning, said, "Ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel, till the Son of man be come" (Mat. 10:23). Obviously, this was addressed not only to His apostles of that day -- FOR THEY ARE DEAD AND CHRIST DID NOT COME BEFORE THEY DIED -- it is a command for Christ's PRESENT-DAY disciples -- and their co-workers now!
Remember also that Christ said, "And this gospel of the Kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and THEN shall the END come" (Mat. 24:14). See Lesson 2, .
Right NOW, at the END of this age, the true ministers of God ARE DOING THIS. YOU DO NOT HEAR OTHER MINISTERS WARNING THIS WORLD OF THE DIRE THINGS GOD IS GOING TO INFLICT UPON AN UNBELIEVING AND DISOBEDIENT WORLD, do you? No! It is not a pleasant thing to do -- to preach an UNPOPULAR message. Yet, time and again we have seen in these lessons that is just what Christ has commanded his TRUE followers to do. Are YOU one of the true followers of Christ?
This is the great commission of God's church today -- to see that this warning -- this witness message is carried to all corners of the earth just before Christ comes. With His unchanging foresight, God has provided a way by which this great worldwide work is to be financed -- for it DOES take money for God's ministers to carry the message FREE TO ALL THE WORLD by radio, press, and television and personal evangelism.
God could provide the money miraculously. He could even have His ANGELS proclaim the message to the world now. But that is NOT His way, for He is working through us -- we humans -- so that each of us can gain experience and show our obedience.
This lesson, like the others, is extremely important to you. HAVE YOU PRAYED to God that He will give you understanding of this lesson?
Christ Has Work to Do
1. Does God the Father have WORK to do? John 5:17. Does CHRIST HAVE WORK TO DO also? Same verse.
2. Who created all things? Heb. 1:2; Gen. 1:1. Who did the ACTUAL work? Heb. 1:2.
3. In addition to being Creator, what great office does Christ hold today? Heb. 4:14. Is He merely a priest or is He HIGH priest? Same verse. Who APPOINTED or called Him to this office? Heb. 5:8-10. Note especially verse 10.
COMMENT: A priest serves God on behalf of the people. Christ is the Father's great high priest -- the one and only great HIGH or CHIEF priest. He is the HEIR to all things (Heb. 1:2).
4. What ORDER or RANK has Christ? Heb. 5:6. 5. TO WHOM did Abraham pay tithes in the Old Testament? Heb. 7:1-2; Gen. 14:18-20. Was he God's PRIEST? Heb. 7:1. WHAT did Abraham pay? Heb. 7:2. HOW MUCH IS A TITHE? Lev. 27:32.
6. WHO was this Melchizedek mentioned in the Old Testament? -- was He to LIVE ALWAYS? Heb. 7:3, first part. Was this priest "King of Righteousness"? Verse 2. Only GOD is completely righteous. Therefore this Melchizedek HAD to be one of the Godhead and would HAVE to be HIGH priest.
7. Abraham SAW this person. Then could this person have been the Father? John 5:37. What was this Melchizedek to be "made like unto" later? Heb. 7:3. And was He to REMAIN ALWAYS (abide ... continually) A PRIEST? Same verse. Then, as there could not exist TWO great HIGH priests of God in Christ's day, doesn't this show that CHRIST was MELCHIZEDEK, the High Priest of the Father IN Old Testament times?
COMMENT: "MelchiZedeK" is the Old Testament HEBREW word for the New Testament GREEK word "MelchiSedeC." The foregoing facts clearly indicate that CHRIST EXISTED AS THE HIGH PRIEST OF THE FATHER IN OLD TESTAMENT TIMES.
8. Did Christ exist as the "Lord God" of Israel then? Compare I Cor. 10:4 with Deut. 32:3-4. Is Jesus Christ who is the "Rock" also the "Lord"? Has anyone EVER seen the Father? John 1:18. When will the Father come down among His people? Rev. 21:1-3; 22:1.
COMMENT: CHRIST was the God whom the people knew in the Old Testament. Nowhere does the Bible show that the Father has ever come down VISIBLY to intervene in the affairs of this earth.
9. Didn't Melchisedec -- the God of the Old Testament who became Christ -- PERSONALLY speak to Adam and Eve? Gen. 3:9.
10. Did Melchisedec, IN HIS OFFICE AS THE FATHER'S HIGH PRIEST, instruct Adam and Eve in the LAWS of the Father, after creating them? Gen. 2:16-17, 9. Did Adam sin? Job 31:33; I John 3:4. Is there sin when God has not given a law commanding a course of action? Rom. 5:13
COMMENT: Adam and Eve had the choice of doing the things which God allowed. Or they could do the things God did NOT allow, and thereby sin. They chose to SIN. They broke His LAW. Melchisedec's work was to INSTRUCT them.
11. When Abraham was traveling toward the land of Palestine, where was Melchisedec -- the One who in the future became Christ -- located? Gen. 14:18. What was Melchisedec's position in addition to being God's High Priest? Same verse. What does "King of Salem" mean? Heb. 7:2.
COMMENT: The name " Jerusalem" means "City of PEACE." Here we find the "King of Peace" ruling over Jerusalem, the "City of Peace" as the High Priest of the Father.
12. What did God do when ABRAHAM PAID TITHES TO MELCHISEDEC? Gen. 14:19-20. How plain THAT TITHING WAS KNOWN FROM EARLY TIMES! Was Melchisedec PERSONALLY conducting His duties as High Priest of the ORDER of Melchisedec even into Abraham's time? Gen. 14:18,19.
13. Was the King of Sodom present with Abraham and Melchisedec? Would the Bible have termed the Sodomites, wicked SINNERS unless they had HEARD the LAW as a result of Melchisedec's MINISTRY? Rom. 5:13.
14. Did Abraham continue to obey God's laws, which included the law of tithing? Gen. 26:3, 5.
COMMENT: It is evident that Melchisedec had taught God's laws -- THE LAW OF TITHING AMONG THEM -- in considerable detail, LONG BEFORE Moses. Melchisedec used the TITHES He received in FURTHERING OF GOD'S MINISTRY.
15. God has given to Abraham more MATERIAL BLESSINGS than any man on the face of the earth. Read Gen. 12:1-3. Why has He done this? Gen. 26:3, 5. Isn't this, in part, because Abraham TITHED?
Tithing Always Done
1. Did Abraham's grandson, Jacob, TITHE? Gen. 28:22. WHAT IS A TENTH? Lev. 27:32. Will Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob be resurrected into the Kingdom? Luke 13:28.
2. What did Melchisedec promise to do for Abraham's offspring because Abraham kept God's commands? Read again Gen. 12:2-3.
COMMENT: Later, in Jacob's day, there was a drought. Abraham's descendants went to Egypt to escape it. There they became captives of the Egyptians for over two hundred years. Then Melchisedec (the Word, the Lord or Eternal God of the Old Testament, the Christ of the New Testament) had Moses deliver them from their long captivity.
3. Had Abraham's descendants, Israel, forgotten the COMMANDS -- the spiritual laws of God -- while in this long captivity? Ex. 16:23. God had to identify again WHICH day was the Sabbath. Did God BEGIN to reveal His spiritual laws AGAIN to the people BEFORE they came to Mount Sinai? Ex. 18:15-16. Why did Melchisedec have to rebuke some of them? Ex. 16:28.
4. Did Melchisedec, shortly afterward, make known IN FULL the laws of the Father? Ex. 20. Did Melchisedec make known AGAIN the fact that TITHES must be given? Lev. 27:32.
5. Did Israel continue to KEEP these laws (including tithing)? Jer. 7:22-24. Note verse 24 especially.
6. Then, because they broke His laws, what did Melchisedec command them to do? Read Lev. 4, the entire chapter. These were ONLY A PART of the old Mosaic law of rituals. WHY were these ritualistic laws added? Gal. 3:19. Doesn't this verse then prove that there were OTHER laws ALREADY IN EXISTENCE which were being transgressed? -- God's spiritual laws of righteous, prosperous living? Jer. 7:23.
COMMENT: It was only AFTER Israel disobeyed the laws for righteous, prosperous living (the Ten Commandments, TITHING, and others which define right from wrong) which Melchisedec had again made known to them, that Melchisedec commanded Moses to establish an endless routine of rituals and sacrifices. These ceremonies involved HARD WORK for all concerned.
These ceremonies were ADDED as a result of sin -- as reminders that the people were already breaking SPIRITUAL laws regulating human life. Read again Jer. 7:22. The apostle Paul designated this added CEREMONIAL or RITUALISTIC law as a "law of WORKS."
TITHES Furthered Old Testament Ministry
1. We have seen that God requires the first tenth of all that is produced. WHY can the Father claim this amount? Psa. 24:1; I Cor. 10:26.
2. DOES THE FATHER CONSIDER THIS AS RENT? Compare Job 41:11 and Rom. 11:34, 35. THEN SHOULDN'T ALL PEOPLE EVERYWHERE PAY TITHES?
COMMENT: Because God found in Abraham a man of great obedience, God honored Him and his descendants by revealing His SPIRITUAL LAWS of righteousness and joyous living to them more fully than to any other people on earth. But God's laws are living forces -- they are in action at all times. They apply to EVERYONE EVERYWHERE, throughout all time!
3. As we have seen, up to the time of Moses, this TITHE had been paid directly to Melchisedec who used it FOR THE SERVICE OF GOD'S MINISTRY. What great change did Melchisedec command in the time of Moses -- just after the people refused to obey God's spiritual laws for joyous living -- AS TO WHO WAS to receive the tithe? Num. 18:21.
4. Did Melchisedec set apart ONE WHOLE TRIBE out of the twelve tribes of Israel to MINISTER these hard rituals? Num. 3:6; 8:11. This tribe composed the Levitical Priesthood.
5. What DIFFERENT USE was to be made of this tithe FOR THAT TIME? Num. 18:21. Did Melchisedec let the LEVITICAL ministry receive the first tithe with which to carry on the physical work, INSTEAD of Himself?
COMMENT: Remember, the tithes belong to Melchisedec. The tithes were paid DIRECTLY to Him in patriarchal times for the purpose of carrying on God's ministry to INDIVIDUALS. But in the days of Moses, Melchisedec ordered SOMETHING NEW -- THE TITHES WERE PAID TO HIM through men ACTING AS HIS REPRESENTATIVES. God's ministry through the Levites became a material, ritualistic ministry of REMINDING a NATION of their failure to OBEY His laws. Consider! TODAY GOD'S MINISTRY MUST REMIND THE WHOLE WORLD!
THE LEVITES USED THE TITHES TO MINISTER TO THE PEOPLE IN THE MANNER GOD HAD COMMANDED FOR that TIME. Melchisedec still supervised BUT STEPPED INTO THE BACKGROUND.
6. What were even the Levitical PRIESTS commanded to do? Num. 18:26. TITHE? Had you ever noticed that before?
7. What is ANYONE who refuses to tithe? Mal. 3:8. COMMENT: God, as owner of all things, does not need anything. TITHING TEACHES MAN OBEDIENCE!
1. In addition to tithes, did the Israelites give freewill offerings? II Chron. 31:14.
2. Will offerings be "required" in the soon-coming millennium? Ezek. 20:40. WHAT DOES THE WORD "REQUIRE" MEAN? SEE YOUR DICTIONARY!
Some have misunderstood the subject of tithing because of certain Scriptural references to two other tithes commanded ancient Israel. Now let's see how the Bible differentiates these tithes.
3. In addition to the EXTREMELY IMPORTANT FIRST TITHE, did the High Priest Melchisedec -- the Christ of the New Testament -- command Israel to lay aside any other tithes? Deut. 14:22-26. What were they to do with this tithe? Verse 23. Why? Same verse.
4. WHERE did they have to go to eat? Deut. 14:23. Was it a time of REJOICING? Verse 26. How often was it to be saved? Verse 22.
5. As the first tithe was taken of the very FIRST fruits of any income, wouldn't it be the FIRST tithe? And as this was yet another tithe coming AFTER the first, wouldn't it be the SECOND TITHE?
COMMENT: Unlike the second tithe, the first tithe belonged to GOD. The second tithe God gave to the people to be used as He commanded them. It was an altogether different tithe from the first tithe.
6. Was Israel commanded to lay aside one other tithe in addition to the first and second tithes? Deut. 14:28-29.
Was it to be done as often as the first and second which were yearly? Note CAREFULLY verse 28. What was it to be used for? Verse 29. What would one receive for doing this? Same verse.
As this tithe was to be laid aside at only lengthy INTERVALS, wouldn't it be the THIRD TITHE? Then it was not the same as the first tithe!
COMMENT: The three tithes just mentioned cover all the tithes Melchisedec commanded Israel.
7. Did Melchisedec COMMAND any "freewill offerings" of Israel? Deut. 16:16, 17. How does the BIBLE interpret its phrase "NOT TO APPEAR BEFORE THE LORD EMPTY"? Verse 17.
COMMENT: The three times mentioned here were OUTSTANDING festivals which God commanded be kept in commemoration of His great PLAN. Freewill offerings were made on the three occasions. Israel gradually refused to obey God. Their sins cut them off from Him. Captivity followed.
Melchisedec Ministry Reappears!
Melchisedec of the Old Testament next reappeared as the High Priest of the NEW Testament. As High Priest, He came as the Lamb of God to SACRIFICE HIMSELF for the sins of all those who had lived before His coming and for the sins of those who would live after Him, so they could enter the coming Kingdom of God.
He came to qualify over Satan as ruler of this world. He came to train messengers who would proclaim to an unbelieving and slumbering world His imminent return to establish His government here on earth. HE IS CHRIST -- OUR PRESENT HIGH PRIEST!
How is He furthering God's great PLAN in OUR day? -- the time of the crisis at the close of this age? What has He commanded YOU to do as your part?
1. Did Christ Himself CLEARLY explain the coming Kingdom to the people of His day? Mat. 13:10, 11, 13, 15. How did He speak to keep them from fully understanding it? Verse 10. Read also Mark 4:11-12. Did He EVER speak to the multitude except by a confusing parable? Mat. 13:34.
2. Did Christ, however, explain CLEARLY to His disciples, IN PRIVATE, the meaning of His teachings regarding the Kingdom? Mat. 13:36. Note the words, "Then Jesus sent the multitude away." Compare this with Mat. 24:3. Did the disciples come to Him openly?
How plain it is that Christ was TRAINING His disciples to carry the message of the coming Kingdom of God CLEARLY to the people.
3. After Christ had taught His disciples, what did He command them? Mat. 10:5-7, 27. Did they CARRY OUT HIS COMMANDS TO PREACH THE KINGDOM OF GOD? Acts 8:12; 19:8.
4. Where did Christ command His disciples to carry their message LATER? Mat. 24:14. Christ's second coming was not in the apostles' day, was it? THEN, ISN'T THIS A COMMAND FOR CHRIST'S DISCIPLES OF TODAY?
5. What else did Christ command His disciples to do? John 21:15-17. Aren't they to "feed the flock of God" spiritual knowledge? I Peter 5:2.
6. WHY didn't Christ preach the gospel to the world Himself instead of assigning the work to His disciples? Luke 19:12, 15. Also, Heb. 4:14. Where is He now? Heb. 4:16; Mark 16:19. What is He doing? Heb. 7:25. Isn't this HIS work now?
7. Doesn't the work of Christ as High Priest involve administering the Holy Spirit to His disciples throughout this church age? Acts 2:33, 38. Does Christ give the Holy Spirit to those that OBEY Him? Acts 5:32.
8. How did Paul say he had the POWER to perform MIGHTY WONDERS? Rom. 15:19. Did Christ tell the disciples to wait for it? Acts 1:4, 8. Did they receive it? Acts 2:4. Did Christ have it? Mat. 1:20. Do Christ's followers have it today? Acts 2:39.
9. Were there also to be false disciples -- FALSE ministers or disciples (of the Devil) -- who will teach different (false) gospels? Gal. 1:6-9. And who will preach about a different spirit? II Cor. 11:4.
Support of New Testament Ministry TODAY
Let's compare the SUPPORT of the Old Testament Levitical Priesthood with the support of the New Testament ministry which has followed it TODAY.
In Old Testament times -- between the time of Moses and Christ -- under the Old Covenant, God's ministry was purely NATIONAL, for Israel alone. Its blessings were purely MATERIAL -- promises of EARTHLY wealth and power in return for obedience. There were no SPIRITUAL promises for salvation. A constant round of animal sacrifices was required as a reminder of sin, so they could be ALLOWED to remain in their land. They had no promise whatever of salvation, for the Holy Spirit, which makes a change of nature and salvation possible, was not promised until AFTER Christ came and ascended. John 14:26; 16:7; Acts 2:38.
MELCHISEDEC (the one who became Christ) selected the Levites as His ministers. Every Levite was a priest, or minister. MELCHISEDEC ordained a change in the tithing law -- He TURNED THE TENTH He had always personally received OVER TO THE LEVITES for ministering His work.
HE THEREBY TRANSFERRED RECEIPT OF THE TITHE FROM HIMSELF TO THE SUPPORT OF THE LEVITICAL PRIESTHOOD. There was NO spreading of the Gospel. God's PLAN THEN called for the LEVITES to teach the people the LAW IN THE LETTER. THE PEOPLE WERE COMMANDED TO GIVE TO THEM.
TODAY, there is no Levitical priesthood -- the Levitical ministers are gone. Melchisedec, "who abides High Priest continually," assumed the form of a mortal man, and sacrificed Himself for the sins of all mankind. So the Father has made available His own Holy Spirit, the POWER which makes possible the keeping of God's LAW IN THE RIGHT SPIRIT -- or ATTITUDE. Christ came to this earth to inaugurate A NEW KIND OF MINISTRY -- A SPIRITUAL MINISTRY! -- a ministry of SALVATION, a ministry of WARNING, of PROPHESYING of His imminent return as world ruler!
Christ chose His original twelve disciples, or ministers then. Today all true ministers of Jesus Christ are CALLED by special spiritual call from God through His Holy Spirit. Christ, commissioning His ministers today, says "This gospel of the Kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; AND THEN SHALL THE END (of this age) COME."
Has Christ COMMANDED YOU to do YOUR part today by SUPPORTING God's NEW ministry in its NEW work, just as He commanded the Old Testament people to support His ministry then?
What is YOUR Part?
1. Does Christ belong to an ORDER of priests? Heb. 6:20. Who made Him so? Heb. 7:21. As HIGH Priest of the Melchisedec ORDER (Heb. 6:20), has Christ added other ministers to this priesthood since His first coming? Acts 1:2. HOW did He appoint them? Note the last word in this verse.
COMMENT: How plain it is that CHRIST'S MELCHISEDEC order of priests exists TODAY. Naturally, IT WOULD HAVE TO! For the true ministers of this order will "not have gone over the cities of Israel [ancient Israel's descendants TODAY] till the Son of man [Christ] be come" (Mat. 10:23).
These ministers are the TRUE ministers of God -- carrying on a ministry begun by the apostles and continued by their successors -- us today! We, today, are carrying on Christ's commanded ministry of salvation, warning and prophesying!
2. Who ACTUALLY does Christ's work? John 14:10. (Notice the words "in me.") Through what FORCE is this work done? Luke 4:14; Mat. 1:20. Did he promise His disciples great power to aid and guide them to carry out His commands? Acts 1:8; 2:4.
3. HOW DOES GOD COMMAND HIS WORK TO BE FINANCED TODAY? Heb. 7, verses 1 through 13 gives the answer! Read each of these verses carefully. What is God talking about in these verses? -- TITHING? Read verses 2 and 5. How did God say He had the MELCHISEDEC order financed in ancient times to carry on His work when (He who was to become) Christ was its only member? Heb. 7:1-2.
4. How did God say He had the Levitical priesthood, which followed it, FINANCED TO CARRY ON HIS WORK? Heb. 7:5.
5. As the Levitical priesthood has now been replaced by the Melchisedec order of ministers, WHAT CHANGE HAS GOD COMMANDED TO BE MADE IN THE OLD tithe law SO THAT HIS NEW MINISTRY CAN receive YOUR support TO CARRY ON THE WORK HE COMMANDS FOR today? Heb. 7:12.
6. Didn't Christ verify the fact that people should TITHE today? Mat. 23:23. Note the words, "These ought ye have done."
7. Should a minister today be allowed a livelihood through preaching the gospel? I Cor. 9:14.
Tithe to WHICH Church?
There are over four hundred denominations in the United States alone today. Christ said, "I will build My CHURCH" -- ONE Church! Mat. 16:18. HE DID NOT SAY HE WOULD BUILD MANY CHURCHES! ONLY ONE CHURCH -- the ONE Church that is preaching the true New Testament gospel of the Kingdom of God of which Jesus is the LIVING HEAD and High Priest -- MUST receive your tithes and offerings. Which church? -- GOD'S Church!
God's TRUE Church must "TEACH all nations" (Mat. 28:19), "PREACH the gospel in all the world for a WITNESS" (Mat. 24:14), and "PUBLISH the gospel among all nations" (Mark 13:10). "And then shall the end come" (Mat. 24:14). How else can you tell which is His Church? God describes it vividly to you in your Bible so you will not err. TO GIVE TO A DIFFERENT CHURCH WOULD BE WORSE THAN NOT GIVING AT ALL!
1. What was to be the history of GOD'S Church after Christ's time? -- was it to be PERSECUTED by the Devil and to flee into the wilderness after the apostles died? Rev. 12:4-6, 13.
COMMENT: A woman is used by God to symbolize His true Church. God's true Church has always been SMALL IN NUMBER and has suffered much persecution. Toward the end of this age, though, it was prophesied to GROW IN POWER until its MESSAGE -- THE WARNING, WITNESS, AND GOSPEL -- would reach the entire earth!
2. The word "church" means "crowd" or "group." God's Church is the church which FOLLOWS GOD. What did GOD NAME HIS OWN TRUE CHURCH? Acts 20:28; I Cor. 1:2; 10:32; 11:22.
THIS IS IMPORTANT! This name IDENTIFIES! Did God say that HIS own Church in these last days would deny His name -- would deny being the Church of God -- or, WOULD THEY KEEP IT? Rev. 3:8. NOTE THE LAST FIVE WORDS! WHAT IS THE NAME OF OUR CHURCH -- THE "CHURCH OF GOD"?
Could the church of SMITH, then, be GOD'S Church? SO ISN'T IT OBVIOUS, THEN, TO WHICH CHURCH GOD'S TITHES SHOULD GO IN THESE LATTER DAYS?
3. The field is narrowed down to the churches having the name of "Church of God." BUT did Christ WARN that there would even be some churches bearing the name of "Church of Christ," or "Church of God" which would NOT be His Church? Mat. 24:5. Read it! Doesn't this show that there would come those who will say they are Christ's ministers, acknowledging that Jesus is the Christ, deceiving the people -- perhaps because THEY, THEMSELVES are deceived -- making their churches appear as God's Church, while teaching DIS-OBEDIENCE?
COMMENT: Today, there are churches bearing the name of "Church of God," and "Apostolic Church of God" which are NOT doing God's will in carrying out His commanded witness-warning in these end days. They have APPROPRIATED God's name. Therefore, IN ADDITION to seeing that God's true Church DOES bear the name of Church of God, let's notice FURTHER IDENTIFICATION IN GOD'S OWN DESCRIPTION of His Church -- its condition in OUR day!
4 . Is God's Church TODAY to have great power? Rev. 3:8.
COMMENT: Notice how God identifies His Church. God's Church DOES NOT consist of a vast organization of great churches with large membership. On the contrary, those who compose His Church are few in number. It is not, one might say, even well known, despite all the INFLUENCE it is exerting.
5. What has God NOW set before HIS Church? A DOOR? Rev. 3:8.
6. Does God say that because we are not powerful, the powerful ones of the world will be allowed to SHUT THE DOOR on our use of their television, radio, and printing press facilities? Rev. 3:8.
7. Does a "DOOR" signify the opportunity to carry the Gospel TO FAR COUNTRIES? II Cor. 2:12, 13.
COMMENT: Paul preached the Gospel 19 YEARS in his own country, Asia Minor. Just 19 years later "a DOOR was opened" (remember, the Bible INTERPRETS ITSELF) to him to go to a far country -- Europe -- and preach the Gospel. Now NOTICE! Starting in 1934, Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong preached the Gospel over the radio to America ONLY, for 19 YEARS. THEN a "door was opened" to Europe in 1953 -- EXACTLY 19 YEARS AFTER HE FIRST BEGAN PREACHING, and now his voice is heard around the earth. The Bible teaches DUALITIES. The similarity of cycles is remarkable.
THE TRUE GOSPEL IS BEING PREACHED, THE SICK ARE BEING HEALED -- THE WORKS OF JESUS ARE BEING PERFORMED BY THIS CHURCH TODAY AS JESUS PROPHESIED.
WE ARE SUBSIDIZED BY NO ONE! Our work is made possible ONLY through TITHES and OFFERINGS received from those who, as co-workers, are interested in furthering the work God has commanded to be done at this time -- through the ones HE has chosen to do it! WE DO NOT ASK THE PUBLIC FOR CONTRIBUTIONS, BUT WE ARE COMMANDED BY GOD TO TELL THE PEOPLE HIS LAWS. IT IS UP TO THEM WHETHER THEY WISH TO OBEY GOD!
8. Is Christ to COME QUICKLY after the "door" has been opened to US and we have spread God's message? Rev. 3:11.
9. Do you know, FROM YOUR OWN EXPERIENCE, any other organization ANYWHERE which is CRYING OUT as BOLDLY as this one is, to the people to REPENT before God smites this world with the destruction He has prophesied? Read Luke 24:47 for proof that God's Church today is fulfilling Jesus' command. What does God command His REAL ministers to do? Isa. 58:1.
10. How does God tell you to recognize HIS OWN ministers? Mat. 7:15, 16.
COMMENT: NO CHURCH, since the time of Christ, has grounded a greater number of people in TRUE Bible knowledge than has this true Church of GOD today. God has used THIS work to bear MUCH fruit.
What human figure does God use to describe the GREAT RELIGIOUS SYSTEMS of this world today? Rev. 17:1, 5. Has Satan his churches and ministers? II Cor. 11:13-15.
COMMENT: GOD COMMANDS, "Go ... teach all nations ... to observe ALL things whatsoever I have COMMANDED you: and lo, I am with you always" (Mat. 28:19-20). The ministers of the great religious systems are shirking God's commanded duty! They are teaching CONTRARY to what God COMMANDED.
It is now obvious that the Church of God Faithful Flock fulfills ALL of God's qualifications to be His true Church. NO OTHER GROUP does. Each of these other groups fall SERIOUSLY short at some point in fulfilling the description God gives of HIS Church as it would be in the time of the end.
God has commanded that WE carry His warning-witness message to all the world. But God knows it TAKES MONEY to pay for websites, printing and online Sabbath services. WE CANNOT CHARGE for our publications. GOD HAS COMMANDED THAT HIS GOSPEL GO FREE TO ALL: "Preach saying, the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand ... FREELY ye have received, freely give" (Mat. 10:7-8). God places the FINANCIAL RESPONSIBILITY of furthering His gospel work upon YOU! He commands you to do this and will hold you responsible. VISIT US ON-LINE TO VIEW THE FREE BOOKLET ON TITHING!
You owe your allegiance to God ahead of that to the worldly governments of men. So after expenses you incurred in producing your profit are paid, the FIRST TENTH of the remainder -- the increase -- BELONGS TO GOD.
Soon, as we have just seen in previous lessons, the United States, Britain, and other descendants of ancient Israel, are to be in national captivity -- just prior to Christ's coming. Why?
Malachi 3 gives the answer. This prophecy can be for no other time -- look at the date! It can be for no other people than modern-day Israel, for God addresses it to the people living in the day of Christ's second coming (verse 2). ALWAYS Israel has erred (verse 7). God says to those in our land today -- YOU, if you are guilty, "Ye are cursed with a CURSE, ye have ROBBED ME, even this WHOLE NATION ... IN TITHES AND OFFERINGS."
What do you think God will do? Something different than he has ALWAYS done for disobedience? No! Listen! Joel 1 says He will weaken us with famine, then Ezek. 5:5, 12 shows He will raise a foe against us who will REMOVE US FROM OUR LAND. The English-speaking world hasn't paid God His rent, so our people will be removed from our lands!
BUT YOU, individually, can ESCAPE IF you begin to obey God's commands and believe what He has promised.
How You Can Have MORE
1. Does God promise bountiful blessings if people will obey His financial laws? Mal. 3:10. Are there SPECIFIC PROMISES you can rely upon when you tithe? Verse 11; Prov. 3:9, 10.
COMMENT: The promise of agricultural prosperity is not a promise for the farmer alone -- it applies IN PRINCIPLE to all phases and facets of life. God promises prosperity through good crops because the agricultural economy of any nation determines its real stability.
2. Is it God's will that we should prosper financially? III John 2.
3. Does God expect His people to begin tithing to Him even though they may be in debt? Mat. 6:33.
COMMENT: If you are seeking God's ways FIRST, you will pay your DEBT -- your tithe -- TO GOD FIRST!
4. Does God promise to provide for your needs if you will put Him first? Mat. 6:25-32. Does God know your needs? Verse 32. Then isn't this a promise to help you out of debt?
5. Can Almighty God tell by how you spend your money -- by whether you are tithing -- whether or not you are serving Him? Mat. 6:24.
COMMENT: The word, "mammon" in verse 24 is an UNTRANSLATED Greek word meaning, "wealth or riches!" If you refuse to pay God His tithe, you have put your money ahead of God -- making it a false god, an idol! God has given you the responsibility to CHOOSE which you will serve -- either the money-god, mammon, or the God of your Bible! The CHOICE is up to YOU!
Whether you do or do not send money will make no difference in your participating in the On-line Correspondence Course. The Gospel MUST GO FREE!
"... put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you an OVERFLOWING BLESSING." Malachi 3:10, R.S.V.
REMEMBER: This is a Bible STUDY course. It is not just something for you to read quickly. What we have written is only the OUTLINE to help you to STUDY your BIBLE. The one textbook of this course is YOUR BIBLE! Always have your Bible open before you when you sit down to STUDY with this course.