The Tithe of Jesus
The Restoration of Honor
by Richard Billingsley
8/21/2015 (Updated 8/25/2015)
8/21/2015 (Updated 8/25/2015)
"Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever." Heb 13:8
Throughout the Bible God reveals and demonstrates His nature and the magnificent of His LOVE for us as His creation. Jesus came to demonstrate the fullness of His nature and LOVE by giving Himself as a sacrifice to redeem us from the enemy and invite us to share in His LOVE. Jesus is our example of perfected LOVE and the pattern of how we should live with Him in a relationship of LOVE.
We know that God is the same yesterday, today and forever (Heb. 13:8). He does not change and what He reveals to us in the beginning is equally important to us in the end. Everything in His word reveals the qualities of His nature and instructs us in what is right or wrong in how we should live. He teaches us the difference between what is good and what is evil and He has called us to live in the LOVE of Jesus and through that fulfill all the righteousness of His nature.
His word is the food by which we live and gain wisdom of His nature and how we should live in this world. As we study His word we find there are many principals within the Bible that teach us how to understand His word and gain the wisdom to rightly divide the word of God. One of those principals is known as the Law of First Mention, which reveals that the first time a concept or revelation is mentioned within the Bible, the meaning and the application of that principal is the same throughout the Bible.
The Genesis Protocols
One of the mistakes secular attackers make when criticizing the Bible is saying that the Bible is confusing and inconsistent. But when we understand this first principle we discover God's secret to understanding the Bible and it is given to us at the very beginning within the first two chapters of the book of Genesis. Genesis means beginning and these are the beginning protocols and principals that are going to be applied throughout the rest of the Bible. But most scholars and teachers have missed these most basic and most important revelations found within these scriptures.
In Genesis chapters 1 and 2 we discover something unique that all Bible students have seen, but few have understood. When we read the story of creation in Genesis 1 and 2 we actually read the story of creation twice. First in Genesis 1:1-2:3 and again in Genesis 2:4-25. This has been recognized by many, but few have understood why this happens. Most simply ignore what is happening here and simply keep reading, but they are missing the most important revelation that would help them understanding the rest of the Bible. What most do not recognize is that the second story is given in a completely different point of view from the first story and it is done that way for a very special and specific reason.
What these two stories represent is a revelation (a key, an indicator, an insight), the essence of an essential practice of how we should be studying scriptures and finding the deeper understanding of scripture throughout the rest of the Bible. These two stories teach us that as we study the Bible and find two or more stories telling the same story that these stories should be brought together and placed side by side and studied as one. In the beginning God gave us two stories of creation side-by-side to show us the importance of studying His word in parallel. Yet how many of us really recognized these two stories for that purpose? When we study these stories in parallel we find more detailed and a more complete explanation of those scriptures and the revelation of that event is multiplied many times over, than if it were studied as a single story. When we find two stories like this the differences between these stories actually complement each other and any apparent conflicts or contradictions simply means there is something hidden that must be discovered through a deeper study of the word, the culture or this history of that time. In simple terms, if there are similar stories within the Bible they MUST be brought together and studied in parallel to get the full understanding. It is vitally important that we change how we study the scriptures and always include the principle of parallel study when reading the Bible. This is the first protocol revealed within the Bible and is known as the principle of parallel study. And because it is the very first protocol revealed, the law of first mentioned makes it one of the most important principals found within the Bible. And it is this principal that also leads us to the second protocol.
The second principle or protocol, which works in harmony with the first, is found throughout the Bible, which says that “everything is established on the testimony of two or three witnesses” (Deut. 17:6, 19:15, Matt. 18:16, 2 Cor. 13:1, 1 Tim 5:19, Heb. 10:28-29). These two stories in Genesis 1 and 2 are two witnesses to the story of creation and as such establish the importance of not only the creation story, but the importance of studying the Bible in parallel. The more frequently a story is repeated the more important it is. This applies throughout the Bible from Genesis through Revelation and is an important and integrated part of understanding any scriptures.
The third principle we find in the creation story is one whose importance to God's purpose and plans is repeated throughout the Bible but is mostly overlooked and misunderstood. When God created the earth and planted the Garden of Eden for man, He did it as an act of LOVE. God’s nature has always been one of constant growth and expansion of Himself and the purpose for His creation of man was done with the intent of creating someone who could be just like Him (Genesis 1:26, 27). He was looking for a family, a people just like Him, with whom He could share and have, close intimate relationship with. The creation of man was so important that even David mentioned it:
Psalms 8:4-5 NLT
What many translations translate here as "Angels" out of fear, is more literally translated "God." It was God who made man a little lower than Himself. It was man who made himself lower than the angels. In the beginning when God created man in His image, not angels and crowned him with glory and honor. Man was not walking around naked, but was literally clothed in the glory of God. The very nature and essence of God flowed out of man and emanated the glory of God from his own body as his own clothing. Just as the animals had fur for their clothing, man had the glory for his clothing.
God’s LOVE for man was so great that He planted a magnificent garden east of Eden for His man (and woman), which covered several hundred, if not several thousand square miles. Then God placed man in the Garden of Eden and gave man access to all the trees of the garden to care for the garden. However, in doing that He asked man only one thing and that was to honor Him by reserving for Him the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil (Gen. 2:16-17). God did not forbid man access to the tree, because it was man's task to tend the trees, but the fruit of that tree must be reserved for God when He came to visit. The tree itself was neither good nor evil, but its fruit did require special handling and at that point in the man's growth he was not ready for the knowledge or experience that it represented. God warned man not to eat of that fruit, but to simply trust and obey Him, and when man was ready He would share the fruit of that tree with them. All man had to do was to simply honor God as someone greater than himself and display that honor to God by reserving the fruit of that tree for Him. Of ALL the trees of the garden God asked for a small portion with which to honor Him. It was man’s “TITHE,” his opportunity to demonstrate that he honored and trusted God. I use the word “tithe” here for a very special reason. The word “tithe” means “a tenth,” but I want you to change your definition of that word from a simple “tenth or ten percent (10%)” to: “I honor one who is greater than me.” Throughout the scriptures we are taught about the “tithe” and it is always connected with an act of honoring someone who greater than ourselves. It is this “tithe,” this honoring someone greater, which was the very first commandment God gave to man and it is this “tithe” that is at the very core of man’s fall and God’s effort to restore man to his original place in creation. The giving of “honor” to God or the giving of “tithe” is the very first commandment given to man within the Bible. This giving of “honor” or the “Honor Protocol” is the first and primary protocol given and the most important principle found within the Bible. All the other commandments that were given later find their foundation and origin in this first commandment and if we fail in this arena, it is impossible for us to keep any of the other commandments that follow it. In this teaching we are going to take a closer look at this “tithe protocol” and discover that it is much more than something that was included in the law God gave to Moses.
The Honor Protocols
When God created man He created him to be just like Himself, someone who was even greater than the angels, but Lucifer (Satan) who had desired to be like God (Isaiah 14:12-15) had been cast out of Heaven because of his rebellion and was now a fallen angel consumed by his own lusts. Now, before his very eyes Satan saw God create a creature who was more like God than he could ever imagine. He saw in man the very thing he desired, to be just like God! But how would he obtain that power and authority? In order for Satan to obtain the authority given to man, he would have to get man to obey him instead of God and in doing that Satan would be honored as one greater than man and when that happened the authority of man would be transferred to Satan. God had asked of man but one thing, to honor and obey Him and reserve for Him the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. To get man’s authority Satan would have to find a way to trick man into allowing him to get in between God and man and get man to honor his word over the word of God. He would then become the one in authority over man breaking man's connection to God.
The story of Genesis 3 is well known and while the woman was deceived the man was not (1 Tim. 2:14) and chose of his own free will follow the actions of his wife or allowed his desire for her as more important than his relationship with God and effectively committed treason when he accepted the word of Satan, honoring his word over God and ate the fruit of that tree. When man ate that fruit he lifted Satan from the position of someone lower than man to someone higher than man and transferred the authority of the Earth and everything God had given to man into the authority of Satan who became his new god. When this happened his connection to the glory of God was broken, because God’s glory could not be allowed to pass through Satan. The glory that clothed man disappeared, their spiritual eyes dimmed and their physical eyes took over and they saw that they were now naked. The glory of God that had fed their soul had been replaced by the death that filled Satan and man took on the nature of death in his own life. Man discovered that this act of deception caused man to disconnect from the glory of God and connected himself to a fallen angel, Satan, making man lower than even the angels of God. When that death nature entered man it also brought the spirit of fear and finding themselves naked were filled with shame and ran into hiding and later made clothing from fig leaves.
Satan, now the god of this Earth, demanded that man die for his act of treason as that judgment would end the seed of man and the law of death would be eternally planted in the earth. The judgment of treason has always been death, which required the blood of the one who committed the treason. But if God allowed Satan to carry out this decree the Earth and all of His creation would be forever lost and belong to Satan and man would be forever separated from God. But God had a secret plan whereby He could redeem his creation in a way that not even Satan could understand, but it would take time. To protect man in his fallen state, God took an animal, one that had not been a part of the treason of man, a lamb without blemish (speaking of the perfection of Christ) and sacrificed the blood of an innocent animal in man's place to protect man and taught him how to do this sacrifice and use the skins as clothing. This would protect man against the judgment until a sacrifice could be prepared to take the place of the man and pay the full price. All of this happened because of the tree of tithing was violated and it is only through understanding these things that we discover that the fundamental cause of the fall of man would be eternally tied to act of honoring someone greater than ourselves through the act of “tithing.” The only way to redeem man would be to offer a perfect man, who had the original nature within him. Who was sinless, without spot or wrinkle and that his blood must be shed on the tree of tithing.
After Adam and Eve were cast out of the Garden of Eden they began to raise a family. Both Cain and Able were taught and knew these principles of tithing and brought their offerings before the Lord:
Gen 4:2-7 NLT
Able followed the protocol God had given his father and brought the best, a firstborn lamb from his flock. While Cain showed his lack of respect for the Lord and brought leftovers from the crops that he harvested. Cain’s offering was not rejected because his offering was from the land. It was rejected because he did not bring the first fruits (best) of his harvest to God, but gave the final harvest or leftovers from his crops. When Cain saw that God had rejected his offering he became angry and depressed when it was not accepted, because it did not honor God. God responded to his anger and warned him if he did what is right (honor God with his best), he would be accepted, but if he allowed the sin of greed to enter his life it would control him, but he was warned that he must overcome the sin of greed iand become master over it. Do you know anyone like this? Someone who thinks it unnecessary to honor God through giving tithes? Who thinks all that passed away with the law? Guess what? We haven’t even gotten to the Law yet. The Law is still hundreds of years in the future. Later when the law was added it clearly stated that we must bring the “first fruits” of our land and flocks. In other words we must bring the best when we bring an offering to the Lord. God is always the same, both before and after the law. I think Malachi says it best:
Malachi 1:6-7 NLT
This protocol of honoring one greater (the tithe) and bringing them the best we have to offer was established in the beginning in the garden and was repeated throughout the Bible long before Moses added it as the law of God and it will remain the same throughout eternity. But if we let the sin of greed enter into our lives and think “the tithe of honor” is not important, we are taking on the spirit of Satan, a spirit of rebellion and a sin that ends in death. (James 1:14, 15).
Long before the law was given by Moses we can see this “tithe of honor” being demonstrated in Genesis 14 where Abram rescued Lot and after that victory Melchizdek, the priest of the Most High God appeared (which is an example and image of Jesus) who brought him the communion of bread and wine, and blessed Abram. In Hebrews 7:4 Paul tells us that Abram considered Melchizdek worthy of such great honor and gave him a tenth or a tithe of the spoils. Here again, the “tithe” is no longer just a tenth, it is the symbol of giving honor to one who is greater. Think of it this way, giving a “tithe” (a tenth) to honor one greater is the least we should do.
Years later when Moses finally delivered the written law we are given clear instructions on how we should honor God through our giving. While the result of the law exposed man’s weaknesses and brought death, the revelation of the law shows us the nature of God and is never going to pass away as it is the very nature of God. But it became necessary for the law to be written down so that all men would be exposed to the righteousness of God and understand the sinfulness of man. In Deuteronomy 26:1-11 we are given instructions on how we are to present our tithe to the Lord.
Deuteronomy 26:1-11 NLT
Notice that this presentation of offering is all an act of honoring God with the firstfruits that He has blessed us with. Since Jesus is now our high priest we bring our offering before God by saying something like this:
Lord, with this gift I acknowledge that our God has blessed me in the land that He has given to me. I ask that you accept this offering and set it before God and honor Him with it.
Giving to God should never be a somber exercise where the plate is passed and everyone is quiet. It should be a time of celebration and dancing, of shouting praises unto our God and blessing those around us in whatever way the Spirit of God leads.
It is important to recognize that giving a tithe is not simply an act that is done at Church. Any time we seek to gain assistance from a servant of God or any time a servant of God has given us new insight to our understanding we should honor that person by giving something into their lives because God has used that servant to bless you. Even Saul, before he became king in 1 Samuel 9:6-10 found an offering to give to the prophet Samuel when they were looking for the lost donkeys. He understood the importance of honoring those who are in the service of God.
This principal of honoring someone greater is considered of such great importance that it has been adopted by the world as a common protocol for anyone who is going before a king. It is expected that one should always bring a gift to honor that king. It was so important that 400 years later it was included in the law so that everyone would know and understand how important it was to honor God. It was not included in the law because it was something new that never existed before, but it existed from the foundation in the beginning, but its inclusion in the law revealed the nature of God and of how we should live and giving the tithe was and is an important key in honoring God.
Those who belittle the need for Christians to honor God in tithing by claiming we are not under the law are in fact revealing their own lack of understanding of scripture and putting a knife to their own soul for showing such disrespect. These people are actually setting themselves up for great disappointment because the tithe existed from the beginning of creation and was established as a protocol long before the law was ever given. It was the very first commandment ever given by God in the Garden of Eden. Those who reject “honoring God through tithing” are literally following after the nature of Satan, doing the same thing he did at the tree. Satan deceived Adam and Eve not to give their tithe unto God and instead eat it themselves and those who teach the same things will receive the same judgment. Honoring God with a tithe was included in the law because of its importance and to show us a pattern of how we should live and it will exist long into eternity. It will never pass away because it is at the very center of the nature of God to be a giver.
From the time of the fall of man at the tree of tithing, God has been working to restore what was lost. When He spoke to the serpent in Genesis 3:15 He said that there would be hatred and war between the seed of the woman and the seed of the serpent and the seed of the woman would crush the serpent's head, but the serpent would bruise the heel of the woman’s seed (Christ). Note very carefully what is being said here. It was the man who committed treason, the woman was only deceived, because Adam did not correctly teach Eve what God had said about the tree and she was deceived. Because of Adam’s treason, it would be the seed of the woman that would crush Satan’s head. But also note that the serpent, more literally Satan would have a seed also, those who would be of his nature, the nature of wickedness and full of evil. This seed would strike at the seed of the woman and bite his heel, but the woman’s seed would crush the serpent.
I also want you to be aware of the other elements that are referenced in the word: “seed.” In Genesis 6 we are told of giants that existed in that time and after the flood who were the seed of the Nephilim. These Nephilim were born to women who had sexual relationship with fallen angels and the mixture of their DNA created the race known as Nephilim. They also introduced considerable corruption to man’s DNA that spread to everyone on earth. This corruption of man caused the great wickedness that spread throughout all mankind, but in Genesis 6, Noah was found to be perfect (and I want your thinking to include in his DNA) before God (Genesis 6:9). Of all that lived at that time only Noah was found to be perfect, everyone else had been corrupted in their spirit, soul and body (DNA). In other words they had become the seed of the serpent. Additionally, the corruption of man was not the only motivation for God to bring the flood on the earth. With that corruption the earth had filled with violence and like Noah’s time, the earth will be filled with violence and corruption in the last day as well (Matt 24:37, Luke 17:26).
The Peace Protocols
It has taken us some time to build our foundation to get to this point, but it is very important that you understand what the Old Testament says about the origin and history of tithing before we enter the New Testament. There is still much we can learn from the Old Testament and we will touch upon some of those teachings later. Throughout the Old Testament we see God declaring and showing man how much He loves them, but man is powerless to live up to the standards of righteousness that God lives by because of the fallen state and corruption that man was born into. Because of our sins the judgments of God must be executed against the earth in order to keep a balance between God’s goodness and mercy, and God’s holy righteousness. The things we see in the Old Testament that reveals God's judgment was done in order save mankind, not to destroy him. The power of the spirit of man is so powerful that man could literally tear this planet apart by his wickedness but God had to take steps to soften that destructive force in order for Him to bring His salvation. Because of that man sees God as vengeful and judgmental when God is truthfully being merciful or else He would have to destroy all of mankind. He had to do certain things to keep the balance in order to prepare the way until the perfect sacrifice could come and pay the final price at the tithing tree and restore peace with man.
In order for Jesus to become a sacrifice worthy of paying the penalty of treason that Adam committed at the Tithing Tree He must first be spotless, without sin or blemish. To do that He must avoid the seed and blood (DNA) of man. To accomplish that He must be born of a woman without man’s involvement through the Holy Spirit. When the Holy Spirit caused Mary to become pregnant He took the seed of the woman and purified her DNA replacing the corruption of the fallen state with perfect DNA, then the Holy Spirit created the seed of God and joined it to the perfected seed of the woman, which made Jesus both a complete man, but also prefect without the fallen nature of man. Having instead the nature of God as it was before the fall of man. This was the only way God could provide the shed blood of man and yet at the same time be free from the sin nature of man. Science has proven that the placenta of a child does not share the blood of the mother with the child and therefore His blood and DNA were separated and holy unto God. This can also be seen in that the child can have a completely different blood type from the mother, as mixing different blood types would kill the baby before it could form. Because Jesus was not infected with the corrupted DNA of man the effects of sin in this world would not have the same impact on Him that we all experience. He would see that sin around him, but would not have to experience or have intimate knowledge of the sin nature that man lives in every day. He is pure in spirit, soul and body (DNA) and there was nothing there that Satan could use to control Jesus. This is why Jesus could say in John 14:30 that Satan had nothing in Him or no power to control Him.
John 14:30 AMP
Because He was perfect outside the influence of Satan and yet had the DNA of mankind He was a worthy sacrifice for man. And because of His holy nature He could also become cursed and take on Himself the sins of man in order to make the gift of His righteousness available to man. It was the same sacrifice of substitution of sacrifice that God did in the Garden of Eden. He took an innocent lamb and placed the guilt of treason, all the sin of man at that time, and placed it on the lamb to pay the price. But the core of our sin was in the Tithing Tree and to transfer the guilt of that sin to Jesus who was without sin, God would have to provide a transport method which is found in Deut. 21:23:
Deut. 21:23 NLT
When God cursed the tree He was speaking to the tree that caused the fall of man. Because man fell at the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, (the Tithing Tree), He was preparing a way for the curse that man was under to be transferred to the sacrifice that could not be cursed. The Tithing Tree would put the curse of the sins of this world on Jesus being crucified on that tree. Now when Christ paid that price salvation became available to all of His creation and was available for anyone who would accept it into their lives by faith.
Jesus was the only son of God and as such was literally the first fruits given by God by tithing Himself on the Tithing Tree and shedding His blood in response to Satan’s demand for the blood of man to be shed for his treason, but instead of destroying man as Satan had hoped, this blood set man free instead. Because it was made on the tree that was cursed with the blood that was without sin or the nature of sin. He took on himself the sins of this world and literally nailed the sins of mankind to that tree then purged the sin of the Tithing Tree by pouring His own sinless blood over it. Then when He was buried that burial transferred His righteousness into the earth because He was not left on the cursed tree, which would have left the land defiled. His blood paid the price and His body restored the righteousness and ownership of the Earth back to Jesus. He became the lamb that was slain and then came back to life to enforce that sacrifice so that through His shed blood that anyone willing can come by faith and accept the righteousness of God into their own lives simply by declaring it Jesus as Lord by faith and through faith stepping from death unto life.
Now because of what Jesus has done for us at the Tithing Tree, how can we be so careless and show any less respect and honor before God by ignoring the principle of tithing? Heaven forbid, we are now in even greater debt to God and Jesus for everything He has done and more thankful and grateful before God in honor and respect toward Jesus because He gave everything He had to save us. Should not we give Him everything we have to honor Him?
What individual in their right mind would ever declare we should not honor Jesus for the price He paid for our lives? What right does any man have to say that tithing isn’t under the law and isn’t necessary? It was not under the law, it was before the law and above the law and is now ever more in our heart because of what He has done for us. For God so loved the world that He gave His only son (John 3:16). Should we who have accepted His salvation so love Him that we should deny honoring Him in our giving?
Jesus gives us the answer to that in Matthew 5:17-19:
Mat 5:17-19 NLT
What did He say there? Until heaven and earth disappear, not even the smallest detail of God's law will pass away. So, if the law is still here, then those who teach us not to tithe are least in the Kingdom of Heaven. That is not what we want. We want everything that God has for us and we receive those things through our faith in Jesus who has become our high priest. Because of the price that Jesus was willing to pay for our salvation God raised Him up and declared unto Him that He would be a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.
Psalms 110:4 NLT
Now if Jesus is our high priest after the order of Melchizdek shouldn't we who are born of His Spirit through the blood of Jesus also honor Him even as Abram did in the Old Testament, who is the father of our faith and honored Melchizdek with a tithe long before the law was even written?
Paul tells us in Hebrews 10:1-6 that the Old Testament was a shadow of things to come. The law will never pass away but through the blood of Jesus we receive the fulfillment of the law which empowers us through His grace and our faith to make us the righteousness of God in Christ and are now able to fulfill the requirements of the law through His Spirit.
Now, if the law given by Moses was a shadow of things to come, and it required those under the law to bringing tithes and offerings to the priests to honor God, how can we who have been raised to an even higher grace turn our backs on our own High Priest who is Jesus Christ? Because we are empowered and fulfill the law through blood of Jesus and the grace of God, how can we then even consider such disrespect by rejecting the opportunity to honor God and failing to bring tithes and offerings to our own High Priest, Jesus? And if we are walking in the faith of Christ how do we then honor God through our High Priest? We do so by bringing those gifts to those who bring us insight in how we should live according to the word of God. We ask God to whom we should give, then listen to the Holy Spirit for what or how much we should give, then be obedient to that leading of the Holy Spirit. But because of the LOVE of Christ which is poured out in our spirit we cry out with the desire to give everything we have just as He gave everything He has. We are no longer seeking to give just a "tithe (a tenth)," but give everything we have as the Lord leads us in our giving. Everything we give, everytime we give, everywhere we give, everyone we give to, we give as an act of LOVE to honor God and Jesus who saved us from our sins.
God gave Jesus as a tithe into this world in order to elevate us above the judgment of the law. But that does not excuse us from the honor protocols of the Kingdom. It in fact places upon us even greater expectations because the law has no power over us we can do even greater works than Christ did and if Christ did not break the law neither will we when we walk in faith before Him. Before this time the expectation of the law was that we give a tithe of all our increase. But when we live by faith in the life of Christ we are elevated from mere servants of the kingdom and made to be sons and daughters of the King and as such we are expected to act in accordance with all the precepts and protocols that have been established by the kingdom.
When we bring our gifts before the King we declare how great He is and honor Him in the presence of all who are in the court (or church) of the King. But when we come into His presence with empty hands we are showing Him and His court that we don't consider Him important or great in our lives and we are in fact disrespecting the majesty of the King and showing contempt for His court. No one is truly without when it comes to giving, for if we do not have money, we can also give gifts of LOVE and enouragement and service and a thousand out things that come from the seeds God has placed in our lives. Do not see your tithe as I have to give 10%. See is as an opportunity to bless the Kingdom of God with as much as you can in whatever way you can. God will give seed to the sower and bread to eat and we can honor Him in our lives. What He asks of us is when we have increase in our lives, He is showing us His blessings and we in return should honor Him with the tithe out of our increase, which blesses the remaining 90%.
We who are truly of Christ do not see the tithe as a duty of the law, but rather the opportunity to honor our King Jesus and be a blessing to others..
Live in God’s LOVE!