Society around us is telling us that all there is to life is to get a good education, pursue YOUR dreams, go into the corporate world, get your paid vacation and health care, climb the ladder of success, have fun, party, make lots of money and then retire at 50 of 55 and spend the rest of your life playing. Society is telling us that God is irrelevant, the Bible is a passé tale, family, marriage, and traditional values are for uneducated morons and that nothing else matters except to fulfill YOUR desires and wants. If what society is telling us is true, then why are more young people than ever lonely, empty, and committing suicide? Obviously something is wrong with this picture. In this talk, we discuss this issue and bring the wisdom of the ages to bear on this crucial topic.
Mark 10:21, Sell…follow me. What Yeshua is telling the young man is this. Get rid of anything in your life that is hindering you from following me. Such is an idol and needs to be removed from your life. In the young man’s case, it was his riches and likely those things that consumed his time and energies to maintain his riches (e.g. caring for his business and investment interests), and which prevented him from pursuing the true spiritual riches. Idols such as riches and materialism make it difficult for a person to enter the kingdom of heaven as Yeshua goes on to say in verses 23–25.
Mark 10:26–27, Who then can be saved? This was a legitimate question of Yeshua’s disciples. But in the next verse, Yeshua seems to imply that YHVH in his sovereignty can save anyone he chooses. If YHVH chooses to save someone, does this violate man’s free will? Not at all. YHVH can pour out his Spirit on anyone he chooses, call them and draw them to himself like an irresistible magnet, so that it’s virtually impossible for the person to refuse YHVH’s love and grace. This being the case, the person still has to choose to follow YHVH, even though the Sovereign Creator makes it all but impossible for a man to resist the call.
It’s amazing to me how most Bible teachers in the church adamantly declare that the law of Moses was done away with along with the so-called ceremonial laws, yet they ardently hang on to the tithing law. Interesting…!
Deuteronomy 26:11, You shall rejoice. Bringing one’s tithes and offerings to YHVH is to be a joyful event since it is a reflection of our gratitude to him for abundantly blessing us. (Compare this verse with 2 Corinthians 9:6–11.) Giving to YHVH is a form of worship since it allows us to put our treasure where our heart is (Luke 12:34). Please join me in praying this prayer:
Father, help us to give to you out of the abundance of our hearts joyfully and with gratitude for your blessings and bounty in our lives. Help me not to be a fair-weather giver only, but to give out of obedience, even sacrificially, that we may learn to have faith in your promises of provision and to obey you no matter the circumstances. Amein.
(For a brief study on tithing and giving, please see my teaching entitled, “Is Tithing for Us Today?” which is available on our ministry website at http://www.hoshanarabbah.org/pdfs/tithing.pdf.)
A Quick Study in Biblical Truth: Tithing
Is Tithing for Us Today?
(In this quick study, biblical researcher Ya’acov Natan Lawrence is not offering the reader an exhaustive treatment of this topic, but rather a quick synopsis based on his extensive research in pursuit of truth. In doing so, he has evaluated biblical, linguistic, Christian and Jewish sources.)
YHVH in his Word, the Bible, instructs us,
Honor YHVH with thy substance [wealth, riches], and with the firstfruits [beginning, best, first, chief, choice part] of all thine increase [produce, product, revenue], so shall thy barns be filled with plenty, and thy presses shall burst out with new wine. (Prov 3:9–10)
How do those seeking to obey YHVH’s Word fulfil this command?
To tithe or not to tithe, that is the question in many people’s minds these days. In light of the misuse of church members’ tithes and offerings by many church organizations and ministries for questionable purposes, and in light of the money-grubbing tactics of many Christian media outlets and televangelists, many are now questioning whether tithing is a biblical principle that was for ancient Israel only, or whether it is a universal principle that applies to all men at all times.
These are fair questions and valid concerns. But let’s be certain that our course of action one way or the other is determined by the Word of YHVH, not by personal experience or human’s mishandling or scriptural principles. To determine doctrine and theology based on Continue reading
Life is a series of tests. We either pass or fail them. YHVH is the school teacher who determines whether we will pass or fail, not us. His Word is our text book that tells us how to pass. If we learn the lessons and put to practice the things we have learned, we will pass. If not, we will fail.
The problem is that we’re not just in a regular school classroom where if we fail, it’s really not a big deal in the bigger scope of life. Our classroom is this life. Whether we pass or fail will determine not only whether we will obtain eternal life or eternal damnation, but if we pass, the grade we get will determine our level of rewards in YHVH’s eternal kingdom. There are a couple of things going on here.
When YHVH calls us with his holy calling and we respond, we have a choice. The choice we make will determine whether we will be the least or the greatest in his kingdom (Matt 5:19). If we choose to obey him only a little, we will be least in his kingdom. If we choose to obey him all the way, we will be the greatest in his kingdom. Our level of obedience to his commandments determines our level of rewards in his kingdom.
If we give him our all, like Ruth did when she chose to forsake the world and follow Naomi, we can become the bride of Yeshua. Ruth is a prophetic picture of Yeshua’s bride. The Continue reading
2 Corinthians 2:17, Peddling the word of Elohim. Are you as sick and fed up with peddlers of the Word of Elohim as I am? It’s everywhere you go—people standing along the highways of biblical religion with their hands out panhandling. Even in Paul’s day as in our, the ministry of the gospel has “many” gospel peddlers.
Show me just about any big name in Christianity, Messianic, the Hebrew Roots Movement and, in most cases, I’ll show you someone who has built their ministry on shameless self promotion, hype, glitz, corporate marketing techniques and their ability to cleverly woo people to their book seller’s table or website that is chalk full of wares that promise to fill your head with the latest prophetic insights, esoteric biblical head knowledge, pop-psychological, self-help, humanistic, new-age, ear-tickling pap. It’s all yours, if you’ll only plunk down some of your hard-earned cash.
Well, I’m not the only one who’s fed up with these modern-day merchandizers of the gospel. The Apostle Paul was too. Evidently it was rampant in his day as well as we have seen in the scripture verse quoted above: “For we are not, as so many, peddling the word of Elohim…” The word peddling there means “to be a retailer, to make money by selling anything, to get sordid gain by dealing in anything, to do a thing for base gain, to trade in the word of God, to try to get base gain by teaching divine truth, to corrupt, to adulterate, peddlers were in the habit of adulterating their commodities for the sake of gain.”
These guys don’t need to bother knocking on the door of the congregation I pastor, nor at the events our ministry sponsors. The welcome mat isn’t out for them!
Haven’t these spiritual beggars read the word of Elohim? Don’t those who support them Continue reading
Mark 12:15, Bring me a denarius. Yeshua was totally disinterested with, unaffected by and uninvolved with money. In fact, when people donated money to his ministry, it there is no record that it even touch his hands. Someone else carried his money for him or handled his financial affairs (John 12:6; 13:9).
When Yeshua needed some money, even for illustration purposes, he wasn’t able just to whip a coin out of his pocket, but he had to find one elsewhere. In this case, he asked someone in the crowd for a coin. When he needed to pay the temple tax, he found a coin in a fish’s mouth (Matt 17:24–27).
Yeshua’s approach to money is rare among Bible-preaching ministers today. The lesson here is that those in the ministry should care nothing about money, nor should they be involved in ministry money matters. Others should handle the financial affairs of the ministry. A man (or woman) of Elohim should only be concerned about preaching the gospel.