Does it sometimes seem you’re not able to make ends meet? Do unplanned expenses cause you to be short of funds? Do these occurrences come at bad times just when you can least afford to have them occur? Do you ever wonder why your prayers don’t seem to be answered even though you think you’re a good person and follow the rules you’ve been taught in the bible? Do you wonder why you don’t seem to receiving blessings from the Creator? Ever wonder why you just can’t seem to get ahead financially? Ever wonder why bad people who are disobedient to Elohim seem to be unjustly prosperous while a righteous person like you who keeps the scriptures suffers?
Many people today think they know what the scriptures portray. They think they are obedient to the Creator; yet bad things happen to them that they just can’t explain. They pray for relief from their problems, but don’t seem to have their prayers answered. Some of these people pride themselves in keeping the correct Sabbaths and using the Hebrew names of the Father and the Son and still they seem to be cursed. Why would the loving Creator who has promised blessings to those who obey Him let these bad things happen to his true followers?
It should not be any surprise as to why many people suffer. People just make bad decisions and as a result suffer the consequences. Some people incur more debt than they can pay or they live in a manner that they cannot afford so they cannot reasonably expect to be blessed when they spend in excess of their income. This should be easy to understand. Their desire for material things and their inability to live within their income causes them to constantly be short of money.
But what about the person who keeps the Sabbaths, the commandments, and follows the example of Yahshua, but has bad things happen to them repeatedly? Is it possible these people are doing something that Elohim does not like?
In the book of 1st Corinthians chapter 10, and verses 6-11, the apostle Paul tells us that the events described in the Old Testament scriptures happened as an example for those upon whom the fulfillment of the ages will come.
Many believe that the Jews, the only remaining visible tribe of the twelve tribes of Israel, are the chosen people of the Creator, yet the tribe of Judah would not even have a country in which to reside if Great Britain and the United States did not provide for and protect Judah in the land called Israel. Even in recent history, Judah has been subjected to discrimination and punishment resulting in the deaths of thousands of Jews.
What is the example that Israel provides in the Old Testament for those upon whom the fulfillment of the ages is come with regard to Israel’s welfare? As you read what has happened to Israel in the following pages, relate these examples to your own welfare and determine if your own actions bring a similar fate to you.
The scriptures teach that the nation of Israel was chosen by the Creator to be His chosen nation for the purpose of being an example of the blessings that could be received by the people and nations who were obedient to the Creator’s laws and statutes. Israel was chosen because Yahweh made a covenant with Abraham, due to Abraham’s willingness to obey Yahweh through tests, even to slay his only son Isaac if required, who was the progenitor of the tribes of Israel through Jacob.
When Israel was held against their will in Egypt, they cried to Yahweh to be saved. After Moses demonstrated to Pharaoh the power of Yahweh through a series of miracles culminating in the death of all the firstborn in Egypt, he led the Israelites out of Egypt.
After leaving, Israel was given laws and statutes they were to live their lives by in order to be safe and to prosper. This occurred at Mt. Horeb in the Sinai desert. Moses ascended up the mountain and was given the commandments and statutes directly from Yahweh to be given to the Israelites. Israel then vowed to Yahweh they would obey His statutes and commands.
Moses reminded the Israelites of their vow in the book of Deuteronomy and told them that if they kept the commands of Yahweh, they would be blessed, but if they did not keep their promise to Yahweh, they would be cursed.
26 ” See, I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse: 27 the blessing, if you listen to the commandments of Yahweh your Elohim, which I am commanding you today; 28 and the curse, if you do not listen to the commandments of Yahweh your Elohim, but turn aside from the way which I am commanding you today, by following other Elohims which you have not known.
The scriptures contain many examples of how Israel disobeyed Yahweh and broke His statutes and commands resulting in a loss of His blessing and punishment for their disobedient actions. Yahweh was very specific in how He would deal with the Israelites if they willfully disobeyed Him and broke their vow.
‘ But if you do not obey Me and do not carry out all these commandments, 15 if, instead, you reject My statutes, and if your soul abhors My ordinances so as not to carry out all My commandments, and so break My covenant, 16 I, in turn, will do this to you: I will appoint over you a sudden terror, consumption and fever that will waste away the eyes and cause the soul to pine away; also, you will sow your seed uselessly, for your enemies will eat it up. 17’I will set My face against you so that you will be struck down before your enemies; and those who hate you will rule over you, and you will flee when no one is pursuing you. 18’If also after these things you do not obey Me, then I will punish you seven times more for your sins. 19’I will also break down your pride of power; I will also make your sky like iron and your earth like bronze. 20′ Your strength will be spent uselessly, for your land will not yield its produce and the trees of the land will not yield their fruit.
You can read more about the punishment Yahweh promised the Israelites in chapter 26 of the book of Leviticus. In spite of the warning, Israel did disobey Yahweh not once, but many times. Why would Israel repeatedly disobey Yahweh if they knew they would be punished? The answer can be found in the book of Jeremiah:
30 “An appalling and horrible thing
Has happened in the land: 31 The prophets prophesy falsely,
And the priests rule on their own authority;
And My people love it so! But what will you do at the end of it?
12 They have lied about Yahweh
And said, ” Not He; Misfortune will not come on us,
And we will not see sword or famine. 13 “The prophets are as wind,
And the word is not in them. Thus it will be done to them!”
23’But this people has a stubborn and rebellious heart;
They have turned aside and departed.
24 ‘They do not say in their heart, “Let us now fear Yahweh our Elohim,
Who gives rain in its season,
Both the autumn rain and the spring rain,
Who keeps for us
The appointed weeks of the harvest” 25’Your iniquities have turned these away,
And your sins have withheld good from you.
The Israelites received blessings from Yahweh when they obeyed Him and kept His statutes and commands. Each passing generation of Israelites forgot His miracles and became complacent believing they had brought their prosperity upon themselves by their own hand. They knew the laws and commands, but chose to ignore them and followed other Elohim. Israel lusted to have what their neighbors had and wanted more material possessions for themselves.
Then Yahweh said to me in the days of Josiah the king, “Have you seen what faithless Israel did? She went up on every high hill and under every green tree, and she was a harlot there. 7 ” I thought, ‘After she has done all these things she will return to Me’; but she did not return, and her treacherous sister Judah saw it. 8 “And I saw that for all the adulteries of faithless Israel, I had sent her away and given her a writ of divorce, yet her treacherous sister Judah did not fear; but she went and was a harlot also. 9 “Because of the lightness of her harlotry, she polluted the land and committed adultery with stones and trees. 10 “Yet in spite of all this her treacherous sister Judah did not return to Me with all her heart, but rather in deception,” declares Yahweh.
16 Again the word of Yahweh came to me: 17 “Son of man, when the people of Israel were living in their own land, they defiled it by their conduct and their actions. Their conduct was like a woman’s monthly uncleanness in my sight. 18 So I poured out my wrath on them because they had shed blood in the land and because they had defiled it with their idols. 19 I dispersed them among the nations, and they were scattered through the countries; I judged them according to their conduct and their actions. 20 And wherever they went among the nations they profaned my holy name, for it was said of them, ‘These are Yahweh’s people, and yet they had to leave his land.’ 21 I had concern for my holy name, which the house of Israel profaned among the nations where they had gone.
Two of the ten northern tribes, Judah and Benjamin, committed adultery with stones and trees and worshipped idols. What did Yahweh mean when He spoke to the prophet Jeremiah when He accused Israel of committing adultery with stones and trees? The Hebrew word translated as adultery, in verse 9 of the book of Jeremiah, is number is number 5003 and means:
na’aph (naw-af’); a primitive root; to commit adultery; figuratively, to apostatize:
(Biblesoft’s New Exhaustive Strong’s Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary. Copyright © 1994, 2003 Biblesoft, Inc. and International Bible Translators, Inc.)
a·pos·ta·tize [? páwst? t?z] (past a·pos·ta·tized, past participle a·pos·ta·tized, present participle a·pos·ta·tiz·ing, 3rd person present singular a·pos·ta·tiz·es) vi renounce faith: to renounce a religious faith, a political party, a set of principles, or a moral allegiance (formal)
Microsoft® Encarta® Reference Library 2002. © 1993-2001 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.
Israel renounced its faith in Yahweh and rejected His commands. Yahweh was speaking figuratively when the word adultery was used in the scriptures when He referred to Israel’s faithlessness. Yahweh also said that Israel committed this apostasy with stones and trees. How did Israel commit faithlessness with stones and trees? The answer is they did the very same thing people do today with material things made from stones and trees. Houses, jewelry, and many other items are made from stones and trees. Yahweh is referring to materialism. Many people spend much more time working on their houses and yards than worshipping Yahweh. In fact, people often spend time working on their houses or jobs on the seventh day Sabbath, another violation of Yahweh’s commandments. Do you know anyone who ignores the seventh day Sabbath commanded in the scriptures to do their own pleasure?
But, what about the people who consider themselves religious, what do they think when bad things happen to them? They believe they keep the Sabbath and are obedient to Yahweh, yet somehow bad things happen to them. An unexpected accident, sickness or incident may disrupt their lives. They always seem to be short of money, even though they contribute to the work of the Creator and give their time to good causes. They budget their finances, but still come up short of funds. They never seem to have enough, and to make matters worse, they see people who are not obedient to the Creator that seem to have abundant blessings of money and material things. Why do these bad things happen to them while the sinner seems to flourish?
There is one way in which most people disobey Yahweh and seem to somehow justify to themselves that their actions are right. What is the statute most ignored by people who consider themselves just in their own eyes? The Israelites had this same problem and could not seem to understand why they were being cursed or punished by Yahweh. The answer is found in the scriptures:
“Will a man rob Elohim? Yet you are robbing Me! But you say, ‘How have we robbed You?’ In tithes and offerings. 9 “You are cursed with a curse, for you are robbing Me, the whole nation of you!”
Notice carefully that Yahweh warned the Israelites that He believed that they were robbing Him in their tithes and offerings. Also notice carefully that the people were cursed for not meeting Yahweh’s expectations of just what their tithes and offerings should be.
Somehow people justify their actions of not providing tithes and offerings to Yahweh with various interpretations of just how much of their increase they should give to Yahweh. Some think they no longer have to tithe a tenth of their increase because the Levitical priesthood no longer exists and the tithe was to support that priesthood. Some think that since they are not specifically commanded to tithe in the New Testament scriptures, they can just give whatever they please, if anything. Some have convinced themselves that since the temple has been destroyed in Jerusalem, they no longer have to contribute any tithes or offerings. Some don’t tithe because they don’t have a job and have convinced themselves that social security and retirement payments are not titheable.
Yahweh gave very specific instructions to the Israelites on how much of their income they were to tithe. He also made it clear that He would not be satisfied with a defective tithe in the very first book of the bible when Cain’s offering was found to be unacceptable in Yahweh’s eyes.
The offering Cain made to Yahweh was unacceptable in the eyes of Yahweh, not because it was an offering of vegetables, while Abel’s offering was an animal from his flock. Yahweh commanded a tithe of both produce of the field and every tenth animal from the flock. So why was Cain’s offering not acceptable to Yahweh?
4 By faith Abel offered Elohim a better sacrifice than Cain did. By faith he was commended as a righteous man, when Elohim spoke well of his offerings. And by faith he still speaks, even though he is dead.
Abel’s faith in Yahweh made him want to be obedient and to commit his offering and place it before Yahweh, while Cain lacked faith in Yahweh’s commands and made his offering for some other reason that was not pleasing to Yahweh. Yahweh told Cain he had to get control of the sin he had in his life before he would be able to offer a proper sacrifice to Yahweh.
3 So it came about in the course of time that Cain brought an offering to Yahweh of the fruit of the ground. 4 Abel, on his part also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of their fat portions. And Yahweh had regard for Abel and for his offering; 5 but for Cain and for his offering He had no regard. So Cain became very angry and his countenance fell. 6 Then Yahweh said to Cain, ” Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? 7 ” If you do well, will not your countenance be lifted up? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it.”
People are not able to buy favor from Yahweh with the size of their gift to Him. They must give as they are commanded without feeling they are put upon for giving to the work of Elohim. Even the smallest gift given in faith and love is better than thousands of dollars given without regard to faith and obedience.
And He looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the treasury. 2 And He saw a poor widow putting in two small copper coins. 3 And He said, “Truly I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all of them; 4 for they all out of their surplus put into the offering; but she out of her poverty put in all that she had to live on.”
It is not the size of the offering that is important to Yahweh. It is the mindset of the person giving the offering. Notice that the rich were giving out of their surplus. They would not miss the offering, while the poor widow gave all she had because she wanted to be obedient to Elohim even though she needed the money for herself. This widow had faith her needs would be met if she were obedient to Elohim, while the rich only gave from their surplus and had nothing to lose. Perhaps they were giving their gifts to impress other people, but they were not impressing Yahshua.
Some men and women work for charitable causes because they want to help others, but some for the recognition of their efforts from other people. It is no different in the offerings given by people to the work of Elohim. While some may give large offerings, they give to be recognized, not to be obedient to the will of the Father. The scriptures are clear that the tithes and offerings given to Elohim must be the best of your increase. In addition to the tithes commanded by Yahweh, He expects His followers to keep a second tithe that is to be used to cover expenses to attend the three commanded feasts each year. This second tithe is also set aside every third year to be given to the widows and orphans in each person’s community.
12 ” When you have finished paying all the tithe of your increase in the third year, the year of tithing, then you shall give it to the Levite, to the stranger, to the orphan and to the widow, that they may eat in your towns and be satisfied.
The Israelites were also commanded to leave some of their produce in their fields so the poor would have food.
19 When you are harvesting in your field and you overlook a sheaf, do not go back to get it. Leave it for the alien, the fatherless and the widow, so that Yahweh your Elohim may bless you in all the work of your hands. 20 When you beat the olives from your trees, do not go over the branches a second time. Leave what remains for the alien, the fatherless and the widow. 21 When you harvest the grapes in your vineyard, do not go over the vines again. Leave what remains for the alien, the fatherless and the widow. 22 Remember that you were slaves in Egypt. That is why I command you to do this.
Yahweh has told people numerous times in the scriptures to be generous to the poor, the widow and the orphan. He has also told people that if they are generous to the poor, the widow, and the orphan that He will bless them. However, it is also clear that you will receive no blessing if the only reason for giving is to be recognized by other people for your good works.
What is Yahweh’s purpose for the tithes and offerings He commands people to give to His Levitical priesthood in the Old Testament and the Melchizedek priesthood in both the Old and New Testament? It should be readily apparent that Elohim does not need the money since He has created the entire universe.
24 ” Elohim who made the world and everything in it is Yahweh of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands. 25 And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything, because he himself gives all men life and breath and everything else.
So if the Creator of the universe has made everything and gives men their lives and all their possessions, why does He want a tithe and offering from them? The answer is again in the scriptures in the example of the Israelites, along with the instructions from the Messiah.
The example of the Israelites in the Old Testament is very important to people today because this example is a learning tool. The Levites were to care for and manage the tabernacle that was carried by them in the desert and managed by them when the Israelites arrived in the land promised to them through Abraham.
One very important example in the scriptures, often overlooked, by readers of the bible today is the fact that the Levites were to keep the Israelites from not only entering the tabernacle, but also from coming close to the tabernacle.
22 From now on the Israelites must not go near the Tent of Meeting, or they will bear the consequences of their sin and will die. 23 It is the Levites who are to do the work at the Tent of Meeting and bear the responsibility for offenses against it. This is a lasting ordinance for the generations to come. They will receive no inheritance among the Israelites. 24 Instead, I give to the Levites as their inheritance the tithes that the Israelites present as an offering to Yahweh. That is why I said concerning them: ‘They will have no inheritance among the Israelites.’”
If the Israelites went near the tabernacle, they would bear the consequences of their sins and would die. What purpose did the tabernacle serve? Why was it necessary for the Levites to assemble, disassemble and carry the tabernacle with them on their 40-year trek to the promised land? The Levites were to put the tabernacle into position in order for the priest, Aaron, and his descendants, to offer sacrifices to Yahweh so that the sins of the Israelites would not cause them to die.
5 Yahweh said to Moses, 6 “Bring the tribe of Levi and present them to Aaron the priest to assist him. 7 They are to perform duties for him and for the whole community at the Tent of Meeting by doing the work of the tabernacle. 8 They are to take care of all the furnishings of the Tent of Meeting, fulfilling the obligations of the Israelites by doing the work of the tabernacle. 9 Give the Levites to Aaron and his sons; they are the Israelites who are to be given wholly to him. 10 Appoint Aaron and his sons to serve as priests; anyone else who approaches the sanctuary must be put to death.”
Yahweh instructed Moses, as recorded in the book of Exodus, that the Levites were to be selected from the twelve tribes of Israel to serve Yahweh by caring for the tabernacle. Aaron and his sons were to serve as priests to offer sacrifices from the tithes and offerings given by the Israelites to Yahweh so that the Israelites would not die for their sins.
The tabernacle was a place, cared for by the Levites, where the priest would offer tithes and offerings to Elohim. Why would Elohim require this elaborate procedure and system of the Israelites? The Levites were required to make the tabernacle of specific materials and dimensions. The Levites were required to assemble the tabernacle each time the Israelites camped in the desert while they were on their way to the promised land, a trip that took forty years. When you read Numbers, chapter 33, it appears the Israelites made a new camp approximately forty-five times on their way to the land of Canaan. That means the Levites assembled, disassembled and carried the tabernacle, which was an elaborate temporary structure, more than once a year for forty years. Why? Why could only the Levites care for the tabernacle and why could only Aaron and his sons serve as priests?
To serve as priests, Aaron and his sons had to be anointed and consecrated. Consecration was a requirement for not only the priest but for the tabernacle and its furnishings as well. The Hebrew word translated as consecrate in most cases in the Old Testament is Strong’s number 6942, qadash, pronounced kaw dash, which means to make clean both ceremonially or morally. The word translated as anoint in English is the Hebrew word mashach, Strong’s number 4886, which means to rub with oil, by implication to consecrate.
The use of oil that is rubbed on people and objects, for the purpose of consecration, had to have a special significance to Elohim. What could it possibly mean to rub on people to make them more worthy than others to serve before Elohim? In fact if people were not anointed or consecrated, they could not serve priests. No Israelite could even approach the tabernacle, where sacrifices were offered to Yahweh, unless they were from the tribe of Levi, or was a priest from the tribe of Levi who was specifically selected by Yahweh to care for the tabernacle and its contents.
The oil used to consecrate the priests, the tabernacle and its contents was holy to Yahweh. He gave the formula to Moses and warned him that the oil was to be used only to anoint items consecrated to Yahweh. No man was to make any of the oil for his own purposes.
30 “Anoint Aaron and his sons and consecrate them so they may serve me as priests. 31 Say to the Israelites, ‘This is to be my sacred anointing oil for the generations to come. 32 Do not pour it on men’s bodies and do not make any oil with the same formula. It is sacred, and you are to consider it sacred. 33 Whoever makes perfume like it and whoever puts it on anyone other than a priest must be cut off from his people.’”
This oil and the anointing process established by Yahweh in the Old Testament was holy to Yahweh and therefore must have symbolized a very sacred part of being a priest. No person could go before Yahweh to offer a sacrifice unless he was a priest who had been anointed with this holy sacred oil. In fact unconsecrated Israelites could not even approach the tabernacle to worship.
Therefore, since only the priests could offer sacrifices, Yahweh established the tithe system so the Israelites could have a way of being forgiven their sins to prevent them from dying. The tithes and offerings were to support the Levites and priests who worshipped in the tabernacle and offered sacrifices to Elohim on behalf of the Israelites who could not offer sacrifices to Elohim themselves.
Yahweh knew that the Israelites would disobey His laws and statutes repeatedly. Therefore, He established a way in the Old Testament for the Israelites to receive forgiveness for their sins on a regular basis. The tithes provided a method whereby they could ask Yahweh to forgive them for their sins and prolong their lives. If they did not give the tithes as instructed, they would die. He also established a system whereby the Israelites, upon recognizing their blessings, could offer special thank offerings to Yahweh thereby demonstrating their gratefulness. The offerings to Yahweh were special to Him. In fact, those who made offerings were promised a way to salvation.
14 Sacrifice thank offerings to Elohim,
fulfill your vows to the Most High, 15 and call upon me in the day of trouble;
I will deliver you, and you will honor me.”
22 “Consider this, you who forget Elohim,
or I will tear you to pieces, with none to rescue:
23 He who sacrifices thank offerings honors me, and he prepares the way
so that I may show him the salvation of Elohim.”
Those who fulfill their vows to the Most High and sacrifice thank offerings to Elohim can call upon Yahweh in their day of trouble and expect to be delivered from their troubles as long as they are thankful. Those who forget the commands and statutes of Elohim can expect no such rescue from their troubles. Only those who offer thank offerings to Elohim can expect to see salvation from Elohim. This seems simple to understand. Yahweh has repeatedly stated in the scriptures that people must show Him that they will obey the rules He has established for them to receive His blessings. Those who do not follow His instructions are considered wicked, no matter how righteous they think they are. They may appear to be blessed for a time, but they will not be blessed with salvation. In fact, Elohim has stated that the wicked will be torn to pieces and will not be rescued.
How was the Levitical priesthood linked with the Melchizedek priesthood of which the Messiah is the chief priest?
Some ministers, theologians and bible scholars have somehow concluded that it is no longer necessary to tithe because the Levitical priesthood is dismantled. They also claim the commandments or laws are no longer necessary, even though there are many scriptures in the New Testament that contradict this mistaken belief. One verse they claim as their authority for their mistaken doctrine is Hebrews, chapter 7, and verse 18, where the scripture has set aside a former commandment. The word commandment is singular and refers to the command to sacrifice animals for the sins of the Israelites. Yahshua came to earth to give His life one time for the forgiveness of men. The scriptures are clear in instructing that Yahshua is of the priestly order of Melchizedek; thus it is no longer necessary to offer any animal sacrifice for the forgiveness of sins.
26 For it was fitting for us to have such a high priest, holy, innocent, undefiled, separated from sinners and exalted above the heavens; 27 who does not need daily, like those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for His own sins and then for the sins of the people, because this He did once for all when He offered up Himself. 28 For the Law appoints men as high priests who are weak, but the word of the oath, which came after the Law, appoints a Son, made perfect forever.
Why does the sacrifice of Yahshua replace the sacrifice of animals and why does the Melchizedek priesthood hold a better promise than the Levitical priesthood? How was Yahshua a better offering for sins than the animals offered by the Levitical priests?
The Levitical priests were missing one very important item that could be supplied by Yahshua. The Levitical priests symbolized the Melchizedek priesthood led by Yahshua, but they had only a symbol of something only Yahshua, as the Son of Yahweh, could supply to men. The Levitical priests were anointed with the special oil that made them different from other men. Unless a man was anointed with this special oil, he could not approach Yahweh. The oil was a symbol of what only Yahshua would be able to give people as the head of the Melchizedek priesthood.
The New Testament scriptures recount Yahshua telling people that He fulfilled the scriptures in the Old Testament foretelling of a coming Savior who would be anointed with Yahweh’s Holy Spirit.
16 He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. And he stood up to read. 17 The scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written:
18 “The Spirit of Yahweh is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, 19 to proclaim the year of Yahweh’s favor.”
20 Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him, 21 and he began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”
Just as in the Old Testament, the only people who will be able to approach Elohim will be those who are anointed with the special oil or Holy Spirit as given by Yahweh. Without the Holy Spirit, a person is not consecrated to serve before Elohim, no matter what that person thinks his personal relationship is with Elohim.
Yahshua came to earth to become a special sacrifice for the sins of people, thereby negating the need for repeated animal sacrifices from a priesthood of men. Just as only those who were ceremonially and symbolically clean in the Old Testament could serve before Yahweh, today only those who are obedient and morally clean due to Elohim’s guiding Holy Spirit can serve before Elohim today.
No one who is disobedient today will receive Elohim’s Holy Spirit and be able to worship before Yahweh. If someone proclaims they will keep a vow to Yahweh and breaks that vow, he will certainly not receive or keep the Holy Spirit.
4 When you make a vow to Elohim, do not be late in paying it; for He takes no delight in fools. Pay what you vow! 5 It is better that you should not vow than that you should vow and not pay. 6 Do not let your speech cause you to sin and do not say in the presence of the messenger of Elohim that it was a mistake. Why should Elohim be angry on account of your voice and destroy the work of your hands? 7 For in many dreams and in many words there is emptiness. Rather, fear Elohim.
When a person accepts the Messiah as the sacrifice for the sins they have committed, he vows that he will follow His commands and His example. Yahshua tells us that if you love Him, you will keep His commandments that are the commandments of the Father, because the Father and Son think and act as one.
10 “If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. 11 “These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.
17 “Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. 18 “For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished. 19 “Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
Yahshua proclaims in the scriptures that He has kept His father’s commandments and wants us to keep these same commandments. He also proclaims that He did not come to abolish but to fulfill the law, and until heaven and earth pass away, not one letter of the law shall become annulled.
Many who think of themselves as religious break Elohim’s commands and rules. Some have been misled by their religious leaders who have taught them that the commands in the Old Testament no longer apply or they delude themselves by not really studying the scriptures and understanding what the scriptures truly convey in both the Old and New Testaments.
Others break Elohim’s rules just because they do not care or believe in anything other than their own desire to live as they please. These people live by their own rules choosing not to even consider that the logical and precise nature of creation is a proof that a higher power created the world in which they exist. These people do not consider for a moment that they need to consider following the Creator’s rules. These people will not read this study or the bible itself because they are consumed in their own self-interest. There are scriptures that tell of their fate, but this study is reserved for those who wish to learn what is needed to improve their physical and spiritual lives.
Yahweh is specific in His scriptures about what behavior He expects from those who will share His kingdom. No one who is disobedient to Yahweh will live in New Jerusalem, yet many people today, just as in the days of the Israelites in the Old Testament, do not understand why they displease Elohim.
The apostle Paul explained to the Ephesians how they were to receive knowledge from the scriptures in chapter 3, and verse 10 when he explained that the wisdom of Elohim would be made known through the assembly:
So that the manifold wisdom of Elohim might now be made known through the assembly to the rulers and the authorities in the heavenly places.
The word translated as church in the English versions of the bible is the Greek word ekklesia that means an assembly or a congregation of called out ones.
Paul also explains in the book of Ephesians in chapter 4, beginning in verse 11, that Yahshua established a system of prophets, apostles, evangelists, pastors and teachers to prepare those selected by Elohim, for works of service so that the body of Messiah, the assembly, becomes mature in its understanding so that its members can come to the fullness of Messiah.
11 It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, 12 to prepare Elohim’s people for works of service, so that the body of Messiah may be built up 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of Elohim and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Messiah
Paul explained why it was necessary for the system of educating the assembly to be established by Yahshua. The Levitical priesthood was designed to offer sacrifices for the sins of the Israelites. A mystery was revealed to Paul that was not revealed in the previous centuries. That mystery was that salvation was not for the Israelites alone, but for the gentiles also. Therefore the Levitical priesthood could not offer a sacrifice for the sins of the gentiles. It was the sacrifice of Yahshua, the Son of Elohim that was the sacrifice for salvation to those who would accept Yahshua’s gift and follow Elohim’s commands.
Yahshua, by the sacrifice of His own physical life, became the chief priest of the order of Melchizedek. Yahshua, the chief priest of the Melchisedek priesthood, knew the body of His believers would have to be taught the meaning of the scriptures so they would be able to understand what they must do to receive salvation according to Elohim’s plan.
Elohim knew that men would not be able to understand how to achieve the knowledge needed for salvation unless they were taught by spirit filled teachers. Knowledge was given to Paul, the apostles, the prophets, and the teachers in the assembly of called out ones. What is the purpose of the system of teachers established by Elohim by the sacrificial death of the Messiah?
14 Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. 15 Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Messiah. 16 From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.
Just as in the Old Testament where the Levitical priesthood was established to perform sacrifices for the sins of the Israelites and to teach them how to follow Elohim’s commands to avoid sin that would lead to their death, the Melchizedek priesthood was established by Elohim so the people who were not of the twelve tribes of Israel could achieve forgiveness of their sins. The Melchisedek priesthood was established so that the sins of all people could be forgiven, not just Israel’s. Yahshua heads the Melchizedek priesthood instead of the anointed priests, Aaron and his descendants. The Melchizedek priesthood is headed by Yahshua whose lifetime is unlimited, while the Levitical priesthood was limited by their short lifetimes. The Melchizedek priesthood exists today for those who have or seek to obtain the seal of the Holy Spirit. The Melchizedek priesthood is the priesthood of the new covenant while the Levitical priesthood was of the old covenant. The new covenant is a better spiritual covenant that you can learn more about by reading the seventh chapter of the book of Hebrews.
Hebrews, chapter 5, beginning in verse 11, explains why not only the Melchizedek priesthood but also the nature of Messiah is so misunderstood. Here the writer, generally believed to be the apostle Luke, explains why people just don’t seem to understand Elohim’s plan for salvation, the Melchizedek priesthood, the new covenant, and many important subjects covered in the scriptures.
11 Concerning him we have much to say, and it is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing. 12 For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you have need again for someone to teach you the elementary principles of the oracles of Elohim, and you have come to need milk and not solid food. 13 For everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness, for he is an infant. 14 But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil.
People today are like the people addressed in Hebrews, chapter 5 and verses 11-14. They are dull of hearing and only lightly understand the scriptures, if at all. People need someone to teach them the solid food of the scriptures. This is one reason the Melchizedek priesthood, filled with spirit filled teachers, was established. These teachers use the tithes from those who are obedient to Elohim to preach, print, teach, and distribute the true gospel of Elohim into all the nations.
So just as in the Old Testament, the Levitical priests offered sacrifices from the tithes and offerings of the Israelites to keep them from dying for their sins, the teachers of the Melchizedek priesthood use the tithes and offerings to teach people how to obtain salvation and not die from their sins.
Those people who vow they will be obedient to Elohim, by claiming they have received the Messiah, and break the example of Yahshua by not keeping the commands of Elohim don’t seem to understand the gravity of their actions or lack thereof. Yahshua allowed Himself to be physically killed for the sins of mankind. If people claim they accept this sacrifice and disobey or revoke the sacrifice by their actions, it is worse for them than if they had not made the vow.
4 For in the case of those who have once been enlightened and have tasted of the heavenly gift and have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit, 5 and have tasted the good word of Elohim and the powers of the age to come, 6 and then have fallen away, it is impossible to renew them again to repentance, since they again crucify to themselves the Son of Elohim and put Him to open shame.
4 When you make a vow to Elohim, do not be late in paying it; for He takes no delight in fools. Pay what you vow! 5 It is better that you should not vow than that you should vow and not pay
Yahweh established the Levitical and the Melchizedek priesthoods to aid in keeping people from dying for their sins. Their works were and are supported by the tithes and offerings that people promise to give to Elohim. Yahweh does not need the tithes and offerings for Himself. He uses this system to test those who promise to be obedient to Him. He is testing them to determine if they will keep their word. He is testing them to see if they are willing to give of their possessions to help their fellow men learn how to obtain salvation. People are warned repeatedly in the scriptures not to be disobedient to Elohim or to break their vows to Him.
“Will a man rob Elohim? Yet you are robbing Me! But you say, ‘How have we robbed You?’ In tithes and offerings. 9 “You are cursed with a curse, for you are robbing Me, the whole nation of you! 10 ” Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in My house, and test Me now in this,” says Yahweh of hosts, “if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you a blessing until it overflows. 11 “Then I will rebuke the devourer for you, so that it will not destroy the fruits of the ground; nor will your vine in the field cast its grapes,” says Yahweh of hosts. 12 “All the nations will call you blessed, for you shall be a delightful land,” says Yahweh of hosts.
Then I lifted up my eyes again and looked, and behold, there was a flying scroll. 2 And he said to me, ” What do you see”” And I answered, “I see a flying scroll; its length is twenty cubits and its width ten cubits.” 3 Then he said to me, “This is the curse that is going forth over the face of the whole land; surely everyone who steals will be purged away according to the writing on one side, and everyone who swears will be purged away according to the writing on the other side. 4 “I will make it go forth,” declares Yahweh of hosts, “and it will enter the house of the thief and the house of the one who swears falsely by My name; and it will spend the night within that house and consume it with its timber and stones.”
In the above verses Yahweh specifically declares that those who rob Him do so by not providing Him with tithes and offerings. Yahweh tells us He wants the tithes and offerings so that there will be food in His house. The food He refers is the solid food needed by people to understand the Creator’s plan of salvation for humankind. Unless people are taught what the scriptures really portray, they will not understand how to be saved from their sins.
Tithes and offerings are given by obedient followers of Yahshua to teach mankind how to have their sins forgiven and how to save their lives. All have sinned, but those who keep the commands of Elohim and follow the example of Yahshua by giving their tithes and offerings to help save their fellow men, will be blessed and saved.
Those who rob Elohim and selfishly keep their possessions for themselves will be cursed, as written in Zechariah, chapter 5, where Yahweh proclaims that anyone who is a thief and swears falsely by His name will be consumed within his own house.
Elohim is very serious about His word and gives us very clear examples of the consequences of sin.
But a man named Ananias, with his wife Sapphira, sold a piece of property, 2 and kept back some of the price for himself, with his wife’s full knowledge, and bringing a portion of it, he laid it at the apostles’ feet. 3 But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back some of the price of the land? 4 “While it remained unsold, did it not remain your own? And after it was sold, was it not under your control? Why is it that you have conceived this deed in your heart? You have not lied to men but to Elohim.” 5 And as he heard these words, Ananias fell down and breathed his last; and great fear came over all who heard of it. 6 The young men got up and covered him up, and after carrying him out, they buried him.
Do you really understand the consequences of your actions? Do you keep your promises to Elohim? Do you wonder why bad things happen to you? Are you bringing a curse on yourself?