A very common trend in today’s church is that more emphasis is placed on church buildings instead of on people. More than half of funds raised go towards the upkeep of these edifices. And unfortunately this has become a smokescreen that has masked the Bible’s definition of church; the mark of the beast is truly at work.
Truth be told, God’s church are a people and not a building! Stephen attests to this in Acts 7: 48 that God does not dwell in temples made by human hands. Since the true church of God has now been replaced by buildings made by man’s hands, today’s church struggles to grow to the fullness of the stature of Christ. It is severely stunted by man-made ideas and doctrines thereby making the word of God of no effect within it.
God’s house is a people! This makes where we gather irrelevant. Anywhere we gather with the purpose of calling upon the name of the Lord is acceptable. The fact is, these buildings are the dream of one man and he actualises this dream off the backs of very, very naïve Christians. This misconception on what church is has led to the distortion of scriptures in support of very abhorrent doctrines amongst today’s christians. A very good example would be Malachi 3: 10. (Am really getting tired of sounding like a broken record with regards to this issue of the tithe!) Let’s assume that this is a command for today’s church to tithe and then examine scriptures as we ought.
I have heard it quite often that God’s house referred to here is the “church” you attend where you are “spiritually” fed. Let’s say I agree with that, the question this poses is what makes up this church? Is it the brick and mortar? Is it the pastor, his wife and his minions? What about all other members of this local assembly? Do they not make up this church? Looking at this scripture literarily, it puts no distinction between lay members of the church and the pastors thus giving the pastors the exclusive right to tithes. Every member of this assembly should be fed from the tithes; no one should have the bulk of everything and leave little or nothing for others.
“But you may not eat your offerings in your hometown—neither the tithe of your grain and new wine and olive oil, nor the firstborn of your flocks and herds, nor any offering to fulfill a vow, nor your voluntary offerings, nor your sacred offerings. 18 You must eat these in the presence of the Lord your God at the place he will choose. Eat them there with your children, your servants, and the Levites who live in your towns, celebrating in the presence of the Lord your God in all you do. Deu 12: 17
Unfortunately, in order to successfully pull of this con, the doctrine of the “nicolaitans” – the main feature of the mark of the beast is used. The class distinction between those who ministered in the temple and those who did not which got torn down in Christ is reared up once more. The Old Testament style of worship is used to foster this distinction between those who are “ministers” and those who are just members.
In the Old Testament, there was this distinction between those who ministered in the temple and those who did not. The descendants of Levi had the exclusive right to minister in the temple and were barred from doing any form of secular work. While the remaining eleven tribes were barred from ministering in the temple and were allowed to do secular work. Tithing was introduced as a means of catering for the Levites but that did not mean the Levites were exempt from tithing though. The Levites received tithes from the people and gave a tithe of the tithes to Aaron and his descendants who were high priests. Since all in the New Testament are priests, who should give the tithe and who should receive it?
Revealing God’s intention for the New Testament, Jesus told His disciples in Mathew 24 that the Temple was going to be torn down because the time would come when true worshippers would not need a building to worship God but will worship Him in spirit and truth.
I find it really repulsive when pastors justify their collection of the tithes by claiming that they are the New Testament priests. That just shows how greedy many of them are. Every New Testament believer is a priest and has the right to go into God’s presence without an earthly intermediary. They also claim the tithe is needed for the upkeep of their edifices and doing this means you are contributing to God’s kingdom. Buying planes, choice automobiles, putting them on air as well as buying them palatial pads are all contributing towards God’s kingdom. What fallacy! It is evident whose kingdom is being built anyway. And since they have decided to lay for themselves treasures here on earth, the moth of bankruptcy is hitting them really hard. Those who buy into this deceit and make contributions into these man-made kingdoms are not guiltless either. They fall for the empty promises of untold wealth and great financial rewards for all who contribute.
In conclusion, here is what scriptures promises to those who refuse this mark
Then I saw thrones, and the people sitting on them had been given the authority to judge. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their testimony about Jesus and for proclaiming the word of God. They had not worshiped the beast or his statue, nor accepted his mark on their forehead or their hands. They all came to life again, and they reigned with Christ for a thousand years. Rev 20: 4.