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I'm wondering if maybe there's not a single "correct" interpretation of a piece of apocalyptic literature?


I appreciate Mike's challenge on the tithing deal. I know Jesus mentions the tithe in passing as he deals with legalism in Matthew 23, and seems to indicate that 'tithing' is something you should do without neglecting the 'weightier matters of the law like justice, mercy, etc'. My question relates to whether the tithe (10%) should ALL go to the local church. Can one really base this teaching on malachi 3:10ff? Why do we not take other old testament laws to heart that apply to the temple? Isn't the new temple our bodies--temples of the Holy Spirit.
As well, were tithing to be the primary practice of the church in the 1st century why did Paul not even mention it. He teaches extensively on giving in 2 Corinthians 8 and 9 and 1 Corinthinans 16:1ff. I am just asking a sincere question.

Some of the best teaching on this subjec that isn't biased is from Randy FRiesen's classic book called Decision Making and the Will of God. In that book he deals in depth with the tithing teaching and giving. I do believe that 10% can be a starting point for giving but not everyone can start at that point. I also know that some well meaning pastors INSIST on starting at 10% and create people who 'give under compulsion' or worse, by their insistence on this teaching cause people to not even give at all, which is tragic in light of mike's challenge. Stewards we must be but we must gain a good balanced knowledge of this teaching without making it another form of legalism to 'meet our budgets'.

And if we are going to follow old testament precedents my calculations from reading old testament is that we should be giving as much as 28% of our income, but I don't hear anyone insisting on that.

Haggai is awesome! One, because our church is currently in a campaign to expand and build a Children's building and also a branch location. Our pastor has referred to these verses many times. My personal thoughts on the full tithe are this...it's all God's anyway...and he's only asking for 1 out of 10! That's pretty generous! He wants us to have all 9!!! When I first was saved, I didn't understand tithing...it was not something that was discussed in my previous church...so I was a bit leary about giving up my shopping money! :) But I must tell this story...I hope it will bless you all...when God allowed me to fully understand tithing, I prayed and asked exactly for what He wanted me to start giving. He layed an amount on my heart and I freaked! It was more than I had expected and I wasn't sure how I could do it. But I decided to give it a try. About 2 months later, I received a raise at work that was for the exact amount that God had told me to give! It was one of the first times I saw God provide like that for me...I never looked back when it came to tithes and offerings again...God is faithful!!! He is our Great Provider!!!

Yes!!! Psalm 139 is my abslolute favorite. It always reminds me that I'm no surprise to God! He knew what He was getting when He got me! All my junk, He knew it...all my actions, He knew it...NOTHING is a surprise to Him! Yet He still loves us more than we can imagine!

In Rev 11:15 - about the world becoming the Kingdom of our Lord...you ask a great question...Is the whole world now part of the kingdom of God? Scripture says that the world NOW belongs to Satan. He is the ruler of the earth...it's mentioned several times in other verses (John 14:30, 2 Cor. 4:4, Rev. 2:13 and 1 John 5:19). But we know that Satan's rule is very much a temorary thing!!! In verse 15 we read that the world BECOMES the Kingdom of our Lord...He takes the earth back and Satan will finally have no more power over it!!! I don't know about any of you, but I can't wait to see that day!!!

Ps 139:23-24 are such wonderful words. Yet, as I read this I feel that it has been written for others much better than me. The psalmist asks for a search, which hints that his faults might be trivial or easily hidden. Mine are great, and would be most obvious to God. A search would not be necessary I am sure. The author requests that God point out anything that would offend Him. Anything? Try almost everything for me! Yet, I try each day to truly seek the path of everlasting life and be faithful to God. I ask today; Forgive me, my Lord.

19Then God's temple in heaven was opened, and within his temple was seen the ark of his covenant.
It's quite amazing to see there was a temple in heaven,an ark of covenant...It would almost seem that God asked Israel to build the temple with a plan similar to what is in heaven....my thoughts of course.
The issue of tithing amongst so many other issues that are in the OT I really consider that if God said something to His people in the past,he won't change in the present...I've had so many questions while reading through the OYB,I've had some answers and some"I'll tell you as you go"nudges...But something struck me really hard...in summary"God's word is His word,it is truth,NEVER changes".It is good as we study the word to understand the context,the people it was spoken to,even the circumstance and the culture.A little bit of church history can be truly revealing.I pray God opens my eyes even more to His truth...that we all learn to obey His word...and disern doctrines that are man made.God bless you all

Further to tithe reflection, Mike has encouraged us often to go to www.bible.org for helpful biblical background. For further biblical studies on 'tithe' go to www.bible.org and search "tithe'. I found some really helpful teaching there, especially biblical context and background as Gina mentioned.

Wow ... what a powerful reading!

I indeed love Psalm 139! Well, as most of you know: I LOVEEEEEEEEEEE reading Psalms and I have many many many that I love!
"Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life." verse 23/24 are defenitly standing out for me. I can clearly feel when I wish something that's not meant for me. It starts to be a chase ... when it comes right at me, then it's meant for me. Then it's Gods plan for me and I have to let the other thing go. God really knows me, He knows my heart! And I give Him my heart! I go to the altar with my questions, with my love, with my thoughts and I know this is the only way for Him to lead me along the path of everlasting life. When I give Him my heart at the altar, He can lead me, He can heal me ...

Wow ... your questions with the Proverbs are true headscratchers ... thanks for that! LOL I have only been saved for a short periode of time. Something has become clear for me; one of the things that I'm here for is to have other people to find Jesus. I know that is important for all Christians. Become more and more like God, so people will see God in you and start ask questions ... so you can show them the directions. You know, it was pretty funny ... yesterday my co-worker found an eyelash on my cheek, she said I could make a wish. Then she asked me what I wished for, she said "You wished for a long and healthy life, right?". I told her that was not necerary because I have a certain place in heaven for my eternal life". Ha ha ha!!! She didn't answer that ... But today she asked me what I meant with that. Do I need to say more?

Rev. is fascinating! I believe the two witnesses will be Elijah and Moses. v.9 was once considered impossible: "For three and a half days men from every people, tribe, language and nation will gaze on their bodies and refuse them burial." How can every person witness this? Well, today with the technology we have it is possible, the news like cnn and not to mention the internet, watching things live...this makes it possible for every people, language, tribe to view this!
Here is what my study Bible says regarding the two witnesses: "While it is impossible to be dogmatic about the identity of the two witnesses, several observations suggest they might be Moses and Elijah: 1) like Moses they strike the earth with plagues, and like Elijah they have the power to keep it from raining; 2) Jewish tradition expected both Moses (Deut. 18:15-18) and Elijah (Mal 4:5-6) to return in the future (john 1:21); 3) Both Moses and Elijah were present at the Transfiguration, the preview of Christ's second coming; 4) Both Moses and Elijah used supernatural means to provoke repentence; 5) Elijah wa staken up alive into heaven, and God buried Moses' body where it would never be found; and 6) the length of the drought the two witnesses bring (3 1/2 yrs) is the same as that brought by Elijah (James 5:7)."
--Not that beleivers will be here, but I find it intruiging. Rev also mentions the Ark of the Covenant within God's temple. We'll finally know where that thing is! I posted awhile back some options of where the ark could be. Cant wait to find out all these mysteries!!! (whoa..do sum ppl say Christianity is boring??? ha!)

Psalms is indeed one of my faves too! Wow! When u ask God to reveal your heart to you...as I have recently...dont expect to be happy. I had prayed for God to reveal my heart to me and the next day I said some terrible things and hurt and shocked others. One said...'that was just ugly!'. It was really bad...but God showed me, my heart is positively evil...not that I am condemned, but its a heartbreaking thing to see our hearts. My pastor had spoken on this just prior and had said, God will only reveal a little at a time, because to see our heart all at once would be more then we could bare. After God showed me part of my heart...I understand! Its sooo painful, but we must see oursleves in the Light, not compared to other ppl...we can always look good compared to others, or bad, but when the Light exposes youre heart, its a very sad thing...to say I was in mourning after that would be approprate. But God has forgiven me! I will not carry it with me, i repent and let it go.

I definatley believe in tithing! But God wants a cheerful giver...if you give begrudgingly, you might as well not tithe at all. There's no pride in this whatsoever, but for an example, I tithe faithfully and my blessings never cease, not that I'm rich at all, but God has never let me go without my needs, I've never been had financial trouble, neither has my dad who tithes. My family member doesnt tithe is always in a financial crunch...I asked her if she tithes...she kinda hesitated...the two are related. God is faithful...but we dont tithe to receive anything, but to please the Lord. ALL we receive is His anyway. The Bible tells us to tithe so I dont feel it should be thought of as offensive to discuss the tithe and if it is...we need to be offended!
Wow...I wrote a book today, I better stop, haha...Just so much good stuff! I love it!

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