What About the "One Sixtieth" Offering?
"Leaders of Israel, the people must bring you one sixtieth of their grain harvests at offerings t me. They will also bring one percent of their olive oil. These things will be measured according to the bath, and ten baths is the same as one homer or one cor. Finally, they must bring one a sheep out of every two hundred from their flocks.
These offerings will be used as grain sacrifices to please me and those to ask my blessing. I the Lord, will be pleased with these sacrifices and will forgive the sins of my people.
The people of Israel will bring you these offerings. But during New Moon festivals, Sabbath celebrations, and other religious feasts, you leaders will be responsible for providing animals for the sacrifices as well as the grain and wine. All these will be used for the sacrifices for sin, the grain sacrifices, the sacrifices to please me, and those to ask my blessing. I will be pleased and will forgive the sins of my people." (Ezekiel 45: 13-16)
Have you ever heard of the "one sixtieth" offering? Probably not! But you do hear an awful lot about "tithe" the "one tenth" offering--which many say is "required" by God!
One tenth is a lot more than one sixtieth--right!?
And notice that God only asked for one in two hundred sheep, and one percent of the olive oil.
Why don't we use these proportions as the "required" giving amount for Christians?
Probably because they're not enough!
Let's think about it. The most preached Biblical book on "tithe" is the book of Malachi (3:8-10). If you go to a "tithing church" you hear Malachi over and over and over again--well what's wrong with Ezekiel? Both Malachi and Ezekiel were prophets. In fact Ezekiel is considered a major prophet while Malachi is called a minor prophet. Why is it that 3 verses from a minor prophet runs the Christian church to such an extent? Why don't' churches use Exekiel's word from the Lord (it comes from God every bit as much as Malachi--right?).
Give the church one sixtieth of your income, that seems right to me.......
So why don't we use Ezekiel's commands? As I said they're not enough....now when I say they are not enough, I am not trying to point fingers at people who are out there preaching "tithe". As we speak of in many places here, today's leaders are just the folks who are the most convinced by a system which has been in place for centuries.
The folks who invented the Christian tithe lived hundreds years go in the dark ages. They were unbelievably corrupt people, making wars on people, holding inquisitions to exterminate Jews and people they didn't like, and perhaps above all they were incredibly greedy. They were hell-bent (and hell directed) on controlling the peasant classes of the day, and one of the major ways they controlled the peasants was to control the money they earned.
So they came up with the "tithe".
Somebody (no one know who it was for sure) looked through the Bible, found the biggest amount (ignored any other amounts and the entire new testament), magically turned animals, and olive oil and grain into money, and laid it down as a law on the peasant classes.
And then they went ahead and built themselves castles and cathedrals, and stored up the goods in "storehouses" (another great "Biblical" idea from Malachi) for themselves, while the peasants lived in mud huts, and starved.
Those are the folks who created the Christian tradition of "tithe", and they fit the preaching of "tithe" into their authoritarian system (through which they were the only ones allowed to speak!) and very carefully picked the 3 verses in Malachi as the "BIG" tithe verses--and of course totally ignored Ezekiel's one sixtieth and one two hundredth.
But they also ignored and covered up the biggest truth, which is that "tithe" (as well as any amount in the old covenant) was the amount of the sin offering in the old covenant.
Here in Ezekiel, the Lord is speaking through the prophet, giving instructions on how much to offer at a specific time. God gave different amounts and instructions, even in the old covenant. And Israel, if they were smart and obedient (which they often were) obeyed what the prophet spoke.
But notice what they received by obeying....
"I will.......forgive the sins of my people."
To "offer" something means to destroy it in the earth (the animals were killed and burnt, the grain heaved into the air or made into a bread that was broken)--to give it to God completely and make it of no earthly good. When something "dies" in the earth, God accepts it as an offering, a sacrifice, a "substitute death" for the death that sin would bring.
oops--does this sound familiar to you?
I hope so!
If you are a Christian you ought to know that JESUS is the offering for sin in the new covenant. He died, He bled, He was broken and torn (and He called Himself everything that was "tithed" in the old covenant) for sin. And all you have to do in order to receive His offering is believe by faith. All our sin is forgiven and our lives in this earth blessed and prospered--by faith--not by works of the law!
You don't have to go and make your own offering.
You don't have to pay anything.
That's why in the new testament there are no "tithes and offerings" (other than an offering of praise--which doesn't cost anything--much to the chagrin of those Dark Ages rulers).
But Israel didn't have Jesus and the cross--right?
They had a "shadow" of what He would do, in all their
"tithes and offerings"
(For us new covenant believers, all the old covenant says about tithes and offerings ought to be a wonderful prophecy of what Jesus would do by His life, death and resurrection.)
What about this part too....
"But during New Moon festivals, Sabbath celebrations, and other religious feasts, you leaders will be responsible for providing animals for the sacrifices as well as the grain a nd wine. "
Wow, that was something that no one ever looks at, as "leaders' responsibility"!!
In other words, Ezekiel was commanding from God, that some times, the leaders had to do the giving. What a concept! And take notice that one of those times was at "Sabbath celebrations"--which we could correlate to Sunday church--after all--right?
But of course we won't do that!
Just keep preaching' Malachi--over and over and over......!
In fact, one of the most totally ignored areas, was the rules that the leaders had to follow.
You see, there was one tribe of Israel, the Levites, which were the only tribe allowed to be priests. The other 11 tribes were often referred to as the congregation (a word only found in the old testament). It was the congregation's job to bring the tithes and offerings into the house of God/sanctuary (enter by gates of praise and worship) up to the altar, where only the priests/pastors were allowed to tred. The priests had a full-time job making all the necessary offerings, and they were given a certain part of the offerings to live on.
All this stuff might sound familiar to you.
It's the Biblical typology for the common church system.
All of it was part of sacrificial law (again, the reason why the new covenant church didn't do this stuff, they had a different set of rules about ministry and authority and function)--and done away with by Christ's sacrifice on the cross.
But aga in, IF this is the "right stuff" of Christian function, why have we ignored so many of the rules?
"I myself will provide for my priests, and so they won't receive any land of their own...." (Ezekiel 44:28)
Does the pastor own his own house? Did he buy it with the money you gave him?
There are today a whole bunch of "tele-pastors" who tell you to "sow seed" or give money, or tithe, to them. And the way the deal is supposed to work is that if you give to them, God will give it back to you--the check is in the mail--just you wait!
Well, if we went by the rules in Ezekiel, it's supposed to work the other way around!
Why is it that God is going to take care of you (monetarily) when you give (by law and demand) to them?
Why doesn't God take care of them directly?
They ask you to have more faith than they have!
But the big point, that they all ignore, is the fact that all this old testament stuff, is all about getting sin forgiven! This was all the rules that Israel had to follow to make atonement for their sin.
Jesus took care of all this stuff for us already..and we are supposed to work together on different terms.
Small groups of equals, praying and asking God to lead them in the witnessing of the Gospel.
that's the new testament way of doing things.
Let God lead--not "law" .