The Tithe Truth Revisited (Part 2 of 2)

weight scales-2

In continuing our second part of the post, we shall now look at the  references in support of not paying tithes on the Sabbath and particularly in the sanctuary on the Sabbath. At the end, we’ll weigh it out in a final summary.

k) 2 Kings 12:9-10

 “Jehoiada the priest took a chest and bored a hole in its lid. He placed it beside the altar, on the right side as one enters the temple of the LORD. The priests who guarded the entrance put into the chest all the money that was brought to the temple of the LORD.Whenever the chest became full, the court secretary and the high priest counted the money that had been brought to the LORD’s Temple and put it into bags, and told the money that was found in the house of the Lord.”

Comment – As far as we know, this is the first Scripture that gives account as to how the money was collected (“a chest” with a bored hole in lid). This supports the conclusion that no collections were taken, rather this chest container suggests a depository for “free-will” offerings. Prior to this verse in 2 Kings 12:4 we find further evidence of free-will offerings, “..and all the money that a man purposes in his heart to bring into the house of the Lord.” No support for Sabbath collections nor sanctuary collections.

No points for Sabbath collections. Point against sanctuary tithe collection.

 L) 2 Chronicles 24:8-11

 “At the king’s command, a chest was made and placed outside, at the gate of the temple of the LORD. A proclamation was then issued in Judah and Jerusalem that they should bring to the LORD the collection that Moses the servant of God had required of Israel in the wilderness.All the officials and all the people brought their contributions gladly, dropping them into the chest until it was full.

Whenever the chest was brought in by the Levites to the king’s officials and they saw that there was a large amount of money, the royal secretary and the officer of the chief priest would come and empty the chest and carry it back to its place. They did this regularly and collected a great amount of money.”

Comment – This supports the collections being received outside of the sanctuary. No support for Sabbath collections as it is inconclusive. We should note that back in those days the Temple was frequently open for prayer and such and that the chest was there most any day of the week for someone to come and donate.

No points for Sabbath collection. Point against sanctuary tithe collections.

m) Nehemiah 12:44

On that day men were appointed to be in charge of the storerooms for the offerings, the first part of the harvest, and the tithes. They were responsible to collect from the fields outside the towns the portions required by the Law for the priests and Levites. For all the people of Judah took joy in the priests and Levites and their work.”

Comment – We see that “storerooms” was where the money was kept for the tithes. The collection occurred from going to the “fields outside the towns”. Logically we can deduct no collections came from within the sanctuary. No proof for Sabbath day collections as well.

No points for Sabbath collection. Point against sanctuary tithe collections.

n) Mark 11:15-16 –

On reaching Jerusalem, Jesus entered the temple courts and began driving out those who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves, And he would not allow anyone to carry anything through the temple.”

Comment – This statement is quite strong and emphatic. The Temple courts were not to have merchandising within it. Which would be similar to our churches having books, cd’s and other merchandise for sale in the foyer before, during or after service. Further, Jesus put a restriction on its practice — “would not allow anyone to carry anything through the temple”. One can clearly deduct that if this was not allowed in the “Temple courts” how much more was it not allowed within the Temple itself?

Today in the “temple”, during services we sometimes see the asking for subscriptions, asking for donations for services (such as church improvements) and other monetary church “business”. Also the promoting of merchandise (Dvd’s Cd’s books, etc.) within the sanctuary as well as elaborate requesting of funds and raising financial goals. Clearly this is condemned by the King Himself. No evidence this was Sabbath or not.

No points for Sabbath collection. Point against sanctuary collections.

o) 1 Cor. 16:2

Now about the collection for the Lord’s people: Do what I told the Galatian churches to do. On the first day of every week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with your income, saving it up, so that when I come no collections will have to be made.”

Comment –  We see that Paul clearly implies that no collections are to occur on the Sabbath or in the sanctuary. This also shows that because the “Christians” being the minority and off-shoot sect, they had a new and different way of collecting donations or tithes, apart from the wide tradition of Jewish temple collections.

The traditional storehouse (Jewish Temple) was no longer the place where the Christians paid their tithes because it no longer had God’s present Truth. Further evidence of this can be found in Acts 4:34-35. “For all…brought the proceeds of the things that were sold, and laid them at the Apostles feet; and they distributed to each as anyone had need.”

Point against Sabbath collection. Point against sanctuary tithe collections.

p) Desire of Ages, p.614

…He commended the widow who brought her offering for God’s treasury. Man’s abuse of the gift could not turn God’s blessing from the giver.

Jesus was in the court where were the treasure chests, and He watched those who came to deposit their gifts. Many of the rich brought large sums, which they presented with great ostentation. Jesus looked upon them sadly, but made no comment on their liberal offerings. Presently His countenance lighted as He saw a poor widow approach hesitatingly, as though fearful of being observed.

As the rich and haughty swept by, to deposit their offerings, she shrank back as if hardly daring to venture farther. And yet she longed to do something, little though it might be, for the cause she loved. She looked at the gift in her hand. It was very small in comparison with the gifts of those around her, yet it was her all.”

Comment – We see evidence that the place for the money collection was in “the courts” not in the sanctuary. We don’t have enough evidence to say whether it was collected on Sabbath or other day.

No points for Sabbath collections. Point against sanctuary tithe collections.

RH, Aug.29, 1878

We solemnly promise, before God and to each other, to conscientiously pay to the Systematic Benevolence Treasurer a tithe of all our income, to be paid on the first Sunday of each one of the four quarters of the year; namely, the first Sunday in January, the first Sunday in April, the first Sunday in July, and the first Sunday in October.”

 Comment – This is very clear as to the day of paying tithes. This was an agreement made by the SDA founders  and sent to the conference churches as the adopted practice and rule.

 Point against Sabbath collection. Point against sanctuary tithe collections.

 r) Adventist Review 3-94

 “After the plan of paying tithes was presented to the believers, Maud was usually one of the first in line when the collector came by on Sunday mornings.”

 Comment – Obvious statement supporting both Sunday collection and no sanctuary collection.

 Point against Sabbath collection. Point against sanctuary tithe collection.

 s) RH, Feb.4 1902

 “The directions given by the Holy Spirit through the apostle Paul in regard to gifts, present a principle that applies also to tithing: “Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him.” Parents and children are here included.

Not only the rich, but the poor, are addressed. “Every man according as he purposeth in his heart [through the candid consideration of God’s prescribed plan], so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.” The gifts are to be made in consideration of the great goodness of God to us.

And what more appropriate time could be chosen for setting aside the tithe and presenting our offerings to God. On the Sabbath we have thought about His goodness. We have beheld His work in creation as an evidence in His power of redemption. Our hearts are filled with thankfulness of His great love. And now, before a toil of a week begins, we return to Him His own, and with it an offering to testify our gratitude.”

Comment- EGW uses Paul’s specific day “first day of the week” Sunday as the day to set aside tithes and offerings. She then says it’s the day for “presenting our offerings to God.” In the comment “before the toil of a week begins we return to Him His own..”, some  could interpret it to mean sometime Saturday “Sabbath” yet if one uses this interpretation, then we must cancel out her previous statement of presenting our offerings on Sunday “first day of the week”.

She cannot be saying Sunday and then saying Saturday as well as it would be contradictory, pointless and make no sense. We should concede that the “before the toil of a week begins” comment is referring to either Saturday evening or most likely Sunday. Logically it would be the latter.

Point against Sabbath collections. Point against sanctuary tithe collections.

t. Jezreel Letter, no.3, p.1-3

Truth challenges you, Elders, to point out wherein the Bible teaches either by word or by example that the Sabbath and the church were made for raising goals, for auctioning, for selling literature and for taking subscriptions. The Bible does not teach or recommend even a plate collection (a custom which Rome originated) in Sabbath services, much less merchandising in the presence of God. All the Bible recommends is a container for free will offering placed somewhere in the church premises. It was into such “a treasury” that the widow, while entering the temple, placed her two mites.”

 Comment – Obvious is the point about the practice of collections in the sanctuary as not Biblical (Roman custom). The specific point is made that the Bible “recommends” a container for free-will offering, not the requesting for tithes and passing around the collection hat, plate, box or bag. Although it mentions, “the Bible does not teach or recommend even a plate collection IN Sabbath services”, it’s inconclusive on “day” of paying tithes, or if a free-will deposit could be made somewhere else on church grounds.

 No points for or against Sabbath collection. Point against sanctuary tithe collections.

 u.Jezreel Letter, no.9, p.8

Look and see what a difference there is between God’s method for supporting His work, and the Roman system that is now carried on by the church: plate-passing, high-powered speeches, Big Day, Book Day, high pressuring, campaigning, selling, auctioneering, Harvest Ingathering, birthday offerings, Christmas-tree hangings, baby weighings, Dorcas sales, investment funds, and what not! As none of these squeezings are Biblical, and as all of them are Pagan in origin and condemned by the Scriptures, they could not possibly be considered freewill offerings. Search and see.

Instead of Sabbath-keeping the day is devoted to money raising, and instead of a house of worship, the church is turned into a den of thieves –disgusting to observers, and most discouraging for a member to invite a friend or a neighbor to a church service. Is there any wonder that God does not now bring many into the church (“Testimonies,” Vol. 6, p. 371)?

It was this sort of thing that aroused Luther to action as he saw the priests living in luxury by exploiting the people’s conscience and by making the poor poorer. True worship and God’s plan for supporting the work must now be restored.If there is any revival and reformation needed in any line it is certainly needed in this line, and no one is excused from having a part in it if he but takes to heart the Word of God and if he refuses to comply with the afore mentioned abominations.

Comment – The emphasis is placed on the point that the collections(plate passing) of tithes is from the “Roman system” and not Biblical. Later this act is called an “abomination”. But there is no real statement, one way or the other as to the “day” for paying tithes.

One could argue that by the statement, “could not possibly be considered free will offerings”, that if the “free will offerings” were brought in on the Sabbath outside the sanctuary it would be acceptable.

No point for or against Sabbath collections. Inconclusive. Point against sanctuary tithe collections.

  Summary  

In reviewing the whole report we can see the historical practice of the Biblical fathers as clearly having no temple collections on the Sabbath. What we find is that perhaps there was a practice of bringing the tithes to the services on Sabbath but they were placed into a collection box or chest. This was a “free-will” offering, brought in,  as opposed to today’s  requestings by church leaders on the Sabbath and then collected in sanctuary.

So we see strong evidence, a very weight-full position, that the practice of tithe collections were very different from what is the tradition practiced today with our SDA church. The custom of Sabbath collection within the sanctuary has no basis  in the Lord’s Scriptures. Additionally,  plate passing, bag passing, hat passing, box passing within His sanctuary has not one iota of evidence from Scripture.

Next, in reviewing our SDA church history we find some points that should be noted. First, the corporate body came together in 1859 and established its first “Systematic Benevolence” plan of paying tithes as a church body. A general outline that was to be the practice. And in 1878 it was re-confirmed with slight changes.

However in about 1885 we see that the church leaders had changed their stance on Sabbath collections as noted in the General Conference 1885 meeting. We can speculate that there were practical reasons for this change. The homes and abodes back then were often spaced far apart from one another. And as the mode of transport was the horse buggy this took quite a time consuming task to go to the many members. Plus some no doubt were out and about during the collectors visit. So after the many years of struggle in keeping this plan, it appears for logistics reasons an adjustment had to be made.

But of importance is Ellen White’s last known statement on our subject. In 1907 she said, “Let our people avoid the passing of the contribution boxes, even if it becomes a much more difficult matter than it now is to raise money for foreign missionary work.

It would be well if our brethren and sisters would consider the advisability of laying by during the week their offerings for missionary work. As they call to mind the blessings and mercies that god is affording them, let them put a thank offering in an envelope. These envelopes could be presented on the Sabbath, when it could be stated for what purpose they are intended…

The sacredness of the Sabbath could be in no way violated by such gifts, and the results would be for good… My brethren and sisters, try this method. Let there be no collections taken on the Sabbath, but let praise and thank offerings be made.”

In concluding our SDA history of tithe collection we see that circumstances caused division in customs. But it shows that though their appeared Sabbath collections, the issue of collection within the sanctuary is not as clear. The evidence is very weak for it. And often clearly against it, both in the “for” and “against” references. To summarize, we see that Sabbath collection occurred within our early history of SDA church, but sanctuary collection remains a clouded and much more weak issue.

As many of us are aware, and as we’ve shown through out our many posts, the Elijah message is God’s final message to us as the SDA church, individually and corporately. So logically if we are to believe in His messenger, we must put the final weight of balance of this issue in what was said by His “Elijah”. The purpose of Elijah was to “restore” all things, meaning an understanding of the rights and wrongs of our practices, doctrines and faith.

And this issue, surely the Lord knew would come up in a contentious and public way. The Elijah prophet did not skirt his duty in this regard he delivered the final words on this subject, clear and unmistakable. He said, “If there is any revival and reformation needed in any line it is certainly needed in this line..”

In closing, our all-seeing Lord has made  “outs” for us. But it’s only good if we take it. Today we have the efficient mail system, where we can mail in our tithes. We also have the church website, where often they have a “donate” button to click and send it in electronically. May the Lord guide you to do the right thing in this matter. As the Elijah calls this an “abomination” do we snub the Lord’s last pleading word to us? God forbid!

Note – As we hope that you are blessed by this study, it should be remembered that just as important as the day/practice of paying tithes,  the true “storehouse” issue is restored by Elijah as well. For this study see — https://godsloveandlaw.com/2012/09/22/offerings-and-tithes-part-1-of-2/

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