The Collection Box

Modern Tithe box     Tithe collection box  OT collection box

 

Dating back to the time of Kings (about 550 BC) the Lord’s people had a specific way of collecting their Tithes. Let us look at this ancient custom that continued up to at least  Jesus’ time, and was changed centuries later by the Roman custom of plate/bag passing which now permeates in almost all churches, including the SDA church.

2 Kings 12:9

Then Jehoiada the priest took a chest and bored a hole in the lid of it and set it beside the altar on the right side as one entered the house of the LORD. And the priests who guarded the threshold put in it all the money that was brought into the house of the LORD.

2 Chronicles 24:8-11

And at the king’s commandment they made a chest, and set it without at the gate of the house of the LORD. And they made a proclamation through Judah and Jerusalem, to bring in to the LORD the collection that Moses the servant of God laid upon Israel in the wilderness. This pleased all the leaders and the people, and they gladly brought their money and filled the chest with it.  

Now it came to pass, that at what time the chest was brought unto the king’s office by the hand of the Levites, and when they saw that there was much money, the king’s scribe and the high priest’s officer came and emptied the chest, and took it, and carried it to his place again. Thus they did day by day, and gathered money in abundance.

Here we see that the Lord’s people established a method of collection. The success of it speaks for itself. We notice that the people obviously enjoyed doing their duty as faithful servants of the Lord’s cause.

But what about today? What are we really doing in regard to collecting His Tithes and offerings? Sadly, it has become anything but a success for many of our churches! Let me give you a personal recent example.

Recently our church held a business meeting to discuss, among other things, our financial situation. I was saddened to hear our pastor speak about our “way below” financial status. I recalled how  The Lord’s word said —

“And it shall come to pass, if thou shalt hearken diligently unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe and to do all his commandments which I command thee this day, that the LORD thy God will set thee on high above all nations of the earth: And all these blessings shall come on thee, and overtake thee, if thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God. Blessed shall you be in the city, and blessed shall you be in the country.”(Deut. 28:1-3)

That day Moses, at God’s instruction, gave the people proper counsel on Tithes. So I thought to myself–Not good about our own church. We are doing something wrong, because the Lord is not blessing. But what is it? I went home and prayed and supped with the Lord and thought about it.

You see, there is a”our way” and there is the “Lord’s way”. When we as presumptuous human beings, under the cover of presumed righteousness, go about doing something that is in contradiction to the Lord’s way, we cannot expect His blessings–simple as that. So I went about searching what we were doing wrong, and causing the withholding of God’s blessings for us in our financial health for the church.

The answers were plain and clear. We were doing predominantly two major things that were not in alignment with God’s method based on His history with Tithes.

First, we are “passing the bag” around in His holy sanctuary. This is certainly not considered “freewill” offerings. This is more of compulsory offerings. When a bag is put in your lap and you are made to divvy up lest you be ashamed and looked upon as a selfish non-giver, this cannot be considered freewill in the true Biblical sense. The Elijah message explains.

We can now for sure take hold of God’s promises and make them our own.  What a privilege and what an opportunity is now ours! 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.(Jezreel Letter, no.9, p.7-8)

Speaking of freewill offerings, the Scriptures have about 15 references advocating freewill offerings. For example- Numbers 29:39, Deuteronomy 12:5-6, Ezekiel 46:11-12 to name a few.

“Offer a thank offering also from that which is leavened, And proclaim freewill offerings, make them known For so you love to do, you sons of Israel,” Declares the Lord GOD. (Amos 4:5)

Second, as shown in our top quotes, the Lord did indeed bless the use of the Collection box method. This way the people came prepared , and before service they could deposit their freewill offerings as they had saved up for the Lord’s cause. Individually, each could be guided by the Lord to discreetly make their Tithe and offerings, without embarrassment or scrutiny.

Another example that is one of the strongest reasons why we should do the Collection Box method is the following in which the Lord Himself watched and approved.

Jesus sat down near the collection box in the Temple and watched as the crowds dropped in their money. Many rich people put in large amounts. A poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which amount to a cent. And He called unto Him his disciples, and saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That this poor widow hath cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury: For all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living. (Mark 12:41-44)

From the website “Bible History Online” we found an excellent description of the temple courts and location of the collection boxes.

The Jerusalem Temple

Small Widows Mite Coin   “If you were to approach the Temple in Jerusalem in the first century A.D. you would    pass through the eastern gate where Jesus made His triumphal entry. Then you would  come to the Court of the Gentiles which was a large court paved with stones of various  colors. It was open to all comers including the cattle-dealers and the money-changers  who desecrated the Temple.

This court was also called the Outer Court, the Lower Court, and the rabbi’s usually called it “the Mountain of the Lord’s House.” All around the Temple proper was a 9 foot high terrace with stairs which was higher than the Court of the Gentiles. It was surrounded by a 5 foot high wall which was designed to keep out the gentiles. There was also pillars in the wall at various distances (the Soreg) with inscriptions in Latin, Greek, and Hebrew, warning all gentiles to come no further under penalty of death.

Going beyond the Court of the Gentiles and at the top of the terrace there was a platform for about 15 feet and then there was another wall. On the east side stood the magnificent 60 foot wide “Gate Beautiful” mentioned in Acts 3:2,10. It was also referred to as the “Gate Susan” because it contained a beautifully sculptured relief of the city of Susa. During the time of the morning and evening sacrifices this great entrance was the place of public worship.

Entering through the Susan Gate you would come to a large court called “the Court of the Women” not because there were only women there but because women could not go beyond it. There were smaller courts with columns in the four corners of the court.

According to the Mishnah (Middoth 2,5) the Women’s Court was just over 200 feet square between bounding lines. Each court on the outside was 60 feet square.

In front of these columns were the eleven treasure chests of the Temple for the voluntary offerings of money, and there were also two at the Gate of Susan, for the half-shekel tax. Jesus was sitting ‘opposite the treasury’ when he saw the widow put into one of the containers the two copper coins which were all that she had (Mark 12:41-44; Lk 21:1-2).”

Aside from the powerful lesson our Lord gives concerning the old lady giving her all, we see Him approve of this method of Tithe giving. What more evidence do we need?  The Scriptures are so deep with many lessons, including those apart from the obvious ones.

It is also important to note that  SOP declares that the “treasure chests” were not in the sanctuary but rather in the temple courts.

Jesus was in the court where were the treasure chests, and he watched those who came to deposit their gifts.” (DA, p.614)

Clearly the collection box should not be within the sanctuary, but rather in the foyer or right at the entrance to the sanctuary.

Some may ask–What did SOP have to say about this matter? In one of her last published comments about this situation she answered the following question.

Question – Should we take up Collections on the Sabbath?

“The question has been brought before me, Shall we take up collections on the Sabbath? The occurrence which brought up this question was that of taking up a collection to purchase an organ for the church. I replied that I would not advise this being done.

When collections are taken on the Sabbath for foreign missionary work, it is that the gospel may be given to those who are in darkness. This is genuine missionary work, and often these collections could not be taken up so fully at any other time. To gather these offerings could not be called transgression of the Sabbath.

But if this is to open that way for taking up of contributions for such purposes as buying of instruments of music, then I would advise that it be discontinued… 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.”—(EGW Manuscript 176, 1907)

I believe this method is so right and good before the Lord , we can see some success examples even from the “Babylon” churches. The Christian Science Monitor stated the following in one of its articles, called “Some churches stop passing the collection plates”.http://www.csmonitor.com/2002/0823/p03s01-ussc.html

“At New England Chapel in suburban Franklin, Mass., five years of warehouse worship without passing the plate has produced a $300,000 budget, a weekly attendance of 500 and a confidence in the Rev. Chris Mitchell that passing the plate would produce less revenue.” (August 23, 2002)

So we can see that the Lord blesses when we obey and do the right thing, even our Tithes and offerings. But if we blindly do our own way, following tradition for the sake of tradition, we cannot expect to joyfully praise the Lord for pouring out His rich and wonderful blessings upon us.

Granted, the actual collection process is just one of the problems with today’s Tithing. One of the predominant issues is that of “present truth”. We see much truth in regards to Tithes,  from the Lord’s instruction in Malachi chapter 3.

“Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.”(Mal.3:10)

From this we see that the storehouse holds the Lord’s “meat”. In other words, the Lord’s present truth. SOP confirms–

“There are many precious truths contained in the Word of God, but it is “present truth” that the flock needs now.” (Early Writings, p.63)

As we have shown time and again through our posts here, the Lord’s Elijah message is “our” present truth, our message for today. But sadly , Satan and his angels have largely convinced the SDA leadership that this message is not needed, rather a “lukewarm fuzzy all is well in God’s house”  message is the standard message given from God’s house today.

But if we can take first steps such as starting with the collection process, this will lead to more advanced steps. Soon by God’s power, blessings will come and we shall want to do more right acts in God’s house. But we must change things and at once!  The Lord is approaching the door to His temples around the world.

“Behold, I am going to send My messenger, and he will clear the way before Me. And the Lord, whom you seek, will suddenly come to His temple; and the messenger of the covenant, in whom you delight, behold, He is coming,” says the LORD of hosts.” (Mal 3:1)

We find a very clear reference from the Elijah message addressing the ones (Elders) who largely partake in our current backwards way of collections –

“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…Since the Bible does not teach any plate gatherings, but only freewill offerings (and not for your own use either), then by high pressuring the laity with your speeches, your pleas, and plate-passing all in the name of Christ, you make Him an extortioner of the worst kind.” (Jezreel Letter, no. 3, p.1-2)

In closing we know that only those who are found “sighing and crying” for the abominations done in the church will receive the seal in their forehead , and remain standing in the upcoming church judgment. And the proper Tithing, including the collection process DOES MATTER TO THE LORD.

“Mark this point with care: Those who receive the pure mark of truth, wrought in them by the power of the Holy Ghost, represented by a mark by the man in linen, are those “that sigh and cry for all the abominations that be done” in the church.” (Testimonies, vol. 3, p.267)

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4 Responses to “The Collection Box”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    What about just mailing in the Tithes? Or donating it through the church website?

  2. Godsloveandlaw Says:

    In this day and age we can definitely take advantage of these methods. I do not see anywhere, where these methods would be against Scripture. Further, they would insure that one would not be tempted to transgress by paying the Tithes within the sanctuary.

    This being said, I personally would want to do as the Lord approved–pay into the collection box as outlined in our post. But unfortunately nearly all SDA churches do not have these boxes on church grounds, so one is forced to do as you mention– by mail or electronic.

  3. Rene Says:

    Deep study brother, the church needs to know this. It is either God’s way or man’s way.

  4. godsloveandlaw Says:

    Absolutely my brother. In fact , my own church is seriously considering adopting this method. I’m praying.

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