By JOHN AMODA
Israel is guilty and justly punished because they had withheld what is God’s! All the Tithes of the Land is God’s and it is holy unto Him. This tithes of the Law, how many are they? They are not two, nor three but four tithes of the Law. Whether one or four all the tithes belong to the Lord and are holy unto Him. Meaning? He and only He can dispose of what is His. When God says that something, some matter, is holy unto Him, God puts such a thing, such a matter under His Exclusive List.
No man dares trespass against the Lord in such matter. Israel did and Israel came under the curse. Having established whose all the Tithes belong, we can address the fact that the tithes of the Law is not one but four. There is the Tithes of Numbers 18; there is the Tithes of Deuteronomy 12 and there are the two tithes of Deuteronomy 14.
The Tithes of Malachi is Numbers 18 Tithes; it is the Tithes spoken of by the Lord Jesus in His chastisement of the Pharisees for their unbalanced observance of the Law. It is the Tithes of Nehemiah. This is also the Tithes of Bishop David Oyedepo going by his state-ment: “That is why God com-manded us to bring all our tit-hes unto His storehouse.” (Malachi 3:10-12).
There is no disagreement with the cate-gorization of Malachi’s. Tithe as Numbers 18 Tithes, for of the six mentions of the giving or the intention to give the tithe, Abram’s and Jacob’s, that is the Genesis Tithes, are not tithes of the Law given to Israel on Mount Sinai by God through Moses.
This is the Law concerning Numbers 18 Tithes. Aaron and his cousins the Levite, are the focus of Numbers 18 Tithes, not all of Israel nor any of the uncircumcision. “And the LORD said unto Aaron, thou and thy sons and thy father’s house with thee shall bear the iniquity of the sanctuary and thou and thy sons with thee shall bear the iniquity of your priesthood.
And thy brethren also of the tribe of Levi, the tribe of thy father, bring thou with thee, that they may be joined unto thee, and minister unto thee but thou and thy sons with thee shall minister before the tabernacle of witness. And they shall keep thy charge and the charge of all the tabernacle; only they shall not come nigh the vessels of the sanctuary and the altar, that neither they nor ye also, die. And they shall be joined unto thee, and keep the charge of the tabernacle of the congregation, for all the service of the tabernacle: and a stranger shall not come nigh unto you.
And ye shall keep the charge of the sanctuary, and the charge of the altar, that there be no wrath any more upon the children of Israel. And I, behold, I have taken your brethren the Levites from among the children of Israel: to you they are given as a gift for the Lord, to do the service of the tabernacle of the congregation. Therefore thou and thy sons with thee shall keep your priest’s office for everything of the altar, and within the veil; and ye shall serve: I have given your priest’s office unto you as a service of gift: and the stranger that cometh nigh shall be put to death.” (Numbers 18:1-7).
The above is God’s arrange-ment for how and who is to mi-nister to Him as He dwells in His House among the children of Israel. The Tribe of Levi God was chosen for this purpose. The other 11 tribes are represented by the Tribe of Levi who are separated unto God for this purpose. The rest of Israel could not come near the sanctuary and the Tabernacle of congregation lest they and Aaron die. Neither could the Levites, Aaron cousins come into the sanctuary.
The Levites shall be “joined unto thee, and keep the charge of the tabernacle of the congregation, for all the service of the tabernacle: and strangers shall not come nigh unto you. And ye shall keep the charge of the sanctuary, and the charge of the altar: that there be no wrath any more upon the children of Israel” (Numbers 18:4-5). To Aaron and his sons God has given the priest’s office as a service of gift, and the stranger that come nigh shall be put to death. This was God’s arrangement “that there be no wrath anymore upon the children of Israel (Numbers 18:5).
We have taken the pains to highlight the details of God’s Law on the service of the Priest and the Levite that we may know that God’s arrangements are holy and any transgression of any of details of this arrangement attracts death penalty. The 11 tribes, the proselytes and the rest of mankind God had made strangers who could only worship from afar and offer their sacrifices through the priest.
Even the Tribe of Juda out of whom the Lord Jesus sprang was counted as stranger. “For it is evident that the Lord sprang from out of Juda; of which tribe Moses spake nothing concerning priesthood.…For if he (the Lord Jesus) were on earth, he should not be a priest, seeing that there are priests that offer gifts according to the Law.” (Hebrews 7:14; 8:4). Having decreed how and who should minister to Him in His House, the Tabernacle of Congregation and the Sanctuary within it, God now commands how His Holy Things including His Tithes and His offerings are to be administered.
The Law Regulating God’s Holy Things
“And the Lord spake unto Aaron, Behold, I also have given thee, the charge of mine heave offerings of all the hallowed things of the children of Israel: unto thee have I given them by reason of the anointing, and to thy sons, by an ordinance forever.” (Numbers 18:8). God is crystal clear in this verse. His ordinance on the disposition of all the hallowed things of the children of Israel is forever. As long as that arrangement is in effect this ordinance of God remains forever.
Any tribe of the 11 excluded tribes from the service of the Levites and the priests that transgress against this ordinance bring upon themselves the curse of the Law. And any of the Tribe of the Levites that transgress against God’s ordinance of service brings themselves under the curse of the law. Lets remember Korah’s rebellion against Moses and Aaron narrated in Numbers 16:1-3; and Moses warning with respect to this rebellion in Numbers 16:4-27; and the supernatural destruction of the rebels as it is written in Numbers 16:28-35. It is no light matter for anyone to misconstrue the explicit commandments of God regulating His Ordinance concerning His Hallowed Things.
We can appreciate the status of the following confident assertion by Bishop Oyedepo in the light of God’s everlasting ordinance concerning His Holy Things: Bishop Oyedepo writes that because God owns all the tithes that is why “God commanded us to bring all our tithes into His storehouse.” (Malachi 3:10-12). “Tithing is an inescapable covenant obligation. You can’t escape poverty if you don’t pay your tithes. Rather, you come under a curse because God says ye are robbing Him (Malachi 3:5). The tithe is God’s. So no matter how much you give in other areas, if your tithe is out of place, you will still come under a curse, because you are robbing God. It is the master key to enjoying financial fortune”.
This is what Bishop Oyedepo declares as God’s ordinance concerning His Tithes.
*To be continued on Sunday.
*Prof. Amoda, an author and newspaper columnist, pastors a church in Lagos.