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Tithes and Offering

- How did our Lord Jesus Christ and His apostles follow the Law on Tithes and Offering?

- What happened when God opened the windows of heaven in the past?

- Related to robbing God of tithes, what will happen if God open the windows of heaven?

 

Sep 24, 1997

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Events After The Birth Of Jesus

Posted by: Administrator on July 16, 1997 1:17:03 PM (5559 Reads)

- Did the 1st century Christians follow the law on circumcision as Jesus was circumcised on the 8th day of His birth?

- Should the practice of offering the firstborn be followed in our time?

- Of all places, why did the Child Jesus take refuge in Egypt when sought by Herod?

 

EVENTS AFTER THE BIRTH OF JESUS

 

Some curiosity may turn out on the events following the birth of our Lord. Not much has been written, more so, of the great message that may serve as spiritual food. In chronological order, they were the following:

 

1. Jesus’ circumcision on the 8th day of His birth.

 

2. As first-born, He was offered to the Lord in the temple.

 

3. The flight to Egypt to hide Him from Herod.

 

Jesus Christ was not just a "historical" figure. He is alive today:

 

Rev 1:18 I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore..."

 

Christ is the Truth (John 14:6). Events after His birth are not simple incidents or stories that barely happened in the past. They must also be "alive" in our time.

 

 

1. HIS CIRCUMCISION ON THE 8TH DAY OF HIS BIRTH

 

Luke 2:21 "And when eight days were accomplished for the circumcising of the child, his name was called JESUS, which was so named of the angel before he was conceived in the womb."

 

This is a fulfillment of the law in the Old Testament which God decreed on His chosen people:

 

Genesis 17:11 And ye shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin; and it shall be a token of the covenant between me and you.

 

Genesis 17:12 And he that is eight days old shall be circumcised among you,..."

 

Genesis 17:14 "And the uncircumcised man child whose flesh of his foreskin is not circumcised, that soul shall be cut off from his people; he hath broken my covenant."

 

God was strict in enforcing His decree:

 

Joshua 1:8 "This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein..."

 

Joshua 23:6 "Be ye therefore very courageous to keep and to do all that is written in the book of the law of Moses, that ye turn not aside therefrom to the right hand or to the left;"

 

To God, the importance of circumcision is demonstrated in the life of Moses. Moses was just chosen by God to lead His people taken from slavery in Egypt. As he and his wife, together with their sons, were on their way to Egypt, this is what happened.

 

Exodus 4:20 And Moses took his wife and his sons, and set them upon an ass, and he returned to the land of Egypt: and Moses took the rod of God in his hand.

 

All of a sudden, God wanted to kill Moses! Why?

 

Exodus 4:24 And it came to pass by the way in the inn, that the LORD met him, and sought to kill him.

 

The reason was revealed in the following:

 

Exodus 4:25 Then Zipporah took a sharp stone, and cut off the foreskin of her son, and cast it at his feet, and said, Surely a bloody husband art thou to me. 26 So he let him go: then she said, A bloody husband thou art, because of the circumcision.

 

It can be clearly inferred from the incident that Moses did not circumcise his son. Perhaps his wife Zipporah, a Gentile, hindered the implementation of the law of circumcision on the son. So, therefore, when God threatened to kill Moses, Zipporah herself circumcised their son!

 

Mary and Joseph, as Jews, knew this law and applied it to the infant Jesus; thus, our Lord’s circumcision. Without God explaining His words, what happened was just a ritual. However, the truth will never pass away. God’s words are expressed in parables.

 

Ezekiel 20:49 "Then said I, Ah Lord GOD! they say of me, Doth he not speak parables?"

 

To take the word of God literally, the law on circumcision was nullified in the New Testament. Jesus Christ never preached it, although it was applied on Him in His infancy literally. Jesus Christ is the "end of the law."

 

Romans 10:4 "For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth."

 

The law however took its spiritual nature in the New Testament at the death of our Lord.

 

Colossians 2:14 "Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;"

 

This is the truth on the literal application of the law:

 

Romans 3:20 "Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin."

 

2 Corinthians 3:6 "Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life."

 

The Apostles never applied it literally after Pentecost for by then, they were spiritually enlightened:

 

John 16:13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth..."

 

Our Lord, however, said:

 

Matthew 5:17 "Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil."

 

Christ therefore did not nullify the law on circumcision! However, it is applied, "not of the letter, but of the spirit." Paul got the revelation in:

 

Romans 7:14 "For we know that the law is spiritual..."

 

True to the purpose of circumcision, a SIGN for God’s people, this remains to be so:

 

Romans 2:28 "For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: 29 But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God."

 

Even in the Old Testament, God already revealed the spiritual nature of circumcision!

 

Deuteronomy 10:16 "Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart, and be no more stiffnecked."

 

Deuteronomy 30:6 "And the LORD thy God will circumcise thine heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, that thou mayest live."

 

The spiritual application is "praise is not of men, but of God." Our Lord put it more succinctly in:

 

John 7:24 "Judge not according to the appearance..."

 

2 Corinthians 4:18 "While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal."

 

For God’s people therefore, the law still applies, not literally-physically but spiritually. Just as Jesus was circumcised, so are the real Christians should follow the example, not the mark of the foreskin but that of the heart.

 

The spiritual application of the literal law was not comprehended in the beginning by the very people to whom the law was entrusted. Paul was accused of nullifying the law of Moses:

 

Acts 21:21 "And they are informed of thee, that thou teachest all the Jews which are among the Gentiles to forsake Moses, saying that they ought not to circumcise their children, neither to walk after the customs."

 

Colossians 2:11 "In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ:"

 

Before Paul, Jesus Christ was accused of the same thing. The Jews saw Him working on the Sabbath day. He preached eating of all kinds of food, when there is a law on "unclean" food:

 

Matthew 15:11 "Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man."

 

Today, real Christians may also be accused of nullifying some laws which are not followed literally. However, God emphasized the "circumcision of the heart" over the "circumcision of the foreskin." This is done in spiritual infancy, as it was performed in literal infancy of 8 days. Christ put it in:

 

Matthew 18:3 "And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven."

 

Christ disciples were "spiritually circumcised at infancy," as He was, when He called them:

 

John 13:33 "Little children..."

 

A little child to God is not 7 years old, 3 years, or 2 years old. He is an infant "weaned from the milk." More specifically, an 8-day old when circumcision is to be done.

 

Isaiah 28:9 (KJV) "Whom shall he teach knowledge? and whom shall he make to understand doctrine? them that are weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts."

 

Spiritually at that age, that should be the intellectual and emotional state of the real Christian. And it is in that state that they can truly trust God for knowledge:

 

James 1:5-8 "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. 6 But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. 7 For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord. 8 A double minded man is unstable in all his ways."

 

No wonder God tells us:

 

2 Timothy 3:15 "And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus."

 

By way of example, as model showing the Way, Jesus saw Himself in this state before the Father when He said:

 

John 5:19 "Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself..."

 

John 5:30 "I can of mine own self do nothing..."

 

That is the "spiritual food we eat" from that part in the life of Jesus Christ -- His circumcision on the 8th day.

 

 

2. AS FIRST-BORN, JESUS WAS OFFERED IN THE TEMPLE

 

It was decreed in the Old Testament that all the firstborn, both man and beasts, belong to the Lord:

 

Exodus 13:2 "Sanctify unto me all the firstborn, whatsoever openeth the womb among the children of Israel, both of man and of beast: it is mine."

 

That is what Mary and Joseph did to Jesus:

 

Luke 2:22 "And when the days of her purification according to the law of Moses were accomplished, they brought him to Jerusalem, to present him to the Lord; 23 (As it is written in the law of the Lord, Every male that openeth the womb shall be called holy to the Lord;)"

 

To understand the incident with man’s intellect, what happened was just a simple story and a fact. However, God through His words, for He is represent by it (John 1:1), has His way of explaining everything:

 

First, the firstborn is revealed in the following:

 

Colossians 1:14 "In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature:"

 

Jesus Christ represents the FIRSTBORN; thus, the offering! The offering of "all the firstborn, whatsoever openeth the womb among the children of Israel, both of man and of beast" is explained in the following:

 

The "man" may well refer to Jesus Christ, the man, in the following:

 

1 Timothy 2:5 "For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;"

 

Who are the "beasts" in the following? Are they literal animals or people?

 

Titus 1:12 "One of themselves, even a prophet of their own, said, The Cretians are always liars, evil beasts, slow bellies."

 

2 Peter 2:12 "But these, as natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed, speak evil of the things that they understand not; and shall utterly perish in their own corruption;"

 

Spiritual beasts are people! That is how the LANGUAGE OF GOD is expressed. His words are all in parables!

 

Ezekiel 20:49 "Then said I, Ah Lord GOD! they say of me, Doth he not speak parables?"

 

Psalms 78:2 "I will open my mouth in a parable: I will utter dark sayings of old:"

 

However, Jesus Christ explained everything to His disciples:

 

Mark 4:34 "But without a parable spake he not unto them: and when they were alone, he expounded all things to his disciples."

 

True to the decree, the man representing Jesus Christ was offered to God. Now, since the beasts are people, how are they being offered? God gave the condition: only the FIRSTBORN.

 

Since the firstborn is Jesus Christ, and He is the TRUTH; only the spiritual BEASTS, which in reality are people, who have the TRUTH are to be offered to God! The symbolism finds its mark with the explanation:

 

Hebrews 12:23 "To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect,"

 

If in the Old Testament, as it is written, literal beasts or animals were offered; spiritually, "people who are considered first-born" are to be offered to God.

 

Who are the spiritual beasts or people that are FIRSTBORN in the eyes of God? Jesus Christ showed the WAY for the firstborn. God revealed to us the great spiritual message of Jesus’ circumcision on the 8th day of His birth. He was an infant, so are spiritual beasts or people should likewise be SPIRITUAL INFANTS. Christ gave the key to the kingdom of God:

 

Matthew 18:3 "And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven."

 

It is only after the "spiritual beasts" are "converted and have become as little children" that they are "born of water and of the Spirit."

 

John 3:5 "Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God."

 

Then, the spiritual beasts or people, the real Christians, deserve to be "offered to the Lord" as "firstborn." That is the WAY shown by the model:

 

Romans 8:29 "For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren."

 

Jesus Christ showed the Way. His disciples followed the Way. The religious people at that time rejected the Way. How many people in our time follow the same Way? Many or only a few?

 

Matthew 20:16 "So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen."

 

 

3. THE FLIGHT TO EGYPT TO HIDE JESUS FROM HEROD

 

The Jews did not notice the birth of the Messiah -- only the shepherds as they were informed by the angels. Their king, Herod, even hated and wanted to kill Jesus.

 

Matthew 2:7 Then Herod, when he had privily called the wise men, inquired of them diligently what time the star appeared. 8 And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search diligently for the young child; and when ye have found him, bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also.

 

Thus, the flight to Egypt.

 

Matthew 2:12 And being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way. 13 And when they were departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word: for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him. 14 When he arose, he took the young child and his mother by night, and departed into Egypt:

 

The physical Jews, also known as the Israelites before, are supposed to be the chosen people of God. To them, the word of God was entrusted and not to the Amalekites, Jebusites, Hittites, Canaanites, etc.

 

It was only after the death Herod that our Lord returned to the land of His birth.

 

Matthew 2:15 And was there until the death of Herod: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Out of Egypt have I called my son.

 

Matthew 2:19 But when Herod was dead, behold, an angel of the Lord appeareth in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, 20 Saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and go into the land of Israel: for they are dead which sought the young child's life. 21 And he arose, and took the young child and his mother, and came into the land of Israel.

 

The irony of it is, why did God’s own people hated Jesus Who is supposed to be their Savior? It was in Egypt, acknowledged to be the land of slavery, where the child Jesus was hidden from His "enemies."

 

The words of God are expressed in parables. They are "spiritual things" which the Natural Man cannot understand.

 

1 Corinthians 2:14 "But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned."

 

Spiritual things can only be spiritually, and not intellectually or sensually (of the senses) or emotionally, discerned. They are explained by God through His very words:

 

1 Corinthians 2:11 "For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. 12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. 13 Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual."

 

Can we reconcile the literal-physical with the spiritual? Are the physical Jews necessarily be spiritual Jews also? God answers the question in:

 

Galatians 3:28 "There is neither Jew nor Greek...for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise."

 

Romans 10:12 "For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him."

 

Romans 2:28 "For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly...29 But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly..."

 

Two references for Jews:

 

1. First reference - The physical Jews, to whom the word of God was entrusted, may refer to people who believe and accept the Holy Bible as the word of God. However, they "do not recognize Jesus Christ;" thus, they cannot identify God. Or, professing to know Christ but in reality God is a mystery:

 

John 8:19 "Then said they unto him, Where is thy Father? Jesus answered, Ye neither know me, nor my Father: if ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also."

 

John 8:54 "...If I honour myself, my honour is nothing: it is my Father that honoureth me; of whom ye say, that he is your God: 55 Yet ye have not known him..."

 

For not recognizing God, they are denied understanding of the word of God:

 

Mark 4:11 "And he said unto them, Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables: 12 That seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest at any time they should be converted, and their sins should be forgiven them."

 

2. Second reference - The physical Jews may refer to the "chosen few." "For many are called, but few are chosen." The Lord is known to the "chosen:"

 

Hebrews 8:11 "And they shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest."

 

For recognizing God, the "chosen" are blessed with the explanation of the word of God:

 

Mark 4:34 "But without a parable spake he not unto them: and when they were alone, he expounded all things to his disciples."

 

 

The "chosen" may compose both physical Jews and physical Gentiles. Examples: Peter, John, James, Paul were physical Jews; while the Roman Centurion, Cornelius, the Ethiopian eunuch were physical Gentiles.

 

 

EGYPT

 

Now it follows that physical Egypt symbolizes spiritual Gentiles. It is in Egypt that our Lord hid from His enemies. It is in the spiritual Gentiles that welcomed Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is the Word of God (Revelation 19:13). Jesus Christ is the Truth (John 14:6).

 

Acts 11:1 "And the apostles and brethren that were in Judaea heard that the Gentiles had also received the word of God."

 

Romans 9:30 "...the Gentiles, which followed not after righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness which is of faith."

 

The words of God are expressed in parables:

 

Matthew 13:34 "All these things spake Jesus unto the multitude in parables; and without a parable spake he not unto them:"

 

Just as parables need the explanation of God, so are prophecies which the word of God are expressed. Did not our Lord say in, Matthew 5:18 "For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled." The words of God, which will all come to pass like a prophecy, are not for private interpretation.

 

2 Peter 1:20 "Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation."

 

Prophecies, like parables, need explanation:

 

Mark 4:34 "But without a parable spake he not unto them: and when they were alone, he expounded all things to his disciples."

 

 

SPIRITUAL JUDEA

 

If the escape from the Jews and the flight to Egypt is a parable and a prophecy, who can explain these incidents in our time? Jesus is the Word. To whom does God entrust His words today just as He entrusted them during the time of Christ? Is it not to the people belonging to the CHRISTIAN religion? Only Christianity believes in the Holy Bible. Jesus Christ is the TRUTH. How true is the "love" of the Christian religion to the Truth? Christianity is represented by the orthodox denominations, as the sects during the time of Christ. Some "test for love" of the Truth:

 

1. Is it not written in the Holy Bible that no one should be called "Father" on earth in spiritual matters, for only God deserves it? Do people having the word of God "love" this truth?

 

Matthew 23:9 And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven."

 

2. Is it not written that no one should be called "Rabbi," which means Teacher (or Master or Leader), for only Christ deserves this title? Do people having the word of God "love" this truth?

 

Matthew 23:8 "But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren.

 

3. Is it not written that no one should be called "Holy" or Reverend?" Do people having the word of God "love" this truth?

 

Psalms 111:9 "He sent redemption unto his people: he hath commanded his covenant for ever: holy and reverend is his name."

 

Jesus, as model and example, pointed to God as the only One that is good:

 

Luke 18:18 And a certain ruler asked him, saying, Good Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? 19 And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? none is good, save one, that is, God.

 

Is it not written that it is a sin to respect a person in spiritual matters for, all people are "brethren" and, only God deserves honor and respect?" Do people having the word of God "love" this truth?

 

James 2:9 "But if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors."

 

4. Is it not written that Christ and His disciples did not build chapels, churches, and cathedrals? For God does not live in temples made with hands. Do people having the word of God "love" this Truth?

 

Acts 7:48 Howbeit the most High dwelleth not in temples made with hands; as saith the prophet, 49 Heaven is my throne, and earth is my footstool: what house will ye build me? saith the Lord: or what is the place of my rest?

 

But they built spiritual temples by preaching the Truth!

 

1 Corinthians 3:16 "Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?"

 

5. Is it not written that Christ and His apostles preached total trust in God for the acquisition of spiritual knowledge? Do people having the word of God "love" this Truth?

 

James 1:5 "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. 6 But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. 7 For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord. 8 A double minded man is unstable in all his ways."

 

1 John 2:27 "But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you..."

 

What role are the Seminaries and Bible schools? Who founded these institutions in the first place? Can we find them during the time of Christ and the apostles -- the period of PURE CHRISTIANITY? Are these not the vehicles in the teaching of the different identities of Jesus Christ? Of the different ways of salvation? Of the different ways of spiritual perfection? Of the different standards of religious righteousness? The cause of "division of Christianity" today? Will the people who have the "word of God" not hate this truth?

 

6. Is it not written that the "chosen" RECOGNIZED their God? Do not people having the word reject this truth? Does it not come from their very lips that "God is a mystery incapable of clear recognition, because He is infinite, while we are only finite beings?" However, the truth is:

 

Hebrews 8:11 "And they shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest."

 

 

SPIRITUAL EGYPT

 

Who are the spiritual Gentiles, representing Egypt, where our Lord took refuge? Is it not in the people who are never known to have the word of God? Did Mary Magdalene, Matthew, Levi, and the thief at the right hand, who were all known sinners, and the Roman Centurion, the Samaritan woman, the Ethiopian Eunuch, all physical Gentiles, worthy to secure the TRUTH?

 

It was in these people that the Truth "took refuge" as shown in the following:

 

The thief at the right hand had the privilege of being with our Lord in Paradise:

 

Luke 23:42 And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom. 43 And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.

 

Of the Roman Centurion, this is what our Lord said of him:

 

Mat 8:8 The centurion answered and said, Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof: but speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed.

 

Mat 8:10 When Jesus heard it, he marvelled, and said to them that followed, Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel.

 

This is the refuge of the Truth in the Samaritan woman:

 

John 4:25 The woman saith unto him, I know that Messias cometh, which is called Christ: when he is come, he will tell us all things. 26 Jesus saith unto her, I that speak unto thee am he.

 

John 4:15 The woman saith unto him, Sir, give me this water, that I thirst not, neither come hither to draw.

 

The Ethiopian Eunuch on understanding what is written in the book of Isaiah, after Philip expounded the meaning, caused himself to be baptized:

 

Acts 8:35 Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus. 36 And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized?

 

The baby Jesus, on the instruction of the angel, took refuge in Egypt because the very people to whom His words were entrusted ran after Him. They wanted to kill Him! This is expressed spiritually when the basic truth in the word of God (the child Jesus) also has to take refuge in the obscure people who are sinners (spiritual Egypt) in the eyes of those to whom the word of God is entrusted (spiritual Jews). This is to escape the mockery and derision of the very people who have the word of God.

 

- END -