KINGDOM BIBLE STUDIES
studies in end time revelation
THE ROYAL PRIESTHOOD
THE MELCHIZEDEK CONNECTION
"For this Melchizedek, king of Salem, priest of the Most High God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings, and BLESSED HIM; to whom also Abraham GAVE A TENTH PART OF ALL; first being by interpretation King of righteousness, and after that also King of Salem, which is King of peace" (Heb. 7:1-2).
All scriptural truth is great and precious. No costly gem of earth can compare its value to the precious worth of truth. From the vast storehouse of truth contained within the holy scriptures there shines forth with dazzling brilliance two wonderful revelatory actions in the brief passage quoted above. First, there is the blessing and second, the tithe. How these two have been reversed in our thinking! It has been inscribed in endless volumes, preached on innumerable radio and television programs, and shouted from the pulpits everywhere that the tithing comes first and the blessing comes second. Of course, the scripture quoted most often in support of that teaching is Mal. 3:8-10 wherein God said to Old Testament Israel, "Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed Me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed Thee? In tithes and offerings. Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed Me, even this whole nation. 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."
The Bible does indeed teach that God blesses us as we give to Him. There are laws at work that God has built into the universe: that God will not be placed into the debt of any man; that no one can outgive God; that he that sows, reaps. Those laws in the spiritual world, as in the physical world, are based upon faith. It is an act of faith in the law of the harvest which a farmer exercises every spring when he takes perfectly good corn that could be made into perfectly good bread to feed his family, and throws it away into the dirt. He does that because he knows that he is not throwing it away; he is sowing it and he will reap a harvest. The Bible repeatedly makes reference to these laws, that in obedience to God we will be blessed.
When we come to the Melchizedek Priesthood, however, the order is reversed. Notice with intense consideration the inspired words of Moses, "For this Melchizedek...priest of the Most High God...met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings, and BLESSED HIM; to whom also Abraham GAVE A TENTH PART OF ALL." Can we not see by this that the blessing precedes the tithing in the Order of Melchizedek? The law of tithing had not been given to Abraham or his seed when Abraham met Melchizedek, for there was not as yet an Israel of God in the world. The priesthood of Aaron would not be established until hundreds of years thence. Abraham had absolutely no comprehension of the God who would envelop Himself in a thick cloud amidst the thunderings and lightnings of the fiery Mount Sinai, a sight so terrible that Moses cried, "I exceedingly fear and quake." Who could endure the sight of that devouring fire, which was the apt expression of divine holiness? "The Lord came from Sinai, and rose up from Seir unto them; He shined forth from Paran, and He came with ten thousand of His saints; from His right hand went a FIERY LAW for them" (Deut. 33:2). The term "fiery," as applied to the law, is expressive of its holiness, "Our God is a consuming fire" - perfectly intolerant of evil, in thought, word, and deed.
As the heavens are higher than the earth, so is the Melchizedek priesthood higher than the priesthood of Aaron. The Aaronic priesthood administered the LAW, whereas the priesthood of Melchizedek ministered BLESSING. You will nowhere find an account in the scriptures of Melchizedek being anything but a Blesser. He blessed Abraham and he blessed the Most High God. Let it be understood, a blessing cannot be given in reality until the one giving it is a Blesser indeed. Melchizedek had nothing whatever to do with the law - he was not a judge, he was not a magistrate, he was not a curser, he was not a destroyer - instead he was a king and a priest who lived in the realm of blessing and from thence became a blessing to those he ministered to. There is a cosmic law that declares that one must be blessed before he can be a Blesser. Consider what Heb. 7:6-7 says, "But he whose descent is not counted from them (Levi)...blessed him that had the promises. And without all contradiction the less is blessed of the better."
Melchizedek did not bless just anyone, but he blessed him that had the PROMISES. How great were the promises given to Abraham! There were seven great and wonderful promises given to Abraham, enumerated in Gen. 12:2-3. The first was, "I will make of thee a great nation." The second was, "I will bless thee." The third was, "I will make thy name great." The word name carries with it the idea of honor, authority, and the character of the individual. God was saying to Abraham that he would make his honor to be great; his authority was to be great and even his character great. I will make thy name to be great. The fourth promise was, "Thou shalt be a blessing." The fifth was, "And I will bless them that bless thee." The sixth, "I will curse him that curseth thee." Then the seventh was, "In thee shall ALL FAMILIES OF THE EARTH BE BLESSED." Not the families of Israel, nor the families of the Church, but ALL FAMILIES OF THE EARTH. In these precious promises God caused Abraham to understand that he was the beginning of something that was to be WORLD WIDE and not some insignificant local affair.
God promised Abraham that He would bless him. And when Melchizedek came out of the celestial realm that day, HE BLESSED ABRAHAM. Then the Lord said, "Thou shalt BE a blessing...in thee shall ALL families of the earth BE BLESSED." Ah - he was blessed...TO BE A BLESSING! With reverence and godly respect I now tell you that you, dear reader of these lines, are included in these wonderful promises. "Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds as to many; BUT AS OF ONE, and to thy seed, WHICH IS CHRIST" (Gal. 3:16). God made this covenant, even this promise, with TWO PEOPLE only. With Abraham and with His own Son, Jesus the Christ. With Abraham and his singular seed - WHICH IS CHRIST. God not only made this covenant with a man, Abraham, but He made it with HIS OWN SON. God had a witness in earth and a witness in heaven that He had made a covenant that through Abraham and His Son Would every nation and family be blessed and it was confirmed with an oath so that it could never fail.
"And if ye be Christ's, THEN ARE YE ABRAHAM'S SEED AND HEIRS ACCORDING TO THE PROMISE" (Gal. 3:29). Can we comprehend this? We today, now, are heirs according to that marvelous promise God gave to Abraham and the Christ. We are heirs of every one of those seven conditions that God gave to Abraham. We can take them all individually and apply them to ourselves and to the whole body of the Christ. To Abraham God promised a seed which would come to bless the whole earth, a seed through whom each and every person ever to see the light of day would be blessed and delivered. We see that seed begin in the preparation of a nation chosen and separated unto Himself. Long centuries afterward we behold Jesus of Nazareth, anointed with the Holy Ghost and with power, walking the length and breadth of that favored nation showing forth among its people the wondrous glory of His Father. God's holy word declares Him to be the direct seed of Abraham according to the flesh, but the Son of God with power. Truly He was the promised seed, the seed of Abraham and the anointed Son of God, "thy seed which is Christ." To Paul the revelation was given to reveal how we, the redeemed of this age, are MEMBERS IN PARTICULAR OF CHRIST, so that we are the CHRIST BODY as Jesus is the CHRIST HEAD, that the Head and body together, indwelt by one Spirit, are ONE CHRIST, the temple of the Lord and the habitation of God. "For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: SO ALSO I-S C-H-R-I-S-T" (I Cor. 12:12). It is through this corporate, many-membered Christ that the promises to Abraham and his seed shall be gloriously fulfilled and all families and nations of the earth shall be blessed.
"Even as Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him for righteousness. Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham. And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen (nations) through faith, PREACHED BEFORE THE GOSPEL UNTO ABRAHAM, saying, IN THEE SHALL ALL NATIONS BE BLESSED" (Gal. 3:6-8). In this passage we see that God one day did some preaching. The almighty God with infinite care and wisdom laid the plans for the magnificent work He would do through Abraham and his seed. Then He told Abraham to attend a preaching service He was going to hold. Abraham was the congregation. It makes no difference where the service was to be held. God was the preacher and it would have been very wonderful to have been in the service. As God began to preach, He brought forth the Gospel or the GOOD NEWS and it was this: ALL NATIONS were to be blessed in Abraham.
All the nations of earth are to be blessed. Certainly they have all been kissed by God's wonderful sunshine and have drunk of the refreshing rain from heaven, but that is not what God is here speaking of. He is pointing to a great manifestation of God that has not occurred - a time when God will speak to all, reveal Himself to all, deliver all and bless all. A great and mighty move of God shall come in the earth that few men have even dreamed of when the younger sons of God, the CHRIST BODY, in union with their glorious Head are manifested in the fullness of the wisdom, glory and power of God, at which time the whole creation will be lifted from the bondage and night of corruption into the glorious freedom of the children of God (Rom. 8:18-23). What an exceeding great responsibility is laid upon us in the promises to Abraham which we share!
Notice how many times the words "bless," "blessed," and "blessing" occur in God's promises to Abraham. Small wonder that when Melchizedek came he BLESSED him that had the promises! And he was blessed to be a blessing. He was blessed to become a Blesser. And so are we. "SO THEN they which be of faith ARE BLESSED with faithful Abraham" (Gal. 3:7). It isn't alone Abraham who is blessed, but we also who are of faith are blessed with him. THE VERY SAME BLESSING WITH WHICH MELCHIZEDEK BLESSED ABRAHAM HAS NOW COME UPON US. Oh! the wonder of it. That blessing is that God through us who ARE BLESSED W-I-L-L B-L-E-S-S ALL FAMILIES AND NATIONS OF THE EARTH. No matter who we are, great or small, if we are of faith, we are blessed with faithful Abraham - blessed TO BE A BLESSING. How wonderful are these things! They are far beyond our expression or the ability of the most eloquent to describe!
A millennium after God blessed Abraham to make him a blessing the word of the Lord came to the remnant of Abraham's seed proclaiming, "And it shall come to pass, that as ye were a curse among the heathen, O house of Judah, and house of Israel; so will I save you, and YE SHALL BE A BLESSING: fear not, but let your hands be strong" (Zech. 8:13). Let us notice this statement: "Ye shall be a blessing." How important punctuation is! Should someone put a question mark behind this statement it would read, "Ye shall be a blessing?" And looking at ourselves, none of us are very important people in this present world system, we're just common, ordinary, mostly uneducated people; laborers, plumbers, farmers, electricians, mill workers, office workers, housewives, barbers, mechanics, etc. The great ones of this world would look askance at us and incredulously query, "YE shall be a blessing?" But we know from the Lord Almighty that as we follow on to know the Lord we SHALL be a blessing, indeed. So we put an exclamation mark at the end of the sentence, not a question mark. "Y-E SHALL BE A BLESSING!" I am sure that all of the Lord's elect, those who press forward toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus, cherish the Precious Promise that we are called to be a Dart of that seed which shall bless all the families and nations of the earth. As we daily view the desperate needs about us, of friends and family, of the sinful, sorrowing, needy, sick and dying, oh! how we WANT to be a blessing! To be a blessing - what a promise that is! What hope is contained therein But you don't just walk up to a person and announce, "I'm your Blesser." We need to first BECOME. We must BE. To BE bespeaks a state of being. God is teaching us, preparing us, training us to BE Blessers indeed.
This preparation takes place here, now, in our daily walk with God. We need training, we must acquire certain skills, and betimes the preparation brings suffering, so that we might be merciful high priests. If anyone could have been a Blesser without any training it would have been our Lord Jesus Christ. But we find that "though He were a Son, yet learned He obedience through the things which He suffered; and being made perfect, He became the author of eternal salvation unto all that obey Him; called of God an High Priest after the Order of Melchizedek. For it became Him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings" (Heb. 5:8-10; 2:10). Ah, it does not stand to reason that an untrained, uninstructed, undeveloped, untested, immature people will be used by God to bless and lift and transform all the families and nations of the earth.
Out of the crucible of crisis and the furnace of affliction God is raising up in the earth a BLESSING COMPANY. These have received a word from the Lord as did the prophet of old, "God is not a man, that He should lie; neither the son of man, that He should repent: hath He not said, and shall He not do it? or hath He spoken, and shall He not make it good? Behold, I HAVE RECEIVED COMMANDMENT TO BLESS: and He hath blessed; and I cannot reverse it' (Num. 23:19-2O). As one has written, "There is a principle which becomes one of the foundational workings in our process of BECOMING, as found in the verse, 'Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven. Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again' (Lk. 6:37-38). Giving - and receiving again according to how we have given. This is a principle which covers a vast area, far more than just sharing of our finances, but in all our giving expressions - projected attitudes towards others, feelings towards others, words spoken towards others, etc. so that we are reminded again, 'blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.' 'Bless those who persecute you - who are cruel in their attitude toward you; bless and do not curse them' (Rom. 12:14, Amplified). God has His servants for every task, and will place a sword in the hand of the slayer, and those who shall purge the earth of its corruption. Justice will be established in the earth, and righteousness shall be the foundation of His kingdom. They will 'execute the judgments written,' with 'vengeance upon the heathen, and punishments upon the people' (Ps. 149:7,9). But the Lord will also have those vessels of mercy, which intercede with the prayer, 'O Lord...in wrath remember mercy' (Hab. 3:2), for they would BLESS the nations" - Gospel Echoes.
The Order of Melchizedek is an ORDER OF BLESSERS, no cursings, no negation to be uttered, no vindictiveness, no judgment, but there is a ministry of blessing. This is far more than a doctrine to be received or a formula of words to repeat, this is an expression of love and compassion that flows from our spirit toward others until all the families and nations of the earth have been touched and healed and quickened by His all-conquering love.
I must mention again the principle of the Melchizedek Priesthood and the seed of Abraham in respect to blessing. Melchizedek blessed Abraham. God had said to Abraham, "I will bless thee...and thou shalt be a blessing...in thee shall all the families of the earth be blessed." First Abraham was blessed, and then he could become a blessing. Blessed to BE A BLESSING. Oh! may God somehow burn this truth indelibly into our hearts. But there is also the realm wherein men bless in order to be blessed, giving and receiving again according to how they have given. "Give, and it shall BE GIVEN UNTO YOU." "Blessed are the merciful, for THEY SHALL OBTAIN MERCY." "Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are "hereunto called, that ye should INHERIT A BLESSING." This is all true, but when the Holy Spirit begins to reveal the higher Order of Melchizedek within your spirit, my brother, a vast transforming change commences to take place in your understanding. Gone forever is the desire to give in order to receive, to be merciful so that in some future time you might receive mercy, or to bless with a view to being blessed. Henceforth we begin to see things as God sees them and from this high and holy vista our purified desire becomes only to BE BLESSED that we may BE A BLESSING. In the Order of Melchizedek ALL THINGS ARE REVERSED. Truly there is a changing, a reversing of all things in the New Order which is being birthed in the sons of God. Our old ideas, teachings, conceptions, doctrines, methods, and desires are being upset and overthrown, and our old theology acquired in the religious systems of Babylon is fast flying out the window. As the Spirit of the Lord quickens the yielded minds of those who wait before Him in this hour, the elect is being led into new paths and the divine order of the Most High. So fear not, beloved child of God, to let go of the teachings of yesteryear, for those were but the swaddling clothes of your BECOMING in God. God's apprehended ones are now moving into a dimension where there are higher laws, higher understanding, higher reality. It must be remembered that every dimension functions by laws of its own, and so it is with the Melchizedekian Order. The first order of this sacred realm is BLESSING.
A work of transformation is taking place in the mind. God is not dealing in this hour with the outward manifestation, but He is probing deep into our being, to change the attitudes, thoughts and desires of mind and heart. Thank God, He is stripping away the masquerades, purging and purifying, that we might be conformed to His image, changed into His mind, a partaker of His nature. We are challenged with our own development unto spiritual maturity, and therefore we have received a commandment to bless - not that we might receive anything in return - for we cannot truly bless another until it proceeds unselfishly and unmixed out of a pure heart - a genuine desire that they be blessed. Oh for that purity of spirit, that complete deliverance from the "seed-faith" mentality being peddled by the money-hungry preachers of this evil day that continually urges the people to GIVE in order to GET and to BLESS with the motive of BEING BLESSED a hundred-fold in return. May the blazing heat of God's holy fire so transform our minds and hearts until every action can be thoroughly WITHOUT GUILE, no ulterior motive for whatever this might turn to our own welfare again.
I do not hesitate to tell you that giving to receive again, planting with a vision to reaping a harvest, is a true principle in God - but it is the law of a plane beneath the Order of Melchizedek. Increase is the law of the realm of limitation, of want, the in-part reaching forth to acquire more. But the priesthood of Melchizedek is of the realm of the unlimited, of His fullness, of an endless or indissoluble life. The priests of this order minister not from a sense of THEIR NEED, but out of the consciousness of HIS FULLNESS. This transformation of mind and attitude must take place in every son of God. These sons shall not do the will of their heavenly Father in the childish hope that He will REWARD them for it; but such lift up their voices in one accord with the blessed firstborn Son, saying, "Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is written of me, I D-E-L-I-G-H-T TO DO THY WILL, O my God: yea, Thy law is written within my heart" (Ps. 40.7-8).
TAKING TITHES OR RECEIVING TITHES
Immediately upon receiving the blessing Abraham gave tithes of all to Melchizedek. This is the first mention of tithes in the scriptures. Only on one other occasion is tithing mentioned before the law of tithing was given to Israel. In Gen. 28: 2O-22 Jacob vowed a vow unto the Lord at Bethel, saying, "If God will be with me, and keep me in this way that I go, and will give me bread to eat, and raiment to put on, so that I come again to my Father's house in peace; then shall the Lord be my God...and of all that Thou shalt give me I will surely give the tenth unto Thee." When God gave His laws to Israel through Moses He established the law of tithing in the nation. Read how the priests under the Levitical order were taken care of. "And the Lord spake unto Aaron, Thou shalt have no inheritance in their land, neither shalt thou have any part among them: I am thy part and shine inheritance among the children of Israel. And, behold, I have given the children of Levi all the tenth in Israel for an inheritance, for their service which they serve, even the service of the tabernacle of the congregation. But the tithes of the children of Israel, which they offer as an heave-offering unto the Lord, I have given to the Levites to inherit: therefore I have said unto them, Among the children of Israel they shall have no inheritance" (Num. 18:20-21,24). The priests and the Levites had plenty and it was so by the law of God. God decreed that every Israelite must bring in a tithe, ten percent of all his increase so that there might be meat in the house of God; not the Tabernacle as the house particularly, but the priesthood as the house of God, that the Tabernacle and the Temple should be taken care of, and the ministry of God performed therein. Did you ever stop to think that the tribe of Levi, the priesthood, received eleven-tenths of the increase of the Israelites? They received one tenth from each of the eleven tribes, and so really they were receiving one share or one tenth more than there were tribes to receive them. Not only that, but they received portions of land and cities for their use, but not as their personal inheritance. They ministered for twenty years during their lives, from the age of thirty until they were fifty. After that, nothing was required of them in the way of service in the Tabernacle. And God provided for them throughout their entire lives
There is a striking and important contrast between the tithing systems of the two priesthood orders revealed in Heb. 7:5-6. "Verily they that are of the sons of Levi, who receive the office of the priesthood, have a commandment to TAKE TITHES of the people according to the law, that is, of their brethren, though they come out of the loins of Abraham: but he whose descent is not counted from them RECEIVED TITHES of Abraham..." Let us notice the comparison between the two systems - the Levitical priesthood was commanded by the law to TAKE TITHES (Num. 18:26) from the people; but Melchizedek, not operating under law, having no commandment to take anything, asked for nothing, demanded nothing, took nothing, but graciously RECEIVED the tithes freely given to him by Abraham. And what a vast difference!
We are in that time when all who treasure the beautiful hope of sonship must recognize the difference between the two divergent priesthoods whose principles of operation are still in use in the earth today. There is that ministry in vogue today that literally TAKES tithes, DEMANDS tithes of the people and they feel they have a right to do so. One of the prime requirements for membership in the religious systems is your pledge to PAY TITHES into their organization. Christians are taught by the churches to PAY A TITHE; this is one of the cardinal tenets of faith. From the very beginning the new convert is instructed that if he doesn't tithe he is robbing God, he is told that to be saved is to tithe, and not to tithe is to backslide; for it is obvious that "if a man rob God" (by not giving to the preacher), he surely is a sinner of the first magnitude. The tithe is such an important item to the modern evangelist that it often takes an hour to "lift" the "offering" as by fair means or foul, he TAKES tithes of the Lord's precious people.
If the tithes cannot be extracted through the use of law, pressure, or fear tactics, many so-called ministries have stooped to the most humiliating and disgraceful fraudulence and hocus-pocus trickery to bleed the poor people who attend their extravaganzas. Some months ago a classic example of these crude methods came across my desk. There was this preacher who had a very ingenious idea on "stewardship Sunday." He had all the pews rigged with electrical wires. While asking the congregation how many would tithe, he pushed a button which sent current throughout so that all of those who were to tithe would leap to their feet. The whole congregation, of course, jumped up!
There is no shortage of men and women seeking gold and glory. The land is overflowing with them, those seeking their own gain and each staking his own claim. Within the past couple years, two of the most famous international television pulpiteers have been exposed and their vast financial holdings have been publicized. They have millions of dollars invested in their personal homes and property while they beg and plead for money from the widows and the poor. They live sumptuously while those who support their grandiose programs are living as paupers. Where are those who are true harvesters of souls rather than those who gather (harvest) money? Where are those who are building God's kingdom rather than their own? Where are those who truly feed the sheep? Where are those who are not lifted up with pride? Where are those who are not puffed up with their own importance? Where are those who do not exalt themselves? Where is the preacher who doesn't seek to ingratiate himself to the one with the expensive clothes and the luxury automobile? Where is the weeping before the altar? Where are those who refrain from using the world's methods to conduct God's business? Where are those who do not charge for the Gospel? Where are those who do not have a ministry for sale? Where are those who have not taken unto themselves the gold and the glory? Where are those who are not displaying their flesh in their man-made promotions? Where are those of a broken and contrite spirit? Where are those with the meekness and purity of the Lamb? Where are those who have not brought the spirit of this world into their midst? Where are those who do not put their picture on every page of their magazine and their name on everything they do? Where is the simple message of the Kingdom of God without the Hollywood extravaganza and showmanship? Where is the worship in the beauty of holiness, in spirit and in truth, rather than carnal musical entertainment? Where are those who approach God with reverence and godly fear and do not treat the sacred things as though they were part of a carnival? Where are those who have laid hold of God? Where are the humble? Where are the pure in heart? Where are those who are conformed to the image of the Son of God? Where are the prayer warriors and the intercessors? Where are those who love and treat the poor, the elderly, the senile, the maimed, the feeble minded, the illiterate, the sick, the homeless, the diseased, and those in prison as their own flesh, yea, as the Lamb of God Himself? Where are those who proclaim the Gospel of the Kingdom without the slightest motive of financial reward for themselves? WHERE ARE GOD'S TRUE MEN AND WOMEN OF THE HOUR? Of this you can be certain - these will not be found within the halls of Babylon's religion - but only among God's faithful remnant who have received the call to come out of Babylon and, forsaking all, have gone unto Him, without the Camp, bearing His reproach, separated unto Him alone.
Where will those stand in the day of judgment who put a price on God's glorious blood bought Gospel? I have in my hand the account of one healing preacher who wrote thus: "When God impelled me to set a price on my instruction in healing, I could think of no financial equivalent for an impartation of a knowledge of that Divine power which heals; but I was led to name $300.00 as the price for each pupil in one course of lessons." I tell you, preacher, God had no hand in your mercenary fee, and you are a liar. It is a lie to tell me or any one that the great God and Father in heaven told you to charge in money for what, if you were really His servant, is God's free gift, Divine healing. When Jesus sent forth His disciples, He said, "Preach the gospel, heal the sick, FREELY you have received, FREELY GIVE," and He never took that back, never! Where did you get your revelation from, preacher, to charge $300.00 for twenty lessons on healing? Considering the multitudes that followed Jesus and the apostles, think how wealthy they could have become had the Father given them such instructions!
Religion today is BIG BUSINESS. Some of the best known "born again" Hollywood personalities, should you inquire about engaging them to give their testimony at a meeting, will send their business manager over with a contract guaranteeing them several thousands of dollars for their forty-five minute appearance. This is not ministry - it is BIG BUSINESS. The local Christian Bookstore has become quite a showcase for what is called "Christian bric-a-brac." They are crammed full of every imaginable trinket, plaque, statue and artifact that they can sell with a religious flavor. Christian music albums now cost $8.00 to $10.00 apiece. The country is swarming with those who call themselves Christian speakers, musicians, bands and singers who CHARGE an admission fee to their seminars and concerts. Verily, I say unto you, the ticket prices are an abomination and a stench in the nostrils of a holy God and a spike in the hand of our dear Saviour. There is no biblical or spiritual foundation whatsoever for SELLING THE WORD OF GOD - be it a Bible, a record of songs or praises to God, a sermon, book, tape, seminar, concert or any other thing.
Have today's ministers never read the wondrous invitation penned by the faithful seer of Patmos? "I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star. And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take of the water of life FREELY" (Rev. 22:16-17). Freely! Jesus, the Water of Life, hath given freely, freely, freely, freely for every man. It falls like the rain upon the evil and the just. "The Lord is good to all; and His tender mercies are over all His works." The eyes of all wait upon Him, and to good and bad alike He openeth His hand, and freely supplieth the need of every living thing. God never sells. Any church or ministry that wants to sell God's gifts must be apostate. "Freely ye received, freely give."
I have never in my life made a bargain for any spiritual service I rendered. I never received a salary, excepting for one six month period when I was among brethren who did not understand the principles of the Kingdom, and then I did not ask or bargain for anything, I accepted what they were accustomed to give until I could expound to them more perfectly the way of the Lord. Then I told the brethren to cut off the salary and let me receive only the free-will offerings that the saints would be led of the Lord to hand to us, and it was done. In years past we served as ministry to several churches, traveled as an evangelist, took our family to three foreign countries, living and laboring for a total of six years on the mission fields, and for the past ten years have devoted our full time to writing and publishing the message of the Kingdom of God, sending out from this office FREE OF CHARGE untold hundreds of thousands of articles and booklets all around the world. Never have we sent out any letter or gone to any meeting asking or begging for money for either ourselves or the work. Never in all these years have we gone hungry, or naked, or been foreclosed upon, or been stranded in any city or place, and though the expenses each month are large and increase every week, yet no bill has gone unpaid.
Many years ago I was inspired, encouraged and instructed by the testimony of that great man of prayer, George Muller. George Muller was the man of faith from the orphanages in Bristol, England who literally "prayed in" every dime and dollar for that vast work. At the end of his life he writes, "For nearly seventy years every need in connection with this work has been supplied. The orphans, from the first until now, have numbered 9,500; but they have never wanted a meal. Hundreds of times we have commenced the day without a Penny; but our Heavenly Father has sent supplies the moment they were actually required...Seven million, five hundred thousand dollars has been sent to me in answer to prayer (this was in the 1800's!)...tens of thousands of times have my prayers been answered.
"When I first began to allow God to deal with me, relying on Him, taking Him at His word, and set out fifty years ago simply relying on Him for myself, family, taxes, traveling expenses and every other need, I rested on the simple promises I found in the sixth chapter of Matthew. I believed the Word, I rested on it and practiced it. I took God at His word. A stranger, a foreigner in England, I knew seven languages and might have used them perhaps as a means of remunerative employment, but I had consecrated myself to labor for the Lord, I put my reliance in the Lord who had promised, and He has acted according to His Word. I've lacked nothing - nothing. I have had my trials and difficulties, and my purse empty, but my receipts have aggregated. I have received thousands and thousands of dollars, while the work has gone on these fifty-one years. Then, with regard to my pastoral work; for the past fifty-one years I have had great difficulties, great trials and perplexities. There will always be difficulties, always trials. But God has sustained me out of them, and the work has gone on.
"Now, this is not, as some have said, because I am a man of great mental power, or endowed with energy, and perseverance - these are not the reasons. It is because I have confided in God; because I have sought God, and He has cared for the Institution, which, under His direction, has one hundred schools, with masters and mistresses, and other departments of which I have told you before. I do not carry the burden. And now in my sixty-seventh year, I have physical strength and mental vigor for as much work as when I was a young man in the university, studying and preparing Latin orations. I am just as vigorous as at that time. How comes this? Because in the last half-century of labor I've been able with the simplicity of a child, to rely upon God. I have had my trials, but I have laid hold upon God, and so it has come to pass that I have been sustained. It is not only permission, but positive command that He gives, to cast our burdens upon Him. Oh, let us do it! My beloved brothers and sisters in Christ, Cast thy burden upon the Lord and He shall sustain thee. Day by day I do it. This morning sixty matters in connection with the church here, I brought before the Lord, and thus it is, day by day I do it, and year by year; ten years, thirty years, forty years" - end quote.
I can add to this my own testimony. I have trusted God, but I have worked hard, harder many times than I would have worked if I had continued my business career. And we have never charged for a book, or article, or sermon, or tape, or service or any other thing we have shared with the saints. And our Father has graciously supplied every need - day by day. This is God's way, the principle of the Kingdom of God, "freely you have received, FREELY GIVE!" Oh how good it has been to publish the Gospel of the Kingdom freely! This way the poorest widow woman or the most destitute saint can receive in the same measure as those who have hundreds or thousands of dollars to contribute to the work. No matter what anyone says, the contrary is a sham and a lie, and no evidence in the world can be given to prove otherwise.
Let me ask all who charge for their ministries, books, magazines or tapes: If Christ sent you to do the work, why did He not supply its needs without you charging or begging? Why would the Lord not lay the need of His work on the hearts of the faithful if the work is of Him? Has His Word not told us that the Lord will supply all our need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus? (Phil. 4:19). If the Lord sent you to preach, to pray, to distribute literature or tapes, would He not supply your need as He did for His disciples? (Lk. 22:35). If He will not supply your need would you not be justified in closing your doors and folding up the ministry? I certainly believe so. Oh ye of little faith! That is the root of the matter. If God is going to apprehend me to do a work and then leave me to my own resources, to sell the Gospel, to put a price on the incorruptible
Word of omnipotent God, to beg and plead with men to accomplish it, then there is undoubtedly something very wrong somewhere. Woe unto them that make the house of the Lord a place of merchandise! "Oh," they excuse themselves, "you can never accomplish anything for God that way. If you do not remind, coax, stimulate, inspire, entice, and prod the people to give they will not give. If you do not impress upon them the urgency of the need and pass the offering plate before their noses, the supply will dry up. You cannot do any great work without asking for money; it is simply impossible." God's people should never be deceived by these self-appointed promoters of God's work. They are merely men without faith, with no comprehension of the power of the Kingdom of God.
Why should it be thought a thing impossible that God who heals the sick, raises the dead, and sustains the vast universe of hundreds of billions of stars and planets and suns and moons should supply the needs of His own work miraculously in response to His servant's faith? It is so great a thing that if we did not have the assurance that we have a faithful God who is able to do it, we should simply say the thing is impossible. We should say that with the Indian Chief, who said, in the early days of this country, when Brainerd, the missionary, took the Gospel to him and told him its requirements, "The thing is impossible; it cannot be done." "Yes," said Brainerd, "it can be done. You can be delivered from all your sins, and you can be meek, and humble, and lowly, and yet brave. You can cease to do evil." "I cannot," said the Chief; "it is impossible. The thing cannot be done." Walking up and down and to and fro in exceeding trouble of mind, at last the Chief stopped, and, looking at Brainerd, said, "It can be done, Missionary, if the Great Spirit will give me a new heart." "That is just it," said Brainerd. "The Great Spirit will give you a new heart. If you will ask God for Jesus' sake, the Great Spirit, the Holy Spirit, will come and give you a new heart." "Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me." "Then," said the Chief, "let us ask Him"; and that was how he first began to pray. He asked the Great Spirit for a new heart, and he got it that day.
Oh! if only God's ministers would get a new heart and learn this great principle of the Kingdom of God - "Seek ye first the Kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and ALL THESE THINGS SHALL BE ADDED UNTO YOU. But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret SHALL REWARD THEE OPENLY" (Mat. 6:33,6). It works. ALL THINGS A-R-E POSSIBLE TO HIM THAT BELIEVETH! God is still true, and I am willing to let every man be a liar. Today the Lord is shining the searchlight of His glorious presence into every nook and cranny of the house of the Lord, exposing all that is not of Him. All of man's perverted religion must go! All of religion's man-made schemes must end! I declare to you by the word of the Lord that the house of the Lord is being cleansed, and God is calling upon His elect to repent and turn from man's perversions. The Lord has come to His temple and is judging His house, even as He did during His earthly ministry, casting out those who buy and sell, referring to the churches as "a den of thieves" and no longer "the house of prayer" (Mat. 21:13).
All who by law, by coercion, or by fear TAKE tithes from God's people live still under the Old Testament Levitical order, their unanointed eyes sealed in blindness from that higher, more glorious Order of Melchizedek. Do we mean by this that in the Order of Melchizedek the principle of tithing and giving is done away? No way! Tithing was not merely a part of the Mosaic legislation. It predated Moses by many centuries. Jacob gave tithes hundreds of years before God thundered His law from Mount Sinai. Tithing is not a matter of the law at all. Abraham gave tithes to Melchizedek, the king of Salem, and priest of the Most High God. It is interesting that Jesus Christ is a King-Priest after the Order of Melchizedek and when Abraham gave tithes to Melchizedek, he acknowledged his sovereignty over him as King and Priest. If Christ is not our great High Priest, we have no priest worthy of the name, and if we do not give unto HIM the tithe and the offerings we make our blessed Lord less than Melchizedek and even less than the Levitical priests of the Old Testament times. The difference lies with the order of priesthood. Levi was commanded to TAKE tithes from the people, but Melchizedek only RECEIVED tithes from him who had the promises.
Ray Prinzing has so aptly written on this point: "How many are TAKING tithes today, by fair means or foul, and they feel they have a right to do so; but others are simply receiving them as God supplies their needs through faithful givers. This arising Melchizedek kind of people are trusting in the Most High God, who possesses heaven and earth, and they just believe in Him to provide, therefore instead of TAKING they are content with RECEIVING what He supplies. This is not with condemnation for those who pass an offering plate, nor for praise to those who simply have a box where contributions might be given but rather a probing into our hearts to see whether we have a desire to TAKE or just receive as God gives. One may refrain from outwardly taking, while inwardly wishing they could lift from the people some of these large offerings which others do - WHAT IS THE MOTIVATION OF OUR INWARD DESIRE? Do we know what spirit we are of? At least I liked the honesty of a preacher who once said, 'This is a faith work - faith in all you people to give,' and so he promptly proceeded to make his appeal. But if our faith is in the MOST HIGH GOD, then there need be no appeal to men, but just a committal to Him who is able to 'make all grace abound toward you, that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work,' as we read in II Cor. 9:8. This same principle works from the other side, do we have to be asked to give, or do we know the grace of giving as unto our Lord?" - end quote. To which I would add - those of the Melchizedek Order are BLESSERS primarily, then when people out of their own sanctified spirits GIVE without manipulation of their tithes and offerings, those of the Melchizedek spirit RECEIVE it with praise and thanksgiving unto God. What a difference between the TAKING and RECEIVING of tithes! There is NO LAW here, the entire issue is raised up into the dimension of SPIRIT.
Our dear friend and precious brother, Elwin Roach, publisher of THE PATHFINDER paper, penned the following words of practical and godly admonition. "I have heard people say that since tithing is of the law, and they don't want to be bound by the law, they only give when the Lord 'tells them to give,' not realizing that to give only because they are TOLD to do so is evidence that they are STILL UNDER THE LAW. It matters not who is telling us to give: the written Word, pastors of the churches, or the Holy Spirit Himself, if we are compelled to give in any way other than LOVE, we are giving according to the law. Is there any difference between the Spirit that told Moses to have Israel to tithe unto the Levites, and the Spirit that will tell us to give to a certain ministry? I can see no difference between them - it is the SAME SPIRIT; therefore, if it was a law to Israel of old to give, then it is also a law to those today if they have to be TOLD TO GIVE, even if it is by THE HOLY SPIRIT. When we are truly BORN OF GOD, no one has to prompt us to minister to the saints in the area of finances or anything else, for IN LOVE we give according to the need. This, dear ones, is FULFILLING THE LAW, for in this it is our very NATURE TO SO DO. In my estimation, it is far better to do things because of our intense love for God, the saints, and His creation, than because we are TOLD TO. Sure, it is wonderful to hear our Lord and then obey Him, for we are called to be faithful servants; but without being truly BORN of His Spirit, growing up into Him, and being enraptured in the marital union of Christ, we soon fail at what we are told to do. Without KNOWING GOD personally, it is impossible to love Him, and when love is lacking we will do exactly what Israel did when the laws were imposed upon them - they rebelled when the laws offended the desires of the flesh. This is what we have when people today are not supplying the needs to Christ and use the excuse that 'tithing is of the law'. In reality they have more love for themselves than of God or His creation, and giving offends the desires of their flesh, so like Israel they rebel" -end quote.
As I have pointed out, we know that under the law Israel was obligated to pay their ten percent and their offerings. Is that now lifted off of us when we begin to walk in sonship? I will tell you what sonship will do to your tithes and offerings. It will lift off of you the law that requires you to pay ten percent and lay upon you the spirit of love whereby you have to give your all. Sonship will take all that you are and all that you have and bring it into the Kingdom of God. God does not care a snap about your money until He gets your heart, and then if God gets your heart He will get your money, for if a man's sonship does not get down into his pant's pocket, he is a miserable sham. ALL now belongs to God, and as the spirit of love motivates you and directs you to give thus and so, you will automatically do that because it is a new law in the INWARD PARTS - the law of the Spirit. Its a new law of love that reigns within as a nature. Jesus gave everything, He didn't stop with ten percent. He gave everything that He had. He gave away to earth the greatest treasure that heaven ever had! And with it He has BLESSED US as Melchizedek blessed Abraham of old. And we now return unto HIM our all - not by compulsion or manipulation a crafty preacher, but by the inworking of His Spirit of grace.
Another has written, "If we compare the ministry of Jesus with that of modern preachers, we will see that the preacher of today is truly of another spirit and not of the Spirit of Christ. Jesus told His disciples, 'The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay His head' (Mat. 8:20). Having made this statement, Jesus did not follow it with an appeal for the people's money. He simply trusted that all His material needs would be met. Basically, God's people are givers. Those who believe the Gospel and are in harmony with all its precepts, are givers. The Lord's precious people will give out of an overflowing heart, and the Lord knew this. Therefore, He did not need to ask for anything. All He needed in this life was supplied Him by those who believed His message. It is always encouraging to see the Lord's people give as unto the Lord, even if they do give to a man who is mix-using the funds. He will be severely judged of the Lord, while those who give out of an overflowing heart of love will be blessed abundantly" - Paul Mueller in THE LIVING WORD.
To be continued......
J. Preston Eby
P O BOX 371240
El Paso Texas 79937
If you would like any of these messages or would like to be on J Preston Eby's mail list you may write him at the above address or e-mail me at Gary@Sigler.org and I will forward your request to Preston. He has nothing to sell, all his writings are free to all. You may contribute to his ministry to help spread this message to the world, but gifts are not tax deductible.