Posts Tagged ‘Levitical priesthood’

Priest – Hebrew: Cohen

כהן

Cohen means ‘priest’ as in the Levitical priesthood. It means ‘one who officiates.’ Cohen is found 286 times in the Old Testament; 72 in the new.

The priests of Israel descended from the Tribe of Levi, the high priests from the Levitical family of Aaron. The Levitical priesthood had responsibilities within the Tabernacle. They were also to be teachers of Torah. They received no land inheritance because their inheritance was to be a priest of God.

“Summon the tribe of Levi, and assign them to Aharon the cohen, so that they can help him” (Numbers 3:6).

“But the L’vi’im have no share with you, because the office of cohen to Adonai is their inheritance; and Gad and Re’uven and the half-tribe of M’nasheh have received their inheritance beyond the Yarden to the east, which Moshe the servant of Adonai gave them” (Joshua 18:7).

“Yes, he will rebuild the temple of Adonai; and he will take up royal splendor, sitting and ruling from his throne. There will be a cohen before his throne; and they will accept each other’s advice in complete harmony” (Zechariah 6:13).

“Her cohanim [priests] have done violence [destroy] to my Torah, profaned my holy things, made no difference between the holy and the common, not distinguished between unclean and clean, hidden their eyes from my shabbats, and profaned me among themselves” (Ezekiel 22:26).

“Ezra the cohen brought the Torah before the assembly, which consisted of men, women and all children old enough to understand. It was the first day of the seventh month” (Nehemiah 8:2).

“Adonai has sworn it, and he will never retract — “You are a cohen forever, to be compared with Malki-Tzedek” (Psalm 110:4).

Hebrew Word Pictures

כ Kaf – A Wing means ‘to open’ or ‘to allow.’

ה Hey – A Window means ‘reveal’ or ‘behold.’

ן Nun – A Fish means ‘life.’

The Hebrew Word Picture for cohen: to open the revealing of life.

©2019 Tentstake Ministries Publishing, all rights reserved.  No copying or reproducing of this article without crediting the author or Tentstake Ministries Publishing.

Temples in Jerusalem

The Tabernacle

The Tabernacle, the dwelling place of ‘I AM’ among His people was built in the wilderness.  It was a shadow of the Tabernacle in the heavenly realm and took one year to construct. The objects within the Tent of Meeting were created from specific instructions given to Moshe.  The Menorah was built according to what Moshe was shown on the mountain.  The Temple services were performed by a Levitical priesthood with a high priest from the lineage of Aaron, Moshe’s brother (Exodus 35-36).   The purpose of this Tabernacle was where yod-hey-vav-hey met with and lived with His people.

“Then the cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of Adonai filled the tabernacle. Moshe was unable to enter the tent of meeting, because the cloud remained on it, and the glory of Adonai filled the tabernacle” (Exodus 40:34).

The First Temple

The first Temple was built by King Solomon, the son of King David, on what is traditionally accepted as the Temple mount.  (There is some speculation that this Temple was actually in the City of David near the Gihon Spring.)  This Temple was geometrically similar to the Tabernacle and took seven years to build (1 Kings 6).   It replaced the traveling Tabernacle and all of the ‘high places’ in Isra’el.  King David desired that Elohim should not live in a tent, but in a beautiful building made of stones.  Because he was a warrior, he was not allowed to build it.  His son, Solomon, who was a man of peace, built it.  It was destroyed by Nebuchadnezzer and the armies of Babylon on the 9th of Av in 556 BCE (2 Kings 24-25). 

“When Shlomo had finished praying, fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices; and the glory of Adonai filled the house,  so that the cohanim could not enter the house of Adonai; because the glory of Adonai filled Adonai’s house. All the people of Isra’el saw when the fire came down, and the glory of Adonai was on the house; they bowed down with their faces to the ground on the flooring; prostrating themselves, they gave thanks to Adonai, “for he is good, for his grace continues forever” (2 Chronicles 7:1-3).

The Second Temple

After being exiled to Persia for disobedience, the Jews returned to Jerusalem and through the leadership of Ezra and Nehemiah rebuilt the Temple, the Altar and the walls around Jerusalem.  The rebuilding process took about 23 years.  The second Temple was expanded by Herod the Great.  It was in the second Temple that Antiochus Epiphanes desecrated the Altar of Sacrifice with a pig and set himself up as God.  After the Jewish people fought against Antiochus’ Hellenization of their faith and regained their Temple, they cleansed it from the defilement of an ‘anti-messiah.’  This became known as the Feast of Dedication or Hanukkah.

“But in the first year of Koresh king of Bavel, Koresh the king gave authorization to rebuild this house of God. Moreover, the gold and silver articles belonging to the house of God, which N’vukhadnetzar had removed from the temple in Yerushalayim and brought to the temple of Bavel, Koresh the king took out of the temple in Bavel; they were turned over to a man named Sheshbatzar, whom he had appointed governor. He said to him, “Take these articles, go, put them in the temple in Yerushalayim, and let the house of God be rebuilt on its original site” (Ezra 5:13-15).

Yeshua was circumcised, redeemed as a firstborn, and came with his parents to celebrate the Feasts of the LORD at the second Temple.  He taught in its Courtyard and threw the moneychangers out of the area designated for prayer for the gentiles. Outside the city gates and walls of the second Temple, he was crucified.  It was in the second Temple courts where the disciples gathered on Shavuot and received the outpouring of the Spirit of Elohim (Acts 2).

Miracles were performed by the disciples outside the second Temple courts.   During the second Temple period, the Word of God became flesh and delivered the nation of Isra’el from sin.  On the 9th of Av in 70 CE, this Temple was destroyed by Roman armies leaving no stone upon another as was predicted by Yeshua (Matthew 24:2).

No Temple

For two thousand years,  there has been no standing Temple in Jerusalem.   There has been no Altar for the offerings and sacrifices.  There has been nowhere for the Levites to serve Elohim and draw the people of Isra’el closer to Him.  There has been nowhere for the glory of yod-hey-vav-hey  to be revealed except through His Son, Yeshua. 

The Third Temple

The third Temple is referenced by Yeshua in Matthew. He quotes the prophet Daniel and the coming abomination of desolation.   Yeshua had already told his disciples the Temple standing in Jerusalem would be destroyed so he was alluding to another consecrated Temple that would be defiled.  The purpose of this third Temple would be to show how easily Isra’el along with the nations can be deceived through a sincere desire to serve God.  This Temple will only be partially used because the gentiles, non-believers,  trample some of its holy areas making them desolate. Also, the anti-messiah will place himself in this Temple to be worshipped and deceive the whole world except for the elect.

“So when you see the abomination that causes devastation spoken about through the prophet Daniel standing in the Holy Place” (let the reader understand the allusion), “that will be the time for those in Judah to escape to the hills.  If someone is on the roof, he must not go down to gather his belongings from his house;  if someone is in the field, he must not turn back to get his coat.  What a terrible time it will be for pregnant women and nursing mothers!  Pray that you will not have to escape in winter or on Shabbat.  For there will be trouble then worse than there has ever been from the beginning of the world until now, and there will be nothing like it again!” (Matthew 24:15-21). 

The second mention of this third Temple is by Sha’ul in 2 Thessalonians. The only person to have taken a seat in the Temple of Elohim, proclaiming himself to be God, was Antiochus Epiphanes.  Because this happened 200 years earlier,  Sha’ul prophesies about another ‘son of perdition’ who will sit in ‘another temple’.

“Now concerning the coming of our Lord Messiah Yeshua and our assembling to meet him, we beg you, brethren, not to be quickly shaken in mind or excited, either by spirit or by word, or by letter purporting to be from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come. Let no one deceive you in any way; for that day will not come, unless the rebellion comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself against every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, proclaiming himself to be God,” (2 Thessalonians 2:1-4).

A third reference for the this desecrated Temple is given by John in Revelation 11:1-2.

“I was given a measuring rod like a stick and told, “Get up, and measure the Temple of God and the altar, and count how many people are worshipping there!  But the court outside the Temple, leave that out; don’t measure it; because it has been given to the gentiles, and they will trample over the holy city for forty-two months.”

The Temple Institute in Jerusalem is preparing to rebuild the third Temple.  They have made the Menorah, the Altar of Sacrifice, the Table for the Bread of Presence, the Bronze Laver and the Altar of Incense.  They are only waiting for the Messiah to sit in the Temple and begin the Levitical priestly service with the offerings and sacrifices. 

This third Temple will be made by the hands of man and a false messiah will sit in the holy place.  The artifacts will not be made through the giftings of the Spirit as they were in the days of the Tabernacle and King Solomon.

Sadly, the Jewish people and their leaders do not accept the prophecy in Daniel about the coming Messiah in the context of the destroyed Temple in A.D. 70.  According to Daniel’s prophecy, the Messiah must come before the destruction of the Temple. Yeshua came before the destruction of the second Temple and was ‘cut off’ (Daniel 9:24-27).  Because of their willful ignorance, the Jewish people will be deceived and follow a false messiah who will be the Adversary’s puppet.  Only when Yeshua returns in the clouds and the glory of the LORD is restored to Jerusalem will their eyes be opened. 

The King, the Priests, and One Thousand Years

“Then I saw thrones, and those seated on them received authority to judge. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for testifying about Yeshua and proclaiming the Word of God, also those who had not worshipped the beast or its image and had not received the mark on their foreheads and on their hands. They came to life and ruled with the Messiah for a thousand years.  (The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were over.) This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is anyone who has a part in the first resurrection; over him the second death has no power. On the contrary, they will be priests of God and of the Messiah, and they will rule with him for the thousand years.”

From where will King Messiah rule in Jerusalem?  A King needs a throne.  From where will Yeshua, the High Priest, serve?  A High Priest needs a Temple.   Who will serve as His priesthood?  A Kingly High Priest needs a royal priesthood who knows and understands His rules. 

“Take silver and gold; make crowns; put one on the head of Y’hoshua (yeshua) the son of Y’hotzadak, the cohen hagadol (high priest);  and tell him, ‘Adonai-Tzva’ot says: “There is coming a man whose name is Tzemach [Sprout]. He will sprout up from his place and rebuild the temple of Adonai.  Yes, he will rebuild the temple of Adonai; and he will take up royal splendor, sitting and ruling from his throne. There will be a cohen (priest) before his throne; and they will accept each other’s advice in complete harmony” (Zechariah 6:11-13). 

The Fourth Temple – The Millennial Temple

According to Zechariah, the returning Messiah will build a fourth Temple.  He will have ‘royal splendor’ like a King and rule from a throne.  He will have priests that minister before his Altar as he is High Priest.  These priests will be resurrected saints who   will serve in complete harmony with him and with one another before the throne for one thousand years.

Peter states that believers in Messiah who obey God’s commands are considered the King’s priests, the royal priesthood (1 Peter 2:9).  According to Sha’ul, those who sleep in Messiah are waiting to be resurrected and receive  new and glorified immortal bodies (2 Corinthians 5:1-5).  It is probable the royal priesthood will be raised from the dead at the first resurrection and transformed into immortality ‘in the twinkling of an eye’  to rule and reign with Yeshua from Ezekiel’s Temple.  

Ezekiel’s Temple Vision

Ezekiel’s vision for the Millennial Temple are found in the last eight chapters of Ezekiel’s  prophecy.  Ezekiel was given a tour of the Temple by a “man whose appearance was like the appearance of bronze, and who had a line of flax and a measuring rod in his hand” (Ezekiel 40:3). 

The Millennial Temple will be larger than any of the previous Temples.  It will be about 875 square feet and will sit in a ‘holy district’ that is north of the city of Jerusalem (Ezekiel 45:1-8).  There will be a place where the royal priesthood will minister to Yeshua and a place for the Levites to minister to the people of Isra’el.

The Tabernacle and previous two Temples had a mortal Levitical priesthood with a mortal  high priest.  The Millennial Temple will have both a mortal Levitical priesthood and an immortal royal priesthood with the resurrected and living High Priest, Yeshua.  As the Tabernacle and the previous three Temples were shadows of the things that are coming, Ezekiel’s Temple will be a memorial to what has already been revealed as well as more anticipation of what is to come in the world to come. The Millennial Temple will reveal the holiness of Elohim to Isra’el and the world without any interference by the Adversary.

In the Millennial Temple, there will be no wall of partition to exclude the nations from worshipping yod-hey-vav-hey with Israel.  There will be no Laver, no Table of Presence, no Menorah, no golden Altar of Incense and no Ark of the Covenan because Yeshua is the living water of the Spirit (john 7:37-39, the bread of Presence (John 6:35), the Menorah of the world (John 8:12), he is mediator between his Father and man (Hebrews 9:15) and his Father’s presence on the throne of the Kingdom (John 10:30).

There will be no veil in the Millennial Temple. The actual veil between the Holy of Holies and the Holy Place was torn in half at Yeshua’s death and no longer remains (Matthew 27:51).  The Millennial Temple will be a memorial to what Yeshua has done and the spiritual veil over the eyes of Isra’el and the Jewish people will also removed so they can clearly see the Son of Man in all His glory (Zechariah 12:9-11, 2 Corinthians 3:15, Revelation 1:7).

There will be an Altar of Sacrifice.   It will be approached by stairs, not a ramp,  from the east and not the south.  The top of the Altar will be called an ariel meaning ‘Lion of God’ in Hebrew (Isaiah 29:1, Revelation 5:5).  Burnt offerings and sin offerings will be re-instituted in this Temple for when there is a Temple, there must be regulations for its use.

The Kingdom of Yeshua on earth will be a joyous time for Jerusalem and the redeemed people of Elohim. Isra’el will receive their Messiah and there will be life from the dead!  Satan will be in the abyss, no longer able to be blamed for mankind’s sinful and destructive behaviors.   Sinners born on the earth will be instructed in matters of God’s grace and mercy by a faithful priesthood from the lineage of Tzadok.  These royal priests are so holy they are instructed to change their linen clothes and turbans when they enter the Courtyard so their holiness will not be passed to the people.  For allowing idolatry within the Temple, from the beginning of the Levitical priesthood through the anti-messiah sitting on the throne, the  Levites will lose the privilege of ministering to Messiah ben David; they will only have the responsibility of maintaining the Millennial Temple.

River of Water

In the Millennial Temple, water will flow eastward from under the threshold of the House.   It will flow down from under the right side of the Temple, south of the Altar.  With the Temple mount’s current location, there is no spring or water flowing from or under the mount.  The Gihon Spring in the City of David is the only water source in Jerusalem. In Hebrew, gihon means ‘gusher’ or ‘bursting forth’.  Ezekiel waded through ⅓ mile of the stream trickling from the south side of the Temple area.  The water came up to his ankles.  The second ⅓ mile, the water came up to his knees.  The third ⅓ mile of water came up to his waist.  The last measurement became a river that Ezekiel could not cross unless he swam because the water was so deep.  

The river flowed down toward the Dead Sea suggesting the Millennial Temple will be in the same general vicinity as Mt. Tzion in the City of David.   Since the holy district in Ezekiel 48 will be quite larger than the modern area around Mount Moriah, Jerusalem will most likely be rebuilt south of the Temple Mount where the water flows toward the Dead Sea and where the City of David was located.   When the water enters the Dead Sea,  it becomes fresh water with all sorts of living creatures (Ezekiel 47:10-11). 

©2014 Tentstake Ministries Publishing, all rights reserved.  No copying or reproducing of this article without crediting the author or Tentstake Ministries Publishing.

Tithe to Who?

“Then Melchizedek king of  Salem brought out bread and wine. He was priest of God Most High,  and he blessed Abram, saying,  ‘Blessed be Abram by God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth, and praise be to God Most High, who delivered your enemies into your hand.’  Then Abram gave him a tenth of everything” (Genesis 14:18-20).

Abram heard that five kings had taken his nephew captive along with all the possessions and food in Sodom and Gomorrah. Abram gathered 318 of his trained men and went in pursuit of the kings. They attacked and defeated them. Abram’s men recovered everything that was stolen and retrieved Lot. In the Valley of Shaveh, the King’s Valley, the King of Sodom met him and asked him to return the people and keep the goods for himself. Abram refused to give the King of Sodom anything.

The King of Salem, Melchizedek, also met him. Melchizedek, whose name in Hebrew means ‘King of Righteousness,’ brought out bread and wine. Together Abram and this priest of the ‘Most High God’ had Sabbath fellowship. Melchizedek blessed Abram by the ‘Creator of heaven and earth’ who delivered his enemies into his hand. In response, Abram gave Melchizedek a “tenth of everything” as dividing the spoils of war with rulers and religious leaders was commonplace.

The giving of one-tenth of a part of something to another person is called a tithe. The tithe is as ancient as this exchange between Abram and Melchizedek. It also became part of the Torah given to Israel by God.

“The Torah requires the descendants of Levi who become priests to collect a tenth from the people – that is their fellow Israelites – even though they also are descended from Abraham.  This man (Melchizedek), however, did not trace his descent from Levi, yet he collected a tenth from Abram and blessed him who had the promises” (Hebrews 7:4-6). 

Levitical Priesthood

From Abraham’s seed came Isaac and his son, Jacob. Levi was the third son of Jacob from his wife, Leah. From Levi’s descendants came the priesthood of God because of their faithfulness in the wilderness. The Levites were given duties in the Tabernacle along with responsibilities surrounding the offerings and sacrifices. The Levitical priestly duties continued throughout the generations whenever there was a Temple in Jerusalem.

The Levites, unlike the other tribes, were not given a tribal land inheritance, but were dispersed throughout the land of Israel. Because they didn’t own land, they had no way of growing their own food or raising their own livestock. God commanded the tithe be given to them as their inheritance for doing His work among the people of Israel. Tithes of grain and oil became their sustenance, along with the meat of a firstborn cow, sheep, or goat.

“I give to the Levites all the tithes in Israel as their inheritance in return for the work they do while serving at the tent of meeting. They will receive no inheritance among the Israelites. Instead, I give to the Levites as their inheritance the tithes that the Israelites present as an offering to the LORD. That is why I said concerning them: ‘They will have no inheritance among the Israelites’” (Numbers 18:21, 23-24).

From the tithes of Israel, the Levite priests gave a tithe to God. From everything they received from the Israelites, they were to present the best portion to God. God gave His portion to Aaron and his sons as sustenance. God’s portion was considered holy, and all of Aaron’s sons and daughters were allowed to eat it as their share of the inheritance.

“The LORD said to Moses,  “Speak to the Levites and say to them: ‘When you receive from the Israelites the tithe I give you as your inheritance, you must present a tenth of that tithe as the LORD’s offering. From these tithes you must give the LORD’s portion to Aaron the priest.  You must present as the LORD’s portion the best and holiest part of everything given to you” (Numbers 18:25-29).

Tithes went to the Levite priests because they ministered in God’s Tabernacle. Each Levite family division had different responsibilities. Some ministered at the Altar of Sacrifice with burnt offerings, fellowship offerings, sin offerings, guilt offerings, and drink offerings while others led worship, supervised weights and scales, witnessed legal agreements, and made judicial decisions. Their greatest responsibility was reading the Torah to Israel in such a way that the people understood it and could obey it.

“The Levites – Yeshua, Bani, Sherebiah, Yamin, Akkub, Shabbethai, Hodiah Maaseiah, Kelita, Azariah, Yozabad, Hanan and Pelaiah – instructed the people in the Torah while the people were standing there.  They read from the Book of Torah of God, making it clear and giving the meaning so that the people understood what was being read” (Nehemiah 8:7-8).

“In keeping with the ordinance of his father, David, he [Solomon] appointed the divisions of the priests for their duties, and the Levites to lead the praise” (2 Chronicles 8:14).

“In Jerusalem also, Jehosaphat appointed some of the Levites, priests and heads of Israelite families to administer the Torah of the LORD and to settle disputes” (2 Chronicles 19:8).

“Hezekiah assigned the priests and Levites to divisions – each of them according to their duties as priests to give thanks and to sing praises at the gates of the LORD’s dwelling” (2 Chronicles 31:2).

Unfortunately, the Levite priests did not always do what they were called to do. They stopped distinguishing between the ‘holy’ and ‘profane,’ taught there was no difference between ‘unclean’ and ‘clean,’ and ignored keeping the Sabbath and ‘appointed times.’ They began to steal from the people and did violence to God’s Torah –– sinning against man and doing abominations against God –– profaning His Name among the people.

“They [the priests] do not distinguish between the holy and the common; they teach there is no difference between the unclean and clean; and they shut their eyes to the keeping of my Sabbaths, so that I am profaned among them” (Ezekiel 22:25-26).

Since 70 CE and the Roman invasion of Jerusalem, there has been no Temple. There is no Altar of Sacrifice or Holy Place that requires a Levitical priesthood. The Levite priests have been scattered throughout the world waiting for the day when there is another Temple, and God’s promise of an eternal priesthood to Aaron is restored (Numbers 18:8). Accordingly, the tithe is not in force when there is no Levitical priesthood.

Because of the belief that God is through with Israel and the church has replaced God’s holy nation, many Christian leaders teach that the covenant of the eternal Levitical priesthood has also been replaced with a newer one. They teach that God’s Torah is either too difficult to keep or can’t be kept at all. They teach that Jesus’ death on the cross removed everything found in Torah from Sabbath to the Feasts of the LORD to the dietary regulations to –– well, almost everything; they still want the tithe.

The tithe existed long before the Levitical priesthood so the idea of the tithe still has intrinsic value, but only in its ordained purpose for the Levitical priests who ministered God’s Truth to the people. According to God’s instructions, the tithe shouldn’t be given to anyone today as there is no Levitical priesthood.

If modern-day churches want to collect the tithe, they should give it to the ‘priests’ who teach the difference between the ‘clean’ and ‘unclean,’ the difference between the ‘holy’ and the ‘pagan,’ and honor the Sabbath and the ‘appointed times’ –– ‘priests’ who teach Torah.

“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light” (2 Peter 2:9).

As faithful followers of Yeshua, we are called the ‘royal priesthood.’ We get our royal status from Yeshua, whose Kingly lineage comes through Judah and King David. We get our priestly status from Yeshua, who is our High Priest in the order of Melchizedek (Psalm 110:4, Hebrews 5:6,10; 6:20). The ‘royal priesthood,’ under the authority of Yeshua, our High Priest, is commanded to equip the people of God through teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness with the God-breathed Scriptures: the Torah, Prophets and Writings (2 Timothy 2:16).

However, it is very difficult to find ‘priests’ today that teach Torah as expected of the ‘royal priesthood,’ a much higher calling than the Levitical priesthood. Most church pastors do not use the full counsel of God’s Word from Genesis through Revelation. They do not teach holy living through obedience to God’s commandments. They don’t teach the difference between ‘clean’ and ‘unclean’ or the dietary instructions. They do not accept their place in ‘Commonwealth of Israel’ nor God’s ‘appointed times’ and they close their eyes to the weekly Sabbath.

Most church leaders pick and choose those things in the Bible that promote their personal and financial agenda. They keep their disciples walking in the darkness of the world because the light of the Word conflicts with the ways of the world. Worse yet, they do severe violence to God’s Torah by abolishing Torah and teaching lawlessness (1 Peter 4:17). Consequently, God’s name is not only profaned within the hearts of men where the Spirit should dwell, but also throughout the nations of the world.

Should such leaders, pastors, and teachers receive a tithe? Was the command for the tithe to be given to them?

Gifts and Offerings

Our family struggled with the tithe for years, especially when it came to giving to church institutions and pastors who judged our walk of faith. How can we give teachers who tell us the ‘law is done away with’ the tithes commanded in the Torah? How can we financially support leaders who refuse to distinguish between the ‘holy’ and the ‘profane,’ teach there is no difference between the ‘unclean’ and ‘clean,’ remain blind to keeping the Sabbath and God’s holy days, and give them the tithe belonging to the Levites?

It was through prayer and the guidance of the Spirit that we searched the Scriptures and found Biblical alternatives for the tithe.

“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress … “ (James 1:27).

Followers of Yeshua are to look after widows and the fatherless. In an agricultural society, the corners of fields were left for the widow, the fatherless, and the foreigner (Deuteronomy 24:19). Though we may not have a field with corners that we can designate for the poor, we do have the means to help them in the time of their distress. We can watch their children, help with the housework, buy food, pay a bill, take them to the doctor, or just be a comfort in the days of their sorrow and struggle. We have a huge responsibility to look after these women and children because we do not live in a culture that encourages supporting the widow and orphan; we leave it to the government. We should never be found on the wrong side of God who “defends the cause of he fatherless and the widow, and loves the foreigner residing among you giving them food and clothing” (Deuteronomy 10:18).

What about ministries that take care of orphans? We have a personal standard that the ministry must not only teach the children about Yeshua and salvation, it must also teach them God’s commandments. We do not support any humanistic, philanthropic outreach. Though they are noble, they are not bringing glory to God or Yeshua. Christian ministry outreaches like World Vision and Compassion International teach children the message of salvation; however, they don’t meet the standard our family has maintained for support –– they don’t teach the commandments of God while they do teach un-Biblical western theologies. Whatever you choose to do with giving, be convinced in your own mind (Romans 14:5).

“Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality” (Romans 12:12-14).

“Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing, people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it” (Hebrews 13:2).

These verses above give two other ways to give to God’s people as part of the ‘royal priesthood.’ Sharing our material goods with those who are in need and practicing hospitality to strangers, shows Yeshua in our lives as we help and encourage people who are homeless, jobless, and penniless (3 John 1:8).

We have found that by keeping the Biblical Sabbath, from Friday evening to Saturday evening, we always have time available to invite people into our home for a meal. Sharing material goods and practicing hospitality can be challenging because there is no guarantee that it will be appreciated. We have experienced criticism numerous times when we have opened our home and treated others generously; however, because we know that God works everything for His glory, we continue to step out and bless, encourage, and offer hospitality.

Paul suggests another way of giving citing examples of what gentile congregations in Asia Minor and Galatia did. They gave their tithe to the Messianic believers in Jerusalem. A tithe per year was required to go to Jerusalem so Paul recommended that gentiles who have come to faith in Yeshua set aside money on the first day of the week (never collected on Sabbath) and give what has been collected to Messianic Jews in Jerusalem. He reasons “the gentiles have shared in the Jews’ spiritual blessings, they owe it to the Jews to share with them their material blessings” (Romans 15:27).

“Now about the collection for the Lord’s people: Do what I told the Galatian churches to do.  On the first day of every week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with your income, saving it up, so that when I come no collections will have to be made.  Then, when I arrive, I will give letters of introduction to the men you approve and send them with your gift to Jerusalem” (1 Corinthians 16:1-3).

“For Macedonia and Achaia were pleased to make a contribution for the poor among the Lord’s people in Jerusalem.  They were pleased to do it, and indeed they owe it to them.  For if the Gentiles have shared in the Jews’ spiritual blessings, they owe it to the Jews to share with them their material blessings.  So after I have completed this task and have made sure that they have received this contribution” (Romans 15:26-28).

“And in these days prophets came from Jerusalem to Antioch.  Then one of them, named Agabus, stood up and showed by the Spirit that there was going to be a great famine throughout all the world. Then the disciples, each according to his ability, determined to send relief to the brethren dwelling in Judea” (Acts 11:27-29).

Giving to ministries in Jerusalem is one that the modern-day ‘royal priesthood’ can actually do with establishment of the State of Israel. There are many ministries not just in Jerusalem, but in the land of Israel that need support, especially those who are Messianic Jews trying to bring the message of Yeshua to their own people. Poverty abounds in Israel especially with immigrants coming ‘home.’ Some of the ministries in Israel that we have supported are: Dugit Messianic Outreach Center in Tel Aviv that does street witnessing for Yeshua; Shiloh Israel Children’s Fund, that supports child victims of war and terrorism; the IDF soldiers; the Magen David Adom, the Israeli Red Cross; Vision for Israel that helps new immigrants; Heart of G-d, a family of musicians who encourage Jewish people around the world to make aliyah or ‘come home;’ and Jerusalem Vistas, a media ministry that sent us a prayer map with a specific street in the Old City of Jerusalem to pray for. We had the wonderful opportunity to walk that street when we visited Jerusalem.

Abram, our forefather tithed the King of Salem, Melchizedek, the priest of God who was eternal (Hebrews 7:3). Like Abraham, we should tithe to those who are ‘priests of righteousness’ who teach Torah, the standard for holy living. Or, as Paul suggests, we should give to our Messianic Jewish brothers and sisters in Jerusalem because they have preserved and guarded the Torah of God allowing us to know and receive the riches of life contained in His Word.

©2010 Tentstake Ministries Publishing, all rights reserved.  No copying or reproducing of this article without crediting the author or Tentstake Ministries Publishing. For a hard copy of this article,  please purchase Journey with Jeremiah: Nourishment for the Wild Olive.