They’re us, the Preachers. (Isaiah 66:19-22, Jeremiah 33:14-26) “Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.” – 2 Peter 1:20
If you recall, some of my anti-tithe comments are based on the fact that preachers are not Levites, which God stipulates must be the case for them to receive tithe.
In an attempt to counter such assertions, the pro-tithers have turned to prophesy for their answer. The following two scriptures, when read in combination are supposed to show you how today’s preachers are really the new Levites, complete with a separate class status and a God-ordained right to a tenth of your income.
Once again, instead of going to God’s Law to read God’s Law, we have here an example of someone turning scripture every which way but loose in order to find some excuse to obviate that Law; attempting to circumvent and nullify that Law because they do not like it.
Unlike even the few factual restrictions of how they interpret Biblical stories, prophesy affords preachers like this a wide open, virtually unrestricted field of opportunity to abuse scripture with fantastic claims and conclusions.
The two pro-tithe “proof texts” are the following:
Isaiah 66:19-22 “And I will set a sign among them, and I will send those that escape of them unto the nations, to Tarshish, Pul, and Lud, that draw the bow, to Tubal, and Javan, to the isles afar off, that have not heard my fame, neither have seen my glory; and they shall declare my glory among the Gentiles.
And they shall bring all your brethren for an offering unto the LORD out of all nations upon horses, and in chariots, and in litters, and upon mules, and upon swift beasts, to my holy mountain Jerusalem, saith the LORD, as the children of Israel bring an offering in a clean vessel into the house of the LORD. And I will also take of them for priests and for Levites, saith the LORD. For as the new heavens and the new earth, which I will make, shall remain before me, saith the LORD, so shall your seed and your name remain.
Jeremiah 33:14-26 “Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will perform that good thing which I have promised unto the house of Israel and to the house of Judah.
In those days, and at that time, will I cause the Branch of righteousness to grow up unto David; and he shall execute judgment and righteousness in the land.
In those days shall Judah be saved, and Jerusalem shall dwell safely: and this is the name wherewith she shall be called, The LORD our righteousness.
For thus saith the Lord; David shall never lack a man to sit upon the throne of the house of Israel;
Neither shall the priests the Levites lack a man before me to offer burnt offerings and kindle meat offerings, and to do sacrifice continually.
And the word of the LORD came unto Jeremiah, saying, Thus saith the LORD; If ye can break my covenant of the day, and my covenant of the night, and that there should not be day and night in their season; Then may also my covenant be broken with David my servant, that he should not have a son to reign upon his throne; and with the Levites the priests, my ministers.
As the host of heaven cannot be numbered, neither the sand of the sea measured: so will I multiply the seed of David my servant, and the Levites that minister unto me.
Moreover the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah, saying, Considerest thou not what this people have spoken, saying, The two families which the LORD hath chosen, he hath even cast them off? Thus they have despised my people, that they should be no more a nation before them.
Thus saith the LORD; If my covenant be not with day and night, and if I have not appointed the ordinances of heaven and earth; Then will I cast away the seed of Jacob and David my servant, so that I will not take any of his seed to be rulers over the seed of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob: for I will cause their captivity to return, and have mercy on them.”
Apparently any prophesy that mentions the word “Levite” is in reference to preachers in New Covenant times, according to the tithe promoters. These two scriptures professionally served up with ladles full of emotion-tugging camp, seem to fit the bill just fine.
With enough effort, these scriptures can be made to look like New Covenant prophesies to those with a predisposed desire to believe it, but that is about where it ends.
The income-tithe advocate preachers have proven themselves to be heavily biased toward self-interested misrepresentations which lead to contradictions of clearly worded scripture. So if they have shown that they cannot accurately read God’s plainly worded Law and chew bubble gum at the same time, who could lend credence whatsoever to anything they have to say about the more cryptically worded symbolism of any prophesy; these two in particular?
I mean, they want to explain to us the algebra of prophetic scriptures (to use a metaphor) when they cannot even accurately even read the addition and subtraction tables of the Torah.
As an example of a hole in this Swiss cheese theory, Isaiah 66:22 says “so shall your seed and your name remain” (this is after the new heavens and a new
Earth), but who’s name is it? The pro-tithers claim that these prophesies refer to them, but I have not heard preaching from anyone named “Levite” lately. There are a lot of jews named “Levi”, “Levitt” and “Cohen” (which means priest), so maybe that is what this preacher is talking about. We are supposed to tithe to some jewish chap with a Levitical sounding name, is that it?
Maybe preaching while wearing Levi jeans qualifies him as a Levite. I don’t know; but it makes as much sense as the preacher’s assertion that these two scriptures are identifying modern preachers as being Levites. Isaiah 66:22 also talks about a seed line, so are these preachers ready to prove their physical Levitical ancestry? If any preacher is going to use this scripture as a basis, then he will need to prove he is part of this seed line that is referred to.
Isaiah 66:21 says “And I will also take of them for priests and for Levites, saith the LORD”. To me, this sounds like 1Peter 2:9 “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light” and also Revelation 1:6 “And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father;”
Both scriptures indicate that all of God’s people who turn to him will hold this position of priest and be able to address the Heavenly Father directly. So then, what is so significant about that scripture that makes us believe that the local corner preacher is somehow elevated to Levitical status?
The significance, according to the pro-tithe preacher, is that out of the dozens if not hundreds of English Bible translations, he has found only two that have inserted the word “some” into it: “I will also make some of them priests and for Levites…” (and I would bet dollars to donuts that he checked every single English translation that he could get his hands on)
So that makes it what – 2% of all translations have the word “some” in it? That is pretty thin ice. I would even say it is a bogus, desperate assertion.
But OK, out of kindness let us assume that 98% of English translations have it wrong, and that the word “some” really belongs there. Exactly who is this “some” referred to here? Is it perhaps the most devout Christians among us? Is it those who are the most God-seeking, non-materialistic, selfless, knowledgeable and Holy Spirit-filled? Or is there some unknown way that God picks and chooses these certain select individuals that He is supposedly referring to, the way He picked David, and the way Jesus picked the Apostles?
We all know, of course, who that “some” is, according to any tithe-taking preacher who relates this story to you: it is your tithe-taking preachers who God has made “priests and Levites”, that’s who. “Dei gratia preacher” (preacher by the grace of God), according to them. Any Tom, Dick, or Harry who can put on a suit, grab a Bible and hold an audience is now included in that “some” if that is what he says he is.
So, is this an example of scripture speaking to us through these two prophesies, or is it just another example of a preacher violating the integrity of the scriptures with verbal opium smoke for the sake of his own professional and financial self interest?
I mean, you are not going to hear this song and dance put forth by a preacher who says he is not part of that “some” mentioned in that scripture, but that the other preacher down the street is, and therefore everyone should send their money to him because he is the real deal. No, I will guaranty that you will only hear this kind of interpretation from preachers that stand to personally gain from it by claiming that they themselves are one of the few, the proud, the “some” allegedly mentioned in this prophesy.
Interpreting prophesy in a manner that elevates the interpreter is always suspect, and with good reason. This idea that Isaiah 66:21 is somehow authorizing certain preachers today to take your tithe money is totally a 100% man-made, self serving doctrine, created for the sole purpose of elevating and financially benefiting those in the pulpit who present it. Objective common sense should make that obvious.
Here is that quote again from 2Peter which opened this chapter, only this time in a little wider contextual scope of 1:20-2:1: “Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.
But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. “
This means that Old Covenant prophesy was authentically divinely inspired, and likewise the interpretation of such must be equally so. There is no room for bogus interpretations by false teachers that not only bring disgrace upon themselves, but also defame God’s Word through their nonsense.
These scriptures deserve the respect for what they are, and are not to be used as a basis for promoting anyone’s personal agenda via some alleged private interpretation of those prophesies.
According to 2Peter 1:21, those scriptures are inspired and sanctified by the Holy Spirit. Anyone blaspheming the Spirit with false, inane, fatuous representations of what these prophesies are supposed to mean, is liable to the non-forgiveness stated in Matt12:31 and Luke 12:10. Particularly but not necessarily when done for personal benefit as this pro-tithe preacher is apparently doing.
As if that is not enough, Peter equates false interpreters of prophesy (as well as false teachers in general) with the condemnation deserved by the false prophets of old. I will add my two cents to that and say there is not a dime’s worth of difference between a false prophet, and a false interpreter of a true prophet.
Now, some may say that this passage is only talking about those who deny Christ, but that is not necessarily so. There are many who honor Jesus to no end with their lips but their heart is far from Him (Matt 15:8, Mark 7:6).
In either event, paid prosperous preachers are anathema to God’s Word, and tithe promoting preachers in particular are apparently guilty of this as well as the two sins stated above. This is not because they deny Him in a blatant sense; obviously they have to give lip service to loving Christ, His deity, grace, kingship, etc, if they want to claim to be a Christian preacher. They do so in the sense that they ignore and deny much of the substance of the teaching of Jesus Christ, and they do so in spades whenever they profit financially from preaching scripture.
We will cover that in depth a little later in the New Covenant section of this book.
Getting back to the “prophesy says we’re Levites” subject:
Jeremiah 33:18 which this preacher refers to, says that there shall not lack a “Levite to offer an ascending sacrifice”.
How does this apply to us today? If this prophesy is for here and now, and if today’s preachers are supposed to be these “Levites” spoken of here (which is total speculation) (more like fantasy), as per the pro-tithe theory, then they are also expected to offer up sacrifices as in the Old Covenant. That is what it clearly says.
Alternatively, if this “ascending sacrifices” term is representative of our New Covenant praise and prayers (Revelation 5:8, 8:3-4, Hebrews 13:15-16 also Psalm 141:2) then what? Do we have to go through these neo-Levite priest-preachers, and pay to get our prayers heard by God? You would have to think so, in order to make this man’s strange theory about this prophesy even remotely possible. Once again we see the Catholic Church’s DNA all over this doctrine.
It is also interesting to note that Jeremiah 33:14-26 does not even exist in the Septuagint. I do not know what that is all about, but it indicates that some kind of serious doubt exists about the validity of that scripture to begin with.
How does a person answer such an incredible fantasy such as this man has seriously put forth? As one of his main pillars of evidence, I might add.
Since facts, questions, debate, or dissenting comments are as a matter of course unwelcomed during these prophesy interpretation presentations, many, many fabricated, false, and often contradictory doctrines can and have been spun from these scriptures.
Prophesies are often vague, symbolic, enigmatic and at times self-conflicting to our way of thinking. The success of promoting any theory about them is based largely on the ability of the promoter to ply his craft of convincing an audience of his conclusions, and the willingness of that audience to be convinced that the doctrine put forth is true.
It is called confirmation bias on the part of the audience- a predisposition to either accept or reject information, based on factors regarding the source of the information rather than the facts of the matter itself; factors such as friendship with, or likeability of the speaker; his perceived authority/expertise, or even the way they comb their hair.
In churches, the bias leans heavily in favor of the source (preacher). With other views being barred, it is in essence acceptance by default by those in the congregation who have not studied the scriptures, since it is the best or only explanation of that prophesy that they had heard so far. In short – they trust the preacher, and they believe what they want to believe.
This is also true of the other prophesies that are spun into a web of a pro-tithe dogma, such as Malachi. The pro-tithers attempt to take the special deal that was made with the specifically identified Levites of the past, and transmogrify into a new deal with anyone today who claims to be “called” or “anointed” to preach and take tithe money.
If these Jeremiah/Isaiah scriptures are “New Covenant prophesies” as the pro-tithe preacher says they are, why are there references to “burnt offerings”, “meat offerings” and “sacrifices”? Maybe God had not yet made up his mind how to handle this “New Covenant” business, and at the time thought that these rituals would continue forever. Is that it?
These interpreters pick from prophecy the verbiage that they think they understand, or sadly, that they can manipulate to a conclusion agreeable to their agenda, and they frivolously explain away or ignore altogether the parts that conflict with, or negate their proposition. These are textbook examples of false teachers that Peter was talking about in 2Peter 1:20-2:1 quoted above.
Let’s reason together about this.
We have already looked at Isaiah 66:19-22 a little more realistically than the pro-tithers might want us to, so let us finish up with the other scripture that pro-tithe preachers claim is talking about them: Jeremiah 33:18 “ Neither shall the priests the Levites lack a man before me to offer burnt offerings and kindle meat offerings, and to do sacrifice continually.”
This is an accurate prophesy, to my knowledge. As long as there were sacrifices, there was always a qualified priest or Levite to perform this duty. Even though the Levites do not exist today, there are “none lacking” to perform the offerings because the offerings do not exist either; that Levitical position was eliminated when the need for the service was eliminated.
So even though Jeremiah’s prophesy is true, it has nothing whatsoever to do with today’s preachers.
The pro-tithers lean heavily on the statements that in effect say that as long as there is night and day there will be a king of David’s bloodline ruling us, and there will be Levites (or preachers, according to them) serving as priests.
I don’t know exactly what these prophesies are talking about, but then I do not pretend to know or even need to know what they mean in order for me to demonstrate what they certainly do not mean. By speaking about burnt offerings and sacrifices in plain language, it is self-evident that these scriptures are not talking about today’s preachers. We do not need a diploma from a very bad wizard to figure that out.
Could it be that the offices of king and priest of Israel is and has been occupied by Jesus himself, and that is another reason why there will “never lack” a descendant of David to sit on the throne, or a priest to offer sacrifices forever?
I would bet there are a dozen other ideas – any or all of them being much more valid than the pro-tither’s profit-enhancing way of interpreting these two scriptures. But then, that is prophesy for you; by its nature it is easy give a quick speculation about, and even easier to spin incredible conclusions from, if that is your bag to do so. It is, however, usually very difficult to truly interpret and give a practical application to. It should not be trusted to lightweights or novices, particularly dishonest ones. Again, as Peter said: do not mess around with prophesy; unless you are willing to truly pay the price for being wrong.
The flipside of all this is that Jeremiah said “there shall not lack a Levite…”, so we are back to the same question – Who says the preachers are the Levites, except for certain preachers themselves?is your bag to do so. It is, however, usually very difficult to truly interpret and give a practical application to. It should not be trusted to lightweights or novices, particularly dishonest ones. Again, as Peter said: do not mess around with prophesy; unless you are willing to truly pay the price for being wrong.
Believing anyone at face value, particularly someone taking your money or claiming to be an authority or somehow chosen, is like believing someone who says: “I am not a liar. We know I’m not a liar because we have just established the fact that I don’t lie by my statement that I am not a liar. So you can rest assured that whatever I tell you is true”
The same circular reasoning applies to someone who says they are “serving God”, or “God’s worker”, etc and they certainly would not lie to you because a “man of God” would not lie.
Are the pro-tithers so brilliant that only they can see the purportedly true message of these two scriptures that appear to the rest of us as meaning something else entirely? Is that why they are potentially worth 6-figure incomes? Is it because we need them to allegedly interpret these fantastic mysteries of scripture for us?
Or is this just a bunch of smoke being blown up our nose and out our ears? Are these the “evil surmisings” mentioned in 1Timothy 6:4? “He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings, perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that [financial] gain is godliness: fromsuch withdraw thyself.”
Is it possible that the use of preacher-speak and quasi-Biblical jargon that the preacher has applied to these two scriptures is meant to sound so profound, in-depth, and intelligent, that it kind of loses the listener in a haze of such confusion that instead of calling it nonsense, we all are supposed to just give up on trying to understand it and say “OK, OK, I believe you – you’re really smart because I never would have figured that out. Here’s my tithe”?
“And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.” (2Timothy 4:4)
“Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned: From which some having swerved have turned aside unto vain jangling;Desiring to be teachers of the law; understanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm.” (1Timothy 1:5-7)
John 7:18-19 “When a man’s doctrine is his own he is hoping to get honor for himself; but when he is working for the honor of the one who sent him [God], then he is sincere and by no means an impostor. Did not Moses give you the Law? And yet none of you keeps the Law!”
(Jerusalem Bible for the sake of clarity)
Would you not say that if pro-tithers have to stretch things this far by using vague, indefinite prophesies, and get this bizarre with their reasoning to try to negate God’s Law and convince you to tithe, they have lost the debate?
Remember: This Isaiah-Jeremiah hypothesis is another foundational point for the pro-tithe position. It is supposed to be their proof that they are entitled (as some kind of neo-Levites) to receive tithes.
If this core doctrine does not hold water, then what else is there upon which they can stake their claim of the having the right to receive tithe money in God’s behalf, in the face of clearly defined Law that says they can not do so?
2Timothy 2:14-15 “Remind them of these things, and solemnly charge them in the presence of God not to wrangle about words, which is useless and leads to the ruin of the hearers. Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.
Jeremiah 14:14: “Then the LORD said unto me, the prophets prophesy lies in my name: I sent them not, neither have I commanded them, neither spake unto them: they prophesy unto you a false vision and divination, and a thing of nought, and the deceit of their heart.”
Acts 20:29-31 “For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears.”
Peter specifically equates these principles taught by Old Covenant examples of false prophets and greedy shepherds as being active and applicable today to modern false teachers. 2Peter 2:1 “But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies…”
This lesson from Peter could be applied not only teachers but also to preachers, fraternities, politicians and governments, unproven “experts” and “authorities” – anyone to whom you shirk your status and responsibilities, and accept as an authority over yourself without a legitimate, beneficial reason. By deferring to preachers as your “authority”, you are placing them somewhere between you and Jesus, and between you and the truth.
Having said all that, let me add that you will not find the inverse of Peter’s statement to be true – you will not find Peter or anyone else in the New Testament stating that your teachers or leaders are in any way a new version of the Levites or prophets in a positive sense, or as having any kind of Levitical rights or authority. That notion was invented by the Roman Catholic Church, and I will document that fact later on, in the chapter called “Rome: The Mother of Today’s Tithe”.
The Big Kibosh
The whole concept of neo-Levites is nonsense, and we can easily put the “big kibosh” on it by reading Hebrews Chapter 7.
7:18 says “For there is verily a disannulling of the commandment going before for the weakness and unprofitableness thereof.”
To paraphrase that in more understandable terms, it says: “The previous deal provided in God’s Law, including that with the priests and with the Levites is cancelled because it turned out to be basically useless”
Yet the pro-tithe preachers want to be identified as Levites.
Jesus is a high priest of the order of Melchisadek (Heb 7:20-22). Jesus was not a Levite, Melchisadek was not a Levite.
Yet the pro-tithe preachers who claim to follow a “Melchisadek model” claim to be Levites. Does this make any sense at all?
These pro-tithers who claim to be Levites do not seem to believe Hebrews 13:10: “ Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines. For it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace; not with meats [from sacrifices], which have not profited them that have been occupied therein. We have an altar, [Jesus] whereof they have no right to eat which serve the tabernacle. “
That “altar” that they cannot partake of includes Hebrews 9:11-14 “But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building; Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.
For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh: How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? “
So that sounds like you either partake in the altar of Christ Jesus with all the associated benefits, or you are out of Christ; staying behind in the old system, burning sacrifices and “serving at the tabernacle”, giving and receiving tithe, and other “dead works”. Pro-tithe preachers seem to want to have their lox and bagel, and eat it too; particularly this man and his fallacious double-minded hypothesis about being some kind of Levite, yet claiming to be in Christ. Hebrews is an effort to clearly explain that you can not have it both ways.
In fact Hebrews has a lot to say about losing your salvation by not moving forward to take advantage of what has been offered. Chapter 2, verses 2-3 says we will be punished if we neglect our salvation. 3:7 refers to those who want to stay in the old system as being the rebellion. Chapter 4 talks about “not entering into His rest”, etc.
So with the cost so high, why do they cling to this Levite paradigm? Because it is the only way they can even remotely justify the tithe or their so-called right to accept it. The perceived “sure thing” of riches now,
trumps the mere possibility of treasures in heaven, I guess, and that is apparently where their priority lies. You could actually say they have sold their souls for a chance to get tithe money.
To be clear: I am not saying we should trash the entire Old Covenant Law, but we certainly do have some rightly dividing to do in order to get our facts straight. While the world is starving for true disciples and workers of God such as those that Christ described, the Levitical priesthood in any way, shape, or form has clearly been decommissioned, and any modern derivative thereof, such as a neo-Levitical, tithe-taking preacher, is without any scriptural validity whatsoever.
Does God’s Law Even Exist for these Preachers?
Jesus said to the Pharisees: “You make the Law to no effect through your traditions…”
Whenever you have men in a position from which they act as arbiter and define the Law as it applies to themselves, you are going to have corruption. We see this emblazoned in almost every act of government today, and we see it right here in these convoluted examples of pro-tithe arguments. Make no mistake: modern tithing and paid preachers are creations and traditions of man. They are not the will of God. Not if the words of scripture have any meaning at all.
God’s Law means what it says. If it says ”Thou shall not murder”, you know what it means, and you are not going to let a murderer talk his way out of a conviction with bizarre word wrangling from scripture. Particularly from prophesy.
If for example, you let off some child killer just because he quotes Obadiah’s prophecy about flame and stubble, or because he compares himself to King David killing Amalekites, then there is no Law at all. Someone could then talk their way out of any criminal behavior using misapplied scripture, and make the Law just empty words.
Yet there are those preachers who proclaim their “love for God’s Law” who may actually have had at some point in time a few reasonably accurate, beneficial teachings on that Law, but who then for some reason proceed to disrespect that Law and make it to none effect by their sophistic misuse of scripture regarding tithe.
God’s Law says the tithe is food items, and it says for Levites only; but Mr. Preacher says “No, no, no, do you really think that’s what God meant?” or “That was back then. It’s really money now, and you’re really supposed to give it to me… See what it says here in prophesy?”
Who do you think is telling the truth? Plainly worded scripture, or scripture-nullifying preachers who blaspheme the Holy Spirit by abusing such obscurely interpreted scriptures like those last two prophesies as their basis?
Jeremiah 8:8 “How dare you say: We are wise, and we possess the Law of Yahweh? But look how it has been falsified by the lying pen of the scribes!” (Jerusalem Bible for clarity)
De facto Self-condemnation
When I said at the beginning of this chapter “so apparently any prophesy that mentions the word Levite is in reference to preachers in New Covenant times”, I should have said “any favorable prophesy that mentions the word
As we briefly touched on in the chapter on Malachi, scriptural history predominantly depicts chronic abuse, greed, and corruption at the Levitical and priestly levels of Israelite society. Not in every case of course, but enough so that preachers seeking a Levitical status and benefits incur instead upon themselves a legacy of scriptural condemnation.
These indictments were not futuristic prophetic predictions, but are the Word of God in real time; identifying what was actually happening at the time of writing. Thus these writings do not harbor the hazards of misinterpretation associated with prophecies that concern future events. They are easily read in a straightforward manner as accurate examples and analogous references for today.
Many scriptures like this can be taken at face value and used to measure today’s preachers, because they are clear cut examples that relate to a certain spirit; a sinful nature that scripture gives us a timeless warning against. A spirit which was not only condemned when it was in the Old Covenant Levites, priests and false prophets, but also as it exists today in preachers who claim to be the modern counterpart to these notorious offices. They might just as well say “I’m a Pharisee, and proud of it”, or “I’m a Baal priest for Jesus”, because with a few exceptions Old and New Covenant preachers of various kinds are widely noted in scripture as being bad characters.
2Timothy 3:16-17 “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.”
Likewise, Peter also specifically equates the principles taught by Old Covenant examples of false prophets and greedy shepherds with New Covenant false teachers. 2Peter 2:1 “But there were false prophets also among the people, even as
there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies…”
I can do no better than Peter when I say that the doctrine of a modern tithe is a damnable heresy.
Another example of scriptural reprehension of crooked preachers is in Isaiah 28:14-15 “Wherefore hear the word of the LORD, ye scornful men, that rule this people which is in Jerusalem.
Because ye have said, We have made a covenant with death, and with hell are we at agreement; when the overflowing scourge shall pass through, it shall not come unto us: for we have made lies our refuge, and under falsehood have we hid ourselves:”
Jeremiah 6:13 “For from the least of them even unto the greatest of them every one is given to covetousness; and from the prophet even unto the priest every one dealeth falsely.”
Micah 3:11 “The heads thereof judge for reward, and the priests thereof teach for hire, and the prophets thereof divine for money: yet will they lean upon the LORD, and say, Is not the LORD among us? None evil can come upon us.”
Zepheniah 3:4 “Her prophets are light and treacherous persons: her priests have polluted the sanctuary, they have done violence to the law.”
2Kings 12:4-8 Talks about the Levites stealing silver meant to restore the temple. 2Chronicles 24:5-7 elaborates on that situation, stating that these
Levites were taking the freewill offerings of money meant for temple repair, and giving it to the Baalim.
Most of the book of Malachi has this same tone as the above scriptures. Ezekiel 34 is one long rebuke of preachers. Numerous other scriptures express this same message, including the words of Jesus. In fact in the story of the good Samaritan, Jesus implied that the preachers are not your “neighbor” by how He depicted their behavior. Here are a few more: Jeremiah 2:8-12, 8:10, 23:16-18; Micah 3:5-8; Hosea 6:9, Zechariah 11:1-11, Luke 11:39,12:1, 16:11-12,19:46; 3John 9-11. I am sure you will run across others.
These are the kind of scriptures that your preacher is identifying himself (or herself; corruption knows no gender) with when he claims to have a special Levitical status.
If the pro-tithe preachers want to label themselves as “priests”, “Levites”, “shepherds”, etc, then why would not scathing scriptures like these apply to them automatically?
The short answer to that question is: They do; at least in concept.
The longer answer is: They do, but the perception is that they do not because preachers do not want anyone to know that these nasty prophesies are pointing the finger at them. Instead they arrange their preaching agenda to associate only the “good scriptures” with themselves as a means of illuminating their character in the reflected light of saintly virtue that the positive scriptures depict.
It is the “I’m not a crook” technique: In the face of numerous scriptures that condemn their practices, position, and Baal priest-like behavior, they have no defense but to paint themselves as being above reproach and as being one of the few exceptions to the scriptural indictment of their profession as a whole. This cloaking device is primarily a diversionary tactic that shifts attention away from themselves by bad-mouthing their peers.
According to them, the bad prophesies and negative scriptures are for those other preachers. You know – the ones with whom your preacher is not in doctrinal agreement, and who therefore are not truth seekers; who are not preaching “Kingdom ideology”; who are not preaching this or that exactly the way your preacher would have them do it. You know… the competition.
Incredibly, they may even refer to these competing preachers as modern “Baal priests” who are in it for the money (just before they themselves pass the collection plate).
Well, how do we know that these “bad” scriptures are not warning us about the likes of the preacher that we happen to be listening to at that moment? The one who is promoting an un-Lawful tithe?
Remember: just because you believe what he is telling you, does not mean he is not a false teacher.
That is the trap: You believe him because he would never lie, and you know he is not lying because you believe him.
Preachers portray themselves in the light of hand-picked favorable scriptures and prophecies from which they hope to benefit themselves. This tick-like attachment to a defunct Levitical legacy is a dual effort that not only achieves free tithe money, but also make the victims feel privileged to give it to them.
It really is quite a remarkable game, and again, built on foundations provided by the Roman Catholic Church.
Meanwhile they totally ignore or divert to others the condemnation that God has laid upon that class of religious leaders and their strong heritage of materialism, corruption, an overdeveloped sense of self-importance, and even of idolatry; all of which helped cause the “failure” of the Levitical system in the first place. These are the more pertinent scriptures from which congregations should make a checklist to assess their own preacher.
To paraphrase a famous quote – “Being a ‘man of God’ (or substitute ‘seer’, ‘anointed’, ‘Kingdom Law Teacher’, ‘prophet’, or even ‘Christian’) is like being a lady – If you have to keep telling people that that is what you are, you’re not.”
As always, it is a here a little, there a little approach (Isaiah 28:13) that the pro-tithers use, as if scripture is a smorgasbord that they can pick and choose what they want to put on your plate in order to form the doctrinal meal that they want others to swallow.
On the other hand, while the various above mentioned Levite-condemning scriptures identify character traits that we should beware of, they cannot be used or construed to imbue scriptural authority to modern preachers, because that would require certain facts to be evident. Facts like scripture actually telling us that modern preachers have inherited Levitical authority and rights.
Peter clearly associates today’s preachers with the false prophets, but not with true prophets or as in any way relating to the position of a devout Levite.
Jesus told us that selflessness, service, and humility are the marks of leadership (Matt 23:11-12, John 22:24-27 etc), he never told us that His preachers or workers were to be a replacement for the Levites or “like a Levite” in any way.
Why do these preachers go out on a limb like this to defend the tithe with these outlandish and indefensible arguments that they cobble together out of prophesy? It is because they can get away with it, and because these tales are the best they can come up with.
They get away with it because aggressively presented ignorance can often seem like expertise in the field of prophesy. Far-fetched stories like this are
usually presented verbally, with all the persuasive techniques applied and done so in a closed setting, without a challenge to the veracity of the preaching.
That is why, when they present these ideas to a crowd they may sound believable to the unwary on the first take, but when explained in plain written form and stripped down to the basic premise of what they are actually saying, their “prophesy says we’re Levites” argument sounds like the Idiocracy that it really is.
Logic tells you that if they had sound, irrefutable (even plausible), plainly stated scriptures that backed up their position, they would use them. They would shove them in the face of anyone who even thought about questioning the tithe. So where are these sound, irrefutable scriptures? I am still waiting to hear the first one.
If there were any legitimate pro-tithe scriptures to be discovered anywhere, tithe advocates would move heaven and earth to find even one. Instead as you can see with this “preachers are Levites” argument, all they have come up with, once again, is an elaborate hatful of nothing.
Almost a Levite: If it Quacks Like a Duck…
(It may be a hunter with a bird call)
The safety net to their “prophesy-ordained-us-as-neo-Levites” high wire act described above, is one in which these preachers draw a very vague line and say that they are not actually Levites, but that, since they do the same job as the Levites did (presumably preaching God’s Word and “teaching the Law”), that they deserve to be tithed to like the Levites were. This assertion of theirs is not true at all; it is another self-serving opinion, that is every bit as false as the previous self-aggrandizing representation of themselves. It is so far from the truth that we can not even call it an exaggeration, but an extremely transparent excuse for them to get money that they are not entitled to.
Numbers 18:21-22 “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. Neither must the children of Israel [non-Levite] henceforth come nigh the tabernacle of the congregation, lest they bear sin, and die.First off, “Levite” is a genetic seed line, not just a job description. So any preacher who says “they do the same job as the Levites” is making an irrelevant statement, even if it were true.
Today’s preachers can not heist the tithe benefit of that specific covenant under any circumstances any more than penguins in sandals can claim to be heirs to the covenant of Abraham’s seed line.
Secondly, the true Levites had a whole roster of duties and responsibilities assigned to them beside the teaching of God’s Law. This included lots of physical labor like handling livestock and carcasses, gutting, bleeding, and skinning of sacrificed animals; firing the alter, cleaning out ashes, maintaining the temple, meticulously cleaning the utensils and vessels, and all of the rituals involved, not just one day a week as some might think, but every day (Heberews 10:11) Apparently the work of Levites was physically taxing enough that they were made to semi-retire at age 50 (Numbers 8:25).
They also gave physical exams and prescribed scriptural remedies for various diseases (Lev 13), and performed circumcisions. Do today’s “neo-Levite” preachers do that? Do they arrest, jail, or punish evildoers? Not only do they not
do so, but they will preach against anyone else but the government for doing so. Real Levites were battle-ready security forces and reserve warriors (1Chronicles 26:29-32).
These Levitical activities are all in addition to the study, teaching, judging and administering, etc.
As far as their claim of teaching the Law goes – well, you are witnessing what they have done when they teach about the tithe. What makes you think that their other teachings are any more accurate? They may be, they may not. If you can not trust them; if they have earned the right to be viewed with suspicion; if you have to research every single thing that they teach, then you might as well save your time and go directly to the source which is the Bible and read it for yourself. That way, you will not have to go through the trouble of un-learning and de-programming yourself of the so-called truth that they taught you, but which later turned out to be a lie.
Personal study of the Bible is a more scriptural, reliable, and productive approach anyway. If you do not feel qualified, that is all the more reason to read it. Believe me, it does not take a lot of study to realize that the teachings of these preachers are wrong at least as often as they are right.
For today’s air-conditioned preachers to compare themselves to the work of Levites is every bit as strange as the night watchman at Walmart saying he is a modern Roman praetorian guard.
It is all an invented self-aggrandizing “I’m entitled”, “I’m a Levite”, “I’m special”, “I’m Napoleon Bonaparte” type of argument that, if it were claimed by anyone other than a preacher, they would be described as full of themselves or a delusional nut; but somehow because it is claimed by the man in the pulpit it is acceptable or worse; sometimes it is actually believed.
Even if we humor these preachers and say that they do indeed serve in some vague capacity a few of the same selected functions as Levites, their claim to a tithe has no basis in objective reality, because Christian preachers are not supposed to be Levites, or Pharisees, or anything else they have imagined themselves to be. Any similarity in certain duties or aspects of job description to these ancient groups is purely incidental.
Jesus changed the payment terms for His workers, if these preachers really are His workers. Most preachers are employees of a church corporation, or independent entrepreneurs working primarily for themselves, with the façade or secondary purpose being that they are working for Jesus.
For example, these preachers that say they are “doing the work of the Levites” are not even putting the tithe in the storehouse and then distributing it like the Levites did.
In other words: Are all of the pro-tithe preachers pooling the tithe money that they have collected, and then dividing it evenly among preachers like the Levites did with tithed food? No, of course not; they are simply working the angles, and what is given to Preacher X, stays with Preacher X.
This Levite business is just a cover story to mask their corrupted, hireling personal nature. These are welfare capitalists that we are talking about, not socialists or scriptural idealists. They will imitate the Levite status only to the extent that it achieves them free tithe money, and ignore any other Levitical protocols, restrictions, or duties.
More negative implications.
As it is with their “prophesy says that we’re Levites” argument, we could take these preachers who claim to do the same job as the Levites, and very easily make a convincing case that they are actually doing the same job as the “false prophets” (Jeremiah 5:31), “fat shepherds”(Ezekiel Chapter 34 throughout), or “greedy dogs” (Isaiah 56:11) of the Old Covenant; or the “howling impostors” (2Timothy 3:13) or “wolves” (Acts 20:29-31) that Paul speaks of and spent three years warning his people about.
Do not forget that the Levitical priesthood, just like Israelite line of kings was basically a failed system. Not that God failed; it was His People who
dropped the ball. The lure of materialistic gain was apparently just too much to resist for all but the very exceptional persons. Starting with Aaron’s sons you had villainy. The upright priest like the righteous king was the rare exception, not the rule. Why should we volunteer to saddle ourselves with the same Old Covenant type of corrupt authority structure, when the simplicity and personal responsibility of New Covenant salvation is such a no-brainer?
To conclude this section – These preachers are simply rationalizing away their tithe fraud when they put forth this argument that “they do the Levites’ job”. If they really did do even a part of the job that they say they do, they would be teaching the Law for what it says and not what they want it to say, and we would not have to have this discussion about a bogus tithe.
Jesus confirmed the standard payment of room and board (basic necessities) for His workmen as part of a criteria of non-materialism generally known as the New Covenant higher calling which was actually modeled after the lifestyle of the true prophets of old. which include His austere requirements and standards for preachers.