Home / Where do tithes go? What is the house of God
It can be said that most pastors of churches may say, the tithes of believers should be put into the offering box or bag of the church; because the church is the house of God. This is only half right, because outside the church, there are some gospel mission agencies that preach the gospel; do they belong to the house of God?
Since the concept of “House of God” comes from the Old Testament books of the Bible (please refer to Chapter 3 of Malachi), let us look at the characteristics of “House of God” at that time. First, the “House of God” refers to the Jewish religious system, consisting of priests and Levites who assist the priests in serving. They represent their God to shepherd and lead the Israelites to worship God, preside over dedication and other religious ceremonies, and manage and maintain the temple. Second, the servants in the “House of God” are priests and Levites. They can only engage in service between God and man, and cannot engage in any other work. Third, although the priest families and Levites have their own property such as land and houses (these are only the basic guarantees of their material life), they do not rely on their own efforts on the earth as a means of earning a living; instead of that, they depend on the offerings from the people of God for their daily necessities. If we look at the records of the division of land by the twelve tribes of Israel, we know that the priests and Levites do not have separate territories, but are scattered among the territories of the twelve tribes.
When we use these three characteristics of the house of God to look at some churches, the Christian churches that truly fulfill God’s teachings are of course God’s house. Similarly, when we use these three characteristics to measure some Christian organizations, if they meet these characteristics, they should also be called as the house of God; because Christian organizations are non-profit religious institutions like the church. Let us use the example of Living in Jesus Ministries to see if it meets the standards of the “House of God”. First, this organization is dedicated to preaching all biblical Truth. Secondly, this organization is non-profit, providing free gospel programs and articles for audiences and readers, so it has obtained tax exemption from the IRS. Third, there are no advertisements on all websites and webpages of the Living in Jesus Ministries; and the ministry does not sell any “gospel products.” Therefore, we rely solely on the financial support from Christian listeners to carry out our ministry. And any monetary dedication is unconditional and there is no exchange of benefits with donations.
In the New Testament era, apart from the early churches, there were no Christian organizations like today, so at that time the “House of God” no longer referred to the Jewish synagogue, but only to the newly born Christian church. Therefore, the donations of church believers were used in God’s house, including supporting the ministry of preachers. The apostle Paul said in the sixth chapter of Galatians chapter 6: “Let him that is taught in the word communicate unto him that teacheth in all good things.” Today believers may not only receive the teaching of the Bible in the church, but also receive the spiritual education and help from the websites on the Internet. Therefore, when they accept the teaching of a Christian organization, they become the educated audience. Therefore, they may dedicate their donations to Christian organizations so that those who serve God full-time have no shortage of needs. Therefore, when believers participate in the church’s Sunday worship and are taught by ministries of Christian organizations, they should devote a part of their tithes to the church and also a part of it to Christian organizations. Of course, when Christians are more confident and participate in the ministry of the church, and are willing to make more donations than tithes with their faith, they can use their money to support the church while also supporting non-profit Christian organizations that conform to God’s heart.
Moses Sun wrote this article. The first edition in Chinese was published on November 10, 2013; and the second edition on October 21, 2020. The edition of translation was published on November 15, 2020.
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