TITHES AND OFFERINGS
DEFINITION: The biblical definition of tithing is setting aside for the work of the Lord a tenth of all one earns or receives. Offerings are special gifts above the tithe that are given to the work of the Lord.
FACTS ABOUT TITHES AND OFFERINGS:
The first record of tithing was when Abraham paid tithe to Melchizedek (Genesis 14:20).
Tithing was not just done under Old Testament law. Abraham’s tithing was done more than 400 years before the law was given. New Testament believers also tithed and gave offerings from their income (1 Corinthians 16:2. See also Luke 18:12-13).
Tithes and offerings are important to God. If a person fails to tithe, it is considered robbing God: “Will a man rob God? Yet you rob me. But you ask, ‘How do we rob you?’ In tithes and offerings” (Malachi 3:8.).
You can borrow from the tithe, but if you do you must include 20% interest when you repay it (Leviticus 27:31).
God blesses those who tithe. Those who do not tithe are under a curse: “You are under a curse–the whole nation of you–because you are robbing me. Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it” (Malachi 3:9-10).
DEALING WITH TITHES AND OFFERINGS:
Ask God to forgive you if you have not been tithing. The prophet admonished the people to consider their ways, repent, and renew their covenant of tithing with the Lord (Haggai 1:5-11).
Set aside 10% of all you earn to give to the work of the Lord. Do this first before you pay any bills or spend money on anything else. In some cultures, as in Old Testament times, people tithe off of the produce of their land when there is no monetary exchange operative.
Set aside funds above your tithe to give as offerings to special works: Missions, the poor, specialized ministries, etc.
WHAT GOD’S WORD SAYS ABOUT TITHES AND OFFERINGS:
A tithe of everything from the land, whether grain from the soil or fruit from the trees, belongs to the Lord; it is holy to the Lord. If a man redeems any of his tithe, he must add a fifth of the value to it. (Leviticus 27:30-31)
Honor the Lord with your wealth, with the first fruits of all your crops; then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine. (Proverbs 3:9-10)
Consider your ways (and set your mind on what has come to you). Now therefore thus says the Lord of hosts: Consider your ways (and set your mind on what has come to you). You have sown much, but you have reaped little; you eat, but you do not have enough; you drink, but you do not have your fill, you clothe yourselves, but no one is warm; and he who earns wages has earned them to put them in a bag with holes in it…You looked for much (harvest), and it came to little; and even when you brought that home, I blew it away. Why? says the Lord of hosts. Because of My house which lies waste, while you yourselves run each man to his own house (eager to build and adorn it). Therefore the heavens above you (for your sake) withhold the dew, and the earth withholds its produce. And I have called for a drought upon the land and the hill country, upon the grain, the fresh fruit juice, the oil, upon what the ground brings forth, upon men and cattle, and upon all the (wearisome) toil of men’s hands. (Haggai 1:5-6, 9-11, AMP)
“The silver is mine and the gold is mine,” declares the Lord Almighty. (Haggai 2:8)
“Will a man rob God? Yet you rob me. But you ask, ‘How do we rob you?’ In tithes and offerings. You are under a curse–the whole nation of you–because you are robbing me. Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it.” (Malachi 3:8-10)
But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. (Matthew 6:33)
Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. (Luke 6:38)
…The Lord Jesus himself said: “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” (Acts 20:35)
On the first day of every week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with his income…(1 Corinthians 16:2)
Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work (2 Corinthians 9:6-8)
(See also “Finances” in this database. For detailed teaching regarding finances obtain the Harvestime International Network publication entitled “Divine Provision” available at http://www.harvestime.org)
DEFINITION: Oppression is a feeling of being heavily burdened, mentally or physically, by troubles, adverse conditions, anxiety, etc.
FACTS ABOUT OPPRESSION:
Oppression is not the same as possession by evil spirits. Oppression is a spiritual attack from the outside rather than inward possession by demonic powers. Oppression is usually caused by an attack of Satan upon your mind with fear, doubt, worry, torment, etc., that results in a heaviness of spirit–almost like a cloud that surrounds you. A believer can be oppressed, but not possessed because the Holy Spirit cannot abide in the same vessel with a demon.
Oppression can include physical conditions. Read the story of the woman who was oppressed with a physical condition for years and was healed by Jesus (Luke 13:10-11). This woman was not possessed, rather she was oppressed by a demonically-caused physical condition.
How oppressing spirits gain access. Evil spirits of oppression gain access through what you hear and see, through circumstances, and through negative influences by media or people around you.
Jesus came to deliver those oppressed by the devil. That includes you! The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work. (1 John 3:8)
God has given you power over oppression–not only over oppression, but over all the power of the enemy (Luke 10:19).
DEALING WITH OPPRESSION:
Recognize that oppression is Satanic. In Luke 13:10-17, the woman’s condition was caused by oppression of the enemy. Satan also creates difficult circumstances which cause oppression. These can be easily recognized because they result in confusion–and God is not the author of confusion (1 Corinthians 14:33).
Recognize the signs of oppression. It may be a chronic sickness or a mental oppression that includes mental torment, confusion, doubt, restlessness, or an inability to reason. Emotional manifestations such as withdrawal and crying may also be present.
Determine how oppression is gaining access to your life. Satan causes oppression, but other sources contribute to it such as difficult circumstances and negative input from TV, Internet, music, and unwholesome literature. Deal with these issues and eliminate what is sinful.
Seek forgiveness for oppression that is the result of sin. Confess any sins that may have contributed to the oppression. For example, viewing pornography can result in shame and oppression by the enemy.
Pray a prayer of deliverance. Focus your prayer on the specific problems associated with your oppression. Go to the root cause: Satan and his demonic forces. Bind the spirits of oppression so that they are unable to operate.
Praise and worship the Lord. Satan hates praise and worship and the power of oppression will be broken in the presence of your sacrifice of praise (1 Samuel 16:23). Do it whether you feel like it or not. That is the meaning of a sacrifice of praise.
Eliminate practices that contribute to oppression. These include television programs, music, literature, and negative associates that are contributing to your oppression.
WHAT GOD’S WORD SAYS ABOUT OPPRESSION:
He went down with them and stood on a level place. A large crowd of his disciples was there and a great number of people from all over Judea, from Jerusalem, and from the coast of Tyre and Sidon, who had come to hear him and to be healed of their diseases. Those troubled by evil spirits were cured, (Luke 6:17-18)
Behold! I have given you authority and power to trample upon serpents and scorpions, and [physical and mental strength and ability] over all the power that the enemy [possesses]; and nothing shall in any way harm you. (Luke 10:19, AMP)
Read the story of the deliverance of the oppressed woman in Luke 13:10-16.
How God anointed and consecrated Jesus of Nazareth with the [Holy] Spirit and with strength and ability and power; how He went about doing good and, in particular, curing all who were harassed and oppressed by [the power of] the devil, for God was with Him. (Acts 10:38 AMP)
The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work. (1 John 3:8)
DEFINITION: The word “occult” means to “hide or conceal a thing.” Cults are organized
groups of people who participate in phenomena that is satanically originated. Cults hide and conceal these evil practices behind the cloak of religion. Sometimes they even worship Satan and demons.
FACTS ABOUT THE OCCULT:
The occult is real. Its power is derived from Satan.
The occult has many Satanically-inspired practices. These include astrology and horoscopes which use stars to predict events and give guidance, Ouija boards, levitation, astral projection, and séances. Reading of tea leaves, tarot cards, pictures, bumps on the head, palms of the hand and crystal balls are occult practices used for guidance. Witchcraft is part of the occult–using spells, potions, charms, magic, rituals, séances, divinations, methods of chance, divining rods, visions, drawings, and similar unscriptural methods of guidance. Shamanism, Santeria, New Age, mystics, gurus, and communication with the dead are all part of the occult. As a believer, you are to look to the Lord for guidance, not occult practices like astrology, fortune telling, reading palms or tea leaves (Psalm 37:23; Isaiah 30:21).
You need not fear the occult. If you are a believer, walking in fellowship with God, and not dabbling in Satanic rituals and practices, then the occult holds no power over you (1 John 4:4; Luke 10:19).
Participating in the occult is sin. God warned Israel to avoid every type of Satanic influence.
He said to “…destroy all their pictures, and destroy all their molten images, and quite pluck down all their high places” (Numbers 33:52). Read the additional instructions in Deuteronomy 18:9-14. God’s people were to have no contact with the work of Satan in any form.
DEALING WITH THE OCCULT:
Pray for forgiveness for participating in the occult. God expressly forbids participating in such practices. It is sin.
Verbally renounce the occult. Renounce any evil oaths you have made and your allegiance and participation in demonic practices.
Destroy anything that relates to the occult. This would include idols, lucky charms, potions, amulets, crystal balls, games, divining devices, and other similar items. This is what people did in the New Testament when they became believers (Acts 19:19). Destroy any evil literature, music, movies, games, etc.
Do not spend time in places where there is demonic influence. The Bible records that God manifested Himself in special places such as in the temple and the upper room of a house on the Day of Pentecost. It is equally true that Satanic power is manifested in places dedicated to evil. This would include places where evil pictures are shown, drinking and riotous behavior is occurring, séances are being held, worship of Satan is occurring–anywhere sinful practices are going on. Avoid such environments, because Satan’s power is especially strong there. You cannot pray the Lord’s prayer, “Lead me not into temptation” and then deliberately put yourself in such a place. Do not associate with leaders, teachers, prophets, or ministers of the occult (1 Corinthians 10:20).
Bind the spirits of the occult so that they can no longer operate. Jesus said: “I tell you the truth, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven” (Matthew 18:18).
Avoid anything related to the occult. This includes literature, movies, music, rituals, objects, and fellowship with others in the occult.
Establish habits of prayer and study of God’s Word. To avoid being deceived by occult teachings and practices, examine all you hear in light of God’s Word. Be like the Bereans of New Testament times who “…were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the Word with all readiness of mind, and searched the Scriptures daily, whether those things were so” (Acts 17:11). Through regular prayer and Bible study, demonic powers will be broken over your life.
Reject any doctrine that is not in the Word of God. The Apostle Paul warned: “…but there be some that trouble you and would pervert the Gospel of Christ. But though we or an angel from Heaven preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed” (Galatians 1:7-8).
WHAT GOD’S WORD SAYS ABOUT THE OCCULT:
Do not practice divination or sorcery. (Leviticus 19:26)
Do not turn to mediums or seek out spiritists, for you will be defiled by them. I am the Lord your God. (Leviticus 19:31)
I will set my face against the person who turns to mediums and spiritists to prostitute himself by following them, and I will cut him off from his people. (Leviticus 20:6)
Destroy all their carved images and their cast idols, and demolish all their high places. (Numbers 33:52)
Let no one be found among you who sacrifices his son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead. Anyone who does these things is detestable to the Lord. (Deuteronomy 18:10-12)
When men tell you to consult mediums and spiritists, who whisper and mutter, should not a people inquire of their God? Why consult the dead on behalf of the living? (Isaiah 8:19)
Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.” Then you will defile your idols overlaid with silver and your images covered with gold; you will throw them away like a menstrual cloth and say to them, “Away with you!” (Isaiah 30:21-22)
Let your astrologers come forward, those stargazers who make predictions month by month, let them save you from what is coming upon you. (Isaiah 47:13)
So do not listen to your (false) prophets, your diviners, your interpreters of dreams, your mediums or your sorcerers…(Jeremiah 27:9)
No wise man, enchanter, magician or diviner can explain to the king the mystery he has asked about, but there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries. (Daniel 2:27-28)
I will destroy your witchcraft and you will no longer cast spells. (Micah 5:12)
“I tell you the truth, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” (Matthew 18:18)
I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you. (Luke 10: 19)
Many of those who believed now came and openly confessed their evil deeds. A number who had practiced sorcery brought their scrolls together and burned them publicly. When they calculated the value of the scrolls, the total came to fifty thousand drachmas. In this way the word of the Lord spread widely and grew in power. (Acts 19:18-20)
…I do not want you to be participants with demons. You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons too; you cannot have a part in both the Lord’s table and the table of demons.(1 Corinthians 10:20-21)
But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned! As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned! (Galatians 1:8-9)
The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. (Galatians 5:19-21)
Command certain men not to teach false doctrines any longer nor to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies. These promote controversies rather than God’s work–which is by faith. (1 Timothy 1:3-4)
Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives’ tales; rather, train yourselves to be godly. (1 Timothy 4:7)
You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. (1 John 4:4)
They did not stop worshiping demons, and idols of gold, silver, bronze, stone and wood –idols that cannot see or hear or walk. Nor did they repent of their murders, their magic arts, their sexual immorality or their thefts. (Revelation 9:20-21)
But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars–their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death. (Revelation 21:8)
Outside are… those who practice magic arts, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters and everyone who loves and practices falsehood. (Revelation 22:15)