By Ifiokabasi Udo
I state here without fear of contradiction and unequivocally that all glory and honor go to our Heavenly Father the Doer of all things for doing this work. In humility, I say Thank You Loving Father.
To my readers, thank you for making 2019 memorable and mostly for your encouraging words, questions and comments; let the blessings of God abide with you in this year 2020, Amen.
This time we will be examining some teachings that have caused friction online or may have been misunderstood or misinterpreted. In most cases, the contenders leave each other with frayed nerves without reaching a compromise. Without wasting much time, we move into our discussion;
TITHE PAYMENT CONTROVERSY
This has been a subject of controversy in recent times, majorly because of the flamboyance that people have noticed within religious circles. Quite recently, is the news that a Pastor in Ghana was beaten by his church members for using tithe money to purchase a Range Rover for himself (John 2:16). Be it true or false, the story underscores the feeling people have when it comes to tithe payment and contributions in church. Some churches call the contributions “Seed Sowing”. Many critics have opined that while the people are suffering their Pastors are feeding fat with the congregation’s hard-earned money when in fact they do not deserve to receive such money. Others go as far as condemning Malachi for bringing such woes to the world. Some opine that the verse in Malachi was misinterpreted.
Regardless of all these misgivings, one thing remains definite; God’s instruction must be adhered to and in it is life and peace (Matthew 5:18). Ever read the Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25:1-30). God created man in His image and likeness; to superintend over all other creations and to give account of his stewardship. God asked Abel and Cain to present the account of their stewardship. Abel presented the best of his produce but Cain his brother went and picked the worst of all he had and presented before God. He may have opined that God owns all things and may not have need for a small fraction he was to present like most of us think today. What was God’s reaction to Cain’s gift? (Hebrews 11:4, 1st John 3:12, Jude 1:11). Most parents waste no time in introducing their successful children to their friends when they visit home for holiday. Most who are lucky to have wealthy children waste no time in letting their friends know how successful their children have become and what the children have achieved. Some brandish gifts that they received from such children and try not to mention the child that is not doing well. Same joy in Heaven when a child gives good account and when a child repents of his bad deeds, He expects us to give account of our stewardship in gratitude to His immeasurable love (Colossians 3:15, Romans 1:21). Man is on earth primarily to serve God and whatever he has is primarily for that service (Genesis 24:48, Exodus 32:8, John 4:24, Revelation 20:4). The problem is not the instruction that man should pay a tenth of his income as tithe but the occupation of the house of God by thieves and robbers who do not merit to receive such tithe and to administer it (Isaiah 42:24, Jeremiah 7:11, Ezekiel 7:22, Hosea 7:1, 1st Corinthians 11:27-29). That is where the love of God comes in, for he says, “Take heed that ye may not be deceived and says, test the spirits to know which is of God” (1st John 4:1). The good news is, “if you pay your one-tenth tithe righteously like in the days of old and it is diverted, that person that diverted it has eaten unworthily, therefore, he pays the price for that sin and you who paid with a pure heart sees God since that is the promise to those that are pure in heart” (Matthew 5:8, 1st Corinthians 11:27-28). One-tenth tithe is specific and many that have paid righteously do testify of its benefits (Malachi 3:10). Paying your tithe does not mean that you will not support in other things that may require financial contributions; however, you must do it according to your ability. To whom much is given, much is expected. He searches your heart and knows your abilities since He is all knowing. As our Lord Jesus Christ said, “Do not think that I came to destroy the law or the prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill” (Matthew 5:17). The following verses buttress the importance of tithe payment;
Genesis 14:20, Leviticus 27:30-32, Numbers 18:26, Malachi 3:8-10, Matthew 23:23, Luke 11:42, Hebrews 7:5-10.
IT IS APPOINTED FOR MAN TO DIE ONCE AFTER THAT JUDGMENT
This statement is clear and incontestable; however, we must understand what death means. The bible says that Jesus wept. When told that Lazarus was dead, He replied, “Lazarus is not dead but sleeping”, in man’s context Lazarus was dead. To most people, that statement would sound as a joke because Lazarus had been dead for days and in the tomb. Our Lord Jesus Christ after offering prayers called out to Lazarus and he emerged from the grave because he was not dead but asleep (John 11:1-44). Read the following stories of similar instances (Matthew 9:23-26, Mark 5:38-43, Luke 8:50-56). While we cry that the man or woman is dead, he or she could have gone somewhere else for another assignment (John 11:4-11). Many who have slept briefly have returned to tell stories of what they had seen in other places, worlds or planes of manifest.
This brings us to reincarnation. Just like a plant goes from a seed dies then germinates to become a tree of many branches and perhaps fruits, same does man sleep and reincarnate into a new form. Just as Adam slept and his rib was used to create Eve, same you sleep and continue your journey elsewhere. You only die when these cycles are over which is that death that you die once awaiting judgment (John 11:24-25). As it is written, “when a tree is useless it is cut down” (Matthew 7:19) and “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). I wonder why one person would commit sin now and his sins will be visited on his generation. Who is that generation? The same man who committed the sin. The first man Adam was made a living soul while the last Adam was made a quickening (1st Corinthians 15:45). The law of retributive justice is Karma, which means that you pay the price for every good or evil deed. If as President, you forcefully married your subordinate’s wife, when you sleep finally and have another chance to come back, you will return as a subordinate and your wife will be forcefully married too to balance the situation. You also will be in grief. To avoid this, when given the opportunity to show love, please show love and try to do what is right always. In Karma, you are judged daily, and your good deeds bring you good tidings, likewise your bad deeds that bring you evil. A certain man became cripple suddenly and went around to seek a solution to the problem. Fortunately for him, he went to a place where he was told that in his previous generation, he and his friends saw a cripple under a tree and decided to stone him to death for being cripple, so they did. Before the man’s death he placed a curse on them that they will be mocked and killed like he was killed for doing nothing. He confirmed that he used to see things of that nature in his dreams and prayers of retribution were offered. He became whole again. Peter put back your sword in its sheath for he who picks the sword shall die by the sword (Luke 22:49-52, John 18:8-11, Matthew 26:50-54). John the Baptist is Elijah who is to come (Matthew 11:11-15).
THE SAME WAY HE WAS TAKEN UP IS THE SAME WAY HE WILL RETURN.
Heaven and earth shall pass away but my words shall never go unfulfilled. The three wise men with their gifts followed the star to the Manger where our Lord Jesus Christ was born (Matthew 2:1). Heavens and Earth rejoiced over His birth. Many miracles took place at that instance. The sign of His birth was so strong that even a Cyrenian by name Simon journeyed to see this child though could not make it in time (Luke 23:26). Herod and his men chased after this child and to crown it all His Father descending in the form of a dove said, “this is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased of”. Did they believe? Even if Christ had come glaringly from the sky, would they have believed in Him? (Mark 14:48-49). Our Lord Jesus Christ told Peter in the presence of the soldier that all He needed to do was to ask His Father to send Him legions of angels from above and they would do prevent them from hurting Him. Revelation 12:5 reads, “And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God and to his throne”. In the parable of vineyard, our Lord Jesus Christ asked, “when the owner of the vineyard comes what will He do to those husband men for killing His son and others who came before Him”. The question is, what channel did they come into the world and which channel will the owner use? (Matthew 21:33-43). In every sojourn of God on earth there is always jubilation in the heavens for salvation has come to men. He always comes with His family and His people that the scriptures might be fulfilled (John 17:12, John 17: 1 to end). God plans His world and we are only witnessing to His plan. Just as Mary came to give birth to our Lord Jesus Christ, Judas was born to betray Him, Pharisees to fight Him and ensure His mission comes to pass, Pilate to affirm His crucifixion; same applies to Him coming down to dwell or judge His favorite creation, He comes with the Host of Heaven (Revelation 11:15-17). That is why the bible says that the true worshippers of God shall worship God in Spirit and in Truth for He seek such to worship Him (John 4:21-24). You cannot be in flesh to discern the things of the spirit for spirit begets spirit and flesh begets flesh (John 3:6). Did Christ go anywhere after His ascension? (Ephesians 4: 8-10). It says that His body will not suffer corruption; however, it does not say that He being Spirit will not continue doing His work in Spirit and in Truth and that is why He is the Living God (John 1:33, 4:24, 6:33, John 14:17, Acts 14:15, 9:26). He is a life-giving spirit and can be seen in all places and planes of manifest at the same time. That is why He can watch over a city that the watch man has been watching in vain (Psalms 127:1). The words of salvation are child’s play to those that perish. In addition, they who were rejected shall be called the sons of the Living God, why the word Living. Where the carcass is, that is where the eagles will gather (Matthew 24:28, John 1:50). The words of God remain sacrosanct.
HOW CAN GOD BE A MAN?
If the bible in John 1:1-3 says, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made”. Who was the bible referring to as the word that was in the beginning? Doesn’t it mean that our Lord Jesus Christ was God? Little wonder then He said, you have been with Me yet you do not know Me, I and My Father are one (John 14:9-10, John 7:28, John 10:33-39). To them, only that statement was a great blasphemy worthy of death (John 10:33). Won’t you wonder the deity of a person that says that He will destroy the temple and build it in three days? (Mark 14:58). How odd the whole thing sounded considering that He was born to peasant parents and in a manger meant for housing animals whereas King Herod with so much wealth and power was there and perhaps Pilate. These seeming controversies have led many Jews to think that Christ is yet to come. They even opine that He was not God but the question is, “why then should many religious books and traditions acknowledge His birth and His works”? That means that His birth and works must be incontestable. If He was God, doesn’t that tell us that God is can be man? In John 10:34-38, Christ questioned them thus, “is it not written in your law, “I said, “you are god’s”?, if He called them gods whom the word of God came (and the scripture cannot be broken), do you say of Him whom the Father sanctified and sent into the world, “You are blaspheming because I said, “I am the Son of God”? If I do not the works of My Father do not believe Me, but if I do, though you do not believe Me, believe the works that you may know and believe that the Father is in Me, and I in Him. If Holy Spirit came in the form of a dove to announce the arrival of His beloved son to the world (Luke 3:22) and came in the midst of the fire the experience of the burning bush (Exodus 3:1-6), became the rock that Moses struck (1st Corinthians 10:1-5), what stops Him from taking the form of the one He created in His likeness and image? (Revelation 22:4, Psalm 16:10, Acts 2:31, Acts 13:35, Revelation 3:12, Revelation 12:5). Let’s not forget that He is all and in all (Ephesians 4:10, Galatians 3:27, 1st Corinthians 3:16). If the Herod, Pilate, Pharisees, and Sadducees knew these, would they have nailed Jesus? For the fulfillment of the scriptures and to bring salvation to man, Christ came that He may pave the way for the coming of the Comforter and His eventual rulership which is the Theocratic reign of Christ on Earth for this world has become the Throne of Jehovah God and His Christ and They shall reign forever and ever, Amen (Revelation 11:15, 12:10).
IF YOU SEE GOD, YOU DIE.
Do not forget that we were created in the image and likeness of God. Imagine this scenario; your parents sent you to school to study and at the end of the term you take first position. On account of your position in school you become anxious and excited waiting for your parents to pick you up from school but in contrary, if you scored the lowest and you are asked to repeat, you feel like hiding from your parents and wish it never happened. Imagine being Adam in the garden. He was deceived to eat the forbidden fruit against God’s instruction and God called out to Adam severally with no reply. Guilt and shame had overtaken him. Why would a parent not want to see His best performing child or children? Would the bible have made a mistake when it said, “Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God”? (Matthew 5:8). The true worshippers of God shall worship God in spirit and in truth. What does it mean? (John 4:23-24). If God is our Father, why then can’t we see Him? If Christ said I and my Father are one, if you see Me you see My Father, then who was Christ? (John 10:30). The bible says that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is the Lord, to the glory of God the Father (Philippians 2:11, 1st John 4:3), so who was Christ. It also says that he who has ears should hear therefore many will not hear or see the glory of God for it is not given them to hear or see such glory (John 10:27, Matthew 11:27, Romans 9:16, Matthew 11:15, Mark 4:9, 1st Corinthians 1:18, John 17:12). It is God’s prerogative to reveal Himself to whomever He wishes according to His master plan. No wonder Paul the Apostle having considered his calling in relationship to his past said, “it is not of him that runs or wills but of God that shows mercy (Romans 9:16). Many have sat, wined and dined with God yet do not know that they were sitting wining and dining with God. Jacob built an altar to commemorate the day he wrestled with God and lived (Genesis 32:30).
It is advantageous to be in spirit always for no man knows the exact time or date the Lord will visit to require the account of stewardship. Do not be quick to condemn but pray the Holy Spirit to come and reveal His hidden mysteries to you that you may not speak ill against what you do not know and perish for that reason (Matthew 12:31). Let the cares and temptations of the world not prevent us from receiving the greater glory awaiting all true children of God.
Thank You Loving Father the Quickening Spirit.