Sunday, June 23, 2013

Max & Donna at 50th Anniversary in the Ministry
and Max's 80th Birthday Celebration, May 15, 2013
By Pastor Max Solbrekken, D.D.
      God set forth the principle of tithing in the Garden of Eden when He reserved for Himself the ‘Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil’. It was ‘out of bounds’ and forbidden to Adam and Eve.
      The Bible says: “And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” (Gen. 2: 16, 17)
      The original Hebrew says, “in dying thou shalt die”. In other words, the process of death would begin that day and in due time they would expire! It is interesting to note that since that time, babies have been born with death in their bodies – cells dying constantly but being renewed just as quickly – until the aging process sets in!
      The same is true in the SPIRITUAL REALM! Man is born in sin! He is spiritually dead while he still lives and is already condemned, but is separated from God in eternal darkness after physical death occurs!
 The Bible says, He that believeth on Him is not condemned, but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.  (John 3, 18) 
      Nevertheless, the principle of tithing began in the Garden of Eden, and very early on man refused to keep his hands off what God had reserved for Himself. This is the situation today, since mankind has little or no regard for God or His Word! It is not difficult to understand why the world is so messed up, when you consider how few people honour and worship Almighty God the Creator and receive His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ into their heart and life!
      And tragically, many believers in Christ refuse to give Him what is rightfully His – tithes and offerings – disregarding the ‘Great Commission’, to make Him known among the heathen! The actual response given to Christ’s Words by the average Christian and Congregation in this respect, could properly be renamed the ‘Great Ommission’!
    The prophet Malachi chronicled the sin of God’s people in offering polluted and imperfect sacrifices, dishonoring Him: “Ye offer polluted bread upon My altars; and ye say, Wherein have we polluted Thee? In that ye say, The table of the Lord is contemptible. And if ye offer the blind for sacrifice, is it not evil? And if ye offer the lame and the sick, is it not evil?” (Mal 1: 6,)
     Their SIN was “stealing” from the Life Giver. Not wise! Talk about biting the hand that feeds us. This is in fact, breaking the Eighth Commandment which states: Thou shalt not steal”. (Exodus 20: 15)
     Our Lord offers Mercy and Forgiveness: “RETURN UNTO ME and I will return unto you, saith the Lord of Hosts. But ye said, Wherein shall we return? Will a man ROB God? Yet ye have robbed Me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed Thee? In tithes and offerings. Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed Me even this whole nation.
      “Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in Mine house and prove Me now herewith saith the Lord of Hosts, if I will not open you the widows of Heaven and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it. And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes…” (Mal.3: 8-10)
     A most serious CHARGE indeed, and again Almighty God offers an opportunity of reconciliation and restoration to guilty sinners on the basis of His great love and compassion!
                             GOD PROMISES THE DELIVERER!
      The moment that Adam and Eve rebelled against their Maker they died spiritually! Guilt and condemnation gripped their souls and fear filled their hearts as they tried to hide from their Father and God! After confronting them with their sin and hearing their confession, He brought down His judgment upon the human race, the earth and Satan.
      Then, He made a statement that we call in theology the ‘Law of the First Mention’, in which He promised to send a Deliverer to redeem mankind from the devil’s power. The Redeemer would be born of a virgin – incarnated, God in human flesh – and would totally crush Satan’s head, while the ‘Evil One’ would only bruise His heel!
      Even though Jesus suffered the agonies of scourging and crucifixion, He was raised from the dead in victory and power, and Satan was totally defeated for time and eternity with no authority over those who believe in our Lord Jesus Christ!
      In order to save Adam and Eve, our Heavenly Father killed an innocent animal, a type of Jesus the Lamb of God, who would die on Calvary’s cross to atone for our sins. The blood of the innocent animal covered their sins and its skin was used as a covering for their naked bodies!
      So that they would not eat of the fruit from the ‘Tree of Life’ – a type of Jesus the Life Giver – and live forever in their sins, God drove them out of the Garden of Eden. Although they had already died spiritually the moment they sinned, when they were driven out of the garden and could no longer eat of the Tree of Life’s fruit, they began to die physically!
      It was Jesus - the “Way, the Truth and the Life” - that had kept them from aging and dying while they were living in constant fellowship with God and eating of Him!
      Why did Jesus institute the Holy Communion? He is the TREE OF LIFE! He said: “For the Bread of God is He which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world…I am the bread of life: he that cometh to Me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on Me shall never thirst. Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on Me hath everlasting life.
      “I AM THE BREAD OF LIFE. This is the Bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die. I am the Living Bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live forever: and the Bread that I give is My flesh which I give for the life of the world.”
     “… Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of Man, and drink His blood, ye have no life in you. Whoso eateth My flesh, and drinketh My blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. For My flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He that eateth My flesh, and drinketh My blood, dwelleth in Me, and I in him.
   “As the living Father hath sent Me, and I live by the Father; so he that eateth Me, even he shall live by Me. This is the bread which came down from heaven: not as your fathers did eat manna and are dead: he that eateth of this bread shall live forever.” (John 6: 33, 35, 47-58)

     A WORD OF CAUTION: Our Roman Catholic friends, although very faithful, have received erroneous teaching about the Lord’s Supper. They believe that by the priest saying some words in Latin, immediately the bread and wine turns into the actual physical body and blood of our LORD JESUS. That is not true!
     If it were true, why does the priest alone drink the wine? Since the blood purchased “eternal Life” for us, why withhold it from the parishioners? Jesus gave His blood for the forgiveness of our sins and eternal life. When He cried, “It is finished”, He had completed His atoning work for our Salvation, fulfilled all the Old Testament Scriptures concerning the Messiah and purchased our Eternal Redemption.
    It goes MUCH DEEPER than that! When we receive Jesus Christ as our Redeemer, Lord and Saviour, He comes into us and we become partakers of His Divine Nature and we become ONE with Him.
     The Bible says: “And we KNOW that the Son of God is come and hath given us an UNDERSTANDING, that we may know Him that is true, and we are in Him that is TRUE, even in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the TRUE GOD and Eternal Life.” (1 John 5: 20)
     Jesus plainly stated: “It is the Spirit that quickeneth; The FLESH PROFITETH NOTHING: the words that I speak unto you, THEY ARE SPIRIT and they are LIFE.” (John 6: 63).
      Even if you could eat the physical flesh of Jesus, it would not help you! Even if you could drink the physical blood of Jesus, it would profit you NOTHING! And St. Paul wrote: “Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we Him no more.” (2 Cor.5: 16)
      In the same manner that the presence of God gave life to Adam and Eve when they partook of the fruit from the ‘Tree of Life’ - which was a symbol of God the Son – so when we believe His Word and partake of the emblems that remind us of Jesus broken body and shed blood we partake of Him and His Life! 
      By FAITH we receive the BODY and BLOOD of Jesus Christ into our very beings. By FAITH we eat HIS body and receive the merits he provided by HIS broken body and by faith we drink HIS shed blood, and we receive the Eternal life that HIS shed blood has provided for us. We become partakers of Christ and He dwells within us!
     Therein is the KEY! The flesh profits nothing. It is a SPIRITUAL EXERCIZE. It is only by the Holy Spirit that we receive the LIFE OF JESUS into our total being; spirit, soul and body! Otherwise we would be advocating cannibalism. The Papal drafters of the Roman Catholic document on the Eucharist in the Council of Trent shows how fleshly and out of touch with the workings of the Holy Spirit that corrupt Denomination had become. Here is an excerpt of that damnable doctrine which has up until today not been revoked:
     CANON I: "If anyone shall deny that the body and blood, together with the soul and divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ, and therefore entire Christ, are truly, really, and substantially contained in the sacrament of the most Holy Eucharist; and shall say that He is only in it as a sign, or in a figure - let him be accursed!
     CANON II: "If anyone shall say that the substance of the bread and wine remains in the sacrament of the most Holy Eucharist, together with the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ . . . - let him be accursed!"
    CANON VI: "If anyone shall say that Christ, the only begotten Son of God, is not to be adored in the holy sacrament of the Eucharist, even with the open worship of Latria, and therefore not to be venerated with any peculiar festal celebrity, nor to be solemnly carried about in processions according to the praiseworthy and universal rites and customs of the Holy Church, and that He is not to be publicly set before the people to be adored, and that His adorers are idolaters, - let him be accursed!"
       For the record, as the Second Vatican Council commenced in 1963, Pope John XXIII declared, "I do accept entirely all that has been decided and declared at the Council of Trent."
     Firstly, it is a time of remembrance and deep meditation on the purpose of Jesus Christ’s coming to this planet. A perpetual ‘Remembrance Service’, constantly reminding us of the sacrificial, vicarious and efficacious death of our Lord Jesus Christ for us all!
    Secondly, it is a time of receiving peace, assurance, strength and healing – spiritually, mentally and bodily - as we partake of Jesus Christ the ‘Bread of Life’ and the ‘Tree of Life’!
      St. Paul brings out very forcefully that it is not only the death of Jesus and the SACRIFICE  He made through His shed blood that avails. It is also through His LIFE that we receive His life into our beings:
    “Much more then, being now justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. For if, when we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be SAVED THROUGH HIS LIFE.” (Rom.5: 9-10)
     The Lord’s Supper or as some have called it the ‘Jesus Meal’ is a proclamation of the Gospel of Christ! The Bible says: “And when He had given thanks, He brake it, and said, Take, eat: This is My body, which is broken for you: This do in remembrance of Me.
     “After the same manner also He took the cup, when He had supped, saying, This cup is the NEW TESTAMENT in My blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of Me. For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do SHOW THE LORD”S DEATH TILL HE COME.”
    We proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes every time we partake of the emblems that remind of our Lord’s sacrificial death on the cross for us. We also proclaim His glorious resurrection from the dead. And we proclaim the glorious hope of His soon return!
       Again, we find the ‘TREE OF LIFE’ in the New Jerusalem! The Bible says: “And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the TREE OF LIFE’, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.
      “And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it: and His servants shall serve Him. And they shall see His face; and His name shall be in their foreheads. Blessed are they that do His commandments, that they may have the right to the ‘TREE OF LIFE’, and may enter in through the gates of the city.” (Rev.22: 1- 4, 14)
      Again, this is symbolic of Jesus who is the Life Giver!
      After they were driven out of the garden, God instructed Adam to offer animal sacrifices as atonement for their sins. It was the beginning of the elaborate ‘sacrificial system’ that He would institute later under Moses!
      Both Cain and Abel knew the rules and the two brothers each built an altar to bring a sacrifice to the Lord God. Cain rebelled against God’s command and substituted his own rules for sacrificing. His offering was rejected, but Abel obeyed the Lord and received His favour!
      “And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the Lord. And Abel, he brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the Lord had respect unto Abel and his offering: But unto Cain and his offering He had not respect.” (Gen.4: 3-5).
     ABEL is a type of the believing individual who trusts in the shed blood of Jesus Christ and His sacrificial death for our eternal salvation. And CAIN is a type of the modernist who trusts in his good works to get to heaven. He has changed the rules and rejected God’s ‘plan of salvation’ through Jesus Christ’s atoning work for us on the cross! 
      Abraham paid tithes to Melchezedik, Isaac paid tithes to God during a fam­ine and Jacob covenanted with the Lord God to pay one tenth of everything He would give him.
      Paying tithes and giving offerings to God is only ‘a small thank you’ for all He has done for us. But it is also a LAW that works without fail. Great blessings follow the obedient act of returning to God a portion of what He has given us!
      Abraham became very rich. Isaac re­ceived an hundred fold even in a time of famine. And Jacob returned to the land of his fathers with great sub­stance making peace with his brother Esau who had sworn to kill him. And spiritually, all three became giants and patriarchs of faith in God!
      When God spelled out the moral, cer­emonial and civil laws to Moses, He re­inforced the same principle He had out­lined in the Garden, that one tenth belong­ed to Him. And He also accepted offerings!  Jesus kept the Law perfectly and fulfilled it!

1). HE PAID TITHES - "Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill". (Matt. 5:17)
2). HE SANCTIONED PAYING TITHES - "Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypo­crites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other un­done". (Matt. 23:23)
3). HE HAS A RIGHT TO RECEIVE TITHES - "Now consider how great this man was, unto whom even the patriarch Abraham gave the tenth of the spoils. And ver­ily they that are of the sons of Levi, who receive the office of the priest­hood, have a commandment to take tithes of the people according to the law, that is, of their brethren, though they come out of the loins of Abraham:
      "And here men that die receive tith­es; but there (in Heaven) He (Jesus our High Priest) receiveth them, of whom it is witnessed that He liveth." (Heb. 7:4,5,8)
      St. Paul ordered New Testament saints to pay tithes (II Cor. 9:13-14).  He stated that God’s Ministers are to be supported as the Levites out of the tithe.  "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". (Numbers 18:21)
PLEASE NOTE: This treatise will be continued soon! M.S.