Everlasting Skins

Jackson Snyder, April 22, 2004

The Allegory of the Unrighteous Steward, The Widow’s Two Mites

Taxes, Tithes, Offerings
 

Also, HOW TO GIVE from the TEACHING OF THE TWELVE (DIDACHÉ).

 

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Wonderful Books by Watchman Nee, including The Spiritual Man

 

The Lost Tribes of Israel Found in the Parables of Yahshua

 

INDEX:

The Parables of the Good Shepherd and The Pearl of Great Price & The Allegory of the Prodigal Son

On the Jericho Road: The Allegory of the Good Samaritan

Out of the Napkin, Into the World: The Allegory of the Ten Pounds and the Lost Tribes of Israel

Resurrection - Riddle and Reward: The Sadducees' Riddle , The Allegory of the Wise Steward

Everlasting Skins: The Allegory of the Unrighteous Steward, The Widow’s Two Mites

Myths and Meaning: The Rich Man and Lazarus: Dives in Hell

Naming Ten Virgins or The Five Dumb Virgins (A Message from the NT Apocrypha)

Other Lost Tribes Messages:

The Woman at the Well and the Lost Tribes of Israel: "I'll Never Be Thirsty Again!"

 

Messianic friends, please note: This message is written for Christians just learning Hebraic Roots, including Divine Name language.  However, this does not mean that it is an elementary message, but full of deeper truth.

Luke 16:1.  HE ALSO said to the disciples, “There was a rich man who had a steward, and charges were brought to him that this man was wasting his goods.  2.  And he called him and said to him, ‘What is this that I hear about you?  Turn in the account of your stewardship, for you can no longer be steward.’  

   3.  And the steward said to himself, ‘What shall I do, since my master is taking the stewardship away from me? I am not strong enough to dig, and I am ashamed to beg.   4.  I have decided what to do, so that people may receive me into their houses when I am put out of the stewardship.’  5.  So, summoning his master’s debtors one by one, he said to the first, ‘How much do you owe my master?’  6.  He said, ‘A hundred measures of oil.’ And he said to him, ‘Take your bill, and sit down quickly and write fifty.’  7.  Then he said to another, ‘And how much do you owe?’ He said, ‘A hundred measures of wheat.’ He said to him, ‘Take your bill, and write eighty.’ 

   8.  The master commended the unrighteous (adikiaV) steward for his shrewdness; for the sons of this world are shrewder in dealing with their own generation than the sons of light. 

    9.  And I tell you, make friends for yourselves by means of unrighteous mammon (mamwna), so that when it fails they may receive you into the eternal habitations.  10.  He who is faithful in a very little is faithful also in much; and he who is dishonest in a very little is dishonest also in much.  11.  If then you have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will entrust to you the true riches?  12.  And if you have not been faithful in that which is another’s who will give you that which is your own? 

   13.  No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve Yahweh and mammon.” 

 

The Teaching (Didache) 4:1,5-8. My child, night and day remember the one who preaches Yahweh’s word to you and honor him as though he were the Lord.  For wherever the Lord’s nature is preached, there the Lord is. ... Do not be someone who stretches out his hands to receive but withdraws them when it comes to giving.  If you earned something by working with your hands, you shall give a ransom for your sins. You shall not hesitate to give nor shall you grumble when giving for you shall come to know who is the good paymaster of the reward.  You shall not turn away from someone who is in need but shall share everything with your brother and not claim that anything is your own.  For if you are sharers in what is imperishable, how much more so in perishable things?

Matthew 6:1.  Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven.  2.  Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.  3.  But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth:  4.  That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly.

Tyco International

   In the past couple of years, we’ve witnessed several huge corporations whose chief executives have been indicted for fraud, embezzlement, larceny or insider trading.  Who hasn’t now heard of Enron, Worldcom and Martha Stewart Inc.  How about the latest – the grand larceny case against former Tyco International’s chief executive Dennis Kozlowski and his financial officer Mark Swartz?  These top execs used $170 million of company money to throw parties and buy expensive homes, jewelry and art, and made themselves $430 million more in bonuses by selling overpriced stock.  That’s $600 million dollars between the two.  Of course, they pled not guilty.  And they were somewhat justified in their plea, since both the Tyco board and their independent auditors approved, even blessed, their actions, howbeit after the deeds were done.

   The case against these men came to trial in Manhattan in September of 2003 and concluded this month (April, 2004).  Their defense was that since the board and the independent auditors approved of what they did with company funds, there had been no crime committed.  They’d been given the authority as corporate stewards, and were using their authority as they saw fit.  What an ingenious defense!

   You’ll be surprised to learn that theirs was declared a mistrial and they were let go.  A jury must be in 100% agreement to enter a guilty verdict.  While eleven members of the jury voted to convict, one member held out for acquittal – a seventy-nine year old lady known as “juror number four.”  Indeed, if the board, auditors and stockholders gave these men the green light to ransack the company, then no law was broken.  Juror number four affirms that opinion and she wouldn’t change her mind.  So the jury was deadlocked and the mistrial was declared. 

   By the way, I mentioned the juror’s age only because age doesn’t dictate a person’s power or lack of it.  Juror number four held out under intense pressure, even murderous threats.  But did I also mention that juror number four is a lawyer?  She formed her legal opinion based on years of study and case history.  Is she right or is she wrong?  Either way, we can say for a fact that juror number four is one of the most tenacious individuals of the twenty-first century thus far.

   Yahshua spoke about the sons of this world, immoral and greedy men, how when they spread the cash around, they’ll be hailed by their party friends when their own fortune fails.  Certainly, Tyco is an extreme case.  Kozlowski and Swartz may be tried again, who knows?  In the meantime, though they’ve lost their jobs, they have $600 million and lots of friends.  They’ve spread company money around like pig manure on a cornfield.  They may never have to dig nor beg.  But this is the way of the world – the legality of a thing doesn’t prove the morality of a thing, especially in the matter of money, which the Bible calls mammon – the personification of the root of all evil.

 

The Clever CEO

   Our scripture story today is quite similar to the real case scenario of Tyco International.  A rich business owner has an overseer in his employ – a chief executive officer – a CEO.  The owner only hears that the CEO is wasting his money.  However, rumor is enough to get him in trouble, and the owner tells him plainly, “I’m going to terminate your employment.”  The owner doesn’t fire the CEO outright, which would be the wise thing to do if he really is dishonest.  Keeping the CEO on board long enough to settle accounts gives him an opportunity to embezzle more money or sabotage the company.  But maybe the owner of the business is only putting his CEO to the test, we’ll see.

   Anyway, the CEO considers his options: the job market is very tight for men of his age, income and status.  He certainly can’t take a job at the Taco Bell after being the boss.  He certainly can’t dig ditches after years as a desk jockey.  What’ll he do?  What’ll he do?

   Here’s what he’ll do.  He makes some quick calls on his delinquent customers.  He’s ready to deal – for debtors on inexpensive commodities like wheat, he says – “If you pay now, I’ll take off 20%.”  For high markup commodities like oil, he says – “If you pay now, I’ll take off 50%.”  He makes lots of calls and settles lots of delinquencies in a short time.  So who’s he cheating?  He’s still in charge of the accounts – he hasn’t been terminated.  So he still has the authority of the owner to do business, else the owner wouldn’t have commanded him to settle accounts. 

   In fact, when he does settle up with the owner, he gets a certificate of achievement for his wall – Most Delinquent Accounts Settled – signed, Phineas T. Thistledropper, President.  And it’s a win-win-win situation for everybody.  The owner gets his accounts settled (though at a discount), his debtors get an excellent cut, and the CEO, though he gambles with his Master’s money (which he’s been doing all along anyway), retains his job.  He won’t have to dig or beg or roll burritos – though the owner’s keeping a sharp eye on him now. 

 

Unrighteous Mammon

   There’s only one problem with the CEO’s solution.  Yahshua calls him unrighteous.  Practices that are shrewd and commendable and right and completely acceptable and entirely legal in handling other peoples’ money within the economics of the world are simply not acceptable in handling the blessings Yahweh has advanced those who work for him.

   Yahshua teaches that, like humans in the unregenerate state, money itself is unrighteous by nature – it’s unclean.  It takes on a life of its own and becomes god.  Righteous and honest people, the elect of Yahweh, aren’t cut out for many prosperous business positions of the world because they’ll be expected to utilize unrighteous means to multiply unrighteous mammon, often for unrighteous people with unrighteous causes.  The dealings of Kozlowski and Swartz prove that they’re not sons of light.

   For the sons of this world are shrewd in dealing with their own evil generation – more so than the sons of light.  What Yahshua means is that devilish people will fare better than godly people in unclean or unrighteous matters, because the devilish get their shrewdness naturally, from their father the devil – the father of lies.  I’m not talking about an honest day’s pay for an honest day’s work, and neither is Yahshua.  He’s talking about selfish speculation – taking the opportunity to gain for oneself from that which is the property of G-d entrusted to them. 

   In light of his low view of money, Yahshua says something baffling,

Luke 16:9.  Make friends for yourselves with unrighteous mammon (mamwna), so that when it fails they may receive you into the eternal habitations.

What in the world does that mean?  There’re two surprising secrets that answer the question of meaning that I’ll share at the end of the message. 

 

Yahweh Money Poor

   By it’s very nature, mammon or money is corrupt because it’s the currency of the world, which is at enmity with the Almighty.   That’s why Yahweh doesn’t have a lot of money.  No he doesn’t.  Do you remember when the chief priests sent their corporate spies to Yahshua and asked him, “Is it permissible for us to pay taxes to Caesar or not (Luke 20:22)?”  Yahshua points out that the face on the coin is that of Caesar, the Emperor, the Beast, the symbol of the world.  If Caesar’s picture’s on it, the coin must be his.  On all our coins and bills there are pictures of world rulers and buildings fashioned after Roman architecture that acclaimed pagan gods.  So the money itself is tainted with the images of godlessness, and belongs to the world.  That’s why, though Yahweh may have all the silver and gold and cattle on a thousand hills, he hasn’t much money.  Money belongs to the world and its exalted ruler.

   Though money makes the world go around, it’s ironic that money’s also necessary to build the Kingdom of Yahweh.  We have to pay the preacher, pay the phone bill, pay the waste disposal company and pay the government with money.  The question we need to answer is, “How do we divorce the image of the world from our currency?” Or, “How do we take something godless and unclean and make it holy?”  There’s always been a way to do that.  

 

The Tax and the Tithe

   In temple times, every member of the assembly paid a “church”* tax – this tax was solely for the upkeep of the property.  It wasn’t much – about $25 a year – but everyone gladly paid it – everyone.  If the coin had Caesar’s image on it, it was traded for an imageless token before it was give.  The ministers then sanctified the money by spending it entirely on items that were to be consecrated for use in or repair of the property. 

   In addition to the tax, every single soul paid a tenth of all their income to their ministers.  This is the first tithe.  The tithe never went into the “church” fund, but went directly to those doing ministry – the preacher, the teacher, the missionary, the musician – every cent of the tithe.  Not even a light bulb was bought with the tithe unless the minister bought it.  According to the prophet, to rob the preacher of the tithe is serious unrighteousness:

Malachi 3:8.  “Will a man rob God?  Surely not! And yet you have robbed me.” “What do you mean?  When did we ever rob you?”  “You have robbed me of the tithes and offerings due to me.  9.  And so the awesome curse of Elohim is cursing you, for your whole nation has been robbing me.  10.  Bring all the tithes into the storehouse so that there will be food enough in my Temple; if you do, I will open up the windows of heaven for you and pour out a blessing so great you won’t have room enough to take it in!  Try it!  Let me prove it to you!” (LVB)

Yahweh didn’t eat the food – Yahweh doesn’t eat.  The food stands for the provision for the ministers. But Yahweh says he’ll provide a huge blessing to saints who tithe to the ministers.  Part of the blessing is that the saint’s money will thus be sanctified.

   The ministers who receive the tithe also pay the tithe of what they received from the people.  But the minister’s tithe is to go back to their own teachers and ministers (the priests of Aaron) – not back to the “church.”  The ministers must pay the tax but may also provide offerings for the church.

 

Second and Third Tithe, and the Offerings

   In addition to the tax and the tithe, there was a second tithe that went into a savings account for the Feast of Tabernacles.  Each September or October, this money was paid back with interest and everyone took a week’s vacation with the money.

   Every third and sixth year out of the seven-year cycle, a third tithe was received exclusively for the poor, orphan and widow.  Finally, offerings up and above the tax and the tithe went for whatever purpose they were given.  An offering was not to be accepted unless the tax and tithe were first paid.

   This was how mammon was cleansed in Yahshua’s day.  When a person devoted to Yahweh committed to this system and fulfilled it’s requirements, Yahweh then cleansed the rest of his money for his own use – and this formula is what I use (with the exception of the second tithe).  It sounds like a lot of money, but actually, after your vacation rebate, a saint paid about 15% - 20% of his income to Yahweh – far less than Treasury Department taxes – then the rest of the money, images and all – became clean for the saint’s use – to do whatever he pleased.

 

Yahshua’s Way

   Yahshua brought a new dimension to our understanding of money.  When he said, “Give Caesar what’s his,” he wasn’t declaring poverty – only that the value of the money had to be divorced from the image on the money.  Mammon had to be redeemed from the devil and sanctified unto the use of the saints.  However, Yahshua’s method of redeeming unclean money is far stricter than that of the temple because what was once a sound “business” had become a den of thieves due to unfaithful stewards.  Followers of the Way had to go beyond the righteousness of any scribe or Pharisee.

   Yahshua shows us what is expected in regards to the sanctification of money in: 

Luke 21:1.  And Yahshua looked up, and saw the rich men casting their gifts into the treasury.  2.  And he saw also a certain poor widow casting in thither two mites.  3.  And he said, Of a truth I say unto you, that this poor widow hath cast in more than they all:  4.  For all these have of their abundance cast in unto the offerings of G-d: but she of her penury hath cast in all the living that she had.

All money that is truly to be devoted to the use of Yahweh must cease to exist as mammon of unrighteousness.  You see, the penurious widow put her life in the box along with her coins!  Yahshua said, “In went all the life she had.”  All her life.  This says something about the state of her money and of her life, for when her coins dropped from her hands into the tax box, her life also dropped in with them.  This wasn’t the first time for her.  She’d actually dropped her life into that box years earlier, and since that time, everything she touched became clean because she was clean.

   What that tells us is that if our money is to be redeemed then our lives first must be redeemed from the world.  For your possessions to be cleansed, Yahshua must first cleanse you.  You can’t give anything of any value to the Almighty so long as you keep yourself back, so long as you simply hand it off.  You can’t send your money out of the world and into the Kingdom; you may only bring your money out of the world and into the Kingdom.  This way, your gift will be acceptable.

 

Conversion

   It’s no easy matter to convert your money from the currency of Satan to that of the Kingdom.  It takes deep devotion – travail – battle – tarrying – warfare – violence.  The devil doesn’t want to give it up because every coin and bill has his picture on it – it’s his to build his Dominion.  Even that little bit that belongs to Yahweh he’ll have if we have our own way with it, for we’re naturally stingy with what isn’t ours.  It’s easier for some to bring a lost soul into the kingdom than a hundred dollar bill.  But unless you bring your life out with your money, it can’t be sanctified – you must first be sanctified in order to redeem your possessions unto holy purposes.

   Has your money been delivered from the world system?  From the devil’s purposes?  From your own selfish desires?  “Can you claim that there’s no money in your pocket that belongs to the world, for it’s all been converted?  Are you willing to pledge to Yahweh, ‘By your grace I’ll convert all the money I earn by labor, receive by gifts, garner by inheritance: that all may be yours?’” (Watchman Nee, Love Not the World, Chapter 11)

Luke 16:11.  If then you have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will entrust to you the true riches?  12.  And if you have not been faithful in that which is another’s who will give you that which is your own?  13.  No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.” 

   The vital question is, “Am I serving Yahweh and Mammon? For if I’m steward over both, I’m really only serving mammon.”  Does the money I’m thinking about – touching – fondling – represent the tithe unto the servant of Yahweh or the offering unto the Satan’s slave?  Am I able, when I receive a dollar or make a dollar or find a dollar, to instantly convert that dollar from currency of the world and it’s images to the currency of heaven? 

   Can you say, “Yes, I will take it into the kingdom myself”?  If you can do that, and conquer your worship of money, possessions and mammon, and selfishness, poverty-mindedness and stinginess, your depression mentality, and tear violently through the veil with your treasure chest, then you’ll begin of a new spiritual era in your life – you’ll be free – and you’ll enjoy the power and courage it takes to bring many other precious and valuable things out of the devil’s lair of darkness into the light with you.  Amen!

 

The Secrets to Verse Nine

   Now, I promised to share two secrets about Luke 16:9, in which Yahshua says:

Luke 16:9.  And I tell you, make friends for yourselves by means of unrighteous mammon (mamwna), so that when it fails they may receive you into the eternal habitations.

   Yahshua is speaking of the failure of money in this passage – make heavenly friends with unrighteous mammon – meaning Yahweh and his saints – so that when your money is gone, Yahweh and his saints will see to your care.  There is a variant to this reading that you’ll see if you have a text related to the King James Version.  It says,

“Make friends for yourselves by unrighteous mammon, that when you fail, they may receive you into an everlasting home.”

This variant speaks of your demise: that your heavenly friends will be there to usher you into your own place in Heaven if you’ve invested in their kingdom.  Yet I think the most startling secret of this text is when it’s translated literally.  Here’s how it reads:

“Make friends with [money] so that when you leave out (ekleipw), they may take you upward by the hand (dexwntai) into everlasting skins (skhnaV).”

Now isn’t that something?  Everlasting skins.  That speaks of eternal riches and everlasting life!  That’s even better than 20 more years on this earth with six hundred million dollars to spend!  Amen?

 

* I use church instead of temple or synagogue to make the concept of tithing clearer to our hearers.

 

SERMON CHECK-OFF

[  ] Luke 16:1.  “There was a rich man who had a steward...

[  ] “If you pay now, I’ll take off 20%.” 

[  ] Luke 16:9.  And I tell you, make friends for yourselves...”

[  ] Luke 20:22  “Is it permissible for us to pay taxes to Caesar or not?”

[  ] Malachi 3:8.  “Will a man rob God?” 

[  ] Luke 21: 4.  She of her penury hath cast in all the living that she had.

[  ] Luke 16: 13.  No servant can serve two masters

[  ] Luke 16:9b. They may take you by the hand up in everlasting skins.

 

HOW TO GIVE from the TEACHING (Hora'ah) OF THE TWELVE SHLICHIM.  This text was written for the Apostles of the Assembly in Jerusalem, where Simon brother of Yahshua was overseer.  Here is the instruction of the APostles to new converts to the Nazorean Faith.  (The complete text is found at this link.)

Didache 12:1 Welcome each one who comes in the name of YHWH.  Once you have examined him, you will find out about him; for you will know from both the right hand and the left. 2 If the visitor is a traveler, help him out as much as you can; but more than a stay of two or three days is beyond your obligation.  3 If he is a skilled worker and wants to settle in among you, let him get work and eat his bread that way.  4 If he has no skill and still wants to stay, use your connections to provide a means by which he may live as one of the Anointed, but not in idleness. 5 If he will not do it this way, he is mining-the-anointed. Beware of such.

Didache 13:1 Yet each Nevi Emet who wants to settle among you is worth his food. 2 Likewise, a Moreh Emet is worth his food just like the worker.  3 So you will take all first-fruits of the produce, the wine-vat, the threshing-floor, of your cattle and sheep, and give them as first-fruits to the neviïm; for they are your kohenim hagadol.  (Verse 4 is below.) 5 If you bake bread, take the first-fruits and give in accordance with the mitzvah.  6 Likewise, when you open a bottle of wine or oil, take the first-fruits and give them to the neviïm; 7 yes, and even of money, clothing, and every other possession – take the first-fruits, whatever seems fair to you – and give in accordance to the mitzvah. 4 If you have no nevi, provide for the poor instead.