Thursday, March 23, 2023

Déjà Vu: A Corban* Variant?

When Jesus used the word corban* in chastising the Pharisees and scribes, what did He mean?
11 But ye say, If a man shall say to his father or mother, It is Corban, that is to say, a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me; he shall be free.
12 And ye suffer him no more to do ought for his father or his mother;
13 Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye. (New Testament | Mark 7:11-13)
Here is an explanation:
Jesus gives the proof of their corruption of the Law by citing their use of “Corban.” Moses had instructed God’s people to “honor their father and mother” (Exodus 20:12), but the Pharisees negated that command by teaching that they could give money to the temple in lieu of helping their parents in need. Whatever money might have been used to provide for aging parents could be dedicated to the temple treasury instead. Saying, “It is Corban” would exempt a person from his responsibility to his parents. In other words, the Pharisees took a legitimate Corban offering and used it in an illegitimate and devious way to defraud their parents (and enrich themselves). Thus, the Law of God was nullified.1
So, are we seeing, in Christian churches worldwide, a variation of this corruption? What of the  preachers of the “Prosperity Gospel” as it is called2? Some say, in essence:
“Give generously to our ministry, [subtext: even if you can't afford it; even if it means you might not (or that someone else3 will need to) meet your financial obligations] because if you trust enough, your needs will be met and blessed by a generous, loving, reciprocating God. No need to worry about obligations to family and others, because if you are faithful to God, He will be faithful to you.”4
Do we see any “corban-like” déjà vu today?

As to the first-fruits argument made by some for giving off-the-top (before anything else), let us ask: Were first-fruits not a memorial offering with no calculation of percentage and no conception of avoiding temporal obligation where one might come under this condemnation:
But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel (New Testament | 1 Timothy 5:8)?
Just something to consider.

*Hebrew qorbān offering
corban orkor·ban [kawr-buhn Sephardic Hebrew kawr-bahn; Ashkenazic Hebrew kawr-buhn ] SHOW IPA
• a sacrifice or offering made to God, especially among the ancient Hebrews in fulfillment of a vow.

2. Some views on the Prosperity Gospel:
• Why The Prosperity Gospel Is Wrong!
(The Ramsay Show | May 31, 2020 | Time 7:47 min.) at
• Why I Abominate the Prosperity ‘Gospel’
(Desiring God | Oct. 27, 2009 | Time 10:34 min.) at
• Francis Chan on What's Wrong with the Prosperity Gospel
(The Gospel Coalition | Feb. 11, 2019 | Time 1:59 min) at
• Are you Following the Prosperity Gospel without knowing it?
(How to Faith A Life | Feb 24, 2023 | Time 10:34) at
3. My mother tithes 10 percent -- but she can't make her house payments
We're happy to help with her second mortgage -- but not if the money goes to her church. By CARY TENNIS
4. Differing views on off-the-top:
• Pay Bills or Give Tithes and Offerings First? Written by John Avanzini
• The Law of Tithing Elder Daniel L. Johnson Of the Seventy
• I invite you to pay your tithing to the Lord first, before you meet any other financial obligations.
• Ensuring that the expenses of a religious organization are covered before you make sure that your own expenses are covered is out of order and backwards. Paying the utilities of a building that no one lives in, while not paying the utilities of the building where you and your family live is negligent and irresponsible.
• Sacred Transformations By Aaron L. West Church Publishing Services Department
• The Language of the Gospel By Elder Valeri V. Cordón Of the Seventy
After some events related to a civil war in Central America, my father’s business went bankrupt. He went from about 200 full-time employees to fewer than five sewing operators who worked as needed in the garage of our home. One day during those difficult times, I heard my parents discussing whether they should pay tithing or buy food for the children. // On Sunday, I followed my father to see what he was going to do. After our Church meetings, I saw him take an envelope and put his tithing in it. That was only part of the lesson. The question that remained for me was what we were going to eat.
• One of the reasons why God told the Levitical priests that they were “cursed with a curse” in Malachi 3 was because they kept the best of the tithe for themselves and didn’t put it in the storehouse, thereby oppressing the poor, the fatherless, and the widows.