86. The Principles of How to Treat Offerings to God
(1) The money and goods of God’s house, including all of its property, are offerings to God from His chosen people, and belong to no church or person;
(2) No one has the right to partake of offerings to God except for God and the priest. Any person who steals from them is a Judas, and must be punished;
(3) Offerings donated to God are to be arranged, transferred, and controlled by Him and the man used by the Holy Spirit, and no one may interfere with them or move them at will;
(4) One who causes a loss of offerings through their careless, perfunctory performance of duty, or their failure to act in line with the principles, should offer discretionary restitution, according to the truth principle;
(5) One who grossly misappropriates or steals offerings must be made to pay for what they took; if they refuse to do so, punitive retribution may be implemented.
Relevant Words of God:
The money, material objects, and all property in God’s household are the offerings that should be given by man. These offerings may be enjoyed by none but the priest and God, for the offerings of man are for the enjoyment of God. God only shares these offerings with the priest; no one else is qualified or entitled to enjoy any part of them. All of man’s offerings (including money and material things that can be enjoyed) are given to God, not to man, and so these things should not be enjoyed by man; if man were to enjoy them, then he would be stealing offerings. Anyone who does this is a Judas, for, in addition to being a traitor, Judas also helped himself to what was put in the money bag.
Excerpted from “The Ten Administrative Decrees That Must Be Obeyed by God’s Chosen People in the Age of Kingdom” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
What is an offering? An offering is something a person devotes to God; it belongs to man no longer, but to God. Whatever is devoted to God—be it money or material things, and whatever its value—belongs entirely to God, and is not at man’s disposal, nor is it his to use. How might God’s offerings be conceptualized? Only God may dispose of that which belongs to Him, and, prior to obtaining His approval, none may disturb those things or make any plans for them. There are those who say, “If God isn’t using something, why doesn’t He let us use it? If it were to go bad after a while, wouldn’t that be a shame?” No, not even then; this is a principle. Offerings are things that belong to God, not to man; big or small, and whether or not they are valuable, once man has devoted them to God, their essence has changed, regardless of whether God wants them. Once a thing has become an offering, it is among the possessions of the Creator and at His disposal. What does one’s view of offerings involve? It involves one’s attitude toward God. If a person’s attitude toward God is one of impertinence and disdain, and of insouciance, then that person’s attitude toward all the things God owns will certainly be likewise. There are some who say, “Some offerings have no one looking after them. Doesn’t that mean they belong to whoever is in possession of them? Whether or not anyone knows it, it’s ‘finders, keepers’; whoever gets his hands on those things is their owner.” What do you think of that view? Quite clearly, it is incorrect. What is God’s attitude toward offerings? No matter what is offered, and whether or not He accepts it, once something has been designated as an offering, any person with further designs on it may wind up “stepping on a landmine.” What does this mean? (It means offending God’s disposition.) You all share this concept. Thus, what does this matter tell people? It tells them that God’s disposition brooks no offenses by humans, and that they are not to fiddle with His things. God’s offerings, for instance—if a person were to take them as his own, or to waste and squander them, then he would be liable to offend God’s disposition and be punished. Nevertheless, God’s fury has its principles; it is not as people imagine it, with God lashing out at anyone who makes a mistake. People must treat God’s offerings with caution, and the only way to be sure not to offend God’s disposition is to have reverence for Him.
Excerpted from “Only by Resolving One’s Notions Can One Enter the Right Track of Believing in God (3)” in Records of Christ’s Talks
You stinking little worms steal offerings from the altar of Me, Jehovah; in doing so, can you rescue your ruined, failed reputation and become the chosen people of Israel? You are shameless wretches! Those sacrifices on the altar were offered up to Me by people, as an expression of benevolent feelings from those who revere Me. They are for My control and for My use, so how can you possibly rob Me of the little turtledoves people have given Me? Do you not fear becoming a Judas? Are you not afraid that your land might become a field of blood? You shameless thing! Do you think that the turtledoves offered up by people are to nourish the belly of you maggot? What I have given you is what I am content and willing to give you; what I have not given you is at My disposal. You may not simply steal My offerings. The One who works is Me, Jehovah—the Lord of creation—and people offer sacrifices because of Me. Do you think this is recompense for all the running about you do? You really are shameless! Who do you run about for? Is it not for yourself? Why do you steal My sacrifices? Why do you steal money from My money bag? Are you not the son of Judas Iscariot? The sacrifices to Me, Jehovah, are to be enjoyed by priests. Are you a priest? You dare to smugly eat My sacrifices, and even lay them out on the table; you are worth nothing! You worthless wretch! My fire, the fire of Jehovah, will incinerate you!
Excerpted from “When Falling Leaves Return to Their Roots, You Will Regret All the Evil You Have Done” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
I have worked and spoken in this way among you, I have expended so much energy and effort, yet when have you ever listened to what I plainly tell you? Where have you bowed down to Me, the Almighty? Why do you treat Me like this? Why does everything you say and do provoke My anger? Why are your hearts so hard? Have I ever struck you down? Why do you do nothing but make Me sorrowful and anxious? Are you waiting for the day of wrath of Me, Jehovah, to come upon you? Are you waiting for Me to send forth the anger provoked by your disobedience? Is everything I do not for you? Yet always have you treated Me, Jehovah, in this way: stealing My sacrifices, taking the offerings of My altar home to the wolf’s lair to feed the cubs and the cubs of the cubs; people fight against each other, facing one another with angry glares and swords and spears, tossing the words of Me, the Almighty, into the latrine to become as filthy as excrement. Where is your integrity? Your humanity has become beastliness! Your hearts have long since turned to stone. Do you not know that the time when My day of wrath arrives will be the time when I judge the evil you commit against Me, the Almighty, today? Do you think that by fooling Me in this way, by casting My words into the mire and not listening to them—do you think that by acting like this behind My back you can escape My wrathful gaze? Do you not know that you were already seen by the eyes of Me, Jehovah, when you stole My sacrifices and coveted My possessions? Do you not know that when you stole My sacrifices, you did so before the altar to which sacrifices are offered? How could you believe yourselves clever enough to deceive Me in this way? How could My wrath depart from your heinous sins? How could My raging fury pass over your evil doings? The evil that you commit today does not open a way out for you, but stores up chastisement for your tomorrow; it provokes the chastisement of Me, the Almighty, toward you.
Excerpted from “No One Who Is of the Flesh Can Escape the Day of Wrath” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
Sermon and Fellowship Excerpts for Reference:
The Principles of the Supervision of Offerings to the House of God
All offerings given by believers to God are the exclusive property of God and do not belong to any church or individual. Certain funds and property may be provided for use in the work of the churches, but they still belong to the house of God, and must be allocated centrally by God’s house; they can be used by whoever necessary, but they must not be misused. Due to the extent of mankind’s corruption, many people are in love with money and blind to anything but their own interests. As such, it is vital for the house of God to establish a strict system for the supervision of offerings. To this end, God’s house expressly stipulates that each church must select three suitable individuals to supervise church offerings. Leaders, workers, and God’s chosen people all reserve the right to supervise church offerings. Investigating and handling any issues with offerings is the responsibility of the church leaders. Cooperation in said investigations should be provided by God’s chosen people. They must not turn a blind eye to such matters, and will be considered equally guilty if they do so. Below are specific details of the principles for the supervision of church offerings:
1. Each church must set up an offerings box. Regardless of the timing or the amount, offerings are not subject to any stipulations and are made freely. Three individuals must be selected to assume joint responsibility for the safekeeping of offerings. Withdrawal and use of funds must be made in strict accordance with accounting rules, and the selected three individuals must ensure the clarity of accounts and regularly report to the church’s leaders.
2. In each church, offerings must be supervised by three people: one to act as cashier, and two to carry out bookkeeping. The management of offerings and accounts must not be carried out by one person alone.
3. If someone is discovered to be unsuitable for safeguarding offerings, they must be promptly replaced. Where the appointment of unsuitable persons leads to the loss of church offerings, the church leaders must be held accountable.
4. Church finances must be managed and used in strict accordance with accounting rules. When church leaders entrust offerings to a custodian, a receipt in triplicate must be created for the actual amount as proof that the funds have been entrusted to the custodian. Custodians must not merely write a chit, but must produce a proof of receipt of funds for the payer. The movement or transferal of offerings by leaders at any level must be witnessed by two or three leaders and workers and accompanied by written evidence, to prevent theft by false leaders and antichrists. Where church work requires money, funds must be withdrawn by two or three people; they must not be withdrawn by one person alone. If the custodian is not acquainted with at least one of the withdrawees, the withdrawal must be blocked and cannot be released. On every occasion that funds are withdrawn, each withdrawee must personally write a guarantee that includes the date of withdrawal, monetary amount, intended use, and the withdrawee’s signature. A triplicate receipt must also be created as an accounting record, with one copy going to each person involved.
5. All income and expenditure of church offerings must be recorded in duplicate, with a copy given each to the two bookkeepers. All accounts handled by bookkeepers must be clearly kept and must be checked on a spontaneous or monthly basis by leaders, who should verify that income and expenditure of offerings are handled according to the principles, so that issues can be promptly identified and addressed. When leaders and workers are replaced, or reassigned due to the exigencies of work, accounts must be gone through clearly during the handover to prevent people with ulterior motives from having the opportunity to embezzle or misappropriate church offerings.
6. Offerings given by God’s chosen people must be placed in the offerings box. In the absence of an offerings box, the offering must be personally handed to the church’s two leaders. Offerings must not be given to one leader alone. No one leader or worker alone is permitted to receive an offering from a brother or sister; a minimum of two people is required. Upon receipt of the offering, the leaders and workers must produce a triplicate proof of receipt recording the monetary amount written in both numbers and letters, the date of receipt, and spiritual names of the offering’s handlers. The handlers each keep one copy. Moreover, the leaders and workers must provide the brother or sister who made the offering with a slip proving that the offering has been given to the house of God.
7. All offerings kept by a church to be handed over to the upper level must be jointly handled by two people. The offering must not be taken by one person alone. Specially assigned personnel must deliver the offering to the designated location and should not pass through or linger at potentially dangerous places. People who are avaricious, money-grubbing, and who are apt to take unfair advantage, or whose family owe money, must not be allowed to collect or send offerings or handle any matters for the house of God involving the expenditure of offerings (such as procurement for the church, etc.).
8. All who collect and send offerings, or have cause to use offerings, must truthfully write clear itemized accounts and an expenditure list and promptly verify the accounts. Anyone who is unwilling to voluntarily verify the accounts should be considered suspicious. Anyone who is discovered to have falsified accounts is to be dealt with strictly and must be kept away from offerings thereafter. In serious cases, they should be purged or expelled.
9. The custodians of offerings must abide by the principles and be completely faithful to God in the matter of offerings. If leaders are discovered to have deviated from the principles when withdrawing funds, custodians must request that they follow the principles. If the leaders ignore this advice and insist on withdrawing offerings, custodians have the right to refuse to process the withdrawal until they have asked for verification from the upper level. If it is discovered that leaders and workers deviated from the principles in withdrawing funds and the custodians did not refuse to process the withdrawal—if they obeyed unquestioningly, and blindly handed over the money—this is a serious contravention of the principles and total abnegation of responsibility. In nature, such custodians are no different from Judas, and they must be replaced or purged. If custodians do not follow the principles and allow Satan the devil to take advantage of them, leading to the loss of church offerings, they must compensate said loss unconditionally; if they refuse to make recompense, they can be purged or expelled.
Excerpted from Work Arrangements
The chosen people’s offerings to God are the exclusive property of God; they do not belong to any individual or church and they are all allocated to and used by the house of God. Any misappropriation, lending, or embezzlement of offerings is considered theft. God’s disposition brooks no offense. All who steal offerings are Judases, they are grievous sinners who must be punished by God. Such people are bound to be eliminated. They must be punished by the house of God and their misdeeds put on record and made public to all. Protecting God’s offerings is of primary importance. Without well-formulated principles for the supervision of funds and the punishment of wrongdoing, Satan the devil will inevitably exploit loopholes. To this end, the house of God must adopt strict measures toward those who steal, embezzle, or cause loss to offerings. Specific methods for handling such matters are as follows:
1. For all who steal or embezzle offerings to God, if the amount involved is small, they show repentance, and promptly provide reimbursement, they will be given a single demerit. Thereafter, however, they will only be permitted to lead the church life, and are not permitted to act as leaders or workers or to undertake important commissions.
2. For all who steal and embezzle offerings to God, show no repentance, and refuse to provide reimbursement, the church must take all steps to recoup the offerings, after which the individuals concerned must be expelled from the church.
3. Where offerings are damaged or lost by a custodian, if the amount is small and the person shows repentance, they are to be given a single demerit. If the amount is large, and they show no repentance, then they are to be expelled from the church. However, regardless of whether the amount of offerings damaged or lost is great or small, it must be reimbursed within a limited time period. Should the person refuse to reimburse the amount, the church must adopt any and all measures to recover it.
4. If offerings are lost due to natural or man-made disasters, such as fire, theft, or other unforeseeable events, demerit and reimbursement will only be waived if there are multiple people to prove that the incident was unavoidable. Should the custodian fail to take subjective preventive measures into account and fails to properly store and keep offerings, and a fire or theft etc. occurs, then such a loss is caused by irresponsibility, and the amount lost must be reimbursed in full. The custodian will also be issued a demerit and prohibited from safeguarding offerings in the future.
5. If the selection of custodians is not handled according to principle and leads to the embezzlement or loss of offerings, the leaders at that level must be held accountable. At the very least, said leaders are to be issued a demerit; if the offerings cannot be recovered, the leaders are to reimburse half the amount. This is fair and reasonable. Leaders are not detached from custodians’ mishandling of offerings; the leaders must be held accountable. If the leaders wholly refuse to accept responsibility, they must be replaced. In serious cases, where a large amount of offerings has been lost, they must repay the amount in full and be expelled.
6. If any leader is remiss or reckless in their supervision of offerings, or they use offerings to conduct transactions and entrust them to unreliable individuals, then they must be held accountable, their positions as leaders must be annulled, and their eligibility to stand as a candidate for election removed. They must repay any losses in full, and in serious cases they must be expelled from the church.
7. If, upon discovering a risk to church offerings, leaders, deacons, or custodians do not take timely action, and significant economic loss is caused to the house of God as a result, the persons involved must be held accountable and said losses reimbursed in full. Such false leaders, false workers, and other such people who betray God must be replaced or expelled.
8. All leaders, workers, and custodians who supervise offerings must be faithful in their duties and loyal to God. Under no circumstances must they embezzle offerings, sell out God’s offerings, or use them to conduct transactions. Anyone who sells out God’s offerings is as guilty as Judas, and shall be cursed. They must also be expelled from the church.
Above are the eight principles for dealing with incidents involving church offerings. They must be strictly followed and implemented by leaders and workers at all levels. No matter who they are, anyone who causes a serious incident involving church offerings must be severely dealt with.
Excerpted from Work Arrangements