Equality, Shared Households, Distribution of Food and Money Among the Assemblies, and Working With Your Own Hands

This study is available in Spanish here.

To view a list of all studies in this blog, click here.

Recommended before reading this study,

Predestination, All Things are Determined by God, Even the Outcome of a Roll of a Dice

Repentance and Sin No More, Perfection and Born of the Spirit

Humility and Sell All Your Possessions and Properties

Every Believer Must Do Good Works and Proclaim the Gospel, Some Are Called to Teach, and the Interpretation of the Parables of the Ten Virgins and the Talents

House Assemblies, and the Breaking of Bread

The Mark of the Beast, the Name of the Beast or the Number of its Name, and 666

Rescinding Social Security, Closing Bank Accounts, Paying Taxes, Paying Off Debts, and the Year of Release of Debts

Commands of the Law Related to Employers and Laborers, and Do Not Muzzle the Ox

After a believer humbles himself by selling his properties and possessions,

When Jesus heard his answer, he said, “There is still one thing you haven’t done. Sell all your possessions… (Luke 18:22 [NLT])

Looking at the man, Jesus felt genuine love for him. “There is still one thing you haven’t done,” he told him. “Go and sell all your possessions… (Mark 10:21 [NLT])

Sell your possessions… (Luke 12:33 [NIV])

So therefore every one of you who does not give up all that he himself possesses, is not able to be My disciple. (Luke 14:33 [BLB])

He is to begin doing good works with that money by giving to the poor,

But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.” Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham.
(Luke 19:8-9 [NIV])

…and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” (Luke 18:22 [NLT])

…and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” (Mark 10:21 [NLT])

and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will never fail, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. (Luke 12:33 [NIV])

Which not only includes giving to the poor outside of the assemblies of God, but especially to the poor among believers,

So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith. (Galatians 6:10 [ESV])

Share with the saints who are in need… (Romans 12:13 [BSB])

Therefore show these men the proof of your love and the reason for our pride in you, so that the churches can see it. (2 Corinthians 8:24 [NIV])

So after I have completed this task and have made sure that they have received this contribution, I will go to Spain and visit you on the way. (Romans 15:28 [NIV])

For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich. And here is my judgment about what is best for you in this matter. Last year you were the first not only to give but also to have the desire to do so. Now finish the work, so that your eager willingness to do it may be matched by your completion of it, according to your means. (2 Corinthians 8:9-11 [NIV])

For I know your eagerness to help, and I have been boasting about it to the Macedonians, telling them that since last year you in Achaia were ready to give; and your enthusiasm has stirred most of them to action. (2 Corinthians 9:2 [NIV])

So I thought it necessary to urge the brothers to visit you in advance and finish the arrangements for the generous gift you had promised. Then it will be ready as a generous gift, not as one grudgingly given. (2 Corinthians 9:5 [NIV])

Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. As it is written: “They have freely scattered their gifts to the poor; their righteousness endures to the aeon*.” Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God. This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of the Lord’s people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God. Because of the service by which you have proved yourselves, others will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else. And in their prayers for you their hearts will go out to you, because of the surpassing grace God has given you. Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift! (2 Corinthians 9:7-15 [NIV])

Interlinear Links: *αἰῶνα (aeon), 2 Corinthians 9:9

And ye yourselves also know, ye Philippians, that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church had fellowship with me in the matter of giving and receiving but ye only; 16 for even in Thessalonica ye sent once and again unto my need. 17 Not that I seek for the gift; but I seek for the fruit that increaseth to your account. 18 But I have all things, and abound: I am filled, having received from Epaphroditus the things that came from you, an odor of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, well-pleasing to God. (Philippians 4:15-18 [ASV])

If any believing woman has relatives who are widows, let her care for them. Let the church not be burdened, so that it may care for those who are truly widows. (1 Timothy 5:16 [ESV])

Where the leaders of the assemblies are to collect money or food from believers daily, or as frequently as needed, and distribute to the believers in need in the assemblies,

In those days when the number of disciples was increasing, the Hellenistic Jews among them complained against the Hebraic Jews because their widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution of food. (Acts 6:1 [NIV])

Now concerning the collection for the saints: as I directed the churches of Galatia, so you also are to do. On the first day of every week, each of you is to put something aside and store it up, as he may prosper, so that there will be no collecting when I come. (1 Corinthians 16:1-2 [ESV])

I was glad when Stephanas, Fortunatus and Achaicus arrived, because they have supplied what was lacking from you. (1 Corinthians 16:17 [NIV])

Where the goal of this recurring distribution of money is equality among all believers,

For if the willingness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what one does not have. Our desire is not that others might be relieved while you are hard pressed, but that there might be equality. At the present time your plenty will supply what they need, so that in turn their plenty will supply what you need. The goal is equality
(2 Corinthians 8:12-14 [NIV])

Between those who are poor and have little,

But we make known to you, brethren, the grace of God that is given to the assemblies of Macedonia. For in the many trials of their afflictions there was an abundance to their joy, and the depth of their poverty
(2 Corinthians 8:1-2 [ABPE])

For Macedonia and Achaia have been pleased to make some contribution for the poor among the saints at Jerusalem. (Romans 15:26 [ESV])

And those who are wealthy and have much,

As for the rich in this present aeon*, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, (1 Timothy 6:17-18 [MODIFIED-ESV])*

Interlinear Links: *αἰῶνι (aeon), 1 Timothy 6:17

To cover the basic need of food, at the very least, just as the Israelites gathered manna to eat, and none had too much, or too little,

The people of Israel called the bread manna. It was white like coriander seed and tasted like wafers made with honey. (Exodus 16:31 [NIV])

And when they measured it by the omer, the one who gathered much did not have too much, and the one who gathered little did not have too little. Everyone had gathered just as much as they needed. (Exodus 16:18 [NIV])

as it is written: “The one who gathered much did not have too much, and the one who gathered little did not have too little.” (2 Corinthians 8:15 [NIV])

So that none of the believers may be lacking in the assemblies,

that there were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned land or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone who had need. (Acts 4:34-35 [NIV])

Which includes assistance to orphans and widows,

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. (James 1:27 [NIV])

And, if possible, aside from the regular distribution in the assemblies, believers are also to pay off each other’s debts, so that all may debt free,

Be indebted to no one, except to one another in love, for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the Law. (Romans 13:8 [BSB])

For the LORD your God will bless you, as he promised you, and you shall lend to many nations, but you shall not borrow, and you shall rule over many nations, but they shall not rule over you.
(Deuteronomy 15:6 [NIV])

For just as no believer must call something they have as “their own”, since all believers must share everything they have with each other,

All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had. (Acts 4:32 [NIV])

The debt of one believer is also the debt of another believer, for all believers are to help carry each other’s burdens,

Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. (Galatians 6:2 [NIV])

And, believers are also to house believers who cannot afford to live on their own, and help support them,

Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. (1 Peter 4:9 [NIV])

and having a reputation for good works: if she has brought up children, has shown hospitality, has washed the feet of the saints, has cared for the afflicted, and has devoted herself to every good work. (1 Timothy 5:10 [ESV])

…Practice hospitality. (Romans 12:13 [BSB])

If your brother becomes poor and cannot maintain himself with you, you shall support him as though he were a stranger and a sojourner, and he shall live with you. (Leviticus 25:35 [ESV])

And in such a way the love of the believers for each other is demonstrated with actions, not just in word,

Now concerning brotherly love you have no need for anyone to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love one another, for that indeed is what you are doing to all the brothers throughout Macedonia. But we urge you, brothers, to do this more and more, (1 Thessalonians 4:9-10 [ESV])

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:34-35 [NIV])

And now, dear lady, I am not writing you a new command but one we have had from the beginning. I ask that we love one another. (2 John 1:5 [NIV])

My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. (John 15:12 [NIV])

This is my command: Love each other. (John 15:17 [NIV])

Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. (Romans 12:10 [NIV])

Yet even though the poor in the assemblies are supported by those who have more, none are to remain idle,

And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all. (1 Thessalonians 5:14 [ESV])

Besides that, they learn to be idlers, going about from house to house, and not only idlers, but also gossips and busybodies, saying what they should not. (1 Timothy 5:13 [ESV])

For we hear that some among you walk in idleness, not busy at work, but busybodies. (2 Thessalonians 3:11 [ESV])

But all must “work with their own hands”,

and to make it your ambition to lead a quiet life: You should mind your own business and work with your hands, just as we told you, (1 Thessalonians 4:11 [NIV])

We work hard with our own hands. When we are cursed, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure it; (1 Corinthians 4:12 [NIV])

Now such persons we command and encourage in the Lord Jesus Christ to do their work quietly and to earn their own living. (2 Thessalonians 3:12 [ESV])

So that even those who have little may also have something to give unto others,

Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need. (Ephesians 4:28 [ESV])

for in a severe test of affliction, their abundance of joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part. For they gave according to their means, as I can testify, and beyond their means, of their own accord, begging us earnestly for the favor of taking part in the relief of the saints
(2 Corinthians 8:2-4 [ESV])

Where “working with your own hands” can include work with pottery, carpentry, sewing, plumbing, construction, mechanics, electronics, cleaning, programming, manufacturing, blacksmithing, cooking, and many other forms of work similar to the forms of work men of God have done in the past,

Isn’t this the carpenter? Isn’t this Mary’s son and the brother of James, Joseph, Judas and Simon? Aren’t his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him. (Mark 6:3 [NIV])

He has filled them with skill to do all kinds of work as engravers, designers, embroiderers in blue, purple and scarlet yarn and fine linen, and weavers–all of them skilled workers and designers. (Exodus 35:35 [NIV])

whose mother was from Dan and whose father was from Tyre. He is trained to work in gold and silver, bronze and iron, stone and wood, and with purple and blue and crimson yarn and fine linen. He is experienced in all kinds of engraving and can execute any design given to him. He will work with your skilled workers and with those of my lord, David your father. (2 Chronicles 2:14 [NIV])

and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with ability and intelligence, with knowledge and all craftsmanship, to make artistic designs for work in gold, in silver, and in bronze, in cutting stones for setting, and in carving wood, to work in every craft. (Exodus 31:3-5 [ESV])

Bezalel and Oholiab and every craftsman in whom the LORD has put skill and intelligence to know how to do any work in the construction of the sanctuary shall work in accordance with all that the LORD has commanded.” (Exodus 36:1 [ESV])

He was the son of a widow of the tribe of Naphtali, and his father was a man of Tyre, a worker in bronze. And he was full of wisdom, understanding, and skill for making any work in bronze. He came to King Solomon and did all his work. (1 Kings 7:14 [ESV])

And Huram also made the pots and shovels and sprinkling bowls. So Huram finished the work he had undertaken for King Solomon in the temple of God: (2 Chronicles 4:11 [NIV])

Just as Paul was a tentmaker,

There he met a Jew named Aquila, a native of Pontus, who had recently come from Italy with his wife Priscilla, because Claudius had ordered all Jews to leave Rome. Paul went to see them, and because he was a tentmaker as they were, he stayed and worked with them. (Acts 18:2-3 [NIV])

And even though Paul had a right to make a living from the gospel,

Don’t you know that those who serve in the temple get their food from the temple, and that those who serve at the altar share in what is offered on the altar? In the same way, the Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should receive their living from the gospel. (1 Corinthians 9:13-14 [NIV])

Nevertheless, the one who receives instruction in the word should share all good things with their instructor. (Galatians 6:6 [NIV])

He did not exercise this right, but chose to work and pay for himself to not burden others in the assemblies,

Or is it only I and Barnabas who lack the right to not work for a living? (1 Corinthians 9:6 [NIV])

You yourselves know that these hands of mine have supplied my own needs and the needs of my companions. In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ ” (Acts 20:34-35 [NIV])

Surely you remember, brothers and sisters, our toil and hardship; we worked night and day in order not to be a burden to anyone while we preached the gospel of God to you. (1 Thessalonians 2:9 [NIV])

For you yourselves know how you ought to follow our example. We were not idle when we were with you, nor did we eat anyone’s food without paying for it. On the contrary, we worked night and day, laboring and toiling so that we would not be a burden to any of you. (2 Thessalonians 3:7-8 [NIV])

So that there would be no obstacle in spreading the gospel of Christ,

If others share this rightful claim on you, do not we even more? Nevertheless, we have not made use of this right, but we endure anything rather than put an obstacle in the way of the gospel of Christ. (1 Corinthians 9:12 [ESV])

And if any believer should employ others, he is to pay wages daily as the Law of the Lord commands,

You shall give him his wages on his day before the sun sets, for he is poor and sets his heart on it; so that he will not cry against you to the LORD and it become sin in you.
(Deuteronomy 24:15 [NASB])

And provide food for his laborers, for the Law of God not only regards the need to eat for animals as they work, but also laborers to whom this passage was really speaking of,

Do not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain. (Deuteronomy 25:4 [NIV])

For Scripture says, “Do not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain,” and “The worker deserves his wages.” (1 Timothy 5:18 [NIV])

For it is written in the Law of Moses: “Do not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain.” Is it about oxen that God is concerned? Surely he says this for us, doesn’t he? Yes, this was written for us, because whoever plows and threshes should be able to do so in the hope of sharing in the harvest.
(1 Corinthians 9:9-10 [NIV])

Where “working with your own hands” also means to not willingly come under the employment of unbelievers, for just as believers are not to depend on anyone,

so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody. (1 Thessalonians 4:12 [NIV])

So should believers remain independent and work for themselves, yet if any believer finds himself obligated to fulfill a term of employment for an unbeliever when he was called by God, let him fulfill his term,

Brothers and sisters, each person, as responsible to God, should remain in the situation they were in when God called them. (1 Corinthians 7:24 [NIV])

And then become freed from his employment,

Each person should remain in the situation they were in when God called them. Were you a slave when you were called? Don’t let it trouble you–although if you can gain your freedom, do so.
(1 Corinthians 7:20-21 [NIV])

Especially because employers who are unbelievers will compel employees to have a social security number, which is forbidden to use, since it is a system of usury enforced by the government that fulfills the “name of the beast” of Revelation,

engages in usury and charges interest. Will he live? He will not! Because he has done all these abominable deeds he will certainly die. He will bear the responsibility for his own death. (Ezekiel 18:13 [NETBIBLE])

he shall not give his money with interest, and shall not take money by usury; he shall turn his hand from injustice; he shall execute a just judgment between a man and his neighbor; (Ezekiel 18:8 [ABP])

And he causes all, the small and the great, and the rich and the poor, and the free and the bondmen, that there should be given to them an imprint upon their right hand, or upon their foreheads. (Revelation 13:16 [ABP])

so that they could not buy or sell unless they had the markwhich is the name of the beast… (Revelation 13:17 [ESV])

And employers will also compel employees to use banks to receive wages, which is also forbidden to use, since it is a system of interest that fulfills the “number of the beast” of Revelation,

“You shall not charge interest on loans to your brother, interest on money, interest on food, interest on anything that is lent for interest. (Deutereonomy 23:19 [ESV])

…charges interest. Will he live? He will not! Because he has done all these abominable deeds he will certainly die. He will bear the responsibility for his own death. (Ezekiel 18:13 [NETBIBLE])

he shall not give his money with interest… he shall turn his hand from injustice; he shall execute a just judgment between a man and his neighbor; (Ezekiel 18:8 [ABP])

He who increases his wealth by interest… gathers it for him who is gracious to the poor. (Proverbs 28:8 [NASB])

so that they could not buy or sell unless they had the mark… the number of its name. (Revelation 13:17 [ESV])

Where one way to not use banks nor credit cards for those who work with their own hands and make things is to simply ship merchandise through USPS using “collect on delivery” requesting cash, where the money order sent by USPS to the shipper can then be redeemed for cash at their locations.