Archive for the 'Tithing' Category

Jul 23 2015

Tithing – Clarification

Published by under Tithing

Over the years some have suggested, or assumed, that the author does not believe in tithing. Let me take this opportunity to say that nothing could be further from the truth. What this writer does not believe in is the often predominant, hedonistic, and manipulative interpretation of this portion of the Old Testament Law. After citing articles like the ones listed below I will typically receive negative feedback from those who choose to reference typologies or personal experience over that of clearly stated Scripture. But remember 2nd Timothy 2:15 & 1st Timothy 6:1-10. Thanks.

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Jan 09 2007

What is Tithing

Published by under Tithing

What is Tithing?
Tithing was part of the Mosaic Law that was given to the people of Israel in the Old Testament. As I stated before, this is the same Mosaic Law that mandated circumcision, clean and unclean foods, religious festivals, and animal sacrifices. There are a few items that need addressing with regards to the idea of a mandated tithe for New Testament believers. One of them is the fact that if you are going to require a tithe from New Testament Christians, you are going to have to reinstitute the rest of the Mosaic Law.

You can’t require part of the law and then leave the rest behind. This would mean that we would not be able to eat certain foods, all male children would have to be circumcised, we would be required to observe all of the religious festivals, and we would need to purchase animals without spot or blemish for sacrificial purposes. Another issue that we need to cover is the simple fact that the tithe was not related to money. The tithe had to do with the fruits of harvest. This food was brought to the Levitical Priests because they had no land inheritance. The tithe was their inheritance for working in the temple. For reference, please read Leviticus 27: 30-34 & Numbers 18:20-24.

Leviticus 27:30-34
30 “‘A tithe of everything from the land, whether grain from the soil or fruit from the trees, belongs to the LORD; it is holy to the LORD. 31 If a man redeems any of his tithe, he must add a fifth of the value to it. 32 The entire tithe of the herd and flock–every tenth animal that passes under the shepherd’s rod–will be holy to the LORD. 33 He must not pick out the good from the bad or make any substitution. If he does make a substitution, both the animal and its substitute become holy and cannot be redeemed.’” 34 These are the commands the LORD gave Moses on Mount Sinai for the Israelites.

Numbers 18:20-24
20 The LORD said to Aaron, “You will have no inheritance in their land, nor will you have any share among them; I am your share and your inheritance among the Israelites. 21 “I give to the Levites all the tithes in Israel as their inheritance in return for the work they do while serving at the Tent of Meeting. 22 From now on the Israelites must not go near the Tent of Meeting, or they will bear the consequences of their sin and will die. 23 It is the Levites who are to do the work at the Tent of Meeting and bear the responsibility for offenses against it. This is a lasting ordinance for the generations to come. They will receive no inheritance among the Israelites. 24 Instead, I give to the Levites as their inheritance the tithes that the Israelites present as an offering to the LORD. That is why I said concerning them: ‘They will have no inheritance among the Israelites.’”

There are a few scriptures that some have used to try and validate New Testament tithing. The most common one is found in Malachi 3:8-11, which reads;

Malachi 3:8-11
8 “Will a man rob God? Yet you rob me. “But you ask, ‘How do we rob you?’
“In tithes and offerings. 9 You are under a curse-the whole nation of you-because you are robbing me. 10 Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the LORD Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it. 11 I will prevent pests from devouring your crops, and the vines in your fields will not cast their fruit,” says the LORD Almighty.

Since we have already reviewed this passage previously I will simply list it for reference. As we have just covered however, the passage in Malachi cannot be used as a required standard of giving for God’s people today. Nor did the Old Testament tithe relate to monetary giving. Another scripture that I have heard used to support tithing is found in Matthew 23:23. It reads;

Matthew 23:23
23″Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices-mint, dill and cummin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law-justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former.

There are two important things that we need to understand about this passage. The first is that Jesus referred to the giving of food items, not money, which is in keeping with the Old Testament requirements.

The second item that needs to be understood is that Jesus was addressing these Pharisees according to the covenant that they were operating in. The death and resurrection of Christ issued in the new covenant that we all enjoy today. The New Testament has a lot to say regarding finances, the love of money, and financial giving for the believer. Howbeit, the giving is completely voluntary and not a requirement. Here are the passages for your reference.

1st Corinthians 16:1-2
16:1 Now about the collection for God’s people: Do what I told the Galatian churches to do. 2 On the first day of every week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with his income, saving it up, so that when I come no collections will have to be made.

2nd Corinthians 9:6-7
6 Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. 7 Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.

2nd Corinthians 8:1-5
8:1 And now, brothers, we want you to know about the grace that God has given the Macedonian churches. 2 Out of the most severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity.
3 For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability. Entirely on their own, 4 they urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in this service to the saints. 5 And they did not do as we expected, but they gave themselves first to the Lord and then to us in keeping with God’s will.

Luke 6:38
38 Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”

1st Timothy 6:17-19
17 Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. 18 Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. 19 In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life

Luke 18:23-25
23 When he heard this, he became very sad, because he was a man of great wealth. 24 Jesus looked at him and said, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God! 25 Indeed, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”

Luke 12:15
15 The he said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.”

Matthew 6:24
24 “No one can serve two masters. 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 both God and money.”

2nd Timothy 3:1-5
3:1 But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. 2 People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good,
4 treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God-
5 having a form of godliness but denying its power.
Have nothing to do with them.

NOTE: Please observe from the previous passages that even though God will bless us for our giving, the scriptures caution us against placing our hope in money and emphasize that our lives should not be centered around our possessions.

In Closing:
There are several important things that I would like to make mention of as it relates to our financial giving. These are as follows.

1) All that we have, money or otherwise, belongs to the Lord in the first place. We are only stewards, or caretakers, of that which has been entrusted to us. The importance of financial giving, among other reasons, has a great deal to do with the priorities and condition of our heart. We would do well to keep the Lord first in all things, and since money can be a driving force in our lives this is not a bad place at all to start. For those that have much, giving 10% of their finances could very well be robbing God. While for others, giving a tenth would be almost impossible in light of current economic pressures.

2) There are numerous ways for Christians to give to God. In today’s church, a significant amount of the ministries that exist are nurtured and cultivated by those who have no official title. Most of these people also work everyday jobs, maintain families and homes, and labor for their ministries without any financial compensation whatsoever. In addition to this, many of them also give of their earnings to their local churches.

3) To lay another legalistic, out of context, Old Testament requirement on New Testament believers seems to me to be of primary benefit to those who pass the offering plate. While trying to be tactful with my statements, I have a very difficult time believing that many of our “Educated Spiritual Leaders” have actually misunderstood the scriptures as it relates to Old Testament Tithing. It is much easier for me, in light of various discussions with some of these people, to subscribe to the belief that they know exactly what they are doing. And this, to their shame.



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