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Truth About Tithing
The reason for this article is to show that the preaching by the Prosperity Preachers (Almost the entire Word-Faith movement) on the issue of "tithing" is incorrect and does nothing more than to hold believers in bondage and gain hold over every aspect of their financial resources. It is hoped that this article will discern to the reader the biblical truths surrounding the responsibility of Christian giving. The verses used by tithing teachers are invalid and are clearly taken out of context. The scripture referenced to support this inaccuracy is nowhere close to the interpretation as determined by these teachers.
There are those who accuse Christians of error that hold to the belief that the Old Testament ordinance of 10% tithing is no longer valid. It is claimed that God instituted the "tithe" long (400 years) before God brought the children of Israel under the covenant of the Law of Moses. Therefore, since the "tithe" preceded the Law of Moses it is still relevant (instituted) in the New Covenant. But, what does the Bible say? Concerning this claim of strict obedience to a law, or ordinance that precedes the Law of Moses, consider the Seventh Day Sabbath. The Sabbath was instituted during creation week. (Gen 2:2-3) If it can be claimed that the "tithe" is binding in the New Testament because it is a pre-law ordinance, should it not also hold true to the Seventh Day Sabbath? Why don't the money preachers attempt to put believers back into bondage, "all the way"?
We all know that Abraham gave to Melchizedek, the priest of the most high God, "tithes of all" (Gen.14:20). Many proponents of New Testament tithing are using this verse to "prove" tithing is valid (as some "eternal principle") for the church today, because Abraham, the father of our faith, established the principle. Abraham gave 10% to the priest. But 10% of what? - From the spoils he plundered from the enemy kings. Abraham gave the remaining 90% to those to whom the goods belonged in the first place. Abraham had not touched his own property or income (yet he was exceedingly wealthy).
Gen 28:22 is another favourite verse that the New Testament "tithing" teachers use to support pre-law tithing. Jacob pledged the Lord his life and a tenth of all possessions that would become his along the way. But he made this promise conditional: If God would remain with him, keep him in the way, and bring him safely home again; he would carry out his part of the pledge.
Can we bargain with God? Can we ‘blackmail’ God? Is God’s Grace conditional on us keeping promises? Can we give anything to the Lord? - It was all His in the first place! Is God not Sovereign? God can, and will do whatsoever He desires, according to His purpose!
The law of tithing continued up to the Cross- Matthew 23:23 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites. For ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law.
The believer is under no external law for any part of his new life. As in every aspect of his life, the believer is motivated and guided in his giving by the indwelling Holy Spirit.
Rom. 8:2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.
Our giving is to be governed by grace; it is a gift of the Spirit: Romans 12:6,8 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given us... he that giveth, let him do it with liberality.
The next verse summarizes what is expected of a true Christian in the principles of giving: 2 Cor 9: 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. 8 And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.
New Testament believers should give as they prosper, and as we purpose in our hearts. We should "give liberally" as the grace of God purposes them.
Now, do we give according to the Old Covenant tithe, as one under the Law, or do we give as we purpose in our heart as a New Covenant believer under grace? Yes, Christians should support the preacher, but we are not told to give a "tithe" (tenth). As we purpose in our heart can be various amounts, more or less. 1 Cor 9: 13 Don’t you know that those who work in the temple get their food from the temple, and those who serve at the altar share in what is offered on the altar? 14 In the same way, the Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should receive their living from the gospel.
This is instructing us not to live under the Laws of the Temple, but to live under the Gospel.
Prosperity preachers forget that we are Christians - believers of the gospel of Christ. We are made a new creature. We are born again. God in His mercy, through His Son Jesus Christ, took us out from under the Law of sin and death. Rom 4: 14For if they which are of the law be heirs, faith is made void, and the promise made of none effect: 15Because the law worketh wrath: for where no law is, there is no transgression. 16Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all.
If we do not obey from the "heart", but by "law", we are still lost in our sins. Christians will have grace to "give", but they are not commanded to "tithe". Pastors who want to do what is right will study to rightly divide the word of truth and end this fraudulent teaching.
Bring the whole tithe…
Here we have the tithing teachers' favourite verses in the whole Bible. On these verses they hang most of their doctrine. But if we take a close look, we will find something very interesting.
Nehemiah 10:38 "And the priest, the son of Aaron, shall be with the Levites when the Levites receive tithes, and the Levites shall bring up the tenth of the tithes to the house of our God, to the chambers of the storehouse".
[Note: The word 'storehouse' is translated as 'treasure house' in the KJV. The Hebrew is the same in both Nehemiah and Malachi, outsair, meaning a treasure or a storehouse.]
"Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in My house, and test Me now in this," says the Lord of hosts, "if I will not open for you the windows of heaven, and pour out for you a blessing until it overflows" (Malachi 3:10).
Mal 3: 8Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings. 9Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation. 10Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.
These verses talk about the tithe payable by the Levites, not the tithes payable by the people. Malachi is rebuking the Levites, not the people. When our modern day tithing teachers point this verse at the people, they are really pointing at themselves - except that most of them refuse to accept this teaching, let alone teach their congregation this Biblical Truth.
Num 18: 20And the LORD spake unto Aaron, Thou shalt have no inheritance in their land, neither shalt thou have any part among them: I am thy part and thine inheritance among the children of Israel. 21And, behold, I have given the children of Levi all the tenth in Israel for an inheritance, for their service which they serve, even the service of the tabernacle of the congregation.
The Levites, in turn, were to give a tithe of their tithe, to provide for the priests. All priests were Levites, but not all Levites were priests. The priests were to receive the best tenth of the Levites tithe.
Num 18: 24But the tithes of the children of Israel, which they offer as an heave offering unto the LORD, I have given to the Levites to inherit: therefore I have said unto them, Among the children of Israel they shall have no inheritance. 25And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, 26Thus speak unto the Levites, and say unto them, When ye take of the children of Israel the tithes which I have given you from them for your inheritance, then ye shall offer up an heave offering of it for the LORD, even a tenth part of the tithe. 27And this your heave offering shall be reckoned unto you, as though it were the corn of the threshingfloor, and as the fulness of the winepress. 28Thus ye also shall offer an heave offering unto the LORD of all your tithes, which ye receive of the children of Israel; and ye shall give thereof the LORD’S heave offering to Aaron the priest.
Mal 1: 7 O priests, that despise my name. And ye say, Wherein have we despised thy name? 7Ye offer polluted bread upon mine altar; and ye say, Wherein have we polluted thee? In that ye say, The table of the LORD is contemptible. 8And if ye offer the blind for sacrifice, is it not evil?
The Levites (those who minister for the people in the Temple: i.e. the modern day pastors as claimed by the pastors) were not offering a heave (best) offering to the High Priests. The Levites were giving the blemished to the Temple Priests. They were not good stewards of the goods God entrusted to them. Today there is no human equivalent of a High Priest. Jesus Christ is the High Priest of all True Believers today. (Heb. 2:17-18; 3:1-2) Those who claim an equivalent of the Levites today, (pastors) are the ones whom Malachi is rebuking. Malachi is not rebuking the "people"; he is rebuking the Levites (pastors).
The only ones ever authorized to receive tithes were the Levites. Ever since the destruction of the Temple in 70 A.D., it has been impossible to keep the tithing law (just as it is impossible for non-Messianic Jews to atone for their sins by sacrifice). Today, even Orthodox Jews don’t tithe! No one is qualified to receive tithes now that the priesthood and temple are gone.
WHY? Because the sacrifice that once had to be offered daily by the Levites has now been accomplished "once and for all" ( Heb. 10:11-13; Heb. 7:27.) There is no more work for the Levite in the administering of offerings. Do Christians need to give offerings? Do Christians need to make Sacrifices? Do Christians need to offer heave offerings, burnt, freewill, meat, drink and even peace offerings?
Col 1:20 Has not Christ made peace through the blood of His cross?.
Eph 2:15 Christ, Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; 16 And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby:
The Temple rituals are gone the way of the cross, so have sacrifices, offerings and tithes.
Under a curse…
If you want to understand the book of Malachi, read Malachi 4:4, "Remember the Law of Moses…" That is the whole thrust of Malachi. But we do not live under the Law, we live under the grace provided in Jesus Christ. If you choose to submit yourself to even part of the Law of Moses, you have a problem. Jesus came to fulfil the Law and to add Spirit to it. Galatians 3:10: For as many as are of the works of the Law are under a curse; for it is written, "Cursed is everyone who does not abide by all things written in the book of the Law, to perform them”. If you choose to place yourself under the works of the Law, you are under a curse for the simple reason that you cannot keep the Law of Moses. To keep the Law, you have to be perfect. But there was only one person who was perfect – Jesus Christ. Our fallen, sinful nature will see to it, that we cannot be perfect under the Law. That’s why we need Grace, why we need Jesus Christ.
The purpose of the Law is to act as our tutor, or "school master", to lead us to Christ, that we may be justified by faith (Galatians 3:24).
Tithes are 'Corban'
Mark 7:9-13 9 And he said to them: "You have a fine way of setting aside the commands of God in order to observe your own traditions! 10 For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and your mother,’ and, ‘Anyone who curses his father or mother must be put to death.’ 11 But you say that if a man says to his father or mother: ‘Whatever help you might otherwise have received from me is Corban’ (that is, a gift devoted to God), 12 then you no longer let him do anything for his father or mother. 13 Thus you nullify the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And you do many things like that.
If you have money your family needs, but you withhold it from them in order to pay it to the church as 'tithes', you are doing exactly what the Pharisees did. You are saying your money is "Corban" and Jesus taught that by doing so you were invalidating the Word of God.
LIBERTY not BONDAGE
People, we are not under the old law, but the perfect law of liberty, which is in Jesus Christ.
2 Cor 3: 12Seeing then that we have such hope, we use great plainness of speech: 13And not as Moses, which put a vail over his face, that the children of Israel could not stedfastly look to the end of that which is abolished: 14But their minds were blinded: for until this day remaineth the same vail untaken away in the reading of the old testament; which vail is done away in Christ. 15But even unto this day, when Moses is read, the vail is upon their heart. 16Nevertheless when it shall turn to the Lord, the vail shall be taken away. 17Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. 18But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord. ;
James 2: 12So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty. 13For he shall have judgment without mercy, that hath shewed no mercy; and mercy rejoiceth against judgment.
We are never told where to worship, or when. (John 4:20-25)
We are told to not forsake the assembling of ourselves together, (Heb 10:25) but we are not told how often to assemble.
We are not told how often to celebrate the Lord's Supper.
We are not told that Christ instituted a new Sabbath to replace the seventh day Sabbath.
We are not told we must be in church (assemble ourselves together) every time the church doors open.
We are not told all of our Christian giving must go only to the church where we are members.
We are never told how much to give.
We are never told what to give.
In all these things, we have been given, by grace, the liberty that is found in Jesus Christ.
This is how we are commanded to give:
2 Cor 9:7 Every man according as he purposes in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loves a cheerful giver.
Whatever we can give, guided by Prayer and the Holy Spirit, we must give, but only cheerfully and with a good heart, without which, the giving is worthless.
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