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EDITION 3 : VOLUME 41 - Modern Day Tithing is Not a Commandment From God?

Foreword: Out of all the scriptures in the Bible concerning Tithing I have yet to find one that teaches Tithes as being money(currency). Be true to yourself and ask yourself the Question. “Can I go to the scriptures and find Tithes to be money(currency)”? Better yet. Ask yourself if your pastor can unequivocally go to the Bible without twisting the scriptures and prove to you God meant Tithes to be paid money(currency). You will probably find the answers to be no!!! Most congregants are not literate enough concerning scriptures to confront or debate biblical issues even though the issues are blurred. Instead of letting the Word of God be the determining factor for all issues, the word of the pulpit is accepted as what is right. To remain ignorant to the Tithe issue is to live in denial. This is one of the most controversial if not the most controversial Old Covenant ritual being tossed around in the New Covenant world. Pastors all over the world are trying to scare congregations with the curse from Malachi. However the curse of Malachi was directed at the Priest who were stealing the tithes while being admonished by God. The point in reading anything is to keep it in the context in which it was written. The context of Malachi is concerning the Temple, the Leviticus Priesthood and a time long before Jesus ushered in the New Covenant. That is one way to put it. If after reading this article and you are still not convinced that Modern Day Tithing is Not a Commandment From God then you never will be convinced. However; if you believe in tithing you must still believe in animal sacrifice. If you do not believe in animal sacrifice why do you still believe in tithing? Christians need to think..............

 

THE REDEEMER MAGAZINE- The Magazine for Thinking Christians.

THE REDEEMER®- VOLUME 41 ****EDITION 3- OMPS® INC. 2014
 All articles in this magazine are written in whole or part by Dr. Otis T. Williams Sr. Th.D.....© 2014 These articles are the literary properties of Otis Media Publications Syndication Inc. ©

Modern Day Tithing is Not a Commandment From God?

Digital Edition

Lev. 27:30, And all the tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land, or of the fruit of the tree, is the LORD’s. It is holy to the LORD…. 32: And concerning the tithe of the herd, or of the flock, even of whatsoeverpasses under the rod, the tenth shall be holy to the LORD.

 

First let's look at some generalities and practicalities. First let's look at some Old Testament issues. 

         Surely as you study you will find Tithing had been instituted by God in the Old Testament. The Tithing of Abraham was not a God instituted Tithe but may have been a pagan practice long before God instituted Tithing. Further study will reveal that (if)Tithing mentioned in the New Testament is in effect during the writting of the New Testament because the New age had not been ushered in completely. The population of the New Testament was being governed yet under the Laws of the Mosaic Covenant. However, the crucifixion of Jesus Christ as the Last Sacrifice was the early stages of the demise of the Old Mosaic covenant and the Laws Of Moses. Though people still went to the Temple to make sacrifice(s) after Jesus was nailed to the cross, the sacrifices was no longer of any affect. The same as for all the Old Customs and Laws of Moses. Paul on his missionary Journeys were gradually bringing good news about the changes in churches to move away from the Old Mosaic Laws and principles which did include Tithing. The thinking Christian has reason to believe that if the meat ordinances and animal sacrifices were destroyed with the ushering in of the New Covenant so were the issue of Tithing.

Now let's look at the problem today. 

         So what is the problem? The problem is MONEY. The entire church system today is money driven and uneducated about matters concerning Biblical principles. For instance; the Biblical principal of giving is to help the poor and needy. “However; it is all too common to find large churches with many poor who give above and beyond their means out of fear of the Old Covenant curse of Malachi 3:9. Expecting the poor to pay tithes from welfare and Social Security checks is a disgrace. Many poor who Tithe are then forced to depend even more on welfare because the church does not give more back to the poor than it receives from them.” Such treatment is oppression of the poor and is a modern scandalous ploy.                               

       Why haven't the seminaries written as many dissertations and disquisitions on Tithing as with other subjects that get less attention in Sunday morning services. The fact is most essays and correctly researched term papers reveal truth. The exposed truth of Tithing is thought to be a major blow or cause a financial disposition for most congregations. That is not the case. For people to learn the principles of free-will giving as opposed to Tithing makes for a better and complete Christian.

         Most Christians do not adhere to the fact that the Church is not just one large assembly that meets each Sunday morning to collect Tithes then figure how to disperse the funds. Christians needs to be taught that the Church is the body of believers scattered through-out society with the imposing belief in Jesus Christ. The collection of a man-dated Tithe is a ceremonious exercise that has little or nothing to do with true Christianity. So why do Pulpits continue to use Malachi 3:9 to validate Tithing? It is because of sincere ignorance, being afraid of losing a job, faulty tradition and ect. Whatever the excuse is there is enough audio and visual materials in today's educational system to remove the blinders from the eyes of Christians concerning Tithing.

Tithing is not free-will giving. Fear imposed Tithing does not make a cheerful giver. 2nd Corinthians 9:7Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.

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What is Biblical Tithe?

        The Hebrew and Greek words for “Tithe” both simply mean “a tenth.” However, beyond this simple definition, much ­ difficulty exists in defining the contents of the Tithe. I shall give definitions of the Tithes as given by various sources. A working definition will be of great concern to many because of long-standing traditional ideas of the content of the Tithe.

       The Hebrew term for “Tithe” is simply the adjectival form of the number ten. The term is used infrequently in Scripture apart from the levitical and deuteronomic legislation concerning its contribution within the assembly. The term’s employment is by no means complex, but it is precise. The tithe is an exact tenth, and is not used in a generic sense to refer to multiple types of offerings of varying amounts.

1st Definition -Pagan and General {6}

The general tithe is of pagan origin. It is a general all-inclusive definition and precedes the Mosaic Law’s Tithe by many centuries. In Genesis 41:34 Joseph encouraged the Egyptians to double their Tithe in order to cover the lean years. In Genesis 14 Abraham was obligated to pay a Tithe from the spoils of war in obedience to the Arab war custom. In New Testament times the Roman Empire received the first Tithe of ten percent of grains and twenty percent of fruit trees from its conquered subjects, including Judah.

*The Encyclopedia Americana defines the general Tithe as “the tenth part of produce or other income, paid voluntarily or under the compulsion of law for the benefit of religious institutions, the support of priests and pastors, and the relief of those in need.” This definition does not distinguish between ecclesiastical tithes from church laws, personal Tithes from trade and agricultural Tithes. Encyclopedia Americana, 1996 ed., s.v. "tithe.”

*Encyclopedia of Religion, “In the ancient Near East lie the origins of a sacred offering or payment of a tenth part of stated goods or property to the deity. Often given to the king or to the royal temple, the ‘tenth’ was usually approximate, not exact. The practice is known from Mesopotamia, Syria-Palestine, Greece and as far to the west as the Phoenician city of Carthage.” Encyclopedia of Religion, Mircea Eliad, editor, 1987, s.v. “tithe.”

*Westminster Dictionary of the Bible, “A 10th part of one’s income consecrated to God. The separation of a certain proportion of the products of one’s industry or of the spoils of war as tribute to their gods was practiced by various nations of antiquity. The Lydians offered a Tithe of their booty (Herod. I, 89). The Phoenicians and Carthaginians sent a Tithe annually to the Tyrian Hercules. These Tithes might be regular or occasional, voluntary or prescribed by law.” Although an additional full ten percent “spoils of war” Tithe was not incorporated into the Mosaic Law, an additional one percent is mentioned in Numbers 31:25-47. Almost every theological commentator discusses this ancient custom in Genesis 14:21, which links it to the Tithe in verse 20. John D. Davis, ed., Westminster Dictionary of the Bible (Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1964), s.v. “tithe.”

 2nd Definition – Tithes as a general offering {6}

        A second definition of “Tithe” is most common among moderate and ­ liberal churches which equate Tithes with free-will offerings. Members are urged to begin with a small percentage of giving and gradually increase the percentage according to their ability. Among these churches there is little or no reference to an exact compulsory giving of ten percent from gross income as a legal requirement. Since many of the liberal churches assign Adam through Moses to mythology and believe the Pentateuch was written after the exile, they usually base their approach to giving on general principles rather than specific texts.

       Also, many who hold this position prefer to use “Tithe” to refer to “net” income with certain limitations. They are more likely to say that the poor are not required to give Tithes and that Tithes are only required from those who make a profit from their labor. They also are more likely to say that church support is not required from those on bare government pension or welfare. The parents’ first duty is to provide essentials of food, clothing, and housing for their family.

3rd Definition - Tithe as 10% of Gross Income {6}

      A third definition of “Tithe” is taught among many more Baptist, Methodist and fundamental churches. For these churches “Tithe” refers to ten percent of “gross” income and is an expectation from all economic classes, both rich and poor alike. In addition to paying salaries of gospel workers and ­providing social programs, some smaller churches also use the Tithe for building funds and payment of all church debts. Their position insists that the Tithe is an unchanging biblical standard, or eternal moral principle, which reflects the character of God, preceded the Mosaic Law and was, therefore, not abolished by the Mosaic Law. They also insist exact Tithing of ten percent of one’s gross income should be observed by all Christians, and free-will offerings are to be given in addition to the mandatory Tithe. Without exception, the Tithe must be returned to God first, while other necessities such as shelter, child care, medicine, food, heat, and clothing must be given less priority. The church is obligated to teach Tithing because it is a Biblical command.

       This common definition is rejected and refuted in THE REDEEMER MAGAZINE because it fails to consider the correct definition, the purpose, and limitations of the Biblical Tithe. THE REDEEMER MAGAZINE will deliberately uses many conservative evangelical sources in an attempt to demonstrate that this definition(3RD DEFINITION) is both legalistic and harmful to the church which should be using much better New Covenant principles.

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4th Definition–Tithes as an Old Covenant Ordinance for Israel. {6}

        “Tithe” is the precise and narrow Scriptural definition as given in the Mosaic Law in the Old Covenant. The biblical Tithe was an ordinance of the Mosaic Law for the use and benefit of national Israel under the Old Covenant. The full Tithe was given to the tribe of Levi, first, in exchange for his loss of land inheritance in Israel and, second, because of his servant service to his brothers in the Levitical house of Aaron who alone served as priests. A tenth of the first Tithe was, in turn, given by the Levites to the priests who ministered at the altar.

        The basic Tithe was not to be used for building houses of worship. Since pagan dust defiled, the original tithe consisted solely of the increase of land produce from God’s sanctified land of Israel and from the increase of animals herded on the land of Israel. Although the Tithe could be exchanged for its monetary value, the Tithe itself never consisted of money! A second (and third) Tithe was also given to provide food for festival occasions, and to provide welfare food for widows, fatherless, orphans and needy strangers in Israel.

What did the Tithe consist of ?{6}

       A surprising biblical fact is that the poor did not pay tithes, but, instead, received from the Tithe. This fact is made especially clear in the gleaning laws and in the purpose of the Tithe. Jesus did not Tithe, nor did he sin by failing to Tithe because he was poor and did not own land or herd animals for his sustenance. The poor were only expected to give free-will offerings to the best of their ability.

         The contents of every recorded Tithe found in the Mosaic Law is only from landowners and herdsmen of the land of Israel. This was a totally unexpected, yet very clear, truth about Tithing that Bible study with an exhaustive concordance revealed. Also, strange as it may seem, Scriptural Tithing was only intended for a society sustained almost wholly by agricultural crops and animal herds.

        Biblical society included the following occupations: bakers, candle makers, carpenters, clothing makers, hired farm workers, hired herdsmen, hired household servants, jewelry craftsmen, masons, metal craftsmen, musicians, painters, perfume makers, physicians, sculptors, soldiers, tanners, teachers and tent makers. Yet NONE of these professions or products from these professions are included in any list of tithes or tithing! Why not? These sources provided much of the money for head taxes, temple taxes, tribute to foreign conquerors and, of course, free-will offerings. It is inconceivable to think that God simply forgot to include them in the many lists of items to be tithed.

        We must also remember that the Mosaic Law of the ‘firstborn’ would drive all except the firstborn in a family with four sons off the land within 2-3 generations because the firstborn was to get a double portion of the land inheritance (Deut. 21:17:But he shall acknowledge the son of the hated for the firstborn, by giving him a double portion of all that he hath: for he is the beginning of his strength; the right of the firstborn is his. Those with plots of land too small to ­ sustain a family had to sell their portion to their relative with the larger inheritance. Next, they would work as hired hands on their relatives’ land or move to town and take up a trade. For example, a 1000 acre plot would be divided by four sons into plots of 400; 200; 200; and 200 in the first generation; 160; 80; 80; and 80 after two generations; 32; 16; 16; and 16 after three generations. Thus, continually sub-dividing the land would keep the land-tithe the same, but would seriously reduce the amount of persons paying land-tithes.

Below are Tithe scriptures that gave a detail of what the Tithe consisted of. Please note the following scriptures do not include the term “money”.

*Lev. 27:30, 32 And all the tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land, or of the fruit of the tree, is the LORD’s. It is holy to the LORD…. And concerning the tithe of the herd, or of the flock, even of whatsoever passes under the rod, the tenth shall be holy to the LORD.

*Num. 18:27 And this your heave offering shall be reckoned to you, as though it were the grain of the threshing-floor, and as the fullness of the wine-press.

*Num. 18:28 Thus you also shall offer a heave offering to the LORD of all your tithes, which you receive of the children of Israel; and you shall give thereof the LORD’s heave offering to Aaron the priest.

*Deut 12:17 You may not eat within your gates the tithe of your grain, or of your wine, or of your oil

*Deut. 14:22 You shall truly tithe all the increase of your seed, that the field brings forth year by year.

Footnote:{6} In part from the book:Should the Church Teach Tithing? By: Russell Earl Kelly, PHD

*Deut. 14:23 And you shall eat before the LORD your God, in the place which he shall choose to place his name, the tithe of your grain, of your wine, and of your oil, and the first offspring of your herds and of your flocks, that you may learn to fear the LORD your God always.

*Deut. 26:12 When you have made an end of tithing all the tithes of your increase [produce: NIV, RSV] the third year, which is the year of tithing, and have given it to the Levite, the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, that they may eat within your gates, and be filled.

2 Chron. 31:5 And as soon as the commandment was circulated, the children of Israel brought in abundance the firstfruits of grain, wine, and oil, and honey, and of all the increase of the fields; and the tithe of all things they brought in abundantly.

2 Chron. 31:6 And concerning the children of Israel and Judah, that lived in the cities of Judah, they also brought in the tithe of oxen and sheep, and the tithe of holy things which were consecrated to the LORD their God, and laid them by heaps.

Neh. 10:37 And that we should bring the firstfruits of our dough, and our offerings, and the fruit of all manner of trees, of wine and of oil, to the priests, to the chambers of the house of our God, and the tithes of our ground to the Levites, that the same Levites might have the tithes in all the cities of our tillage.

Neh. 13:5 And he had prepared for him a great chamber, where previously they laid the grain offerings, the frankincense, and the vessels, and the tithes of the grain, the new wine, and the oil, which was commanded to be given to the Levites, and the singers, and the porters, and the ­ offerings of the priests.

Mal. 3:10 Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat [food] in my house.

Matt. 23:23 Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithe of mint and anise and cumin….

 Although the scriptures gives us in detail all we need to know about Tithing I will use parallel commentary of Deuteronomy 26:12 from difference sources to affirm the truths that Money was not include in Tithing. Usually I do not like to use commentaries because I like to rely on scriptures and scriptures alone. However for the sake of the readers I will use them in trying to convey this point.

 

*Geneva Study Bible – (does not give an commentary)

Deuteronomy 26:12 When thou hast made an end of Tithing all the Tithes of thine increase the third year, which is the year of Tithing, and hast given it unto the Levite, the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, that they may eat within thy gates, and be filled;

*Wesley's Notes

26:12 The year of Tithing - Heb. the year of that Tithe, so called, either because these Tithes were gathered only in that year. Or rather, because then only they were so bestowed; and whereas these second Tithes for two years together were eaten only by the owners and Levites, and that in Jerusalem, in the third year they were eaten also by the strangers, fatherless, and widows, and that in their own dwellings.

*Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

26:12-15. When thou hast made an end of Tithing all the Tithes of thine increase the third year-Among the Hebrews there were two Tithings. The first was appropriated to the Levites (Nu 18:21). The second, being the tenth of what remained, was brought to Jerusalem in kind; or it was converted into money, and the owner, on arriving in the capital, purchased sheep, bread, and oil (De 14:22, 23). This was done for two consecutive years. But this second Tithing was eaten at home, and the third year distributed among the poor of the place (De 14:28, 29).

*Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary

Deuteronomy 26:12-15 How should the earth yield its increase, or, if it does, what comfort can we take in it, unless therewith our God gives us his blessing? All this represented the covenant relation between a reconciled God and every true believer, and the privileges and duties belonging to it. We must be watchful, and show that according to the covenant of grace in Christ Jesus, the Lord is our God, and we are his people, waiting in his appointed way for the performance of his gracious promises.

       The above commentaries are rallying points used to bring to light the all too often not mentioned elements of Tithing. The not mentioned elements of Tithing are that Tithes consisted of the things that God Himself could only give increases to; and that was PRODUCTS OF THE LAND.

 

TITHES WERE NOT.......................

Tithes were not money

{6}One argument to support non-food Tithing is that money was not universally available and barter from food must have been used for most transactions.  This argument is not biblical. Genesis alone contains “money” in 32 texts and the word occurs 44 times before the Tithe is first mentioned in Leviticus 27. The word shekel also appears often from Genesis to Deuteronomy.

In fact many centuries before Israel entered Canaan and began Tithing food from God’s Holy Land money was an essential everyday item. For example money in the form of silver shekels paid for slaves (Gen 17:12+); land (Gen 23:9+); freedom (Ex 23:11); court fines (Ex 21 all; 22 all); sanctuary dues (Ex 30:12+); vows (Lev 27:3-7); poll taxes (Num 3:47+), alcoholic drinks (Deu 14:26) and marriage dowries (Deu 22:29).

According to Genesis 47:15-17 food was only used for barter after money had been spent. Banking and usury laws exist in God’s Word in Leviticus even before Tithing. Therefore the argument that money was not prevalent enough for everyday use is false. Yet the Tithe contents never include money from non-food products and trades.

 

Tithes were not the same as first fruits..........

{6}The first-fruit was a very small amount of the first crop harvest and the first-born was the first offspring of animals. The first-fruit was small enough to fit into a hand-held basket (Deut. 26:1-4, 10; Lev. 23:17; Num. 18:13-17; 2 Chron 31:5a). First-fruit and first-born offerings went directly to the Temple and were required to be totally consumed by ministering priests only inside the Temple (Neh. 10:35-37a; Ex. 23:19; 34:26; Deut. 18:4).

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TITHING WAS NOT...................

Tithing was not an eternal moral principle .......

{6}A tradition is not automatically an eternal moral principle merely because is it very old, very common and very widespread. The fact that Tithing was common in much pagan worship before the Bible was written does not make it a moral principle. Idolatry, worship of astrological bodies, child sacrifice, temple prostitution, witchcraft and necromancy are equally very old, very common and very widespread in pagan cultures. The practice of giving is found in natural law, but an exact percentage is not.

TITHING WAS NOT...................

Tithing was not an eternal moral principle .......

{6}A tradition is not automatically an eternal moral principle merely because is it very old, very common and very widespread. The fact that Tithing was common in much pagan worship before the Bible was written does not make it a moral principle. Idolatry, worship of astrological bodies, child sacrifice, temple prostitution, witchcraft and necromancy are equally very old, very common and very widespread in pagan cultures. The practice of giving is found in natural law, but an exact percentage is not.

 Tithing was not a minimum required from all Old Covenant Israelites................

{6}Only those Israelites who earned a livelihood from farming and herding inside Israel were required to Tithe under the Mosaic Law. Their increase came from God’s hand. Those whose increase came from their own crafts and skills were not required to tithe products and money. The poor and needy who did not Tithe and received Tithes gave free will offerings.

TITHING IS NOT A CHRISTIAN DOCTRINE

An Essay by Russell Earl Kelly, Ph. D.

         In many churches today the doctrine of tithing has reached the level of a modern scandal. While on the one hand most seminary-level textbooks on systematic theology and hermeneutics by highly educated theologians omit tithing, on the other hand the practice is quickly becoming a requirement for church membership in the very denominations which insist on solid Bible-based doctrines. There is also increasing evidence that lay persons who question the legitimacy of New Covenant tithing are usually criticized and ignored as being troublemakers or weak Christians. Sincere Christian leaders should always be open and available to discuss God’s Word. Failure to do suggests doubt and insecurity. More “holy boldness” is needed.

Modern Tithing is based on many false assumptions.

        One denomination’s statement on stewardship is typical. It says that "Tithing is the minimum biblical standard and the beginning point which God has established that must not be replaced or compromised by any other standard." It adds that the Tithe is from gross income which is due to the church before taxes.

The following points of this essay contrast the false teachings used to support tithing with what God’s Word actually says.

POINT #1: CHRISTIAN GIVING PRINCIPLES: New Covenant Giving Principles in Second Corinthians 8 and 9 are Superior to Tithing.

The false teaching....is that Tithing is a divine mandatory expectation which always must precede free-will giving.

Christians are commanded to give freely, sacrificially, generously, regularly, joyfully and with the motivation of love for God and man. The following New Covenant free-will principles are found in Second Corinthians, chapters 8 and 9:

  • (1) Giving is a "grace.” These chapters use the Greek word for "grace" eight times in reference to helping poor saints.
  • (2) Give yourself to God first (2nd Cor. 8:5).
  • (3) Give yourself to knowing God’s will (2nd Cor. 8:5).
  • (4) Give in response to Christ’s gift (2nd Cor. 8:9; 9:15).
  • (5) Give out of a sincere desire (2nd Cor. 8:8, 10, 12; 9:7).
  • (6) Do not give because of any commandment (2nd Cor. 8:8, 10; 9:7).
  • (7) Give beyond your ability (2nd Cor. 8:3, 11-12).
  • (8) Give to produce equality. This means that those who have more should give more in order to make up for the inability of those who cannot afford to give as much (2nd Cor. 8:12-14).
  • (9) Give joyfully (2nd Cor. 8:2).
  • (10) Give because you are growing spiritually (2nd Cor. 8:3-4, 7).
  • (11) Give because you want to continue growing spiritually (2nd Cor. 9:8, 10-11).
  • (12) Give because you are hearing the gospel preached (2nd Cor. 9:13).

POINT #2: DEFINING “TITHE”: In God’s Word the Tithe was Always Only Food from Inside Israel!

The false teaching....is that biblical tithes include ALL sources of income.

       Use God’s Word to define “Tithe” and not a secular dictionary! Using a complete Bible concordance you will discover that the definition used by tithe-advocates is wrong. In God’s Word “tithe” does not stand alone. Although money existed before Tithing, the source of God's "Tithe" over 1500 years was never money. It was the “Tithe of food.”  True biblical Tithes were always only food from the farms and herds of only Israelites who only lived inside God’s Holy Land, the national boundary of Israel. No Tithes were accepted from defiled pagan lands. The “increase” was gathered from what God miraculously produced and not from man's craft or ability.

     There are 16 verses from 11 chapters and 8 books from Leviticus 27 to Luke 11 which describe the contents of the Tithe. And the contents never (I repeat), never included money, silver, gold or anything other than food from inside Israel! Yet the incorrect definition of "Tithe" is the greatest error being preached about Tithing today! (See Lev. 27:30, 32; Num. 18:27-28; Deut. 12:17; 14:22-23; 26:12; 2 Chron. 31:5-6; Neh. 10:37; 13:5; Mal. 3:10-11; Matt. 23:23; Luke 11: 42). 

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POINT #3: MONEY: Money Was an Essential but Non-Tithed Item.

The false assumption.... is that food barter usually replaced money.

      One argument to support non-food Tithing is that money was not universally available and barter from food was used for most transactions.  This argument is neither biblical nor historical. Genesis alone contains “money” in 32 texts and the word occurs 44 times before the tithe is first mentioned in Leviticus 27. Gold is first mentioned in Genesis 2:12. The words "jewelry," "gold," "silver" and shekel also appear often from Genesis to Deuteronomy. 

         Many centuries before Israel entered Canaan and began tithing food from God’s Holy Land money was an essential everyday item. For example Abraham was very rich in silver and gold (Gen 13:2); money in the form of silver shekels paid for slaves (Gen 17:12+); Abimelech gave Abraham 1000 pieces of silver (Gen 20:16); Abraham paid 400 pieces of silver for land (Gen 23:9-16); Joseph was sold for silver pieces (Gen 37:28); slaves bought freedom (Ex 23:11). Court fines (Ex 21 all; 22 all), sanctuary dues (Ex 30:12+), vows (Lev 27:3-7), poll taxes (Num 3:47+), alcoholic drinks (Deu 14:26) and marriage dowries (Deu 22:29) included money. Joseph gave Benjamin 300 pieces of silver (Gen 45:22). According to Genesis 47:15-17 food was used for barter only after money had been spent. Banking and usury laws exist in Leviticus even before Tithing. Therefore the argument that money was not prevalent enough for everyday use is false. Yet the Tithe contents from Leviticus to Luke never include money from non-food products and trades.

POINT #4: GENESIS 14:20: Abraham’s Tithe to Melchizedek Reflected Pagan Tradition.

The false teaching.... is that Abraham freely gave tithes because it was God’s will.

     Scores of reputable secular history books document the existence of spoils of war Tithing from Babylon to Egypt before Abraham’s time. For the following reasons, Genesis 14:20 cannot be used as an example for Christians to Tithe. (1) The Bible does not say that Abraham "freely" gave this Tithe. (2) Abraham’s gift was NOT a holy Tithe from God’s holy land gathered by God’s holy people under God’s holy Old Covenant. (3) Abraham’s Tithe was clearly only from pagan spoils of war and was required in many nations. (4) In Numbers 31, God only required 1% of spoils of war. (5) Abraham’s Tithe to his priest-king Melchizedek was a one-time recorded event. (6) Abraham’s Tithe was not from his own personal property beyond spoils of war.(7) Abraham kept nothing for himself; he gave everything back. (8) Abraham’s tithe is not quoted anywhere in the Bible to endorse tithing from Israel or from the church. (9) Genesis 14, verse 21, is the key text. Since most commentaries explain verse 21 as an example of pagan Arab tradition, it is contradictory to explain the 90% of verse 21 as pagan, while insisting that the 10% of verse 20 was obedience to God’s will. (10) If Abraham is an example for Christians to give 10% to God, then he should also be an example for Christians to give the other 90% to Satan, or to the king of Sodom! (11) As priests themselves, neither Abraham nor Jacob had a Levitical priesthood to support; they probably left food for the poor at their altars.

POINT #5: NO MINIMUM PRINCIPLE: Tithing Was Not a Minimum Requirement from All Old Covenant Israelites

The false teaching.... is that everybody was required to begin their giving level at ten per cent. (See section Tithing were not.......)

POINT #6: LEVITE ASSISTANTS: First-Tithes were Received by Servants to the Priests.

The false teaching.... is that Old Testament priests received all of the first tithe.

The "whole" tithe, the first Tithe, did not go to the priests at all. It was not even the “best” tenth (Lev 27:33). According to Numbers 18:21-24 and Nehemiah 10:37b, it went to the servants of the priests, the Levites. And according to Numbers 18:25-28 and Nehemiah 10:38, the Levites gave the “best tenth of this Tithe” (1%) which they received to the priests who ministered the sin sacrifices and served inside the holy places. Priests did not Tithe. It is also important to know that, in exchange for receiving these Tithes, both Levites and priests forfeited all rights to permanent land inheritance inside Israel (Num. 18:20-26; Deut. 12:12; 14:27, 29; 18:1, 2; Josh. 13:14, 33; 14:3; 18:7; Eze. 44:28). Even if Tithes were New Covenant they would first go to the ordinary workers who assist the preachers and maintain the buildings.

POINT #7: HOLY AND MOST HOLY: "It is Holy to the LORD" Does Not Make Tithing an Eternal Moral Principle. 

The false teaching.... is that Leviticus 27:30-34 proves that the tithe is an "eternal moral principle" because "it is holy to the LORD."

The phrases “it is HOLY unto the LORD” and “it is MOST HOLY unto the LORD” are very common in Leviticus. However, almost every other use of these same two phrases in Leviticus has long ago been discarded by Christians. These phrases are used to describe all of the festivals, the sacrificial offerings, the clean food, the old covenant priests and the old covenant sanctuary. Especially read verses 28 and 29 in the same chapter.

While the “Tithe of the Tithe” (1%) which was given to the priests was the “best” of what the Levites received, the Tithe which the Levites received was only “one tenth” and not the “best” (Lev. 27:33).

POINT #8: FIRST-FRUITS: First-fruits are Not the Same as Tithes

The false assumption.... is that tithes are first-fruits.

The whole Levitical tithe went first to the Levitical cities and portions went to the Temple to feed both Levites and priests who were ministering there in rotation (Neh. 10:37b-39; 12:27-29, 44-47; Num. 18:21-28; 2 Chron 31:5b). While the Levites ate only the Tithe, the priests could also eat from the first-fruits, first-born offerings and other offerings.

POINT #9: FOUR TITHES: There are Four Different Tithes Described in the Bible.

The false teaching.... ignores all other tithes and focuses on an incorrect interpretation of the first religious tithe.

The first religious tithe, called the "Levitical tithe," had two parts. Again, the whole first Tithe was given to the Levites who were only servants to the priests (Numb. 18:21-24; Neh. 10:37b). The Levites, in turn, gave one tenth of the whole tithe to the priests (Numb. 18:25-28; Neh. 10:38). According to Deuteronomy 12 and 14, the second religious tithe, called the "feast Tithe," was eaten by worshipers in the streets of Jerusalem during the three yearly festivals (Deut. 12:1-19; 14:22-26). And, according to Deuteronomy 14 and 26, a third tithe, called the "poor Tithe," was kept in the towns every third year to feed the poor (Deut. 14:28, 29; 26:12, 13). Also, according to First Samuel 8:14-17, the ruler collected the first and best ten per cent for political use. During Jesus’ time Rome collected the first ten percent (10%) of most food and twenty per cent (20%) of fruit crops as its spoils of war. It is dishonest to single out the one religious Tithe and ignore the other two important religious Tithes.

 POINT #10: THE POOR: Jesus, Peter, Paul and the Poor Did Not Tithe

The false teaching.... is that everybody in the Old Testament was required to begin their giving to God at the ten per cent level.

        The poor were not required to Tithe at all! Neither did the Tithe come from the results of man’s crafts, hands and skills. Only farmers and herdsmen gathered what God produced as tithe increase. Jesus was a carpenter; Paul was a tentmaker and Peter was a fisherman. None of these occupations qualified as Tithe-payers because they did not farm or herd animals for a living. It is, therefore, incorrect to teach that everybody paid a required minimum of a tithe and, therefore, that New Covenant Christians should be required to at least begin at the same minimum as Old Covenant Israelites. This common false assumption is very often repeated and completely ignores the very plain definition of Tithe as food gathered from farm increase or herd increase.

     The widow’s mite is an example of free-will giving and is not an example of Tithing. According to **Edersheim none of the Temple’s chests were for Tithes. The poor received money from those chests before leaving the temple.

       It is also wrong to teach that the poor in Israel were required to pay Tithes. In fact, they actually received tithes! Much of the second festival tithe and all of a special third-year tithe went to the poor! Many laws exempted the poor from abuse and expensive sacrifices which they could not afford (Lev. 14:21; 25:6, 25-28, 35, 36; 27:8; Deu. 12:1-19; 14:23, 28, 29; 15:7, 8, 11; 24:12, 14, 15, 19, 20; 26:11-13; Mal. 3:5; Matt. 12:1, 2; Mark 2:23, 24; Luke 2:22-24; 6:1, 2; 2 Cor. 8:12-14; 1 Tim. 5:8; Jas. 1:27)

The above 10 Points establishes ground that tithing in todays church is definitely not a Christian doctrine. There are other points indicative to the issue as written in the essay of Dr. Russell Kelly. The elaboration of the following points can be found at the web-site www.tithing-russkelly.com. For the interest of the reader and to save space the other points of this essay will be listed without elaboration.(except Points 13 & 14). 

 

POINT #11: TAXES: Tithes were Often Used as Political Taxes.

The false teaching.... is that tithes are never comparable to taxes or taxation.

 

POINT #12: LEVITICAL CITIES: Levitical Tithes Were Usually Taken to the Levitical Cities.

False teachers.... want us to think that all tithes were formerly taken to the Temple and should now be taken to the "church storehouse” building.

Otis Media Publications Syndication Group Inc. 2014

POINT #13: MALACHI: Malachi 3 is the Most Abused Tithing Text in the Bible. The “whole” tithe never was supposed to go to the Temple!

The false teaching ....about tithes from Malachi 3 ignores important Bible facts.

A.  CONTEXT: Malachi is Old Covenant and is never quoted in the New Covenant to validate tithing (Lev. 27:34; Neh. 10:28-29; Mal. 3:7; 4:4).

B.  CONTEXT: In Malachi 3:10-11 tithes are still only food 1000 years after Leviticus 27.

C. LAW: Malachi’s audience had willingly reaffirmed the Old Covenant (Neh.10:28-29). The blessings and curses of Tithing are identical to and inseparable from those of the entire Mosaic Law. The rain in Deuteronomy 28:12, 23-24 and Leviticus 26:1-4 is only obtained by obedience to all 600+ commandments. Galatians 3:10 (quoting Deu 27:26) “For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continues not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.” Trying to earn God’s blessings through Tithing only brought curses for failure to keep all of the law. See also Galatians 3:19.

D. PRIEST-THIEVES: Beginning in 1:6 “you” in  Malachi always refers to the dishonest priests and not the people (also 2:1-10; 2:13 to 3:1-5): “Even this whole nation of you --priests” (3:9). In 1:13-14 the priests had stolen tithed animals vowed to God. In Nehemiah 13:5-10 priests had stolen the Levites’ portion of the Tithe. God’s curses on the priests are ignored by most tithe-teachers (1:14; 2:2 and 3:2-4).

E. LEVITICAL CITIES: See point #12. The Levitical cities must be included in a correct interpretation of Malachi 3:10 and they are not. Most tithe-recipients lived outside of Jerusalem.

F.  24 COURSES: The 24 courses of Levites and priests must be included in a correct interpretation of Malachi 3 and they are not. Normally only 2% of the total Levite and priest work force served at the temple one week at a time. Subtract wives, males under the age of 30 and daughters. Therefore 2% did not require all of the Tithe. See 1 Chron 23-26; 28:13, 21; 2 Chron. 8:14; 23:8; 31:2, 15-19; 35:4, 5, 10; Ezra 6:18; Neh. 11:19, 30; 12:24; 13:9, 10; Luke 1:5.

G. Nehemiah 10:37-39: is the key to understanding Malachi 3:10, The people were commanded to bring their Tithes, not to the temple, but to the nearby Levitical cities. Verse 38 says that the priests were with the Levites in the Levitical cities when they received the Tithes.

H.  STOREHOUSE: According to Nehemiah 13:5, 9 the “storehouse” in the Temple was only several rooms. The real “storehouses” were in the Levitical cites per Nehemiah 10:37. Only the Levites and priests normally brought Tithes to the Temple (10:38). Two rooms in the Temple were far too small to contain the Tithe from the entire nation and 98% of the Levites and priests lived too far away to eat from them.

Therefore, Malachi 3:10’s “Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse” only makes contextual sense if it is only commanding dishonest priests to replace the Tithes they had removed from it or had failed to bring to it.

While the 3:10 of the Law in Malachi is so important to tithe-teachers they ignore the 3:10 of the Gospel in Galatians and 2nd Corinthians.  Perhaps those wanting to enforce the 3:10 Law of Malachi should also enforce the 3:10 Law of Numbers. They share the same context.

POINT #14: MATTHEW 23:23: The New Covenant Does Not Teach Tithing. 

The false teaching is... that Jesus taught tithing in Matthew 23:23 which, they say, is clearly in the New Testament.

The New Covenant did not begin at the birth of Jesus, but at his death (Gal. 3:19, 24, 25; 4:4, 5). Tithing is not taught to the church after the cross! When Jesus discussed Tithing in Matthew 23:23, “you” referred to “you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites” who had made the Law a burden.  Jesus endorsed and supported Old Covenant law until the cross (note “matters of the law” in 23:23). In Matthew 23:2 and 3 (the context of 23:23) Jesus told his Jewish followers to obey the scribes and Pharisees "because they sit in Moses’ seat." Yet He did not (and could not) command Gentiles whom He healed to present themselves to the priests and obey the Law of Moses (compare Matt. 5:23-24 and 8:4). And churches do not collect Tithes from garden herbs as Jesus commanded. 

There is not a single New Testament Bible text which teaches Tithing after the cross – period! Acts 2:42-47 and 4:32-35 are not examples of Tithing to support church leaders. According to 2:46 the Jewish Christians continued to worship in the Temple. And according to 2:44 and 4:33- 34 church leaders shared what they received equally with all church members. (This is not done today).

Finally Acts 21:20-25 proves that Jewish Christians were still zealously observing all of the Mosaic Law 30 years later –and that must include Tithing—otherwise they would not have been allowed inside the Temple to worship. Therefore, any Tithes collected by the early Jewish Christians were given to the Temple system and not to support the church.

POINT #15: PRIESTHOOD OF BELIEVERS: Old Covenant Priests Were Replaced by All-Believer-Priests.

The false teaching.... is that New Covenant elders and pastors are continuing where the Old Covenant priests left off and are due the tithe.

There are some 20 points to this essay that can be found on the fore mentioned website. The conclusion to this essay is as following:

CONCLUSION

Tithing failed national Israel and it has also failed the Church (Heb 7:12-19). Churches showcase success stories but fail to mention the testimonies of those who have Tithed for generations without escaping poverty. Today the very lowest income class pays the largest percentage to charity. Yet most remain in poverty. Meanwhile many atheists become wealthy by simply following principles of money management which also makes many Tithers successful. Neither the lottery, nor the Tithe is a magic get-rich-quick answer to replace education, determination and hard work. If Malachi 3:10 really worked for New Covenant Christians, millions of poor Tithing Christians would have escaped poverty and would have become the wealthiest group of people in the world instead of remaining the poorest group. There is no evidence that the vast majority of poor “Tithe-payers” are ever blessed financially merely because they Tithe. The Old Covenant blessings are not New Covenant blessings (Heb. 7:18-19; 8:6-8, 13). In God’s Word, “Tithe” does not stand alone. It is the “Tithe of FOOD.” The biblical Tithe was very narrowly defined and limited by God Himself. True biblical Tithes were always: (1) only food, (2) only from the farms and herds, (3) of only Israelites, (4) who only lived inside God’s Holy Land, the national boundary of Israel, (5) only under Old Covenant terms and (6) the increase could only be gathered from what God produced................................................................................... Therefore, (1) non-food items could not be Tithed; (2) clean wild game animals and fish could not be Tithed; (3) non-Israelites could not Tithe; (4) food from outside God’s holy land of Israel could not be Tithed; (5) legitimate Tithing did not occur when there was no Levitical priesthood; and (6) Tithes did not come from what man’s hands created, produced or caught by hunting and fishing.

Acts 2:44-46........ an example of freewill offerings

THE REDEEMER®- VOLUME 41 ****EDITION 3- OMPS® INC. 2014
 All articles in this magazine are written in whole or part by Dr. Otis T. Williams Sr. Th.D.....© 2014 These articles are the literary properties of Otis Media Publications Syndication Inc. ©

Modern Day Tithing is Not a Commandment From God?

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