Friday, August 6, 2010

The Tithe something not taught in the Church.

Every year I try to start the new year off by reading through the whole bible.

Old Testament all the way through the New Testament.

Some may ask why bother reading the Old Testament when we have all we need in the New Testament?

And to that question I will give this scripture:



"All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work." 2 Timothy 3:16



You see to know the Old Testament is to know the New Testament also. It helps us get a better understanding of Jesus. It helps us get a better understanding of what he and the apostles had to deal with concerning the Jews and their religion. Plus the Old Testament has some great words of wisdom. The main issue though is knowing the Old Testament speaks of Jesus from Genesis-Malachi.



Another reason to know what the Old Testament says is to be able to discern if what is being taught in churches truly is correct.

One area I want to deal with in this post is the tithe. This is one subject that gets spoke about almost every Sunday throughout churches. Yet very little if any is taught about what the tithe truly was.

Even more is the very fact that the tithe is not even apart of the New Covenant/ New Testament. Yet you won't hear that taught in the churches on Sundays.

My focus is to present some Old Testament scripture showing what the tithe was and the uses for the tithe.

As with everything I try to post I will allow the scriptures to answer themselves.

We here a lot about Abraham tithing to Melchezedek, but were you ever taught what Abraham tithed and where they came from?

"After his return from the defeat of Chedorlaomer and the kings who were with him, the king of Sodom went out to meet him at the Valley of Shaveh (that is, the Kings Valley). And Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine. (He was priest of God Most High.) And he blessed him and said, 'Blessed be Abram by God Most High, Possessor of heaven and earth;
and blessed be God Most High, who has delivered your enemies into your hand.'
And Abram gave him a tenth of everything." Genesis 14:17-20

The tithe of everything Abram gave was what he took from the kings of which they stole from Sodom. Not his own possessions.

I want to point out some of what is taught in Deuteronomy about tithes and who chooses where they go.

"But when you go over the Jordon and live in the land that the Lord your God is giving you to inherit, and when he gives you rest from all of your enemies around, so that you live in safety, then to the place that the Lord your God will choose, to make his name dwell there, there you shall bring all that I command you : burnt offerings and your sacrifices, your tithes and the contribution that you present, and all your finest vow offerings that you vow to the Lord your God." Deuteronomy 12:10-11

Notice the word says "the place that the Lord your God will choose."

Now the following scriptures will describe what the tithe was.

"You shall tithe all the yield of your seed that comes from the field year by year. And before the Lord your God, in the place that he will choose, to make his name dwell there, you shall eat the tithe of your grain, of your wine, and of your oil, and the firstborn of your herd and flock, that you may learn to fear the Lord your God always." Deuteronomy 14:22-23

The tithe was seed, wine, oil, and livestock. Notice the word says "in the place the Lord your God chooses."?
Did you read where it says you shall eat the tithe?

I hope so because this isn't taught in the churches is it?

"And if the way is too long for you, so that you are not able to carry the tithe, when the Lord your God blesses you, because the place is too far from you, which the Lord your God chooses, to set his name there, then you shall turn it into money and bind up the money in your hand and go to the place that the Lord your God chooses and spend the money on whatever you desire-oxen or sheep or wine or strong drink, whatever your appetite craves. And you shall eat there before the Lord your God, and rejoice, you and your household. And you shall not neglect the Levite who is within your towns, for he has no portion or inheritance with you." Deuteronomy 14:24-27

Again look over that scripture and ask yourself why haven't I heard this taught in churches?
The tithe isn't money! It was grain, oil, wine and livestock. It wasn't money until they sold their tithe and then it wasn't given to a fund for someone else to decide how to use it. No, it was used for whatever that family desired, along with some being given to the Levite.

"At the end of every three years you shall bring out all the tithe of your produce in the same year and lay it up within your towns. And the Levite, because he has no portion or inheritance with you, and the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow, who are within you towns, shall come and eat and be filled, that the Lord your God may bless you in all the work of your hands that you do." Deuteronomy 14:28-29

Once again look over that scripture and study it. What was another use of the tithe? Feeding the Levite, traveler, fatherless, and the widow. Not just one person or staff of people. Not a building fund. Not salaries.
Ask yourself why haven't I ever been taught this in church before?

In the Old Testament/Old Covenant the Levite was caretaker of God's house on earth. And they couldn't own anything or get an inheritance. So to help them God set up the tithe/offerings for them to have something to eat and clothing.

"The Levitical priest, all the tribe of Levi, shall have no portion or inheritance with Israel. They shall eat the Lord's food offerings as their inheritance. They shall have no inheritance among their brothers; the Lord is their inheritance, as he promised them. And this shall be the preist due from the people, from those offering a sacrifice whether an ox or a sheep: they shall give to the preist the shoulder and the two cheeks and the stomach. The firstfruits of your grain, of your wine and of your oil, and the first fleece of your sheep, you shall give them. For the Lord your God has chosen him out of all your tribes to stand and minister in the name of the Lord, him and his sons for all time. And if a Levite comes from any of your towns out of all Israel, where he lives-and he may come when he desires-to the place that the Lord will choose, and ministers in the name of the Lord his God, like all his fellow Levites who stand to minister there before the Lord, then he may have equal portions to eat, besides what he recieves from the sale of his patrimony." Deuteronomy 18:1-8

If you ever hear someone say you must pay the Levite first I would suggest qouting them this scripture and asking if this is what they want.
There are many well meaning men of God out there in the churches who honestly believe that they are teaching the truth about the tithe. Yet they themselves have probably never read these descriptions of what the tithe was.

Now to the famous and most quoted scripture of all time when it comes to giving! Malachi 3

"Will a man rob God? Yet you are robbing me. But you say, 'How have we robbed you? In your tithes and contributions. You are cursed with a curse, for you are robbing me, the whole nation of you. Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house." Malachi 3:8-10

This scripture again is the most quoted and misconstrued word of God that gets used everytime giving is low in the modern church.
Notation: I myself have been guilty of using this very scripture when it came to taking up the offerings on Sunday mornings! So I am as much to blame as anyone. And for that I apologize to all those I mislead!
This scripture was written to the leaders of the nation of Israel not the modern church. The storehouse mention was the temple in Jerusalem, not the building where people meet every Sunday. The tithe again was food, not money.

Now lets take a quick look at some New Testament teachings on giving.

"We want you to know, brothers, about the grace of God that has been given among the churches of Macedonia, 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 earnestly for the favor of taking part in the relief of the saints-and this, not as we expected, but they gave themselves first to the Lord and then by the will of God to us." 2 Corinthians 8:1-5

The reason for their giving was to help the saints who were in need. Out of their own poverty they gave according to their means. No compulsion, no tithe, but a sacrificial offering to others in the body.
Please take the time to look up 2 Corinthians 9 also. There are numerous other areas in the New Testament that talks about giving the New Covenant way, not the Old Covenant. Not tithing, but giving.
God's kingdom is not a building, a salary or a staff. It is the world. And who lives in it and needs the help. The gospels have so much in them that talks about how we help Jesus feed the poor and clothe them. Our giving should not be out of compulsion it should be out of reverence to the Lord.
If you see someone in need you don't have to wait until Sunday to give an offering to the Lord. You can give to that person in need. As that is how the kingdom of God works.

One more scripture to help illustrate the importance of the truth.

"Therefore, having this ministry by the mercy of God, we do not lose heart. But have renounced disgraceful, underhanded ways. We refuse to practice cunning or to tamper with God's word, but by open statement of the truth we would commend ourselves to everyone's conscience in the sight of God." 2 Corinthians 4:1-2

I would urge all of you who read this that if you haven't done so, read through the whole bible and pray for understanding.
Look for the Living Word as you read the scriptures. Discern what is right and what is wrong and test everything with the word of God. Even this post!
My heart is for the truth to be revealed, not to bring anyone or group down. No, but in the service of the Lord God almighty and His glorious Son Jesus Christ. I want to lift people up to Him.
I must decrease so that He shall increase! That should be all of our goal!
Amen

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Steven,

Great explanation!

The Old Covenant seems to be replete with things that are measurable. Anything that is measurable has a beginning and an end. There are limits. Even the Spirit of the Lord, to the degree that He revealed or gave of Himself under the Old Covenant, was with measure. To the New Covenant Christian trapped in an Old Covenant mindset, tithing is also measurable and convenient to check off on a religious “to do” list. However, in God’s economy there is an immeasurable difference between Old Covenant tithing and New Covenant giving. For Christ to be given the preeminence in all things as the All in all, one hundred percent of who we are and have must be rendered unto Him; used to fulfill His eternal purpose upon the earth through His body and bride the church.

In Him,

Julio

Twin-Daddy said...

Goodness, I'm not even a christian (was in the past). I of course have been preached to about tithing for years and never heard it really taught like this.

Very good post! I will send this to my christian friends!

Jonathan said...

Thanks for going through all that scripture. I've recognized some of the same stuff lately. But I haven't looked at all those OT tithing references in one place before. Thanks.

Add to the Melchizedek tithe. Was this a weekly or monthly tithe? Or just a one time thing?... So if I gave 10% of my tax return last year, I'm good for life? :)

Can I share two related links of mine?

Are Gentiles to Tithe?
http://jonjourney.blogspot.com/2010/07/are-gentiles-to-tithe.html

Should Pastors be paid a salary?
http://jonjourney.blogspot.com/2010/04/should-pastors-be-paid-salary.html

God bless!

Just me said...

What's really wrong with tithing? It is a way to keep our distance from God. I don't have to have a relationship to know what to give and to whom. I just lop ten percent off the top, and I'm good.

Frankly, most Americans should be giving more than ten percent. Should you be giving more like 30%? or even 550%? The answer is that you need to ask God, not once, but on a regular basis how much to give. You need to depend on the Holy Spirit to guide you in each instance rather than adopt some legal standard.

This will insure that you draw close to God through your giving, rather than allow you to stay as cold as ice while you hand over your tithe.

Steven O. said...

@ Just me,
If you have trouble wondering what to give the answer to that is in 2 Corinthians where Paul states that each should give as God has placed in his heart and not under compulsion.
Also in the New Testament any money given was given to those in need.
The needy and the poor.
What the modern church has done is tried to become a middle man of sorts.
Of which anything given to them goes through a filter.
It filters through salaries and building maintenance.
Then if there is any left it may go to a charity etc.
Yet, again if the church truly operated in the biblical New Testament way, then the offerings would go to any brother or sister in need.
Look at todays economy where people have lost their jobs. How many of them are getting the share of the offering if they are in need?
In the book of Acts the first reference to giving was when everyone had everything in common and sold all they had, so that no one had a need.

David S said...

This post makes some valid points. The main issue is not addressed though. The New Covenant was not just about doing away with onerous rules & regs; it was about raising the bar. Compare OT "eye for an eye" and "turn the other cheek" - which is harder to live by? Compare "Do not commit adultery" and "whoever looks at a woman...." - which is the more demanding standard? The same is true of tithing. Compare tithing with the NT equivalent (in addition to the giving scriptures quoted in the article which are also relevant):

(NKJV) Acts 4:32 Now the multitude of those who believed were of one heart and one soul; neither did anyone say that any of the things he possessed was his own, but they had all things in common.

Anyone who wishes to rock the boat over the tithing issue must be prepared, in my view, to live this NT lifestyle of community. Tithing is not the perfect means of giving as has been rightly pointed out. But, it is bearable. And honourable if done with a right heart towards God. True community on the other hand is a standard rarely reached for in the modern church. It's not about what's being taught on tithing, it's about what's not being cultivated by way of community. Jesus said "if you want to be *perfect* sell all you have and give to the poor. I'd rather tithe! But the greatest blessing is for those who take on this greater challenge.