I would like to tithe but it is my husbands decesion and he is not saved, so i give what i can, if i was working i would tithe, I would not want to rob God, I know he owns all my money, I heard this quote it is not that we are robbing God as he owns it all it is the fact that we are robbing him of the oppertutniy of him blessing us, I believe he honors us when we give freely and completly.
| 2005/7/18 16:27||Profile|
| Re: tithing|
SHOULD THE CHURCH TEACH TITHING?
51 QUESTIONS ABOUT TITHING AND GRACE GIVING
[email]email@example.com [/email][url=www.home.earthlink.net/~russkellyphd]Website for Russell Earl Kelly[/url]
This article is a summary of the 364 page book, Should the Church Teach Tithing? A Theologian's Conclusions about a Taboo Doctrine, originally a Ph.D. dissertation, by Russell Earl Kelly. While Dr. Kelly is fully supportive of New Covenant principles of church and mission support, he believes that true biblical tithing cannot be supported by sound New Covenant principles. He also believes that tithing locks churches into using legalistic principles which rob them of receiving the greater blessings obtained when principles of grace and faith are used. Your questions and comments are welcome. Please see our [url=www.shouldthechurchteachtithing.com]website[/url].
Chapter 1 The Origin and Definition of Tithing (pp. 3-11)
QUESTION 1: Doesn't "tithe" mean "the first tenth, or increase, of one's [gross] income [preferably before taxes] for the support of the church as God's divine institution on earth"?
ANSWER: This is the greatest error being spread about tithing in the church today. This definition comes from a modern dictionary, and not from God's Word. This definition is pagan in origin and man-made.
QUESTION 2: What is the correct biblical definition of "tithe"?
ANSWER: According to God's Word, the true biblical tithe consisted ONLY of the increase of food and clean animals which were grown, or raised, in the land of Israel by Israelites. The tithe was NEVER MONEY. Tithes from animals could not even be redeemed for monetary value (Lev. 27:33). According to Numbers 18 and Hebrews 7:5, tithing is the foundational "ordinance" which established the very existence of the Levitical priesthood and made possible the enforcement of all other worship ordinances.
Lev. 27:30, 32 from the land, seed, fruit, herd, flock
Num. 18:27 corn, fulness of winepress
Deut. 14:22 increase of thy seed that the field bringeth
Deut. 14:23 corn, wine, oil, herds, flocks
Deut. 26:12 increase [produce: N.I.V., R.S.V.]
2 Chron. 31:5-6 corn, wine, oil, honey, oxen, sheep
Neh. 10:37 tithes of our ground
Neh. 13:5 corn, wine, oil
Mal. 3:10 meat [food] in mine house
Matt. 23:23 mint and anise and cummin
QUESTION 3: Didn't craftsmen, such as carpenters and tent-makers, pay tithes?
ANSWER: Not at all; this is another assumed error. Their income was not from farming or raising herds. Biblical society included the following occupations: bakers, candle makers, carpenters, clothing makers, hired farm workers, hired herdsmen, hired household servants, jewelry craftsmen, judges, masons, metal craftsmen, musicians, painters, perfume makers, physicians, sculptors, soldiers, tanners, teachers and tent makers. Again, strange as it may seem, no tithes are ever required from these occupations in the Bible! Scriptural tithing was intended for a society sustained almost wholly by agricultural crops and animal herds. After the landowner paid a tithe, his hired servants were not required to pay a second tithe from their wages, but gave free-will offerings.
QUESTION 4: Why have I heard that every Israelite was expected to begin with a minimum tithe of 10% of their total income?
ANSWER: From questions #1 through #3, this is great error being spread about tithing. First, not all Israelites were required to pay tithes---only landowners and herdsmen inside Israel. Others only paid freewill-offerings.
Chapter 2 Genesis 14:16-24 Abraham's Tithe (pp. 12-33)
QUESTION 5: Didn't Abraham give a biblical tithe of one-tenth of all he had?
ANSWER: Abraham's tithe was purely pagan in origin and not what God defined later.
A. As reflected in verses 16, 21 and Hebrews 7:4, Abraham's tithe was of pagan origin and necessity. As required by Arab tradition, he paid a spoils-of-war tithe to a Canaanite priest-king.
B. Abraham did not tithe food from the promised land as later commanded by God in Leviticus 27:30-34. His gift was from the land around Sodom.
C. Abraham did not give any of his own possessions as tithes.
D. The "historical" Melchizedek of Genesis 14 was not a true priest of Jehovah, but was a Canaanite priest-king.
E. Although the Mosaic Law was not in effect, the traditional law of Arabs operated to compel Abraham to tithe.
QUESTION 6: Wasn't Melchizedek a true priest of Jehovah?
ANSWER: In all probability he was not. This erroneous description has been given to him by those who turn the "typical" Melchizedek of Hebrews 7 into the "historical" Melchizedek of Genesis 14. Melchizedek did not even know God's covenant name of Yahweh (Jehovah). Yet God had not hidden His true name from others. Compare Genesis 4:6, 5:29; 6:3; 7:1; 8:20; 9:26; 10:8-9; 11:5; and 12:1.
QUESTION 7: Why was Melchizedek called "priest of Most High God" and "possessor of heaven and earth"?
ANSWER: "Most High God" is an English translation of the Hebrew "El Elyon." "El Elyon" was a common title given to the Canaanite god, "Baal," and Baal's father, "El," the head of the Canaanite pantheon, who were also called "possessor of heaven and earth." Compare Isaiah 14:13-14 with Daniel 3:26; 4:17, 24-25, 32, 34; 5:18, 21. With the exceptions of Balaam's use in Numbers 24:16 and Moses' in Deuteronomy 32:8, "El Elyon" did not become common Hebrew title for God until after David conquered the Canaanite city over 1000 years later (Compare 2 Sam. 5:7 with 2 Sam. 22:14; Ps. 7:17; 18:13; 21:7; 47:2; 83:18; 87:5; 91:1-2, 9; 92:1, 8; 97:9). He was not priest of the "LORD" El Elyon.
QUESTION 8: Isn't Abraham's tithe an example for Christians to follow?
ANSWER: Definitely not. In verse 20, Abraham gave 10% of the spoils of war to a pagan priest king. However, in verse 21, he gave the other 90% to the pagan king of Sodom. Are we to follow the example of giving everything away, as did Abraham? If the 10% is an example, then why isn't the 90% to the king of Sodom an example?
QUESTION 9: Almost every sermon I hear about tithing mentions Abraham and Melchizedek. Doesn't the Bible refer to his tithe to Melchizedek often?
ANSWER: Most sermons mention Abraham and Melchizedek from Genesis 14, but not from Hebrews 7. Also, neither Moses, nor Jesus, nor any inspired Bible writer outside of Genesis 14 ever used Abraham as an example of Hebrew or Christian tithing. Genesis 14 shows how Abraham rejected works-riches in favor of faith-riches offered in chapters 12-13 and 15-17. In fact, the only mention of tithing after Calvary is that of Abraham in Hebrews 7. And Hebrews 7 concludes that ALL ordinances relating to the Levitical priesthood have been abolished.
Chapter 3 Genesis 28:20-22 Jacob's Bargain with God (pp. 34-38)
QUESTION 10: Since Jacob promised to give God a "tenth of everything," isn't his tithing a clear example for us to follow?
ANSWER: As with Abraham, the biblical context does not teach this.
A. As with Abraham, Jacob was influenced by pagan traditions followed in the Near East.
B. Tithe supporters often only quote the last part of 28:22, "... of all that You give me I will surely give a tenth to You," and ignore the first half of its true context, 28:20-21, "Then Jacob made a vow, saying, If God will be with me and will keep me on this journey that I take, and will give me food to eat and garments to wear, and I return to my father's house in safety, then the LORD will be my God..."
C. Jacob was characteristically bargaining with God for something that had already been promised. Jacob's promise was a very bad example of "you give me first and, when I'm safely back home, then I'll tithe." Certainly there is no New Covenant tithing principle to be found in Jacob's statement!
D. An important question behind Abraham and Jacob's pre-Law tithing is, "To whom did they normally tithe?" Both spent most of their lives under the jurisdiction of pagan priest-kings who worshiped Babylonian and Canaanite idols. There was no God-mandated Levitical priesthood. They may have given food directly to the poor. The temple in Haran was to the moon goddess. Even if they did tithe directly to the poor, it was neither commanded, nor was it to a religious hierarchy.
Chapter 4 Numbers 18: The Forgotten Ordinance of Tithing (pp. 39-46)
QUESTION 11: Why is Numbers 18 important?
ANSWER: Numbers 18 is the ACTUAL wording of the ordinance, or law, of tithing. As the "chair" passage on tithing, it carries much more weight for teaching tithing than any other chapter.
QUESTION 12: If Numbers 18 is so important concerning tithing, then why isn't it preached from often?
ANSWER: Numbers 18 says TOO MUCH about tithing and destroys much of what is called "tithing" today.
QUESTION 13: What does Numbers 18 say is the PURPOSE of tithing?
ANSWER: Numbers 18:20-21 should be the most well-known tithing verses in the Bible--not Malachi 3:8-10, or Genesis 14:18-20! The Aaronic priests, through their Levite servants, received their tithes of the tithes for two very specific reasons--neither is a New Covenant principle. First, they temporarily replaced the priesthood of believers and performed substitutionary service to God for all Israel and, second, they received firstfruits, offerings and food-tithes, a) as payment for service and b) instead of land inheritance rights (18:7-26)
Num. 18:20 And the LORD spoke 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.
Num. 18:21 And, 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.
QUESTION 14: Why is it so important that we know that tithing is called an "ordinance" or "statute" of the Old Covenant?
ANSWER: Because "ordinances/statutes" are that part of the Mosaic Law which were purely ceremonial instructions for the Levitical priesthood. Numbers 18 uses these terms five (5) times (verses 8, 11, 19, and 23). These "ordinances" were abolished in Col. 2:14; Eph. 2:15; Heb. 7: 12, 18, plus many other texts. Compare Malachi 3:7 and 4:4).
QUESTION 15: Since the Old Covenant priest served God and received tithes, should not the New Covenant minister who serves God also receive tithes?
ANSWER: In reality, Old Covenant priests did NOT receive the tithe! According to Numbers 18:26-28 and Nehemiah 10:38, the ministering priests only received one-tenth of the tithe, or one-percent of the total. Since this one-percent cannot be interpreted as a New Covenant principle, and since this one-percent would not be sufficient in many Christian churches, this fact is totally ignored in modern tithing. Therefore, in violation of Numbers 18, many tithe-supporters want to be paid (and often must be paid) from much more than one percent of the total income and also want to own property. Again, the old principles are not for the New Covenant.
Num. 18:26 Thus 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.
Num. 18:27 And 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.
Num. 18:28 Thus 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.
Neh. 10:38 And the priest the son of Aaron shall be with the Levites, when the Levites take tithes: and the Levites shall bring up the tithe of the tithes unto the house of our God, to the chambers, into the treasure house.
QUESTION 16: If the ministering priests did not receive the full tithe of the land, who did?
ANSWER: According to Numbers 18, the first full tithe of 10% was given to the non-priestly Levites who performed servant duties to the priests. While they kept 90% of the tithe, they gave 1/10th of their 1/10th to the priests. Again, this practice is totally unsuited for most Christian churches.
Chapter 5 Leviticus 27:30-34 It is Holy unto the LORD (pp. 47-54)
QUESTION 17: Doesn't the phrase, "It is holy unto the LORD," make it clear that the tithe is an eternal moral principle for all people for all times and must be observed by Christians today?
ANSWER: In the context of chapter 27 and the book of Leviticus, the phrase, "It is holy unto the LORD," does not mean that it is an eternal moral principle.
A. First, the phrase, "It is holy unto the Lord," should not be taken out of its context and used as a proof-text hammer. Second, "It is holy unto the Lord" is an extremely common designation for almost all ordinances and items associated with the Old Covenant Mosaic Law. It is the theme of Leviticus! Third, if the phrase makes tithing an eternal principle, then it must also make everything else called "holy" and "most holy unto the Lord" equally eternal principles.
B. Other "holy" things to God in Leviticus include all of Israel's religious festivals and holy days (in chapter 23 eleven times), the sanctuary (4:6), the crown of the high priest (8:9), God and his people (11:4; 19:2), the linen garments of the high priest (16:4), the peace offering (19:8), the fourth year's fruit of a new tree (19:24), God's name (20:3), the priests (21:6) and, lastly, the tithe (27:30, 32).
C. Even more "holy" than the tithe, "most holy" things to God in Leviticus include the priest's portion of the grain and sin offerings (Lev. 2:3; 6:17), the trespass offering (7:1), the inner room of the sanctuary (16:2) and persons under a ban to be punished by death (27:28-29)!
D. While most churches correctly discard the vast majority of these "holy" and "most holy" things as Old Covenant, cultic, and/or Hebrew ceremonial practices which have no relevance to New Covenant Christians---for the same reasons, tithing must be discarded as an obsolete unprofitable ordinance (Heb. 7:5, 12, 18). While the act of giving to God may be either "natural" or even "moral," the exact percentage is neither.
E. Again, the two preceding verses, Lev. 27:28- 29, describe those persons under a death decree as being "most holy unto the Lord." How does the "holy unto the Lord" of tithing correspond to its preceding verses which use "most holy unto the Lord" in describing the death penalty for those who break their vows to God? Is the church supposed to put persons to death for violating vows? Yet, if verses 30-32 are eternal "holy" principles, then verses 28 and 29 are more eternal "most holy" principles!
F. While Psalm 24:1 is true when it says that "The earth is the LORD's, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein," the Psalmist does not use this truth to collect holy tithes from non-Israelites or from non-Israelite land. Israel refused to do so. Also, David's writings do not even mention tithes.
Chapter 6 Tithe-Receivers Forfeited Land Inheritance Rights (pp. 55-57)
QUESTION 18: Shouldn't we pay tithes in order to respectably support our preacher?
ANSWER: Since God knows best, New Covenant giving principles will better provide for a preacher who is called of God and preaches the gospel with the power of the Holy Spirit. One of the requirements in the old law for receiving tithes was that you could not be a landowner or have inheritance rights. Although this fact is often ignored by those who teach New Covenant tithing, God repeated it at least 13 times in the Old Covenant. Since there is no principle which changes this Old Covenant principle, why do so many of those who want to be supported by their so-called "tithe" own and inherit property? Compare Num. 18:20, "Thou shalt have no inheritance in their land" with Num. 18:21, 23- 24; Deut. 12:12; 14:27, 29; 18:1-2; Josh. 13:14, 33; 14:3; 18:7; and Ezek. 44:28.
Chapter 7 How Many Tithes? 10%, 20%, or 23 1/3%? (pp. 58-65)
QUESTION 19: Doesn't God command us to give Him 10% of our total income, and then expect us to give free-will offerings in addition to our tithes?
ANSWER: This question reflects the false definition of "tithe" assumed by many churches. Actually, God commanded Israelite landowners and herdsmen within Israel's borders to give THREE tithes. The first was for the support of the Levites and Aaronic priesthood (Num. 18); the second was for national religious festivals and was eaten by all (Deut. 12:1-19 and 14:22-26); and the third was every third year for the poor and strangers (Deut. 14:28-29 and 26:12-13)---a total of 23 1/3% yearly, plus the king's tenth! For landowners and herdsmen, above the 23 1/3% was a freewill offering. For others, everything was a freewill offering.
QUESTION 20: Why doesn't the church tell us to give all three tithes?
ANSWER: First, it has a hard enough time convincing people to give 10%, much less asking them for 23 1/3%. Second, many try to prove that there was only one tithe and ignore the overwhelming evidence otherwise. However, while most tithe-churches pretend to use Old Covenant principles to receive the tithe, they do not dispense it under those same principles.
Chapter 8 Strange Things about Tithing; Deut. 12:1-19; 14:22-26 (pp. 66-71)
QUESTION 21: What else does the Old Covenant say about tithing?
ANSWER: In addition to being only food from Israel and only one percent going to the ministering priests:
A. Biblical tithes only began when Israel was in its land, could only come from the land of Israel, must stay in Israel, and would cease when Israel left the land.
B. The second tithe must be brought to Jerusalem for festivals.
C. Tithes should help feed the poor and widows.
D. Under certain conditions, the second tithe of food (not animal) tithes could be converted into money and/or strong drink (Deut. 14:22-26) for rejoicing at religious festivals.
E. Tithing was commanded only for national Israel under the Old Covenant. Israel did not expect or collect holy tithes from conquered nations or from non-Israelites living within Israel (Lev. 27:34; Num. 18:19- 20, 23-24; Mal. 3:7).
F. No tithes were to be collected every 7th and 50th year. Read Exodus 23:9-11 and Leviticus 25:3-11, 20-22. The land was neither sown nor reaped. It was open for the stranger, poor, and hired hand to eat freely along with the landowner.
G. How many churches who teach tithing tell farmers not to tithe every 7th year or every 50th year? Also, if tithing is expanded to all income sources, should all of the second tithe be used for religious festivals and all of the third tithe be given to the poor?
Chapter 9 The Poor Did Not Tithe; Jesus Did Not Tithe (pp. 72-78)
QUESTION 22: Didn't the poor widow give a tithe when she gave all that she had?
ANSWER: No. She gave a free-will offering. Not being a landowner or herdsman, she did not qualify as a tithe-payer in Israel.
QUESTION 23: Didn't Jesus and His disciples tithe? Their enemies never criticized them for not paying tithes.
ANSWER: No. Again, not being landowners or herdsmen, they did not qualify as tithe-payers in Israel. Knowing this, their enemies did not condemn them for not tithing. Not only were the poor non-landowners not required to tithe, but they actually received sustenance from the tithe! Consider the following list of persons who received part of the tithe from the land.
Deut. 12:18 manservant, maidservant, Levite
Deut. 14:29 Levite, stranger, fatherless, widow
Deut. 26:12 Levite, stranger, fatherless, widow
Deut. 26:13 Levite, stranger, fatherless, widow
Mal. 3:5 hired servants, widows, fatherless, strangers
QUESTION 24: What other texts imply that the poor did not pay tithe?
ANSWER: The poor received from parts of the land which were not allowed to be harvested and tithed from. The gleanings were for the stranger, fatherless, and widow (Deut. 24:19-21). In addition to a tithing exemption, the poor were also exempt from more expensive offerings (Lev. 12:8 cf Luke 2:24; Lev. 14:21; Lev. 27:8. Also Exod. 23:6 Lev. 25:25-28, 35-36; Deut. 15:7-8, 11; 24:12, 14-15; Prov. 31:9; Jas. 5:4.)
1 Tim. 5:8 But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.
Chapter 10 Kings, Tithes, and Taxes (pp. 79-85)
QUESTION 25: Why do some people claim that tithes were merely a form of government taxation?
ANSWER: It is abundantly clear from 1 Sam 8:14-17; 1 Chron 23-27; 2 Chron 31; Neh 10,12, and 14 that tithes were a political tax---and the prophets of God did not object.
A. In 1st Samuel 8:14-17, Samuel told Israel that the first tithe, the best, would shift from the Levites to the anointed king when Israel chose the king to rule directly over them instead of God.
B. From Deuteronomy 26 until 2nd Chronicles 29, there is no mention of Levitical tithing. Without any recorded rebuke from God, the king assumed the collection and redistribution of Israel's wealth. True biblical tithing was probably non-existent during the Judges and is not mentioned by David, Solomon, or any prophet other than Malachi.
C. First Chronicles, chapters 23-27 detail the civil servant duties of Levites. Even the Jewish Encyclopedia agrees that tithing was a political tax. Thus, without any recorded rebuke from God, Levites became the core political employees of the king who paid their tithe sustenance from taxation. Scripture records that Levites were the "officers and judges" responsible for (a) all the business of the Lord, and (b) in the service of the king (1 Chron. 26:29-30) or the "affairs of the king" (26:32). While 1,700 were responsible as "officers" on the west side of the Jordan River, another 1,700 were "rulers" in charge of the east bank (26:29-32). (Read also Ezra 2:40-42, 61; Neh. 7:43-45; Neh. 8:9; 10:28, 39; 12:44-45). These Levites were paid from tithe-taxation fully in line with God's approval. These political tithing uses were acceptable in the Old Covenant.
D. In 2nd Chronicles 31 and Nehemiah 10, 12, and 13, tithing is again fundamentally a political tax of a state-church theocracy. Kings received a first tithe of the best of the land and persons. Public servants were responsible for collecting, protecting and re-distributing the tithes. Also, those who received tithes were separated into orders and each Levite only served in the temple a few weeks a year. Again, the tithe-receiving Levites were often politicians.
E. King Solomon used drafted forced labor to build God's temple and other structures. He used 150,000 drafted aliens within Israel and 30,000 Israelites provided free labor in shifts every third month (1 Kings 5:13-14; 1 Chron. 22:2, 17, 18).
F. While these tithing principles were practiced during most of Israel's history, what preacher today would suggest that tithes be collected, protected, and re-distributed by a political authority? Does this Old Covenant example not give credence to state churches like those found in Europe? Yet this is exactly the example given to us by the Old Testament writers and God's prophets never objected! It is dishonest to preach from Malachi 3 and Genesis 14 and then ignore all of these other legitimate examples of tithing and its uses which might contrast with one's modern new definition of tithing.
Chapter 14 MALACHI 3:8-10 (pp. 96-119)
QUESTION 26: Doesn't Malachi 3:8-10 place a curse on those who do not tithe?
Mal. 3:9 Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation.
ANSWER: This is only true of Old Covenant Israelites who asked God to curse them for disobedience.
A. This most-quoted tithing text is clearly in the context of broken Old Covenant statutes, or ordinances. No legitimate principle of interpretation allows us to enforce 3:8-10 and ignore their context of 3:5-7 and 4:4.
Mal. 3:7 From the days of your fathers you have turned aside from My statutes and have not kept them.
Mal. 4:4 Remember the law of Moses My servant, even the statutes and ordinances which I commanded him in Horeb for all Israel.
B. The "curse" of Malachi 3:9 is the curse of national Israel's broken Old Covenant. Voluntarily placing yourself under any one part of the Law, such as tithing, obligated you to keep all the Law perfectly. Malachi's audience had recently re-committed themselves to fall under the blessings or curses of that Old Covenant Law.
Deut. 27:26 Cursed be he that confirms not all the words of this law to do them. And all the people shall say, Amen.
Neh. 10:29 They cleaved to their brethren, their nobles, and entered into a curse, and into an oath, to walk in God's law, which was given by Moses the servant of God, and to observe and do all the commandments of the LORD our Lord, and his judgments and his statutes [ordinances].
C. Those who tithe because it is part of the Law, live in the arena of compulsion, and do not live in the arena of faith.
Gal. 3:12 And the law is not of faith: but, The man that does them shall live in them [trying to please God by works].
D. Christians cannot ever come under any curse of the Law for not-tithing or otherwise.
Gal. 3:13 Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangs on a tree.
E. If Malachi 3 were such a good text to preach tithing for the church, then why is it not quoted by any inspired New Testament writer?
QUESTION 27: Isn't the "storehouse" of Malachi 3:10 a pattern for the church to follow?
ANSWER: Not unless you want the government to collect and redistribute church funds.
A. While Old Testament storehouses were considered the property of the theocratic state, most New Covenant churches are not.
B. While Old Testament storehouses received political aid to collect its tithes, most New Covenant churches do not.
C. While Old Testament storehouses held mostly food and sacrificial animals, New Covenant churches collect money which was never included in the limited biblical definition of tithe.
D. While Old Testament storehouses provided food for the stranger, fatherless, and orphan in the land, New Covenant church members pay taxes and allow the government to do most welfare work from tax money.
E. While Old Testament storehouses provided sustenance for a national priesthood, New Covenant churches teach a priesthood of all believers who do not require sustenance.
F. While Old Covenant tithing was a separate fund from free-will offerings for buildings and maintenance, New Covenant churches often combine all needs into a total program.
G. "Lay by him in store" in 1st Corinthians 16:2 does not mean "bring tithe money to the storehouse which is the church." It literally means "by himself to place, storing"---most likely famine-food collections at home. Neither New Testament Greek word translated "treasury" occurs in this verse (Mat. 27:6; Mark 12:41; John 8:20).
QUESTION 28: Are the ministering priests in Malachi suffering because the people have not brought the tithes?
ANSWER: Not necessarily. While the priests are mentioned as poor and needing the tithe in Deuteronomy 12:18; 14:29 and 26:12-13, they are not included in the list of Malachi 3:5. The ministers, not the people, are the cursed robbers in most of Malachi. If there is a correlation in Malachi to modern preachers, it might be that they are taking money from the people under one pretense and are keeping much of it for themselves, instead of helping the poor.
Mal. 2:1-2 And now, O ye priests, this commandment is for you. If ye will not hear, and if ye will not lay it to heart, to give glory unto my name, saith the LORD of hosts, I will even send a curse upon you, and I will curse your blessings: yea, I have cursed them already, because ye do not lay it to heart.
Chapter 15 Matthew 23:23 Jesus Endorsed Tithing under the Law (pp. 120-129)
QUESTION 29: Doesn't Jesus' statement in Matthew 23:23 prove that tithing is taught in the New Testament?
Matt. 23:23 Woe unto you, scribes [teachers of the Law] and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.
ANSWER: These tithing instructions by Jesus occur in the context of the Old Covenant Law before Calvary, and are not New Testament principles for the post-Calvary Christian church.
A. Chapter 23 is Jesus' 7 woes against teachers of the Mosaic Law.
B. Jesus was born, lived, and crucified under the jurisdiction of the Mosaic Law.
Gal. 4:4-5 But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.
C. The New Covenant did not officially begin until Christ shed his new covenant blood at Calvary. Matt. 26:28; 27:51; John 19:30; Heb. 7:27; 9:27; 12:24.
D. Even before Calvary, giving alms to the poor had more value than tithing.
Luke 11:41 But rather give alms of such things as ye have; and, behold, all things are clean unto you. Matt. 19:21; Luke 19:8; 1 Cor. 13:3. Compare Luke 11:41-42.
E. While living under the jurisdiction of the Mosaic Law and the current accepted interpreters of that Law, Jesus was a sinless law-keeper and a strict law-enforcer.
Matt. 5:24 Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.
Matt. 8:4 And Jesus saith unto him, See thou tell no man; but go thy way, shew thyself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them.
E. Matthew 23:2-3 are the key verses to understanding 23:23. Jesus encouraged others to obey Moses and to obey the current accepted interpreters of the law. He even reinforced obedience to the authority of the scribes and their burdensome extension of the law of tithing.
Matt. 23:2-3 The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat: All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not.
F. History reveals that the Pharisees had exempted themselves from Jewish taxation and could afford to tithe more; they also only traded within their peers to avoid extra tithing. Thus, while claiming to tithe more, they actually tithed less.
G. No gospel writer appealed to Jesus, Moses, or Melchizedek to teach tithing to the New Covenant church.
Chapter 17 Hebrews 8 and 2 Corinthians 3 A Better New Covenant (pp. 137-146)
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To Continue ...
QUESTION 30: Why is the difference between the Old and New Covenant important concerning tithing?
ANSWER: The difference relates to the availability of the Holy Spirit and the power of God in giving principles. The very nature of new covenants is important to understand.
A. Occasionally a nation finds it necessary to abolish its constitution and establish a new one. When this is done, EVERY law, precept, judgment, ordinance, regulation, rule, procedure, and mandate is completely wiped off the books of the original constitution. It is as if the original constitution never existed; both good and bad disappear. That nation then takes the BEST of the old constitution, it clarifies, simplifies, re-states, gives a new foundation, and starts all over again.
GOD DID THAT! In Christ, He ended, abolished, or annulled the Old Covenant and every single law, commandment, ordinance, judgement, and precept given through Moses! Every type, symbol, and shadow was perfectly fulfilled in Jesus Christ. The "righteousness" formerly revealed in the law is NOW revealed in Jesus Christ (Rom. 3:19-20 cf. 3:21-22). The "righteousness" demanded by the law was fulfilled in Christ.
God took the BEST of that Old Covenant, and RESTATED it in the context of Jesus Christ and Calvary. The "best" did not include "unprofitable" tithing (compare Heb. 7:5, 12, 18). The "restatement" was not in the form of what "Thou shalt not do." Instead, it was in the form of privileges of what "new creations" in Christ will do. The best especially included God's eternal moral principles of love, justice, mercy, and faith (Luke 11:42; Matt. 23:23).
When we open our Bibles, we must first ask God to guide our understanding of His Word. Next, we must orient ourselves to the position of the text we are about to read. Is this Old Covenant, or New Covenant? It this before Calvary, or after Calvary? If the text is before Calvary, does it state a temporary "shadow" kindergarten teaching which has ended at Calvary, or does it contain an eternal principle which was re-stated after Calvary to the New Covenant church? If so, how has it been re-stated? Is it something that we must do because commanded, or will do spontaneously because it is part of our new nature?
There is a division in the Bible for a reason! What is that reason? Even though man decided to begin the "New Testament" with the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, in God's viewpoint, the "New Covenant" was announced at the Last Supper by Christ and did not begin until his death at Calvary. Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John cover the grey connecting "interface" period; while they contain flashes of the New, they still occur within the Old Covenant context (Gal. 4:4-5).
B. Unless repeated in the context of Calvary, the New Covenant does not follow the Old Covenant patterns. Again, this is the very nature of a new covenant or constitution.
Heb. 8:9 [The New Covenant is] Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt....
C. The Old Covenant and its principles of daily living decayed and vanished many centuries ago.
Heb. 8:13 In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which decays and waxes old is ready to vanish away.
D. Attempting to follow the letter of Old Covenant principles only brings legalism and spiritual death to a church.
Gal. 3:12 And the law is not of faith...
Gal. 5:23 ... against such [spiritual fruit] there is no law
2 Cor. 3:6 Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.
E. Those parts of the Old Covenant not restated in terms of the New Covenant have absolutely no glory. This is important!
2 Cor. 3:10 For even that which was made glorious had no glory in this respect, by reason of the glory that excels.
F. Those who practice Old Covenant Law without applying New Covenant principles remain under a veil of spiritual ignorance.
2 Cor. 3:14 But their minds were blinded: for until this day remaineth the same veil un-taken away in the reading of the old testament; which veil is done away in Christ.
G. The New Covenant is based upon a better foundation (the blood of Jesus), has better provisions (the indwelling Holy Spirit), has better principles (grace and faith), has better motivations (soul-winning), and produces better results (growing churches for the glory of God).
Heb. 8:6 But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises.
H. New Covenant spiritual growth only comes through beholding truth as it is revealed in Christ's new covenant revelation.
2 Cor. 3:18 But 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.
I. The Christian church must learn to trust the New Covenant principles of grace and faith in order to prosper and be well-pleasing to God. When the Bible teaches that the Old Covenant ordinances designed to support the Levitical priesthood have been abolished because they were weak and unprofitable, we must believe God's Word, escape legalistic practices, and use higher New Covenant principles of finance other than tithing.
Heb. 7:18-19 For there is verily a disannulling of the commandment going before for the weakness and un-profitableness thereof. For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did; by the which we draw nigh unto God. See context of 7:5 and 7:12.
Chapter 18 The Christian, the Mosaic Law, and the Law of Christ (pp. 147-156)
QUESTION 31: Isn't tithing a law for New Covenant Christians?
ANSWER: No. It has been replaced by the new "law" of Christ.
See John 1:7; Rom. 6:14; 7:4, 6; 8:2-3; 2 Cor. 3:6-11; Gal. 3:19, 23-25; 5:18; Eph. 2:15; Col. 2:14; Heb. 8:13.
Chapter 19 Hebrews 7: Christ's High Priesthood Abolished Tithing (pp. 157-186)
QUESTION 32: Isn't tithing taught to the church after Calvary?
ANSWER: Not at all. Just the opposite is true. The ONLY mention of the word,"tithe," in the New Testament after Calvary is found in Hebrews 7---and there tithing is clearly abolished.
QUESTION 33: Why is tithing taught from the one occurrence in the narrative of Abraham and Melchizedek in Genesis 14, and not from the six occurrences in the doctrinal presentation including Abraham and Melchizedek in Hebrews 7?
ANSWER: If you read Hebrews 7, the answer is very obvious. In Hebrews 7 the "typical" Melchizedek, who is Jesus Christ, canceled ALL ordinances of the Levitical priesthood in order to justify the non-Levitical high priesthood of Jesus Christ. Tithing, the primary support of the Levitical priesthood, was the foundational, and most important ordinance to be abolished. Compare Hebrews 7:5,12,18 and the entire logical argument of the chapter.
QUESTION 34: Doesn't tithing survive because it began before the law in Genesis 14 and because it is an eternal moral principle in Leviticus 27?
ANSWER: As previously discussed, Genesis 14 is not "before-law," but is in the context of well-know Arab law. Leviticus 27 is not an eternal principle, but a ceremonial motto for all of Leviticus.
A. Tithing's identification as the ordinance of the Mosaic Law which established the Levitical priesthood is extremely important in Hebrews 7. Whereas, in Hebrews, neither the words "tithe" nor "law" occur before chapter 7, in this chapter "tithe" occurs 7 times (vv. 2, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 9), and "law" occurs 7 times (vv. 5, 11, 12, 16, 19, 28, 28). God's connection here is emphatic!
B. The tithing "ordinance," or "statute" (as fully stated in Numbers 18), is THE first, establishment, or basic statute, which made implementation of ALL of the other laws and priestly functions possible. "Tithe" and "law" both first occur in verse 5 for a reason.
Heb. 7:5 And verily they that are of the sons of Levi, who receive the office of the priesthood, have a commandment to take tithes of the people according to the law, that is, of their brethren, though they come out of the loins of Abraham.
C. In order to replace the Levitical priesthood with Christ's typical Melchizedek priesthood, every law concerning the priesthood, beginning with tithing, must be changed.
Heb. 7:12 For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law.
D. Christ's priesthood is not established and sustained by any ordinance or commandment designed for men (including tithing) for the Levitical priesthood. Instead, his priesthood (and ours as believer-priests by the indwelling Holy Spirit) is based on principles of an indestructible life.
Heb. 7:16 Who is made, not after the law of a carnal commandment, but after the power of an endless life.
G. Those laws concerning the establishment and operation of the Levitical priesthood, beginning with tithing, were abolished. In context, verse 18 absolutely must include tithing!
Heb. 7:18 For there is verily a disannulling of the commandment going before for the weakness and un-profitableness thereof. [The "commandment" first mentioned in verse 5!]
H. Those laws concerning the Levitical priesthood were abolished because they were "weak," "unprofitable," and did not bring about spiritual perfection, or maturity (Heb. 7:11, 18-19). Again, in context, tithing definitely must be included!
Heb. 7:19 For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did; by the which we draw nigh unto God. [A reference to the prohibition in Numbers 18:3 and 7.]
I. The context of Hebrews 7 demands that one see the Mosaic Law of ordinances, including tithing, was annulled along with all other ordinances of the Levitical priesthood.
Chapter 20 Ordinances of the Law Ended at Calvary (pp. 187-195)
QUESTION 35: Why would God abolish the ordinance of tithing?
ANSWER: There are several reasons.
A. God reconciled Jew and Gentile, not by placing Gentiles under the Law, but by abolishing Law-ordinances.
Eph. 2:13-14 But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us.
B. All Old Covenant ordinances were abolished at Calvary. Only those restated after Calvary in the New Covenant apply to Christians today.
Eph. 2:15-16 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; And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby.
Col. 2:14 Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross.
Heb. 7:18 For there is verily a disannulling of the commandment going before for the weakness and un-profitableness thereof. [Compare 7:5, 12, 18.]
Chapter 21 The Priesthood of Believers Eliminates the Purpose of Tithing (pp. 196-202)
QUESTION 36: I believe in the doctrine of the priesthood of every believer. How can this possibly be a reason to abolish tithing ?
ANSWER: Biblical tithing entered history when the priesthood of believers was temporarily set aside in God's plan. Since God's original purpose has been put back into place at Calvary, the old plan is no longer in effect.
A. Before the Old Covenant Law, the head of every household was a priest to "draw near" to worship God directly. Compare Genesis 4:3, 4; 8:20; 12:7, 8; 13:4, 18; 26:25; 31:54.
B. God's preferred purpose for Israel was that every person should be a priest before him and "draw near" to him.
Exod. 19:5-6 Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine: And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel.
C. Because of Israel's sin, the Levitical priesthood temporarily replaced God's original purpose for a kingdom of priests. Under the Law, only Aaronic priests were allowed to "draw near" to God. (See Num. 3:6-10; 18:6, 22.)
D. When the kingdom of priests was temporarily replaced by the Levitical priests, it became necessary to take tithes from every other tribe and give them to the Levites in place of land inheritance (Num. 18 all).
E. After Calvary the temporary Levitical priesthood was replaced, and God's original purpose for the priesthood of every believer was re-established. Now, all believers "draw near."
1 Pet. 2:9-10 But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light: Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.
Heb. 7:19 For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did; by the which we draw nigh unto God.
Heb. 10:22 Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.
F. Therefore the Levitical priesthood, which temporarily received tithes, has been replaced by the priesthood of every believer which does not require tithes in place of an inheritance.
G. There is no biblical basis for concluding that the pastor-teacher is the inheritor of tithes and sustenance promised to the Levitical priesthood!
H. The pastor-teacher is a unique new covenant office created to operate under gospel principles of grace and faith (1 Cor. 9:14). No new covenant principle states that pastor-teachers are to be sustained by old covenant tithes.
I. Every function performed by the Old Covenant priest who received tithes is NOW intended to be performed by every believer-priest---not by the pastor-teacher! Their task is now shared by all believers.
J. Under New Covenant principles, the primary "teacher" is neither priest nor preacher, but the Holy Spirit (John 14:15-17; 16:12-14).
Heb. 8:10-11 I will put my laws into their mind and write them in their hearts. And they shall not teach every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest.
K. The pastor-teacher is more comparable to Old Covenant prophets or Jewish rabbis than to Levitical priests. Non-Levitical prophets and rabbis were sustained either by their own labors or by free-will offerings--not tithes.
L. Again, THE BELIEVER, NOT THE PREACHER, REPLACED OLD COVENANT PRIESTS! What this truth does to the Mosaic Law ordinance of tithing should be self-evident.
Chapter 22 1 Cor. 9:14 Paul Refused His "Right" of Support (pp. 203-223)
QUESTION 36: Doesn't the New Testament instruct the church to support its ministers full-time?
ANSWER: No. Although Paul did not say such is wrong, in his inspired opinion, full-time support was the "lower" road in comparison to the preacher who, like himself, maintained a secular job. Compare Acts 13:1-3; 18:1-4; 20:16-35; 1 Cor. 9:12-19; 2 Cor. 11:7-9; 12:13-15; Phil. 4:15-19; 1 Thess. 2:9-10; and 2 Thess. 3:6-15.
QUESTION 37: Doesn't 1 Corinthians 9:14 say that preachers should be fully supported by the gospel?
1 Cor. 9:14 Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel.
ANSWER: No. "Living of the gospel" is not "living from law principles." See context 9:12-19.
A. The gospel is wholly of grace and none of law (Rom. 1:17).
B. If this were a direct command by Jesus that gospel workers should be supported full-time by tithing or otherwise, then Paul disobeyed a direct command of Jesus.
C. If this is a reference to Matthew 10:10 or Luke 10:7 (as most claim), those chapters describe gospel workers who were beggars while performing gospel work. They are descriptions of Old Testament prophets, or rabbis, not Levites and priests.
Chapter 23 1 Corinthians 16:2 Giving to Needy Saints (pp. 224-238)
QUESTION 38: Doesn't 1 Corinthians 16:2 instruct us to bring tithes to the church every Sunday?
ANSWER: The text has absolutely nothing to say about tithes or church support. Many commentaries even suggest that the "storing up" is meant to be at home. The church should not be called a "storehouse" because the common Greek word in the first century meant a type of safe "bank" at pagan temples, and not a storage for money permanently given to the pagan gods. There is no tithing even implied here.
Chapter 24 1 Timothy 5:17 Worthy of Double Honor (pp. 239-248)
QUESTION 39: Since the word, "honor," can mean "salary," doesn't this mean that ministers should be paid twice as much as normal workers?
1 Tim. 5:17 Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially they who labor in the word and doctrine.
ANSWER: This is a back-door approach to support tithing which is also wrong.
A. No reputable Bible version translates "honor" as "pay" or "salary" here. Greek scholars who approved the major translations know better.
B. The context of the entire chapter is double-honor due, or double "discretion" due, while the church is considering discipline of a pastoral elder. Compare all of chapters 5 and 6.
1 Tim. 6:6-8 But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and raiment let us be therewith content. [Neither double pay or tithing is taught here.]
C. Although full-time gospel support through offerings and faith-giving principles is acceptable, the "higher" gospel road chosen by Paul was self-support (1 Cor. 9:12-19; Acts 20:32-35).
Chapter 25 Miscellaneous Objections (pp. 249-262)
QUESTION 40: I have heard that tithing is never mentioned in the New Testament after Calvary because it was not a problem and everybody paid tithes. Is this true?
ANSWER: Not only is this reasoning not true, but its logic is absurd.
A. When believers fall away from God and the church, one of the first things they withdraw is their financial support.
B. Actually, this "silence" is one of the best evidences that tithing was NOT taught. For example, while Paul rebuked the Corinthians church for a wide variety of sins, he did not rebuke them for not paying tithes. The "silence" is caused by the fact that the New Covenant does not contain a single reference or command for any Christian to tithe.
C. If tithing were indeed a genuine New Covenant doctrine, then it is the ONLY "silent" doctrine NOT supported by a single post-Calvary text.
D. It is certain from Acts 15 and 21:20-24; 28:17 all of Romans, all of Galatians, all of Hebrews, and subsequent recorded Jewish-Christian history that many (if not most) Jewish Christians had simply added Christianity to Judaism. Those in Israel had continued regular worship at the temple and support of the temple, including tithing. Many Jewish Christians wanted all Gentile Christians to become circumcised and become Christian Jews (Acts 15:1; Gal. 2:4). Tithing was correctly understood as a strictly Jewish ordinance of the Mosaic Law.
E. It is equally certain that the Jewish church in Jerusalem specifically excluded Gentiles from the necessity of keeping any part of the Mosaic Law, including tithing (Acts 15:19-30; 21:19-25). These important passages should be carefully studied.
F. Since Israel had been rebuked by God for its failure to pay tithes under the Law, God would certainly have rebuked the church for the same sin if the church were in violation. Yet, while Paul, Peter, John, James and Jude correct the church for a very wide range of sins, including not giving offerings for the poor, they never correct it for not tithing.
G. Paul and early Jewish church leaders came from a tradition which forbade them from giving up a trade and expecting to be supported by others. Compare 1 Cor. 7:20-24.
H. The early church leaders followed the synagogue pattern which was led by rabbis who supported themselves.
QUESTION 41: Since the New Covenant operates on higher spiritual standards than the Old Covenant, then logic tells us that the Christian should begin his giving standard at 10%.
ANSWER: The erroneous assumption is that ALL Israelites under the Mosaic Law were required to tithe and started at ten percent. In fact, only landowners and herdsmen of the land were required to tithe and start at ten percent. Tithing actually placed heavy burdens on land owners while not affecting hundreds of tradesman and craftsman occupations who only gave offerings.
The error of this assumption reveals why New Covenant giving principles are higher. Once the tithe had been paid on the land by the landowner, all those who lived on that land and were sustained by that land were required to give nothing at all. Even the hired servants were already covered by the tithe of the land owner.
Chapter 26 Lewis Sperry Chafer and John Walvoord on Giving (pp. 263-266)
QUESTION 42: Doesn't almost every church teach tithing?
ANSWER: Actually, most churches do NOT teach tithing as a commanded doctrine of the church. The seminary leaders in most churches realize that it is an indefensible doctrine and refuse to put their names on any support for it. Even among churches who do advocate tithing, very few seminary professors and historians will put their names on literature supporting tithing. Most supportive literature comes from stewardship departments and lower echelon pastors who use proof-text methodology. There are many leading conservative institutions who do not support tithing. Also, we must be careful not to equate the word, "tithe," with "free-will offering."
Chapter 27 Grace Principles of Giving Out-Perform Law Principles (pp. 267-276)
QUESTION 43: How can the church survive if it does not teach tithing?
ANSWER: Trust God and preach the truth. God doesn't take something away from us without replacing it with something better.
Heb. 7:18-19 For, on the one hand, there is a setting aside of a former commandment because of its weakness and uselessness (for the Law made nothing perfect),
---and on the other hand there is a bringing in of a better hope, through which we draw near to God. NAS
QUESTION 44: What are some New Covenant principles of giving?
ANSWER: Tithing contrasts with grace principles of giving as taught in the new testament, especially 2nd Corinthians 8 and 9.
A. Giving is an act of grace, not Law (2 Cor. 8:1, 6-7).
B. A sincere desire to give must come first (2 Cor. 8:10,12; 9:7; 1 Cor. 16:2.
C. The New Covenant contains NO COMMANDMENT to give (2 Cor. 8:8, 10; 9:7).
D. Give as much as you are able (2 Cor. 8:11, 12; 2 Cor. 16:2).
E. Do not cause giving to be an unequal burden (2 Cor. 8:13-14).
F. Give naturally because of spiritual growth (2 Cor. 8:2, 3-4).
G. Give yourself sacrificially (Rom. 12:1-2).
H. Give generously (2 Cor. 9:6, the sow-reap principle).
I. Give cheerfully (2 Cor. 9:7, 13) or not at all.
J. Give in faith (otherwise it is sin) (Rom. 14:23)
K. Give to the needy (Rom. 15:25-26; 1 Cor. 16:1; Phil. 4:15; Jas. 1:27).
Chapter 28 Acts 20:16-35 A Sermon and Example to Preachers (pp. 277-294)
QUESTION 45: Aren't church members supposed to work in order to support the preacher?
ANSWER: Not necessarily. Paul worked in order to help the poor.
Acts 20:35 I have shewed you all things, how that so laboring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.
2 Cor. 12:14 Behold, the third time I am ready to come to you; and I will not be burdensome to you: for I seek not yours, but you: for the children ought not to lay up for the parents, but the parents for the children.
Chapter 29 A Church History of Tithing Since Calvary (pp. 295-315)
QUESTION 46: Doesn't history confirm that the early church taught and practiced tithing?
ANSWER: Just the opposite is true for almost 200 years after Calvary.
A. At least until about A.D. 180, the earliest churches did not even distinguish between clergy and laity. Any gifted lay person could preach and teach; God granted spiritual gifts without partiality. There was no professional full-time paid clergy. Leaders worked at a trade to support themselves. In fact, Paul REFUSED compensation and asked others to follow his example. Paul said he "would rather die" than be deprived of boasting about not asking for support. It is illogical to believe that the early church taught tithing when there is no indication that its leaders received anything other than occasional gifts! (Acts 13:1-3; 18:1-3; 20:17-35; 1 Cor. 9:12-19; 2 Cor. 11:7-9; 2 Cor. 12:13-15; Gal. 6:2-10; Phil. 4:15-19; 1 Thess. 2:9-10; 2 Thess. 3:6-15).
B. History records that the very earliest Gentile church "fathers" rejected tithing as an abolished ordinance of the Jewish Law. Included are Clement of Rome (93-97), Ignatius (110-117), Polycarp (110-117), Hermas (100-140), Barnabas (131), Justin Martyr (100-166), Irenaeus (130-200), Hippolytus (170-236), Clement of Alexander (150-200) and Tertullian (220). When Cyprian, Origen, and Augustine tried to enforce tithing after A.D. 200, their definition of "tithes" was part of their doctrine that the Christian bishop replaced the Jewish high priest as a priest. According to Gibbon and the most respected biblical authorities, tithing did not become an enforced church law in history until a church synod demanded it in A.D. 567. Much later it was enforced by the Holy Roman Emperor Charlemagne in 777 A.D.
C. All Hebrew men were taught a trade. It was considered unethical for synagogue leaders and rabbis to receive money for teaching the Law. Rabbis and spiritual leaders were sustained by their community promoting their craft or trade. Paul was a rabbi and Jesus was called a rabbi.
D. Roman authorities and census-takers would have arrested and imprisoned any person earning a living without having an evident trade. Lack of a trade signaled insurrectionists against the empire.
E. Tithe-supporters do not quote church leaders of the first centuries to support their claims that the early church supported full-time ministers through tithing.
Chapter 30 Ethical Considerations of Tithing under Grace (pp. 316-325)
2 Cor. 8:12-15 For if there be first a willing mind, it is accepted according to that a man hath, and not according to that he hath not. For I mean not that other men be eased, and ye burdened: But by an equality, that now at this time your abundance may be a supply for their want, that their abundance also may be a supply for your want: that there may be equality. As it is written, He that had gathered much had nothing over; and he that had gathered little had no lack.
A. An Old Covenant wealthy landowner could STOP giving at ten percent and meet the requirements of the Mosaic Law. However, this same wealthy person is violating the higher New Covenant principles when he stops at ten percent.
B. The New Covenant higher principle of equality expects ALL believers to give freewill offerings spontaneously because they have a new nature and want to give above that which they should. While all give spontaneously from a willing heart, the "above ten percent" of the wealthy offsets the below ten percent of the poor.
C. This principle of "equality giving" is a higher standard of grace giving. It does not operate on the principle of law or percentage. Neither does it shame or "curse" the poor for not being able to pay a minimum of ten percent.
D. "Equality giving" does not encourage the poor to stay away from worship to avoid being made a spectacle for not giving much. It allows the poor to have some degree of self-respect in knowing that they gave all they could without depriving their families of essential food and shelter.
E. Although the poor may actually give less than ten percent, even they are commended for giving above and beyond their ability. "Ability," not "compulsion," is the operating principle of New Covenant motivation. To this are added "love" and "the desire to see souls saved," neither or which were required motivations for law-tithing (2 Cor. 8:2-3).
F. While the New Covenant is full of "freewill giving" principles, it contains no exact giving percentages because Christians are no longer under the law, but under grace (Gal. 5:18, 22-23).
Chapter 31 Summary of Reasons to Replace Tithing (pp. 326-333)
QUESTION 47: Do Jews still tithe today?
ANSWER: No. Long ago they recognized it as a form of taxation. Many Jews today support their synagogues by using a dues-system. Many Jews even consider it a sin to handle money on the Sabbath.
QUESTION 48: Do Greek-Orthodox Christians teach tithing?
ANSWER: No, and they never have taught tithing. This is important because Greek churches were among the first churches founded by the apostolic missionaries. To them, there was never a tithing tradition established which should be continued.
QUESTION 49: How can a church possibly be financially successful if it does not teach tithing?
ANSWER: This question suggests than one is fearful of trusting God's better promises and prefers to continue using the proven failure of weak and unprofitable tithing. In fact, thee are many very large successful evangelical churches which do not teach tithing. Thus, the success, or failure, of a church does not depend on whether or not tithing is taught. Instead, the success, or failure, of a church is dependent on whether or not the gospel is preached and the spiritual needs of the people are being met. Compare 2 Cor. 3:10-18 and Gal. 3:1-3.
2 Cor. 3:10 For even that which was made glorious had no glory in this respect, by reason of the glory that excelleth.
QUESTION 50: We have been successful preaching tithing. What principle guarantees that we can be more successful if we drop the doctrine?
ANSWER: Simply this---love out gives law every time! People respond more to the love of God than they do to the fear of God! Great revivals occur when men preach the love of God through Christ crucified. Even common sense shows us that people give more when a specific price is not placed on things such as raffle tickets for charities. When the church learns to love their neighbors across the street and across the sea, gospel giving will increase. That is the "power of an indestructible life" from Hebrews 7:16.
2 Cor. 3:11 For if that which is done away was glorious, much more that which remaineth is glorious.
Heb. 7:19 For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did; by the which we draw nigh unto God.
Chapter 32 Spreading the Gospel Remains Our Calling (pp. 334-338)
QUESTION 51: What does God promise if I give more to the church?
ANSWER: If your motive is right---eternal riches which will not fade away. We must never forget that the power of God (the dynamite of God) is only released in preaching the gospel of Christ and Him crucified for our sins.
Rom. 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.
2 Cor. 3:18 But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.
Dear Christian reader:
The Reformation is still incomplete. Unfortunately, the Christian church is still holding onto several doctrines which have absolutely no post-Calvary new covenant basis or power. Tithing is one of the most damaging remnants of the Old Covenant ordinances because it limits the power of the Holy Spirit by locking the church into a law-based doctrine.
Paul said in 2nd Corinthians 3:15 that "to this day whenever Moses is read, a veil lies over their heart." While many churches correctly attempt to base every doctrine on post-Calvary new covenant principles, they regress to the old covenant for principles to finance Christ's gospel proclamation.
Tithing has undermined Christian confidence in the power of God to bless and sustain through more glorious principles. While wealthy churches are smug and secure with their tithers who believe they are obeying God, many of the poor whom they should be reaching with the gospel stay home embarrassed because they cannot afford to tithe.
Jesus died for ALL---rich and poor. ALL must feel welcome in any church which claims to be dedicated to Christ for his gospel. Even though they may be desperately poor, even these persons have spiritual gifts and should be allowed to hold church offices according to their God-given abilities. Spread the word and pray that the truth about tithing and its ultimate harm to the church will be known.
In Christ's love for the good of His church,
Russell Earl. Kelly, Ph.D., 139 Baker St. NW, Kennesaw, Ga 30152-4404
Billy Graham Evangelistic Association: Questions and Answers.
It (tithing) is not mentioned in the New Testament except where it is describing Old Testament practices or in the Gospels where Jesus is addressing people who were under the Old Testament law. Note Jesus' comments to the Pharisees in Luke 11:42
A New Testament teaching on giving which may be helpful to you is found in 1 Corinthians 16:2.... This passage brings out four points: we should give individually, regularly, methodically, and proportionately. The matter of your giving is between you and God, and He always takes into account our circumstances. He knows when they are beyond our power to direct and control. The important thing is that we see giving as a privilege and not a burden. It should not be out of a sense of duty, but rather out of love for the Lord and a desire to see His kingdom advanced. Second Corinthians 9:6-7..... What has priority in our lives? Is Christ really first--or do we put ourselves and our own desires first? Make sure Christ is first in your life, and then ask Him to guide you.
MacArthur, John, God's Plan for Giving, Moody Press, 1985
"So when someone says the Jew gave ten percent, that isn't true. The Jew gave twenty-three percent to begin with. It was for the poor people, the widows, and people who didn't have anything to eat. So they were funding the people who ran the government, which were the Levites; they were providing for national feasts through the festival tithe; and they gave for the welfare program. All this was funding for the national entity. All three of these were taxation, not freewill giving to God. Tithing was always taxation so that the programs of the government could run: the priestly program, the national religious program, and the welfare program" 76.
Commentary on the Book of Romans 9-16 (p.233)
Christians are not under obligation to give a specified amount to the work of their heavenly Father. In none of their forms do the tithe or other Old Testament levies apply to Christians.
Thoughts On Tithing (from sermon preached at Grace Community Church in Panorama City, CA):
Tithing, basically, is never, ever advocated in the New Testament; it is never taught in the New Testament-never!
| 2005/9/23 7:13||Profile|
| Re: tithing|
Here is the study from [url=http:/www.sermoncentral.net]SermonCentral[/url] that I have stored away.
It seems so few people these days give tithes, offerings, and alms, yet they profess to be walking with God. This applies to people all over the world. By their actions, they deny Him.
Every person is to give 10% of their total income to God. This is called a tithe. Tithing is a command from God. In addition, as the Lord provides, a person should give extra (an offering) and also should give to the poor (alms). Giving an excuse, such as, "I dont have enough," is not acceptable to God. Obey the Gospel. Even a person in prison receiving an income or other items is to tithe on them.
Preachers and ministries are also to tithe. Tithing is for everyone including missionaries. Can you receive the love of the truth? Every pastor and every ministry ought to tithe. Ministries should consider tithing to other ministries as God directs.
Would it cause offense to suggest that you give an offering, when asking a ministry for a cassette or book? Those that can ought not only to give an offering but give generously.
Do you want the truth, or do you wish to continue living in deceit? God forbid, all too often, those that profess Christ are yielding to the lusts of the flesh, covetousness, and evil desires. It is written, IF ANY MAN HAVE EARS TO HEAR, LET HIM HEAR-Mk 7:16.
Housewives, are you tithing also?
The subject of giving tithes and offerings is covered in Mal 3:8,9-WILL A MAN ROB GOD? YET YE HAVE ROBBED ME. BUT YE SAY, WHEREIN HAVE WE ROBBED THEE? His answer is: IN TITHES AND OFFERINGS. YE ARE CURSED WITH A CURSE: FOR YE HAVE ROBBED ME. There is a lot of misleading preaching on prosperity in the church today. Some may say, "Just send me $100.00, and a financial blessing will be poured out on you."
Note, Malachi said, YE ARE CURSED WITH A CURSE, if you are not giving tithes and offerings. So we are to give tithes and offerings. Why? because we are commanded to. We are also to give alms. Many are sick, hurting financially, or have multitudes of problems. One area to examine is whether or not you are obeying God in the area of tithes and offerings.
2-WHAT IS A TITHE?
Now what do we mean by a tithe? A tithe is ten percent of everything. For instance, do you have a fruit tree? tithe ten percent of your fruit tree. Do you have a garden? tithe ten percent of the increase of your garden. Do you rent houses to others? tithe ten percent of your profit.
Perhaps, you own an apartment and rent it out. This does not mean you begin spending lots of money to fix it up, saying, "Ill give what is leftover to the Lord." Perhaps, you try to justify spending large amounts of money on your taxesas tax write-offs. You are not to do that with God. You are not to play games with God. Ten percent of your total income, before taxes, before bills, before food, belongs to God. Ten percent of your gross income, right off the top: before electric bills, before water bills, is Gods. If you rob God, you can expect to have a curse on you.
The tithe is the first ten percent. If you receive something, you tithe or give the best. You do not give the worst to God, but the best. For instance, if you catch ten fish, you tithe one of those fish. You do not tithe the worst one, you tithe the best one.
3-WHAT IS AN OFFERING AND ALMS?
So will a man rob God? Wherein? in tithes and offerings. Ye are cursed with a curse. We are to give ten percent and that goes to the church you attend. You ought to always give a little more, because the Bible also says offerings. Lets explain in more detail what is meant, and then cover the Scriptures. You have offerings (which are over your ten percent). Your offering can go to your church, or to any born-again ministry that God would direct you. However, the Lord does not lead you contrary to Scripture. Your tithe goes to the storehouse where you are attending. Offerings may go to other born-again ministries. Alms are giving to the poor, but try to give to the brethren. First, look to the needs of the brothers in Jesus; they are often poor, but rich in faith!
4-ANANIAS WITH SAPPHIRA
It is written, Acts 5:1-11-BUT A CERTAIN MAN NAMED ANANIAS, WITH SAPPHIRA HIS WIFE, SOLD A POSSESSION, AND KEPT BACK PART OF THE PRICE, HIS WIFE ALSO BEING PRIVY TO IT (or a party to it), AND BROUGHT A CERTAIN PART, AND LAID IT AT THE APOSTLES FEET. BUT PETER SAID, ANANIAS, WHY HATH SATAN FILLED THINE HEART TO LIE TO THE HOLY GHOST, AND TO KEEP BACK PART OF THE PRICE OF THE LAND? WHILES IT REMAINED, WAS IT NOT THINE OWN? AND AFTER IT WAS SOLD, WAS IT NOT IN THINE OWN POWER? WHY HAST THOU CONCEIVED THIS THING IN THINE HEART? THOU HAST NOT LIED UNTO MEN, BUT UNTO GOD. He decided to bring the price of the land and set it at the apostles feet. But then he lied about how much it was. He did not bring it to them, saying, "I brought part of it." He came to them saying he brought it allbut he did not. He lied and kept back part of it for himself. AND ANANIAS HEARING THESE WORDS FELL DOWN, AND GAVE UP THE GHOST: AND GREAT FEAR CAME ON ALL THEM THAT HEARD THESE THINGS. Can you imagine lying to your preacher and God strikes you dead? He called it lying to the Holy Ghost. God struck him dead, right on the spot.
AND THE YOUNG MEN AROSE, WOUND HIM UP, AND CARRIED HIM OUT, AND BURIED HIM. AND IT WAS ABOUT THE SPACE OF THREE HOURS AFTER, WHEN HIS WIFE, NOT KNOWING WHAT WAS DONE, CAME IN. AND PETER ANSWERED UNTO HER, TELL ME WHETHER YE SOLD THE LAND FOR SO MUCH? AND SHE SAID, YEA, FOR SO MUCH. THEN PETER SAID UNTO HER, HOW IS IT THAT YE HAVE AGREED TOGETHER TO TEMPT THE SPIRIT OF THE LORD? BEHOLD, THE FEET OF THEM WHICH HAVE BURIED THY HUSBAND ARE AT THE DOOR, AND SHALL CARRY THEE OUT. THEN FELL SHE DOWN STRAIGHTWAY AT HIS FEET, AND YIELDED UP THE GHOST: AND THE YOUNG MEN CAME IN, AND FOUND HER DEAD, AND CARRYING HER FORTH, BURIED HER BY HER HUSBAND. AND GREAT FEAR CAME UPON ALL THE CHURCH, AND UPON AS MANY AS HEARD THESE THINGS.
Jesus tells us, Mt 10:8-FREELY YE HAVE RECEIVED, FREELY GIVE. The Lord will reward each person as they give, however, not always in the way you may expect. God will reward you in the way He wants to. Have a giving heart, and let God take care of the rest. 2 Cor 9:12 NIV-THIS SERVICE THAT YOU PERFORM IS NOT ONLY SUPPLYING THE NEEDS OF GOD'S PEOPLE BUT IS ALSO OVERFLOWING IN MANY EXPRESSIONS OF THANKS TO GOD (the results of your giving). Then he says, THANKS BE TO GOD FOR HIS INDESCRIBABLE GIFT!-2 Cor 9:15.
6-JACOB VOWED TO GIVE A TENTH
Jacob vowed a vow, saying, Gen 28:22 NIV-THIS STONE, THAT I HAVE SET UP AS A PILLAR WILL BE GOD'S HOUSE, AND OF ALL THAT YOU GIVE ME I WILL GIVE YOU A TENTH. That is the tithe, one tenth.
7-ABRAHAM GAVE A TENTH
The New Testament also tells us in Heb 7:2-TO WHOM ALSO ABRAHAM GAVE A TENTH PART (of what?) OF ALL (of everything).
In Gen 14:20, we read-AND BLESSED BE THE MOST HIGH GOD, WHICH HATH DELIVERED THINE ENEMIES INTO THINE HAND. AND HE GAVE HIM TITHES OF ALL.
Heb 7:4,5,9,10 NIV-JUST THINK HOW GREAT HE WAS: EVEN THE PATRIARCH ABRAHAM GAVE HIM A TENTH OF THE PLUNDER (in other words, a tenth of all)! NOW THE LAW REQUIRES THE DESCENDANTS OF LEVI WHO BECOME PRIESTS TO COLLECT A TENTH FROM THE PEOPLE (likewise, your preacher is to collect a tenth from the people)THAT IS, THEIR BROTHERSEVEN THOUGH THEIR BROTHERS ARE DESCENDED FROM ABRAHAM. ONE MIGHT EVEN SAY THAT LEVI, WHO COLLECTS THE TENTH, PAID THE TENTH THROUGH ABRAHAM, BECAUSE WHEN MELCHIZEDEK MET ABRAHAM, LEVI WAS STILL IN THE BODY OF HIS ANCESTOR. Do you understand what was just said? One might say that even Levi (the priest who collects the tenth) paid the tenth through Abraham, because when Melchizedek (Who is Jesus) met Abraham, Levi was still in the body of his ancestor. You pay tithes through Abraham, because you are his offspring by the new birth.
It is written, Neh 10:38-AND THE PRIEST THE SON OF AARON SHALL BE WITH THE LEVITES, WHEN THE LEVITES TAKE TITHES (the Lord commands the Levites to take tithes from the people): AND THE LEVITES SHALL BRING UP THE TITHE OF THE TITHES UNTO THE HOUSE OF OUR GOD, TO THE CHAMBERS, INTO THE TREASURE HOUSE. Where does it go? to the treasure house of the church.
8-HONOR THE LORD WITH THE FIRSTFRUITS
We are to, Pv 3:9-HONOR THE LORD WITH THY SUBSTANCE, AND WITH THE FIRSTFRUITS OF ALL THINE INCREASE. In other words, it comes right off the top: before the government, electric bills, house paymentsbefore anything. The firstfruits should be given before anything else. We are to prepare our tithes quickly, not slowly.
It is also wise to bear in mind that, one way or another, we can expect to pay our tithes. If we refuse, then we may end up paying it in the form of hospital bills. It is better to give the firstfruits of all thine increase to the church rather than to a repairman for your car, or a hospital, or a doctor.
9-THE TITHE, A HOLY THING
We read in Lev 27:32-AND CONCERNING THE TITHE OF THE HERD, OR OF THE FLOCK, EVEN OF WHATSOEVER PASSETH UNDER THE ROD, THE TENTH SHALL BE HOLY UNTO THE LORD. Concerning the TITHE, what tithe is being discussed? It is the tithe of the herd, the cattle, or the flock, even whatsoever (twice we read "all," now it says "whatsoever") passes under the rod, THE TENTH SHALL BE HOLY UNTO THE LORD. In other words, your tithe is a holy thing to God.
Do you think you are going to heaven, yet you do not tithe? Is a robber going to enter heaven? Unless he repents, no, he will not. Are those that rob banks going to enter heaven? No, not unless they repent. Well, which is worse? to rob a bank or to rob God? If you are not going to enter heaven robbing banks, you are not going to heaven by robbing God. A person who says, "Ive been a Christian for 5 years," but does not tithe, can expect a surprise at the judgment, as their actions indicate they have not truly repented. They will not obey Gods Word.
10-THOU SHALT TITHE
It is written, Deut 14:22-THOU SHALT TRULY TITHE ALL THE INCREASE OF THY SEED, THAT THE FIELD BRINGETH FORTH YEAR BY YEAR (in other words, your garden). "Thou shalt" is a command. Perhaps, you are given one thousand dollars for a Christmas gift. You are to tithe on it. Maybe you are given a ten thousand dollar car. You, somehow, need to tithe on it.
We are to have a willing heart, as, 1 Chr 29:6,7,9-THE CHIEF OF THE FATHERS AND PRINCES OF THE TRIBES OF ISRAEL, AND THE CAPTAINS OF THOUSANDS AND OF HUNDREDS, WITH THE RULERS OF THE KINGS WORK, OFFERED WILLINGLY. This should also be your attitude: yet perhaps you say, "I dont have enough to even live on, let alone tithe!" Then you can expect a curse, for the Bible (which is true) says it will come. AND GAVE, FOR THE SERVICE OF THE HOUSE OF GOD (you are giving for the service of the house of God)....THEN THE PEOPLE REJOICED, FOR THAT THEY OFFERED WILLINGLY. (We rejoice, because giving is close to the heart of God. He gave everything, didnt He? Even His only begotten Son for you.) BECAUSE WITH PERFECT HEART THEY OFFERED WILLINGLY TO THE LORD. With a perfect heart they offered willingly to the Lord. Now examine yourselves: when you pay your tithes, is your heart saying inside, "I wish Id kept back some of it"? Are you giving grudgingly? or do you have a perfect heart that wants to give, because it is holy to the Lord? Give with a right spirit, with a perfect heart, and with a willing mind.
11-CHURCH TO GIVE ALSO: ALL TO TITHE; PREACHERS MAY TAKE A SALARY
We have seen the church is also to give. The Scriptures show us that the priests tithe to the priests; it goes all the way up the line to Melchizedek. It is written, THEY WHICH PREACH THE GOSPEL SHOULD LIVE OF THE GOSPEL-1 Cor 9:14. THOU SHALT NOT MUZZLE THE MOUTH OF THE OX THAT TREADETH OUT THE CORN-1 Cor 9:9. Preachers can take a salary. As a matter of fact, the priests did; they lived of the tithes. When the tithes came in, the priests had their salary. Then they would tithe to the higher priests, and so on; it would go all the way up the line. Everybody tithes. We are all under commandment. Ministries are under commandment to tithe. If someone were to send funds to missionaries overseas, they are also to tithe, lest they come under a curse. If someone were to send a missionary $100.00, he should give a tithe of that to whoever God directs him. In other words, it is a commandment for everyone to tithewhether ministries or pastorswe all tithe.
We are to, Neh 10:35-37-BRING THE FIRST FRUITS OF OUR GROUND, AND THE FIRST FRUITS OF ALL FRUIT OF ALL TREES (all fruit of all trees) YEAR BY YEAR, UNTO THE HOUSE OF THE LORD: ALSO THE FIRST-BORN OF OUR SONS, AND OF OUR CATTLE, AS IT IS WRITTEN IN THE LAW, AND THE FIRSTLINGS OF OUR HERDS AND OF OUR FLOCKS, TO BRING TO THE HOUSE OF OUR GOD, UNTO THE PRIESTS THAT MINISTER IN THE HOUSE OF OUR GOD: AND THAT WE SHOULD BRING THE FIRST FRUITS OF OUR DOUGH, AND OUR OFFERINGS, AND THE FRUIT OF ALL MANNER OF TREES, OF WINE AND OF OIL, UNTO THE PRIESTS, TO THE CHAMBERS OF THE HOUSE OF OUR GOD; AND THE TITHES OF OUR GROUND UNTO THE LEVITES.
We are to remember, HE WHICH SOWETH SPARINGLY SHALL REAP ALSO SPARINGLY; AND HE WHICH SOWETH BOUNTIFULLY SHALL REAP ALSO BOUNTIFULLY-2 Cor 9:6. This is a law of God. It does not mean, if you give one hundred dollars that youre going to get back one thousand dollars. You will get back generously from the Lord, but in the way He desires to give it to you. It might be in wisdom and knowledge. 2 Cor 8:7 NIV-SEE THAT YOU ALSO EXCEL IN THIS GRACE OF GIVING. One thing that is troubling is when we see a person that does not excel in the grace of giving. Anyone that does not excel in the grace of giving, usually falls away.
12-GIFT ACCEPTABLE ACCORDING TO WHAT YOU HAVE
It is written, 2 Cor 8:10-12 NIV-LAST YEAR YOU WERE THE FIRST NOT ONLY TO GIVE BUT ALSO TO HAVE THE DESIRE TO DO SO (the "desire" to give). NOW FINISH THE WORK...FOR IF THE WILLINGNESS IS THERE (the "willingness" to give), THE GIFT IS ACCEPTABLE ACCORDING TO WHAT ONE HAS, NOT ACCORDING TO WHAT HE DOES NOT HAVE. Now there are ministries that try to encourage you to "make a faith promise that you are going to give five thousand or ten thousand dollars." Yet the Bible says, "according to what one has, not according to what one does not have." There are also those who ask you to send a contribution and put it on your credit card, yet you do not have the money, so you go into debt. The New Testament tells us, NOT ACCORDING TO WHAT HE DOES NOT HAVE.
Another method certain ministers use, is to have you hold up your offering or alms; they may even have you wave it before the people. Apparently, they have found that people give more this wayGod forbid, the ways of the church in this last generation. The Bible tells us, FOR IF THE WILLINGNESS IS THERE, THE GIFT IS ACCEPTABLE ACCORDING TO WHAT ONE HAS, NOT ACCORDING TO WHAT HE DOES NOT HAVE-2 Cor 8:12 NIV.
Please bear in mind, this is referring to offerings, not tithes. You tithe on everything, as the Scriptures have already established. Your tithe comes off of the top. Then what is left goes for your living and so on. God is to receive His ten percent. He simply gives you an income of a certain amountten percent of which is His. The remaining ninety percent is yours; however, remember according to what you have always try to give at least a little extra for an offering and do not forget to give alms.
13-EXCEL IN GIVING
We are to excel in giving. As it is written, Lk 6:38-GIVE, AND IT SHALL BE GIVEN UNTO YOU; GOOD MEASURE, PRESSED DOWN, AND SHAKEN TOGETHER, AND RUNNING OVER, SHALL MEN GIVE INTO YOUR BOSOM. FOR WITH THE SAME MEASURE THAT YE METE WITHAL IT SHALL BE MEASURED TO YOU AGAIN. Phili 4:16,17-FOR EVEN IN THESSALONICA YE SENT ONCE AND AGAIN UNTO MY NECESSITY. NOT BECAUSE I DESIRE A GIFT: BUT I DESIRE FRUIT THAT MAY ABOUND TO YOUR ACCOUNT. Giving results in fruit that may abound to your account. Do you want to lay up rewards in heaven?
In Lk 8:3 NIV-we read of women that were helping meet the needs of Jesus: THESE WOMAN WERE HELPING TO SUPPORT THEM (the Lord and His disciples) OUT OF THEIR OWN MEANS.
The Bible tells us, Deut 16:17-EVERY MAN SHALL GIVE AS HE IS ABLE, ACCORDING TO THE BLESSING OF THE LORD THY GOD WHICH HE HATH GIVEN THEE. In 2 Ki 12:4, we read, AND ALL THE MONEY THAT COMETH INTO ANY MANS HEART TO BRING INTO THE HOUSE OF THE LORD. The Lord will lay on your heart what to give. When it comes time to give an offering (not a tithe, as tithing is a command), ask God what He wants you to give. God should put an amount into your mind. Then, all of a sudden, some other amounts may also come into your mindlower amounts. For instance, we may be visiting a church, and the Lord might say, give one hundred dollars to this church. Then, all of a sudden, a voice says, "No! only give ten dollars; you need the other $90.00." In almost every case, the first figurethe highest oneis of the Lord. The confusion that sets in afterward, you can expect, is from the devil. So what do you do? Do you give grudgingly or cheerfully? Excel in the grace of giving!
Lets look again at Mal 3:8-WILL A MAN ROB GOD? YET YE HAVE ROBBED ME. BUT YE SAY, WHEREIN HAVE WE ROBBED THEE? IN TITHES AND OFFERINGS. In Pv 21:26-HE COVETETH GREEDILY ALL THE DAY LONG (the opposite of giving is coveting greedily all the day long): BUT THE RIGHTEOUS GIVETH AND SPARETH NOT.
14-WHAT LACK I YET?
A young man asked Jesus in Mt 19:20-22-WHAT LACK I YET? JESUS SAID UNTO HIM, IF THOU WILT BE PERFECT, GO AND SELL THAT THOU HAST, AND GIVE TO THE POOR, AND THOU SHALT HAVE TREASURE IN HEAVEN: AND COME AND FOLLOW ME. BUT WHEN THE YOUNG MAN HEARD THAT SAYING, HE WENT AWAY SORROWFUL: FOR HE HAD GREAT POSSESSIONS. You see how riches can be a stumbling block? This is perhaps the one place in the Scriptures where Jesus says to do something "before" you follow Him.
In other places, Jesus emphasized: let the dead bury their dead (or you come preach the Gospel and drop everything else, now). Leave your tax money, Matthew; drop everything, right now. Leave your fish and father, Peter; leave the boats and nets, come and follow Me. Thats what the Bible says, although today, its not popular teaching. Many preach against these things; however, it does not change Gods Word (which will judge us).
So Jesus told the rich man to sell what he had, then follow Me. Perhaps, this was because he would be following Jesus while looking at his riches: trusting in his riches, not in God. Any obstacle that comes before Jesus, needs to be repented of. Note, this does not mean the Lord tells everyone to sell every house. That is not what has been said. Nevertheless, when the young man heard that, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.
15-THE LORD WILL SUPPLY OUR NEED
The book of 1 Kings tells us, AND ELIJAH THE TISHBITE, WHO WAS OF THE INHABITANTS OF GILEAD, SAID UNTO AHAB, AS THE LORD GOD OF ISRAEL LIVETH, BEFORE WHOM I STAND, THERE SHALL NOT BE DEW NOR RAIN THESE YEARS, BUT ACCORDING TO MY WORD. AND THE WORD OF THE LORD CAME UNTO HIM, SAYING, GET THEE HENCE, AND TURN THEE EASTWARD, AND HIDE THYSELF BY THE BROOK CHERITH, THAT IS BEFORE JORDAN. AND IT SHALL BE, THAT THOU SHALT DRINK OF THE BROOK; AND I HAVE COMMANDED THE RAVENS TO FEED THEE THERE. How is it that some of us have so little faith? Elijah just obeyed and trusted in the Lord. SO HE WENT AND DID ACCORDING UNTO THE WORD OF THE LORD (he did what the Lord said): FOR HE WENT AND DWELT BY THE BROOK CHERITH, THAT IS BEFORE JORDAN. AND THE RAVENS BROUGHT HIM BREAD AND FLESH IN THE MORNING, AND BREAD AND FLESH IN THE EVENING; AND HE DRANK OF THE BROOK. AND IT CAME TO PASS AFTER A WHILE, THAT THE BROOK DRIED UP (some might start complaining at this point), BECAUSE THERE HAD BEEN NO RAIN IN THE LAND. AND THE WORD OF THE LORD CAME UNTO HIM, SAYING, ARISE, GET THEE TO ZAREPHATH, WHICH BELONGETH TO ZIDON, AND DWELL THERE: BEHOLD, I HAVE COMMANDED A WIDOW WOMAN THERE TO SUSTAIN THEE. See how it is already taken care of by the Lord? Was Elijah worrying, "Oh, how am I going to make it?"
SO HE AROSE AND WENT TO ZAREPHATH. AND WHEN HE CAME TO THE GATE OF THE CITY, BEHOLD, THE WIDOW WOMAN WAS THERE GATHERING OF STICKS: AND HE CALLED TO HER, AND SAID, FETCH ME, I PRAY THEE, A LITTLE WATER IN A VESSEL, THAT I MAY DRINK. AND AS SHE WAS GOING TO FETCH IT, HE CALLED TO HER, AND SAID, BRING ME, I PRAY THEE, A MORSEL OF BREAD IN THINE HAND. AND SHE SAID, AS THE LORD THY GOD LIVETH, I HAVE NOT A CAKE, BUT AN HANDFUL OF MEAL IN A BARREL, AND A LITTLE OIL IN A CRUSE: AND, BEHOLD, I AM GATHERING TWO STICKS, THAT I MAY GO IN AND DRESS IT FOR ME AND MY SON, THAT WE MAY EAT IT, AND DIE. Incredible! She is about out of food. AND ELIJAH SAID UNTO HER, FEAR NOT; GO AND DO AS THOU HAST SAID: BUT MAKE ME THEREOF A LITTLE CAKE FIRST, AND BRING IT UNTO ME, AND AFTER MAKE FOR THEE AND FOR THY SON. FOR THUS SAITH THE LORD GOD OF ISRAEL, THE BARREL OF MEAL SHALL NOT WASTE, NEITHER SHALL THE CRUSE OF OIL FAIL, UNTIL THE DAY THAT THE LORD SENDETH RAIN UPON THE EARTH. She had a choice: is she going to believe what her eyes see? AND SHE WENT AND DID ACCORDING TO THE SAYING OF ELIJAH: AND SHE, AND HE, AND HER HOUSE, DID EAT MANY DAYS. AND THE BARREL OF MEAL WASTED NOT, NEITHER DID THE CRUSE OF OIL FAIL, ACCORDING TO THE WORD OF THE LORD, WHICH HE SPAKE BY ELIJAH-1 Ki 17:1-16. If you will pick up your cross and follow the Lord, He will take care of you. He really will. Will you believe it?
16-THE POOR WIDOW
The Bible tells us, Lk 21:1-3 NIV-AS HE LOOKED UP, JESUS SAW THE RICH PUTTING THEIR GIFTS INTO THE TEMPLE TREASURY. HE ALSO SAW A POOR WIDOW PUT IN TWO VERY SMALL COPPER COINS. "I TELL YOU THE TRUTH," HE SAID, "THIS POOR WIDOW HAS PUT IN MORE THAN ALL THE OTHERS. ALL THESE PEOPLE GAVE THEIR GIFTS OUT OF THEIR WEALTH; BUT SHE OUT OF HER POVERTY PUT IN ALL SHE HAD TO LIVE ON." The Lord does not tell us to give what we do not have; however, there are times when we may give everything we have. This is not a contradiction. For example, if you have ten dollars, you do not agree to give fifteen dollars and borrow five. The poor widow put in all that she had to live on. Do we have this kind of attitude?
17-THE MISLED PREACHER; JESUS DID TEACH TITHING
God wants you to give whatever He lays on your heart. If that is all that you have, so be it. God loves a cheerful giver. Mt 23:23 NIV-WOE TO YOU, TEACHERS OF THE LAW AND PHARISEES, YOU HYPOCRITES! We recall a preacher, who said, "No where in the New Testament does it say you have to tithe." Here is a Scripture in the New Testament that commands you to tithe: Mt 23:23 NIV-YOU GIVE A TENTH OF YOUR SPICES (thats tithe)MINT, DILL AND CUMMIN (in other words, everything). BUT YOU HAVE NEGLECTED THE MORE IMPORTANT MATTERS OF THE LAWJUSTICE, MERCY AND FAITHFULNESS. Now, listen to the next words. YOU SHOULD HAVE PRACTICED THE LATTER, WITHOUT NEGLECTING THE FORMER. What was the former? your tithe. Without neglecting tithing. There it is. You see, the problem was they were giving the tenth, but they were not walking in faith; they were not practicing justice. Jesus tells us to do both.
18-BE RECONCILED TO YOUR BROTHER
Regarding offerings, we read, Ex 25:2-SPEAK UNTO THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL, THAT THEY BRING ME AN OFFERING: OF EVERY MAN THAT GIVETH IT WILLINGLY WITH HIS HEART (we are to give an offering willingly, with a willing heart). Mt 5:23,24 NIV-THEREFORE, IF YOU ARE OFFERING YOUR GIFT AT THE ALTAR AND THERE REMEMBER THAT YOUR BROTHER HAS SOMETHING AGAINST YOU, LEAVE YOUR GIFT THERE IN FRONT OF THE ALTAR. FIRST GO AND BE RECONCILED TO YOUR BROTHER; THEN COME AND OFFER YOUR GIFT. If the Lord puts into your heart to offer a gift, then do so; however, do not offer it, until you get any unsettled matters straightened out with your brother. This could be considered a condition on giving.
19-HAVE FAITH AND HAVE NOT WORKS
It is written, Ja 2:14-16-WHAT DOTH IT PROFIT, MY BRETHREN, THOUGH A MAN SAY HE HATH FAITH, AND HAVE NOT WORKS? CAN FAITH SAVE HIM? IF A BROTHER OR SISTER (a saved person), BE NAKED, AND DESTITUTE OF DAILY FOOD, AND ONE OF YOU SAY UNTO THEM, DEPART IN PEACE, BE YE WARMED AND FILLED; NOTWITHSTANDING YE GIVE THEM NOT THOSE THINGS WHICH ARE NEEDFUL TO THE BODY; WHAT DOTH IT PROFIT?
1 Jn 3:17-BUT WHOSO HATH THIS WORLDS GOOD, AND SEETH HIS BROTHER HAVE NEED, AND SHUTTETH UP HIS BOWELS OF COMPASSION FROM HIM, HOW DWELLETH THE LOVE OF GOD IN HIM?
20-NOT TO BE SEEN OF MEN
Mt 6:1-4 NIV-BE CAREFUL NOT TO DO YOUR ACTS OF RIGHTEOUSNESS BEFORE MEN, TO BE SEEN BY THEM. IF YOU DO, YOU WILL HAVE NO REWARD FROM YOUR FATHER IN HEAVEN. SO WHEN YOU GIVE TO THE NEEDY, DO NOT ANNOUNCE IT WITH TRUMPETS, AS THE HYPOCRITES DO IN THE SYNAGOGUES AND ON THE STREETS, TO BE HONORED BY MEN. I TELL YOU THE TRUTH, THEY HAVE RECEIVED THEIR REWARD IN FULL. BUT WHEN YOU GIVE TO THE NEEDY (alms), DO NOT LET YOUR LEFT HAND KNOW WHAT YOUR RIGHT HAND IS DOING, SO THAT YOUR GIVING MAY BE IN SECRET. THEN YOUR FATHER, WHO SEES WHAT IS DONE IN SECRET, WILL REWARD YOU. Pv 28:27 NIV-HE WHO GIVES TO THE POOR WILL LACK NOTHING. Lacking nothing means, according to what God says your needs are, not according to what you say your needs are. You may think you need a new car; however, this is referring to what the Bible says your needs are.
21-GIVE TO THE POOR
We read further on giving to the poor in Gal 2:10 NIV-ALL THEY ASKED WAS THAT WE SHOULD CONTINUE TO REMEMBER THE POOR, THE VERY THING I WAS EAGER TO DO.
Pv 19:17-HE THAT HATH PITY UPON THE POOR LENDETH UNTO THE LORD; AND THAT WHICH HE HATH GIVEN WILL HE PAY HIM AGAIN.
Lk 6:30-GIVE TO EVERY MAN THAT ASKETH OF THEE; AND OF HIM THAT TAKETH AWAY THY GOODS ASK THEM NOT AGAIN (do not ask for them again).
2 Cor 9:7-EVERY MAN ACCORDING AS HE PURPOSETH IN HIS HEART, SO LET HIM GIVE; NOT GRUDGINGLY, OR OF NECESSITY: FOR GOD LOVETH A CHEERFUL GIVER.
Phile 21 NIV-I WRITE TO YOU, KNOWING THAT YOU WILL DO EVEN MORE THAN I ASK.
Mal 3:8,9-WILL A MAN ROB GOD? YET YE HAVE ROBBED ME. BUT YE SAY, WHEREIN HAVE WE ROBBED THEE? His answer is: IN TITHES AND OFFERINGS. YE ARE CURSED WITH A CURSE: FOR YE HAVE ROBBED ME.
| 2005/9/23 7:24||Profile|
Other than Matthew 23 and Luke 11, where Christ accuses the religious leaders of paying tithes but ignore the "weightier matters of the law" (judgment, mercy, and faith) ... there is no teaching of the tithe under the New Covenent.
Once Jesus fulfilled the Law, tithing is never mentioned again.
Paul taught Christian giving.
God owns it all, so we should be ready to give all. For some people, tithing 10% helps them to be disciplined in their giving, and that is a good thing for those who need it.
I've heard this debated 9 ways till Sunday... and yet I still come back to if it was so important, why is it not discussed at all under the New Covenent?
| 2005/9/23 10:22|