The Dunamis Word 2

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Upholding The Light Of Jesus In A Dark World

The Tithe & The New Testament ~ Overcoming Modern Criticisms

I have undertaken the issue of tithes in the NT church due to what I consider to be a challenge posed to many who support the church regularly by tithes and offering. The excesses of some leaders have caused individuals within the church to question the method of funding the modern church and has, in my opinion, led to much confusion if not rebellion over the issue.

My argument will be summarized in the following manner:

1-      The Establishment Of The Tithe

2-      The Concept Of Sacrifice.

  1. Does A Tithe Qualify?
  2. Does It Include Currency?

3-      The Tithe As A Type

4-      Paul On Giving

5-      100% New Testament Giving

Section 1- The Establishment Of The Tithe

The very first issue to visit is the scope of tithes and why tithes as a method of contribution was instituted in the OT. As we will find in the study there was a practical and a spiritual reason for tithes. I will deal with the practical aspect and continue into the sacrificial and spiritual aspects of it as well.

The tithe was instituted in direct response to the needs of the Levites. The Levites did not have land nor an inheritance among the nation. However, the Levites, who had stood with Moses against the apostasy of the nation,(Ex. 32:26) were also consecrated by God to be the ministers to the nation. God promised that since they didn’t have an inheritance, that they would receive a 10th of ALL the land.

Numbers 18:21-24 ~ “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. 22-Neither must the children of Israel henceforth come nigh the tabernacle of the congregation, lest they bear sin, and die. 23-But the Levites shall do the service of the tabernacle of the congregation, and they shall bear their iniquity: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations, that among the children of Israel they have no inheritance. 24-But the tithes of the children of Israel, which they offer as an heave offering unto the LORD, I have given to the Levites to inherit: therefore I have said unto them, Among the children of Israel they shall have no inheritance.

As we note over time tithe was both used and misused, but the system, though having evolved, was still in effect even during Jesus day. However, Jesus placed the greater weight of responsibility upon those receiving tithe to focus on the needs of the people rather than what they were receiving (Lk. 11:42)

From What Were Tithes Assessed?

Jews had always had various interpretations of what the law of tithing included . Thayers Lexicon describes the various aspects of the tithes as follows:

TITHES are a species of incorporeal hereditaments, and are defined to be “a tenth part of the increase yearly arising and renewing.” First, immediately from the soil; i. e. from the profits of the land. Secondly, mediately, i. e. from the increase of animals. Thirdly, by the labor and personal industry of man. The first species is usually called PREDIAL, as of corn, grass, hops and wood, including tithe for the agistment of cattle. The second, MIXED, as of wool, milk, pigs, &c. consisting of natural products, but matured and preserved in part by the care of man; and of these two sorts the tenth must be paid in gross: The third species, is usually termed, PERSONAL, as of manual occupations; trade, fisheries, and the like; and of these only the tenth part of the clear gains and profits is due. See 2 Bl. Com.3.”

If the “labor and personal industry” produces monetary increase, monetary increase was delivered as a part of tithe. As in the NT we find that OT tithing, giving and sacrifice in general was based on the ability of the individual and based on what they had been given by God as “increase”.

God accepted what was given, but had a greater respect unto what was sacrificed through the shedding of blood, as an expectation or precursor of what would take place through the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross.  (see special addendum[i])

Section 2- The Concept Of Sacrifice. Does A Tithe Qualify? Does It Include Currency?

Although there are many forms of the word “sacrifice, for our study let’s define what the word “sacrifice”means:

“The surrender or destruction of something prized or desirable for the sake of something considered as having a higher or more pressing claim.”[ii]

In the OT, not all sacrifices were sacrifices of biologically “living” animals. Cain sacrificed of the ground (Gen. 4:3) This was possibly later categorized as a “grain offering”  (Lev. 2:13) within scripture. So the concept is that an offering was a type of sacrifice.

When David sinned by “numbering Israel” (1 Sam. 21) In order to appease the wrath of God, David was instructed to make an altar of sacrifice. He went to Ornan the Jebusite (inhabitant of Jerusalem) to use his threshing floor. Ornan, seeing the angel of the Lord was afraid and asked David to take what he would and do as he pleased for free. David responded by giving  Ornan 600 shekles of gold which is the equivalent of roughly $1,152,000 in today’s dollars.  He went on to say this:

1 Sam. 21:24 ~ And King David said to Ornan, Nay; but I will verily buy it for the full price: for I will not take that which is thine for the LORD, nor offer burnt offerings without cost.

In other words David associated what he was going to give God to something that cost him something. He dared not give God something that he obtained on a discount.  It had to be a sacrifice, whereby something that he prized was surrendered for the sake of something that had a more pressing claim.

There are others that we view that also considered that in order to properly honor God, something of value had to be delivered to him. We shall look at 2 characters and the requirement of God toward the nation of Israel itself when they entered into the promised land.

I: Abraham.  

This event took place before a word was written regarding the law of tithe. What this displays is that the concept of honoring with substance was in effect even before the Law was written. We observe that Abraham not only deliver’s a biological tithe to Melchisedec but also material substance in tithe. How do we know and how is this statement supported? Simply, it’s in the text. Abraham gave a 10th (tithe) of ALL his substance.

Genesis 14:19:21 ~ “19-And he blessed him, and said, Blessed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth:  20-And blessed be the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand. And he gave him tithes of all.  21-And the king of Sodom said unto Abram, Give me the persons, and take the goods to thyself.

Hebrews clarifies and continues this theme without modification or restriction to say that Abraham gave Melchisedec  a tithe of “all of the spoils” of his victory.

Heb 7:4 ~ 4-Now consider how great this man was, unto whom even the patriarch Abraham gave the tenth of the spoils.

In order to assume that Abraham’s tithe to Melchisedec did not include currency we would also have to make the following assumptions:

  • Those whom Abraham conquered had no money such as gold or silver currency
  • Abraham simply overlooked the currency (gold and silver)and left it there for others to take
  • Abraham didn’t consider that giving a “tithe of ALL” included currency such as gold or silver

Either one of these assumptions are flawed and not supported by scripture.

II: Abraham’s Grandson, Jacob

After Jacob had his vision of what we call “Jacob’s ladder” he built an altar and promised to give God a 10th (tithe) of ALL that God would give him.

Gen. 28 :18-22 ~ 18-And Jacob rose up early in the morning, and took the stone that he had put for his pillows, and set it up for a pillar, and poured oil upon the top of it. 19-And he called the name of that place Bethel: but the name of that city was called Luz at the first. 20-And Jacob vowed a vow, saying, If God will be with me, and will keep me in this way that I go, and will give me bread to eat, and raiment to put on, 21-So that I come again to my father’s house in peace; then shall the LORD be my God: 22-And this stone, which I have set for a pillar, shall be God’s house: and of all that thou shalt give me I will surely give the tenth unto thee.

So Jacob, similar to his grandfather Abraham, associates tithe with “ALL” of his substance and not merely biological life such as animals, herbs or crops.

Are we to assume that in a time where we recognize that money is in existence, that Jacob somehow would make an exception and not consider his monetary increase part of the “tithe” that he promised to God?

In both cases one would have to assume that neither Abraham or Jacob:

  • Understood the value or use of gold/silver or currency
  • Neither had currency during a time when we recognize clearly that money, (silver and gold) was used to trade and buy and in exchange for goods and even services.

We would also have to assume that Jacob is following a family tradition of not having money, but simply having farm animals.

There is no warrant to assume that the tithe by either Jacob, Abraham, or any teacher of the law was restricted to biological life forms only, herbs or crops.  Under Levitical times, neither the First nor Second Temple was ever construed as a farm or a place where farming took place because people could only provide animals. The assumption that the tithe consisted of ONLY biological life such as livestock, and crops is no more than an unsupportable myth.

III: Case Scenario Of Jericho

Jericho was the FIRST place in the land of promise that the Children of Israel was to take. Unlike the rest of the land everything in Jericho, including Jericho itself, was to be dedicated to God. Jericho was to be left uninhabited and no spoil was to be taken. Jericho itself was a TITHE to the Lord. That which was given FIRST to the Lord.

Notice what God said when he talks about ALL THINGS dedicated to himself INCLUDING the MONEY, “silver, gold vessels of brass and iron” v. 19 that were to come into the treasury of the Lord:

Joshua 6:15 -19 ~ 15-And it came to pass on the seventh day, that they rose early about the dawning of the day, and compassed the city after the same manner seven times: only on that day they compassed the city seven times. 16-And it came to pass at the seventh time, when the priests blew with the trumpets, Joshua said unto the people, Shout; for the LORD hath given you the city. 17-And the city shall be accursed, even it, and all that are therein, to the LORD: only Rahab the harlot shall live, she and all that are with her in the house, because she hid the messengers that we sent. 18-And ye, in any wise keep yourselves from the accursed thing, lest ye make yourselves accursed, when ye take of the accursed thing, and make the camp of Israel a curse, and trouble it. 19-But all the silver, and gold, and vessels of brass and iron, are consecrated unto the LORD: they shall come into the treasury of the LORD.

The MONEY, which is non biological matter or substance, was to be given to God. Notice it was when Achan had taken some of the gold and silver for himself, hiding it under his tent, (Joshua  7)  that God was displeased and Achan and his family lost their lives because of it.

Now those things by themselves establish a clear biblical precedent that currency was considered to be a sacrifice and that tithe included currency and not solely animals and or grain. But there is one or two more aspects to look at to better understand the issue.

A fourth case can be made regarding land buy backs[iii]

Section 3: The Tithe As A Type

One of the primary arguments levied against tithes is that it was under the “curse of the Law” and we have obtained a much better covenant of grace and truth. This is a great observation, but it is not a developed position when it is considered what tithes represented under the OT view.

As established in Section 1, tithes supported the Priests who did not have an inheritance of Land because of their duty and call. However, there is much more to this. I’ll explain;  what is often overlooked as it pertains to tithe and many matters from the OT to the NT is the aspect that the OT consists of what we find revealed in the NT. Paul states that the OT was a “schoolmaster”(Gal. 3:24) that would bring us to Christ.  It is a “foreshadow” of what we would find in the NT through Jesus himself.

If and since this is the case, the tithe is also a type, prototype or a symbol of what we find in Jesus.  I believe this is why the tithe was required and was effective as a method of blessing in the OT and certainly not condemned, even though matured, in the NT and not specifically required after the death and resurrection of Christ by NT Apostles, teachers and leaders.

How did the tithe under the law, represent Jesus?

The tithe is FIRST
The tithe belongs to God
Obeying God with the tithe blesses
Rejecting God with the tithe curses
The tithe is used to bless the people
The tithe is used to minister to the priest
The tithe was an instruction according to to every man’s ability
The tithe is used to expand and increase God’s Kingdom on earth.

As Malachi states, the tithe and delivery of the tithe or not delivering a tithe was associated with a blessing or a curse.

Malachi 3:9-10 ~ 9-Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation. 10-Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.

The question is how can a monetary gift or the gift of material substance whether biological or not be associated with a blessing or a curse?

In the OT, the tithe is a “type” and instituted by God. Since the tithe is a command of God, not delivering a tithe would be associated with sin, rebellion and unbelief.(1 Sam. 15:22-23) It would be associated with rejecting God and his path and would demand judgment. If one were to reject God by overlooking the law of “tithe” one could expect to be punished accordingly. If the tithe functioned as only a foreshadow or type of what we find in Jesus, then to reject to tithe would be the foreshadowing equivalent of rejecting Jesus.

The thought of disobeying God, and being cursed, through what we would consider inanimate objects and disobeying God toward them is a concept not lost upon scripture. I could point to many instances, but let’s look at something that appears to be somewhat of a parallel to the subject of blessing and cursing:

Moses &The Rock

Numbers 20: 8-13 ~ 8-Take the rod, and gather thou the assembly together, thou, and Aaron thy brother, and speak ye unto the rock before their eyes; and it shall give forth his water, and thou shalt bring forth to them water out of the rock: so thou shalt give the congregation and their beasts drink. 9-And Moses took the rod from before the LORD, as he commanded him. 10-And Moses and Aaron gathered the congregation together before the rock, and he said unto them, Hear now, ye rebels; must we fetch you water out of this rock? 11-And Moses lifted up his hand, and with his rod he smote the rock twice: and the water came out abundantly, and the congregation drank, and their beasts also. 12-And the LORD spake unto Moses and Aaron, Because ye believed me not, to sanctify me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore ye shall not bring this congregation into the land which I have given them. 13-This is the water of Meribah; because the children of Israel strove with the LORD, and he was sanctified in them

Moses loses his ability to enter into the promised land through this particular event. In this case, the rock itself was a TYPE of Christ,  a precursor of the one who abundantly gives everyone to drink causing their thirst to cease.(Jn. 4:14, 6:35) When Moses struck the rock, his actions represented the “striking” or the crucifixion of Jesus himself and was therefore a curse upon Moses because he disobeyed God.

It is exactly this type of rejection that parallels the concept that we are trying to deliver. The concept that one can be cursed for violating a command of God based on what that command represents. This is clearly observed as Moses, through a precursor of striking the rock, dishonored God and lost his place and ability to enter the promise land.

Therefore, it is scriptural to assert that if a curse is delivered for disobeying tithe, as Malachai states, then a parallel is being drawn between it and what it represents. I contend that the tithe clearly represents Jesus in a symbolic sense as I have stated previously.

Section 4: Paul On Giving

In order to understand this discourse, I’ll first deal with hints of the Pauline concept of “first’ which would have been consistent with his training as a Pharisee.

Paul’s Understanding of “First” & Tithe

Would any of this have been in the mind of the church’s first century leaders and apostles? Is any of it applicable today?

The contention of the critic is that neither Paul nor the Apostles taught tithe because we don’t see it explicitly taught within NT scripture. I believe this is an assumption without foundation and a great leap to a conclusion, not necessarily warranted by scripture.

On the other hand, I will agree that none of the Apostles associated the giving of currency to a certain level of blessing. In other words they did not teach a “give to get” scheme. However, we do see giving associated with a curse. (we will explain that later in this section)

It seems that the first church associated giving to Christian service, duty, and love. In addition, as we will note, the Apostles and the NT church actually practiced a much greater mode of giving called 100% giving and encouraged liberal “free will” offerings to meet the needs of the Saints.

First, giving and ministering to the temple and later to the church was something that a First Century Jew, especially a religious one, did without thinking.  Remember, Paul and the Apostles continued to be a part of the second temple system until it was broken down in AD 70 or until they were taken out of the way through death.  In Acts 3, leaders of the Christian church were yet attending the temple daily to pray. In Acts 19 Paul was engaged in synagogue worship,  prayers, and debates.   Tithe was clearly a part of the second temple era teaching and none of the debates that we are aware of centered around whether individuals should continue to pay tithes or not. Those debates appear to have been centered around the resurrection of Jesus , the nature of God in Jesus and the extension of salvation to the world and of course understanding Jesus to be the promised messiah.

Paul Understands & Delivers The Concept Of “First” In The NT

Paul, as a Jew, trained in these matters, understood the law and the law of the tithe:

Galations 1:14 ~ “And profited in the Jews’ religion above many my equals in mine own nation, being more exceedingly zealous of the traditions of my fathers.”

Paul also understood the application of the law toward the person of Jesus:

 Romans 8:3 ~For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:”

Paul delivered the following in what many NT believers declare as the Constitution of the NT, the book of Romans regarding Jesus:

Romans 11:16 ~ For if the firstfruit be holy, the lump is also holy: and if the root be holy, so are the branches.

Paul uses terminology such as Jesus being the the “first born” (Rom. 8:29), “First born of every creature” (Col. 1:15), and the “first born from the dead” (Col. 1:18), and concepts that Jesus is the preeminent one both of eternity and of creation. The concept of “First” is clearly traditionally Jewish, and associated with Jesus in Paul’s writings without question. These references were to hail Jesus as the preeminent one and the one who has no equal.

Like his counterparts and those that preceded him Paul understood what “First”, actually meant, and understood its spiritual significance.  The concept of “First” was representative of “tithe” or the best that what was given to and dedicated to God. That which was preeminent and acceptable to God is in every way a part of an ultimate sacrifice and blessing. This concept of “first” was continuously applied to Jesus aptly by Paul in his writings and purposefully so.

Are we to assume that a culture rich in knowledge and meaning  of “first”, “first fruits”, “first born” and “tithe” intended to suddenly disband the idea of giving God not only the first, but all of themselves?  Are we to assume that all Jewish customs were so despised that the NT church lost all sense of how these things honored and reverenced God? I think to make such an argument is not only unwise, but it also doesn’t honor either scripture, nor the historic foundation of the church itself. In contrast we observe a Jewish Jesus who honored ALL of the law and yet did not offend in any point. (1 Pet. 2:22)

Secondly, it would seem to be an overstatement to say that Paul’s concept and ultimate teaching of giving after meeting Jesus was independent of his historical roots and basis found within the OT. It is certainly conceivable that Paul preached and taught even more that he taught or wrote regarding giving in the epistles, but what he did write was clearly drawn from OT modes, methods and teachings. I believe there is plenty of scriptural evidence that would suggest that Paul didn’t leave the foundation and basis for his teachings on giving and various offerings even if the meaning of those things were matured by his new faith, belief and experience with the risen Jesus.

For example, we can look at 2 Cor. 9:6-12. In this chapter we can observe that nearly every verse Paul delivers is supported by the OT roots that he is calling upon to do the teaching. Let’s look at it verse by verse:

6-But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully.
{OT ref: Prov. 11:24, 22:9. Psalms 107:37}
7Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.
{OT ref: Deut. 15:7, Prov. 22:9}
8And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work:
{OT ref: Prov. 11:24}
9(As it is written, He hath dispersed abroad; he hath given to the poor: his righteousness remaineth for ever.
{OT ref: Psalms 112:9}
10Now he that ministereth seed to the sower both minister bread for your food, and multiply your seed sown, and increase the fruits of your righteousness;)
{OT ref: Isa. 55:10, Hosea 10:12}
11
Being enriched in every thing to all bountifulness, which causeth through us thanksgiving to God.
12For the administration of this service not only supplieth the want of the saints, but is abundant also by many thanksgivings unto God;

In just 6 verses from the chapter, Paul draws from about 9 Old Testament verse references.  His mode of teaching and practical understanding is clearly rooted in the OT scriptures. Why would his mode and method of giving be otherwise inconsistent with other aspects of truth that he sets forth?

In addition, Paul draws from his OT understanding of giving as a basis for how the NT minister or servant should be compensated and treated by the church. He states:

1 Cor. 9:13-14 ~13- Do ye not know that they which minister about holy things live of the things of the temple? and they which wait at the altar are partakers with the altar? 14– Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel.

It is clear that Paul did not have an intent to “trash” certain OT understandings and create new traditions whole-cloth. Obviously Paul, who’s primary ministry was to the Gentiles, did not hold that “the Law”or its traditions were in effect for those who placed faith in Jesus and served God in “The Way”. What we find is that Paul taught the matured outgrowth of many of the OT traditions and commands because of what Jesus did to “fulfill the Law”. In this case Paul used what God had instituted under the Law as a basis for how the church should operate in the future.

Question: Why didn’t Paul teach tithes here?

First, if he taught tithes, it was certainly a NT and more mature version of tithes that did so to support the work of the church as opposed to something taught as a work for righteousness. Secondly, Paul was specifically dealing with an issue at hand that had nothing to do with tithes. This had to do with helping poor Saints at Jerusalem who needed financial assistance. He references this in Romans 15 also asking for the Saints who were able to raise some money and send it to Jerusalem, to meet the needs of those that were suffering abundantly.

Section 5: 100% New Testament Giving

One of the most startling representations of the NT mode of giving is that it seems that the NT believer was encouraged to give a much greater amount than a 10% tithe. It seems that the believers pointed out early on that individuals gave ALL or 100% of their assets to the church and to the church leaders and in turn those leaders met the needs of the people.

Acts 4:32-35 ~ 32-And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common. 33-And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all. 34-Neither was there any among them that lacked: for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold, 35-And laid them down at the apostles’ feet: and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need.

Wait a minute. This was EXACTLY what happened with the tithe as I referenced earlier under the OT concept.  The tithe was used to minister to the people, and take care of the house of God.  A portion of it was also used to minister to the needs of the Priest and in this case the Apostles. No man was forced to give anything more or less than he/she could, or what they were “increased” to do.

Interestingly and with very much notability, in the same chapter, Acts 4, we see a new convert named Joses, who was also a Levite Priest. He sells some land that he owned and gives all the earnings  and lays 100% of the price of it  at the feet of the Apostles also:

36-And Joses, who by the apostles was surnamed Barnabas, (which is, being interpreted, The son of consolation,) a Levite, and of the country of Cyprus, 37-Having land, sold it, and brought the money, and laid it at the apostles’ feet.

This is astounding, because as a Levite and further as a Priest, he held on to the land for his own purposes according to the law. It had been given to him under the Levite system from which he had come. Now that he has experienced conversion and is a Christian or a follower of The Way, he gives everything he has to the church for the furtherance of the Church and mission of Christ. Without a doubt, this is really an amazing turn of events. He certainly didn’t argue 10%. He gave 100%.

Deceptive Hearts 

The events at the end of Acts 4 are contrasted to the events at the beginning of Acts 5, where Ananias and Sapphiria conspire to hold back part of the money from a land sale, pretending to have given all when they hadn’t. Peter declares that they had lied to the Holy Ghost and speaks as follows to them as to why they had to die:

v. 4 ~  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.

In other words, they (Ananias & Sapphira) had an option to give what they would, but chose to hold it back and lie. They tempted God and death was required.  Was there a curse associated with their giving? Yes there was, because they were not truthful and did not obey nor honor God.

This is under what has traditionally been called the dispensation of grace, yet God took their lives because they were deceptive in giving. This WAS NOT a tithe, however it was giving and involved currency.

The ultimate sacrifice to God is our hearts:

Ps. 51:17 ~ The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.

Giving 100% of our hearts, does not preclude the fact that the church and the people need money and as a vessel of the Lord, individuals are encouraged to minister to the needs of both.  The misuse of the tithe or general offering does not in any way claim that offerings or tithes should not be given to the church. It does however require that those that give are dutiful and spiritually studious in their giving and do so to bless God, his people and the work of the Kingdom of God here on earth.

PUSH-BACKS & COMMON QUESTIONS

Is Tithe A Standard Of Giving Within The NT?

Certainly without a doubt it is. However a tithe is only one standard. 100% giving is another standard. Another standard appears to be the “free will” standard in order to meet individual needs and helping those in need associated with the church.  It seems that the standard is open to adjustment based on the needs of the local church and that contention over the issue is discouraged because the believer knows that in practice he/she owes ALL, (100%) of everything they have to God and are instructed to freely give when asked.

Will One Be Cursed Without Tithing?

Yes, If God requires a tithe, or if a tithe is committed to him and then overlooked. If one pretends to tithe or give out of “free will” and does not do what one commits how can they expect to be blessed for lying? Ananias and Sapphiria were not required to do anything, but made a commitment and did not keep their commitment because of the deceit of their hearts. They were cursed. They were fully under the NT dispensation of grace as well.

I Don’t Believe In Tithing.

Well you don’t believe in a great part of the bible that not only types and shadows Jesus, but also provides a method by which we learn how to honor God and also how to minister to the needs of the people, saints, and the house of God through it.

The ultimate blessing of our lives is accessed through Christ. However, would one think that because tithe is fulfilled in Jesus that it is now somehow, without a blessing to both the house of God and the people who partake of HIS house and the institution which he has established? To be unconcerned regarding this is to be of a cold-natured heart, especially when so much good could come as a result of faithful and consistent giving.

 If You Are Tithing In According To The Law Then You Are Acting As If The Law Has Not Been Abolished For The Believer.

The Law is fulfilled not “abolished” for the believer because the Levitical system has been completed. However the method of supporting the church is acceptable.  There should be no contention from a believer who is a part of the church, in giving as the NT leaders suspected that that believers would be   part of the church (Heb. 10:25)

Another example is this:  The Decalogue (10 Commandments) says “thou shalt not kill” (aka: commit murder) Are we not to abide by that since the commandment has been fulfilled? How about worship of other Gods? Do we worship other Gods because the commandment was under the OT? Same with adultery, covetousness etc. Do we now do those things because the law has been “fulfilled”? In actuality there is no aspect of the Decalogue or the word of God that is detrimental to the church and the believer if followed in context. Even obeying the law of Sabbath is fulfilled when understood in context, that Jesus is and has become our Sabbath rest.

Tithe and giving is NOT contained within the Decalogue. It is contained within the ceremonial aspects of the law itself and we know that those things cannot save us from sin. However, the biblical principle of giving and serving those in need, is upheld by Jesus himself. (Mt. 23:23)  Christ has instituted his church to do just that…minister to the community and needs of those within it and the world who need freedom.

Why is it that when it comes to tithing, opponents are so quick to relegate it to the OT and further to obscurity claiming that it is ineffectual? I believe those arguments are based on the abuses that we have seen, rather than the scriptural blessing associated with such giving.

The Tithe Was For The Priest In The OT. According To The Word We Are Priests (1 Pet. 2:9) . We Have Jesus & He Needs No Money.

OK, so what do you do…pay or give to yourself? This is called selfishness. True, we are a “Royal priesthood”. We are not “Royal Priests” we are part of a new reality in access to the Father and worship him in spirit and in truth. The church has been given a commission to reach, teach , baptize and make disciples (Matthew 28:18) That mission is worth supporting and what Christ, the head of the church has called for.


[i] Addendum To Tithe        

Giving to God sacrificially was something that we find in Genesis 4 with Cain and Able. We see that both men gave God of their labor and God had respect unto one Able (Gen. 4:4) whereas he had not respect unto the other. (Gen. 4:5) What is often confused is that the word “respect” means that God didn’t care for the offering.  This is not a contextual truth. The word or phrase “had not respect” or Hebrew (Shaah ~ to gaze )  שָׁעָה] simply meant to not gaze upon. In other words this offering was not one that got the attention of God. We should ask why? The reason is that Abel’s sacrifice was one by which blood was shed. This is the sacrifice that God would honor as a blood sacrifice was effective for expiation of sin and ultimately for the expiation of the sins of the world.

Lev. 23:20-21~ 20-And the priest shall wave them with the bread of the firstfruits for a wave offering before the LORD, with the two lambs: they shall be holy to the LORD for the priest. 21=And ye shall proclaim on the selfsame day, that it may be an holy convocation unto you: ye shall do no servile work therein: it shall be a statute for ever in all your dwellings throughout your generations.

Many offerings dealt with the removal and forgiveness of sin or appeasing the wrath of God. This process is called expiation. However, not all offerings were offering or sacrifices for expiation. Some offerings were rendered out of thanksgiving. Example:  Noah, gives thanks in Genesis 8, by offering some of all the “clean animals”. This was not to forgive or have sin removed, but to display his thankfulness to God.  Abraham does the same in Gen. 22 to give thanks unto God for providing a ram. Ex. 29 outlines that certain sacrifices both of blood and otherwise which were to be delivered in the consecration of the priests.

There were offerings, such as grain offering, first fruit offering and wave offering that were not solely expiation offerings. However they were commanded by God. Quite interestingly enough the tithe was NOT an expiation offering, however it was considered a sacrifice and a mode of giving.

[ii] Dictionary.com Noun definition 3  http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/sacrifice

[iii] A Fourth Case: Currency Exchange. The Giving Of Land And Land Buybacks

On top of all the previous information Leviticus 27 delivers instructions for all types gifts to the temple. Remember what we established in the first section that the tithe was for the ministry of the temple system and for the priests. In verses 14 and 15 instructions are given for those wanting to give their house to the temple or a priest.  Notice that if the person wanted to buy the house back after it had been given, they could do so for an additional 20% fee or up charge. This was a monetary requirement and not a biological life. In addition v.16 gives instructions of how land dedicated to the temple should be governed and establishes that there is a monetary value associated with it.

These are various situations, but I deliver this information to affirm that giving or sacrifice, including a tithe to the temple, was NOT only out of biological substance or substance of nature such as herbs and grain. There was a monetary value associated with temple sacrifices as well and at times currency was exchanged to satisfy payments, tithes and offerings.

Filed under: Pentecostalism, Religious

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