Much confusion surrounds tithing. Is it doctrinal? Are Christians compelled to tithe?
WHERE DID TITHING COME FROM?
It was part of the law that God required the Jews to perform under the old Covenant. “And all the tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land, or of the fruit of the tree, is the LORD'S: it is holy unto the LORD.” (Leviticus 27:30).
BUT DIDN’T ABRAHAM TITHE BEFORE THE LAW WAS BROUGHT IN?
No. Although one and the same person, Abram, not Abraham tithed to Melchizedek (Genesis 14:20) and this was before his faith was counted for righteousness “And he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness.” (Genesis 15:6). Although God promises Abram in Genesis 12:1-3, there is no indication of his believing.
I DON’T UNDERSTAND?
Paul clearly states of Christians “they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham” (Galatians 3:7) not Abram. Names, and the timing of names, are extremely important in the Bible, with actions done under a certain name having great spiritual consequences. If God would have Christians being the children of Abram, he would have said so.
Christians have Abraham as their ‘father in
the faith’ with three conditions being fulfilled – after Abram tithes (Gen
14:20), his believing God
(Gen 15:6) and then being called Abraham, the father of many nations. “Neither shall thy name any more be called Abram, but thy name shall be Abraham; for a father of many nations have I made thee.” (Genesis 17:5). Yes, tithing was a done before the law, but other factors negate this practice, thereby making it non-doctrinal for the Christian.
BUT JACOB ALSO HAD ABRAHAM FOR HIS FATHER AND HE ALSO TITHED.
You are correct. It says of Jacob “…I will surely give the tenth unto thee.” (Genesis 28:22). However, the scriptures say that a Christian’s spiritual, not physical, ‘faith father’ is Abraham, not Jacob. Secondly, we are reminded that it was Abraham’s faith that was counted for righteousness, not Jacob’s. Thirdly, what Jacob did, being the physical offspring of Abraham, is neither here nor there for a Christian. Fourthly, Jacob could not be a Christian’s ‘faith father’ as his name means ‘heel grabber’ and ‘supplanter’ (Genesis 25:26; 27:36). It was only later that he had a name change (Genesis 32:28).
BUT DIDN’T JESUS ENDORSE TITHING?
Yes. But as a Jew who fulfilled all the law, he endorsed the tithe. But he encourages more, by assenting to the widow’s “living” giving (Mark 12:44). Christians are set free of the tithing bondage - to now ‘give like a widow’.
BUT DOESN’T PAUL ENDORSE TITHING WHEN HE WRITES TO TIMOTHY?
No. The wresting of the scriptures occurs when people only quote the first half of the verse “If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ…” (1Timothy 5:3a). This would seem to make tithing for the Christian as doctrinal until one reads the second half of the verse “…and to the doctrine which is according to godliness;” (1Timothy 5:3b)
Putting both halves of the verse together, we see tithing has nothing to do with the doctrine of holiness. The Christian consents to the Lord’s words as they apply to holiness and not to the bondage of the Old Testament law of tithing.
BUT DOESN’T PAUL ENDORSE THE TEMPLE TITHING FOR THE CHURCH?
No. If you are referring to “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?” (1 Corinthians 9:13), you are again wresting the scriptures. You see, the next verse states “Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel.” (1 Corinthians 9:14).
This in no way supports the doctrine of tithing for the church. It merely says that just as the Levite priests lived off the temple altar, those who preach the gospel, are also permitted to live of the money and goods that come as a result of this preaching.
BUT IF THE JEW COULD GIVE A TITHE UNDER THE OLD COVENANT, SHOULDN’T THE CHRISTIAN GIVE AT LEAST THAT?
Fearful pastors push this line to make you feel guilty, They say temporary Old Testament salvation cost ten percent but eternal salvation, under the new testament, is free. Now, what do you reckon it is worth never to be lost and not to burn in hell forever? 5, 10, 20, 50 or 100 per cent? Forget the pastor’s guilt trip.
AREN’T THE TERMS ‘NEW TESTAMENT’ AND ‘NEW COVENANT’ THE SAME?
Chalk and cheese. The church, having cannibalized the term, pretends to be spiritual Israel (which it isn’t) from a gross misreading of the passage which is not referring to the church - “But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.” (Romans 2:29). The church is not under the new covenant, but under the new testament, as Christ “…is the mediator of the new testament” (Hebrews 9:15).
The new covenant will be made in the Tribulation when God will “… make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah:” (Heb 8:8).
BUT I STILL THINK THAT THE CHRISTIAN SHOULD PAY A TITHE.
Put it this way, if it was something so important you’d think that God would have allowed Paul to mention ‘tithing’ at least once, but he doesn’t.
Christians follow Paul as he followed Christ. “Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.” (1Corinthians 11:1).
Because the Christian now has eternal security, the Lord God releases the Christian to cheerfully give to him for what he has done
(2 Corinthians 9:6-7). The Jew was fulfilling the law with his tithe but with a grudging heart.
LOOK, WHAT’S REALLY WRONG WITH IT? THE CHURCH GETS MONEY TO SUPPORT MISSIONARIES AND SO ON?
That might be so. But the Lord wants this support from cheerful giving not lawful tithes. Churches imagine their heavenly rewards because of the works that were performed under their tithes. God will take the glory, but Christians will go unrewarded. “Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh? (Galatians 3:2)
“For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.” (Galatians 3:10). If Pastors want to endorse tithing, they need to think about performing all the other aspects of the law.
BUT SO MANY PASTORS PREACH TITHING? True. Let’s put it down to their ignorance of what the scriptures say or their fear that the church will go broke. Against a false religious back-drop of a church posing as spiritual Israel, pastors sinfully slip the tithing bondage in the back door.
BUT THAT WON’T BRING MUCH MONEY?
Maybe not. The church plans may suffer - carpets, expansions, overseas missions outreach. But there you have it – a lukewarm church. The Lord has exposed their true heart. Does the Lord want a church with a fat budget and cold hearts?
WHAT DOES THE LORD SAY ABOUT THIS?
He says that he hates the deeds of the Nicolaitanes’ domination, intimidation and manipulation. The Lord wants cheerful giving. The Christian owes the Lord 100%! The Lord’s question to the Christian is “Let’s forget Moses and the Old Testament, how much will you give me out of love, now that you can never be lost?”
HOW SHOULD A CHRISTIAN GIVE?
“…He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.” (2 Corinthians 9:6-7). Blind obedience to Mosiac law is not of faith. Will you give like a widow?
LAW, GUILT, DUTY OR CHEERFULLY?