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His Word ... a prophetic perspective


The Old Testament Tithe And New Testament Giving


Why Did I Do That?

          I have come to realize that people are motivated by two factors. One is desire for gain, the other fear of loss. Under either category, many sub-categories and classifications can be listed. However, their root is desire for gain and fear of loss.
          My personal opinion is that the strongest desire for gain that we human beings have is desire for gain in the area of personal power. And that the greatest fear of loss we have is fear of loss of personal freedom.
          Nation upon nation has been conquered in the course of human history in this quest for personal power. And untold millions have lost their personal freedom because of this. And those who have lost that personal freedom have fought valiantly in efforts to regain that personal freedom and some degree of personal power so they would not be vulnerable to loss of personal freedom again.

Whose Kingdom Are You Building?

          There are many areas, degrees and manifestations of either motivation. I am concerned with the area of the institutional church. Sadly, the Romanization, paganism and traditions introduced into the church over the centuries has provided a fertile breeding ground for those who desire personal power. Apparently many think that the idea of Jesus to “build my church” is a viable one for them also. So they go about to build their own personal “church” kingdom rather than the ekklesia of Jesus Christ. Unfortunately, in the process, many Christians have lost their personal freedom, in addition to their scriptural and biblical freedom that God has intended for us.
          Despite this, Jesus will “build my” i.e., His, “church.” A living spiritual organism, not a human organization consisting of glass, steel and brick buildings and slaves to Romanism, paganism and tradition. And human “kings” lording over them.

God Knows Your Heart

          God rewards those who diligently seek Him, and He honors your giving in faith. If you understand the seriousness of what I am bringing to light in this article, and present your offerings unto the Lord as your purposed gift, given in hilarious joy, you will have even greater testimonies of God’s blessings for giving according to His purpose and His will.
          God will bless you when you take care of the poor, the fatherless, the widows, the strangers in the land, and those who have truly been called by God to teach and preach the gospel, the Good News of Jesus Christ.

Biblical Giving, Not Human Exploitation

          This is not a minor issue, but has to do with the very heart of God Himself, and His provisions for His children, and their obedience unto Him in order that His will for justice, equality and fairness be enjoyed by those in His kingdom, i.e., His ekklesia. This is a heavily researched article, and not light reading.
          It’s important that every child of God understand the heart of their God in this tithe matter. God has stated in His word that those whom He has called, prepared and sent and who teach and preach His gospel are to be supported by those who receive that Good News of Jesus Christ, and whose lives are changed by the power of His Holy Spirit.
          They are not, however, to be exploited by the ignorant, the deceived, the ministers of satan who are masquerading as ministers of righteousness, and those who are false teachers.

Purpose Of The Tithe

          The tithe was a part of the totality of the offerings, firstfruits, first born, sacrifices, rituals, practices, feasts, and observances instituted by God relating to the clean, the unclean and the holy under the Mosaic law. The nation of Israel, under a theocracy, understood the importance of being holy before God. “Speak unto all the congregation of the children of Israel, and say unto them, Ye shall be holy: for I the Lord your God am holy” (Leviticus 19:2).
          They also understood that uncleanness interfered with their relationship with God and that they must continue to be clean before God as a matter of communal purity. The various offerings, sacrifices and tithes were all a part of the same system of worship by which the Israelites could become, and continue to be, clean before God and maintain their purity before Him. These were times of rejoicing and acknowledging the goodness of God as reflected in his holiness and justice.
          This concept can be better understood within the context of Matthew 6:33: “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” This worship system of offerings, sacrifices, tithes and feasting enabled the Israelites to focus upon seeking the kingdom of God, and His righteousness. The kingdom of God being that place where God’s rule is acknowledged and voluntarily submitted to. The Israelites sought that kingdom. They also sought God’s righteousness, i.e., God’s holiness, expressing condemnation of sin. In their seeking the kingdom of God, and His righteousness, all the things they needed were added unto them. Although Jesus had not yet uttered those words to His church, we find the tangible expression of the outworking of this theology in the types and shadows of Israel’s worship system, as defined by God Himself.
          The Easton Bible Dictionary, speaking of the feasts of Israel tells us: “Feasting was a part of the observances connected with the offering up of sacrifices (Deut. 12:6, 7; 1 Sam. 9:19; 16:3, 5), and with the annual festivals (Deut. 16:11). “It was one of the designs of the greater solemnities, which required the attendance of the people at the sacred tent, that the oneness of the nation might be maintained and cemented together, by statedly congregating in one place, and with one soul taking part in the same religious services. But that oneness was primarily and chiefly a religious and not merely a political one; the people were not merely to meet as among themselves, but with Jehovah, and to present themselves before him as one body; the meeting was in its own nature a binding of themselves in fellowship with Jehovah; so that it was not politics and commerce that had here to do, but the soul of the Mosaic dispensation, the foundation of the religious and political existence of Israel, the covenant with Jehovah. To keep the people’s consciousness alive to this, to revive, strengthen, and perpetuate it, nothing could be so well adapated as these annual feasts.””
          The book of Leviticus concerns itself primarily with ritual purity. Regulations for sacrifice constitute a large portion of the book. Several different categories of sacrifice are discussed, such as burnt offerings, grain, or cereal offerings, peace offerings, sin offerings, trespass, or guilt offerings. Also brought out are laws concerning clean and unclean animals, purification rites, offering for births of children, laws about skin diseases and leprosy, laws about uncleanness in men and in women, the Day of Atonement, sexual relations, the feasts and their sacrifices, the sabbatical year, the year of jubilee, property redemption, charging interest on money loaned to the poor, the redemption of servants, blessings for obedience and curses for disobedience, redemption of people, animals, houses, fields and the tithe.

Pre-Mosaic Law Old Testament Scriptures With References To The Tithe

          These early references to the tithe were before the Levitical system of sacrifices and before the Mosaic law was given by God. These tithes were not given to the Levites, nor to the fatherless, widows or strangers in the land to be shared in the commanded feasts. They did not pre-date the Mosaic law as an statute, ordinance, commandment or precept given by God. They were a part of the social system then in existence.

Ten Per Cent Of War Booty Paid by Abraham To Melchizedek

          In Genesis, chapter 14, Abraham gave to Melchizedek ten per cent of the spoils, or war booty that had originally been taken in a pillaging raid by several kings. This was in accordance with the customs of his time. Abraham recovered this war booty, and the persons taken in the raid. This is verified in Hebrews 7:4 “... Abraham gave the tenth of the spoils.” As spoils of war they are not identified as “the tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land, or of the fruit of the tree” or as “the tithe of the herd, or of the flock.” He then refused to keep the rest of the booty but returned it to those from which it had been stolen. Note that Abraham did not give anything out of his personal possessions to Melchizedek, nor was he accountable to anyone for his use of the ten per cent, i.e., tithes. None of this was in accordance with the law of Moses, as it didn’t exist at the time. God did not command Abraham to give a tenth to Melchizedek. His tithe was a free-will gift in accordance with established customs.

A Conditional Promise By Jacob To Give God Ten Per Cent

          In Genesis 28:20-22-Jacob made a vow that if God would be with him and watch over the journey he was taking, give him food and clothes and a safe return to his fathers house, that he would make the Lord his God and give God a tenth of all God gave him. A tenth of “all God gave him” does not qualify as a tithe under the Mosaic law of tithing, which consisted of food. There are several conditions stated by Jacob concerning his giving to God, and we also have no biblical record of who Jacob paid tithes to or of him instituting tithing as a regular practice, much less in accordance with the law of Moses, which didn’t exist at the time. Jacob also was not accountable to anyone for his use of the ten per cent and God did not command him to give it.

Mosaic Laws Instituting The Tithe

          The last five verses of the book of Leviticus discusses the tithe:
Leviticus 27:30:
          30 And all the tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land, or of the fruit of the tree, is the Lord’s: it is holy unto the Lord.
Leviticus 27:31:
          31 And if a man will at all redeem ought of his tithes, he shall add thereto the fifth part thereof.
Leviticus 27:32:
          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.
Leviticus 27:33:
          33 He shall not search whether it be good or bad, neither shall he change it: and if he change it at all, then both it and the change thereof shall be holy; it shall not be redeemed.
Leviticus 27:34:
          34 These are the commandments, which the Lord commanded Moses for the children of Israel in mount Sinai.

          Verse 30 describes the tithe of the land as being seed of the land, or fruit of the tree. This is more clearly spelled out as corn, (new) wine, oil, honey, oxen and sheep in Deuteronomy 12:17; 14:23; 2 Chronicles 31:5,6 and Nehemiah 13:12. Verse 32 adds the tithe of the herd or flock. These are all clearly items of food that would continue to grow or multiply. This is not necessarily the sum total of all food items that were to be tithed. Rabbinic tradition later added other items some of which clearly do not fit the scriptural requirements.
          From this it is immediately apparent that not all Israelites were to tithe. Those that were paid wages, such as those in the building trades, clothiers, miners, metalworkers, potters, leatherworkers, fishermen, gem-cutters, secretaries, physicians, merchants, sailors, money-changers, judges, administrators, soldiers, tax-collectors, government officials and school teachers, could not participate.
          Note to whom this law applied in verse 34: “... commandments, which the Lord commanded Moses for ...” For who? “... the children of Israel ...”

          Numbers 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.”

          God here says “... 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.”
          Malachi 3:6
          6 For I am the Lord, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.

          Who is God talking to? “... ye sons of Jacob ...”
          Hebrews 7:5:
          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:

          Who takes tithes? “... the sons of Levi ...” Under what authority? “... according to the (Mosaic) law ...” From whom? “... of their brethren ...”
          The Levites had been set apart to God for service to the sanctuary because they came against their own kin and killed them because of their idolatry (Exodus 32:29; Numbers 8:5-26). They were responsible for their service to, and the integrity of, the tabernacle as assistants to the priests. They were also chosen by God as His, in place of the first born males (Numbers 3:5-13; 8:13-19). The Levites were given 48 towns and pasturelands for their livestock. However, they had no territorial inheritance. God Himself was their share and their inheritance among the Israelites (Numers 18; 35:1; Deuteronomy 10:8,9; 18:1-8). In addition to their portion of tithes the Levites also received portions of the sacrificial offerings, first fruits and first born portions consisting of agricultural products and livestock (Numbers 18). They lived the most part of the year in their own cities and came to the sanctuary at regular intervals to perform their share of the work.
          During the time of King David, Levites were appointed to minister before the ark of the Lord in the tent he had prepared for it (2 Samuel 6:17; 1 Chronicles 15:1; 16:1,4-7,37). They continued their work in Solomons temple when it was completed and the ark transferred into it (1 Chronicles 6:31,32; 1 Kings 8:1-6; 2 Chronicles 5:1,5). In 1 Chronicles 22-29 multipled thousands of Levites were deployed by David to do and oversee the work of the service of the house of the Lord. There were officers and judges, gatekeepers, praise musicians and priests. Levites were also placed in charge of the temple treasuries.
          The biblical history of the Levites shows they wavered in their duties and devotion as their original purposes deteriorated from those as defined by God—as did the rest of the nation of Israel. By the end of the Old Testament era the prophet was prompted to state these words in Malachi:
Malachi 2:1-9:
          1 And now, O ye priests, this commandment is for you.
          2 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.
          3 Behold, I will corrupt your seed, and spread dung upon your faces, even the dung of your solemn feasts; and one shall take you away with it.
          4 And ye shall know that I have sent this commandment unto you, that my covenant might be with Levi, saith the Lord of hosts.
          5 My covenant was with him of life and peace; and I gave them to him for the fear wherewith he feared me, and was afraid before my name.
          6 The law of truth was in his mouth, and iniquity was not found in his lips: he walked with me in peace and equity, and did turn many away from iniquity.
          7 For the priest’s lips should keep knowledge, and they should seek the law at his mouth: for he is the messenger of the Lord of hosts.
          8 But ye are departed out of the way; ye have caused many to stumble at the law; ye have corrupted the covenant of Levi, saith the Lord of hosts.
          9 Therefore have I also made you contemptible and base before all the people, according as ye have not kept my ways, but have been partial in the law.
          In Malachi 3:3 we read: “And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness.” The story of the priest and the Levite who passed by the man who suffered at the hands of robbers (Luke 10:29-37) verifies the necessity of purifying those sons of Levi in their God-ordained ministry.

          It should be clear from this brief history of the Levites that they were not dependent upon the tithe to support themselves.
          The tithe is commanded under the Mosaic law for the children of Israel, to give to the children of Levi for an inheritance, for their service of the tabernacle of the congregation. This is confirmed in Malachi in addressing the sons of Jacob, and in Hebrews, stating the sons of Levi receive tithes under the authority of the law of Moses. As we shall see, the distribution of the tithe also included the fatherless, widows and strangers in the land.
          God declared the tenth of all agricultural produce, and of all the flocks and herds were holy to Him. The Pharisees, under the Mosaic law in the time of Jesus, even added herbs such as mint and cummin as part of their oral traditions (Matthew 23:23; Luke 11:42). A person could redeem any part of his agricultural tithe by adding a fifth of the value to it. Every tenth animal, good or bad, belonged to God. If a person attempted to substitute one animal for another, then both animals belonged to God (Leviticus 27:30-34).

An Explanation, Not A Commandment

          In Numbers, chapter 18, the Lord explains to Aaron the duties of the priests and Levites. God makes a statement in verse 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.”
          This is best understood as meaning that God has given the Levites tithes from the entire land of Israel, rather than that they are to receive the sum total of each and every tithe given by the Israelites.
          By interpreting it as meaning the totality of tithes, some commentators have stated that approximately 40 years later in the book of Deuteronomy, God changed the distribution of the tithe from all of it going to the Levites to a different method of distribution, by instituting up to three different tithes. It seems highly unlikely, however, that God, in His divine wisdom, would lack foresight in this matter and have to change His mind some 40 years later. Closer examination reveals one tithe, with different distributions.
          The text in Deuteronomy, chapter 12 concerns a localized central place of worship in further explanation of the tithe by Moses as statutes and judgments concerning different aspects of God’s commandment in these laws. This is a totally different subject from that of an explanation to Aaron of the duties of the priests and Levites in Numbers, chapter 18.
          If Numbers 18:21 is interpreted to mean the totality of the tithe was to go to the Levites it then conflicts with the distribution of the tithe as further explained in scripture.
          In 2 Chronicles 31:4 we read: “Moreover he commanded the people that dwelt in Jerusalem to give the portion of the priests and the Levites, that they might be encouraged in the law of the Lord.” Hezekiah explicitly told the Israelites to give only the portion of the tithe that went to the priests and the Levites as an expedient for them to reassume their priestly duties.
          (We find that same expression in Nehemiah 12:44 referred to as “the portions of the law:” “And at that time were some appointed over the chambers for the treasures, for the offerings, for the firstfruits, and for the tithes, to gather into them out of the fields of the cities the portions of the law for the priests and Levites: for Judah rejoiced for the priests and for the Levites that waited.”)
          If the tithe was given to the Levites each year, Hezekiah would not have had to differentiate a portion of the tithe from the totality of the tithe. He would simply have ordered that the tithe must resume and it would have been understood that it all went to the Levites. Hezekiah’s reference to a portion of the tithe referred to the third year portion of the tithe for the Levites, which included provision for the fatherless, the widow and the stranger in the land. The portion further identified it as that part of the third year tithe that went specifically to the Levites for the express purpose of them reassuming their priestly duties.

Tithe My 10 Sheep ... Please! Well, One More Time ... And One For The Road ...

          When we recognize the differences in the distribution of tithes in these verses it also eliminates any conjecture as to the possibility of there having been two, or possibly three different tithes. That concept in itself is illogical. A tithe is a tenth. A tithe of 100 items would be ten per cent, or 10, leaving 90.
          How do you impose a second tithe now? Do you again take ten per cent of the original 100, when in fact, there are only 90 left? Or do you take ten per cent of the remaining 90, which is now only nine? We have a much worse problem doing this for a third time. Again, do we take from a non-existent 100, or only from the remaining 81? Ten per cent of 81 is 8.1. How do we determine what “.1,” of a piece or unit of agricultural produce is? The tithe is “most holy unto the Lord.” Deuteronomy 12:32: “What thing soever I command you, observe to do it: thou shalt not add thereto, nor diminish from it.” Even the one-tenth of one per cent. How do we handle that?
          How do you tithe ten sheep, three times? After the first tithe nine sheep are left. So the second tithe can’t be taken as there are only nine sheep left and there is no tenth sheep to pass under the rod. And do you have them pass under the rod the third time, just for ritual?
          We can see that a person with less than ten animals could not tithe them, nor could he redeem them for money.
          There was only one tithe, with different distributions.

Equality, Blessings, Wisdom And Understanding

          The following is quoted from New Unger’s Bible Dictionary (originally published by Moody Press of Chicago, Illinois. Copyright (C) 1988.) in discussing the tithe in the book of Deuteronomy:
          “... Commands are given to the people: (1) They were to bring their tithes, together with their votive and other offerings and firstfruits, to the chosen center of worship, there to be eaten in celebration in company with their children, their servants, and the Levites (Deut. 12:5-18). (2) All the produce of the soil was to be tithed every year, and these tithes with the firstlings of the flock and herd were to be eaten in the metropolis. (3) But in case of distance, permission was given to convert the produce into money, which was to be taken to the appointed place and there spent for food for a festal celebration, in which the Levite was to be included (14:22-27).”
          Let me interrupt this commentary and insert this thought: The subject in Deuteronomy 12 through 26 is an explanation of the ceremonial, civil and social laws of God. One of the purposes of these laws was to bring equality to the people of Israel. The tithe was only a small part of the entire system.
          Returning to Unger’s Bible Dictionary commentary: “... (4) Then follows the direction that at the end of three years all the tithe of that year was to be gathered and laid up within the “gates” and that a festival was to be held in which the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, together with the Levite, were to partake (vv. 28-29, see marg.). (5) Last, it was ordered that after taking the tithe in each third year, “the year of tithing,” every Israelite had to declare that he had done his best to fulfill the divine command (26:12-14).”
          These times coincide with the seven year cycles contained within the Jubilee year (Exodus 23:10,11; Leviticus, chapter 25; Deuteronomy 15:1-18; 31:10-13). For two years, the Israelites would bring their tithes to a place of God’s choosing. The third year (and the sixth year in the seven year cycle), they would lay up all the tithe of that year within the “gates” [read: community] and share their tithe in a festival atmosphere of rejoicing with the fatherless, widows, strangers in the land and the Levites.
          Since there were no crops while the land rested during the seventh year and the eighth year crop would not be harvested until it was ripe the next year, there would be no tithe “of the seed of the land, or of the fruit of the tree,” for those two years, only of the increase of the herds and flocks (Leviticus 25:20-22). (The eighth year would be year one at the beginning of a new seven year cycle. The ninth year would be year two of the new seven year cycle.) Crops planted during year eight (year one of the new seven year cycle) would be reaped in year nine (year two of the new seven year cycle).
          It would appear from the biblical text that the purpose of these laws was to provide a place where the Israelites could eat their tithe, in a place of worship, in celebration with their children, servants and the Levites, in the presence of the Lord. This was to prevent them from eating their tithes while worshipping false idols. This was a place of God’s choosing and would invariably require travel on the part of some of the Israelites, so provisions were made for that fact. We see woven into these times of rituals, practices, feasts, observances and fellowship the theme of a time of rest for man from his labors.
          Note the promise in Deuteronomy 12:28: “Observe and hear all these words which I command thee, that it may go well with thee, and with thy children after thee for ever, when thou doest that which is good and right in the sight of the Lord thy God.” Every third year they were to take their entire tithe for the use of the Levites, the stranger, the fatherless and the widows, so they could all come and eat and be satisfied. By doing this, “the Lord thy God may bless thee in all the work of thine hand which thou doest.” Verse 32 admonishes us: “What thing soever I command you, observe to do it: thou shalt not add thereto, nor diminish from it.”
          In Deuteronomy 14:22,23: “Thou shalt truly tithe all the increase of thy seed, that the field bringeth forth year by year. And thou shalt eat before the Lord thy God, in the place which he shall choose to place his name there, the tithe of thy corn, of thy wine, and of thine oil, and the firstlings of thy herds and of thy flocks; that thou mayest learn to fear the Lord thy God always.” Proverbs 9:10 tells us “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.” Obedience to the commands about tithing would bring wisdom and understanding.

Community Involvement

          Verses 24 and 25 gave instructions if the place is so far away that it’s not possible to take the tithes, i.e., their agricultural products and livestock, with them. In that case they were to sell those and take only the money from the sale. Note that the added one-fifth requirement for redeeming the tithe for cash (personal desire) did not apply in the case of hardship (practical necessity) in carrying the tithe to the place that God commanded.
          Verse 26 tells us they could take that money and buy “whatsoever thy soul lusteth after, for oxen, or for sheep, or for wine, or for strong drink, or for whatsoever they soul desireth:” They were to eat there before God, “and thou shalt rejoice, thou, and thine household.”
          Nothing is stated in these verses relative to leaving a portion of the tithes for use by others.
          Verses 27 through 29 tell us not to forsake the Levite, the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow within our gates.
Deuteronomy 14:27:
          27 And the Levite that is within thy gates; thou shalt not forsake him; for he hath no part nor inheritance with thee.
Deuteronomy 14:28:
          28 At the end of three years thou shalt bring forth all the tithe of thine increase the same year, and shalt lay it up within thy gates:
Deuteronomy 14:29:
          29 And the Levite, (because he hath no part nor inheritance with thee,) and the stranger, and the fatherless, and the widow, which are within thy gates, shall come, and shall eat and be satisfied; that the Lord thy God may bless thee in all the work of thine hand which thou doest.

          Note the phrase “within thy gates” in the three verses. (It is also used in Deuteronomy 26:12). This phrase encompasses the Levites, the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow they were not to forsake and also indicated the place where the “tithe of thine increase” was stored, i.e., the local community. This then, is the “storehouse” spoken of in Malachi 3:10. We will see later how this location was changed under the reforms of Hezekiah and Nehemiah.
          Deuteronomy 26:12 reemphasizes the third year distribution of the tithe: “When thou hast made an end of tithing all the tithes of thine increase the third year, which is the year of tithing, and hast given it unto the Levite, the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, that they may eat within thy gates, and be filled;”
          Now, after that third year’s tithe distribution, in obedience to the Lord, they must make an affirmation to God as stated in Deuteronomy 26:13: “Then thou shalt say before the Lord thy God, I have brought away the hallowed things out of mine house, and also have given them unto the Levite, and unto the stranger, to the fatherless, and to the widow, according to all thy commandments which thou hast commanded me: I have not transgressed thy commandments, neither have I forgotten them:”
          We are to remember that the tithe “is most holy unto the Lord” (Leviticus 27:30). In obedience to God they have eaten all their tithe in the place that God has designated, “and thou shalt rejoice, thou, and thine household.” They did this obediently for two years. And now the third year they have given their entire tithe to the Levite, the stranger, the fatherless and to the widow for them all to eat together. All according to God’s commandments, which they have not transgressed, and have not forgotten.
          They must then further affirm as stated in Deuteronomy 26:14: “I have not eaten thereof in my mourning, neither have I taken away ought thereof for any unclean use, nor given ought thereof for the dead: but I have hearkened to the voice of the Lord my God, and have done according to all that thou hast commanded me.”

Recognition Of God’s Ownership

          Unger’s Bible Dictionary nicely summarizes: “The firstborn, the firstlings, and of the tenth of the flocks and herds and produce of the soil were offered to Jehovah as being sacred to Him. Tithes and offerings, along with the firstborn, were intended, therefore, to represent the entire produce of the land and the whole of property generally. Being paid over as they were to Jehovah, they constituted a practical confession and acknowledgment that the whole land and all possessions in general belonged to Him and that it was He alone who conferred them upon those who enjoyed them.”

Tithes Stored In The Temple—The Storehouse

          There was a decline of the observance of the law and of the tithe over a period of time. Hezekiah introduced reform measures in the observance of the law and the tithe (2 Chronicles 31). After the captivity Nehemiah also instituted the law and the tithe in his reform policies. He also changed the location of the storehouse, which was appropriate for logistical purposes at that time. (Nehemiah 10:36-39; 12:44-47; 13:4-14).
          However, in 70 A.D., the last temple was destroyed, and also all genealogical records of the Israelites. It’s no longer possible to identify the descendants of Levi. There is today no temple in which to store tithes or any way to identify those who may be priests under the Levitical system. Therefore there is no longer a referenced storehouse or Levitical priests in existence. Which is why orthodox Jews today, under the law, don’t tithe. No temple, no Levites. If they want to join a local synagogue they pay a membership fee.
Nehemiah 10:37-39:
          37 And that we should bring the firstfruits of our dough, and our offerings, and the fruit of all manner of trees, of wine and of oil, unto the priests, to the chambers of the house of our God; and the tithes of our ground unto the Levites, that the same Levites might have the tithes in all the cities of our tillage.
          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.
          39 For the children of Israel and the children of Levi shall bring the offering of the corn, of the new wine, and the oil, unto the chambers, where are the vessels of the sanctuary, and the priests that minister, and the porters, and the singers: and we will not forsake the house of our God.
Nehemiah 12:44:
          44 And at that time were some appointed over the chambers for the treasures, for the offerings, for the firstfruits, and for the tithes, to gather into them out of the fields of the cities the portions of the law for the priests and Levites: for Judah rejoiced for the priests and for the Levites that waited.
Nehemiah 13:5:
          5 And he had prepared for him a great chamber, where aforetime they laid the meat offerings, the frankincense, and the vessels, and the tithes of the corn, the new wine, and the oil, which was commanded to be given to the Levites, and the singers, and the porters; and the offerings of the priests.
Nehemiah 13:12:
          12 Then brought all Judah the tithe of the corn and the new wine and the oil unto the treasuries.
2 Chronicles 31:11-12:
          11 Then Hezekiah commanded to prepare chambers in the house of the Lord; and they prepared them,
          12 And brought in the offerings and the tithes and the dedicated things faithfully: over which Cononiah the Levite was ruler, and Shimei his brother was the next.
Malachi 3:6:
          6 For I am the Lord, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.
Malachi 3:7:
          7 Even from the days of your fathers ye are gone away from mine ordinances, and have not kept them. Return unto me, and I will return unto you, saith the Lord of hosts. But ye said, Wherein shall we return?

          It should be clear from scripture what those ordinances are.
Malachi 3:8:
          8 Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings.

Malachi’s Robbers

          Malachi 3:8 says God is robbed in tithes and offerings.
          It’s clear from the text that the Mosaic law and tithing were being neglected at that time by the Israelites. By withholding their tithes and offerings, they were robbing God.
          Note that the word “increase” [read: new] as used in conjunction with tithes always denotes herds and flocks and agricultural products to be given as a tithe. In fact, if those things were converted into money (redeemed), an additional twenty per cent would have to be added to the tithe. This would increase the percentage to twelve per cent, which would then disqualify it as a “tithe.” It’s apparent God wasn’t interested in money. The tithe was specifically directed at the seed of the land or of the fruit of the tree and the herds and flocks which grazed on the land. The common denominator here is “food.” This is again emphasized in verse 10: “... that there may be meat” [read: food] “in mine house ...”
          Payment of money, then, as a “tithe” disqualifies it as a tithe.
          Payment of money instead of food is simply another way of robbing God. Cash, checks, Visa and MasterCard are out. You must bring in your “produce of the land” or failing that, a live animal from your herds or flocks. Deuteronomy 12:32: “What thing soever I command you, observe to do it: thou shalt not add thereto, nor diminish from it.” Of course, you may slaughter an animal, but it would be nice to butcher it, and neatly package the various cuts. Bringing it to church in a refrigerated truck would be a nice touch.
          How about offerings? It wouldn’t be called an offering in the text if it didn’t qualify as a scripturally defined offering. The Bible would have identified it by another term, indicating that it was unacceptable as an offering.
          So, how can someone who has brought a scripturally defined offering be guilty of robbing God? It’s an offering only when it’s still in the personal possession of the one offering it. Once this offering has been received by someone on God’s behalf it is no longer an offering. It is a possession of value received from another. Since the received possession is to be used as stated in God’s word, robbing God would occur only if the persons receiving it don’t use it according to the purpose stated by God. So, in addition to withholding tithes and offerings, they were also being misused by those who received them.
          In today’s New Testament church we have a compounded problem. Payment of money disqualifies it as a tithe. Since there is no Levitical priesthood, no temple, and the fatherless, widows and strangers in the land are not receiving the “tithe” (read: money) it is robbery.
          Thus we have a clear case of robbery by those who receive a “tithe” in today’s New Testament church. Money is not a tithe, and this money is not being distributed according to God’s word. Deuteronomy 12:32: “What thing soever I command you, observe to do it: thou shalt not add thereto, nor diminish from it.”
          The view of who is really robbing God must be redefined.
Malachi 3:9:
          9 Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation.

          “... ye sons of Jacob ...” from verse 6, is now identified as a whole nation. Does that fit your description, as an individual? Are you part of a nation of the sons of Jacob?
          If you have put yourself back under the law, by attempting to tithe, you were cursed the moment you made the decision to do so. In addition, those who have taught and collected those tithes and utilized them for other than the holy purposes of God have cursed themselves.
Malachi 3:10:
          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 “windows of heaven” here are not some vague, massive, undefined blessing from God. This verse speaks of rain, pouring out a blessing upon your crops and livestock which will increase and multiply so “that there shall not be room enough to receive it.” (Read the next verse which speaks of “... the fruits of your ground ...” and “... neither shall your vine cast her fruit ...”)
          It should be obvious by now that the local church building, an institutionalized, corporate building of glass, steel and bricks is not the storehouse. And that the distribution of that collected pseudo-tithe is not in accordance with scriptural commandments. We are not enjoying our tithes rejoicing before the Lord in a place He has chosen for us. Since there is no temple today, and no Levitical priesthood, there is no one to distribute those portions of the pseudo-tithes.
          There is no festival atmosphere of rejoicing and feasting in the presence of God and each other with a keen awareness of the necessity of our cleanness before a holy God. Our garment of praise is reduced to a single disproportionate bare thread of pseudo-tithe. The fatherless and widows and strangers in our land are not present and being taken care of because they have not been sought out and invited to a feast of our tithes. God’s plans and purposes are being mocked.
          Deuteronomy 27:19 tells us: “Cursed be he that perverteth the judgment of the stranger, fatherless, and widow. And all the people shall say, Amen.” A few other scriptural warnings: Proverbs 22:16: “He that oppresseth the poor to increase his riches, and he that giveth to the rich, shall surely come to want.” Note the last part of that verse “... and he that giveth to the rich, shall surely come to want ” [read: poverty]. Keep giving your money to those institutionalized corporations that are richer than you are and you will come full circle into the poverty you should have been taking care of. Ezekiel 16:49: “Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride, fulness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy.”
Malachi 3:11:
          11 And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith the Lord of hosts.

          How can God rebuke the devourer (drought, insects and plagues—note the devourer in action “... he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground ... ” and “... neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time ...”) for our sakes when we are taught contrary to scripture on the matter of the most holy tithe unto the Lord? In placing yourself back under the law, the fruits of your ground are destroyed, and your vine casts her fruit before the time in the field. Read any newspaper, watch any news broadcast.
Malachi 3:12: And all nations shall call you blessed: for ye shall be a delightsome land, saith the Lord of hosts.

          You’ve placed yourself under the law by attempting to implement the tithe principle of the Mosaic law. Do all nations call you blessed? Are we still a delightsome land? On the contrary, other nations are cursing us. Even our own nation curses those who identify themselves as Christians. Our land is plagued with natural disasters and drought, insects and plagues that are increasing in frequency and strength every day. Read any newspaper, watch any news broadcast.
          The third chapter of Micah would be more appropriate to read relative to New Testament giving than the third chapter of Malachi. Note what the prophet says in verse 11. Isaiah 55:1 reflects the same thought.
Micah 3:1-12:
          1 And I said, Hear, I pray you, O heads of Jacob, and ye princes of the house of Israel; Is it not for you to know judgment?
          2 Who hate the good, and love the evil; who pluck off their skin from off them, and their flesh from off their bones;
          3 Who also eat the flesh of my people, and flay their skin from off them; and they break their bones, and chop them in pieces, as for the pot, and as flesh within the caldron.
          4 Then shall they cry unto the Lord, but he will not hear them: he will even hide his face from them at that time, as they have behaved themselves ill in their doings.
          5 Thus saith the Lord concerning the prophets that make my people err, that bite with their teeth, and cry, Peace; and he that putteth not into their mouths, they even prepare war against him.
          6 Therefore night shall be unto you, that ye shall not have a vision; and it shall be dark unto you, that ye shall not divine; and the sun shall go down over the prophets, and the day shall be dark over them.
          7 Then shall the seers be ashamed, and the diviners confounded: yea, they shall all cover their lips; for there is no answer of God.
          8 But truly I am full of power by the spirit of the Lord, and of judgment, and of might, to declare unto Jacob his transgression, and to Israel his sin.
          9 Hear this, I pray you, ye heads of the house of Jacob, and princes of the house of Israel, that abhor judgment, and pervert all equity.
          10 They build up Zion with blood, and Jerusalem with iniquity.
          11 The heads thereof judge for reward, and the priests thereof teach for hire, and the prophets thereof divine for money: yet will they lean upon the Lord, and say, Is not the Lord among us? none evil can come upon us.
          12 Therefore shall Zion for your sake be plowed as a field, and Jerusalem shall become heaps, and the mountain of the house as the high places of the forest.
Isaiah 55:1:
          1 Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.
          This rich tapestry of interwoven themes of meeting with God, and acknowledging Him, and each person the other, is severely damaged when attempts are made to pull the single thread of the commandment to “tithe” out from it and reweave it in a manner which would fit into our present Romanized, paganized, tradition-based corporate institutionalized organization identified as the “church.” In such attempts, the whole of the fabric unravels leaving only a disconnected and fragmentary patchwork of various themes, and destroys the integrity and purpose of the original garment of praise unto God that was to be worn, as established by God Himself.
          The truth of the purpose and utilization of God’s holy tithe reveals the teachings about “New Testament tithing” to be totally unscriptural, if not ridiculous.

New Testament Scriptures For Supporting Those Called To Teach And Preach The Gospel

Matthew 10:10:
          10 Nor scrip for your journey, neither two coats, neither shoes, nor yet staves: for the workman is worthy of his meat.
1 Corinthians 9:14:
          14 Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel.
Galatians 6:6:
          6 Let him that is taught in the word communicate unto him that teacheth in all good things.
Philippians 4:14:
          14 Notwithstanding ye have well done, that ye did communicate with my affliction.
(Amplified Bible: But it was right and commendable and noble of you to contribute for my needs and to share my difficulties with me.)
1 Timothy 5:18:
          18 For the scripture saith, Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. And, The labourer is worthy of his reward.

New Testament Scriptures For Paul’s Self-support In Teaching And Preaching The Gospel

Acts 18:3:
          3 And because he was of the same craft, he abode with them, and wrought: for by their occupation they were tentmakers.
Acts 20:34:
          34 Yea, ye yourselves know, that these hands have ministered unto my necessities, and to them that were with me.
Acts 28:30:
          30 And Paul dwelt two whole years in his own hired house, and received all that came in unto him,
1 Corinthians 9:15:
          15 But I have used none of these things: neither have I written these things, that it should be so done unto me: for it were better for me to die, than that any man should make my glorying void.
1 Thessalonians 2:9:
          9 For ye remember, brethren, our labour and travail: for labouring night and day, because we would not be chargeable unto any of you, we preached unto you the gospel of God.
2 Thessalonians 3:8:
          8 Neither did we eat any man’s bread for nought; but wrought with labour and travail night and day, that we might not be chargeable to any of you:

New Testament Scriptures With References To The Tithe

          New Testament scriptures referring to the tithe are found in Matthew 23:23 (Luke 11:42); Luke 18:9-14; and Hebrews 7:1-10. Let’s examine these scriptures.
Matthew 23:23:
          23 Woe unto you, scribes 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. (Refer: Luke 11:42)

          To establish the context within which Jesus made His comments, we must realize that the book of Matthew was written to the Jews to explain who Jesus—who claimed to be the Messiah—was. Its emphasis is on Jewish law and prophecy. Within this context in chapter 23, Jesus scathingly denounces the Pharisees for their hypocrisy and pronounces multiple woes upon them. A “woe” is an interjection of grief into the meaning of what is being said. Jesus confirms that tithing is a commandment of the law of Moses in saying “... and have omitted the weightier matters of the law ...”
          He states factually that “... ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin .” The kitchen herbs, however, were items that the Pharisees tithed according to oral tradition, later codified as the Talmud. Their value as fulfilling the tithe as commanded by God is invalid as these items are seasonings, not food. Jesus tells them that they have majored on the minors of the oral law and points out that they “... have omitted the weightier matters of the” [Mosaic] “law, judgment, mercy, and faith ...” which they ought to have done. He then says “and not to leave the other undone” obviously referring to the tithe.
          Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words defines “omitted” and “leave undone,” which are the same word in the Greek: “aphiemi ^863^, apo, “from,” and hiemi, “to send,” [which] has three chief meanings, (a) “to send forth, let go, forgive”; (b) “to let, suffer, permit”; (c) “to leave, leave alone, forsake, neglect.” ... “... so (v. 29; 22:22,25; 23:23), RV, “have left undone” (KJV, “have omitted,” in the 1st part, “leave undone” in the second).”
          Their tithe of mint, anise and cummin, then has not “done” the law of tithing. It has left it “undone,” i.e., it has been omitted, forsaken, neglected. In this way Jesus thoroughly exposes the hypocrisy of the Pharisees in following their man-made traditions in counting the tiny leaves of their kitchen herbs. It has thoroughly failed God’s purposes in providing for the needs of the fatherless, widows, the strangers in the land and the Levites.
          In the 24th verse of Matthew Jesus says: “Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel.” Straining tiny gnats (unclean food) out of their drinks, but then swallowing a huge camel (unclean food). “Guides” means literally “a leader on the way.” Hypocritical blind leaders going along the way of error. In verse 33 He says: “Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?”
          The Jews were still under the law at that time, so it was appropriate for Jesus to reprimand the Pharisees for their hypocrisy in not fully obeying the law of Moses.
          The law of Moses of the Old Covenant, however, ended when Jesus gave the New Covenant at the Last Supper, the day before His crucifixion (Matthew 26:28; Mark 14:24; Luke 22:20; Hebrews 13:20). We are now under the New Covenant, not the Mosaic law.
          Within the context of the text and with an understanding of what Jesus said, how can this possibly be applied as an endorsement for tithing for the New Testament church today?

We Are Redeemed From The Curse Of The Law

Matthew 5:17:
          17 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.
Galatians 3:10:
          10 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 3:13:
          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 hangeth on a tree:

          In His death and by including the Gentiles in the household of faith of the true Israel in the New Testament ekklesia at Pentecost, Jesus has fulfilled the law, with its accompanying curse, and He has redeemed us from the curse of the law.

Repentance Of The Heart Justifies Us, Not Fasting And Tithing

Luke 18:9-14:
          9 And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others:
          10 Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican.
          11 The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.
          12 I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.
          13 And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.
          14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.

          This incident stresses repentance of the heart over physical fasting and tithing under the law.

Jesus, Our High Priest

Hebrews 7:9,10:
          9 And as I may so say, Levi also, who receiveth tithes, payed tithes in Abraham.
          10 For he was yet in the loins of his father, when Melchisedec met him.

          In Hebrews 7:9,10, the point is made that Levi, from whom the Levitical priesthood came, paid tithes through Abraham to Melchidezek, who is a type of the High Priest of Jesus Himself. By type then, the Levites (or the Levitical priests) honored Jesus (antitype) by paying Him their tithes through Melchidezek (type) (thus recognizing the superiority of the priesthood of Jesus over the Levitical priesthood).
          None of these New Testament verses stresses the validity of the tithe for the New Testament church. We are now under grace, and not under the Law of Moses.

The Importance Of Supporting Our Families

Mark 7:6-13:
          6 He answered and said unto them, Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me.
          7 Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.
          8 For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do.
          9 And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition.
          10 For Moses said, Honour thy father and thy mother; and, Whoso curseth father or mother, let him die the death:
          11 But ye say, If a man shall say to his father or mother, It is Corban, that is to say, a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me; he shall be free.
          12 And ye suffer him no more to do ought for his father or his mother;
          13 Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye.
1 Timothy 5:8:
          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.

          “Corban” refers to a consecrated gift to the Temple. Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words says “(b) “a gift offered to God,” (Mark 7:11). Jews were much addicted to rash vows; a saying of the rabbis was, “It is hard for the parents, but the law is clear, vows must be kept.””
          These verses make a very clear point: We are to support our families (parents and immediate family) and not make the word of God of none effect through our traditions. The tithe is traditionally taught as applying to the New Testament church, when such is clearly not the case. To not take care of our families and declaring the tithe as “corban,” i.e., a monetary gift consecrated to God, and therefore unavailable for paying needs of the family, and making it difficult for the parents and our immediately family, we make the word of God of none effect.

How Much Belongs To God?

John 3:16:
          16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

          God paid a price beyond any concept of value in order to give us everlasting life.
Romans 6:13:
          13 Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.
1 Corinthians 6:19,20:
          19 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?
          20 For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.

          We are to yield ourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead ... ye are not your own ... ye are bought with a price.
          We were dead people, spiritually dead and on our way to hell, and God reached down into our grave and opened up our coffin and pulled us out of there and gave us life again. Life more abundantly. We owe God everything that we are and everything that we have. God very graciously allows us to fund our living expenses, sometimes even more than is necessary for us to be comfortable. But He doesn’t begrudge the limited luxuries we allow ourselves as long as we don’t go to great excess. Everything else that is not used for our living expenses belongs to God. Everything. If you make $100,000 a year and you can meet your living expenses, even bordering on the expensive side with $50,000, then the rest belongs to God. Of course, we are to give what is Caesar’s to Caesar (the government) and what is God’s to God.
          How do we give to God? As we read the types and shadows of the Old Testament tithe we see God’s heart for the fatherless, the widows and the strangers in the land. We no longer have a temple or a Levitical priesthood and there is no, absolutely no, New Testament physical equivalent. We, as the ekklesia of God, are His temple and each and every saint of God is a king and a priest under the new covenant (1 Corinthians 3:16; 6:19; 2 Corinthians 6:16; 1 Peter 2:5; Revelation 1:6; 5:10; 20:6). However, in the New Testament we do see the clear teachings of scripture that we are to support those that are called by God.
          Note that scripture is silent about supporting their corporate institutionalized buildings and other fringe benefits and perks for their man-made kingdoms. There are homes and apartments where the mortgage and rent payments and utility and water and sewer bills have already been paid. They will accommodate a gathering of people. And when that gathering grows larger, there are other homes and apartments to hold meetings. There are public meeting places and conference rooms and etc. in every city available for renting out by the day, or part of a day, for holding larger gatherings of multiple homes and apartments once a week. A simple offering would pay the fee for such rental. These minimal expenses will free up a lot of money for the fatherless, the widows and the strangers in the land. And for the man or woman called by God to teach and preach the word of God.

New Testament Giving Principles Are Greater Than The Tithe

          There are New Testament giving principles which are far greater than those of the limitations of ten per cent of our increase. God does not want or need ten per cent of our money. He is not broke. He wants 100 per cent of each and every saint of God. 100 percent of your time, your talents and what you have left over in material resources when you have paid your living expenses.

Paul’s Instructions

Abound In Grace, Not By Commandment

          In 2 Corinthians, chapters 8 and 9, Paul reminds the church of their commitment to help the poorer Christians in Judea.
2 Corinthians 8:7:
          7 Therefore, as ye abound in every thing, in faith, and utterance, and knowledge, and in all diligence, and in your love to us, see that ye abound in this grace also.
2 Corinthians 8:8:
          8 I speak not by commandment, but by occasion of the forwardness of others, and to prove the sincerity of your love.

          Paul, who certainly understood the law of Moses and the tithe to a much greater degree than today’s “pastors” not only failed to mention the tithe, but actually used the term “abound in grace.” He also said “I speak not by commandment ...” He not only did not invoke the commandment of the Mosaic law to tithe, but expressly stated that he spoke not by commandment, implying that was an option. Apparently, he deliberately passed over a clear opportunity to command them to give a tithe of ten per cent.

Sowing And Reaping—Cheerfully, Or Necessity In Sorrow?

2 Corinthians 9:6:
          6 But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully.
2 Corinthians 9:7:
          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.

          Paul states another principle—that of sowing and reaping. And that a person should give as they have purposed in their heart. He threw some guidelines in there for us also: don’t give grudgingly, which means literally in the Greek “out of sorrow.” Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words says this about the word “grudgingly:” “... the “grudging” regret is set in contrast to cheerfulness enjoined in giving, as is the reluctance expressed in “of necessity.””
          It’s clear we are to give as we have cheerfully purposed in our heart, and not out of the necessity of giving in sorrow.
          If we, or others we know, are lacking in money to provide for food, clothing, shelter, transportation, medical and dental care, and out of a false fear of God cursing us, give our money to a corporate, institutionalized organization, how cheerful are we? We are, in fact, giving in sorrow, motivated by fear, feeling it is a necessity to stay within the good graces of God. We have been manipulated and intimidated in order to control our giving in obeying a human tradition [read: witchcraft].

Paul And Malachi 3:10

          In 1 Corinthians, chapter 9, Paul discusses his resources and restrictions in performing the functions of his calling as an apostle.
          1 Corinthians 9:9:
          9 For it is written in the law of Moses, Thou shalt not muzzle the mouth of the ox that treadeth out the corn. Doth God take care for oxen?

          That’s a quote from Deuteronomy 25:4, part of the law of Moses.
          1 Corinthians 9:13:
          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?

          He is here referring to Numbers 18:8-24, also part of the law of Moses.
          Why did Paul not quote from Malachi 3:10? Or any other scripture that referred to the tithe under the Mosaic Law?
Philippians 4:15-20:
          15 Now ye Philippians know also, that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church communicated with me as concerning giving and receiving, but ye only.
          16 For even in Thessalonica ye sent once and again unto my necessity.
          17 Not because I desire a gift: but I desire fruit that may abound to your account.
          18 But I have all, and abound: I am full, having received of Epaphroditus the things which were sent from you, an odour of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, wellpleasing to God.
          19 But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.
          20 Now unto God and our Father be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

          Here, again, Paul is speaking of giving. In verse 18 he refers to the gifts sent to him as “... an odour of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, wellpleasing to God.” Paul is clearly referring to the Old Testament and sacrificial laws (e.g., Leviticus 1:13; 4:31; 8:21; Numbers 28:8,13,24). The same question must be asked:
          Why did Paul not quote from Malachi 3:10? Or any other scripture that referred to the tithe under the Mosaic Law?

Pre-Planned Giving For Relief Of The Saints As God Prospers

1 Corinthians 16:1-4:
          1 Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given order to the churches of Galatia, even so do ye.
          2 Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come.
          3 And when I come, whomsoever ye shall approve by your letters, them will I send to bring your liberality unto Jerusalem.
          4 And if it be meet that I go also, they shall go with me.

          This was a collection “for the saints.” A pre-planned amount, set aside in advance. The instructions are to give “as God hath prospered him” and there were to be no gatherings when Paul came.
          In this collection for the saint’s relief, again Paul fails to mention the tithe as an operative principle in the giving of the saints.

The Poor Shall Never Cease Out Of The Land

Mark 12:41-44: (Sell also Luke 21:1-4)
          41 And Jesus sat over against the treasury, and beheld how the people cast money into the treasury: and many that were rich cast in much.
          42 And there came a certain poor widow, and she threw in two mites, which make a farthing.
          43 And he called unto him his disciples, and saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That this poor widow hath cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury:
          44 For all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living.

          Here we see Jesus making a comparison between the rich and the poor. The poor widow, who should have been the recipient of the beneficence of the rich was, in fact, giving more than all the rich people combined.
          Is this a command to the poor to give all they had? No, it’s a sad commentary on the greed of the rich and their lack of concern for the poor as commanded in Deuteronomy 15:7-11 (Also Matthew 26:11; Mark 14:7; John 12:8).

Luke 14:12-14:
          12 Then said he also to him that bade him, When thou makest a dinner or a supper, call not thy friends, nor thy brethren, neither thy kinsmen, nor thy rich neighbours; lest they also bid thee again, and a recompense be made thee.
          13 But when thou makest a feast, call the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind:
          14 And thou shalt be blessed; for they cannot recompense thee: for thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just.

          Here Jesus expands the list of those with which we are to be concerned. He mentions the poor, which would include the fatherless, the widows, the strangers in the land. To these He adds the maimed, the lame and the blind.
          There is a stated blessing in verse 14. This word from Jesus, however, is a two-edged sword and the implication is that if we don’t take care of the poor, maimed, the lame and the blind, “thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just” in a manner which may not be a blessing.
          “Poor, Orphan, Widow Three groups of people of the lower social classes in need of legal protection from the rich and powerful who sometimes abused them (Job 24:3-4). God’s promise of care for the poor, the orphans, and the widows was a tremendous source of hope during times of severe difficulty.
“1. Condition and Hope of the Poor
          “The words used to describe the poor have the underlying meaning of “humble, oppressed, needy, weak, dependent.” The contexts where these words are used suggest that the poor were those who had been wrongfully oppressed and impoverished (Job 24:14; 29:12; Ps. 10:9; Isa. 3:14); those who begged for food (Deut. 15:7-11; Job 31:16-21); or those who had no economic or social status (2 Sam. 12:1-4; Prov. 14:20; Eccl. 9:13-18). Ideally, there should be no poor people among the covenant people of God because of the blessings of God and the generosity of the people toward those in need (Deut. 15:7-11). In actuality, God’s blessings did not always come to His sinful people, and the rich did not always share with the poor. To provide for the poor, God allowed them to glean the remains of the fields and vineyards and harvest the corners (Lev. 19:10; 23:22). If a poor person was forced into slavery, they were to be treated like a hired servant (Lev. 25:39-43). The courts were to see that the poor received just, not favorable or unfavorable treatment (Ex. 23:3,6-7).
          “The hope of the poor was based on their status before God. Because they were part of the people God redeemed from the slavery of Egypt, they inherited God’s blessings of freedom, protection, and a portion of the land (Lev. 25:38,42,55). The Psalms picture God as the refuge and deliverer of the poor (Pss. 12:5; 14:6; 70:5). In some passages, the poor are identified as the righteous (Ps. 14:5-6). The prophets predicted the destruction of Judah and Israel in part because of the oppression of the poor by fellow Israelites (Amos 2:6-8; 4:1-3; 5:10-13; 8:4-6). The prophets encouraged the people to defend the poor and instructed the kings to rule with equity (Prov. 29:7,14; Isa. 1:17; Jer. 22:3). God brought judgment on Sodom (Gen. 18:16-19:29) and on Judah because she did not care for the poor (Ezek. 16:46-50).
          “Jesus was particularly concerned with the poor. A poor man, He preached a message of good news to the poor (Matt. 11:5; Luke 4:18) and told parables that encouraged generosity toward the poor (Luke 14:13-24). The first Christians provided for the needs of poor widows (Acts 6:1-6), and Paul exerted great effort to collect funds for the poor in Jerusalem (Rom. 15:26). This positive attitude toward the poor was not present among all the early believers (Jas. 2:1-6).
2. The Condition and Hope of the Orphan and Widow
          “Among the poor, the orphan and the widow were the most vulnerable. The orphan was a fatherless child (the mother could still be alive), while the widow was husbandless. In both cases, no mature male figure could defend against unscrupulous persons who would wish to defraud these individuals out of their inheritance. Consequently, biblical (and nonbiblical) legal codes provide for the protection of the rights of the orphan and the widow (Ex. 22:22; Deut. 10:18; 24:17-22). The prophets were particularly concerned with the injustice done to the orphan and widow (Isa. 1:17; Jer. 5:28; Mic. 2:9; Mal. 3:5). God declared that He would be a Father to the fatherless and provide justice for the widow (Deut. 10:18; Ps. 68:5).
          “The New Testament measured true religious character by a person’s care for the orphan and the widow (Jas. 1:27). The early Christians cared for the widows (Acts 6:1-8), but Paul limited these provisions because of abuses on the part of some (1 Tim. 5:3-16). Jesus condemned the Pharisees for devouring widows’ houses (Matt. 23:40).” (Holman Bible Dictionary)
“Mosaic Enactments.
          “It was stated from the first that there would be those among the covenant people who would be in circumstances calling for sympathy and aid (Deut. 15:11). Negatively, the poor man was to have no advantage over others on the ground of his poverty (Exo. 23:3); but neither, on the other hand, was his judgment on that account to be wrested from him (v. 6). Among the special enactments in his favor the following must be mentioned:
          “(1) The right of gleaning (Lev. 19:9-10; Deut. 24:19-21).
          “(2) The custom of giving the poor and the stranger their portion of the produce of the land in sabbatical years (Exo. 23:11; Lev. 25:6).
          “(3) The reversion of land to the owner in the Jubilee year, with the year-long right of redemption as to town homes (Lev. 25:25-30).
          “(4) The prohibition of usury and the limitation on what could be retained as a pledge ((Lev. 25:35-37; cf. Exo. 22:25-27); etc.).
          “(5) The forbidding of permanent bondage and the enjoinment to free Hebrew bondmen or bondwomen in the sabbatical and Jubilee years (Deut. 15:12-15; cf. Lev. 25:39-42,47-54).
          “(6) The requirement that portions from the tithes be shared by the Levites and then the poor (Deut. 14:28; 26:12-13).
          “(7) The right of the poor to partake in entertainments at the feasts of Weeks and Booths ((Deut. 16:11-14); see (Neh. 8:10)).
          “(8) The requirement that wages be paid daily (Lev. 19:13).
          “Principles similar to those laid down by Moses are inculcated in the NT, as in (Luke 3:11; 14:13; Acts 6:1; Gal. 2:10; James 2:15-16). In later times the practice of begging, which does not appear to have been considered by Moses, became frequent.”
          Bibliography: R. de Vaux, Ancient Israel: Its Life and Institutions (1961), pp. 68-79, 164-77.
(New Unger's Bible Dictionary)


Hebrews 7:18,19:
          18 For there is verily a disannulling of the commandment going before for the weakness and unprofitableness thereof.
          19 For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did; by the which we draw nigh unto God.
Hebrews 8:6,7:
          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.
          7 For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second.
Hebrews 8:13:
          13 In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away.

          The former commandment was set aside, cancelled because it was weak and useless. The law never made anything perfect and a better hope has been introduced by which we draw near to God. The priestly ministry of Jesus is as superior to the Old Testament priesthood as is the covenant of which He is the mediator is to the old one, and it’s established on better promises. If the first covenant was faultless, then there would be no place for a second one. When God says “a new covenant” He makes the first one obsolete, and what is obsolete and aging is ready to disappear.
          Those who are called by God to teach and preach the gospel of Jesus Christ under the new covenant are to receive the support of the saints. Paul’s example, however, was to be self-supporting. In 1 Corintians 11:1, Paul said: “Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.”
          There are no scriptures in the New Testament to support the Old Testament practice of tithing under the Mosaic law. In fact, those who institute tithing in the New Testament church are voluntarily placing themselves, and those who follow their teachings, back under the curse of the law of Moses. We are under grace and not under the curse of the law, because Jesus Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law. Scripture is clear that in the death of Jesus, and by including the Gentiles in the household of faith of the true Israel in the New Testament ekklesia at Pentecost, Jesus has fulfilled the law, with its accompanying curse, and He has redeemed us from the curse of the law.
          Jesus brought out that the Pharisees tithed according to their own oral traditions and thus circumvented the true purpose of the tithe, and that they neglected the weightier matters of the law, i.e., judgment, mercy and faith. He also used another example in referring to a hypocritical tithe-payer that it is heart-felt repentance that justifies us before God, not fasting and tithing.
          Jesus never designated anyone in His ekklesia to receive a tithe. Nor did He indicate that His ekklesia was to be financed by the tithe. He talked about money a lot but never mentioned the tithe, or the consequences of the New Testament ekklesia failing to practice tithing.
          We are to be faithful in the support of our families, and not take a sum of money, call it a “tithe” and give it to a corporate, institutionalized organization, using the fear of a curse from God and allow our families, and others we know, to continue to be deprived of the basic necessities and comforts of life.
          Everything we are and everything we have belongs to God. He doesn’t need ten per cent of what He has given us in this life. He wants 100 per cent of us, and 100% of our money after we have paid our living expenses. That money is to go for support of the fatherless, widows, strangers in the land and those who have been called by God to teach and preach the gospel.
          In all of Paul’s appeals and instructions for giving to the needy saints, he never once referred to the law of Moses and its tithe although he did use scriptural quotes from other portions of the Mosaic law.
          Concern for the poor, and their abuse by the rich, is a priority in the kingdom of God. Judah and Israel were destroyed, among other reasons, because of their oppression of the poor. Sodom and Judah were judged because they did not care for the poor.
          Orphans and widows lacked mature males to defend them against those who would defraud them. The prophets concerned themselves about injustice to the orphans and widows. God said He would be a Father to the fatherless and provide justice for widows.
          Jesus commented on the lack of concern for the poor on the part of the rich. He even expanded that concern to mention the maimed, the lame and the blind and spoke of recompense for our attitude in blessing the poor. Jesus condemned the Pharisees for devouring widows’ houses. He preached the gospel to the poor and spoke of the poor in such a way as to encourage others to make the poor to be recipients of beneficence of those who were better off. In the early church the needs of poor widows were provided for. Paul also urged for collection of funds for the poor in Jerusalem.
          In the Old Testament God enacted various ways to favor the poor concerning food, land, usury, clothing, permanent slavery, participation in the feasts and timely payment of their wages. Similar provisions were made for the poor in the New Testament for sharing, feasting, widows, remembrance of the poor, food and clothing.
          In the Outline of 2 Corinthians in the Ryrie Study Bible chapters 8 and 9 are annotated as follows:
The Apostle’s Collection for the Judean Saints, 8:1-9:15
A. Principles for Giving, 8:1-6
B. Purposes for Giving, 8:7-15
C. Policies in Giving, 8:16-9:5
D. Promises in Giving, 9:6-15.
          These chapters are excellent guides for giving to the poor, the needs of the saints, and to those in need for the stated reasons above.

Man’s Kingdoms Perpetuated

          In 1 Samuel, Chapter 8. The people rejected God and wanted a king to rule over them. To fight their battles. To make their decisions. To tell them what to do. God explained the problems they would have with a king, but the people insisted. So they got what they wanted. God’s people today still want a pastor “king” over them. And we’ve got exactly what God promised. Read it for yourself. But they’ll settle for a human “pastor” and an enslaving system of bondage.
1 Samuel 8:10-18:
          10 And Samuel told all the words of the Lord unto the people that asked of him a king.
          11 And he said, This will be the manner of the king that shall reign over you: He will take your sons, and appoint them for himself, for his chariots, and to be his horsemen; and some shall run before his chariots.
          12 And he will appoint him captains over thousands, and captains over fifties; and will set them to ear his ground, and to reap his harvest, and to make his instruments of war, and instruments of his chariots.
          13 And he will take your daughters to be confectionaries, and to be cooks, and to be bakers.
          14 And he will take your fields, and your vineyards, and your oliveyards, even the best of them, and give them to his servants.
          15 And he will take the tenth of your seed, and of your vineyards, and give to his officers, and to his servants.
          16 And he will take your menservants, and your maidservants, and your goodliest young men, and your asses, and put them to his work.
          17 He will take the tenth of your sheep: and ye shall be his servants.
          18 And ye shall cry out in that day because of your king which ye shall have chosen you; and the LORD will not hear you in that day.

          Note that verses 15 and 17 specifically mention the tenth, i.e., a tithe.
1 Samuel 10:19:
          19 And ye have this day rejected your God, who himself saved you out of all your adversities and your tribulations; and ye have said unto him, Nay, but set a king over us. Now therefore present yourselves before the Lord by your tribes, and by your thousands.

          By optioning for a human “pastor king” the church has rejected God. And is in bondage to all that Samuel stated in scripture.
          Moses foresaw this sad state of affairs and offered guidelines which are totally ignored today:
Deuteronomy 17:14-20:
          14 When thou art come unto the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee, and shalt possess it, and shalt dwell therein, and shalt say, I will set a king over me, like as all the nations that are about me;
          15 Thou shalt in any wise set him king over thee, whom the Lord thy God shall choose: one from among thy brethren shalt thou set king over thee: thou mayest not set a stranger over thee, which is not thy brother.
          16 But he shall not multiply horses to himself, nor cause the people to return to Egypt, to the end that he should multiply horses: forasmuch as the Lord hath said unto you, Ye shall henceforth return no more that way.
          17 Neither shall he multiply wives to himself, that his heart turn not away: neither shall he greatly multiply to himself silver and gold.
          18 And it shall be, when he sitteth upon the throne of his kingdom, that he shall write him a copy of this law in a book out of that which is before the priests the Levites:
          19 And it shall be with him, and he shall read therein all the days of his life: that he may learn to fear the Lord his God, to keep all the words of this law and these statutes, to do them:
          20 That his heart be not lifted up above his brethren, and that he turn not aside from the commandment, to the right hand, or to the left: to the end that he may prolong his days in his kingdom, he, and his children, in the midst of Israel.

          Jesus commented on this also:
Luke 22:24-27:
          24 And there was also a strife among them, which of them should be accounted the greatest.
          25 And he said unto them, The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and they that exercise authority upon them are called benefactors.
          26 But ye shall not be so: but he that is greatest among you, let him be as the younger; and he that is chief, as he that doth serve.
          27 For whether is greater, he that sitteth at meat, or he that serveth? is not he that sitteth at meat? but I am among you as he that serveth.

          At the Last Supper, Jesus washed the feet of the disciples. A living lesson in humility and servanthood. And then He told them:
John 13:12-17:
          12 So after he had washed their feet, and had taken his garments, and was set down again, he said unto them, Know ye what I have done to you?
          13 Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am.
          14 If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another’s feet.
          15 For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you.
          16 Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him.
          17 If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them.

          The next day Jesus was crucified. A couple of thousand years later we heard the story of Jesus. We decided to make Him King of our lives, and seek His kingdom and His righteousness, didn’t we?
          What happened?

Don’t Confuse Me With The Scriptural Facts—I Want Your Tithe!

          The argument is advanced that although the tithe is no longer applicable to the New Testament saints, that it should be retained as a “standard of giving.” Since we already have scriptural commands concerning giving in the New Testament, this is simply seeking to replace Godly wisdom with human wisdom, which is “earthly, sensual and devilish.”
          Some state that the tithe is valid for the New Testament based on “church authority.” This argument is based on Matthew 16:19: “And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” Therefore, if the “church elders” declare it to be “loosed,”, i.e., permitted, then it stands as a recognized custom.
          However, this is a misunderstanding of what is really being said in the verse. The Amplified Bible almost has it right: “I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind—that is, declare to be improper and unlawful—on earth must be” [read: have been] “already bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth—declare lawful—must be” [read: have been] “what is already loosed in heaven.”
          With this understanding as correctly translated from the Greek, we see that everything improper and unlawful, and everything declared lawful, must have been already so declared in heaven. We have the option to declare whatever we want; however, if it is not established in the word of God it is simply a work of the flesh.
          Since the word of God has already declared what is lawful and what is improper and unlawful, we have had the tithe issue settled for us.
          In continuing to stretch in order to find a way to impose the tithe upon the New Testament saints some have suggested that Ezekiel, chapters 40 through 48 state a restoration of Levitical laws during the millennium. If that is so, then it would be scriptural to collect the Levitical tithe today. Wisdom is again justified by her children as there is absolutely no scriptural support for this man-made invention.
          You may ask, “But how about the church buildings? There are mortgage payments, electric, water and sewer bills, maintenance bills, insurance premiums, and salaries to be paid!” and etc.
          Since “church” has devolved from a syncretism of biblical doctrine, Romanism, pagan practices, human authoritarian systems, human traditions, and etc., do we really want to continue to perpetuate it?
          Or should we be obedient unto Jesus when He said “... I will build my church;” (Greek: ekklesia) “and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it?”
          Man has built a myriad of individual kingdoms over the centuries that hell has prevailed over. Jesus said He will build “my ekklesia,” which is much different than the monuments to man’s wisdom which we call church. Man’s wisdom is “earthly, sensual and devilish” James said.
          Shouldn’t we question that human wisdom and go back to the Author and Finisher of our faith and obey Him and follow Godly wisdom?
          What has our human wisdom accomplished for us in 2,000 years? Read any newspaper, watch any news broadcast.

False Teachers

2 Peter 2:1-3
          1 But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.
          2 And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of.
          3 And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not.

          The word in the Greek for “make merchandise” is translated as “buy and sell” in James 4:13. It denotes selling something to make a profit.
          The Amplified Bible reads: “And in their covetousness (lust, greed) they will exploit you with (cunnning) false arguments. From of old the sentence [of condemnation] for them has not been idle; their destruction (eternal misery) has not been asleep.”
          The Living Bible is more direct: “These teachers in their greed will tell you anything to get hold of your money. But God condemned them long ago and their destruction is on the way.”
          You know the origin and the purpose of the tithe and its relationship to the totality of a worship system implemented by God. You know the warning of Peter about false teachers. You know the scriptural commandment concerning support of those called by God to teach and preach the gospel.
          Romans 14:23: “And he that doubteth is damned if he eat, because he eateth not of faith: for whatsoever is not of faith is sin.” James 4:17: “Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.”
          What you do in faith and what you do that you know is good will keep you from sin.

Go Beyond The Law And The Tithe In Consecretation Of Self And Substance To God

          “The paying of the tithes was an important part of the Jewish religious worship. In the days of Hezekiah one of the first results of the reformation of religion was the eagerness with which the people brought in their tithes (2 Chr. 31:5, 6). The neglect of this duty was sternly rebuked by the prophets (Amos 4:4; Mal. 3:8-10). It cannot be affirmed that the Old Testament law of tithes is binding on the Christian Church, nevertheless the principle of this law remains, and is incorporated in the gospel (1 Cor. 9:13, 14); and if, as is the case, the motive that ought to prompt to liberality in the cause of religion and of the service of God be greater now than in Old Testament times, then Christians ought to go beyond the ancient Hebrew in consecrating both themselves and their substance to God.” (Easton’s Bible Dictionary)
          “In the Old Testament the purpose of the giving of a tenth was to meet the material need of the Levite, the stranger, the fatherless (the orphan), and the widow (Deut. 26:12-13). The tithe was an expression of gratitude to God by His people. Basic to tithing was the acknowledgment of God’s ownership of everything in the earth. In the New Testament the words tithe and tithing appear only eight times (Matt. 23:23, Luke 11:42, 18:12, Heb. 7:5-6, 8-9). All of these passages refer to Old Testament usage and to current Jewish practice. Nowhere does the New Testament expressly command Christians to tithe. However, as believers we are to be generous in sharing our material possessions with the poor and for the support of Christian ministry. Christ Himself is our model in giving. Giving is to be voluntary, willing, cheerful, and given in the light of our accountability to God. Giving should be systematic and by no means limited to a tithe of our incomes. We recognize that all we have is from God. We are called to be faithful stewards of all our possessions (Rom 14:12, 1 Cor 9:3-14, 16:1-3, 2 Cor 8-9).” (Nelson’s Bible Dictionary)


          Jesus said: “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.” (Matthew 5:17,18).
          Paul the apostle said: “For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace” (Romans 6:14). “But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter” (Romans 7:6). “For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth” (Romans 10:4).
          In the minds of some, there is a conflict here between what Jesus said and what Paul said and they attempt to resolve it by declaring that all aspects of the law that dealt with Israel’s status as a nation are no longer valid, however the moral laws, and specifically the Ten Commandments, are still in effect.
          However, if we can accept the words of both Jesus and Paul as literal truth, we resolve the question easily. Jesus fulfilled the law, i.e., He filled it full, He completed it, gave it richer meaning. He expanded the external requirements for obeying the law to include being accountable for the inner motives of our heart.
          Since that is so, then for Christians—the ekklesia of God—Jesus has taken the place of the Mosaic law by adding to it and giving it a fuller and richer meaning. The Mosaic law is assimilated into the totality of all that Christ is. And until “heaven and earth pass,” i.e., the natural world as we know it, the fulfilled law, abiding in the person, presence and power of Jesus Christ will continue to exist.
          With this understanding, we see a new significance of the interwoven rich tapestry of themes orchestrated under the Mosaic law, of meeting with God, and acknowledging Him, and each person the other. This has comprised an integrated and harmonized garment of praise unto Him under the old covenant, and it is now embodied into the very glory of our risen Lord (John 17:10).
          Today, we, as His body, worship Jesus in spirit and in truth (John 4:23,24), not through the Mosaic law and its intricate system of offerings, firstfruits, first born, sacrifices, rituals, practices, feasts, and observances under a theocracy. Recognizing that this system was valid only until the new covenant, we now focus upon Jesus Christ and rejoice in His magnificent work on the cross.
          Our focus is not upon obedience to the rituals of the Mosaic law, but it is upon the person of Jesus Christ Himself—as His disciples, i.e., learners, imitators and supporters of Jesus, our teacher, and Him crucified.
          Do we dare to attempt to extract from the totality of the corporate body of Jesus Christ this single thread of the commandment of the holy “tithe” of God from the blended Old Testament tapestry of the glorious garment of praise to Him? And then attempt to redesign, reweave and alter its symmetry to utilize for our profane purposes? And to violate the very commandments and will of God in order to satisfy our fleshly desires to build a personal “church” kingdom of brick, steel, glass and flesh and blood? A human kingdom that is in opposition to the spiritual ekklesia that Jesus is building?
          If such a fundamental understanding of the commandments and will of God is lacking, how can we trust those who would attempt to teach us the truth of our God?

An Important Message