(Haggai 1:6-11 - You have planted much, but have harvested little. You eat, but
never have enough. You drink, but never have your fill. You put on clothes, but are
not warm. You earn wages, only to put them in a purse with holes in it." 7 This
is what the LORD Almighty says: "Give careful thought to your ways. 8 Go up
into the mountains and bring down timber and build the house, so that I may take
pleasure in it and be honored," says the LORD. 9 "You expected much, but
see, it turned out to be little. What you brought home, I blew away. Why?" declares
the LORD Almighty. "Because of my house, which remains a ruin, while each of
you is busy with his own house. 10 Therefore, because of you the heavens have withheld
their dew and the earth its crops. 11 I called for a drought on the fields and the
mountains, on the grain, the new wine, the oil and whatever the ground produces,
on men and cattle, and on the labor of your hands." - Here in this passage,
the Lord is specifically speaking concerning tithing. Those who do not tithe as He
has instructed, will be cursed. They will plant much crops, but little will grow.
They will eat and drink much, but will always remain hungry and thirsty - the food
will not seem to satisfy. Their clothes will not keep them warm. The money that they
do earn, the Lord will cause to not be sufficient to live on, or to pay their bills.)
By following the tithe, blessings would be attained. By not tithing, or by going about tithing incorrectly, blessings would be withheld, and punishment would be inflicted.
The law was never changed to allow money to be substituted for animals and crops. So by making the substitution ourselves, we invite God's curse upon our lives, not His blessing!
The fact that we do not have crops or animals is beside the fact. Read Lev. 27:30 - 33 again. It does not say to tithe of what you have, whatever that might be. It specifically says that the grain of the soil, the fruit of the trees, and the animals from every herd and flock are the tithe.
If we want to continue paying the tithe, then we must do it Biblically. We must pay with crops and animals. This is the only pattern that the Bible gives us for tithing. It does not make any provision whatsoever for substituting something else, and in fact, even warns that he who does so will be cursed.
2. God decreed that the tithe was to be given to the Levitical Priests.
Ok, so we have gone out and become farmers in order to be able to Biblically fulfill the tithing commandments. Now who do we give them to? We've been giving our paychecks to the Pastor, but the Word of God stated that they were to be given to the Levites, specifically.
Giving to the Pastor does nothing to fulfill tithing law. We must give to the Levites.
3. God decreed that the tithe should be taken to the place that He would declare.
We take our tithe to the place we have chosen: The church. Again, this does nothing to fulfill the law of the tithe.
Ok, we've become farmers, we've traveled to Israel, and we've paid mucho bucks to have our livestock and vegetables transported via air-freight. We've also located Levitical Priests. You can't just give them the tithe, you have to take the tithe to the place the Lord will choose.
While you're praying for the Lord to direct you to the proper place, let me clarify something for those of us who are less wealthy.
If we can't afford to take our tithe with us on the airplane, then we need to sell it all here, travel to Israel, and buy up what we need there. Then we need to find the priests, and find out from God where to go to give it to them.
As you can see, there is no practical way in the world that we can continue to pay the tithe, even if we wanted to! We can attain a form of tithing, but we would only be denying the power and the blessing of it.
Don't forget, every third year, you are to store the tithe in your town for the poor. They get to eat it for free. How does that grab you?
None of this is practical for us today. So how in the world can God expect us to continue to tithe?
Guess what? He doesn't.
The instructions concerning the tithe never changed, however, there was something that was changed. The Law itself. The law was abolished by Jesus Christ when he died on Calvary.
Eph. 2:11-16 - Therefore, remember that formerly you who are Gentiles by birth and called "uncircumcised" by those who call themselves "the circumcision" (that done in the body by the hands of men)- 12 remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ.
14 For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, 15 by abolishing in his flesh the law with its commandments and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace, 16 and in this one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility.
What does this say? It says that Jesus Christ abolished the law with its commandments and regulations.
This means we are free from the law of offering sacrifices. It means we are free from the law of not working on the sabbath. It means we are free from the law of tithing to the priests. The priesthood itself was done away with, so there is no longer anyone left to give the tithe to!
Jesus Christ has become our one and only High Priest, and he instituted a new law:
Matthew 22:37-40 - Jesus replied: "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments."
What did he say? All the law is fulfilled if these two commandments are kept. This includes the law of tithing.
Acts 15:5-20 - Then some of the believers who belonged to the party of the Pharisees stood up and said, "The Gentiles must be circumcised and required to obey the law of Moses."
6 The apostles and elders met to consider this question. 7 After much discussion, Peter got up and addressed them: "Brothers, you know that some time ago God made a choice among you that the Gentiles might hear from my lips the message of the gospel and believe. 8 God, who knows the heart, showed that he accepted them by giving the Holy Spirit to them, just as he did to us. 9 He made no distinction between us and them, for he purified their hearts by faith. 10 Now then, why do you try to test God by putting on the necks of the disciples a yoke that neither we nor our fathers have been able to bear? 11 No! We believe it is through the grace of our Lord Jesus that we are saved, just as they are."
12 The whole assembly became silent as they listened to Barnabas and Paul telling about the miraculous signs and wonders God had done among the Gentiles through them. 13 When they finished, James spoke up: "Brothers, listen to me. 14 Simon has described to us how God at first showed his concern by taking from the Gentiles a people for himself. 15 The words of the prophets are in agreement with this, as it is written:
16 "'After this I will return
and rebuild David's fallen tent.
Its ruins I will rebuild,
and I will restore it,
17 that the remnant of men may seek the Lord,
and all the Gentiles who bear my name,
says the Lord, who does these things'
18 that have been known for ages.
19 "It is my judgment, therefore, that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God. 20 Instead we should write to them, telling them to abstain from food polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from the meat of strangled animals and from blood.
In this passage, the Pharisees saw that the Gentiles were also becoming saved. They said that if the Gentiles were to take part of salvation along with the Jew, then they must also follow all of the laws of Moses, just as they were required to do.
The disciples met together and discussed this very question. Peter answered them by saying, "Do not test God by making the Gentiles subject to the law of Moses, which even the Jews were unable to keep."
Tithing was part of that Mosaic law. Peter said that to try and keep the law, of which tithing was a part, would be to test God.
As we have seen, we Gentiles can in no way follow the Biblical commandments on tithing. This would be a yoke around our necks that would force us to the ground, for we would never be able to bear it. In fact, Peter says that not even the Jews followed the law in the way they should have. If they found the yoke heavy, how burdensome do you think we would find it?
Peter then gives the Gentile law:
1) Gentiles are not to eat meat offered to idols.
2) Gentiles are not to be sexually immoral.
3) Gentiles are not to eat the meat of any animal that has been strangled.
4) Gentiles are not to eat or drink blood.
If tithing was a necessary part of the New Testament Church, then Peter here has the perfect opportunity to explain it to us. But he does not mention it at all!
Romans 3:21 - But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify.
Before the resurrection of Jesus Christ, the only righteousness a person could have was tied to the Law. But NOW (after the resurrection of Christ) a righteousness has been explained to us that has nothing to do with the law. In fact, the law itself testified of this new righteousness!
Hebrews 7:11-12 - If perfection could have been attained through the Levitical priesthood (for on the basis of it the law was given to the people), why was there still need for another priest to come-one in the order of Melchizedek, not in the order of Aaron? 12 For when there is a change of the priesthood, there must also be a change of the law.
The law was given to the people for the basis of perfection, or righteousness, or salvation. However, righteousness was not attainable through this law. That is why a new priest (Jesus) had to come, in order to allow us to finally attain righteousness.
Verse 12 finishes by stating clearly, that "when there is a change of the priesthood, there must also be a change of the law".
So when Jesus came, the law changed. No longer do we live under the Mosaic law, and this includes the law of tithing.
Gal. 3:25 - Now that faith has come, we are no longer under the supervision of the law.
So is tithing a commandment that we have been given to follow? Is it one of the steps necessary for salvation? Is it part of the Armor of God that will make us stronger Christians, able to stand against the wiles of the devil? Are we told that blessings will be withheld from us if we do not tithe?
The answer is "No" to all of these questions.
If you decide that you want to live under the law, then go ahead and try. But make sure that you follow the tithing law just as the Bible instructs that it be carried out. If you change it, then you are no longer following the instructions of the Lord, but have created for yourself a new law that is only a law unto yourself.
Beware! If anyone says to you that if you do not tithe you are lost, cursed, or have robbed God, then they error, and twist the gospel of Christ.
Some people will quote Malachi 3:8,9 - "Will a man rob God? Yet you rob me. "But you ask, 'How do we rob you?' "In tithes and offerings. 9 You are under a curse-the whole nation of you-because you are robbing me.
Remember, this was spoken in the Old Testament, when the people were still under the Mosaic law. This is the law that was abolished by the resurrection of Christ. We are no longer under it.
Well, then, why do preachers today continue to preach tithes, if we are no longer under that law?
Some believe that this is how the pastor is to be taken care of. Some believe that the Church of God is to be funded in this manner. Others believe that since the Lord blesses a cheerful giver, the institution of a tithe creates a situation in which the believer is able to give unto the Lord, thereby receiving blessings.
There is no Bible for any of this.
The New Testament has much to say on the subject of giving, but not a word concerning tithing - because tithing, along with the rest of the Mosaic Law, was done away with.
But isn't it necessary for the Pastor to be taken care of? Isn't it necessary to pay for the expenses that the Church incurs? Isn't it a good thing to create an environment in which the saints are able to give?
1st Cor. 9:13,14 - Don't you know that those who work in the temple get their food from the temple, and those who serve at the altar share in what is offered on the altar? 14 In the same way, the Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should receive their living from the gospel.
The scriptures say here that the Priests get their nourishment from what is given to the altar (the tithe). In the same way, those who preach the gospel are to be taken care of by the Body of Christ for doing so.
Matthew 10:5-14 - These twelve Jesus sent out with the following instructions: "Do not go among the Gentiles or enter any town of the Samaritans. 6 Go rather to the lost sheep of Israel. 7 As you go, preach this message: 'The kingdom of heaven is near.' 8 Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received, freely give. 9 Do not take along any gold or silver or copper in your belts; 10 take no bag for the journey, or extra tunic, or sandals or a staff; for the worker is worth his keep.
11 "Whatever town or village you enter, search for some worthy person there and stay at his house until you leave. 12 As you enter the home, give it your greeting. 13 If the home is deserving, let your peace rest on it; if it is not, let your peace return to you. 14 If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, shake the dust off your feet when you leave that home or town.
Here we see an actual example of how the preachers are to be taken care of.
Jesus did not say, "I am sending you out into the world. Now understand how you are to be taken care of, and the design you are to follow in order to further the Kingdom of God on earth. You are to collect a tithe from the people, which you can use to live on and to pay for the expenses that you incur."
Jesus said to take nothing with them. Find believers to stay with who will take care of your needs.
He also said, "the worker is worth his keep". In other words, the preacher is worth his keep, because of the work that he does. The preaching of the gospel is worth room and board to the preacher.
Room and board is given to those who do something to earn it. That may mean working in the fields, translating government documents, or running a business. Scripture says here that preaching of the gospel is equal with any other profession. Those who preach should be taken care of.
This matches perfectly with what Paul said. Those who preach the gospel should receive their living from it.
The difference here, is that the Bible does not tell us how to go about it!
Yes, we are to provide for our Preachers (not just our Church Overseers). But how we go about providing for them is up to us to decide. We are not instructed that the tithe is for this purpose.
Providing for the preachers of Christ is a commandment, but no law is made concerning how that commandment is to be fulfilled.
If you are paying tithes because you have been ordered to do so, or because you have been instructed or encouraged to do so, please understand that what you are doing has no basis in scripture.
The Bible says that you must take care of your preachers. It does not say that you are to give them ten percent of your paycheck (before taxes) in order to do so.
If your preachers' needs have been met, as in the case of Randolph James Thurber III, then why do you continue to heap money unto them?
Jesus prayed that we would be given our daily bread. Not furs, jewelry, and a Mercedes.
Proverbs 30:8,9 - Keep falsehood and lies far from me; give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread. 9 Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you and say, 'Who is the LORD?' Or I may become poor and steal, and so dishonor the name of my God.
We are to provide the preachers of the gospel with their daily bread. Not riches, nor poverty, but we are to simply meet their daily needs.
Providing for their daily needs may take the form of anything you wish: groceries, clothing, a place to stay for the night, and a shelter from the weather. It need not be money, and it need not be ten percent of whatever you have.
Easton's Bible Dictionary has this to say concerning tithes: "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"
I would agree with this whole-heartedly. The law of tithes is not binding on the New Testament Church, but the principle remains.
So, not only is tithing not a requirement for us today, but the attempt to live under the law and to use money for a substitution may even bring down curses upon your head!
Don't forget: search the scriptures to see if the things that are being told to you are correct.
John 5:39 - Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.
Acts 17:11 - Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.
Study the scriptures and learn about giving. Give out of your poverty, not your abundance. (See the Bible Study titled "Poverty: The Key To Power")
Make sure the preachers of the gospel are taken care of, and learn to be a cheerful giver, for the Lord gives much blessing to those who give.
2nd Cor. 9:7 - Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.
How does tithing look under the light of this scripture?
After saying all this, after revealing the freedom to you that you have in Christ, I would be remiss if I did not say this:
Christ has given us many freedoms. However, if in your heart you cannot understand some of these freedoms, and believe that it would be sin for you to partake of them, then DON'T!
Proverbs 23:7 - For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he:
If you believe that you are engaging in sin, even if the act in question has not been decreed by God to be sin, it is still sin to you.
If you believe that what you are doing is sin, and you engage in it anyway, even if in all truth, the Lord does not consider it to be sin, truly you have committed sin anyway.
1st Cor. 8:1-13 explains this beautifully, using the freedom of eating food offered to idols, as an example.
Now about food sacrificed to idols: We know that we all possess knowledge. Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up. 2 The man who thinks he knows something does not yet know as he ought to know. 3 But the man who loves God is known by God.
4 So then, about eating food sacrificed to idols: We know that an idol is nothing at all in the world and that there is no God but one. 5 For even if there are so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth (as indeed there are many "gods" and many "lords"), 6 yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we live; and there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live.
7 But not everyone knows this. Some people are still so accustomed to idols that when they eat such food they think of it as having been sacrificed to an idol, and since their conscience is weak, it is defiled. 8 But food does not bring us near to God; we are no worse if we do not eat, and no better if we do.
9 Be careful, however, that the exercise of your freedom does not become a stumbling block to the weak. 10 For if anyone with a weak conscience sees you who have this knowledge eating in an idol's temple, won't he be emboldened to eat what has been sacrificed to idols? 11 So this weak brother, for whom Christ died, is destroyed by your knowledge. 12 When you sin against your brothers in this way and wound their weak conscience, you sin against Christ. 13 Therefore, if what I eat causes my brother to fall into sin, I will never eat meat again, so that I will not cause him to fall.
If you have understood the freedom that you have in Christ from the law of tithes, then I rejoice with you in the illuminating of the Word of God to your soul!
However, if you still believe that tithing is a necessary requirement of God, then by all means, continue to tithe. If you believe that tithing is necessary for salvation, but you cease to pay your tithes because of what I have presented here, then you sin, and I sin, for corrupting your conscience.
Be true to your conscience! The Lord is looking for those who are pure in heart, and you cannot be pure if you are doing things in a bad conscience, even if those things are not sin.
So, I offer you this truth of tithing. If you can accept it, than I praise God for your freedom.
If not, then you must weigh the curse of offering an improper tithe, against the sin of defiling your conscience.
Whatever you do, do not remain ignorant of the truth, but search the scriptures and look into this matter yourself until your spirit is at peace with it.
May God richly bless you!
Chad J. McCoy
Dark Savant Ministries
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