Christianity: On Tithes And Giving

Ufuoma E-AshogbonPosted by

1. THE GREAT DECEPTION

"Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.  For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie..." (Rev 22:14-15).

I write this post with this caution from Jesus Christ in my mind, and I hope all will read it having the fear of God too.

Two Sundays ago, while in Church, God gave me the inspiration to write this series.  But at the time, I didn't know it would turn out to be a series.  Now I know He was preparing me to deal with some things about Christianity that I have been too fearful to address head on.

At Church, I listened to a man who spoke so powerfully God's truth, and taught on the difference between Children of God and Sons of God.  The man spoke boldly about a lot of the Church's short comings and sins, particularly that they mollycoddle babies and do not raise sons, and I was so moved by his message.  He even said that "98% truth and 2% lie is a LIE".  See people nodding and laughing away.

Then the man closed everything by emphasising that Sons of God pay their tithes, and only children argue about it!  It makes you want to shout "YEAH!", right?  That's if you believe in tithing, of course, and everything your Pastor has told or not told you about it.

Well, for me, it was the LIE that spoilt the whole sermon.  And what was worse, was that his challenge that only children will contest the tithe was really just a SHAME BOMB, which closes off further thought, reasoning and discussion and results in a lot of fearful, proud and insecure people, who are uncertain about what they believe, succumbing to pressure to FIT his definition of Sons of God and drop their search for the truth.  Well, I am here to speak the truth, and if you desire a clearer understanding, read on...

2. SPEAK OUT

"...have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them" (Eph 5:11).

You know, I've been wanting to write about this, since God gave me revelation and understanding concerning this teaching many years ago.  Over the course of my ministry on this blog, people have asked me my perspective on the teaching of tithing in Christianity, and I have answered them boldly.  I've entered quite heated arguments over it, and I have told myself countless times that I should write a post on it...  But I never did.

The inspiration never flowed to write this post I am about to write.  The passion was never there, so I felt it was God who held me back from sharing that understanding.  I also didn't see this as any reason to have a fight with my brothers and sisters.  I reasoned, if they want to tithe because they believe they need to tithe, let them tithe!  They are still giving, which is what we are commanded to do.

My problem has really been with those who shame and condemn the Lord's free people, who Peter describes as a "...chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people..." (1 Pet 2:9).  Those who guilt-trip them and place burdens on them, and/or teach that their salvation is in anyway tied to this religious practice.  My concern has been that no one should compel the Lord's free to carry a burden He has not placed on them, and that none should propagate a lie in His name.

I am writing now, because I am finally bold enough to stand publicly against this false practice in Christianity, and hope to deliver the Lord's free children from bondage to a spiritual system of slavery.  I thought I was being gracious by not speaking out against this teaching before, though I have been convinced in my mind since I became a Believer.  However, now I have a better understanding of Grace and Truth, I know that I was not.

Grace is not only mercy (pardon) but also empowerment.  It is not gracious to let people disempower or oppress others.  I am not empowering (giving grace to) them to do right by withholding correction nor the truth from them.  Mercy without empowerment, which requires a re-education in the truth, is corruption and not grace.  It is perverse.  It is unloving.  And of that, I've been guilty and now repent.

Ignorance of the truth does not ever warrant pardon for error, especially for those who stand as ministers or teachers over us.  As James said, not many should seek to be teachers, because they will stand in greater judgement (Jam 3:1).  So, though many teachers and ministers who teach that Believers are bound to tithe, will claim that that is what they too were taught, they really have no defense.  The Bible is there for all of us to read and learn, and as many of them keep telling their congregation to not only read, but study the scriptures, they too ought to have done their own due diligence (2 Tim 2:15).

Those who teach that tithing is required of Christians know that they have no leg to stand on, as they have just a few scriptures which they twist to support their beliefs, and so are QUICK to shut down debate and critical thinking.  They use such tactics as SHAME BOMBING and outright CONDEMNATION, quoting Malachi to accuse the Lord's free that they are robbing God, and are thus cursed.  But they lack understanding at best and sincerity at worst.

However, I will not be surprised that many will not change nor be convicted by the truth.  I doubt many ever taught this teaching with a good and clear conscience.  Anyone who truly knows the Hebrew Scriptures, the practice of Judaism and the New Covenant cannot be confused on this matter.  I dare say, therefore, that their confusion and ignorance is deliberate!

3. THE GREAT DEBATE

"Prove all things; hold fast that which is good" (1 Thes 5:21).

In my preparation to write this post, I came across three sites that I would like to reference.  The first article was called THE TRIAL OF THE TITHE, and it was a good one to read, even though we came to different conclusions.  That said, the writer realised the lack of evidence in his favour to compel others to tithe, as he chooses to.  However, he shares a good understanding of the history of the tithe and its practice in both Judaism and Christianity.

The second article shares my understanding on this issue (though I have more to add), and a few other things I hadn't known before.  It will be a great post to read for those who are sincere about getting to the truth of this matter.  It has got a punchy title: THE TITHE IS ILLEGAL.

One of the things that they emphasised, that I had not been bold enough to address is that even those who tithe, but do not teach others to tithe, are in error and ought also to repent.  This I agree with because by their actions, they will continue to propagate this false teaching, promote and support those who lie to the Church, and condemn themselves, while judging those who do not adhere to this custom.  If we believe the truth, then we ought to practice the truth and not continue in error and confusion.  And if we do not warn the people, God will hold us accountable (Eze 3:18-21)!

There are two ways to address this doctrinal debate.  One will be to seek to counter the opposition's arguments, by specifically addressing the choice scriptures that they believe support their understanding.  The other would be simply to teach the truth about the New Covenant, while addressing the question of tithing.  I do not have time to try to cover all bases in this debate (which is why I have referenced other articles), but I have time to teach on the true practice of Christians when it comes to tithes and giving.

4. SONS OF GOD

"But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God" (John 1:12-13).

It is important to start this study with an understanding of who we are in Christ.  First and foremost, we are children of God (Gal 3:26).  And we know that the children of any king are FREE from obligatory payments in their father's kingdom, and neither do they pay rent to abide in his castle.  Instead, as they have freely received, they should exercise grace and wisdom in giving (Matt 10:8).

There's a notable event I like to cite, which I believe was Jesus' way of teaching Peter about his (and our) liberty in the New Covenant.  Peter was asked one day, "Does your Master pay tribute?" (that's the Temple Tax - remember, that's His Father's house!), and Peter affirms that Jesus paid the tax, even though he didn't know.  He assumed.  Or maybe, he thought he was covering up for Jesus.

What is interesting is that when Peter meets Jesus, it is Jesus who brings up the subject, and He prevents Peter from entering the house.  I suppose Jesus had not witnessed it, but knew by the Holy Spirit what had transpired.  So, He asks Peter: "What thinkest thou, Simon? of whom do the kings of the earth take custom or tribute? of their own children, or of strangers?" (Matt 17:25).

Of course, Peter answers that it is the strangers who pay custom and tribute.  So, now Jesus tells him to do a strange thing.  Rather than go to the money bag to pay His overdue temple tax, He sends Peter to collect enough money for just the two of them from the mouth of a fish, to pay for the tax that Peter went and tied Jesus to pay, by saying that He paid tribute.  This He did, so as not to offend them...(vs 27).

Clearly, Jesus didn't pay the Temple tax, then or after.  He did this to teach Peter an important spiritual lesson about who He (Jesus Christ) is as God's Son, and our liberty in Him.  He said, and I quote: "the children are free!" (v26).

Secondly, Peter reveals one of the truths of the New Covenant, which is that we are a Royal Priesthood (1 Pet 2:9).  This is two-fold.  We are a holy nation of Princes and Princesses and Priests and Priestesses of the Most High God.  Each and everyone of us who is in the Body of Christ are both royal and priestly, and as we are also told by Peter, we ought to speak as oracles of God (1 Pet 4:11)!  There are no set-apart Priests in the New Covenant to whom we ought to pay tithes, for we are all SET APART - the meaning of holy.

Royalty and Priests NEVER pay dues, but receive gifts, taxes, tithes and offerings from those they serve/minister to.  I taught more on this in my article THINK BIGGER!  It is a great one to read to fully understand and appreciate your identity and liberty in Christ.

5. THE LAW

"...before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed.  Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.  But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster" (Gal 3:23-25).

Now, about the purpose of the tithe, and the spiritual principal of tithing.  This becomes a legalistic discussion, but when it was instituted among the Jews, it was very legalistic, though there was a powerful message and spirit behind it.  Here are some things you might not know about the tithing system:

1. There were two systems that the Israelites practiced.  One while they were in the Wilderness (Lev 27:30-34), and the other, after they were settled in their cities (Deu 12:5-11).  In the former, the Israelites were not permitted to go near the tabernacle, but the Levites were to obtain the tithes from them (Num 18:22).  In the latter, the Israelites were to journey with their tithes to the Temple, or convert to money (if the journey was far) and take the same with them for feasting and celebration with their families, the Levites and the poor (Deu 14:22-29).

2. In the first system, all the tithes were to be given to the Priests and the Levites, who would use it for their upkeep, ministry in the tabernacle and to distribute to the poor, as they had no inheritance of their own (Num 18:20-32).  They were set apart to God and their inheritance was God, just as we are!  So, if there is to be any comparison to the Jews, Christians are like the Levites in regards to worldly possession.  Remember how Jesus called us to forsake all, so that we can be His disciples (Luke 14:33).  In Christianity, everything we have is God's, and we are merely stewards of it (Matt 25:14-30).

3. If the tithes were to be redeemed (converted to money), they were redeemed by adding a fifth (20%) (Lev 27:31).  Thinking legalistically, those who are following this first system of tithing would have to give 30% tithe, since they all are now giving in cash!

4. The Levites tithed of the tithes they collected to the Priests.  The portion for the Priests (Aaron and his descendants) was the heave offering, which was a tenth of the tithe and choice parts of the tithes collected by the Levites (Num 18:28).  The rest were for the remaining Levites.

5. In the second system, there was a three year tithing cycle (Deu 14:28-29; Deu 26:12-15) and on the seventh year, there were to be no tithes collected, because that was the Year of Sabbath, when the land was given rest as well as the people (Leviticus 25)!

6. The first two years of this three year cycle was for feasting and celebration WITH YOUR TITHE.  The Israelites had power over their tithes to enjoy them, as long as they brought the celebration to the House of God, whether bringing their livestock and produce or cash equivalent.  And of course, they were free to share or give of their tithe to those in need (Deu 14:22-29).

7. On the third year of the cycle, referred to as the Year of Tithing (Deu 26:12), they were to lay up the tithes within their city gates for distribution among the Levites, the stranger, the fatherless, widow etc (Deu 14:28-29).  Basically, give to the poor and needy.  They were not commanded to take these to the Temple, but what was given to the Levites was too much for them, and good stewardship demanded that such would be stored and later distributed among the poor.

8. Not everything was tithed!  The tithe was specifically concerning livestock and produce, and in case you have missed the point so far, was instituted to feed the Levites, and the poor and forsaken.  It was not a tithe on labour nor on services rendered.  Servants who had no fields, livestock nor grain had no requirement to tithe of their wages.  In fact, if you only had nine sheep, you had nothing to tithe, because the tithe was the TENTH part (Lev 27:32-34).  That's a critical difference between the tithe and the Law of the Firstborn (which were either sacrificed or redeemed, by sacrificing a lamb or following other specific laws - depending on WHAT was being redeemed.  Read Exodus 13).

9. Not everyone was required to tithe.  Today, Pastors collect tithes and boast of giving tithes too, and it only shows they have no understanding of what they are teaching.  The Levites were exempted from paying tithes because they were a nation of priests, set apart for God.  They had no land, except what was given to them as offering to God, for them to use to minister to the people.

10. Gentiles were not permitted to tithe.  They were regarded as unclean, and so was their offering.  To practise tithing and the other Jewish customs, they first had to become Jews, and that included being circumcised.

11. Only produce from the land of Israel were permissible as tithes and offerings.  This was because the other lands were considered unclean, and as such, those offerings would defile the Temple and Israel.

12. Only Levites were permitted to collect tithes!  That is one of the many reasons why Jews today DO NOT TITHE!  They have no one to tithe to, because the genealogical records were destroyed with their Temple, and they so fear their Law, which they know well, not to tempt God by tithing to a fake Levite!  But Christian ministers of today know no such fear.

So, isn't funny that the people who should be harping on about tithing, are not, while those who are free are???  I wonder why that is...  Are you thinking what I'm thinking?  Maybe it is because are not truly free.  They have despised the Way that Jesus showed them and rebelled to practice Judaism, when even the Jews cannot practice Judaism...because it is that legalistic!

6. UNFAITHFUL SERVANTS

"But and if that servant say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; and shall begin to beat the menservants and maidens, and to eat and drink, and to be drunken; The lord of that servant will come in a day when he looketh not for him, and at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him in sunder, and will appoint him his portion with the unbelievers" (Luke 12:45-46).

Most preachers who teach on tithing do not even bother with these scriptures for this very reason.  They know it will expose them and blow their agenda wide open.  If people actually started looking into these scriptures, maybe they would realise that it was never talking about them.  Yet, these greedy deceivers are not afraid to cite Malachi!

8. Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings.
9. Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation.
10. Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.
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.
12. And all nations shall call you blessed: for ye shall be a delightsome land, saith the LORD of hosts.

(Malachi 3:8-12).

There are three things with these verses in Malachi.  First and foremost, God is NOT addressing Christians.  If you insist that He is - because you believe the whole Bible is the Word of God (check out my post on this) - then you have put yourself under the Covenant of Death (2 Cor 3:7), because that is what Malachi speaks to.  The old covenant, and more specifically, in this chapter, the covenant of Levi.

Secondly, from more scrutiny, we can see that Malachi is addressing the Priests and Levites in this section of the book, and not the whole nation of Israel (Read from Chapter 2).  So it was the Priests that God was accusing of robbing Him!  But wait, the Priests do not pay tithes...  Yes, but they managed the collection, storage and distribution of it, and that is the role many Pastors have put themselves in.  It seems that they had not been diligent in bringing the tithes to the storehouse for distribution, and had each been eating what was meant for the poor!

You see, God's concern is always for the oppressed!  We know that if one sinned in Israel, God often accused and punished ALL, so it is feasible that it was the Priests who were responsible for this rebuke.  But even if God meant the whole of Israel, YOU and I are not Israel, and the real Israel can no longer obey this commandment because they don't have a temple anymore!  How ridiculous is it then that a Minister of the New and Better Covenant would burden Believers to keep this Law that has been done away with?

Finally, how can anyone even use these verses to demand tithes of Christians, when they also speak of offerings...and not the 'freewill' offerings that Pastors keep asking for?  They speak of ALL the offerings that God demanded of the Israelites.  Do you know them all?  Are you keeping them all, along with paying "tithes"?  Because if you are not, you are still under a curse, especially for trying to keep this God-forsaken law in the first place (Gal 3:10-11)!

7. ABRAHAM AND MELCHIZEDEK

"...Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God.  And he blessed him, and said, Blessed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth:  And blessed be the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand. And he gave him tithes of all" (Gen 14:18-20).

Now, the last defense for the teaching that this practice is applicable to Christians is found in Genesis 14 and Hebrews 7, and it is about Abraham.  You really can't address the principle of tithing without acknowledging this "evidence" that Abraham tithed - once - to the mysterious King of Salem (Peace) and Priest of the Most High, who has "...neither beginning of days, nor end of life..." (Heb 7:3).  For a thorough understanding of this event, lets look at the facts:

1. Abraham was returning from a war, with the spoils of war;

2. The King of Salem, who was also a Priest, met Abraham along the way and blessed him;

3. After this, Abraham, who had never met this Priest before, honoured him with a tenth of all his spoils of war (Heb 7:4).

4. Abraham gave away the remainder of the spoils to the king of Sodom, saying "lest thou shouldest say, I have made Abram rich" (Gen 14:23).

5. Abraham did not tithe a tenth of his annual income to this Priest that year, or anytime after that.  It was a once in a lifetime meeting - and offering.

Now, the writer of Hebrews says that this was Abraham giving tithes, and goes so far as to say that through Abraham, the Levites, who by their Priesthood were exempted from tithes, paid tithes to this higher Priesthood, which has been named after this mysterious King Melchizedek.  However, this was clearly a freewill offering that was a tenth and not a tithe in the manner of the Levitical Priesthood, which is a mandatory annual giving of the first fruits of their increase (Deuteronomy 26).  By definition, what Abraham gave was not a tithe, but it has symbolic relevance.

Why did Abraham give 10% to this King, instead of giving everything to the king of Sodom?  Why didn't Abraham just give EVERYTHING to Melchizedek if he didn't want it?  Why did Abraham even give the rest to the king of Sodom?  Why is no one analysing that?  On what basis can we suppose that Abraham gave this 'tithe' yearly or even ever again?

There is no basis to argue that Abraham gave tithes at all, only that Abraham honoured Melchizedek with 10% of his spoils of war, and still kept none for himself.  It says more about WHO Melchizedek is (I intend to write more about this later - not in this series) than it does about tithing as a practice for Believers or anyone...  And that is exactly the whole point of the seventh chapter of Hebrews, which was written at a time when many of the Jews were reverting back to their old covenant.  It was to reveal the Priesthood of Christ, which is unending and ONCE FOR ALL.

So, the writer of the Book of Hebrews says that the Levites (and all of us who are children of Abraham) by extension, paid tithes through Abraham to this higher everlasting Priesthood.  And Jesus died once for all, to redeem all who believe in Him, as the High Priest of this higher Priesthood.  See the symbolic relevance?

Abraham fulfilled whatever spiritual law required tithes of us, even before the Law of Moses, and Jesus fulfilled the spiritual Law of blood sacrifice to redeem us.  This they both did WITHOUT COMPULSION!  That is the BETTER covenant, people!  It is Spirit-led, "for as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God" (Rom 8:14).   For we know also that "the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life" (2 Cor 3:6).

8. THE EVERLASTING COVENANT

"Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham.  And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed" (Gal 3:7-8).

You ought to know that there is a difference between the children of Israel and the children of Abraham!  Not all the children of Israel are the children of Abraham.  Jesus even said this (John 8:39-47).  And not all the children of Abraham were once children of Israel (John 10:16, Rom 9:25-27).  By natural birth, they were children of Israel, but by faith, we are children of Abraham...and of the promise (Gal 3:29).

This is important when understanding the significance of this tithe or offering that Abraham gave.  It was only after this that God made an everlasting covenant with Abraham (Genesis 15 and 17).  Before that, God had only called Abraham out to follow Him (Genesis 12).  Abraham met with the Priest of God and knew he was in the presence of God and gave a freewill offering to Melchizedek.  This showed faith, and by forsaking all of the spoils, Abraham showed righteousness.

Now, consider Jacob, who was renamed Israel by God when he wrestled with an angel of God (Gen 32:22-32).  He previously bargained with God saying "if You will bless me, I will tithe..." (Gen 28:20-22).  Jacob is doing what many Preachers are teaching Christians to do; to bargain with God.  To tithe so they will be blessed, not realising that they are already blessed!  And then threatening them with curses if they will not.  If only they knew who they were, they would know that they were FREE INDEED (John 8:36)!

If Jacob truly knew and believed the promise God gave his grandfather, Abraham, would he have bargained with God?  Would he not have already known that he was blessed???  For God said to Abraham, that He was his great reward (Gen 15:1).  So, while Abraham had faith, Jacob did not.  Jacob was of the flesh, like Cain was when he didn't offer God his best (Gen 4:1-5).  Even Jacob's scheming, cheating his brother out of his inheritance was of the flesh.  But God has decreed: "My righteous shall live by faith" (Gal 3:11-12, Heb 10:38).

Finally, there is no record that Jacob actually did tithe to God.  Maybe he was still waiting to be blessed first, without realising he was already blessed.  But I believe that it was because of Jacob's bargaining that the House of Israel tithed!

They kept their father's promise when they entered their inheritance!  And so Malachi speaks of the Covenant of Levi, for God took the Levites for His portion from the Israelites, so that they received the promised tithes on His behalf (Num 18:20-24).  But we, who are the children of Abraham are not subject to this covenant of tithing.

9. FREELY GIVE

"And all that believed were together, and had all things common; And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need" (Acts 2:44-45).

So now, what did the Disciples actually practice?  Is there evidence that they ever tithed?  No, there is no evidence that the Disciples ever gave tithes within Scripture.

There is no evidence that Jesus collected tithes, but evidence that He received aid from His followers (Luke 8:1-3), and He taught them to give FREELY (Matt 10:8) and DISCRETELY (Matt 6:1-3).  He also taught them to RECEIVE from those they ministered to, but only what was offered FREELY (Matt 10:11-14).  He taught that those who gave to even the least of His Disciples were giving to Him and would be blessed accordingly (Matt 10:40-42).  He encouraged giving with a teaching on multiplicity, but never once taught that they should tithe.

"Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again..." (Luke 6:38).

But someone will cite His charge to the Pharisees who He accused of ignoring "the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith..." (Matt 23:23), which they should have done, while also obeying God's commandment to the JEWS to give tithes!  This does not endorse tithing in the New Covenant, simply because the message was communicated in the book of the New Testament.  It only affirms that tithing for the Jews was right and good and established by God, as part of their LAW, and attests to their negligence in the things that REALLY mattered.

Another will now say, but Christ didn't come to destroy the Law, but fulfill it (Matt 5:17).  I really don't know where you are going with that.  You are either still under the Law or you are not.  He also said that anyone who changed the Law would be called least in the Kingdom of Heaven (vs 19).  Do you know that by trying to tithe as a Gentile and giving to your non-Levite Pastors, you are CHANGING the Law you are supposedly defending???

If you believe we should tithe because the Law wasn't destroyed, what about the other things God commanded the Israelites to keep in Deuteronomy?  What about all the special Sabbaths, and feasts and offerings?  What about the fact that YOU are not even tithing according to the Law of Moses, and so by continuing to tithe in error, you put yourself under a curse???  Have holy fear!

Still another will say that the tithe was pre-Mosiac, and thus still a hanging spiritual principle.  So was the Sabbath Day, which is on Saturdays and not Sundays, by the way.  Are you keeping that day holy too?  Do you even know the Laws pertaining to keeping the Sabbath holy?  You would break it just by driving your car!

Also, you should know that circumcision was also pre-Mosiac, and Paul put a pin in that baby (thank God!) while he was still alive.  As he said to the Galatians of his day, I say to you now:

1. Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.
2. Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing.
3. For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law.
4. Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.

(Galatians 5:1-4).

The reason the tithe was never mentioned in the New Testament (even during the landmark meeting they held in Jerusalem (Read Acts 15)), except with reference with the old custom, was because the early Disciples got the message on that one clearly not to bicker about it.  It was certainly, as practiced by the Jews, an Old Covenant Law, that required several things to be in place for it to function properly - most especially their Temple!!!

The Israelites also didn't practice is as a religious principle of 10% off the top of annual income.  The practice of it over time progressed, as we see that their first system in the Wilderness was amended when they crossed the Jordan into their promise land.  And it is also clear that they NEVER tithed while they were in Egypt.  So, if it was truly a spiritual principle, passed on from father to child for generations, they would have been no need to establish it among them, when they were delivered from bondage.

There is no evidence that Isaac tithed.  Also no evidence that Jacob tithed, though he made a deal with God that he would.  Who would he have tithed to anyway?

There's also no evidence that Joseph tithed, nor did he institute a tithing system when he was given authority to do so.  Rather, he made the Egyptians sell off all their lands and give 20% of their increase to Pharaoh (Gen 47:20-26)!  So, all we have is Abraham's tithe of spoils to build a doctrine that Christians should pay tithes of their income, because it was pre-Mosaic, even though Abraham's tithe was unusual and actually supports the belief that Christians are also redeemed from paying tithes through Abraham.

So, back to what I was saying about what the Disciples actually practiced.  Aside from the Bible, ancient records are unanimous in reporting that within the lifetime of the Apostles and several centuries after, Christians did not tithe.  What was evidenced was that they gave freely, whatever the Lord laid on their hearts to give towards the ministry and the poor, and it was sufficient for the Church to grow.  Many of them in the very beginning actually sold 100% of all they had in obedience to Jesus' teaching (Luke 12:33) and laid them at the feet of the Apostles to be distributed, so that there was no lack within their Fellowship (Acts 4:34-35)!

Tithing came back through Roman Law, when Constantine politicised Christianity by making it the state religion, and gave birth to the Roman Catholic Church.  Liberal giving was exchanged for a compulsory tithe that was taken as tax, to be used for building his religion and renovating pagan temples to be used as Church buildings.  To learn more about the history of tithing, and how it became a thorn in Christianity, check out this post by Douglas Weaver.  It has two parts.  The first part deals more with the purpose of the tithe, which I have covered above.

10. THE LAW OF LIBERTY

"...whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed" (James 1:25).

Brethren, you have been called to liberty, but do not use your liberty as an occasion to the flesh (Gal 5:13, 1 Pet 2:15-16).  The Law of Tithing was given to people with a heart of stone, who did not have the Spirit of God within them, so they could follow His promptings on when to give and whom to give.  We do not have that problem if we are in Christ (Heb 8:10-12, Rom 8:9).

We do not need a Law to tell us who to give to, and if we must be compelled to give, God does not want our gifts!!!  He is all-sufficient by Himself, having all the world's resources at His disposal (Psa 50:7-12).  If we won't look after His own, He has promised to look after all who seek first His Kingdom (Matt 6:25-34).  His true Ministers will NEVER con you out of money by laying such burdens, from which they too have been delivered and enjoy liberty, on you (Acts 15:10)!

Paul wrote often about giving, but never once mentioned the tithe.  He taught Believers to minister to the needs of other Saints and also to minister to the needs of the Apostles, who devoted themselves fully to the preaching of the Gospel (1 Tim 5:17-18, 1 Cor 9:1-14).  Chapter 9 of his second letter to the Corinthians is focused on giving, as he wrote to them to prepare their contributions to meet the needs of the Saints ahead of his coming.  I believe this excerpt from the letter is sufficient to lay down the New Testament principle and practice:

1. For as touching the ministering to the saints, it is superfluous for me to write to you:
2. For I know the forwardness of your mind, for which I boast of you to them of Macedonia, that Achaia was ready a year ago; and your zeal hath provoked very many.
3. Yet have I sent the brethren, lest our boasting of you should be in vain in this behalf; that, as I said, ye may be ready:
4. Lest haply if they of Macedonia come with me, and find you unprepared, we (that we say not, ye) should be ashamed in this same confident boasting.
5. Therefore I thought it necessary to exhort the brethren, that they would go before unto you, and make up beforehand your bounty, whereof ye had notice before, that the same might be ready, as a matter of bounty, and not as of covetousness.
6. But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully.
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.
8. And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work:
9. (As it is written, He hath dispersed abroad; he hath given to the poor: his righteousness remaineth for ever.
10. Now he that ministereth seed to the sower both minister bread for your food, and multiply your seed sown, and increase the fruits of your righteousness;)
11. Being enriched in every thing to all bountifulness, which causeth through us thanksgiving to God.
12. For the administration of this service not only supplieth the want of the saints, but is abundant also by many thanksgivings unto God;
13. Whiles by the experiment of this ministration they glorify God for your professed subjection unto the gospel of Christ, and for your liberal distribution unto them, and unto all men;
14. And by their prayer for you, which long after you for the exceeding grace of God in you.
15. Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift.

11. BEWARE OF BLIND GUIDES

"Every plant, which my heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up.  Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind.  And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch" (Matt 15:13-14).

Jesus taught that His yoke is easy and His burden is light (Matt 11:28-30), but that is not the experience of many who come to the Church.  Rather than a life of liberty, they are constrained to keep the traditions of men disguised as "men of God", who will teach everything but the truth, including that "gain is godliness", to get you to part with your money (1 Tim 6:3-10).  They do not care for your salvation, but for their bellies, which they serve (Matt 7:15, Rom 16:17-18Matt 6:24).  They are as the Scribes and Pharisees before them, who have the keys to the Kingdom (knowing the true Gospel), but will not enter in themselves, yet they hinder others from entering (Luke 11:52)!

"The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly" (John 10:10).

Just as the Israelites forsook God as their King, and asked for kings to rule over them, the Church has despised Christ as their Shepherd King.  They have put in His place hirelings, who do not care for the Flock, but rule over them as kings...collecting all sorts of taxes and gifts in the form of tithes and offerings to build their own kingdoms.  Some are not even afraid to stand as mediators between the Redeemed and their Redeemer, the ONLY Mediator between God and Man (1 Tim 2:5)!

However, if we would have enough faith to follow Jesus, and let all men follow Him too, we would see that there would be NO LACK in His Church.  Instead, there would be an abundance of supply and impact, because those with the gift of giving will give way and above any tithe demanded by the Church, and those with gifts of ministering, would minister without concern for pay (Rom 12:6-8)!  Our current predicament exists due to a lack of faith, and ultimately a lack of sincerity.

We were warned of these false teachers, and that many will gather around them because they teach what they want to hear (2 Tim 4:3-4).  It seems so much easier to follow a law and give a tenth than to follow the Holy Spirit and give whatever He demands, even everything we have!  But the Law can never bring about righteousness, only self-righteousness (Gal 3:20-21), and ultimately, condemnation (Rom 5:13).

12. SELF-EXAMINATION

"Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?" (2 Cor 13:5).

Paul presented this challenge to the Church at Corinth, and I present it to you today.  It goes against the popular false doctrine of "once saved, always saved".  Jesus also said that He would appoint His unfaithful servants their portion with the UNBELIEVERS (Luke 12:45-46, Matt 24:48-51).  So, don't think that because you have done so many mighty works in His name, while robbing His children, you will be spared (Matt 7:22-23).  If He didn't spare the original branches (the Israelites), take heed because He might not spare you (Rom 11:20-21).

Many of you are guilty of deceiving the children of God, whether by malicious intent or ignorant folly.  Many of you still will not change or speak up, because you care too much what others will say.  You care about your status, your reputation, your family...and most importantly your own self!  You do not truly trust that if you obey the truth and teach the truth, God will take care of you (Matt 6:25-34)!  But without such faith, it is impossible to please God (Heb 11:6).

The Bible tells us that the whole earth is waiting in travail for the manifestation of the sons of God (Rom 8:19-23)!  They are waiting for you and me to rise up and continue the work Jesus started when He stood at the synagogue and read the prophesy about Himself.  We are His Body (1 Cor 12:27)!  His hands and legs to fulfill it, and He said that we will even do greater things that what He did while He walked the Earth (John 14:12).

"The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord" (Luke 4:18-19).

Get this...  Jesus said "My Mother and Brethren are those who hear the word of God and obey it!" (Luke 8:21).  It is not everyone who calls Him Lord who will be saved, but those who do the will of His Father (Matt 7:21).  Make sure that you are found doing His will when He comes (Matt 24:46, Luke 21:34).  Let His mandate be your mandate, and as a faithful steward of the talents He has given you, use them to the profit of His Kingdom (Matt 25:14-30), and your works will not be burned up when tried by fire (1 Cor 3:12-15).

In Conclusion...

So, you may be wondering if it is okay for you to continue to give to your Church, even though you won't give the tithe anymore.  I really can't tell you what to do.  I've told you enough for your conscience to guide you.  If you still trust your 'Pastor' with your money, knowing that they still demand tithes of you and others (and are judging and condemning you for desisting from this practice, while still holding others in bondage), then that is your decision to make.

The truth is that you will be hard-pressed to find a Church which doesn't advocate for the tithe and demand tithes of their congregation.  It is sad that we know too many people who have preached this lie fervently, whether through ignorance or deception.  The corruption is so widespread that I reckon that it might be easier for Africa to overcome poverty than it is for the Church to become clean!  But thankfully, there is nothing impossible for God (Matt 19:26).  However, as with all change, it begins with YOU and ME repenting of our sin and making a decision to come out and take a stand for truth!

"Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty" (2 Cor 6:17-18).

I'd suggest you go to your closet and pray.  Because if they have been teaching you this lie...there are so many other lies that have kept you spellbound and unable to see the truth for yourself (Read my two-part series on THE BETTER COVENANT).  Dutifully study the scriptures for yourself, like the Berean Christians did (Acts 17:11).  Keep watch over your doctrine and your life, so that you will not only save yourself but your hearers also (1 Tim 4:16).

I pray that God will deliver your heart and mind from bondage, and you will know what to do, and have the courage to do it.  May God's grace abound with you.

"For there is verily a disannulling of the commandment going before for the weakness and unprofitableness thereof.  For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did; by the which we draw nigh unto God" (Heb 7:18-19).

"For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.  For he that said, Do not commit adultery, said also, Do not kill. Now if thou commit no adultery, yet if thou kill, thou art become a transgressor of the law.  So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty" (Jam 2:10-12).

"Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.  For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock.  Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them" (Acts 20:28-30).

Photo credit: http://www.str.org

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6 comments

  1. Wow! This was truly a thought provoking piece and of course, comprehensive. I’m glad you finally wrote on this subject.
    I personally don’t tithe, as you know I decided against it after years of struggling with this supposed biblical command. I had to go back to God who is the author and finisher of my faith and the Holy Spirit led me to Hebrews 7. For me, Hebrews 7 answered my lingering questions and confirmed two things. It talked about the first recorded example of a tithe. The tithe had been given not under compulsion but at Abraham’s discretion. It was his choice to give and he exercised this choice voluntarily.
    Secondly, since we are under the new covenant, with an everlasting priest who dwells in our hearts, we are no longer required to be subject to the old covenant or held to the same expectations as in the time of the Levites.

    For many others who may also be struggling in this area, I pray the Holy Spirit reveals his truth to them and liberates the Church. May they read the words in this post and go back to God for revelation and understanding.

    I have always believed and continue to believe that giving should be a voluntary act but subject to the will of God. It is definitely not some prescribed figure. Why just 10%, why not 20% or more? Sometimes, we are led to give more and sometimes, we don’t have to give anything.

    Thanks again for this piece. I plan on sharing it with quite a few people.

    May God continue to bless you as your write for his glory.

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  2. Dear Ufuoma,
    Thanks very much for sharing the resources that you used in your prep for this topic. “Tithe” : I always had an uneasy feeling about paying tithe. Almost like a burden. So this discourse is very welcome. Please continue to promote this on your platform.

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