*TITHES AND GIVING*
Here are some thoughts about tithe and giving; this is not a complete teaching on the subject, however.
–”*TITHE*” appears in the Bible in 13 verses: Lev27:30,32; Num18:26; Deu12:17;14:22,23,28; 2Ch31:5;2Ch31:6; Neh10:38; Neh13:12; Mat23:23; Luk11:42
–”*TITHES*” (plural) 21 verses: Gen14:20; Lev27:31; Num18:24,26; Num18:28; Deu12:6,11;26:12; 2Ch31:12; Neh10:37,38;12:44;13:5; Amo4:4; Mal3:8,10; Luk18:12; Heb7:5,6,8,9
–”*TENTH*” related to tithe: Gen28:22; Heb7:2,4.
–Tithing teaching is not present in the NEW TESTAMENT, only mentioned in relationship with men of God from the Old Testament (Abraham, Levi).
–In the OLD TESTAMENT, ABRAHAM is the first one to be mentioned to tithe; it is obvious that the idea of tithe did not originate with Abraham: later God commanded tithing in the law of Moses; Abel’s sacrifice of a lamb did not originate with Abel (we don’t read God asking Adam and Abel for animal sacrifices but it is clear that God taught Adam this requirement, as God had sacrificed an animal to dress Adam with the animal skin). Who got the ideas from who: Abel and Abraham learned about animal sacrifices and tithing from God, or God from them?
–Pagan religions were practicing the tithe even before Abraham, animal sacrifices as well, they must have learned about these practices from men of God.
–The Bible only mentions once that Abraham gave tithe to Melchizedek, 10% out of war booty, not of all his personal possessions (he gave 10% of war booty to Melchizedek and the 90% he allowed king of Sodom to take); the Bible does not mention him tithing at any other times but it doesn’t mean he didn’t; if he did, we don’t know to whom or how, there the Bible is silent. Abraham’s giving to Melchizedek was VOLUNTARY, NOT REQUIRED.
–In the LAW OF MOSES, the tithing was REQUIRED, NOT VOLUNTARY and was referring only to the FRUIT OF THE LAND AND ANIMALS, never of money earned through work or from commerce; one traveling from afar was allowed to sell his animals or products intended for tithes, then once arrived in Jerusalem buy replacements Deut14:25. Money could not be brought as tithe but as willing gifts.
–TWO TITHES were required (20%): an annual tithe for the maintenance of the Levites (Lev27:30;Num18:21) and a second tithe brought to Jerusalem for the Lord’s feasts (Deut14:22). Every third year, however, the second tithe was kept at home for the poor (Deut14:28).
–Tithes were brought to the levites and Aaron’s priests; levites (tribe of Levi) were priests’ assistants at the Temple. Today EVERY CHRISTIAN IS A PRIEST 1Pet.2:5,9 and Rev1:6.
–Tithes were brought to the Temple: today EVERY BELIEVER IN JESUS IS THE TEMPLE of the Holy Spirit 1Cor3:16, 6:19 and 2Cor6:16
–Certain tithes were for levites only, others for the priests only, while others were to be eaten by the ones bringing them before the Lord Deut12:17-19 and some tithes for levites, strangers, widows and the poor Deut26:12,13; therefore the widow and the poor were excused from paying tithe, as they did not own land or animals but they could bring gifts to God, see the widow giving 2 mites Luke21:1-4. If a poor woman gave birth and could not bring sacrifice the required lamb, a pair of doves was acceptable, as did Mary and Joseph who could not afford offering a lamb Lev12:8,Luke2:24
–Mat.23:23 Jesus rebukes the pharisees saying they should not forget faithfulness, mercy and love, just as they shouldn’t forget tithes; He didn’t do away with tithes – as they were still under the law until the crucifixion and the law required tithes as an obligation, but Jesus didn’t command tithes either to his disciples before the cross or after.
LOVE OF SELF AND LOVE OF MONEY are alike the roots of much evil, and in the giving of money, as in its acquisition and possession, the Christian is expected to stand upon A GRACE RELATIONSHIP with God. This relationship presupposes that he has first given himself to God in unqualified dedication (2Cor8:5), and a true dedication of self to God includes all that one is and has (1Cor6:20; 7:23; 1Pet1:18,19): his life, his time, his strength, his ability, his ideals, and his property.
In matters pertaining to the giving of money, the grace principle involves the believer’s recognition of God’s sovereign authority over all that the Christian is and has, and is in contrast to the Old Testament legal system of tithing which system was in force as a part of the law until the law was done away (Jn1:16,17; Rom6:14; 7:1-6; 2Cor3:1-18; Eph2:15; Col2:14; Gal3:19-25;5:18).
Tithing, like sabbath observance, both commanded by the Law of Moses, is NEVER IMPOSED on the believer in this grace dispensation. Since the Lord’s day (Sunday) superseded the legal sabbath, so tithing has been superseded by A GRACE SYSTEM OF GIVING which is adapted to the teachings of grace.
CHRISTIAN GIVING UNDER GRACE as illustrated in the experience of the saints at Corinth, is summarized in 2Cor8:1 to 9:15:
*1.CHRIST WAS THEIR PATTERN*
The Lord’s giving of Himself (2Cor8:9) is the pattern of all giving under grace. He did not give a tenth; He gave all.
Some preachers take the tithe as a guiding principle, stating that if under the law one was required to give 10% and in some cases 20%-23%, then the Christian should give beyond. As Jesus said, ”if someone forces you to go with him one mile, go two miles” Mat5:41. However giving should not be grudgingly or stated as a law.
*2.THEIR GIVING WAS EVEN OUT OF GREAT POVERTY*
2Cor8:2 The Corinthians gave: “In a great trial of affliction,” “the abundance of their joy,” “their deep poverty abounded,” “the riches of their liberality.” Likewise, concerning liberality in spite of great poverty, it should be remembered that “the widow’s mite” (Luke21:1-4), which drew out the commendation of the Lord Jesus, was not a part, but “all that she had.”
…see part 2