Tithing, The Truth About Tithing And The Tithe
This Complete Tithing Study Exposes The Corrupt Doctrine Of Mandated Tithing
Which Has Become The Golden Calf Of The Modern Church
-- Mouse Over The Scripture References To See The Actual Verses --
Over the years, I have seen the doctrines regarding money and giving get corrupted beyond belief. The Apostles, the elders and the brethren in Jerusalem wrote the Gentiles saying,
"We have heard that certain people which went out from us have troubled you with words, subverting your souls, saying, "You must be circumcised, AND KEEP THE LAW; to whom we gave NO SUCH COMMANDMENT..." [Acts 15:1 and Acts 15:24-29 in part].Despite this crystal clear dialogue and MANY other scriptures stating Law keeping by Gentiles is not commanded, 2,000 years later men are still, "troubling people with words and subverting their souls." Get your Bibles, try to put your bias aside and let's see what the Bible REALLY says about this issue.
This document exposes mandated tithing, corrupt teaching and manipulated, guilt driven giving. The sound Biblical principle that churches and ministers can be supported by those they serve is not changed, destroyed or diminished by this document. So, if you are just cheap and don't want to give, this article is NOT for you! However, if you need freedom from mandated tithing and other forms of manipulated, guilt driven giving, this article IS for you.
This study last updated: 11/29/2013
-- Mouse Over The Scripture References To See The Actual Verses --
1. Before The Law Tithing Was Voluntary, Not A God Given Command Or A Routine Practice
The 2 examples of pre-law tithing in Genesis were one time events, VOLUNTARY and involved more than money. Abraham's example was a one-time tithe of the spoils of war [Hebrews 7:2, Genesis 14:20]. Since Abraham had taken a vow not to personally take spoils of this war [Genesis 14:22-24], Abraham apparently tithed what belonged to others or would soon belong to others.
There is nothing in scripture that says Abraham tithed his personal income or wealth at any time.
Abraham received a blessing and then gave a tithe, apparently out of social duty or custom. Some scholars say tithing was a social mandate during this time. Either way it is irrelevant because Abraham did NOT have a God given commandment to give tithes. [Genesis 14 & Hebrews 7:1] Jacob's single example of tithing was promised by Jacob to God IF God did something and scripture remains unclear if Jacob ever followed through. [Genesis 28:22] Either way, both examples make clear tithing before the law was voluntary. Pre-law giving of tithes was NOT commanded by God. Since scripture only records two incidents of voluntary pre-law tithing, it is clear tithing was not a routine pre-law practice.
Also, Jacob conditionally promised to tithe what he fully owned and earned. Therefore, Jacob intended to tithe profits. Profits are what is fully owned, non-credit or lien based goods, property or money. In other words, profits are what is left AFTER all other obligations [vows, oaths, contracts etc.] are met. This is important and profits will be discussed later. Also take note of the following scriptures showing the voluntary nature of pre-law giving. [Exodus 35:5, Exodus 35:21, Exodus 35:22, Exodus 35:24, Exodus 35:29]
Those seeking to make tithing strictly money and income based, mandatory and routine because tithing was "before the law" are not teaching what tithing was "before the law."
Some mandated tithing teachers use scriptures that state one is to BRING the tithe rather than GIVE the tithe to prove that tithing is mandatory - meaning it is a command TO BRING verses a voluntary act TO GIVE. This is a weak argument. We shall soon see, law tithing was mandatory, but the scriptures that mention PRE-LAW tithing say the tithe was GIVEN. Also see part 16 for some thoughts on Melchizedek and further discussion of pre-law tithing.
2. Tithing Was Never Money Or Income Based. Tithing Was Land Based
If two farmers had crops of 10 carrots each, they would both be obligated to tithe one carrot. Under the agrarian (land based) tithing system it didn't matter If one sold the remaining 9 carrots for $5 and the other sold his remaining 9 carrots for $10. The tithe of the harvest was unrelated to the income of the harvest. Plain and simple - THE TITHE WAS NOT 10% OF INCOME, it was 10% of the harvest. The tithe was agrarian which means BASED ON THE LAND.
The Jews under the law were NOT obligated to give 10% of their incomes! This simple fact alone is enough to destroy the unscriptural doctrine that God DEMANDS you pay 10% of your income or be cursed.
Money was rarely, if ever, the thing tithed in the Bible. [Nehemiah 13:10-13] To be truly biblical, tithing was NOT based on your income or money AT ALL! [Deuteronomy 14:22-23, Deuteronomy 18:1-5, Deuteronomy 26:12 (See Deep Study on this verse), Nehemiah 10:38-39, Nehemiah 12:44, Leviticus 27:30-33, Joshua 13:14] Pre-law tithing was voluntary and profit based and law tithing was mandated and land based (agrarian). Agrarian means "of the land," and agrarian tithing was based on what you were able to produce from the land, plants or livestock.
During the period of the Mosaic Law, God commanded people bring a tenth of what they produced from the land regardless of the income they received from it. Tithing wasn't income based BEFORE OR AFTER the law and the tithe was NOT money!
In fact, it was against the law to sell the tithe. One was to bring the PRODUCT, not what the product was worth. [Leviticus. 27:28] There are many references to tithing the "increase" [Example: Deuteronomy 14:22 using the Hebrew tbuw'ah] which literally means fruit or produce and in the tithing verses EATING the tithe is often referred to. Note in Nehemiah 13:10, the Levites went to THE FIELD to replace missing tithes. During the time of agrarian law tithing bartering was common but there were also MONEY SYSTEMS in place. [Genesis 23:15-16 and Genesis 42:25, Jeremiah 32:9-11, Deuteronomy 14:25 and Malachi 3:5] Yet the tithe remained agrarian (land based).
According to the Douglas/Tenney NIV Bible Dictionary Leviticus 27:31 makes clear a penalty of 20% of the tithe was exacted from one who redeemed (exchanged for money) his tithes and refused to use the money to pay for a substitute. Again, this shows the tithe was not income or money based.
God gave Israel's tithes to the Levites as an inheritance in lieu of land. [Joshua 13:14, Deuteronomy 10:6-9, Deuteronomy 18:1-5, Numbers 18:21, Numbers 18:24] The Levites gave tithes and offerings out of the tithes to the priests [Nehemiah 10:38, Numbers 18], but they apparently didn't have to tithe the income from the sale of inherited property. [Deuteronomy 18:6-8] The Levites and priests were dependent on tithes for FOOD. God's house was a STOREHOUSE and DISTRIBUTION POINT for the sacrifices, the Levites, the priests and those in need. [Malachi 3:10 "Bring all the tithes into the STOREHOUSE that there may be FOOD in My House." [Nehemiah 13:10-13 1 Samuel 8:15 1 Samuel 8:17 2 Chronicles 31:11 Deuteronomy 12:6-7, Deuteronomy 12:17-19, Deuteronomy 14:22-23]
There was one exception for converting a tithe into money that was allowed early in the law. According to many scholars, this exception was abolished later. Deuteronomy 14:24-27 gives this early exception proving money systems were in place without tithing being based on money. In this early exception one could sell the tithe given specific circumstances and spend the money on whatever one desired provided one shared what one bought with the local Levite. Also, these verses make clear, "if the distance was too long for you to CARRY YOUR TITHE" proving the tithe was NOT money (coin) based. The New Testament shows Pharisees tithing, not income or money, but what they OWNED and GREW. [Luke 18:12, Matthew 23:23] These verses show examples of both AGRARIAN (land) based tithing and PROFIT based tithing which is discussed in more detail elsewhere in this document.
3. Tithing Was Always Done To Honor God
Biblical tithing was NOT done to get something back or to be the equivalent of a Christian lottery. None of the English words: "sacrifice," "offering," or "gift" quite corresponds to the Biblical words Korban, corban or qorban [see the word "gift" in Mark 7:11]. These words are derived from a verb that in one mood means to be near, and in another mood means to bring near. In the one case it would refer to the offerings themselves, in the other to the givers, as brought near, the offerings bringing them near to God. Today the "giving to get" mentality is shamelessly touted while giving to honor or get closer to God is only mentioned as a formality.
Debt living was frowned on in the Bible and usury was illegal amongst Jews. The canceling of debts every seven years and Year of Jubilee every 50 years, which were LAW, are no longer in effect. [Deuteronomy 15, Leviticus 25] It is ALL of the law or none of it. Many times, the practice in Christian circles is to owe someone for services or products already received or contracted for and to not be paying in accordance with contractual terms or to be paying high interest or late fees. Instead Christians are encouraged by church leaders to use money earned to pay "tithes" and offerings "to get out of debt". This equates "tithing" and giving to a Christian lottery and Christians to "spirit filled gamblers." Christians are taught to try to impress God with unaffordable or irrational donations that leave them desperate or in need. They are told God will give them a wind fall of blessing that will enable them to then handle their finances responsibly.
I realize that we live in a debt culture and I am not saying that Christians should be 100% debt free BEFORE giving any money. I am speaking of MANDATED [law] giving when people are giving out of obligation, fear or improper motivation instead of properly addressing their legal responsibilities. Manipulated, guilt motivated or emotional giving results in people giving irrationally and disproportionate to their ability to pay. The result is they go further into debt. They will then be taught next week to try it again. Today's preachers rarely condemn debt giving and some shamelessly encourage debt giving calling it an act of faith. Unfortunately the reality is that many times the debt giving is a form of Christian gambling. Christians "roll the dice" in an act of desperation, greed or to compensate for not handling their finances responsibly.
Many times tithes and donations are taught as a means of getting things or fixing situations. While worship may be mentioned, it is not the real focus of the giving.
Referring to the Widow's mite [Mark 12:41-44], the same Christ that noted sacrificial over abundance giving said elsewhere, "Be financially responsible." Christ denounced giving to God while ignoring responsibilities. [Mark 7:10-13, Matthew 22:21, Matthew 17:25-27] Romans 13:7-8 says to owe no man anything but love. These days if you can't afford to give you will be told to use your credit card or obligate yourself by vowing. Where is debt giving ever encouraged in the Bible? The Bible clearly warns against irrational vows. [Ecclesiastes 5:2, Proverbs 20:25, Matthew 5:33-37]
Note: a close study of the widow's mite scriptures and the history of the time will show 2 things:
- A widow's basic living needs were handled by the church community during this time
- Original language shows the widow had come to possess (fully own) some money
To use the widows mite to encourage people to empty their pockets and go home without the money for necessities is to not rightly divide the word. Doing so would go against the financial responsibility scriptures given above. While we are at it, let's talk about the often misused "empty your pockets for the preacher" story in 1 Kings 17:1-15 regarding Elijah and the widow. A few points:
- Elijah, the prophet of God, had to be miraculously fed by birds for survival and then had to request necessities of life from a poor widow
- The widow had been told by the Lord to help the prophet beforehand
- The widow believed she was going to die
- Elijah didn't tell the widow to give everything. He asked the widow to make him a SMALL cake and then feed herself and her son. Also, this request came with the promise that doing so would enable her and her son to be miraculously sustained with necessities of life for a time. She wasn't promised or told to claim a Mercedes for her obedience.
- This story illustrates obedience to a direct command from the Lord and the Lord providing basic necessities for living. Yet it has become a favorite of the "empty your pockets and get rich" preachers
Yes, God blesses giving. Yes, God blesses obedience and yes, God can make someone rich. God can give and God can take away. Job 1:21 The Bible teaches to bless God in the giving AND the taking.
If you are ever being put under pressure to make a tithe, offering, vow, or some sort of oath or commitment, GET AWAY until you can think clearly and calmly before deciding. Christianity has no shortage of ministers that are expert at fund raising. The techniques used to manipulate are many and varied.
A careful study of original language shows the Bible speaks of people giving what they owned (possessed free and clear of any encumbrance), NOT what was credit or lien based. When modern translations use words like 'income' regarding tithing or giving, original language study will show either what is grown or something possessed free and clear was being referred to. I recently heard on Christian television that one should vow the amount of their debt to the Lord. It was taught they would receive a resulting windfall from the Lord to pay their real debts with. This is nothing but gambling disguised as a Godly act.
4. Law Tithing Was Based On An Agrarian (Land) System, Theocratic Government And An Agricultural Society.
Land was officially owned by God and "deeded" by the church. The Levites received Israel's tithes instead of land. [Leviticus 25:23-24] This system is no longer in existence and that is why most Jews don't tithe any more. An argument could be made that a form of the agrarian system is still in place with the Government replacing the church. Now the Government "owns" the land and deeds it mandating various taxes and fees. Everyone in America pays this "tithe" directly or indirectly to the Government via property taxes, rents, excise taxes, sewer fees etc.
The timing of mandated tithing corresponds to:
- the initial formation of the Jewish theocratic church/state government via the Mosaic Law
- deeding of land by the church
- the Levitical priesthood and
- the first Jewish temple - the Tent of Meeting
It is an important distinction that in a theocracy the church IS the government with all the responsibilities of government. Today the church does not deed land, run a court system, legislate and govern, maintain and run armed forces, police, tax, distribute public resources, act as the Board of Health, Welfare Department, Pension Board etc., and do all the other responsibilities of government.
The theocratic Jewish church/state government did all this and more under the law. Here in the United States, the church and Government are SEPARATE and well over 10% of income is paid by the overwhelming majority for governmental functions no longer handled by the church.
25-35% of American's wages goes to a variety of causes, many if not most of which used to be handled by the church in a theocratic government. Today, pay deductions and other taxes also help cover tax exemptions for non-profits including churches.
Samuel had warned God's people that if they left the theocratic form of Government tithes and other demands would be exacted from the people causing them to cry out because of governmental abuses. [1 Samuel 8:2-22] History is replete with examples of excessive government demands and most Americans are nearing or surpassing triple "tithing" their income for governmental functions formerly handled by the church in a Theocracy.
5. Under The Agrarian Tithing System The Church Had Mandates Regarding The Handling And Distribution Of Tithes
These mandates are no longer in effect. The church under agrarian law tithing had specific social, communal responsibilities as a matter of law such as a percentage being used to meet needs of the poor. [Deuteronomy 14:28-29 2 Chronicles 31:14-15 Nehemiah 13:12-13] The church also, in some cases, gave pensions to certain members. [2 Chronicles 31:16-18] The communal use and distribution of tithes was for the Levites, priests, stranger, sojourner, fatherless and widows. [Deuteronomy 26:12 and Deuteronomy 14:29] There are no such mandates for communal tithe distribution in the church today.
Many churches demand tithes saying it is Biblical but neglect the other Biblical mandates put in place by God to manage and distribute those tithes.
Any Christian church that I have seen teach what is incorrectly called biblical tithing as law is not practicing tithing with the required oaths [Deuteronomy 26:12-15], communal responsibilities and resource distribution that came with the agrarian tithing system. Further evidence of the weight given by the early Church regarding the communal responsibilities and distribution of resources by the Church was evidenced in the Book of Acts. In the New Testament Church people sold what they had and gave the proceeds to the Church so no one had need of anything. [Acts 4:34-35] It is important to note that under the law communal responsibilities were mandatory but this New Testament giving was VOLUNTARY and tithing was never mentioned. [Acts 4:34-35 and Acts 5:4] Peter told Ananias that after his land was sold the money was at HIS disposal and under his control. [Acts 5:4] Peter never said, "You were only obliged to bring the tithe." Paul also encouraged this resource distribution system in 2 Corinthians 8:13-15 and Romans 12:13. The Old and New Testament purpose for wealth was not to be rich or impress people but to do the work of God and share with those in need. [Deuteronomy 15, Leviticus 25, Matthew 19:21, Ephesians 4:28]
Today, a resource distribution system like the early New Testament church used would be difficult and appear cult-like. However, the principle of using one's surplus to meet the needs of others remains clear throughout the New Testament. Today, many people give "tithes" to already wealthy and successful people with little to no thought to those in need. The focus of giving has become getting instead of distributing resources to assist the needs of others. Christ taught to sell your possessions and to give donations to the poor. [Luke 12:33] God was impressed that Solomon did NOT make wealth a priority in his life. [2 Chronicles 1:7-12]
6. Tithing As Taught Today Is A Corrupted Teaching And Not The Same As Biblical Tithing.
God gave the tithes to the Levites as an inheritance in return for their service and to compensate them for having no personal inheritance of land. The Levites gave tithes to the Priests from the tithes they received. Christianity has no agrarian system, no Levites and every Christian is now a priest, the temple and co-workers with Christ. [1 Peter 2:5 and 1 Peter 2:9, Rev. 1:6, Rev. 5:10 and Rev. 20:6] Every Jew was required by the Levitical law to pay three tithes of his property:
- one tithe for the Levites;
- one for the use of the temple and the great feasts; and
- one for the poor of the land [Numbers 18, Deuteronomy 14]
Given the above, it is clear that any church mandating tithes should be spending AT LEAST ONE THIRD of their income on the poor since that is what was required under mandated tithing.
How many churches come close to this? I know of none. Yet it is not uncommon for some ministers to call their parishioners thieves, or at the least disobedient, if they don't tithe. It's all of the law or none of it. According to Biblical tithing, aren't the churches stealing by not giving a third of mandated tithes to the less fortunate?
The only two examples of tithing BEFORE THE LAW in Genesis were voluntary, non-routine and profit [ownership] based. Tithing AFTER THE LAW was mandatory, routine and agrarian (land) based. Neither was income or money based as is usually taught today.
Church leaders should not be "creatively constructing" doctrine, teaching that biblical tithing is giving 10% of their gross or net income, picking and choosing what part of the tithing law they will follow, mandating amounts or mixing law with Grace.
The bible is clear on what pre and post law tithing was and how it was to be handled. A tithe is a tenth, but a tenth of what and how is it handled?
If one wants to teach a tithe is 10% of gross or net income do NOT call it biblical tithing. It is NOT God's plan, it is YOUR plan for giving, NOT the biblical agrarian or pre-law plan. Since it is YOUR plan, be extra careful about putting stumbling blocks into people's path by purporting that your plan is God's law resulting in judgment if not followed.
Tithing CAN'T be practiced as it was in biblical times because the law, the agrarian system, the agricultural system, sacrifices, debt cancellation, Year of Jubilee and other interrelated factors are all abolished. Plus, today's churches have no "law" in place requiring them to fulfill the communal responsibilities and resource distribution of the agrarian law based tithing system.
Therefore, it would probably be best to do away with the word "tithing" entirely in this age of Grace to avoid the mixing of law and Grace that is common today. However, that may be difficult given the "tithe mania" that has swept the land. Many will believe a "giving plan" will assist contributions and help people decide what is appropriate to give and we will discuss that shortly.
7. What Is Behind Today's "Mandated Tithing" Doctrine Is Control, Greed Or Ignorance. The Ignorance Could Be Innocent Or Deliberate.
The New Testament is clear on this; we are commanded to give. To be blessed we are to give:
- NOT out of necessity
- according to our means
- in faith
- with love and
- in the right spirit
The New Testament is NOT at all clear on amounts and percentages that are to be given. Paul does NOT say to give according to a percentage and he was certainly familiar with tithing. [1 Corinthians 16:2] Several times Paul compares voluntary giving to fruit and burnt offerings. Paul's use of Old Testament terminology [i.e. fruit and burnt offerings] without the mention of tithing could NOT have been an oversight given Paul's Jewish background. [Philippians 4:17-18, Romans 15:26-28] The Bible teaches to give "as God has prospered us," and "according to our ability and means." [2 Corinthians 8:11 2 Corinthians 9:5-13 Acts 11:29] The word for "means" is the Greek signifying possession and ownership. That means what you are giving is fully yours, not credit or lien based.
Faith Based Abrahamic Covenant Tithing, discussed shortly, could be taught as a faith and grace based voluntary practice while avoiding all the controversy of the mutilated "tithing" doctrine taught today. Why is tithing taught the way it is today? It can be VERY profitable for one. Other reasons are control, greed and sometimes ignorance. Ignorance is free and it is easy and profitable to control people through guilt, obligation or manipulation of the greed inherent in most of us.
Many church leaders will call non-tithers thieves or preach tithing with condemnation, obligation or fear to manipulate people into compliance. Preachers do this without knowing the sacrifices people have to make or the obligations people have. The whole issue of giving becomes a stumbling block, an oppression of the poor and needy and a "required payment" instead of worship. An obligatory payment is not "giving." Whatsoever is not of faith is SIN, so let's end this nonsense and abuse. Christ taught one man to "sell all that he had and give to the poor." Yet, Christ was pleased with another that gave only half of what he had to the poor while making restitution for his thievery. [Mark 10:21, Luke 19:1-10] Clearly, specific amounts are unimportant to God.
The story of the Widow's mite makes crystal clear it is the relationship to money, the attitude of the giver and the sacrifice made that is important. Christ said the Widow gave MORE than the rich, despite the rich's large offerings. [Mark 12:41-44] Clearly Christ focused on the sacrifice made, NOT the amounts given. Mandated tithing teachers appear ambivalent to the fact that a wealthy person could tithe without feeling any sacrifice whatsoever due to their income level.
For the wealthy to feel the same sacrifice as a poor person giving 10% of their income, a wealthy person would have to give perhaps upwards of 90% or more of their income, depending.
The Bible is filled with warnings against oppressing the poor. The convoluted mandated income based tithing doctrine around today is clearly NOT something God would author since it is oppressive to the poor. Remember mandated law tithing was NOT income based as Section 2 made clear. Christ was impressed with the sacrifice made in an offering, NOT the amounts given. If a rich person gives 10% and feels no sacrifice whatsoever, the same Christ that wasn't impressed with the large offerings in Mark 12:41-44 would not be impressed with the same offerings today.
Some teach "tithing" as law blatantly and without shame. Many use subtle mind twisters that go something like this, "No, tithing isn't mandatory, but if you’re a child of God you will want to give 10% of your income" or some similar obligation and guilt creating technique. Others may be told to direct their money, not to someone in need, but to the "ministry where the financial anointing is flowing." It will be "suggested" that they may not be blessed otherwise. Others cunningly use the, "I didn't say it, God did," canard when proclaiming misapplied scripture or the misapplied "Malachi Curse" discussed in Section 10. Others say, "All your money belongs to God." While everything does come from and belongs to God, remember that God also said, "The laborer is worthy of his hire." That scripture is true for all, not just those doing the work of God. Christ taught to sell what you own and donate to the poor showing a considerably different focus on money and giving than many of today's prosperity teachers. [Luke 12:33]
Many church leaders today seem content with preaching a mixed message as to whether tithing is obligatory or not. They want to keep that subtle guilt in the atmosphere.
Some go so far as to teach that mandated tithing only "opens the window for blessing" and the giving over and above the tithe is what brings the "windfall" blessing through the window opened by tithing. So with the average American "tithing" 30-35% of their income to the Government for functions that the church no longer handles and "tithing" 10% to the temple PLUS offerings, Americans are expected to live off of about 50% of their income according to most mandated tithing teachers.
The old cliche, "You can't beat God giving" is factually correct. We could NEVER give more than God. But to make people believe that they can indiscriminately give their money away and always get their needs met miraculously is immature and not at all balanced with the scriptures that make clear that, by His Grace, we are to be responsible and self-supporting with some left over for others. This is NOT to say God doesn't bless sacrificial giving. HE DOES! I am talking about irresponsible, indiscriminate or manipulated giving or giving that is improperly motivated or coerced.
One minister stated, "We don't allow people to serve in the church who are not confirmed tithers." This is a MAN MADE edict, NOT in ANY way a scriptural one. Did Paul ever demand tithes for anyone who served in the church? Did the New Testament make tithing mandatory for ANY position of service? First this minister seems unaware that, for those choosing to tithe pursuant to true biblical teaching as taught in this document, ANYTHING could be tithed to the Lord such as gifts, talents, possessions, time, service etc. However, I wonder if this minister asked any of these people if they had ANY personal ministries of assisting the body of Christ or the poor and needy, or was his only concern what they were giving to the temple monetarily? The Hebrews under agrarian law tithing had to declare that they had honestly given the tithe, "...to the Levite, the stranger, the sojourner, the fatherless and to the widow..." [Deuteronomy 26:13-15]
Do the proponents of mandated tithing consider or inquire as to whether a person is paying mandated tithes with corrupted seed such as neglecting other vows, going further into debt or not properly handling other obligations? ALL of these are biblical considerations which could result in God REJECTING the tithe. I don't believe I have ever heard one message on these biblical considerations. God is much more impressed with HONEST giving and RESPONSIBLE living than he is with guilt or fear driven giving and big churches.
The reality is many mandated tithing teachers don't care how "corrupted" the seed is so long as they get it.
Mandated law giving was usually always flexible. There are MANY biblical examples regarding mandated giving saying things like, "If one does not have a bull, one can use a pigeon, if one doesn't have a pigeon one can use a cup of flour etc." The law was more considerate of life's realities than many of today's mandated tithing preachers.
Imagine a situation where 2 people living separately each earn $400 per week. One has no living expenses and the other has living expenses plus 2 disabled people at home that they care for. Imagine another situation where two people earn $500 per week respectively. One lives at home with their parents rent free and the other has 3 children in a rented apartment with one of the children having special needs with no health coverage.
Mandated tithing teaches ALL these people are to give 10% or be "cursed." This is nonsense. The living expenses must be responsibly handled pursuant to Scripture and the money that one spends on the sick or needy is certainly part of "the work of Christ." Anyone who says otherwise is legalistic, inconsiderate, immature, or greedy. When you meet the needs of others you are doing it unto Christ. [Matthew 25:31-46] Blind, inconsiderate RULES OF LAW regarding amounts is NOT what New Testament Giving is all about! When Paul spoke of giving he was always clear it wasn't a commandment or law. [2 Corinthians 8:8] Christ and Paul made clear the sacrifice was more important than the amounts. [Mark 12:42-44 2 Corinthians 8:1-5 2 Corinthians 8:12] Christ taught freedom from obligatory giving. [Matthew 17:24-27]
8. God Is Sovereign And Rewards May Not Be Seen As Expected In This Life Regardless Of Tithes And Offerings
The story of Job can be summarized in two statements; First, don't question God because bad things can happen to good people and second; don't judge others going through hard times because the ways of God are beyond our ability to comprehend.
Job makes clear that many times circumstances of life can be completely unrelated to one's actions. Life can be cyclic and sometimes appear completely unfair and unjust.
To teach that giving tithes and offerings a certain way is going to guarantee a particular situation in life is immature and unscriptural.
The Sovereign God can give and take away independent of a person's giving, spirituality or anything else. The story of Lazarus shows a man who both lived and died destitute yet was carried by angels to Abraham's bosom while a rich man went to hell. [Luke 16:19-22] Financial circumstances of life do not necessarily reflect spiritual condition. The Bible is replete with warnings regarding the trappings of money.
Many teach that tithing is a form of "protection money" that will insure them against harm, accidents or other calamities of life.
One preacher said, "If I didn't tithe, I would be afraid to cross the street." Another preacher said, "I believe I can avoid all calamities of life because I tithe." Another said, "Tithing is the REAL secret of power over the devil." Yet another said, "Tithing is your guarantee against financial lack." Some Christians who have experienced misfortune have church leaders that will suggest to them that their misfortune is happening because of their lack of proper tithing practice.
These preachers need to learn two lessons. One lesson is on dealing with realities as taught in the story of Job. The second is on learning about the lives of the early Apostles and countless others who are suffering and have suffered throughout time for God, truth and the cause of Christ. All but one of the original Apostles was martyred. Most experienced beatings, stoning, shipwrecks and other hardships and problems. "Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord shall deliver them OUT OF them all." Also read Acts 14:22.
Many of today's "cushioned" preachers are arrogant. Some even look down on the less fortunate thinking they have not been obedient or haven't yet caught "the revelation" of prosperity. These preachers forget it is many of these same people that make their lifestyles possible.
These preachers go where they will be received, pampered, paid and applauded. They consider any criticism, valid or invalid, as "persecution for the cause of Christ" as if the criticism equates to those who have REALLY suffered or are really suffering for the cause of Christ. Pollyanna style Christianity is immature and always leads to downfalls. The reality is most of us grow more from pain, trials and tribulation than we do from ease, comfort and still waters.
One must focus on ALL scripture, not just promises of prosperity that tickle the ears. Paul speaks of God blessing us to be abundant in all things WHILE speaking of taking an offering for needy Christians. Paul never suggested these Christians became needy because of improper giving, lack of faith or bad conduct. In fact Paul teaches that at another time it might be these giving Christians that might be needy with the now needy Christians, having been blessed, being able to rise to the occasion and bless them. Paul was clear life wasn't one financial blessing after another with one never having financial need. [2 Corinthians 9:5-13 2 Corinthians 8:13-15] Are we to assume Peter was faithless or not living or giving right resulting in his not having any silver or gold for the beggar? [Acts 3:6] Was Mary not living right? She had to bring a poor person's offering to be purified. [Luke 2:22-24, Leviticus 12:6-8] Frankly, I think if most Christians today had to live like the early church or the Apostles lived for a year, they would come apart at the seams. Christ taught giving to those who can not repay you and of being blessed for one's giving at the resurrection. [Luke 14:12-14]
9. Christ Did Not Teach Tithing Of Ones Income But The Bible Is Clear:
Support Your Ministers And Churches!
There was a well-established money system in place at the time of Christ. Yet, Christ only mentioned tithing twice.
- Once to a JEW still under law and the tithing was HERBS [agrarian], NOT money or income from herbs. [Matthew 23:23, Luke 11:42] and
- Once regarding someone taking pride in their works which were dismissed as unimportant compared to humility [Luke 18:9-14]
There was certainly a market for herbs and spices [John 12:5 Mark 14:3-5 Matthew 26:7-9] yet the tithes mentioned by Jesus were clearly herbs, not income from herbs. So, are we to tell Christians today they must tithe herbs? Are we to make a totally unscriptural leap from herbs to 10% of income? Christ also ordered some to perform ceremonial cleansing, foot washing and Christ celebrated Jewish holy days and feasts. Why are these things not demanded of Christians today? It is ALL of the law or none of it. Even in teachings to Jews, Christ taught tithing was NOT a priority with God [Luke 18:9-14] and that there were weightier matters that God was concerned about. [Matthew 23:23] In addition to the above, consider various translations regarding Jesus' mention of tithing and note how the meaning changes:
Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, for ye pay tithes of mint and anise and cummin, and ye have left aside the weightier matters of the law, judgment and mercy and faith: these ye ought to have done and not have left those aside.
But woe unto you, Pharisees, for ye pay tithes of mint and rue and every herb, and pass by the judgment and the love of God: these ye ought to have done, and not have left those aside.
Woe to you, Scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! because ye give tithe of the mint, and the dill, and the cumin, and did neglect the weightier things of the Law; the judgment, and the kindness, and the faith; these it behoved [you] to do, and those not to neglect.
But woe to you, the Pharisees, because ye tithe the mint, and the rue, and every herb, and ye pass by the judgment, and the love of God; these things it behoveth to do, and those not to be neglecting.
So we see the following regarding Jesus' mention of tithing:
- there are questions of interpretation
- Jesus was talking to a Jew still under law
- the tithe was agrarian [of the land - in this case herbs]
- the tithe was NOT money or income based
- the tithe was that which was fully owned - not credit or lien based
Clearly this didn't apply to Gentiles since they were never mandated to tithe. Additionally one could argue [weakly] that Jesus said the agrarian tithe was something that "they ought to have done." This indicates a form of past tense. This would be correct UNDER the law. However, as this document makes clear, any tithing OUTSIDE the law was voluntary.
Recall mandated tithing was obligated because of the Jewish theocratic government and temple system and the deeding of the land of Israel amongst the various tribes. Gentiles were not involved in this.
In Acts 15 when the issue of how much of the Mosaic Law Christian Gentiles were to keep, the answer was clear. They were to abstain from:
- ceremonial pollution with idols
- sexual immorality
- strangled meats (blood still in it)
While mandates for tithing are NOT in the New Testament, the principle that the church and ministers can be supported by those they serve is an indisputable New Testament doctrine. [1 Corinthians 9:6-9 1 Corinthians 9:13-14 Luke 10:7] It is noteworthy that Paul, at times, chose NOT to live off of donations when he felt the Lord was better served. [1 Corinthians 9:13-19]
10. Tithing Verses In Malachi 3 Are Being Used As "Christian Witchcraft"
Malachi 3:8-12 is routinely taken out of context and used as a curse, a form of "Christian witchcraft" by the greedy, manipulators or sometimes by those blindly following out of ignorance. Malachi was writing to an Israel that was under the law. The tithe was agrarian, NOT income based. Israel was completely backslidden, the Priests were NOT doing their jobs, the sacrifices were polluted and rejected by God and the people were completely neglecting proper marriage laws and the maintenance and restoration of the House of God. There was no acceptable sacrifices being given or sacrificed.
To use Malachi 3 as a "curse" against saved people, who are trusting in God's Perfect Sacrifice, respecting marriage and are NOT neglecting the New Testament temple [their bodies and spiritual condition] or "the gathering of the Body together" is to misapply the word of God for financial gain. A best seller on mandated tithing states,
"Every Christian who isn't honoring the Lord with the tithe is guilty of robbing God, is living under a curse, and will remain in financial bondage until he or she obeys God's Word and begins to Tithe. Tithing breaks the curse!" - God's Financial Plan by Norman Robertson - page 61 #12.
This is what we tell everyone that becomes saved? The sacrifice of Christ isn't enough? Christ removed all but the "financial curse?" This is heretical nonsense.
That statement is mixing law with Grace, not rightly dividing the Word of Truth, a stumbling block, not of faith and is therefore sin.
I recently heard one minister extend the misappropriated Malachi curse to the church. He stated that he was tired of his church not receiving the full blessings of God because of the "thieves" that came to the church that didn't tithe and gave corrupted seed.
Would this minister consider refusing all money from these "non-tithing thieves"? Why does he choose to participate in their "thievery" and "sin" by accepting "corrupted seed?" God doesn't accept corrupted seed, so why should the ministers accept it? [Malachi 1:10, Amos 5:22 1 Corinthians 13] Peter exposed those giving corrupted seed. [Acts 5:3, Acts 5:8-9]
To make sure there would be no deceit under agrarian law tithing, each Hebrew was compelled to make a declaration of honesty before the Lord. [Deuteronomy 26:13-15] This mandated declaration also stated that you had honestly given the tithe, "...to the Levite, the stranger, the sojourner, the fatherless and to the widow..."
Oppress the poor
with the curse of the Law
and the judgment you see
is Matthew 7:23!
11. Be Wrong Or Give Wrong And It Doesn't Profit You Anything, Tithing Or Not!
We have to rightly divide the Word of Truth. First Corinthians 13 makes clear that one can give everything including one's body to be burned but if they don't have Agape love, they profit NOTHING. I would suggest that giving for the purpose of getting is improperly motivated and NOT giving with Agape Love. One should give out of love and because it is right. Everything we get from God is by Grace through faith in Christ and Christ taught against becoming works based. [Luke 18:9-14] Scripture teaches that God doesn't accept offerings from people that are not right or do not give in the right spirit. [Malachi 1:10, Amos 5:22 1 Cor. 13]
The New Testament fulfills [MATURES] the law. In the New Testament, the INTENT is more important than the RULE. As 1 Corinthians 13 makes clear, ANY THING given with the wrong intent profits the individual NOTHING. Promises of God give Faith and Hope but give without Agape Love and you profit NOTHING.
God is not for sale. One can believe and expect good from the Father without giving to get as the primary motivation.
Otherwise, the focus of what you expect from God becomes works centered. Anything which takes away from the work of Christ is not of God. [Luke 18:9-14]
12. Whether Before The Law Or After The Law, Tithing Was Never The First Fruits Offering
Many mandated tithing teachers confuse tithing with the first fruits offering. By not rightly dividing the word of truth, many scriptures regarding first fruits giving are misapplied to support the unbiblical mandated tithing doctrine. The first fruits offering was when the Israelites brought a portion of the fruits that ripened first as an offering. These were looked on as a pledge of the coming harvest, which would then be tithed. The first fruits offering was NEVER the tithe.
13. The Work Of Christ Is Not To See How Successful And Wealthy We Can All Become By Giving Tithes And Offerings
At this point I will insert a few comments from an interview with former PTL Preacher Jim Bakker after he repented and God resurrected his ministry:
On prosperity preaching: I began to read and write down every word as recorded in the Gospels. I wept that I could have been so wrong, preaching another gospel and another Jesus. Jesus called riches "deceitfulness of riches." He even said, "Woe unto the rich!" He was saying things like, "You can't serve God and money." He never cast wealth and riches into a good light. How could I have spent so much time emphasizing financial blessing?
I'd always quoted 3 John 2, saying, "Above all things God wants you to prosper." I loved that Scripture. It looks great on a TV screen when you're raising funds, and I interpreted it as God wants you to be rich. But when I got to the words of John, I said, "Now this don't make sense." So I took the word prosper apart in the Greek and found out it's made up of two words — the first word means good or well and the second road. It's a progressive word, so it's like a journey. So, here's John saying, basically, "Beloved, I want you to have a good journey through life as your soul has a good journey to heaven." It was a greeting! Building theology on that is like building the church on "Have a nice day."
I began to look up all the Scriptures used in prosperity teaching, such as "Give and it shall be given unto you." When I put that Scripture back into its context, I found Christ was teaching on forgiveness, not on money. He was teaching us that by the same measure that we forgive, we will be forgiven.
I had gotten my sermons from other people. The Bible warns about the shepherds who get their messages from each other. I think today the reason we have another gospel and another Jesus being preached is because men have gotten their sermons from each other and from motivational teaching. A lot of what's being taught today is simply motivational teaching with a few Scriptures put to it. END QUOTE
Sometimes modern day Christianity looks like nothing more than success coaching with a Christian wrapper.
Many appear to sound like Christianity teaches "wealth equals Godliness" and "a lack of wealth is satanic." But read James 1:9-11. Many arrogant preachers look down on the poor and forget a good chunk of their money comes from the medium to low wage earner. This arrogance leads many in ministry to believe "God is always going where the money is flowing." Many caught up in the prosperity doctrine think, "But I am making more money, how can it NOT be God?"
God doesn't live in buildings anymore. PEOPLE are the House of God and the Body of Christ. With all of the "revelation" around today, the church still doesn't get it and many are still seeking the Old Testament glory of the temple. God's storehouse is now HIS PEOPLE.
I know of one incident where a church spent thousands on electronic and computer gadgetry that they weren't using and they couldn't help out a needy Christian that, due to illness and hardship, needed a small sum to avoid a utility shut off. The "work of Christ" and Body of Christ is more than the church coffers and buildings. The "work of Christ" is meeting the needs of PEOPLE on MANY different levels WHEREVER we are. If one spends resources on a prison ministry; that is "unto Christ." If one feeds hungry neighbors; that is "unto Christ." While the local church certainly should not be neglected, there is no scripture that says all money given unto God has to go into church or minister's coffers.
Many preachers and churches make it sound like the only giving that is "unto the Lord" is what is given to them.
But Christ taught, "When you assist one of the least of these, my Brethren, you have done it unto me." Also read the Biblical story of the Good Samaritan. Too many Christians are "paying others" to do what many times is THEIR work. They pay others to minister IN PLACE OF them.
Many tithing Christians will tithe out of fear of the misappropriated "Malachi Curse" ignoring the fact their neighbor is in need. These Christians are thinking that when they get their "windfall" from tithing, they will then help the needy.
Many churches today still seek the "glory of the temple" and give little to no thought to the glory of the New Testament Temple...the living, breathing body of Christ. I have seen examples of "confirmed tithers hesitant to give a small offering to a needy elderly couple because there would be no "record" of their giving; their giving would not be seen by the church. Yet Christ taught to give in secret.
We now have countless huge edifices and all types of major Christian media networks etc. With all of this building of things, is Christianity better off?
I recently had Christian TV on in my home and realized I would have to shut it off if an unsaved or new Christian walked into the room. The money huckstering was shameless. Many, but not all, times these things are done for the "glory of the temple" at the expense of the real temple - the living, breathing body of Christ.
The logic that the world won't listen to your salvation message unless you're wealthy or successful is nonsense. Christ didn't have a place to lay his head, yet the masses came. John the Baptist lived like a hermit, yet crowds flocked to him. Initially in the book of Acts many Christians owned NOTHING because they voluntarily sold what they had and gave it for distribution so no one would be lacking. Yet the message was wildly successful. We do have some indications that some of the Apostles were fairly successful prior to ministry. Others were not. Either way, they got the message out just fine.
The Bible teaches there is absolutely NOTHING wrong with properly obtained prosperity or success provided it is properly handled. I pray we all attain it via right living, faith, Grace and Love, NOT law, fear, condemnation, deceit or corrupt teaching of scripture and manipulating money out of people.
14. What Is Faith Based Abrahamic Covenant Tithing?
We call Faith Based Abrahamic Covenant Tithing 'FACT' for short. The 2 pre-law examples of tithing in Genesis were voluntary, profit and faith based. Study Galatians 3, Ephesians 2:12 and Romans, particularly Romans 4, to see how Paul relates faith, righteousness and being a "true" Israelite back to pre-law faith and promise via Abraham. FACT is based on this Abrahamic principle and the biblical principle that what is offered to God must be pure, fully owned and not credit or lien based. Melchizedek, King of Jerusalem, was a PRE-LAW type of Christ and he received voluntary tithes of profits. [That which is fully owned, non credit or lien based - Hebrews 7:2-6, Genesis 14:17-20] Also see part 16 - Some Thoughts on Melchizedek for further discussion of pre-law tithing. FACT does NOT change law tithing into a mandated 10% of income and ignore the other demands of the law regarding tithing which is routinely done today. There is NO alteration, twisting of scripture or mixing of law and Grace with the FACT tithing system.
What is "profit" and why is Faith Based Abrahamic Covenant Tithing profit based? PROFIT is what is left after paying necessary, obligatory expenses which are VOWS in one form or another. God doesn't want what is vowed to others so one can't vow to God what is vowed to others.
You can't "put God first" by neglecting the poor and needy, vows, responsibilities or commitments. If that is what you're doing, it isn't because you are putting God first. It is because you're hoping God will be impressed enough with you and your giving to give you a windfall financial blessing.
In other words, you're giving to get. You are thinking that THEN, after the windfall blessing, you will be responsible. This sort of thinking, fostered heavily by the prosperity doctrine, is immature, unscriptural and unethical. This self-deception is, in effect, "Christian Gambling" and a growing cancer in the body of Christ.
Being paid wages daily was the law in Biblical times, so necessary production expenses [vows] were paid BEFORE the tithe was offered. [Leviticus 19:13, Deuteronomy 24:14-15] God expects us to be financially responsible, not foolhardy "spirit filled gamblers." [Romans 13:7-8] Christ said, "If anyone has any grievance against you, leave your gift at the altar and take care of it BEFORE presenting your gift." [Matthew 5:23-26]
Many Christians don't view breaches of oral or written contract as requiring consideration before giving. Christ taught financial responsibility. Christ did NOT approve of giving to God while ignoring responsibilities. [Mark 7:10-13, Matthew 5:23-26] Our offerings to God are to be pure, not credit or lien based and untainted by improper conduct or motivation. One can't dedicate something to God that is already tainted or committed by vow, contract or other obligation. God doesn't want the money that you are withholding from others irresponsibly, wrongfully, unlawfully, in breach of oral or written contract or deceitfully. Offerings to God had to be the honestly acquired property of the donor. [2 Samuel 24:24] One rarely hears this from many of today's preachers.
Someone choosing the Faith Based Abrahamic Covenant Tithing [FACT] method can figure out their PROFITS by deducting necessary, obligatory expenses [vows] from their take home pay. This would include all necessary expenses of living. This will give people what, for many, would be a good starting figure from which to start giving. Then they can give a "tithe" based on profit. Additional giving, which would be appropriate for many people, would be offerings.
Whenever I hear of a "tithe paying" business that is owned by Christians, the tithe is on the PROFITS of the business. I don't think I have ever heard of a business tithing every dollar that comes in regardless of what their expenses are. Businesses are taught to PAY THEIR BILLS and necessary expenses [vows] and THEN tithe on the profits.
Yet this "courtesy" isn't granted the average wage earner by most mandated tithing teachers who say one must give 10 percent of income without consideration of bills, expenses, vows and responsibilities. Mandated tithing teachers make it sound like you aren't "putting God first" if you consider your vows before tithing. Yet those same teachers will tell a business that it is "right" to pay their vows [bills, expenses, responsibilities etc.] first and then tithe on the profits.
But this issue is moot since tithing was never based on income in the first place and anyone teaching you that you have a God given commandment to give 10% of income or be cursed is either unlearned, greedy or blatantly lying for financial gain at your expense. So why are we suggesting a giving plan that includes a tithe? To assist those already locked into the idea to help them transition into true New Testament giving! Many people have become damaged by abuses of church leaders. Some stop giving completely and can't get the idea out of their head that it is 10% or hell. Many are wounded and angry, both at themselves for allowing themselves to be used, and at the abusive church leadership. Many have made rash vows or great sacrifices for causes which they thought were good. Some see large amounts of money that has gone to spiritual mentors that are no longer spiritual mentors.
It can be very beneficial to those damaged by abusive spiritual leaders to find their way back to true giving from the heart, without manipulation and for the right reason. THAT is the ultimate purpose of this document. It gives damaged people a framework to begin healing. Nothing proposed here is obligatory, oppresses the poor or involves curses or condemnation if not followed.
Additionally, the sad reality with non-profit organizations is most people need some sort of coaxing or plan to assist with and help them formulate their giving.
Of course, if someone wishes to give 10, 20 or whatever percent of gross or net income that is their choice. But they must give generously, cheerfully, willingly, not out of necessity, according to their means, in faith, with love and in the right spirit. Also, they must NOT be neglecting vows, commitments and responsibilities. These factors, NOT percentages, are the New Testament requirements for giving if you want to receive a blessing. One should NEVER give out of fear of a curse, condemnation, guilt, necessity or concerns of "being devoured by the enemy" or give with the primary focus of "what's in it for me?"
15. Warnings Regarding Distortions Of Modern Day Translations Regarding Tithes And Tithing
To show how the Word gets corrupted, get a King James Bible and The Living Bible Edition and look at Luke 11:42. The King James clearly talks of tithing herbs yet the Living Bible states, "...you are careful to tithe even the smallest part of your income..." This clearly is an obfuscation of the original text since the original makes clear they were tithing HERBS, not income from herbs. Also notice the King James verses and The Living Bible in Luke 18:12 where the self-righteous Pharisee states he tithes all that he comes to possess which is the Greek signifying OWNERSHIP instead of income. Yet the Living Bible states, "...I give to God a tenth of everything I earn." This is another obfuscation since EARNING is not the same as OWNING. The Amplified Bible states in the same verse, "...I give tithes of all that I gain." This doesn't do justice to the original Greek since most don't know that gain in the Bible refers to what one FULLY POSSESSES. The King James is clear that the Pharisee was tithing what he came to FULLY OWN. The Greek word in question is Strongs 2932 which is defined as follows:
- to acquire, get, or procure a thing for one's self, to possess
- to marry a wife
- a primary verb; to get, i.e. acquire (by any means; own):-obtain
- possess, provide, purchase
Sorry ladies, but any historian will tell you wives were considered fully owned property during much of man's history.
What one fully owns is a far cry from one's income since the average American's income is reduced by triple "tithes" to the Government and much of the remainder of their income is VOWED for other necessary expenses of life.
One can find distortions and sometimes outright errors in all translations; there are good and bad in all of them. I used the Living Bible only as an example. Overall I think it is a good translation but any serious student of scripture must be sure to get as close as possible to original text and meaning to avoid these types of errors. Also see the Deep Study on Deuteronomy 26:12 dealing with this same issue.
16. Some Thoughts On Melchizedek And Tithing
Much is made about the mysterious King of Salem [Jerusalem] in Genesis 14 by mandated tithing teachers. The reality is in Abraham's time tithing was predominately a pagan practice and a voluntary social custom of acknowledging a cherished ruler. Some researchers say the pagan custom was mandatory but, either way, there was no command from God to tithe. To use the argument that tithes are mandated today because Abraham gave Melchizedek tithes is ludicrous for many reasons:
- First, Abraham VOLUNTARILY tithed spoils of war, not his personal income or wealth.
- Second, there was NO God given mandate to tithe at all. [Hebrews 7:2, Genesis 14:20, Genesis 14:22-24]
- Third, Abraham had already received his blessing - the victory given by God. [Genesis 14:19-20] There is NOTHING in Scripture that says Abraham's blessing was contingent on his tithe.
- Fourth, the tithing of Abraham was a single event.
The question of the Melchizedek priesthood is purely a Jewish one. It is NOT a Gentilian issue since Gentiles had nothing to do with the Levitical Priesthood at all. It was the Jews that were having problems accepting Christ as THE high priest because Christ was from the tribe of Judah, not the tribe of Levi where the Jews had been taught all their priests must come from. This is why Paul discussed it at length in the Jewish letter to the Hebrews. The Jews clearly couldn't understand the Priesthood of Christ and Paul attempted to explain it. Hebrews 7 is a difficult chapter to understand and I think the Amplified does a good job here.
Remember, the Levites paid tithes out of their tithes to the priests. Paul tried to explain to the Jews that because the tribe of Levi was still unborn inside Abraham, they did, in fact, pay tithes to the eternal priesthood of Melchizedek which Christ belonged to thereby acknowledging the Melchizedek priesthood, however indirectly and PRIOR to the law of Moses. Paul was trying to show the Jews that the Levitical Priesthood was inefficient and temporal and the Melchizedek Priesthood is eternal and better. The unborn Levites paying tithes through Abraham doesn't justify a doctrine for mandated tithing today because of the 4 points mentioned at the beginning of this section. It is difficult for Gentiles to understand these issues because they are basically irrelevant to the Gentiles acceptance of The Christ. Gentiles don't have to become Jews before becoming Christians and Paul made clear it is wrong to burden Gentiles with Jewish questions and mandates.
I assert THIS is the real meaning of Melchizedek's appearance in Genesis 14: Abraham had risked his life to rescue his nephew. This is the first account in the Bible of man trying to save man in a totally selfless act. Remember, Abraham could have taken spoils of the war but refused to do so. Abraham's only motivation was to save his Nephew. After this first recorded selfless act to save a brother, suddenly the Christ type, King/Priest of Jerusalem appears with bread and wine [communion]. Abraham had passed the test by being willing to sacrifice himself for another. Later he would be willing to sacrifice his son and the Christ type appears again in the form of a sacrifice and a promise. Doesn't this make much more Biblical sense than trying to twist scripture to make it look like Melchizedek's appearance was to teach mandated tithing, especially given the other issues discussed in this document?
17. Some Final Thoughts On The Tithing Issue
Study and pray regarding this issue thoroughly so you can be persuaded in your own mind. Don't allow yourself to come under condemnation unnecessarily. "To him who thinks something is sin, then to him it is sin" because one's conscience is not clear. Romans 14 and Matthew 6:2-4 will help you understand this and also help you deal with others regarding mandated law tithing. What I teach you in this document is a simple, uncomplicated, reality based plan of giving for those who need it. FACT (Faith Based Abrahamic Covenant Tithing) is a good, voluntary, biblical, grace and Faith Based plan that can be taught without the heretical half-breed reconstruction of agrarian law tithing, unscriptural condemnations or the mixing of law with Grace.
The FACT giving plan is just that…A plan. The reality is if one is truly giving in obedience to God using the New Testament requirements detailed in this document then they are doing the right thing even if they don't figure percentages.
Be led by the Spirit, be fair, and above all be GENEROUS like Christ COMMANDED. Don't use this document as an excuse to be stingy. This plan is SUGGESTED to help people out of the mind set of mandated tithing into non-manipulated New Testament giving! Although I have heard terms like financial tithing, inspirational tithing, revelation tithing, etc., the Bible only taught voluntary pre-law profit-based tithing and agrarian production-based law tithing. While some who preach mandated tithing will claim I don't have "the revelation," many will see the truth in this document. Others who preach mandated tithing may see the truth in this document AFTER they fall from grace, calamity strikes, something happens that makes them less ego and goal driven or they are approaching death. Be assured I have been on BOTH sides of this issue and I believe in the blessings of God. I have personally experienced miracles of God's divine providence and provision. You may ask, "Why do I now hold this position?" I can say it in one word.....MATURITY.
Given the financial realities of today's world, if one believes they must teach a giving plan to facilitate giving, then teach the Faith Based Abrahamic Covenant Tithing [FACT] that is described in this document. Depending on individual circumstances freewill offerings can supplement Faith Based Abrahamic Covenant Tithing.
Faith Based Abrahamic Covenant Tithing can be practiced in the faith that we are "true Israelites" that are ruling with Christ and partaking of the inheritance and the faith, NOT law based, Abrahamic Covenant. May the Church of God rightly divide the word, never go beyond what is written and NEVER make a practice or doctrine of mixing law with Grace.
The question now becomes, do today's preachers have the faith to teach FACT [Faith Based Abrahamic Covenant Tithing] or will they continue to preach oppressive, obligatory, manipulated, debt inducing, unscriptural giving? While some will continue out of ignorance or habit, other "faith" preachers will not have the faith or character to preach the truth in this document. They will prefer to justify mixing law with grace and using guilt, manipulation and control thereby deceiving themselves and others into thinking the "work of Christ" is better served....because they can get more money.
OH MY GOD! RICHARD - YOU ARE NUTS AND NAIVE ABOUT THE REALITIES OF THE CHURCH
I have heard ministers say, Richard, are you crazy? If I teach what you are saying,
- I will lose my building
- I won't be able to fulfill my vision
- I won't be able to make repairs on or expand my building
- I would have to reduce or eliminate TV, Cable or radio time
- I will not be able to pay the bills
- my ministry would be diminished
- I would have to go back to house meetings
- I would have to go backwards instead of forwards
- and on and on it goes...
I am well aware that some or all of these things may be true for some ministries and churches if they teach the truth about tithing. I am also aware God and His Christ are not defined by or limited to any one earth based ministry or church. So, to all those that have and continue to respond to me this way I say...Does The Truth Matter?
You have been given the truth on tithing and set free from the mandated tithing doctrine. Spread this document or link around as much as you can. Send it to teachers of mandated tithing. Be patient and non-judgmental when educating others. Remember, we are all learning. Be prepared for rejection, resistance and maybe even banishment once your views become known.
Some comments, reviews etc. from Rabbis and others on tithing and this document:
Russell Kelly (pictured at right) is author of "Should the Church Teach Tithing?": I appreciate the article you wrote on tithing. We are about 95% in agreement which is fine with me. My book, Should the Church Teach Tithing?, was my Ph.D. dissertation of 364 pages and covers most of your points in detail..Check out the reviews on Amazon.com. My only disagreement is with your statements that Abraham's tithe was "faith based" and "voluntary." The Bible does NOT say these things, but most have assumed them to be true. My research on Genesis 14:21, not Genesis 14:20, leads me to conclude that Abraham most likely paid a spoils of war tithe because of MANDATORY CANAANITE TRADITION which can be proven to have existed throughout the world at his time. Since your "agrarian" definition of tithe is the only correct definition, then the word should not be used with another definition --- regardless of how sincere the person might be. I have much to share with you if you are interested. I spent over 10 years researching my book. Thanks again. Russell Kelly
Richard's quick response: Thank you for your comments. This section on Melchizedek shows Paul teaching the Jews that the faith in the Melchizedek priesthood (the King/Priest of Jerusalem i.e. Christ) was confirmed by Abraham's giving of tithes.
Rabbi Robert Alpert: "Tithing, in the sense of crops, of course, is no longer done. Of course, Jews are encouraged to give charity [tzedakkah]. Whether they give 10 percent or more, is between them, God and their accountants."
Richard's quick response: Thank you Rabbi. Because of you the word 'accountants' is now in this document!
Zola Levitt: Is tithing for the Christian today? Tithing was a part of the Law of Moses under the legal economy of Israel. It does not apply to the Church today, since we are under grace and not the law (Romans 6:14; 10:4). Therefore, we are obligated to give first our bodies and souls as living sacrifices in reasonable service to God (Romans 12:1-2). The New Testament teaches proportional giving according to what we have, not what we don't have (2 Cor. 8:12). If we can only give 5% as the Lord leads, so be it. It is not how much you give that matters to God, but the attitude and motive which you are giving from. This is the concern of the New Testament with regard to giving, rather than measuring the amount that is given (see 2 Cor. 8-9).
Richard's quick response: Thank you Zola! Enjoy the presence of the Lord!
The King James Version of the Hebrew-Greek Key Word Study Bible: Keynote on Malachi 3:7-15 states, "This passage is often used by those who advocate "storehouse tithing"; that is, bringing the "tithe" into God's storehouse (the local church), rather than giving it anywhere else. They suggest that gifts to ministries other than the local church should be above the "tithe." Certainly the "storehouse" in Malachi represents the temple or a building in the temple complex. However, the OT "tithe" or "tenth" cannot be reasonably equated with ten percent of gross salary or wages which most people earn today. Above all, giving should be a matter between the Holy Spirit and the believer, not a regulation. The "tithe" may be an adequate guide for determining how much some people could give (indeed, for many in a prosperous society, it is probably an inadequate level), but the amount of giving must be a personal decision. The Apostle Paul wrote that God examines the motives for the giving, not the amount (2 Corinthians 9:7)
Despite the "amens" heard during messages about mandated tithing, it is clear that the overwhelming majority of believers are NOT persuaded by the doctrine: "Church Loses Financial ground in 2000" by Barna Research: “Tithing Is Rare” - One out of every six adults (17%) claims to tithe, but a comparison of the amount that people gave to churches and their household income revealed that just 6% actually donated one-tenth of their income (pre-tax or post-tax) to churches. The level of erroneous reporting among born again Christians was just as prolific: 32% reported tithing, yet only 12% actually did so in 2000. Also see Barna Research 2008 report and their 2012 report.
Richard's quick response: Clearly much of this 'erroneous reporting' is lying due to unnecessary feelings of obligation and fear of rejection.
Willow Creek Association, a group representing close to 5,000 evangelical churches said the average numbers of people actually giving 10% of their income is about 2.6%. They also said churches are spending increasing amounts of their budget on things such as theater seats and lavish sound systems while cutting back on funds for outreach programs. It is also noteworthy that many ministries refusing to volunteer for full financial accountability are the most ardent mandated tithing teachers.
Richard's quick response: See Final Note below.
From other researchers that have published on the internet regarding tithing: "Thank you for your interest in Tithing. We are grateful for the work you have done. However we make the following brief and succinct statement. We attempt to follow scripture. The Bible does not support ANY system of Tithing in the Christian Dispensation. Therefore your reasoning regarding Faith Based Abrahamic Covenant Tithing is unscriptural. Meanwhile we commend you for noting the wretched system of Mandated Law Tithing that is a gross criminal act. We suggest that you stay with scripture and realize that one is to give but it is not a Tithe."
Richard's quick response: Thank you. For the most part I agree with you. However 'the tithe' is a biblical principle and the corresponding number 10 is an important and meaningful number in the Bible. I see no harm in a New Testament Christian who may have a sum of money saying, "I think I will give a tithe to the Lord." I see no reason to get religious about the word. But again, your point is well taken.
For documented proof, see "Pagan Christianity: The Origins of our Modern Church Practices" by Frank Viola.
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