Looking into the true context of scripture
First I had to see that there is clearly a separation between people which lived under the law and people which live under faith. Prior to Christ’s baptism, there existed the Law and the Prophets as the governing faith. At his baptism a transition period existed where people would trust in him as messiah, but still under the Law and the Prophets. After the resurrection though, the governing faith was perfected in the work of Christ to destroy the imputation of sin and secure a righteous sacrifice.
Hebrews 2:14 Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil—(NIV)
No longer was there a need for priests which would offer sacrifices daily, Christ became our high priest and made one everlasting sacrifice for us.
Hebrews 7:11 If perfection could have been attained through the Levitical priesthood (for on the basis of it the law was given to the people), why was there still need for another priest to come—one in the order of Melchizedek, not in the order of Aaron? 12For when there is a change of the priesthood, there must also be a change of the law. 13He of whom these things are said belonged to a different tribe, and no one from that tribe has ever served at the altar. 14For it is clear that our Lord descended from Judah, and in regard to that tribe Moses said nothing about priests. 15And what we have said is even more clear if another priest like Melchizedek appears, 16one who has become a priest not on the basis of a regulation as to his ancestry but on the basis of the power of an indestructible life. 17For it is declared:
“You are a priest forever,
in the order of Melchizedek.”
18The former regulation is set aside because it was weak and useless 19(for the law made nothing perfect), and a better hope is introduced, by which we draw near to God.
20And it was not without an oath! Others became priests without any oath, 21but he became a priest with an oath when God said to him:
“The Lord has sworn
and will not change his mind:
‘You are a priest forever.’ ” 22Because of this oath, Jesus has become the guarantee of a better covenant.
Hbr 7:11 -22 KJV link
Separation from Old to New Testaments
Origin and purpose:
1)To meet the needs of those called to God’s service.
Genesis14:18 Then Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine. He was priest of God Most High, 19 and he blessed Abram, saying,
“Blessed be Abram by God Most High,
Creator of heaven and earth. 20 And blessed be God Most High,
who delivered your enemies into your hand.”
Then Abram gave him a tenth of everything.
Hebrews 7:1 This Melchizedek was king of Salem and priest of God Most High. He met Abraham returning from the defeat of the kings and blessed him,(NIV)
23But the Levites shall do the service of the tabernacle of the congregation, and they shall bear their iniquity: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations, that among the children of Israel they have no inheritance.
24But the tithes of the children of Israel, which they offer as an heave offering unto the LORD, I have given to the Levites to inherit: therefore I have said unto them, Among the children of Israel they shall have no inheritance.
2)To meet the needs of those which cannot meet thier own needs
Deut.26:11And thou shalt rejoice in every good thing which the LORD thy God hath given unto thee, and unto thine house, thou, and the Levite, and the stranger that is among you.
12When thou hast made an end of tithing all the tithes of thine increase the third year, which is the year of tithing, and hast given it unto the Levite, the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, that they may eat within thy gates, and be filled;
13Then thou shalt say before the LORD thy God, I have brought away the hallowed things out of mine house, and also have given them unto the Levite, and unto the stranger, to the fatherless, and to the widow, according to all thy commandments which thou hast commanded me: I have not transgressed thy commandments, neither have I forgotten them.
Is Tithing for Today?
While I think that it is very clear from scripture that tithing, as an ordinance from Moses law (First five books of Old Testament), has been done away with in Christ. Many will argue this point in various ways.
1) It will be argued that tithing was before the law. The problem here is that Abram offered ten percent of the spoil to Melchezedek as an honor to God. It was not a matter of Law until instituted in the Law of Moses as a way to care for both the house of Levi and those which could not care for themselves (widows, orphans, foreigners). When we read Acts 2:44 & 4:32, it is evident that every believer is cared for and that they all have everything in common. but in Acts 6:1, we see that some widows are being neglected in the daily distribution. Care for widows as well as every needy believer present were met not by a meager ten-percent donation but by all believers sharing everything in common. We see further instruction given by Paul the apostle, regarding financial support for widows in 1 Tim. 5:3-17, yet there is no mention of the word tithe.
We also see another great example in Acts 15 . In all of my 14 years of listening to messages I have never heard this text in part or in whole.
Certain Jewish leaders had convinced the new converts to Christ that thier salvation was not secure unless they were circumcised and followed the Law of Moses. There was such a great debate over this issue that the apostles inquired of the Christian saints and elders in Jerusalem. When they had determined an answer for the apostles to take back to the Gentile converts, this was the outcome:
Acts 15:5 But there rose up certain of the sect of the Pharisees which believed, saying, That it was needful to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the law of Moses.
6And the apostles and elders came together for to consider of this matter.
7And when there had been much disputing, Peter rose up, and said unto them, Men and brethren, ye know how that a good while ago God made choice among us, that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the gospel, and believe.
8And God, which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as he did unto us;
9And put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith.
10Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear?
11But we believe that through the grace of the LORD Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they.
12Then all the multitude kept silence, and gave audience to Barnabas and Paul, declaring what miracles and wonders God had wrought among the Gentiles by them.
13And after they had held their peace, James answered, saying, Men and brethren, hearken unto me:
14Simeon hath declared how God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name.
15And to this agree the words of the prophets; as it is written,
16After this I will return, and will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up:
17That the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles, upon whom my name is called, saith the Lord, who doeth all these things.
18Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world.
19Wherefore my sentence is, that we trouble not them, which from among the Gentiles are turned to God:
20But that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood.
then again in
Acts 21:25 As touching the Gentiles which believe, we have written and concluded that they observe no such thing, save only that they keep themselves from things offered to idols, and from blood, and from strangled, and from fornication.
So even the Gentile,(non-Jewish), believers are not required to keep the
Law of Moses, which includes tithes, sacrifices, and customs.
2) It will be argued that tithing is in the New Testament. There are three places in the gospels where tithing is mentioned. Mat.23:23 & Lk. 11:42. Jesus pronounces woes to the Pharisees for straining at percentages and then neglecting God’s love and true judgement. Then in
Lk. 18:9 And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others:
10Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. 11The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. 12I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. 13And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.
14I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.
There is also Hebrews 7 which mentions the tithe in reference to the levitical priesthood which Christ replaced.
3) It will be argued that tithing was for the Levites(as ministers over God’s house) and the tithe is now for the present day ministers at congregations. Most that align with this belief tend to agree that the present day churches are new forms of the Old Testament temple. However, scripture says that we are the temple of the Holy Spirit and that God does not live in any temple made with man’s hands.
1Cor.3:16 Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?
17If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.
Acts 17:23 For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you.
24God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands;
25Neither is worshipped with men’s hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things;
These same believers will quote:
Malachi 3:8 “Will a man rob God? Yet you rob me.
“But you ask, ‘How do we rob you?’
“In tithes and offerings. 9 You are under a curse—the whole nation of you—because you are robbing me. 10 Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the LORD Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it. 11 I will prevent pests from devouring your crops, and the vines in your fields will not cast their fruit,” says the LORD Almighty. 12 “Then all the nations will call you blessed, for yours will be a delightful land,” says the LORD Almighty.
This is one of the most widely-used scriptures to justify tithing and it’s rewards. When you read just this portion, it appears to be self-explanatory. However, when we read the book in context with the other chapters and verses included we find that this portion of scripture is just that- a portion.
How many ministers make mention of Malachi 4:4 Remember ye the law of Moses my servant, which I commanded unto him in Horeb for all Israel, with the statutes and judgments ? Are we too to remember to do the Law of Moses?
And what about
Malachi 3:5 And I will come near to you to judgment; and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, and against the adulterers, and against false swearers, and against those that oppress the hireling in his wages, the widow, and the fatherless, and that turn aside the stranger from his right, and fear not me, saith the LORD of hosts.
Malachi 2:8 But ye are departed out of the way; ye have caused many to stumble at the law; ye have corrupted the covenant of Levi, saith the LORD of hosts.
I find it interesting that we find these same recipients mentioned : Levites, orphans, widows, and foreigners- all associated with the tithe.
The tithe is clearly not a part of a believer’s financial devotion to God.
However let us look at what is:
Prior to the Law Abraham gave to honor God. We find a New Testament scripture where we are encouraged to honor in
Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine.
Not to be confused with speaking, rather this term is more similar to the word conversation in that both parts share in both speaking and listening to one-another. The object is sharing good things with your bible teacher or instructor.
According to the Strong’s concordinance of Greek translation, “communicate” in Gal. 6:6
is translated as sharing. In 1Tim. 6:18 it refers to liberality and freedom in giving or sharing material goods. In Heb. 13:16 it refers to fellowship, communion, distribution, sharing, and being of one accord.
Let him that is taught in the word communicate unto him that teacheth in all good things.
Now ye Philippians know also, that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church communicated with me as concerning giving and receiving
, but ye only.
1 Timothy 6:17-19
17Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy;
18That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate;
19Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.
15By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.
16But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.
17Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.
Also included as a part of sharing in which material goods met the needs of multiple people.
1 Tim. 6:17 Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy;
18That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate;
19Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.
Acts 4:34 Neither was there any among them that lacked: for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold,
35And laid them down at the apostles’ feet: and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need.
2 Corinthians 9:13
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
Rom.12:12 Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer;
13Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality
Let’s look at one of the largest offering endeavors by the Gentile believers to the poor Hebrew believers. Acts 11 sets the stage in history for the great offering.
Acts 11: 27And in these days came prophets from Jerusalem unto Antioch. 28
And there stood up one of them named Agabus, and signified by the Spirit that there should be great dearth (famine) throughout all the world: which came to pass in the days of Claudius Caesar. 29
Then the disciples, every man according to his ability, determined to send relief unto the brethren which dwelt in Judaea:
30Which also they did, and sent it to the elders by the hands of Barnabas and Saul.
Rom 15:25 But now I go unto Jerusalem to minister unto the saints.
26For it hath pleased them of Macedonia and Achaia to make a certain contribution for the poor saints which are at Jerusalem.
27It hath pleased them verily; and their debtors they are. For if the Gentiles have been made partakers of their spiritual things, their duty is also to minister unto them in carnal things.
2 Cor. 8:1 Moreover, brethren, we do you to wit of the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia;
2How that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality.
3For to their power, I bear record, yea, and beyond their power they were willing of themselves;
4Praying us with much intreaty that we would receive the gift, and take upon us the fellowship of the ministering to the saints.
5And this they did, not as we hoped, but first gave their own selves to the Lord, and unto us by the will of God.
6Insomuch that we desired Titus, that as he had begun, so he would also finish in you the same grace also.
7Therefore, as ye abound in every thing, in faith, and utterance, and knowledge, and in all diligence, and in your love to us, see that ye abound in this grace also.
8I speak not by commandment, but by occasion of the forwardness of others, and to prove the sincerity of your love.
9For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich.
10And herein I give my advice: for this is expedient for you, who have begun before, not only to do, but also to be forward a year ago.
11Now therefore perform the doing of it; that as there was a readiness to will, so there may be a performance also out of that which ye have.
12For if there be first a willing mind, it is accepted according to that a man hath, and not according to that he hath not.
13For I mean not that other men be eased, and ye burdened:
14But by an equality, that now at this time your abundance may be a supply for their want, that their abundance also may be a supply for your want: that there may be equality:
15As it is written, He that had gathered much had nothing over; and he that had gathered little had no lack.
16But thanks be to God, which put the same earnest care into the heart of Titus for you.
17For indeed he accepted the exhortation; but being more forward, of his own accord he went unto you.
18And we have sent with him the brother, whose praise is in the gospel throughout all the churches;
19And not that only, but who was also chosen of the churches to travel with us with this grace, which is administered by us to the glory of the same Lord, and declaration of your ready mind:
20Avoiding this, that no man should blame us in this abundance which is administered by us:
21Providing for honest things, not only in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of men.
1Cor.16:1 Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given order to the churches of Galatia, even so do ye.
2Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come.
3And when I come, whomsoever ye shall approve by your letters, them will I send to bring your liberality unto Jerusalem.
4And if it be meet that I go also, they shall go with me.
5Now I will come unto you, when I shall pass through Macedonia: for I do pass through Macedonia….
…14Let all your things be done with charity.
15I beseech you, brethren, (ye know the house of Stephanas, that it is the firstfruits of Achaia, and that they have addicted themselves to the ministry of the saints,)
2Cor. 9:1 For as touching the ministering to the saints, it is superfluous for me to write to you:
2For 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.
3Yet 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:
4Lest 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.
5Therefore 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.
6But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully.
7Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.
8And 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.
10Now 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;)
11Being enriched in every thing to all bountifulness, which causeth through us thanksgiving to God.
12For the administration of this service not only supplieth the want of the saints, but is abundant also by many thanksgivings unto God;
13Whiles 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;
14And by their prayer for you, which long after you for the exceeding grace of God in you.
15Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift.
Now after many years I came to bring alms to my nation, and offerings.
Notice that the goal here was for equality.
2 Cor. 8:14
But by an equality, that now at this time your abundance may be a supply for their want, that their abundance also may be a supply for your want: that there may be equality.