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Table of contents :
Discovering The Old Testament Tithe
ii. Introduction: What is a Tithe?…………….………………..……..13
1. Understanding Leviticus 27v30-32………………………...…....20
2. Abram voluntarily gave tithes of all?..............................37
3. Abraham became wealthy because he tithed?.......….….44
4. The Tithe is not a requirement of the Law? ……………...…54
5. The Jewish Tithe Festival (Deut. 14)……………………………..65
6. The Tithe was used to finance God’s work?.………...........72
7. The poor(landless) in Israel did not Tithe!.......................80
8. Equating the Tithe with Christ using Malachi………………...87
CHRiSTiAN TiTHiNG Discovering the Tithe
Seven Shocking Secrets About The Old Testament Tithe Revealed!
Written By Lewis J. Tauzeni This is a published book by Reloaded Publishers Christian Tithing Copyright © 2020 by Lewis J Tauzeni
ISBN 978-1-920704-91-9 Unless otherwise indicated, All scriptural quotations are from the NIV or New International Version of the Bible. Used by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be printed or reproduced or utilized in any form or by any electronic, mechanical, or other means, now known or hereafter invented, including photocopying and recording, or in any information storage or retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publishers. Thank you for supporting the author. By Lewis J. Tauzeni
Reloaded Publishers Printed in Pretoria, South Africa Email: [email protected] Call: +2773 529 1603 For more of my work and contacts: Email: [email protected] Other Book(s) How to Understand the New Testament: Discovering The Uncompromised Gospel
Discovering The Old Testament Tithe i. Preface………………………………………………………………………….4 ii. Introduction: What is a Tithe?…………….………………..……..13 1. Understanding Leviticus 27v30-32………………………...…....20 2. Abram voluntarily gave tithes of all?..............................37 3. Abraham became wealthy because he tithed?.......….….44 4. The Tithe is not a requirement of the Law? ……………...…54 5. The Jewish Tithe Festival (Deut. 14)……………………………..65 6. The Tithe was used to finance God’s work?.………...........72 7. The poor(landless) in Israel did not Tithe!.......................80 Bonus Chapter 8. Equating the Tithe with Christ using Malachi………………...87 Bibliography……………………………………………………………….…..94
How I wrote this book… This is essentially an analysis of the doctrine on Christian Tithing. The book examines the tithing system under the Old Testament setting and relates this to its usage under the New Testament Church. No one should take offense when a certain teaching or doctrine is placed under the microscopic lens of theological scrutiny. Granted that tithing is in the Bible and that it’s a direct command from God. I don’t dispute this biblical fact, however, it is the interpretation and usage of the tithe or this command from God under the Old Testament Israelite Society that is under theological scrutiny. For the inquiry to be more enriching, thorough and practical, I used a lot of references from authors or preachers from both sides of the argument. I then proffer my own opinions and assessments on these diverging views so that the reader can have a more balanced view on the matter. That’s primarily the reason why I used lots of reference throughout the book. I didn’t want this book to be just about me or my individual opinions on the subject. However, all the assertions and opinions that I share in this book are entirely my own and all the other citations of likeminded people are merely for reference.
Why I wrote this book.. The primary purpose of this book is to unravel the perceived 'deep and hidden mystery' concerning the enigmatic Tithe. There appears to be a lot of polarization regarding the usage of the tithe under the New Testament Church. Two very important scriptures come to mind. “My people perish for lack of knowledge” Hosea 4:6 and “you err because you don’t understand the scriptures or the power of God" Matt 22:29. Thus, where there is want of knowledge, even the sincerest of believers, will go astray! I have done extensive and intensive research on the subject and came to this very conclusion: The reason why there appears to be a lot of confusion on the subject of tithing is simply that the body of Christ lacks a proper understanding of the Old Testament tithe and its purpose. Where a thing is misunderstood and it's purpose equally misconstrued, chaos and abuse are inevitable, as echoed by the words of our Lord Jesus “you err because you don’t understand the scriptures…" As shall be revealed in this book, It's either the people in the congregation don't understand what a tithe is or the person standing on the pulpit preaching and writing books on the subject, is equally as ignorant. So, before we can even begin to hold debates on whether to tithe or not to tithe. It is imperative that we first understand the tithe and how the tithing system functioned or operated under the Old Testament Israel Society. One needs to at least get the basic biblical facts about tithing right! Once we
possess this understanding, it is only until then can we accurately determine whether or not Christians must tithe. After carrying out a careful study of all the biblical texts on tithing and meditating upon them, reading books written by different authors on tithing/giving, and historical books on Church history. It became obvious that there is a whole lot of misinformation and misinterpretation of the Holy Scriptures that is going on unabated. “The general perception of tithing during the Law is too simplistic and inaccurate. That misunderstanding contributes to the wrong conclusion that Christians must tithe” ¹
As shall be revealed in this book, texts such as Genesis 14:20, Leviticus 27:30-32, Malachi 3:10 are all misinterpreted. A lot of information is strewn around in trying to explain why God required a tithe of grain, fruit, and livestock. This ranges from assertions that Israel was an agro-based society hence the people were farmers so their only source of income was the Land (farming); they didn’t earn wages; they didn’t use money in Ancient times; the tithe is God's way of financing his work; to mention but just a few! Using all the resources that we have at our disposal now that we living in the information era, all these claims must be thoroughly investigated in line with the scriptures. The Bible says, “Now the Bereans were more excellent than the Thessalonians, for daily, they thoroughly examined the scriptures in their homes, to see if what Paul said was true" Acts 17:11. It is the last part of that verse that knocked my socks off. These Berean-Jews were commended for not 6
dismissing what Paul was teaching as falsehoods but they actually went home and diligently examined the scriptures to assert the validity of Paul's teachings. The reason for the search was to ascertain the veracity of Paul's message. Just try doing that today! One would be promised brimstone and fire, unimaginable curses, leprosy that once plagued Miriam, etc. for just questioning what the MAN OF GOD says or teaches! Unlike the Thessalonian-Jews, the Berean-Jews chose spirituality over emotions/beliefs. People tend to be emotional when it comes to dealing with spiritual matters. However, being emotional and being spiritual are two different things. The Jews had their specific beliefs towards worship or serving God. Yet Paul’s message seemed to contradict those beliefs. The Berean-Jews decided to search the scriptures to ascertain whether or not Paul was teaching the truth. They could have dismissed him outright and clung to their beliefs, but they didn’t. The Bereans were not rebuked but were commended for this! They chose to study the scriptures because it was the only basis upon which they could ascertain the authenticity of Paul's message and not their beliefs. Doctrine isn’t verified by one’s beliefs but by the scriptures! What we can take away from all this is that, it is not your belief alone that can help you determine the authenticity of any doctrine. Therefore, it’s your sole prerogative to study the scriptures so that you may assess the correctness of everything that you have been taught or believe about Christianity. No one can take away 7
that right from you. If Paul could commend the Bereans for verifying his message, let no minister of the Gospel vilify you for doing the same regarding their message. This book was written to provoke you into seeking the truth with regards to the definition and usage of the tithe under Ancient Israelite society. As we interrogate every text and explanation that has been handed down for centuries now. One would then be equipped with the knowledge that is required to unravel the mystery behind the tithe. Once one possesses this understanding everything falls into place. If one carefully studies the scriptures, one will discover the shocking truth that Christian tithing is one of those wellmeaning but misguided traditions handed down by man. The doctrine of Christian tithing has been mindlessly taught and accepted for so long by some of the most outstanding evangelists and Pastors over the centuries². However, it is not what these reputable Man of God taught or believed to be true that should shape our doctrine or walk of faith but what the Apostles instructed. Whatever man teaches that escapes the scope and ambit of the teachings of the Apostles must be treated with reservation if not disdain. The chilling warning or command that was given by the Apostle Paul still rings a bell; “If any man is preaching to you a gospel other than the one you accepted…”Galatians 1v8
If we must possess an accurate understanding of the Tithe or tithing system under the Old Testament, this understanding must be underscored by the correct interpretation of the scriptures. The sphere of Bible interpretation is governed by Hermeneutics. By definition, this is the theory and methodology of interpretation of biblical texts... Hermeneutics is more than the interpretive principles or methods used when comprehension fails and includes the art of understanding and communication. The primary need for Hermeneutics is to determine and understand the meaning of the biblical text. The purpose of Hermeneutics is to bridge the gap between our minds and the minds of the Bible writers through a thorough knowledge of the original language, ancient history, and the comparison of scripture with scripture. There are fundamental rules that govern the interpretation of a biblical text. One does not need to be fully acquainted with all these rules per se, but it is expected of those who teach the Bible to be cognizant of these principles and adhere to them. There are two general approaches to how one may interpret scripture namely; Exegesis and Eisegesis. These may appear to be abstract or too technical but they help us understand why we end up with so many biblical interpretations that can’t be remotely supported by the text. In other words, these two help us determine which interpretation of the given text is the correct one. Exegesis, on the one hand, is the critical interpretation of the biblical text to discover it's intended meaning, based on a 9
careful, objective analysis. Ideally, the word exegesis means “to lead out of”. This is when the interpreter comes to all conclusions by strictly adhering to the text. The interpreter allows the text to speak for itself.² Whereas; Eisegesis is the subjective approach to scripture, this is the process of interpreting the text in such a way as to introduce one's preconceived ideas, agendas, or biases into the text. It is widely referred to as reading into the text. The word eisegesis literally means “to lead into”. Or to put it differently, this is when the interpreter injects his own thoughts or ideas into the text, making it mean whatever he believes or wants. Here the interpreter goes out of his way to align the text with his presumptions and scriptures merely serve only as a prop to his own preconceived ideas.² “Exegesis allows us to agree with the Bible. Eisegesis seeks to force the Bible to agree with us” ² That being said, in this book, I am going to reveal how some preachers great and small, obliviously apply Eisegesis and not Exegesis when it comes to all the proof texts on tithing. At the end of the day, they then sincerely believe that what they are teaching is what the word of God actually says in so far as Tithing is concerned. However, twisting the scriptures or the word of God is when one injects his thoughts and introduces his or her own ideas into the text. Then he or she sincerely believes that’s what the Word of God is saying. This can happen to anyone, this could be your beloved Pastor, Bishop, Spiritual father, Reverend, or even Prophet!
Last but not least, some may say I believe in the tithe! However, it must be understood that belief has a basis. Like it or not, that belief is predicated on what we have been taught about the tithe and not necessarily what the Bible actually says or teaches about the tithe or tithing. Our belief must therefore be founded on the correct understanding of the scriptures. It must be held in place by nothing but the truth of God. Your belief must be based on the correct placement of the truth of God. This belief that you have now is derived from the information that you had when you first developed it. Belief is so powerful that when it has taken root, even if you were presented with opposing facts that shows that information isn’t correct. You will still continue with that understanding, because you now believe in it. Just because you believe it, this then infers that it must be true! That’s all because of the information that you used to develop that belief. This book seeks to supply you with more information that probably wasn’t availed to you when you first developed your belief. The book doesn’t challenge your belief per se, but rather the information that you used to develop that belief. If nobody had ever instructed or taught you that the tithe was never a part of the Law of Moses, would you ever get that impression from merely reading the bible? If nobody had ever taught you that you must give ten percent from every source of your income to God, would you ever get that from simply reading the bible? If nobody had ever mentioned that you should tithe in keeping with the example left by 11
Abraham or to receive the blessing of Abraham, would you have got this from merely reading the bible? As one can see, no-one can ever come to this conclusion unless these ideas or thoughts were injected by someone. When the Word is left to speak for itself, it is next to impossible for anyone to ever come to such conclusions or convictions. Thus when one's beliefs are derived from the misplaced truth of God, they will labor and harbor to earnestly serve God in error. This book was written to make sure that this doesn’t happen to you. The whole basis of this book is to establish what the Bible actually says about the Tithe or tithing. We now have on the one hand what people are asserting about the tithe or tithing and then what the Bible actually says. The primary object of this book is to equip you with knowledge so that you maybe in a position to draw the line between the two given scenarios. “A False teacher is anyone who misplaces the truth of God”
¹ Matthew E. Narramore: Tithing: Low-realm, obsolete defunct. pp.28 ² Bertie Brits: Jesus is the tithe: . pp.170-172
What is a tithe? “A tithe of everything from the land, whether grain from the soil or fruit from the trees, belongs to the Lord; it is holy to the Lord… “Every tithe of the herd and flock—every tenth animal that passes under the shepherd’s rod—will be holy to the Lord” Leviticus 27v30 and 32
After doing much research on the matter at hand, I have noted that those who teach Christian tithing loosely put together words from commands from the Law of Moses to come up with the a definition of the tithe that they want. They then use texts or verses from the Law to enforce this tithe or assert that this is what God said or commanded. So it is only proper that we first understand what a tithe is according to the Law of Moses and how it was applied. Since most teachers use texts from the Law to define and enforce the Christian Tithe. Therefore, it’s befitting that we all understand the true meaning of the word tithe or tithes as it was understood and applied under Israelite Society! We need to take cognizance of the fact that words don't have a static meaning or definition. All words are given meaning by their context or the way they are applied within a certain context. If one were to affix a certain static definition of a
word into every context the word appears, that would inevitably distort the meaning of those contexts. That’s called misreading the text, because we must always understand words according to the given context. The meaning of a word is a bit dynamic hence it’s always derived from the given context! More often than isn’t the case, when most people define the tithe, they tend to place so much emphasis on the technical definition of the term Tithe. However, the term tithe as per God’s given command didn’t just imply the technical ten percent. It was rather a compound term, signifying three things; the percentage(ten percent), designated items(crops, fruits, and livestock), and the source(from the land) that constituted The Tithe. As is evident from the scriptures, the tithe was defined by how it was applied and not just the technical implication of the term. From the foregoing facts, I postulate that these three are the definitional elements of the Biblical Tithe that God required when he gave the command to tithe. These three elements defined the Biblical Mosaic Law Tithe, the one that is mentioned and referenced throughout the Bible; I) Percentage II) Designated items III) Source [the Land (of Canaan)] It is the combination of all these three elements that constituted the TITHE, that God required from the Israelites. The one wasn't complete without the other! In other words,
merely applying the percentage i.e. ten percent to something didn’t automatically imply that something is now sacred or the Tithe that belonged to God because one had applied the ten percent principle! This would be just like dedicating the tenth pig to the Lord as a tithe. Simply because one had satisfied the percentage part of the requirement didn’t imply that the “pig" automatically becomes acceptable or holy before God or belonged to the Lord! Furthermore, since the law did not mention or prohibit the Israelites from dedicating a tenth pig to the Lord, didn’t infer that they could freely choose to do so! However, in harmony with all the scriptures, it is beyond doubt that no sane Israelite would ever dare to go that far. Simply because the Law did not expressly forbid them to dedicate the tenth pig to the Lord as a tithe. This did not at all infer that this was acceptable. As God had expressly communicated his mind on what was acceptable, it was vital that they followed what God had required. Be sure to set aside a tenth of all that your fields produce each year. Eat the tithe of your grain, new wine, and olive oil… But if that place is too distant …you cannot carry your tithe (because the place where the Lord will choose to put his Name is so far away), then exchange your tithe for silver, use the silver to buy whatever you like: cattle, sheep, wine or other fermented drink, or anything you wish..” Deuteronomy 14:22-27
While going through biblical texts so that I could better understand the true meaning of the tithe, the abovecaptioned text in Deuteronomy 14 caught my attention. It is
the wording of the given text that piqued my ever-inquisitive mind. The words tithe, silver, and carry are all used in this text. I wish to draw your attention to these particular phrases '…cannot carry your tithe...' and '…exchange your tithe for silver…' I'm hoping that we can all agree that tithe here was not money or that money was not a genus of the tithe. The distinction is very much pronounced. Silver(money) was not and was never a tithe or a form of tithe in Israel! Then secondly, the phrase “cannot carry your tithe” reveals that the tithe was indeed agricultural produce only. If they could not carry the “ten percent” of all that their fields would have produced including livestock to the designated places of worship to feast with their families. It was only under this exceptional circumstance that they were allowed to exchange the tithe for silver(money). Please note that this option was only applicable to the festival tithe. Interestingly, most preachers completely ignore the context of this text and claim that this text shows that tithes were also paid in money! This is also after claiming that God required a tithe of agricultural produce because money was not in circulation! The text in question evidently reveals that silver was neither a tithe nor that the Israelites were required to give this silver that they got in exchange for the tithe to the Levites. But they were to spend the money on whatever their hearts desired at the designated places of worship. They were even given the option to buy wine with the money! Shall we drink wine or any kind of alcoholic beverage and merry in the presence of the Lord because this text said so? Why then just 16
uproot the money part and completely ignore the circumstance that necessitated such an exchange and what the money was for? Furthermore, Matthew 23:23 also confirms that tithes or the tithing Laws were only applicable to food or the direct produce from the land. The Pharisees in their zealous quest for upholding the Law had apparently started tithing produce from backyard gardens or everything that came out of the land. This resulted in them tithing herbs and spices. Even though this could be construed as taking the Law to the extreme. That was the furthest the Pharisees could ever go in stretching the tithing Laws because tithes were strictly from the direct produce of the Land. Are Tithes and first fruits offering the same thing? “This is the share due to the priests from the people… You are to give them the first fruits of your grain, new wine and oil, and the first wool from the shearing of your sheep,” Deuteronomy 18v3-4
Lastly, it is quite disturbing to note that most preachers conflate the Mosaic Law Tithe with First fruit offerings. These were two distinctly separate things that were regulated by two different commands. First fruits were freewill offerings from the first crops from their fields or vineyards and were for priests only and not the whole tribe of Levi. The Law never required Israel to give a tenth of the first fruits. “Take some of the first fruits of all that you produce from the soil of the land your God is giving you and put them in a basket. Then go to the place the Lord your God will choose as a dwelling for his name" Deuteronomy 26:2
Deuteronomy 26:1-10 gave specific instructions on how the Israelites were to go about dedicating their first fruits offering from the produce of the land, to the Lord. Israel was instructed to give a basketful of crops to the priests. On the other hand, verses 12-15 then gave specific instructions on how to dedicate the third-year tithe to the Lord. These two are distinctly separate from the other. Surprisingly, this is what renowned and popular prosperity gospel televangelist Kenneth Copeland had to say in his book, “The Laws of Prosperity" “…It (tithe) was a commandment of God to Israel and 10 percent of their First fruits belonged to God" ³
After making such a bold assertion he went on to cite Deuteronomy 26:1-10 and had this to say; “Can you see where we have been missing it? We quickly drop our tithe money into the offering plate as it passes by or stuff it into an envelope without a thought. Instead, we are to present it to Jesus, who in turn will set it before the altar of God. Deuteronomy 26v10 says that the High Priest will set the tithes before God and worship him with them. Can you grasp Jesus worshipping God with your money! Wow.” ³
He isn’t alone in sharing this position, many preachers believe and teach that we should honor God with ten percent of our first fruits! They are of the mistaken belief that Tithes are the same as First fruits. Does the fact that this is what most renowned preachers believe make this in any way biblical? Does the mere fact that great church leaders and popular televangelists share and propagate this view make
this a biblical fact? The biblical fact is, first fruits offering is not the same as Tithes. Without doubt Deuteronomy 26:1-10 does not address or speak of tithes but rather first fruits offering yet somehow, we believe everything that the Man of God says over what the Bible actually says! This confusion is caused by what they teach regarding the tithe. Believers are taught that the only way to show that God comes first in their lives, is by paying tithes to God first before everything else. In trying to accentuate this point, that’s when “first fruits” are thrown into the mix. After all, isn't this a biblical if not spiritual terminology from the Bible as well? So, why not! In a nutshell, tithe according to the whole biblical context of Israeli society implied the direct produce from the land of Canaan; tithes were never given to God in the form of money or from every source of financial increase. Then secondly, tithes are not the same as first fruits offering. Israel was never commanded to give a tenth of first fruits from their fields or to apply the tithe when giving first fruits offering to the Lord.
³ Kenneth Copeland: The Laws of Prosperity. pp.68, 69-71
Chapter 1 Understanding Leviticus 27v30-32 “A tithe of everything from the land, whether grain from the soil or fruit from the trees, belongs to the Lord; it is holy to the Lord… “Every tithe of the herd and flock—every tenth animal that passes under the shepherd’s rod—will be holy to the Lord” Leviticus 27v30 and 32
It is quite disturbing that those who teach tithing use this verse to enforce the law or rather should I say the “Kingdom Principle” of giving ten percent of everything to God. This is the text that everyone who collect “tithes” use to buttress their assertions that a tithe of ‘everything' belongs to the Lord. Many go out of their way in trying to explain why Leviticus 27:30 doesn’t read the way most would want it to read. We are going to go over all of these explanations in line with the biblical and historical context of the given text. “These are the commands the Lord gave Moses at Mount Sinai for the Israelites.”¹ Numbers 27v34
The first thing that we must all appreciate is that these commands were not written or given to the Church of Christ but rather, they were given specifically to the nation of Israel. 20
Thus, if we are going to have an accurate understanding of this portion of scripture, we must fully acquaint ourselves with the full context of the Old Testament Israel. How this command affected and impacted their lives. The actual meaning, they attached to this command and how they went about fulfilling it. It is only after gaining a full insight into this background that we may accurately determine how this command may or may not affect us, the Church of Christ. It would be naïve for a Gentile Christian who is living under the New Testament, post-Calvary to be under the impression that this command was given to the Church of Christ as such, they can just attach any meaning they want to this Command or choose how they may want to obey this command. With that being said, Leviticus 27:30-32 gives us insight into how God controlled the application or usage of the tithe in worship. In other words, this command regulated how the Israelites were to apply the tenth. It is the definitive How-toguide on the application of the tithe. This verse is not a parable but a command that regulated tithing! This command required “a tithe of everything from the land.” The command does not just require tithes or a tithe, but regulated the application of the tithe to the direct produce of the land. Then we have to ask ourselves which land exactly this command implied? Was this going to be just any land? What did this command also imply by saying land, did the land represent a source of income? However, the command went on to qualify what the first part of that command meant. The text goes on to say that “whether grain 21
from the soil or fruit from trees." This qualification makes it certain that, indeed this command is talking about the physical land. Was this land, the one they were standing on in the wilderness? Again, the answer to that question is a big NO, the texts from Deuteronomy chapter 12 make it clear and obvious that tithes were to come specifically from the land of Canaan. Land in this given command implied the physical Land of Canaan. As can be seen from the text below. “You shall not at all do as we are doing here today— every man doing whatever is right in his own eyes— for as yet you have not come to the rest and the inheritance which the Lord your God is giving you. But you will cross the Jordan and settle in the land the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance.” Deuteronomy 12:8-11
Then the following texts also reveal that tithes were to come strictly from the direct produce of that [physical]land. “Be sure to set aside a tenth of all that your fields produce” Deuteronomy 14v22 Vs 28 “At the end of three years bring all the tithes of that year's produce and store it in your towns” “When you have finished setting aside of a tenth of all your produce in the third year of the tithe…” Deuteronomy 26v12
Thus, Leviticus 27:30 must be interpreted in harmony with the other scriptures or texts and never in isolation. All Commands that regulated tithing under the Law all but confirm the biblical reality that the tenth was strictly applied on the direct produce of the Land of Israel. As mentioned above, this command was given while they were still in the wilderness, hence “the land” in this command didn’t infer any other land. Otherwise, the obligation to tithe would have arisen while in the wilderness. But by Land, God was very 22
specific that the Holy tithes were to be taken from the Holy land of Israel and not just any land! No single Israelite was ever cursed or sinned against God for not tithing whilst in the wilderness. This shows that tithes were not just tied to God’s people, but to God’s land as well. Tithes and the tithing Laws were tied to the Land of Canaan. ‘The Law of Moses prescribed tithing in some detail. Leviticus 27v30-32 stated the tithe of the land to include the seed of the land and fruit from trees. In addition, the Hebrew people were required to set apart every tenth animal of their herds and flocks to the Lord… Nelson's Bible Dictionary12 ‘In the Deuteronomic code, the tithe is limited to grain, wine, oil, honey, herd, and flock. These texts more or less equated the tithe with the other ritual offerings and sacrifices.’ Catholic Encyclopedia Vol. 141
The above quotes do confirm that the tithe was limited in scope to agricultural produce. Only to be applied to the increase of fields, vineyards, trees, flock, herd, and honey from beehives. As one can see, Tithing was not a blanket ten percent from any and every source of income. This means that under Israeli society, ten percent of everything didn’t belong to God, but rather it was only tithes of everything from the Land that belonged to God and was holy. Thus, according to God’s express command the tithe was a tenth of designated items from the Land of Israel. “You shall not at all do as we are doing here today— every man doing whatever is right in his own eyes…”
The following expressions are quite revealing in as far as informing us of how God required strict obedience to his
Laws. “You shall not at all do as we are doing here today— every man doing whatever is right in his own eyes.” and “Be sure to set aside a tenth of all that your fields produce”. The phrase “be sure.” appears to be a stern warning that tithes were to be taken strictly from the produce of the land, without fail. The Israelites were instructed to observe this command exactly in the manner in which it was given. They were not allowed by Law to add or subtract from God’s given commands. ““Do not add to what I command you and do not subtract from it, but keep the commands of the LORD your God that I give you.”” Deuteronomy 4:2
The subject of tithing or rather applying the tenth isn’t up to anyone to choose what is right for him or her. God put in place specific regulations for Israel to follow when tithing. So if one wishes to apply this Law or principle, they should do so, in a manner that God commanded, not the one that seems right in their own eyes! It is important to note that the given command is a regulation on how they were to apply the tithe. When you regulate something, it means you putting something under control. This is how God controlled tithing or usage of the tenth. It must also be noted that a regulation puts in place the ambit within which one may operate, in order for one's conduct to be acceptable or lawful. If one happens to extend or go beyond that which the command does not expressly state, his or her conduct no matter how noble or sincere would be deemed unacceptable or unlawful. The only person
who may alter or extend the ambit of the command is the one who gave the command. As mentioned in the previous chapter, when people teach about the tithe, their emphasis is always on the technical definition of the tithe and then they totally disregard how the tithe was applied under Israelite society. This understanding is very fundamental because that’s where they derived the concept of tithing. Hence, we must understand how the tithe was applied in that context. Yes, God commanded that Israel must tithe, but tithe what exactly? Is that part vague? Not at all. Did God not expressly communicate his mind on how they were to apply the tenth? Of course, He did! It is therefore quite unfortunate that those who teach the tithe are of the mistaken belief that the ten percent principle is the ultimate Holy standard of giving to God for all of God’s people. They sincerely believe that the tenth part of everything that we get is sacrosanct because it belongs to God. This is because they loosely put together or reconstruct the wording of Leviticus 27:30-32 to come up with this conviction, while completely ignoring the intended meaning of the text. The wording of the text is either omitted or changed altogether. (Jews were forbidden by God to do this Deut.4:2) Here are a few examples; “By now it should be obvious that tithes and offerings are two completely different things. The tithe is fixed at ten percent of your increase and the offering is a flexible amount regulated by your willingness to give to God." “Are tithes and offerings the same" ³ John Avanzini
“Please remember these aren’t my thoughts. God says if we do not tithe, we are committing a robbery. He says we owe Him the tithe. We pay tithes because God commands it. By faithfully bringing our tithes to Him, we establish our basic honesty and obedience…Leviticus 27v30-33 clearly says the tithe belongs to the Lord" John Avanzini “Keys to proper giving" 7 ”Tithing is the biblical practice of returning ten percent of your income back to God after you have earned it(Leviticus 27v30)” ‘31 Reasons why people don’t receive their financial harvest' ⁴ Mike Murdock “And here in Leviticus we are told that the tithe is Holy unto the Lord. That is to say one-tenth is not our property at all; it doesn’t belong to us in the slightest; we have no say about it whatsoever, it is set apart unto a holy use. It is the Lord’s and his alone.” Arthur W. Pink: Tithing 6 “Notice in the first verse(Leviticus27v30) we are told that the tithe belongs to the Lord. It isn’t yours or mine to do with it whatever we choose because it doesn’t belong to us. It belongs to God.” Dr. Creflo Dollar8 “Only God has the right to say how much of our income shall be set aside and set apart unto Him. And he has said so clearly, repeatedly in the Old Testament Scriptures..” 6
It is quite evident that all the different preachers cited above completely ignored the original meaning of the text in question. They conspicuously chose to emphasize the tenth part of the command and clearly disregarded how that tenth was applied in the given command. The way the tithe was regulated in the given text isn’t the same way they used or applied it in their teaching. They went out of their way to foster the belief that the tenth part of everything belongs to the Lord or is Holy to the Lord and also introduced the idea of tithing one’s income into this context. Sadly, the command in question doesn’t regulate this. Through eisegesis they make the Command from God say what they want it to say!
‘Many people have the mistaken belief that ten percent is the sacred standard in God's kingdom when it comes to giving, it is a Kingdom principle. They are under the impression that it was an unspoken command or principle that didn’t get recorded until the Law was given. But that conclusion is not proper, the Bible itself clearly contradicts it. If Abraham had been following a universal principle when he gave a tenth of the spoils to Melchisedek, then God would have told people in Numbers 31 to do the same thing with the spoils of war. But he specifically gave them different instructions – proof that Abraham wasn’t following an eternal law and his tithe isn’t a pattern to follow today. Spoils were not included under the Law of Tithing!’ ² As one can see, even a tenth of the plunder didn’t belong to the Lord under Israel society! That’s because God gave them a different set of commands that regulated the distribution of the spoils of war, even though this was a source of income or an increase! In other words, they were not allowed to tithe the plunder. In fact, no Israelite was even allowed to choose to tithe the spoils in following Abram’s example, or Jacob. They tithed because God commanded them through Moses, to do so. This clearly proves that ten percent of all we get does not belong to God because the tithe was not universally applied to everything. God did not claim or require a tenth part of the spoils!
God required tithes of the land because the Israelites were farmers and didn’t earn wages? This appears to be an unshakeable truth and yet there is not even a single verse that expressly states this in the entire Bible. Did God ever say that because you are going to be farmers in Canaan or that the Land is going to be your main source of income, therefore I want tithes of the Land? Some even assert that the Israelites were peasant farmers, so they didn’t earn wages or salaries hence one could not expect God to command them to bring tithes from their wages! We must all realise that all these assertions seem to imply that God was near-sighted, he didn’t contemplate that the Israelites would live in cities or one day, earn wages for a living! “Do not hold back the wages of a hired man overnight" Leviticus 19v13b “Pay him his wages each day before sunset because he is poor and is counting on it…” Deuteronomy 24v14-15
However, it must be borne in mind that God had already fathomed that the Israelites would earn wages and also live in cities when they enter Canaan. This fact is even recognized under the Law for that matter! God gave commands that regulated the payment of wages to hired workers on time. He also indicated that the hired worker must be paid his dues since he would be in dire need of that wage. This wage would be his only source of income, so it must be paid on time. In Leviticus this command was given in Chapter 19 and yet when God gave the command to tithe in Chapter 27, wages were not included.
"'Do not defraud your neighbor or rob him. "'Do not hold back the wages of a hired man overnight. Leviticus 19:13
Ironically, wages are mentioned frequently in both Old and New Testament writings, proving that when God gave the command to tithe farm produce, he knew that the Israelites were going to earn wages when they enter and settle in Canaan. “But He answered ’You give them something to eat' They said to him, “That would take more than half a year's wages! Are we to go spend that much on bread and give them to eat?” Mark 6v37 “Some of those present were saying indignantly to one another, why this waste of perfume? It could have been sold for a year's wages and the money given to the poor” Mark 14v4-5 “For the Kingdom of God is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire workers for his vineyard. He agreed to pay them a denarius for the day and sent them into his vineyard” Matthew 20v1-2
As one can see, the term wages is just as archaic as tithe, but God never required Israel to give a tithe of their wages for Holy use! Evidently, God had the time to give commands to employers to pay wages on time but when he regulated the application of the tithe, wages of any nature or form were not included. These texts essentially reveals that God knew that the Israelites were going to earn wages, or that the Israelites earned wages but he didn’t command them to apply the tithe on wages. God contemplated both village and city life in Canaan "'If a man sells a house in a walled city, he retains the right of redemption a full year after its sale. During that time he may redeem “ Leviticus 25:29
“But houses in villages without walls around them are to be considered as open country. They can be redeemed, and they are to be returned in the Jubilee.” Leviticus 25:31
These two scriptures reveal that when God gave the Law, he knew that some Israelites would live in cities and some in villages. That is why he gave two separate commands that regulated what could be done on property that is owned in a City and property owned in the village, in as far as the Jubilee was concerned. However, God didn’t give two separate commands that regulated what people who lived in Cities or villages would do in so far as tithing was concerned. Whether one lived in the City or in the village God still required tithes of the land, there is no exception or substitution that was allowed in this regard. The Israelites had many sources of income when the command to tithe was given!
Again, most people are persuaded to believe that God required tithes of everything from the land because the Land was their only source of income! Since to them, the Land represented a source of income, this then implies that tithes from every source of income belongs to the Lord and is holy! Unfortunately, there isn’t a single verse that even remotely suggests that the Land represented a source of income. The scriptures do reveal that the Israelites already had many other sources of income before they had even entered Canaan. So, this understanding that the land represented a source of income doesn’t come from the Scriptures, it is
purely of a human construct. In other words, the Scriptures don’t say all this. First, Exodus Chapter 35-36 bares it all. When God wanted the Israelites to construct the Tabernacle, he instructed Moses to collect a freewill offering for all the material that was needed. The major give away is that, those who had the skill to make any of the materials were to make them and bring the items as a freewill offering to the Lord. The following verses are quite revealing; "All who are skilled among you are to come and make everything the LORD has commanded” Exodus 35:10 “Every skilled woman spun with her hands and brought what she had spun--blue, purple or scarlet yarn or fine linen. And all the women who were willing and had the skill spun the goat hair.” Exodus 35:25-26 “Then Moses gave an order and they sent this word throughout the camp: "No man or woman is to make anything else as an offering for the sanctuary." And so the people were restrained from bringing more,” Exodus 36:6 “All the skilled men among the workmen made the tabernacle with ten curtains of finely twisted linen and blue, purple and scarlet yarn, with cherubim worked into them by a skilled craftsman.” Exodus 36:8
Fascinating! These texts reveal two things. All the Israelites who had various skills in craft, used whatever skill they had to make the items that God had required. Then second, the workman who then constructed the Tabernacle also had the skill to do so. All this just reveals just how industrious Israelite Society was, and this was even before they had
entered the Land of Canaan. This all happened in the wilderness, so that explains why God then said; “The LORD your God has blessed you in all the work of your hands. He has watched over your journey through this vast desert. These forty years the LORD your God has been with you, and you have not lacked anything.” Deuteronomy 2:7
Secondly, Moses revealed that God had indeed blessed the Israelites in all the work of their hands while they were still in the desert. In all this, God acknowledged that the Israelites had other sources of income and also blessed those sources. Yet he didn’t require that they should first tithe, for him to bless these sources of income. He also didn’t include all these sources when he regulated the application of the tithe! Here is what Dr. Russell Earl Kelly and other authors also had to say on the subject matter. Dr. Kelly went so far as to enumerate the various sources of income that were available for an ordinary Israelite under the ancient biblical Society; ‘Biblical society included the following occupations, bakers, builders, candles makers, carpenters, clothing makers, hired farmworkers, hired house servant, jewelry craftsmen, masons, metal craftsmen, merchants, perfume makers, spice makers, physicians, sculptors, soldiers, tanners, teachers, and tentmakers. Yet none of these professions or products from these professions aren’t included In my list of tithes or tithing.' Dr. Russell Earl Kelly 10 “The wide variety of other business activities and sources of financial gain that were part of the economy, such as labor, skilled trades, professional services, commercial enterprise, rents and inheritance were not included. If God wanted to include them He would have named them specifically or representatively or he would have clearly said that every source is included. When God means any, every or all he simply says so. The Law allowed for
freewill offerings from other sources but they were not called the Tithe”. Matthew E. Narramore 2 “Indeed even during the era of the Mosaic Law, the tithe was not a ten percent tax on all forms of income. Unlike some Ancient Near Eastern state tithes, Israel’s tithe did not encompass every area of life. Rather it was limited in scope to agricultural products whether animal, grain or vegetable.” Iain M. Duguid 9
In light of the above references and textual biblical evidence of the historical context of the Ancient Bible society, it is rather naïve if not myopic for one to believe that Ancient Israel was a strictly agro-based economy so that’s why God required tithes of the land. God required tithes of grain because the Israelites didn’t use money?
Of all the justifications on why Christians must pay tithes in money today, this one is just somewhere up there. I am equally embarrassed at myself for actually believing and accepting this assertion as a biblical truth. This just shows how powerful belief can be. It can cloud your judgement that you fail to see even the obvious. We believe in this, yet there isn’t a single verse that says all this. The baffling thing about all this, is that money is mentioned in the 27th Chapter of Leviticus! 'The Lord said to Moses, “Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘If anyone makes a special vow to dedicate a person to the Lord by giving the equivalent value, set the value of a male between the ages of twenty and sixty at fifty shekels of silver, according to the sanctuary shekel' Leviticus 27:1-3
Silver is the earliest from of money, so whenever you come across the phrase ‘shekel of silver’ or just 'silver' in the Old Testament scriptures, understand that this would be money. The bible does mention that silver was money, to all those who might be asking, 'How do we know that silver was actually Money?' “As they were emptying their sacks, there in each man's sack was his pouch of silver! When they and their father saw the money pouches, they were frightened.” Genesis 42:35
This text is from Genesis, when the sons of Jacob had returned from Egypt. The context of this text also mentions that they had gone to Egypt to buy grain. The text expressly stated that silver was money. I will have you know that the term money appears about nine times in Genesis alone. One more fascinating aspect of Genesis in as far as use of money was concerned, here's what God commanded Abram in the 17th Chapter of Genesis. 'Whether born in your household or bought with your money, they must be circumcised. My covenant in your flesh is to be an everlasting covenant.' Genesis 17:13 'On that very day Abraham took his son Ishmael and all those born in his household or bought with his money, every male in his household, and circumcised them, as God told him.' Genesis 17:23
Notice that this is a direct commandment coming from God. So, why would God command Abraham and all future generations to circumcise every male servant bought with money if they didn’t use money? As one can see, money was a medium of exchange as far back as Abraham's time. God also mentioned usage of money in this command, yet when
he gave the command to tithe to the Israelites, he required tithes of grain. Remember Joseph? Yes, even he was sold for twenty shekels of silver by his brothers. God commanded the Israelites to give MONEY to Priests! “To redeem the 273 firstborn Israelites who exceed the number of the Levites, collect five shekels for each one, according to the sanctuary shekels. Give the money for the redemption of the additional Israelites to Aaron and his sons" Numbers 3:46-48 “From the firstborn of the Israelites he collected silver weighing 1,365 shekels, according to the sanctuary shekel. Moses gave the redemption money to Aaron and his sons, as he was commanded by the word of the Lord.” Numbers 3:50-51 "The first offspring of every womb, both human and animal, that is offered to the Lord is yours(priests). But you must redeem every firstborn son... When they are a month old, you must redeem them at the redemption price set at five shekels of silver, according to the sanctuary shekel.. Numbers 18:15-16
The first two texts, were commands that were given in the wilderness. God commanded Moses to collect silver from the firstborn of Israel and instructed him to give the money to Aaron and his sons. When God wants money, he simply says so! Moses was instructed to collect money from the Israelites in the wilderness? They were then given the instruction to redeem every firstborn son by paying 5 shekels of silver, and 3 shekels for every firstborn daughter, this redemption money was for the Priests. To conclude, the misconception regarding the usage of the tithe under Old Testament Israel has been around for so long that it is now mind-boggling for some to learn that the bible
society had so many other sources of income, also earned wages and that God actually commanded the Israelites to give the priests money. This money was never called tithes. Pastor Abel Damina once uttered the following sentiment about the misconception of tithe “when falsehood becomes institutionalized, the truth becomes a rebellion!” 11 N.B “An error doesn’t become truth simply because a lot of people have believed in it for a very long period of time. That would just be a matter of prolonged ignorance!”
____________________________________ 1 Leviticus 27v34 2 Matthew E. Narramore: Tithing: Low-realm, obsolete defunct. pp.28-29 3 John Avanzini: Are tithes and offerings the same. pp.12 4 Mike Murdock: 31 Reasons why people don’t receive financial harvest. pp.110 5 Catholic encyclopedia New Edition Volume XIV: Tithing pp. 6 Arthur W. Pink: Tithing. pp.6-9 7 John Avanzini: Keys to Proper Giving. pp.11 8 Dr. Creflo Dollar: The Covenant Connector. pp.6 9 Iain M. Duguid: Should Christians Tithe. pp.20 10 Dr. Russell Earl Kelly: Should the Church Teach Tithing. pp.8 11 Pastor Damina Sermon: The Tithing Doctrine Exposed 12 Nelson's illustrated Bible Dictionary.
Chapter 2 Father Abram gave a Voluntary tithe? “And blessed be God Most High, who delivered your enemies into your hand." Then Abram gave him a tenth of everything. Genesis 14:20”
One very fundamental question that we ought to constantly ask ourselves is this: Why is it that we need to understand that Abram's tithe to Melchizedek was voluntary? Was Abram ever commanded by God to offer burnt sacrifices? What of Abel, shall we voluntarily choose to burn animal sacrifices because the Bible said this about Abel? “By faith Abel offered God a better sacrifice than Cain did. By faith he was commended as a righteous man, when God spoke well of his offerings...” Hebrews 11:4
Why do people need to only inject voluntary into the Genesis 14:20 text? Oh, yes, that’s because the Apostles taught on voluntary giving! As Christians we were instructed by the Apostles to give to God voluntarily, without compulsion. That’s why voluntary is now being injected into this text. To what end? The end goal is to condition us to accept or believe that the doctrine on Christian tithing is compatible
with the Apostolic teachings. This appears to be a deliberate maneuver to circumvent the Apostolic teachings. Injecting voluntary is only the first and most important part to this travesty. Does this infer that if we want Gentile Christians to believe in something we simply have to point to Father Abram and then inject voluntary into whatever Abram did and all Christians will believe you? Genesis is awash with many examples of things that are mentioned and some of them were even practiced but we can’t do or practice such things as Gentile Christians. Does that mean that if we feel like observing a requirement of the Law we can just go to Genesis and then simply inject voluntary then you are good to go? According to those who teach and collect tithes, they assert that since Father Abram ‘voluntarily' gave a tenth from the spoils to Melchizedek before the Law was given this implies that Christians must also now voluntarily give ten percent of ‘everything' to God! As mentioned above, voluntary is the first part, the second part now asserts that this was before the Law was given. We now have two things, voluntary and before the Law was given. Again, we ask ourselves, why is the understanding that the tithe Abram gave to Melchizedek was voluntary and before the Law was given by Moses? It is because of what the Apostles taught the Gentile Christians. Gentile Christians are not allowed by God to observe the Law of Moses in their worship so as to please him. It is this teaching from the
Apostles that they seek to circumvent. The whole basis of this doctrine on Christian tithing is hinged on the conception that Abram's action in giving the tithe was voluntary. Now in everyone’s head the above text reads as “…Then Abram VOLUNTARILY gave him a tithe of everything” It is quite obvious that those who came up with or developed the doctrine eisegetically l interpreted this text by introducing or injecting their own ideas into the text thereby altering its meaning completely. The whole doctrine is woven on this interpretation which can’t even be substantiated by both the biblical and historical context of this text. It completely befuddles the mind how most people accept this interpretation as an infallible biblical fact, yet it isn't. It isn't a biblical and historical certainty that Abram's tithe was voluntary. Most of us are very much aware of the fact that the tithe isn’t the only thing that was mentioned in Genesis that Abram did voluntarily before the Law was given. However, we have all been led to believe and accept that Tithing is the exception because Father Abraham was commanded by God to do all those other things but he wasn't commanded to tithe. He instead voluntarily gave a tithe of everything to Melchizedek! Nevertheless, does the text in Genesis 14 state in any way that “Abram, voluntarily gave him tithes of all”? This is nothing but an opinion or idea that was injected into this text that can not be accepted religiously as scripture! The Bible doesn’t say all this. If one does a careful exegetical analysis of the given text, these are the given facts. 39
1. Melchizedek is identified as the King of Salem and Priest of God most High. This means that he was a King-Priest to whom Abram was probably a subject. 2. Upon meeting Abram, he proclaimed a blessing and then Abram gave him a tithe of everything from the plunder and not from his personal wealth. 3. There is no other record of Abram ever giving a tithe of everything from his personal wealth to Melchizedek on a regular basis or at any other point in his lifetime. From the foregoing facts and opinions it seems very much improbable that the tithe that Abram gave to Melchizedek was voluntary. As pointed out above, the text mentions two things; first, that Melchizedek was the King of Salem and then secondly, that he was also priest of God Most High. This is what the Scriptures say, and I am not in the habit of fighting with the scriptures. If the Scriptures say that he was priest of God Most High, then indeed he was! After news of Abram's victory reached Melchizedek, he went out to meet him on his way back from the battle front. Here is what others had to say about the historical context of Genesis 14. “History reveals that tithing existed in ancient Babylon, Persia, Egypt, and China but only for political or societal purposes and not given to God in order to be blessed. It was a taxation system paid to the King or ruler over the people" Bertie Brits 1 “Abraham’s tithe to Melchizedek was in obedience to this old Arab war custom and was not a command from Yahweh. Evidently, the Arab war custom specified that ten percent of the spoils of war be given to the local priest-king, while the ninety percent belonged to the victor. Abraham was OBLIGATED to pay a special one-time tithe-tax of the spoils of war.” Dr. R. E Kelly 2
“Tithes were an ancient tradition in the bible (and more broadly in the ancient near East)” Iain M. Duguid 2 “It is very important for us to understand that Abraham was living and following a Babylonian – Chaldean tax system of honoring the greater called the Tithe tax… It was something that was not given voluntarily but by compulsion to pay respect to the King" Bertie Brits 1
All these authors, shed more light into the historical context of the Genesis 14 account. According to the above, Abram gave the tithe in honoring an ancient Arab war custom as such it was not voluntary. The sequence of events and the context of the text confirms this position. The mere fact that Melchizedek was a King and that the tithe was from the plunder all but confirms that the tithe Abram gave was not voluntary. According to Ancient Arab war custom, Kings received a tithe of the spoils from the victor to show their fealty. Samuel the Prophet, hinted this to Israel when they demanded for a King. 1 Samuel 8:15 “He will take a tenth of your grain and of your vintage and give it to his officials and attendants.” Samuel indicated that a King shall demand tithes from them. He didn’t say that God would obligate them to give tithes to the King! Here Samuel reveals that Kings also collected tithes from their subjects, as was the case with King Melchizedek, only that his tithe came from the plunder! According to the foregoing facts, it is not a biblical certainty that Abram voluntarily gave a tithe of everything to Melchisedech. The context of Genesis doesn’t say why
Abram gave Melchizedek tithes of all. Those who assert that it was voluntary and those that assert that he did so in honoring a local Arab war custom, is all pure conjecture. The scriptures do not say all this, but they do reveal that Abram said something to the King of Sodom. His utterance might best help guide us into understanding why he gave the Tithe to Melchizedek. “But Abram said to the king of Sodom, “With raised hand I have sworn an oath to the Lord , God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth, that I will accept nothing belonging to you, not even a thread or the strap of a sandal, so that you will never be able to say, ‘I made Abram rich.’ Genesis 14:22-23
Abram informed the King of Sodom that he had already made a vow to God that he wasn’t going to accept anything from him. Abram had already renounced whatever claim that he had on the spoils before God. He wanted absolutely nothing, not even a strap of sandals! Why would he then voluntarily choose to honor God with a tithe from the goods he had already renounced? The very goods that he couldn’t accept even a thread or strap to tie his sandals? This then reveals that Abram was obligated to give a tenth of the spoils to Melchizedek to honor a local war custom since he was the victor. Since Abram was a wealthy man, he would most probably not have chosen to honor God with tithes from goods that he didn’t want. He made it very clear that he wanted nothing to do with the goods. All this came from his own mouth through a vow he had made to God. I remember what David once 42
said to Araunah when the latter had offered the threshing floor to King David for free, so that he could build an altar for the Lord. "But the king replied to Araunah, "No, I insist on paying you for it. I will not sacrifice to the LORD my God burnt offerings that cost me nothing." So David bought the threshing floor and the oxen and paid fifty shekels of silver for them. 2 Samuel 24:24
If King David once refused to offer a burnt sacrifice to God that didn’t cost him anything, why would Father Abram choose to honor God with tithes of goods that he didn’t want? That tithe did not cost him anything, because it came from things that he had refused! Food for thought…
Bertie Brits: Jesus is the tithe pp.197;198;200 Dr. Russell Earl Kelly: Should the Church Teach Tithing pp.23 3 Iain M. Duguid: Should Christians Tithe. pp.12 2
Chapter 3 Abram became wealthy because he tithed? “Abram had become very wealthy in livestock and in silver and gold.” Genesis 13:2.
As already mentioned, Genesis 14 is used as the foundation for the doctrine of Christian tithing. Here we are going to discuss three more, commonly used justification for Christian tithing using Father Abram and then the other one in the next chapter. We must therefore evaluate these justifications or teachings in line with scripture. 1. Abram was blessed greatly in cattle, silver and gold for tithing? “The great Patriarch and wonderful example Abraham, gave ten percent of his income back as proof and evidence that he honored God as his provider and was blessed incredibly for it. ‘And Abram was very rich in cattle, gold and silver. Genesis 13v3’” Mike Murdock¹
Mike Murdock is not alone in sharing this view, in fact, believers across the globe are taught to give ten percent of their income in order to receive the blessing of Abraham! We are led to believe that God blessed Abraham in gold, silver 44
and flock because of the tithe he gave to Melchizedek. This appears to be a deliberate effort to mislead, because the Scriptures make it very clear that Abram became vastly wealthy before his encounter with Melchizedek! The cattle, bronze, silver and gold were all mentioned before the tithe. He was already a wealthy man when he gave tithes from the spoils. God blessed Abram through faith, in keeping with the promise he had made earlier in Chapter 12. This blessing was appropriated through putting faith in what God had promised. “The LORD had said to Abram, "Leave your country, your people and your father's household and go to the land I will show you. "I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you." Genesis 12:1-3 “By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going.” Hebrews 11:8
Initially God had instructed Abram to leave his country, people and father's household to go to a land where He shall show him. God promised him that he shall bless and make him into a great nation. Abram believed God, in keeping with God’s command he left his father’s household. God did not at any point inform Abram that he would receive this blessing if he tithed, the tithe was never mentioned in any of the covenants or promises God gave to Abram! All that Abram needed to do was to LEAVE. He indeed left in keeping with God’s instruction. Then at the beginning of the next chapter, we are then informed that Abram had become a very wealthy 45
man! Meaning that Abram activated God’s blessing and promise by leaving his father’s household. “Abram had become very wealthy in livestock and in silver and gold.”
Had become here signified that this is something that happened after he had left his father’s house. He became wealthy whilst he was still with Lot way before the battle with the Arab Kings. Remember that Abram only got involved in this whole episode because he wanted to rescue Lot. Moreover, Abraham’s vast wealth is cited as the main reason why he parted ways with Lot. The text plainly reveals that the land could no longer sustain the both of them for they both had lots of possessions and their servants began fighting over pastures. “But the land could not support them while they stayed together for their possessions were so great that they were not able to stay together. And quarreling arose between Abram's herders and Lot's…” Genesis. 13:6-7
God had already blessed Abram in cattle, silver and gold before the tithe incident occurred. Hence, most definitely Abram didn’t activate God's promise to bless him or receive this blessing through the payment of tithes. If one pays attention to the sequence of events from the Genesis 14 account, Abraham gave a tenth of the spoils after he had already been blessed by Melchizedek. The text plainly notes that Melchizedek blessed Abram upon meeting him (Gen14v17-18). It was only after he had finished pronouncing the blessing that Abram then gave him a tithe.
We have already established that Abram was already vastly wealthy because he had plenty of cattle, bronze, silver and gold before he met Melchizedek. So all those who assert that Abram became vastly wealthy because he tithed are gravely mistaken. We now need to follow the text so that we may understand why Melchizedek blessed Abram. Does the text say that Melchizedek blessed Abram because he tithed? Did Melchizedek bless Abram because he had given him tithes of all? What does the text in question say? Then Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine. He was priest of God Most High, and he blessed Abram, saying, “Blessed be Abram by God Most High. Praise be the Lord, God Most High who delivered your enemies into your hand.” Then Abram gave him a tenth of everything... Genesis 14:18-20
The first thing that Melchizedek did was to bless Abram, upon meeting him. This was before Abram had even done anything. We then have to pay attention to what Melchizedek said as he blessed him. This will then reveal why he blessed Abram. Melchizedek didn’t just say “Blessed be Abram by God most High… and then stopped there. He went on to then say… “Praise be to God who has delivered your enemies into your hand.” Melchizedek was kind of celebrating Abram's victory or congratulating Abram, hence the blessing. He celebrated what Abram did by blessing him and also giving praise to God for delivering Abram's enemies into his hand. Melchizedek blessed Abram for what he had done at the battle front hence his blessing is more of a celebration. Much like what happens when one buys a nice car or house. If my Pastor comes to see the house I would have built and then he says “Blessed be Lewis, by God most High, and Praise be to
God, who has given you the ability to build such a house." I then give my Pastor, some money afterwards. Will it be proper for anyone to then conclude that my Pastor blessed me because I had given him some money? How would he feel if he learns that I am going around telling people that he blessed me because I had given him money? Against such a background, it is a complete distortion of biblical facts for one to then infer that God blessed Abram in cattle, silver and gold for paying tithes or that Melchizedek blessed Abram in the payment of tithes. 2. Believers must pay tithes to receive the blessing of Abram? “By our obedient giving(tithes) in response to God's command, we activate the provision of the Covenant which guarantees that we will be blessed with the same blessing God poured upon our spiritual ancestor, Abraham.” Jerry Savelle² “Abraham, the man of faith, was blessed by the High Priest of God in his day in the payment of tithes. We the children of faith, thereby the seed of Abraham are also blessed in the bringing of our tithes to our present-day high priest of God---Jesus Christ.” Dr. Edward L. Haywood ³ “Here is what most of us in the Body of Christ have a tendency to do. We sing songs about Abraham's blessings being ours, but we seem to forget how he got the blessings. You see, you can't get the promise unless you get it through the method demonstrated in Genesis 14:18 when it says, "blessed be Abram of the most high God"—a confirmation of what He promised to do earlier. It is through this tithe that God was able to carry out His promise of blessing to Abraham. Since Abraham represents all of us, if we do what he did then we can get what God promises in our lives, the same way Abraham got them to operate in his life.” Dr. Creflo Dollar; The Covenant Connector ⁴
Building from the faulty premise that God blessed Abram in cattle, silver, and gold because he had given a tithe of the spoils to Melchizedek. Or that Melchizedek the High Priest of God, blessed Abram in the payment of tithes, believers are
instructed to pay tithes in order to receive the blessing of Abram. A blessing which Abram only received through paying tithes. If one also wants to appropriate this blessing that resulted in Abram acquiring vast wealth, they must also tithe just as he did. Such a teaching directly contradicts this teaching that we got from the Apostles. “So those who have faith[in Jesus] are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith.” Galatians 3:9 “He[Jesus] redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through [faith in]Christ Jesus....” Galatians 3:14
According to the teachings from the Apostle Paul, as Gentile Christians we can now receive the blessing of Abraham through nothing but faith in Jesus Christ. Paul said that those who have faith are blessed along with Abraham. Faith in Jesus is the basis upon which this blessing is appropriated. The scriptures don’t say that if you have faith in doing what Abraham did then you shall be blessed along with Abraham the man of Faith! This imaginary blessing that Abraham received through payment of tithes is not in the Bible! He was never blessed by Melchizedek because of the tithe, the Bible doesn’t say this. We do know that he was blessed alright, but the Bible doesn’t say that he was blessed because he gave Melchizedek a tithe. The teaching that Gentiles or anyone can receive the blessing of Abraham through paying tithes borders on being heretical and is unbiblical. 3. Pay tithes in following Abram's example?
This instruction to pay tithes in following the example left by Abram the Father of Faith, did not come from the Apostles. One will not find this instruction in the entire Bible. Not even a single Christian in the bible or even Jew tithed in following Abraham’s example. The Jews tithed because the Law required them to do so. Now, Gentile Christians across the globe are taught to give a tithe of everything in following father Abraham’s footsteps. Here is one classical example of such a teaching; “… the fact that Abraham paid tithes to Melchizedek as mentioned there, indicates that as Abraham is the father of the faithful, so he left an example for us his children to follow--- in rendering tithes unto him whom Melchizedek was the type."6 Pastor A.W Pink
Here are a few problems with this teaching; Already mentioned is fact that even Jews could not give the tithes of all from the plunder, because God gave separate commands that regulated distribution of the spoils under Israel society. God did not allot tithes of everything from the plunder to either priests or Levites. Jews couldn’t follow father Abram's example even if they wanted to. Secondly, we notice that the King of Sodom instructed Abram to keep the goods for himself. Father Abram does acknowledge that the plunder that was in his possession did not belong to him but rather to the King of Sodom, from whence they were taken (for this was a rescue mission and not a conquest). There appears to be a complete meeting of the minds as regards the real owner of the plunder in question. Both parties agreed that the goods and the people belonged to
the King of Sodom. Plunder also included people, so this also meant that Melchizedek was also given a tithe of the people as well, remember tithes of all! Notice that Abram didn’t give a tithe from his portion of the spoils, but a tithe of everything from the spoils. How is this tithe an example for us to follow? How exactly? Third, Abram then reveals that he made a vow to God that he didn’t want anything that belonged to the King of Sodom. This shows that whatever Abram did, was not to amass wealth, but simply to rescue his nephew Lot, who had been taken captive. Thus, Abram also made it clear that for all intents and purposes, the reason why he refused to accept anything from the plunder, was because he didn’t want the King of Sodom to say that he had made Abram rich. If Abram knew that he would get a blessing from tithing these goods, and this blessing would make him rich would he still have given the tithe? If he was blessed for tithing those goods, the King of Sodom would still have a claim on Abram. “Remember that your God blessed you because of that tithe that you gave from my goods, so I the King of Sodom, made you rich!” Interestingly, the book of Hebrews chronicles all the brave heroics of Old Testament saints one by one starting from Abel. The scriptures also included Father Abraham as well as Jacob. The Bible actually mentions the things that were done by Father Abram through faith. The two things mentioned in this text were; leaving his father’s household, going to a land that God will show him. He chose to live in tents in the Land 51
of the promise; And that he had obliged to offer Isaac as a sacrifice when asked by God to do so. Jacob is also mentioned, yet tithing is never mentioned as something that he or Abram did through faith in the entire Bible. However, Father Abraham and Jacob are all referred to as being part and parcel of the great cloud of witnesses. This is what is in the Bible, that even Father Abraham, our Spiritual Ancestor or the Father of Faith, is listed among the great cloud of witnesses. What does the Bible say about these witnesses? “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith.” Hebrews 12:1-2
The scriptures point out that even though we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, we should not follow these witnesses. We must throw off everything that hinders! Our eyes shouldn’t be on the witnesses, but they must be permanently glued on Christ Jesus. For we know that our faith is perfected by fixing our eyes on Christ and not the witnesses! We know that there are powers that be, that want us distracted, powers that don’t want us to fix our eyes on Christ, but want to divert us, and want us to focus on the witnesses. That’s the reason why today, instead of seeing the mystery of the Priesthood of Christ in Melchizedek, people are now seeing the mystery of the tithe! Instead of following Christ, believers are now following Father Abram because of
the Tithe! That is what happens, when you run fixing your eyes on the witnesses, instead of Christ! It is therefore very dangerous for one to then assert that New Testament saints should follow the example of Abraham in tithing. As uncircumcised Gentile Christians, our giving is neither perfected nor does it become more acceptable before God because of following Abraham's example. Christian giving is now being regulated by what Christ instructed the Church through his Apostles. “As for other matters, brothers and sisters, we instructed you on how to live in order to please God as in fact you are… for you know the commands we gave you by the authority of the Lord Jesus Christ” 1 Thessalonians. 4:1-2
Mike Murdock: 31 Reasons why people don’t receive their financial harvest. pp.110 Jerry Savelle: Living to give, The Prophetic word for Christians today. pp.46 3 Dr. Edward L. Haygood: Why the Tithe, pp.18 4 Dr. Creflo Dollar: The Covenant Connector. pp.13-17 5 Dr. Russell Earl Kelly: Should the Church Teach Tithing pp.15 6 Arthur W. Pink: Tithing. pp.12 2
Chapter 4 The Tithe is not a requirement of the law? “Now the Law of Moses requires the Levites who become priests to collect tithes from their brothers, fellow Israelites…” Hebrews 7:5 “If Moses had not given the command to tithe, not even a single Israelite would have insisted on tithing, because of what Abram did before Moses had given the Law!”
After carefully going through the whole Bible and all the texts on tithing, I did not come across a single verse that stated that the tithe is not Law or a requirement of the Law of Moses. I also did not come across a verse that says that if something was mentioned, practiced or rather instituted as most would prefer, in Genesis it means, it’s not Law or a requirement of the Law! I did come across this text instead; “Jesus said to them, “I did one miracle, and you are all amazed. Yet, because Moses gave you circumcision (though actually it did not come from Moses, but from the patriarchs), you circumcise a boy on the Sabbath. Now if a boy can be circumcised on the Sabbath so that the law of Moses may not be broken, why are you angry with me for healing a man’s whole body on the Sabbath? John 7:21-23
This is what our Lord and Saviour said about circumcision, he said that it was Moses who gave the Israelites the Law of circumcision. Even though it was instituted in Genesis
through Abram, Jesus still recognized circumcision as coming from Moses! We see here that even if something was instituted by Abram before the Law was given by Moses, it still remains a requirement of the Law. We don’t have any biblical precedence of where a command that was given by Moses wasn’t referred to as a requirement of the Law simply because it was first mentioned or instituted in Genesis. This text from the Gospel of John refutes such a teaching or understanding. I am pointing out all this because those who teach on Christian Tithing, assert that tithing was first instituted by Abram before the Law was given by Moses some 300 years later. They then overlook the fact that it was Moses who wrote all about Abram and the Tithe he gave to Melchizedek! So, the same person who wrote about Abram and the tithe, is the same person who gave the Law? This just shows how clandestine it is, to try and separate the tithe from Moses. The other fascinating aspect about the book of Genesis is that, it was written in retrospect by Moses, after he had already given the Law! He wrote everything through God’s revelation. The Covenant between God and Israel had already been established. The intended audience for the book of Genesis already knew about the Sabbath, offering burnt sacrifices, dietary laws, tithes, circumcision etc. That is why some of the things were just mentioned in passing and there isn’t any explanation whatsoever. That was because the Law had already explained everything. Take for example Genesis 7 and 8 mentions clean and unclean animals, yet no mention of the distinction between them. The intended audience already knew this distinction because the Law had been given. Genesis is littered with imprints of the Law of Moses. Clear evidence 55
that shows that, if something was first mentioned in Genesis does not imply that it ceases to be a requirement of the Law. Most of the things mentioned in Genesis were incorporated under the Law of Moses! As one can see, there is no single biblical verse that says that the tithe isn't a part of the Law of Moses, because it was first mentioned in Genesis! The bible doesn’t say this. I have already mentioned that the primary reason why people come up with all these theories, is because of what the Apostles taught the Gentile Christians about the Law of Moses. They know that Gentile Christians cannot be subjected to the Law of Moses. They are also aware that, not even a single Christian was ever instructed by the Apostles or voluntarily gave their tithe to the Church in the New Testament writings. There is nothing to work with from there in as far as tithing is concerned. The amount of effort that people invest in trying to convince believers that tithing is not a requirement of the Law using Father Abram, leaves a lot to be desired. One cannot help but wonder, is this a deliberate effort to mislead, or do they sincerely believe that tithing is not a requirement of the Law? I say this because after spending time explaining that the tithe is not Law, they then go to Leviticus and teach that we must tithe because God commands it, the tithe is Holy and belongs to the Lord! How does one open the Bible, reads a text from Leviticus and then still believe that the command they are reading or teaching is not a requirement of the Law?
Why is that so, isn’t it that tithing is not Law or the Law of Moses? So why use Leviticus? This assertion is a bit preposterous because, a requirement of the Law is any commandment, statute, ordinance or regulation that God gave to the Israelites through Moses. This is what Leviticus 27:34 says; “These are the commands the LORD gave Moses on Mount Sinai for the Israelites.” The Command to tithe was given on verse 30 and is very much among the commands that God gave to the Israelites through Moses. Then we believe somebody who just says tithing is not Law! This then, begs the question, do we even know what a requirement of the Law is? Because honestly, we can’t be this naive! Furthermore, they also assert that the tithe is not a requirement of the Law because It was merely incorporated under the Law of Moses but it was never a part of the Law of Moses! Does this even make sense to anyone? “When it comes to the Mosaic Law, we find that the tithe was definitely and clearly incorporated into it…” A.W Pink¹
It appears most Christians have widely accepted this view! Everyone is of the strongest belief that the tithe was never a part of the law but was merely incorporated into the Law. Yet there is not even a single scripture that says this, but still people believe all this. They then go on to say that when the Law of Moses was abolished the tithe remained intact because it was never from the Law of Moses! It’s first mentioned in Genesis they say! The word incorporated is flaunted repeatedly as if to confuse if not confound the naïve.
I believe in putting things into proper perspective. For starters the word “incorporated” simply means to take in, to contain (something) as part of a whole. It also means to combine ingredients into one substance. Hence the notion that the tithe was merely incorporated into the Law of Moses is both self-contradictory and self-defeating. This just indicates that the tithe together with all the other elements of the law that were mentioned in Genesis such as the Sabbath, circumcision, sacrificial worship, unclean animals among many others were all combined into one comprehensive substance which is the Law of Moses! Even the synonyms for incorporated illustrate this point. These are; absorb, include, assimilate, integrate, consolidate, contain, comprise, embody, compound, blend, merge, amalgamate, unify, join… I can go on and on, the list is infinite but I'm hoping one can see, where I'm going with this. It is, therefore, improvident for one to claim that the tithe was never a part of the law of Moses because it was merely incorporated into it! When one thing is incorporated into something that thing loses its individual properties, identity, or characteristics and is completely assimilated or absorbed and takes on the new identity of the compound substance! This means that whatever principle, value, moral or spiritual significance the tithe embodied in Genesis was lost completely when it was incorporated into the Law of Moses. It was merged, integrated or consolidated into one unified Law that we now refer to as the Law of Moses. This is why in the above reference text from the Gospel of John, the Law of 58
circumcision is attributed to Moses, even though it was instituted in Abram. Moses is the person who gave us both the Law and the revelation in Genesis. Almost everything mentioned in Genesis was incorporated into the Law, not just the tithe. For example, Abram gave a tithe of everything from the plunder but the Israelites could not give a tithe of the plunder to the Lord under the Law! Hence the presupposition that tithing is not Law because it was instituted in Genesis before the Law, is a bit farfetched. Here is what most preachers teach regarding this matter (pay particular attention to the wording they use); “The reference to tithing in the word of God is in Genesis 14:14-20. First of all, let’s understand that these scriptures are about events that took place at least 500-700yrs before the institution of the Mosaic Law. This is important because some people will say that the tithe is under the Law. And done away with now because Christ has redeemed us from the Law. Therefore we don’t have to tithe anymore. The truth, however, is that we will find that the tithe existed before the Law, during the Law and long after the Law. Giving the tithe is a kingdom principle.”³ Barnaby P. Baker “the obligation of the tithe reaches across the pre-law dispensation, the dispensation of the Law and into the post-law dispensation of Grace” John Avanzini “Keys to proper Giving"⁴ “It will be noted that the giving of tithes for religious purposes is at least four hundred years older than the Jewish Law”5…“many times we are told that the New Testament does not teach tithing, but that’s not true. In Hebrews 7v1-10 the author points out to us that tithing is not from the Law. There was no Law that commanded Abraham to give a tenth to Melchizedek” Dr. Edward L. Haygood5.
I find it a bit ironic that Dr. Haygood asserted that the author of Hebrews pointed out that tithing wasn’t from the Law when the same author is the one who made it a biblical certainly that tithing is a requirement of the Law, when he pointed this out in Hebrews 7v5” The law of Moses required Levi to collected a tithe from his brethren”.
I'm guessing people choose what they want to see from the scriptures! The most glaring thing from all the quotes is that, they are all just saying what they think or believe. None of them used any scripture to buttress their claims that tithing is not a requirement of the Law, therefore it still applies to Christians. Can Christians practice anything mentioned in Genesis because the Law was not yet given? Can we also burn animal sacrifices, marry our sisters, or take two or more wives for example? Since Abram also did all these things before the Law was given. This statement from Barnaby P Baker needs to be addressed; “This is important because some people will say that the tithe is under the Law. And done away with now because Christ has redeemed us from the Law. Therefore we don’t have to tithe anymore. The truth, however, is that we will find that the tithe existed before the Law, during the Law and long after the Law. Giving the tithe is a kingdom principle.”
He asserted that it’s very important for Christians to understand that tithing was first mentioned before the Law was given, so according to him this implies that it’s not a requirement of the Law! I have already explained this part. He goes on to then say that “because some people say that Tithing is under the Law” So here we need to establish the truthfulness of this statement, from the scriptures and by figuring out who is saying what here. Is it some people who are saying this or is it the Bible that actually says this? You
see one cannot just make an assertion and then claim to be telling the truth, without any supporting scriptures to back this perceived truth. According to Barnaby, the mere fact that tithing is mentioned in Genesis before the Law was given to the Israelites by God through Moses, implies that the tithe or tithing is not under the Law! Does the Bible say this? Who is fighting with the scriptures here? We know that any commandment that was given by God to the Israelites through Moses is a requirement of the Law. Whether or not it was first mentioned in Genesis did not change this fact. Our Lord Jesus referred to tithing as being “a matter of the Law." In Hebrews 7:5 the scriptures also make it certain and beyond doubt that tithing is a requirement of the Law. It is the Bible that says tithing is Law, under the Law or a requirement of the Law of Moses and not people who are saying this. People like Barnaby try to make it appear as though the Bible doesn’t say that Tithing is under the Law, it is people who say this! However, the opposite is the truth, the Bible doesn’t say that Tithing is not under the Law, it is people who do so. If they are telling the truth, they should just produce one verse that says tithing is not Law or under the Law!
‘Abraham tithing before the Law does not negate that tithing was confirmed forward as the Law of Moses and not a single church or saint was given an express doctrine to tithe as Abraham.'² One then wonders where the belief that tithing applies to Christians came from, because Christian tithing is not in the bible! There isn’t a single Christian who was instructed to tithe or who tithed voluntarily. Barnaby went on to stress that The truth, however, is that we will find that the tithe existed before
the Law, during the Law and long after the Law. We then have to ask
ourselves, do we have anywhere in the scriptures where Christians were instructed to tithe or where they voluntarily chose to tithe? Where exactly do we find this truth of Christians tithing long after the Law in the scriptures? Furthermore, though this was a widely accepted position that circumcision came from the Patriarchs, it remained a requirement of the Law of Moses. The Jews did not try to separate circumcision from the Law of Moses on this basis. Jews circumcised their children even on the Sabbath so that “the Law of Moses wouldn’t be broken.” Circumcision even took precedence over Sabbath observance. Charles Freeman in his book 'A New History of the New Testament Church' portrayed the volatile atmosphere that engulfed the early New Testament times; “The Greeks and Romans could never understand the ritual of circumcision, the ancient and obligatory requirement for all male Jewish children. Circumcision was the entry rite to membership of the people of God, one reason why its rejection by the apostle Paul as a requirement for Christians caused such outrage.” 7
According to Charles Freeman, circumcision was a prerequisite for membership of the people of God. This is why most Jews were outraged by Paul’s teaching and rejection of circumcision as a requirement for Christians. I contend that those who argued for circumcision had a far better standing than those who are teaching tithing today. With all this weight that circumcision wielded nonetheless, according to the teachings of the Apostle Paul and the
council of Jerusalem, all gentile Christians are not required to circumcise or observe the Law of Moses. Yet, somehow, some people managed to convince us that we must pay tithes instead! According to Apostle Paul, “Again I declare to every man who lets himself be circumcised that he is obligated to obey the whole law.” Galatians. 5:3. Keeping an Abrahamic covenant or practice that was incorporated into the Law automatically obligates one to observe the whole Law. The mere fact that such a practice or covenant came from Abraham the father of faith is not a ground for justification! ‘Keeping of an Abrahamic Covenant rolled forward and confirmed into the Law obligated us to do the whole Law’2
Nonetheless, If we reason that Abraham tithed before the Law, thus making it part of what we need to do in the New Testament, we will have to conclude that everything Abraham did before the Law, is something that should be done in church today. The principle must be absolute and true for all things that happened before the giving of the Law or it can’t be true for anything.15 If we are not obligated to circumcise or offer burnt offerings because of what Abram did, or observe the dietary laws because of what Noah did, or even observe the Sabbath because it’s mentioned in Genesis. It also then follows that we can’t tithe because of what Abram did or because it was mentioned in Genesis before the law was given. “Those who argue about Abraham or Melchizedek are missing the real issue of the New Covenant. We are not Abraham and are not living before the Law. The death and resurrection of Jesus Christ is
the focal point of history. It changed the entire nature of man's relationship to God. No matter who Melchizedek was or why Abram gave him a tithe, it doesn’t change the truth of the spirit of the New Covenant" Matthew Narramore10
To conclude, those who teach Tithing to Christians use texts from the Law of Moses to enforce the tithe because they don’t have any New Testament teachings to rely on. As mentioned before, on Matthew 23:23 and Hebrews 7:5 our Lord Jesus and the writer of Hebrews respectively confirmed that tithing is Law. Now uncircumcised Gentiles are claiming that tithing is not a requirement of the Law? It is an indisputable historical fact that those who first introduced Christian tithing over 500 years later, adopted the concept from the Law. They saw the tithes of the Old Testament Law as a model to be followed by Christians! “They [Church Bishops] saw The Tithing of the Old Law as an obvious model to be followed by believers and began to be taught- more commonly in the West than in the East, that the faithful should give the tithe of their income. When this view began to get sufficient support[amongst the Bishops], it found legislative expression at The Council of Macon in 585” Catholic encyclopedia Volume XIV: Tithing
Arthur W. Pink: Tithing. pp.6 Rory Moore: The Tithe that Binds. pp.44 3 Barnaby P. Baker: The Tithe, A Kingdom Principle pp.5 4 John Avanzini: Keys to proper Giving. pp.12 5 Catholic encyclopedia New Edition Volume XIV: Tithing pp. 5 Dr. Edward L. Haygood: Why the Tithe pp.6;15 6 Dr. Russell Earl Kelly: Should the Church Teach Tithing pp.10 7 Charles A. Freeman: A New History of the New Testament Church pp.11 8 Bertie Brits: Jesus is the tithe pp.197;198;200 10 Matthew E. Narramore: Tithing: Low-realm, obsolete defunct. pp.17 11 Kenneth Hagin: The Biblical Keys to Financial Prosperity pp.10 2
Chapter 5 The Jewish Tithe Festival "Be sure to set aside a tenth of all that your fields produce each year. Eat the tithe of your grain, new wine and olive oil, and the firstborn of your herds and flocks in the presence of the Lord your God at the place he will choose as a dwelling for his Name, so that you may learn to revere the Lord your God always… Use the silver to buy whatever you like: cattle, sheep, wine or other fermented drink, or anything you wish. Then you and your household shall eat there in the presence of the Lord your God and rejoice." Deuteronomy 14:22-23, 26
This given text is one obvious example why tithing isn’t for Christians hence the reason why the Apostles didn’t teach or mention tithing in their teachings to believers in the whole Bible. If tithing is for Christians then why is it that all those who teach Tithing go conspicuously silent on this Tithe Festival? This is also one of the commands that regulated tithing. Besides stating the obvious, the Israelites were commanded to eat their tithes in the presence of the Lord, so that they would learn to revere the Lord always! Why do we not also celebrate this tithe festival with our families in the presence of the Lord, if tithing is for Christians?
This text essentially dismantles the whole Christian tithing doctrine and shreds it to pieces. First the text reveals that tithes were to come strictly from the produce from the fields. “Be sure to set aside". Then secondly the text itemized the designated items that could be tithed, “grain, olive oil, New wine” that is food. Third, the text then mentions that they were to carry the tithes to the nearest designated place of worship. This shows beyond doubt that Tithes were indeed strictly farm produce. Next, the text reveals that if the place of worship was too far and they had too much to carry, it was under this exceptional circumstance that they could exchange their tithe for silver/money! This one is for all those who believe that God required tithes of grain because the Israelites didn’t use money! You may exchange your tithe for silver proves that tithes were never money. Last, but not least, to prove that silver was in fact money, the text goes on to say that “use the silver to buy whatever you like." Remember this is a direct command coming from God! It doesn’t end there, they were also allowed to buy wine and any kind of alcoholic beverage and drink away in the presence of the Lord! Notice that they did not take this money to the designated places of worship to give it to the Levites. They were to spend the money on whatever their heart desired. This option of changing tithes to money only applied to this Festival Tithe.
“You must not eat in your own towns the tithe of your grain and new wine and olive oil, or the firstborn of your herds and flocks, or whatever you have vowed to give, or your freewill offerings or special gifts. Instead, you are to eat them in the presence of the Lord your God at the place the Lord your God will choose—you, your sons and daughters, your male and female servants, and the Levites from your towns—and you are to rejoice before the Lord your God in everything you put your hand to.” Deut.12:17-18
This is another text that regulated the Tithe Festival. The obvious give away here is that the tithe is grouped among the religious sacrificial offerings. They were given strict orders not to eat these tithes and burnt offerings in their homes or towns, but they were to do so at the designated places of worship. They were required to celebrate this Tithe Festival for two consecutive years. The Israelites were given specific commands on how to carry out the Tithe Festival. Chapters 12 and 14 gave express commands pertaining to this Tithe Festival. But according to Barnaby P. Baker in his book 'The Tithe a Kingdom principle' “If you eat your tithe, you are robbing God and you are robbing yourself”³. This is all you will ever hear from all those who teach Tithing! Isn't it that the children of Israel were also commanded to eat their tithe in the presence of the Lord for two consecutive years? So that they may learn to revere the Lord, always? This was an act of worship under the Old Testament in keeping with God's commands. It was another sacred way of honoring God's commands and his sovereignty. In this instance they indeed honored God by eating their tithe at designated places of worship!
Furthermore, verses 28-29 then mentions the third year tithe. They were not allowed to eat their tithes in that year, the Israelites were required to bring the whole tithe into the local storehouse in the towns of their abode. This is the same Tithe that's mentioned in Amos below and Malachi 3:10 “Bring the whole tithe…” Deuteronomy. 26:12-17 then gave specific instructions on how the Israelites would go about dedicating the third-year tithe to the Lord. There was a ritual that they were all obligated to perform when dedicating this tithe. The people were required to make some declarations when carrying out this ritual. Turns out the Israelites were not allowed to dedicate their tithe while in mourning, or ceremonially unclean or to offer the tithe to the dead. Fascinating! "Go to Bethel and sin; go to Gilgal and sin yet more. Bring your sacrifices every morning, your tithes every three years. Amos 4:4
All this insight reveals why those who assert that tithing is for Christians go quiet or they will say this tithe was abolished! Here’s a thought for your pennies; “In giving a portion of the tithe to the poor and needy, the Israelite was demonstrating his commitment to keep ALL of the law. Today, there is no valid biblical principle which allows the church to teach only one of the three types of tithes to support its ministers and then ignore the national festival tithes and the third year tithes for the poor and needy. Like the rest of the law, tithing was a complete package with three inseparable parts which cannot be divorced from the context of the entire Mosaic Law.”⁴ The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia
According to the above-given quote, the festival tithe is an indivisible part of the tithing Laws that were given by God to Israel. But now, some people either completely ignore or downplay this commandment to eat the tithe. In other words, the command to give the tithe to the Levites was just as important as the commandment to eat the tithe in the presence of the Lord. This is why God commanded that they hold the festival for two consecutive years and then give the whole tithe once every three years. Israel was given specific instructions about the tithe festival and the whole tithe. There is no indication that the one was more important than the other. More still, there isn’t even a single scripture that says Christians must only observe the command to give the whole tithe and ignore the Tithe Festival. As mentioned above, the text in Deuteronomy annihilates the whole doctrine on Christian tithing. There are those who concede that tithing was indeed a requirement of the Law of Moses, however, it was part of the moral Law of Moses. (I explain the whole concept of the ceremonial and moral law in my other book on the New Testament [“How To Understand The New Testament: Discovering the Uncompromised Gospel]”) Here’s one classical example “…In the third place, we found that in the New Testament itself, we have both hints and plain teaching that God requires his people to tithe even now, for tithing is not part of the ceremonial law, it is part of the moral law. It is not something that has a dispensational limitation but is something that is binding on God's people in all ages"2. A.W Pink
According to this school of thought. People (because the Bible doesn’t say this) have classified the Law of Moses into Moral Law and Ceremonial Law. The part of the Law that regulated the Jewish festivals, sacrificial worship, ceremonial cleansing etc. they classified that as being part of the Ceremonial Law, then the other remaining portion they classified it as the Moral law. They then contend that the death of Jesus only abolished the ceremonial part of the Law of Moses. As Gentile Christians we are still bound to the Moral Law. Hence the above cited preacher then asserts that Tithing is part of the moral Law, and therefore it’s binding to God's people in all ages. Tithing doesn’t even qualify to be classified under the moral Law according to the classification mentioned above. Not that I agree with this classification, I am just pointing out that even under such circumstances, tithing doesn’t qualify to be a Christian doctrine, because of the Tithe Festival and the ritual the Israelites were to observe while dedicating the third-year tithe. Accordingly, it falls within the Ceremonial Law, therefore it is something that cannot be taught or practiced by Christians. All this is in accordance with the rules they put in place! Contrary to popular Christian dogma, the Tithing Laws were part and parcel of the Jewish religious feasts or festivals. Only people who are ignorant of all these things would go so far as to claim that tithing is binding on the Church because it was part of the moral law. The Old Testament texts and scriptures plainly reveal that tithing was part of the Jewish feats, 70
festivals or religious ceremonies. The Apostles were fully aware of the rituals, ceremonies and festivals of tithing under the Law of Moses. Hence the admonition from the Apostle Paul rings a bell… “Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ.” Colossians 2:16-17
Catholic Encyclopedia New Edition Vol. XIV p.92 Arthur W. Pink: Tithing. pp.13 3 Barnaby P. Baker: The Tithe, A Kingdom Principle pp.10 4 International Bible Standard Encyclopedia 2
Chapter 6 Tithes were used to finance God’s work? If one is to ask any random person, “What is the use and purpose of the tithe?” They will most definitely tell you that Tithes are for financing God’s work, without blinking! But the most troubling part is that, even though we all profess to be Bible believing Christians, there isn’t a single instance or scripture, where tithes were ever used to finance God's work in the entire Bible! Already mentioned is the fact that the early Christian Church did not have a tithing system for over 500 years. “It [tithing] was not practiced in the early Christian church, but gradually became common by the 6th century.” The Encyclopedia Americana “The early Church had no tithing system. The tithes of the Old Testament were regarded as abrogated by the Law of Christ. It was not that the need to support the Church did not exist or was not recognized, but that other means seemed to suffice" Catholic Encyclopedia New Edition Vol. XIV
According to the above captioned quotes, it is a wellestablished historical fact that Christians did not practice tithing for over half a century. It wasn’t because Christians didn’t give to God, they did so use the Apostolic teachings. So,
we need to verify these claims that Tithes are the primary means for supporting God’s work. If this is the case, how come all Christians from the times of the Apostles didn’t tithe? According to those who teach tithes they claim that tithes are God's way of financing the Church. Let me not say it for them, here are a few quotes so that we may hear it from the horse’s mouth; “The tithe is God's way of financing his church and causing the blessing to come to those who practice it" Barnaby P. Baker¹ “God's appointed method for financing of the work which he has been pleased to place in our hands is that of tithing- the strict setting aside of one's tenth of all we receive to be devoted to his cause…" A.W Pink² “Was the tithe intended to help establish the physical church and pay wages of 'full-time' ministers? If so it took a long time for the word to get around because it was not until Moses was given the Law that the need to tithe filled this need…” Larry Burkett³
These teachers are making the presumption that tithes were instituted by God as a primary means to finance his work. Again, we have to constantly ask ourselves this question. Do we have anywhere in the scriptures, where God ever said that Tithes are the primary means of financing my work? Do we have instances in the scriptures when God wanted to collect money from the Israelites for his work where he required tithes? How come such an understanding never came from the Apostles? This is because the teachers quoted above seemed to be conclusively asserting that, whenever God wanted to raise funds in silver(money) he used tithes. Whenever God wanted
to raise money in order to finance his work, He required tithes! This is the long and short of what they are saying or teaching. They are simply inferring that when God gave the command to tithe, his intention was that tithes were to be used for financing his work. However, on Leviticus 27:1-8, God gave an express command to the Israelites to pay redemption money of varying amounts. 60, 30, 20, 10, 5 and 3 shekels of silver. There appears to be no emphasis on the tenth when God gave instructions on money. Verse 8 is just mind blowing and a huge eye opener. “If anyone making the vow is too poor to pay the specified amount, the person being dedicated is to be presented to the priest, who will set the value according to what the one making the vow can afford.” Leviticus 27:8
This is money that they were required to pay! All this is mentioned before the command to tithe on verse 30! This redemption money was for Aaron and his sons. When God wanted the Israelites to give money he simply said so! In all instances, the Old Testament does not state in any way that God's way of financing his work was through the tithe. One just can’t find this whether expressly or through inference, it's just not there. What you will find are other means that God expressly put in place to finance his work. When God needed his work to be financed he expressly required money and not tithes. In fact, God employed so many vehicles to finance his work and tithing was never one
of them! The tithe was never applied when the Israelites gave money to God in both Testaments of the Bible. When God wanted the Israelites to build the Tabernacle he required of Moses to collect a freewill offering of everything and not tithes of everything! The circumstances under which God required this freewill offering was pretty much ideal for our current set up. We are 'not farmers' just as they were at that point! The Israelites were in the wilderness, they were nomads, wandering in the desert. The second matter was the task at hand, the construction of the Tabernacle. This was a very huge project that required extensive resources. Those were the facts. Did God instruct Moses to apply the ten percent kingdom principle in order to raise the money and materials needed for the construction of the Tabernacle? Since the Israelites were not yet farmers, did God command them to bring a tenth of the gold, silver[money], and bronze they had for the construction of the Tabernacle? Since the tenth part is “God's appointed method for financing of the work which he has been pleased to place in our hands”? Did God instruct Moses to use the tithe for the construction of the place of worship? He commanded Moses to collect a freewill offering from those of a willing heart for the construction of the tabernacle! “And Moses spoke to all the congregation of the children of Israel, saying, “This is the thing which the Lord commanded, saying: ‘Take from among you an offering to the Lord. Whoever is of a willing heart, let him bring it as an offering to the Lord: gold, silver, and bronze;…”Exodus 35:4-5
From this account, the response was so overwhelming that the people ended up bringing more than what was required. Moses had to send out a command restraining the people from bringing more staff for the work of the Tabernacle. “So Moses gave a commandment, and they caused it to be proclaimed throughout the camp, saying, “Let neither man nor woman do any more work for the offering of the sanctuary.” And the people were restrained from bringing, for the material they had was sufficient for all the work to be done—indeed too much.” Exodus 36:5-7
Here, God did not put a base figure in order to encourage the Israelites to give more so that there was enough material. All this serves to illustrate that “the tithe" is not at all a Kingdom principle and was never used as a way of raising money to finance big projects. This is nothing but a human construct and an unproven biblical fiction. The conception of using tithes to finance God’s work did not come from the Scriptures. When David wanted to construct the Temple of Jerusalem, he and his top officials gave a freewill offering of the material and money that was needed. Again the tenth was not used and was never used for such a purpose. They used freewill offerings. “Furthermore King David said to all the assembly: “My son Solomon, whom alone God has chosen, is young and inexperienced; and the work is great because the temple is not for man but for the Lord God. Then the people rejoiced, for they had offered willingly, because with a loyal heart they had offered willingly to the Lord ; and King David also rejoiced greatly”. 1 Chronicles 29:1-2, 6, 9
Tithes were never used for the service of the Temple or Tabernacle. The Law required that atonement money be
used specifically for that purpose. “Receive the atonement money from the Israelites and use it for the service of the tent of meeting. It will be a memorial for the Israelites before the Lord, making atonement for your lives.” Exodus 30:11-16. What did
God say, in this command? God instructed the Priests to collect the atonement MONEY and use it for what? Does anyone see where God instructs the Priests to collect the tithe money for the service of the tent of meeting? This obligatory temple tax is also mentioned in Matthew; “After Jesus and his disciples arrived in Capernaum, the collectors of the two-drachma temple tax came to Peter and asked, “Doesn’t your teacher pay the temple tax?” Matthew 17:24
It appears that everyone is so fixated on the tithe that we fail to see such plain truths from the scriptures. As is obvious to see, I am not sharing deep and hidden mysteries from the Bible, but merely revealing plain truths that have been staring back at us all along, in plain sight! Another fascinating detail about the Temple of Jerusalem or the Tabernacle was that it didn’t have a storehouse only, it also had a treasury! Where all the money and other precious stones and metals were kept. All the monies that I have referenced here, went into this treasury. “All the silver and gold and the articles of bronze and iron are sacred to the LORD and must go into his treasury." Then they burned the whole city and everything in it, but they put the silver and gold and the articles of bronze and iron into the treasury of the LORD'S house.” Joshua 6:19…24 “They gave toward the work on the temple of God five thousand talents and ten thousand darics of gold, ten thousand talents of silver, eighteen thousand talents of bronze and a hundred thousand talents of iron. Any
who had precious stones gave them to the treasury of the temple of the LORD in the custody of Jehiel the Gershonite.” 1Chronicles 29:7-8 “When Judas, who had betrayed him, saw that Jesus was condemned, he was seized with remorse and returned the thirty silver coins to the chief priests and the elders… So, Judas threw the money into the temple and left... The chief priests picked up the coins and said, "It is against the law to put this into the treasury, since it is blood money." Matthew 27:3 "Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. Mark 12:41
These are texts from both the Old and New Testament writings revealing that the Tabernacle and the Temple had a treasury. Why would they need a treasury if they didn’t use money? All these texts also reveal that tithes were never used to finance God's work in the entire Bible. These scriptures make it certain that tithes are not and were never the primary means for financing God's work. When God wanted his work to be financed, he simply requested money. As one can see from all the texts from both the Old and the New Testament writings, it was never God’s intent to finance his work using the tithe! There is simply no single text or verse to back that horse! While the bible is very clear on the purpose of the Old Testament tithe, God required other means to be used to finance his work. There is just no biblical precedence of God ever using the tenth to finance his work. Under the Law, God put in place different provisions or commandments that were aimed at raising money for his work. We have plain texts where God required money from
the Israelites, yet there isn’t even a single text where God instructed the Israelites to pay tithes in money! I have heard some claim that God is the same today, yesterday, and forever. This indicates that God doesn’t change. But well, more often than isn’t the case, most people enjoy using this verse when it best suits them! If it is clear from the scriptures that God never used the Tithe to finance his work and that when God required money, he would simply instruct the Israelites to bring money. The tithe was only applied to the direct produce of the land. If God never used the tithe to finance his work in the whole Bible, it then follows his unchanging nature that he still does not use this principle to finance his work to this very day!
¹ Barnaby P. Baker: The Tithe, A Kingdom Principle pp.4 2 Arthur W. Pink: Tithing. pp.12 3 Larry Burkett: Giving and Tithing pp.34
Chapter 7 The poor in Israel did not pay Tithes “There will always be poor people in the land. Therefore I command you to be openhanded toward your brothers and toward the poor and needy in your land.” Deuteronomy. 15:11
One more fascinating fact about the Old Testament tithe that completely blew my mind, was this discovery. According to Jewish tradition, the poor people in Israel who did not own land did not tithe because the tithing laws only applied to the direct produce of the Land [of Canaan]. Already mentioned is the biblical reality that the tithing Laws under the Law of Moses weren't as exacting as we are all led to believe. Tithing was limited to agricultural produce as such, poor people who did not own land or livestock were not required to tithe. They were instead beneficiaries of the tithe. And of course, I saved the best for the last! Here is an interesting quote; 'The Code of Jewish Law says, “He who has barely sufficient for his own needs, is not obligated to give charity, for his own sustenance
takes precedence over another’s.” The Jewish Mishnah contains other exemptions of poor persons. Unfortunately, it is all too common to find large churches with many poor who give above and beyond their means out of fear of the Old Covenant curse of Malachi 3:9… Such treatment is oppression of the poor and is a modern scandal.” Dr. Russell Earl Kelly¹
The Jewish Law placed so much emphasis on being good or gentle-willed towards the poor. Oppression of the poor was something that was strongly condemned under the Law of Moses. The Law made lots of exceptions for the poor when it came to some offerings that were required for certain rituals. For example some leniency was shown for the poor when it comes to other sacrificial offerings or purification offerings see(Lev.12:8; 14:21-22) If a Jew was too poor to offer a sheep or lamb there was provision for them to offer two doves or pigeons which they could afford. In Luke 2:24 Mary and Joseph offered two pigeons for purification which testified of their humble state. Even this text from Leviticus clearly reveals God's attitude towards the poor; “If anyone making the vow is too poor to pay the specified amount, the person being dedicated is to be presented to the priest, who will set the value according to what the one making the vow can afford.” Leviticus 27:8
This is money that they were required to pay! Even though God had stipulated these amounts, he also gave a special exception for the poor. If a person was too poor to pay the required amount by the Law, the priest would then adjust the
value and set it according to the amount the person could afford. Even though these amounts were written, God still made exceptions for the poor. God never expected or intended for the application of his Law to be oppressive on the poor, but it was rather to protect them. Special privileges or cheaper alternatives were put in place to cater for the poor, so they too could offer some sacrifices and participate in worship within their means. The Law never obligated or commanded the poor to give beyond their means. What is happening in the Church today is totally at odds with Old Testament Israel or the Early New Testament Church reality. Under the New Testament Church, the believers gave freely so as to minister to the needs of the poor. In today’s church, it is the poor who are expected to give to minister to the needs of the few. "'When you reap the harvest of your land, do not reap to the very edges of your field or gather the gleanings of your harvest. Do not go over your vineyard a second time or pick up the grapes that have fallen. Leave them for the poor and the alien. I am the LORD your God.” Leviticus 19:9-10
Furthermore, the gleaning laws provide yet another example of how the Law was more exacting on the rich and very lenient on the poor. The rich landowners were not allowed to reap on the edges of their fields or gather any of the crops that fell onto the ground when they harvested their fields. They were to leave these behind for the poor and foreigners living amongst them. Moreover, the poor were not required to give a tithe of the gleanings they gathered to the Lord for
Holy use. This shows that God has always been predisposed to helping the poor. This is all in sharp contrast to what many are being taught and came to accept as truth regarding the tithe. We are taught that the poor needed to give more to God In order for them to be blessed by God. The poor must pay tithes of everything they get more than anyone for this is the only way that God breaks the curse of poverty. If one is poor and doesn’t tithe they will never amount to anything in life. If one wants God to bless them with money, they must first give Him money! I'm pretty sure that I am not the only one who can perceive that there is something odd with this kind of teaching. We are all made to believe and accept that poverty is a curse and that we need to give ten percent of our income to God for him to break this curse! However, under Old Testament Israel the tithing Laws were only applied to agricultural produce on landowners. The poor who didn’t own land so as to give tithes were never required to give ten percent of their wages to God instead. “Pay him his wages each day before sunset, because he is poor and is counting on it”. More so, this is what God actually said about the poor; “There will always be poor people in the land. Therefore, I command you to be openhanded toward your brothers and toward the poor and needy in your land.” Deuteronomy. 15:11
Hence this teaching that the poor must give ten percent of their income in order to break the curse of poverty cannot be supported by the scriptures in both Testaments. Isn’t it a bit
ironic that even though the tithing Laws were given to the Israelites, yet God still acknowledged that there will always be poor people in the land of Israel? As such, the whole nation was commanded to be openhanded towards the poor and the needy! God here didn’t refer to poverty as a curse, he instead required the whole nation to assist the poor. Isn’t it that all the poor needed to do was to give ten percent of their income so as to break the curse of poverty? But instead, God required or commanded the whole nation to help out the poor in any way possible. This teaching can’t be supported by the Apostolic instructions in any way. Here are a few examples from the Apostolic teachings about what the Apostles had to say regarding the poor. “They agreed that we should go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised. All they asked was that we should continue to remember the poor.” Galatians 2v10-11 “God is not unjust, he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them" Hebrews 6v10 “Religion that God accepts as pure and faultless is this; to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world" James 1v27. “Suppose a brother or sister is without food and daily clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them “Go in peace; keep warm and we’ll fed" But does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it" James 2v15-16. “If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need and has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person” 1 John 3v17. “Dear friends, since God loved us, we ought to love one another. No-one has ever seen God, but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us" 1 John 4v11-12
These verses accurately portray the Early New Testament Church attitude towards the poor. Poverty was never seen as a curse, the instruction from the Apostle James is the one that really struck a nerve “Religion that God accepts as pure and faultless is this; to look after orphans and widows in their distress…”. But in today’s Christianity, the true religion that God accepts as pure and faultless is paying tithes of one’s income to God! This doctrine that teaches that the poor need to tithe themselves out of poverty or that the only way to break the curse of poverty is by paying tithes is dangerously heretic and goes against the core teachings of the Gospel of our Lord Jesus. Moreover, this teaching encourages selfishness and greed In believers as people are motivated to give through ego or selfish ambitions of wanting to get rich rather than showing the love of God. We give in order to be a blessing to others. Our giving must be motivated by charity and not our desire to be rich or breaking the curse of poverty. In his book “Why Non-Tithing Christians Become Poor and How Tithing Christians Can Become Rich" Dag Heward-Mills claimed that all Christians who don’t pay tithes become poor because they are under a curse! He also claimed that Christians who don’t pay tithes become poor because the devourer constantly eats their wealth, fruits of their fields are constantly destroyed and they lose their fruit before they get their chance to harvest! “Another reason why non-tithers become poor is that the fruits of their harvest are lost before they get a chance to harvest them. Non-tithers are cursed with the “failed harvest.” A failed harvest is the failure to
reap the corresponding and appropriate harvest for what you have invested.” 3 What teachers like this one overlook is the simple fact that no one was ever required to give a tithe of their income by God. No Jew under Old Testament Israel was ever cursed for not paying ten percent of their income to God. The curse that Dag is talking about is nothing but myth to a Gentile Christian. This whole ideology of breaking the curse of poverty through payment of money to God is predicated upon the misinterpretation and misapplication of Malachi 3:9-10. Like I said, no Israelite was ever cursed by God for not paying a tithe of their wages! Rhodes Thompson had this to say in his book Stewards Shaped by Grace, “Some disagree that people are ever too poor to tithe. But my experience in the Third World [India] and inner-city St. Louis exposed me to people whose poverty I had wittingly or unwittingly helped to create and whose liberation from it still receives too little of my time and resources… Watching poor folks in St. Louis facing the winter choice between ‘meat’ and ‘heat,’ I could not lay on them the burden of tithing that would have forced them to forego both at the risk of health and life.”5
It is quite unfortunate that the Christianity of today, refuses to accept the reality that, there are some people who are too poor to tithe. A landless Israelite, was exempted from tithing, because the tithe only applied to the Land. No Israelite was required by Law to tithe from every source of income they had.
Dr. Russell Earl Kelly: Should the Church Teach Tithing. pp.62;65-66 Dag Heward-Mills: Why Non-Tithing Christians Become Poor pp.6. 3 Rhodes Thompson: Stewards by Grace. 2
Chapter 8 Equating the Tithe with Christ using Malachi 3v9-10 “You are under a curse—your whole nation—because you are robbing me..” says the Lord Almighty” says the Lord Almighty. Malachi 3:9-11
While all the things that are mentioned in Malachi that would happen if one failed or succeeded in giving a tenth of their produce are very true. Those conditions were only susceptible to people who were living under the Old Testament. Those were the people who needed to bring a tithe of their produce so that God would bless them; rebuke the devourer on their behalf and made sure that the fruit of the vine would not cast down until they had gathered fruit. It is therefore a misplacement of the truth of God to assert that the same state of affairs still exists under the New Testament! We need to realise that every false teaching or heresy is a truth of God that has been misplaced! This is a truth of God that is in the Scriptures but that truth doesn’t apply to us, the New Testament Gentile Christian believers.
Whatever the Prophet Malachi uttered before Jesus had died for us, cannot be used to nullify the work of Christ at Calvary. This teaching that Gentile Christians can be cursed by God for not paying tithes to God, directly contradicts the Gospel of our Lord Jesus. The Gospel is very clear on this, Jesus died so that he might redeem all of us from the curse of the Law! “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: "Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree." He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus…” Gal 3:13-14
The curse that Malachi pronounced upon Israel, is a curse that came as a result of failing to obey a command from the Law. He had mentioned that Israel had violated the Covenant, which we now call the Old Covenant. There isn’t a peculiar curse or blessing that is attached to the tithe only. Each and every command that was given by Moses carried a blessing and a curse. The mere fact that the command to tithe carries with it a blessing and a curse, is one major give away that it is indeed a requirement of the Law. That’s why we don’t find this curse in Genesis. This is what Moses said when he gave the Law. “See, I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse— the blessing if you obey the commands of the Lord your God that I am giving you today; the curse if you disobey the commands of the Lord your God... be sure that you obey all the decrees and laws I am setting before you today.” Deuteronomy 11:26-28, 32
Notice that the “commands” is in the plural and “blessing” and “curse” are in the singular. Then Moses instructed the Israelites that they should be careful to observe all the decrees and laws he had given them. For, if they broke just one, they would be under a curse, for violating that one command. That is the same message and principle that Malachi's prophecy conveys. I wish I had all the time to explain about Old Testament prophecy, but I don’t. It suffices, to just point out that Old Testament prophecy was covenant specific. Prophets served as guardians and enforcers of the Old Covenant. Paul being a former Pharisee was well acquainted with this blessing and curse paradox that existed under the Law of Moses, took the time to address this. It must be noted that Paul’s letters were occasional, they were written to explain away some false teachings that found their way into the Gentile Christian Churches. These false teachings were all coming from people who were using the Bible. It isn’t mere coincidence that Paul happened to address the issue of the curse of the Law and the blessing of Abraham! Obviously these Gentile Christians were being led to believe that they were under God’s curse for not observing a certain requirement of the Law of Moses. They needed to be circumcised like Abraham so as to receive the blessing and promise that was given to Abraham or God would curse them! It’s highly probable that these teachers used circumcision to make their point. The Galatians were led to believe that they
needed to observe certain requirements from the Law so as to attain perfection in Christ, or to perfect their faith in Christ. These teachings come in one form or the other, but the principle or the concept is always the same. We need to realise that these teachings remove Christ from the picture and replaces him with a requirement of the Law. Paul revealed that it is the death of Christ on the cross that has redeemed us from the curse of the Law. It is also nothing but faith in Jesus that we can now receive the blessing and promises of Abraham. Whoever teaches you otherwise is trying to replace Christ with a requirement of the Law. All we need is Christ and not the Law. We must always remember that God redeemed us from the powers of darkness and brought us under the domain of Christ(Colossians1:13-14). Jesus is now our protector, this means that we get full protection by just being under his domain. Then secondly, Christ is the one who took away the curse of the law, when he died on the cross. In other words, Jesus redeemed all of us from the devastating effects of the curse of the Law. “For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.” 1Peter 1:18-19
One does not redeem himself or take away the curse of the law of Moses by giving tithes of any nature to God. It was the Jew under the Law who was required to bring a
tithe of the produce of the land for God to rebuke the devourer etc. This is no longer the case for us Gentile Christians, Jesus did everything for us. We now have the authority to rebuke the devourer through what Christ did at Calvary, in the name of Jesus and the power of the blood of the lamb. Not tithes of our income! “For no matter how many promises God has made, they are "Yes" in Christ. And so through him the "Amen" is spoken by us to the glory of God.” 2Corinthians 1:20 “He redeemed Us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus...” Galatians 3v13
No matter what they say or how long they say it, these scriptures shall continue to stare smugly back at them right in the face. We know that the promises of God are yes in Jesus Christ and not In Abraham or the tithe; We know that we are more than conquerors through Christ; God leads us in triumphal succession through Christ; we have overcome he that is in that world, because greater is He that is us than he that’s in the world; we know that our weapons are not of this world, but they are mighty before God to the pulling down of strongholds; we know that we defeat the wicked one by the blood of the Lamb of God; we know that Jesus holds the Keys of David and behold he has set an open door for us that no-one can shut; all this and more is what Christ does for and in us by simply believing in Him. This is the simple fact or principle of the Gospel that has eluded many over the centuries. Now some individuals are now knowingly or unknowingly equating the tithe with our Saviour. What 91
they are promising that the tithe will do for us, is what Christ has already done at Calvary. Now that we are in Christ, He is now our Redeemer. He is the one who has the power and capacity to redeem us from the curse of the Law of Moses and not our ability to pay the income tithe! For we were not redeemed from the curse of the Law through silver or ten percent of our income but through the precious blood of the lamb. Now that we are in Christ, we already have the redemption from the curse of the Law and blessing of Abraham upon us. On top of that, Christ is also now our protector for we are now under his domain. It is Christ who protects and watches over us and not the tithe! It is not true that Jesus will only protect us for as long as we tithe. There is no single verse that teaches that believers must tithe so as to get protection from God. We have all the protection we need in Jesus! “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.” Ephesians 1:3.
Jesus is now the reason for our blessing! Glory to the Lord. I now have the blessing of God operating and functioning upon my life, because I am now in Christ! It pleases the Father to just pour blessings, uncountable blessings upon my life, because I am now in Christ. It's the Christ in me that now attracts God's blessing and favor upon my life. God gets super excited whenever he sees the Christ in me, that he went as far as proclaiming a blessing that has heavenly impact. Because of Christ,
God has blessed us in the Heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing that one can ever think of in Christ. You can go ahead and pay tithes so that you can receive the blessing of Father Abraham. As for me, I am quite content with the heavenly spiritual blessing that comes for just being in Christ. This blessing comes with every spiritual blessing one may think of. My dear brother or sister, you already possess every spiritual blessing you can think of in Christ. Everything that people are saying will happen to your life once you pay tithes from all your sources of income is already yours. You are being sold a car or house that is already in your name. All you need is Christ and not the tithe! We were redeemed from the curse of the Law by Christ and the blessing of Abraham can only be received through Christ and not your ability to pay the tithe. “You are blessed with every spiritual blessing because you are in Christ!”
The journey, has only but just begun! This book merely explored the interpretation and application of the Old Testament Scriptures on the doctrine of Christian Tithing. I wrote this book so as to reveal some basic truths that are in the Bible about the tithe and tithing. We have missed these basic truths that are in plain sight because our minds have been conditioned to understand the Bible in certain way.
Bibliography Arthur W. Pink, Tithing 1940. Bottom of the Hill Publishing 2011. Rev. Barnaby P. Baker, The Tithe, A Kingdom Principle. Word and Spirit Publications, 1996. Bertie Brits. Jesus is the Tithe, The Message of God. Releasing the Children from manipulation. Gysbert Brits, 2017. Charles George Herbermann. Catholic Encyclopedia First Edition Vol.14 Christian Classics Ethreal Library, 1912 Gale Thompson. New Catholic Encyclopedia Vol.14. Catholic University of America, 2003 Charles Freeman, A New History of The Early Christianity, Yale University Press, 2009 Dr. Creflo Dollar Jnr. The Covenant Connector, How To get Connected To the promises of God Through The Tithe. 1998, World Changers International, 2001 Dag Heward-Mills, Why none tithing Christians become poor, How Tithing Christians can become rich. Parchment House Christian Publishers, 2014 Dr Edward L. Haygood, Why The Tithe, Entering into God’s Economic Plan. 1979 Harrison House, Tulsa Oklahoma. 1982 Gary North, Tithing and the Church. Institute for Christian Economics, 1994. Iain M. Duguid, Should Christians Tithe, Excelling in the grace of giving Copyright ©2018 St. Colme's Press, 2018. Jerry Savelle, Living To Give, The Prophetic Word for Christians today. Harrison House Publishers, 1989. John Avanzini: Are Tithes and Offerings the same? Abel Press 2000. John Avanzini: Keys to Proper giving, Principles of financial increase Abel Press 2001. John Avanzini: Is Tithing for Today, Abel Press, Tulsa Oklahoma, 2004. John Edmiston, Temples and Tithing, Global Christians 2014. Kenneth Copeland, The Laws of Prosperity. Copyright ©1974 Kenneth Copeland Publications Kenneth E. Hagin, Biblical Keys to Financial Prosperity 1995, Faith Library Publications, 2009
Larry Burkett: Giving and Tithing, Includes serving and stewardship. Copyright ©1991 Moody Press Chicago, 1998 Markus Bishop, Our Covenant of Prosperity: Crossing the threshold of Supernatural Abundance. Harrison House Inc; Special TBN Edition, 1997.
Matthew E. Narramore, Tithing: Low-realm, obsolete, defunct. Copyright ©1997 Tekoa Publishing, 2004. Mike Murdock, 31 Reasons why people don’t receive their financial Harvest, The 31 Day Mentorship Program. The Wisdom Center,1998 Nelson’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Roland F. Young Blood ed., Copyright ©1986 CD-ROM (Seatle Biblesoft 1999) s.v “tithe” NIV Cultural Backgrounds, Study Bible: Bringing to life the Ancient World of Scripture Zondervan, 2016. Rory O. Moore, The Tithe that Binds. Faithful Publishing 2006. Dr. Russell Earl Kelly, Should the Church Teach Tithing: A Theologian's conclusions about a Taboo doctrine. 1st Edition. Universe 2001.