The Purpose of Tithinggreenspun.com : LUSENET : A.M.E. Today Discussion : One Thread
I solicit your assistance on a question of tithing. A friend asked me the other day what the original purpose was for the tithe. I was prepared to give an answer, but she insisted that I do a little research first, and then come back to her. I am including you all in my research. The question is: at the time that the tithe was first encountered in the Bible, what was its purpose?
I respectfully request that the answers pertain to that question specifically. We can debate the relevance, importance, necessity, legality of thithing in the present day until the cows come home. Let's reserve that for another time.
In His peace,
-- Anonymous, February 25, 2002
Bro. W.J. Richardson,
What an excellent and timely question!!! It is my understanding from Malachi 3:10 that God commands us to tithe. Therefore, since we know that God is and because we love him, we will tithe. Unfortunately, many people including my self fall short of tithing. In the Old Testament, the tithe was agricultural products that were given to support the priests. The tithe was also a means of sacrificial giving to God.
In the New Testament, Jesus mentions the tithe once in these scriptures:
"But woe to you Pharisee's for you pay tithe of mint and rue and every kind of garden herb, and yet disregard justice and the Love of God; but these are the things you should have done without neglecting the others" Matthew 23:23/Luke 11:42 (NAS)
The tithe is still an agricultural product but in Luke 18:12 when the proud Pharisee prays he states that he gives to God a tenth of everything he earns. Here, the tithe appears to be money and it has retained that definition to this day. However, in all three scriptures, Jesus was more concerned with ones heart than with the action of tithing. Moreover, Jesus was more concerned with us living by all of God's commandments than just this one commandment of tithing.
It appears in the church of 2002 that " tithing " is held to be the sine qua non of the christian life. I hear more appeals for tithing than I do for salvation in church. If a minister preaches a message about salvation, he or she will always have a successful sermon. I heard a nationally renown minister say that "if one does not tithe, he is a liar", I have been to other churches and the ministers require everyone to stand and bring their envelopes forward to pay the tithe. I have also heard other ministers say that if you tithe, you will be blessed. I say that it is not the tithing that leads to blessings, it is living according to God's will which leads to blessings. Some have said that one should tithe to ones local church even if the money is not being used according to the will of God. I maintain that God will not bless anything that is not according to his will.
-- Anonymous, February 25, 2002
JazzMan, Read Malachi for your self. God said he'd pour out a blessings if you tithe. It is amusing to me how many "good reasons" one can find to not tithe. The tithe was agricultural in those days because that was the economy. Today it is money and it includes all our goods. You can try to wiggle out but you can't. If you love Jesus, you will tithe freely. For he said that where your treasure is, that is where your heart is.
-- Anonymous, February 25, 2002
I understand that tithes was first mentioned @ Genesis 14 chapter. If I am not mistaken, the first tithe was associated with the first communion, to praise God for the salvation and the deliverance of Lot - through victory and defeat ( a little redundancy here goes a long way)of the enemy - sounds familiar doesn't it.
-- Anonymous, February 26, 2002
Try this answer.
What Does God's Word Say About The Tithe?
By Pastor Eddie Cude
What is the tithe? It is the "gateway for the believer into the covenant of blessings." In the Hebrew "maaser" or "maasrah," is translated tenth, or tenth part, and in Greek "apodekatoo" and in both, it means a payment or giving or receiving of the tenth.
The tithe is that tenth of our income that we give to God, which enables Him to move on our behalf in the area of blessings. The Bible records numerous accounts of man tithing to God. God is the creator of everything that exists. He owns everything and we are simply stewards of what we have been entrusted with. The tithe principle is this; "He gives unto us, we give back to Him one-tenth of all that He has blessed us with."
Abraham tithed unto Melchizedek, Isaac tithed, His son Jacob and many others also even before the law was given. Many Christians do not tithe because they have been taught that they are not under the law, but under grace. While this is a true statement, God did not institute the tithe to bring us under the law, but to get blessings to His children. Abraham tithed before the law, and God blessed him supernaturally. We're under grace that we might establish the law; not turn from it. Jesus said that He didn't come to do away with the law, but to fulfill it. Because He fulfilled it, we are to establish it. His Words are forever settled in heaven, therefore we establish His Words upon the earth.
Matthew 5:17-19: "Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven."
Tithing According to the Law as Given by Moses
Leviticus 27:30 "And all the tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land, or of the fruit of the tree, is the LORD'S: it is holy unto the LORD."
This scripture states that all the tithe, whether it be seed of the land, fruit of the tree, or one tenth of all that you earn, is holy unto the Lord. Deuteronomy 14:22-29 states that one-tenth of all that comes into your possession, belongs to God. This was God's plan to instruct His people as to the way of blessings that He had for them. God is a multiplier by nature, and He could not multiply that which was not entrusted to Him. When the children of Israel were obedient to give back to God that which was His, increase was guaranteed. Scripture states, It's better to be obedient than to sacrifice. When the children of Israel were obedient, blessings came; when they were disobedient, they had to sacrifice. Many Christians today are wanting God to honor the covenant that He has with His children, but disobedient children cannot receive the same reward as the obedient.
1 Samuel 15:22: "And Samuel said, Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams."
The strongest chain is only as strong as its weakest link. When we fail to tithe, we become that weak link. Statistics show that approximately 20% of Christians tithe. That means, 80% of Christendom is not in covenant with their God, but are like beggars and thieves looking for handouts and what they can steal from Him.
I have said many times, it would be better to rob the First National Bank than to rob the bank of Heaven. I'm sure most Christians don't see it this way, because most Christians steal from God. Malachi 3:8 asks the question "Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings. Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation."
The Old Testament records two other tithes; one tithe was called the "festival tithe," when they came to Jerusalem three times a year for fellowship. The expense for the festival, (travel, food, etc.) was taken from this tithe. The third tithe was given in the third year and was a tithe holy unto the Lord. It was a tithe of almsgiving for the poor and needy. All of these tithes were brought to the storehouse, and the priest oversaw the distribution of same. The first tithe was for the upkeep of the priests, since they had no inheritance. All of their income and portion was to be given to them by God's people. This tithe in and of itself, is not considered an offering. It is the minimum requirement for all of God's people.
The reason God instituted the second and the third tithe through Moses, was that His children needed to give above and beyond this tithe. It is these tithes that God is referring to in Malachi 3:8 where His people have robbed Him in tithes and offerings. In verse 10 of Malachi 3, you will notice that it states "Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it."
I am convinced that when people see the tithe as an instrument of blessing they will not be looking for a way to give less, but a way to give more. God will help them so that they can be generous on every occasion.
Tithing Establishes the Law
Tithing after the law does not do away with the law, but establishes it. Are you honestly blessed to where you can give generously on every occasion? Or are you like so many that can't give the way they would like to be able to? I've come to the knowledge that most Christians are looking for the truth, so they can be set free. Just because you're a child of God, does not mean you are a "mature" son of God. A mature son or daughter of God will not be found robbing "daddy" God. Revelation 3:18 gives us good counsel on how to re-establish right covenant with the Lord. Jesus' advice to those of us who have become lukewarm is to buy from Him gold that's been refined in the fire. He tells us to do this so that the shame of our nakedness will not be revealed.
Revelation 3:18: "I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see."
How do we buy gold from the Lord? Hebrews 1:7 states that His ministers are as "flames of fire." In Matthew 25:9, Jesus makes a statement concerning the five foolish virgins to go and buy from those who sell. What they needed to buy was oil. Oil symbolizes the Spirit. Those who are in the five-fold ministry (apostles, prophets, pastors, evangelists and teachers) have a command from the Lord to receive tithes (Hebrews 7). These tithes are not given, but paid, because the tithe belongs to the Lord. Malachi 3:3 states that the Lord will sit as a refiner, purifying the sons of Levi (those in the ministry) purging them as gold and silver, that they may offer to the Lord an offering in righteousness. I repeat, Jesus did not come to do away with law, but to fulfill it. Our job is to establish it.
There are those who say that the tithe is not covered in the New Testament, but in Hebrews 5, 6 and 7, one of the main subjects spoken of is the tithe--who receives it and how to become mature through paying it. In Hebrews 5:11-14 it states "...that you've become dull of hearing and that you should be teaching the first principles, but instead you have need of milk, and not solid food. For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the Word of righteousness, for he is a baby." This is preceded by the statement that Christ himself has become High Priest after the order of Melchizedek. In Chapter 6, it goes on to state that once you have been enlightened and tasted the heavenly gift--once you have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good Word of God--if you still fall away it is impossible to be renewed again to repentance, seeing that you crucify again for yourselves the Son of God and put Him to an open shame.
What is this good Word of God? This Word is "rhema" which means, the spoken or revealed Word of God. His Word has been revealed to you concerning Jesus as High Priest after the order of Melchizedek, meaning that Jesus has become High Priest over the tithe, (and your life) forever (vs. 20). Chapter 6 further states (vs. 9-19), that God blessed Abraham by saying "With blessings, I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply you." He also promised immutability (unchangeableness) of His counsel and confirmed it by swearing an oath that by these unchangeable things, we might have strong consolation and lay hold of the hope set before us. Verse 19 states that this hope we have is an anchor for our soul (mind), both sure and steadfast. I am convinced these two unchangeable things are both God's promise to bless us and our promise to tithe back to Him. Chapter 7 states in verse 8, "Here mortal men receive tithes, but there He receives them of whom it is witnessed, that He lives."
Chapters 5-7 deals with the ministry of Melchizedek and that Jesus is the priest forever according to Melchizedek. We know Abraham gave tithes of all that he possessed. We know in the Law of Moses, tithes were commanded. After the Law, Hebrews states that Jesus is the Lord, not just of the past, not just of the present, but forever. Hallelujah! He is the Lord of the tithe, forever.
Seeing that Jesus is the Lord of the tithe, is He our lord? If He is, there should be no question that we tithe unto Him. I can just hear someone saying, " If Jesus was my Pastor, I would tithe," but Hebrews 7:8 states "that men (subject to death) receive tithes on this side; but on the other side, Jesus Himself receives them." Why should we look for ways to excuse us from what we know we should be doing? Let's be about establishing and not doing away with His Words. The tithe was, and is and shall ever be holy unto the Lord.
Eddie Cude and his wife, Bobbie, pastor a church in Palacios, Texas called Palacios Faith Christian Center. He is an anointed servant of God in the five-fold ministry who is blessed with the gifts of the Holy Spirit operating in his ministry. Eddie is an outstanding teacher of the Word. Palacios Faith Christian Center is strong in evangelism and they labor as a "Sister Church" with us in the Internet Ministry of prayer and counseling. Eddie can be reached via e-mail at: firstname.lastname@example.org
CHRIST UNLIMITED MINISTRIES Pastor R.S.(Bud) & Betty Miller P.O. Box 850 Dewey, AZ 86327 U.S.A.
-- Anonymous, February 28, 2002
Thank you, Rev. Stocker. I came across this same article in my own research. In fact, I have come across quite a bit of literature which argues the case both for and against tithing for Christians. At a later date, I will pose another similar question with a couple of the articles I've found as the basis for discussion. It is fascinating, the number of ideas that are circulated and the numbers of folks that are genuinely confused about this issue boggles the mind!
Peace and blessings!
-- Anonymous, March 01, 2002
I don't see how one can craft an argument for or against the Tithe. It is not REQUIRED that one give or not give the tithe. As a matter of fact, one does not have to believe in God. All of us are FREE agents. One can craft arguments for or against based on the benefits or lack of benefits of giving the tithe. It is a thing of the heart. If, in my heart, I have a sincere concern for my fellow human being, and devote a tenth of my worldly goods to that end, it will be a benefit to me because my heart will become even more devoted to such causes and I am a better human being for it, regardles of whether I believe in God or not. I am convinced that I ought to give at least the Tithe, not out of compulsion but my heart leads me there. This does nothing for my faith. I have trusted and do trust God in all things. Does God bless my efforts? I don't know. This I hold: "All things come of Thee O Lord; and of Thine own, have I given Thee."
-- Anonymous, March 01, 2002
Thank you Rev. Paris. In my own quirky way, I was - some what - trying to get across the same point. The roots of tithing was founded through the father of faith. Abraham was a "cheerful giver" because he had an "attitude of gratitude". No matter how we may philosophize the text, Abraham gave his tithes in celebration and worship (redundency again - smile)of God's Faithfulness of His Grace towards him. If we operate by the law of "sowing and reaping", we are operating in just that, the law and outside of His grace. We love because He first loved us. We give because He first gave His only Begotten Son. We worship because He shone His Glory upon our sinful nature. God initiates (by cords of love), and we respond. There are many roads (attributes of God) that our faith can travel towards recognizing the awesome Personhood of God. We can have faith in God because He is good, mighty, just, merciful, longsuffering, able...However, I have faith in God, that which compels me to give my tithes, because of the greatest of these. Because God Loves me, for He is Love. Abraham moved to rescue Lot, because he believed God - I dare to say that Abraham believed God love him. He was a friend of God. Therefore, he rejoiced in The Lord and God gave him the desire of his heart - and Abraham acted on that premise to save Lot. When God justified Abrahams faith in Him, Abraham reponded in celebration and worship, which included the giving of his tithes.
-- Anonymous, March 05, 2002
Although, Brother Paris I don't know about that "whether if I believe God or not part."
-- Anonymous, March 05, 2002
Brothers in Christ, In regards to Tithes, maybe you can help me find scripture that states to give with a cheerful, willing heart, than with bitterness. I need to find the scripture that states "Those who chose to live by the law....shall be judged by the law". In my years in the church, when they want money the Old Testement is always quoted and some churches want to know how much money is brought into a household. Shouldn't our tithes be done in secret instead of flaunting what can and can not be given? It seems like we move more into legalism of does and dont's and quoting scripture instead of living the scriptures! Churches should let the Spirit of God touch our hearts in how much to give because it is between "God" and the individual of how much should be tithed and not forced upon by the church. Saving Soul's should be the priority instead of the tithing, sharing the word of "God" is worth more than the gold.
-- Anonymous, May 05, 2003
Jodi, The saving of souls is the number 1 priority, however the lights have to remain on, the water must run, the A/C must operate, the salaries must be paid. In other words the church must have operating funds to save souls. The giving in the church is the means of providing that support. The book of Malachi is very clear: One who is of God who gives the tithe will be blessed, and one who soes not is cursed. The first chapter of Haggai is very clear concerning God's people who will not support God's program. Jesus praised the women who gave all she had. The reason so many discuss and dispute the tithe is that they either are not born again or have never been taught properly. If you believe the Bible, if you are born again, if Christ resides in you, you can and will give at least the tithe but even more. You will gladly share with others in need. You will gladly share with those who teach. Your treasure is where your heart is. I(f that is not in Christ's church, you are serving another god.
-- Anonymous, May 05, 2003