Is Tithing required today?
Is Tithing required today?
There are great “Men (and women) of God” on both sides of this debate. It is important to remember that this is not a question about salvation, as much as about obedience and understanding.
Furthermore, Proverbs 20:3 reminds us that “It is to one’s honor to avoid strife, but every fool is quick to quarrel.” Timothy 2:23-24 also says don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful.
So, lets take at look at God’s word to better understand what tithing is and then if it required of Christians today.
It is wise to explore any Biblical interpretation with an “open mind” not preset by tradition or past experience, and with an “open Book” meaning a look at what the Bible says not what I, or any other teacher submits. (Proverbs 15:14- The heart of him who has understanding seeks knowledge, but the mouths of fools feed on folly.)
Let’s first recognize when we first see it recorded:
There are those that position for the abolishment of the tithe as part of an obsolete Mosaic covenant or “law.” I am not going to address in detail the law in this discussion but will position that the tithe existed BEFORE any Mosaic Covenant.
The Bible shares that Abraham paid tithes to Melchizedek in Gen 14:20, and Jacob vowed unto the Lord and said, "Of all that thou shalt give me I will surely give the tenth unto thee” in Hebrews 7:6.
What was the tithe?
The standard tithe was actually not money at all, but spoils - from victory in battle, and eventually under the Law, of agriculture and farming.
Before the Levitical Law - Abram presenting the tenth of all his property, or rather of the spoils of his victory, to Melchizedek. (Gen 14:20, Heb 7:2-6) Similarly, Jacob, devoted a tenth of all his property to God in case he should return home in safety (Gen 28:22)
Under the Law - The first enactment under the law prescribes giving a tenth of all produce, as well as of flocks and cattle belongs to Jehovah and must be offered to him that the tithe was to be paid in kind, or, if exchanged for money for easy of transporting- with an addition of one fifth to its value. (Lev 27:30-33). This tenth is ordered to be assigned to the Levites as the reward of their service as priest over the 12 tribes, and they themselves dedicated to the Lord a tenth of these receipts, for maintenance of the high priest. (Num18:21-28).
The Levites were to receive the tithes of corn of the threshing-floor and the fullness of the wine press offered to God, because they had no other inheritance (Num 18:21-27).
Additional evidence throughout the Bible can be found in:
· 1 Sam 8:15,17 - The custom of giving a 10th part of the products of the land and of the spoils of war to priests and kings
· Lev 27:30-33, Deu 14:22-23, 2 Chronicles 31:5-6) - a tithe had to be given of the seed of the land, i.e. of the crops, of the fruit of the tree, e.g. oil and wine, and of the herd or the flock.
· Jer 33:13, Exe 20:37 - As the herds and flocks passed out to pasture they were counted and every 10th animal that came out was reckoned holy to the Lord.
How much does the Bible illustrate for God’s people to tithe?
Although the word “tithe” literally mans 10th is that really what it is, or was?
A little homework will show that there were actually 3 types of tithes, so let’s understand:
1. The Levitical, or sacred tithe (Num 18: 21-24) - the sacred (10%) tithe, given to the Levites and priests for their service to the temple. [Kingdom Work]
2. The tithe of the feasts (Deu 14:22-27) - The worshipper was instructed to take a second (10%) of his annual increase of grains, meat, and drink, to Jerusalem and consume it together with his family and the Levites, at the festival. [Love and fellowship]
3. The tithe for the poor (Deu 14:28-29) - This 10% was intended to feed foreigners, orphans, and widows within one’s own city, taken up every 3 years, totaling (3.3%). [Good will]
There is some disagreement as to whether or not these tithes were staggered or coinciding, but it is clear that the tithe was as much as 23.3%. If a person adopts a n OT view of tithing as their personal conviction, then the logical amount would need to be higher than 10%, or else it could be said that they stand in hypocrisy of their own conviction toward OT bias.
So are Christians Required to tithe or not.
Simple put. NO! Christians are not “required” To tithe as if it has any bearing on salvation.
No where in the New Covenant is Tithing commanded. In fact the only acknowledgment of the tithing came from Jesus and only further reinforces this point.
Matt 23:23 - Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.
· Notice that Jesus is referring to food and spices, not money.
· Notice that Jesus is actually rebuking them for being hypocrites that teach practice of the Law over the important things such as faith.
Christians are saved through Grace by faith – not by works. (Eph 2:8-9).
If we need it any clearer – Romans 6:14 says that we “are not under the law, but under grace!”
So then should we not give?
Paul says “God forbid.” But we do not give out of “requirement” under the law, or guilt by a local church, or under condemnation by a false preacher. We give because we have received so much. We give because God forgives, and forgave us our sins. We give because we aspire to love others as God has demonstrated His love toward us.
Consider the scriptures again from a place of Love, because of who we are in Christ:
· 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. And concerning the tithe of the herd or the flock, of whatever passes under the rod, the tenth one shall be holy to the Lord (Lev 27).
· For Scripture says, "Do not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain," and "The worker deserves his wages,” and it takes resources to support the advancement of the Gospel.
· We are also called to be generous to those in need, particularly the poor, the orphans, and the widows and that takes resources. (1 Tim 6:17–19; 2 Cor 8–9, Jam 1:27).
· All Christians are called to spread the good news of the Gospel, and to support those who are called to teach and preach the gospel (Mat 10:10; Luk 10:7; 1 Cor 9:6–14; 1 Tim. 5:17–18).
When we begin to realize the blessing that we have received, as new creations in Christ, victors over sin, promised a new Hope of eternity in heaven, the only reasonable response is to give, and give generously so that others can come into that same inheritance.
What if I don’t give?
Many have a fear of being cursed for not tithing or being unfavorable in God’s eyes. This typically comes back to false preaching often referencing the book of Malachi out of context.
For example, reading Malachi 3:9-11 Gods word says, “You are cursed with a curse and you have robbed Me…." so clearly there was an OT curse for the Israelites.
The problem is that this does not fit with Church dispensation of Grace under the finished works of the cross. As we read earlier – if we are going to follow the law, then we must follow all of it, and we must tither 20-23%.
Remember Gal 3:10 – “For all who rely on the works of the law are under a curse, as it is written: Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law."
Of course, if we live by the law, we will die by the law, because the wage f sin is death, and we all fall short (Rom 3).
Most who preach on the curse of Malachi, modify its context enough to make it fit with some lies of obligation through condemnation. The reality is however, that Grace + “anything” is still works, and is still the Law of sin and death.
This is why the Bible warns that the Lord chooses the foolish things to confound the wise (perhaps this very debated) and the weak things to confound the mighty (many teachers and preachers duped by tradition over Truth).
We are not under obligation or condemnation.
Remember the widows offering;
“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. But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a few cents. Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.” (Mark 12)
We are compelled to love out of restoration.
1 Cor 9:6-8 - Consider this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each one should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not out of regret or compulsion. For God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things, at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.
Math 6:21 – summarizes the point with this - “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
Anything other than this is law and death!
So bless others and know that it blesses you.
Love others because He first loved you!
Share with others because of what Jesus gave to you.
God became flesh and dwelt among us, put the weight and wage of sin to bed so we could live in victory and for eternity.
All who believe that and call on the name of Lord will be saved.
Praise the Lord!