have used fear to prevent hungry saints from eating the so-called tithe. And one form of that fear which has been foisted
upon Christians is to call into question their love for Jesus if they don't "lay their all" on the altar. But who is on the receiving end of what is typically set upon the altars of Christendom after collection
(money)? Whenever "tithe" money is taken up by church ushers, it is not sent by Space Express up to God's celestial bank. God owns the whole world. He owns the cattle on a thousand hills. He doesn't depend
on the meager meal money of widows to sustain His eternal life.
50:8 I will not reprove thee for thy sacrifices, or thy burnt offerings, to have been continually before me.
9 I will take no bullock out of thy house, nor he goats out of thy fields.
10 For every beast of the forest is mine, and the cattle upon a thousand hills.
11 I know all the fowls of the mountains, and all the wild beasts of the field
12 If I were hungry, I would not tell thee: for the world is mine, and the fulness
need for ushers to gather up our filthy lucre service after service from poor widows to feed Himself. And after the service it is gleefully counted by clergymen who have many dreams they need to finance. This money is often taken from the mouths of poor families who are either low-paid
or struggling on welfare, and people pay it because they are told not to eat the "tithe". Monetary tithing is nowhere taught
in either Testament. It is an unmerciful doctrine.
many words the "laity" is told that they are a class apart, and "if they really love Jesus, they'll make this regular sacrifice
out of their meager incomes." The common pew-warmer must never eat what ought to be sacrificed to their spiritual superiors
as sacred. But in Matthew 12:3-4 Christ speaks of how the starving David ate
the sacred showbread, which was meant for the priests only. Jesus says
in verse 7: But if ye had known what this meaneth, I will have mercy and not sacrifice, ye would not have condemned the guiltless.
Even if tithing on money were legitimate (and compulsory), God’s mercy would surely
take priority over sacrifice. I’m sure He would allow some poor mother to buy a bit of food for her hungry child, rather than pressure her to tithe her meager welfare check to the church. In Matthew 15: 3-6 and Mark 7: 10-13
Jesus upbraids some Pharisees who have plenty of religion but no love. They taught their disciples to offer a "corban", a
monetary gift which could have relieved the want of elderly parents. Thus, the true Word of God was rendered ineffectual by their vain traditions.
some would far rather have sacrifice (money) than mercy. The whole reason for the tithe was to keep food in God’s House
for the hungry. For proof of that, I refer you to Deuteronomy 14:22-29. Most of this passage deals with the Festival Tithe,
paid on the first, second, fourth and fifth years of each seven-year tithing cycle (none was paid at all in the seventh year
when the land was allowed to lie fallow). I would especially like to quote verses 28-29, which speak of the special third
and sixth-year tithe set aside for hungry Levites and poor people.
28 At the end of three years thou shalt bring forth all the tithe of thine increase the same year, and shalt lay it up within
thy gates. * * * Notice, the tithing was not done out of a person's decrease,
or poverty, but out of his increase (harvest from agriculture). And this third-year
tithe was not laid up in a church treasury, but within the gates of the city for the benefit of poor people who needed to
29 And the Levite, (because he hath no part nor inheritance with thee,) and the
stranger, and the fatherless, and the widow which are within thy gates, shall come and eat, and be satisfied, that the Lord
thy God may bless thee in all the work of thine hand which thou doest. * * * The
Levite (who fulfilled deacon duties back in Old Testament times) was counted among the poor.
And instead of being ordered to tithe out of her welfare check, the widow helped to eat the tithes of agricultural
produce brought by more prosperous Israelites.
argue that "all Scripture is profitable for doctrine and instruction in righteousness
(II Timothy 3:16)". Such activities as gathering together to share a meal with
other believers to rejoice in the Lord’s goodness, and making provision
for true works of God and for the poor are applicable to the New Covenant of Grace, but the Mosaic ordinance which financed
these things cannot be laid upon New Testament believers. II Corinthians 3:6
says: Who (God) also hath made us ministers of the new testament; not of the
letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life. To sum it up:
When you minister the Law instead of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus,
you minister DEATH!
Tithing: Money Just Doesn’t Fill the Bill
One unscriptural scripture preachers use as leverage over the "laity" is: "The first tenth of your paycheck belongs to God". Wrong! It ALL belongs to God, because we ourselves are His purchased possession!
Some think they’re doing God a favor by reinventing and transplanting Old Testament
Laws (ones they deem profitable) into the Body of Christ. But did God really tell the people to take the first item off the
pile to pay as a tithe, or the tenth? Let’s dig into a little Scripture,
and you just might get an even more vivid picture of how ridiculous it is, trying
to marry the Old Covenant, with its obsolete rules and regulations, to the New,
which is a Covenant of Liberty in Christ Jesus. Talk about strange bedfellows!
constitutes tithable commodities under the Old Law is summed up in Leviticus 27 verse 30: And all the tithe OF THE LAND, whether
OF THE SEED or OF THE LAND, or OF THE FRUIT OF THE TREE, is the LORD’S. It
(not money) is holy unto the Lord. If something edible was raised on the land (cattle, sheep, etc.) or grown on the land (wheat,
grapes, etc.) it was a tithable product.
31: And if a man will at all redeem ought of his tithes, he shall add thereto the fifth part thereof. How can a dirty dollar
bill, which has passed through countless sinful hands, possibly be redeemed as a holy thing?
How can you redeem money with money anyway? Does God run a Savings and Loan, authorizing His supposed representatives
to charge His children a prime rate of 20% interest? I maintain that if some of the rules of Old Testament tithing on farm
produce apply to tithing on a New Testament Christian’s cash wages, then they all do! If you "borrow" $100 of "tithe money" to go see the doctor, you’ve gotta pay "God" (the preacher?) back $120, or you break
that same Law you’re so anxious to return to, and you’re counted as a transgressor!
32: And concerning the tithe OF THE HERD, OR OF THE FLOCK, EVEN OF WHATSOEVER PASSETH UNDER THE ROD (Ever seen a twenty-$
bill toddling on two legs to pass under the rod?) , the tenth shall be holy unto
(did) God REALLY order people to give the best tenth for a tithe, or the TENTH item?
33: HE SHALL NOT SEARCH WHETHER IT BE GOOD OR BAD, NEITHER SHALL HE CHANGE IT: and if he change it at all, both it and the
change shall be holy; it shall not be redeemed. How comical, the idea of applying this principle to filthy lucre. Imagine dividing your $1000 salary into 10 $100 bills, then putting them in a bag to shuffle them up. Then you pull them out one by one, till you get to the last one. That one, not the
first, counts as the "tithe". And even if it’s a rumpled up bill with Susie
Q's phone number on it, you’ve still got to count that one as the tithe.
But money-hungry preachers tell you, regarding tithing: "Give of your best and
first tithe (money) to the Master,
before you meet every other obligation." But the aforementioned passage is proof that it was the TENTH item counted in a series
of tithable commodities which was set aside by farmers and herdsmen as the holy
tithe under the Old Law; not the first, and not necessarily the best one. The word "tithe" simply means "tenth". Even if a
rancher’s tenth cow was the scrawniest of the whole lot, it was still counted
as the tithe. The "best of the tithes", or a mere 1% of the total, were to be
offered by the Levites to the High Priest in Numbers 18: 25-32. It would
be sheer blasphemy for any man to claim to sit in the office of the High Priest under the New Covenant, so as to claim the
best tenth of a tithe of any man's paycheck or other possessions. The office of New Covenant High Priest is occupied by Christ
brought to the Altar always had to be without spot or blemish (Deuteronomy 15:21). Since
tithes were taken at random from every tenth item counted, and worshippers were not to "search (check) a tithed animal whether it be good or bad" before counting it as the tithe, the people’s tithe didn’t
qualify for the Altar anyway. All this sanctimonious spin about rank-and-file Gentile Christian "laity" offering up "tithe" money, an inedible item on the Altar, just doesn’t wash with Scripture!
Only that 1% of all the produce OF THE LAND OF ISRAEL, the Heave Offering (KJV) hand-picked from the people’s tithe
and PAID BY THE LEVITES to the High Priest, was ever presented at the Altar!
about those times where terms like "without spot or blemish", "firstfruits" or
"redemption money" are applicable? Let’s dig up a few more Old Testament observances, and after reading the following
sections tell me whether you’d like to go back to keeping this mind-bogglingly
complicated Scroll of the Law, with its 600-odd ordinances. Or rather, just read it so you can better appreciate what
a colossal burden Christ has delivered you from!
Fulfilled In Christ, but Misapplied
opened my eyes. Now I am able to see through the religious hoopla going on in
churches and "miracle crusades" presided over by Prosperity gurus. One favorite fund-raising gimmick is to prime the pump of pious fervor by bandying about a lot of Old Testament buzzwords, and doing it with the right theatrics. At least once I was in a meeting
where the preacher appealed to his flock to present a "wave offering to the Lord"
(with cabbage of the highest denominations, what else?).
his trusting, bah-h-h-ing sheep would readily follow, the man said, "God loves a cheerful giver. Let’s see you wave your biggest bill as your firstfruits offering unto the Lord. That’s it! Wave those bills high now, and make a joyful noise unto the Lord."
in a crowd of thousands of excited people, you must have enough sanctified common sense to
master your own emotions and be grounded in God’s truth enough to judge the collective "blessing" by the strict
yardstick of Scripture. Have you ever read of the Apostle Peter groaning
to organ music and appealing to Levitical laws to make the money flow like milk and honey? What did the Firstfruits offering and the Wave offering consist of anyway, and what was the significance of these
to the Altar that the Firstfruits, the very first ripening fruits of a harvest, were brought in a basket (not a checkbook)
by the Israelite farmer (see Exodus 23:19; Numbers 18:13; Deuteronomy 26:1-11; Nehemiah 10: 35-37). From this the "wavesheaf" was taken and offered up as holy unto the Lord (Leviticus 23: 9-12). This ritual
was performed on the second day of Passover, or 7 weeks before Pentecost (verse 15).
is not synonymous with the tithe of the whole harvest offered by the laity of the Nation of Israel. The tithe was payable
later in the season, when the whole crop ripened. Nehemiah Chapter 10 describes how sacrifices, tithes, and offerings were
resumed after being discontinued in exile. Notice in verse 37: And to bring the firstfruits of our DOUGH (bread dough, that
is!) and our offerings, and the FRUIT OF ALL MANNER OF TREES, unto the priests, to the chambers of the House of our God; and
the tithes OF OUR GROUND (the Firstfruits and the tithes are listed separately)
unto the Levites (who receive the people’s 10%). And remember, the LEVITE’S
tithe of the tithe (Or 1% of Israel’s
agricultural output) comprised the Heave Offering (Numbers 18:25-28 KJV), (Heb."Terumah").
our unblemished Passover Lamb, fulfilled the Wavesheaf offering when he offered Himself
up to God once and for all for our redemption from sin (see Hebrews Chapter 10). Paul the Apostle compares the dying
and burial of the natural body to the sowing of a seed which results in a harvest, where that seed is changed into a new,
far more glorious form, speaking of our own resurrection to immortality (I Corinthians 15:35-44). Christ is the Firstfruits from the dead (verses 20-23), and the First to be resurrected to immortality
and offered to God, in happy anticipation of the resurrection of His saints. Christ IS the Fulfillment of both the Firstfruits
and the Wave Sheaf offerings, even as as He fulfilled in His own sacrificial death the animal sacrifices of ancient Israel. I
suspect God is offended by the way fishers for funds make a big haul by perverting the simplicity of the Gospel of Christ
with appeals to people’s religious sentiments.
Book of Nehemiah, the exiles of Judah
are returning from captivity after a 70-year absence. Now Temple worship was being reinstituted, along with all the various ordinances which could only be kept in
the Land of Israel. Turn to Chapter 10: 38 to get a real thrill: And the priests the sons of Aaron shall
be with the Levites, when the Levites take tithes: and the Levites shall bring up the TITHE OF THE TITHES into the House of
our God, to the chambers, unto the treasure house (Now, get this!) That’s the very same "storehouse" (Hebrew: outsair
) so often quoted from Malachi 3:10 ( the lone verse tithing teachers base most of their doctrine on!) That was the place where THE LEVITES (whom modern preachers
readily identify with) took their own tithe (1% of the total) to THE PRIESTS (higher ranking members of the priestly Tribe
of Levi who were descended from Aaron). These are the same Levites who are cited by Malachi as being guilty of withholding
the best of the tithe from God! They, NOT THE LAITY (other tribes of Israel),
were the ones primarily responsible for keeping this treasure house full of good things!
One Law, You Marry ‘Em All
religious leader still insists on playing Levite, let him go the whole gamut and keep all the 600-odd points of the Old Law. Stop eating pork, ham and shrimp. Southerners, you’ll have to give up
catfish, as that has no scales (Deut. 14:9-10). Cease all work on Saturdays.
Wear a beard and side locks. Don’t
order cheese on your Big Mac, or you’ll break he law against consuming meat with dairy products. If your brother dies childless, marry his widow to raise up a son to perpetuate his name. It works both
but I couldn’t do that," you say. Why?
"Well, Paul says church leaders are to be the husband of only one wife." Yes, he did say that. You are not expected
to follow the ancient custom of levirate marriage. Neither are believers bound
by the old Law of Tithing, which never was on money to begin with.
the Old Covenant, the first-born of every man and beast was the Lord’s (Exodus 13:1-2; Numbers 18:15-16; Leviticus 27:
26-27). Human males under 5 had to be redeemed with a payment of 5 Temple
shekels, 3 for females. The redemption fee was higher for an older person. The firstborn of all unclean (non-kosher) animals
had to be redeemed instead of being offered, e.g. the jackass (Exodus 13:13;
Leviticus. 27:27) This is one example of hundreds of Mosaic ordinances preachers
have neglected to transfer over to our Dispensation of Grace. James 2:10
says: For whosoever shall keep the whole Law, and yet offend in ONE point, he is guilty of ALL. The Law of Moses is not a
restaurant menu. Where commitment is concerned, the Law of Moses is indivisible.
If you vow faithfulness to one law, you yoke yourself to the whole clan. You
can’t just covenant with God to keep one law you like and shine off on
all the rest. How long has it been since anybody sent their friendly TV preacher a redemption fee for a firstborn kitten or puppy! If anybody hopes to score points with God by observance of one Mosaic ordinance, that individual must place
himself under ALL of the Law of Moses! It’s a package deal! If one Mosaic
ordinance is transferable to the New Testament Age of Grace, every other Mosaic ordinance is transferable and binding, not
just the money-makers! The whole Law includes circumcision for men, periodical seclusion
and pigeon offerings for women,
ritual cleansings and washings, animal sacrifices, physical inactivity on the Sabbath, abstinence from pork BBQ, going to
the Priest to have your zits checked, and paying a redemption fee for your firstborn child. Thanks to Christ, we are redeemed
from the condemnation of imperfect Law-keeping, without having to muddle through all those Levitical Laws and fees (Isaiah
52:3; I Peter 1:18).
open up a can of worms when you try to enforce Old Testament Laws in this Dispensation of Grace. Even if monetary fees still
had to be paid today in fulfillment of ancient Levitical law, God wouldn’t accept U.S. currency, with its mystical inscriptions and images of men, as these violate His Law against making images (Exodus 20:4). Ministers simply couldn’t accept $3.00 as a redemption fee for
a baby girl, instead of three Shekels of the Sanctuary! The Jews of Christ’s
time had to exchange their Roman coins, engraved with images of Caesar, for acceptable
Temple shekels (Matthew 21:12). Even then, those coins were not used to pay tithes, but taxes for the maintenance of the Temple, as in
the census tax taken of every Israelite over twenty (Exodus 30: 11-16). Each person, whether rich or poor, was charged the same amount--half a shekel. That
would constitute far less than 10 %of a rich man’s income. Under Nehemiah’s
leadership, God allowed this small sum to be reduced to one-third of a shekel,
perhaps because the people at that time were under foreign tribute and needed a bit of relief.
This is one example of God’s compassion.
The Temple Tax, however, cannot be used to argue that money secured the
eternal redemption of the Israelites, even if this tax was easily affordable by most everyone. Psalms 49: 7-8 tells
us that nothing we can give God can ransom anyone’s soul from death, and the redemption of our soul is precious (costly). It is the Blood which makes atonement for sin (Leviticus 17:11; Hebrews 9:22). Rather, paying that census tax was a tangible reminder (memorial) of the faith each person directed toward the God Who inhabited the Temple,
and also symbolized the fact each Old Testament saint had an equal vested interest in
the benefits of its rites. The money paid for the upkeep of a Temple which performed substitutionary animal sacrifices on their behalf.
These rites were crucial in the salvation of believing Israelites in that they served as "promissory notes" before God until their ultimate fulfilment in Christ, the perfect Lamb of God. The Blood of Christ, not silver and gold, has redeemed us (John 1:29; John 1:29; I Peter 1: 18-19). Faithfulness to ritual obligations, as
in paying the Temple
tax, showed their faith in the future coming of the final Sacrifice for sins, Jesus.
In every dispensation, good works spring from true faith ( James 2:26). On one occasion Jesus took His own Temple
tax from the mouth of a fish (Matt.17:27). This speaks of grace, not works. Jesus
did not labor to earn this contribution to a religious system which was growing more corrupt by the day. Jesus was not the slave of that system which had deviated so far from God's original plan that instead
of feeding the widow, it now devoured widows' houses (Matt.23:14; Luke 20:47). Another observation can be made from this incident:
Taking money from the mouth of a fish is the ancient equivalent of rummaging through the couch cushions for spare change. This incident should forever put to rest the assertions of Prosperity teachers that
Jesus was not materially poor when He lived on earth!
they got the money out of the fish's mouth Jesus asks Peter whether the kings of the earth take custom, or taxes, from their
own children, or from strangers (Matt.17:25). Peter replies in verse 26:
"From strangers." And Jesus replies, "Then are the children free." We, beloved, are the children of God. What right has any self-appointed
religious IRS agent got to dun a hard-working man or woman for 10% of his net income, let alone the gross (before taxes),
as so many churches practice today, contrary to the Word of God?
Love Jesus You'll Do it Anyway"
tried-and-true religious guilt trip has been used repeatedly throughout the history of the institutional church to pry a fearful
saint from his money. In one church I knew of, implicit questioning of a person's love for Jesus was used to persuade several
dog-tired saints to get out of bed every night during the wee hours of the morning, get dressed and go man a 24-hour prayer
chain which zealous young elders pressed the pastor into starting. Only
trouble with that was, only a few dozen adults, at most, regularly attended the church services, some women couldn't drive
or had small babies, and the way it panned out, the very same ones had to take the same one-hour shifts night after night. I don't recall much fruit coming out of that prayer chain, as most everyone in that
sleepy rural area was asleep during those hours. Perhaps a prankster or two might
have called, but important spiritual principles were being violated. The prayer
chain was imposed on the so-called laity, "those on the outside looking in", by those in the "inner circle". The burden of many was laid upon just a few.
the pastor of a small church dreams big dreams of a fancy building project, based on projected income from the "tithes" of
the saints, he is laying the burden of many upon just a few, and lading men with burdens grievous to be borne (Matt.23:4).
I challenge anybody who believes that "tithe money" ought to be used for building projects to quote just one verse where the
Bible specifically commands "tithe money" to be used for building church buildings. In the very beginning, church buildings
as we know them today did not even exist. And no, I'm not talking about quoting any age-old religious tradition of men which
was fabricated by applying some vague mystical interpretation of Scripture. If the Apostle Paul used "tithe money" to construct
a cathedral, then I'll concede that I was wrong about this. And I'll go so far
as to state emphatically that not one verse of Scripture proves that Jesus ever financed His own ministry off of unscriptural
monetary tithes. Jesus and His followers were helped by freewill offerings, plain
members of the priestly Tribe of Levi ever collected tithes under the Old Law. They were never taken up by Gentiles. Next
time your pastor takes up tithes ask him what tribe of Israel
he's descended from, and whether he plans on skipping tithe-taking during every seventh sabbatical year of the tithing cycle.
God does indeed have a spiritual priesthood under the New Covenant, but that includes every member of the Body of Christ,
not just a privileged few! Not only have WE (everyday believers) been made a royal priesthood and a holy nation in Christ (I Peter 2:5,9), but we ARE the Temple
of God (I Corinthians 3:16). What right does anyone have to force us, the so-called laity (a man-made division in the Body of Christ) to pay tithe money
to "spiritual Levites", when every blood-washed believer in Christ is called a priest? A believer’s position under the
New Covenant is a much more desirable one than that enjoyed by any Old Testament
Israelite or Levite. Why?
"laity" , as we understand it, could be applied to all Old Covenant Israelites not of the tribe of Levi, since these other
tribes were not chosen to draw near unto God to perform sacred rituals. "Although Israel was God’s Chosen People, only sons of Aaron,descended from Levi, were
chosen by God to minister before Him at the Altar. And of that one clan
of Levi , only the High Priest was allowed to pass beyond the inner Veil of the
Tabernacle into the Holiest Place
of all, the Holy of Holies, where the sacred Ark of the Covenant was. And even he could only enter once a year (Hebrews 9:7), to sprinkle blood upon the Mercy Seat of the Ark, as an atonement for
himself and for the people. Hebrews 10:19-22
assures us that now every true believer can enter into the Holiest Place
and draw near unto God because the
Blood of Christ makes us acceptable to Him. We who are saved by faith in Christ ARE the Temple of God, and God’s Holy
Spirit dwells in us (I Corinthians 3:16; II Corinthians 6:16).
our belief in what God's Word says (or lack of it) through our actions. If we pay unscriptural money tithes to men, it shows
that we see those men as superior priests and ourselves as mere laity, a concept foreign to the New Testament. Tithing to
men under the New Covenant denies the priesthood of all believers in Christ. By
taking "tithes" to some "church building", we are denying what the Word of God has to say about US being the Temple
of the Living God, and are saying instead that the church building is the Temple.
more is at stake here than dollars and cents, saints. Christ paid a terrible
price to set us free to walk in liberty, that we might be free children of God. "If you love Jesus, you'll do it anyway" just
doesn't wash. I recall the same church elder who started the prayer chain also
said that a woman should jump off a cliff if her husband told her to, because "if you love Jesus you'll submit". When satan
misapplied Scripture to appeal to Jesus' religious sentiment to get Him to jump off a cliff, Jesus stuck strictly to "It is
written" (Matt.4:5-7). No one, high or low, has the right to question our love
for Jesus just because we dispense with unscriptural religious traditions in favor of the written Word of God as taught by
the original apostles.