Oh, how clever
theologians and churchmen of Christendom can be when it comes to preserving their pet traditions from the scrutiny of believers
who know God has set them free from the Law of Moses! Where it concerns enforcing the edicts of Jewish ceremonial Law, they
know they don’t have a leg to stand on. Like a politician spinning away
the real truth in order to sell a smelly fish to the voters, the clergy of Christendom will air-brush their own regurgitation
of the Law, perfume it in religious mysticism, and sell it to the congregation ever so softly and tenderly...at first. Those erudite Bible scholars are quite subtle about it. The word “law” immediately raises defenses and arouses suspicion toward the preacher. While the word “law” evokes visions of a Wild West shootout at the OK
Corral or a speeding ticket, the word “principle” is soft and fuzzy. Used as juicy bait, it instills pride in people, not guilt. Why? Because the minister in the pulpit evidently believes his hearer is smart enough to receive God’s “deeper revelations” (which might be more cotton candy than meat
of the Word).
is the stick approach. “Law” says you MUST tithe or God will run
you in. “Principle” is the carrot approach. “Principle”
says you OUGHT to tithe, because tithing is one of God’s foundational operating principles, and a vital key for unlocking
His blessings. It can also be interpreted as a thinly veiled threat that you’ll
be reduced to rags if you don’t fork over ten percent of your milk money to the bully in the pulpit. My dictionary defines
“principle” as: “scientific law shown or used in the working of something”. A law by any other
name is still a law, “scientific” or not. The inference is that even if God isn’t mad at you for non-tithing, He is BOUND by scientific law not to bless you unless you pay some preacher ten percent of your income. Even
if you’re too smart to get the Law of Moses put back on you, who can argue with science?
church conferences I attended many years ago, “Brother Stan”, the keynote speaker who hosted the convention, emphasized
over and over that we are to live our lives according to the Gospel of Paul. Galatians
5:1 was one of Stan’s favorite Scriptures: Stand fast therefore in the liberty, wherewith Christ hath made us free,
and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage. My, but we loved that, and it is so true. And: Romans 8:1: There is therefore
now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. Such
Scriptures as these were the foundation of Stan’s teaching on grace in the New Testament. The paradox is this: Stan spent most of his time expounding on Old
Testament Tabernacle ordinances. I took copious notes. I struggled to remember
every ritual, every priestly office, stick of furniture and every court in the
Tabernacle as if my spiritual life depended on it. Thank God it is so simple to get saved, that all it takes is repentance
toward God and faith toward the Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 20:21). That’s
the Gospel in a nutshell, though it is far more wonderful than any of us can fully comprehend.
of God’s divine order for Old Testament worship and practice being a pattern for today’s church. His examples
made sense, such as the brass laver in Exodus 30:18-19 in which the priests washed their hands and feet before going into
the Presence of God to offer up sacrifices. “Brass” speaks of our
sin nature, and the “laver” speaks of the washing of water by the Word (Eph. 5:26). When applied to our hearts through repentance and faith in Christ, the Word of God does indeed cleanse
our outward walk, typified by the feet, and our hands, which perform God’s service. Another picture of redemption was
the sprinkling of blood upon the doors of the Israelites’ homes at Passover. That
ordinance speaks of the sprinkling of the Blood of Christ upon our consciences to make us blameless before God, so we can
be spared His judgment (Hebrews 9:12-14).
on the Old Testament Mosaic Tabernacle is very beneficial when it is presented
as a picture of God’s beautiful plan for our salvation, which, like a photographic negative being developed to a positive, was fully developed when Christ came to earth to make final atonement for us on the
Cross. That is how Brother Stan presented the principles of God’s salvation to us. He had a sweet, childlike nature,
and I enjoyed his teaching. Even if Stan
did teach a Mid-Trib position on the Rapture, which I now disagree with. In his meetings a box was kept near the door of the “Tabernacle”, where
you could discreetly contribute any amount, according to how the Lord led you. I don’t remember Stan mentioning it much,
but his father taught tithing, which Paul, whose Gospel they exhorted us to follow,
never taught. After much study, I found tithing to be a carryover from the Law
of Moses, transformed into a tradition of men to be enforced upon New Covenant saints redeemed from the Law.
over again, I heard it preached that you shouldn’t eat the tithe. But during all the years I heard Stan and his dad cite endless passages on Old Testament Law, why
did I NOT ONCE hear them quote this passage on tithing:
14: 22-27 deals with the Festival Tithe, one of three tithes brought by the Israelites
to their place of worship.
Thou shalt truly tithe all the increase (harvest) of thy seed, that the field bringeth forth year by year.
And thou ( the tithe-payer!) shalt EAT before the LORD thy God, in the place which He shall chose to place His name there,
the tithe of thy corn, of thy wine, and of thy olive oil, and of the firstlings
of thy herds and of thy flocks; that thou mayest learn to fear the LORD thy God always.
introduces the only context in all of Holy Scripture where money is mentioned in conjunction with tithing! Let’s read. And if the way be too long for thee, so
that thou art not able to carry it; or if the place be too far from thee, which the Lord thy God shall choose to set His Name
there, when the Lord thy God hath blessed thee;
Then thou shalt turn it into money, and bind up the money in thine hand, and shalt go unto the place which the Lord thy God
And thou shalt bestow that money for whatsoever thy soul lusteth after; for oxen, or for sheep, or for wine, or for strong drink, or for whatsoever thy soul desireth: and THOU SHALT EAT there before the Lord thy God, and thou shalt rejoice, thou and thy household,
And the Levite that is within thy gates; thou shalt not forsake him; for he hath no part nor inheritance with thee (in the
system I was affiliated with taught that while it may not exactly be a sin to drink per se, we’d better be teetotallers,
even though Old Testament saints drank wine and so did Jesus, Who was accused of being a winebibber and a glutton (Luke 7:34). One church brother was spotted in a restaurant with his wife, celebrating their wedding
anniversary over a glass of wine. The spy told the pastor, who disqualified this
brother from being a candidate for church elder, just for drinking one glass of wine! That pastor taught both liberation from
the Old Law and compulsory tithing at the same time. He thought that it was a sin to drink even the mildest alcoholic beverages,
because that was being a bad example before weaker brethren. But Jesus drank wine. His
very first miracle was to turn water into wine (John 2:1-11). And the aforementioned passage on tithing encourages worshippers to purchase choice foods and strong drink
with tithes the tither converted to money, which he would do whenever his tithed farm produce could not be transported over
a long distance. The only way legalists could cook up today’s tithing law was to appeal to religious sentiment and mysticism,
not early apostolic authority. If you’re going to lay down the tithing
law on New Testament saints, show some fidelity to Scripture, for goodness sake. If
one tithing ordinance is binding upon the saints, they ALL are! So let the tithers
go out and buy a six-pack with their tithe money and hold a big party of thanksgiving to God in the church fellowship hall.
Yes, we can
bring forth both the Old Wine and the New Wine to convey truth (Matt. 13:52; Luke 5:37-39). The danger lies in pouring old
wine (typified by the Old Covenant) into new bottles (Christians are containers of the New Wine of the Spirit). While the
Old Tabernacle System is a beautiful illustration of the spiritual reality of the New Covenant fulfilled in Christ, the danger of focusing too much on the Old Law lies
in immersing your mind in mysticism and weaving new doctrines and ordinances from Old
Covenant laws you like or find profitable. That denies the foundational doctrine
of the New Covenant: Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the Law (which results from imperfect law-keeping):(Gal. 3:13). As many as are under the works of the Law are under this curse: for it is written,
Cursed is every one that continueth not in ALL things whch are written in the book of the Law to do them (verse 10). You can’t
just hang onto one law you like and transplant it to the New Covenant of Grace. That
is pouring old wine into new bottles, and it creates an explosion of confusion. When you covenant with God to keep one of
the 613 ordinances of Jewish Law, you make yourself a debtor to keep ALL the others as well (Gal. 5:3). When preachers teach
people out in the pew that they must keep the Law of Moses or any part of it, they’re bringing their people under a
curse. No one was ever justified (made righteous) through keeping the Law, but by faith only (Gal. 3:11). The Law of Moses is an indivisible unit. If you covenant with God to keep one ordinance, you must keep
them ALL. You might as well offer up a nanny goat in the sanctuary if you think any of the Old Ceremonial Law is still binding
on us today. If that is true, Christ’s death for us was in vain (Gal. 2:21).
clergymen who know better because they have studied all the scriptures from Genesis to Revelation will use flowery speeches
to sell their own brethren back into the bondage of the Law, even though Christ died to set them free. Like Judas, they sell
their own Lord down the river for a big bag of money and make ignorant souls to stumble. Revelation Chapter 18 speaks of “Babylon”,
which is thought by many to refer to a false religious establishment which will persecute the Tribulation saints who turn
to Christ after the Rapture of the Church. Verse 13 mentions “the souls
of men” as being one of countless products bartered by Babylon
for gain. Souls are being sold down the river by false religious systems
of men in order to profiteer off them. In Matthew 18:6 Jesus says: But whoso
shall offend (cause to stumble) one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better that a millstone were hanged
about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea. That is what
Jesus thinks of those who deliberately make others stumble in their walk of faith! Their
true reward awaits them on the other side, and it sure won’t fill them with jubilation!
me a piece which says: “God requires everyone, from prisoners to pensioners, to tithe.” I’ll believe that
“scripture” when I see it in the Bible. II Timothy 3:16 is one Scripture
tithe collectors resort to to prove tithing is still required: All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable
for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness. But we are living under grace, not law. Even
if the tithing law were binding on us today, tithing on money is nowhere sanctioned by Scripture. If those who misuse this Scripture were consistent, they would circumcise all the males in their church
and keep all the carnal ordinances of the true Sabbath Day, which is Saturday, by the way, not Sunday! To them, their imaginary scriptures commanding them to take tithe money ARE profitable for making doctrine...and
None of the
early apostles taught tithing under the New Covenant. Wherever Old Testament and New Testament teachings seem to clash, the
epistles of the New Testament, written after the resurrection of Christ and the beginning of the Church Age, carry the weight of apostolic authority. They, along with Christ’s commandments TO HIS CHURCH, should
have the final say where it concerns a Christian’s faith and practice, not the Old Mosaic Law. How can any preacher stoop so low as to take away a poor prisoner’s weekly candy ration, so he can dine
in the finest restaurants!
3:12 says: Seeing then that we have such hope, we use great plainness of speech. In other words, Paul wasn’t speaking
with a forked tongue, and he wasn’t trying to slip something past his hearers. If the early apostles had authorized
any official of Christ’s church, past, present, or future, to slap a monetary tithing law on the church, what better
time to do it in than at the powwow they held in Acts Chapter 15? Verses 23 and
24 clearly state, concerning whether Gentiles must keep the Law of Moses, or any part of it: And they (the apostles) wrote
letters by them after this manner: The apostles and elders and brethren send greeting unto the brethren which are of the Gentiles
in Antioch and Syria and Cilicia. Forasmuch as we have hear, that certain which went out from us have troubled you with
words, subverting your souls, saying: YE MUST BE CIRCUMCISED AND KEEP THE LAW, TO WHOM WE GAVE NO SUCH COMMANDMENT.
29 only four (4) restrictions were placed upon the liberty of Gentile believers
who walked in the Spirit: To abstain from meats offered to idols, and from the consumption of blood, and from eating strangled
animals, and from fornication.
Peter doesn’t brag on preachers who resort to religious rhetoric to filch funds. In II Peter 2:1-3 he says: But as there
were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily (in a sneaky way)
shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and shall bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious (harmful) ways; by reason of whom the way of
truth shall be evil spoken of. And through covetousness (greed) shall they with
feigned (pretentious) words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation
being consigned to hell because we don’t send money in to such preachers, they will be the ones who go there for putting
the screws on gullible people to give tribute to them, God’s self-appointed representatives and tax agents. Never before
in all the history of man has the way of truth been more evilly spoken of, as
TV comedians lampoon unscrupulous fishers-for-funds and mock their mannerisms, to entertain godless sinners.
years of prayerful study, I will go so far as to say that not only is tithing under the New Covenant nowhere commanded by
God, it is forbidden by God to preach it or enforce it as an ordinance of faith and practice upon believers in Christ. God
will lead each individual in how, how often, and how much he or she gives, but it is a sin to depend on tithing or other religious
works to supplement what Christ has done on the cross. That even includes such
legitimate works as door-to-door witnessing, teaching Sunday School, singing
in the choir, or fasting.
13:3 says you could even give your body to be burned, but if your motivation isn’t love, it will profit you nothing. Laws are observed out of fear, not faith. Many wonderful teachers wish they could
tell the little children in their classrooms about Jesus. But the law of the
land forbids them to proclaim their Christian faith to their students. They would lose their teaching position and probably
be unable to teach school ever again. So they obey that law out of fear of the
consequences, not because they have faith in this law to impart life eternal.
is not of faith is sin (Rom. 14:23). How can you perform any deed in true faith
if you are honestly convinced it is not sanctioned under the New Covenant, and yet do it anyway, because of peer pressure
or dead tradition of men? Galatians 2:16-19 says: Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the Law, but by the
faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by
the works of the Law; for BY THE WORKS OF THE LAW SHALL NO MAN BE JUSTIFIED. But
if, while we seek to be justified by Christ, we ourselves also are found sinners, is therefore Christ the minister of sin? God forbid. FOR IF I BUILD AGAIN THE THINGS WHICH I DESTROYED, I MAKE MYSELF A TRANSGRESSOR. For I through the law am DEAD TO THE LAW that I might live unto God. Lots of preachers
admit that we’re no longer living under the law, but they’ll build again (remodel) their favorite ordinance (tithing)
into something easier to swallow.
The way a
lot of preachers get around the sticky problem of us not being under the Law anymore is to reclassify their favorite law as
a “principle”. Maybe Jesus nailed the Law of Moses to His Cross,
but nowhere does it say He nailed God’s principles to the Cross, preachers will craftily insinuate. Even if New
Testament tithing isn’t a binding law, per se, it’s still a principle God made part and parcel of nature, like
the law of sowing and reaping, and you’d better respect tithing like the law of gravity.
After all, prosperity pushers assert, the law of gravity will still kill you even if you don’t believe in it.
If you disrespect it and defy it by hurling yourself from a cliff, you’ll die.
Notice, a violated principle will exact its penalty. Call the tithe a principle, but if something looks like a law,
sounds like a law, smells like a law, barks orders at you like a law, and punishes you for failure to observe it, it’s
a law! II Corinthians 3:6 says: Who also hath made us able ministers of
the new testament; NOT OF THE LETTER, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life. Behind every
bubbly promise of pie-in-the-sky in the here and now for tithing or making “vows” to a TV preacher is the insinuation
that you’ll never get blessed unless you buy his smelly bait and cough up the cash.
might be able to fool other believers by taking the tithing ordinance down from the Cross and disguising it as a principle
for positive living, but God isn’t fooled! In I Samuel 15: 3 God orders
King Saul to “go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and
woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass. So what did Saul do, but only partially obey the Lord? He killed all the people except the king of the Amalekites, and spared the best of the livestock. Why did Saul do this? Because it seemed
like a good idea. The best of the livestock was spared “to sacrifice unto the Lord thy God” (verse 15). Saul is
the one in charge, but when confronted by the Prophet Samuel, he shields himself by blaming the people for pressuring
him to disobey God. Unscrupulous clergymen lie like that today, the way they
misquote Malachi 3:8-10 to lay a guilt trip on parishioners for driving away
God’s blessings from their church for refusal to tithe. But even when the
tithing law was in force, the book of Malachi was addressed mainly to the priesthood,
not the people of Israel. Malachi 2:1 says: AND NOW, O YE PRIESTS, THIS COMMANDMENT IS FOR YOU! How convenient, to lay the blame on the “laity”. The Spirit of the
Lord departed from stubborn Saul (I Samuel 16:14). When God’s glory departs
from a church, blame can be laid at the door of those who obey the will of man rather than God (Acts 5:29).
agreeing with Saul that keeping some of what God ordered destroyed was a great improvement on God’s program, the prophet
Samuel rebuked Saul and said in verse 22: 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. For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness
is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the Lord,
he hath also rejected thee from being king. Carnal ministers of Christendom are
doing a similar, but far worse, thing today: Whereas Christ left the Law unresurrected and nailed to His Cross, they’ll
grant a last-minute reprieve to tithing, their favorite ordinance, and un-nail it from the Cross of Christ. Too many building
programs and vacations in Hawaii are at stake. It’s a good idea to rescue tithing from its appointed death on the cross, to make sacrifices unto the Lord...and themselves! The road
to hell is paved with good intentions.
tithing only three times in the New Testament, and all three are in the midst of discourses where He lambasts self-righteous
Pharisees who think their good works make them appear holier than others before God.
One passage is Luke 18:9-14 where A haughty Pharisee stands before God and brags that he is better than the sinner standing
next to him. In verse 12 he boasts: “I fast twice in the week. I give tithes of all that I possess.” Fasting and tithing.
Two mortifications of the flesh which pump up people’s self-righteous
pride. By the time of Christ, the Pharisees had added an innumerable multitude
of new ordinances to the Scroll of the Law given to Moses by God. They tithed
on everything from A to Z, not just on agricultural products, as decreed by the Law. They added extra days of
obligatory fasting to God’s calendar. My, how holy such self-denial made them appear to people! While people can benefit
from voluntary fasting to lose weight or to fortify their prayer life in time of personal crisis, Mosaic Law mandated
only one required fasting day per year: the Day of Atonement.
we see the smug Pharisee boasting: “Now you see here, God. Twice a week
I give up MY Budweizer and MY Big Macs just to please YOU. Twice a week I suffer with water and a toothpick. Just look at
this pudgy sinner, his mouth full of chocolate, not songs of praise. He’s so drunk you could smell his breath from here
to Timbuktu. Not only do I contribute fresh basil from MY
window sill to sprinkle on YOUR salad, I share MY CD collection with YOU. I donate
MY old phylacteries to the Salvation Army. What does this selfish slob ever give? What’s
Pharisee never did find out, but the sinner standing next to him sure did. Instead
of making excuses for himself like the Pharisee, he admitted he was a sinner in need of the grace of God. He threw himself on God’s mercy and received it.
two verses where Christ mentions tithing are Matthew 23:23 and Luke 11:42. Again,
these are in the middle of a context where Christ blasts the Pharisees for their loveless hypocrisy. He rebukes the Pharisees for tithing tiny Garden herbs while neglecting the love of God and righteous judgment.
Jesus is addressing these men as being “so-called experts on the Law”. (Whenever somebody claims to be the pro
from Dover, look twice at them.) But, ah, in the last part
of Christ’s comment on their tithing, legalists find a loophole to lay
down the tithing Law in this Age of Grace: “These ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.” Yes,
people WERE required to tithe, even up to the time Christ went to the Cross. But
when Christ went to the Cross, He took the Law with Him (Col. 2:14).
even the words of Christ, we must ask ourselves: “Who is Christ addressing in this context, Jews under the Old Covenant,
or believers of all ages? Is Christ speaking of ways to love thy neighbor, or observance of the Law of Moses? The Law of Moses was binding upon the Jewish listeners of His day.
It is not binding upon us. We have been set free from it by the Law of
the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1-2). But even when God’s
people were still under the Law, religious leaders made it even harder to follow by adding extra requirements of their own.
Yet they neglected the issues of the heart which really mattered. Evidently the
Pharisees thought God would rather do without charity toward starving widows than the parsley sprig on His salad.
If you depend
on tithing to help you stay righteous before God, or practice tithing in observance of the Mosaic tithing ordinance, you are taking down an ordinance which Christ nailed
to His Cross (Col. 2:14). In doing so you deny that Jesus’ blood is insufficient
to maintain you in sanctification after salvation. Actions speak louder than words where it concerns faith in God’s
Word. Tithing legalists push this point all the time to get people to part with
their money. But tithing under the Old Covenant is an act of faith that works
of the Law can keep one righteous, which it cannot do. Tithing is included
among the works of the Law which cannot justify a believer in the sight of God.
Scriptural evidence, I am forced to conclude that it is a sin to observe the Mosaic tithing ordinance under the New Covenant. In the book of Hebrews the writer strives to reason with Jews who want to turn
away from faith in Christ and return to the old Mosaic sacrificial system, thus putting their faith once again in the carnal
ordinances of the Law (Hebrews 9:10). Hebrews
10:38-39 states: Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him. But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition, but of them that believe to the saving of the soul.
when some preacher presents you with “principles” of prosperity or any other profitable principles (easy-to-swallow
laws). As Mary Poppins might sing:
“A spoonful of sugar makes the messages go down.” Be wary when preachers use fancy semantics to cloud the issue. That’s a smoke screen tactic to sanctify their highway robbery. Satan doesn’t
normally use TNT to blast the door to the sheep cote open. He is a slippery snake who needs just a tiny crevice to creep in.
The devil is able to bury God’s simple truth under an avalanche of misapplied Scripture.