Tithing: Your Inheritances For Sale
The Bible annihilates Christian tithing doctrine. The tithe - meaning "tenth" - is a doctrine in Christians are taught that the Bible mandates them to give a tenth of their "increase" (their paychecks) every week to the church, at minimum. For the churches who adopt this practice, it becomes almost cornerstone in the Christian's relationship with Jesus Christ. Without it, church teachers warn that Christians are operating outside God's will and risk bringing financial, medical, social, and even spiritual ruin upon themselves and their families. The message is simple: it doesn't matter if you are poor, or about be kicked out of your apartment, keeping paying the tithe, or suffer the consequences. Tithing, as they claim, supposedly "connects them to the blessing."
Many pages, even whole books, have been written rightly exposing and denouncing the practice. Yet, for all pages I have read, I never found one that hits on the deepest reason tithe enforcement is wrong for God's people. I began this paper intending it to be a few words, yet the more I studied, I found that the rabbit hole went much deeper than I expected. The tithe is about a good deal more than money. It places a veil between Christians and their awareness of what they inherited in Christ through faith. It causes them to forget their place...
A study on this issue is no less than a study on Christian identity, not merely in what they do, but who they are in Christ.
The Bible is devastating to Christian tithing doctrine in two ways: through scriptures which openly contradict it, and lacking any scripture teaching Christians to practice it. No scripture within the New Testament calls for a Christian tithe. That is a fact and is undisputed. The Bible is silent on Christian tithing. Go ahead, check it out for yourself. Open the New Testament and find ANY scripture in Paul’s letters, Peter’s letters, or those of any other Apostle, which commands Christians to practice it. It's not there. But, tithe collectors circumvent this fact to advance their doctrine, which makes them wealthy.
I cannot emphasize that point enough, because today’s preachers would have you accept - without scriptural proof - that if Christians fail to tithe, they are “robbing God.” They repeatedly appropriate phrases for Old Covenant Israelites, respecting the Law, and repackage them for Christians. If tithing is a God-mandated practice for Chrisitans, especially a "covenant connector," wouldn't that call for clear advocacy from Jesus and the Apostles to the churches? Again, on tithing, the New Testament writers are silent.
These Apostles were responsible for church growth and establishing acceptable doctrine for Christianity. If tithing were critical to their efforts, you might expect that some Apostle would say so. Nothing. They don't warn, they don't extol, they don't elucidate, they don't say a word about it. In fact, as you will soon see, their statements on giving actually contradict the practice.
As you might expect, lacking New Testament validation, tithe advocating sermons lean heavily on Old Testament proof-texts to push the tithing system onto believers. Oh, we find plenty of scriptures there commanding Israelites to tithe, which is sensible because they were under the letter-based ordinances of the Law. But, post-Crucifixion, tithing becomes a non-issue for the Apostles, where faith and grace become the pivotal guiding forces in the Christian's life, in lieu of ordinances and legalism. The New Testament epistles contain only one historical reference to tithing in the Book of Hebrews (we'll get to that). This alone is pretty damning, but it gets worse. Observe how historical sources agree on this matter.
"It is admitted universally that the payment of tithes or the tenth of possessions, for sacred purposes, did not find a place within the Christian Church during the age covered by the apostles and their immediate successors." (Hastings Dictionary of the Apostolic Church)
"The Christian Church depended at first on voluntary gifts from its members." (Encyclopedia Britannica)
“It [tithing] was not practiced in the early Christian church, but gradually became common by the 6th century.” (The Encyclopedia Americana)
“In the beginning [provision] was supplied by the spontaneous support of the faithful. In the course of time, however, as the Church expanded and various institutions arose, it became necessary to make laws which would insure the proper and permanent support of the clergy. The payment of tithes was adopted from the Old Law, and early writers speak of it as a divine ordinance and an obligation of the conscience. The earliest positive legislation on the subject seems to be contained in the letter of the bishops assembled at Tours in 567 and the Canons of the Council of Macon in 585.” (Catholic Encyclopedia - 1912 edition only)
New Covenant Giving Defined
Tithe advocates often malign challenges to their unscriptural doctrine as hostile to giving itself. To avoid such distraction, know that this paper endorses and encourages generous giving based on grace and freedom under the New Covenant; however, it will make evident that the Christian tithe system is a false doctrine of legalism and fear, fabricated to collect money, even at the cost of frustrating the intent of Christ's Gospel.
Giving is good. Extortion is bad.
Before we get to the meat of this study, I would like to provide you with the foundational text for giving under the New Covenant:2 Corinthians 9:7
Each of you should give what you have decided (Greek - proaireomai) in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.
Pretty straightforward, isn’t it?
Ironically, tithe advocates borrow this scripture mostly to drill down on its "cheerful giver" quality, skooting past the less comfortable "deciding in your heart" aspect of how Christians should approach giving. Do the tithe collectors admonish Christians to give what THEYhave decided in their hearts? No, silly, tithe advocates promote the tithe system.
They teach Christians must pay what was decided for them in the Law already, long ago. They hammer down the freedom to "decide in your heart" by legalistic constraints and protocols antithetical to the very concepts of grace and faith. They say, "give me...ahem...the Lord ten percent of your money, no less." Where would you, oh Christian, get the dangerous notion that you might be permitted to make your own heart-based decisions, when the Old Testament commands a tithe? That's the engine that makes the tithing system run: scriptural subversion and fear.
The word "decided" is from the Greek proaireomai (pro-eye-ee-reh-oh-my - if that helps), which the Strongs concordance defines as: to choose for oneself before another thing (to prefer). Consider that Paul says nothing specifically about money, in that scripture, which avoids limiting the definition of giving. And he provides NO contraining principles on the amount given. He does NOT say "give what you have decided in your heart. . .as long as it's a minimum of 10% and comes in the form of money." That's what the tithe advocates tack on, because they fear how you might use your freedom in contrast to their own vision. Paul had no such fear. He trusted the Lord.
Missionary trips, equipment, rent, gatherings, these are all fine things, but if they are accomplished through the very subversion of grace through the propagation of letter-based legalism and fear, then they have violated the New Covenant and they become pointless excercises. Why bother with missionary trips only to spread a false gospel of legalism and suppression of grace and freedom through a tithing system for Christians absent from scripture? Scriptural truth ought to be given the most weight among those who claim to be teachers.
What if a Christian prefers, or has "decided in his heart," to give 5 percent of his money? 9.5 percent? 12 percent? Or maybe a few dollars? What scripture is he violating? Or, how about donating needed equipment, rather than money? How about food for the poorest in the church? How about a car? How about time and effort? What scripture is he violating? The scripture says that's your choice. Whatever you prefer. It’s up to you. Tithe Collectors say: “give ten percent of your money or you are robbing God.” What's wrong with this picture?2 Corinthians 8:7-8, 12-13
But since you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in the love we have kindled in you—see that you also excel in this grace of giving.
I am not commanding you, but I want to test the sincerity of your love by comparing it with the earnestness of others…For if the willingness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what one does not have.
Our desire is not that others might be relieved while you are hard pressed, but that there might be equality.
The very language Paul uses - “I am not commanding you” – runs counter to the legalistic practice of today's Christian tithing system. Since Paul is teaching about giving, this is his big moment to extol the virtues of tithing. This is his moment to preach, as exhaustively as his modern successors, that without the tithe we could fail to receive God’s blessings, and receive his rebukes and curses instead. Nothing. Okay...
Paul does offer a noteworthy appeal for "equality" there, of which many of today's preachers could stand to take a closer look. Among the churches who employ the doctrine today, is the equality that Paul desired present in their leadership? Famed prosperity preacher Kenneth Copeland once bragged that he is a billionaire (see video). Are his parishioners billionaires? Mr. Copeland is certainly “relieved” but what about those in the church who are “hard pressed?” Later, we will examine how the early church handled that issue.
A Priesthood Divided Against Itself…
Many Christians are opposed tithing in the church, no doubt. They rightly maintain that Jesus Christ did away with living under the Law of Moses wherein the practice is methodically laid out for the Jewish people.
On the other hand, Tithe Collectors claim that while Christians are not under the Law, Abraham ("the father of our faith") gave a tithe well before the Law of Moses was written. Therefore, the dissolution of the Old Covenant for the New Covenant does not cancel the requirement to tithe. Their proof-text:Hebrews 7: 1-3
This Melchizedek (Mel-kiz-edeck) was king of Salem and priest of God Most High. He met Abraham returning from the defeat of the kings and blessed him, and Abraham gave him a tenth (tithe) of everything.
First, the name Melchizedek means “king of righteousness”; then also, “king of Salem” means “king of peace.” Without father or mother, without genealogy, without beginning of days or end of life, resembling the Son of God, he remains a priest forever.
This is the pillar New Testament citation for justifying the Christian tithing system. Before we look deeper into it, please know that it's the ONLY passage addressed to Christians in the whole Bible where tithing is even mentioned. This is the historical reference I mentioned before, outside of which, even the word "tithe" does not appear in the epistles.
Have a look at the linked word search of all appearances of "tithe" addressed to Christians in the Bible. In fact, here is an expanded word search for the entire New Testament, including the four Gospels. You'll see that Jesus speaks to the Israelites, under the Law, in his earthly ministry. But as to anything addressed directly to the church, we have only Hebrews 7.
And, let's be honest here, does that above scripture literally SAY: "Abraham tithed, so Christians should tithe?" No. If it did, case closed, no need for disagreement. But tithe advocates claim that this scripture SUGGESTS it.
This is their rationale: the priest Melchizedek represents Jesus. Abraham, they say, represents Christians. Therefore, as Abraham tithed to his high priest Melchizedek, Christians should likewise give tithes to their high priest, Jesus. What they fail to mention, and hope you don't notice, is that Abraham gave a tithe directly to the high priest, where the tithe system depends on you giving your tithe TO A PROXY, a lower member of the church than Christ himself.
Kenneth Copeland explains, in an article titled, I Want You To Prosper: Tithing in Faith Love and Righteousness:
“Jesus is the High Priest over the house of God in the New Testament. In the spirit, He receives our tithes and presents them to the Father in heaven.”
But, this is the real kicker:
“Who receives (the tithes) here on earth? Second Chronicles 31:4-5 says that the priests and Levites, or the ministry, received the tithe that they might be encouraged.”
Ah, now we arrive at the most sinister compromise that the tithe system introduces. For the system to work, even in attempted symmetry with the Old Covenant, "the ministry" must constitute the very priesthood of God itself. According to Mr. Copeland's own statement, the priesthood is his ministry, and therefore, by necessity, the average Christian must NOT be the priesthood. Nowhere in the Bible did priests recieve tithes from other priests. Neither did priests themselves pay tithes, and certainly not to self-appointed proxies of the high priest.
Mr. Copeland claims that his ministry is the priesthood because he knows that for the Old Covenant tithing system to function, God required a priesthood to receive those tithes. Therefore, certain Israelites were excluded from the lineage of that priesthood so they could pay tithes. That's you. You are the ordinary Israelite in this arrangement. Without such an arrangement, the tithing system is obsolete.
A spiritual priesthood does exist today, but it's not "the ministry" of men. The Bible is clear on that. Notice that while Hebrews 7 says that Melchizedek represents Jesus Christ, it does not say Abraham represents Christians. That's no small thing. In fact, it's critical.
The Bible compares Christians to Abraham in other places, that he is our spiritual father regarding faith (Romans 4:1), but the Apostles never compared Christians to Abraham in contrast to Melchizedek. They would never do that, because they understood something incredibly powerful about Christians and their own connection to Melchizedek, a foundation upon which the very Gospel rests.
Let's consider who God says Christians are in Christ.Matthew 11:11
Truly I tell you, among those born of women there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist; yet whoever is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.
Let's follow the logic. According to Jesus, John the Baptist was the greatest man who ever lived, and the “least in the Kingdom” are greater than John the Baptist. Therefore, God views "the least in the Kingdom” as greater than Abraham.
How can this be if God's people are the “seed of Abraham "(Galatians 3:29)? Doesn't that demonstrate Abraham is greater than us? Of course not. Remember, Jesus is Abraham's seed also (Galatians 3:16) whose name is above all names. In fact, our connection to Christ is where we get our attributes.
In Genesis 37, a boy named Joseph, Abraham's own descendant, had two dreams which he shared with his brothers, saying, “We were binding sheaves of grain out in the field when suddenly my sheaf rose and stood upright, while your sheaves gathered around mine and bowed down to it.” (Gen 37:6-7) and another dream which he revealed to his larger family including his own father: “I had another dream, and this time the sun and moon and eleven stars were bowing down to me.” (Gen 37:9).
Though this dream was of God, it angered his older brothers, and even his father Jacob, who rebuked Joseph saying, “What is this dream you had? Will your mother and I and your brothers actually come and bow down to the ground before you?” (Gen 37:10) and it says his brothers hated Joseph. Later, Joseph would be appointed a ruler of Egypt, confirming the prophecy.
Joseph rose above his brothers and even his father.
Watch this: “without doubt the lesser (Abraham) is blessed by the greater (Melchizedek).” (Heb 7:7) Now that's interesting. Abraham was blessed by Melchizedek, which shows that Melchizedek was greater than Abraham. No remember, according to Kenneth Copeland, his ministry recieves the tithe as the priesthood. You are supposed to give the tithe. Whoever gives the tithe is lesser than the one who recieves it. Think about it.
Melchizedek was greater than Abraham. Jesus Christ is greater than Abraham. The least in the Kingdom are greater than Abraham. A pattern emerges.
In fact, Hebrews 11 spends its entirety documenting the faith of the Biblical patriarchs, Abraham included (Hebrews 11:8), and ends with this: These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised, since God had planned something better for us (Hebrews 11:39). God was saving something for Christ's faithful, which was better than anything God gave to Abraham which Apostle Peter reveals to us, addressing himself to "the elect,":I Peter 2:4,9
As you come to him, the living Stone—rejected by humans but chosen by God and precious to him— you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ....YOU are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that you should show forth the praises of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.
The church is filled up with priests of Christ, wall to wall. THEY ALL constitute "the elect," those who are "sprinkled with Christ's blood," the "spiritual house," the "chosen generation," the "holy nation," the "peculiar people,". . . and "a royal priesthood." My goodness, out of all those attributes, the priesthood is the only one Peter calls out twice! If a preacher tells you that his own ministry is the priesthood in contrast God's house in total, that's a LIE.
They forget that, "there is one God, and ONE mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus." (1st Timothy 2:5). Under their tithing scheme, the tither is the common Israelite, the lesser Israelite paying dues to the greater priest. Once they receive the tithe, they claim to act as MEDIATORS between you and the high priest, to spend it on their own ministries. But, consider this point about Abraham.
Though Melchizedek was a priest, Abraham was not a priest, unlike you the believer in Christ.
Whereas the Old Testament priesthood functioned as a barrier between God and man, now in Christ, that barrier torn down. That's the same barrier Mr. Copeland and the Christian tithing empire wishes to rebuild with their own ministries at the helm to reinstate the tithing system and make money.
Paula White, a famous prosperity preacher, once led her church in a pre-formulated series of confessions. When they got to confession #9 she had them repeat:
"I pray against anything that wants to put me into the last position, for it is written, I am the head and not the tail."
If that's true, than you ought to pray agains the tithe. In the Bible, the lesser paid tithes to the greater. So, the practice indeed puts the Christian in last position, with respect to their personal ministries, a position the New Covenant never indended for believers to be in.
If they can get you to agree to that you are the non-priest, then you are effectively out of the priesthood, and you can turn around and pay your tithes to the priests. Do you find that acceptable? As a tither who considers him/herself to be a priest, pray tell, where is the Biblical structure where we see priests demanding tithes from other priests? It's not there. It's unscriptural.
Why would any Christian knowingly support an unbiblical system? Churches like these extol the "principle of the tithe," while violating the very principles of the priesthood. The whole system is an exhibition of hypocrisy. They may remind us that God appoints "apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers" (Ephesians 4:11-13). But, those offices are not ruling positions in the Body. They are service positions within the priesthood, not entire the priesthood itself.
There was no inter-priest tithing in the Bible no matter what perceived rank. With that in mind, Kenneth Copeland's question deserves an answer. "Who receives the tithes here on earth?" The answer: Nobody! Jesus said, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. (Matthew 25:40). Since priests never tithed to each other, a Christian is free to be generous to Christ in clothing the naked, feeding the hungry, healing the sick, and give money to the poor. It's as good as giving it directly to Christ, and it doesn't even need to be given to your local church.
Christian Tithing: The Great Absurdity
There is a perfectly logical reason for why priests didn't give tithes to each other, which touches on why “the least in the Kingdom” are greater than Abraham. As we know, Melchizedek was a high priest who was “like unto the Son of God.” (Hebrews 7:3) And we know that Christ's people constitute his spiritual Body (1 Cor 12:12). If you know that, then you know why Hebrews 7 refuses to analogize Christians with Abraham in comparison to Melchizedek.
If the high priest Melchizedek represents Christ, what then would Melchizedek's body represent? Of course: The high priest's body is the church, Christ's own people! That's why Peter recognizes them as "a royal priesthood." So, how could Melchizedek's body tithe to itself? That's absurd. It couldn't. That is why a non-priest, like Abraham, gave a tithe to him. Melchizedek wasn't a tither, and neither is the priesthood church which lives within him. The least in the kingdom is greater than Abraham for the characteristics they inherited through Christ.
Again, outside of Hebrews 7, the Apostles never discuss tithing. This is it. The Tithe Collectors, for this reason, hammer away at this Hebrews chapter, convincing Christians to disassociate with Melchizedek, and causing them to forget their own part within the High Priest. They want parts of the High Priest's Body to pay tithes to other parts of the same Body. It's ludicrous. Where did these people obtain the authority to demand tithes from within the body of the same high priest? Certainly not from the Bible.
Any doctrine which severs Melchizedek's head from his Body produces death. It happens when a preacher substitutes himself for the high priest and promotes a system in which he becomes a mediator of the tithe between them and God. And you wonder why the Apostles never taught anyone to tithe? Christian tithing is an abomination. God’s people are free to give whatever they decide in their hearts, and no man is allowed to proclaim his ministry to be the priesthood itself.
But, Tithe Collectors will not hear this because it messes with their money. When the money is threatened, you watch what happens. They will employ any doctrinal trick they can invent to circumvent the simplicity of the truth. Ladies and gentlemen, a tap dance.
Was the point of Hebrews 7 to get Christians to tithe? Let the first verse of Hebrews 8 be your guide on that:Hebrews 8:1
Now the main point of what we are saying (e.g. in Hebrews 7) is this: We do have such a high priest, who sat down at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven, and who serves in the sanctuary, the true tabernacle set up by the Lord, not by a mere human being.
The King James Version reads, "Now of the things which we have spoken this is the sum." Tithe advocates go on and on interpreting Hebrews 7 as a Christian tithing dissertation, an interpretation that they read into the text, not what the text literally says. In that way, they ADD to the sum of what was taught in Hebrews 7, which was simply that Christ is the new high priest. That's it. That's the point. Nothing about Christians tithing just because Abraham tithed.Romans 8:17
And if (we be) children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ;
Joint-heirs with Christ? Joint heirs of WHAT? The tabernacle in heaven, of course, and the kingdom, and the body of the high priest...and the priesthood. The connection God's people have to Melchizedek goes deep. Under the Old Covenant, only one man, ONE priest, was permitted to enter The Most Holy Place, and only one man was permitted to go before God there.Hebrews 9:6-10
The priests entered regularly into the outer room to carry on their ministry. But only the high priest entered the inner room, and that only once a year, and never without blood, which he offered for himself and for the sins the people had committed in ignorance.
The Holy Spirit was showing by this that the way into the Most Holy Place had not yet been disclosed as long as the first tabernacle was still functioning. This is an illustration for the present time, indicating that the gifts and sacrifices being offered were not able to clear the conscience of the worshiper. They are only a matter of food and drink and various ceremonial washings—external regulations applying until the time of the new order.
The high priest was the only man who could enter into the Most Holy Place. Now, watch this:Hebrews 10:19-22
Therefore, brothers and sisters, since WE have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.
Preachers in churches instructing the tithe would openly acknowledge that every Christian may enter God's presence. It's widely taught. But, therein lies the structural flaw in their tithing system. The only reason any Christian may enter God's presence is through Christ. Only the high priest has the right to do it, and only by virtue of being the Body of that High Priest, may God's people approach him as well.
A Christian MUST be a priest to enter God's presence. Without the priesthood, all would be lost. And because every spiritual priest is now able to enter The Most Holy Place, they have been given the same highest privilege as their elder brother Jesus.
This is what Abraham died in faith without receiving the promise: the way into the Most Holy Place. This is why Abraham was not a priest, but Christ's faithful are. They inherited what was promised to Abraham's seed, Jesus Christ, the promise of the Spirit. Enter God's presence as a priest, or tithe as a non-priest. Biblically, you cannot do both.
They like to preach out of the book of Hebrews, so let's really look at Hebrews. If you read chapters 7, 8, 9 and 10 in succession, you start to see the big picture:
- Hebrews 7: Jesus became the new high priest in God's priesthood, replacing the Levites.
- Hebrews 8: As new high priest, Jesus brings in a New Covenant.
- Hebrews 9: No more animal sacrifices. Jesus offered himself, once and for all, to mediate that New Covenant.
- Hebrews 10: His faithful may now join him in Spirit, entering the Most Holy Place to offer spiritual sacrifices there.
It's difficult summarizing the intricate fabric of those chapters, but those are the main points. Hebrews 7 is groundwork for a larger revelation, a pathway leading you into the creation of the new priesthood in Hebrews 10. But, if you pluck out a tiny shard of Hebrews 7, and steer hard left into a tithing digression, you end up completely missing the point.
The Bible says, “when the priesthood is changed, the law must be changed also.” (Heb 7:12) And a good thing too, because when God changed the Law to allow Jesus, a non-Levite, to become the High Priest, it opened the door for other non-Levites to take up the same priesthood. He gave it to people who were once cut off from the priesthood, including even the Gentiles, once being strangers to the entire Israel nation. It was a dramatic and sweeping transformation.
Of course, Jesus Christ is greater than his brothers and sisters in the priesthood, but that does not mean they must pay tithes to mortal men, who promise to spend it on Christ's behalf. Christians are to be priests themselves. When a ministry attempts to recreate a system that God tore down, and separate Christians from the priesthood, it crosses the line into full error. Are we permitted to alter the priesthood to suit our own beloved doctrines?
Submitting to the false doctrine of Christian tithing is to forsake one’s own inheritance in Christ.
The high priest did offer "gifts and sacrifices" to God (Heb 8:3), but it was not a tithe. Firthermore, it was given directly to the priest, not to a stand-in with a ministry. Rather, the high priest carried blood of goats and calves into the Most Holy Place as a sin offering (Heb 13:11). So, as the priesthood was changed when Jesus assumed his position as high priest, he also changed the sacrifices. No longer requiring those gifts.1 Peter 2:4-5
As you come to him, the living Stone—rejected by humans but chosen by God and precious to him— you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. Hebrews 13:15
Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that openly profess his name.
To argue that the spiritual priesthood must now pay tithes to a mortal man is not only deception, it is no less than blasphemy against the Gospel. It seeks to reverse Christ's work in his death and resurrection. He was murdered on the cross to give the priesthood to God’s people. Now, they are disgracing that gift when they disassociate themselves from it by propping up a legalistic tithing system, and erecting a false priesthood to impose their own mediation between Christ and his people.
From a Biblical viewpoint, by opening the priesthood to everyone in faith, Jesus Christ made tithing systems scripturally impossible and extinct.
In fact, when the Second Temple in Jerusalem was destroyed in 70 AD, with “every stone thrown down” as Christ prophesied (Matt. 24:2), God made it literally impossible for the Jews to follow any law concerning that temple. The Levitical priesthood has not existed since that day. Nobody could follow the law even if they wanted to, because the system to which it was a pillar has been brought down.
The events of history have made the Old system officially obsolete. As a result, even those who try to follow the Law of Moses, while choosing certain parts, are no longer tasked with complete weight of the Law upon their shoulders. They may abstain from eating pork, but they no longer sacrifice animals as a remembrance of sin. To what temple would they bring their offerings?
Old Testament Tithing was a Three-Tiered System
The more you study the Old Testament tithing system, the more you see how deceitful these man-made ministries are in attempting adapting it to Christian life. They depend on tithers not to study the issue. "Honor God by bringing his tithe to the storehouse," Tithe Collectors thunder. The real Old Covenant tithing system is impossible to precisely adapt to New Covenant life. But, they are executing a con-job convincing that God demands a tithe to bless you or connect you to his covenants.
Have a closer look at Kenneth Copeland's ministry statement again:
“Who receives (the tithes) here on earth? Second Chronicles 31:4-5 says that the priests and Levites, or the ministry, received the tithe that they might be encouraged.”
2 Chronicles does not say "or the ministry." You see? It's not just the priesthood he claims represents his ministry, but the Levites as well. If not, he won't be able to get the full tithe, and knows the Bible well enough to understand why. Unfortunately, not enough Christians know the difference themselves to avoid being tricked.
Israel consisted of several tribes - including the Levites (sons of Levi) - and the Levites were the only tribe who owned no land, for "God was their inheritance" (Num. 18:20). The priesthood originated from the Levite tribe, but not all Levites were allowed to be priests. That's important. That's going to come up again.
God did not allow the Levites to own land, so they couldn't grow food. To account for this, he commanded the other tribes to give tithes (ten percent of their animals and harvests of food) to feed the Levites and the priests. So, the larger nation of Israel gave to the Levites, and the Levites themselves gave a tithes of that to the storehouse to feed the priesthood (Num 18:18-19, 28). Altogether, from the original tithe, God says that the Levite tithe was the sacred offering to the Lord (Num 18:26).
Ok, let's stop for a second. This means that from the tithes of Israel, God only wanted a tenth of a tenth as an offering to himself from the Levites, which he generously turned over to the priests. The storehouse recieved only ONE PERCENT of the original tithe. Now you see why Mr. Copeland names his own ministry as priests AND Levites? The whole tithe belonged to God, but he filtered it through the Levites to the priests. The tithes that Israel gave to the Levites constituted their wages for the service of the Temple. The Levites earned it. Read it for yourself:Numbers 18:21
I (God) give to the Levites all the tithes in Israel as their inheritance in return for the work they do while serving at the tent of meeting. Numbers 18:26
(Moses), Speak to the Levites and say to them: ‘When you receive from the Israelites, the tithe I give you as your inheritance, you must present a tenth of that tithe as the Lord’s offering.
Again, the Lord's gift to the priesthood was just one percent of the original animals and harvests. The other 99 percent belonged to the Israelites, and non-priesthood Levites (for their wages).
If an Israelite had 100 apples, he would give 10 apples to the Levite tribe, and the Levites would give 1 apple to the priesthood as their offering. So if the ministries supposedly represent "the storehouse," only one percent of the original amount was intended for the temple storehouse. This is why the tithe is impossible to adapt to Christian life. There is no such three-tiered system anymore. So, to reinstate it for the church, the ministries must inaugurate themselves as both Levites and priests. Problem solved.
Let's assume God expected Christians to pay tithes of money according to his old system. If a Christian made $500 a week, and gave to God only what he expressly demanded for the storehouse, the storehouse would recieve $5.
But the Tithe Collectors don't say "give to the Levites what is theirs and then one percent to the storehouse." No. With their lying mouths, they say "give to God what is his," a full ten percent of your paycheck written out to their "storehouse," thank you very much. Of course, they will be happy to "offer it to God" on your behalf by spending it. None of this has any basis in the Bible! It's a scam designed to deviate your attention from the basis of New Covenant giving, "let each one decide in his heart."
A Christian tithing system is impossible to adapt from the Law because tithing to the temple storehouse was founded on tribal differences and a limited priesthood. So, it's obvious why Kenneth Copeland needs his ministry to be more than the priesthood; he needs to capture both tithes to afford that Cessna private jet and that sprawling estate.
One problem, among many, is that the Levites accepting that first tithe were not allowed to be priests. According to the Law of Moses, only the Levites descended from Aaron could inherit the priesthood (Exodus 29:9). That's why they paid a tithe to the priests also. Levite non-priests weren't even allowed into the temple's inner place. Ministries cannot be simultaneously priests and non-priests to grab both tithes!
That's called a scam.
In their scenario, you aren't a priest, and you aren't even a Levite. As a non-Levite, you have NO place in the inner temple where the priests served, or even the outer circle where the Levites served. The other Israelite tribes weren't even allowed to approach the tabernacle (Numbers 18:4). If they approached, they would be put to death. It's a scam, folks, based on the assumption that you won't check your Bibles.
But, doesn't the modern ministry qualify as an amalgamation of the priesthood and Levites for their own work in the local churches? Of course not. The priests and Levites served the temple, not a local church, and today's temple is much different in the New Covenant than it was under the old one.2 Corinthians 6:16
For we are the temple of the living God; just as God said, "I will dwell in them and walk among them; And I will be their God, and they shall be My people. 1 Corinthians 3:16-17
Do you not know that you are a temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?
The Bible says that The Most High does NOT live in a house made with human hands (Acts 7:48), and he has chosen, through Christ, to make his people not only the priesthood but the very temple itself. And God has placed the food, the very Bread of Life, within that temple.John 6: 32-35
Jesus said to them, "Very truly I tell you, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is the bread that comes down from heaven and gives life to the world."
"Sir," they said, "always give us this bread." Then Jesus declared, "I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty."Matthew 26:26
While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, "Take and eat; this is my body."Colossians 1:27
To them (the Lord's people) God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.
My friends, can you see what that means? Jesus Christ is the bread filling the new temple. The temple storehouse is not a local church. The storehouse is you.
Will A Man Rob God?!
Once the Tithe Collectors persuade their congregates otherwise, Malachi becomes their most consistent resource going forward. You see, once they convince you that Abraham tithed, the next step is to apply all the warnings of the Law to Christians, even though Abraham was never likewise admonished. The first words they speak to open their sermons are usually, "Please open your Bibles to Malachi chapter 3," which they proceed to torture beyond recognition.Malachi 3:8-10
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.
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.
Here is that moment, when a preacher stops dipping his toes in the pool and plunges into the dark, deep end of the Law of Moses without inhibition. Here is where they preach a covenant even Abraham himself was never indebted to. Here is where they completely abandon any knowledge that a "new covenant" exists, to put on their Pharisee hats, and fully commit to Judaizing.
A con-man would label this technique a "bait and switch." First, bait the church with the affirmation that Christians are not indebted to the Law. Then, use Abraham's tithe to get around the establishment of the New Covenant. Then, switch covenants altogether to bring out the wrath of Moses' Law against non tithers. It's really quite genius, and nobody notices.
In his now infamous rant, pastor Ed Young said:
“Are you spending the tithe on a boat? Do you know what the Bible says? The Bible said if you touch the devoted stuff, you are under a curse!…and you wonder why your marriage is stoned, and you wonder why your kid’s future is stoned….you wonder why you can’t get your head above water. It’s all about the money! Show me the money!”(See video)
Hey, that's a line from Jerry Maguire. How modern. How hip. How relevant. How fraudulent. That's right, according to Mr. Young and tithing advocates everywhere, without the tithe you are "robbing God" and "ye are cursed." After all, the Law of Moses says so. Yet, this use of Malachi 3, as you know, is mysteriously absent from the writings of the Apostles.
The standard phrasing we hear from tithe advocating sermons is that a Christian ought not "eat the seed grain" or the grain cannot grow and be harvested. We are admonished by these "preachers" not to eat the tithe, or "touch the devoted stuff." But, who was the stuff intended for? The priesthood of course. That was the point of the temple having a storehouse.
As we will discuss later, the Biblical definition of the tithe was food: grain, apples, meat, oil, wine etc. Because the Levite tribe could not own land, they would be helpless to find food without the tithe. So, what does that mean? It means that THE PRIESTHOOD ATE THE TITHE. They were commanded by God to eat it. Since the priesthood is now conferred to the believer, when preachers like Ed Young tell them not to consume the tithe, they are literally preaching against what the Bible commands.
This is why we see no such warnings about blessing and cursing related to Christians in the book of Romans regarding the tithe. Or 1 and 2 Corinithians for that matter...or Galatians...or Ephesians...or Philippians...or Colossians...or 1 and 2 Thessalonians...or 1 and 2 Timothy...or Titus...or Philemon...or Hebrews...or James...or 1 and 2 Peter...or 1, 2 and 3 John...or Jude...or Revelation. That's all the epistles, and we see NOTHING warning Christians to engage in tithing. Take a look at to whom Malachi is addressed.
Malachi 1:1: “The burden of the word of the Lord to ISRAEL.” The reason that Malachi is addressed to Israel is because not all Israelites were considered priests of God with access to the Holy Place. Since that division existed, the tithe was necessary to feed the priests.Malachi 4:4
Remember ye (ie. the nation of Israel) the law of Moses my servant, which I commanded unto him in Horeb for all Israel, with the statutes and judgments.
If Mr. Young and his tithe enforcing buddies liberally preach from Malachi 3, will they also mirror the admonishment of Malachi 4:4? Should Christians who tithe for blessings, also "remember the law of Moses...with the statutes and judgements?" Hypocrites!
Preachers who go the route of Malachi 3 - blinded for love of money - have nullified the most basic Gospel teachings: Christians are not under the Law of Moses. Therefore, they are not subject to its system of blessings and cursings. For that reason, appealing to Christians via Malachi 3 for blessings and cursings linked to the tithe is pure fabrication.
Even if they venture to persuade the high priest's body to mirror Abraham's tithing, that's a far cry from indebting them to the judgments of the Law. But, the transition from the Hebrews 7 deception to the Malachi deception is quite subtle, and tithe advocates rarely let facts stand in the way of their opinions.
Jesus said: “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill.” (Matt 5:17). Think about it. What happens when a building contractor wants to complete the job? He does not destroy the contract. That would be useless and illegal. Rather, he fufills the requirements of the contract, so that he can start a new contract with other people. Right?
The Bible says Israel was given a law, and covenants (contracts) (Romans 9:4).
- The law contains a series of written ordinances (thou shalt, and thou shalt not)
- A covenant is a contractual agreement saying "the people of Israel must follow these ordinances or else..."
Behold, I set before you this day a blessing and a curse; A blessing, if ye obey the commandments of the LORD your God, which I command you this day (The Law of Moses): And a curse, if ye will not obey the commandments of the LORD your God, but turn aside out of the way which I command you this day, to go after other gods, which ye have not known.
Does that look familiar? The Tithe Collectors borrow the language of this old contract for Israel to bring Christians under its debt, "tithe or be under a curse." However, this covenant clearly informs us when the law is applicable, for whom it applies (Israel), and what happens when someone breaks it. Anyone not named in the contract is unaffected by its conditions. That's why Gentiles in that time were not commanded to tithe, any more than Christians today are commanded to do it.
You aren't bound to the laws of another country are you? That's because your citizenship isn't named in their legal contract with their people. So, for Jesus to release anyone from the Law, without destroying it, he simply needs to fulfill it, and issue a new contract. Very, very simple.2 Cor 3:6
(Christ) has made us competent as ministers of a NEW covenant—not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.
The Gentiles were never named in the old contract, with blessings and cursings, and they cannot have their names fraudulently written into it by Tithe Collectors today. In the case of tithing, the Law said, "bring tithes to the Levites and priests." The old covenant said, "Israel must follow that precept to be blessed, or be cursed for their failure." Naturally, everybody failed, "for whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all." (James 2:10). So, the new covenant brought by the new Priest works like this:Galatians 3:12-14
The law is not based on faith; on the contrary, it says, “The person who does these things will live by them.” 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 pole.”He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that BY FAITH we might receive the promise of the Spirit.
Jesus became the curse, and also the blessing, so that we could be released from the wrath of the old covenant, and we could follow him in freedom, not following Moses in fear.
In Romans 7, Paul compares the old covenant to an old wedding contract. He says that a wedding contract is only binding as long as someone is alive, but when a partner dies, the contract is dissolved. Then he compares this example to how the new contract enters when we die to sin, saying: "So, my brothers and sisters, you also died to the law through the body of Christ, that you might belong to another, to him who was raised from the dead. (Romans 4:7)."
God's people have these itching ears, submitting to preachers who are "desiring to be teachers of the law, understanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm." (1 Tim 1:7)
Abraham was never under a tithing covenant. He was never commanded to tithe under fear of being cursed. So the Tithe Collector's unhealthy application of Malachi 3 is clearly unjustified. If God's people have already been given the blessing of Abraham by faith, what are they grumbling about? Is the Spirit not enough? Why do these preachers obtain elite degrees and letters only to quickly abandon the most elementary Gospel foundations?
You don't need fancy Bible degrees to understand this stuff; you just need eyes: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.
All the condemnation these preachers heap upon the Body of Christ for lack of tithes, and admonishing cursing under the weight of the Law, you don't have to listen to that garbage anymore. It's not Biblical.
New Covenant Giving is Non-Compulsory
I should be able to stop here, but there are more layers to peel, more understanding to be gained exploring this issue. We know that Abraham was not under the Law of Moses. Still, we rarely get a direct answer from the church as to whether Abraham was commanded to tithe before he actually did. They do cleverly use the word "obedience" in connection to Abraham to suggest it.
If you understand the inheritance of the priesthood, you know it ultimately doesn’t matter. As we have seen, the Tithe Collectors downplay the significance of the Body of Christ in connection to the High Priest, where the Bible says, “we move and have our being.” (Acts 17:28)
Nevertheless, they face a dilemma: Was Abraham commanded to tithe or not? That’s a controversial point in the tithing debate. According to a strict reading, God never literally commands him to tithe in the text. Scripture never establishes the existence of written tithing precepts prior to the Law of Moses either.
But, let’s entertain the notion that Abraham was exercising "obedience" to Melchizedek. Can we all agree, at least, that if God makes a COMMAND, Christians are compelled to follow it? That’s common sense. If God did command Abraham to tithe, Abraham would be compelled to do it. But something changed when the new High Priest established his new covenant. Once again:2 Corinthians 9:7
Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, NOT reluctantly or under compulsion (Greek – anagke), for God loves a cheerful giver.
If the assumption is that Abraham was compelled to tithe, we know that Christ brought new things to the Christians, a new order. The new order says "give under no compulsion" removing fear of being cursed by God or guilt of robbing him. One cannot be punished for not doing something he is not compelled to do. Since God does not compel you, neither can any man.
The word “compulsion” is from Greek word anagke (an-ang-kay) which Strongs defines as:
G318 - constraint (literally or figuratively); by implication distress: - distress, must needs, (of) necessity, neededth, needful.
God has removed constraints from giving under the New Covenant. Not only are Christians permitted to decide for themselves what to give, they are under no compulsion to give anything to a preacher at all. As we witnessed, Paul didn’t see giving as a command, nor did he constrain giving to be all about money. He wanted giving to be the natural fruit of the joy that freedom brings.
Where is the New Testament scripture commanding Christians to tithe? Produce one, or stop indebting Christians to it. God warns that teachers will be judged more strictly than non-teachers (James 3:1). If you are tithing advocate reading this, don't say you weren't warned.
The best so-called evidence that pastor Phil Pringle, leader of the mega church C3 movement in Australia, can offer is from his book “Financial Excellence” where he paraphrases 1 Cor 16:2:
“(Paul) taught people to lay aside at the beginning of each week the first fruits of their increase”
The actual scripture says: “On the first day of every week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with your income, saving it up, so that when I come no collections will have to be made.” (1 Cor 16:2)
We will come back to this scripture a bit later, but did you notice that Paul kept his advice about the collection pretty vague? Here, he has another precious opportunity preach on tithing, to expound on its virtues and the dangers of being "outside the blessing" without it. We get none of that.
Instead, he simply asks them to set aside "a sum of money." A sum of money? How much? Should it be 5 percent? 10 percent? 15 percent? We get no details, just "a sum." How consistent Paul is with his own teaching, that they could "decide in their hearts" that sum, and give accordingly.
That's not good enough for Mr. Pringle, though, and what he does is no small thing. He alters the scripture to say that Paul commanded them to bring, not just a "sum of money," but their "first fruits," which means no less than 10 percent from their gross income. Some people preach that the "first fruit" is the first complete paycheck of the year.
But, since Paul himself never quantifies the amount, Mr. Pringle might not get the ten percent he imagines is owed to his church. Where does he get this authority to paraphrase scripture in such a way that it ALTERS the meaning? Where does he get the authority to overwrite "sum of money" with "first fruits" and therefore twist it around to say something it does not say?
This is what they do. Because the New Testament writings contain NOTHING commanding Christians to tithe - no scripture to grab hold of - it reduces them to actually inventing the tithe's presence where it does not exist. We see that even among those who admit that tithing is not binding for Christians. They say that while tithing is not commanded, 10 percent is "a good number," or "a good place to start." Says who? Not the Apostles.
How can it be that 11 simple words can be so easily brushed aside by those who claim to ministers of Christ's doctrine? "As… every… man… purposeth… in… his… heart… so… let… him… give." Is that clear? Is there something they don't understand about that, or is there something they won't understand about that?
Sorry to beat this with a stick, but it's amazing how many people refuse to let the scriptures on giving stand on what they actually say! No 10 percent guideline exists for anyone in the faith. That's a guideline for another person, which he cannot delegate to somebody else. Each person must decide in their own hearts "the sum" they will give, and other folks can mind their own business about it.
The best guideline for giving is love. When we attach a number to that, when we introduce legalism, we stifle the purest motivating factor. Love should need no guideline for giving. It just needs growth. Churches say they teach love, but they don't seem to trust in it very much. If they were able to nurture the seed of love to full grown tree, they wouldn't have to make up fraudulent doctrines to get their money. God would provide for them naturally.
Webster’s dictionary defines “constraint” as: “The state of being checked, restricted, or compelled to avoid or perform some action.”
It is “the state of being compelled to perform some action,” such as the state of being compelled to tithe. Tithe Collectors teach the requisite tithe. Paul taught giving without compulsion. How about that? Oh, they may say “Nobody is compelled to tithe, but if you withhold then you are robbing God and you are under a curse, and you cannot receive Christ’s blessing.”
To a Christian that’s like a mugger saying, “You aren’t compelled to give me your wallet, but if you don’t I will shoot you in the head.” Don't get it twisted, they are compelling Christians to tithe. Don’t allow them to lose you in a smokescreen of semantics and obfuscation.
Again, this paper is not against generous giving, so I have nothing to defend in that regard. This paper is hostile to legalism, adherence to a system that mines God’s people of their money through false doctrine built on shame. The distinction is clear and observable: If the Jews were compelled to tithe under the Law of Moses, Christians are are not to give under compulsion. If Abraham was compelled to tithe by commandment, Christians are not to give under compulsion.
The Pattern of Legalism’s Demise
We saw how Tithe Collectors use Hebrews 7 to remind Christians that Abraham tithed before the Law, and that we should maintain his "obedience." If he was commanded to tithe, however, it wouldn't be the first instance of pre-Moses commandments eliminated in the New Covenant. Have you forgotten circumcision? God commanded Abraham’s circumcision generations before Moses.Acts 7:8
Then he gave Abraham the covenant of circumcision. And Abraham became the father of Isaac and circumcised him eight days after his birth. Later Isaac became the father of Jacob, and Jacob became the father of the twelve patriarchs.
Yet, Paul uses the following argument to declare circumcision obsolete:Galatians 5:2-4
Mark my words! I, Paul, tell you that if you let yourselves be circumcised, Christ will be of no value to you at all. Again I declare to every man who lets himself be circumcised that he is obligated to obey the whole LAW. You who are trying to be justified by the LAW have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace.
What could Paul say if an objector rebutted with the argument that since Abraham was circumcised BEFORE the Law of Moses, Christians should also be circumcised? How would you respond if you were Paul? Seriously, what would you say?
Well, Paul could point to the larger issue. He could teach them the difference between the inside and the outside of the cup.Matthew 23:25-26
Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean.
The Law cleans the outside of the cup. Externalized precepts were the OLD practices, ways of seeming righteous. These precepts could be exercised VISIBLY and became a way boast before men, of one’s own righteousness. But the NEW way of the Spirit purifies from the inside. Nobody can boast, because Christ does it all, and his people give all credit to him.
The Apostles preached a Gospel where the “carnal commandment” (Hebrews 7:15-16) was replaced with the Spiritual walk, where a “circumcision of the heart” replaced the outward circumcision (Romans 2:28-29).
The point is, whether circumcision was practiced before Moses didn’t matter to Paul. He saw the truth, that when someone has the Spirit and walks according to it, he no longer needs legal precepts to be compelled to give. Again, Paul wanted God’s people to walk in the freedom Christ gave them, and let their giving come from that place. He had no intention to lead them back under a system of heavy legalism.
Growing in the Spirit is more important than tithing, because that growth will lead to love, which does not require existing precepts to be forced to give. Paul wanted Spirit growth, not Law money. Paul would rather accept no payment, as long as he knew people were growing. But the Bible is clear: Legalism is the enemy of grace, and growth in the Spirit will not occur under the Law of ordinances. Paul did not expect or demand an abundance of fruit from sapling trees. He just worked to get them to grow up, that they could THEN produce fruit.
The Bible contains four examples of commandments folded into the Law of Moses which vanished under the dispensation of Grace:
|Before the Law||Mandatory under Moses||Ended in the New Covenant|
|Animal sacrifice (Abel) Gen 4:4||Leviticus 1:2||Hebrews 10:10|
|Clean and unclean animals (Noah) Gen 7:2||Leviticus 11||Acts 10:9-15, Rom 14:14|
|Earthly Priesthood (Melchizedek) Gen 14:18||Leviticus 1:8||Heb 7:14-18, Rev 5:9-10|
|Tithing (Abraham) Gen 14:20||Leviticus 27-30||2 Cor 9:7|
Notice that of the above levitical commandments, the only pre-Mosiac practice preserved by churches today is the one that makes money. Is that merely a coincidence?
Abraham: A Non-Compulsory Giver
Yes, these churches teach "obedience to the tithe." Obedience to God is everything to a Christian. But, one cannot be disobedient to something they are not required to do, and the churches know that. Try to find the commandment God gave to Abraham in the Hebrews 7 passage:Hebrews 7:1-3
This Melchizedek was king of Salem and priest of God Most High. He met Abraham returning from the defeat of the kings and blessed him, and Abraham gave him a tenth of everything. First, the name Melchizedek means “king of righteousness”; then also, “king of Salem” means “king of peace.” Without father or mother, without genealogy, without beginning of days or end of life, resembling the Son of God, he remains a priest forever.
It's not there, right? It simply reads, "Abraham gave a tenth." It does not say that it was God's directive. The tithing advocates need you to assume that it was, however, to give their sermons any weight. Abraham gave the spoils of war include anything from money, to animals, to blankets, to weapons, essentially every kind of object a conquered city would provide.
Notice how Abraham did not strain out other objects and only tithe money like today's churches demand. In fact, money could have been a small portion, but Melchizedek rejected nothing. Today’s preachers reject all forms of Abraham’s tithe except the money, because that is what they really want. If a poor person brings anything other than money, the offer is flatly rejected as a valid tithe.
In any case, since they cannot prove, they only insinuate. They employ various tricks like those of famous travelling preacher Benny Hinn in his article The Joy of Tithing:
“And as I become more and more acquainted with His Word, His will, and His ways, I become ever more convinced of the importance of tithing in our lives. Yet I sometimes talk to people - sincere, convinced brothers and sisters in the Lord - who say, ‘Tithing is part of the Old Testament law and not a requirement for believers today.’
Frankly, I cringe when I hear that…..But not only can people who interpret the Bible this way miss the joy, they also miss the fact that the very principle of the tithe was introduced with Adam, and Abraham tithed to Melchizedek….So why would a God who had lavished such luxury on Adam forbid him to eat from the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil? I'm convinced that the Father did this so that Adam would have an opportunity to demonstrate his love for God through obedience.
What I'm about to teach you now is very important….You and I cannot receive what is ours in Christ apart from obedience, and in establishing this law, the Father gave Adam a chance to obey.”
"The Joy of Tithing." What a joke. God does not want compelled giving because he "loves a cheerful giver." The necessary implication is that compulsion kills the cheerfulness. That's the Bible's own contrast. The blessing/cursing system does incorporates fear into giving, while likewise admonishing Christians to be cheerful givers. It's cognative dissonance, simultaniously believing two concepts that contradict each other. You think it's a joyful thing for the poor to pay these con-artists their grocery money for fear of robbing God? Get real, folks! Spiritual threats are nothing less than extortion!
The Bible says, "he who oppresses the poor to increase his riches, and he who gives to the rich, will both surely come to poverty." (Proverbs 22:16).
By what scripture do we see the "principle of the tithe" in the Garden of Eden? Adam ate forbidden fruit, and therefore supposedly violated the "principle of the tithe" by taking God's portion for himself. How clever. You see how they use the word "principle?" They know the scripture did not command Adam to present a tithe. Did God only plant ten trees? So, they have to fake it by using words like "principle" in an attempt to justify their doctrine by way of broad abstractions.
As you'll recall, in the Law of Moses God only required one percent for the temple storehouse. That would be a hundredth, not a tenth. Where do the Levite's subtractions fit into this "teaching?" Through this weak scriptural analysis, they contrast Adam's disobedience to Abraham's obedience, pretending that Adam's disobedience of has to do with tithing in the first place. God told Adam not to eat the fruit of the tree AT ALL. He didn't tell Adam to collect the fruit, and give ten percent to a high priest. Will the manipulation never cease?
They do all this because they have no Bible verse for a pre-Moses tithing commandment, and they desperately want one, because they love the word "obedience." Indeed, by far, the most insidious “teaching” Mr. Hinn saves for last:
“You and I cannot receive what is ours in Christ apart from obedience”
Wow. By "obedience" he means obedience to the tithe. He means that people cannot receive what is theirs in Christ without first giving money to the church, or directly to Benny. That's serious business, literally. That means, while you thought faith was enough to enter grace, Jesus needs to be paid before he will release anything good to you. The Savior has become a salesman - according to their doctrine - and money for blessing is what he is supposedly peddling.Romans 5:1-2
Since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace (Greek - charis - charity) in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God.
The word "grace" is from the Greek "charis," which is linked to the English word "charity." It expresses God's favor, his charity toward his people. Since the Bible is clear that we access God's charity through faith, to believe Mr. Hinn, we would have to accept that there is a difference between receiving God's charity and receiving his blessings. We would have to accept that God gives forth unmerited charity, yet simultaneously withholding blessing from his people for lack of money. I'm sure they can phrase it in such a way that God's people will buy it, but God is not the author of confusion (1 Cor 14:33).
This is the obedience God demands for his charity:1 John 3:21-23
Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God and receive from him anything we ask, because we keep his commands and do what pleases him. And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us.
The Truth About Early Church Giving
Pastor Kong Hee of the City Harvest Church once said in a sermon, "give until your heart is broken, until tears stream down your eyes." (watch video)
Apostle Paul says, "give cheerfully."
Concerning a few church members, Pastor Hee goes on to say that they "sold their five room flat and downgraded to a three room apartment to give $20,000 to the building fund…friends it's a sacrifice." (watch video)
Guilt is a mighty tool. Whenever people feel unsure about “tithes and offerings,” preachers remind us about the early church, how they sold all their possessions, their land and houses, and gave everything they had to the church. Typically, we only get part of that story, but the fullness of scripture reveals deeper realities about the early church.Acts 4:32-35
All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had. With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all that there were no needy persons among them. Because, from time to time those who owned land or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it (the money) was distributed to anyone who had need.
For the early church, giving didn't “break their hearts,” because "NOBODY claimed any possession was their own" unlike today's church. People today cannot imagine how others were willing to sell everything like that. It’s because they shared to the point that nobody was ever lacking.
Legally, in your church, you own nothing. Their funds, their cars, their buildings and their objects, are NOT at your disposal. Somebody owns the deeds, and it’s not you. Back then, if a Christian sold everything he owned, he would gain everything too, and I am talking about money here. The money itself "was distributed to anyone who had need."
They didn't sell their houses for a "building fund." They sold their houses so that they could ALL share the money pooled among them. That just isn’t happening today.
Today, the tithing churches have adopted the Old system where the Israelite gave a tithe, which was never shared with them by the priests. The tithes were only for the Levites and priests. This is why the tithing churches don’t take the money from their treasuries and literally distribute the collection to "the Lord's people."
The early church gave with no risk, no tears in selling what they had, because "there were no needy persons among them." Unlike Pastor Hee, the early Christians didn't expect people to walk a tightrope without a net. NOBODY in the early church would allow an already poor person to give anything away. Anyone who did give, could expect to have been supplied any need by God's people. Nobody was left in the cold, expected to live on faith and their own wits. That's outrageous.
Do these pastors downgrade their own homes? Are you allowed to share Benny Hinn's mansions and his fine cars, and his bank account, and take vacations with him to tropical islands? Only if you want to be arrested.
Yet, these Tithe Collectors will point to the early church and remind you how they sold everything and “gave it to God.” The way the early church functioned wouldn't even be feasible today, not with how the modern church is arranged.
Today, you sit in a building, hear a sermon, pay your fee, then leave, with promises and hope that God will look kindly on you for your tithe, and bless you in some way for it. Once the church gets your money, how you get blessed, or whether you get blessed is not their problem. The early church lived and breathed together. The blessings God gave, came directly from them to one another.
But preachers today, without conscience, charge struggling people to "break their own hearts," shaming them into downgrading their homes. Then, they have the audacity to use the early church as their example. Doesn't this exploitation and hypocrisy anger you?
These methods don't result in "no needy persons among them." Quite the reverse. The needy people in their churches keep giving faithfully and getting poorer, as their families strive. You don’t believe me? Then have a look at this video with Pat Robertson advising that God’s people should keep tithing even when they cannot afford it. The Apostles would have been appalled.
God’s people today deal with the collection like a lottery ticket that never pays off.
While the Acts 4 giving model resembles Communism to today's church, the distinction is that they pooled their resources willingly, without compulsion. If the Tithe Collectors wish to promote cheerful, generous, outrageous giving, let them also sell ALL their own possessions. Let them consider nothing their own, then distribute their treasures evenly unto the equality that Apostle Paul sought. If they cannot do that, they are hypocrites.
As we saw before, pastor Phil Pringle, like every other preacher, uses 1 Corinthians 16 as proof that Christians should contribute to a collection every Sunday.1 Cor 16:1-3
Now about the collection for the Lord’s people: Do what I told the Galatian churches to do. On the first day of every week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with your income, saving it up, so that when I come no collections will have to be made. Then, when I arrive, I will give letters of introduction to the men you approve and send them with your gift to Jerusalem.
Clearly, a Sunday collection was not a typical routine in the early church, which is why Paul made his suggestion. This was to be a travelling collection. The only reason Paul wanted them to collect on the first day of the week, was so he could avoid wasting his time when he arrived. In context, the collection was only applicable to the situation Paul applies it to, not a standard rule for everyone at every time. If Paul meant that to be a standard and lasting commandment, he would have said so as he had clearly done in other matters.
In ordinary circumstances, the early church collected and distributed whenever someone sold land and when people had need.
Also, Paul did not want giving to the church to be a hardship, but a cheerful, uplifting thing, so he advised them to give "in keeping with their income." Suffering can come with the Gospel, when one is persecuted for it. But it should not be uncalled for, as a result of greedy preachers, twisting the scriptures.
But it goes much deeper than money. It goes back to the division of the new priesthood.
Paul said that the collection for Jerusalem was for "the Lord's people." Acts 4 says the same thing. All the collections were for "the Lord's people." We all know the old saying that actions speak louder than words. When church leadership takes the collection and distributes it equally among themselves what does that action say? It says that they are "the Lord's people,” and you are not, because they only distribute the collection among them.
This is similar to what we witnessed before, how the Tithe Collectors (like Kenneth Copeland’s ministry), openly profess to BE the very priesthood itself, accumulating the tithes from the Israelites. Under the old system, the tithers were external to the temple and they brought them to the temple where the priests served. This action speaks: you are not the priesthood, they are. Your money goes to the priests, and you go back home.
Sowing the Seeds of Love
The counterfeit Christian tithing doctrine is intertwined with the so-called "seed time harvest" doctrine, which proposes, for example, that if one "plants a seed" of money - say $100 - that in time, God will grow that “seed” into a harvest of "prosperity." Pay the preacher and God will get you more money.
A whole book could be written about the Biblical "seed," the metaphors and what they mean. I will keep it much shorter.
1) Neither Jesus or any Apostle speaks about a "seed" in connection to a tithe. That would be impossible since they never command a tithe for Christians in the first place.
2) Christians are never commanded to bring money as a "seed offering" in the Bible, nor is the manifestation of generosity ever limited to money in the Bible.
Everybody is after the big harvest. But, rather than simply working for one, they want a "miracle" harvest. If you would like a real dose of basic "seed-faith" idolatry, Mike Murdock is your man. Watch how he attempts to grab $1,000 “seeds” from the poor.
In 1 Corinthians 9, Paul asks the church, "If a someone sows spiritual seed, shouldn't he expect a material harvest?" Of course! Notice, though, he draws a distinction between the "Spiritual" and the "Material" here that gets lost in the "seed faith harvest" doctrine. According to them, the seed is money, but we know that money is not spiritual. If it were, Paul wouldn't have drawn the distinction. So what is "spiritual seed?"
In the Parable of the Sower, Jesus says,Luke 8:11
The seed is the Word of God…
The Word of God is more than "the Bible" or the written scripture.1 Peter 1:23
Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God…
The Tithe Collectors are hooked on material seed and material harvest. That suits them for obvious reasons. If we look very closely at what Paul is saying, the seed/harvest concept is pretty deep. Between the spiritual seed and the material harvest we find this:2 Corinthians 9:10-11
Now he (God) who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of YOUR righteousness. You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.
Before we get to the material harvest, we have a spiritual harvest ("the harvest of your righteousness"). The context of 2 Corinthians 9 is "gifts for the poor” not gifts to rich prosperity preachers. If we look more carefully at the words we see another purpose behind the blessings of Christ.2 Corinthians 9:8
And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things, at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.
The picture we get here, with Paul's version of the seed/harvest teaching, is less about receiving money for nice houses and cars, and all manner of goodies for the sowers pleasure, and more about a harvest of righteousness for the church to grow in outward generosity. God wants the church to carry the material blessings to those who go without.1 Corinthians 9:11
If we have sown spiritual seed among you, is it too much if we reap a material harvest from YOU?
From who did Paul's material harvest come? From God? No, from "YOU."
The whole point of the church being “enriched in every way” is so that they “can be generous on every occasion.” But when you watch most of these tithing sermons it’s all based on self-absorption. The sermons make promises about: your prosperity, your finances, your health, your well being, your everything. It's all about "you, you, you..."James 4:3
When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on YOUR pleasures.
Paul sowed SPIRITUAL seed, not money. According to the "seed time harvest" message Paul should have sowed MONEY, and then reaped the harvest of more money. For them, when you sow a money seed, after a little waiting, you will get a big MONEY TREE! Yay! Paul should have placed his tithe at the altar, or his $100 seed offering into another preacher’s hands. But for Paul this was the equation: Spiritual ≠ Material.
There are no get-rich-quick schemes in the Gospel. If a Christians are trying to get a harvest for themselves, for their own finances, for their own wealth, they are missing the point of the harvest is for! Good luck with that. The prosperity preachers point to the phrase “enriched in every way” to teach that God wants all Christians to be rich with wealth, with money. Certainly, it is well within God’s control and authority to do that, but his reasons would be founded on generosity to others.
Paul’s letters are addressed “To the church of God in Corinth,” to which every “you” applies. He is talking to a Body, saying that the Corinthian church will be “enriched in every way.” Paul had more to say to the Corinthian church about how God enriches them.1 Cor 12: 4-9, 29
There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.
Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit,
Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles?
This is the method by which God enriched “you,” Body of Christ, church, with all manner of gifts. He doesn’t give every gift to every single person. Some people go without certain gifts and without certain functions. If not, they would have no need to operate as a whole. They could do everything on their own. As he says, “If they were all one part, where would the body be?” (1 Cor 12:11) Are all in the church enriched with monetary wealth?
The tithe-for-blessing game does not work. And when the money doesn't pour in as promised, the "sowers" are put on trial. Are they giving the tithe with enough faith? Are they too grudging with their tithes? Are they praying hard enough, long enough, using the right words? Everything has to be just so.Matt 26:19-21
Do NOT store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
The Tithe Collectors are always encouraging their followers to procure from Jesus the very "treasures on earth" he professed to be fleeting and insignificant. Do they really expect him to act against his own teaching, to supply an abundance of "treasures on earth" they can store for their own pleasure? Obviously, earthly treasures are where their hearts are, among treasures they see, smell, taste and touch. What use to them are treasures which are invisible for now? Jesus says, pursue one OR the other.Matt 6:24
No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon (wealth).
God wants the hearts set upon riches that, while invisible now, require faith to know we already have them.2 Corinthians 6:9-10
(We are) known, yet regarded as unknown; dying, and yet we live on; beaten, and yet not killed; sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; poor, yet making many rich; having nothing, and yet possessing everything.
Paul is not merely being clever here, playing with opposites. He is representing the dissimilarity between the lower realm and the higher realm: pretty much a 180 degree difference. How did Paul being poor, make many rich? Being poor, he had no "treasures on earth" to pass down to make others weathly. That's why he sowed the spiritual seed for others to reap "treasures in heaven."
Numerous people prosper in “treasures on earth” without tithing and scheming with God's Word: entrepreneurs, accountants, small businessmen, rappers, actors, CEOs and even drug dealers, pimps, prostitutes and the mafia. But the scripture indicates that God has no concern in designing his Gospel to agree with the ambitions of a materialistic world. But, obtaining "treasures in heaven," which cannot be stolen or fade away, can only be obtained through Jesus Christ.
This is not to suppose that God would not work miracles, physically or otherwise. He commanded his people to care for teachers and shepherds with the material blessings they may need, no question about it (Galatians 6:6). If God's people work for their money, they will make money, and God might very well bless the work of their hands, so that they can go about blessing other people.
But, Jesus does not mix the covenants to birth forth a sick, mutant hybrid of compelled tithing and freedom under Grace.Mark 2:22
And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. For the wine would burst the wineskins, and the wine and the skins would both be lost. New wine calls for new wineskins.
If God's people don't have a handle on WHY God supplies harvest to the Body, they will be asking for blessing with wrong motives, which they do constantly through the false Christian tithe doctrine.Galatians 1:6-9
I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you to live in the grace of Christ (ie not under a Jewish thing LAW or doctrinal inventions) and are turning to a different gospel— which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one WE preached to you, let them be under God’s curse!
Preaching Christian tithing is dangerous for preachers, of whom James said, "not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly." (James 3:1) Did Paul preach that Christians must pay a tithe? Nope. Did he teach that people should give a seed of money to receive more money? Nope.
If anyone teaches something other than what the Apostles taught, their message is cursed, their money is cursed, and they are cursed. While the Tithe Collectors contend that the tithe keeps man from being cut off from God’s blessings, it’s bitterly ironic that the word “curse” is from the Greek anathema which in the Strongs dictionary means: “a (religious) ban or (concretely) excommunicated (thing or person): - accursed, anathema, curse.” Another way of saying "cursed" is "cut off" and as you have seen in this paper, the tithe teaching cuts God's people off of their own inheritance in the New Covenant Priesthood.
Their justification is they can use their money for good things around the world, as though the underbelly of fear, guilt and slavery they add to the Gospel, doesn't matter in the end. To them, "the ends justify the means." What does it profit, if they take their blood money and use it to spread a corrupted version of the Gospel they invented, which is really no Gospel at all? We know that The ends don’t justify the means to Jesus.Matthew 7:22-23
Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’
The REAL Old Testament Tithe
You may recall in our earlier word count for "tithe" in the New Testament, that the four Gospels mention "tithe" a total of three times. Jesus refers to it once in a parable where a Pharisee says: "I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess." (Luke 18:12) The other time is recorded in both Luke and Matthew. Here is the Matthew version:Matthew 23:23
“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth (tithe) of your spices—mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former.
Supporters of the tithe regularly use this passage to assure folks that Jesus promoted tithing for Christians. Why? I have no idea. Maybe because he says “without neglecting the former.” When you read the actual scripture you see that he is talking to "teachers of the law" and "Pharisees."
Not a single person Jesus spoke to in his earthly ministry, including his disciples, were yet part of his own body spiritually. He never spoke to anyone who was a member of the new order of priests, not until he rose from the dead to create it. Simply put, he wasn’t talking to Christians. Jesus was counseling Israelites, under the Law of Moses, to follow the Law of Moses. The New Covenant came only after Christ was put to death and resurrected.
That scripture contains another tithing aspect often (intentionally?) overlooked:
Jesus says: "You give a tithe of spices – mint, dill and cumin…" Notice how he says nothing about money here. Nobody tithed money under the Law of Moses, another truth that gets left behind in tithe preaching. The reason tithing had nothing to do with money gets back to why priests did not give tithes at all, and why it was instituted by God in the first place.
Anyway, let's get back to what the real Old Testament tithe really was, and it wasn't money. Speaking to Israel:2 Chronicles 31:5-6
And as soon as the commandment came abroad, the children of Israel brought in abundance the firstfruits of corn, wine, and oil, and honey, and of all the increase of the field; and the TITHE of all things brought they in abundantly. And concerning the children of Israel and Judah, that dwelt in the cities of Judah, they also brought in the tithe of oxen and sheep, and the tithe of holy things which were consecrated unto the Lord their God, and laid them by heaps.
The tithe was not money. It was food, like corn, wine, honey, oil, animals which could be laid down in heaps. In addition, not every tithe was to be given to the priesthood, but in some situations for the tither to set aside for himself and his family.Deuteronomy 14:22-24
Be sure to set aside a tenth (tithe) 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.
If the place that God had chosen for the tither to eat was too far, the Israelite was to “then exchange your tithe for silver” (Deuteronomy 14:25) to purchase whatever food they wanted. If the tither was a farmer, and was carrying grain, he could exchange the grain for SILVER, buy meat, then take his family to another place that God chose, and eat everything he bought. That God's people were to sell their tithes for silver would be an absurd concept for today's churches, as well as tithers eating their own tithes.
In addition to the tithe, the priests also needed money to maintain the sanctuary. For this purpose, God established the temple tax:Exodus 30:13
Each one who crosses over to those already counted is to give a half shekel, according to the sanctuary shekel, which weighs twenty gerahs. This half shekel is an offering to the Lord.
How often does that scripture come up in a tithing sermon? Jesus talked about it:Luke 21:1-2
And He looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the treasury, and He saw also a certain poor widow putting in two mites (Greek – lepton – a small coin).
Remember the Old Testament, Malachi 3 rebuke? God was angry that the Israelites were not bringing tithes to fill the STOREHOUSE. What about the treasury? He doesn't mention that. Why don’t preachers make the same distinction the Bible makes between the “storehouse” and “the treasury?” Jesus even taught there:John 8:20
These words spake Jesus in the treasury, as he taught in the temple: and no man laid hands on him; for his hour was not yet come.
The poor widow gave all she had, as, of course, the Tithe Collectors would love for you to do, not exactly as the early church did. How clear the difference between the tithe and temple tax in the promises the Israelites made to God:Nehemiah 10:32,37
“We assume the responsibility for carrying out the commands to give a third of a shekel each year for the service of the house of our God .”
“Moreover, we will bring to the storerooms of the house of our God, to the priests, the first of our ground meal, of our grain offerings, of the fruit of all our trees and of our new wine and olive oil. And we will bring a TITHE of our crops to the Levites, for it is the Levites who collect the tithes in all the towns where we work.
What fee do the churches set for a temple tax these days, "for service to the house of God?"
They don't charge one, right? If so, they would have to admit that the temple tax was a flat-rate, not a percentage. This might raise dangerous questions about the tithe and their dubious use of Malachi 3:10: "that that there may be FOOD in my house", in the storehouse.
After all, Malachi 3 is the passage most used to beat Christians into submission to a tithe substitute never commanded in the Bible. That’s the same passage wherein God entirely disregards the temple tax and focuses his rebuke exclusively on the tithe of food and animal sacrifice. Money wasn’t the problem; the tithe was the problem.
To tithe the way God demanded in Malachi 3, Christians should be paying in boxes of canned and fresh fruit and vegetables, sheep, oxen, wine, olive oils, grain, bread, and, oh yes, "cumin, mint and dill." That’s ridiculous, right? The churches don’t want that stuff, certainly not to distribute to the widows, and orphans:Deuteronomy 14:28-29
At the end of every three years, bring all the tithes of that year’s produce and store it in your towns, so that the Levites (who have no allotment or inheritance of their own) and the foreigners, the fatherless and the widows who live in your towns may come and EAT and be satisfied, and so that the Lord your God may bless you in all the work of your hands.
If you really want to be Biblical about this, let's not generalize Malachi 3. The churches should adopt Malachi's system by instituting a tithe for food, and a temple tax for money. Church leadership can eat the tithes of the produce with their families, and distribute the food to the widows and orphans every three years. A great many widows and orphans would cheerfully receive a literal, Biblically sound food tithe. If a church member cannot make it that Sunday, they can take all the food, and sell it, and buy whatever they want to eat with their families.
To maintain the church/ministry, they will use the tax for all those costs, the "sanctuary shekel." If the church members fail in the tithes, a prophet will knock on their door and say, “you are robbing God of tithes. He wants food for the storehouse.” The prophet will mention nothing about the temple tax.
If the old system cannot be duplicated, how can admonishments on its failure be legitimate for the new order? To avoid these inconveniences, the churches now melt the tithe and the temple tax together into one stinking mess of a heresy to form a Golden Calf that doesn’t remotely qualify as scripturally defensible.
While the tithing “ministries” pretend to be the real priesthood, they DO own land. They write books and own businesses that make a lot of money outside the tithing system. Nothing is inherently wrong with that, except when they enforce tithing as Biblical for Christians. At that point, they are falling outside God's word for the Levites. They were qualified to eat the tithes, because that was their allotment for an inheritance. If today's ministries insist on Old Testament revivals of the tithe for their ministry “priesthood," we need to insist on revivals of the old order entirely. Nobody wants that.
God, as we read before, said to the Israelites: "Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house." (Malachi 3:10)
Every interpretation of this scripture, along with the entire doctrine of tithing, robs God’s people of the priesthood. Watch how Benny Hinn does it again:
"The 'storehouse' is not your local church! Many years ago, I taught that the storehouse was the local church. As I have continued to study the Word, travel the world, and mature in the Lord, I have come to realize that the storehouse is not the local building but the ministry that feeds your life."
How convenient that Mr. Hinn, altered his “local church” interpretation when he became a travelling preacher. But, if either interpretation were true, if the storehouse was a local church, or travelling ministry, once again, God's people would be once again disenfranchised from the priesthood. The word “church” is derived from the word ekklesia in the Bible, a Greek word meaning “an assembly.” If the ekklesia becomes a literal building, a literal "storehouse" full of money, who oversees that storehouse? It would be church leadership taking ownership of the priesthood role over the treasury, holding the keys. And, by Biblical necessity, the tithers contributing to that storehouse, become the outside Israelites with no part in the priesthood themselves.
Ministry is hard work with long hours dealing with difficult situations constantly. You can imagine the temptation one might have to regard their ministry as the priesthood altogether. After all, not all “the Lord’s people” are putting in the same hours, what right do they have to “the storehouse?” Maybe the notion that people outside their ministry, not putting in the same hours and work, could be considered by God to be equal priests with them is unfair.
If they were right, nobody but them would have the right to enter The Most Holy Place, God’s presence. To the contrary, the Bible (Hebrews 10:19) encourages his people to enter, not timidly, but BOLDLY.
Holding Fast to a Pattern of Sound Words
The tithing issue is not just about money. That’s a facade. The real issue is about a foundational guiding theory, a most subtle form of deception. As with the Jews in Exodus, Christian tithing is akin to God’s people, having once been set free by Christ to be “free indeed” (John 8:36), are now grumbling about their lack of prosperity, and - surrendering the reign and the priesthood sworn to them - desiring Egypt again. There, they can hope to satisfy material needs while toiling under slavery to shame and fear.
Doesn't it also remind you of Jacob and Esau? The man, Esau, had a birthright, but that wasn't good enough for him in the moment. He was hungry now! He didn't want to wait for a birthright that was years off, the outcome of which he could not see or experience as he sat hungry after his hunting expedition. The food he could smell, and touch, and taste, and fill his belly...he wanted now! So, he used that birthright as payment his younger brother for a paultry bit of soup, to satiate his carnal hunger. It's amazing to watch history repeat itself.2 Timothy 1:13
Hold fast the form (Greek - hupotupōsis - pattern) of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.
Every doctrine has a form, a pattern of words. Paul often repeated issues that were important for a Christian to understand, and he advised them to hold fast to what they heard from him. He wrote often about the importance of faith, rejecting works of the Law, maintaining good works which are the fruit of love, the destruction of sin, and the fulfillment of Christ.
Let’s say a doctrinal teaching is like a sculpture, which itself has a physical form. When we place a preacher's doctrinal teaching up against the Apostles' teachings (Paul, Peter, John, James etc), these "sculptures" should look exactly alike. Pay close attention to the deviations.
The Gospel is not a blank slate on which to build all manner of pet dogmas. If a preacher devotes a high percentage of his message on that which the Apostles paid ZERO percentage, that's a problem. That means they are deviating from the core message, and probably have very little scripture to underpin their claims.
Climb to the summit, and take an overview of the New Testament. What do the writers think are most important for you? What do they desperately want you to understand? Which concepts do the Apostles methodically outline for us, and which ones are nonexistent?
How often do the Apostles speak of repentance from sin? Many times. How often do they reveal the sacrifices to symbolize Jesus and the cross? Many times. How often do they speak about the importance faith versus works of the law? Many times. How often do they say that Christians should tithe? Never.
I've said it before but it demands repeating: If tithing is so central and key to a relationship and blessings in Christ, where is are the admonitions about that from the Apostles? Why aren’t they warning us? Why aren’t they devoting the hours of material that Tithe Collectors devote to teaching it?
Do you really think the Tithe Collectors hit on something the Apostles missed?
We should be asking these questions. If "teachers" have to abandon the form and patterns established in the New Testament to preach from the Old Testament -because their own teachings don't correspond - you've got a red flag.
It’s not their fault entirely. As the old saying goes: “It takes two to tango.” I paid a strict tithe of my income for a year or two because I was told that, without it, I was “robbing God.” They made me feel shame, and that if I gave a tithe, God would be happy. I hadn’t realized God was so unhappy with me until they falsely planted that belief in my head. But if my church had trusted Christ to supply their needs, remaining true to Gospel teaching, maybe I could have given from thanks rather than fear, and therefore given more.
I relied too much on human wisdom, not like the Bereans in the New Testament who "received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so." (Acts 17:11). Since I didn’t do that, I wasted money on a ministry that was supplanting the spiritual priesthood with their own ministry, whether willingly or unwittingly, and placing God's people in bondage to the Law.
The Bible says that all scripture is Spirit breathed, and profitable for doctrine, but never forget this one point: the Apostles interpreted the Old Testament the way Christ wanted, and according to how He revealed it to them. Everything we need to know that is of critical importance to the Gospel, and the life of a Christian, is revealed in the New Testament. The Apostles shined the light on the Old Testament, and that Light is Jesus Christ.
If a doctrine were critical to the Gospel, you would know it. The Apostles would tell you, and Paul, Peter, John and James, would devote their words generously to arm you with the knowledge you need. Check out the Book of Romans for a good example of a carefully laid out doctrine. Tithe Collectors are warning us that we cannot be "receiving what is ours in Jesus Christ" without a tithe. The truth is that, with a tithe, God’s people are rejecting what is theirs in Christ. Don’t let that happen to you.Psalm 37:14-17
The wicked draw the sword and bend the bow to bring down the poor and needy, to slay those whose ways are upright.
But their swords will pierce their own hearts, and their bows will be broken.
Better the little that the righteous have than the wealth of many wicked; for the power of the wicked will be broken, but the Lord upholds the righteous.