Should we tithe?
The answer is Yes and no it depends – but we do not have to.
This is why:
When Israel settled the Promised Land, 11 tribes received an inheritance not all 12.
The tribe of Levi (Priests and Levites), never received an inheritance because God was their inheritance.
The Levites served in the ministry not in the economy.
So how did Levite families support themselves?
God provided for the Levites by writing into the Law of Moses three basic provisions viz. shelter, revenue and food.
1) Shelter. Each tribe had to allocate a number of cities for the Levites (Levitical cities). Around each city was common land where they grazed their livestock.
3) Food: was provided mainly through a system called The-Tithe. The-Tithe was food not money. Like VAT, GST or income tax, The-Tithe was a specific type of levy for a specific purpose.
Some detail about The-Tithe.
1) Scripture always refers to The-Tithe as grains, flocks, wine and oil etc. never money.
2) Scripture always refers to eating The-Tithe and never spending it.
3) The only time The-Tithe became currency, was when tithers were unable to transport their Tithe. In this case they were allowed to convert their Tithe into money. How can a tithe be money if it is converted into money?
5) For convenience, every third year, tithers were permitted to take their tithe to local Levites (not the tabernacle).
7) The-Tithes were stored in store rooms/store houses from where they were distributed.
To law or not to law
James 2:10 says; “for whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all”. He further says that if we return to The Law of Moses, we have fallen from grace!
Acts 15 clearly tells Gentiles not to obey the Law of Moses.
We cannot cherry-pick Mosaic Laws at our convenience. We might Tithe and claim the “Tithers blessing”, but what about the other 612 laws?
For instance, the Sabbath is not Sunday, it’s Saturday. The Law instructs Jews how to eat, how to cut their hair and forbids wearing cotton and wool together. If we tithe, why are we not doing the others too?
The new covenant is clear; we do not live by The Law but by The Spirit.
Arguments for Tithing.
- Abraham’s Tithe. Abraham gave a tenth before The Law, therefore tithing is universal.
- Abraham could not have sent food to Levites because they did not exist.
- Abraham lived for 175 years. In his recorded life he gave a tenth once as a gift. Their is no other record of him tithing his monthly/annual income.
- If we are to follow Abraham as an example, which example do we choose? Abraham lived in a tent, he had a concubine, where does it end?
- Jesus told us to Tithe. When Lord Jesus spoke about Tithing He 1) was speaking to Jewish people under The Law and 2) He spoke about herbs not money.
- Paul spoke about Tithing. Paul debated the legality of Melchizedek receiving Abraham’s tenth. He never preached Tithing.
- Tithing is symbolic of The Word that feeds us from the storehouse (Church).
- The storehouses described in these scriptures were literal store rooms built to store food.
- Money was collected at and kept in the treasury not the store houses.
- The food fed Priests, Levites, Widows, Orphans and Strangers, the congregation had no access to the food in the store house.
Where is the balance?
If we are to live by The Spirit or, Spirit-of-The-Law, we must ensure that those who depend on the ministry are supported by the ministry. A workman deserves his/her wages.
If we stick to the pattern of the Law, we are to house, feed and pay those who work in the ministry. The book of Acts however shows no single method, thus suggesting we not become legalistic.
The new covenant teaches us to contribute cheerfully, without compulsion and with generosity. However, the new covenant does not teach or imply tithing, it’s simply not there.
So should I Tithe yes or no?
The answer is yes and no. If God tells you to Tithe your income, do so. This is however 10% or a tithe, not The-Tithe from The-Law-of-Moses (food).
Giving 10% of your income does not guarantee “the tithers blessing”. The tithers blessing refers to rain and fruit (agriculture). Dry-land farmers need rain and see it as God’s blessing.
Remember that The Law required people to give money “as they are able”. There was no formula. If God gives you a formula, use it, but remember it’s between you and Him, not necessarily others.
Tithing became redundant after Lord Jesus fulfilled The Law, the Romans destroyed the temple and dissolved Israel as a nation.
Abraham gave a tenth once in his 175 years, Lord Jesus agreed that Tithing was food and Paul argued about kings and priests, they never taught Tithing money.