When Israel settled the Promised Land, assets were not allocated to all 12 Israeli tribes but to 11 tribes. The tribe of Levi (Priests and Levites), never received an inheritance because God was their inheritance. Levites served in the tabernacle/temple, not in the economy.
So how did Levite families support themselves?
To survive, people need food, shelter and clothing. God provided these in three ways viz. shelter, revenue and food.
1) Shelter. The Levites were given cities. These cities were divided proportionally among the other 11 tribes.
3) Food: was provided mainly through a system called The-Tithe. The-Tithe was food not money.
Some detail about The-Tithe.
1) Scripture always refers to The-Tithe as food like grains, flocks, wine and oil etc.
2) Scripture always refers to eating The-Tithe and never spending it.
5) For convenience, every third year, tithers tithed to the local Levites (not the tabernacle/temple).
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”.
We cannot cherry-pick Mosaic Laws at our convenience. If you steal but do not kill, you still break the law.
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 also instructs Jews how to eat, how to cut their hair and forbids wearing cotton and wool together.
The new covenant is clear; we do not live by The Law but by The Spirit. Rom.6:14.
Arguments for Tithing.
- Abraham’s Tithe. Abraham gave a tenth before The Law; however, he did not Tithe. Abraham lived for 175 years. In his recorded life he gave a tenth once.
- 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 storehouse literally fed Priests, Levites, Widows, Orphans and Strangers, not the greater congregation. Money had different rules.
Where is the balance?
Tithing ensured that those that depended on God’s house were fed by That House.
If we are to live by The Spirit or, Spirit-of-The-Law, we must ensure the same. The new covenant teaches only to contribute cheerfully, without compulsion and with generosity.
A workman deserves his/her wages.
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%, not The-Tithe (The-Tithe was food, only Jewish farmers Tithed).
People gave money based on what they could afford, not on a formula.
Tithing became redundant after Lord Jesus fulfilled The Law, the Romans destroyed the temple and dissolved the Israeli nation in AD 33, 70 and 136 respectively.
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.