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Sunday, February 10, 2013

Tithing for the New Testament Church?

I thought this article was excellent and invite discussion.
By Ronald Robey,
What the Word of God says concerning His Holy tithe:

First, I do recognize that Abram tithed to Melchizedek before the Law was given by Moses to the Israelites. I have no problem admitting that, as it is in black and white in the 14th Chapter of Genesis for all to read.

I contend that that tithe, of the spoils of war as verified both in Genesis 14 and Hebrews 7, is not a tithe that we, as Christians, are to pattern our giving today.

Abram's tithe was of the spoils of war, meaning he had to go to battle to attain those spoils that he tithed from. He promised God that he would not take any of those spoils unto himself, meaning he did not claim them as his own property. He did this because he did not want the king of Sodom, Bera, to have reason to say he had made Abram rich (Genesis 14:22-24) He did not even eat of those spoils as the men that were with him did... he did not want them at all. This is why, after giving the tithe of the spoils to Melchizedek, he also gave away the rest of the spoils. No room for Bera to say he had made Abram rich whatsoever.

Had Abram saw the tithe of spoils as his own, he would have been that much richer than he was when he started out on his rescue mission for his nephew Lot. Apparently, even Bera did not consider Abram tithing a tenth of the spoils as having made Abram rich enough to tithe the spoils he tithed.

We also glean from the text that the property Abram tithed was not his own property, his own assets.

Now, it can be argued that Abram was giving God His tithe. I am convinced that if it was "God's tithe," then God later amended His tithe when He gave the Law to Moses for the Israelites. For, in Leviticus 27 we read:

Leviticus 27:30-34 And all the tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land, or of the fruit of the tree, is the LORD'S: it is holy unto the LORD. And if a man will at all redeem ought of his tithes, he shall add thereto the fifth part thereof. And concerning the tithe of the herd, or of the flock, even of whatsoever passeth under the rod, the tenth shall be holy unto the LORD. He shall not search whether it be good or bad, neither shall he change it: and if he change it at all, then both it and the change thereof shall be holy; it shall not be redeemed. These are the commandments, which the LORD commanded Moses for the children of Israel in mount Sinai.

Notice God stated specifically that His tithe was of the seed of the land, the fruit of the tree, and the tenth of the herd and flock that passed under the rod. If God's tithe was what Abram tithed to Melchizedek, it certainly was amended to a specific people, (the Israelites) a specific possession (crops, flocks and herds) and a specific purpose.

The specific purpose can be found in the book of Numbers, Chapter 18. There, we read:

Numbers 18:20-24 And the LORD spake unto Aaron, Thou shalt have no inheritance in their land, neither shalt thou have any part among them: I am thy part and thine inheritance among the children of Israel. And, behold, I have given the children of Levi all the tenth in Israel for an inheritance, for their service which they serve, even the service of the tabernacle of the congregation. Neither must the children of Israel henceforth come nigh the tabernacle of the congregation, lest they bear sin, and die. But the Levites shall do the service of the tabernacle of the congregation, and they shall bear their iniquity: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations, that among the children of Israel they have no inheritance. But the tithes of the children of Israel, which they offer as an heave offering unto the LORD, I have given to the Levites to inherit: therefore I have said unto them, Among the children of Israel they shall have no inheritance.

The specific purpose for the tithe was to provide for the Levites who had no inheritance in the land of Israel. The Levites received the tithe from the remaining tribes of Israel. That tithe was crops, flocks and herds; meaning that the only ones God said were to tithe were those grew produce and raised livestock.

Under the law, God required far less than a tithe for the spoils of war. (see Numbers 31)

The Word of God continues with the same tithes throughout the Bible, even in the time of Jesus. The Pharisees tithed mint, cummin, dill, anise... things grown and required in the tithe as per Leviticus 27:30-34. There was never a tithe of money in the Bible.

In Deuteronomy 14, we read that the festival tithe could be sold for money if it was too great a burden to carry, but when the tither (again farmer or herder as per the tithe requirements in Leviticus 27) arrived at the place God wanted him to tithe, he was to buy back the tithe and there eat the tithe.

It's all there in black and white, folks. I'm not making this up. The tithe was to be eaten... it was food, not money.

I submit that , in order for the Church to teach a monetary tithe, the Church must present Scripture that states that God amended His Holy tithe to

1) no longer be food, but money
2) no longer be from Israelite farmers and herders only, but from everyone who is a child of God
3) no longer be a yearly tithe of 20% every 1st, 2nd, 4th, and 5th year of a seven year cycle and 30% every 3rd and 6th year of a seven year cycle with no tithe being given the seventh year as the land was to rest the seventh year, to a weekly monetary tithe of 10% year in and year out without a rest.
4) no longer be to the Levites because they had no inheritance, to Church leadership who could own cars, homes, boats, and other possessions

It is my contention that the monetary tithe that Church leadership teaches today is either due to
1) lack of proper study of the Word of God and therefore, ignorance of what God's Holy tithe was
2) knowing what God's Holy tithe was but teaching a monetary tithe to get money from the congregation
3) greed
4) a combination of the three previous reasons stated.

At any rate, the monetary tithe doctrine is unsanctioned by God, it is unscriptural, it is unsubstantiated and and its adherents are unscrupulous.