Friday, August 17, 2012

Do Christians Break The Law When Tithing?

Deuteronomy 26:13, "Then thou shalt say before the LORD thy God, I have brought away the hallowed things out of mine house, and also have given them unto the Levite, and unto the stranger, to the fatherless, and to the widow, ACCORDING TO ALL THY COMMANDMENTS which thou hast commanded me: I have not transgressed thy commandments, neither have I forgotten them."

James 2:10-12, "For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. 11 For he that said, Do not commit adultery, said also, Do not kill. Now if thou commit no adultery, yet if thou kill, thou art become a transgressor of the law. 12 So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty."

*Note: When the author renders the word 'Church' as shown, he is referring to the Main Stream, Business Entity 'Church' System we are familiar with today. When he renders the word church in all lower case letters, he is referring to Jesus' Authentic and Legitimate Home based assembly, which He continues to build.

Many good folks tithe ten percent of their hard earned dollars to their local 'Church.' Their intentions are good, but their execution of the Law on tithing is grossly inept. This isn't their fault, to a degree. Some of it has to do with them not searching out the Scriptures to see what God says about the tithe. Most who do know about the regulations God set up for the tithe, and who was allowed to tithe, are afraid of making people mad in their social club called, 'Church,' that they would rather not rock the proverbial boat by saying anything. Their heads are constantly submersed in the sands of denial. They don't want to lose their fellowship by offending someone (that's the social aspect) and there are also those who do not wish to lose their position. In other words, It's not about God; it's about them! I'm sorry if this pinches a little, but the truth has got to come out.

The question arises, 'Do Christians Break The Law When Tithing?' Unfortunately, the answer is 'Yes.' Why? Because they aren't doing so the way God prescribes. I do not mean to imply that Christians are commanded to live even a portion of the Law, other than the Moral codes found in the Law. What I am saying is that there are so many that engage in trying to live some Mosaic Ceremonial Laws that they are mistaken on who these Laws were directed towards. They try to insert what they like to call, "Biblical Principles" to try and justify living portions of the Law, such as the tithe without understanding its intent or how it was to be implemented. Here in Deuteronomy and James, we see verses which clearly teach that when we do not perform the Law as God wants it done, we are transgressing against His Law. Even when we get most of the Law right, 'most' isn't good enough. If a fraction of the Law is mishandled, the whole Law is mishandled. Most believers should know that we are not under the greater Mosaic Law. That's fine to say it, but why don't we demonstrate it by our actions? We say that we are not under the Law, but we continually try to perform aspects of it nonetheless. Even James points this out as he's writing to Believers and non believers alike. Tithing is one such Law, which millions try to perform thinking they're doing God a service. Believe me; they're not! The Problem is, tithing is oftentimes presented to the average 'Church-goer' as an obligation. They didn't receive this idea from the Bible, but from the pulpits of their 'Church.' Please allow me to unravel what kind of Law the tithe really is, and how it was supposed to be performed and by whom.

Tithing is a Law under the Ceremonial code of the Mosaic Law. The Mosaic Law is broken down into three parts. The Judicial Laws are for Israel only. They do not apply here anymore than our laws apply to them. The Moral Laws within the Mosaic Law are natural Laws written specifically for Israel, but some have overlapped into the Apostle's writings because they also have been written on the tables of every man's heart. These laws are the ones that forbid murder, adultery, theft and the like. Tithing falls neither into the Judicial nor the Moral Laws. Tithing is a Ceremonial Law, just as is marriage, dietary, sanitary and observing the Sabbaths are. 

The Moral laws have been adopted because they are universal to us all. But, the Ceremonial and Judicial Laws of Israel cannot be adopted. Why? Because there are certain Laws which only apply to the people living on Jewish soil. These Laws of Israel have never applied to laws in our western societies. Some have said, "Well, God doesn't say we couldn't tithe!" Okay then. Let's use that logic. If He didn't say we couldn't tithe, then if we do tithe, we must do it as He prescribes. That makes sense, doesn't it? Let's see if we tithe the way we assume He wants us to.

For years Christians have said, "If it's not in the Bible, I won't do it!" Or, "I do things the way the Bible teaches it!" Oh really? Let's see if we tithe as the Bible teaches it. Perhaps we missed a thing or two. Let's ask ourselves, 'Do we observe the Tithe Cycle?' 'Do we give our tithes in the form of agricultural Products only?' 'Do we give of our tithes every third year to the Levite, the stranger, the fatherless and to the widow exclusively?' 'Do we only tithe three times a year?' 'Do we observe God's command to not tithe every seventh year?' According to Deuteronomy 26 and James 2, if we observe just some of the Law and ignored another part of the Law, we have Transgressed ALL of God's Law. Sobering, isn't it?

Many who preach against 'cherry-picking' among which of God's Law to observe and which to ignore are the very ones who commit the same 'cherry-picking' they condemn. They assume that since we are not 'under the Law' we can select which ones to observe and which ones to leave alone. That's not how God works. It's either ALL or NONE concerning His Law. We're the ones transgressing when we try to live even a fraction of His Ceremonial, Judicial or Moral Laws because we do it so badly and incompletely. Again, no matter how good we are at performing just a fraction of His laws, if we mess up on another law, or don't bother to observe it, we are still transgressing against His Law. In other words, even if we tithe correctly (which we don't), and don't observe the dietary portion of that law, we have broken the whole Law.

Jesus died and rose to free us from those three parts of the Mosaic Law. When we try to live a Law that wasn't meant for us, we are slapping Jesus in His Holy face! We do this when we tithe off our incomes. Why? Because He obliterated the Law through His work on the cross. By tithing, we are adding to His work. We are supposed to be serving Him in the Age of Grace, not the Age of Works! No matter how well or faithful we are at tithing, we are still transgressing against His Law because we do not do it as He prescribed. Christians are woefully ignorant of God's Law and who it pertains to. Remember, there are 613 Mosaic Laws to observe. Do we know them all? I sure don't! How can I keep a law I don't even know exists? To illustrate these points, here are some nuggets regarding the tithe that we might be interested in knowing: 

  • The tithe was never money, although money was widely used among the Jews in that day and age
  • The tithe was always agricultural in nature (Produce and Livestock)
  • The tithe was always derived from the seed of the land within the borders of Israel
  • The tithe was given three times a year during the harvest periods
  • The tithe was only given by landowners
  • Levites tithed of the best of the tenth they received from the landowners
  • Levites gave their tenth to the priests
  • The priests NEVER tithed
  • The priests couldn't own land or Property
  • Anyone who was not a farmer was not allowed to tithe
  • No outsider (Gentile) was allowed to tithe
  • No imports were allowed
  • Moses, Jesus, Peter, Paul, John nor the other Apostles tithed
  • Abraham didn't tithe off his assets. He tithed only once from the spoils from the slaughter of the kings
  • Jacob never tithed. He made a deal with God, but it was not recorded that he ever made good on his Promise to tithe
  • Nowhere did Jesus nor the Apostles command Christians to tithe
  • We are not under the Law of Moses, therefore we are not obligated to tithe
  • Tithing is NOT a moral, ethical, Biblical, timeless principle we are supposed to obey
  • Tithers were restricted to dietary laws concerning what they could eat during the tithe
  • The tithe was always consumed (eaten)

These are just twenty notables I'm sure most didn't know. In reference to Abraham's tithe, he didn't do it out of an obligation, but as a gesture of sincere gratitude toward God. That doesn't translate as an obligation for us to tithe either. Assuming that we need to tithe because Abraham did (one time) is a supposed and imposed doctrine from the pulpit and not from Scripture. Now allow me to turn the tables and mention that I haven't even gotten into why pastors shouldn't receive tithes as a means of support. If we'd like to know about that, see the posts entitled, 'Should Pastors Be Paid?' and 'The Hireling.'

If steam is coming out from under our collars, why not calm down and 'Take The Tithe Test' to the left in the Post Titles list. This will give us a chance to find out what we really know about the tithe. Go on; it'll only take five minutes of our time. If we fail it (and we will), perhaps we'll see more clearly what the tithe was all about. Lets ask ourselves: 'Does tithing really apply to us? And if so, since it is a part of the Mosaic Law, are we really supposed to observe all of the Ceremonial Laws as well as the Judicial and Moral codes? Can we live one part of the Law and pick and choose which ones to observe and which ones we don't without transgressing against God? If we observe tithing, mustn't we observe the sanitation and dietary laws that go along with tithing? Are we breaking the Law when we tithe?'

Tithing wasn't a natural Law. It wasn't a Judicial Law and it certainly wasn't a Moral Law. It was a Jewish Ceremonial Law. How we got mixed up in it is a long story, but we have ample resources in this blog to explain the who's, how's and why's we got into this mess. Instead of using a weak argument that God has blessed us mightily since we began to tithe, consider this: God rains specific blessings upon the just and the unjust. He also blesses us despite our ignorance. It's not because we tithe to a 'Church.' I urge us to stop breaking God's Law by tithing. If we want to give, see my post, 'Giving the Apostle's Way.' Remember, if we observe one part of the Law, we must observe the whole Law. When we don't, we are transgressing against God, even if our intentions are good. I hope this helps all who read this. Thank you for visiting ChurchPros.


  1. Also, true to Jacob's personality, Jacob made a "conditional" agreement with God. His tithe was conditional and like you said, never recorded.

  2. And after Abraham tithed off the spoils of war,he did not keep anything "Save only that which the young men have eaten, and the portion of the men which went with me, Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre; let them take their portion." Funny how that never gets address from the pulpit.

  3. Yes, I know! I continually laugh myself silly over the obvious omission from the pulpit of this fact.