Friday, December 28, 2012

Jesus And The Law On Tithing

Mark 7:9, "And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition."

* Note: When the Author renders the word 'Church' as shown here, he is referring to the Mainstream, Institutional Corporate Entity Religious Establishment of our Modern era. When he renders the word church in all lower case letters, he is referring to Christ's Authentic, Legitimate Home base assembly, which He created during His ministry and continues to build.

I will begin this article with a simple question. If Jesus fulfilled the Law, including every jot and every tittle, why then didn't He tithe as unto the Law? There is a simple answer, but, before I reveal it, I would like the reader to know that to accept the answer would be to reject the practice of Income Tithing within His New Covenant church.

2Corinthians 8:9, "For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich." 

Matthew 8:20, "And Jesus saith unto him, The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head."

Luke 9:58, "And Jesus said unto him, Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head."

It is recorded that Jesus Christ had no possessions of His own. He didn't own land, a house, a boat or even a pillow to lay His head. A lot of folks may begin their argument with, "Well, tithing wasn't a law!" Are you so sure? According to the Old Testament and the New Testament, tithing was a law. In fact, it was one of the Ceremonial Laws created for the Hebrew alone. Hebrews 7:5, "And verily they that are of the sons of Levi, who receive the office of the priesthood, have a commandment to take tithes of the people according to the law, that is, of their brethren, though they come out of the loins of Abraham:" Wow! Look at that! Tithing was a law! In fact, it remained a ceremonial law until Jesus gave up the Ghost on the cross and the Veil in the Temple was rent in two. So yes; it was a law, but only until Jesus fulfilled the Law. I'm glad we got that settled. 

But a question arises that if Jesus fulfilled all of the Law but never tithed as unto the Law, how could He have fulfilled it? That is a very good question and bears answering. 

Without complicating matters and getting off subject I'll try and condense the answer. The Mosaic Law was broken down into three sections, one sometimes overlapping another. There was the Moral Laws (the "Shall's" and "Shalt Nots" of the Ten Commandments, which were later broken down into specifics in the other four books of the Pentitude). There were the Civil Laws the governed within the borders of Israel and local jurisdictions. And then there were the Ceremonial Laws which were purely ceremonial in nature to the Aaronic priests and Levites to administer. 

Jesus was from a different tribe than Levi, which produced the Levitical priesthood. He was from the tribe of Judah. Since Jesus didn't own land or farmed as a tenant farmer as the Levites did, He was free of tithing to the public and the Aaronic priests. You see, Levites couldn't own land, but they could work as tenant farmers on the land they rented. Tithes were given to the Levites during the tithe cycle along with widows, orphans and strangers. But what the Levite was required to do that the widow, orphan and stranger was not, was to give ten percent of the best of the tithe they received to the Aaronic priests. The Aaronic pries would consume the tithe (always in the form of food and drink) on behalf of the LORD. Since Jesus wasn't a Levite and owned no property, He was as exempt of tithing as a widow, an orphan or a stranger to give whatever He received to the Aaronic priesthood as is required by the Levite. Jesus was still perfectly fulfilling the Law on tithing by not tithing at all! 

Okay, moving on with the lesson... Even though the practice of tithing was well into play before the Hebrews became a people, God's rendition of the tithe was totally separate from the original tithe, which was a tribute to Gentile kings. The Gentile tithe was a mixture of money, goods and agricultural Products, whereas the tithe in Israel was Produce and livestock only. Money was never directly used as the tithe in Israel because money couldn't be consumed. Physical consumption of the tithe was a mandate from God to everyone who partook of the tithe. The only time money was used indirectly was when the tither had a tithe load so large that he couldn't transport it to the suburb where the tithe festival was to be held. He was allowed to exchange the tithe into money, carry it in his hand to the celebration and spend all of that money on whatever his souls desired in the form of food. 

Deuteronomy 14: 24-26, "And if the way be too long for thee, so that thou art not able to carry it; or if the place be too far from thee, which the LORD thy God shall choose to set his name there, when the LORD thy God hath blessed thee: 25 Then shalt thou turn it into money, and bind up the money in thine hand, and shalt go unto the place which the LORD thy God shall choose: 26 And thou shalt bestow that money for whatsoever thy soul lusteth after, for oxen, or for sheep, or for wine, or for strong drink, or for [whatsoever] thy soul desireth: and thou shalt [eat] there before the LORD thy God, and thou shalt rejoice, thou, and thine household," (emphasis [  ] mine). The word 'whatsoever' is referring to food or drink, not a building Project. We know this because the God commanded them to "EAT there before the LORD."

Abram tithed to the priest/king Melchizedek after the event commonly known as, 'the Slaughter of the kings' (Genesis 14). Most tithing Proponents argue that this incident was the catalyst for Christians to practice tithing. They say, "We should tithe the way Abraham tithed." I asked a friend of mine, "Okay, when Abram gave his ten percent to Mel, what did he do with the other 90%?" She didn't know the answer. I wasn't surprised. I know that most Christians have no idea what the tithe is about. They think they know, but they don't. All they know is what their pastors have taught them, which isn't much. 

Their first line of defense is to claim that the Lord blessed them financially since they began to tithe. Of that I have no doubt. He let's the rain fall on the just and the unjust. Just because one tithes doesn't mean He's blessing us because we tithe. I believe he blesses us because of our attitude of being a 'Cheerful giver.' But mostly, He blesses us because of Who He is, not so much because of who we are. He also blesses those who know better and do not tithe. Those who abstain from tithing, as we know it today, give of their gifts directly to the needy. The lame, poor, blind, widow, orphan, etc are to get one's offerings, not a pastor or a business entity disguised as a church. See posts, 'Giving the Apostle's Way 1 & 2' for more. True Christian charity is to give to those directly in need not to a board of trustees. Just because we do not tithe to a building doesn't mean we don't give Biblically. We actually give more Biblically than the average tither. Like I said, most Believers have no idea what the tithe is all about. See my post entitled 'Take The Tithe Test' to see how much you know about the tithe. Go ahead. It'll only take five minutes. When we see our scores, maybe we might want to explore more posts in this blog regarding the tithe for a more in depth look. They're easy to spot.

The answer to the 90% question is that Abe gave the other 90% away to the king of Sodom. If we are to use Abram's tithe as our model for tithing, as my good friend argues, then we should do as he did, right? So, what do you do with the other 90% of your paychecks? Hmmmmm? I'm sorry, but we can't have it both ways. We might as well say that Obamacare is good enough for us, but not good enough for the Commander In Chief or members of the House and Senate. (Incidentally, they voted that they are to be exempt from accepting Obamacare. I wonder why?) It seems that our Pro-income Tithing friends are legalistically minded about giving their tenth to a business entity, but as we'll soon see, I doubt they'll be fanatical about it once they see the rules God has imposed on those who tithe. 

Let's see what God says about this double standard concerning the tithe: "When thou hast made an end of tithing all the tithes of thine increase the third year, which is the year of tithing, and hast given it unto the Levite, the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, that they may eat within thy gates, and be filled; 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:" ~Deuteronomy 26:12-13.

According to God's Law on tithing, when a person tithes the third year in a seven year tithe cycle, they should give all of the tithe away to the Levite, stranger, fatherless (orphan) and the widow. Do we know of any tithers who do this? I don't! If we do this as prescribed of God, we do not transgress His Law. If we don't, we do! This means that in years one and two, four and five of the tithe cycle, they are to share and take part of their own tithe. When's the last time you partook of your own tithe? When do you schedule a Feast to share your tithe these years? To what suburb does God direct you to? And what do you tithe the seventh year? Like I said, most Believers don't know much about God's rules for tithing. If He is our God, then we must follow His rules, right? To know more about the 'tithe cycle' I refer the reader to the post 'What Is The Tithe Cycle and Who Was Exempt From Tithing?' Do you follow God's rules for the tithe? If not, how come? Let us see the consequences of steering away from God's prescription for tithing and forgetting this group of people we are not to forget in the third and sixth years of the tithe cycle.

Galatians 3:10, "For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them."

This is not Plug-in theology. This fits consistently with what God says in Deuteronomy 26:12-13. So, we see that a curse is placed upon all those ("as many") who "are of the works of the law." This includes anyone who tithes who do not follow God's prescription for tithing. They try and follow a law that was never meant for them, yet they say they are not following the law. If they are not following the law on tithing, then why do they tithe? It doesn't make any sense! They don't give it to the right people. For most, they don't even know a Levite to give the tithe! They certainly don't give it directly to the orphan or widow. Chances are they don't even know what a "stranger" is. They don't tithe food and livestock as the Israeli's are commanded. They don't eat their tithe in the prescribed order of the tithe cycle and in celebration directed by God. They give tithes of money, which cannot be consumed. They don't take a sabbatical from tithing every seven years as is commanded. They do not derive the tithe from the borders of Israel and from the seed of the land. They don't even own land in Israel. They virtually ignore God's wishes. In fact, they're making up their own rules as they go.

Let me ask a personal question: Do we tithe as God has prescribed in Deuteronomy 14 & 26? Don't forget that there is even more on the tithe in the books of Numbers 18 and Leviticus 27 to consider. If we don't tithe as God prescribes, yet we still insist on tithing our own way, what is the result? According to Galatians 3:10, we are cursed with a curse. In short, what in God's Word makes us think that we must perform one part of the law on tithing and ignore the others? It's sad to see, but that's exactly what is happening.

To continue on, let's look at Abram and the tithe more closely. The key is in his name. When he tithed to Mel, he was still Abram. God had not yet separated him as the father of the Hebrew nation until years later. When that happened he was renamed Abraham. In other words, he was still a Gentile when he tithed to Mel. His tithe to Mel were the 'spoils' of the slaughter, not from an income. And what's more, it only happened ONCE. I can hear my detractors saying, "But it was an income!" Oh? When's the last time you received a paycheck by slaughtering people, (unless you work in an Abortion Clinic, Planned Parenthood or as a Mercenary)? No, Abram took the spoils in war; he didn't earn them from an occupation.

Anyway, centuries pass and we come to the Mosaic Ceremonial Law on tithing.To those who don't know this, the Mosaic Law was broken into three segments. There were the Ceremonial Laws, the Judicial Laws and the Moral Laws. Guess which one applies to Gentiles? That's right; the Moral laws. The Judicial laws don't apply for the same reason other nation's judicial laws don't apply. We are out of Israel's jurisdiction. The Jewish Ceremonial laws don't apply to us because we are not Hebrews! But, the 'Thou shalt Not's' do apply because they are morally based.

This Ceremonial Hebrew law concerning the tithe had stipulations. One of the most glaring is that one had to be a landowner within the borders of Israel. To be allowed to tithe, one must be a farmer or an herdsmen that owned land. And in case this crossed your mind, money was in wide use during this time. Abraham paid 400 pieces of silver to buy a burial cave for Sarah, and that was way before the law of Moses. Even during the time period I am writing about, money was widely used in Israel as a mode of exchange. Not only that, but there were at least two different denominations of money in Israel at that time. One was commonly know as a shekel and the other was called an Imperial shekel (a.k.a. 'shekel of the sanctuary' = 20 gerahs). The difference? The Imperial shekel had more silver weight added to it. See my post, "Was Money Used Before Tithing Became A Law In Israel?' to learn more.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't believe Jesus owned land. Yes, I know He owns the cattle on a thousand hills, but that's not the point. According to 2Corinthians 8:9 He became poor for our benefit. He was impoverished. So, He didn't have title to any land while He walked this earth during His ministry. This alone would disqualify Him from having to tithe. As a matter of fact, by NOT tithing, He was fulfilling the Law. If He had tithed, without owning land in Israel, He would have transgressed His own Law. 

He wasn't alone. Widows couldn't tithe either. They were counted among those singled out by God to receive tithes from the people along with the orphan, the stranger and the Levite. "And the Levite, (because he hath no part nor inheritance with thee,) and the stranger, and the fatherless, and the widow, which are within thy gates, shall come, and shall eat and be satisfied; that the LORD thy God may bless thee in all the work of thine hand which thou doest." ~ Deuteronomy 14:29. Notice that the tithe was to be eaten, not spent.  

My good friend tried to argue with me that the widow's mite was a tithe. The two mites couldn't have been a tithe because the poor woman cast in all that she had. All that she had is considerably more than ten percent. If the two mites were all that she had, that means she didn't own land. And, if one didn't own land, this disqualifies her from tithing. Not only that, but her two mites were just an offering to the treasury. My friend just couldn't see what I was trying to show her because her mind was filled with her pastor's fables and false assumptions. The widow was Prohibited by LAW from tithing. Why? Because she didn't own or work her own land in Israel. My friend just couldn't separate the truth from the fairy tale. 

The Levite, stranger, orphan and the widow weren't the only ones exempt. As it turns out, no one who didn't own land could tithe. That means that the Blacksmith, Fisherman, Tanner, Weaver, or anyone else who held these positions, and more, couldn't tithe if they didn't own land and work that land. Just because it is widely accepted that Jesus was a Carpenter doesn't mean He tithed. Just because the widow threw in her mites doesn't mean she was tithing. See my post, 'Was The Widow's Mite a Tithe?' The tithe had to be Produce or livestock from the seed of the land of Israel, period. To add an income to this is to add to the Law. And we all know what a No-No that is.

So, did Jesus fulfill the Law? Of course, but that doesn't mean that He tithed. He was exempt because He didn't own land. He knew that most of His followers wouldn't be landowners either. None of His Apostles ever commanded a tithe for Believers. Just because the tithe is in the O.T. doesn't mean that it applies to us in the New Covenant. That is called 'Plug-In Theology.' It is a system of doctrinally spiritulizing and superimposing one set of laws in the O.T. where they don't belong in the N.T. The fact is, income tithing as we know it today didn't become popular here in America until the 1830's. Before that it was never taught to Christians in the form we see it today. Neither Spurgeon, Calvin, Knox, Luther, Wesley, or Zwingli taught about tithing. Even those who wrote fairy tales like, Aesop or Hans Christian Andersen never taught the tithe.

Hebrews 7:5 specifically states that it is the Levite who is supposed to accept tithes from the people. Was Jesus a Levite? No. He was from the tribe of Juda. That disqualified Him from receiving tithes as well as not giving tithes to the Levite. In effect, He fulfilled the law on tithing from both directions. He did it correctly. He's the Leader of His church, so why don't His followers follow in His footsteps? Actually, that's a loaded question because His followers in His model for church do follow Him. But, His followers in man's model for 'Church' follow man's prescription for the tithe. Christ never commanded it. He never even mentioned it! Only pastor's and those steeped in the traditions of men and within the Institution command it. Why? Because that is the only way they know to fund their Institutional enterprises.

By the way, the incident of the coin being plucked from the mouth of a fish had to do with a kings tribute, not a tithe, so we can dispel that argument right there. If tithing in the New Covenant church is such a hot topic, then why is Jesus so silent about it within His Word? The only ones who would have you believe tithing is a "Biblical Principle" are those who benefit most from Income Tithing.

When Jesus began His ministry, it was nearing the end of the Old Testament. The New Testament didn't begin until Christ rose from the dead. When He became a man, according to Hebrew Law at the age of thirty, He didn't own a thing. This means that for three whole years, He didn't tithe. When He rose from the grave, He still didn't own land in Israel in the sense that a farmer or herdsmen did. If the Creator of our church didn't tithe, and didn't command the tithe from His assembly, what makes us think that we must tithe? Pastors do! They're the ones who mostly benefit from it. Not all pastors, but most. This shouldn't be. See my post, 'Should Pastors Be Paid?' and 'The Hireling' to see why.

Why are we in this tithing mess? Simple. Mark 7:7-9 has the answer. "Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. 8 For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do. 9 And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition."  

Jesus here is addressing the religious establishment of His day. The Pharisees and scribes asked Him why His disciples ignore the traditions of the elders. The answer is sharp and telling. He really knows how to get to the heart of the matter without pulling any punches. He tells them that their own traditions have gotten in the way of God's commandments. Nothing has changed. Today we see the same thing going on in the Institutional 'Church.' Pastors bellow out Malachi 3:8, "Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings" as their rallying cry to persuade their congregation to tithe money. But, they blatantly ignore the rest of what God's says regarding the tithe. They also ignore the fact that God, in Malachi is speaking to the Aaronic priesthood. It's always a good idea to read through chapters 1 and 2 before making an assumption of who God is directing His remarks toward in chapter 3. 

First off, the tithes and offerings God speaks of has to do with the lack of quality of the animals the priests were sacrificing. These animals came from the 'Levitical tithe' of livestock. When the word 'offerings' is used in Malachi 3:8, God is talking about an 'offering up' of an animal at the brazen altar, not an offering of pocket change in an offering plate. Secondly, The priesthood He is speaking to are among the sons of Aaron out of the tribe of Levi. His remarks do not superimpose us as "priests and kings" into the Levitical fold because Jesus Christ's Priesthood stems from a different tribe.

Hebrews 7 makes it clear that we have a new priesthood, which sprang out of the tribe of Juda. Moses never directed any other tribe than the Levites to receive tithes and offerings from the people. And he certainly never commanded any other tribe to sacrifice animals at the brazen altar other than the Levitical Aaronic priesthood. Hebrews 7:12-14, "For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law. 13 For he of whom these things are spoken pertaineth to another tribe, of which no man gave attendance at the altar. 14 For it is evident that our Lord sprang out of Juda; of which tribe Moses spake nothing concerning priesthood." Third; priests never tithed. The tithes they received were received on behalf of the LORD. They had no inheritance of land. Their job was to receive tithes, and offer up sacrifices on the brazen altar. These men weren't farmers or herdsmen. They were priests.

God NEEDED to change the Law! ~verse 12. But that didn't mean He changed it to Believers tithing of their income. If He had, He would have spelled it out plainly. Some might be grasping at straws and say that God meant us to tithe, but this argument comes from desperation to save their beloved buildings and enterprises.
We as blood washed believers can never rob God of tithes and offerings because we do not sacrifice animals at the altar in Jerusalem. The Problem comes when people get the wrong idea of what words like 'tithes' and 'offerings' mean. They think it means income tithing and money offerings into a collection plate when "tithing" actually means food and "offerings" means animal sacrifices. Where did we go wrong? We listen to men behind the pulpit who listened to men before them. The thing is, they don't go back far enough. Instead of going back to what pastor So-n-so taught in 1850, they should start with what Jesus and Paul said in the N.T. 

What's more, there is no need to sacrifice animals any longer because Jesus was our sufficient sacrifice once and for all. Not only that, since the tithes and offerings spoken of in Malachi was not money how could this translate into the lives of New Covenant believers? Verse 10 reads, "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." The Levitical tithe, or tenth, was the tenth animal that passed under the Levitical rod. In fact, they were meat on the hoof, not shekels. The priests ate these sacrifices after they were offered up to God. To say that the tithes and offerings in Malachi 3:8 is money, is wresting the Scriptures and wicked manipulation from the pulpit.

When the LORD admonishes in verse 9, "Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation," He is speaking to the priests in Israel, because the same thought from verse 8 is carried over into verse 9. He even points out that not only were they robbing God, they were robbing Israel! Sounds a lot like what the clergy is doing to their congregants today! The pastors today are robbing their congregations of Income tithes and monetary offerings. Malichi chapters 1-4 are NOT referring to New Covenant saints of Jesus Christ. They are addressing the Levitical Aaronic priests of the Old Testament. To say otherwise, is grossly inaccurate. And, to those who know better (like a pastor should), exceedingly deceitful.

The traditions of today's Institutional 'Church' such as income tithing, Faith Promise Missions, para-ministries and more have become their god. In their minds, Jesus' commandments have gone the way of the Dodo. Are they deceived? Yes. Are they without excuse? No. Their Properties, Programs and Professional clergy supported by Income Tithing has replaced God in the Institutional 'Church,' just as the Sabbath and the elder's traditions had replaced God for the Jewish nation.

Yes, Jesus fulfilled the law on tithing by not tithing. He never commanded it as a Biblical Principle for His New Covenant church or any individual Believer. Let God grant us the wisdom to see that it is better for us to adhere to His example rather than man's.


  1. Well done, This looks like the real McCoy.
    Are we that far off on tithing?

    1. Sadly, in most cases, yes. We've been so bamboozled into believing what the pastor says about the tithe, we are lulled into believing most false doctrines that accompany it. It all stems from the false model for an Institutional 'Church' System. Someone has to fund it to keep it alive. The money comes from the tithe. Eliminate the Income Tithe and the Institution folds like a house of cards. It's interesting that the Professional Pastor, Institutional 'Church' Building and the Tithe are so intertwined. One can easily see that one cannot survive very long without the other. Christ's Home based assembly needs no funds to operate as His church because there is no building or profession to financially maintain. It's a beautiful model, which frees us all from the bondage of the tithe. Thanks for the comment.

  2. I tend to agree with all you write. BUT, what do we do with all the existing churches, their buildings (some with mortgages), etc.?
    In Him,

    1. Thank you for the comment, Jim. To answer your question, "BUT, what do we do with all the existing churches, their buildings (some with mortgages), etc?" [WE] aren't supposed to do anything with them. Since man's model for 'Church' isn't Christ's model for church, how can we be responsible for them? It's like saying, "What do we do with all of the synagogues if they all disbanded?" Again, not His model and we're not supposed to be connected with them. Let's say that a body of believers disband in your 'Church' and form churches in homes, what happens to that 'Church', building and mortgage? The very ones who pushed for man's 'Church' model to be installed will be the one's responsible for it's debt. As it stands now, if one or two families leave your 'Church' little fuss is made over it. The 'Churches' attitude is, "Well, God will send another family to replace them." To them, it's no big deal. But, when all of the families leave, it WILL be a big deal to them. Why? Because those families represent income. That income is what drove that model to begin with. Remove the money and what have you got? A failed business. And that's all a man made 'Church' is; a business. Christ never set up His church to become a business entity. So, what do [WE] do with these 'Churches' (businesses) and their buildings and mortgages? Absolutely nothing. They're not our concern and we shouldn't have a part in them. I hope this answers your question. Have a blessed day.