x514.....Real Stuff About the Tithe
1 "Everyone has to pay the tithe"
This is taught very openly in some churches today. We strive toward 100% of the people paying tithe to the leadership of the church. We hear about it every week--"only 40% of you are tithers---what is wrong with the rest of you"
Churches like this operate by conditional love. "Tithers" have greater rights within these churches--they are treated differently--they are treated as if they are "more advanced" Christians. They may have greater freedom to minister within he church. They will receive "promotion" within he church--whereas people who don't tithe--will never receive promotion--they will never be "allowed" to minister---they are treated as second class citizens. Whether we want to face it or not--we invite the world spirit of the love of money into our churches. We invite all these world concepts into he church--when we operate on he tithe. (Ministry is supposed to be the operational plan for the church--not money--not tithing!)
But in any church which preaches tithing--it is automatically supposed that the Bible says that everyone owes the tithe--no exceptions. Now, we have already understood, that when we study the tithe from he Bible--we understand that it was the offering for sin. this was the purpose of the tithe. It was the 1/10 of certain cops and livestock--which was considered "holy unto the Lord"--this holy offering was given tot he Levitical priests (a priesthood which is specifically done away with in the NT!)--and made as the offering for sin--for Israel. Continual offerings needed to be made in he temple in Jerusalem--(something else tot think about--all tithes were paid in Jerusalem--even the tithe to Melchisedech--remember--he was the high priest of Salem--or Jerusalem--tithing was only for Israel--and only in Jerusalem!!)
The presupposition hat we work from is that everyone owes a tithe. Yet, in the bible, only certain people in Israel paid the tithe. If you raised cattle--or sheep---you paid a tithe out of your livestock---if you were a farmer of certain types of grain--you paid the tithe to the Levities. But, if you were a fisherman--you did not pay tithe! Why not? Because fish was an unclean or "common" meat. Fish were not offered to God for sin---and neither were many of the crops that were grown in Israel at the time. Only the crops and livestock which were considered clean for sin offering were tithed. Therefore, even in Israel, only certain people paid the tithe.
2. The tithe is 1/10 of your "increase"---your "paycheck"
This is also often preached. The words are taken out of context from the Bible and used to say that all of us owe to the leadership of the church, 1/10 of our paycheck--which they say is our "increase". Again if we study this in biblical context we will find what the real system of tithing was all about.
When the Bible talks about 1/10th of your increase, it is saying to people who raised livestock that God wants 1/10th of animals that were added to your herd each year. Think about it. If they gave away 1/10 of their herd each year, they would have no herd left in a short time! God was being very fair in His tithing system to Israel--He was only asking for 1/10 of the animals which were born each year.
Let's say you raised cattle. You have a total herd of 5,000. This year, 700 newborn cattle were added to your herd---this was your "increase". Of this 700--you owed God 70 (1/10th). Those 70 cattle were brought in at the specified time and given to the Levitical priests. They had to slaughter the animals in the proper way--within the temple--and complete all the instructions that God gave them in the Bible for making proper sacrifice. the Levities, in turn, lived off of some of the meat which was sacrificed.
Now lets' say you grew wheat for a living. Each year you brought in a different number of bushels of wheat as your crop---depending on conditions of course. This was your increase. If you harvested 500 bushels of wheat, you owed 50 to the Levities as your tithe.
What if you were a fisherman? Peter was in the Bible--right? He caught lots of fish--was it ever recorded that he paid tithe out of his catch? No---since fish were not something which God asked to be made a sin offering--they were common meat. (it's interesting to note that Jesus said that He would make us fishers of men--meaning ministers---but as fishermen--not as tithe collecting priest with authority one over another!!)
What about the people in Israel who did not raise a crop that was right for tithing? They did not owe a tithe. they had other types of offerings to make during the year----most were sin offerings--but the majority of people actually did not owe a tithe.
3. We owe "tithes and offerings"
This is one that is very familiarly preached.
Again we take these words out of context from the Bible, and mean them to say that all of us owe, not only a tithe (1/10 of our paycheck) but we also owe "offerings' which are taken to mean extra times when we give extra to the leadership of the church--basically because they ask for it. (now don't get me wrong--many of these offerings are used for true Godly purposes--such as a collection for the poor---these are actually more correct than tithing. What we call "offerings" are a little more close to the new testament way of giving---which is for specific purposes in the church--usually to the poor within the church).
but the preaching of "tithes and offerings" is in effect trying to ask people to give by old covenant and new covenant standards! Again the idea comes from old testament words taken out of context.
What was an offering?
On certain days and times, the old covenant asked for specific types of offering to be made. If certain events happened, the word required an offering be made--perhaps a thanksgiving offering--etc. Jesus, (speaking to Israelites who were still in the old covenant--remember the new covenant did not come until He went to the cross!) said to make these offerings as required.
Something else to understand is that the tithe was itself an offering--it was just a specified amount (1/10th) for certain crops and livestock that was made as a sin offering.
Some argue that Melchisedich was given a money tithe from Abraham---But the Bible does not specify this.
1 For this Melchisedec, king of Salem, priest of the most high God,
who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings, and blessed
2 To whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all; first being by interpretation King of righteousness, and after that also King of Salem, which is, King of peace;
(Hebrews 7:1-2, KJV).
The Bible says that Abraham gave a tenth part of all to Melchisedec. Now he, like all receivers of any Biblical tithe--was a priest---and specificallythe high priest of Jerusalem (Jews today do not pay tithe--they understand the specifics of it!!---there is no temple in Jerusalem---no operating priesthood----they would never think of asking their congregations in the USA to give a tithe!!)). But it is reasonable to assume--understanding all the law a about tithing--that Abraham paid Melchisedec a tithe that consisted of animal--herds that Abraham had acquired from his recent battles. In those times, when one king defeated another--he took the herds as his spoils.
In the Bible, the only person who received a tithe, was the high priest of Jerusalem. Is there any record of something called a "new covenant pastor" receiving a tithe? The new covenant church would have felt ridiculous asking for tithes--they understood that their sin was forgiven completely--by the blood of Christ. Christ, who called Himself meat and bread--which were the substance of the tithe.
To say we owe tithes and offerings--is a way to bankrupt the majority of Christians---not of their money--but of their ministry. Tithing is one of the major factors in holding the church to old testament ways of operation and ministry. It assuredly reinforces the idea of ministry only to "some" people--and ministry being a type of rulership within the church. It enforces the idea that ministry is "ruling authority" over others. It steps all over what Jesus said about ministry and authority...
42 But Jesus called them to him, and saith unto them, Ye know that they
which are accounted to rule over the Gentiles exercise lordship over them;
and their great ones exercise authority upon them.
43 But so shall it not be among you: but whosoever will be great among you, shall be your minister:
44 And whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all.
45 For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.
(Mark 10:42-45, KJV).
It affirms the kingdom of the Gentiles--it holds the Roman form of church
operational and government in the church--and rules over the ministries
of all the people within the church. (the concept of "ruling ministry"
is a total contradiction of terms!) It also discourages many unsaved people
from accepting Jesus. When we have attached requirement of 1/10th income
to being a "church member" we have perverted the word of God--and
we send people to hell.