Monday, September 12, 2011

Biblical Christianity regarding TITHING

Why the Tithe?

Deut. 18:
1.  The priests the Levites, and all the tribe of Levi, shall have no part nor inheritance with Israel: they shall eat the offerings of the Lord made by fire, and his inheritance.
 2.  Therefore shall they have no inheritance among their brethren: the Lord is their inheritance, as he hath said unto them.
 3.  And this shall be the priest's due from the people, from them that offer a sacrifice, whether it be ox or sheep; and they shall give unto the priest the shoulder, and the two cheeks, and the maw.
 4.  The firstfruit also of thy corn, of thy wine, and of thine oil, and the first of the fleece of thy sheep, shalt thou give him.
 5.  For the Lord thy God hath chosen him out of all thy tribes, to stand to minister in the name of the Lord, him and his sons for ever.

Numbers 18:
5.  And ye shall keep the charge of the sanctuary, and the charge of the altar: that there be no wrath any more upon the children of Israel.
 6.  And I, behold, I have taken your brethren the Levites from among the children of Israel: to you they are given as a gift for the Lord, to do the service of the tabernacle of the congregation.
 7.  Therefore thou and thy sons with thee shall keep your priest's office for every thing of the altar, and within the vail; and ye shall serve: I have given your priest's office unto you as a service of gift: and the stranger that cometh nigh shall be put to death.
 8.  And the Lord spake unto Aaron, Behold, I also have given thee the charge of mine heave offerings of all the hallowed things of the children of Israel; unto thee have I given them by reason of the anointing, and to thy sons, by an ordinance for ever.
 9.  This shall be thine of the most holy things, reserved from the fire: every oblation of theirs, every meat offering of theirs, and every sin offering of theirs, and every trespass offering of theirs which they shall render unto me, shall be most holy for thee and for thy sons.
 10.  In the most holy place shalt thou eat it; every male shall eat it: it shall be holy unto thee.
 11.  And this is thine; the heave offering of their gift, with all the wave offerings of the children of Israel: I have given them unto thee, and to thy sons and to thy daughters with thee, by a statute for ever: every one that is clean in thy house shall eat of it.
 12.  All the best of the oil, and all the best of the wine, and of the wheat, the firstfruits of them which they shall offer unto the Lord, them have I given thee.
 13.  And whatsoever is first ripe in the land, which they shall bring unto the Lord, shall be thine; every one that is clean in thine house shall eat of it.
 14.  Every thing devoted in Israel shall be thine.

17.  But the firstling of a cow, or the firstling of a sheep, or the firstling of a goat, thou shalt not redeem; they are holy: thou shalt sprinkle their blood upon the altar, and shalt burn their fat for an offering made by fire, for a sweet savour unto the Lord.
 18.  And the flesh of them shall be thine, as the wave breast and as the right shoulder are thine.
 19.  All the heave offerings of the holy things, which the children of Israel offer unto the Lord, have I given thee, and thy sons and thy daughters with thee, by a statute for ever: it is a covenant of salt for ever before the Lord unto thee and to thy seed with thee.
20.  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.
 21.  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.

31.  And ye shall eat it in every place, ye and your households: for it is your reward for your service in the tabernacle of the congregation.

Was the tithe only for the priesthood?

12.  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.

After receiving the tithes from the Israelites, the priests in turn were required to also give ten percent of what was given to them.[*9] [Nu18:21-28] Every third year the tithe was to be reserved as a festival tithe and everything brought for the Levites was shared so strangers, orphans, widows and the poor could come and eat and be content [*10][De 14:27-29; 15:1-7; 26:12-13, etc] In fact, the one festival and related tithes was provided for the people to go and spend the tithe on purchasing anything they lusted after or desired, by commandment of God.[*11] [Deut 14:22-27]
Rev.1: 6.  And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.  (Not clergy only)

How Did the OT Law of the Tithe get into the NT Church?
(all of the information for this section  is from:
The Catholic church in fact, viewed the replacement of the Levite priests with sacred ministers. The New Advent article on Tithes, stated that:

"...In the Christian Church, as those who serve the altar should live by the altar (1 Cor., ix, 13), provision of some kind had necessarily to be made for the sacred ministers. In the beginning this was supplied by the spontaneous offerings of the faithful. In the course of time, however, as the Church expanded and various institutions arose, it became necessary to make laws which would insure the proper and permanent support of the clergy. The payment of tithes was adopted from the Old Law, and early writers speak of it as a divine ordinance and an obligation of conscience. The earliest positive legislation on the subject seems to be contained in the letter of the bishops assembled at Tours in 567 and the cannons of the Council of Macon in 585. In course of time, we find the payment of tithes made obligatory by ecclesiastical enactments in all the countries of christendom. The Church looked on this payment as "of divine law, since tithes were instituted not by man but by the Lord Himself ...In English statute law proper, however, the first mention of tithes is to be found in the Statute of Westminister of 1285. ...There are many exempted from the paying of tithes: spiritual corporations, the owners of uncultivated lands, those who have acquired lawful prescription, or heave obtained a legal renunciation, or received a privilege from the pope. At first, the tithe was payable to the bishop, but later the right passed by common law to parish priests...." [bolding added]

Please note that according to Catholic sources based on historical documentation, the saints including any leadership were supported solely by freewill giving, not the tithe, from the time of the Apostles and for about 500 years, until the Catholic church reinstituted it. They in fact became the appointed priesthood and in many places that were controlled by the Catholic church it became a state or provincial law that tithing was required. In fact in Quebec Canada it remains a provincial law that the tithe is required.

The questions become, that since the tithe was instituted under the Mosaic Law which was given to the Hebrew people, is it to be kept, while the other Laws are not? Are the Hebraic Roots leaders the "new" Levite priesthood, or is that authority and job aligned to "Christian pastors", which some Christians claim also replaces the Levite priesthood? 

If the Law of Moses is to be kept for tithing, then the rest of the Law must also be kept, according to the Word of God. That includes the food Laws, clean/unclean, circumcision, stoning rebellious children and stoning those caught in adultery, which includes far too many in leadership and outside of leadership. 

Galatians 3:7 Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham. 
8 And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed. 
9 So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham.
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.
11 But that no man is justified by the law
in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith.
12 And the law is not of faith: but, The man that doeth them shall live in them.
13 Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:

New Testament on Tithing
Matt.23: 23.  Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.  (LAW)

Luke 11:42 42.  But woe unto you, Pharisees! for ye tithe mint and rue and all manner of herbs, and pass over judgment and the love of God: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone. (LAW-same instance)

Luke 18: 10.  Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican.
 11.  The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.
 12.  I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.  (LAW)

Hebrews 7: 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 him;
 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;
 3.  Without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life; but made like unto the Son of God; abideth a priest continually.
 4.  Now consider how great this man was, unto whom even the patriarch Abraham gave the tenth of the spoils.
 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:
 6.  But he whose descent is not counted from them received tithes of Abraham, and blessed him that had the promises.
 7.  And without all contradiction the less is blessed of the better.
 8.  And here men that die receive tithes; (under the LAW) but there he receiveth them, of whom it is witnessed that he liveth.

This scripture is the favorite of many who teach the NT church is to pay tithes…not because of the law, but because Abraham paid to Melchisedec a tenth of the spoils of war one time….BEFORE IT BECAME LAW!  That’s the argument…tithes predates the law and so supersedes the law.   Not because he was instructed to by God , but because he chose to.

Animal sacrifice predates the law too, does that supersede the law?  Nobody that teaches a required tithe teaches a continued animal sacrifice.  But, it predates the law!  Why chose one over the other?  Is it perhaps because the preacher or organization lives off of the tithe?  The Levites had no other means of support.  They obtained no inheritance with Israel.   Do preachers today claim to have no inheritance with the rest of the church?  Hardly.

Other Used NT Scriptures to support Tithing.

1 Cor. 9: 4.  Have we not power to eat and to drink?
 5.  Have we not power to lead about a sister, a wife, as well as other apostles, and as the brethren of the Lord, and Cephas?
 6.  Or I only and Barnabas, have not we power to forbear working?
 7.  Who goeth a warfare any time at his own charges? who planteth a vineyard, and eateth not of the fruit thereof? or who feedeth a flock, and eateth not of the milk of the flock?
 8.  Say I these things as a man? or saith not the law the same also?
 9.  For it is written in the law of Moses, Thou shalt not muzzle the mouth of the ox that treadeth out the corn. Doth God take care for oxen?
 10.  Or saith he it altogether for our sakes? For our sakes, no doubt, this is written: that he that ploweth should plow in hope; and that he that thresheth in hope should be partaker of his hope.
 11.  If we have sown unto you spiritual things, is it a great thing if we shall reap your carnal things?
 12.  If others be partakers of this power over you, are not we rather? Nevertheless we have not used this power; but suffer all things, lest we should hinder the gospel of Christ.
 13.  Do ye not know that they which minister about holy things live of the things of the temple? and they which wait at the altar are partakers with the altar?
 14.  Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel.

But they rarely teach the rest of this line of thought…

 15.  But I have used none of these things: neither have I written these things, that it should be so done unto me: for it were better for me to die, than that any man should make my glorying void.
 16.  For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel!
 17.  For if I do this thing willingly, I have a reward: but if against my will, a dispensation of the gospel is committed unto me.
 18.  What is my reward then? Verily that, when I preach the gospel, I may make the gospel of Christ without charge, that I abuse not my power in the gospel.

So, did Paul mention the law of the tithe? No.  Did Paul teach that ministers are not to support themselves? No.  Did Paul teach that ministers are not to be condemned for living off of charity.  Yes.

Acts 18: 3.  And because he was of the same craft, he abode with them, and wrought: for by their occupation they were tentmakers.  (Here we see Paul supported himself at this time as a tentmaker.)

Paul goes on to say…
Acts 20: 33.  I have coveted no man's silver, or gold, or apparel.
 34.  Yea, ye yourselves know, that these hands have ministered unto my necessities, and to them that were with me.
 35.  I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.

Acts 28: 30.  And Paul dwelt two whole years in his own hired house, and received all that came in unto him,  (apparently Paul wasn’t supplied a parsonage, which many today think they somehow deserve)

Another popular verse to support the tithe…
Gal.6: 6.  Let him that is taught in the word communicate unto him that teacheth in all good things.
 (They teach this means to pay tithes)

Communicate:Strong's Exhaustive Concordance

Romanized  koinoneo

Pronounced koy-no-neh'-o from GSN2844; to share with others (objectively or subjectively): KJV--communicate, distribute, be partaker.   No mention of money or tithes or any amount. 

Philippians 4: 14.  Notwithstanding ye have well done, that ye did communicate with my affliction.
 15.  Now ye Philippians know also, that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church communicated with me as concerning giving and receiving, but ye only.  (Did that mean that Paul taught them to tithe and they rebelled?  It gives no indication of that rendering.  It does seem to indicate a purely voluntary giving.)

And finally,…
1 Timothy 5: 17.  Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine.
 18.  For the scripture saith, Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. And, The labourer is worthy of his reward.  (No mention of tithes or a requirement to financially support the ministry.)

I believe if you love the Lord, love the truth, and love the ministry you will most likely be moved with a desire to support the efforts of the gospel.  I do not believe that believing this makes it acceptable criteria for teaching what the NT does not teach, that the tithe is a requirement for membership in the body, or any body of believers.  I don't believe it is a legitimate prohibition against voting as a member in good standing.  Having the baptism of the holy spirit is the only requirement for being in "good standing".  

1 Cor.12: 13.  For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.

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