Tithe: Four Things Many Christians Do Not Know About Tithe (Part 1)
Tithe is unarguably the most controversial subject, especially in Nigeria for over a decade in Christendom. Having heard different teachings from various teachers of different denominations on the subject of tithe.
I realize that there are 3 conclusions held by Christians concerning tithing as regards the New Testament believers. These beliefs are;
(1) New Testament believers should not tithe at all
(2) Believers who fail to tithe are under severe curses
(3) New Testament believers can tithe cheerfully and willingly without fear of curses.
Now, let us consider certain issues that will enable us to understand this subject easily. We shall consider the Word of God because, upon it alone can sound doctrines can be built (2 Tim. 3:16).
So, be calm as you read through this article. Do not be rigid and do not ignore the truth of God’s Word because ignorance begins when you start ignoring the truth.
No sentiment! You may come across a particular part of the Scriptures in this article that negates your wrong belief about tithe.
Sadly, many church leaders have indoctrinated and brainwashed their members to only understand tithe only from Malachi 3:8-12.
They threaten them with curses in order to siphon money from believer’s pocket. In fact, some churches segregate tithers from non-tithers as they treat tithers respectfully, while they disdain and tag non-tithers as ‘theives.’. This is pitiable!
(1) There Are Two Dispensations Of Tithe namely:
Many times, when some preachers claim that tithing started before the advent of the law, so believers should continue tithing. We should be careful enough to know what this implies.
We must realize that we cannot live according to the law because no one is justified by observing the law (Gal 3:11). Therefore, knowing the two dispensations/regimes of tithe is sacrosanct.
(A) Tithe According to Abraham’s Regime
Abraham was the first person to give tithe (Gen 14:20). Why did he give it? Melchizedek says, ”And blessed be God Most High, who delivered your enemies into your hand (Gen 14:20).’‘ He gave the tenth to the King of Salem in recognition of what God had done for him.
It was an act of worship! Nobody forced him and nobody threatened him with curses to give.
It was done willingly, cheerfully and without compulsion. This kind of giving is the one recommended for all believers in Christ Jesus.
1 Corinthians 9:7;
Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not RELUCTANTLY OR UNDER COMPULSION, for God loves a CHEERFUL GIVER.
So, we can practise this as a way of being rich towards God (Luke 12:21). However, we should give even more than that.
The early church did not have problem with tithing because believers then, were ready to share the property within themselves equally (Acts 4:32). So, they gave more than a tenth of what they had. This is what we should emulate.
There is no compulsory giving but there is only an elective giving in the New Testament. No legalism!
(B) Tithe According to the law
Tithe according to the law was given for those under the law before Christ died and resurrected. It is sheer madness for a New Testament believer to start paying tithe as it was done during Mosaic Law. We shall examine the types of tithe according to the law of Moses in the 2nd thing we should know about tithe.
Romans 6:14 says we are under grace not under the law. Therefore, the three types of tithe cannot be practised by believers in the death and resurrection of Christ Jesus.
The curse described in Malachi 3:9 is ineffective over us as Christians because Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law (Gal 3:13). You are not under any curse if you refuse to pay a tenth of your income to God. In fact, if you try to live according to the law, you are putting yourself under a curse (Gal 3:10).
(2) There Are Three Types Of Tithes
”But you ask, ‘How are we to return?’ ”But you ask ‘How do we rob you?’ ”In TITHES and offerings.”
This verse gives us the understanding that tithe is not limited to one. Hence, there are other types of tithe. Bear in mind that the warning of Malachi on tithes was done in reference to the Law.
It was not in reference to the kind of tithing Abraham practised. According to tithe according to the law, there are three types of tithe namely;
(A) Sacred tithe
I give to the Levites all the tithes in Israel as their inheritance in return for the work they do while serving as the Tent of Meeting.
This tithe went to the Levites for their upkeep. Bear in mind that, among all the 12 tribes of Israel, the Levites were not permitted by God to do any secular job. In essence, they were to stay in the Lord’s temple serving the Lord (Deut. 14:27).
The Lord did this so that the Levites would not go hungry since they were not working like other tribes. More so, he told the Levites not to inherit any land because they were His portion. Additionally, after receiving tithe from the Israelites, they were commanded to present a tenth of that tithe to the Lord.
(B) The tithe Of Feast
Deuteronomy 14:22-23, 26
22, Be sure to set aside a tenth of all that your fields produce EACH YEAR.
23, EAT the tithe of your grain, new wine and oil, and the firstborn of your herds and flocks in the presence of the Lord your God at the place he will choose as a dwelling place for his Name, so that you may learn to revere the Lord your God always.
26, Use the silver to buy whatever you like: cattle, sheep, wine or other fermented drink, or anything you wish. Then you and your household SHALL EAT THERE IN THE PRESENCE OF THE LORD YOUR GOD AND REJOICE.
This kind of tithe is purely for enjoyment and entertainment and it was done once in every year under the law. It is not all the Old Testament tithe that was agricultural produce.
Here, if the place designated for the Israelites was too far, they could convert their produce to money — silver.
Most importantly, the Lord would choose a place for the Israelites to bring together all their tithe of their produce yearly, which they wanted to eat (Deut. 14:26). So, they would sit down and eat there in the presence of the Lord. Why? For them to revere the Name of the Lord.
Believers who say they will practise this kind of tithe do not really understand the subject of tithe as it relates to the New Testament church.
(C) Charity Tithe
28, At the end of EVERY THREE YEARS, bring all the tithes of that year’s produce and store it in your towns,
29, so that the Levites (who have not allotment or inheritance of their own) and the aliens, the fatherless and the widows who live in your towns may come and eat and be satisfied, and so that the Lord your God may bless you in all the work of your hands.
This tithe was to be given at the end of every three years, by the Israelites and it must be stored in their towns. The immigrants, widows, orphans, Levites could eat them and they would be satisfied.
Interestingly, many Christians who claim they are paying their tithe faithfully are oblivious to these types of tithing. And many of them do not pay their tithe faithfully as they claim. Overall cumulative percentage of tithe in the regime of the law is 30 percent not 10 percent, as claimed by some preachers.
The point at issue, therefore is, if we truly want to pay tithe according to the law, using Malachi 3:9-12.
That means, we must endeavour to obey all the 613 laws written in the Old Testament. I am sure many of us cannot do that and once we stumble at one point we are guilty of breaking all the laws. James 2:10 says it better thus;
”For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one points is guilty of breaking all of it.”
What exactly is my conclusion? Watch out for part 2 of this article.
We’ll consider how tithing should be done and how we can be rich towards God as New Testament believers in part 2 of this teaching.
What’s your question?