Tithing Discussion


This is my response to a post at Slaughter of the Sheep on Creflo Dollar and something he said on tithes. I am not supporting what he said, but I was defending the position of tithing. For some reason it surprises me that people reject the concept of tithing so much, but to each their own. I question the intent of not tithing when there is such a legalist approach to defending it. Just say you don’t feel like God wants you to tithe and be done with it. My opinion though. 

Actually the term tithe means tenth, which is the percentage of his increase that Abraham gave to Melchizdek. It is true, that it is only mention once that Abraham gave a tenth to a spiritual authority. It is only mentioned once that Jacob gave a tenth to God as well. But now we have two different people that gave a tenth to God. 

Back track to Cain and Abel, both brought an offering but only one was acceptable. Cain’s offering was not rejected because it was of vegetation, it was rejected in the spirit in which it was given. Abel gave of the first of his increase and gave the best of what he had to give. Abel gave cheerfully where as Cain did not. This is the first offering, so following the Law of Firsts, we will see how God honors the first fruits offering and a cheerful offering. 

Abraham also gave a first fruits offering, following tradition, but he gave a certain percentage to a man who represented God. Another Law of Firsts here. Now he gave a tenth of all that he had, so that would be food, livestock as well as material possessions. Everything else he gave to the government authorities. 

Jacob was a bit different in his tenth. His vow was that he would give God a tenth of all that God has given him if God would be with him and keep him, give him bread to eat and clothing to wear so he could go back to his father’s house. Now you could say that God is our father by adoption and say that this would apply to us if we choose to follow the vow. You can be literal and say this was between Jacob and God and was limited until he returned to Isaac. Your choice. 

You mention Deuteronomy 14:22-29 which is a neat passage. This passage starts out with the tenth being used in a feast with God. You are to celebrate the increase that God gave you with Him. If it is too far to travel with the goods, you convert it to money and travel then buy stuff for the feast when you get to the place where God chooses. You are still taking the tenth and using it to honor God. And verse 29, you give a tenth of all your increase to provided for the Levities. A common theme. The people are to provide for those who represent God in a ministerial function. 

If you want to go back to the establishment of the tithes, being plural, to the tabernacle and later temple it was for the provision of the priests. No money was given them as all was provided by the nation. A national religion. They had no rent or utility payments. There was no need for money. There was not just one tithe. A tenth was given for various sins in addition to the tenth given for the yearly increase. The levities even gave a tenth on the tenth that they were given by the people. The spirit is that a tenth is given from the increase to honor god. A tenth is a significant portion. You later see a tenth being the unite of measurement that the King was to collect from the people as a tax for the nation. The tenths to the priests still continued though. 

We have the most quoted tithing verses in Malachi 3. God is talking about being robbed in tithes and offerings. No longer being limited to just a tenth, we now have offerings added on top of it. Now was God only wanting the money going so the priests could focus on the work of ministering to his people? If that is the case, doesn’t it still hold true for today? Maybe it was the spirit in which people were operating in. Perhaps they were not honoring God with their material possession, instead placing all of their trust in them instead of God. I think Jesus alluded to this somewhere =D 

Now Jesus admonished the Pharisees, the legalistic religious people, for giving exactly what was required for the temple. Neither more nor less. They put more emphasis on following the letter of the law instead of the spirit of the law. They focused on acts that were works based instead of acting out of love and service to others. When the poor woman gave, Jesus pointed out how she gave out of her poverty. The woman trusted God to provide for her. 

There was a money keeper with Jesus and money was given to the apostles for the church. Paul openly asked for money in order to support the church and believers around the world, so giving money to the church is not a bad thing. 

Now back to Abraham. While he only gave once, it was mention twice in the Bible. The man who lived by faith and gave money to Melchizdek who’s priesthood Jesus is from is mentioned twice for such a random occurrence. Interesting. 

I don’t hold that everyone is required to give a tenth of their increase to God in order to be faithful. I hold that God made promises to those that want to honor Him with the tenth plus offerings out of the willingness of their heart. If you don’t want to, then don’t. There is nothing written that says you will be struck down or cursed for not doing so. It is not a sin, unless you put it into the love God with all of your heart, mind, and soul. That is between you and God though and I will not be passing judgment. If you want to defend the fact that the tithe is no longer legally required, make sure you are not taking a legalistic approach in your justification. 

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18 Comments

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18 responses to “Tithing Discussion

  1. Reply to Prisoner of Conscience
    https://aprisonerofconscience.wordpress.com/2010/05/20/tithing-discussion/

    Prisoner: For some reason it surprises me that people reject the concept of tithing so much, but to each their own.

    Kelly: We reject it because it is totally indefensible as a New Covenant doctrine. NONE of what the Old Covenant teadhes about tithing is obeyed by any church today.

    Prisoner: I question the intent of not tithing when there is such a legalist approach to defending it.

    Kelly: Pro-tithers are the legalists who must go to the Law to defend it contrary to New Covenant principles of grace. In reality nobody tithes today unless they are an OT Hebrew inside Israel tithing to Levites to support the Temple system.

    Prisoner: Just say you don’t feel like God wants you to tithe and be done with it.

    Kelly: The equality principle in 2nd Corinthians 8:12-14 means that many should give more than ten per cent while others give less. Our firstfruits should go to buy essential medicine, food and shelter per 1 Timothy 5:8.

    Prisoner: Actually the term tithe means tenth, which is the percentage of his increase that Abraham gave to Melchizdek.

    Kelly: Actually the true biblical HOLY tithes were always only food from inside God’s HOLY land which He had miraculously increased. HOLY tithes could not come from what man increased or from outside Israel.

    Prisoner: It is true, that it is only mentioned once that Abraham gave a tenth to a spiritual authority.

    Kelly: Pre-circumcized Gentile Abram (not Abraham) obeyed the law of the land and gave his local king-priest a tithe of spoils of war which did not qualify as a holy tithe under the Law. The Bible does not state that God commanded Abram to tithe or that he tithed freely. He gave th 90% to the king of Sodom and churches do not teach that part.

    Prisoner: It is only mentioned once that Jacob gave a tenth to God as well.

    Kelly: Jacob told God what to do. His tithe was also not HOLY and was from pagan lands. Moses did not use either Abram or Jacob to validate tithing.

    Prisoner: Abel gave of the first of his increase and gave the best of what he had to give. Abel gave cheerfully where as Cain did not. This is the first offering ….

    Kelly: You are inventing Scripture. Abel gave a sin offering which was probably from the best. The Bible does not say he gave the first or the best.

    Prisoner: … so following the Law of Firsts, we will see how God honors the first fruits offering and a cheerful offering.

    Kelly: Do some research. Firstfrutis were small token offerings per Deu 26:1-4; Neh 10:35-37a; etc. Tithes and firstfruits are never the same thing in the Bible.

    Prisoner: Abraham also gave a first fruits offering, following tradition, but he gave a certain percentage to a man who represented God. Another Law of Firsts here. Now he gave a tenth of all that he had, so that would be food, livestock as well as material possessions.

    Kelly: Again you are inventing Scripture. The Bible does not teach that Abram gave a first-fruits ofering. The percenntage was dictated by the Canaanite law of the land. He gave a tenth of all that he had recovered from pagan sources.

    Prisoner: Deuteronomy 14:22-29 is a neat passage.

    Kelly: Do you teach that a second tithe should be eaten in the streets of Jerusalem during its 3 annual feasts? Do you teach that a 3rd-year tithe is to be kept at home for the poor? Why not? They are all part of the tithing laws.

    Prisoner: Malachi.

    Kelly: Malachi is addressed to the people of Judah and specifically to the dishonestd priests per 1:6 and 2:1. The Old Covenant was never commanded to the Gentiles who were excluded from it. And the tithe is still only food in Malachi.

    Prisoner: Mt 23:23

    Kelly: Jesus was discussing “matters of the law” and commanded his Jewish disciples to obey the scribes and Pharisees because “they sit in Moses’ seat.” He could not have told his Jewish disciples to tithe to him or his Gentile disciples to tithe at all because both were illegal. Also, tithes were still only food.

    Prisoner: justification

    Kelly: Justification is by grace through faith alone. Works of the law, including tithing, were related to Hebrews under the law for sanctification. Gentiles never were under any part of the literal Old Covenant law.

    How do you justify ignoring every single part of the tithing statute from Numbers 18? (1) tithes only food from inside Israel, (2) tithes to servants of the priests (ushers, deacons, choir, musicians, politicians), (3) Levite servants give ministering priests one pere cent, (4) priests KILL anybody who dares to enter the sanctuary and worship God directly and (5) Levitical tithe recipients are not allowed to own or inherit property.

    • Kelly: We reject it because it is totally indefensible as a New Covenant doctrine. NONE of what the Old Covenant teaches about tithing is obeyed by any church today.

      Xander: Which covenant is not followed today? The covenant with Moses or Abraham?

      Kelly: Pro-tithers are the legalists who must go to the Law to defend it contrary to New Covenant principles of grace. In reality nobody tithes today unless they are an OT Hebrew inside Israel tithing to Levites to support the Temple system.

      Xander: People around the world give a tenth to their church. It is not the traditional Levitcal tithe system, but since people gave a tenth before the law, the principal should still hold. How does giving money to the church go against grace?

      Kelly: The equality principle in 2nd Corinthians 8:12-14 means that many should give more than ten per cent while others give less. Our first fruits should go to buy essential medicine, food and shelter per 1 Timothy 5:8.

      Xander: I am not limiting how much to give, but there is no mention of a maximum or minimum amount. In fact, it isn’t about the amount but the desire to honor God. 1 Tim 5:8 is talking about providing for your family. Does that come before or after honoring God?

      Kelly: Actually the true biblical HOLY tithes were always only food from inside God’s HOLY land which He had miraculously increased. HOLY tithes could not come from what man increased or from outside Israel.

      Xander: The only HOLY tithe was a tithe made to priests? Were the other offerings made to God prior to the Law rejected by God?

      Kelly: Pre-circumcised Gentile Abram (not Abraham) obeyed the law of the land and gave his local king-priest a tithe of spoils of war which did not qualify as a holy tithe under the Law. The Bible does not state that God commanded Abram to tithe or that he tithed freely. He gave the 90% to the king of Sodom and churches do not teach that part.

      Xander: Pre-circumcised Abram, who God made the initial covenant with, gave to the local king-priest, who is the forerunner of Jesus, he gave a 10th of his increase. Yep. There was no law, so I guess it doesn’t matter if it was holy or unholy at the time. Where does the law of the land state that you will give the local king-priest a tenth? I have been looking through Canaanite literature and haven’t seen that one. When an offering was given begrudgingly, God rejects the offering. We don’t see it being rejected here, so I would assume it was begrudgingly. I could be wrong though.

      Kelly: Jacob told God what to do. His tithe was also not HOLY and was from pagan lands. Moses did not use either Abram or Jacob to validate tithing.

      Xander: You like HOLY tithes? Since we are in pagan lands and we are Gentiles, does that mean we should follow his example? Your right. Moses didn’t validate anything because the people wanted a list of things to do that would make them HOLY. Abram and Jacob just had a relationship with God. I prefer the relationship approach so I follow their example on this.

      Kelly: You are inventing Scripture. Abel gave a sin offering which was probably from the best. The Bible does not say he gave the first or the best.

      Xander: Gen 4:3-7 In the course of time Cain brought to the LORD an offering of the fruit of the ground, (4) and Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat portions. And the LORD had regard for Abel and his offering, (5) but for Cain and his offering he had no regard. So Cain was very angry, and his face fell. (6) The LORD said to Cain, “Why are you angry, and why has your face fallen? (7) If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it.”

      Pretty sure I am right on the scripture. There is no mention of it being a sin offering. Can you point me to that verse?

      Kelly: Do some research. First fruits were small token offerings per Deu 26:1-4; Neh 10:35-37a; etc. Tithes and first fruits are never the same thing in the Bible.

      Xander: Maybe the problem is with confusing terminology. Tithe, being tenth and first fruits being the first of any gain. I am not basing current giving on Levitcal law, since we are not under the law.

      Kelly: Again you are inventing Scripture. The Bible does not teach that Abram gave a first-fruits offering. The percentage was dictated by the Canaanite law of the land. He gave a tenth of all that he had recovered from pagan sources.

      Xander: Gen 14:17-23 After his return from the defeat of Chedorlaomer and the kings who were with him, the king of Sodom went out to meet him at the Valley of Shaveh (that is, the King’s Valley). (18) And Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine. (He was priest of God Most High.) (19) And he blessed him and said, “Blessed be Abram by God Most High, Possessor of heaven and earth; (20) and blessed be God Most High, who has delivered your enemies into your hand!” And Abram gave him a tenth of everything. (21) And the king of Sodom said to Abram, “Give me the persons, but take the goods for yourself.” (22) But Abram said to the king of Sodom, “I have lifted my hand to the LORD, God Most High, Possessor of heaven and earth, (23) that I would not take a thread or a sandal strap or anything that is yours, lest you should say, ‘I have made Abram rich.’

      The king of Sodom and Melchizedek go out at the same time. Abram has communion with Melchizedek and gives him the tenth first. Then he gives the rest to the king of Sodom. I know you insist that the tenth is part of the Canaanite law, but why would God have kept a pagan tradition when He gave the law to His people?

      Kelly: Do you teach that a second tithe should be eaten in the streets of Jerusalem during its 3 annual feasts? Do you teach that a 3rd-year tithe is to be kept at home for the poor? Why not? They are all part of the tithing laws.

      Xander: I don’t teach that Levitcal law should be followed.

      Kelly: Malachi is addressed to the people of Judah and specifically to the dishonest priests per 1:6 and 2:1. The Old Covenant was never commanded to the Gentiles who were excluded from it. And the tithe is still only food in Malachi.

      Xander: Yes, Malachi 1 and 2 address priests who have offered unclean animals to God. They have compromised the offering and no longer treat him with honor.

      Mal 3:1-6 “Behold, I send my messenger, and he will prepare the way before me. And the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple; and the messenger of the covenant in whom you delight, behold, he is coming, says the LORD of hosts. (2) But who can endure the day of his coming, and who can stand when he appears? For he is like a refiner’s fire and like fullers’ soap. (3) He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and he will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, and they will bring offerings in righteousness to the LORD. (4) Then the offering of Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasing to the LORD as in the days of old and as in former years. (5) “Then I will draw near to you for judgment. I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, against the adulterers, against those who swear falsely, against those who oppress the hired worker in his wages, the widow and the fatherless, against those who thrust aside the sojourner, and do not fear me, says the LORD of hosts. (6) “For I the LORD do not change; therefore you, O children of Jacob, are not consumed.

      Chapter 3 looks a bit different though. The messenger, John the Baptist, will prepare the way before me. Who is the LORD and messenger of the covenant? Jesus. The offering of Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasing to the LORD. Wont Christians be in the new Jerusalem? Maybe this last book of the Old Testament has no bearing on Christians. Do you hold that Christians are only subject to the New Testament teachings?

      Kelly: Jesus was discussing “matters of the law” and commanded his Jewish disciples to obey the scribes and Pharisees because “they sit in Moses’ seat.” He could not have told his Jewish disciples to tithe to him or his Gentile disciples to tithe at all because both were illegal. Also, tithes were still only food.

      Xander: On the tithes that were only food, did the Pharisees grow the spices they were tithing on?

      Kelly: Justification is by grace through faith alone. Works of the law, including tithing, were related to Hebrews under the law for sanctification. Gentiles never were under any part of the literal Old Covenant law.

      Xander: Ok. I am not saying to follow the law or be justified through it, so we are in agreement.

      Kelly: How do you justify ignoring every single part of the tithing statute from Numbers 18? (1) tithes only food from inside Israel, (2) tithes to servants of the priests (ushers, deacons, choir, musicians, politicians), (3) Levite servants give ministering priests one pere cent, (4) priests KILL anybody who dares to enter the sanctuary and worship God directly and (5) Levitcal tithe recipients are not allowed to own or inherit property.

      Xander: As above, I am not mandating the Levitcal tithing law. I am talking about the blessings that flow from the tithe and offerings, or giving of the first 10% of your increase and any additional that you want to give. This is what I am talking about when I reference the legalistic approach to defend not giving. I give based upon the example set forth in the Old Testamement and what I feel like God wants me to do. Do the blessings from giving a tenth no longer pertain to today? Are the blessings that God spoke of now gone?

      I guess the whole problem is with the word tithe. I speak of it as meaning tenth. You understand it to be the levitical law.

  2. Xander, I don’t think your explanation of the tithe enjoys scriptural support. Being hell bent on making a case for tithing today because Abraham did opens the door for all other practises of Abraham. Abraham not only gave a TENTH to Melchizedek, he practised circumcision and gave animal sacrifice. Are we now going to say these too have become binding on today’s church?

    What if Abel gave firstfruits or tithes or whatever? Is there any verse of scripture that commands us to do likewise? You also appear to confuse the firstfruits with the tithes; they are not the same thing. The tithe like you rightly pointed out was the tenth but it was not a percentage but a position. Let me explain; in order for an Israelite to determine his tithe, he had to divide his crops and/or livestock into groups of tens and select every tenth one as the tithe. And if for instance he had nine sheep he could not tithe because there was no tenth. If he had 10, 11 or any other number of sheep less than 20 but more than 10, the tenth one remains his tithe but if there was a 20th, the 10th and the 20th were his tithe. The firstfruits on the other hand were bits of crops collected at the beginning of the harvest and the amount to offer was left sole at the discretion of the giver.

    Your take on Malachi is not quite correct as well. That book was not written to today’s church but written to correct errant priests living during Malachi’s time which happens to be during the time of Nehemiah. The mere mention of offerings in that passage tells the whole story as the offerings refer to sin offering, wave offering and all other offerings the children of Israel were mandated to offer. We know that Jesus spelt an end to all of those offerings by him himself becoming an offering for us. The tithes and offerings were never money.

    You seem to believe that tithing is the only way to give towards God’s; I think you are seriously mistaken. Paul’s charge to the Corinthian church was that everyone should give what he or she is able with no mention of tithing. The bottom line is in the New Testament we are encouraged to share what we have with the brethren as well as give any amount we are happy with be it 1%, 5%, 10% or 100%.

    • I think my position was clear that people should give as they feel. My opposition is that the thought that there are no longer blessings associated with giving a tithe or tenth of income and offerings. I don’t think that position is biblically supported.

      Your right. I don’t support marrying of underage women or animal sacrifices. I am saying we should follow the spirit in which Abraham gave. Abraham made animal sacrifices but I don’t hold to sacrificing of animals. It is not what God wanted from the Israelites, so I highly doubt it is what He wants from me. So, if I look at the spirit in which Abraham made it, I see that he made the sacrifice, which decreased his measure of wealth, willingly and cheerfully in order to honor God. I can do that. The sacrifices he made were all pretty non descript with the exception of the tenth to Melchizedek. Here, God has provided a number in the story. I say God, because I believe scripture is from God. So God is saying a tenth. In Hebrew writings, numbers have meaning. There is always symbolism present which denotes an additional meaning in addition to the obvious. And this was before the Israelites, so why a tenth? What is the significance of a tenth that God carried over in the laws to the Israelites?

      Look at the spirit in which Abel gave compared to Cain. Abel gave the best of the first born. That is the nature of the first fruits offering. Extra virgin olive oil is from the first press. The first is better than what is left over. That spirit holds true for anything that you give to God. He wants you to think of Him first, not with what is remaining. That is the spirit of the first fruits offering. Now what Abel did is not the tithe, or tenth of what he had. It could have been, but God did not find it necessary to tell us, so I am not going to assume on it. But Abraham also gave the first tenth of the increase, which appears to hold with the spirit of the first fruits. When God lays claim to something, it is usually the first. You see this with any increase, from produce to children. He seems to want the very first.

      So Malachi 3 is does not start out with a prophetic message about Jesus? Since that book does not address Christian believers, why is it part of the Christian Bible? I am curious as to why we wouldn’t get rid of parts that are no longer relevant in any fashion to us today.

      I believe you should give what is in your heart. If you want to give 1%, then give 1%. If you want to give more, then give more. The spirit of the gift that Paul was emphasizing is that the amount of the gift should come from your love for God and how you want to honor Him. You are right, we are called to take care of people when ever we find them in need. I believe whole heartedly in that. I give to my church and in the community. I help fund water wells in Africa as well as feed staving children. Every time I honor God with my money, I seem to get more back. This is what I am referring to as being blessed by giving. I feel like the first tenth I give to God sanctifies the rest of the money I have. I feel like I am blessed by everything I give in addition to that first tenth. This is my personal opinion that is based on experience and biblical example.

      I am not wanting to force anyone into a practice that they do not wish to do.

      • “So, if I look at the spirit in which Abraham made it, I see that he made the sacrifice, which decreased his measure of wealth, willingly and cheerfully in order to honor God” I don’t think your above statement enjoys scriptural support. Abraham gave a tenth of recovered plunder and never tithed from his personal possessions and gave the rest of the plunder to the king of Sodom. He honoured Melchizedek with his tithes and not God.

        I can’t find your take on the firstfruit in scripture either. The Old Testament firstfruit was a type and shadow of Jesus. Scripture tells us Jesus is the firstfruit hence the New Testament church has not been commanded to offer any firstfruits offerings. Instead we are told to offer our bodies as living sacrifices.

        By your own admission you have agreed that you do not support animal sacrifice but hold that we must follow the book of Malachi because it is in the bible. Is animal sacrifice not in the bible? Is circumcision not in the bible? Is the observance of the Sabbath not in the bible? What of an eye for an eye or a tooth for a tooth or a life for a life? Why do we not observe all of them today? Are they not in the bible?

        You need to put things in proper perspective. The Old Testament was a type and a shadow of the New Testament. All Old Testament ordinances were shadows of the redemptive purpose of Christ. The firstfruit offering symbolised the resurrected Christ while the tithes symbolised the New Testament church – people that have been justified by faith, separated unto God and made holy unto Him.

        If you believe people should give what they have decided then why all the fuss on firstfruits and tithe?

  3. societyvs

    Great discussion, enjoyed reading all of that. I’ll comment if I get a chance.

  4. Russ Kelly replies to Xander

    Xander: I think my position was clear that people should give as they feel.
    My opposition is that the thought that there are no longer blessings associated with giving a tithe or tenth of income and offerings. I don’t think that position is biblically supported.

    Russ: God does not bless anybody for obedience to the Old Covenant when it “vanished” per Hebrews 8:13 and God is now operating under the terms of the New Covenant.

    Xander: I am saying we should follow the spirit in which Abraham gave.

    Russ: What spirit is that? The Bible does not say that Abram (not Abraham) gave freely. Studies of Genesis 14:21 and Canaanite history suggest that Abram was following the mandatory law of the land which required tithes of spoils of war to the local king-priest. If we follow Abram’s example we would (1) only tithe what we receive as war booty and (2) give the 90% to the equivalent of the king of Sodom.

    Xander: Why a tenth? What is the significance of a tenth that God carried over in the laws to the Israelites?

    Russ: Why a tenth? Ask the pagan world from Babylon to Egypt. It had the tithe to its false gods long before Abram’s time.

    Xander: Abraham also gave the first tenth of the increase, which appears to hold with the spirit of the first fruits.

    Russ: Biblical firstfruits and tithes are not the same thing. Firstfruits are only very small token offerings per Deu 26:1-4; Neh 10:35-37a, etc. Abram set the spoils in front of Melchizedek and Melchizedek chose what he wanted from top of the heap per Hebrews 7. This was neither a firstfruits offering nor a tithe from the perspective of the HOLY firstfruits and HOLY tithes in the Law.

    Xander: When God lays claim to something, it is usually the first. You see this with any increase, from produce to children. He seems to want the very first.

    Russ: Read Leviticus 27:30-34. The tithe is neither the first nor the best –it is only the tenth. However the Levites gave the best (not first) tenth of what they received to the priests in Num 18:25-28.

    Xander: So Malachi 3 is does not start out with a prophetic message about Jesus? Since that book does not address Christian believers, why is it part of the Christian Bible? I am curious as to why we wouldn’t get rid of parts that are no longer relevant in any fashion to us today.

    Russ: We do not get rid of our memories from grammar school, high school and college after graduation. The vanished Old Covenant is a reminder of how OT Israel failed and how God punished them. We learn from the history of others.

    Xander: I believe you should give what is in your heart. If you want to give 1%, then give 1%. If you want to give more, then give more.

    Russ: I would add the equality principle of 2 Cor 8:12-14 and the sacrificial aspect of freewill giving from 8:1-11.

    Xander: I feel like the first tenth I give to God sanctifies the rest of the money I have. I feel like I am blessed by everything I give in addition to that first tenth. This is my personal opinion that is based on experience and biblical example.

    Russ: Your opinion — not biblical example. The true biblical HOLY tithe was always only food from inside Israel which God had miraculously increased. Tithes could not come from what man produced or from outside Israel. And tithes were never the same as firstfruits.

    Xander: I am not wanting to force anyone into a practice that they do not wish to do.

    Russ: We simply need to pray to understand God’s Word in context of which Covenant and To Whom it is speaking.

    • I really am not trying to preach levitical law, because I do not feel like we are under the letter of the law.

      Everything in the New Testament is based on the Old Testament. Where does Paul obtain the direction from on how Gentiles should give?

  5. Russ to Xander

    Although it sounds good, not everything in the New Covenant is based on the Old Covenant. There is very much completely NEW revelation about both Jesus, the Father and the Holy Spirit. Paul quoted non-OT sources often as he was guided by the Holy Spirit.

    The most important NEW revelation is, of course, that Jesus is now God’s standard of revelation per John 16:8-9. The OT Law standard has been replaced by Christ as “the way, the truth and the life.” Christ does not merely supplement the law after Calvary –he replaces it as God’s standard of righteousness per Romans 3:19-22.

    The sacrificial self-less life of Christ permeates Paul’s concept of morality and he sees everything through that prism, including how and why Gentile should help Jewish Christians in 2 Corinthians 8 and 9.

    • Explains why it was so hard to get the Jews to follow Jesus. When you break out with the line that now there is still a God but it is in 3 parts and you have never seen 2 of them before but trust us. I would be hesitant to buy into it as well. Good thing the Old Testament is not the old covenant.

      Gal 3:8 And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “In you shall all the nations be blessed.”

      Gal 3:14 so that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promised Spirit through faith.

      Paul appears to be looking at the Old Testament. I guess it would have been the Bible to him though.

      As for tithing:

      Heb 7:6 But this man who does not have his descent from them received tithes from Abraham and blessed him who had the promises.

      It was considered a tithe prior to Levitcal law.

  6. societyvs

    “Everything in the New Testament is based on the Old Testament. Where does Paul obtain the direction from on how Gentiles should give?” (Xander)

    Thing is, Paul never gives a 10% standard based on one’s livelihood (which is where the tithe come from). I still our best equivalent of a tithe in this day is actually taxes (which is taxtation to our livelihood). We are giving our ‘first-fruits’ and ‘our tithes’ via this system (our taxes always come first off our cheque in this day in age…it literally is ‘right off the top’).

    That being said, if the church wants to incorporate a business model (which is what tithing is being used for in churches) then they should at least make it plain what is happening with this money (so called ‘tithe’). Most of it used for building expenses, salaries, equipment, and daily operations of services. Basically it’s a ‘tax’ or ‘membership fee’s’ in some common sense of the words.

    As for tithes, I like the idea and I think the modern equivalent is taxation in our respective countries. Some of that taxation does go to keeping churches in a ‘tax free’ (non=profit) status (so even on some religious level – our taxes do go to that). But for churches to say they are tithing is plain laughable…churches don’t even understand the system of tithing (and this conversation between you and Russ would be waaaaay over most pastor’s heads). Churches use a much simpler logic. We’re non-profit but we need money – let’s ask the congregants and cover it with a nice spiritual sounding term – tithing – so we feel justified.

    I think Russell is right, as Gentiles we don’t need to pay tithes – we are not under that Jewish law.

    • I agree that Paul did not say that people had to give 10%. That is not my argument though.

      I am not sure that Jesus gave an accounting of where the money given to Him went. I would doubt that an accounting of the money given to the church in Jerusalem did either. I would doubt that Paul wrote back to those who gave him money and said here is how they spent it. There needs to be oversight in the church on how money is used, but that should be done by the elder body and not the congregation at large.

      I understand your position as to a national tax, but then you would support religions that you do not agree with. Israel had a Levitcal tax that they followed and a national tax that was paid to the king. There was only one religion though, so it worked for them. Of course, if you are of the kingdom of God, then there is only one religion, so you give to the one that represents it.

      Abraham wasn’t under the law either and he paid the tithe. To each they should do what is in their heart.

  7. societyvs

    “Abraham wasn’t under the law either and he paid the tithe. To each they should do what is in their heart.” (Xander)

    But is he really the role model? Russell points out there was quite a few things Abraham did that we don’t do – like circumcision. Paul only used Abraham for his ‘faith’ as an example for Gentiles…not tithes so much. As for Hebrews, the author is unknown so why in the world would we follow that lone example in the whole NT for tithing? I don’t see Jesus asking for tithes…ever (your guessing Jesus took money – and if he did – it was for basic sustenance for him and his disciples). So let’s help the poor!

    “Of course, if you are of the kingdom of God, then there is only one religion, so you give to the one that represents it.” (Xander)

    You don’t have that choice with your tax money..it’s just taken. It woud be very nice if the gov’t actually set it up that way though – and you could pick n choose where some of your tax money went…would reduce faith preachers from ripping off people.

  8. “I don’t think your above statement enjoys scriptural support. Abraham gave a tenth of recovered plunder and never tithed from his personal possessions and gave the rest of the plunder to the king of Sodom. He honored Melchizedek with his tithes and not God. ”

    Even under Levitcal law, the tithe was on any gain. I think your argument that it was on plunder, which was a gain, misses the mark. He gave the rest away after honoring God. Melchizedek is rather interesting. Jesus’ priesthood is of the order of Melchizedek. How can Jesus’ be the high priest for mankind if He is following in the steps of a mortal man. Melchizedek is a king and a priest, something the Levites could never be, but something Jesus is. Melchizedek is the king of Salem which is Jerusalem also means peace. The king of peace. Who else holds that title? His name means King of Right or King of Righteousness. Who else has that name?

    “I can’t find your take on the first fruit in scripture either. The Old Testament first fruit was a type and shadow of Jesus. Scripture tells us Jesus is the first fruit hence the New Testament church has not been commanded to offer any first fruits offerings. Instead we are told to offer our bodies as living sacrifices.”

    The first fruit or firstling was always claimed by God and dedicated to Him. Jesus is the second Adam, so I am not sure how that would translate to the first fruit. He is the first begotten son, so maybe that is where you are going with it. The New Testament is an explanation of the old testament as it relates to Jesus. When people were preaching the message of Jesus, they did not say chuck what you know because it is no longer relevant. Where is the new testament does it say that the blessings associated with the tithe and offerings are no longer in affect?

    The New Testament is clear when something can be stopped because it was replaced with something else. It does say to give according to your heart, which is something Abraham did. Jesus elevated the requirement of the Law from do not kill to not even being angry with someone. According to that logic, wouldn’t we give even more than 10%?

    “By your own admission you have agreed that you do not support animal sacrifice but hold that we must follow the book of Malachi because it is in the bible. Is animal sacrifice not in the bible? Is circumcision not in the bible? Is the observance of the Sabbath not in the bible? What of an eye for an eye or a tooth for a tooth or a life for a life? Why do we not observe all of them today? Are they not in the bible?”

    I do not support animal sacrifice for the atonement of sins, but I hold that Jesus was the final atonement. Animal sacrifice was used for offerings and I make offerings, so I haven’t gotten rid of that principal. We still hold to circumcision, but it is no longer an outward expression as a spiritual. I still observe the Sabbath. Did Jesus say the eye for an eye was forbidden or that we should rise above the desire to revenge ourselves?

    “You need to put things in proper perspective. The Old Testament was a type and a shadow of the New Testament. All Old Testament ordinances were shadows of the redemptive purpose of Christ. The first fruit offering symbolized the resurrected Christ while the tithes symbolized the New Testament church – people that have been justified by faith, separated unto God and made holy unto Him.”

    I think your reaching there, but I truly feel that people should give what they want to give. When a person spends more on entertainment than on advancing the ministry, the priorities of the person is apparent.

    If you believe people should give what they have decided then why all the fuss on first fruits and tithe?

    Because I do not want people to miss out on any blessings that God has promised.

    • Under the Levitical law, tithes were not paid on just any gain; they were paid on farm produce from the land of Israel alone! There is simply no verse of scripture that says Abraham honoured God by giving a tithe to Melchizedek; Abraham honoured Melchizedek period! You rightly pointed out that Jesus is a priest in the ORDER of Melchizedek but you are in trying to imply that Jesus is Melchizedek. Jesus being in the order of Melchizedek and Jesus being Melchizedek are 2 different things but you are trying to suggest the latter; something we cannot find in scripture.

      As per the blessings of tithes and firstfruit, where is it in scripture that these still apply today? The firstfruits symbolised the resurrected Christ, it is clearly evident in scripture – “But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming.”- 1 Cor 15:23, But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept – 1 Corinthians 15:20.

      The New Testament is clear when something can be stopped because it was replaced with something else. It does say to give according to your heart, which is something Abraham did. Jesus elevated the requirement of the Law from do not kill to not even being angry with someone. According to that logic, wouldn’t we give even more than 10%? Here is Jesus’ answer to that in Mathew 25 and a 10% absolute minimum is not mentioned as the standard. 35For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: 36Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. 37Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? 38When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? 39Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? 40And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. The second greatest commandment – love your neighbour as yourself.

      If a person spends more on entertainment, what is it to you? Has God made you the tithe monitor and empowered you to tell people how to spend their money? If they choose not to spend it on the kingdom, it is definitely their prerogative. Let God be the judge.

      Are you as passionate about preaching salvation to unbelievers as you are about telling people to tithe? Why not focus on those who have not received Christ and leave those who are already saved to the Holy Spirit’s conviction on the matter.

      • “If a person spends more on entertainment, what is it to you? Has God made you the tithe monitor and empowered you to tell people how to spend their money? If they choose not to spend it on the kingdom, it is definitely their prerogative. Let God be the judge.”

        I wasn’t judging. I was just thinking about Matt 6:21

        “Are you as passionate about preaching salvation to unbelievers as you are about telling people to tithe? Why not focus on those who have not received Christ and leave those who are already saved to the Holy Spirit’s conviction on the matter.”

        First, I am not telling people they must tithe. Second, I am more passionate about salvation. It is a harder message to spread as more Christians don’t walk the walk that they are claiming. I will leave you with the fact that we are not going to agree on this matter.

  9. societyvs

    “When a person spends more on entertainment than on advancing the ministry, the priorities of the person is apparent.” (Xander)

    In some ways I agree and in others I disagree.

    If someone ‘earns’ the money they should feel free to spend however they choose…after all – they are the one’s that ‘worked’ for it and they should feel absolutely no obligation to give a cent of it away.

    On the other hand, giving is like repentance – it is a form of atonement (in Judaism) – and money can be given as it is used. I think giving helps us to battle our own selfishn desires and help make the world a better place. If there is a reason to give it is more tied to atonement, sacrifice, and dealing with our inner self (as to the balance of good spirituality that feeds his home and helps feed others).

    As for giving to ministry, I don’t. I mentioned taxes as part of ‘giving’ or even functioning as a ‘tithe’ – which it is. However, I am yet to find a ministry I would want to give to, I might end up giving to Red Cross or something (since it is doing Yeoman’s work in areas of suffering and aid). I don’t feel the need to pay a pastor’s salary or help a building or buy equipment for services. Personally, I’d rather meet in a home and put the money in a ‘pool’ that can go towards good deeds in the community. Maybe that’s me being selfish?

    I don’t believe the tithe is part of our Gentile laws – and the tithe functioned as a law in Israel. As non-Jews we are not required to follow the tithe law as well. I see some good used for the tithe as part of giving, but only as an example of giving concerning one’s work income…but not as a requirement one iota.

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