Tithing Questions Answered...
I received this email with excellent questions about tithing, and we will answer on this web page.
1. When tithing was first set up it was for the Levitical priesthood and the keeping of the temple. So since there is not a Levitical priesthood nor a Temple to whom should you pay your Tithes to?
Answer: First of all tithing was not set up for the Levitical Priesthood nor the temple. The law of tithing was instituted in the beginning. Many do not realize that tithing was instituted long before Moses was ever even born. First, what is a tithe? “tı̄th (שרׂמע ,ma‛ăsēr; δεκάτη, dekátē): The custom of giving a 10th part of the products of the land and of the spoils of war to priests and kings (1 Macc 10:31; 11:35; 1Sam 8:15, 1Sam 8:17) was a very ancient one among most nations. That the Jews had this custom long before the institution of the Mosaic Law is shown by Gen 14:17-20 (compare Heb 7:4) and Gen 28:22. Many critics hold that these two passages are late and only reflect the later practice of the nation; but the payment of tithes is so ancient and deeply rooted in the history of the human race that it seems much simpler and more natural to believe that among the Jews the practice was in existence long before the time of Moses.” (International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, under “Tithe” emphasis added).
Tithes goes back to the beginning of man. Many races have this custom that goes back to the time of Adam. Some believe it originated with Abraham, but the pagans were practicing tithing as well. Notice, “The usage of consecrated tithes existed among the Greeks, Romans, Carthaginians, and Arabians. See 1Macc 11:35; Herodotus i. 89; iv. 152; v. 77; vii. 132; 9:81; Diod. Sic. v. 42; xi. 33; 20:44; Cicero, Verr. ii. 3,6- 7; Xenophon, Anabasis v. 3, section 9.” (Fausset’s Bible Dictionary under “Tithe”). How did the pagans understand the concept of tithing? They received from all the human races first parents Adam and Eve.
When Cain and Abel brought their offerings before God, the Bible says, “And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering [“gift” Heb. Minchah] unto the LORD. “And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the LORD had respect unto Abel and to his offering [“gift” Heb. Minchah]:” (Gen 4:3-4).
Now it says, “Cain brought of the fruit of the ground” The Hebrew word is “min minnı̂y minnêy” (Strong’s #4480). It means, “For H4482; properly a part of; hence (prepositionally), from or out of in many senses:” So “of the” fruit means “part of” the fruit of the ground. Notice this translation “One day, Cain gave part of his harvest to the LORD” (Contemporary English Version). What part? The Bible only describes “tenth part of all” (Heb 7:2) “tenth part of the tithe” (Num 18:26). “All the produce of the soil was to be tithed;” (“Tithe” Smith’s Bible Dictionary; see Fausset as well). Cain gave a tenth part of his harvest. The Meal or Grain offering was “…from the harvest of the land…[this] symbolized the recognition of God’s blessing in the harvest…” (Holeman Bible Dictionary, p.1219).
Noah Tithed as well. We go into this in full detail in our booklet Should Christians Tithe download it here http://www.british-israel.ca/Tithing.pdf
Abraham paid these tithes to the Priesthood of Melchizedek. The Israelites paid it to the Levitical Priesthood. These Priests were called "Ministers" of God. (Jer 33:21; Joel 1:9; 2:17) It was a ministry! In the New Testament in 1Corithians 9:13-14 Paul reveals the source of the income of the church. He compares it to the ministry of the temple! “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?” (v.13). How was the temple supported? By Tithes and offerings! If the church was not using the tithe system, then why make that comparison? The Church was a ministry! And like the ministry in the Old Testament, the ministry in the New Testament was supported by the tithe system!
Verse 14 then says, “Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel.” Robertson Word Pictures says, “Even so did the Lord ordain (houtōs kai ho Kurios dietaxen). Just as God gave orders about the priests in the temple, so did the Lord Jesus give orders for those who preach the gospel to live out of the gospel (ek tou euaggeliou zēin).” And the context is to be SUPPORTED IN THE SAME MANNER BY THE SAME SYSTEM WITH TITHES AND OFFERINGS! This is what is “ordained,” the system of support.
Notice what this source says, “The provision for those who work in the temple is outlined in Lev 7:6, 8-10, 14, 28-36; Num 18:8-20; Deut 18:1-4. The Levite was supported by the things of the altar…By the Tithes of the people the work of God was supported-and when these were withheld the Levites were forced to till their fields (Neh 13:10). In response to Malachi’s call to the people, the tithes were brought and the Temple serviced resumed, with consequent blessing for all. 14. in the same way: Reveals the continuity which exists between the OT and the NT orders. The Lord has commanded: Paul’s final authority; cf. Mt 10:10; Luke 10:7. The case proved; the care of God’s servants is his peoples concern” (The International Bible Commentary, by F.F. Bruce, p.1366, emphasis his and mine). There can be no doubt that the church of God was practicing the tithe system ordained by God since the beginning of creation.
We go into this in full detail is our booklet Should Christians Tithe download it here http://www.british-israel.ca/Tithing.pdf
2. In the book of Genesis in Chapter 28:20 It reads Then Jacob made a vow , saying" If God will be with me and watch over me on this journey I am taking and will give me food to eat and clothes to wear so that I return safely to my fathers household, then to the Lord will be my God. and this stone that I have set up as a pillar will be Gods house, and all that you give me I will give a tenth". My question here is this. If Tithing is a law of God. Being in full effect why did Jacob say "If".? Why did God allow and respect this deal Jacob made with him?
Answer: Context is key! Tithing involves your income, how you earn money. When that money is earned a tenth goes to God.
In the account of Jacob, notice the context: “And Jacob vowed a vow, saying, If God will be with me, and will keep me in this way that I go, and will give me bread to eat, and raiment to put on, so that I come again to my father’s house in peace; then shall the Lord be my God: and this stone, which I have set for a pillar, shall be God's house: and of all that thou shalt give me I will surely give the tenth unto thee” (Gen. 28:20-22). The context is that He promised to give God a tenth if God would give him protection, food and raiment “in this way that I am going”—that is, as he traveled, not as he farmed, and that God would return him to his "father’s house in peace; " So Jacob was planning to give an EXTRA OFFERING to God is he protected him through his journeys. And why a tenth? a Tithe? He could have picked 9, 37 or 86 percent instead of 10 percent had he not known the tithing principle. It is likely that Abraham passed this knowledge to Isaac, who passed it to Jacob. This shows that he knew about tithing!
3. Why does none of the original Apostles ever speak of tithing ? Why did Paul make tents for a living? Acts 18:3. I mean if everyone was tithing why would there be any need for them to work?
Answer: Jesus told his disciples to observe all things that he taught them (Matthew 28:20). In Matthew 23:23 Jesus sternly criticized the religious authorities of His day for their distorted spiritual understanding. They were meticulous in tithing on tiny spices and herbs, Jesus said, but “neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith.” They should have placed more emphasis on these more important spiritual principles, He said, “without leaving the others undone.” Here Christ upheld tithing as a practice that should be followed. therefore the disciples followed what Christ commanded.
Now Paul said, “Have we not power [“Lawful right” JFB Commentary] to eat and to drink?” (1 Corinth 9:4) "At the expense of the churches.” (Vincent Word Studies). This is in the context of the chapter, see verse 11. Have we not power [“Lawful right”] to lead about [Gr. take around] a sister, a wife, as well as other apostles, and as the brethren of the Lord, and Cephas?” (v.5). Though not recorded on paper, notice Paul says as “other apostles, and as the "brethren of the Lord, and Cephas?” The church was supporting the apostles. It is obvious that the Apostles were teaching the tithing system as shown above, the Apostle Paul was comparing the support system of the church to the support system of the temple, so the ministry was being supported by the tithe system as taught by the Apostles; where else would it have come from?
As for the Apostle Paul? Some in Corinth were among the apostle Paul’s most vicious detractors. In I Corinthians 9:1-23 he defended his ministerial role and argued that he and Barnabas had the right to receive financial support from the Corinthians for their service to the Church (verses 13-14). Even though they had this right, Paul explained they didn’t exercise it because they were concerned that it might “hinder the gospel” (verse 12). He didn’t want to be accused of greed or wanting to be supported by the members there. To avoid such accusations, he took no financial support from them. Verses 6-12 Paul tells the church even though they have the lawful right to be supported by the work chose not to (v.12).
To support himself financially, Paul worked as a tentmaker (Acts18:1-3). In 2 Corinthians 11:5-15 Paul reflects on his decision: “Was this my offense, that I made no charge for preaching the gospel of God, humbling myself in order to exalt you? I robbed other churches—by accepting support from them to serve you” (Revised English Bible). He then explains that brethren in Macedonia paid the expenses that he could not meet while in Corinth: “If I ran short while I was with you, I did not become a charge on anyone; my needs were fully met by friends from Macedonia; I made it a rule, as I always shall, never to be a burden to you” (verse 9,). Paul’s decision not to take financial support from the Corinthians was an unusual situation prompted by the accusatory attitudes of others.
Answer: Yes the message of the Gospel and salvation is free. We here at BICOG give away everything away free of charge. How do we do this? As we preach and give away everything free of charge. As God calls and bring people into his church; and they understand God's law needs to be kept, and the law is to be obey out of ones own free choice and understanding that this is the way of obedience to God and salvation; and that God's tithing system supports the ministry. People send tithes into the ministry (tithes are not policed; it's up to the individual, his or her choice to do so, like keeping the rest of the commandments) so the ministry can continue to make the Gospel free to all.
Through tithes and offerings given to this organization we can give away everything free of charge. Notice what Jesus says, "freely ye have received, freely give....Provide neither gold, nor silver, nor brass in your purses, Nor scrip for your journey, neither two coats, neither shoes, nor yet staves: for the workman is worthy of his meat...And into whatsoever city or town ye shall enter, enquire who in it is worthy [fellow believers]; and there abide till ye go thence. " (Matthew 10:8-11). Barnes Notes, "This implies that they were to expect a proper supply for their needs from those who were benefited. They were not to make 'bargain and sale' of the power of working miracles, but they were to expect competent support from preaching the gospel, and that not merely as a gift, but because they were 'worthy' of it, and had a right to it." (emphasis added). We have gone out and preached the Gospel, and we make the "gospel of Christ without charge," (1 Corinth 9:18) and the ones who have benefited have decided to send us the tithes to support us as they keep the law of tithes and offerings.
Should Christians Tithe download it here http://www.british-israel.ca/Tithing.pdf