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Tithing

  Is It  Scriptural for New Covenant Believers? 

 

Under the Law or Led by the Spirit

 

Part 1

The Purpose of the Tithe and The Priesthood

 
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The Law and all the commandments given by God to the Hebrew people were given with a conditional promise of great blessings from God, if the Laws were fully and completely abided by. The Laws covered every aspect for living, including tithing, care of the Levite priesthood and release from debt, not borrowing anything, including money, and so on. It spoke of the yearly issues, and three year and even seven year requirements, and caring for the poor.

The tithe was not instituted until the Mosaic Law as there was no Tabernacle or Temple, and no regular sacrifices commanded by God. Once the commandments for the sacrifices were given, it involved providing hundreds of animals a year, which necessitated a continual supply. Until the Temple, there was no anointed priesthood mentioned, which was ordained to be of Aaron, his sons and the Levites, and the right of offering sacrifices to God was reserved solely to them. In fact there are examples of dire consequences upon those who were not priests of the Levite lineage, such as King Uzziah [*3][2 Ch 26:19], and Saul [*4][1 Sa 13:7-14], who made sacrifices and offerings, thereby going against God's command concerning the priesthood and sacrifices. The exception were the occasional sacrifices given by God's chosen prophets, such as Samuel and Elijah.

Before the Levite priesthood, the firstborn of each family gave sacrifices in their own cities and in their own houses. For example, Noah, Abraham, Job, Isaac and Jacob each offered their own sacrifices, and there was no fixed place to give the sacrifices, which changed with the giving of the Law. The covenant made by God at Mount Sinai, had Moses as mediator, and various men were chosen from among Israel to perform the office of priests.[*5] [Ex 24:5] No other priesthood was mentioned other than the somewhat mysterious Melchisedec who is presented as a type of Christ, and many believe, was Christ.

Hebrews 6:20 Whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec. 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.

Therefore, there was no God chosen priesthood commanded to be supported with tithes. The tithe, according to the Law of Moses was what was produced by the land such as fruit, corn, grain, and the first born of animals. The tithe, while noted as belonging to God, had one distinct purpose, and that was originally to care for Aaron and the Levite priests who were given no inheritance from God.  They owned nothing. [Numbers 18].

Nehemiah 10:37 And that we should bring the firstfruits of our dough, and our offerings, and the fruit of all manner of trees, of wine and of oil, unto the priests, to the chambers of the house of our God; and the tithes of our ground unto the Levites, that the same Levites might have the tithes in all the cities of our tillage.

The Levites were the only ones to enter the Tabernacle, for fear of death, and very specific procedures, ceremonies, rituals and sacrifices had to be followed in all they did, or they faced dire consequences. Their role was to care for the Temple where the presence of God abode at that time, and they were required to offer both gifts of thanksgiving and sacrifices for sins. [*6] [Le 17:11] The high priest was the head of all religious affairs, was the judge and dispensed judgment for the Jewish nation, and he was the head of all the other priests. [*7] [De 17:8-12] The priests also were to teach the children of Israel the statutes of the Lord, and decide controversies and so on. [*8] [Le 10:11;  De 33:10]

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; 26:12-15, 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] [De 12:15, 20, 21; 14:26]

Yet in the New Testament were are told to NOT lust or covet anything at all.

1 John 2:15 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. 17 And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.

Galatians 5:16 This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. 17 For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. 18 But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.
19 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, 20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, 21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

The erroneous idea that every Israelite gave ten per cent of his dollar income and therefore each Christian should do likewise, is based on faulty scholarship. Tithing was only turned into money if a person had to travel too far with their commodities, and there were in fact, several tithes. There was redemption money, to be paid at the fixed rate of five shekels a head, for the first-born of man or beast, and a levy for spoils of war.[*12] [Nu 18:14-19;  Le 27:5;  Nu 31:25-47] In Leviticus 27:30-33, it is noted a penalty existed if one did not wish to pay his tithe in agricultural produce, and decided to give money as a substitute. That person was penalized and had to add a fifth part of the estimated value to the amount he paid.  Those that are claiming the "required 10% tithe" as from the Law, and therefore of their money, are in total disregard to this Law concerning the tithe. In fact if a person had less than ten cattle born to him in a given year, they were exempt from the tithe that year.[*13] [Le 27:32] God cared for the poor and all His people.

The conditional promise of great blessings from God, was an issue that plagued and burdened the Hebrew people, because of the commandment to keep all of the Law of Moses.[*14] [De 4:1-6, 8; 5:32, etc] That requirement is stated in many passages including Malachi 4:4 "Remember ye the law of Moses my servant, which I commanded unto him in Horeb for all Israel, with the statutes and judgments." Many disobeyed and suffered death or other consequences.

If one reviews the 613 commandments, which are a rabbinic commentary or further breakdown of the Ten Commandments and the Law of Moses in the Tenach [Old Testament], it is very clear that many of the laws can not be kept by Jews living outside of Israel, or even in Israel, because there is currently no Temple. Some have stated that less than 300 of the 613 can be kept by Jews living in diaspora. Practicing Jews will tell you that the 613 are not for the non-Jews to observe, because the Law of Moses was given specifically to them, which is Biblically correct. Yet, as stated, all the laws were required to be kept, according to the commands of God. That is why God promised and provided another way that was not dependent on man's ability or inability to keep the laws, but rather was dependent on God Himself, His Promises and His Righteousness. As the Scriptures clearly state, the patriarchs of the Old Covenant were saved by faith and not by keeping of the law.

The anointed Levite priesthood, chosen by God, was a gift from God to the Hebrew people for a very specific purpose. No other tribe, or person could fulfill this calling. Their activities included bearing the iniquity of Israel and themselves, and giving the sin offerings that were required to be acceptable before the Lord, and make atonement for their souls. [Lev. 16;17] The book of Numbers speaks of Aaron and his sons called to that very specific duty and then the tribe of Levi being set apart from the rest of Israel. [*16] [Ex. 29:7; 30:23; Le 8:12; Nu 8:6-22, etc] In Exodus we read:

Exodus 28:38 And it shall be upon Aaron's forehead, that Aaron may bear the iniquity of the holy things, which the children of Israel shall hallow in all their holy gifts; and it shall be always upon his forehead, that they may be accepted before the LORD. See Numbers 17, 18

Note in the various passages about this, that specific tithes from the children of Israel were a gift from God to the Levites. From Numbers 18 "...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." God gave those gifts and promise to no one else. v20 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.

and 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.

v 22-24 note that the children of Israel were forbidden to enter the tabernacle, as to do so meant instant death.

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. 22 Neither must the children of Israel henceforth come nigh the tabernacle of the congregation, lest they bear sin, and die. 23 But the Levites shall do the service of the tabernacle of the congregation, and they shall bear their iniquity: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations, that among the children of Israel they have no inheritance.

Only the Levites were allowed to enter, and only the High priest could enter the inner sanctuary. The high priest alone was permitted to enter the holy of holies, once a year, on the Day of Atonement. See the corresponding role Christ took in Hebrews 9:7-13 [*17]

To suggest that anyone, any other Jew, or Gentile, could replace the service of the Levite priests, is going against all that God said their role was, and the promises He very specifically gave to them. Christians are not of the Levite lineage, and were not given their purpose, which, in part, was to bear the iniquity of the people.

Heb 5:3 And by reason hereof he ought, as for the people, so also for himself, to offer for sins. 4 And no man taketh this honour unto himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron. 5 So also Christ glorified not himself to be made an high priest; but he that said unto him, Thou art my Son, to day have I begotten thee.
6 As he saith also in another place, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.

Anyone except God's chosen Messenger of the covenant, prophesied as coming to the temple in Malachi 3. Note in that passage that lack of the tithes and offerings in the Temple, (which was where the "storehouse" was) according to God's commandments, was robbing God. It was the Levites who were to, “bring up the tithe of the tithes unto the house of our God, to the chambers, into the treasure house."

Nehemiah 10:38 And the priest the son of Aaron shall be with the Levites, when the Levites take tithes: and the Levites shall bring up the tithe of the tithes unto the house of our God, to the chambers, into the treasure house. 39 For the children of Israel and the children of Levi shall bring the offering of the corn, of the new wine, and the oil, unto the chambers, where are the vessels of the sanctuary, and the priests that minister, and the porters, and the singers: and we will not forsake the house of our God.

Malachi 3, which so many use to attempt to prove Christians are to tithe, is found to be misquoted by many. All of Israel was cursed, [*18] [3:9], and God rebuked the Levites [*19] [1:6, 10-13, 2:1,7,8] who, while mistreating God's people, were not putting the tithe that they were commanded to also give, into the storehouse of the Temple. Rather, they were keeping the tithe for themselves.

Malachi 3:1 Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the LORD of hosts.
2 But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner's fire, and like fullers' soap:
3 And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the LORD an offering in righteousness.
4 Then shall the offering of Judah and Jerusalem be pleasant unto the LORD, as in the days of old, and as in former years.
5 And I will come near to you to judgment; and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, and against the adulterers, and against false swearers, and against those that oppress the hireling in his wages, the widow, and the fatherless, and that turn aside the stranger from his right, and fear not me, saith the LORD of hosts.
6 For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.
7 Even from the days of your fathers ye are gone away from mine ordinances, and have not kept them. Return unto me, and I will return unto you, saith the LORD of hosts. But ye said, Wherein shall we return?
8 Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings.

The messenger that prepared the way before Christ was John the Baptist. Matthew 3:3 "For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet Esaias, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight." [*20] [Matthew 11:10; Luke 7:27, 3:4; John 1:23; Isaiah 40:3] In the above Malachi verses it becomes a prophecy that, when it took place, No longer could the Levites purify anyone by their sin offerings and their God given office. Instead they would need to be purified by 'the refiner's fire,' as everyone else needs to be. Because God ordained and provided a New Covenant and a New, Sinless and Perfect Sacrifice. Just as God had provided a ram in place of Abraham's only son, He had now provided Himself as God's Son.

Isaiah 53:10 Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand. 11 He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities. 

2 Corinthians 5:21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

1 Peter 2:21 For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: 22 Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: 23 Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously: 24 Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.[*21] [Isa 53:4-6]

The prophesied Messenger of the covenant is the promised Messiah, Savior, Redeemer, King , Priest and Deliverer, the Anointed, The Good Shepherd.

He is the same person as, the "Shiloh", [*22] [Ge 49:10]

"the priest after the order of Melchizedek"[*23] [Ps 110:4],

"the corner stone" [*24] [Ps 118:22];

'the Anointed One"[*25] [Isa 61:1]

"Messiah the Prince"[*26] [Da 9:24-26]

"the seed of the woman"[*27] [Ge 3:15],

"the seed of Abraham" [*28] [Ge 22:18],

the "Prophet like unto Moses" [*29] [De18:15] ,

"the rod out of the stem of Jesse", "the Branch "[*30] [Isa 4:2 ,11:1-4,10, 49:6, Jer 23:5, 33:15; Zec 3:8; 6:12],

"Immanuel," God with us [*31][Isa 7:14, 8:8; Mt 1:23],

Mighty One [*32] [Isa 60:16] 

"man of sorrows"[*33] [Isa 53:3]

and "the messenger of the covenant" [*34] [Mal 3:1] 

This is He whom Moses in the law, and the prophets wrote about and waited for. He is Mighty God:

Isaiah 9:6 For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.[*35] [Isa 7:14; 40:3]

 

Next: Tithing Part 2: The Prophesied New Covenant

 

Previous Section:

 Tithing Is It Scriptural for New Covenant Believers? Introduction

 Sections

Tithing Is It Scriptural for New Covenant Believers? Introduction

Tithing Part 1: The Purpose of the Tithe and The Priesthood

Tithing Part 2: The Prophesied New Covenant

Tithing Part 3: Changes to the Covenant Through Christ

Tithing Part 4: From The Law To The Covenant of Grace

Tithing Part 5: Keeping the Words of Christ And Giving for The Love of Christ

 

All Scriptures From the King James Bible

Copyright . All articles are the sole property of SeekGod.ca and Vicky Dillen. All Scripture King James Version unless otherwise stated.

 

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