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The subject of tithing has become a very controversial topic in the last few years, and from what I'm finding, the subject was proven, and covered up many years ago by men that wanted to use the tithes as a means to receive a salary for what should be done freely. Garry Pifer has completed an excellent study on the subject so I will not go into great detail here, however I would urge all to read his study. You can read Garry Pifers study by clicking on "Pifers study" under mini-studies this site or click on the URL at the end of this study. I would like to make some points on this subject apart from the main study just to clarify some misunderstanding on some scriptures ministers use to teach that we are still under the old covenant, and especially the subject of what ministers term as "Robbing God" if we don't pay our tithe. We will look at this subject from the point of view of the scriptures, and we must take the advise of many wise men from the past and let Jesus be our example; after all what Jesus did and taught MUST be our guide. We must also acknowledge that what the apostles practiced was in line with what Jesus would approve as well, so with that firmly in mind let's first discuss the topic around the controversy itself.
Question: Who wants us to pay tithes in the first place? Answer: Those receiving the tithes, right? Question: Where do we send our tithes: Answer: Depends on who you ask and this is the very heart of the problem! Those who truly want to obey God from the heart want to do what God wants them to do, and it does not matter if God wants us to send it to the ministers, or the poor, or just burn it, but we must know what God wants. Did Jesus or the apostles receive a tithe from those converted during their ministry? Brethren there is not one single hint that Jesus or the apostles received or even asked for the tithes of anyone, but there are scriptures that reflect just the opposite. One such place is when Jesus told a rich man that he should sell what he had and give it to the poor, and I submit that Jesus had a perfect opportunity to say; "Sell what you have and give it to me to do this great work." But He did not say that, He told him to give it to the poor. Also when Jesus spoke to the Pharisees about tithing His attitude was that tithing was not as important as justice, mercy and faith. Let's read it, "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and 'have neglected the weightier matters of the law:' which is justice, mercy and faith. Matt 23:23. (NKJ Throughout)
Many ministers teach that the last part of this verse which states "These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone. "Means a command from Jesus to tithe, but is this true? Let's look at this verse from the point of view that Jesus was speaking and remember that He was speaking about them being hypocrites while admitting that they did pay tithes. Did Jesus mean "Without leaving tithing undone" when He stated "without leaving the others undone"? The Greek word for "Others" here is (kakeinos) and can mean "Them" or "likewise that" or "those". Now if we look at these meanings correctly here we will see the intent of the complete statement would be "These you ought to have done, without leaving "them" undone." Them meaning justice, mercy and faith, or "These you ought to have done, without leaving "Those" undone." Because what Jesus was pointing out was that the Pharisees were being hypocrites by paying great tithes but not showing the most important points of the law of love which is justice and mercy.
Brethren, if you had $50.00 to give in tithes and you saw a poor woman hungry by no fault of her own, would you please God by giving it to her or by giving it to some minister to decide what it should be spent on? Many ministers will tell you to give the money to them and they will give it to the person in need but that you should not take away from "God's Work". Let's ask another question. Did the apostles ask for or receive tithes from the brethren to do the work that God sent them to do? Now before you go to all the standard scriptures, (Which you can find in our complete study on "Tithing".) let's ask and answer some basic questions first so we can see the truth. First of all, what is a tithe? We all know it is a tenth part of our increase right? Have you ever read in the New Testament where the apostles collected a tenth of the brethren's increase? The brethren did give the apostles food, a place to sleep, a place to meet and preach, food for the road, clothes to wear, and what ever they needed to continue on, but was this a tithe?
Think about this one fact if they did receive a tithe. The very first day of Pentecost alone there were added 3,000 people to the church, and thousands more were added over the years. If this same 3,000 people that were added on that first day paid a tithe of all they possessed to the twelve apostles, then where did all those sheep, oxen, horses, and food go? I don't see any mention of anything about this at all in the New Testament! If there were 3,000 on the first day, and many more as time went on, the apostles would be rich in a very short time, but the question is; were they rich? According to the records they were in fact poor, and the record shows that they worked for their food and logging. Some tithe receivers will say that just because it was not mentioned does not mean it did not happen, however, we see the recorded fact in 1 Cor 4:11-13; "To the present hour we both hunger and thirst, and we are poorly clothed, and beaten, and homeless. And we labor, working with our own hands. Being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we endure; being defamed, we entreat. We have been made as the filth of the world, the off-scouring of all things until now."
Ministers also uses the scripture in I Cor. 9, but they do not explain it correctly. Please look
very close at 1 Cor 9:7-10 7, and think about what Paul was saying, and look
at his statement that "Even so the Lord has commanded that those who
preach the gospel should live from the gospel. Paul stated..." Who ever
goes to war at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard and does not eat of
its fruit? Or who tends a flock and does not drink of the milk of the flock?
Do I say these things as a mere man? Or does not the law say the same also?
For it is written in the law of Moses, "You shall not muzzle an ox while it
treads out the grain." Is it oxen God is concerned about? Or does He say it
altogether for our sakes? For our sakes, no doubt, this is written, that he
who plows should plow in hope, and he who threshes in hope should be partaker
of his hope." Now let's go to the scripture that Jesus commanded this
same type of thing in Matt 10:6-13. "But go rather to the lost sheep
of the house of
It is clear from Jesus' statement that when Jesus sent His disciples out he did not intend for them to collect and store up a tithe of all the people, but rather the people would feed, and care for them as they went, and if you study all the places this is mentioned by the apostles you will see that this is exactly what they did. Let's read II Th 3:7-10. "For you yourselves know how you ought to imitate us for we were not disorderly among you; nor did we eat anyone's bread free of charge, but worked with labor and toil night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you, not because we do not have authority, but to make ourselves an example of how you should imitate us. For even when we were with you, we commanded you this: If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat." We see here that Paul even stated that he did not take anything but worked for his keep, and more importantly he stated that this was an example of how we should do as well. Brethren, what can this mean, and why don't ministers teach this and other clear scriptures on this subject?
What about the scripture in the book of Malachi that has been used for many years to say that if we don't pay our tithes we are "Robbing God? Let's read it and then consider the facts of the statement. Mal 3:8 8, "Will a man rob God? Yet you have robbed Me! But you say, 'In what way have we robbed You?' In tithes and offerings." This part of the story is all the minister will quote because it not only is from the bible but it makes one feel that God is speaking directly to you. Is God speaking to all who hears this or is there something that the minister in question is not addressing here but just using the scripture to command you out of your money? If we consider the complete book of Malachi and get the complete story and intent of the prophet Malachi who was sent by God to make such a statement we find that Malachi was sent to admonish the priesthood not the people. Let's look at it ourselves starting in Mal 1:5-8 5 to get the flavor of God's intent. "Your eyes shall see, and you shall say, 'The LORD is magnified beyond the border of Israel.' "A son honors his father, and a servant his master. If then I am the Father, where is My honor? And if I am a Master, where is My reverence? Says the LORD of hosts to you priests who despise My name. Yet you say, 'In what way have we despised Your name?' "You offer defiled food on My altar. But say, 'In what way have we defiled You?' By saying, 'The table of the LORD is contemptible.' "And when you offer the blind as a sacrifice, is it not evil? And when you offer the lame and sick, is it not evil? Offer it then to your governor! Would he be pleased with you? Would he accept you favorably?" Says the LORD of hosts."
Notice here that the priest were offering an inferior animal sacrifice that
were either blind, lame, sick, or defiled in some way, and that they would
not dare offer these things even to their Governor! The prophet Malachi continued
to quote God by saying, "You also say, 'Oh, what a weariness!' And you sneer
at it," says the LORD of hosts. "And you bring the stolen, the lame, and the
sick; thus you bring an offering! Should I accept this from your hand?"
Says the LORD. "But cursed be the deceiver who has in his flock a male, and
makes a vow, but sacrifices to the Lord what is blemished-- for I am
a great King," says the LORD of hosts, "And My name is to be feared among
the nations." Mal 1:13-14. The fact that God was speaking to the priest
is made even more clear in the beginning of Chapter two, "And now, O priests,
this commandment is for you. If you will not hear, and if you will not
take it to heart, to give glory to My name," says the LORD of hosts, "I will
send a curse upon you, and I will curse your blessings. Yes, I have cursed
them already, because you do not take it to heart." Mal 2:1-2 1. So understanding
the truth that God was angry with the priesthood because they robbed Him by
offering the blind, lame, sick, animals for an offering, we can now see how
the statement "Are you robbing God" has nothing to do with brethren
tithing today and in fact was an admonition for the very ones that try to
put it on us to tithe. Shame on them brethren, because many trust them to
teach the truth and not take advantage!
In our study titled "The new Covenant" we read in Hebrews chapter 7: 11:12 that the priesthood has been done away with, and the law has been changed, and we have seen that Jesus did change the old law to a law of mercy and faith by His statements concerning the Pharisees being hypocrites by paying great tithes but not showing the most important points of the law of love which is justice and mercy. The truth is that because Jesus died and ascended to the right hand of God our Holy Father we have the Holy Spirit also, and God has called many brethren, some to teach, some to research, all to pray, but some to pray for the sick as in anointing, some to write and put scriptures together, or publish what is written, but we all have a part in the work of preaching the gospel message which is the coming of the kingdom of God. If there is an article for instance that you believe should be sent to as many people as possible, take your tithes and publish it in your local newspaper. Or if there is a web site you believe is publishing the truth, then take your tithes and pay for a ongoing add for that site with a little write-up on the topics, or you can buy a computer with your tithes and pay for Internet service, and either start a web site or help others publish and spread the truth. You don't have to be the writer to do this, but you can be a great tool in getting the truth out. Let God inspire you as to what He wants you to do with your offerings to Him. Open your mind and heart to God and let Him guide you towards the talents He has given you. We even find Jesus instructing all Christians to do just that and stating that if we don't then God will even take what He has given from that lazy servant and give it to those that increased in what they were given.
What talent has God given you? Are you exercising and using it? It is in the doing of the work that makes each one of us grow, not sending our money to some man to do it for us. A lot of people don't like to hear this because they want someone else to do it, but I tell you the truth when I say Jesus wants YOU to grow in the doing and working of your own talents! Jesus was speaking to us all, not just to preachers and elders. Brethren, Jesus teaches us and then sends us out to preach the gospel to the world in what ever way He has determined. God does not call "one man" to do it, but He has called many brethren to preach the gospel. There's nothing wrong with wanting to preach the gospel, and in fact we are instructed in the Christian bible that if anyone desires to do this they seek a good thing. (1 Tim 3:1-7) The apostle however, goes on to say that there should be order in doing so, and those that do so should conduct themselves rightly. We also know that everyone that takes on this task places themselves in a position to be judged by God according to how they handled the scriptures. (See our paper titled "Church Government " at the end of this study)
If those that God is calling to do a part in the preaching or spreading of the gospel would do it as God inspires, then the gospel would be preached around the world by thousands of people. If a man preaches false doctrine, or is looking for the money he can GET from people, then God will deal with him in His own time and it's not our concern. Our concern is a personal relationship with God and to do what He inspires us to do. It's God that calls and places us where He desires, not some ministerial group. Consider this, If we had to rely on some ministerial group, who would that be? What about those that are still teaching a great deal of truth, but were put out, and black balled by some minister who many believe was God ordained and that all preachers had to be "approved" by him? What about those that are still very much a part of this group, but has taught obvious heresy and the group will not put him out because he's their friend? If we are to rely on "church groups" how can we know which one should receive the tithes? There is one true test you can do to see if a minister is not just a hireling, and that is to tell him that he can preach after he gets off work from his daily job. We can let him know that we would be happy to help him preach the truth after we use our tithes to buy a computer, and if he writes something that can be published we will put it on our web site for him as long as it's truth. Then you will see if he wants to get the truth out or does he just want to get!
I do uphold giving because God loves those that give out of a pure heart, but there is scripture that abolish the priesthood, and tithing is tied in with it. Tithes were for the old priesthood because they did not receive an inheritance as the other eleven tribes of
Many ministers are even being paid over what is necessary to live as the rest of the brethren struggle from pay check to pay check. I would like to ask them to publish on the church board what they make overall in a year, including their car, gas, clothing, and what ever allowance they receive. If these ministers loved the truth they would give up this life style for it, and would do what the apostles did, and live on either an income from their jobs or, and, what the local congregation could afford to give them, but how many would continue to preach if that was the case? Remember, by their fruits we shall know them! You will see some in the ministry and some trying to impress those they follow attack this subject presented here because we are hitting them where their love is, but instead of attacking us they need to prove tithing by scripture if it's in fact valid for today. If it is, and can be proven then I ask again, who do we pay it to? The priest? As stated above, the priesthood has been done away with by Jesus, as we find in the book of Hebrews, and if tithing was to be paid then the apostles would sure be entitled to it, but they never asked for or received it, and if they had, they would have been very rich, but they were poor as we have seen.
Remember that God wants our giving to be something we do out of a love for God, the truth, and people in need, not a command from God as a law. We will be judged on our giving as our own free will, and God will have compassion on those that have compassion, and He will have mercy on those whom have mercy on others. God does not want us to do good because of what we think we will GET or from a command or law. He wants us to do it because of the love and mercy we have received from Him and the love we have within. He wants us to love because we love, and for no other reason. We will all be judged on what we do that comes from within and not because we had to, and this is the very core of the gospel of Christ.
You also might want to read these papers below.
See Pifers study
In Jesus' service
Timothy M. Youngblood