TITHES
Quoted Scriptures are from the World English Bible unless otherwise noted.

 

According to the Law of Moses given to the Israelites by God through Moses, the people were to tithe ten percent of all they produced on a regular basis (Leviticus 27:30-33, Deuteronomy 14:22). Note that this required tithe was not a tithe of money, it was a tithe of only what the population produced: Livestock, fresh produce, herbs, etc.

This tithe was necessary for support of the Levite Priests, whose job was to carry out the work of God and spiritually lead the Israelites in true worship. It was the priests' only means of support, since they weren't free to work and provide for themselves (Numbers 18:21). Interestingly though, even though the Levites were given this tithe for their support, they were also obligated to to offer up ten percent of their own tenth to God as well (Numbers 18:25-26).

PRIESTHOOD AND THE LAW

Since the Mosaic Law stipulated this tithe to support the religious leaders, many Christians today believe we are still under the requirement to tithe a full ten percent to our religious leaders. However, they forget that the Mosaic Law was replaced by Christ's death. The Mosaic Law was the Old Covenant, while Christ is the mediator of the New Covenant through his death; and this New Covenant released us from the Old Law Covenant (Hebrews 9:15-22). This replacement was foretold at Jeremiah 31:31-33 and confirmed at Hebrews 8:7-13. Thus, Christ ended the obligation of the Old Covenant for us (Romans 10:4, Galatians 3:24-25), and brought us into a New Covenant inaugurated through his death (Luke 22:20, Hebrews 7:22).

For a detailed discussion on the matter please see Chapter 17 titled “Jewish Law Covenant”.

The act of Christ bringing in the New Covenant and abolishing the old Jewish Law covenant was, in effect, a change of the priesthood. This is supported at Hebrews 7:11-14 which states:


Hebrews 7:11-14

(11) Now if there were perfection through the Levitical priesthood (for under it the people have received the law), what further need was there for another priest to arise after the order of Melchizedek, and not be called after the order of Aaron? (12) For the priesthood being changed, there is of necessity a change made also in the law (13) For he of whom these things are said belongs to another tribe, from which no one has officiated at the altar. (14) For it is evident that our Lord has sprung out of Judah, about which tribe Moses spoke nothing concerning priesthood.

Does this change in priesthood change the law requirement of ten percent tithing? Apparently it does, for as the above Scripture in Hebrews states "For the priesthood being changed, there is of necessity a change made also in the law" In what ways did the law change? According to the apostle Paul at 2 Corinthians 9:7, we are to give only that which we choose; without the compulsion that the Old Covenant tithe demanded. Nowhere in the New Testament is it compulsory to tithe a full ten percent for the support of the spiritual leaders. Supporting this is the fact that Paul himself chose to live by his own means of income instead of expecting the congregations to tithe for his needs (Acts 18:1-4, 1 Thessalonians 2:9).

 

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?

In spite of this information, though, this shouldn't be taken to imply that it is okay if you don't give anything at all. We need to keep in mind that, although the ten percent tithe is no longer mandatory, we are still encouraged to give something. Jesus himself encouraged us to give without specifying a certain amount (Luke 6:38). The Bible is full of admonitions to be generous (Matthew 5:42, Luke 6:38, Hebrews 13:16, Romans 12:13). We must also remember that our congregational leaders do need financial support, as they work hard to meet the needs of the congregation, leaving them little time for secular work (caring for a congregation is a lot different now than it was in the Apostle Paul's day). On top of that, the buildings we worship in – whether in a church or a home or a rented hall – need regular maintenance to remain functional, which also costs money. Therefore, be willing to give what you are able, whether it's ten percent, or less, or more; give a reasonable amount. Although Scripture no longer requires you to give a ten percent tithe, be willing to give something, and give it cheerfully (2 Corinthians 9:7).


CONCLUDING COMMENTS

Therefore, do not let others "guilt" you into giving any more than you can actually afford. And alternatively, do not be looking down on those who give less than what you yourself are giving. Our Christian duty is to simply give happily. If each person is content in their contribution, then each is fulfilling their Christian requirements. It is up to our Father to judge whether or not a donation is appropriate; we need to remember to keep the logs out of our own eyes instead of worrying about the splinters in others'. (Matthew 7:1-5).


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