The Widows Mite
The "DOCTRINE OF TITHING" is perhaps one that is expanding to universal acceptance in all Church denominations and non-denominations alike. This doctrine is taught from the Pulpit, in Church classrooms, small fellowship groups, on the Internet, and nationally via radio and TV ministries as well. Church members are inundated with everything from suggestions, appeals, to commands based on select Bible passages to give ten percent of their income to their Church.
Why is this doctrine gaining in such popularity and practice? There are two reasons why it is obtaining such phenomenal and widespread growth - - -
The first benefit to the Church is the obvious and immediate increase in financial resources to carry out and execute all the ministries to which it has committed. We can gain a better understanding of the Church's situation if we take a birdseye view of the transitional phase of the Tithing doctrine. A Church which previously did not support and teach the doctrine decides to accept and teach the Doctrine to its members. An immediate and substantial cash flow to the Church is realized. The ministries which were previously supported may continue to be supported plus NEW ministries can be created and supported as well. Once this happens,
THE DOCTRINE OF TITHING IS SOLIDIFIED
The Church with new increased ministries and corresponding financial obligations can not easily reverse itself. The Church must maintain that Tithing is scriptural in order to sustain itself financially regardless of any renewed interest to reexamine the Doctrine in light of Scripture. The doctrine taught from the Church is totally without consequences. The Church neither claims nor accepts financial liability for teaching this doctrine to its members. If a member's practice of Tithing contributes to their financial downturn, the Church is not liable nor required to ASSIST the member in such situations. After all, the promise of financial or materialistic blessings as a result of Tithing were to come from "God" - not from the Church. Whether a particular Tither's financial situation and resultant standard of living decreases in response to the Doctrine is irrelevant. This is a Win-Win situation for the Church.
In some situations Church Leaders can convince laity that not only is tithing required, but that the Christian must Tithe on ALL PAST income. This usually places a tremendous financial strain on the average Christian, but the monetary benefit to the Church can be phenomenal when accepted and performed by the "OBEDIENT" Christians.
The Church by it silence offers no obligation to its members to supplement God's PROMISES to a distressed Tither. In like manner, the Church by its silence does not teach that its members should corporately come to the financial aid of any distressed Tither or previous Tither. In such situations, the Tither is often forced to seek "Financial Counseling" elsewhere.
The Christian Tither is taught that the doctrine is scriptural and that there is a materialistic (primarily monetary) reward for doing so. The focus of the doctrine centers around one particular verse found in the Old Testament - - -
Bring all the TITHES into the STOREHOUSE, That there may be FOOD in My HOUSE, And try Me now in this," Says the LORD of hosts, "If I will not open for you the windows of heaven And POUR OUT for you such BLESSING That there will not be room enough to receive it.
The above verse is rather interesting, because in the same chapter, the verse most applicable to the proponents of Tithing from the Pulpit overlook this verse - - -
And I will come near you for judgment; I will be a swift witness Against sorcerers, Against adulterers, Against perjurers, Against those who . . . Exploit Wage Earners And Widows And Orphans
And against those who turn away an alien--Because they do not fear Me," Says the LORD of hosts.
Of course verse 10 above is not the ONLY scripture used to promote the practice of Tithing, but it is found at the center of all that is taught concerning it. Without this verse, the incentive for a Christian to "Tithe" is removed.
The Tither is therefore led to the conclusion that they will be the recipient of God's blessings or God's promises to receive back from THE LORD in response to THEIR TITHING PRACTICE. Thus, to obey God's commandment to Tithe offers a materialistic or financial reward. This is an encouraging statement from God's Word and provides the motivation or dynamo to prompt a Christian to begin the practice of Tithing.
"Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you."
The above verse is also often presented by Church Pastors to support the doctrine of tithing. However, it is overlooked that the above passage was nothing new to the listening Jews at the time. That verse merely enhanced what was already promised to the nation Israel and was part of the "WRITTEN" covenant between God and Israel as shown in the following. The same conditions would be true for Israel as they ushered in the NEW KINGDOM
"And you shall remember the LORD your God, for it is He who gives you power to GET WEALTH, that He may establish His COVENANT which He swore to your fathers, as it is this day.
You see a wonderful picture of this actually happening in the days of Solomon when he reigned over Israel. But at this particular time when Jesus made the statement, Israel had BROKEN the COVENANT. The promises under the Old Covenant were "CONDITIONAL" based on Israel's adherence to the terms.
Notice what Jesus DIDN'T SAY to the following lady who gave more that the tithe - - -
1 And He looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the treasury,
2 and He saw also a certain POOR WIDOW putting in two mites.
3 So He said, "Truly I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all;
4"for all these out of their abundance have put in offerings for God, but she out of her poverty put in ALL THE LIVELIHOOD that she had."
Was this woman to receive back "PRESSED DOWN AND SHAKEN TOGETHER" because of what she did? Jesus had nothing to say about her current financial situation nor her future financial situation. Jesus was not obligated to respond under the TERMS OF THE COVENANT because of Israel's disobedience. As a result, they are now under Roman rule at this time in history.
A Tither in this study is assumed to be a Born Again Believer in Jesus Christ.
Embarrassment of a Tither who encounters financial distress often prevents the Tither's situation from becoming visible to the Church at large.
There are three basic flaws with the Doctrine of Tithing and the Born Again Believer in the Church and they are- - -
The first item will be reviewed and discussed on a verse-by-verse basis.
The second item is as old as the book of Job. A Bible Student familiar with the book of Job realizes that the whole book is premised on the fact and argument that concerning the flesh and material things -
God Deals with "His People" Differently.
This theological issue found in the book of Job is extremely important and relevant to us because it was written either before "The LAW" was given to Israel, or it was written from a culture that was NOT UNDER The Law.
Partiality can be subdivided into two additional classifications - - -
James 2:1 (NKJV)
My brethren, do not hold the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with partiality.
The poor man who enters the Church is not to be discriminated against because God has accepted him. James discusses the practical side of Christianity under the TERMS of GRACE and not under TERMS of the COVENANT with Israel.
44 "But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you,
45 "that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His SUN RISE ON THE EVIL AND ON THE GOOD, and SENDS RAIN ON THE JUST AND ON THE UNJUST.
The advocates of Church Tithing quickly point to the fact that it was a requirement under The Law and that God DID SHOW PARTIALITY to the Children of Israel when they obeyed his commandments. That fact is true, but that partiality was given to God's earthly people and the Apostle Paul makes it clear in Romans that The Law was given to "Bring them to Christ". For the Christian, the parallel is that we reap "Spiritual Blessings" and not necessarily physical blessings.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every SPIRITUAL BLESSING in the heavenly places in Christ,
Material blessings were never promised to the Christian, they were promised to Israel. The distinction between Israel and the Church is emphasized by the Apostle Paul in the following - --
7 Therefore receive one another, just as Christ also received us, to the glory of God.
8 Now I say that Jesus Christ has become a servant to the circumcision for the truth of God, to CONFIRM THE PROMISES made to the fathers,
9 and that the Gentiles might GLORIFY GOD FOR HIS MERCY, as it is written: "For this reason I will confess to You among the Gentiles, And sing to Your name."
10 And again he says: "Rejoice, O Gentiles, with His people!"
11 And again: "Praise the LORD, all you Gentiles! Laud Him, all you peoples!"
Notice that Paul did NOT INCLUDE the Church as a participant to the PROMISES made to the fathers, which refers to the nation ISRAEL.
Before we look at scripture to see if Tithing is commanded or required of a Believer, we make the following observations. The shadow of this widespread doctrine with its obligations, requirements, and promises is now arriving at nearly every Christian's doorstep. What is the Believers' response? Typically a Christian sitting under the teaching of this Doctrine believes and responds in one of the the following ways - - -
A discussion of the selection and corresponding response by a Believer to each of the above is as follows - - --
The first two choices are made based on the Christian's existing financial situation. If the current situation does not allow for supporting the doctrine, then they can simply acknowledge it as true but cannot respond to the commandment immediately. However, it will shown in this study, that neither of the first two choices above are viable.
As a student of the Bible now for several years, I have found that the correlation between Church member giving and the Tithe can best be summarized as a unique mathematical expression. This expression totally encompasses all aspects of New Testament teaching on the Doctrine of the Tithe, and it can adequately be represented by the following equation - - -
DOCTRINE OF THE TITHE = X / 0
Where "X" equals any number. If you can solve the equation above, then you have the Biblical answer concerning the proper understanding and teaching concerning a Believer and the doctrine of Church Tithing. If you take your personal calculator, enter any number, and then divide it by zero, you will get a non-mathematical answer. Usually, the LCD display will yield "ERROR" or some such. Why does it do this? Because in the world of mathematics the division of any number by zero is determined to be - - -
Similarly, regarding this issue and the Believer, the Doctrine of Tithing simply DOES NOT EXIST. Therefore, the relationship of Tithing and the Church is as follows . . .
First, it should be noted that this document does advocate that the author is against giving to the Church to support both outreach ministries to spread the Gospel and internal ministries to edify the congregation. Proper and sufficient giving is necessary to provide the financial needs for overhead and sustenance of the Church building, operation, salaries, transportation vehicles, repair, new construction, etc.
As a matter of fact, the Believer is required to give scripturally as we shall see. However, it shall be shown in this Bible Study that the relationship between the Tithing Doctrine and a Believer can be represented Biblically as follows - - -
CHRISTIAN + DOCTRINE OF THE TITHE = STUMBLING BLOCK
If this statement serves as a startling entry point into the discussion and study of this doctrine, then the reader had best hang on to their seat. Not only will this study show that the above is fact, but the REAL STARTLING statements are yet to be presented by our Lord ! ! !
Most common questions about this doctrine include - - -
1) If the doctrine of Tithing does not exist, then why does my Church promote so much teaching on it?
From the practical side, the Doctrine of Church Tithing is the greatest thing to come along since the development of sliced bread. Never before can the Church receive so much cash flow into Church coffers than with promotional teaching of this doctrine to its members. This practice of Tithing has in part spawned the development of extremely well-to-do Churches and in part produced "Mega-Churches" with economic assets that extend into the millions of dollars.
2) Does our current economic environment influence the propagation of this Doctrine?.
Prior to about 1950, the doctrine of Church tithing was almost non-existent compared to what it is today. Many farming and small community Americans living in modest economic environments at that time would have welcomed today's Preacher and the Tithing Doctrine with "Tar and Feathers". Today, the number of Nationally known Television and Radio Preachers who DO NOT advocate the doctrine and practice of Tithing can perhaps be counted on the fingers of one hand. One major ingredient to support the practice of Tithing is an - - -
The doctrine of Tithing is not embraced with such enthusiasm in poor under developed countries and on the impoverished side of American cities. Most Churches which strongly promote tithing and reap the rewards for doing so are built on the "GOOD" side of town and not in the slum sections of town where they could do the most good. It is amazing to see the new construction of these large, magnificent and "affluent" churches built among the "affluent".
3) Is Biblical tithing really the giving of one-tenth or 10% of income?
The only Biblical description with SOME details on tithing is found ONLY in the Old Testament. The New Testament gives NO instructions on how, when, and where to Tithe. The corresponding amount of tithing as a percentage that was actually required of Israel is unknown even by todays Bible Scholars. Estimates of actual giving based on the Tithe typically range from 18% to 30%. Instructions on how to Tithe based on Old Testament passages cannot be accurately duplicated today.
If a member of todays Church were required to exact the Tithe from a society under SIMULATED conditions, they would find INSUFFICIENT instructions on how to do so. The actual and FULL methods and details on how to perform this is not recorded in scripture in sufficient detail to allow Christians to duplicate it. The actual tithing details were evidently handed down verbally from Moses, other prophets, the elders, or perhaps the governing committee set up by Moses in Exodus 18.
We shall illustrate the problem of tithing by presenting questions you would most likely be asked in a tithing environment - --
1) Question - Do I have to give AN ADDITIONAL 10% of my income every third year?
12 "When you have finished laying aside all the tithe of your increase in the third year--the year of tithing--and have given it to the Levite, the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, so that they may eat within YOUR gates and be filled,
13 "then you shall say before the LORD your God: 'I have removed the HOLY TITHE tithe from my house, and also have given them to the Levite, the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, according to all Your commandments which You have commanded me; I have not transgressed Your commandments, nor have I forgotten them
This tithe appears to be in addition to the REGULAR tithe and is called the HOLY tithe. You certainly want to give THAT tithe. This tithe is not transported to Jerusalem nor to the Levitical cities, but is to be stored in YOUR city.
2) Question - I assume my tithe is to be from the BEST that I have? (True or False)
And concerning the tithe of the herd or the flock, of WHATEVER passes under the rod, the tenth one shall be holy to the LORD.
If that old sickly looking cow of yours is one of ten to pass under the rod, then guess which cow is sent to the Levites?
3) Question - My best prized bull was one of the tenth that passed under the rod. MUST I give my prize bull to those Levites?
You don't HAVE to give it, however, your tithe now increases by 20% of the appraised value of the bull. This could be accomplished by giving two smaller cows, for example.
"If a man wants at all to redeem any of his tithes, he shall add one-fifth to it.
4) Question - Can't I just give cash (like the Churches do) and let the Levites deal with it?
First, your REDEEMED tithe may be INCREASED depending if YOU decide to REDEEM your tithe. Secondly, the monetary currency used in Israel could not normally be used in the tithe.
And all the tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land or of the fruit of the tree, is the LORD'S. It is holy to the LORD.
5) Question - I am a Levite and receive tithes. Do I have to pay tithes too?
(Parallel Question - To whom should Church members pay their Tithe?)
"Speak thus to the Levites, and say to them: 'When you take from the children of Israel the tithes which I have given you from them as your inheritance, then you shall offer up a heave offering of it to the LORD, a TENTH of the TITHE.
6) Question - If I am a Levite and I RECEIVE tithes, but must also pay tithes, WHO do I pay it to?
Answer: The descendants of Aaron
The Levitical tithe is given to ALL the descendants of Aaron - the High-Priestly family - - -. The descendants of Aaron are growing at approximately the same rate as the rest of the Jewish community and so this gets to be a rather large corporate contribution as the population increases.
'Thus you (Levites) shall also offer a heave offering to the LORD from all your tithes which you RECEIVE from the children of Israel, and you shall give the LORD'S heave offering from it to Aaron the priest.
7) Question - Like the tribes of Israel, we Levites shall also offer what Passes under the rod (True or False)?
The Levites are required to offer only the BEST which they have received. The procedure of letting their livestock pass under the rod is not applicable with them.
29 Of all your gifts you shall offer up every heave offering due to the LORD, from all the BEST of them, the consecrated part of them.
30 "Therefore you shall say to them: "When you have lifted up the BEST of it, then the rest shall be accounted to the Levites as the produce of the threshing floor and as the produce of the winepress.
8) Question - Do all the tithes from the tribes of Israel go to Jerusalem?
21 "If the place where the LORD your God chooses to put His name is too far from you, then you may slaughter from your herd and from your flock which the LORD has given you, just as I have commanded you, and you may eat within your gates as much as your heart desires.
Jerusalem is 1 of 48 Levitical cities to receive tithes. It wouldn't make sense for the tribe of Dan to truck their tenth all the way down south to Jerusalem. Jerusalem would be overflowing with produce and livestock from 12 tribes. The neighboring tribes take care of their respective Levitical cities. The remote tribes bring Of Their Tithe to Jerusalem to eat there and celebrate the feasts and so on - - -
All the cities of the Levites within the possession of the children of Israel were FORTY-EIGHT cities with their common-lands.
9) Question - What if Jerusalem it TOO FAR away to keep the above commandment?
5 "But you shall seek the place where the LORD your God chooses, out of all your tribes, to put His name for His dwelling place; and there you shall go.
6 "There you shall take your burnt offerings, your sacrifices, your tithes, the heave offerings of your hand, your vowed offerings, your freewill offerings, and the firstborn of your herds and flocks.
10) Question - Well, I still want to go to Jerusalem, but I am afraid the old cow just wont make it, now what do I do?
24 "But if the journey is too long for you, so that you are not able to carry the tithe, or if the place where the LORD your God chooses to put His name is too far from you, when the LORD your God has blessed you,
25 "then you shall exchange it for money, take the money in your hand, and go to the place which the LORD your God chooses.
This explains the money changers activities in the Temple as recorded in the Gospels when Jesus drove the money changers our of the temple. By analogy, a sheep intended as an animal sacrifice would be sold for $100 in a northern tribe with the intent of buying a comparable sheep when he reached Jerusalem. When the Jew reached Jerusalem, he found the money changers selling a similar sheep for $300! ! !
11) Question - I feel that I am privileged to give my tithe to the Levites and it shall be considered a BLESSING from me to them (True or False)?
Your TITHE shall be considered payment for services and WORK performed
"Behold, I have given the children of Levi all the TITHES in Israel as an inheritance in return for the WORK which they perform, the work of the tabernacle of meeting.
12) Question - I have just picked my apples and there are 500 bushels of rather wormy apples and there are 500 bushes of better looking apples. How do I decide under "The Law" which to include in my tithe?
The answer is not found in the scriptures. Jewish law and customs unknown to us provided the methods to determine how such decisions were made.
13) If tithing for the Christian is biblical, should I not be obligated to tithe on all PAST income as well?
Bring ALL the TITHES into the storehouse, That there may be food in My house, And try Me now in this," Says the LORD of hosts, . . . .
In other words, if our Lord is requiring his Children to tithe, and that Christian has not tithed on all past income because of IGNORANCE of God's Word or simply FAILURE to keep the commandment, would our Lord NOT REQUIRE that the amount SHORT CHANGED the Church be required? Malachi suggests that this SHOULD be the case - - -
The above verse actually included PAST TITHES, because the Children of Israel had failed to keep this commandment and the storehouse in Jerusalem PLUS the remaining 47 Levitical cities which received tithes were running short of supplies.
13) The Levites were required to live "exclusively" off of the tithe brought to them by the other 11 tribes.(True or False)?
The Levites were dependent to a large extent upon the receiving of tithes from the remaining tribes. However, the Lord commanded that each of the 48 Levitical cities have a small "Truck Patch" or plot of ground which surrounded the city whereby those Levites who had a "Green Thumb" and the desire to do so could raise crops or animals as they wished - - -
1 And the LORD spoke to Moses in the plains of Moab by the Jordan across from Jericho, saying:
2 "Command the children of Israel that they give the Levites cities to dwell in from the inheritance of their possession, and you shall also give the Levites common-land around the cities.
3 "They shall have the cities to dwell in; and their common-land shall be for their cattle, for their herds, and for all their animals.
4 "The common-land of the cities which you shall give the Levites shall extend from the wall of the city outward a thousand cubits all around.
5 "And you shall measure outside the city on the east side two thousand cubits, on the south side two thousand cubits, on the west side two thousand cubits, and on the north side two thousand cubits. The city shall be in the middle. This shall belong to them as common-land for the cities.
The fact that a Tither is required to pay on PAST AMOUNTS is not generally going to be demanded by Church preachers and teachers concerning the Tithe. Church membership would probably be on the decline as soon as word circulated that you were under obligation to Tithe on past amounts. Tithing Doctrine taught in this manner would thrust some Church members into IMMEDIATE DEBT instead of IMMEDIATE PROSPERITY.
One could assume that if a Christian were a Believer for the past 10 years, then the giving of tithes on the amount NOT TITHED should be required. One could assume that the Believer would be exempt from tithing on income made while an Unbeliever. They could use the following verse to escape THAT requirement - - -
The SACRIFICE of the wicked is an ABOMINATION to the LORD, But the prayer of the upright is His delight.
When Preachers and Teachers of the Doctrine of Tithing are confronted with the problems of Tithing based on Old Testament Ordinances, the issue is usually sidestepped. They will then point to Abraham and his giving of a Tithe to Melchizedek King of Salem which occurred before The Mosaic Law and the requirement for the nation of Israel to Tithe in Genesis 14.
This story is of particular importance because it is recounted in the New Testament in Hebrews Chapter 7. The Tithing Teachers want to make a correlation between Abraham's giving of one tenth of the Spoils or Plunder of War to Melchizedek and the Christian giving one-tenth of their paycheck to the Church. The analogy is similar to driving a round peg into a square hole, but these Teachers are certainly up to the challenge. They will use whatever size hammer is required in order to do it.
1 For this Melchizedek, 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 translated "king of righteousness," and then also king of Salem, meaning "king of peace,"
3 without father, without mother, without genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but made like the Son of God, remains a priest continually.
4 Now CONSIDER HOW GREAT THIS MAN WAS, to whom even the patriarch ABRAHAM GAVE A TENTH OF THE SPOILS.
The writer of Hebrews wants to draw our attention to how GREAT this man Melchizedek was, but the Tithing Teachers want to focus on the one-tenth given by Abraham. Again, how they get the one-tenth of the spoils of war and your paycheck to correlate is no small miracle in itself. The picture here in Hebrews is that Melchizedek was an eternal Priest of which Priesthood our Lord Jesus Christ patterns himself and not after the Priesthood of Aaron. Melchizedek blessed Abraham with Spiritual Blessings, and Abraham could only bless Melchizedek with material blessings. The one-tenth given by Abraham was evidently a custom of the land at that time to show homage, honor, and respect on the part of the giver.
18 Then Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine; he was the PRIEST of God Most High.
19 And he blessed him and said: "Blessed be Abram of God Most High, Possessor of heaven and earth;
20 And blessed be God Most High, Who has delivered your enemies into your hand." And he (Abraham) gave him a TITHE of all.
It can only be said so many times that there is NO instruction or commandment in the New Testament for a Christian to give the Church ten percent of anything.
The doctrine of Tithing is not found in the New Testament. If it were, it would most likely be included in 2 Corinthians because that is where the Apostle Paul gives so much instruction and admonition to the issue of giving.
Actually, the promotion of the Doctrine of TITHING or any other means of extracting funds "unbiblically" from a Believer is found in both the Old and New Testament. A Christian's money is his LIFE BLOOD if you will. When the source of income is stopped, then that person ceases to live. While that money is being extracted it is comparable to BLEEDING. Thus the practice of illegally extracting money from God's people in an ungodly manner is nothing new, for the Old Testament calls it - - -
" . . . BLOODSHED"
The term BLOODSHED used in the Old Testament is used generally in one of two ways - - -
The word "Bloodshed" is used in the first case as follows - - -
"When you build a new house, then you shall make a parapet for your roof, that you may not bring guilt of BLOODSHED on your household if anyone falls from it.
But, note that with respect to taking MONEY unscripturally, it is used as follows - - -
Ezekiel 22 (NKJV)
1 Moreover the word of the LORD came to me, saying,
2 "Now, son of man, will you judge, will you judge the BLOODY city? Yes, show her all her abominations!
3 "Then say, 'Thus says the Lord GOD: "The city SHEDS BLOOD in her own midst, that her time may come; and she makes IDOLS within herself to defile herself.
4 "You have become guilty by the BLOOD which you have SHED, and have defiled yourself with the IDOLS which you have made.. . .
6 "Look, the PRINCES of Israel: each one has used his POWER to SHED BLOOD in you.
9 "In you are men who SLANDER to cause BLOODSHED; in you are those who eat on the mountains; in your midst they commit lewdness.
12 "In you they take BRIBES to SHED BLOOD; you take USURY and INCREASE; you have made PROFIT from your NEIGHBORS by EXTORTION, and have forgotten Me," says the Lord GOD.
13 "Behold, therefore, I beat My fists at the DISHONEST PROFIT which you HAVE MADE, and at the BLOODSHED which has been in your midst.
25 "The conspiracy of her prophets in her midst is like a roaring lion tearing the prey; they have devoured people; they have TAKEN TREASURE and PRECIOUS THINGS; they have made many widows in her midst.
26 "Her PRIESTS have violated My law and profaned My holy things; they have not distinguished between the holy and unholy, nor have they made known the difference between the unclean and the clean; and they have hidden their eyes from My Sabbaths, so that I am profaned among them.
27 "Her princes in her midst are like wolves tearing the prey, to SHED BLOOD, to DESTROY people, and to get DISHONEST GAIN.
These Jews knew the ten commandments and were not guilty of "THOU SHALT NOT KILL (MURDER)". They were not taking HUMAN LIFE. The act of committing BLOODSHED was the taking of MONEY from the people, their resources, etc in a dishonest manner. The princes, prophets, and religious leaders were extracting money from the people using SLANDER or by using FALSE commands as if from God. The technique for doing this was to pervert the Word of God and then use it as their basis for authority. This practice is called IDOLATRY. Yet another example - - -
9 Now hear this, You HEADS of the house of Jacob And RULERS of the house of Israel, Who abhor justice And pervert all equity,
10 Who build up Zion with BLOODSHED And Jerusalem with iniquity:
11 Her heads judge for a BRIBE, Her PRIEST TEACH for PAY, And her PROPHETS DIVINE for MONEY. Yet they lean on the LORD, and say, "Is not the LORD among us? No harm can come upon us."
The religious Leaders are committing BLOODSHED. It has to do with taking of the people's MONEY under false pretenses ! ! ! They are using God's Word as the source or basis for EXTORTION.
6 For I desire mercy and not sacrifice, And the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.
7 "But like men they transgressed the covenant; There they dealt treacherously with Me.
8 Gilead is a city of evildoers, And defiled with BLOOD.
9 As bands of ROBBERS lie in wait for a man, So the company of PRIESTS MURDER on the way to Shechem; Surely they commit lewdness.
Here, God is saying HE views the Priests the same as a band of godless robbers along the roadside waiting for a victim to come along. Therefore, from the Old Testament, we can conclude that the commandment from the Church to its members to practice the Doctrine of the Tithe is paralleled. The correlation is - - -
CHRISTIAN + DOCTRINE OF TITHING = BLOODSHED
The New Testament warns leaders in the Church to NOT commit extortion also - - -
1 Timothy 6
3 If anyone teaches otherwise and does not consent to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which accords with godliness,
4 he is proud, knowing nothing, but is obsessed with disputes and arguments over words, from which come envy, strife, reviling, evil suspicions,
5 useless wranglings of men of corrupt minds and destitute of the truth, who suppose that "GODLINESS IS A MEANS OF GAIN."
From such withdraw yourself.
6 Now godliness with contentment is great gain.
7 For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.
8 And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content.
The Doctrine of the Tithe is submitted to the Believer with the idea that if they obey the commandment, then God will reciprocate as HE did to Israel by - - -
7 Yet from the days of your fathers You have gone away from My ORDINANCES And have not kept them. Return to Me, and I will return to you," Says the LORD of hosts. "But you said, 'In what way shall we return?
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.
9 You are CURSED with a CURSE, For you have robbed Me, Even this whole NATION.
10 Bring all the TITHES into the STOREHOUSE, That there may be FOOD in My HOUSE, And try Me now in this," Says the LORD of hosts, "If I will not open for you the windows of heaven And pour out for you such blessing That there will not be room enough to receive it.
The above verses are the most quoted to potential Tithers to convince them of their need to submit 10% of their income to the Church. The Believer is also apt to sense that they are under a CURSE for not doing so, but some Teachers avoid this charge as being too drastic. Just a HINT that the Believer is under a CURSE will generally be sufficient.
7 For a bishop must be blameless, as a steward of God, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money,
8 but hospitable, a lover of what is good, sober-minded, just, holy, self-controlled,
9 holding fast the faithful word as he has been taught, that he may be able, by sound doctrine, both to exhort and convict those who contradict.
10 For there are many insubordinate, both idle talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision,
11 whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole households, TEACHING THINGS which they ought not, for the sake of DISHONEST GAIN.
What could these teachers POSSIBLY be teaching Church members that would allow them to reel in the CASH?
1 Peter 5
1 The elders who are among you I exhort, I who am a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that will be revealed:
2 Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, not by compulsion but willingly, not for DISHONEST GAIN but eagerly;
3 nor as being lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock;
What could these Elders POSSIBLY be involved in to allow them to FLEECE THE FLOCK and reel in the cash?
If the Doctrine of Tithing is NOT the avenue for Dishonest Gain, then just by the process of elimination, WHAT IS? New Testament giving is described adequately in 2 Corinthians. - - -
2 Cor 9:7
So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of NECESSITY; for God loves a cheerful giver.
Some of our Churches are teaching and instructing Church members that - - -
* * * TITHING IS A COMMANDMENT FROM GOD * * *
in order for the Christian to receive BLESSINGS from our Lord.
How can tithing be a sin you ask. We have discovered in the above that any such teaching from the Pulpit to the Pew is "sin" and is called "Dishonest Gain" in the New Testament and "Bloodshed" in the Old Testament. The Preachers/Teachers who teach such nonsense have abused their authority over the Church congregation by stating or suggesting the Believer must Tithe in response to -- "Thus Saith The Lord". The OT false prophets and priests did the same thing in their day.
But what about the Believer sitting in the Pew who buys this teaching and then is under . . .
Well, firstly, if a Believer wants to tithe or give ten percent of their income to any of the Lord's work, that's fine. If that Believer views the Old Testament tithe as sort of a "Go By" example, then all is well. The problem arises when that Believer expects to receive something in return as God told Israel in Malachi. When that happens, then the Believer becomes guilty of . . .
"TURNING THE GRACE OF GOD INTO LICENTIOUSNESS"
I have personnaly heard from the church pulpit statements such as . . .
"We Baptists know that for us Tithers, our 90% goes farther than the 100% of those who do not tithe."
What A Deal !!! . . . Who wouldn't want to get in on that? Where do I sign up?
Well, the speaker who made that statement will be glad to sign everyone up...
The intent of the speaker was to get more people to tithe. This approach is based on a lie and considers the "Blood of the Covenant" by which we are under a "Vain thing". God is dealing with His Children under this new covenant instituted by our Lord Jesus Christ by "His Grace" and Not by terms stated to Israel under "The Law". These folk are guilty of turning . . .
"THE GRACE OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST INTO LASCIVIOUSNESS" - - Jude 4
In other words, by the practice of tithing, we can extract a blessing from God to fulfill our fleshly desire. We can use God's Grace as a "LICENSE" to get something...
This Bible Study is not going to turn the tide against the proclamation that Tithing is scriptural, but hopefully warn and challenge Bible Students to take a serious look at the doctrine. The problem often does not surface until an unsuspecting and innocent TITHER finds himself in financial stress due to circumstances beyond their control. That is when guilt and frustration mount and the TITHER is forced to look for answers or help outside the Church. Generally, the Tither has the following recourse - - -
For innocent Christians, it leads to guilt that the Tither has somehow failed God and that God is therefore withholding his Blessing upon that Christian. The Tither must assume that they have failed God because of some other reason.
The very basis that this doctrine is unsound for the Believer is that it charges that God will treat the TITHER differently than another Believer who does not Tithe or the godless man on the street.
I heard a recent Bible Preacher from the Pulpit say, " We Christians who Tithe KNOW that our 90% that remains goes farther than the 100% of those Non-Tithers". That statement yielded a hearty "AMEN" from the congregation. However, that statement is as Biblically untrue as is possible.
4 And Jesus answered and said to them: "Take heed that no one deceives you.
5 "For many will come in My name, saying, 'I am the Christ,' and will deceive many
Another question often submitted to Tithing Preachers by Christians is - - -
Do I TITHE on my Gross income or Net income?
The answer most often give to that question is put as a question and resubmitted to the questioner, "How much do you want to be BLESSED?"
That answer too, is about as ambiguous and Unscriptural as you can find. Again its not found in the New Testament and the Old Testament states that failure to do so resulted in God's judgment upon Israel. If a Christian is going to tithe per the Old Testament standards, then you had better have THE CORRECT ANSWER and perform it ! ! !
Church Teachers, Preachers, Elders, and other Clergy members who place Christians under God's commandment to Tithe under his Ordinance to the Nation Israel are guilty of - - - BLOODSHED
The Christians who fall prey to this teaching are classified as those who - - - STUMBLE
It is to the Believers advantage to be aware of it and not disrupt the remainder of the flock who are actively and happily obeying their command. The number of Believers who have found themselves under bondage and struggling under this load litter the wayside. Unfortunately, their testimony and current financial distress is not paraded in front of the Church for all to see.
The above passages is warn Christians in THIS age to not fall victim to false Teaching. Jesus said - - -
"These things I have spoken to you, that you should - - - Not Be Made To Stumble
The Bible Student should not fall victim to the Doctrine of Tithing which is taught indiscriminately in the Churches today. However, this is not to say that a Christian can not use the Tithing command in the Old Testament as a pattern of giving if they so desire. If a Christian has a heart to do so, I am sure this finds favor with the Lord.
2 Cor 9
6 But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.
7 So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver.
The New Testament makes it clear that a Christian is to be led of the Holy Spirit and give what HE intends to give and from what he has. The New Testament teaches . . . NEVER commit to give on what you DO NOT HAVE ! ! !
The idea that a Christian is coerced into giving on income they have NOT RECEIVED is unscriptural on both the part of the Church for doing so, and on a Christian who falls victim because of ignorance of the Teachings of the Word of God.
2 Cor 8
9 For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich.
10 And in this I give advice: It is to your advantage not only to be doing what you began and were desiring to do a year ago;
11 but now you also must complete the doing of it; that as there was a readiness to desire it, so there also may be a completion out of what you have.
12 For if there is first a WILLING MIND, it is accepted according to WHAT ONE HAS, and NOT ACCORDING TO WHAT HE DOES NOT HAVE.
The idea that a Christian is coerced into giving on income they have NOT RECEIVED is unscriptural on both the part of the Church for doing so, and on a Christian who is made to STUMBLE because of their ignorance of the Teachings of the Word of God. God's anger was expressed to the Religious rulers in Ezekiel's day as - - -
"Behold, therefore, I beat My fists at the DISHONEST PROFIT which you HAVE MADE, and at the BLOODSHED which has been in your midst.
The Apostle Paul expresses the same sentiment toward Preachers and Teachers of the Doctrine of Tithing as did the Lord in passage in Ezekiel.
2 Cor 11:29
Who is weak, and I am not weak? Who is made to STUMBLE, and I do not . . . BURN WITH INDIGNATION?
Paul is saying that he is not going to run up into the Church pulpits and STOP this practice, but he is aware of it. In order to keep peace and unity among the Brethren, Paul must remain silent, while yet burning with indignation on the inside toward those who teach the Word of God for profit. That my beloved is the situation of our day.
It is up to each Christian to KNOW God's Word in order to keep themselves from stumbling, that is falling victim to false teaching and false commandments.
"These things I have spoken to you, that you should . . . NOT BE MADE TO STUMBLE.
24 Now to Him who is able to KEEP YOU FROM STUMBLING, And to present you faultless Before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy,
25 To God our Savior, Who alone is wise, Be glory and majesty, Dominion and power, Both now and forever. AMEN