TITHE AND CHRISTIANS
Tithe is one tenth of agricultural produce of an Israelite under the Mosaic Law (Leviticus 27:30-34). He was to give one tenth of his agricultural produce to Levites for working in the Temple and because they had no inheritance of the land shared by Joshua (Numbers 18:24-26; 2 Chronicles 31:5-6; Nehemiah 10:37). Another one tenth is to be consumed once annually by himself in a place approved by God (Deuteronomy 12:11; Deuteronomy 14:22-27). After 3 years, he was to leave an accumulated one tenth at his front edge for the less privileged and orphans to eat (Deuteronomy 14:28-29; 26:12). The Levites were to take one tenth of their tithes and give it to the family of Aaron (Nehemiah 10:38). This was to be done three times annually (Deuteronomy 16:16).
At certain feast days were when tithes would be offered. One tithe even allowed you to stay home and spend it on what you desired (Deuteronomy 14:26).
Other nations around had nothing to do with this method of giving since they shared nothing in the tribal distribution of Israel’s land. Although, money was in circulation, tithe was not money. The formula for calculating one tenth was simple with agricultural produce (Leviticus 27:30-31). Christ criticized Pharisees for their undue emphasis on tithe payments and neglecting the most important issues (Matthew 23:23). It is the same undue emphases on tithes that have defined our denominational neighbours of today. When the New Testament Church began, freewill giving took the center stage. People gave below or far above their possessions (Act 4:36-37). It sounded that Levites had begun to have possessions as we can see in Barnabas. New Testament Christians gave of their means (I Corinthians 16:1-2). They gave according to how they were prospered I Corinthians 16:2).
The giving was received according to what they had (II Corinthians 8:12). The giving was not to be grudgingly or under compulsion II Corinthians 9:7). It is at the discretion of the giver to decide what amount he gives (II Corinthians 9:6). The reaping was based on the giving (II Corinthians 9:6). They first gave themselves II Corinthians 8:1-4). Women were not known to tithe, even when some of them were virtuous women who were people of substance.
Today, tithe is redefined as one tenth of your income paid to the “Man of God” or “Woman of God” through the church. Both genders are commanded to pay tithes.
Annual tithe eaten by oneself has been abolished. 3-year tithe, neglected. Tithes of tithes, obsolete. Why the selection of one and the leaving of the other?
We are not under the law of tithing. Tithing was part of the Mosaic Law. We are no longer under it (Romans 6:14).
It was part of the Law which Christ came to redeem us from (Galatians 4:4).
When you pay tithe? It is not a gift. It was an obligation (Galatians 4:9).
But the “Man of God” does not replace the priest of the old. And churches are not Temples of old. We are all priests today I Peter 2:9). Christ now is the only Mediator just like the priests were mediating for Israel in the old (I Timothy 2:5).
Our bodies are temples of God (I Corinthians 3:16; Acts 17:24-25).
God provides all our needs without tithing. Philippians 4:19 says, “Your needs are supplied according to His riches in glory.”
Giving today is not “…of necessity” (II Corinthians 9:7).
There is an important distinction between generosity and obligation. The law of tithe places the practitioner/payee under a curse. If you continue to tithe without fulfilling other Old Testament requirements, then you are indeed under a curse (Galatians 3:10). Christ has redeemed you from the law of tithing.
Tithing today represents ignorance or negligence of Christ’s Cross (Galatians 3:13; I Corinthians 1:17; Galatians 2:21).
There is no direct command for Christians to pay tithes. Historical researches have also shown that early Christians simply gave of their means to support the work of the Lord.
The reason for this is not far-fetched: the Priesthood under which the law of tithing was given (Hebrews 7:5; cf. Numbers 18:20-26) has been abolished because of its imperfections and a new one inaugurated (Hebrews 7:11). Consequently, since the priesthood which was the beneficiary of tithing, there was an overwhelming necessity for change in the law that regulated it (Hebrews 7:12, 18).
The more we study the more we come to know the differences between the teachings of men and the plain teachings of God.