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The unholy tithe: Defiling God’s name December 20, 2011

Posted by Henry in Tithing.
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10Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it. (Mal 3:10)

Most of us who know a little about the “tithe” are aware that the Biblical tithe is Holy unto God (Lev 27:30-33). However, the practice of tithing in the church today is an “unholy” practice which does not bring glory to God but rather defiles His name. I believe the practice of tithing in the New Covenant church creates confusion amongst believers and since God is not the author of confusion (1 Cor 14:33), it is arguably whether God does preside over churches that create confusion and are defiling His name.

Some people may think that to tithe or not to tithe is no big deal and put it down to mere “theological differences”. In this regard they don’t think that this is a topic worth discussing. However there are ministers who teach that if you don’t tithe you can’t go to Heaven. In my view therefore, this topic warrants a serious debate as most of Christendom is caught up in a practice that is unbiblical where the new church is concerned. I further believe that this is one of the central tenets of the church, which instead of empowering it, weakens the fabric of the church. It begs the question of whether God actually preside over such defilement. How can a church collect tithes under false pretences and then pray to the Lord to bless it and use it according to His will in furthering the work of His Kingdom? We may think we are doing God a service but we are actually doing Him a disservice by declaring things from the pulpit in His name that He did not command the church to observe. This is a SIN before GOD.

Let me state categorically here that if anyone wants to give 10% of their income to the church, there is nothing wrong in principle in doing so. However, if you are giving because you feel obligated to do so because of what was said under the Old Covenant (such as the verse of Malachi 3 stated above), then you are effectively saying that Christ did not do enough – that He only fulfilled part of the Law but not the whole Law. In this way you are denying Christ and make His cross of no effect.

Pastors and other ministers of the Gospel are defiling God’s name when they declare from the pulpit that He did not abolish the tithe and that the church today are required to observe tithing. When they quote from Leviticus 27 they are careful to leave out verse 34 which says:

34These are the commandments, which the LORD commanded Moses for the children of Israel in mount Sinai.   

 

The tithing commandments were given to Israel and Israel alone, which they were to observe in the Promised Land. Hebrews 7:5 confirms that only the Levites had a commandment to take a tithe of their brethren, not modern-day pastors. How can church leaders therefore quote Leviticus 27 in support of reasons why the church should tithe without being deceitful? Similarly, the scriptures in Malachi 3 tell us plainly who the passage was speaking to in verse 9 when it says “this whole nation” referring to the Nation of Israel. Verse 7 of the said passage was a rebuke to Israel that from the days of their fathers they had gone away from the ordinances (laws) of God. This was the reason they were cursed and not simply for not paying the tithe. The history of the curse is set out in Deut 11:

26Behold, I set before you this day a blessing and a curse; 27A blessing, if ye obey the commandments of the LORD your God, which I command you this day: 28And a curse, if ye will not obey the commandments of the LORD your God, but turn aside out of the way which I command you this day, to go after other gods, which ye have not known. 29And it shall come to pass, when the LORD thy God hath brought thee in unto the land whither thou goest to possess it, that thou shalt put the blessing upon mount Gerizim, and the curse upon mount Ebal.

We see here that it was a blessing if Israel obeyed the commandments they were to observe in the Promised Land but a curse if they didn’t and the reference in Mal 3:9 relates to this very curse. How can a pastor, prophet or evangelist rebuke the church to tithe based on Mal 3 when it was NOT spoken to the church, without being deceitful? How can they threaten the church with the curse of the Law, which Christ has redeemed us from (Gal 3:13)? According to Paul in 1 Tim 1: 5-7 however, such people who desire to teach the Law have no understanding of what they teach or what they affirm:

5Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned: 6From which some having swerved have turned aside unto vain jangling; 7Desiring to be teachers of the law; understanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm.

 

Pastors who teach tithing from the Law do not know what they are talking about and moreover they have a distinct lack of understanding of the Gospel. For if they understood the Gospel they would not seek to teach from the Law.

Supporters of the tithe will of course say that Jesus endorsed tithing thereby implying that Christ intended for the church to observe tithing. They make their assumptions based on Jesus’ rebuke of the Pharisees in Matt 23:23:

23Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.

 

If Jesus endorsed tithing then perhaps New Testament believers should start planting herbs and tithe it to the church but of course those deceitful supporters of the tithe will argue that the church cannot pay bills with herbs. It is however a mindless argument to that Jesus supported or endorsed tithing. Jesus came to fulfill the Law and whilst He was yet alive in the flesh He was bound to endorse the whole law including tithing. Jesus did not endorse tithing in the church but the practice of tithing under the Law that the Pharisees were observing but neglecting the weightier matters. To teach tithing based on this reference in Matt 23 is to deceive the church and defile the name of Jesus in the process.

Of course there are those who will further argue that tithing is a principle that existed before the Law but so what? If Abraham volunteered a tithe to Melchizedek (Gen 14:20) and Jacob promised to give a tithe to God of all God gave to him (Gen 28:22), how can these be used to command the church to tithe? The truth is that those who teach tithing declare that the first 10% of one’s income belongs to God yet the only commandments given to tithe were set out under the Law, which incidentally has already been abolished. Those who teach tithing cannot fully establish their doctrine without making reference to scriptures that related to the Law. This practice however is dishonest and defiles God’s name by declaring things to the church that God did not command the church to observe.

Leviticus 27:30-33 sets out what the holy tithe was and these included: “tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land, or of the fruit of the tree” and “tithe of the herd, or of the flock, even of whatsoever passeth under the rod”. The holy tithe was clearly not money nor could it be substituted for money, though it was already in existence, yet the church today has changed what God has instituted into the mammon of unrighteousness. The tithing doctrine is thus built upon false premises and as such the tithe in the church, except it be a voluntary gift, is unholy.

Church, do you not know that you are defiling the Lords name by changing His Laws and declaring pronouncements in His name that He did not command the church to do and to observe?

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Comments»

1. glasseyedave - December 20, 2011

Hi Henry,

To assume Jesus has confirmed the commandment of tithing as mentioned above is clearly reading into the text. If tithing was a commandment for the church why was was it not put in the letter to the new gentile church? Some would argue that this teaching would come latter. But towards the end of Acts this same letter is mentioned again with no changes.

2. Gary Arnold - December 20, 2011

Very good article. If I may add the following:

When God gave the Israelites the promised land, he RESERVED, for Himself, a tenth of the crops and every tenth animal. They NEVER did belong to the Israelites. In other words, the tithe was from God’s increase of FOOD, not from man’s income. It was a way to distribute FOOD to the Levites and priests who did NOT inherit any land.

No one, not even the farmers, tithed on their income.

The farmers made their income by SELLING and/or barter-exchanging their crops and animals but did NOT tithe on that income.

Today, ALL born-again believers are priests. ALL of us are called to be deciples of the Lord. No one of us is higher than another. Our bodies are the Temple where the Spirit dwells. According to the scriptures, priests do not tithe.

When you understand the Biblical tithe, it makes sense, and it is plain to see that it makes NO sense to try to tithe today.

3. Henry - December 21, 2011

@glasseyedave,

To highlight the question you raised, “If tithing was a commandment for the church why was was it not put in the letter to the new gentile church?” You asked an excellent question which will be the subject of my next post. We could equally ask why do ministers of the Gospel teach giving in the New Testament church from the Old Covenant – did Christ nor the apostles laid down a biblical foundation for giving in the New Testament church?

4. Henry - December 21, 2011

@Gary Arnold,

You may certainly add the points you raised as they are excellent in helping to round off the points I attempted to raise in my posts. There is much there for any believer to consider today concerning tithing. The problem is that many are blinded by the “man of God” syndrome hence they believe their teachers who taught them tithing cannot be wrong.

5. Stephen - December 26, 2011

In my search for mates to Malachi 3 in the rest of the bible, I have come to the conclusion that those who collect monetary tithes are the “wicked” of Malachi 3. The key word to the whole sordid practice is the word “gain” which is in Hebrew transliterad “betsa”, which in Malachi 3 is translated “profit” in the King James. Look in the rest of the bible for this word. They all tie to tithing in some way.

6. Henry - December 27, 2011

Stephen,
Thanks for dropping by. In my view there is nothing wrong in the church receiving 10% of someone’s income if this is what people purpose in their hearts to donate or contribute to their church. What is wrong with tithing though is the twisting of scripture in order to exact or extract a tithe under duress from the church. Malachi 3 is one of the most overused scriptures to induce both guilt and fear when it comes to tithe collection and this is clearly wrong in light of the new covenant of “freedom” in Christ.

7. Wanecka Malemela - January 23, 2012

May you please add me as one of your subscribers.

8. Myke williams - April 27, 2012

Your points are quite clear but,I’m afraid,the arguement is too fanatical for enlightenment

9. Henry - April 30, 2012

Myke Williams,
Thanks for dropping by. Perhaps you could enlighten me on what you mean by my “argument is too fanatical for enlightenment.”


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