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Bring the “whole tithe” into the storehouse December 26, 2011

Posted by Henry in Tithing.
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For supporters of tithing, their favorite verse of scripture is Mal 3:10 in which the command is given to “bring the whole tithe” or by some translations “bring all the tithes” into the storehouse of God. Here the modern storehouse is deemed to be the local church and the “whole tithe” constitutes ten percent gross of all your income in monetary terms (some reckons that ten percent net of taxes is acceptable).

Putting aside the dispute concerning whether or not tithing is for the church today, I want to concentrate on establishing from a biblical standpoint how much the “whole tithe” was comprised of and show that the teaching that the “whole tithe” was ten percent of everything (whether gross or net) is actually a lie – an invention that entered into the church but cannot be found anywhere in the written Word. Let me say here that I do not believe that everyone who teaches tithing is a deceiver. I know that there are many genuine pastors who believe that the church should tithe but rather than having studied the subject themselves I think they are simply relying on what they learnt from seminary and inherited in the churches they pastor. Nevertheless scripture requires that a minister of God studies the Word and handles it correctly as we see here in 2 Tim 2:15

Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

 

There are some ministers however who set out deliberately to deceive church members in order to gain wealth such are the ones that even when they are corrected they will ignore it and continue in the error in order to satisfy their gluttonous appetites for money.

Advocates of tithing therefore say that though the Law was abolished it is a “biblical principle” that the church should observe. In this regard they claim that the tithe is equivalent to ten percent gross (or net) of all you earn. But let’s use an illustration to examine if this was the principle that was established under the Mosaic Law.

Illustration (based on the ten percent gross argument)

Let’s say that a farmer in ancient Israel made the equivalent of £10,000 per year from his trade. This means that he would be liable for paying a tithe of £1,000 (10 percent of £10,000) each year.  So after the first 3 years of having entered the Promised Land he would be liable for a tithe of £3,000 (ten percent of £30,000 – total income for 3 years).

According to the ten percent gross argument therefore this is the equivalent amount of tithe that would be owed by the farmer to the storehouse. Can this be supported by scripture though? Let’s examine what the scripture actually says. We should remember here that though Malachi 3 says to “bring the whole tithe” there is no definition of what constituted “the whole tithe” in that passage. To define the “whole tithe” therefore we need to return to the Law of Moses since Malachi was simply re-iterating the requirement of the Law. The tithing instructions are therefore laid out in the books of Deuteronomy and elsewhere in the Old Testament. Let’s see what Deut 14 tells us:

22Thou shalt truly tithe all the increase of thy seed, that the field bringeth forth year by year. 23And thou shalt eat before the LORD thy God, in the place which he shall choose to place his name there, the tithe of thy corn, of thy wine, and of thine oil, and the firstlings of thy herds and of thy flocks; that thou mayest learn to fear the LORD thy God always. 24And if the way be too long for thee, so that thou art not able to carry it; or if the place be too far from thee, which the LORD thy God shall choose to set his name there, when the LORD thy God hath blessed thee: 25Then shalt thou turn it into money, and bind up the money in thine hand, and shalt go unto the place which the LORD thy God shall choose: 26And thou shalt bestow that money for whatsoever thy soul lusteth after, for oxen, or for sheep, or for wine, or for strong drink, or for whatsoever thy soul desireth: and thou shalt eat there before the LORD thy God, and thou shalt rejoice, thou, and thine household,

28At the end of three years thou shalt bring forth all the tithe of thine increase the same year, and shalt lay it up within thy gates: 29And the Levite, (because he hath no part nor inheritance with thee,) and the stranger, and the fatherless, and the widow, which are within thy gates, shall come, and shall eat and be satisfied;

Going back to the illustration earlier what these verses of Deut 14 is telling us is that £2,000, of the total £3000 in “back tithes”, which corresponds to the tithe for the first two years, belongs to the farmer for himself and his household to enjoy before the Lord. This portion did not belong to the storehouse contrary to what pastors are teaching today that the first 10 percent of all your income belongs to God. This was clearly not the principle that was established under the Law. Only the whole tithe from the third year (£1000 as per the illustration) was to be set aside for the Levites and the fartherless etc as we can see from verses 28-29.

It would appear from Deut 14 that tithing to the Levites (or to the storehouse) was done in a three-yearly cycle but that is not the end of it. So let’s explore this a bit further. In Lev 25:1-12 all who tended land (farmers) were commanded to cease from their labor in the seventh year – a year that was to be a Sabbath to God. In this year they were not suppose to dress their vines, sow or gather anything (the harvest). The first thing we note here using the previous illustration is that in 7 years only £2000 was given to the Levites et al and the other £5000 of tithe belonged to the farmer and his household – this he was commanded to eat so that he may learn to fear God. Lev 25:6 tells us clearly who the increase of the land in the 7th year (what grew naturally) belonged to and it was not the Levites (or the storehouse). Similarly in the 50th year, the year of Jubilee,Israel was not supposed to sow, tend vines, or gather anything. This was similar to the Sabbath year.

Although I have used a monetary illustration the point should be emphasized that the tithe was applicable only to those who tended land and therefore it was never expressed in monetary terms. How did we get from the biblical position I have laid out to a doctrine of ten percent gross on all someone’s income?

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Comments»

1. glasseyedave - January 2, 2012

I think we all should take our tithe into the church and eat it in front of the pastors. If they really want to follow scripture.

In Hebrews 7:5 says:

And indeed those who are of the sons of Levi, who recieved the priesthood, have a commandment to receive tithes from the people according to the law, that is, from their brethren, though they have come from the loins of Abraham. NKJ

The Law gave the command to collect tithes. According to Hebrews with the comming of the new priesthood (that would be Christ) there is a changing of the Law, ( seven verses later in Heb 7:12) meaning doing away with the written Law for the Law of the Spirit, to keep it short.

So as Paul says in Galatians, to obey one part of the Law obligates us to follow all of the Law, and again as many as are under the Law are under a curse. So if the tithe comes from the Law what business do we have to teach any part of the Law as a commandment. If from principle look at my original comment about so called principles.

God has not commanded the church to collect a tenth from us. Besides we do not have a new priesthood for through Christ the believer is supposed to be the royal preisthood, according to Peter.

The church has no biblical grounds to teach tithing. Giving yes, tithing no.

I could say much more on this but it is your blog.

glasseyedave

2. Henry - January 2, 2012

Dave,
Feel free to post as much or as little as you feel. As long as we are spreading the truth of the word of God I have no problem.

All that you have said is true but there are many in the church today who refuses to see the truth – they go at lenghts to try and invent support for tithing in the church even when you persent them with evidence to the contrary. There is one blogger I came into contact with recently who claims that the Law is not abolished – by saying such they think that this will lend support to tithing being a requirement for the church. Such do not understand what they teach at all.

Many churches that teach tithing as a commandment for the church are not walking in faith and without faith it is impossible to please God. This is one of the consquences of the tithing doctrine but many are unable to discern the will of God on this issue. They think that by observing tithing they can beholden God to a covenant (the windows of heaven blessings) that God did not intend for them – and moreover a covenant that the Lord had already set aside. What foolishness!

3. Boyd - January 3, 2012

Excellent post Henry!

4. Law of the Tithe | View from San Angelo - January 4, 2012

[…] Bring the Whole Tithe into the Storehouse  https://spiritofdiscernment.wordpress.com/2011/12/26/bring-the-whole-tithe-into-the-storehouse/  [Added […]

5. Amie - March 30, 2014

Loved your post. Very interesting and something to certainly consider. Thanks for sharing.

6. Henry - March 31, 2014

You are welcome Amie. Thank you for comment.

7. Lisa - October 25, 2014

Tithing is 10 percent of everything you have God has given it to you you do not own anything lets get that clear and whether you tithe or not God loves a cheerful giver and if you sow your 10 per cent of your income or above you are blessed period for you are honoring God for what he has given you to be a steward over and if you dont honor God with your tithes or anything else for that matter you are saying ok God you gave it to me but I want to keep it all to myself and I dont want to honor you or say thank you for what you have given me Dont be fooled people tithing is validated in the new testament as with abraham giving King Melchizedek 10 percent and as far as not having a priest yes you do the tribe of Judah which is us,the leaders of the church and Hebrews 8:2 a minister of the sanctuary and the true tabernacle ( the church) which God ordained not man so enough said Gods word is final and you can be selfish and cursed if you want to I am a giver and will stay blessed I wish the same for all of you Amen

8. Henry - October 30, 2014

Lisa,
Thank you for your comment. The problem is that you base your arguments on preconceived notions and assumptions rather than on what is biblically correct.

I am not arguing against honouring God as this is not the issue in dispute here. The problem with your argument is that you are trying to make a law for everyone based on what someone (Abraham) did voluntarily. If Abraham took a concubine (Hagar, Sarah’s maid) in the belief that this is how God was going to bless him with a son, should we follow his examples too? All we know from Abraham’s encounter with Melchizedek is that he gave him a share of the spoils of war. Note that Abraham did not take ownership of any of the spoils for himself. If you read Gen 12 you will note that Abraham was very rich but scripture does not say he ever tithe on his own wealth nor was he commanded to do so. The other implication is that if we are to follow Abraham’s example then we shouldn’t tithe our own money but go and plunder and give a tithe from the spoils.

9. Michael Irby - October 5, 2016

thank you for enlightening me on the 3rd year tithe. I am very familiar with the verse you quote but missed the 3rd year factor. Truly, we are not required to owe anything to anybody except love (which includes forgiveness – 1 Cor 13:5). Jesus taught us that people love to limit the law to the letter. He said we should seek the spirit of the law. Adultery is a sin according to the letter, but even lusting after a woman means one has already committed adultery with her. See, the letter of the law was not broken but the spirit was. To murder is a sin according to the letter but Jesus said according to the spirit of the law anyone who calls theiry brother “you fool” is just as guilty. (Please don’t ask, “Who is my brother”) Read Matthew 5 for more of Jesus’ interpretation of the Law of the Old Testament. Jesus said in that same chapter that He did not come to abolish but to fulfill the Law. If you want to be like Jesus try to fulfill as much of the law as you can. What about the tithe for Christians? The spirit of the law was to share with those who lack… Many people in the world could give away more than 10% and still have way more money than they need. Jesus told the Pharisees they should not neglect to tithe the mint and other herbs while indeed they should pursue God and justice. My practice (I rarely hit 10%) is to give enough that it hurts but not so much that I cannot give it with a smile in my heart.
Just one Old Testament comment: It was Jacob who promised God 10% of all his gain IF the Lord should enrich him Gen 28:22


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