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Today’s blog is about some of the tithe arguments that people make and how to answer them. The problem with most people is that they have this notion that everything a pastor says can’t be checked out and bounced aginst the Scripture. Most tithe arguments are so convincing, even the most ardent bible student would have problems trying to offer a rebuttal. The key to this whole situation is knowing what the original language actually teaches. In my upcoming book, KLEPTOMANIAC: Who’s Really Robbing God Anyway, I explain some aspects of tithing in Israel, but I did not go into other aspects of tithing from the Hebrew perspective. This post will cover some of those other tithing aspects. What some believers don’t know is that Israel tithed in three different fashions. Now it is important to know that theologians do not all agree on whether Israel tithed multiple tithes as three separate tithes or from one tithe used in three different ways. The Hebrew language is clear about what the tithe is and that’s what I’m going to share with you in this blog, along with how to debunk tithing arguments. But first, let me explain the word tithe. Tithe in Hebrew is the word ma’aser. It means tenth part, not ten percent. The definition never explains what the ten part is supposed to be. However, the context where the word tithe appears in Scripture defines the Hebrew word ma’aser as everything eatable. That’s right folks, tithing is about food, not money.
In the book of Leviticus 27:30-33 and Numbers 18:21, 24-31, we find what is termed as the Levitical Tithe, also known as the first tithe. The Hebrew name for this tithe is ma’aser rishon. If you check the Scriptures carefully, the recipients of this tithe were the Levites. Once the Levites got this tithe, they had to turn around and pay a tenth of the tenth of that tithe to the priests. The reason and the purpose the Levites received the tithe is because God willed what belonged to Him to the Levites as a substitute for land inheritance in Israel. The Levites did not get any land in the Canaan, so God gave them the tithe for their service in the temple. They could eat this tithe anywhere and it consisted of every tenth animal that passed under the rod and the crops to be paid by the other tribes in Israel.
In the book of Deuteronomy 12:5-7, 17-19 and in 14: 22-27, we find what is termed as the Festival Tithe, also known as the feast tithe or the second tithe. The Hebrew name for this tithe is ma’aser sheni. If you check the Scriptures carefully, the recipients of this tithe were the Levites, the tithe-owner, and family, and male and female servants who lived in the tithe owner’s hometown. This tithe was eaten during the festivals in Jerusalem and its purpose was to teach the fear of the Lord. The firstborn animals of the livestock were a part of this celebration. It was Once the Levites got this tithe, they had to turn around and pay a tenth of the tenth of that tithe to the priests.
In the book of Deuteronomy 14:28-29 and 26:12-14, we find what is termed as the Charity Tithe, also known as the poor tithe or the third tithe. The Hebrew name for this tithe is ma’aser ani. If you check the Scriptures carefully, the recipients of this tithe were aliens, poor, orphans, widows, and the Levites. The purpose of this tithe was to share with the less fortunate and for the Lord to bless all the work of their hands. This tithe that was shared with aliens, poor, orphans, widows and the Levites was eaten within the gates of the city where the Israelites lived and was not taken to the temple. This tithe consisted only of agricultural products and no animals.
With this lengthy explanation, you can see that money was not a part of the tithing process because the tithe is not money. And yes, before you say that Isreal did not have money, the Bible references money 140 times in the Old Testament. Not only that, the Bible never mentions tithing on denarius, bekahs, drachmas, gerahs, talents, mites, shekels gold, or silver. From Matthew to Revelation money was not tithed but money was given as offerings. The Hebrew term for tithing money in Hebrew is ma’aser kesafim. However, these two words never appear together in any tithe verse of the Bible, which means money did not qualify as a tithe. For example, if money is tithed Leviticus 27:30 would read “All the tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land or the fruit of the tree or silver, gold or shekels is the Lord’s…” Any form of money is left out of Leviticus 27:30-33. Do your research on this and you will be amazed and shocked at what the Bible really teaches.
Now let’s move on to another aspect of tithing that I covered in the video below. As I said earlier, some people are unaware about how to deal with tithe arguments that appear biblically sound. Well if you want answers to 60+ tithing arguments, click on the link. I share some of those arguments in the video below.
If giving ten percent of your paycheck is not really a biblical tithe then what should a tenth of a person’s paycheck be called since the Bible does not describe money as a tithe. Nobody in Israel tithed ten percent of anything. They tithed a ten part of the crops and every tenth animal. So what do we call a tenth of your paycheck? We call it a tax. That’s right folks, a tenth of your check is not a tithe but a tax. You can call it a ten percent tax or a temple tax or simple tax return giving to a charitable organization which includes the church based on the IRS code for charitable gifts. Ten percent of your hard earned cash is not found on the pages of the Bible. In the New Covenant under grace, we give from the heart and the amount is what we decide in our hearts. So don’t let anybody guilt you into the ten percent philosophy by saying, you should do no less than a tenth because at least Israel paid a tenth and we should do no less.” Paul never taught tithing or percentage giving in the New Testament, and you won’t find one verse where he encouraged anyone to pay ten percent to him or the co-laborers who journeyed with him on his travels. The slides below from my initial tithing study give accounts of how to debunk flowery tithe arguments.
This should be enough evidence to shut down the tithe argument, but as human nature goes, letting go of long-held beliefs that have been etched in conscience as fact can cause cognitive dissonance for those having to confront the truth. But in the end, this next slide is the cold hard truth about what the contents of the tithe is.