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Today my youtube video addresses spirit filled controlled giving based on Act 2:42-45 and Acts 4:32-35. It is worth the effort to do an independent study concerning the events in these verses. If you want to follow along with the video, I have included the slides below in this post for your convenience.
The are so many tithing concepts and testimonies today that it is often difficult to ask the right questions when it deals with tithing. I found a website that asks Fifty Questions About Tithing. The first place to begin if you are ever in doubt about a biblical teaching is to begin asking questions. That is where I began my journey to discover what tithing really is in the Bible. Some of the answers I found birthed more questions and more research, which prompted a 117-page power point study and another set of 47 pages of New Testament giving slides. Much of my power point and tithing information I amassed begged for the next step by turning the material into a book. After a number of years vacillating back and forth, I decided to write the book, KLEPTOMANIAC: Who’s Really Robbing God Anyway? And now, after leaving my church in 2010, six years later here comes the new book, Kleptomaniac: Who’s Really Robbing God Anyway? The book is now available on Book Baby in ebook and the paperback will be released on June 1st. For signed copies go to Kleptomaniac: Who’s Really Robbing God Anyway?
I have to say that I’m amazed that some people who know I have written a book on tithing, are somewhat afraid to be seen with this book. I happen to know that many of my current friends and associates want the book, but do no want their pastors to know they have the book. This is amazing to me. How is it that biblical true can become sequestered at the very hands of the people who need the truth about tithing. So in my mind, if tithe means, Ma’aser in Hebrew, which is interpreted tenth part of crops and cattle, why would anyone be afraid to learn the truth about that. Didn’t the Messiah say, You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free? I would want to be free from an obligatory practice that is not required by God and is not found on the pages of the Bible. If people on purpose blind themselves to biblical knowledge and truth, they are prime candidates for all kinds of religious and denominational deception. Let me give you an example, I always thought Israel tithed on tithe. However in my book, I discovered that a practice of three tithes might have existed in Israel at some point. There are others theologians that believe the three tithe concept is not biblical but rabbinical. In fact, some say three tithes is an extra-biblical concept birthed from an out of context interpretation. Back in 2011, I received an from a member of a tithing group I belong to. In the email, he asked an orthodox Jew about tithing. Oh! By the way, not all Jews have the same religious underpinnings. The email stated that many Jews rely on and point to a 12 century Jew named Halachic arbitrator Moses ben-Maimon called Maimonides AKA as HaRambam.
In the response, he quotes Maimonides says, “One the third and sixth years from the sabbatical year, after they have separated the first tithe, they separate from what remains another tithe, and give it to the poor, and it is called the poor’s tithe; and not on those two years is the second tithe, but the poor’s tithe.” The three tithe are called,
Maaser Rishon — First Tithe
Maaser Sheni — Second Tithe
Maaser Rishon — Third Tithe
In Judaism, it is believed that 3 tithes existed but on the 3rd and 6th year of the shemitta (sabbatical) cycle the third the was practiced INSTEAD of the 2nd tithe. Also, Orthodox Jews heavily rely upon the Talmud which Christians reject. However, the nuances (about tithing) are explained in the Talmud but they comprise the personal opinions of Rabbis. The Talmud=Mishna+Gemmarsh. For orthodox Jews, Maimonides was a great authority figure adn they don’t like to contradict him. However, in the email, the writer on a separate note stated that for those who don’t know what the Talmud is: The Talmud=Mishna+Gemmarsh. In the Bible, it was often referred to as the traditions of the elders.
This makes sense to me because Jesus accused the Pharisees of making the traditions of men the commandment of God.
However, in the email, the writer on a separate note stated that for those who don’t know what the Talmud is: The Talmud=Mishna+Gemmarah. And in later times it became known as the “Oral Law”, but then the oral law got the written form which is known as Mishna and the Rabbinical commentaries are known as Gemmarah. Now in my book, I state that other sources say that the three tithes concept was neither rabbinical and certainly not a part of the written law. In fact, it is believed by some that that second and third tithe was added later by the Jews in captivity.
Now, tithing can even get more complicated this. Some Rabbis, the laws of tithing only apply to the land of Isreal, and farmers in the diaspora have no obligation to give tithes, although there is some evidence of communities outside of Israel, in Egypt (Kemet) for example, having a system of tithing. As you can see, if tithing was this specific in that it can only come from crops and cattle inside Israel then how can someone teach that money from your paycheck qualifies as a tithe. Well, money does not qualify as a tithe. It never has and it never will. Now, let me throw in another viewpoint into the mix. Some even say that if a person pays a tithe in the form of money, only the poor are qualified to receive it. So that means, your ten percent cannot go to the church but to the poor. I could go on and on about the different kinds of rules and regulations for the tithe, but you get the point that it can’t be money as many have proclaimed in their pulpits.
In a post that deals with some thoughts on Melchizedek and tithing author Richard Garganta wrote on page 13 these words to help explain the concept of Christ priesthood and the Melchizedek priesthood. He wrote:
Much is made about the mysterious King of Salem [Jerusalem] in Genesis 14 by mandated tithing teachers. The reality is in Abraham’s time tithing was predominately a pagan practice and a voluntary social custom of acknowledging a cherished ruler. Some researchers say the pagan custom was mandatory but, either way, there was no command from God to tithe. To use the argument that tithes are mandated today because Abraham gave Melchizedek tithes is ludicrous for many reasons:
- First, Abraham VOLUNTARILY tithed spoils of war, not his personal income or wealth.
- Second, there was NO God given mandate to tithe at all. [Hebrews 7:2, Genesis 14:20, Genesis 14:22-24]
- Third, Abraham had already received his blessing – the victory given by God. [Genesis 14:19-20] There is NOTHING in Scripture that says Abraham’s blessing was contingent on his tithe.
- Fourth, the tithing of Abraham was a single event.
The question of the Melchizedek priesthood is purely a Jewish one. It is NOT a Gentilian issue since Gentiles had nothing to do with the Levitical Priesthood at all. It was the Jews that were having problems accepting Christ as THE high priest because Christ was from the tribe of Judah, not the tribe of Levi where the Jews had been taught all their priests must come from. This is why Paul discussed it at length in the Jewish letter to the Hebrews. The Jews clearly couldn’t understand the Priesthood of Christ and Paul attempted to explain it. Hebrews 7 is a difficult chapter to understand and I think the Amplified does a good job here.
Remember, the Levites paid tithes out of their tithes to the priests. Paul tried to explain to the Jews that because the tribe of Levi was still unborn inside Abraham, they did, in fact, pay tithes to the eternal priesthood of Melchizedek which Christ belonged to thereby acknowledging the Melchizedek priesthood, however indirectly and PRIOR to the law of Moses. Paul was trying to show the Jews that the Levitical Priesthood was inefficient and temporal and the Melchizedek Priesthood is eternal and better. The unborn Levites paying tithes through Abraham doesn’t justify a doctrine for mandated tithing today because of the 4 points mentioned at the beginning of this section. It is difficult for Gentiles to understand these issues because they are basically irrelevant to the Gentiles acceptance of The Christ. Gentiles don’t have to become Jews before becoming Christians and Paul made clear it is wrong to burden Gentiles with Jewish questions and mandates.
I assert THIS is the real meaning of Melchizedek’s appearance in Genesis 14: Abraham had risked his life to rescue his nephew. This is the first account in the Bible of man trying to save man in a totally selfless act. Remember, Abraham could have taken spoils of the war but refused to do so. Abraham’s only motivation was to save his Nephew. After this first recorded selfless act to save a brother, suddenly the Christ type, King/Priest of Jerusalem appears with bread and wine [communion]. Abraham had passed the test by being willing to sacrifice himself for another. Later he would be willing to sacrifice his son and the Christ type appears again in the form of a sacrifice and a promise. Doesn’t this make much more Biblical sense than trying to twist scripture to make it look like Melchizedek’s appearance was to teach mandated tithing, especially given the other issues discussed in this document?