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Before we started with this important post, I first want to say every believer should avoid practicing self-imposed censorship when it comes to reading books that may not agree with your particular theology. I say that because I have had several people tell me that they would not read my new book, Kleptomaniac: Who’s Really Robbing God Anyway? because they did agree with my arguments against tithing. Well, that presents a problem because how can you disagree with something that you have never read. Many people won’t read the book because they fear their pastor will excommunicate them from the church if they read theological material that presents a different viewpoint on a particular dogma. In this case, the dogma is tithing and whether it is required in the New Testament as a commandment for believers.
This post is important because it will be a series of posts that will examine and defunct some pro-tithing answers to questions. A couple of months ago, a gentleman that works out expressed interest in my book. Several days ago, I told him the book was out and his interest seemed less enthusiastic than when I first explained the tithe to him in the sauna. During our second encounter, he wanted me to give me something to read. I suspect the pamphlet titled, In God We Trust? Amazing Facts Study Guide. The information in the booklet contains 22 amazing facts or reasons why the tithe of the Bible is money and why we should pay tithes . Now, I suspect that when I met this gentleman several months ago, he went back to his pastor about what I said, which resulted in the guy giving me the pamphlet so that I could be re-indoctrinated back into the belief that tithing is a requirement. As I stood in the gym parking lot thumbing through the booklet, he kept encouraging me that I should read it. I told him I would. After looking through the all 22 questions and the answers they give for tithing, I would re-title the booklet as Amazing Untruths About the Tithe. So this post will address some the questions by giving the correct answers according to the Bible and not according to the private interpretation and theology of the group who wrote the misinformed pamphlet. The pamphlet starts out by questioning a believers trust in God and then goes on to indict believers as robbers and embezzlers of money from God. It goes on to say that billions of people steal from God. It states to stop the larceny of God’s Money people must apply real faith in God by tithing ten percent of their income. I am going the list some of the questions from this booklet and the answers they give and in turn give you the correct biblical answers from the Bible based on exegesis. The introduction is a disingenuous, vicious, unchristian attack on God’s people without probable cause or scriptural evidence or authority. I started to get angry and go off on a writing attack, but as I have learned, you can’t combat error with anger but you simply present the facts and truth and let people decided for themselves about what tithing really is.
1. Let start with the first question in the pamphlet. According to the Bible, what portion of our income belongs to God? The Amazing Facts pamphlet responds with “And all the tithe of the land…is the LORD’s” (Leviticus 27:30) with the answer that says, the tithe belongs to God.
A. The Bible Answer. The first thing you notice is that the question is asked is wrong and leading. What should be asked is, what does the Bible require as a tithe? The original question as it is structured plants a subliminal message that income belongs to God. If you read the entire verse, does the context imply that God wants income as a tithe? Also, the original question has ellipses in the middle of the verse. I know the English rule for inserting ellipses, but in this case, the words left out are by design. Here’s why. The original question defines the tithe for you, so by not citing the whole verse you are being conditioned to think the tithe is money. So what is the answer to the original question, “According to the Bible, what portion of our income belongs to the LORD?” That’s simple. Not one single dime. The question being asked fails to define the word tithe and ignores the context of the verse and inserts pictures of money to throw you off about the context of the verse. In my book, I define the word tithe and give the Hebrew translation and what it means. The word tithe means tenth part, not ten percent. The Hebrew word is Ma’aser. The word speaks about eatable items, not money. If you examine the pamphlet question, you should first ask, what is God asking for as a tithe? Well, here is the entire verse so you can see for yourself in Leviticus 27:30 “A tithe of everything from the land, whether grain from the soil or fruit from the trees, belongs to the LORD; it is holy to the LORD.” To answer the question correctly, it would no because God never asked for a portion of our income. However, God did expect a tithe to come from the land, from grain and from the fruit from trees. The seed of the land is the tithe. Preachers use seed as a metaphor for money, but that is incorrect. Can’t squeeze money out of that verse. Now, if you choose to give a tenth of your income to your church, that is a personal decision but it does not represent a biblical tithe, because tithes are food. A tenth of your income paid to a 501C3 (church) is a self-imposed voluntary building fund tax or tax return giving. It is not tithing. If you read further into Leviticus Chapter 27, you will also notice that every tenth animal was tithed to God. People who have a financial vested interest in Gospel preaching play shell games with scriptural interpretations, and if you don’t study your Bible, you will be vulnerable to all kinds of interpretative hanky panky. God said bring all the tithes into the storehouse, he did not say bring all the tithes to the church house. The word tithe has never changed from food to money in any place in the Scriptures. For a more detailed answer, you’ll have to read my book for the expanded in-depth analysis. So the tithe according to the Bible belongs to the Levites as Numbers 18:21 states: “I give to the Levites all the tithes in Israel as their inheritance in return for the work they do while serving at the tent of meeting.” Let’s look at the next question.
In a facebook post from Tithing Study, there is an excellent write-up about that if tithe were really money. The author explains how the money would break down and how much the Levites and Priests would receive.
Ma’aser Beheima, The Livestock Tithe
TITHING STUDY·MONDAY, MAY 23, 2016
Ma’aser Beheima (Hebrew: מַעְשַׂר בְּהֵמָה) aka Livestock Tithe aka Animal Tithe aka Cattle Tithe was first introduced in Leviticus 27:32-33
Leviticus 27:32 And concerning the tithe of the herd, or of the flock, even of whatsoever passeth under the rod, the tenth shall be holy unto the Lord – KJV
Leviticus 27:33 He shall not search whether it be good or bad, neither shall he change it: and if he change it at all, then both it and the change thereof shall be holy; it shall not be redeemed – KJV
Amazing Facts About Animal Tithe:
* Considered to be part of Ma’aser Rishon, the first tithe.
* v 32 It would be the LAST (and NOT the FIRST) animal that passed under the rod (contrary to what our modern day tithe teachers say that tithes are the first 10th of our income!?!?!)
* v33 Good or bad – ie) even if an animal was blind, lame or otherwise sick and happened to pass under the rod became the tithe animal (contrary to what tithe teacher teach that tithes are the “best” of our income – NO
* What if a herdsman had 9 cows, how many cows he would have tithed – Zero
* What if a herdsman had 19 cows, how many cows he would have tithed – 1 out of 19 (so not the “gross”).
* If an attempt was made to exchange an animal that had become a tithe animal, the owner end up in losing both, which would be 2 out of 10!
* Only animals that can be slaughtered and eaten could become tithe animals. Donkeys, Camels, Deer and Rabbit excluded.
None! Contrary to the agricultural tithe redemption, there is no option to redeem animal tithes.
If you are a herdsman in ancient Israel and your daughter likes a particular cow called Bessie and if Bessie, happens to be the 10th animal, it cannot be exchanged for another cow called Bertha. Both Bessie and Berth will become tithe animals, no matter how loud your daughter cries!
Unknowns About Animal Tithes:
Recipients of Cattle Tithes: Scholars disagree about who had actually received the animal tithe. Some Bible scholars think that the Levites received them but others think that the Aaronic Priests received it.
Mixing different animals: Can a herdsman mix different kinds of animals? What if a herdsman had 6 cows, 4 oxen or 5 goats and 5 sheep or 6 cows and 4 lambs – Not sure how the tithing system worked as the religion of Judaism evolved through out the generations.
Firstborn Animals: What if a firstborn animal happened to pass under the rod? Could that be redeemed to participate during the pilgrimage festivals? Or if the firstborn animal (which participated during the 2nd tithe) got exchanged for money and would it be allowed to participate during the first tithe process? Again we don’t know how they handled these kind of nuances in ancient Israel.
Judaism’s View On Animal Tithes:
In Judaism, the cattle tithe is a commandment in the Torah requiring the sanctifying a tithe of cattle or flock to God, to be sacrificed as a Korban at the Temple in Jerusalem. The Jewish Sages ordained that animals should not be tithed in the present era when the Temple is not standing.
Animals during Ma’aser Sheni, the 2nd tithe – Limited to Firstborn Animals:
Deuteronomy 14:23 – “You shall eat in the presence of the LORD your God, at the place where He chooses to establish His name, the tithe of your grain, your new wine, your oil, and the firstborn of your herd and your flock, so that you may learn to fear the LORD your God always.
Firstborn animals could be exchanged for money if the distance to Jerusalem was too far.
Animals during Ma’aser Ani, the 3rd tithe:
No animals participated in during the 3rd tithe and it was restricted only to agricultural products.
2. The next question in the pamphlet asks, what is the “tithe”? The pamphlet cites Numbers 18:21, 24 and says, “I have given the children of Levi all the tithes in Israel as an inheritance. The tithes of the children of Israel….I have given to the Levites as an inheritance.” The pamphlet answer is: “The tithe is one-tenth of a person’s income. The word “tithe” literally means “tenth.” The tithe belongs to God. It is His. I have no right to keep it. When I tithe I am not making a gift; I am simply returning to God what is already His. Unless I am returning one-tenth of my income to God, I am not tithing.”
B. The Bible Answer. First, the answer refers to money throughout. However, the context of the scripture verses refers to crops and cattle, the land-based tithe of Israel. The pamphlet answer is void of chapter and verse. The tithe mean tenth part. If a tithe is a tenth, then the next question is, the tithe is a tenth part of what? What are the contents of the tithe? According to Jewish historians and including Josephus, the tithe has always been eatable items from the land and every tenth livestock. Yes, the tithe that belongs to God is crops and livestock according to Leviticus 27:30-33 and read the entire chapter of Numbers 18. The pamphlet answer states that the tithe belongs to God and you have not right to keep. That statement is in error because the tithe God wants comes from God’s labor in increasing the crops and cattle. God never asked for money in the verse because money comes from a man selling his labor for a price to an employer for a price. You are not tithing unless you are giving every tenth animal and a tenth part of the crops you are growing. Money is not a legal biblical tithe because the tithing scriptures do not apply to money in the Bible. Tithing in the Bible applies to crops, cattle and livestock and it was mandatory. Enforcing a money tithe dogma is a weapon used to gain wealth. You can look through the entire Bible and not one single Bible passage tells anyone to tithe money. Many people in the Bible had money and did not it and this includes Jesus, Paul or the rest of the Apostles. The tithe has never been income based but always land based.
3. The third question in the pamphlet asks, Where does the Lord ask His people to bring the tithe? It answers with Malachi 3:10, “Bring all the tithes into the storehouse.” The assumption is that God asks us to bring the tithe into His storehouse. Then the pamphlet tries to make a connection to the Old Testament storehouse to the New Testament church building as if they are the same by saying, “the tithe is brought into God’s storehouse, or church.”
C. The Bible Answer. The storehouse in the Bible is not the church. The association between the Old Testament storehouse and the church building today is a misnomer because the storehouse in the Bible refers to a barn for storing crops and cattle. On page 194 of my book, KLEPTOMANIAC: Who’s Really Robbing God Anyway, I address what the storehouse is and why it is not the church. You could argue based on the many different meanings in Hebrew that the church’s bank is actually the storehouse. As the pamphlet knows the powerful impact iconographic images has on the psyche, they showed an image of a barn with a church to draw a psychological interpretation in the mind of the reader that the storehouse and the church are one in the same, and they are patently not. In my initial tithing study, I broke down what the storehouse really means. See the Power Points slides that explain what storehouse means.
4. The fourth question in the pamphlet asks: To what does the Lord refer when He speaks of His storehouse? The amazing facts pamphlet cites Nehemiah 13:12, which says, “Then all Judah brought the tithe of the grain and the new wine and the oil to the storehouse.” The answer in the pamphlet reads, In Malachi 3:10, God refers to the storehouse as mine house, which means His temple or church. Nehemiah 13:12 further points out that the tithe is to be brought to the temple treasury, which is God’s storehouse. Other texts that refer to the storehouse as the temple treasuries, or chambers, include 1 Chron. 9:26, 2 Chron. 31:11-12; Nehemiah 10:37-38. In Old Testament times, God people brought 10 percent of all their income- including crops and animal to the storehouse.
D. The Bible Answer. The simple biblical answer to question four is that God refers to the buildings surrounding the temple, which was destroyed in 70 AD. In the slides above, you can see for yourself what the storehouse is for. In fact, the scripture in Neh. 13:12 is specific and tells you exactly what God wanted as a tithe, and it was grain, new wine and oil. Will somebody please tell me where God asks for money as a tithe in this verse? The writer of the pamphlet is adding to the word his private interpretation. The storehouse is not the church and when God refers to the storehouse for tithes, he is referring to a barn where crops and livestock are kept. To give you an idea of what a storehouse looks like, below are two pictures of buildings that resemble how some traditional churches are built today. God always asked his people to bring the tithes to the storehouse, not the church house because they are not the same thing. One is a barn for storing food, and the church house is a gathering place for congregations. What the author is doing is asking a loaded question with the pre-conceived idea that the tithe is money brought to the storehouse and justifies it by stringing together many tithes texts with the assumption that money is required by God when all the verses speak of tithes as agricultural products and livestock. The two pictures below reveal so much truth and it would be hard to explain away. Most of the tithe teaching are basically copycat teaching where most have never studied it in the Bible. The tithe in the entire Bible is all about supplying food for eating.
5. The fifth question in the pamphlet asks, Some have thought that tithing was part of Moses’ system of rites and ceremonies that ended at the cross. How does the Bible help us understand that this is not so? Then the pamphlet cites these verses, “And he [Abram] gave a tithe of all” Genesis. And in Genesis 28:22, Jacob said, “And of all that You give me I will surely give a tenth to You.” Then the Amazing Facts pamphlet answers the question like this: These passages reveal that both Abraham and Jacob, who lived long before Moses’ day, tithed their income. We can conclude that God’s Plan of tithing preceded Moses’ law.
E. The Bible Answer. The question from the pamphlet starts out with a loaded question to manipulate you into believing the tithe is money. So in reality, the Bible does not help us understand that some have thought that tithing was part of Moses’ system or rites and ceremonies that ended at the cross. The Bible teaches that tithing is a part of the law according to Numbers chapter 18, and Deut chapters 12 and 14 and tithing ended at the cross and we are under Christ’s Priesthood. The answer says that Abraham tithed income, however; there is no chapter and verse in the Bible to prove such an argument. Abram never tithed any of his personal income. What he did tithe came from the spoils of war that he took from other people in a battle. Abram’s income was never tithed. Hebrews 7: 4 says, Abram tithed a tenth of the spoils. Nowhere does the verse say Abram tithed money, it was only the Levites in verse 5 that have the commandment from God in the law to takes tithes from the people of Israel. The tithe pamphlet insinuates that Jacob tithed money, but if you read the whole story of Jacob’s tithe offer, it turns out that his offer of a tenth was a bargain with God that Jacob would fulfill only if God meant the demands of his offer. Actually, Jacob never actually paid a tenth of anything. His tithe proposal was fulfilled in the law through the Levites. In my book, KLEPTOMANIAC: Who’s Really Robbing God Anyway, I also examine Jacob’s tithe in chapter 5. Tithing of some sort has always been practiced by religions of all types, but the tithe Abram paid in Genesis is not the same as the tithe under the law. They are two distinct practices.
The first five questions along with the pictures from the Amazing Facts pamphlet uses iconographic theological manipulation to redirect the reader from seeing what the scriptures plainly teach. The amazing untruths taught in this pamphlet and the 22 questions and the answers are void of proper hermeneutics and exegesis. The phrase a picture is worth a thousand words is powerful because pictures can influence beliefs and understanding in ways that benefit the manipulator and the scriptures become less important . Now, here is a link to a video that uses fear and manipulation extort ten percent from people based on ignorance of the scripture. Though my book is titled, KLEPTOMANIAC, it is clear from this Amazing Facts pamphlet, which I new identify as amazing untruths that the writer of the pamphlet is a KLEPTOMANIAC who is really robbing God’s people of the truth about the tithe without using a gun. So if you want to figure out how the biblical tithe got switched from food to money, all I can tell you based on history is that somebody in the dark ages, took a Bible and looked for who made the most money and figured out that the Levites had it nice and determined that that system needed to be implemented in the New Testament. So for thousands of years, the Catholics enforced this new unbiblical money tithing system on people and slowly it became an accepted practice no matter what the Bible actually taught, and then Christians went broke and poverty took a foothold in generations of people’s live. So let’s make it clear with the first five questions, the tithe means 1/10th and that all it means. And the question is this: One tenth of what and to whom?? The answer is Leviticus 27: 30-32, Duet 12:17, Duet 14:22, Neh. 13:12 and 2 Chron. 31:6. Everything called a tithe in the Bible had to do with what you put in your mouth and eat, and so money is not an eatable item. And to put the final touches on Abram’s tithe, he paid Melchizedek spoils not money and if you don’t think so the Greek word for spoils is [ak-roth-in’ -ee on] which are crops from the top of the heap.
In my next post, I will answer the next five questions from this amazing untruths pamphlet, which loaded question 6 says, But didn’t Jesus abolish the plan of tithing? Stay tuned because I will expose more of the deceptive questions and answers so you will know the truth. But if you want to go read a full expose’ on the questions, get a copy of my book below.
My book answers all of these questions and does more to explain how these questions are loaded and manipulative. However, If you would like to tackle some of the questions by leaving a comment on my blog, I would live to hear from you.
1. According to the Bible, what portion of our income belongs to the Lord?
2. What is the tithe?
3. Where does the Lord ask his people to bring the times?
4. To what does the Lord refer when he speaks of his storehouse?
5. Some have thought that tithing was part of Moses’ system of rites and ceremonies that ended at the cross. How does the Bible help us understand that this is not so?
6. But didn’t Jesus abolish the plan of tithing?
7. For what was tithe used in Old Testament day?
8. Did God change His plan for tithe usage in the New Testament?
9. What startling proposal does God make to people who feel uncertain about tithing?
10. When we tithe, who really receives the money?
11. What test did Adam and Eve fail, which all of us must pass if we would inherit His Heavenly kingdom?
12. In addition to the tithe, which belongs to God, what else does God ask for of his people?
13. How much shall I give to God as Offerings?
14. What additional Bib principles does God Share with us regarding giving?
15. What Does the Lord own?
16. How does the Lord refer to people who do not return His 10 percent and give offerings?
17. What does God say will happen to those who knowingly continue to rob Him in tithes and offerings?
18. God warns us against covetousness. Why is it so extremely dangerous?
19. How does Jesus feel when we rob Him of his sacred tithe and love offering?
20. What thrilling points does Paul stress about stewardship of believers in Macedonia?
21. What does God Promise to do for those who are faithful in returning tithes and giving offerings?
22. Are you willing to begin tithing your income and giving offerings to demonstrate your love and thankfulness?
The website for these supposedly Amazing Tithing Facts study guide can be read and examined for yourself online at Amazing Facts. Amazing Facts tithing study guide is full Amazing untruths about tithing even in the updated online version.