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In my last post, I mentioned that an associate gave me a pamphlet of 22 tithing questions. After reading the entire pamphlet of pro-tithing answers, I decided to provide amazing tithing truths to correctly answers the questions, even though some them were loaded in the way the questions were constructed. In this post, I will with the next five questions by giving you the pamphlet response to questions 6-10 and then respond with the Biblical answer to the questions based on hermeneutics and exegesis. We will start with question six.
Question 6: But didn’t Jesus Abolish the plan of tithing? The pamphlet cites Matthew 23:23: “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone.” The answer from the Amazing Facts pamphlet says, “No! On the contrary, He (Jesus) endorsed it (tithing). Jesus was rebuking the Jews for omitting the more important matters of the law–justice and mercy and faith–even though they were meticulous tithers. He (Jesus) then plainly told them they should continue tithing, but should also be just and merciful and faithful.”
My Answer: On the surface, the pamphlet answer would lead one to believe that the pro-tithing argument is an open and shut case because Jesus said you must tithe but also show mercy, justice, and faith. However, there is a problem because the pamphlet question assumes tithing is money. If you look at the context of the verse, the Pharisees were not tithing money, they were tithing spices according to the strict specifications of the law. The tithed items were mint, anise, and cummin that came from their household gardens. In fact, Jesus said was rebuking them in the verse and not commending them at all for the meticulous tithing of spices. If you examine the tithe laws, Jesus was endorsing the food tithe laws, not money tithing. For money to be assumed in Matthew 23:23, you have to explain why Jesus left out money from the list of mint, anise, and cummin. Jesus was specific in calling out eatable items because he knew the law and that the law defined the tithe as crops and livestock. For Jesus to endorse money as a tithe would, he would have violated the law and caused the Pharisees to sin. In the verse, the weightier matters of the law were justice, mercy, and faith, and tithing spices from your garden was a lesser matter of the law. Therefore tithing is the law and because it was, Matthew’s Gospel speaks to the Jews under the laws of the Old Covenant. So the answer to question 6 is, no. Jesus did not abolish the food tithe laws, and He never commanded the Pharisees or Gentiles to tithe a tenth part of their pay as a tithe. Because Matthew is under the dispensation of the Old Covenant of the law of Moses and because the age of New Testament/Covenant grace was not instituted yet, Jesus would not suggest abandoning the crop and livestock tithe under the law. Under grace, the answer to the question is yes tithing is abolished because it was always inextricably connected to the Jerusalem temple, the Levites, and the priests for the sacrificial system. There are no more Levites and priests from the tribe of Levi who had the commandment to receives tithes and the Jerusalem temple was destroyed in 70 AD. When the New Covenant came along in the book of acts, freewill giving from the heart motivated by love became God’s preferred method of giving based and Paul backs this up when he said, So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver (2 Cor. 9:7) and it was also important that Paul made sure all giving was done with a sense of responsibility and willingness because he also said, For if there is first a willing mind, it is accepted according to what one has, and not according to what he does not have (2 Cor. 8:12). Paul taught giving without percentage because he knew the tithe laws were for Israel so he established giving from heart-based on Old Testament scriptures that addressed giving from the heart. For example, read Duet. 15:7-11.
Question 7: The pamphlet question asks, For what was the tithe used for in Old Testament days? The scripture reference Amazing Facts cites is, “Behold, I have given the children of Levi all the tithes in Israel as an inheritance in return for the work which they perform, the work of the tabernacle of meeting.” The pamphlet answers the questions this way, The tithe in Old Testament days, was used for income of the priests. The tribe of Levi (the priests) received no portion of land for crop growing and business operations, while the other 11 tribes did. The Levites worked full time taking care of the temple and ministering to God’s people. So God’s plan was that the tithe support the priests and their families.
My Answer: Question 7 is filled with a mixture of error and truth because the context is not taken into consideration in the convoluted answer. Taking scripture out of context is always a pretext for false doctrinal error and misinterpretation. The pamphlet says tithing belonged to the priests as income. The pamphlet is incorrect because the Bible never calls the tithe income in the form of money. The tithe according to the Bible was not income but an inheritance for the Levites by birthright as long as the temple stood. Numbers 18:21 explains it by saying, “Behold, I have given the children of Levi all the tithes in Israel as an inheritance in return for the work which they perform, the work of the tabernacle of meeting.” And if you look at verse 31 of numbers 18, it reads, “You may eat it in any place, you and your households, for it is your reward for your work in the tabernacle of meeting.” Food is not income, food is for sustaining life, so you can’t call the tithe income. The Bible reveals the tithe they received was food that they ate. Now let me make this point also, there was more than one tithe in Israel so why do pastors talk about one tithe and not talk about the other tithes God asked for from the tribes of Israel. In fact, the High Priest Aaron and his descendants did not get the whole tithe. They received a tenth of the tithe from the Levites, which breaks down into our vernacular as one percent, not ten percent. It was a tithe of the tithe. Here’s the proof in Number’s 18:26, “Thus speak unto the Levites, and say unto them, When ye take of the children of Israel the tithes which I have given you from them for your inheritance, then ye shall offer up an heave offering of it for the LORD, even a tenth part of the tithe.” Although the Levites including the Priest performed the sacrifices in the temple and did not receive a land inheritance, it is incorrect to say they did not receive any land because God in Numbers 35:1-8 says they received common land from the other 11 tribes for them to work land and conduct business. The pamphlet also makes an erroneous claim that Levites worked full-time in the temple and this is categorically a mischaracterization of their duties in the temple. The Levites worked two weeks at a time on rotation and the Bible makes this clear. Here is an excerpt from my book, KLEPTOMANIAC: Who’s Really Robbing God Anyway, concerning the Levites status in the temple. Check out the book at: FC Publishing, LLC for signed copies of KLEPTOMANIAC: Who’s Really Robbing God Anyway?
These cities and pastureland were for Levites to live, raise families and to work. To find out how long Levites worked in the temple, read 1 Chronicles 24 and 2 Chronicles 31:2. Those chapters show how King David and King Hezekiah assigned the Levites their duties in the temple. Second Chronicles 31 gives you the entire breakdown for the Levites, the tithes and the cities where they lived. Based on research, the Levites worked their courses, which turned out to be one to two weeks at a time. What do most people miss when reading Numbers 24 and 35, Joshua 20-21 and 1 Chronicles 6? They fail to understand that the Levites and priests lived on given land in Levitical cities where they raised families, farmed and managed livestock. In Numbers 18, 2 Chronicles 31:15-19 and Nehemiah 10:37, the Hebrew tribes brought their tithes to the Levitical cities and not to the central temple. Why? Because most of the Levites and priests lived with their families when they were not on duty at the temple. An example of Levites not working full-time is seen in 2 Chronicles 23:8, which says, “The Levites and all the men of Judah did just as Jehoiada the priest ordered. Each one took his men—those who were going on duty on the Sabbath and those who were going off duty—for Jehoiada the priest had not released any of the divisions (page 153).
As temple workers, David re-organized the Levites’ work schedules under his political authority. Levites served in 24 divisions, each serving at the temple only a week at a time, or about two weeks per year (1 Chronicles 24 all; Luke 1:5-6). During the construction of the temple David divided the 38,000 Levites as follows: 24,000 construction supervisors, 6,000 treasurers and judges 4,000 gatekeepers, and 4,000 musicians (1 Chronicles 23:4-5)(page 162).
The final assertion the Amazing Tithing Facts pamphlet makes is that the tithe supported the priests and their families. The answer is partially correct, but the writer left out that the tithe not only belonged to the Levites to feed them, the tithes also belonged to widows, orphans, and aliens (those who were poor and could not support themselves). Review the slide below that explains what the tithe was used for in the Old Testament and I guarantee you won’t find a verse where a tithe was paid to the temple, the priest or the Levites. The slide below tells you what was the tithe used for in the Old Testament.
Now prior to writing my book. I spent a lot of time on Mathew 23:23 and what it really teaches. So for question 6, here are the PowerPoint slides that address the Gospel of Matthew tithe phenomenon.
It is apparent that all tithing in the Bible is connected to eating crops and cattle, so that means tithing is a function of the land and has no connection to money. tithing is a function of the land and has not connection to money. Aren’t you tired of being accused of or being asked will a man rob God, then read the book below?
Question 8: The Amazing Facts tithing pamphlet asks, Did God change his plan for the tithe usage in the New Testament Days? The scripture quote from the pamplet is, Do you not know that those who minister the holy things eat of the things of the temple, and those who serve at the altar partake of the offerings of the altar? Even so, the Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should live from the gospel (1 Cor. 9:13-14). Amazing Facts provides this answer: No! He continued it. His plan today is that the tithe be used to support those who work solely in gospel ministry. If all people tithed and the tithe were used strictly for the support of gospel workers, there would be more than enough money to reach entire earth very quickly with God’s end-time message
My Answer: The pamphlet answer say yes that God continued the tithe into the New Testament for full-time Gospel workers based on what Paul wrote in 1 Cor. 9:13-14. However, the hermeneutic used by the Amazing Facts pamphlet is incorrect because the context is not about tithing, but whether Paul was required to receive support from the Corinthians for preaching. So the answer to question 8 is yes; God did change his plan for the tithe in the New Testament. His method changed to providing financial support for gospel workers in the New Testament through offerings, not tithing. Paul is not trying to co-op the levitical tithe that was exclusively for the Levites, priests, the poor, widows, orphans and strangers in Corinthians. Paul could not collect a tithe because if he did, he would have been stealing the inheritance of the Levites. I cover this argument in chapter 15 of my book on page 322 and 330. 1 Cor. 9:13-14 is clear that the ministers in the temple eat food from the altar. It was not money. This was literal and so you can’t figuratively apply money to the text or context. So those who preach the Gospel and the church are not entitled to tithes because Paul was addressing entitlement to receive support in terms of food and perhaps money. As an apostle, Paul could not accept the Levitical tithe. Here’s a short snippet from the chapter of my book that addresses what Paul was asking of the Corinthians:
The only way to determine what Paul believed about support and what he practiced is to examine his logic. He gives seven examples to the believers in Corinth in 1 Corinthians 9:7-14 to justify support. Notice that all of Paul’s examples are unrelated and have no connection to tithing. So before anyone can argue that we can assume tithing from the context, there is no way to prove the seven examples undergird a tithing requirement for Paul. To prove tithing from Paul’s examples, he would somehow have to connect each example to tithing to justify his right to collect tithes from any of the congregations he established, especially the Corinthians. The examples Paul gives are all over the place because Paul’s intention is clear; he only purposes to establish and justify support so no one could use his language to justify a right to a New Testament tithe under grace. Paul associates the Levitical tithe with gospel workers as a principle of support but not for justifying tithes in money. He declares in 1 Corinthians 9:13-14 that the manner of support which was crops and livestock may have changed, but the obligation of support has not changed. If you read the verse, Paul appeals to them with practical logic, facts and the law to establish a right of support as a fair exchange for preaching, rather than teaching a tithe mandate from money.
The Amazing Facts tithing pamphlet says that if every tithed, the money could be strictly used for support of Gospel workers. This is incorrect because the tithe was not solely for the Levites in the Old Testament. The tithe was also used to take care of widows, orphans, strangers and one of the multiple tithes was used by the tither themselves to eat. The tithe in the Old Testament and this modern day money tithe has no relationship. One is about food the modern so-called tithe is about cash flow. So although the corinthians did not provide support, Paul did not charge them for his service, neither did he call the God robbers for not tithing and he could not do so because at the time this epistle was written, the tithe still belonged to the temple and the Levite. In fact, there is a distinction between those who work in the temple and those who work in the gospel ministry. One receives tithes and offering which was food and the other (gospel workers) receive support through freewill giving. Tithing in not in the context. If you truly follow Paul in the text, he told the Corinthians that he looked forward to the reward God would give him for the work he did in Corinth out of his own free-will. Paul was not after a salary or tithes, and in many of his epistles, he refused support as a higher calling of God. So, the so-called tithe of ten percent in a person’s income is not a New Testament requirement and never will be. Paul was a bi-vocational Apostle and all pastors today who want to be an example should be bi-vocational like Paul. To sum up Paul’s word “Even so” and “In the same way” could only be understood that the ministry should be supported even as the Levites who live off the temple food tithe were supported. However, the text never explains the exact method as to HOW the Christian church should be supported and Paul never mentions how to support the church in I Cor. 9:13-14.
Question 9: The Amazing Facts tithing pamphlet asks, What Startling Proposal does God make to the people who feel uncertain about tithing? The scripture quote from the pamphlet is, “Bring all the tithes into the storehouse… And try me now in this, Says the LORD of hosts, If I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you such blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it (Malachi 3:10). The Amazing Fact pamphlet provides this erroneous answer: It says, Try Me now and see if I will not pour out for you such blessing too big to receive. This is the only time in the Bible that God makes such a proposal. He is saying, Give it a try. It will work. I promise you. Hundreds of thousands of tithers the world over will gladly testify to the truth of God’s tithing promise. They have all learned the truth of the words You can’t outgive God.
My Answer: First, the entire answer from the Amazing Tithing pamphlet, is totally out of context. The question itself assumes God is making a proposal to Isreal. Malachi 3:10 is not a proposal, is it God telling the priests to follow the law by bringing the whole tithe into the storehouse. Malachi’s context is not about tithing money. God is asking them for crops and cattle. The blessing in Malachi is not physical blessing like money, health, cars and material goods. God is speaking about the windows of heaven as the sky and the blessing is speaking of rain to water the crops and cattle. The storehouse is Malachi is not the church, it is a barn for crops and cattle. The answer provided by Amazing Facts on tithing is wrong on so many levels. The key to understanding Malachi is that you must also read Nehemiah in conjunction to get the gist of what was really happening during this time period. Rather than try to debunk question 9 with a long discourse, the following slides explain what Malachi 3:8-10 really talks about and it is certainly not money, cars, houses, cloths or things we associate with blessing.
Taking the time to study and read about tithing will only free you from deception and guilt about not tithing and help you understand what true giving is all about. I would start by reading my entire book, kleptomaniac: Who’s Really Robbing God Anyway?
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