uch of the discussion on tithing has been clouded with the subject of offerings, historical evidence, and opinions. While not denying the validity of the aforementioned, I would like to limit my comments to tithing only, and, insofar as possible, to scripture, which is the only authority on the subject.
The problems, after we remove the obfuscation of offerings, number of tithes, and commentary, seem to boil down to two issues: (1) Is tithing a law (or a “mandatory” Law)? (2) Is tithing only on agricultural products and therefore applicable only to “farmers”?
I don’t know when tithing became a law. Some think it was a tithing issue that enraged Cain to kill Able. All I can say for certain is that it was a law, OK, even a permanent, immutable law. There, now I’ve put both feet in the tithing flypaper.
How can this be “proven” in scripture? Hebrews 7:5, “And verily they that are of the sons of Levi, who receive the office of the priesthood, have a commandment to take tithes of the people according to the law, that is, of their brethren, though they come out of the loins of Abraham.”
There, it is written, tithing was a commandment and a law.
The central theme of Hebrews 7:1-11 is tithing. Then it shifts, Hebrews 7:13-8:5, but is still connected by verse 12. Go ahead, read it, I’ll wait. Now take a look at Hebrews 7:12, “For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law.” What was changed? The priesthood, from the Levitical to the Melchizedek. But now notice, the law (of tithing) was not actually changed, it was transferred (Strong’s #3346 metatithemi). Of course, since the priesthood was changed (transferred from Levi back to Melchizedek), the law, being immutable, unchangeable, forever, had to be ceded to the “new” administration. And that was a priesthood that was to last how long? Hebrews 7:21 says, “Forever,” and in verse 24, to an unchangeable priesthood.
Doesn’t that make sense? Here we have a priesthood that “passes not away,” implementing a law that has transferred from one administration to another.
What is a “mandatory” law? You want mandatory? I’ll give you mandatory!
Josephus says of Ananias, the high priest: “He also had servants who were very wicked, who joined themselves to the boldest sort of the people, and went to the threshing floors, and took away the tithes that belonged to the priests, by violence, and did not refrain from beating such as would not give these tithes to them. So also other high priests acted in the like manner, as did those his servants, without any one’s being able to prohibit them: so that [some of the] priests that were of old were want to be supported with those tithes died for want of food” (Antiquities, bk. xx. ch. ix. sect. 2).
Now that’s mandatory law! Are any laws of God “mandatory”? I firmly believe I have to keep them. But thank God I am free to do so because they are good (for me), and righteous and holy.
Is tithing only for farmers? If the tithe is only on crops; only farmers grow crops, only farmers tithe; ergo only farmers are blessed for tithing as per Malachi 3:10. Why would God require only farmers to tithe? Is it to teach them a lesson not to be so greedy; or is it so He can bless them only? Genesis 14:18-22, “And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and He was the priest of the most high God. And He blessed him, and said, Blessed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth: And blessed be the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand. And he gave [not mandatory] Him tithes of all.”
Gave Him tithes of what? Of all. He had just taken goods and victuals, Genesis 14:11. Here is Abraham, father of the faithful, giving a voluntary tithe, setting an example for his progeny. Notice also that God is said to be possessor of heaven and earth.
If God possesses all earth, we must ask: What do we have (physically) that is not from the earth? Grain, animals, minerals, even we, ourselves, are dust. Does it not seem to follow then that all “increase” is titheable? Even our strength comes to us from the sun in the heavens through the earth.
The argument was made that only the increase of the field was tithable because the blessing was of the increase of the field, but look at the last part of Deuteronomy 16:15, “Seven days shalt thou keep a solemn feast unto the LORD thy God in the place which the LORD shall choose: because the LORD thy God shall bless thee in all thine increase, and in all the works of thine hands, therefore thou shalt surely rejoice.” Works equals anything one makes or does.
See for yourself: “this whole nation,” seems all inclusive to me, it doesn’t say “you farmers.” “Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed Thee? In tithes and offerings. Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed Me, even this whole nation,” Malachi 3:8-9.
How should tithes be administered? I am struck by how many ministers are not receiving tithes; I assume for the same reasons Paul and Josephus declined in their day. Before I begin, let me state that I have nothing to gain because neither I nor “Help Lines” takes tithes. But who is to receive and administer tithes today? Question: Who is/was entitled to the tithe? The answers are: (A) Melchizedek, (B) The Levites and priests, and (C) The Melchizedek priesthood.
Jesus today represents (or is) that priesthood. And more than that, He is our high priest. So what then are we? “Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. . . . But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of Him who hath called you out of darkness into His marvelous light,” I Peter 2:5, 9.
If Jesus is our High Priest, and we are His royal priests, doesn’t that make us responsible for the administration of our own tithes? Hmmmnnn? Now, using the conclusions presented: (1) We should tithe, (2) We may choose to tithe to any work of God, large or small, (3) We may spend a tenth of our increase on a work that we deem God approves.
So let’s “Honor the LORD with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase: So shall thy barns be filled with plenty, and thy presses shall burst out with new wine,” Proverbs 3:9-10. Substance and increase both imply wealth, and gain in no way is limited to crops and, yes, the blessing is a bounteous harvest.
Isn’t it interesting that God blesses us with seven days and asks that we give one day of time back to Him. Then the possessor of heaven and earth gives us all the blessings of earth and we are to return or dedicate one tenth back to Him. Ahh, but just as man wants to covet all time to himself, he wants to covet all things to himself.
— written by Steve Kieler W