Liliane Binnyuy is an Author and Blogger focused on the christian life and spiritual growth.
The Tithe Lie
The Law on Tithe
Every year, you must take a tithe of what your fields produce from what you have sown and, in the presence of Yahweh your God, in the place where he chooses to give his name a home, you must eat the tithe of your wheat, of your new wine and of your oil, and the first-born of your herd and flock: and by so doing, you will learn always to fear Yahweh your God. If the road is too long for you, if you cannot bring your tithe because the place in which Yahweh chooses to make a home for his name is too far away, when Yahweh your God has blessed you, you must convert into money, and with the money clasped in your hand, you must go to the place chosen by Yahweh your God, there you may spend the money on whatever you like, oxen, sheep, wine, fermented liquor, anything you please. There you must eat in the presence of Yahweh your God and rejoice, you and your household. Do not neglect the Levite living in your community, since he has no share of his own among you (Deut. 14.22-27)
In the third year, the tithing year, when you have finished taking the tithe of your whole income and have given it to the Levite, the foreigner, the orphan and the widow so that, in your towns, they may eat to their heart’s content, in the presence of Yahweh your God, you must say: I have cleared my house of what was consecrated… (Deut. 26:12).
In the tithe law, the Lord God instructed his people to tithe in two ways: yearly and every third year.
Every year, they were to present themselves before God with a tithe of their wheat, new wine, oil, & flock. In His presence, they were to eat their tithe produce together with the Levites. If the Lord’s temple is far away, making it difficult to transport the goods, they should convert the goods into money, and then come to the presence of Yahweh and spend the money on whatever their heart desires.
Every third year, the tither is not allowed to eat his tithe. The tither will give his tithe to the Levite, the foreigner, the orphan, and the widow. The receivers of the tithe will present themselves before Yahweh and eat the tithe produce in His presence. The tither will then present himself before the Lord God and say that he has cleared his house of what was consecrated.
The Purpose of the Tithe Law
After Israel's return from the Babylonian exile of 70 years, they rebuilt the destroyed temple but most of them had lost the significance of their laws. God spoke through his prophet Malachi calling on them to bring in their tithes as they did before because the orphans, the strangers, the Levites who were God’s people were suffering from the neglect (Malachi 3:5-12)
The poor, the stranger, the widow and the Levites were God’s own possession. God identified Himself with them. They are the ones on whom the third year tithes was spent on. The pastors and general overseers are not Levites. Under the new covenant, all Christians are called to serve as priests unto God, with Christ Jesus as the High Priest (1 Peter 2.9).
More so, the tithes were not used to maintain the tabernacle of God rather the tithe was eaten by the tither and the less privileged in the clan. If we are to tithe today, then it should be out of love and generosity (in obedience to the law of Christ), and not because we want to obtain the blessing of keeping the old covenant. If we choose to tithe today out of love, then the poor Christians in the house should be the receiver.
Are Christians Obligated to Tithe
The old covenant is obsolete (Hebrews 8.13). The tithe law was not the only law that was given to the Israelites. If we choose to follow all the OT laws but fail in one, we are guilty of breaking all (James 2.10). If you follow the old law, then you have fallen from the grace of the new covenant. Those who operate under the old covenant law are under a curse (Galatians 3:10-14).
The law brings people under slavery (Galatians 4). The burden of tithing is not of Christ. The burden of circumcision in the days of Apostle Paul was not of Christ (Galatians 5.1-6). Christ freed us from the slavery of the old law (Galatians 5.1). We are freed to belong to another master. The Lord Jesus has given us an easy yoke. It is the debt of love that we owe one another (Romans 13.8). By loving one another, we fulfill the law of Christ (Galatians 6.2).
How God Provides for His Children
A Christian does not receive God’s supply of provision by keeping the tithe law. He receives God’s supply when he seeks God’s kingdom and obeys his righteous commandment in Christ (1 John 3.23). Many Christians are still to empty their hearts for God. Serving and obeying only God is what guarantees heaven’s provision.
The early church did not practice tithing, rather they practiced total renunciation. God does not want 10%; God wants your all (Luke 14. 26-33). The early church sold their possessions and distributed among themselves as each other needed. The whole community of believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed private ownership of any possessions, but rather they shared all things in common (Acts 4.32-35).
The only way to eradicate poverty is for the rich to give to the poor (Deuteronomy 15.4).
The Letter of the Holy Spirit and Apostles to the Gentiles as Regards the Old Covenant Law
In the days of Apostle Paul, some of the Hebrew Christians were forcing the gentile Christians to practice circumcision. When Peter and the other Apostles heard of this, they held a meeting to decide the status of the gentile Christians as regards the Law of Moses. In response, the apostles and the Holy Spirit wrote a letter to the gentile believers.
.....WE, WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT, have decided not to put any other burden on you except what is necessary: You are to abstain from blood from the meat of strangled animals and from prohibited marriages. If you keep yourselves from these, you will do well. Farewell."
After saying good-bye, the messengers went to Antioch, where they assembled the community and handed them the letter. When they read the news, all were delighted with the encouragement it gave them (Acts 15)
The controversial issue of keeping some of the old law, whether be it circumcision or tithes or any other did not arise just today. This issue was neatly addressed by the Holy Spirit and the apostles. Gentile Christians are not supposed to obey the Law of Moses except for two: to abstain from blood from the meat of strangled animals and from prohibited marriages (as stipulated in Lev 18). The Holy Spirit wrote a letter to us many years ago, addressing this matter. When you pay tithe or give to the poor or to your fellow Christian just because you want to receive back, are you not selfish? If you give all your property away without love you give in vain (1 Corinthians 13.3). All must be done in the spirit of love. Your obedience to the law of Christ is more valuable than any sacrificial offering (1 Samuel 15.22-23).