by John and Ruth Greene
Nebuchadnezzar’s Babylon, the temples of Apollo in Delphi and Athena in Athens are examples that ancient centers of worship collected tithes for their gods. Some ancient sources describe how kings imposed a tax to maintain holy shrines and to support priests and priestesses. The Chinese, Egyptians, Phoenicians, Arabians and Romans are among those that supported a tax like the tithe. (Genesis 47:23-24) As a Biblical topic, the first 11 chapters of Genesis don’t deal with the subject of tithing at all. Following the spoils of a necessary war against neighboring kings, Abraham gave a freewill offering of a tenth. (Genesis 14:16-24; Hebrews 7:1-18) The spoils of war were taken before the nation of Israel left Egypt and no tithe was made. (Exodus 12:35) Spoil was not the increase of the land and animals. (Leviticus 27:30-31; Numbers 31:9, 27-30) As a promise, Jacob made a conditional vow to give a tenth to YHWH. (Genesis 28:20-22) Scripture indicates that the choices made by Abraham were his insistence not to profit in a profane way as he continued to put his trust in YHWH. (“The Parthenon & the Spirit of Humanism“; “Spiritual Disease that Eats at Your Salvation“; “Christianity: A Crisis in Prayer & Spirit“)
At Mount Sinai, tithing was not part of the original covenant with YHWH. (Exodus 24:3-8, Exodus 20-24) As the need would arise, Moses asked for free will offerings. (Exodus 35:22, 29, 36:3, 7) The Tabernacle was not built through the tithe, but through free will contributions. After a time in the wilderness, Moses mandated the tithe in Leviticus 27:30-33. (Deuteronomy 12:17-18; Nehemiah 10:37-38; Numbers 18:26) The tithe of the people was often stored at the Temple for distribution. (Nehemiah 10:38-39, 12:44, 13:5, 12; 2 Chronicles 31:11-12; Malachi 3:10) The tithe was resumed and rescinded during ancient Israel’s history as well. (2 Chronicles 31:5-10; Nehemiah 13:10, 12; Malachi 3:8)
The principle of the tithe was to benefit those in need, measured by agricultural increase. (Deuteronomy 14:27-28, 26:12; Leviticus 27:30) The priests did not inherit land, but were provided for through forty-eight cities with suburbs assigned to them. (Numbers 18:24, 26:62, 35:2-8; Deuteronomy 10:9, 12:12, 18-19, 14:27-29, 18:1-8; Joshua 13:14, 14:3, 18:7; 1 Chronicles 6:54-81, 13:2; 2 Chronicles 23:2; Ezekiel 34:1-5)
Malachi told Israel about robbing Elohim [YHWH]. (Malachi 3:1-12) Why were they robbing Him? They had become self-absorbed and unconcerned about their brothers. They were not taking care of the poor and they were neglecting the Temple and their trust in Him. (Malachi 3:13-15) Others became legalistic in their views and service. Love for YHWH diminished into a ritualistic priesthood and people that lived for mammon. Judaism continued with an enhanced arrangement of tithing promoted by the Pharisees and Sadducees until the destruction of the Temple in 70. (Matthew 23:1-23; Luke 11:42) Early disciples met in homes and common areas, so they had no need for ‘church infrastructure’ as the Jews did. The demands of ‘church leadership’ changed as Christians became corrupted, fell under the power of false shepherds and adopted the ways of the world. (Matthew 28:18-20; “Do You Live a Lifestyle of Greed?“; “Financial Usury & Bible Truth: Lending, Giving & Borrowing“; “The Book of Amos: Everyone Answers to YHWH“)
The tithe was not part of the first century body of Messiah. (Acts 15:24) Free will offerings were used directly for helping brothers and sisters or to help find the lost of the world. (1 Corinthians 16:1-2) In this same way, Christians today do not want to rob Elohim through their own selfishness, although there is no “Temple support” required because ancient Israel and the Temple no longer exist. (1 Timothy 6:18-19; Galatians 5:13) The old law covenant remains as the way that sin is measured, (Galatians 3:24) but disciples are freed from the bondage of the old covenant through the sacrifice of our Messiah. Still, some may insist that the tithe is a real need to support Christian leadership.
“At the end of every third year you shall bring out the tithe of your produce of that year and store it up within your gates.” – Deuteronomy 14:28 (read chapter 14)
Have you heard “every third year” as a suggestion for contributions by Christian preachers and evangelists? This is unlikely to create lots of enthusiasm for those seeking support. Further, the tithe of your produce isn’t at all about money or silver. (Titus 1:10-11) It’s about serving and living in YHWH’s presence. So now we know that Christians that are within Elohim’s [YHWH] provision only engage in free will offerings. This destroys the fear and slavery mindset that exists as ‘leaders’ seek after their personal salary and the wealth of their ministry over real Bible teaching. (“Giving to Others While Trusting in YHWH for Your Needs“; “The Road to Enslavement“; “The Real Meaning of Romans 13“)
“My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy Elohim, I will also forget thy children.” – Hosea 4:6, WoY
Clearly, YHWH’s people are destroyed for a lack of knowledge and for all of two millenniums Christians have been under the attack of Satan through religious and political distortion, even exploitation and oppression. This hearkens to the likes of Ananias and Sapphira, but in reverse when applied to ‘church leaders.’ (Acts 5:1-4; 1 Timothy 6:6-11; Matthew 25:24-28) The professed leaders that claim Christianity have forgotten an essential truth in their own lives.
“No one is able to serve two masters, for either he shall hate the one and love the other, or else he shall cleave to the one and despise the other. You are not able to serve Elohim and mammon.” – Matthew 6:24, ISR98
With the adoption of Christianity by Constantine through a universal church, mainstream Christianity became an official haunt of paganism, including imaginative methods of extracting resources from all people under its influence. This has continued unabated through the centuries. Christians do not realize the importance of their being misled by the church, even for pastors that ask for the “tithe.” These leaders are in violation of scripture, a truth that church authorities don’t want anyone to know. Yet, most Christians are completely clueless about what the Bible really says. In all scripture since the prophets, a tithe is not once mentioned as an obligation for disciples of Yahshua [Jesus]. The book of Hebrews was written to a mostly Jewish gathering of the Messiah, focusing on the priesthood of Messiah rather than endorsing the tithe. (Hebrews 7:1-18) The law made nothing perfect, but Yahshua [Jesus] completed that law, giving the benefit of eternal life in YHWH’s Kingdom. Still, you do have the decision about which covenant that you want to live under. (Galatians 3:1; Hebrews 8:13; 2 Corinthians 3:6; John 7:21-24; “Disciple: Renewing the Mind“; “Ongoing Corruption of Christianity“; “Religion, Politics, Power & Financial Corruption“; “Consenting to Fables of Man“)
As you live under the new covenant through Yahshua [Jesus] the Messiah, a generous heart is encouraged, especially towards Elohim’s people in the gathering or body of true believers.
“And this: He who sows sparingly shall also reap sparingly, and he who sows on blessing shall also reap on blessing. Let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not of grief or of necessity, for Elohim loves a joyous giver.” – 2 Corinthians 9:6-7, ISR98
This is not an inducement to false promises. In fact, each household is to look after helping others on a family basis, making sound decisions that work for Elohim’s Kingdom and helping those that actually support His Kingdom. This isn’t about giving to receive, which flies in the face of scripture and smacks of the world. Giving to receive is actually business or commerce of the world. (Romans 8:3-4, 32; 2 Corinthians 8:1-5, 8, 12-14, 9:5-7; Luke 12:33, 18:22; “YHWH is Your Shield and Salvation“; “Woes of the Hypocrites“; “Seeking a New Spirit“)
“I call upon you, therefore, brothers, through the compassion of Elohim, to present your bodies a living offering – set-apart, well-pleasing to Elohim – your reasonable worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you prove what is that good and well-pleasing and perfect desire of Elohim.” – Romans 12:1-2, ISR98
Remember that your true purpose as a disciple of Messiah is to grow spiritually and to exceed in spiritual gifts [for YHWH] while sharing with like-minded brothers and sisters through the gathering of Messiah. Each disciple is personally accountable to lay a good foundation, while loving others generously through the same trust in the provision of Messiah and the operation of the Sancitified Holy Spirit. (1 Timothy 6:18-19; Luke 22:42; Matthew 11:27; John 8:28, 12:49; Acts 3:22-23; Galatians 6:2) The Holy Spirit is your teacher (Galatians 5:18-25; Romans 12:8) as you grow as a new man in Messiah. Nobody that features rightly-divided teaching from the Word of Elohim will try to manipulate you or your emotions. (Mark 1:14) A disciple of the Yahshua [Jesus] the Messiah will not try to make you feel guilt or that you are somehow indebted to them for what is offered freely. (Matthew 6:1-34, 10:8; Luke 6:38; Acts 20:35; Hebrews 13:16) How much better to live Elohim’s way than to give in to a world that is full of humanism, false science and paganism, enticing you to faith through deception or manipulation. How fine that a disciple of the Most High is to look to the Messiah as High Priest! How fine that genuine believers realize that everything they possess belongs to YHWH instead of involving themselves in rituals and traditions of the past that pretend devotion. (Hebrews 3:1, 4:14-15, 9:26-27, 10:12, see chapters 5-9; Ephesians 5:2; 1 John 1:7; 1 Timothy 2:5; Matthew 27:11; Revelation 19:11; “Deceptions of Ages: How People are Deceived“; “The Role of Authority in Your Life“; “Disciple of Messiah: Live Your Belief“; “Disciple: Learning to Live in Trust“)