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Thursday, 19 February 2015

Brother Gary J. Arnold’s expository teaching on tithing


Malachi 3:10
10 , and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing,
Does this refer to money or financial blessing, or does it mean something else according to scriptures?
Genesis 7:11-12
11 The same day were all the fountains of the great deep broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened.
12 And the rain was upon the earth forty days and forty nights.
Genesis 8:2
2 The fountains also of the deep and the windows of heaven were stopped, and the rain from heaven was restrained


Galatians 5:18 (KJV) But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.
Notice the But if in the above scripture? IF you are led by (of) the Spirit, you are not under the law.
Tithers today are rejecting both the law AND the Spirit. They have the immature I can do anything I want attitude. Yes, we CAN do anything we want. We can reject Christ if we want. It is our choice.
Since God, Himself, defined His tithe in Leviticus 27:30-33, no one has a right to change His definition and call it His tithe. Since God, Himself, gave the command (Numbers 18) to take His tithe to the Levites, no one has a right to take His tithe to anyone else.
The ONLY way one can tithe to the church today is for man to make up the rules. And man did just that around 1870, which one can find when they research the history of tithing from income in the Christian Church. That makes it all about man, while the Biblical tithe was all about God.
IF one is led by the Spirit, and the Spirit leads him to give a tenth of his income, he should do it. But that tenth has absolutely NOTHING to do with the Biblical tithe. It would NOT be Gods Holy Tithe.
Unfortunately, many church goers are tithing from their income TO THEIR PASTOR OR LOCAL CHURCH, per the man-made tithing definition. If they think they are tithing to God, then they are being disobedient to Gods command. They are following directions given by man, not God.



Many pastors use Malachi 3:8-10 as a means to extort money from the congregation. If Malachi 3:8-10 applies to us today, then so does Malachi 3:5 which would convict any pastor taking from man's wages.
Malachi 3:5 And I will come near to you to judgment; and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, and against the adulterers, and against false swearers, and against those that oppress the hireling in his wages, the widow, and the fatherless, and that turn aside the stranger from his right, and fear not me, saith the LORD of hosts.
If Malachi 3:8-10 applies today, then so does Malachi 3:7. How were they robbing God? By not following His ordinances. They were doing it the way they wanted instead of following His ordinances, exactly what tithers do today - they tithe the way they want to instead of following His ordinances. Therefore, if Malachi 3:8-10 applies today, then tithers today are also robbing God.
Malachi 3:7 Even from the days of your fathers ye are gone away from mine ordinances, and have not kept them. Return unto me, and I will return unto you, saith the LORD of hosts. But ye said, Wherein shall we return?


What did God say He would do to those who falsely teach a monetary tithe?
Malachi 3:5 And I will come near to you to judgment; and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, and against the adulterers, and against false swearers, and against those that oppress the hireling in his wages, the widow, and the fatherless, and that turn aside the stranger from his right, and fear not me, saith the LORD of hosts.

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PART 1 - TITHING IN THE OLD TESTAMENT


SUMMARY

The biblical tithe was always on assets that came from God's labor; never on income or anything that came from man's labor.


Nowhere in the Bible are there any examples of anyone tithing on wages. During these biblical times, there were designers, embroiderers, and weavers (Exodus 35:35); manservants, maidservants, hired workers (Leviticus 25:6); plus many other occupations. Nowhere is there an example of any of these other occupations paying a tithe. There is no example of Jesus tithing on his wages as a carpenter, or Paul tithing on his wages as a tent maker, or even Peter tithing on the fish he caught. ONLY farmers who owned crops and/or animals in herds and flocks tithed.



We believe in generous giving, from the heart, and that the requirement to tithe ended at the cross along with all the other Mosaic laws. However, those who disagree and believe that tithing is still required, need to understand that God required tithing of crops and animals, and never on man's income. God said the tithe belonged to Him, and He gave the tithe to the Levites. If you believe the law to tithe is still valid, then you are breaking that law when you give the tithe to your local church.


God said you tithe on crops and animals which are assets, not income, and come from God's labor. Man says you tithe on income, not assets, which comes from man's labor.


God said the tithe belongs to Him, and He gave it to the Levites. Man says the tithe belongs to God, and you are to give it to your local church (or other christian establishment).



Deuteronomy 4:2 (NIV):
2 Do not add to what I command you and do not subtract from it, but keep the commands of the LORD your God that I give you.
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Scripture is given by God and not to be changed by man. When man changes the scripture, it is no longer the Word of God. Christians are not to adapt the Bible to the times. Christians are to adapt their life to the Bible.


2 Peter 2:1, 3 (NIV):
1 But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you.
3 In their greed these teachers will exploit you with stories they have made up.

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2 Timothy 4:1-4 (NIV):
1 In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge:
2 Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction.
3 For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.
4 They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.

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INTRODUCTION


This in-depth study of the tithe is for all Christians. Whether you believe tithing ended at the cross, or you believe that tithing was brought into the New Testament, this study will add to your understanding of the tithe.



There are prerequisites to most subjects you study. Before reading a novel written in English, you need a basic understanding of the English language. Before studying the topic of tithing, you need a basic understanding of not only the words used in the bible, but also an understanding of the words you have heard in church. This study of the tithe includes the prerequisites necessary to fully understand the tithe.



We have attempted to organize this course in a logical order so that you will build on your knowledge of the tithe. To get the most out of this course, it is imperative that you study this material in the order presented. Some of the material presented may be new to you and may seem irrelevant to the subject. As you progress through the course, the relevancy will become clear.

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This course is biblically based. We base nearly all our conclusions on the scriptures. Anytime a conclusion is based on our opinion, we tell you so.



We take God at His word. We don't draw conclusions based on what sounds good, what sounds right, or what makes us feel good or bad. We do our best to stick with the Word of God. Only the truth will set us free.
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PREREQUISITE #1 - DEFINITION OF TITHE

Before we start our studies of the tithe, we need to understand the definition of tithe. Today's definition is not the same as the biblical definition.


The dictionary defines a word according to its usage at the time the dictionary is published. Over the years, the definition of tithe has changed many times. Below are some actual examples taken from three different dictionaries, all published at different times.


MacMillan's Modern Dictionary - 1938 edition: Tithe - tenth part, or any small part, of produce, profits, or the like paid as a tax or as a voluntary contribution, esp. for religion or charitable use.

The American Heritage Dictionary, Third Edition - 1994: Tithe - A tenth part of one's annual income contributed voluntarily or due as a tax, especially for the support of the clergy or church.


Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary - latest edition: Tithe - a tenth part of something paid as a voluntary contribution or as a tax especially for the support of a religious establishment.


As you can see, just during the past 70 years or so the definition has changed from a tenth part of produce or profits, to a tenth part of one's annual income, to a tenth part of something.


All three definitions include something to do with the support of the church or a religious establishment. But what was the definition of the word tithe when the Kings James Version of the Holy Bible was written?





As you can see from above, the Hebrew defintion merely means a tenth, or a tenth part. Nothing else is connected with the definition of tithe in the Book of Genesis. So when we study Abraham's Tithe, and Jacob's Vow to Tithe, remember the definition applicable to the time is strickly a tenth, or a tenth part. Period. The word tithe used in Genesis is strickly a mathematical term, not a religious term.


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ABRAHAM'S TITHE

In the Old Testament, Book of Genesis, Chapter 14, we first find the subject of tithing. Many pastors use this text as an example to show that tithing existed as far back as Genesis and that it sets the standard for all time.


The Holy Bible, King James Version - Genesis 14:8-24:
8 And there went out the king of Sodom, and the king of Gomorrah, and the king of Admah, and the king of Zeboiim, and the king of Bela (the same is Zoar;) and they joined battle with them in the vale of Siddim;
9 With Chedorlaomer the king of Elam, and with Tidal king of nations, and Amraphel king of Shinar, and Arioch king of Ellasar; four kings with five.
10 And the vale of Siddim was full of slimepits; and the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah fled, and fell there; and they that remained fled to the mountain.
11 And they took all the goods of Sodom and Gomorrah, and all their victuals, and went their way.
12 And they took Lot, Abram’s brother’s son, who dwelt in Sodom, and his goods, and departed.
13 And there came one that had escaped, and told Abram the Hebrew; for he dwelt in the plain of Mamre the Amorite, brother of Eshcol, and brother of Aner: and these were confederate with Abram.
14 And when Abram heard that his brother was taken captive, he armed his trained servants, born in his own house, three hundred and eighteen, and pursued them unto Dan.
15 And he divided himself against them, he and his servants, by night, and smote them, and pursued them unto Hobah, which is on the left hand of Damascus.
16 And he brought back all the goods, and also brought again his brother Lot, and his goods, and the women also, and the people.
17 And the king of Sodom went out to meet him after his return from the slaughter of Chedorlaomer, and of the kings that were with him, at the valley of Shaveh, which is the king's dale.
18 And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God.
19 And he blessed him, and said, Blessed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth:
20 And blessed be the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand. And he gave him tithes of all.
21 And the king of Sodom said unto Abram, Give me the persons, and take the goods to thyself.
22 And Abram said to the king of Sodom, I have lift up mine hand unto the LORD, the most high God, the possessor of heaven and earth,
23 That I will not take from a thread even to a shoelatchet, and that I will not take any thing that is thine, lest thou shouldest say, I have made Abram rich:
24 Save only that which the young men have eaten, and the portion of the men which went with me, Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre; let them take their portion.
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Notice in verse 20 "And he gave him tithes of all." First we must remember that the definition of tithes in Genesis is a mathematical term, and simply means a tenth. In fact, below I have verse 20 from two later versions of the bible:


Revised Standard Version of the Bible - Genesis 14:20:
20 and blessed be God Most High, who has delivered your enemies into your hand!” And Abram gave him a tenth of everything.


The Holy Bible, New International Version - Genesis 14:20:
20 And blessed be God Most High, who delivered your enemies into your hand.” Then Abram gave him a tenth of everything.


Notice that neither the RSV nor the NIV versions of the bible used the word tithes in verson 20.


Next, when the scripture says he gave tithes of all, or a tenth of everything, we have to look at what the scriptures are talking about. In this case, war spoils. We see this stated again in Hebrews 7:4.

The Holy Bible, King James Version - Hebrews 7:4:
4 Now consider how great this man was, unto whom even the patriarch Abraham gave the tenth of the spoils.
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Notice that the KJV uses the word tenth instead of tithe in Hebrews 7:4.


Abraham gave to King Melchizedek ten percent of the war spoils. Note that he gave the rest to the King of Sodom. Abraham kept nothing for himself.


Abraham did NOT give ten percent of his income, or ten percent of all he owned. He gave ten percent of the war spoils that he, himself, said didn't belong to him. He gave nothing of his own.


The scripture does not tell us that Abraham was required to tithe, or give a tenth, of the war spoils. Whether a gift or not, Abraham said the goods didn't belong to him, and he kept nothing for himself.


There is nothing in the scripture to indicate this event has anything to do with the New Testament Church. It was a one-time event. There is no evidence in the scriptures to show that Abraham ever tithed before or after this event. Therefore, we believe it is wrong to use this example to show that tithing had been established before the law and therefore, was brought into the New Testament. Since Abraham gave nothing of his own, it is wrong to pull the concept of the tithe out of context and now apply it to one's own income or property.

JACOB'S VOW TO TITHE

The second event in the Bible that many relate to the tithe is Jacob's vow to give a tenth in Genesis.


The Holy Bible, King James Version - Genesis 28:10:
10 And Jacob went out from Beersheba, and went toward Haran.
11 And he lighted upon a certain place, and tarried there all night, because the sun was set; and he took of the stones of that place, and put them for his pillows, and lay down in that place to sleep.
12 And he dreamed, and behold a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven: and behold the angels of God ascending and descending on it.
13 And, behold, the LORD stood above it, and said, I am the LORD God of Abraham thy father, and the God of Isaac: the land whereon thou liest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed;
14 And thy seed shall be as the dust of the earth, and thou shalt spread abroad to the west, and to the east, and to the north, and to the south: and in thee and in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed.
15 And, behold, I am with thee, and will keep thee in all places whither thou goest, and will bring thee again into this land; for I will not leave thee, until I have done that which I have spoken to thee of.
16 And Jacob awaked out of his sleep, and he said, Surely the LORD is in this place; and I knew it not.
17 And he was afraid, and said, How dreadful is this place! this is none other but the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.
18 And Jacob rose up early in the morning, and took the stone that he had put for his pillows, and set it up for a pillar, and poured oil upon the top of it.
19 And he called the name of that place Bethel: but the name of that city was called Luz at the first.
20 And Jacob vowed a vow, saying, If God will be with me, and will keep me in this way that I go, and will give me bread to eat, and raiment to put on,
21 So that I come again to my father’s house in peace; then shall the LORD be my God:
22 And this stone, which I have set for a pillar, shall be God’s house: and of all that thou shalt give me I will surely give the tenth unto thee.

Jacob promised to give to God a tenth of all his possessions on the condition that God must first bless him, and then bring him back to his father's house in peace. Jacob set the conditions, not God. Jacob was the grandson of Abraham, and being a man of God, certainly would have known if tithing was required and not set any conditions for God to meet before tithing. There is no indication anywhere in the Bible whether Jacob actually paid this tenth or not, or who he would have given the tenth to, and there is no other example given where Jacob tithed (gave a tenth).


Since God did not require Jacob to give a tenth, this cannot be used to show that tithing was already established and required. This event set conditions that God must meet before Jacob would give a tenth which is not an example for the Christian to follow.
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THE LEVITICAL TITHE - INTRODUCTION

It is in the Book of Leviticus that we find where the church has patterned their teaching of tithing today.

Leviticus chapter 27 verses 30-34 (NIV):
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.
31 If a man redeems any of his tithe, he must add a fifth of the value to it.
32 The entire tithe of the herd and flock-every tenth animal that passes under the shepherd's rod-will be holy to the LORD.
33 He must not pick out the good from the bad or make any substitution. If he does make a substitution, both the animal and its substitute become holy and cannot be redeemed.'"
34 These are the commands the LORD gave Moses on Mount Sinai for the Israelites.
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Nowhere in the scripture does God tell us that those commands were in addition to, or a replacement for, any other system of tithing. If tithing had been established as a requirement prior to God giving these commands to Moses, God would have had to let the people know whether this new tithe was in addition to or a replacement of the already established tithe. Abraham gave a tenth of the war spoils. Jacob promised to give a tenth of all he had.

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THE LEVITICAL TITHE - BASICS

Now let's review Leviticus 27:30-34 (NIV):

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.
31 If a man redeems any of his tithe, he must add a fifth of the value to it.
32 The entire tithe of the herd and flock-every tenth animal that passes under the shepherd's rod-will be holy to the LORD.
33 He must not pick out the good from the bad or make any substitution. If he does make a substitution, both the animal and its substitute become holy and cannot be redeemed.'"
34 These are the commands the LORD gave Moses on Mount Sinai for the Israelites.


The law given to Moses for the Israelites is specific - it says that you tithe everything from the land; in other words, crops, and from the herds and flocks. Nothing else is mentioned in the command as being tithable. It's as simple as that.


God said you tithe on the crops, and the herds and flocks, NOT money or income. When I say this, there's usually someone who says they didn't have money then. That's not correct. They had money (gold and silver) even in Genesis.


The argument that tithes were always used as money in the Old Testament because money was very rare, and the bartered system required food to be used to purchase items, is not biblical. In fact, the word money occurs 32 times in the Book of Genesis alone. The word money occurs 44 times before the tithe is first mentioned in Leviticus 27.


Money paid for land. In Genesis 23:9 Abraham bought land with money, not with food. Money bought slaves. Money was used by slaves to buy their freedom. Money was required to pay judicial fines, not food. Money was required to pay sanctuary dues, poll taxes, and head taxes. Money was required in many vows that were made by the people. Alcoholic drinks were paid by money. And marriage dowries very often included money in the earliest books of the bible.


And from the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, I quote: "Gold and silver were the common medium of exchange in Syria and Palestine in the earliest times of which we have any historical record. The period of mere barter had passed before Abraham." Unquote.


We even find banking laws, and laws against high interest and usury in the book of Leviticus even before tithing is mentioned. Therefore, it is wrong to say that money was not a tithable item because it was not an everyday essential item. Money was very essential, even in the book of Genesis. Therefore, the argument that money did not exist and therefore could not be included as a tithable item is wrong.


It is in the Book of Numbers, chapter 18, that we find the ordinance of tithing. To learn more, study the entire chapter. For now, we will look at Numbers chapter 18 verses 23-28 (NIV):
23 It is the Levites who are to do the work at the Tent of Meeting and bear the responsibility for offenses against it. This is a lasting ordinance for the generations to come. They will receive no inheritance among the Israelites.
24 Instead, I give to the Levites as their inheritance the tithes that the Israelites present as an offering to the LORD. That is why I said concerning them: 'They will have no inheritance among the Israelites.'"
25 The LORD said to Moses,
26 "Speak to the Levites and say to them: 'When you receive from the Israelites the tithe I give you as your inheritance, you must present a tenth of that tithe as the LORD'S offering.
27 Your offering will be reckoned to you as grain from the threshing floor or juice from the winepress.
28 In this way you also will present an offering to the LORD from all the tithes you receive from the Israelites. From these tithes you must give the LORD'S portion to Aaron the priest.
 

So the tithes belonged to The Lord, and The Lord gave the tithes to the Levites, who in turn, would have no inheritance, or could not own any land.

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THE LEVITES

Levite - A descendant of the tribe of Levi.

The Levitical order consisted of all the descendants of Levi's three sons, and Aaron and his decendents constituted the priestly order.

Numbers 3:11-13 (NIV):
11 The LORD also said to Moses,
12 "I have taken the Levites from among the Israelites in place of the first male offspring of every Israelite woman. The Levites are mine,
13 for all the firstborn are mine. When I struck down all the firstborn in Egypt, I set apart for myself every firstborn in Israel, whether man or animal. They are to be mine. I am the LORD."

Numbers 4:46-49 (NIV):
46 So Moses, Aaron and the leaders of Israel counted all the Levites by their clans and families.
47 All the men from thirty to fifty years of age who came to do the work of serving and carrying the Tent of Meeting
48 numbered 8,580.
49 At the LORD'S command through Moses, each was assigned his work and told what to carry. Thus they were counted, as the LORD commanded Moses.

Numbers 8:5-8 (NIV):
5 The LORD said to Moses:
6 "Take the Levites from among the other Israelites and make them ceremonially clean.
7 To purify them, do this: Sprinkle the water of cleansing on them; then have them shave their whole bodies and wash their clothes, and so purify themselves.

Numbers 8:23-26 (NIV):
23 The LORD said to Moses,
24 "This applies to the Levites: Men twenty-five years old or more shall come to take part in the work at the Tent of Meeting,
25 but at the age of fifty, they must retire from their regular service and work no longer.
26 They may assist their brothers in performing their duties at the Tent of Meeting, but they themselves must not do the work. This, then, is how you are to assign the responsibilities of the Levites."

Some say that today's ministers or church workers have taken the place of the Levites and therefore can receive the tithe. But the scriptures are clear. The Word of God says that only male Levites could work in the temple, only after they had gone through a cleansing ritual, and only after they reach the age of 25, and not after they reach the age of 50.

Numbers 18:1-19 is where The Lord gives to Aaron and his sons and daughters all the offerings.

Numbers 18:20 (NIV):
20 The LORD said to Aaron, "You will have no inheritance in their land, nor will you have any share among them; I am your share and your inheritance among the Israelites.



THE LEVITICAL TITHE - ADVANCED

How many times have you heard a preacher say you are required to tithe on the first tenth of your income? Or, the "firstfruits"? Or that you tithe the best? This is not correct.

Let's review Leviticus 27:30, 32, 33 (NIV):
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.

Notice in verse 30 it says a tithe of everything from the land. It doesn't say the first tenth. A tithe is a tenth. Any tenth.

32 The entire tithe of the herd and flock-every tenth animal that passes under the shepherd's rod-will be holy to the LORD.

Notice that verse 32 is specific in that the tithe is the tenth animal, not the first.

33 He must not pick out the good from the bad or make any substitution.

And notice in verse 33 that you give the tenth whether it be good or bad.

The tithe was the tenth, not the first. The tithe was the tenth whether it be good or bad.

The scriptures are clear. God's tithe was on crops and animals which are assets, not income, and which came from God's labor, not man's labor. Yet preachers all over the world are teaching that you tithe on income (not assets), from man's labor (not God's labor). The scriptures say the tithe is Holy to the Lord. Man's labor (wages) are not Holy to the Lord.

Again, in God's Word, the biblical tithe was always on the miracles of God, or from the labor of God, or from God's increase, never from what man had made or earned from his own labor.

True biblical tithes were always on only crops and animals, only from farms and herds and flocks, of only Israelites, who only lived in God's Holy land, the boundary of Israel, only under Old Covenant terms, and the increase could only be gathered from what God miraculously increased. This definition is fundamental to understanding the doctrine of tithing in the Word of God.

Let me say it again. The biblical tithe was NEVER on anything that man made or earned from his own labor. God NEVER required man to give back to Him anything that man, himself, worked for. The biblical tithe was ALWAYS on items from God's own labor - the fruits and vegetables and new born animals; miracles, or gifts from God, from God's labor, NOT man's labor. You'll never understand the concept of God's tithe unless you fully understand that God was asking for a tenth back of something He gave to man, NOT something that man made or earned with the help of God. God NEVER asked or required man to go out and work, and then give to God a tenth of what man made or earned.

Man has taken the scriptures and reversed the concepts. The scriptures say you tithe on crops and animals which are ASSETS that come from GOD'S LABOR. Man teaches you tithe on INCOME, which comes from MAN'S LABOR. You will find in the History section that man changed this basic principle during the second half of the 1800's.

Numbers 18:21 (NIV):
21 “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.

The biblical principle here is that the tithe belongs to God, and He gave it to the Levites, who served at the temple.

The tithing teacher says you pay the first tenth of your gross income to The Lord, and you bring it to the church. The scripture says you pay a tenth of your crops and every tenth animal to The Lord, and you take it to the Levites.

Levitical tithes were received by the Levites who were only servants to the priests. And the Levites in turn gave only one tenth of the tenth they received, to the priests. We read this in Numbers 18:26, 28. Therefore, the scripture clearly says that the Levites, the servants to the priests, had the tithe, and they only gave to the priests a tenth of the tithe. We see this also found in Nehemiah 10:38 (NIV):
38 A priest descended from Aaron is to accompany the Levites when they receive the tithes, and the Levites are to bring a tenth of the tithes up to the house of our God, to the storerooms of the treasury.

Nehemiah 10:37 (KJV) reads as follows:
37 And that we should bring the firstfruits of our dough, and our offerings, and the fruit of all manner of trees, of wine and of oil, unto the priests, to the chambers of the house of our God; and the tithes of our ground unto the Levites…..

In Nehemiah 10:37 we learn that the first-fruits were to be taken to the temple, and the tithes were to be taken to the Levites. The first-fruits have nothing to do with the tithe.

MALACHI - ROBBING GOD

Many tithing teachers say that if you don't bring a tithe of your gross income to the church you are robbing God. Let's take a close look at the scripture.

Malachi chapter 3 verses 8-10 (KJV):
8 Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings.
9 Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation.
10 Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.

Who is being addressed in Malachi 3:8-10? Is it the people as the tithing teachers say, or is it the priests?

We need to study the entire Book of Malachi rather than take a few verses out of context. By the time we get to verse 6 in chapter 1, we see it is the priests that are being addressed at that point.

Malachi 1:6 (KJV)
6 A son honoureth his father, and a servant his master: if then I be a father, where is mine honour? and if I be a master, where is my fear? saith the LORD of hosts unto you, O priests, that despise my name. And ye say, Wherein have we despised thy name?

In both chapters 1 and 2 of Malachi there is a conversation going on between God and the priests. Every time the word "you" is used, it is referring to the priests. Chapter 3 continues with this conversation. In verse 5 God says "And I will come near to you to judgment….."

In the Old Testament, during this period of time and generally speaking, only the priests could get near to God. It is only in the New Testament that born again believers, you and I, can get close to God. So up to chapter 3 verse 5, God is speaking to the priests. The word "you" is still referring to the priests. There is nothing in the scripture to indicate this changes when you get to verse 8. But that's not all.

Malachi chapter 1 verse 14 (NIV) reads:
14 "Cursed is the cheat who has an acceptable male in his flock and vows to give it, but then sacrifices a blemished animal to the Lord.

Remember we learned that in Numbers chapter 18, God said one tenth of the tithe was to be given to the priests for an offering to The Lord. Malachi 1:14 shows that the priests gave the worst of the tithe to God instead of the best. Thus we have the robbing God of offerings mentioned in Malachi chapter 3 verse 8.

Now let's look at Nehemiah chapter 13 verse 10 (NIV):
10 I also learned that the portions assigned to the Levites had not been given to them, and that all the Levites and singers responsible for the service had gone back to their own fields.

This verse is telling us that the priests stole the Levites portion of the tithe; therefore, they had no food to eat at the temple, and they went back to their own fields. We must interpret this verse in this way because nowhere does it say that the priests had also left the temple. The priests had the food. Read chapter 13 of Nehemiah to get the complete picture.

So Malachi 1:14 shows the priests robbed God of the offerings, and Nehemiah 13:10 shows the priests robbed God of the tithes.

Next, in Malachi 3:10 God says to bring all the tithes to the storehouse. The people took the tithes to the Levites who lived in the Levitical cities, not to the temple. The Levites took the required food from the tithes to the temple when it was their turn to serve. Only those tithes ever made it to the temple. The priests then took those tithes to the storehouse. It only makes sense if God is speaking to the priests in this verse.

Therefore, we believe that the evidence shows that Malachi 3:8-10 is being addressed to the priests, not the people.

THE OTHER TITHES

So far we have discussed the first tithe, or the Levitical tithe, in detail. This is the tithe churches use today to pattern their teaching after.

The second tithe is called the festival tithe, or the feast tithe. This tithe was brought once a year to the streets of Jerusalem during the three-annual feast, and it was eaten in the streets of Jerusalem by all the people, as a potluck, and they shared it with strangers and the Levites and the priests.

The Holy Bible, New International Version - Deuteronomy 14:22-27:
22 Be sure to set aside a tenth of all that your fields produce each year.
23 Eat the tithe of your grain, new wine and oil, and the firstborn of your herds and flocks in the presence of the LORD your God at the place he will choose as a dwelling for his Name, so that you may learn to revere the LORD your God always.
24 But if that place is too distant and you have been blessed by the LORD your God and cannot carry your tithe (because the place where the LORD will choose to put his Name is so far away),
25 then exchange your tithe for silver, and take the silver with you and go to the place the LORD your God will choose.
26 Use the silver to buy whatever you like: cattle, sheep, wine or other fermented drink, or anything you wish. Then you and your household shall eat there in the presence of the LORD your God and rejoice.
27 And do not neglect the Levites living in your towns, for they have no allotment or inheritance of their own.

The second tithe is a ceremonial tithe and differs in that it consists of a tenth of the crops, and the firstborn of the herds and flocks. This tithe also proves they had markets and income since verses 24-26 say to exchange (sell) the items for silver (KJV uses the word money), and then use the silver (money) to buy the food and drink for the festival. To the best of my knowledge, all denominations believe this tithe ended when Jesus died on the cross.

A third tithe is called the poor tithe, or the third-year tithe. Every third year the people were commanded to keep a third tithe at the homes of the individual Israelites, and they shared them with the poor and the Levites as they came around to their homes. Since this tithe is not a ceremonial tithe, why do tithing teachers ignore this tithe?

The Holy Bible, New International Version - Deuteronomy 14:28-29:
28 At the end of every three years, bring all the tithes of that year’s produce and store it in your towns,
29 so that the Levites (who have no allotment or inheritance of their own) and the aliens, the fatherless and the widows who live in your towns may come and eat and be satisfied, and so that the LORD your God may bless you in all the work of your hands.

Let's take a look at Leviticus 25:3-7 (NIV):
3 For six years sow your fields, and for six years prune your vineyards and gather their crops.
4 But in the seventh year the land is to have a sabbath of rest, a sabbath to the LORD. Do not sow your fields or prune your vineyards.
5 Do not reap what grows of itself or harvest the grapes of your untended vines. The land is to have a year of rest.
6 Whatever the land yields during the sabbath year will be food for you-for yourself, your manservant and maidservant, and the hired worker and temporary resident who live among you,
7 as well as for your livestock and the wild animals in your land. Whatever the land produces may be eaten.

According to what I've just read, crops were not harvested and, therefore, could not be tithed every seventh year. Why do preachers ignore these verses in the Word of God?

Various kings and other leaders also instituted their own tithes and made them law.

CHURCH HISTORY OF TITHING

A study of church history will show that at some point, probably around the year 600, the churches brought back the teaching of tithing, but only as voluntary giving, and still just on the crops, herds, and flocks, right out of the Old Testament. Since they didn't teach it as a "biblical tithe," they were able to change the rules to make it fit the needs of the church. By the middle of the 13th century, the Church's claim to tithes was extended to include the poultry of the yard and the cattle of the stall, to the catch of fish and the game of the forests. Had tithing in the Old Testament been on everything as some have claimed, there would have been no need to expand the definition.

My research shows that tithing was first taught and collected by churches in the United States during the second half of the 1800s. Had tithing always been required, why was it not until the late 1800s that the churches in the United States started collecting tithes? And even then, the teaching of tithing was not consistent between churches. It wasn't until recent years that churches started teaching that you tithe on your income, or gross income.

My research shows that during the late 1800s some churches taught that men were to tithe a larger amount than women, that no tithing was required for those under the age of 18, and once you reached the age of 65 you no longer were required to tithe. At times tithing was based on the value of property owned. Those who didn't own property didn't tithe. They gave freewill offerings. In one case I found the church council members voted to change tithing to income because it would bring in twice as much money. The problem is, all this was taught as biblical.

In many cases, if not most, today's tithing teacher is merely teaching was he/she was taught. Many who later do their own in-depth research have repented and no longer teach that tithing is required today.

For those interested in the history of the Christian church, you may want to read the book, HISTORY OF THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH by Philip Schaff.


PART 2 - WAS TITHING BROUGHT INTO THE NEW TESTAMENT


INTRODUCTION

In this study, we show that the law of tithing ended at the cross. Next we cover tithing that was pre-law, or outside the law, to determine if tithing outside the law can be brought forward into the New Testament, and if so, to what extent.


In this study, we accept the Kings James Version of the Holy Bible, in conjunction with Strongs Concordance and Strongs Hebrew and Greek Dictionaries, as the best English translation of the scriptures available.


We sincerely hope this study will enrich your knowledge and understanding of the scriptures.

HE LAW

The law of tithing is found in the following scriptures (not all inclusive):
Leviticus 27:30-34
Known as the Levitical Tithe, or the First Tithe, or the Lord's Tithe

Deuteronomy 14:22-27
Known as the Second Tithe, or Festival Tithe, or Feast Tithe

Deuteronomy 14:28-29
Known as the Third Tithe, or the 3-Year Tithe, or the Poor Tithe, or the Welfare Tithe

Numbers 18:23-28
Ordinances

Malachi 3:7-12
Refers to robbing God of the Lord's Tithes and offerings

Those are the main verses quoted when referring to the tithe. If the law ended at the cross, then none of the above verses apply to the Christian today. In other words, even if we find that tithing, outside the law, is applicable in the New Testament, none of the verses referring to the law would apply, including Malachi 3:7-11 (regarding robbing God).

But the scriptures do tell us that the law ended at the cross. We will cover enough verses below to substantiate that the law, in fact, did end; therefore, the verses referenced above do not apply to Christians today.




TRANSITION FROM THE OLD TESTAMENT TO THE NEW TESTAMENT

Let's look at Matthew 26:26-28 (KJV):
26And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body.
27And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it;
28For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.

Jesus himself said "For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed…" Since the blood of Jesus hadn't yet been shed, he was prophesying, or telling them what was to come.

And Hebrews 9:16-17 (KJV):
16For where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator.
17For a testament is of force after men are dead: otherwise it is of no strength at all while the testator liveth.

Therefore you must be careful when reading the four gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) as they took place during the Old Testament up until the death of Jesus. Jesus was born, lived, and died under the Old Testament. Jesus, Himself, was under the law. Jesus lived the law, taught the law, and prophesied that which was coming.

Hebrews 8:13 (KJV):
13By calling this covenant "new," he has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and aging will soon disappear.




THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE NEW TESTAMENT:

Colossians 2:13-17 (KJV):
13And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses;
14Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;
15And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a show of them openly, triumphing over them in it.
16Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days:
17Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.

This shows that the written code (the law) was cancelled. In Verse 16 this is repeated by "do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, .......... or a Sabbath day." Verse 17 explains that these laws were "a shadow of the things that were to come," again showing that the laws were done away with. The word "shadow" was translated from the Greek word "skia" which means darkness of error.

Galatians 5:18 (KJV):
18But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.

Galatians 5:18 shows that the law is no longer needed. When you have the spirit to guide, and you have love in your heart, you are at a higher standard than any law. With love in your heart, you won't want to kill, steal, etc. etc.

Hebrews 8:6, 7, 13 (KJV):
6But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises.
7For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second.
13In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away.

The Old Covenant didn't work. Tithing didn't work. Tithing was part of the Old Covenant law that ended when Jesus died on the cross.

Galatians 3:19 (KJV):
19Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator.

Until the Seed to whom the promise referred had come. In other words, until Jesus came and fulfilled the law.

Galatians 3:23-25 (KJV):
23But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed.
24Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.
25But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.

Galatians 3:10-14 (KJV):
10For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.
11But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith.
12And the law is not of faith: but, The man that doeth them shall live in them.
13Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:
14That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.

Matthew 23:23 (KJV) reads:
23Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.

Many believe that Matthew 23:23 shows that tithing is still required in the New Testament. This is a common mistake made by those who are confused as to when the New Testament begins. Jesus was speaking to the law keepers who were still under the Old Covenant law.

The Holy Bible is broken down into the Books of the Old Testament and the Books of the New Testament. Here's where the confusion comes in. Too many people believe that the New Testament begins with the first book in the New Testament, which is the Book of Matthew. The fact is, the New Testament doesn't begin until after Jesus died on the cross, which is near the end of Matthew. Matthew 23:23 is still the Old Testament.

The law ended at the cross. Tithing was part of that law; therefore, the law, or command to tithe, ended at the cross.


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OUTSIDE THE LAW - PART 1 - ABRAHAM'S TITHE

We studied Genesis 14:8-24 in Part 1. In this study, we are going to focus our attention on Genesis 14:20.

Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance
Genesis 14:20 (KJV):

20And blessedH1288 be the mostH5945 highH5945 GodH410, whichH834 hath deliveredH4042 thine enemiesH6862 into thy handH3027. And he gaveH5414 him tithesH4643 of allH3605.

We will now concentrate on "And he gave him tithes of all." First, let's look at the definition of tithes:





Notice the definition is strickly a tenth, or tenth part. Tithes in this verse is a mathematical term, not a religious term.

Now let's look at the definition of gave:





Note that the Hebrew word could have been translated into the word pay, but the King James Version chose the word give as being the most accurate translation. Abraham gave him tithes, not paid him tithes. There is nothing in the scriptures to indicated that Abraham was obligated, or required, to pay a tenth. This is very important as we will see later.

Abraham's tithe is referenced in the New Testament in Hebrews:

Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance
Hebrews 7:2 (KJV):

2To whomG3739 alsoG2532 AbrahamG11 gave a tenthG1181 partG3307 of allG3956; firstG4412 being by interpretationG2059 KingG935 of righteousnessG1343, and afterG1899 that alsoG2532 KingG935 of SalemG4532, whichG3739 is, KingG935 of peaceG1515;

Hebrews 7:4 (KJV):

4NowG1161 considerG2334 howG4080 greatG4080 thisG3778 man was, unto whomG3739 evenG2532 the patriarchG3966 AbrahamG11 gaveG1325 the tenthG1181 of the spoilsG205.

Notice in verse 2 the word gave is again used. In verse 3 the word gave is also used and is defined below:






Notice this time the word pay isn't even an option. Hebrews 7:2 and 4 corroborate the use of the word gave in Genesis:14:20.

Now let's look at the definition of the word tenth as used in both verses:





Again, the tenth is a mathematical term only.

Now let's contrast the above to:

Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance
Hebrews 7:9 (KJV):

9And as I may soG5613 sayG2031-G2036, LeviG3017 alsoG2532, whoG3588 receivethG2983 tithesG1183, payedG1183 tithesG1183 in AbrahamG11.

Notice is verse 9 the word payed tithes is used, not give tithes. Verse 9 is referring to the Levites paying the Levitical tithe, which was law. You pay to satisfy a debt. This is a major point in your studies. See the definition below:






The King James Version chose the word payed in verse 9 as the most accurate translation.

At this point in our study, we learned that Abraham gave the tithe, and that the Levites paid the tithe. This will become even more clear in the Summary.

OUTSIDE THE LAW - PART 2 - JACOB'S VOW TO TITHE

We studied Genesis 28:10-22 in Part 1. In this study, we are going to focus our attention on Genesis 28:22.

Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance
Genesis 28:22 (KJV):

22And thisH2063 stoneH68, whichH834 I have setH7760 for a pillarH4676, shall be God’sH430 houseH1004: and of allH3605 that thou shalt giveH5414 me I will surely give the tenthH6237 unto thee.

Let's look at the definition of the first give in this verse:



This is the same definition given for Abraham's tithe in Genesis 14:20.

The phrase "surely give the tenth" is translated from:



Again, the word give is used. Jacob's vow to tithe was voluntary, not required.

SUMMARY:

Genesis 14:20: Abraham gave him tithes, not paid him tithes. The KJV could have chosen the word "paid" but they didn't. The Hebrew word translated into tithes simply means a tenth. It is a mathematical term, not a religious term.

Hebrews 7:2, 4: Again, the word used is gave, not paid. In these verses, instead of using the word "tithe," the word "tenth" is used.

Hebrews7:9: Here the word "payed" is used when referring to Levi - the Levitical tithe was law; therefore, there was a debtor-creditor relationship. You pay a debt. The definition of tithe in this verse is to pay or receive tithes.

CONCLUSION:

Abraham gave a free-will gift amounting to ten percent of the war spoils. There was no debtor-creditor relationship; therefore, it was free-will and not required. Jacob's vow to tithe was also voluntary. There is nothing in the scriptures to indicate there was any obligation for either Abraham or Jacob to tithe. Therefore, if you bring either or both of these two examples forward into the New Testament, at most it only shows an example of free-will giving. But neither example supports spirit-lead giving as taught in the New Testament. Nowhere in the New Testament is a tithe, or ten percent, used as being required, or even as being used as an example, guideline, goal to reach, or a starting point. The ten percent idea goes against New Testament teaching.

SUPPORT FOR THE CONCLUSION:

The definition of tithe in Matthew 23:23, relating to an obligation to tithe, is in sharp contrast to the definition of tithe in reference to Abraham and Jacob. The obligation to tithe creates a debtor-creditor relationship whereas merely giving a tenth (or tithe) is voluntary.

ART I

IN THE BEGINNING, GOD ESTABLISHED GIVING.

God's giving starts in the Book of Genesis when God created the heaven and the earth. God created man (and woman), and He gave man everything necessary to sustain life: air, water, food, raw materials for clothing, raw materials to build shelter, etc. God gave man dominion over the earth (v. 1:26).

Genesis 1:29-30 (NIV)
29Then God said, "I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food.
30And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds of the air and all the creatures that move on the ground-everything that has the breath of life in it-I give every green plant for food." And it was so.

Genesis 9:3 (NIV)
3Everything that lives and moves will be food for you. Just as I gave you the green plants, I now give you everything.

Deuteronomy 8:18 (NIV)
18But remember the LORD your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your forefathers, as it is today.

God gave us food, but we must harvest the crops. God gave us cotton and other fibers but we must weave the fibers into our clothing. God gave us the materials to make our shelter, but we must put the materials together. God gave us the ability to work in order to feed ourselves, clothe ourselves, and protect ourselves.

And if that wasn't enough, God gave us His only son!

John 3:16 (KJV)
16For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

It's important to understand why God gave His only begotten Son - because God so loved the world. The motive was love.

After Jesus was crucified on the cross, rose from death, and ascended to heaven, God gave us the Holy Spirit.

Luke 11:13 (NIV)
13If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!"

From the beginning of time, God, through His love, established giving.

CHRISTIAN GIVING BEGINS WITH OURSELVES.

2 Corinthians 8:1-5 (NIV)
1And now, brothers, we want you to know about the grace that God has given the Macedonian churches.
2Out of the most severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity.
3For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability. Entirely on their own,
4they urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in this service to the saints.
5And they did not do as we expected, but they gave themselves first to the Lord and then to us in keeping with God's will.

Notice in verse 5, they gave themselves first to the Lord. God wants us to put Him first in our lives.

Matthew 6:33 (NIV)
33But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

Matthew 6:24 (NIV)
24"No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.

1 Timothy 6:10 (NIV)
10For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.

Matthew Henry says in his Concise Commentary of the Whole Bible, "He who holds to the world and loves it, must despise God; he who loves God, must give up the friendship of the world."

WHAT DOES GOD WANT US TO DO WITH OUR MONEY?

Many preachers teach that you should first give your money to God, and the way they say you can do this is to give it to the church.

There are two problems with the above statement.

1 Timothy 5:8 (NIV)
8If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his immediate family, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.

In 1 Timothy 5:8 we are told to first provide for our immediate family and our relatives before providing for others. In other words, we should provide for our needs, the needs of our immediate family, and the needs of relatives, before we give anything to the church.

Matthew 25:42-45 (NIV)
42For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink,
43I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.'
44"They also will answer, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?'
45"He will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.'

In Matthew 25:42-45 Jesus tells us how to give to Him. We are giving to The Lord when we feed the hungry, give to the poor, etc. Nowhere in the scriptures does God say that when you give to the Christian Church you are giving to Him.

PRINCIPLES OF GIVING.

2 Corinthians 9:6-12 (NIV)
6Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously.
7Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.
8And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.
9As it is written: "He has scattered abroad his gifts to the poor; his righteousness endures forever."
10Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness.
11You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.
12This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of God's people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God.

The above seven verses give us many giving principles. In verse 6 Paul uses an example of a farmer planting seed. The farmer who plants few seeds will reap a small harvest. The farmer who plants many seeds will reap a larger harvest. But Paul is really talking about Christian giving, not farming. What Paul is saying is that those who give a little will reap a little, and those who give much will reap much.

If you plant seed to grow corn, you reap a harvest of corn. Using this analogy, when we give money, we should reap a return of money. However, God does not guarantee what our blessing will be. God knows what we need, and we should trust Him to give us what we need at the time He knows is best.

In verse 7 we learn that God loves a cheerful giver, and that we should give according to our heart, not under compulsion. This is the exact opposite of tithing. Tithing was an exact amount and was required to be paid. As a Christian, we give according to our heart.

1 Corinthians 16:1-4 (NIV)
1Now about the collection for God's people: Do what I told the Galatian churches to do.
2On the first day of every week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with his income, saving it up, so that when I come no collections will have to be made.
3Then, when I arrive, I will give letters of introduction to the men you approve and send them with your gift to Jerusalem.
4If it seems advisable for me to go also, they will accompany me.

In 1 Corinthians 16:2 we learn that we should give according to our income. There is no set minimum or percentage to give. The higher our income, the more we should give. Those with a small income are expected to give a small amount.

These principles apply not only to giving to a church, but for giving in general. Since tithing ended at the cross, the Christian Church must be supported entirely by free-will gifts. We find in the scriptures guidelines for this giving.

1 Corinthians 16:2 above, we see that Paul suggests setting aside a sum of money once each week for the collections. The principle here is to be systematic. Have a system where you give on a regular basis, whether that be weekly, biweekly, twice a month, or once a month. You might want to time your giving with your paycheck.

The principle of proportional giving is also seen in verse 16.2 above.

2 Corinthians 8:1-5 (NIV)
1And now, brothers, we want you to know about the grace that God has given the Macedonian churches.
2Out of the most severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity.
3For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability. Entirely on their own,
4they urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in this service to the saints.
5And they did not do as we expected, but they gave themselves first to the Lord and then to us in keeping with God's will.

In 2 Corinthians 8:2-3 above we see the principle of generous giving as well as sacrificial giving. Notice in verse 4 how they considered their giving a privilege. And as we previously saw, in verse 5 they gave themselves first to the Lord.

Philippians 4:15-20 (NIV)
15Moreover, as you Philippians know, in the early days of your acquaintance with the gospel, when I set out from Macedonia, not one church shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving, except you only;
16for even when I was in Thessalonica, you sent me aid again and again when I was in need.
17Not that I am looking for a gift, but I am looking for what may be credited to your account.
18I have received full payment and even more; I am amply supplied, now that I have received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent. They are a fragrant offering, an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God.
19And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.
20To our God and Father be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

In Philippians 4:16 we see the principle of giving where there is a need. We should give generously to the needy as well as to the church we attend.

1 Corinthians 9:13-14 (NIV)
13Don't you know that those who work in the temple get their food from the temple, and those who serve at the altar share in what is offered on the altar?
14In the same way, the Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should receive their living from the gospel.

Galatians 6:6 (NIV)
6Anyone who receives instruction in the word must share all good things with his instructor.

The preacher has a right to be paid. Nowadays, church goers expect a building to worship in, seating, heating and air conditioning, a public address system, etc. All this has to be paid for. As a member or visitor of a local church, you have a moral obligation to pay your share, according to your means. Without generous givers, the local church doors would have to close.

2 Corinthians 8:10-15 (NIV)
10And here is my advice about what is best for you in this matter: Last year you were the first not only to give but also to have the desire to do so.
11Now finish the work, so that your eager willingness to do it may be matched by your completion of it, according to your means.
12For if the willingness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what he does not have.
13Our desire is not that others might be relieved while you are hard pressed, but that there might be equality.
14At the present time your plenty will supply what they need, so that in turn their plenty will supply what you need. Then there will be equality,
15as it is written: "He who gathered much did not have too much, and he who gathered little did not have too little."

In 2 Corinthians 8:13-14 we see the principle of equality. We should not give until we are hard pressed, but we should share with others who have needs. Later, if we have needs, others will share with us. Verse 15 shows the existence of equality.

2 Corinthians 8:9 (NIV)
9For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.

As Jesus died for the sins of others, believers should give out of love for the Lord. Our motivation for giving should be love, and the giving of itself. Believers are to give so that all needs are met.

PART 2

WHAT ELSE DO THE SCRIPTURES TEACH ABOUT MONEY?

1 Corinthians 6:9-10 (NIV)
9Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders
10nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.

Notice how the above two verses include the greedy with the wicked, thieves, slanderers, swindlers, etc. The Bible has much to say about the greedy.

Proverbs 15:27 (NIV)
27A greedy man brings trouble to his family, but he who hates bribes will live.

Proverbs 28:25 (NIV)
25A greedy man stirs up dissension, but he who trusts in the LORD will prosper.

Matthew 23:25 (NIV)
25"Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence.

Luke 12:15 (NIV)
15Then he said to them, "Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions."

Ephesians 5:3 (NIV)
3But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God's holy people.

Colossians 3:5 (NIV)
5Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry.

1 Peter 5:2 (NIV)
2Be shepherds of God's flock that is under your care, serving as overseers-not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not greedy for money, but eager to serve;

Those are just some of the verses dealing with greed. Now let's look at a few verses dealing with generosity.

Deuteronomy 15:10 (NIV)
10Give generously to him and do so without a grudging heart; then because of this the LORD your God will bless you in all your work and in everything you put your hand to.

1 Chronicles 29:14 (NIV)
14"But who am I, and who are my people, that we should be able to give as generously as this? Everything comes from you, and we have given you only what comes from your hand.

2 Chronicles 31:5 (NIV)
5As soon as the order went out, the Israelites generously gave the firstfruits of their grain, new wine, oil and honey and all that the fields produced. They brought a great amount, a tithe of everything.

Psalm 37:21-22 (NIV)
21The wicked borrow and do not repay, but the righteous give generously;
22those the LORD blesses will inherit the land, but those he curses will be cut off.

Psalm 37:26 (NIV)
26They are always generous and lend freely; their children will be blessed.

Proverbs 11:25 (NIV)
25A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed.

Proverbs 22:9 (NIV)
9A generous man will himself be blessed, for he shares his food with the poor.

Acts 10:2 (NIV)
2He and all his family were devout and God-fearing; he gave generously to those in need and prayed to God regularly.

1 Timothy 6:18-19 (NIV)
18Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share.
19In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.

God gave us the Holy Spirit. We should pray and ask the Spirit to guide us in our giving.

WHEN AND HOW SHOULD WE GIVE?

Give in secret, and God will reward you.
Matthew 6:2-4 (NIV)
2"So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full.
3But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing,
4so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

Give to the one who asks you.
Matthew 5:42 (NIV)
42Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.

Help suffering Christians who are poor, sick, or persecuted. This is a test of the genuineness of our faith.
Matthew 25:31-46 (NIV)
31"When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory.
32All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.
33He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
34"Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.
35For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in,
36I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.'
37"Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink?
38When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you?
39When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?'
40"The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'
41"Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.
42For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink,
43I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.'
44"They also will answer, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?'
45"He will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.'
46"Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life."

Those who have an abundance should share with those who have nothing.
Luke 3:11 (NIV)
11John answered, "The man with two tunics should share with him who has none, and the one who has food should do the same."

Give, and it will be given to you.
Luke 6:38 (NIV)
38Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you."

And the list of verses goes on and on……

Be compassionate to the poor and sick. Luke 16:19-31.
Giving generously to the poor is genuine worship of the Lord. Luke 19:8.
Share everything we have with fellow believers who are in need. Acts 4:32-35.
Help widows and orphans in distress. Acts 6:1; James 1:27.
It is more blessed to give than to receive. Acts 20:35.
Share with God's people who are in need. Rom 12:13.
If your enemy is hungry, feed him. Rom 12:20.
Love must be at the foundation of our giving. 1 Cor 13:3.
Giving is a result of the grace of God. 2 Cor 8:1.
Even if poor, be rich in generosity. 2 Cor 8:2.
Give as much as you are able. 2 Cor 8:3.
Be the first to give. 2 Cor 8:10.
There should be a goal of sharing of burdens between believers. 2 Cor 8:13.

I believe that God is more concerned with how much we keep for ourselves than He is with how much we give. Some will argue that our giving should be more like the "graduated income tax" in that the more money one makes, the higher percentage he or she should give.

SOME FINAL THOUGHTS.

We should consider giving a privilege of distributing a part of what God has given to us. Giving shows our appreciation to God for His generosity.

Giving to the local church you attend is a moral obligation. Bills have to be paid, and it is the responsibility of those benefiting to pay their share, according to their means. Therefore, those who are able should pay more to cover the deficit created by those less fortunate. When God blesses with more than we need, God expects us to use the excess to share with others - to bless others.

Should you buy a big-screen television while your neighbors go hungry? You might say, but I worked hard to get that television. If your neighbors are lazy and do not work, let them be hungry, as 2 Thessalonians 3:10 says "If a man will not work, he shall not eat." But if your neighbors are working the best they know how, is it not your responsibility to share your abundance?

I believe when it's all said and done, it comes down to greed verses generosity.

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