THE OTHER TITHES
Brother Gary Arnold
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.
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.
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.
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.