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Ask Donnell - Does The Tithe Fit Into Our Modern Economy?

Ask Donnell - Does The Tithe Fit Into Our Modern Economy?

We received the following question from Claudia;

I was just reading the discussion topics in gospel.com, and I was amazed to see that there is a current feeling among brethren that the tithes to God is no longer relevant. The Apostles, you and Bible instructions have reinforced that this giving is mandatory. So what is the big move or change in the society that is now bringing on this feeling? Claudia

Claudia, thanks for a great question. I know you only recently submitted it but I feel like The Lord wants me to deal with it today. It's obviously a priority to Him. Why don't people think tithing is relevant anymore? It's simple. They don't want to do it. As a result, they can easily find several reasons why they should not. They can even support them using the scriptures.

However, that doesn't mean their actions are any reflection of God's heart. People also use scriptures to support their drinking habits, lack of church attendance, polygamy, racism, slavery and a myriad of sinful habits. You get the point? Only if your heart is in the right place, will you be able to discover God's Will on any contentious issue. Read Romans 12:2.

Here are some of the top reasons I've heard;

1) Tithing is from The Old Testament

2) Tithing is under the law

3) Jesus never talked about tithing

The best place to start teaching The Church on tithing is the tithing Chapter. Can you guess which one? Leviticus 27? No! Malachi 3? No! Those two are good but when used alone they can be discredited using the three reasons I listed above. There's one Chapter in the Bible which gives a big picture perspective on tithing which transcends all the rhetoric we tend to hear from the tithing critics. Believe it or not, it's actually in the New Testament. Take some time and read all of Hebrews 7. Once complete, you will discover why tithing is relevant today. Here's what it says.

1) Tithing started long before the law was ever created.

Genesis 14:18-24(NLT) - And Melchizedek, the king of Salem and a priest of God Most High, brought Abram some bread and wine. 19 Melchizedek blessed Abram with this blessing: “Blessed be Abram by God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth. 20 And blessed be God Most High, who has defeated your enemies for you.” Then Abram gave Melchizedek a tenth of all the goods he had recovered. 21 The king of Sodom said to Abram, “Give back my people who were captured. But you may keep for yourself all the goods you have recovered.” 22 Abram replied to the king of Sodom, “I solemnly swear to the Lord, God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth, 23 that I will not take so much as a single thread or sandal thong from what belongs to you. Otherwise you might say, ‘I am the one who made Abram rich.’ 24 I will accept only what my young warriors have already eaten, and I request that you give a fair share of the goods to my allies—Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre.”

Tithing was first reported in Genesis 14:20 when Abraham tithed to Melchizedek who was a priest long before the priesthood was ever created. Tithing took place generations before Moses was born and since God first gave the law to Moses, it took place long before the law was created. This first and original system of tithing has nothing to do with the law.

Hebrews 7:1-4(NLT) - This Melchizedek was king of the city of Salem and also a priest of God Most High. When Abraham was returning home after winning a great battle against the kings, Melchizedek met him and blessed him. 2 Then Abraham took a tenth of all he had captured in battle and gave it to Melchizedek. The name Melchizedek means “king of justice,” and king of Salem means “king of peace.” 3 There is no record of his father or mother or any of his ancestors—no beginning or end to his life. He remains a priest forever, resembling the Son of God. 4 Consider then how great this Melchizedek was. Even Abraham, the great patriarch of Israel, recognized this by giving him a tenth of what he had taken in battle.

How was it possible for a priest to exist before the priesthood even began? That's easy. This priest was no ordinary man. He had no beginning nor ending to His life. He had no ancestors. He just showed up as the king of a place called Salem. 🙂 Since He never died, He must still live on. However, in The New Testament, He goes by a different name. Take a wild guess who He is. Also, He was called the King of Peace then and is called Prince of Peace now (See Isaiah 9:6). His name starts with "J" and ends with "us."

Hebrews 7:5(NLT) - Now the law of Moses required that the priests, who are descendants of Levi, must collect a tithe from the rest of the people of Israel, who are also descendants of Abraham.

Many years later, the law of tithing was introduced. This type of tithing was compulsory and is generally assumed to be irrelevant today by many critics. The Levites collected the tithe from the people of Israel.

Ask Donnell - Does The Tithe Fit Into Our Modern Economy?

2) Tithing is a process of exchange and does not have to be mandatory to be relevant.

Hebrews 5:6-7(NLT) - But Melchizedek, who was not a descendant of Levi, collected a tenth from Abraham. And Melchizedek placed a blessing upon Abraham, the one who had already received the promises of God. 7 And without question, the person who has the power to give a blessing is greater than the one who is blessed.

Even though tithing was included in the law, it did not come from the law. Therefore, when the law was fulfilled in Jesus, it did not bring an end to the system of tithing. Nonetheless, since tithing for Abraham was not mandatory as it was with the law, why did Abraham tithe in the first place? What's the whole point of tithing if you're not under a law forcing you to tithe?

The tithing process is one of exchange. The person who gives the tithe does so in exchange for a blessing. In Abraham's case, he gave the tithe to Melchizedek who in return gave a blessing to Abraham. This pattern is only followed in Malachi 3 but did not originate there. Malachi 3 only elaborates the type of blessing God promises in exchange for the tithe. God doesn't need to force you to tithe when you understand the benefits.

3) One system of tithing is superior to the other.

Hebrews 5:8-10(NLT) - The priests who collect tithes are men who die, so Melchizedek is greater than they are, because we are told that he lives on. 9 In addition, we might even say that these Levites—the ones who collect the tithe—paid a tithe to Melchizedek when their ancestor Abraham paid a tithe to him. 10 For although Levi wasn’t born yet, the seed from which he came was in Abraham’s body when Melchizedek collected the tithe from him.

Forcing people to tithe is a part of the law which required the Levites to collect it. However, the Levites gave tithes in the loins of Abraham making the system of tithing Abraham lived by superior. The lesser always tithes to the greater. Abraham wasn't forced to tithe but since he understood how the system worked he knew he had to tithe. It's God's heart for His people to bring Him the tithe because just like Melchizedek did for Abraham, God wants to bless each person who gives Him a tithe. Even the Levites tithed to Melchizedek and they didn't have to.

4) The superior system of tithing has a new high priest.

Hebrews 7:11-17(NLT) - So if the priesthood of Levi, on which the law was based, could have achieved the perfection God intended, why did God need to establish a different priesthood, with a priest in the order of Melchizedek instead of the order of Levi and Aaron? 12 And if the priesthood is changed, the law must also be changed to permit it. 13 For the priest we are talking about belongs to a different tribe, whose members have never served at the altar as priests. 14 What I mean is, our Lord came from the tribe of Judah, and Moses never mentioned priests coming from that tribe. 15 This change has been made very clear since a different priest, who is like Melchizedek, has appeared. 16 Jesus became a priest, not by meeting the physical requirement of belonging to the tribe of Levi, but by the power of a life that cannot be destroyed. 17 And the psalmist pointed this out when he prophesied, “You are a priest forever in the order of Melchizedek.”

Abraham tithed to Melchizedek. Under the law, the Israelites tithed to the Levites. Now, in the age of grace, we tithe to Jesus who is our modern version of Melchizedek. The system of tithing Abraham used is alive and well today but with a new high priest whose name is Jesus. Therefore, every time you tithe you are exchanging your money or goods for a blessing that only Jesus can give. With a deal like that nobody should have to force you to tithe. You either want the blessing of Jesus or you don't.

Ask Donnell - Does The Tithe Fit Into Our Modern Economy?

5) The inferior system of tithing by law is over but the new system of tithing by covenant lasts forever.

Hebrews 7:18-22(NLT) - Yes, the old requirement about the priesthood was set aside because it was weak and useless. 19 For the law never made anything perfect. But now we have confidence in a better hope, through which we draw near to God. 20 This new system was established with a solemn oath. Aaron’s descendants became priests without such an oath, 21 but there was an oath regarding Jesus. For God said to him, “The Lord has taken an oath and will not break his vow: ‘You are a priest forever.’” 22 Because of this oath, Jesus is the one who guarantees this better covenant with God. 23 There were many priests under the old system, for death prevented them from remaining in office. 24 But because Jesus lives forever, his priesthood lasts forever. 25 Therefore he is able, once and forever, to save those who come to God through him. He lives forever to intercede with God on their behalf.

When people argue to say that tithing by the law is no longer relevant you should agree with them quickly. However, when they construe that all tithing is irrelevant, Hebrews 7 assures you that they are completely wrong. As long as Jesus is your high priest, He continues to collect the tithe. When He's no longer your high priest you can stop bringing Him the tithe. Also, if you don't want the blessing He has to offer you can also stop tithing.

6) Jesus actually said that you should tithe.

Luke 11:42(NLT) - “What sorrow awaits you Pharisees! For you are careful to tithe even the tiniest income from your herb gardens, but you ignore justice and the love of God. You should tithe, yes, but do not neglect the more important things.

Obviously, Jesus puts love before tithing. In fact, He puts love before everything but that doesn't mean He crossed out tithing. He just wants to ensure that our priorities are in the right order. Jesus said to the Pharisees that they should not put tithing above treating people right and showing love which is understandable. However, He was very clear that He supported tithing when he said the following; "You should tithe."

7) The best way to prove tithing's relevance is to do it.

Malachi 3:10-12(NLT) - Bring all the tithes into the storehouse so there will be enough food in my Temple. If you do,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, “I will open the windows of heaven for you. I will pour out a blessing so great you won’t have enough room to take it in! Try it! Put me to the test! 11 Your crops will be abundant, for I will guard them from insects and disease. Your grapes will not fall from the vine before they are ripe,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. 12 “Then all nations will call you blessed, for your land will be such a delight,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.

God dares you to tithe. He put His reputation on the line and has guaranteed results whenever you tithe. My father always says that experience can beat an argument any day. That's what Malachi 3 is all about. People can argue all they want about tithing but until you have put God to the test all you have is an argument. That's why they will never win. We have experience. They have arguments. Tithing works and that's the best reason why it's relevant today.

This blog will continue tomorrow with some more about the blessing that comes from tithing. If I were you, I would keep tithing and keep getting blessed by Jesus.

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