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The Persecuted Church

 

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*Tithe- is it for today?

10 percent is not the everlasting standard for giving to God's kingdom.

What about the tithe before the Law of Moses? When Abraham returned from battle with the people and the goods, the new king of Sodom and Melchizedek, king of Salem, came out with bread and wine to pronounce a blessing upon Abraham. Genesis 14:20 states that Abraham “gave him tithes of all.”

God did not command Adam or any other Old Testament saint to tithe until Moses was given the law. Genesis 14 takes place nearly 2000 years after Adam and Eve. While it is mentioned in Scripture that Abraham gave a 10th, this was not a tithe on income, these were the spoils of a battle (Hebrews 7:4); and it was only this one time. It is not the same thing as tithing. This is not teaching tithing for the church.  The spoils Abraham repossessed from the enemy kings went back to the owners, Abraham gave the remaining 90% in his possession back to those to whom it originally belonged. Abraham was never taught or instructed by God to give a tenth, this is NOT a tithe but a free will offering that was a 10th. He did this only once, tithing does not become a command until Moses’ time. The Hebrew word for tithe is ma`aser, translated “tenth,” but tenth does not equal tithing.

Tithing was something instituted under the Law of Moses for the children of Israel to be self sustainable as a nation. Something often overlooked- tithing was rarely money. There were three tithes in the Old Covenant - tithes were the crops, grains, the produce of the soil was to be tithed, the fruit of the trees, every year new wine and oil, the firstborn of their herds and flocks, land, houses  (Leviticus 27:30-33 according to 2 Kings 22:15-18), and it was not something you chose out of all you had, you had to give the best of everything. Therefore, if you have a number of parcels of land, and you were to tithe, you must give your best acreage.

One tithe was used to support the Levites (Numbers 18:21-32), who were not allowed to own property like the other tribes of Israel. this was 10%. Malachi 1:1begins with:  “The burden of the word of the LORD to Israel.” The tithe was part of the Old covenant to Israel. Therefore, Mal.3 in its context is to the nation of Israel, and more specifically the Levites.

In the New Testament tithe or tithing are found eight times (Matthew 23:23; Luke 11:42; 18:12; Hebrews 7:5-6, 8-9). All of these passages refer to the Old Testament usage. No New Testament epistle contains any instructions or a rebuke for failing to tithe.

No Apostle ever instructed the church to tithe- or as is known-sow a seed of money (which is actually the word of God according to Jesus). In fact we see that a number of rich people gave more than 10%, i.e. Barnabas.

The necessity of giving is mentioned, but only with the right attitude. God does bless his people who want to give with the correct motives.

We believe every Christian should give to the place they are fed by and the work that is taking place in their own community by the local church they attend. Other offerings are for ministries they would like to bless in their work. We do not believe the New Testament teaches a law of 10% tithe but a free giving as their heart so wills. although 10% is a good place to start it is not a mandatory number under the new Covenant, some can give more, some cannot. When looking at all the verses on this subject we find that the tithe was incorporated in the Law of Moses for the nation of Israel and for the tribe of the Levites. Not the church.

2 Cor. 9:7-8: So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work.

Paul explains how money should be given and received - as God has prospered, collectively, willingly, generously, bountifully, liberally, thankfully – not by obligation as if under law or to gain a blessing or a promise to be prosperous.

The New Testament command for giving- “Let each one do just as he has purposed in his heart; not grudgingly or under compulsion; for God loves a cheerful giver (2 Corinthians 9:7). Notice there is no amount mentioned, it what you have settled in your own heart. The Greek word for cheerful is hilaros, it is the English word “hilarious,” meaning give in a joyful, cheery, and exuberant manner. We should be happy and joyful to give to expand God's Kingdom. We are specifically told not to give grudgingly. The Greek word for grudgingly is lupe. It carries the meaning of sorrow, grief, being annoyed. If you are compelled to give, or give out of necessity and you have sorrow and annoyance in your heart don't give. If someone has convinced you or forced you to give by making you feel guilty or promised you a greater return, then you are no longer a cheerful giver.

2 Cor. 9:6 it says not of necessity which means it cannot be of the law or it would be required.  Galatians 5:4  Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.

We are financially obligated to God who gives us all things, as we in service to him. The law demands a percentage, grace asks to give from your heart. Everyone should support the work of their local church or ministries in some way, by their serving, their money, their gifts or talents they have. “Let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share, storing up for themselves a good foundation for the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life”(1 Timothy 6:18-19). 

2 Corinthians 8-9 and 1 Corinthians 16:1-4 state that a Christian is to evaluate the needs of others and to give as he is able to. In the book of Acts they sold their possessions to provide for those needy in the church by practicing the law of love and carrying one another’s burdens. We should not be made guilty, or coerced by promises to give. Neither should we be supporting false teachers and those who abuse the money and the gospel for gain. For as you sow you will reap and you become partakers of their false teaching.

for more detailed articles on on Tithing

 

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