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Tithing, Giving and Alms
The Covenant of the Tithe
"Tithing" under the New Covenant is one of the hottest debates in the church today. Are Christians commanded to tithe? Do not be deceived! The Bible is clear about this issue; Jesus taught about it and so did His apostles. Let's take a look at what the New Testament teaches.
As the economy continues to deteriorate, churches rely on the financial support of their members, who in turn are financially strapped due to loss of work and global inflation. Some churches have increased their topical preaching on this subject, and members are feeling an increased burden to keep this “commandment of God”. IS tithing a commandment of God?
A tithe is a PAYMENT, and is a word used only in the Old Testament (as it was a commandment given through the Old Covenant, the Law of Moses), with the exception of two New Testament verses that address this Old Testament ordinance. In fact, these two verses are admonishing the tithers for disregarding the justice and love of God, though they were faithful in tithing 10% of their mint, rue and garden herbs. Keep in mind the tithing Jews Jesus addressed were a part of the Levitical Priesthood after the order of the High Priest, Melchizedek. As Abraham tithed to Melchizedek, Israel brought all tithes to the Levitical Priesthood.
A prophesied change in priesthood is found in Psalm 110:4 and was fulfilled upon the death of Jesus Christ, recorded in Hebrews 7:11-22. When Jesus became our HIGH PRIEST, the ordinances of the Old Covenant were no longer a requirement under the New Covenant. The 10 Commandments, summed up in two categories of loving God and loving our neighbors, do not state tithing as a requirement within this Covenant. We now have a more gracious directive given throughout the New Testament.
CHANGE IN PRIESTHOOD
The Law of God is the 10 Commandments. The Takanot is the Rabbinic Law added to the Law of Moses (Torah) and have indeed been CHANGED because of the change in priesthood. Please notice this scripture: "For when the priesthood is changed, of necessity there takes place a change of Law also."
"Now if perfection was through the Levitical priesthood (for on the basis of it the people received the Law), what further need was there for another priest to arise according to the order of Melchizedek, and not be designated according to the order of Aaron?
"For when the priesthood is changed, of necessity there takes place a change of Law also.
"For the one concerning whom these things are spoken belongs to another tribe, from which no one has officiated at the altar.
"For it is evident that our Lord was descended from Judah, a tribe with reference to which Moses spoke nothing concerning priests."
Remember, to embrace the Old Covenant nullifies the New Covenant! Galatians 2:21 states, "I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness comes through the Law, then Christ died needlessly."
2 Corinthians 9:7 states, "Each one must do just as he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver."
- Tithing: Biblical or not?
What this is an attempt to do is to present evidence showing that tithing (especially with the temple gone, and considering that tithing was of agricultural products) seems to be no longer a command from God
Giving to God through the Church
Mark 12:41-43: “Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a fraction of a penny. Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, "I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything--all she had to live on."
Comment: Knowing we are to first provide for our family, I’m certain the poor widow did not neglect the needs of her family, but gave what she had to give. The rich put in out of their wealth and could have indeed given much more, had they sacrificially given as the widow did.
Now, let’s look at what happened when yet another Pentecostal experience happened in Acts 4:31-35:
“And when they had prayed, the place where they had gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and began to speak the word of God with boldness.
And the congregation of those who believed were of one heart and soul; and not one of them claimed that anything belonging to him was his own; but all things were common property to them.
And with great power the apostles were giving witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and abundant grace was upon them all.
For there was not a needy person among them, for all who were owners of land or houses would sell them and bring the proceeds of the sales, and lay them at the apostles’ feet; and they would be distributed to each, as any had need.”
Comment: So, we can see that this was FAR beyond a “tithe”. It doesn’t mean we are to go to this extreme, but rather see that generous giving is a fruitful heart of thanksgiving and love for God and the brethren.
The New Covenant of Giving
2 Cor 8:3 "For I testify that according to their ability, and beyond their ability they gave of their own accord."
2 Cor 8:8 "I am not speaking this as a command, but as proving through the earnestness of others the sincerity of your love also."
2 Cor 8:10 "And I give my opinion in this matter, for this is to your advantage, who were the first to begin a year ago not only to do this (giving), but also to desire to do it."
2 Cor 8:12 "For if the readiness is present, it is acceptable according to what a man has, not according to what he does not have."
2 Cor 8:14 "at this present time, your abundance being a supply for their want, that their abundance also may become a supply for your want, that there may be equality."
2 Cor 8:16 "But thanks be to God, who puts the same earnestness on your behalf in the heart of Titus."
2 Cor 8:24 "Therefore openly before the churches show them the proof of your love and of our reason for boasting about you."
2 Cor 9:7 "Let each one do as he has purposed in his heart; not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver."
2 Cor 9:12 "For the ministry of this service is not only fully supplying the needs of the saints, but is also overflowing through many thanksgivings to God. Because of the proof given by this ministry they will glorify God for your obedience to your confession of the gospel of Christ, and for the liberality of your contribution to them and to all."
More Important RULE
1 Tim 5:4 "But if a widow has children or grandchildren, these should learn first of all to put their religion into practice by caring for their own family and so repaying their parents and grandparents, for this is pleasing to God."
This goes right along with Matthew 15:3-6 “And He answered and said to them, ‘Why do you yourselves transgress the commandment [Honor your father and mother] of God for the sake of your tradition?’ But you say, 'Whoever says to his father or mother, ‘Whatever I have that would help you has been given to God,’ he is not to honor his father or his mother.' And by this you invalidated the word of God for the sake of your tradition."
1 Tim 5:8 "But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith, and is worse than an unbeliever."
Comment: Many live lavishly and this is not suggesting this an "excuse" for not giving to the Lord. But, if you're a single mother raising children and are struggling to make your rent and food needs, don't feel you are obligated or under a law to give. Just give as the Lord enables you.
Giving to God through Humanity (Alms)
Let’s look at the giving of the heart, the giving of love for which the reward in heaven will be great! Matthew 25:34
“Then the King will say to those on His right, 'Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For 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; naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.'
"Then the righteous will answer Him, 'Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink? And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? 'When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?'
"The King will answer and say to them, 'Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.'
James 2:5 “Listen, my beloved brethren: did not God choose the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him?”
Luke 6:35 “But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men.”
Luke 16 tells us the account of the rich man who goes to Hades (hell) and the poor man, Lazarus who goes to the bosom of Abraham after dying.
Romans 12:20 “But "if your enemy is hungry, feed him. For if he is thirsty, give him a drink. If you do this, you will pile burning coals on his head."
Giving to the poor is called "alms". Matthew 6:2 tell us "So when you give to the poor (KJV states "when thou doest thine alms"), do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be honored by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full."
The Giving of God to Us
Luke 6:38 "Give, and it will be given to you. They will pour into your lap a good measure-- pressed down, shaken together, and running over. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return."
2 Cor 9:10 "Now He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food, will supply and multiply your seed for sowing, and increase the harvest of your righteousness; you will be enriched in everything for all liberality..."
Just remember that prosperity preaching can be considered sinful, as God says you cannot serve both God and mammon (money) in Matthew 6:24. Also, remember the account of the rich man who kept all the commandments of Mosaic Law, and yet could not sell what he had and give it to the poor, as Jesus requested (as a test of where his "treasure" was) in Mark 10:21/Luke 18:22). Luke 12:34 states "For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."
Worth the View - Get Educated about the Tithe
- The Unbiblical Christian Tithe
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