Let’s Talk Tithe

One of the topics that preachers in all religions seem to bypass more often than any other biblical topic is the requirement to tithe.

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What is really interesting is that many Christian religions believe that because Yeshua referred to the tithe regarding the Pharisees and Mosaic Law, now under the “law of Christ” Christians do not have to tithe.

I always wondered what Christ’s law was: after all, isn’t he supposed to be the son of God? Wasn’t he supposed to live a sinless life? And wasn’t the only law when he lived the Mosaic Law?

So, if all those statements are true, then the law of Christ had to be the same Law of Moses, right? I mean, if Christ had done or taught or even implied people should not do what his father said they should, which is the same as teaching to reject God’s commandments, then wouldn’t that mean he sinned? Wouldn’t having those who followed him do differently than what God said to do be rebellion against God?

Well, that’s not really relevant to today’s topic, so let’s get back to tithing.

The Torah has many more forms of tithing than just the 10%, which (for the record) existing long before Moses wrote it down in the Torah. If you recall, Abraham gave a tenth of all he recovered when he saved Lot to Melchizedek (Genesis 14:20), and Jacob promised God 10% of all he would give him on his way to Laban’s house (Gen 28:22).

There are, in fact, taxes, redemption fees, and a three-year collection of tithes for the Levite, foreigner, widow, and orphan (Deuteronomy 26:12-13).

In fact, the Torah has many different forms of taxes, tithes, and mandatory contributions, all of which really amount to the same thing- a required return of one’s income to God.

There is a tithe levied to the Levites which can be a 40th, 50th or sixtieth of one’s income, depending on your personal generosity; there is an annual 10% tithe on the produce; there is the requirement to leave gleanings for the poor; and there was a half-shekel tax to the temple for upkeep.

Not to mention there was a 5 shekel tax on the first born male, whether of human or animal, which God required as redemption for all the first-born he killed in Egypt.

In all, the Torah required about 25% of ones total income to be given back to God in any number of ways, such as tithes, temple tax, leaving produce in the fields (not harvesting the outer 10% of the crops and not going back to reap the harvest twice), first fruits, and voluntary offerings.

But Christians are told that because there is no specific requirement in the New Covenant to pay tithes, then Christians don’t have to tithe.

Some of the justifications they give for not having to tithe are as follows:

  • Believers are not under the Mosaic Covenant (the old lie that Jesus did away with the law)
  • What Abraham and Jacob did was not the norm
  • Tithes were for the Levites and priests and there are none of those in the New Covenant (I guess that since Yeshua is our High Priest, he doesn’t need any other priests to help him?)
  • The New Covenant doesn’t mention tithing when talking about giving generously

For the record, the Gospels and the Epistles and all the other stuff in the New Covenant are eye witness accounts written by human beings, not dictation from God. God doesn’t say anything in the New Covenant, except at the transformation on the mountain when he told the three disciples that Yeshua is his son and to listen to him.

The only place where God, himself, tells us what he wants us to do is in the Torah.

There are other excuses for not tithing, but they are just as unfounded as the ones I have listed here.

Why do I say they are unfounded? Simple: Yeshua lived the way God said to live, and so if we are to live as Yeshua lived, then we should also live the way God said to live, and that is in the Torah, and the Torah tells us to tithe.

As I explained above, there is no way that Yeshua could have ever, in any way, told people not to obey the Torah; otherwise, he would have been rejecting God, thereby a sinner, teaching others to sin, and his sacrifice could not be accepted.

Once people agree that some form of a tithe is required by God, then we start to argue is the 10% off the gross, net after taxes (to the government), or from disposable income?

The Torah says every 10th animal under the hook, but it also says to leave the outskirts of your field unharvested and do not gather the gleanings (Leviticus 23:22). So, if I do not gather those amounts, are they my tithe?

But, if I never gather them, then I never gathered that produce, then it was never income I received, so then should I tithe 10% from what I actually harvested and took for myself?

If I do that, then is what I took considered my gross or my net? After all, gross is everything produced, whether I end up with it or not, and net is what I end up with, so which is the one I tithe from: everything in my field, which is my gross, or only what I harvest, which is my net?

Confusing, isn’t it?

And now for the kicker: In Malachi 3:6-10, God says that when we do not bring the tithe to the temple we are stealing from him. And then he says if we do bring it in, he will open the floodgates of heaven and pour more blessings on us than we can imagine.

So, if I am a Christian and I happen to open that Jewish part of the Bible- you know, the part my pastor says I don’t have to worry about, and see that by tithing God will hand out a ton of blessings, since Christians are not subject to that Jewish stuff, does that mean only Jews can be blessed if they tithe?

Look, I won’t tell you what to do. After all, if someone refuses to do as God says they should, why would they listen to me?

Then again, maybe they would, if I told them what they wanted to hear. Isn’t that why so many religions are popular?

So choose the way you will serve God: as God says you should, or as some religion says you should.

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That’s it for today, so l’hitraot and Baruch HaShem!

Comments welcomed (just be nice)