Jacob’s Tithing Vow (Part 2) UPDATED

I recently wrote a post about Misconceptions about Jacob’s Tithing Vow, and this post is intended to be a sequel. If you have not read that post first, it is imperative to read it here before reading this. Many of you were shocked and actually enlightened to the real truth behind Jacob’s motives to his vow in Genesis 28. The first post is important to read and was written to introduce you up to what’s being said in this post. I feel that the following information is one of the largest pieces to the puzzle when understanding the course of tithing throughout scripture.

Introduction

Some time in 2007, i was studying the passage about Jacob’s tithing vow. All of a sudden i had one of the most amazing “Ah” moments. It was like the movie, “Sixth Sense” when everything that didn’t make sense this whole time all rushed to my head at once and came together.  I always wondered, when did Jacob tithe, could he have tithed, how, and who could he have tithed to? Jacob made a vow to God in Genesis 28, “of all that you give me, i will surely give a tenth back to you“. Here’s the thing, Jacob never gave the tithe, nor was he capable of giving a tithe. Although Jacob was not capable of tithing in his life eventually he was able to do so through his children.

Jacob’s tithing vow has been overlooked because it is dwarfed between the shadows of Abraham and the Mosaic laws. Much research has been done on Abraham’s tithe to Melchizidek, and more research has been done on Mosaic tithing laws, while very few analyze Jacob’s tithing experience. We try to prove or disprove tithing through Abraham’s example and/or the Mosaic law that we didn’t realize that Jacob’s tithing vow is the most significant moment during the timeline of the biblical tithe.

With this in depth analysis, you will find answers to some of the questions surrounding the tithing vow of Jacob. You will also find some of the ‘best evidence’ against those who support tithing because of its occurrence 400 years before the Mosaic law. You will also see the biblical reasons why Israel could only tithe from agriculture and livestock, and why they could only tithe from the produce of the promised land. You will also see why the Levites were not given an inheritance as promised by God, but ironically were given the tithe of the land. You will also see why Jacob never tithed, and never could have. These answers, and even more, will be discussed in the following information.

The Meaning of Jacob’s Vow

Stairs To heavenMost people do not read Jacob’s vow in context. When most people read Jacob’s statement, “of all that You give me I will surely give a tenth to You“, they believe that Jacob was willing to give a tithe off everything that he garnished though his lifetime; but this interpretation is not correct. In Genesis 28 Jacob had just woke from a dream wherein God said, “the land on which you lie I will ‘give’ to you and your descendants“. Jacob made a vow to give a tenth from the land that God promised to give him and his decedents. Jacob’s vow was not a general statement that included a tithe from his wealth, or from his occupation, or any gold. It was a promise to give God back 10% of the increase from the land. Strangely, Jacob never received the promised land, so there was never an opportunity for him to tithe. . .Or am i wrong?

Victor Stephens in his article “A Closer Look at Tithing” states, “If tithing was not commanded before the Mosaic Law, then how did tithing become law? As we have just discovered, Jacob vowed to give a tenth of all that he would receive. Since a vow becomes an obligation once it is made, Jacob’s vow to give a tithe became a requirement. A requirement of what? The Promised Land (Canaan). After the death of Jacob and the conquest of Canaan, God held Jacob the nation (Israel) accountable to pay the tithe. Thus, we have the enactment of the law of tithing.

L. Ray Smith in his article “Tithing is Unscriptural Under the New Covenant” also states, “Jacob concludes his proposition to God, should God meet all of his requirements, by saying that of all the things that God will first give to Jacob, Jacob will give God back a tenth. Now don’t laugh. God honored Jacob’s proposition, and furthermore, God continued to honor this same principle of tithing all through Israel’s history.

As we all know, the decedents of Jacob eventually received the promised land which provided them an opportunity to fulfill the promise of their father by tithing off of the seed of the land and the fruit of the tree (Lev. 27). Deuteronomy 1:8 states, “See, I have set the land before you; go in and possess the land which the LORD swore to your fathers–to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob–to give to them and their descendants after them.” Psalms 105:7 also states, The covenant which He made with Abraham, And His oath to Isaac, And confirmed it to Jacob for a statute, To Israel for an everlasting covenant. Saying, “To you I will give the land of Canaan As the allotment of your inheritance,”

I know it might be hard to conceive that a vow given by one man was required from his future generations, but let’s look at how God fulfills his vow to one man.  God told Jacob, “the land on which you lie I will give to you and your descendants”. Although it seems that God had promised the land to Jacob directly, we know Jacob never inherited the promised land.  So our conclusion is that God’s vow was collective rather than inclusive of Jacob in a direct way. Put simply, God fulfilled his vow to Jacob by giving the land to his children. If we are willing to accept that God fulfilled his promise directly to Jacob by finally giving the land hundreds of years later to his children, then we should be willing to accept that Jacob’s tithing vow could have been fulfilled in a belated matter as well.

It is not contradictory or unorthodox to pass Jacob’s vow down to his children since it would not be the first time where a token was made and required to be observed by the following generations. Let’s read Genesis 17:10-13, “This [is] My covenant which you shall keep, between Me and you and your descendants after you: Every male child among you shall be circumcised; and you shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskins, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between Me and you. He who is eight days old among you shall be circumcised, every male child in your generations, he who is born in your house or bought with money from any foreigner who is not your descendant. He who is born in your house and he who is bought with your money must be circumcised, and My covenant shall be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant. ” 

It is not unique for the generations that follow to inherit a covenant token that initiated with their father. These ‘signs’ are declared throughout much of scripture where God’s covenant promises were commemorated by a token of some sort. Jacob’s vow to tithe was a continual promise because just as circumcision, it was based upon a continual covenant. In a few chapters prior to Jacob’s vow we have an example of Abraham’s tithe, but this was a one time gift. We also know that Abraham’s tithe was not a lifetime or continual requirement because it would not have been an available option for Jacob to offer it as a token in his promise.

Adam Clarke’s Commentary on the passage of Genesis 28 states this, “Jacob seems to make this vow rather for his posterity than for himself, as we may learn from Genesis 28:13-15; for he particularly refers to the promises which God  had made to him, which concerned the multiplication of his offspring, and their establishment in that land. If, then, God  shall fulfill  these promises, he binds  his posterity to build God a house, and to devote  for the maintenance of his worship the tenth of all their earthly goods. This mode of interpretation removes that appearance of self-interest which almost any other view of the subject presents. Jacob  had certainly, long ere this, taken Jehovah for his God; and so thoroughly had he been instructed  in the knowledge  of Jehovah, that we may rest satisfied no reverses of fortune could have induced him to apostatize: but as his taking refuge with Laban was probably typical of the sojourning of his descendants in Egypt, his persecution, so as to be obliged to depart from Laban, the bad treatment of his posterity by the Egyptians, his rescue from death, preservation on his journey, re-establishment in his own country, &c., were all typical of the exodus of his descendants, their travels in the desert, and establishment in the promised  land, where they built a house to God, and where, for the support and maintenance of the pure worship of God, they gave to the priests and Levites  the tenth of all their worldly produce. If all this be understood as referring to Jacob only, the Scripture gives us no information how he performed his vow.” (source)

Adam Clarke connects a bunch of dots in his text above. He understands that there is a correlation between Jacob’s vow and the tithing laws that the Israelites were asked to obey. Notice how Clarke even shows how Jacob’s journey mirrors the journey of the Israelites out of Egypt and into the promised land.

Leonard C. Bupanda in his book, “The Tithing Dilemma and the Triumphs of Love” also agrees that Jacob’s vow was trans-generational, “Now, since Jacob failed to deliver on his promise, God made him pay the tithe through his children who had emerged as a nation after his God-given name-Israel. Thus God’s promise to Jacob was fulfilled”

Also, Rabbi Moshe Alshich, renowned as one of the great sermonizers of the Jewish world and a biblical commentator in the 16th century interprets the passage in Jacob’s vow. His works which were translated by, Yitzchak Hirshfeld, Avraham Braud in 2006 in their work titled, “The Book of Mishlei”  wrote, “Scripture says, Jacob vowed a vow to say. . .All that you give me I will doubly tithe to You (Genesis 28:20,22). Our sages say (midrash Bereshith Rabbah 70:1) that with these words Jacob was instructing future generations to pledge money to charity in times of distress the word אָמַר, to say, in the clause, Jacob vowed a vow to say, indicates that Jacob had something to say to others, namely, he wanted to teach all his descendants the importance of tithing to charity.” (p.385)

Could this influential 16th century rabbi be wrong?

The Book of Jubilees (an ancient Jewish work written around the 2nd century) states this, “And Levi discharged the priestly office at Bethel before Jacob his father in preference to his ten brothers, and he was a priest there, and Jacob gave his vow: thus he tithed again the tithe  to the Lord and sanctified it, and it became holy unto Him. And for this reason it is ordained on the heavenly tables as a law for the tithing again the tithe to eat before the Lord from year to year,  in the place where it is chosen that His name should dwell, and to this law there is no limit of days for ever.

I’m not quoting modern authors, or twisting the interpretation of scripture. The book of Jubilees is a second century manuscript that confirms the generational bind that tithing had on the nation of Israel.

Barry Bandstra, Ph.D., professor of religion at Hop University writes, in his book “Reading the Old Testament” – “Jacob’s obligation in covenant was to return a tithe, or tenth of his wealth, to God. Perhaps this pledge grounded the later Israelite practice of bringing a tithe to the priests at the Bethel sanctuary.

Bandstra doesn’t dogmatically state a direct correlation between Jacob’s vow at Bethel and the sanctuary at Bethel that was later built and accommodated the tithe.

The next reference to Jacob’s vow is in Genesis 31:11-14 “Then the Angel of God spoke to me in a dream, saying, ‘Jacob.’ And I said, ‘Here I am.’ And He said, ‘Lift your eyes now and see, all the rams which leap on the flocks are streaked, speckled, and gray-spotted; for I have seen all that Laban is doing to you. I am the God of Bethel, where you anointed the pillar and where you made a vow to Me. Now arise, get out of this land, and return to the land of your family.'”

Dr. Norman J. Cohen renowned for his expertise in Torah study and midrash writes in his book, “Hineini in Our Lives“, “The tradition emphasizes that when the angel/God speaks to Jacob in his dream, commanding him to return to the land and fulfill his vow by offering sacrifies at Beth El, the angel/God speaks not only to Jacob but to all future generations.” (p. 50)

Over and over again throughout scripture, we see God pleading with Israel to return to back to God after they have gone astray. They have left the way of their fathers and have wandered in a place that God did not exist.

Language Used in Jacob’s Vow Is later Correlated With Israel’s Call to Tithe

Malachi 3:7-8 For I [am] the LORD, I do not change; Therefore you are not consumed, O sons of Jacob. Yet from the days of your fathers You have gone away from My ordinances And have not kept [them]. ‘Return to Me‘ (shuwb), and I will return to you,” Says the LORD of hosts. “But you said, ‘In what way shall we return (shuwb)?’ “Will a man rob God? Yet you have robbed Me! But you say, ‘In what way have we robbed You?’ In tithes and offerings.

Genesis 31:13 I am the God of Bethel, where you anointed the pillar and where you made a vow to Me. Now arise, get out of this land, and ‘return‘ (shuwb) to the land of your family.

The key word in each of these passages is the  Hebrew word ‘shuwb‘ . This word is important because of the conditions in Jacob’s vow we find in Genesis 28:20 states,“If God will be with me, and keep me in this way that I am going, and give me bread to eat and clothing to put on, so that I come back (shuwb) to my father’s house in peace, then the LORD shall be my God.”

Keep that in mind that Jacob stated in his vow that God will keep him safe & fed while you read Amos 4:4-10 “Go to Bethel and sin; go to Gilgal and sin yet more. Bring your sacrifices every morning, your tithes every three years…I gave you empty stomachs in every city and lack of bread in every town, yet you have not returned to me (shuwb)…I also withheld rain from you when the harvest was still three months away…Locusts devoured your fig and olive trees, yet you have not returned to me (shuwb) I killed your young men with the sword, along with your captured horses. I filled your nostrils with the stench of your camps, yet you have not returned to me (shuwb)

Israel’s safety and well being were all in jeopardy as long as they did not honor God’s request to return back to him. The “return” (shuwb) of Jacob to the promised land was part of his vow and an integral part of his condition to tithe. This is why we see that Israel never tithed when they were outside of the promised land. The tithing vow was no longer binding as long as they did not have possession of the Holy land. This wasn’t because they didn’t have access to the crops or animals; Israel could have still given a tithe of the cattle they had in foreign lands, but because of the conditions of Jacob’s vow they were not required to.

Take note also in Genesis 31 as an angel of God appears to Jacob and reminds him of his vow, and asks him to ‘return’ (shuwb) back to where he made the vow.

The Significance Between a Vow and an Oath

Many of us have taken the assumption that a vow and an oath are the exact same thing in the bible. But upon further research, i have found that they both have opposing implications that affect individuals, groups, and even objects differently.

The bible makes a distinction between a vow and oath in a few passages. Here’s one for example in Numbers 30:2, “When a man makes a vow to the LORD or takes an oath to obligate himself by a pledge, he must not break his word but must do everything he said.” The scripture didn’t just hiccup and mention the same thing twice. A vow and an oath are separate ways to make an obligation to God.

The very first time the word ‘vow’ is mentioned in scripture is found in the passage of Jacob’s vow to God in Genesis 28:2, “Then Jacob made a vow, saying, “If God will be with me and will watch over me on this journey I am taking and will give me food to eat and clothes to wear”. The Hebrew word for this is – (נֶדֶר) “neder”.

The very first time the word ‘oath’ is mentioned in scripture is found in the of the oath between Abraham and his servant in search of Isaac’s wife in Genesis 24:8, “If the woman is unwilling to come back with you, then you will be released from this oath of mine. Only do not take my son back there.” The Hebrew word for oath is (שבע) “shĕbuw`ah” or “shevua”.

The simplest explanation i have come across explaining the difference between a neder and a shevua is found in a book titled, “Management Ethics and Talmudic Dialectics” by Nathan Lee Kaplan. It states, “A Neder applies to an object, a Shevu’a [oath] applies to a person”. Although that may seem vague at the moment, i will explain the difference.

We may understand the implications of this a little better if i use the word ‘consecrated’ to describe neder (vow). We understand that consecrate means we have set apart something and/or made it holy. There are many objects in the bible that are consecrated in the Old and New Testament. In the Old Testament, the ark of the covenant was consecrated, and for the New Testament, the Lord’s Supper is consecrated.

The Aleph Society’s website states this, “The Gemara explains that in a neder, the statement made by the person takes effect on the object ? e.g., when a person takes a vow not to eat a certain food, the food is now forbidden. A shevuah, on the other hand, takes effect on the person, so that now there is a prohibition on the person to eat the food.”

A ‘neder’ applies to all those who have some interest in a specific object and a ‘shevua’ applies only to the individual.

Yom Kippur: Its Significance Laws and Prayers” by Rabbi Scherman in 1989 says it this way, “The difference between a neder and a shevuah is that a neder alters the status of the object (ie., this apple becomes forbidden to me), while a shevuah alters the status of the person (ie., I am forbidden to enjoy the apple).”

This explains why the tithe was set apart and holy to God. It was consecrated to God by Jacob. As long as the blessings that God promised Jacob existed then the vow would still be in effect. Whereas if Jacob made an oath (shevua) it would have been binding for the duration of Jacob’s existence since his promise applied to a person not an object.

On the Torah to the Tribes website it is further clarified, “Neder: voluntary, always involves the name of YHWH, it can be conditional or unconditional, positive or negative. It can change the status of something from permissible to non permissible (grapes). No one disavows a mans vow, it goes down the generations. To break a Neder is to break Torah.”

An oath (shevua) would not have placed Israel under the obligation to tithe. But because of the implications of a neder, Israel was indebted to the conditions of their father’s vow. The tithe belonged to God since it was consecrated by Jacob. Jacob also consecrated the place where he had the dream and called it Bethel, making it the House of God.

The Conditions of a Vow

The whole chapter of Leviticus 27 addresses the proper way to manage your vows.

Bob Deffinbaugh writes a short outline on Leviticus 27 on bible.org,

  • “Vows of people—vv. 1-8
  • Vows of animals—vv. 9-13
  • Vowed houses—vv. 14-15
  • Vowed inheritance (family land) vv. 16-21
  • Vowed (non-family) land—vv. 22-25
  • Illicit vows—vv. 26-33
  • Conclusion—v. 34″

Right at the end of Leviticus in verses 29-33, God discusses how the tithe is to be handled. You not only find that tithing is found in the chapter about vows, but also you see instructions from God treating it as a vow. Vows were somewhat like private contracts between the people and God. The bible states that if a vow was made and you wished to redeem it, that you were to add one-fifth to it (Lev 27:13,15,19,27). The same is true with tithing. Leviticus 27:31 states, “If a man wants at all to redeem [any] of his tithes, he shall add one-fifth to it.” Why would tithing be treated as a vow if it was not a vow? Better question yet – when was tithing ever vowed prior to Leviticus 27?

Garry D. Pifer in his article titled, “Did Jacob Tithe” states this, “There are many more very clear scriptures showing that the promise God had made was not fulfilled until the Israelites crossed over the Jordan and took possession of the land of Canaan. The final and third part of Jacob’s vow, “… and of all that thou shalt give me I will surely give the tenth unto thee” would not have become valid and binding until this time. When we review God’s instructions regarding tithing found in Leviticus 27 it is so clear. He is giving instructions regarding payment of vows in this chapter. He tells them the tenth, the tithe of the land, that Jacob had vowed to give to God was “holy to the Lord.” (Lev. 27:30)”

In Leviticus 27, the word “holy” is stated nine times in reference to the many types of vows made to God not just tithing. If an Israelite were to vow an animal to God, they could not substitute the animal regardless if it were a good or bad one. The animal was holy regardless of its quality. Ironically, the same rule applied to the tithe in vs 32-33 “every tenth animal that passes under the shepherd’s rod—will be holy to the Lord. No one may pick out the good from the bad or make any substitution.” Why would the tenth be so holy if it wasn’t vowed?

This also coincides with our evaluation of vows verses oaths. A vow was consecrated and set apart as holy.

How Jacob’s Vow Explains How the Levites Were Opted Out of Receiving An Inheritance

I’ve had a question that bugged my brain for a while, so i will attempt to address it here. If the nation of Israel was promised an inheritance of land, and yet the Levites were excluded from inheriting this, how can we explain that God did not break his promise? Am I missing something here, or is this a question in your own mind as well?

Since the tithe was vowed to be given from the land Jacob inherited, I believe inheriting the tithe was an ‘indirect’ way for the levites to inherit the land of Israel.

Numbers 18:20-21 states, “Then the LORD said to Aaron: “You shall have no inheritance  in their land, nor shall you have any portion among them; I [am] your portion and your inheritance among the children of Israel. “Behold, I have given the children of Levi all the tithes in Israel as an inheritance in return for the work which they perform, the work of the tabernacle of meeting.

If Jacob was to give God back 10% of what God promised him (the land of Israel), then the tithe of the land would be a perfect way for God to fulfill his promise without giving the Levites a direct inheritance of the land. I hope this makes sense, otherwise the question would still linger (at least in my mind) on how God fulfilled his promise to the Levites without actually giving them any land inheritance.

Review of the Major Points

Here is a quick reference as to why Jacob’s tithing vow was binding to the nation of Israel

  1. The tithing vow did not include any gold, income or goods that Jacob earned, only the gifts that God promised in Jacob’s dream
  2. The Hebrew word -‘neder’ (vow) makes it an everlasting binding promise.
  3. Jacob’s vow wasn’t the only example we have that was binding on future generations
  4. The tithe was consecrated just like other holy objects that were observed by the Israelite nation
  5. The conditions of performing & honoring a vow are exactly the conditions of performing and honoring the tithe in Lev 27
  6. The bible never records Jacob fulfilling his vow, so someone was responsible for it
  7. Israel’s call to tithe and return to God is correlated with Jacob’s vow

I hope many of you have found this article informative whether or not you agree with what was said. Although i had put in a good amount of time into researching and writing for this article, i am not one of those people who will take my beliefs in this article to the grave. I am pretty open minded, so if you have some input, i am willing to hear what you have to say.

A Powerful Argument Against Tithing

Many people are quick to use Abraham’s example of tithing prior to the law as a  model for new testament giving under grace. At some degree i can understand an argument like this, but if we also take Abraham’s example prior to the Mosaic law, then to be unbiased, we must accept Jacob’s principles of giving as well.

If our evaluation of scripture should be consistent, shouldn’t Jacob’s example of tithing be incorporated into the model of new testament giving as well? Instead we look at how much Jacob was willing to give, and overlook what it was to be given from.

Tearing Down the Tithing Defense

After studying the vow of Jacob and its effect on the law of tithing and Israel, i was able to get an even deeper grasp of why tithing is not commanded for the New Testament Church. I know tithing had begun with Abraham and that’s where the tithing debate begins, but debating whether or not Abraham’s tithe is required for the Church does not answer if Jacob’s tithe is required of us. After defining Jacob’s tithing vow I list five arguments made clear from this article that refute the practice of tithing in the New Covenant.

  1. Tithing was initiated from a personal vow in response to God’s covenant with Israel not the New Covenant with the Church
  2. The tithe was to be taken from the increase of the land of Israel, and from nowhere else
  3. Jacob offered to give God a tenth of the gifts God promised in his dream, not from income or precious metals
  4. Jacob’s vow was voluntary and accepted by God proving that tithing was not a requirement prior to the law.
  5. If tithing is required because it was 400 years prior to the Mosaic law, then points 1-4 are just as relevant since they were established at the same time

Jared Bartholomew is the author of www.tithing.com. There are over 300 articles written on research and reviews about tithing information.

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18 comments on “Jacob’s Tithing Vow (Part 2) UPDATED
  1. willis says:

    …………Jacob made a vow to God in Genesis 28, “of all that you give me, i will surely give a tenth back to you“.

    …….Here’s the thing, Jacob never gave the tithe, nor was he capable of giving a tithe. Although Jacob was not capable of tithing in his life eventually he was able to do so through his children.

    **************************

    it may be a probable thing to say that jacob might have failed to give his tenth to God for sometime because of his nature as a human being that tend to fail. the examples of his short comings can be compared to Paul after his conversion to christianity.

    Rom 7

    15I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. 16And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good.

    17As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me.
    18I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out.
    19For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing.
    20Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.

    21So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me.
    22For in my inner being I delight in God’s law;
    23but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members.
    24What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?
    25Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!
    So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in the sinful nature a slave to the law of sin

    even after his conversion he was wrought with miseries.

    ….but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members.

    this is what we called the pull of the flesh battling against God’s commandment in our mind.

    Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were not so perfect to submit themselves to a sinless nature of God.

    Romans 3:23
    for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

    if Jacob’s tithe was governed by his vow then that would be depended on faith.

    Romans 4:5
    However, to the man who does not work but trusts God who justifies the wicked, his faith is credited as righteousness.

    it is not the Jacob’s tithe that was credited but his fulfillment of his vow through his faith!

    it is true that tithe would be a useless giving if one was not governed by the elements of the spirit as that of jacob.

    mathew 23:23
    23″Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cummin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former.

    can’t you see the requirements of the law, jacob’s vow which is his faith and the matters of the law, the faithfulness!

    Romans 8:4
    in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit.

  2. Liam Erickson says:

    Nicely put, I wish I had read it before I commented on Part 1 of Misconceptions about Jacob’s tithe.

    I liked the point about redeeming the tithe. I knew that the tithe could be redeemed but I didn’t know that it was done according to how a vow was redeemed – thanks for joining those dots!

    If I could add a couple of other observations:

    Jacob was on the run and seeking refuge. Initially he found that refuge in Laban but ultimately God would provide this refuge through the land promised to Jacob and the fact that He promised to establish Jacob and be his God. Even today Israel is pursued by his brother over his inheritance and true to God’s promise Jacob is in the land and not destroyed. (Remember Esau made some vows of his own and they carried on down through the generations also).

    Getting back to Abraham and how some Christians hold him up as the tithing example that precedes the law. My observation is the tithe is a very Jewish thing. As mentioned in my previous post, my view is that Abraham’s tithe was a fore-shadow of the recognition that Israel was intended to have for their Messiah (but failed to do so). As Christians the application made for us is to have the FAITH that Abraham had in God, but sadly we place our focus on the tithe, claim that as our own, and run with that instead.

    What is it about Christians love affair with the law? And when we are force to accept the law as being fulfilled we just re-label it as ‘a Principal’ and place ourselves right back under it again.

    • Liam,
      Good observation about Esau’s vow. I’ve been thinking of writing a conclusive article on this situation after hearing and discussing this with other people. If i do so, i will be sure to credit the point you have made there.

      I also like how you said we think the word fulfilled means to re-label it as ‘a principle’ and place ourselves right back under it.

      Thanks for you input.

      – Jared
      .-= steward´s last blog ..Bible Verses on Spirit Led Giving =-.

  3. Emeka says:

    Brethren, are we forgetting that Jacob’s vow went like this: ““If God will be with me, and keep me in this way that I am going, and give me bread to eat and clothing to put on, so that I come back to my father’s house in peace, then the LORD shall be my God.”

    And not like this: If God will be with me and my descendants, and keep me and my descendants in this way that I am going, and give me bread to eat and clothing to put on, so that I come back to my father’s house in peace, then the LORD shall be my God.”

    How would a God who always made matters very clear collect tithes from the descendants of Jacob while Jacob said “I” and also “Come back to my fathers house” in singular, and a particular vow for a specific reason and condition.

    The Israelites accepted the law Exodus 24:4-8 and God held them accountable for their acceptance not the vow of Jacob, do i stand corrected?

    A study of the Holy Bible shows God makes out his markings clearly

    • Emeka,
      Before i answer your question, I assume you also read the second part of this post here as well- http://www.tithing.com/blog/misconception-about-jacobs-tithing-vow/

      You have a good question, but you are only reading Jacob’s vow. God’s vow said, “the land on which you lie I will give to YOU and your descendants.” How did God give Jacob the land since no one inherited it hundreds of years later? Shouldn’t God have said, “the land on which you lie i will give to your descendants only”?

      Interesting how God fulfilled his vow specifically to Jacob through his descendants.

      – Jared

      • Emeka says:

        Yes Sir, You are correct but let us take a moment and peruse the promise,
        I will give you and your descendants the land on which you are lying. All Jacob had to do was receive it by faith, the Land was already his and his descendants would follow suit after him.
        The moment Jacob came back, the land was his for the claiming, other wise he would not have the audacity to raise a pillar  if it were not his, Jacob raised a pillar because the land was already his by promise.
         
        God did not fulfill the Vow to Jacob through his descendants, God fulfilled the vow to Jacobs descendants through Jacob. Because the mere act of raising a pillar and anointing it, Jacob had already laid claim to the land before his descendants, just he was not populous enough to cover the land so it was reserved for the future generations.
        God Bless.

        • Emeka says:

          A lot of people make various excuses to justify their tithing or misleading others to tithe, be it Abraham’s tithe, or Jacobs vow, most are aware Christians should not tithe and those bringing forth much arguments to defend tithing are equally aware, as we see from tithing it is very obvious from the New Testament that Christians are not under the Law(Christ magnified the Law brought more spiritual  sense brought in the weightier matters of the Law Justice, faith, love).
          Those that decide to remain under the Law should remember they have no excuses to exclude any part of the Law:
          No money, only Agricultural products from the land of Israel, and to observe the entire Law as a bulk unit that can not be separated one from the other, in other words if you tithe you must observe sabbath, you must observe the sacrificing of rams holy days etc:
          And in Numbers 18 if read well you will notice that receiving tithes is a covenant of salt unbreakable nontransferable between God and the Levites, not to talk of how tithing makes the tither feel self righteous, how can we know the right sabbath or sixth day when it is Nighttime here and daybreak in some parts of the world? some see the new moon today some see it the next day, so which day can we call the sabbath,
          Jared, I compliment you greatly on bringing the true Word of God out in the open, I am also writing a book on: Tithing a Curse or a blessing for Christians.
          Keep up the good work  God Bless.

        • Emeka,

          Just because Jacob put a few rocks up and poured oil upon it, does not mean that he inherited or received that land yet. A majority of people would agree with me that no one in Abraham’s family inherited any portion of that land until the Israelites conquered the Canaanites and then purified the land on top of it.

          It seems that you are very particular about standing by every word in that passage because you believe “if” means what it says. But if you read that passage, it says, “the land on which you lie I will give”. If we are all about following the jot and tittle here, why didn’t God say, “I am giving it to you”?

          – jared

          • Liam says:

            Hi Emeka,
            I’ve followed your posts over the last few days and Jared has mostly commented on the majority of points I going to raise so I’ll try and avoid doubling up on his thoughts.
            Firstly I think you raised a valid argument in regards to interpretation.  The fancy name for this is Hermeneutics and hermeneutics follows certain principles, one of which you have highlighted i.e. consider carefully the most obvious and literal interpretation. However I’m struggling to see how the full and immediate inheritance took place in that one event in Gen 28. It doesn’t seem to me to be a good fit for this passage.
            Jared rightly mentions that Jacob’s monument doesn’t necessarily signify the completion of the promise and my own view of this is that it was an act of worship and consecration by Jacob. A monument doesn’t really signify Jacob’s possession of the land any more than the Dome of the Rock signifies possession to the house of Ishmael and Esau. However I might go as far as saying that Jacob took hold of the spiritual title deed to the land even if physical possession was not yet a reality.
            There are some other problems with the immediate possession interpretation:
            At what point does the possession clearly take place? I’d say after Moses when Israel (Jacob) took physical possession.
            Why was the land still called the Promised Land if Jacob had already taken it?
            Also I can’t agree that God always ‘makes things very clear,’ nor can I take the view that one man’s name or the noun ‘I’ means necessarily just that one man. Jacob became Israel and Israel is now the people of Jacob and no longer just the man Jacob. Take also Abraham’s seed numbering the stars, he only had two children.
            Finally God’s promises are not always fulfilled immediately. Again Abraham discovered this.
            In conclusion my personal take on this is that Jacob received the spiritual title deed to the land in Gen 28. i.e. It was given to him as an inheritance, and before God he was and is, the rightful heir. The actual physical possession part has still got a question mark over its complete fulfillment. I personally feel this is still yet future. I think we all know the consequences if Israel today trod every square inch the land that was promised!

  4. Ato says:

    Very interesting read, I just wanted to know, for those who say that since Abraham offered the tithe before the Law so Abraham’s tithe would be required of the church would they therefore say that circumcision is also required of the church since it was also performed by Abraham before the Law was given? Some may say yes, seeing that the new testament circumcision that is required is that of the heart and a spiritual one but if circumcision of the flesh symbolized the circumcision of the heart that was to come about, would the tithing demonstrated in the old testament not be some form of a foreshadow, some “type” maybe? I remember Jesus is referred to as the “first-fruit of the dead” in some new testament epistles. any views on this?

  5. Great stuff. I made a video on you tube about the same connection. Just to add. Jacob wrestled with God and was renamed Israel. That is how I initially received the revelation that Israel or Jacob fulfilled his vow to tithe through his offspring “Israel”! This article has been EXTREMELY helpful. I would love to send you the video I made but I took it down. Not enough hits. Maybe I need to spice it up a bit. Anyways I appreciate your effort in research. Thanks John

  6. kofi says:

    According to Genesis 25:6 Abraham also had concubines,so should a christian have concubines?….if we are going to say christian tithing is required because abraham did so. Should also leaving your father’s house be compulsory since abraham left his father’s house. Tithing is simply a shadow of new testament ”giving” and giving is always free-will. Even abraham’s tithing was free will. God bless us all

  7. Mark Perez says:

    I appreciate all the research done in this article. I wish I could have stumbled upon here much earlier in my faith journey. I was reading the bible online and I was in Genesis 28 where Jacob vows to Elohim. From there, I found this article after researching why Jacob poured oil on the stone. Turns out oil was meant for dedication, so I got that revelation and asked Google about Jacob’s tithe. I am highly encouraged to believe that although we in America are not Hebrew or Jewish descendants, we can actually be a part of the biblical way of tithing by following what the Bible commands in the fist place.

    If the tithe was only supposed to be From Israel and From the increase of the Holy Land, then my spirit is empowered to want to tithe off the increase of Israel and follow the Bible correctly. I don’t want to get into the other tithing laws like the third year and the jubilee but I will leave with this note, biblical tithing can only be biblical if followed biblically. Did you get that? If I want to tithe biblically and test this blessing, then my will is to learn investing as much as I can and become an investor and trader in world goods. Specifically, I’ll learn how to invest in the produce and goods of Israel, so that I can invest the increase appropriately back to God. I’m going to give God 10% of the increase I receive from my investments in Israel. That way I know I have biblically tithed and I will feel more confident to continue learning about biblical truths and the culture of the Bible. As I said before to many of my loved ones, I believe the Bible was written with purpose and I believe the Bible has much significance both for historical relevance but also for us to know how to apply it to our daily lives. Anything Bible I want to learn from its original standpoint. It was written by Hebrews, therefore, only Hebrew people can truly teach us the reason and importance of every moral and custom every created in the Bible. Only God’s people can know God. So only God’s people can teach God. I truly respect everyone out there who seek to know our Elohim deeply and from every standpoint. God bless you all. My brothers and sisters.

  8. Laurence says:

    Two questions came up for me , you say The lord would not accept anything that was not produced from the promised land , where were the sacrifices from , used the tent of meeting, were they not still outside the promised land ,and if so could jacob not have sacrificed burnt offerings outside the promised land ,as Abraham did?

    • Laurence,
      The subject matter of this article is about tithing (10%) not sacrificial offerings. So there is no claim that God only accepted sacrifices within the land of Israel. There is only a claim that God limited tithing from the land of Israel.

  9. Helen says:

    Well I know the truth now. Thanks for your articles. Sad thing is that my church has labeled me a heretic and I have been asked to step down from my teaching position until I can get this “demonic error” I have been lead into straightened out.

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