As we continue our ‘Tithing on Trial’ series, we will evaluate the most common tithing arguments used to defend its practice.
The argument here is that Abraham tithed prior to the law of Moses, therefore it should be continued since it was outside of the fulfilled law of the Old Testament. To me, the cross fulfilled laws beyond the Mosaic law, but I understand that some don’t see it that way.
The Mosaic Law
Abraham did tithe before the Mosaic law, but that shouldn’t satisfy any answers regarding tithing. Was the Mosaic law the only portion of Old Testament laws that were fulfilled by the cross; and does this mean that any laws inside or outside those bounds are subject to fulfillment in the New Testament? The Sunday Sabbath, clean animals, animal sacrifices, & circumcision were all practiced prior to the Mosaic law, and yet they are excluded from New Testament practices. When you look at these four laws, you realize tithing isn’t an exclusive pre-mosaic ordinance.
The problem with basing our current practices on any practice that was pre-mosaic is that you are defending a practice based on a marker that is proven to be insignificant for the NT Church. NT Scripture wasn’t compelled to mention that clean meats, animal sacrifices, & circumcision were not required just because the change in law had to be reiterated in the New Church Covenant. The cross nullified those laws because pre-mosaic practices had no consequence for the Church in the first place. God’s instructions were not this – “I want you to obey all the laws that came before Moses, with the exception of sacrifices, clean meats & circumcision”. There was no need to add amendments to the New Covenant. Simply put – clean meats, sacrifices and circumcision are dead laws because of Calvary, not because the NT happened to clarify it for us after Calvary.
It was Adam Not Moses
Scripture focuses on when sin entered the world through one man and when the penalty of sin was paid for by another. Christ didn’t die on the cross to save us from the Mosaic law; he died because of Adam’s flaw. The focus of Christ’s death was about the law of sin and death that was introduced by Adam not the law that was introduced by Moses. The Bible focuses so much on the Mosaic law because the Hebrew culture was so saturated with it in their every-day life. Because of this, we unintentionally forget that Christ wasn’t here to fulfill the Mosaic laws. If he only did that, it would be great news for the Jews but not for the gentiles since it wasn’t the Mosaic law that gentiles were slaves to.
Let’s Follow Abraham’s Example
Let’s say for a moment that we are to follow Abraham’s example prior to the Law of Moses. There are two big problems with this.
First, Abraham only gave from the spoils of war and not from his own wealth. Hebrews chapter 7 clarifies that Abraham Gave Melchizedek the spoils of war. There is no mention that he gave anything from his own wealth. Maybe he just tithed for the week so he was already paid up except for the spoils of war. I don’t know. You tell me.
Second, Israel was instructed to give 1/500th of the spoils of war (Numbers 31). If tithing is really a permanent ordinance then why was Israel instructed specifically by God to give less from their increase? If Abraham’s practice was not binding enough for God to ask Israel to do it, then why is it even considered binding for a New Testament Church, after Calvary, & led by the Holy Spirit?
A Look at Jacob’s Tithing vow
Abraham wasn’t the only occurrence of tithing prior to the Mosaic law, Jacob made a tithing vow to God as well. So, his example also shines some light on this topic also. We did an in-depth study on Jacob’s tithing vow here: Part 1 & Part 2. So I don’t want to go too deep into this. I just want to highlight a valid point that pertains to the current topic.
Jacob’s vow indicates that tithing was not required because he willingly offered it. You can’t offer God something that was already required in the first place and get away with pulling a fast-one. Abraham’s example doesn’t indicate whether tithing was required or not, but we can know for certain through Jacob’s example that it wasn’t. What do you use to determine biblical doctrine? Would it be the the facts found in Jacob’s example or would it be speculation through Abraham’s?
You Be The Judge
Now it’s time for the jury to weigh in:
Dakota from Frequent Apostolic Questions says
I apologize for not reading the rest of the comments, it is possible that someone may have already responded with this answer.
I have the following:
“To whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all”
It does not specify that the tithe was ‘only’ the spoils of war. Which would explain the second part of the Abraham paragraphs.
The Jacob thing is an indicator that he had the ability to tithe otherwise he would note have made the ‘vow’.
Tatjana Virant Kramar says
Verse 7:4 of Hebrews mentions “spoils”, or the “best spoils”. In greek it means something like “from the top of the heap”. The situation is UNIQUE: Abraham was getting back from the unique battle. He conquered people and took their possessions. He did not bring his own possessions to the battlefield! It does not make sense that Abraham would drag all he had, all HIS possessions, into the campaign! Unique situation – not repeated ever again. That’s why letter of Hebrews, thousands of years later, mentions specifics… IF Abraham “tithed” later also, especially on regular basis, – would it not be mention somewhere, especially to the Hebrews?
Tyler Thomas says
‘Top of the heap’ seems closer in meaning and intention to “first fruits” aka the best of something. Give before the fruit spoils. God wants our best and first.
Sorry Doug. The tithe is not an old covenant law. It never was citing its origin. It’s presumed eternal.
Tatjana Virant Kramar says
Presumed?!? that’s the problem with tithers, assuming.. Remember God never told to ANYONE before the Law to tithe, never mentioned it to Adam and Eve, never mentioned it to Abram either..let alone as a command or request! He also assumed/presumed..If it is sooo important and “eternal” how come God did not explicitly say something to Adam? (Since He told the everything they needed to know pertaining to life). Abram lived in Ur of the Chaldeans… even there people had some good habits regarding respect BUT – the fact remains, tithing is NOT God’s idea prior to the law! That’s Bible.
The employment of the word Eternal was based on Heb 7:3.
[Without father or mother, without genealogy, without beginning of days or end of life, resembling the Son of God]
Since the tithe has no origin it can presume as eternal just like the origin of Melchizedec biblically.
Did Adam receive the covenant?
the genesis book does not contain details of the life of Adam despite he existed for 920 years.
however in hosea, it is written that Adam did receive a covenant from God and later handed down to Abraham.
As at Adam, they have broken the covenant; they were unfaithful to me there.]
Whatever Covenant Adam received we’re sure it’s the same covenant that Abraham and Moses had received and the writers don’t have to repeat over and over again to make their purpose served.
Jared Brian says
What? You just pulled this argument out of thin air with no precedent. So many falehoods start out the way you’ve written this statement.
Since we don’t know the origins of the universe it can presume that a big bang created everything
Since we can’t prove theres a god it can presume there is none
since there’s so much pain and suffering in the world it can presume that there is no loving God.
Since there’s no mention of Jesus not having a heart tattoo on his chest we can presume he did have one.
Don’t say things like you just said without being able to back it up with some sort of precedent.
Melchizedek had no beginning of days nor end. The irony of your statement is that the tithe is only 10%. How can something that’s a fraction of everything mean eternal? God didn’t give 10%. Jesus didn’t give 10%? Why do you think God focused so much on circumcision and living a circumspect life. Because a circle is a symbol of eternity. Did God ask us to live 10% lives? Did Abraham only cut off 10% of his foreskin?
Melchizedek has a small portion in the Genesis story and almost no information with regards to the origin of his bloodline such as in the case of Job.
But we do believe both men have existed in the ancient times even without proof because they’re part of the biblical history and so it’s generally accepted by the church.
Only Paul in his epistle mentioned his existence as he compared him with the son of God.
what about u? if u were in Paul shoes would u believe on Melchi’s existence?
it’s the same thing with the tithe. what is ur opinion?
Well said!! All that we have belongs to God. We are hidden in Christ Jesus. Why would anyone think only 10% of our money belongs to God. We must seek Him in giving, not man. “you want to rob me, says the Lord, give me 10% and think the rest is yours.”
Stop seeking man’s limited truth and spend time with God; he will reveal His truth through His Holy Spirit. Trust me, you can never out-give God. It’s not just money, but your life is hidden in him. If you seek He, He will direct you when and where to give. Much love…
Craig Cook says
Abraham gave a gift not a tithes. Tithing was only for Isreal
Darrell Birkey says
It can be presumed… only if you have a confirmation bias that comes from a previous presumption.
A argument that is made from nothing the Bible teaches is always a shaky one.
““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.”
??Luke? ?11:42? ?
The New Testament doesn’t say,”we should stop paying tithes”. Jesus said,”YOU SHOULD TITHE.”
Jesus was talking to the religious JEWS. He wasn’t referring to the gentiles. The Jews were the ones that were under the law. So therefore it applied only to them.
There was no church during the time of Jesus, the church started at Pentecost. Jesus lived under the law and He never cancelled any law while He was here, but through His death and resurrection, He finally nailed all to the cross. How come out of 613 laws,we had to concentrate on the parts which include money and other benefits.
With my studies i discovered the ff:
1. Not everyone in Israel was eligible to pay tithe, the priest didn’t pay, miners, iron smelters, labourers, poor people etc and even if your animal increase is less than ten, you have no tithe to pay.
2. James 2:10 made it clear you cannot choose which part of the law to obey, you fail on one you failed on all, yet the church today believes Jesus paid all, but He refused to pay for the tithe. Paul says in Galatians 3:10, if you are of the works of the law, you are under the curse of the law,because you do not follow all the law. Acts 15 confirms this story.
3. Tithing was for herders No farmers, no record of other industries was given.
4. Today we concentrate on money tithing but in Leviticus 27, God discouraged the use of money and if it becomes so much inevitable that you could not bring the tithe of crops or animals and you have to convert it to money, you must add 20% of the value.
5. The New Testament encourages freewill giving from a cheerful heart. 2Corinthians 9:7.
6. No Levites today to eat the tithes and no priest and no temple. Pastors are not priests.
7. If Abraham paid tithe In Gen 14,he did it from his own will Melchizedek didn’t demand, he didn’t command, he didn’t put a gun to Abraham’s head for it like we ironically do today, Abraham gave a tenth to the man who gave him bread and wine, so Christians today should be encouraged and taught what valuable givings are not some form of armtwisting Mal 3. Don’t forget we have been delivered from the curse of the law. God bless you all.
How do you explain, God instantly stopping Peter in his tracks, while he was merging and equating Moses (Law) and Elijah (Prophets) with Jesus (Son of God)
Matthew 17:3-5 And, behold, there appeared unto them Moses and Elias talking with him.
Then answered Peter, and said unto Jesus, Lord, it is good for us to be here: if thou wilt, let us make here three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias.
While he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him.
God was literally saying hear and listen to my son Jesus and not Moses and Elijah for their has been completed.
Eyo Effiong says
Very interesting discussion.
I have tried to locate in the Bible where God asked Abraham to tithe, especially to Melchizedek and not tithe from his regular income. Abraham never asked anyone to use his act as a precedent moreso that it was not from God to Him. Moses commandment was very clear since it was at the instance God.
Gentile practitioners pastors have literally adopted Abraham’s gesture to enforce compliance by their members to the point that anyone not tithing can not go to Heaven.
Christ and His Jewish brethren disciples never demanded tithes whether of Abraham’s or Moses tithe.
There’s a clear distinction to be noted that the Gentiles were not permitted to be part of the first convenant and we’re not considered either. Gentiles can be called Christians if they chose to believe in Christ Jesus. They are not Jewish or Israelites by nature.
The tithe Abraham gave can be said to be descreational and not by any instruction.
The way the Bible is allowed to be interpreted and taught should be a concern for all well meaning followers of Christ otherwise, wrong messages will be allowed to circulate.
Darrell Birkey says
“The Sunday Sabbath, clean animals, animal sacrifices, & circumcision were all practiced prior to the Mosaic law, and yet they are excluded from New Testament”
The Bible never teaches a Sunday Sabbath… it was always Saturday.
While sacrifices stopped for the Jewish Christians, they stopped after the resurrection.
As far as circumcision and the dietary code, that clearly continued by the 12 apostles for the Jewish believers.
Paul was the first to teach that the gentile Body of Christ (technically neither Jew nor gentile) that we are not to do those things.
But we know from the Jerusalem Council, that approximately 17 years into Paul’s ministry, the 12 were still teaching circumcision and the dietary code, while Paul was not.
Darrell Birkey says
It is also important to realize that the New Testament did not start until after the cross. Jesus came to Israel teaching the law, but His shed blood was the beginning of the New Covenant.
That is why Jesus supported tithing before the cross, yet he revealed to Paul (after the cross) that tithing was not for the Body of Christ and Paul never taught that concept to his mostly gentile church that had no history of tithing.
If the tithe is eternal as you say, why the is it abolished in the Milinium when the Levites are taken out of the priestly system? Ezek 45:13-15. Starting from Chapter 44 the Levites as a whole is sacked from officiating at the temple as they used to under the Old Covenant(44:10-15), they are given land to work and are required to give like any other tribe (48:13). The Prince who is a representative of the Messiah to the Jews will not take a tithe but rather one bushel of every 60 bushels of wheat harvest, 1 liter of every 100 liters of olive oil produced and 1 sheep out of every 200 Shep that pass under the rod. Nothing is taken for wine and cattle which was done under the o Old Covenant. (Ezek 44:28-30). The priests the sons of Zadok in that time will neither take tithes or be supported by it but rather the animal offerings and the things people vow and the firstfruit. Ezek 44:27-31
Another thing we should take notice of is that tithing on earned income has no place in either the Bible or the history of the church until recent times. The concept of wages or earn income has been in the Bible as far back as the days of Abraham and both it and the concept of money developed with civilization itself.
Money was common in the days of Abraham , contrary to what some preachers say
Abraham was a trader and he received payment for his trade in silver and gold (money) Gen 13:2
He bought land with silver(money) Gen 23:15
He received compensation in silver (money)Gen 20:16
Eliezer payed Rebecca’s bride price. In silver and gold(money) Gen 24:53
Joseph was sold in siver(money)
The brothers of Joseph paid for the corn they bought with money(Gen 44:2)
The books of Exodus,Numbers, Leviticus and Deuteronomy yields 30 direct references to money. The concept of wages and earn salary were so defined that God gave laws for the protection of the wage earner under the law Lev 19:13 and Deut 24:14. But no where in scripture do you see a command to tithe on wages or salary is it is taught today. You either even see this in practice through out ancient history or even early church history until now. The doctrine of tithing on wages and salary is a doctrine created by man and has not foundation from scriptures or God.
Abraham was first of all blessed and was given bread and wine and then he gave tithe to Melchizedek whose name means ” King of Righteousness ‘ and also who was known as King of Salem which means ” King of Peace”. So as we, were blessed with all the spiritual blessings and Jesus gave us His body as bread and wine which is His blood. So we must give Him Tithe because He is our Priest. Giving tithe and paying tithe are 2 different things. The children of Israel were told to pay tithe and were paying it under the law. Abraham did not live under the law neither did he give tithe under the law. Read Hebrews 7 and get the understanding on the difference between Aaron priesthood and Jesus priesthood.
This is very well thought out. I cannot argue with it. That leaves me with a predicament. I have tithed for 40 years. What do I do now? I’m afraid to stop tithing because I don’t want to end up giving less. We already give offerings as well. It just feels uncomfortable not to have 10 percent as the standard.
Jared Brian says
Thousands have been in your shoes. Feeling guilty for enjoying freedom is a common feeling for slaves that have been freed. In our flesh we feel the urge to “earn” our way, but that is not guilt you have – it is doubt and fear being placed on us from the enemy. The enemy doesnt want you to hear, listen, and be intimate with God’s calling. The enemy wants to replace the veil that once separated his children from direct contact.
Set Apart in Heart says
16Let your light so shine before men, so that they see your good works and praise your Father who is in the heavens.
17Do not think that I came to destroy the Torah or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to complete.
18For truly, I say to you, till the heaven and the earth pass away, one yod or one tittle shall by no means pass from the Torah till all be done.
19“Whoever, then, breaks one of the least of these commands, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the reign of the heavens; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the reign of the heavens.
20For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you shall by no means enter into the reign of the heavens. (Matthew 5:16-20) TS 2009
Your looking from Abrham, but missing the fact that if you are engrafted into Israel you are engrafted into the mosaic covenant as well. Not to be under it as the jews but also in belief. If you read the scriptures with no preconceived notions taught by any man it will be clear to you.
8And we know that the Torah is good if one uses it legitimately,
9knowing this: that Torah is not laid down for a righteous being, but for the lawless and unruly, for the wicked and for sinners, for the wrong-doers and profane, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers,
10for those who whore, for sodomites, for kidnappers, for liars, for perjurers, and for whatever else that is contrary to sound teaching, (1 Timothy 1: 8-10)
Are you still sinning? The answer his YES So how do you know what sin is? SIMPLE Through the TORAH : )
Yahuah spoke to Moses FACE TO FACE to tell him these things Yahusha Ha’Mashiac restated and expanded them because through belief we are saved and have the set-apart spirit to do what they did and plus more.
“9Do you not know that the unrighteous shall not inherit the reign of Elohim? Do not be deceived. Neither those who whore, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals,
10nor thieves, nor greedy of gain, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers shall inherit the reign of Elohim.
11And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were set apart, but you were declared right in the Name of the Master ????? and by the Spirit of our Elohim.
12All is permitted me, but not all do profit. All is permitted me, but I shall not be under authority of any.
13Foods for the stomach and the stomach for foods – but Elohim shall destroy both it and them. And the body is not for whoring but for the Master, and the Master for the body.
Right here you see, you cannot be sinning doing these things in your heart or action and enter into the kingdom.
I urge you to read the scriptures from the front to end and determine for your selfs what is sound and correct doctrine.
After that, YES we are to tithe but not to pastors. A sign you are tithing wrong will be if your finances are not producing fruit.
1. Make no assumptions
2. Read all the scriptures concerning tithes
3. You will see easily
4. 10% of your money is Yahuahs, The tithe is for the widow, the fatherless and the stranger, the Levites (not pastors)
5. There are specific instructions on how to do this as well.
6. No, those instructions will not align and virtually seem impossible with the way we live our life in America
7. ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE.
4Stay in Me, and I stay in you. As the branch is unable to bear fruit of itself, unless it stays in the vine, so neither you, unless you stay in Me.
5“I am the vine, you are the branches. He who stays in Me, and I in him, he bears much fruit. Because without Me you are able to do naught!
6“If anyone does not stay in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up. And they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned.
7“If you stay in Me, and My Words stay in you, you shall ask whatever you wish, and it shall be done for you.
8“In this My Father is esteemed, that you bear much fruit, and you shall be My taught ones.
9“As the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you. Stay in My love.
10“If you guard My commands, you shall stay in My love even as I have guarded My Father’s commands and stay in His love.
11These words I have spoken to you, so that My joy might be in you, and that your joy might be complete. (John 15:4-9)
Why would Jacob make his tithe a vow to God?
A tithe under a solemn pledge will only reinforce the truth that the tithe is God’s requirement and not something to be ignored by some.
Eyo Effiong says
It’s quite interesting to see why so much emphasy is on tithe, simply because it has to do with money. And it’s Said that money is the root of all evils.
The point I want to put forward to those clamoring on tithing is very simple. My research indicated to me that those agitating and insisting on it are non Jews, that is are predominantly, the Gentiles. I may not go into details but evidence is as stated in the scriptures. How were the Gentiles considered at Moses times and prior to his time? The Gentiles were irrelevant, since the Israelites were considered as God chosen people. Others were infidel, uncircumcised etc. The rules and regulations operating in Israel were not meant for non Israelites. Even at the time of Romans authority over the Jews, they never observed Israelites rules and regulations. The Gentiles were only privileged to benefit from the salvation program of Christ because of the attitudes of some Jews towards Christ. They were engrafted after the resurrection of Christ. It’s very funny and appauling to see a Gentile Christian or preacher holding on unto a rule and regulations that in the first instance , they were not relevant to say the least. Practicing and observing things that were never and will never be meant for you is very fraudulent. He that accepted you to His fold, has given you His doctrine but you prefer to go outside Him to embrace what wasn’t your business.
The question many people should concentrate in asking, why did Christ never demanded for money tithe or any other tithe. Why His disciples didn’t either. Since Abraham gave Melchizedek tithe, why did non of the Israelites presented Him tithe.
Have we asked ourselves questions as to why the advocates of tithe are presenting to us a picture of God that is not stable. In Deuteronomy 14:22-29, you see emphasy on produce and not money. Money was in used then. Why did God say it should be produce?
Jesus makes it perfectly clear that He requires 100 percent. How can you tithe on zero? Offering God something that is already his and making non-negotiable any part of what is His is a dangerous game to play.