Is the Bible Tithing System Binding Today?

 

The following is from the Church of God 7th Day doctrine pamphlet of 1994.The pamphlet is no longer available. However, the doctrine still stands.

 

18. Financial Stewardship

 

The New Testament, by principle and example, teaches that the work of the church is to be supported by the financial stewardship of its members. While the tithe laws under the Levitical priesthood are no longer in force, tithing as a biblical principle serves as an appropriate standard of giving. Motivated by love, each member is called upon to give tithe and offering freely and cheerfully.

 

Genesis 14:18-20; Hebrews 7:1-6: Abraham gave a tenth to Melchizedek.

Genesis 28:20-22: Jacob agreed to return the tithe to acknowledge God's care for him.

Luke 11:42: Tithe to be given in a spirit of love.

1 Corinthians 9:7-13; 1 Timothy 5:17, 18: Paul speaks of the need to support the ministry.

1 Corinthians 9:14: Paul identifies the means by which the ministry should be supported.

2 Corinthians 9:6, 7: God loves and blesses those who give generously and cheerfully.

Click here to see the opening slide presentation.

 

Let me start with the statement about the tithe laws under the Levitical priesthood no longer being in force.

1.      First, the Levitical priesthood is no longer in effect. At least not as it was in the days of tithing.

2.      And if it was, most churches are not under any Levitical authority.

*†† There is no record of tithing in the New Testament under the new covenant. In fact tithing is only mentioned ten times and always in the context of Old Testament tithing.

Nowhere do we see the law of tithing changed. And isnít it interesting how many churches claim they, ďAre not under law but under graceĒ want to invoke the law of tithing.

 

Now notice that Abram/Abraham didnít give Melchizedek a tenth of his earning or increase. He gave him a tenth of the spoils! There is no other record of Abraham tithing.

 

How about Jacob? This was a very strange tithe. You might call it a conditional tithe.

 

Now what about ordinary tithing? We have already seen the law requires the priests, the descendents of Aaron, to collect the tithes. To the best of my knowledge neither myself, nor Shawn, nor any of the other pastors in town are descendents of Aaron. Are we somehow priests after the order of Melchizedek? I donít think so. And if all the pastors are Priests after the order of Melchizedek then many, probably most, of the church people are doomed. If the tithing laws are still in effect then listen to this.

*†† (Mal 3:8-9 NIV)"Will a man rob God? Yet you rob me. "But you ask, 'How do we rob you?' "In tithes and offerings. {9} You are under a curse--the whole nation of you--because you are robbing me.

 

So, if we are no longer obligated to pay tithes what, if anything, should we do to support the church and itís workers? First letís notice that giving of your wealth or income is not really sufficient.

*†† (Luke 11:42 NIV)"Woe to you Pharisees, because you give God a tenth of your mint, rue and all other kinds of garden herbs, but you neglect justice and the love of God. You should have practiced the latter without leaving the former undone.

 

But again I say what should we do? Is there still an obligation to support the work of God? Letís see what Paul says about those that do the work.

*†† (1 Cor 9:7-13 NIV)Who serves as a soldier at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard and does not eat of its grapes? Who tends a flock and does not drink of the milk? {8} Do I say this merely from a human point of view? Doesn't the Law say the same thing? {9} For it is written in the Law of Moses: "Do not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain." Is it about oxen that God is concerned? {10} Surely he says this for us, doesn't he? Yes, this was written for us, because when the plowman plows and the thresher threshes, they ought to do so in the hope of sharing in the harvest. {11} If we have sown spiritual seed among you, is it too much if we reap a material harvest from you? {12} If others have this right of support from you, shouldn't we have it all the more? But we did not use this right. On the contrary, we put up with anything rather than hinder the gospel of Christ. {13} Don't you know that those who work in the temple get their food from the temple, and those who serve at the altar share in what is offered on the altar?

*†† (1 Tim 5:17-18 NIV)The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching. {18} For the Scripture says, "Do not muzzle the ox while it is treading out the grain," and "The worker deserves his wages."

*†† (1 Cor 9:14-15 NIV)In the same way, the Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should receive their living from the gospel. {15} But I have not used any of these rights. And I am not writing this in the hope that you will do such things for me. I would rather die than have anyone deprive me of this boast.

OK, so we should support the workers but what is appropriate?

*†† (2 Cor 9:6-8 NIV)Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. {7} Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. {8} And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.

Let me zero in a bit. Here is the low end.

*†† (Mark 12:41-43 NIV)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. {42} But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a fraction of a penny. {43} 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.

Here is the high end.

*†† (Mark 10:17-22 NIV)As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. "Good teacher," he asked, "what must I do to inherit eternal life?" {18} "Why do you call me good?" Jesus answered. "No one is good--except God alone. {19} You know the commandments: 'Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, do not defraud, honor your father and mother.'" {20} "Teacher," he declared, "all these I have kept since I was a boy." {21} Jesus looked at him and loved him. "One thing you lack," he said. "Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me." {22} At this the man's face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth.

 

Besides paying for workers what else should be considered.

*†† (James 1:27 NIV)Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world..

*†† (Luke 10:30-37 NIV)In reply Jesus said: "A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he fell into the hands of robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. {31} A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. {32} So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. {33} But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. {34} He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, took him to an inn and took care of him. {35} The next day he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper. 'Look after him,' he said, 'and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.' {36} "Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?" {37} The expert in the law replied, "The one who had mercy on him." Jesus told him, "Go and do likewise."

*†† (1 Cor 16:1-2 NIV)Now about the collection for God's people: Do what I told the Galatian churches to do. {2} On the first day of every week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with his income, saving it up, so that when I come no collections will have to be made.

 

In conclusion I will return to the Old Testament and declare that although we donít have a Levitical system much of what God says serves as an excellent guide for today.

*†† (Mal 3:1-10 NIV)"See, I will send my messenger, who will prepare the way before me. Then suddenly the Lord you are seeking will come to his temple; the messenger of the covenant, whom you desire, will come," says the LORD Almighty. {2} But who can endure the day of his coming? Who can stand when he appears? For he will be like a refiner's fire or a launderer's soap. {3} He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; he will purify the Levites and refine them like gold and silver. Then the LORD will have men who will bring offerings in righteousness, {4} and the offerings of Judah and Jerusalem will be acceptable to the LORD, as in days gone by, as in former years. {5} "So I will come near to you for judgment. I will be quick to testify against sorcerers, adulterers and perjurers, against those who defraud laborers of their wages, who oppress the widows and the fatherless, and deprive aliens of justice, but do not fear me," says the LORD Almighty. {6} "I the LORD do not change. So you, O descendants of Jacob, are not destroyed. {7} Ever since the time of your forefathers you have turned away from my decrees and have not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you," says the LORD Almighty. "But you ask, 'How are we to return?' {8} "Will a man rob God? Yet you rob me. "But you ask, 'How do we rob you?' "In tithes and offerings. {9} You are under a curse--the whole nation of you--because you are robbing me. {10} Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this," says the LORD Almighty, "and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it.