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- What’s tithing?
- Who was the first person to tithe in the bible?
- The 13 Tribes of Israel.
- When and why did tithing become a law in the Old Testament?
- Is it necessary for Christians under Grace to tithe?
Tithing = Tenth!
And all the tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land or of the fruit of the tree, is the LORD’S: it is holy unto the LORD. ( Leviticus 27:30 ).
Tithe or Tenth is the proportion of a harvest dedicated for Religious purposes in the early days of Judaism.
Adams’ family made sacrifices to the Lord, but they never offered a tenth of their harvest unto the Lord.
Who was the first person to tithe in the bible?
The very first person to tithe according to the records of the Bible is Abraham! Abraham offered a tenth of the spoils of war to Melchizedek, not under any compulsion by the law, nor because he wanted to be rich by paying tithes. Remember, he tithed from the spoils of war and not from his properties.
Genesis 14: 20:
and blessed be God Most High, who has delivered your enemies into your hand.” Then Abram gave Melchizedek a tenth of everything.
The spoils belonged to everyone who fought the war! Obviously, Melchizedek being the priest played a spiritual role in the war.
There’s no Biblical record of Isaac tithing! Jacob was the next person to mention the ‘tenth’. Jacob’s was more like a vow, and covenant with God at Luz which he renamed to Bethel.
20 And Jacob vowed a vow, saying, If God will be with me, and will keep me in this way that I go, and will give me bread to eat, and raiment to put on. 21 So that I come again to my father’s house in peace; then shall the Lord be my God: 22 And this stone, which I have set for a pillar, shall be God’s house: and of all that thou shalt give me I will surely give the tenth unto thee.
Just like Abraham, Jacob wasn’t under any compulsion or law when he made the vow to offer a tenth of his property to God!
The foregoing passages of the bible are often taken out of context by so-called men of God to justify their extortion and weekly collection of tithes.
When and why did tithing become a law in the Old Testament?
It’s worthwhile for us to examine how and why tithing became a law in the old testament settings!
Jacob had 12 sons! The tribes of Israel was named after these sons, except for Joseph whose two sons: Manasseh and Ephraim became tribes in his stead.
The 13 Tribes of Israel and Tithing
13 tribes of Israel! Surprised right?
Yes, there were 13 tribes of Israel. We only get to hear about the 12 Tribes of Israel. Which tribe is left out? The Levites! This is so because the Levites became the priestly tribe.
The Levitical Priests
18 The priests the Levites, and all the tribe of Levi shall have no part nor inheritance with Israel: they shall eat the offerings of the Lord made by fire, and his inheritance.
2 Therefore shall they have no inheritance among their brethren: the Lord is their inheritance, as he hath said unto them.
According to the above passage, the Levites had no landed inheritance, theirs was a very special inheritance from God: “they became the ‘Levitical Priests'”. They lived on the ‘food offerings presented to the Lord’, by the other tribes of Israel who received land inheritances in Canaan.
The Levites had no land to cultivate their own food! The Levitical Priest didn’t engage in any other business except to execute their priestly duties. Therefore, it was partly because of the Levitical priests and the entire tribe of Levi that tithing was established as a law in the old testament sittings.
Let’s further study the following passages of the Bible:
22 “Set aside a tithe—a tenth of all that your fields produce each year. 23 Then go to the one place where the Lord your God has chosen to be worshipped; and there in his presence eat the tithes of your grain, wine, and olive oil, and the first-born of your cattle and sheep. Do this so that you may learn to honour the Lord your God always. 24 If the place of worship is too far from your home for you to carry there the tithe of the produce that the Lord has blessed you with, then do this: 25 Sell your produce and take the money with you to the one place of worship. 26 Spend it on whatever you want—beef, lamb, wine, beer—and there, in the presence of the Lord your God, you and your families are to eat and enjoy yourselves. 27 “Do not neglect the Levites who live in your towns; they have no property of their own. 28 At the end of every third year bring the tithe of all your crops and store it in your towns. 29 This food is for the Levites, since they own no property, and for the foreigners, orphans, and widows who live in your towns. They are to come and get all they need. Do this, and the Lord your God will bless you in everything you do.
21 And, behold, I have given the children of Levi all the tenth in Israel for an inheritance, for their service which they serve, even the service of the tabernacle of the congregation. 22 Neither must the children of Israel henceforth come nigh the tabernacle of the congregation, lest they bear sin, and die. 23 But the Levites shall do the service of the tabernacle of the congregation, and they shall bear their iniquity: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations, that among the children of Israel they have no inheritance. 24 But the tithes of the children of Israel, which they offer as a heave offering unto the Lord, I have given to the Levites to inherit: therefore I have said unto them, Among the children of Israel they shall have no inheritance.
From the above verses, we can understand that there were three types of tithes! Let us do a breakdown for easy understanding.
- Once every year, tithing of the feast was to be done in the temple in the presence of God. It was required of the Israelite to set aside a tenth of the produces of their lands and the firstborn of their cattle and sheep. These were to be eaten in the presence of the Lord in acknowledgement of the fact that he’s a mighty provider.
- All the tenth(tithes) was the inheritance of the Children of Levi.
- Only the Levites could go near the ‘tabernacle’
- The Levites bore the iniquities of Israel.
- Sacred tithing as an inheritance for the Levitical Priests.
- At the end of every third year, the Israelites were obligated to store a tenth of all their crops in their respective towns. That was known as tithing for the poor, strangers and orphans.
- Tithes were paid by landowners who produced crops and raised cattle and sheep. Those who lived far off from the place of worship were permitted for the sake of convenience to sell the tenth of their produces, but also requested to spend the money on food and wine once they get to the place of worship.
The 3 types of Tithes
The three different types are as follows:
1. The Levitical, or sacred tithe (Num. 18: 21, 24).
2. The tithe of the feasts (Deut. 14:22-27).
3. The tithe for the poor (Deut. 14:28, 29).
Is it necessary for Christians under Grace to tithe?
I take it that we have understood the purposes of tithing! To answer the above question, we have to start with the Levitical tithe.
The Priests bore sins and iniquities by sacrificing a bull and a goat on the day of atonement. It was required of them to atone for the sins of the people and their personal sins once every year. Only the priests were permitted to go near the tabernacle and to enter the Holy of the Holies. It was because of such services that the Levitical priests were entitled to the sacred tithes.
As Christians, do we have a need for the Levitical Priest today? No! Jesus shed his blood abroad on the cross of cavalry to put an end to the yearly sacrificing of bulls and goats. He did it once and for all, ascended into heaven and sat at the right hand of God so that no priest will have to perform the atonement rituals ever again. When Jesus died, the veil was torn, and God moved out of that place never again to dwell in a temple made with hands (Acts 17:24).
The veil being torn from top to bottom is a fact of history. The profound significance of this event is explained in glorious detail in Hebrews. The things of the temple were shadows of things to come, and they all ultimately point us to Jesus Christ. He was the veil to the Holy of Holies, and through His death, the faithful now have free access to God.
Now Christ is our superior High Priest, and as believers in His finished work, we partake of His better priesthood. We can now enter the Holy of Holies through Him. Hebrews 10:19-20 says, “we have the confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body.” Here we see the image of Jesus’ flesh being torn for us just as He was tearing the veil for us. This implies the abolition of the sacred tithes or Levitical tithes since the services of the Levitical Priests is no longer needed.
Why then do we give a tenth of our money to Prophets, pastors, daddy GOs and spiritual Papas? Sheer scam in the name of God! Once we confess Jesus and accept him as Lord and saviour, we become adopted into the priestly family. We become men and women of God.
The name man of God is not reserved solely to church owners or to trained pastors. Anyone who does the will of God is a man of God. Should we all be given tithes because we are men/women of God? Hell, No!
We cannot continue enriching greedy people who use the name of God to extort and steal from ignorant people. We are supposed to give to the poor, orphans, the sick and other needy people. The Bible makes it clear that for lack of knowledge, God’s people perish. Today, when you tithe, you make organisations and self-proclaimed men of God rich; whatsoever you do to the poor, orphans, strangers, and prisoners, you do unto God
And the King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of Mine, you did for Me.
Thanks for reading! I pray we start helping the poor, orphans and other less privileged people in the society, rather than to sponsor the extravagant lifestyles of daddy GOs and Spiritual PaPas.
May the good Lord Jesus Bless you abundantly as you start doing the right thing in Jesus’ name.
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