Sunday, May 22, 2022

Tithing: Is it Valid?

By EMN Updated: Oct 01, 2016 11:49 pm

DICTIONARY defines tithe as “a tenth part of agricultural or other produce, personal income, or profits, contributed either voluntarily or as a tax for the support of the church or clergy or for charitable purposes.”
Tithing is explicitly commanded in the Old Testament (OT) Bible and implicitly in the New Testament (NT). In the pages of the OT, we get to know of a tribe name Levi who served in the tabernacle and provided spiritual leadership in Israel. They were deprived of land and so God commanded the other tribes in Israel to bring in their tithes to them (Numbers 18:20, 21). The Levites, in turn, were required to give a tenth of Israel’s tithe to the priests (Num 18:25-29). It was not a choice but an obligation for Israel to tithe.

Tithing covers every aspect of domestic and agricultural products. In Deuteronomy 14:22–23, God instructed the Israelites: “Thou shalt truly tithe All the increase of thy seed . . . . of thy corn, of thy wine, and of thine oil, and the firstlings of thy herds and of thy flocks; that thou mayestlearn to fear the Lord thy God always.” Notice the purpose of tithing: it was for the people of Israel to fear the Lord always. Tithing was a way of acknowledging God for all the increase and prosperity of their homes. If they fail to tithe, they will forget Lord. They’ll begin to trust in their own possession and the works of their hands.
“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 there will not be room enough to store it. And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, so that he will not destroy the fruit of your ground, nor shall the vine fail to bear fruit for you in the field’ says the LORD of hosts; ‘And all nations will call you blessed, for you will be a delightful land’ says the LORD of host.” (Malachi 3:10-12).
Now this is a rich promise from the Lord God Himself to those who would faithfully tithe. This is the only place in the Bible where God allows His people to test Him. That in itself is amazing! The promise is:‘And all nations will call you blessed, for you will be a delightful land’ says the LORD of host.”Nevertheless, some believers would claim that the Law was done away with in Christ and that the tithing was only for the old system. Since we are in the new covenant, tithing is no longer valid.
Now let me cautiously say that there is no commandment to tithe in the NT. That we agree. But is there any verse in the NT that calls for the end of tithing? No. Jesus discoursed on gaining treasures in heaven by investing with earthly riches (Matthew 6:20). The infamous pronouncement, “Seven woes on the teachers of the Law and the Pharisees” by the Lord Jesus in Matthew 23:23; He succinctly approves of the practices of tithing (giving a tenth of spices-mint, dill and cumin) without letting go of important matters as that of justice, mercy and faithfulness.
Remember in Hebrews 7:2, “and Abraham gave Melchizedek a tenth of everything…” Not just the silver and gold but everything. Although the Bible does not mention whether he practiced it regularly, none can deny the fact that he left everything to pursue the God-promised land. This was long before the Law was given to Moses.
In 1 Corinthians 16:2 Paul orders the Church: “On the first day of every week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with his income.” This passage brings out twothings: we should give individually and proportionately. Adding to that line, 2 Corinthians 9:6-7 says: “Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” Two things again: A willing heart and cheerfully giving to the Lord will suffuse great blessings. But one might say, “that’s not tithing” and the answer is “Yes.”
The idea of tithing is not ruled out in the NT though not directly commanded to do so. The problem with many anti-tithebelievers is because they’re trying to dissect the OT fromthe NT. However one needs to be clear in understanding that both OT and NT are complementary and inter-dependent on one another.
Christians today practice tithing because it is taught in the Bible. The promises of tithing are still “Yes” and “Amen” in Christ Jesus. When we tithe, we are obeying the God of yesterday, today and tomorrow. The secret of “Sowing and reaping” still exists and will remain so till Christ returns. The wisest and richest man that walked on earth said this:“Honor the Lord with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase: so shall thy barns be filled with plenty, and thy presses shall burst out with new wine”(Proverbs 3:9–10).
Vebu Khamo

By EMN Updated: Oct 01, 2016 11:49:11 pm