A tithe is a tenth part of man’s blessings, i.e., herds, crops, or income. A tithe, or tenth part of blessings, should be offered to God. God has ordained tithes as a systematic way of giving. When we give our tithes, we are acknowledging that God has blessed us. It is recognizing that God is the source of our blessings. When we give our tithes, it is one way of giving back to God what he has given to us. We must remember we are not giving only to the church, but we are giving to God also. The church is a means by which we can give monetarily back to God. When we give our tithe, it is an act of faith and obedience toward God. When we give our tithes and offerings, we are worshipping God.
Tithes are pre and post law. Some people have not yet separated the ceremonial laws from the giving of tithes. They believe that tithes died with Jesus on the cross. All of the laws that God gave did not die with Jesus on the cross, only the ceremonial sacrificial laws died. Jesus was the perfect sacrifice and High Priest.
- Burnt Offerings: Lev.1: 3-17; 6:8-18
- Grain Offerings: Lev. 2:1-16; 6:14-18; 7:12,13
- Peace Offerings: Lev. 3:1-17; 7:11-21,28-34
- Sin Offerings: Lev. 4:1-5:13; 6:24-30
- Trespass Offerings: Lev. 5:14-6:7; 7:1-7
These sacrificial laws were fulfilled when Jesus died on the Calvary. After Jesus was raised from the dead; we have total access to God through the resurrected Christ. These laws will be reinstated during the reign of the Antichrist.
(Hebrews 7:27; 28) Who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people’s: for this he did once, when he offered up himself. For the law maketh men high priests which have infirmity; but the word of the oath, which was since the law, maketh the Son, who is consecrated for evermore. (KJV)
Tithes did not originate with the Mosaic Law. Tithes were given before the Mosaic Law, and it exists after the law. Tithes were always offered to God through the priest.
(Genesis 14:18-20) And Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine; he was priest of God Most High. And he blessed him and said, “Blessed be Abram by God Most High, maker of heaven and earth; and blessed be God Most High, who has delivered your enemies into your hand! And Abram gave him a tenth of everything. (RSV)
Melchizedek was a foreshadowing of Christ. He had no origin. He had no father or mother. Melchizedek had no beginning or ending. He just existed. He was called a priest of God Most High. He was sent from God. He represented God, and he was a bridge over into the New Testament. In his name we find divine appointment; Melchi means King, Zedek means Righteousness and Salem means Peace. Therefore, Melchizedek was a king of righteousness and peace. Melchizedek was sent from God to bless Abram.
Abram had just returned from a victorious expedition and rescued his brother Lot from captivity. He took the valuables from the land, and there appeared unto him a priest sent from God, Melchizedek. The priest blessed Abram with a word from God and gave him bread and wine. Then Abram gave a tenth of all that he had. At this point in biblical history, Israel was not yet delivered out of Egypt, the Mosaic Laws had not been given, neither had they been divided into the twelve tribes.
After Israel was delivered out of the hands of pharaoh and was divided into twelve tribes, God ordained tithes holy and acceptable unto Him. In the book of Leviticus, the book of worship, God gives the commandment to tithe.
(Leviticus 27:30-32f) 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. And if a man will at all redeem ought of his tithes, he shall add thereto the fifth part thereof. And concerning the tithe of the herd, or of the flock, even of whatsoever passeth under the rod, the tenth shall be holy unto the LORD. (KJV)
A tenth of the corps and herds are holy and given to the Lord. They had the option to give monetarily, but if so, they had to add a fifth to the cost of the tithe that was to be given. The Lord God did not want half of the tithes but all of it. Some of us will pay our tithes if we have something left. Tithes should be the first on our list to be paid. If you do not have enough for all of your bills, pay your tithes, and God will supply your needs.
(Numbers 18:21, 24) 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. Vs.24 but the tithes of the children of Israel, which they offer as an 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 not inheritance. (KJV)
However, the Levites could not keep all of the tithes that were given. They had to give an offering of a tenth of what they received; this is called “tithe of the tithes.” So the tithes were for the Levites and for offerings.
When we give our tithes, it is for the caring of the pastor, for the different ministries of the church and also for the business aspects concerning the church. When we give our tithes and offerings to the church, our focus should be on God and not on the deacons and the trustees, wondering what they are doing. Our faith and prayer to God is that the tithes and offerings are used for the intent in which they are given.
There is a situation in Nehemiah 13:4-11. Nehemiah appointed Eliashib, a priest, to be in charge of the temple. In his absences, Eliashib married an Ammonite woman. Eliashib wanted to find favor with one of his in-laws, Tobiah, and allowed him to live in a great portion of the temple. Because of this, the house of God was neglected, and the tithes and offerings were misused. Upon the movement of the Spirit, Nehemiah returned to Jerusalem and restored order to the temple. It is a dangerous thing when you are appointed in a position to oversee the welfare of the church and you have your own agenda and neglect the church, and the payment of the tithes and offerings.
Churches today, just like the children of Israel, have neglected their responsibilities in paying their tithes and offerings to God. When we do not pay our tithes, we rob God, and we deny ourselves blessings from God. Some people are not blessed abundantly because they are not paying their tithes and giving their offerings.
(Malachi 3:8-11) Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings, ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation. Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of host, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it. And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith the LORD of hosts. (KJV)
Through the giving of tithes and offerings, not only is the individual blessed, but there is also a corporate blessing on the church. We have to understand that our blessing will not only be material, but also spiritual. God has promised that He will “rebuke the devourer, and protect all of our possessions. We as a people have our minds focused on materialism and the prosperity of the wicked. There are many people in the world who have everything they want and still they are not happy. God blesses His children with unspeakable joy.
When we give our tithes and offerings, God gives it right back to us for the working of the ministries of the church. There would not have to be frying of chicken, selling dinners or anything of that nature. There would be plenty in the storehouse. When we give our tithes, we give a tenth of our gross income. The gross of our earned income is the total sum of wages before taxes are taken out of it.
(Matthew 22:21) …Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s.
God made a promise that if we would give our tithes, He would open the WINDOWS of heaven and pour you out a blessing that you will not have room enough to receive them. Looking at the text, the word window is plural. So, in essence, God will not only open one window, but a multiple of windows. When God makes a promise, He is true to it. God said, “Prove me,” or in other words trust me, test me and see. We pay our tithes and offerings by faith. Faith is the key. All of these years every since the beginning of mankind, God has been pleading with His people to trust Him. Those of you who do tithe can bear witness that God has been blessing you beyond measure and expectations. He always comes through. The more we give, the more He gives to you. You just can’t beat God’s giving no matter how you try. Remember, we are not trying to buy God’s favor or buy our way into heaven; we give tithes because we love God, and God commanded us to do so. God knows our motives for giving our tithes and offerings. We should not give our tithes and offerings just to get a pat on the back, or to measure one’s spirituality. In giving our tithes and offerings, the giving is only between the Lord and the believer. Jesus warned the Pharisees for giving tithes for prestige.
(Luke 11:42) But woe unto you, Pharisees! For ye tithe mint and rue and all manner of herbs, and pass over judgment and the love of God: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone. (KJV)
Mint and rue are plants that are cultivated for their aroma and flavoring. The Pharisees wanted the prestige of men, but did not treat men with the love of God. They chose the part of the law that was convenient for them, and neglected mercy, and faith as Jesus stated in Matthews 23:23.
Now how does this concept of God apply to us who are in the dispensation of Grace, the New Testament church? It is the Word of God, and the Apostle Paul addresses tithes and the high priesthood of Christ. In reading the text, if tithes were not an issue among the Hebrews, then Paul would not have addressed tithes along with the high priesthood of Christ. In Hebrews 7, he parallels Christ and Melchizedek. The apostle Paul gives an account of Melchizedek’s blessing and Abram’s tithes, which we examined in Genesis 14:18-20. He talks about how great a man Melchizedek was, his kingdom and his rights to the tithes that Abram offered him. If Abraham gave his tithes to Melchizedek, how much more should we give our tithes to Christ, who is superior to Melchizedek?
The Apostle Paul studied the contrast of Levi and the Levitical priesthood. He put them in the context of “the loins of Abraham,” that is to say they have not yet been born. When Abraham gave tithes to Melchizedek, it was as if that Levi and the sons of Levi (the priests) had given tithes themselves. The priests in the tribe of Levi received and gave tithes by the commandment of God. Levi, the third son of Jacob paid tithe in Abraham or by Abraham. In the ancient Jewish practice, family members paid respect to one of superiority; so then the descendants do likewise. When the children of Israel paid their tithes and the Levites paid their tithes, they gave as if they were giving through Abraham to Melchizedek, the priest sent from God. God received tithes from the Israelites through the Levites. The Apostle Paul addresses the issue how the Israelites gave tithes through the Levites, who were mortal men. So, how much more should we give our tithes to God, through our High Priest, who is from everlasting to everlasting?
Christ, our high priest, was after the order of Melchizedek. Jesus had died and was raised from the grave and now is seated on the right hand of the Father. Now that He is seated on the right hand of the Father He is our High Priest. Just as Melchizedek had rights to the tithes of Abraham, Christ has the rights to our tithes. Paul addresses the priesthood of Christ. He said, “All these things pertain to another where no man had even given attention.” (Vs. 13) Jesus Christ was an unusual priest. He came out of the tribe of Judah. The priests of the Old Testament came only out of the tribe of Levi. The priesthood of Christ was made after the order of Melchizedek. Paul said, “After the similitude of Melchizedek there, ariseth another priest.” (Vs.15) Jesus Christ was not made after the law of a carnal commandment, but after the power of an endless life. (Vs. 16)
(Psalms 110:4) The LORD hath sworn, and will not repent; Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek. (KJV)
Jesus Christ was of an authority of endless duration. He is a priest forever, a spiritual priest. His authority rests high above the heavens, and He is our mediator. Just as Abraham gave his tithes to Melchizedek before the law, we should give our tithes to Christ, who has risen up after the order of Melchizedek, who is superior to Melchizedek, and who came after the law.
[Pre-Law] [Post-Law] Melchizedek Jesus Christ Sent from God Sent from God No beginning or ending Everlasting to Everlasting Priest High Priest Gave bread and wine Gave bread and wine King of Righteousness Righteous King King of Peace Peaceful King Before the Law After the Law Blessed Abraham Blesses us
For all that Christ has done for us; we should gladly give our tithes and offerings to him. When we give our tithes and offerings, it is for the advancement of the Kingdom of God. When we give, we acknowledge Christ as our Lord and Savior. All that Christ has given us; let us give a tenth back unto Him. God’s promise to you is; He will open the windows of heaven and pour you out a blessing that you will not have room enough to receive them. Let us give our offerings cheerfully for the working of the ministry, the Kingdom of heaven.
(2 Corinthians 9:7) Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver. (KJV)
Many have taken this portion of scripture for the basis of giving offerings to the church and ruled out tithing. In chapters 8 and 9, the offering that Paul was soliciting for was for the poor in Jerusalem. He encouraged them to give abundantly as “every man purposed in his heart.” Our offerings go beyond that in which we give for our tithes. Paul induces the church in Corinth to give cheerfully. He desired that the church would give to the poor and needy. 2 Corinthians chapters 8 and 9 mention benevolence. The Apostle Paul speaks of sowing seeds. If one would give sparingly, one will reap sparingly. When one gives in abundance, so shall the reaping be in abundance.
(2 Corinthians 9:6) But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. (KJV)
We should give cheerfully knowing that God has blessed us, and that God is able to supply our needs and wants. Through this service, the less fortunate will be blest. God blesses us that we may be a blessing to others. The more we give to others, the more God will give to us. We should render praise and thanksgiving to God, when we are able to bless others financially. When we are summons to give to a needy other, we should give cheerfully and abundantly as if we are giving to the Lord.
“And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” (Matthew 25:40 KJV)