Questions & Answers

About Stewardship

Even though stewardship deals with everything that we do in relationship with God, most people think that it is only about tithes and offerings. These are a part of stewardship, of course, because they are part of our relationship with God. In the section "A Book and Lessons on Holistic Stewardship," under "Inscriptions," there are four series of lessons that deal with the biblical basis for our stewardship―including tithes and offerings.

 

Contents:

Tithes and Offerings

The Use of the Tithe

The Yearly Tithe

Tithing for the Small Business

Tithe of Non-working Spouse

Tithing Gifts

Pay Back Tithe?

Where to Return the Tithe

 

Tithes and Offerings

Question: If you do not tithe will you go to hell?

Answer: Tithe is an act of faith to help you learn to depend on God, it doesn't save you. You cannot save yourself by any act of your own. God offers to give you salvation as a free gift through Jesus.

But what do tithes and offerings have to do with salvation? We can find an answer by comparing the first sin with tithing

Gen. 2:16, 17 (NIV) "You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die."

If Adam and Eve had obeyed, they'd have shown gratitude and loyalty to God, and they'd have become God's partners. Centuries later Abraham portrayed this partnership by giving a tenth of battle spoils to Melchizedek. (Gen 14) Actually, the word "tithe" comes from a Hebrew root word that means "a tenth." God intended for the tithing system to impress people that God is the source of every blessing to them and that we should show our gratitude for the gifts He has given. So tithing is an acknowledgment that God created everything—including us—and that He owns everything as well.

Most Bible texts on tithe occur in the first five books. We see examples in these verses:

Lev 27:30 (NIV) "A tithe of everything from the land, whether grain from the soil or fruit from the trees, belongs to the LORD; it is holy to the LORD."


Num 18:21-24 (NIV) "I give to the Levites all the tithes in Israel as their inheritance in return for the work they do while serving at the Tent of Meeting. . . . It is the Levites who are to do the work at the Tent of Meeting and bear the responsibility for offenses against it. This is a lasting ordinance for the generations to come. They will receive no inheritance among the Israelites. Instead, I give to the Levites as their inheritance the tithes that the Israelites present as an offering to the LORD. That is why I said concerning them: 'They will have no inheritance among the Israelites.'"

Jesus also told us to tithe within the context of a "woe" placed upon those who fail to exercise justice and mercy.


Mat 23:23 (NIV) "Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cummin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the lawjustice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter [tithe], without neglecting the former.

God doesn't need our money, so why should we tithe? Because tithe belongs to God.

Psa 24:1 . . . The earth is the Lord's, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it;

Tithing shows that we accept God's claim on us—not only for tithe, but for everything else too. We realize we depend upon God, that we hold everything He has given us as a sacred trust.

Our belief that everything belongs to God and we're His trustees becomes a launching-pad for partnership. God not only made us but He bought us at the expense of His Son. He has given us a work to do, and we do His "business" through the currency of faith. Tithing challenges us "to trust, or not to trust." It has little to do with money, but arises from the heart. We'll never ask, "Shall I tithe?" but, "In tithing, do I trust God to feed, clothe, and shelter me? And if He doesn't, will I trust Him anyway?"

The decision to tithe comes from the heart. Jesus said, "Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also." (Matt. 6:21) If God has our hearts, He also has our money. But if God doesn't have our money, He doesn't have our hearts either. In tithing we put God first—a faith/trust leap that produces tithe as a by-product. God doesn't want just the tithe; He wants the tither.

Most people agree that God owns everything, yet refuse to tithe. That's unfortunate for tithing lets us experience God's universal ownership in a personal way. Tithing moves us from the material world into the spiritual, and by tithing we glorify God. At work we use our time and talents to "make" money. When we present tithes and offerings in church we're giving God part of ourselves. Surrendering self to God is worship, so giving tithe becomes a supreme moment of adoration. Tithing is more than giving money: it's worship. God asks us to tithe because He wants the tither—not the gift, but the giver. "God so loved . . . that He gave..." We show God that we love Him too by returning the tithe to Him.

Tithe is figured as 1/10th of our increase—our income. If we work for wages then our income arises from the use of time and energy which come from God, so our income would be tithed as a whole. If we operate a business, however, then our income is only that which we receive as profits after we've paid for the expense of running the business. In this case the tithe would only be given on the net income.

Offerings

When we tithe, we return ten percent of our increase to show our belief in God's power to create and to save. Tithe—or 1/10th of our increase—supports those who work full-time in sharing the gospel to others. But tithe doesn't pay for the rest of God's work. This support comes from the offerings we give from our 9/10ths. But offerings also prepare us for God's kingdom. When God instructed Israel how to figure their tithe, He had them select every tenth animal—whether good or bad. (Lev. 27 30-33) As our Partner He wants to share our losses.

But offerings follow a different rule. God wouldn't accept a defective animal (Lev. 22:19ff) as an offering, because it would reveal an impure motive. The gift seems important to us, but God ranks the giver's motive as of greater importance. God owns everything, so no offering—large or small—could of itself, have value with Him. He says:

Lev. 25.23 (NIV) ". . . the land is mine and you are . . . my tenants."


Hag. 2:8 (NIV) ". . . the silver is mine and the gold is mine."


Ps 50:10-12 (NIV) ". . . every animal . . . is mine, and the cattle on a thousand hills. . . . the world is mine, and all that is in it."

God Himself has shown us the only motive He accepts: John 3:16 ". . . God so loved . . . that He gave. . . ." And our gifts must come from the love motive in order to be acceptable to Him. If we give for any other reason, our gifts degenerate into dues, or taxes, or (dread thought!) bribes.

Offerings involve sacrifice. But God owns everything! We can't sacrifice something that isn't ours. So sacrifice doesn't lie in what we give, or how much we give. It requires that we give ourselves as "living sacrifices." (Rom. 12:2) When we come to Jesus, our offerings naturally flow to God, expressing our love for Him. How much offering should we give? Well, offerings include anything we give God above tithe; but how much should that be?

Deut. 16:17 God wants us to give ". . . in proportion to the way the LORD . . . has blessed [us]."

Contrary to tithe, God allows us to decide how much we give and where our offerings will go—to the local church or to missions, etc. Offerings include time and talents too. We give 1/7th of our time on Sabbath--and more as we witness to others and carry out acts of mercy. We also use our talents for God's church and for helping His children. Whatever we give, offerings, like tithe, remind us that God owns everything, and that:

Mal 3:10 (NIV) He "will throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing [we] will not have room enough for it."

We love our Lord. Let's show Him how much: Let's regularly give God our tithes and offerings.

(For more on this subject go to "Inscriptions" and look under the title "Stewardship Writings.")

 

The Use of the Tithe

Question: Can you take your tithes and give them to someone in need? If you have a light bill or gas bill due can you use your tithes to pay it?

Answer: God often teaches us lessons through requiring us to perform action on our part, and these lessons can be learned in no other way. There is an important principle taught by paying tithe.

Tithing teaches us: 1) God owns everything; 2) God can do whatever He wants with the things He owns; 3) God claims 1/10th of our income as His own; 4) God promises to bless us if we are faithful in practicing this principle.

1) God owns everything on Planet Earth.

God created Earth in the beginning, but Satan wrested control of it from Adam. God bought it back again with the blood of His own dear Son. So by two abiding principles, God owns Planet Earth―and everything and everybody on it.

Psa 33:5-9 The LORD loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of his unfailing love. By the word of the LORD were the heavens made, their starry host by the breath of his mouth. He gathers the waters of the sea into jars ; he puts the deep into storehouses. Let all the earth fear the LORD; let all the people of the world revere him. For he spoke, and it came to be; he commanded, and it stood firm.

Psa 50:9-12 I have no need of a bull from your stall or of goats from your pens, for every animal of the forest is mine, and the cattle on a thousand hills. I know every bird in the mountains, and the creatures of the field are mine. If I were hungry I would not tell you, for the world is mine, and all that is in it.

2) God can do whatever He wants with His possessions. See Psa 50:9-12 above.

3) God claims 1/10th of our income as His own;

Lev 27:30-32 "'A tithe of everything from the land, whether grain from the soil or fruit from the trees, belongs to the LORD; it is holy to the LORD. . . . The entire tithe of the herd and flock―every tenth animal that passes under the shepherd's rod―will be holy to the LORD.

In Bible times the economy of the nation was based upon crops and animals. These things were often used as currency to buy those things that the family needed. So it's only natural that God referred to the tithe within this culture by having the animals tithed. So every 10th animal―10%―belonged to God, and He designated it as holy. The word "tithe" means a 10th.

God was fare with His people. Since there were good and bad animals in the flocks and herds, God took His losses along with the people.

Lev 27:33 He must not pick out the good from the bad or make any substitution. If he does make a substitution, both the animal and its substitute become holy and cannot be redeemed.'"

If a shepherd found that the 10th animal was flawed in any way and wanted to replace it with one that was perfect, he would forfeit the perfect one, but the flawed one was also the Lord's.

4) God promises to bless us if we are faithful in practicing this principle.

Since the tithe belongs to God, when we do not return it to Him we actually commit robbery. In that way we bring a curse upon our heads―and no earnest Christian wants that. But God also promises a blessing if we're faithful in returning His tithes to Him.

Mal 3:8-10 "Will a man rob God? Yet you rob me. "But you ask, 'How do we rob you?' "In tithes and offerings. You are under a curse―the whole nation of you―because you are robbing me. 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.

Since the tithe belongs to God, where does He want us to bring it and what should be done with it?

In the above text God says: "Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house." In this phrase "storehouse" and "my house" are written in the Hebrew style of parallelism, and refer to the same place. God's house is His temple:

Exo 25:8 "Then have them make a sanctuary for me, and I will dwell among them."

God's house today is His church. So the tithes should be returned to God via His church. But how is the tithe to be used?

Num 18:21-26 "I give to the Levites all the tithes in Israel as their inheritance in return for the work they do while serving at the Tent of Meeting. From now on the Israelites must not go near the Tent of Meeting, or they will bear the consequences of their sin and will die. It is the Levites who are to do the work at the Tent of Meeting and bear the responsibility for offenses against it. This is a lasting ordinance for the generations to come. They will receive no inheritance among the Israelites. Instead, I give to the Levites as their inheritance the tithes that the Israelites present as an offering to the LORD. That is why I said concerning them: 'They will have no inheritance among the Israelites.'" The LORD said to Moses, "Speak to the Levites and say to them: 'When you receive from the Israelites the tithe I give you as your inheritance, you must present a tenth of that tithe as the Lord's offering.

The Apostle Paul drew attention to the use of tithe in the spiritual economy of Israel:

1 Cor 9:13, 14 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? In the same way, the Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should receive their living from the gospel.

Paul tells us that the same system of tithing that was practiced in ancient Israel should continue in the Christian church. And he makes it plain that this is to be used for those who preach the gospel.

So to answer your question: God does not give us the right to choose how the tithes are to be used. They are to be used for the payment of those who work for God in His church. That would primarily include ministers, evangelists, and others who are directly working for the Lord in His church.

 

The Yearly Tithe


Question: In Deuteronomy 14, it says to tithe every year and then eat it before God.

Answer: There are a number of texts about tithe in Deuteronomy that seem to contradict others in Leviticus and Numbers, namely: Deut. 12.6, 11, 17; 14.22-29; 26:12-15. It seems here that the tithe is to be eaten by the giver before the Lord, and in the third year it is to be kept at home and used to feed the Levite, widow, etc. Perhaps, before we go into these references, it would be good for us to explore a little of the background of the tithe.

Tithe is a very important part of the Christian's life for it reveals his relationship to God. God created all things and so He owns all things.

  • Psa 50:9-12 I have no need of a bull from your stall or of goats from your pens, for every animal of the forest is mine, and the cattle on a thousand hills. I know every bird in the mountains, and the creatures of the field are mine. If I were hungry I would not tell you, for the world is mine, and all that is in it.

  • When God asks us to return to Him the tithe, He is not asking us to give anything to Him: He only asks us to return to Him 10% of what He owns already. We can keep the rest. If that isn't a good deal, I don't know what is.

    As we realize what God has done for us and how little He asks us in return, it should fill us with gratitude. God made the worldand us. He bought it all backafter we sinned and wrecked His beautiful world. But now He says He'll let us keep 90% of all He gives to usfigured only on our increase.

    I don't know about you, but that fills me with awe, thankfulness, love. I want to show God how much I appreciate all His gifts. You see, I'm not just spouting off a doctrine here, but I'm telling you my own personal experience. I also give Him gifts to show how much I love Him. And these gifts come from my 90%, because the other 10% is already His.

    How should the tithe be handled? Since the tithe belongs to God He has the right to do with it anything He pleases. He could have us bury it or dump it into the seaor even pave our roads with it (like in the New Jerusalem). But God chose instead to give it to those who worked in the temple or to the Levites, who worked as pastors and spiritual teachers in the cities and towns throughout the land.

  • Num 18:21, 26 "I give to the Levites all the tithes in Israel as their inheritance in return for the work they do while serving at the Tent of Meeting. . . . 26 "Speak to the Levites and say to them: 'When you receive from the Israelites the tithe I give you as your inheritance, you must present a tenth of that tithe as the Lord's offering.

  • And you'll notice that even the Levites, who were paid through the tithe, were to pay tithe on their increase as well.

    Malachi shows us how important it is to return the tithe to God:

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

  • The prophet shows us here how important God's requirement is. It's not a voluntary matter, if we want to be His faithful children. But God's stark warning is followed by a blessing given to those who are faithful:

  • Mal 3:10 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.

  • Now, with that background, let's go to the verses about which you asked:

  • Deu 12:6 there bring your burnt offerings and sacrifices, your tithes and special gifts, what you have vowed to give and your freewill offerings, and the firstborn of your herds and flocks.

  • Deu 12:11 Then to the place the LORD your God will choose as a dwelling for his Name--there you are to bring everything I command you: your burnt offerings and sacrifices, your tithes and special gifts, and all the choice possessions you have vowed to the LORD.

  • Deu 12:17 You must not eat in your own towns the tithe of your grain and new wine and oil, or the firstborn of your herds and flocks, or whatever you have vowed to give, or your freewill offerings or special gifts.

  • God is dealing, in Deut 12, primarily with the importance of worshiping God in a central place"the place the LORD your God will choose as a dwelling for his Name."

    Let's go on:

  • Deu 14:22-29 (NIV) Be sure to set aside a tenth of all that your fields produce each year. Eat the tithe of your grain, new wine and oil, and the firstborn of your herds and flocks in the presence of the LORD your God at the place he will choose as a dwelling for his Name, so that you may learn to revere the LORD your God always. But if that place is too distant and you have been blessed by the LORD your God and cannot carry your tithe (because the place where the LORD will choose to put his Name is so far away), then exchange your tithe for silver, and take the silver with you and go to the place the LORD your God will choose. Use the silver to buy whatever you like: cattle, sheep, wine or other fermented drink, or anything you wish. Then you and your household shall eat there in the presence of the LORD your God and rejoice. And do not neglect the Levites living in your towns, for they have no allotment or inheritance of their own. At the end of every three years, bring all the tithes of that year's produce and store it in your towns, so that the Levites (who have no allotment or inheritance of their own) and the aliens, the fatherless and the widows who live in your towns may come and eat and be satisfied, and so that the LORD your God may bless you in all the work of your hands.

  • This passage describes actions regarding the tithe that are in direct opposition to the Scriptures we read that tell us about use God wants His people to make the tithe weto provide an income for the priests and Levites. So what's going on here?

    I see two main differences:

  • The tithe in Deuteronomy is required by the Lord, but kept by the family which brought it to the sanctuary. In Leviticus and Numbers the tithe belonged exclusively to God, and He gave it to the Levites and the priests.

  • The tithe in Deuteronomy was to be used by the family for a fellowship meal which they ate at the central Sanctuary. In Leviticus and Numbers the tithe was to be eaten only by the Levites and the priests.

  • While we're at it, perhaps we should note that the Israelites were required to give a tithe of their increase to the king as well.

  • 1 Sam 8:15 He will take a tenth of your grain and of your vintage and give it to his officials and attendants.

  • This cannot be the tithe that God apportioned to the Levites. This must be a second titheabove and beyond God's tithe. And I believe that's what you have in Deut. 14: God is prescribing that they should use this second tithe to take part in the celebrations at the central sanctuary.

    God also provided that this second tithe should be kept at home in the third year and used to provide food for the family, Levites, widows, orphans, and aliens (perhaps poor aliens?).

    In Deut. 14:26, God let the people use their (second) tithe to provide food for the celebration that they enjoyed in the Temple area. (This could include anywhere in or around Jerusalem.) Those who made these preparations were also to see to it that Levites, widows, orphans, poor people, and even aliens were invited to enjoy the benefit of what they were able to provide with this (second) tithe.

     

    Tithing for a Small Business

    Question: My questions is that for a small business the way I understand the tithe is that you tithe on income after expenses because as a small business we couldn't pay on all of our income, just the net income.

    Answer: As you know, the tithe is figured on the increase, or as we would say: the income or profits. Here are some of the texts upon which this concept is based (both texts from KJV):

  • Deu 14:22 Thou shalt truly tithe all the increase of thy seed, that the field bringeth forth year by year.

  • Prov 3:9, 10: 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.

  • So a business would tithe the profits, the money that is left over after the expenses have been paid.

    I wish you success in your business. God has promised a blessing on those who return His tithes to Him. As God says through Malachi:

  • Mal 3:10 (NIV) 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.

  •  

    Tithe of Non-working Spouse

    Question: What about a non working spouse? Does she tithe her husband's earnings?

    Answer: A lot depends upon the husband's belief in God as the Creator/Owner/Savior of the world and of himself as a person. It also depends upon his understanding of tithe as belonging to God and to Whom we should return it.

    Talk it over with him. Help him to see the wonder of accepting God as Creator/Owner/Savior. Read to him Mal. 3:8-10. Emphasize the parts about God wanting us to test Him in this. This is the only place in the Bible where God asks us to test Him. In every other matter we must depend upon Him by faith.

    Then show your husband the blessings that God has promised to those who are faithful. Ask him to join with you in this endeavor, perhaps for a trial period of six months or whatever you decide. Then pray with him and daily for himand that God will show His power and blessing in this.

    If your husband will not accept the challenge that God places before him, then you are not responsible to tithe his money. However, you could perhaps consider tithing that which he allows you as your portion.

    These are only suggestions. What you do regarding the tithe is between you and God. No one can tell you how much of the income you should tithe. This is a matter of agreement between you and your Partneryour Father in heaven. Spend much time in prayer before you approach your husband, if that's the course you decide. At any rate, pray that God will reveal to youby whatever means He chooseswhat you should do in this matter.

     

    Tithing Gifts

    Question: How do the gifts we receive―such as a car, food, tuition for school, and others―figure into the tithing picture? Should we tithe them? Is there a difference in the way different gifts are tithed?

    Answer: I cannot give you specific answers to these questions because what you do is between you and God. But There are some guidelines that may be of help:

  • Are these gifts an increase?

  • Money or other remuneration your receive as the result of misfortune is probably not an increase. This would include insurance payments for accident or illness; food that was necessary for surviving a disaster or when funds are low; There are many more, but you get the picture.

  • Is the gift something you can use?

  • You certainly would not need to pay tithe on a gift chimpanzee. }:o) It would be more of a liability than a increase. Many gifts have little or no actual useful value. They would certainly not be an increase.

  • Gifts such as tuition for school are more of an investment than an increase. You will be tithing the increase that comes to you as a result of the investment. If someone else pays it for you, it seems to me that the same principle would apply.

  • Pray about it. God is your Partner in this. It is He who asks you to tithe, and He will help you to decide what should be tithed.

     

    Pay Back Tithe?

    Question: During a recent lull in my Christian experience I have fallen behind in my tithe and see no way of catching up. What does the Bible have to say about this? Do I just ask God to forgive my selfishness, or I am I obliged to make an effort to return these tithes even if it takes me the rest of my life?

    Answer: Many people have experiences like yours, but few ask the question about whether or not to pay back tithe. Obviously you have had a real experience with the Lord, for which I'm so very happy, or you wouldn't even think of such a thing. Praise the Lord!

    God wouldn't do anything to discourage you from your repentance and your return to Him. But there is one more step that He expects us to take when we come to Him, and that is restitution. This is, in some cases, the hardest step to take, but it proves that our new relationship with the Lord is the genuine article.

    God’s grace has saved us because we have repented and confessed our sins to Himaccepting Christ as our personal Savior. But God knows that if we don’t take care of past business we’ll only carry the baggage around. It will discourage us, dog our steps, and it could eventually destroy our relationship with Him. That’s why He asks us to restore those things we have takenthings, reputation (by gossip, etc.), or healthinsofar as it lies in our power to do so.

    There are many texts in the Bible that speak about making restitution for those things that we've taken.

  • Ezek 33:14, 15 (KJV) Again, when I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; if he turn from his sin, and do that which is lawful and right; If the wicked restore the pledge, give again that he had robbed, walk in the statutes of life, without committing iniquity; he shall surely live, he shall not die.

  • Ezekiel gives us the act of robbery as one example of restitution; but, of course, the principle applies to most situations.

    Jesus met with a situation that is not unlike yours:

  • Luke 19:8-10 But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, "Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount." Jesus said to him, "Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost."

  • Jesus knew Zacchaeus' repentance was genuine because of his willingness to make restitution for past sins. This incident was based on the biblical principle found in Exodus:

  • Exo 22:1-4 If a man steals an ox or a sheep and slaughters it or sells it, he must pay back five head of cattle for the ox and four sheep for the sheep. . . . A thief must certainly make restitution, but if he has nothing, he must be sold to pay for his theft. If the stolen animal is found alive in his possessionwhether ox or donkey or sheephe must pay back double.

  • All through the books of Moses this is a recurring theme: if someone takes something he is to make restitutionand usually there is a penalty as well. I'm not sure how this fits into your situation, but I feel it necessary to reveal to you what the Bible says on this subject.

    I stole a guitar from a man when I was about 14. I took it out of his house, thinking that he had sold the house and then deserted it like all of his neighbors had done to theirs (Urban Development!). A couple of days later I saw the man with a trailer backed up to his front door, loading it with things that were in the house. I was frightened and ran. Twenty-five years later I felt guilty about it and tried to find him. I had moved away (at the time I was pastor on Pitcairn Island), so I asked a friend if he would be so kind as to find a record of the man's name and his whereabouts. After so long a time it was doubtfuland in the end it proved impossible. I then had to accept God’s forgiveness as final.

    Another time (when I was younger) I was guilty of shop-lifting. Feeling remorse, I went to the store owner and offered to pay for the item I’d taken. He accepted the money and forgave me for the incident.

    There are many ways to make restitution, but you must be willing to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit in the matter. He will show you what is right, and He is the ONLY Counselor that you can fully trust.

    In the matter of missed tithe, if the Holy Spirit convicts you to repay it, He will also work with you as to how you can pay it back and make it possible for you to do it. God is not unreasonable. He loves you and wants His relationship with you to growright on into the heavenly Kingdom.

     

    Where to Return the Tithe

    Question: Tithing applied to the Levitical priesthood. The book of Hebrews says we are now under the priesthood of Christ. Where should we take our tithe today? Please quote from the new testament.

    Answer: I wonder why you want to restrict yourself to the New Testament. Christianity as we know it today would not exist without the entire Biblebeginning with Genesis. Christ and the apostles based their theology upon those Scriptures that we call the Old Testament. If you honestly read through the New Testament and note all the places where the writers refer to the Old Testament for support, you'd be surprised. Revelation, for instance, quotes Old Testament passages over 300 times in its 276 verses.

    With that preamble, let me refer you to tithing before the Levitical priesthood.

  • Gen 14:18-20 Then Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine. He was priest of God Most High, and he blessed Abram, saying, "Blessed be Abram by God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth. And blessed be God Most High, who delivered your enemies into your hand." Then Abram gave him a tenth of everything.

  • Abram gave a tithe of all that he had gained in battle (which legally belonged to him) to Melchizedek, who was a priest of God Most High. But he wasn't a Levite.

    Notice another example:

  • Gen 28:20-22 Then Jacob made a vow, saying, "If God will be with me and will watch over me on this journey I am taking and will give me food to eat and clothes to wear so that I return safely to my father's house, then the LORD will be my God and this stone that I have set up as a pillar will be God's house, and of all that you give me I will give you a tenth."

  • Nothing is said as to whom Jacob entrusted the tenth that he gave to God. But the fact that he willingly gave his tithe to God is unmistakable.

    After God organized His people into a nation He required both tithes and offerings from every family.

    Lev 27:30-32 "'A tithe of everything from the land, whether grain from the soil or fruit from the trees, belongs to the LORD; it is holy to the LORD. . . . The entire tithe of the herd and flockevery tenth animal that passes under the shepherd's rodwill be holy to the LORD.

    God required that the offerings that His people brought to Him be perfect (Lev. 22.21, 22). You see, if the offerings weren't perfect, it would reveal that the one who brought it had an imperfect motive.

    But the tithe didn't necessarily have to be perfect. "Every tenth animal . . ." If the animal was defective, God accepted His losses right along with the tither.

    In the economy of Israel, the Levites did not receive any land area of their own like the other tribes. They were given certain cities with the land that surrounded them. But the Levites received the tithe of the Israelites as their portion of inheritance in Canaan.

  • Num 18:21 "I give to the Levites all the tithes in Israel as their inheritance in return for the work they do while serving at the Tent of Meeting.

  • God created everything and so He owns everything. But He only requires us to return 10% of all our increase to Him. And He feels quite strongly about it. The tithe belongs to Him, not to us, and He says that if we withhold it from Him we are in reality robbing Him.

  • Mal 3:8-10 "Will a man rob God? Yet you rob me. "But you ask, 'How do we rob you?' "In tithes and offerings. You are under a cursethe whole nation of youbecause you are robbing me. 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.

  • If we refuse to return the tithe to our heavenly Owner, we are under the curse of God. But when we return it, God promises wonderful blessings to us.

    The same principle of tithing carried over into the New Testament and into the Christian church. In Matthew 23 Jesus chastised the Scribes and Pharisees for at least seven major errors. Within these woes we find this interesting statement:

  • Mat 23:23 "Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spicesmint, dill and cummin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the lawjustice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former.

  • Jesus made it clear, then, that their tithing was OK, but they didn't couple it with justice, mercy and faithfulness. So the system of tithing we found in the OT now has been condoned by Jesus Himself. And in case we might think we misunderstand what Jesus said, Paul points out that it should be used in the Christian church just as it was in the Israelite temple services:

  • 1 Cor 9:13, 14 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? In the same way, the Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should receive their living from the gospel.

  • So Paul explains that the system of ministerial support has not changed: The tithe principal is just as valid and important in the Christian church today, as it was in ancient Israel. And it should be used in the same wayto support those who give themselves wholly to spreading the gospel and caring for those in the church.

    Where should the tithe go? It should go to the church and/or to the governing body which pays the wages of those who work for God through His church.

    Some churches are congregational in their financingthey hire their own pastor, etc. They are not dependant on any "denomination." The tithe, in this case, should go to the local church.

    Some churches are part of a group of sister churches which work together for the preaching of the gospel. These groups are sometimes called "denominations." In these groups there is usually a governing bodya conference, board, etc.which handles the payment of the salaries of pastors and evangelists, etc. In this case the tithe should go to the local church, which in turn passes it on to the governing body so it can care for the financial needs of those who work for the Lord through His church.