Our perspective on tithing
There is much debate amongst believers in the Church today as to whether “tithing” is a New Testament practice; or whether it “fell away” with the law. Every believer should understand what the Bible and the Lord really says regarding tithing and giving to the local church.
The practice of tithing
The practice of tithing started as an act of WORSHIP; not Law. It was first mentioned when Abraham gave Melchizedek a “tithe of everything” from his spoils of battle (Gen 14:17-20). Melchizedek was a type of Christ; if not Christ Himself; appearing to Abraham (see point 3). The giving of the first 10% of one’s income/harvest/wealth was practised by other communities as well. It was an ACT OF WORSHIP and honour; not a requirement of law. Jacob, later in Gen 28:20-22, 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 … of all that you give me I will give you a tenth.” The PRACTICE of tithing was before the Law; and based on worship and honour to God; not legal obligation. So if the practice was not initially part of the law; why would it fall away with the law?
The principle of tithing
- The Principle of first fruits
This simple principle means that the first 10% of all that I earn belongs to God. It implies that we give to God first, then steward the rest with His wisdom. It is holy to Him; and is not mine to use. Why would this principle fall away with the Old Testament?
- The Priesthood we tithe to
Rick Joyner once asked the Lord whether tithing was still applicable under the New Covenant; the Lord answered him and asked “What Priesthood are you a part of?” Then led him to the following Scripture:
Hebrews 7:1 – 6, 17 says: 1 “This Melchizedek was king of Salem and priest of God Most High. He met Abraham returning from the defeat of the kings and blessed him, 2 and Abraham gave him a tenth of everything. First, his name means ‘king of righteousness’; then also, ‘king of Salem’ means ‘king of peace’. 3 Without father or mother, without genealogy, without beginning of days or end of life, like the Son of God he remains a priest forever. 4 Just think how great he was: Even the patriarch Abraham gave him a tenth of the plunder! 5 Now the law requires the descendants of Levi who become priests to collect a tenth from the people–that is, their brothers–even though their brothers are descended from Abraham. 6 This man, however, did not trace his descent from Levi, yet he collected a tenth from Abraham and blessed him who had the promises. …17 It is declared: [speaking of Jesus] You are a priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.”
If Jesus is still our High Priest – is He not still worthy of receiving the tithe?
Purpose of tithing
Once God established the Tabernacle with Israel (as a type of the Church) He appointed the Levites to be full-time workers in the ministry; they did not have land or inheritance; the tithe of Israel was their inheritance. The only way the Levites were provided for was from the tithes of the other 11 tribes (so they received more than a tenth of what Israel had; but then they all tithed to the high priest). We still have “levites” (full-time workers) in the ministry today – and how else are they able to earn an income other than the tithes of the members who benefit from their labours?
Numbers 18:21-24: 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. 22 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. 23 It is the Levites who are to do the work at the Tent of Meeting and bear the responsibility for offences against it. This is a lasting ordinance for the generations to come. They will receive no inheritance among the Israelites. 24 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.’”
Numbers 18:25-29 says: 25“The LORD said to Moses, 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. 27 Your offering will be reckoned to you as grain from the threshing floor or juice from the winepress. 28 In this way you also will present an offering to the LORD from all the tithes you receive from the Israelites. From these tithes you must give the LORD’s portion to Aaron the priest. 29 You must present as the LORD’s portion the best and holiest part of everything given to you.’”
The promises of tithing
We understand that the curse of the law has passed away; but no person would ever claim that the promises of the Old Covenant have passed away! We still stand on Psalm 91 as our promise of protection; and stand on the blessings of Abraham listed in Deuteronomy; for example.
We all know and teach from Malachi 3 concerning the tithe, and can still stand on these promises. It is the only promise ever in Scripture where God tells us to, TEST HIM IN THIS.
Mal 3:8-12: 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. [*NOTE: Jesus became a curse for us to release us from the curse – we don’t focus on the potential curse and give out of fear; we embrace the promises that follow this verse to give out of FAITH] 10 Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse [The place where the people worshipped, were fed spiritually, fellowshipped = YOUR LOCAL CHURCH today], 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. 11 I will prevent pests from devouring your crops, and the vines in your fields will not cast their fruit,’ says the LORD Almighty. 12 ‘Then all the nations will call you blessed, for yours will be a delightful land,’ says the LORD Almighty.”
We can still stand on every promise concerning tithing and giving that was declared in the Old Testament (including Proverbs 3:9-10).
We believe that the practice; principle; Priesthood; purposes and promises regarding tithing have not passed away; and are just as relevant to the Church today as they were to Israel, which was the Old Testament of the Church.