My goal is to write articles that go against the flow to pique discussion, offer a different perspective, and connect some dots.
What is called ‘tithing’ today is a mandated religious church practice that requires the monetary donations as a means to fill their coffers. The institutional church Pastor will often say that tithing is a form of worship and God has commanded us to be faithful in this ordinance in the church system. We supposedly will not receive God’s blessing in our lives if we do not. The tithe speech has been done so many different ways to coerce the masses to give more and more. Unfortunately, many have bought into pressure and manipulation tactics concerning tithing. As a result, many are in bondage to a hierarchical man-driven religious system. Many do not realize that most of the money that is 'tithed' goes towards paying the large overhead costs of the church building, including paying for the salaries and benefits of their employees. Many fail to understand that the tithe is defunct practice.
The Three-Part Taxation System
The history of the tithe comes from ancient Israel, where God instituted a three-part taxation system. First, a portion of the products of the land was used to support the Levite priests because they had no inheritance in Canaan.
For the tithe of the people of Israel, which they present as a contribution to the LORD, I have given to the Levites for an inheritance. Therefore I have said of them that they shall have no inheritance among the people of Israel.
— Numbers 18:24
Second, a tithe from the produce of the land would go towards a festival tithe to sponsor religious festivals that were held in Jerusalem.
You shall tithe all the yield of your seed that comes from the field year by year. And before the LORD your God, in the place that he will choose.
— Deuteronomy 14:22-23
Thirdly, a tithe from the produce from the land would go towards widows, orphans, strangers and local Levites every third year.
At the end of every three years you shall bring out all the tithe of your produce in the same year and lay it up within your towns. And the Levite, because he has no portion or inheritance with you, and the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow.
— Deuteronomy 14:28-29
We see that God commanded three tithes.
On that day men were appointed over the storerooms, the contributions, the firstfruits, and the tithes, to gather into them the portions required by the Law for the priests and for the Levites according to the fields of the towns.
— Nehemiah 12:44
There is a similarity between the tithe in the Torah with today's taxation system. Their purposes are quite similar. Money goes towards government personnel instead of the Levite priests. Also, there is funding for holidays and social programs instead of Jewish festivals and giving to the poor and unprivileged such as the widows and orphans.
The ceremonial law that the Jews were obligated to uphold concerning the tithe is no longer valid upon the destruction of the Temple in AD 70. The tithing ritual that belonged to Israel under God's covenant requires a Levitical priesthood for it to function.
Unfortunately, false leaders within the counterfeit church system are deceiving many. They love to twist Scripture out of context to bilk people of their hard-earned money, saying that they are obligated to tithe. They are purposefully abusing Scripture passages out of context for their own gain.
There is a distinction between tithes given to a Levite priesthood and the 'tithe' in the church system. The Christian 'tithe' is meant to finance the salaries of their clergy and building overhead costs instead of helping the poor, widows and orphans, and those in need. Their tithing message today is meant to coerce the masses into emptying their purses and wallets to support a religious business entity called 'church.'
When a church Pastor demands the tithe, it is about supporting an agenda where religious men and women are allowed to make a living off of people’s backs. Unfortunately, religious men are deciding what people are to do with their money.
Why is it that so many religious ministries make others feel that they are committing a sin for not tithing to them?
Believing in the corrupt interpretation of Scripture to be applied today puts people in bondage. Many are struggling with their finances, yet they feel obligated to give money beyond their means because they are being told that they are supposedly ‘robbing God’ and will not receive a blessing if they don’t tithe.
In the Torah, the tithe was a blessing to the poor. Today, the practice is a curse on those who are struggling to make ends meet. They are being thrown deeper into poverty in hopes of obtaining a ‘blessing’ from God. The application of what is called ‘tithing’ today makes the wealthier person feel good about themselves in front of others, yet the poor have a guilty conscience for not giving enough of what they don't have. Both groups are deceived.
It should be no mystery that the livelihoods of the church clergy are elevated above the rest of the brethren. Paid professionals are on the higher rungs of their pew-warming minions. It is time to wake up from the man-made delusion that is called ‘tithing’ today. It is time to no longer partake of the oppressive church system that greedily desires and panders for money.
Debunking the Lie
Every religious man-made construct called ‘church’ must have the obligatory tithe to survive; otherwise, the whole system would go bankrupt. As their only means for survival, they must twist these following Scripture verses for their own gain.
WILL MAN ROB GOD? Yet you are robbing me. But you say, ‘How have we robbed you?’ In your tithes and contributions.
— Malachi 3:8
BRING THE FULL TITHE into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the LORD of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need.
— Malachi 3:10
These verses are used as the main solicitation to bilk people of their hard-earned money to support their 501(c)3 business called ‘church.’ They are told that this is their moral duty, and denying them the money would breach their relationship with God.
They say, ‘After all, God loves a cheerful giver, it is our moral duty.'
They really mean that you are required to finance their corrupt man-driven ministries. The sad truth is that anyone who has been indoctrinated into ‘tithing’ has spoon-fed their beliefs rather than searching for the truth for themselves.
The common template of 'worship' time within the church system consists of passing around the ‘tithing’ plate with the admonishment to give to God what is His. What they call the ‘tithe’ is not a legitimate form of giving because it is corrupted. The fact is that it does not even resemble the tithe under the ceremonial law in the Torah.
The call to 'moral duty' is promoting greed. The church system must demand that Malachi 3:8 and 3:10 are applicable because it is their only means of survival. The lie and deception today are that ‘tithing’ is deemed as God’s financial plan for His people. This is why the Prosperity Gospel is so popular among many today.
The Institution of the Tithe
To better understand what the tithe was all about, we must look at the origins of the tithe, how it originated, and the legal reasons for why it started. Sadly, many follow their religious authorities and their traditions rather than understanding God's laws.
After the Israelites escaped Egypt, Moses ordained his brother Aaron, a Levite, and his male descendants to become priests before God. These priests would have obligations that consisted of attending to the duties of the tabernacle and the altar. They would offer sacrifices upon the altar as mediators between the people of Israel and God. To assist the priests, God segregated a class of religious workers who would receive compensation for their duties where they received and processed the first fruits of the harvests, the first-born sons, animals, and the sacrificial offerings to be put upon the altar. These priests would receive no inheritance from the land or the nation of Israel because God said He would be their portion.
Yahweh said to Aaron, "You shall have no inheritance in their land, neither shall you have any portion among them. I AM YOUR PORTION AND YOUR INHERITANCE among the children of Israel.
— Numbers 18:20
Since God delivered Israel from the spirit of death on their firstborn when they were enslaved in Egypt, He required that the firstborn sons of each family be dedicated to serving as priests to the people of Israel.
Yahweh spoke to Moses, saying, ”BEHOLD, I HAVE TAKEN THE LEVITES FROM AMONG THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL instead of all the firstborn who open the womb among the children of Israel; and the Levites shall be mine: for all the firstborn are mine. On the day that I struck down all the firstborn in the land of Egypt I made holy to me all the firstborn in Israel, both man and animal. They shall be mine. I am Yahweh."
— Numbers 3:11-13
Levite, High Priest and Priest
Instead of taking each firstborn from the tribes evenly, God set the tribe of Levi apart as priests. In this exchange, a census was required to give an accounting of all the firstborn of Israel and all of the men of the tribe of Levi. When all was added up, the difference was accounted for. The Levites were set apart from the other eleven tribes of Israel and from the normal means of making a living and obtaining sustenance.
The nation of Israel consisted of twelve tribes with a three-tier hierarchical system that reflected their access to God. On top were the Levitical priests, who were a subset of the nation of Israel. Next were the descendants of Aaron (the first High Priest), who were set apart as priests or religious workers. Last were the people of Israel.
The Holy Place and the Holy of Holies were the presence of God was relative to the people’s proximity and their service to Him. Within the sanctuary surrounded by a veil resided the Ark of the Covenant, where God's presence dwelt. Any unauthorized access meant certain death. For this reason, the people relied on the priests to access God on their behalf. The priesthood alone could only have access to enter the sanctuary at appointed times to petition God on their behalf.
Henceforth the children of Israel shall not come near the Tent of Meeting, LEST THEY BEAR SIN, AND DIE.
— Numbers 18:22
Three-Fold Hierarchical Structure
The testament of Scripture reveals that the priest received all the things devoted to God. From the contributions of the other eleven tribes, the Levites received their provisions from the produce of the land.
To the children of Levi, behold, I have given ALL THE TITHE in Israel for an inheritance, in return for their service which they serve, even the service of the Tent of Meeting. – Numbers 18:21
The institution of tithing mirrors a three-fold hierarchical structure.
- Only the Levites were permitted to enter the tabernacle.
- Only the priests were permitted to enter the sanctuary.
- All those who were not Levites contributed a tithe of all they had, recognizing their service.
We should see that those who had less access to God contributed more to those who had more. This structure of the tithe was utterly dependent on hierarchy because the tithe necessitated a Levitical priesthood. Without this priesthood, the tithe would be non-existent.
The Principles of the Tithe
Principle 1 – Numbers 18:21-22
The institution of the tithe depended upon a priesthood of people performing unique services that the rest of God’s people could not perform because of the death penalty. The tithe and the Levitical priesthood as a segregated class were mutually inclusive. You could not have one without the other.
Principle 2 – Numbers 18:23-24
The institution of the tithe as a means to support the priests and the Levites because they had no inheritance of the land.
The institution of the tithe must presume a physical sanctuary that includes a holy of holies where only designated people could enter. Without its existence, the priests, Levites, and the tithe would not exist. Everything else was dependent upon these things. Tithing rests on a segregated class of people. Otherwise, the obligation fails.
Tithing does not apply to the body of Christ. It should be evident that the ceremonial laws do not apply to those among the ekklesia today. The system of the physical tabernacle with the old covenant priesthood has changed where we can become temples of the Holy Spirit where Christ is our High Priest.
Unfortunately, this fact is completely ignored within the man-driven institutional church system.
The ceremonial laws of Moses applied specifically to the Jewish people.
For what great nation is there, that has a god so near to them, as Yahweh our God is whenever we call on him? What great nation is there, that has STATUTES AND ORDINANCES so righteous as all this law, which I set before you this day?
— Deuteronomy 4:7
He shows his word to Jacob; HIS STATUTES AND HIS ORDINANCES TO ISRAEL. He has not done this for just any nation. They don't know his ordinances. Praise Yah!
— Psalm 47:19-20
An ordinance is not binding on those to whom it has not been given. Also, to say that tithing applies would require a Temple and Levitical priesthood.
To serve the false tabernacle and altar in what is called ‘church’ with their hierarchical priesthood and salaried clergy. All those who partake in this practice are butchering a form of something from the Mosaic law.
The Tithe of Abraham
Some will insist that the tithe is still valid today because it preceded the Mosaic covenant because Abraham tithed to God’s high priest. That is one of the reasons Christians believe the obligation still stands. Many fail to see that his tithe was merely a one-time event. There was no legislative significance in this reference to adhere to tithing. To construe Abraham’s tithe to be commanded of all his spiritual descendants is farfetched.
The legislation of God can be found in several references in Scripture, but there was no general rule of conduct mandated by God. In the case of Abraham, it was an individual act suited to the circumstances of that time. Singular acts done by men in Scripture cannot be cherry-picked and deemed as the rule of law in a legislative capacity based on a single inference.
All the instances of tithes that were given to God were via a priesthood. Abraham paid his tithe to a Melchizedek priest of God. There is no example in Scripture of giving a tithe directly to God Himself because it had to be someone physically tangible.
Today, there is no earthly functioning priesthood; therefore, there can be no earthly institution of tithing.
The Tithing Scheme
Nowhere in Scripture would you find anyone asking for tithe money like the church system pushes for it. If God sends you on a mission or an assignment, it is His responsibility to provide for you while on the assignment as you walk in faith and obedience. After all, it is His assignment and He is using you for His purposes.
However, if it is your own assignment, you will need to come up with tricks, gimmicks and marketing strategies by drilling for oil first before you can do anything like soliciting for ‘tithe’ money that must take precedence in the endeavour. After all, you are using God for your own purposes.
This is how you can tell whether someone is on an assignment from God or a religious one of their own making.
If you walk into any church building today, they practice ‘tithing’. However, it does not resemble anything like the tithing that took place under the Mosaic law. When you tell them this truth, they will then say they mean 'giving,' but what they really mean is to appeal to the solicitation of the monetary.
When you commonly hear those who preach ‘tithing,’ remember what is needed to support it. It requires going back to the Mosaic law with a functioning Levitical priesthood to collect it.
In the Torah, the tithe was an important part of God's covenant with Israel to compensate the priesthood for their care for the tabernacle and sanctuary. The attempt to maintain the existence of the ceremonial laws in the church system is a futile endeavour.
What is also interesting is that the tithe never applied to money or things made of minerals such as gold and silver, but to plants and animals. The concept of the tithe was based on the increase that came from God, not from income that came from man. It was only the things that God gave that could be included in the tithe. It was not anything that man manufactured.
Then I will give you your rains in their season, and the land shall yield its INCREASE, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit.
— Leviticus 26:4
He will love you, bless you, and multiply you. He will also bless the fruit of your WOMB and the FRUIT of your ground, your GRAIN and your WINE and your OIL, the increase of your HERDS and the young of your FLOCK, in the LAND that he swore to your fathers to give you.
— Leviticus 7:13
The only instance of using coins concerning the tithe can be found in Deuteronomy 14, where the Jewish farmers could buy back the tithes of their crops and cattle with money in place of God's established food tithe.
If a man redeems anything of his tithe, he shall add a fifth part to it.
— Leviticus 27:31
For example, if a farmer wanted to keep his tithe of grain worth $1,000, he could pay the cash amount of $1,200. It would be broken into five parts to get a fifth of the value of the tithe. One-fifth of $1000 would be $200 or 20%.
God defines the tithe as fruits of the land and not money. He instituted a 20% penalty for tithing money. God and Moses did not want the money, but those that insisted on keeping the tithe in this way would cost them, and a fifth part would be added to the monetary value of the tithe. In this sense, we can claim that there was the money of the tithe, but it was used as a penalty.
Do you wonder why there is a penalty?
Why would Moses allow a cash penalty if God didn’t want the tithe to be money?
It is because the Israelites’ hearts were hardened. The same thing happened in the case of divorce, where Moses allowed it, but God never wanted it.
Unfortunately, many hearts today are also hardened because many have imposed their own eisegesis on Scripture by mandating the tithe.
Have you put tithing on trial?
© 2016 PlanksandNails
David Campbell from Winlock, Washington on June 05, 2020:
Too bad you didn't have anything to say about the subject. lol Good work, I will definitely peruse it with more depth, and might borrow some of your ammunition that you have laid out. God bless.
KC McGee on June 05, 2020:
Clearly you've done your homework. Tithing has never been a requirement for those who are in Christ. That doesn't mean that we shouldn't give to those in need. We should aways give where we can. So I agree with this article 100%.
Many great blessings to you.
David Campbell from Winlock, Washington on February 06, 2018:
I would be greatly interested in your MORE concise approach; if anyone can do it, you have proven you are the one. Your attention to detail is absolutely excellent; a sad commentary on what proliferates the pulpits and social media these days - NO attention to detail, mostly denominational mantras and seminary parroting. My style is to study the detail and then write so that the "slowest" ship in the fleet can keep up or at least start thinking. Thanks for your comment, it seems so many could care less these days.
mrdmeyers on January 29, 2018:
This is one of the most concise, clear explanations that I have read, exposing the erroneous teaching of tithing as a serious abuse in the Body of Christ.
(It would be great if a booklet or ebook was created from this message/post)
Just as we do not like anyone encroaching upon our civil liberties, we shouldn't like anyone encroaching upon our "freedom in Christ." (Gal. 2:4)
Our Lord taught, "Freely you have received; freely give." (Matt. 10:8)
The narrative in most churches are counter-productive to the" truth of the gospel," always seeking to "charge" its recipients, such as (as you've clearly stated) a false system that requires a compulsory obligation to pay tithes.
My final point, I'd like to say when someone says to me, "a requirement to tithe existed before the Law":
... What comes to my mind is how sin also existed before the Law.
"for before the law was given, sin was in the world, but there is no accounting for sin when there is no law" (Rom. 5:13)
I would ask them these questions:
When the Law came, did it change sin? ( I mean, did it make sin of no effect, null and void, not exist any more? )
Ans. No. Of course not! ...
Then what happened to the requirement to tithe that is said to have existed before the Law, WHEN the Law came?
Did the Law make it of no effect?
Did there exist (coexist) simultaneously in history, two separate forms of tithing, in which Israel could choose to follow?
(Remember according to the tithing proponents, Jacob is said to have followed the form of tithing that existed before the law, taught and passed on by his grandfather, Abraham, and so this pre-law tithing would have been known to the Israelites, for sure)
If this was so, then which one of the tithing would have been more superior?
Better yet, was this even a choice for the children of Israel?
How again is this a choice for us today?
Maybe the pre-law form of tithing took a back seat or vanished away, when the Law came :)
The point is, something is greatly wrong with this teaching and it needs to be exposed and eradicated from the Church!
Alan on October 07, 2016:
So you are just angry? I'm just not sure how this level of animosity towards the modern church does anything except create yet another select sect of the "enlightened".
David Campbell from Winlock, Washington on August 20, 2016:
Sadly, the office of "pastor" is not biblical to begin with, but is a spiritual gift for the building up of the body of Christ for the work of the Gospel. The majority of "pastors" do not have the gift but it makes for a good living and the praise and esteem that follows is addictive. If they had the gift, they would know that is for the real Church and they would fight the daily battle against false doctrine and the ever present heresies. The Word, in season and out, not for the praise of men but for the love of the Savior. If one does have the gift, plan on being considered a trouble maker, legalistic or unloving. Trust me though, there are those in our midst who are hungry for the Truth, few they may be but the Spirit is not letting them remain comfortable in their daily lives. When you see people comfortable with the status quo, at best they have become dull of hearing but more likely, they have never known the Lord Jesus Christ.
A thought to ponder: a believer is NOT one who has accepted Christ but is one whom has been ACCEPTED by Christ into the Beloved. We are the "Acceptees" not the "Acceptors".
Neil Braithwaite on August 19, 2016:
Today's church is 99% full of people that simply aren't really "into" Yahweh or Yahshua Messiah. What I mean by this is most people are ignorant about the one true God Yahweh and His son Yahshua. And that ignorance breeds apathy and a desire to find "comfort" in that apathy.
Pastors preach sermons that fit the desires of their church members in an effort to keep them coming back and supporting the system. They know that digging deeper into Yahweh's truths only lead to questions, and the last thing pastors want to do is deal with questions - especially if they are based on finding the truth.
So the bottom line is that today's church system is working well enough to keep the system up and running.
Outside of a global miraculous event of some kind, I don't believe there will any changes to the church system as it is.
David Campbell from Winlock, Washington on August 18, 2016:
We must remember also that in the last days wickedness shall increase as those who perpetuate the deceit are themselves deceived. The "sheeples" are without a clue, believing that the products of the "godly?" cemeteries, I mean seminaries, the "professional" holy men, are to be admired, esteemed and believed above anyone else who has never graced the halls of such a sacred institution. Stay tuned, more to come. Have a great day!!!!
rebecca on August 17, 2016:
excellent Hub. didn't realize...
Neil Braithwaite on August 17, 2016:
While Ive have written on this subject at length on my blog, this post gets to the heart of the problem.
Recent studies show that man's "churches," including denominations and independents, spend on average 85% of their monetary contributions to maintain their corporate institutions.
And most well meaning Christians don't have a clue they are being "played" by the power and money grubbing vocational pastors. The fact is, the church system today needs their members clueless in order to perpetuate false doctrines and continue to use them for personal gain.
And 99.9% of these so-called "christian" churches preach and worship a false god of the trinity.
Sadly, the blind deceiving leaders are leading their blind clueless flocks to the slaughter.
KingdomCome from those of the Ecclesia on August 16, 2016:
PandN- Great article. I just read other article within the past few days on the same subject of tithing, the article pretty much fell in line with what you wrote in this article. The wording of course was different but the truth of it is the same. I'm glad to see truth about tithing coming out.
celafoe also touched on this in his most recent article too. I'm glad the word is getting out there. Thanks for writing your's too and many, many blessing.
David Campbell from Winlock, Washington on August 16, 2016:
Great hub. I used to be a "faithful" tither. About 10 to 15 years ago as I was studying the O.T., I came to the same conclusion as your hub, but from a different direction. It has to do with the Feast of Tabernacles and the Truth of what it means to be generous with what God has bestowed upon His children. You have inspired me to write a hub from my perspective and it is another nail in the coffin of the whole polluted structure of the "modern church" which I believe is starting to be shaken until that which cannot be shaken shall remain. Thanks again, it made my day.