By Ray Smith
Since first posting this tithing paper on bible-truths.com, we have had hundreds of thousands of visitors seeking information on this topic.
Many have written me personally thanking me for freeing them from this illegal and abusive practice of the Church.
I have also received emails from some who are sure that tithing is a bonafide legal obligation for members of the New Testament Christian Church.
Objections to my paper range from simply quoting the prophet Malachi sent to the priests and nation of Israel: “Wherein have we robbed Thee? In tithes and offerings. Ye are cursed with a curse….” While others who can find absolutely no Scriptural authority for Christians to tithe, invent clever little doctrines like this:
“Tithing was a form of worship to God, and since we still worship God, we must still tithe.”
I will answer this one in one sentence: Since burnt offerings were a form of worshiping God, and since we still worship God, must we still offer burnt offerings to God? … Ridiculous.
“Will a man ROB God?” How many untold tens of thousands of men will give account one day for teaching this verse in Malachi 3:8 totally out of context for their own sordid gain.
I couldn’t count the times I have heard self-appointed ministers of the gospel berate their congregations and listeners for “robbing God” in tithes and offerings. This verse in Malachi certainly means what it says. Someone was defrauding God of tithes and offerings, but wait until you find out who it is that God blames for this act. On any given Sunday morning there will be numerous men-of-the-cloth who will be bellowing out over the air waves that people are being “cursed with a curse” because they have failed to pay God ten percent of their paychecks.
And should such a gullible listener decide to repent and give God ten percent of his salary, just how would he do that? Just keep reading.
These men of the cloth who often have unquenchable worldly desires of the flesh, will be sure to give you an address where you can send them (or, ah, rather God) your tithe.
And do they have a right to quote these Scriptures in this manner? No they do not, and furthermore they themselves know better.
SOME SHOCKING TRUTHS ABOUT THE CHRISTIAN TITHING DOCTRINE
- Abraham never tithed on his own personal property or livestock.
- Jacob wouldn’t tithe until God blessed him first.
- Only Levite priests could collect tithes, and there are no Levite priests today.
- Only food products from the land were tithable.
- Money was never a tithable commodity.
- Christian converts were never asked to tithe anything to the Church.
- Tithing in the Church first appears centuries after completion of the Bible.
ALL SCRIPTURAL REFERENCES TO TITHING
We will now go through all the Scriptural references in the Bible on tithe, tithes, and tithing:
Gen. 14:20, “And blessed be the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand. And he [Abram] gave him [Melchizedek king of Salem, the priest of the most high God, Ver. 18] TITHES of all [all the goods of war, Ver. 16].”
There are a number of things we can learn concerning tithing from this section of Scriptures. In this, the first mention of tithing in the Bible, Abram gives to Melchizedek (a priest of God who was also the king of the city of Salem) a tithe of the best of the booty taken in war.
There is nothing stated here that would cause us to conclude that Abram (later changed to Abraham) ever tithed on a regular basis on his own person possessions.
Next we will observe a Scripture that you will probably never hear a sermon on. No tithe-preaching clergyman would use the example of how Jacob tithed.
Wow! This one Scripture pretty much contradicts 99% of all sermons I have ever heard on the subject of tithing! This is the very first Scripture in the Bible that gives an account of someone giving a tenth or tithe of his personal possessions back to God. But, oh how different it is from the teachings of most Christian Churches.
First Jacob truly recognizes God as God. He then begins to proposition God. He states that “IF” God will do this and “IF’ God will do the other things, “THEN” Jacob says, “shall the Lord be my God.”
Jacob concludes his proposition to God, should God meet all of his requirements, by saying that of all the things that God will first give to Jacob, Jacob will give God back a tenth. Now don’t laugh. God honored Jacob’s proposition, and furthermore, God continued to honor this same principle of tithing all through Israel’s history. As Paul said, “Now what have you which you did not obtain?” (I Cor. 4:7) All that we possess comes from God.
And so, once more, we learn that Israel was not to tithe on what they did not first possess, unlike those today who teach that it is required to tithe on that which one does not already possess.
God is not partial and God is not a hypocrite. This example of Jacob proves that God doesn’t expect a tithe until He blessed the tithe payer first. Everyone should put down this paper, call his minister, and tell him you want to hear a sermon Sunday morning on how Jacob paid tithes to God. Now hold your breath.
Let’s ask ourselves a reasonable question: Just how did Jacob actually give a tithe to God? Did he personally hand it to God? No, no one has ever even seen God. Did Jacob tithe to an angel? No, angels do not need and can’t use tithes. Did Jacob send his tithe to Heaven by Celestial Express? No. Did he take it to the local church? No, there was no local church. Did he take it to the Temple? No, there was no temple. Did he give it directly to one of the Levitic priests? No, there were no Levites as yet. Well how then did Jacob tithe to God? Was it even possible? Yes, there were actually two different ways that Jacob could tithe to God:
- “And thither ye shall bring your burnt offerings, and your sacrifices, and your TITHES, and heave offerings of your hand, and your vows, and your freewill offerings, and the firstlings of your herds and of your flocks: And there ye shall eat before the Lord your God, and ye shall rejoice in all that ye put your hand unto, YE and YOUR HOUSEHOLDS, wherein the Lord thy God hath blessed thee”(Deut. 12:6-7).
- “And even though there were no Levites in Jacob’s day, nonetheless, there were “…the STRANGER, and the FATHERLESS, and the WIDOW, which are within thy gates, shall come, and SHALL EAT AND BE SATISFIED; that the Lord thy God may bless thee in all the work of thin hand which thou doest” (Deut. 14:29).
That’s how God acknowledged a tithe from Jacob: By partaking of a portion himself and his family in communion and thanksgiving to God, and by sharing his fortune with those who were unfortunate, poor, strangers, etc.
We learn a great deal about tithing in this section of Scripture:
- The tithe comes from the “land,” not the air or the sea. Fishermen were not required to tithe fish.
- It was the “seed” or agricultural products from the fields that was holy to God and tithable.
- Products from “trees” were to be tithed. This not only included the fruit, but oils, etc.
- Of “herds or flocks” it was the “tenth” that passed under the rod that was holy and dedicated to God.
Here is exposed another lie of modern clergymen. It was not the first tenth, but rather the tenth tenth that belonged to God, contrary to every minister I have ever heard, who insists that the first tenth always belongs to God. Unscriptural. Untrue. Read your bible–it’s the tenth one of a herd that belongs to God.
Another interesting point is this. If a herdsman had but nine cattle, he didn’t tithe his cattle at all! Also notice that God did not even require the best of the cattle, just the tenth one to pass under the rod even if it was the runtiest of them all. Remember, we are talking about tithing and not sacrificing (animals for sacrifice always had to be without blemish.)
Did you notice that this summary at the very end of the book of Leviticus does not mention the tithing of money? Interesting. But just maybe we will find the tithing of money in some other Scripture?
A warning to all charlatans and would-be tithe extractors and collectors: There is NO temple of God being officiated in Jerusalem today. Yet today we have tithe collecting preachers like James Kennedy and John Hagee, with whom I am a little familiar, collecting tithe monies by the millions and millions of dollars annually.
Yet by year’s end I heard them begging for more multiple millions of dollars to get them out of all the financial debt they had accumulated during the year. And then, (so help me, if I’m lying, I’m dying), John Hagee has the unmitigated gall to offer his followers (excuse me, sell to his followers–three video tapes, $60 US/$87 CAN) entitled The POWER to get WEALTH, by which Mr. Hagee assures us that we can learn to “STAY OUT OF DEBT”! Can you believe it? Would the word “hypocrite” be too strong or out of place here?
The whole system changed under the New Covenant. Notice what happened:
- Jesus said the temple would be utterly destroyed
“And, coming out, Jesus sent from the sanctuary. And His disciples approached to exhibit to Him the buildings of the sanctuary. Yet He, answering, said to them, ‘Are you not observing all these? Verily, I am saying to you, Under no circumstances may a stone here be left on a stone, which shall not be DEMOLISHED.’” (Matt. 24:1-2).
- Under the New Covenant, God does not dwell in temples made with hands,
“The God Who makes the world and all that is in it, He, the Lord inherent of heaven and earth, is NOT dwelling in temples made by hands…” (Acts 17:24).
- The true believers under the New Covenant are now God’s temple,
“For YOU ARE THE TEMPLE OF THE LIVING GOD, according as God said, that I will be making My home and will be walking in them, and I will be their God, and they shall be My people” (II Cor. 6:16).
See also, (I Cor. 3:15 and I Cor. 1:19).
- All theologians know that when the temple ceased, the priesthood officiating at the temple CEASED!
- Each individual believer under the New Covenant forms a NEW priesthood,.
How then, under the New Covenant, does a believer give a tenth, when he is supposed to give his all (Rom. 12:1), to a priesthood that does not exist, but now he himself is part of a priesthood (I Peter 2:9), at a temple that does not exist (Mat. 24:1-2), but rather he himself is the temple wherein God dwells? No longer do we have priests with spiritual infirmities interceding for us, but rather we have Christ Jesus as our perfect intercessor and High Priest seated at the right hand of the Majesty in the heavens (Heb. 7:28-8:1).
How stupid do they think the American people are? These are full-grown men. Some of them highly educated people. And yet they shamelessly hawk and huckster their ridiculous religious doctrines, trinkets, and wares over the air waves, like PEDDLERS, in the name of God!
And notice please that it is not just a few who “peddle” the Word of God, but Paul says, “…the MAJORITY…”are peddling the word of God! Contrast this insincere merchandising of the word of God with Paul’s motive:
Now I’m going to preach at you for just a few minutes, and then I’ll let you go. Turn to Gal. 6:14-16:
“Now may it not be mine to be boasting, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision is anything, but a NEW CREATION. And whoever shall observe the elements by this rule, peace be on them, and mercy, also on the Israel of God.”
HELP THE NEEDY, NOT THE GREEDY
Give to the fatherless, the orphans, the strangers, the widows, the poor, and the needy, the homeless, and the beggar on the street, as God gives to you, the wherewithal. Give to reputable charities if you have extra. Give to your family members and relatives in need—don’t humiliate them by making them ask you first. Give to a neighbor in financial distress. Even when tipping someone, let it be a reflection of the One that you are representing in your Christian walk. Our God is a generous God—may you become generous also. Develop a “love for giving.” Paul tells us in Acts 20:35b to:
Remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how He said, “IT IS MORE BLESSED TO GIVE THAN TO RECEIVE.”