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The tithe offering

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posted on Jul, 24 2015 @ 05:02 PM
The Israelites were expected to give to the Lord one-tenth of their produce, known in English as the tithe.
That is well-known.

What is less well-known (because nobody chooses to highlight the fact) is that the laws offer two different ways of understanding “giving to the Lord”, and therefore two different ways of offering tithes.

In Deuteronomy, “giving something to the Lord” means consuming it yourself, “in the Lord’s presence”, and that is Deuteronomy’s mode of offering the tithe.
“You may not eat within your towns the tithe of your grain or of your wine or of your oil, or the firstlings of your herd or of your flock…but you shall eat them before the Lord in the place which the Lord your God shall choose”- ch12 vv17-18
If it’s not convenient to carry the goods themselves on that long journey, they are allowed to convert the tithes into money, carry the money to the place which God has chosen, and spend the money there on “whatever you desire, oxen or sheep, or wine or strong drink ,whatever your appetite craves”. They will then consume their purchase, on the spot, instead of the original tithes. (ch14 vv24-26)
If everybody was doing this at the same time, then “the place which God has chosen” would be the location of a massive, massive party.
That’s tithing, Deuteronomy style.

How is all this “giving to the Lord”?
Firstly, it is a time of great rejoicing.
“…and you shall rejoice before the Lord your God in all you undertake”- ch12 v20
It is a time for celebrating what God has provided for them and the fact that he has provided for them.
They are recognising God’s blessing in their lives.

Secondly, the good things which God has provided are shared with other people.
Even in ordinary tithing years, the feasting is shared not only with family and servants, but also with “the Levite who is within your towns” (ch12 v18).
But every third year, instead of taking the produce to the central location, they are to “bring it forth and lay it up within your towns”.
Then the whole of that year’s tithe will be shared between the Levite, the sojourner, the fatherless and the widow, who will come and consume it- “that the Lord your God may bless you in all the work of your hands that you do”. (ch14 vv28-29)
So two years out of the three they provide a feast for themselves, and on the third year they provide a feast for other people.

In Numbers, on the other hand, “giving to the Lord” means “giving to the Levites”, as the Lord’s deputies.
“To the Levites I have given every tithe in Israel as an inheritance”- ch18 v21
One-tenth of this tenth is then given by the Levites themselves “as an offering to the Lord… from it you shall give the Lord’s offering to Aaron the priest”- vv28-29
This seems to mean that the Levites would collect the local tithes, and one-tenth of those tithes would then be passed higher up in the organisation.
The whole of the remainder would then be consumed by the Levites- vv30-31

I see reasons for thinking that the Deuteronomy mode of tithing is older than the law which we find in Numbers.
There is the question of when the passages were written.
Modern scholars associate Deuteronomy with the last years of the independent kingdom.
It might even have been “the book of the law” which was found in the Temple in Josiah’s reign.
However, the laws in Numbers are thought to be part of the collection which was being worked up in Priestly circles at the time of the Babylonian Exile, which comes at a slightly later period.
In any case, the direction of change in the laws is likely to have been towards, rather than away from, giving donations to the Priests and Levites.

Outside the laws, most of the references to giving tithes to the Priests and Levites come at the later time.
There is a description in 2 Chronicles of the great tithing which took place as part of the reforms of Hezekiah (piled up in heaps over a five-month period), but Chronicles is recognised as another product of the Priestly circles.
Giving tithes to the Priests is also mentioned in Nehemiah and Malachi, but these are both postexilic books.
The only other reference is the famous episode of Abraham giving a tithe to Melchizedek.
Even there, my commentator (Von Rad) suggests that those verses have been inserted later into the narrative of Abraham’s meeting with the king of Sodom.

So I would reconstruct the history of tithing in this way;
I suggest that the Deuteronomy mode of tithing reflects the practice of the independent kingdom of Judah, before it was destroyed by the Babylonians.
Jerusalem would have been the “chosen place”, after centralisation, and the location of the massive annual party, but originally this might have been happening at more local centres.

Once the kingship was destroyed, leadership was in the hands of the priests.
They would have been responsible for collecting and compiling and constructing the records of religious teaching, probably while they were still in exile, and they would have dominated the restored city of Jerusalem.
So the instruction found in Numbers is likely to be a “backdated” law which reflects their interests, and they were in a position to make this the standard practice after the Return from exile.

In short, the Deuteronomy mode of tithing probably applied before the Babylonian Exile, and the Numbers mode probably applied afterwards.

Church tradition has been keen to take over the practice of tithing, but there are two things wrong with customary teaching on the subject.

In the first place, tithing is part of “the old written code” of the Law. Paul specifies that Christians have been released from these laws.
“But now we are discharged from the law…so that we serve not under the old written code but in the new life of the Spirit” (Romans ch7 v6).
And when Paul says “the law”, he means all the books of the Pentateuch, including Genesis.
He shows that in Galatians, when he says “You who desire to be under law, do you not hear the law?”, and proceeds to tell a story about Abraham (Galatians ch4 vv21-22).
In other words, defenders of the tithe cannot get round the “discharged from the law” argument by claiming that tithing is “older than the law”.
Therefore tithing cannot be a Christian obligation on the basis of the Old Testament instructions.
We can only be prompted by the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

Secondly, the standard teaching of ministers ignores or plays down the Deuteronomy mode of tithing, which I believe to be the original version.
Instead, it rests upon the Numbers account of the law, possibly motivated by the same kind of self-interest that would have inspired the Numbers law in the first place.
If the Deuteronomy mode of tithing is mentioned at all, it is claimed to be additional to the Numbers tithe.
In fact they sometimes make the calculation that the Israelites would have given to God nearly a quarter of their income. This fantastic (“extravagantly fanciful”) conclusion is reached by adding together the two tithes, and regarding the third-year charitable feast as additional to both.
To my mind, this theory is unhistorical.
It seems more likely, as I’ve suggested, that these two practices were followed at different times in Israel’s history, and one form of tithing was displaced by the other.

Perhaps the best answer to any modern demand for tithes is to propose offering them in the manner prescribed by Deuteronomy.

posted on Jul, 24 2015 @ 05:02 PM
A few months ago, researching a question being asked on another thread, I discovered a site called Cultwatch, which includes this page of articles criticising the demand for tithes in the modern church.

The site lays part of the blame on the growing phenomenon of “Super Apostles”, asserting their claims more aggressively.
Their page on Super Apostles

posted on Jul, 24 2015 @ 05:20 PM
I thought that was the Tithe Fairy that left me money every time I lost a tooth during childhood….

Go figure, learn something new every day.

posted on Jul, 24 2015 @ 05:28 PM
a reply to: DISRAELI

I believe that the law of tithes is a temporal law. Paul was teaching that the mind should be focused on the Spirit of Brotherly Love, Holy Spirit.

When the new Christians minds left the temporal view of the law and obtained the Spiritual mind of Love, they sold their possessions and gave much more than the temporal tithe.

The Holy Spirit prompts one to Love his neighbors.

When you see your neighbors are hungry the Spirit cries out for you to help them. If one is only obedient to the Temporal Law, the Spiritual connections are not formed. Because you have justified yourself through the temporal law.

Also I like to note that the Livites were the Priests, but they were also the Doctors and Judges. So to give the full tithe to someone who is only serving one of those roles is not consistent with the temporal law of tithes.

If we are truly following the temporal law of tithing, at most 1/3 should go to the modern church.

I prefer the idea of using tithes to party myself.

edit on 24-7-2015 by Isurrender73 because: (no reason given)

posted on Jul, 24 2015 @ 05:34 PM
a reply to: Isurrender73
Yes, I think that amounts to the same thing as my quotation from Romans;
"We serve not under the old written code, but in the new life of the Spirit".

In fact the ministers of the church are not even "priests", in the Old Testament sense.
Using the word "priest" for both is a confusion of language.

posted on Jul, 24 2015 @ 05:42 PM

originally posted by: DISRAELI
a reply to: Isurrender73
Yes, I think that amounts to the same thing as my quotation from Romans;
"We serve not under the old written code, but in the new life of the Spirit".

In fact the ministers of the church are not even "priests", in the Old Testament sense.
Using the word "priest" for both is a confusion of language.

Exactly, I like to explain Paul, because many don't seem to understand why he was teaching to let go of the Temporal mind in favor of the Spiritual mind.

In my opinion the church has twisted his teaching to justify our Temporal mind, without truly teaching how to focus on the Spiritual aspects.

We can't obey the law by merely thinking about the temporal law. But we will obey the law naturally when our minds our focused on the Spiritual Connections we have with our neighbors.
edit on 24-7-2015 by Isurrender73 because: (no reason given)

posted on Jul, 24 2015 @ 06:29 PM
a reply to: DISRAELI

Why in 2015 are we discussing such out dated nonsensical fairy tails?

Religion is so boring. Can't we all just realize WE are gods and move on?

posted on Jul, 24 2015 @ 06:32 PM
a reply to: FinalCountdown
This is a thread posted in the Theology forum for those who want to discuss theology.
If you're not interested in discussing it, by all means move on.

posted on Jul, 24 2015 @ 08:18 PM
I believe in giving, but I use the guidelines in James 1:27 "A religion that is pure and stainless according to God the Father is this: to take care of orphans and widows who are suffering, and to keep oneself unstained by the world."

So, when I see a need in my neighborhood, I try to meet that need. Usually a single mom and kids who are suffering, and need shoes, or an electric bill paid. I dont believe in giving to a church, because I think I should be responsible for my giving. And it gives me a lot more joy to help these people than to build another pew, or stain glass window for a church, or send missionaries oversees. There are plenty of people who need help in our own neighborhoods.

posted on Jul, 24 2015 @ 08:22 PM
Why not let the bible speak for itself.

here is what Paul said about collecting money, which by the way, was for the poor Christians.

1Cor 16:1 ¶ Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given order to the churches of Galatia, even so do ye.
2 Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come.

And here

2Co 9:1 ¶ For as touching the ministering to the saints, it is superfluous for me to write to you:
2 For I know the forwardness of your mind, for which I boast of you to them of Macedonia, that Achaia was ready a year ago; and your zeal hath provoked very many.
3 Yet have I sent the brethren, lest our boasting of you should be in vain in this behalf; that, as I said, ye may be ready:
4 Lest haply if they of Macedonia come with me, and find you unprepared, we (that we say not, ye) should be ashamed in this same confident boasting.
5 Therefore I thought it necessary to exhort the brethren, that they would go before unto you, and make up beforehand your bounty, whereof ye had notice before, that the same might be ready, as a matter of bounty, and not as of covetousness.
6 ¶ But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully.
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.

Seems Paul never brought over the concept of tithing into the church.

Now having laid that ground work we do see Paul did say "1Cor 16:2 Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come." " 2 Cor 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."

what we can see is that this is for the Christian, and he is to purpose in his heart what to give to the poor and bring it to the assembly place on the first day of the week which is Sunday.

No where is it taught that a pastor is a college graduate with a doctorate, who gets a salary, a house, a car and a 401 complete with insurance. Unless it is a job. and from what the Scriptures say it is not a job but a calling, and so Paul said this to those who will live by the calling.

1Co 9:14 Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel.
If the gospel is by faith then one is to live by faith. I have seen very few live by faith.

posted on Jul, 24 2015 @ 08:34 PM
a reply to: misskat1
Thank you for that comment.
Yes, that's the same principle we've already been talking about;
"It's not compulsory, but let the Spirit guide you".
And that's exactly what was happening in the "Deuteronomy" practice, where the widows and orphans were included in the third-year feast.

edit on 24-7-2015 by DISRAELI because: (no reason given)

posted on Jul, 24 2015 @ 08:38 PM
a reply to: ChesterJohn
Yes, that's another example of the same principle.
To let the Spirit guide you -or faith, as you rightly say- rather than any specific rules.
Thank you for those quotations.

posted on Jul, 24 2015 @ 09:35 PM
a reply to: DISRAELI

This is a very good read on the subject as well by Earnest L Martin .

The Bible defines "sin" as the transgression of law (1 John 3:4)—any law! And in the Bible the use of the word "sin" has to do with violating any law of God that God has given for people to observe. Another way of defining "sin" in the Bible is to apply the verbal elements of the word "sin" itself and we arrive at the phrase "to miss the mark" as its dictionary meaning. In common parlance "sin" simply means to miss the "bulls eye" in the center of a target and this means to violate any standard of conduct that God has decreed for people to observe. God has given certain positive laws to particular people to perform as well as certain negative laws telling people to refrain from practicing particular deeds. When one breaks any of these laws that God has ordained for certain people to do (things to perform or not to perform), that person is reckoned to be "sinning."

With this being the definition of "sin," there are multitudes of preachers, priests, evangelists and theologians who are "sinning" on a daily basis in regard to their use (or better yet, their misuse or their abuse) of the biblical tithe. There is nothing more clear in the Bible than the teaching of God about the ordained tithe. The Bible shows who were to pay the tithe, who were to receive the tithe, the types of products that were to be tithed, who was not to tithe, how the tithe was to be used, along with regulations that gave limitations and restrictions on its use, yet these laws of God are being violated wholesale by preachers, priests, evangelists and theologians who want a ready money supply for their religious or church work. In doing so, they are deliberately committing outright "sin."

The truth is, these religious men and women are often quite aware of what the ordained tithe of the Bible was designed to accomplish and to whom the produce or monies were to be paid, but these modern religious authorities have, in many cases, abandoned all sense of God’s directions and laws regarding the biblical tithe and they have appropriated those funds to themselves and for their own use in ways that the Bible never sanctions. Indeed, it is common in ministerial circles and among the church denominations for the religious authorities to demand the full biblical tithe from church members. Some authorities even threaten the plagues of God on those of their congregation if they fail to pay the tithe either in part or in full. Other ministers use the tactic of producing guilt in people’s minds through their sermons in order to extract the tithe from their congregations. It even has become a common notion among many Christian denominational teachings that the matter of exacting tithe from the people is a cardinal responsibility of the ministry in order to gain money to operate the church and its activities. But this is wrong. It is not biblical. And worse, it is "sinful." it olso in audio as well as text

posted on Jul, 25 2015 @ 03:02 AM
a reply to: the2ofusr1
Thank you for that link.
I do have one reservation with his argument.
His case is that modern ministers are misinterpreting and misusing the tithe law, so he does at least take it for granted that the law is valid if properly used.
He takes no notice of the point that this is "the old written code", and falls under Paul's criticism for that reason.
I see the demand for tithing as one aspect of the fact that modern Christians are increasingly prone to insist on the literal reading of the Old Testament, that "veil over the mind" which ought to have been removed when we turned to the Lord (2 Corinthians ch3 vv14-16).

edit on 25-7-2015 by DISRAELI because: (no reason given)

posted on Jul, 25 2015 @ 10:25 AM
a reply to: DISRAELI

I operate under 2 assumptions when it comes to tithing, as a Christian.

First, 100% belongs to God...none of it is truly "mine".

Secondly, we are obligated to support the material needs of The Church. Who else will?

posted on Jul, 25 2015 @ 10:48 AM
a reply to: Ignatian
If that's how the Spirit is guiding you, all well and good.
What we were criticising was the application of an imposed rule.
The "Deuteronomy" pattern of tithing is at least as valid as the "Numbers" pattern.

posted on Jul, 25 2015 @ 11:08 AM
here is more proof tithing was for Israel not the church

Mal 4:4 ¶ Remember ye the law of Moses my servant, which I commanded unto him in Horeb for all Israel, with the statutes and judgments.

clearly the Law if for all Israel not the church.

But before some Christian starts to quote verses that the law is to lead us to Christ. Look at what that verse says and its grammatical tense.

Ga 3:24 Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.
25 But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.

the Law was something to lead people to Faith in Christ, once someone believes they are not under the law.

edit on 25-7-2015 by ChesterJohn because: (no reason given)

posted on Jul, 25 2015 @ 11:20 AM
a reply to: ChesterJohn
Quite right. Another very good reference.
Galatians is on my list of topics for the future, because I've seen the warning signs of a "falling away from grace", even in some of the previous discussions on this forum.
It seems that a laudable desire to take scripture seriously has been evolving into a tendency to take the Old Testament more and more literally, which leads right back into dependance upon the Law.

posted on Jul, 25 2015 @ 01:08 PM

I found this interesting on the history of Tithing in the Church:

After Constantine became emperor and Rome became a “Christian” empire (the rise of Christendom), financial giving and religious taxes were enacted to support the building of cathedrals and churches. While these were not what we would traditionally refer to as tithes, they opened the door for the salaried, “professional” clergy. Frank Viola writes, “Brothers, it wasn’t until the fourth century–under Constantine the Roman emperor who converted to Christianity and made a Christian state out of the Empire–it wasn’t until Constantine that the church had a paid clergy. Church leaders did not receive a salary from God’s people until the days of Constantine. Do you understand? Tithes were not practiced among the Christians until eight hundred years passed. It was not part of the first-century church’s practice.” (Frank Viola, Straight Talk To Elders).

If we track the tithe throughout history we find an interesting shift. The tithe went from the state to the church. Giving a tenth of your produce was the customary charge given for land in Western Europe. As the Church grew and acquired more land, it began to take the tenth for itself, and eventually identified the tenth with the Levitical tithe. Before the eighth century the tithe was a voluntary offering Christians could give, by the tenth century however, it was a mandatory requirement to fund the church which was demanded by clergy and enforced by so called, “secular” authorities. (Frank Viola,

Throughout the history of the Roman and Orthodox churches there is a dark history of fraud and robbery. It was not only the tithe that crept in, but as time went on the church began to sell indulgences, relics and taxed the people in their control. It was not until the reformation that all this madness was exposed and the Protestants broke from the Roman church, and all her legalisms. While some reformers seemed to advocate tithing in some statements, in others they seemed to teach that tithing was not obligatory. The reformers believed in justification by grace through faith. The issue of tithing was not a salvific one, nor one that was imposed on Christians as a law, since there is only one law, the law of Christ. No man can be saved by works, only by grace.

For me personally, I am insulted that someone would want me to pay them to be my spiritual shepherd. I believe we are all responsible for our spiritual walk. I realize good things are accomplished within the church. But, I think placing someone between you and God, for guidance, is replacing Jesus. For a church to offer absolution for sins, and dolling out punishment for those sins, and then accepting money for it, is pure heresy In my opinion.
edit on 25-7-2015 by misskat1 because: (no reason given)

posted on Jul, 25 2015 @ 02:03 PM
a reply to: misskat1

"In my opinion" ... maybe your opinion would change if you gathered some facts.

Everything you accuse The Catholic Church of, is simply not true, or is misconstrued.

Priests absolve sins because Jesus gave them the authority and command to do fact it was one of the last things he said.

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