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BIBLE STUDY: The Truth About Tithing

Is the practice of Tithing in the New Testament church, one way in which we obey and worship God; or is it an example of modern day preacher and church greed? Does it represent ignorance of, or negligence to, the cross of Christ? Some call it a forced tribute, and ridicule those who continue to give it; others say it is an elephant on the backs of overtaxed and underpaid Christians. Let’s see what the Bible teaches, and what Jesus Christ really said about this hotly debated topic.

Bible Study Instructions: One Nation Under God Ministries (www.onug.us) publishes and distributes weekly Bible Studies, worldwide – free of charge, to anyone who requests them, in both printed and electronic formats. Our Studies are intended to be a simple and fun way to learn the Scriptures, and are very easy to follow! We adhere to Jesus Christ’s Biblical instructions to teach and feed the flock of God portions of meat in due season, on weekly Sabbaths, and on the seven annual Holy Days throughout each calendar year (Luke 12:42 / Isaiah 28:9-10 / Matthew 13:52). Using both the Old and New Testaments, our Bible Studies are designed to present a premise, make a statement, or ask a question – followed by one or more Scriptural references. Just look up and read from your Bible the Scriptures listed. Comments following questions elaborate on the Scriptures you just read. Pray always before beginning any study of God’s Word, asking God to open both your eyes and your mind to His Truth; then Prove everything you read, is in fact the Truth, by comparing it to The Word of God (1 Thessalonians 5:21 / 2 Timothy 3:15-17). Then use the Biblical System of Checks and Balances, and SEE if both Jesus Christ, and the First Century Church of God Apostles – also Did, Said, and Taught these SAME THINGS (Galatians 1:1-12, 5:25 / 1 Peter 2:21, 25 / 1 John 2:3-6)! That’s all there is to it! Our Bible Studies are based on the King James Version, unless otherwise stated. We will be praying for your eyes to “see” (Matthew 13:11-17); and we are always available to answer any of your questions! Be Blessed, in Jesus’ Name! - One Nation Under God Ministries (www.onug.us).

If you are new to the concept of Tithing, we ask you to read out excellent article, at www.onug.us:

Ed Smith: The Man Who Couldn't Afford To Tithe

The above article is by the man I learned much of God’s Truth from, and will also give you some insight into who exactly he was!

The earth and all of its resources belong to God's (Psalm 24:1-6, 104:24 / 1 Corinthians 10:26 / John 1:1-18). The Father allows us to use ALL of His resources here, on earth; but we must use them not only according to God’s Law – as given to us by Moses and all of God’s Holy Prophets (Luke 1:67-80, 16:29-31 / Malachi 3:8-12 / Exodus 20:15 / Deuteronomy 8:18-20), we must also use God’s resources according to the Grace and the Truth given to us by Jesus Christ, Who DECLARED to us, HOW the Father wants us to worship Him (John 1:17-18, 4:23-24 / Matthew 6:19-21)! What did Jesus and His Disciples teach the Church of God, in regards to tithes and offerings? Do we still have a financial obligation to God under the New Covenant (Malachi 1:6-14 / Jeremiah 31:31-37 / Hebrews 8:1-13 / Psalm 110:4 / Hebrews 7:17-28 / Malachi 3:6-7 / Hebrews 13:8-17 / Revelation 5:9-10, 20:6, 21:22-27)? Our financial obligation to God continues even after the Holy City, New Jerusalem, comes down from God out of heaven! God does not change; nor does His system of government ever change! “Eternal God” – really does mean a forever and ever continuation of the very exact, Same God!

In the World Tomorrow, under Christ’s rule, people throughout time, will continue to bring their glory and their honor (tithes and offerings), to God the Father, through Jesus Christ, initially; then after the First Resurrection - through the Saints and Jesus Christ – in tribute to, to render Glory to, and to Honor God our Heavenly Father!

It is through God’s often forgotten and widely neglected system of tithes (given each time we receive a financial increase or stipend: defined as a fixed sum paid as a salary or financial allowance – that means kids too! Proverbs 22:6 / Psalm 33:12) and through offerings (an amount we choose according to how we perceive God has Blessed us – at each of the seven annual commanded Holy Day Convocations or gatherings), that we have an opportunity to demonstrate to God, that we UNDERSTAND how much He has Blessed us! It is through our tithes and our offerings that our financial obligations to The Father are satisfied!!! We should be able to see immediately, that unless we are keeping God’s Sabbath and His Holy Days, we are already stealing time and Holy Day Offerings from Him! But when we actually focus on trying to be Obedient to God with our finances; the question comes up: “Where and How do we pay tithes to a God that isn’t even on this planet?” www.onug.us

When the Old Testament first introduces us to the tithing system, we see it introduced as an ANCIENT and ESTABLISHED practice - by God (Genesis 14:16-24). Abram, before he became Abraham, Honors God with a tenth (or tithe: old English for “tenth” or 1/10th) of everything he brought back from war. Abram gives the tithe to God, through His High priest Melchizedek (or Jesus Christ). Notice the tithe is given to God, BEFORE the king of Sodom ever took possession of any of the portion. Most human governments today, take out their “tax” before you see your paycheck. Thus what most people tithe on today is not the gross, but rather the net, of their income; if they are inclined to tithe at all that is.

The Bible records instead, that Abram set a different example for us to follow today. It is an example I pray, many will take to The Father in prayer, and adopt in their lives from this point forward! Isn’t it time to be 100 percent committed to the Mission and the Blessings God has chosen you for? Notice how the Apostle Paul began to roll back the blinders of a people that knew there was a Creator God, but did not know how to return to him. He introduced the concept of “Eternal Continuity” to them (Acts 17:22-31). It was time, when Paul spoke this, for the Greeks to come to a correct understanding of Who God Is and What God required of them; and today, God is calling more of us who are reading and hearing these Scriptures, to do the same! We are being given eyes to “SEE” (Matthew 13:11-16)!!!

Scripture clearly shows us that tithing was an ongoing practice, long BEFORE the nation of Israel ever existed; and long BEFORE they were ever freed from slavery in Egypt!

After the Exodus, we can see tithing being codified into God’s Law, given to Israel in the wilderness. The Levites (or priests) would take in and administer the tithes and offerings at the first temple (built in 957 B.C.); but it did not originate with them!

Still later, we find Jesus confirming the practice of tithing, and not rebuking it; when He strongly addressed the Levites (His Priests - after the pre-existing order of Melchizedek - Matthew 23:23 / Luke 16:10-13, 21:1-4 / 2 Corinthians 9:6-15 / Hebrews 7:1-10 / Acts 5:1-5, 4:34-35 / 1 Corinthians 9:1-19 / Proverbs 3:9-26 / Hosea 4:1-10). www.onug.us

As the Church which Jesus founded continued to grow, we can clearly see in Scripture, the Apostle Paul confirming the practice of tithing in the New Testament church! Paul shows us that both the ministry, and the work of the church, is to be financially supported by the individual members of that body. God considers the tithe once given, as Holy to Him, as it is given to support His Ministry and His Work (Leviticus 27:30 / Numbers 18:20-24).

Question: Are Christians still required to tithe to their church today?

Answer: First, I believe that tithing is a personal and individual matter of OBEDIENCE between you and God. One Nation Under God Ministries (where I fellowship, learn about, and worship God) would answer the above question with a “yes” (and I would have to agree). Our church, FOLLOWING the example of Christ and the First Century Apostles, teaches the Biblical giving of the first ten percent of one’s gross income to God (aka first tithe). The Bible shows us in the book of Hebrews, chapter 7 (and in other places that we will look at today) that your tithe is given to the ministry for the work of the church. A second tithe is saved throughout the year by the individual church members themselves, to cover their personal and their family’s expenses, while attending God’s annual Holy Days or Feasts. Then, every third year of a seven year cycle, members also give a third tithe to aid the needy, the widow, and the fatherless. When you get to your third tithe year, you are going to need faith to see you through it! That’s the Faith that Obedience to Christ develops; it teaches YOU what it means to diligently seek HIM, and what loving your neighbor is really all about (Hebrews 11:6)!!! When it comes to God; many cannot put their money where their mouth is!

One Nation Under God Ministries (O.N.U.G.) does not solicit funds from its members or the public; but rather relies on those God calls - to support His Ministry, according to Biblical instruction and by His Divine Providence. www.onug.us

“If and when we ever need anything, God will always makes sure we are aware of that need; and He will always raise up people whom He has Blessed to help us – or God will simply provide for us a way (giving us the knowledge and the method) to get what we need!” That’s what we call Divine Providence; and it ALWAYS works for the righteous in the Body of Christ (Psalm 37:23-29)!

What does it mean in Psalm 37:26, “He is ever merciful, and LENDETH, and his seed is blessed”? Do you know HOW God lends to you (Psalm 24:1-5 / 1 Corinthians 10:26)? Clearly, all the gold and silver, all the financial resources in the whole world belong to the Creator God Who made them all; and He gives – or lends them to humans – for a brief period, during their physical lives (Haggai 2:1-9). Clearly, God intends for us to Honor Him with our wealth – exactly and according to HOW He has Blessed each of us! The prophecy from the book of Haggai which we just read, is prophetically speaking to us – on the last day of the Feast of Tabernacles, the day before The Last Great Day – when God will raise ALL the dead who have ever lived to physical life; that they will be giving back of their wealth – through tithes and offerings – to build the House of the Lord, and to promote Peace (or lack of enmity toward God – or the Knowledge of how to be reconciled to God). It all comes back to Malachi 3:1-5. God’s system of tithes and offerings is what finances the Church, as it prepares the Way before the Lord’s Second Coming – by financing the preaching of the Gospel of Christ’s Second Coming, and the training of the Saints (Matthew 24:14). The warning of a Blessing or of a Curse (Malachi 3:6-12) for obedience or disobedience, are the same throughout the Bible (Deuteronomy 30:19-20 / Hebrews 5:8-14 / Luke 6:46).­­

God never changed His Tithing System! www.onug.us

There are very FEW people alive today, who realize that God lays claim to the first 10th of all of their increase: their wages, their produce, their intellectual property, the first born of their children, their real estate, their savings, and their retirement account! Still fewer really believe God's promise to Bless those who obey His Law of Tithing, as revealed in the Bible – to OPEN the windows in heaven, and pour out a BLESSING, that there shall not be room enough to receive it (Malachi 3:10)!!! That is God the Father speaking to us here! I bet most have never combined that Scripture with the words of the brother of JESUS Christ, a guy who grew up watching Jesus (James 1:16-18)! As Saints of the most High God, we are either going to obediently tap into that system of Blessings from God – in order to teach that system to the world around us (we will have fruit on our trees); or we are going to become the proverbial “bad example” by our curses of what not to do for those coming up in the Second Resurrection (Daniel 12:2-3 / Matthew 25:14-30). No one can afford to be in ignorance of this fundamental financial Law of God, and of its spiritual implications!!!

Old Covenant – New Covenant?

A vital principle to remember concerning the Old and New Covenants is that what did not originate with the Old Covenant did not die with it. The gist of the argument in Hebrews 7 is that, since the Levitical priesthood has no authority under the New Covenant, the ritual laws pertaining to the priesthood are no longer valid. The priesthood has been conferred on Christ, now our High Priest "according to the order of Melchizedek" (Hebrews 6:20). This "change of the law"—the ceremonial law of sacrifices, ritual washings and other rites pertaining to the Tabernacle / Temple and priesthood—applies only to the administration of tithing (Hebrews 7:12). Since the tithing law predates the Levitical priesthood, and is thus still in force; tithes are now to be given to Jesus Christ, our High Priest, for use by His church – as they were BEFORE the Levitical priesthood was ordained by Moses. The church is commissioned to preach the gospel free of charge. The tithe simply pays for, or finances, this important responsibility (Matthew 10:1, 5-15)!!! Did you notice how strongly Jesus Christ words His Warning to those who reject the teachings of His Disciples (which are actually Jesus Christ’s teachings)? Let’s read Matthew 10:14-15 again. You cannot separate tithing from the teachings of Christ – unless you do so to your own detriment! We should Honor the Name of God, and NOT blaspheme His Doctrine of Kingdom Finance; we should be faithful stewards, beloved by God, partaking in “The Benefit” so that we can teach and exhort it (tithing) to others around us (1 Timothy 6:1-21). Let us keep what Christ Hs committed to our trust!

A number of years ago, I was hired on several different occasions, by a large mainstream Protestant church in the South. They wanted me to better train their security personnel and advise them on how to deal with several recent “incidents” they had encountered. I remember that this church taught its members that God’s Law had been done away with on the cross (not just the penalty of the Law), and called anything that resembled literally following the Bible, or the actual walking in Christ’s footsteps, “legalism”! But at the same time, this church really liked that old ten percent tithing thing; and they hoped that most of their members would like it enough to follow it too, especially when giving their weekly offerings.

Now this church was one of those real fancy churches, with a really big compound, lots of nice buildings, and well over 15,000 members – most of which drove really nice cars to church each and every week. Most of those church members earned much more than I did; and that boosted church income, which enabled the church to pay me rather nicely for the outside consultant work I did for them. I was also extremely grateful for the opportunity they gave me.

In order to understand how this church operated, I attended many of their worship services, and observed not only what they taught, but how they did business too. It was during one of these services that the minister said something, before the offering was collected, that I will never forget. The minister said, “The Bible tells God’s people to tithe, or to give ten percent of their incomes to the church. But we don’t do that here. I can look at all those cars out in the parking lot, and tell that we don’t do that in this church. You see, if we divide the annual income of this church by the number of members; each member only makes $2,500.00 a year in annual salary, and only gives on average $250.00 a year in tithes and offerings! 2 Corinthians 9:6-7 says, ‘But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver’. You cannot afford cars like those on $2,500.00 a year! God loves a cheerful giver!”

Well, I did the math. $250.00 (average) X 15,000 members = $3,750,000.00. It seemed to me that the minister was chastising his congregation for only bringing in 3.75 million dollars in annual tithe / offering revenue, when he thought they could have done better! …And he was using a biblical blueprint to do it with too; even though both he and his church had rejected almost every other Biblical teaching and example that Jesus Christ and the apostles had set for them by personal example!!! You can’t pick and choose the Scriptures you like, and reject the ones you don’t (2 Timothy 3:16-17). It’s either all in, or all out with God (Revelation 3:15-22)! Do you have an ear to hear? If you are a member of the Body of Christ – regardless of what fold Jesus has placed you in (John 10:16); you better be listening to The Shepherd – and that is ALWAYS Jesus Christ!!!

God did not change the tithing system He instituted long before Abraham; He only modified its administration to be now done by the New Testament church ministry (and no longer with, or through, the Levitical Priesthood). When you give tithes and offerings; that is an act of worshipping God (Malachi 3:6 / Hebrews 13:8 / Luke 1:70)!!!

One Tenth: From Creation To Eternity!

Tithing (from the Old English word “teogopa” meaning one-tenth of something) is the Biblical Giving of the first ten percentage of one's income, before other financial obligations are met - as set by God! After this formula is met, additional giving over and beyond the first tenth, would be considered as “free will offerings” – which are given, as determined by each individual's self-evaluation of what he or she is able to give – according to how GOD HAS Blessed them.

A church or ministry should never enforce or police their members tithing, as one Jewish temple that I know of in New York; which does exactly that! Based on your occupation and your documented income, this synagogue tells you how much your seats in their temple will cost you each year!

Rather it should patiently teach, with love, the Biblical obligation that each individual has, to Honor God with their substance, and the first fruits of all their increase. The Apostle Paul realized and taught that tithing is one of the signs of a babe in Christ, growing up into spiritual maturity – when new Christians learn that one of the ways they worship and obey God, is by paying their tithes.

Have you ever considered that God may have called you, Blessed you, and placed you where you currently live and worship; so that you can contribute to the Mission He has in store for that Congregation of the Saints? A runner needs two legs to run in a race, a gymnast needs both arms to compete in a competition; and a bad back will hinder a normally strong and powerful body so that it is incapable of doing that day’s required work! Is your local Body of Christ lying in bed, waiting for the body part that YOU are, to get stronger; so it can go out a do what Christ has in store for it? In not just finances, but in every area of a Christian’s life; this is an interesting analogy to self-reflect on (Ephesians 4:11-32)!!!

Paul made it clear to the weak minded, and to the new Christians who did not understand why they needed to tithe; that tithing and offerings were not about him personally coveting their gold or silver, but that it was about financing the Ministry of Christ – and that he was willing to work, as the other Disciples did, to earn money to support the ministry – until more and more of the congregation’s members grew up into this spiritual understanding of their financial obligations before God (Acts 20:18-35). God’s Word teaches that there is a definite financial obligation for those who are called to be “First Fruits” of the Kingdom of God (James 1:18); and that that financial obligation to the ministry they attend - if it is not met, is just like muzzling the oxen that are working to prepare a field, to plant it, and to harvest an abundant crop (1 Timothy 5:17-18). Embezzlement of Kingdom finances entrusted to you; is not only a crime recognized by the Throne of God (Malachi 3:7-10 / Matthew 25:24-30); it also diminishes the work that could be done, instead of hastening its completion (2 Peter 3:9-13)!!! When you don’t tithe, you are preventing God from Blessing YOU with some pretty amazing Blessings (Malachi 3:10-12)!!!

“Rather than love, than money, than fame, give me Truth!”

                        – Henry David Thoreau

The biblical system of tithing has been a point of controversy among Christians for years. Its opponents claim it is part of the Old Covenant, and that it was instituted solely for the support of the Levitical priesthood. They often acknowledge that the principle of giving to support the ministry is still valid, but say God does not command paying a set percentage of one's income. Yet this ignores many of the clear passages of Scripture we have looked at today. From Genesis to Revelation, tithing is the only financial system God has endorsed to finance His Work, and it is a system He never will replace (Revelation 21:24)!

God’s Word shows us that blessings accrue to those who faithfully tithe – on and of the increase God has bestowed upon them. Through the tithing system, God provides for the preaching of the gospel and the feeding of His flock (Matthew 28:19-20 / Mark 16:15). In so doing, faithful and obedient tithing expresses love toward God and love toward neighbor (Matthew 22:36-40). Tithing is also very important for personal spiritual growth (Matthew 6:19-21 / Luke 12:34). Tithes and Offerings are an indicator of where YOUR TREASURE is!!! Just how invested are YOU in God’s Plan and in His Future Kingdom? Your Tithes WILL TELL!!!

“All riches have their origin in the mind. Wealth is in ideas, not money” – Robert Collier.

Tithing 101: www.onug.us

Everything that exists belongs to God, He has the right to keep everything for Himself, but He chooses to share it with us! Tithing, very simply is giving back, or returning one-tenth of our increase or income to God for His use. Father Abraham and his son Isaac tithed to God. They taught Jacob about God’s command to tithe (Genesis 14:18-20, 28: 22). Here we see several Biblical principles of tithing:

1) The tithe goes to God through His representative, the priest.

2) The tithe is always one-tenth.

3) Tithing is timeless, given to men long before Moses.

4) Abram recognized God’s Ruler ship and Divine Providence by giving Him tithes; and so should we!

The Real Reason “IN GOD WE TRUST” is stamped on American Currency:

God commands you to give – once the tithe leaves you, responsibility before God on how the tithe is used is transferred to those God has raised up to preach the Gospel. Ask God to show you where to send it; then pray for those to whom you send it! But send it; and Glorify and Honor God you must!

This is God’s system of tithing (Acts 20:32-35). Just don’t rob God (Exodus 20:15 / Psalm 37:21; Genesis 3:1-19; Malachi 3:7-12; 1 Timothy 5:8). Tithing is giving back to God a tenth of our income; the tithe is not ours but God's. "Borrowing" from any of God's tithes is stealing from Him – it is taking what is His! There are curses for stealing from God. In the Garden of Eden, God reserved just one tree for Himself, and specifically told Adam and Eve not to eat of it. But Satan convinced them that this tree was also theirs to use. When they took the fruit of that forbidden tree, they sinned by stealing from God and suffered the consequences. We likewise must acknowledge God's prior claim to the tithes (and Sabbath & Feast Days) that He requires us to give to Him. We must use His tithes according to His specific instructions!

When we give God back the tithe that is His to begin with; He Blesses us abundantly - spiritually and physically! Notice that God says He commands tithes so "that there may be food in My house" (Malachi 3:10). Tithes are primarily used to feed His people spiritually! If we support the work God is doing through His faithful ministers, He promises to bless us far above anything we could ever imagine (Ephesians 3:20-21)!

How To Figure The Three Tithes:

The First Tithe: www.onug.us

The tithing principle in God's Word transcends merely giving of a tenth of one's increase. The entire question revolves around whether a person is of a willing and obedient spirit and truly desires to obey God; or behaves like an immature child, like a stubborn mule, and must be forced or dragged into doing what is required. God commands us to tithe, but to do it begrudgingly, and out of necessity, is far short of the type of giving God expects from us! That is not “cheerful” giving! It is your attitude about the tithe you give, that will Bless it or Curse it (Matthew 5:20 / 2 Corinthians 9:6-15)!

It is a matter of conversion and attitude! The decision to tithe revolves around our willingness and eagerness to do all our heavenly Father commands. If we always approach the study of His Word with the attitude of "What is the minimum I need to do to satisfy God?" or "I don't want to do any more than I have to do," we will likely not tithe. God uses the handling of money as an obvious test to see where our loyalties and priorities lie (Genesis 4:4, 14:18-20, 28:20-22 / Hebrews 11:4, 6). When we give God His tithe, it is a sign that we trust and believe in Him. Abel brought the best of his flock as an offering. Abraham, the father of the faithful, gave Melchizedek a tenth of all his goods. Jacob acknowledged God in His life by promising to give Him a tenth of all. Tithing demonstrates that a person worships God. It is an act of faith, a spiritual act like prayer, and without faith, it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6)!

God has always used giving as a means to carry out whatever commission He gives to His people. The Bible first mentions tithing when Abraham gives tithes to Melchizedek, a priesthood that predates even the patriarchs. By the time of the Exodus, the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob had grown from a small patriarchal family to a great multitude of upwards of two-three million people. The size of the population dictated the need for a written code of law, yet the principles of giving remained the same. Numbers 18 records that God turned His tithe over to the Leviticus priesthood for their use in the administration and conduct of His work. By the time God formally instituted Israel's civil code; tithing had long been an ongoing financial law. That is why Jesus did not specifically deal with the tithing law (Matthew 5:17-20; 23:23; Luke 11:42; 16:17).

Jesus magnified God's law while on earth. In His Sermon on the Mount, He paraphrased six Old Testament laws or principles, giving their intended meanings. Tithing, however, was not generally questioned at the time; it was not a theological issue like circumcision and the eating of meats sacrificed in an idol's temple. The New Testament expounds Old Testament principles and laws, and Jesus specifically says He did not come to invalidate them (Matthew 5:17-18)!

No New Testament passage rescinds the tithing law. Quite the opposite! Jesus upholds the principle in His denunciation of the self-righteous Pharisees in Matthew 23:23 (Hebrews 7:1-12; Mark 13:34; 1 Corinthians 9:18; 2 Corinthians 10:8; 2 Thessalonians 3:7-9).

Tithing Under The New Covenant:

How should God's church use the first tithe today (Leviticus 27:30; Matthew 10:8-10; Hebrews 8:6-10; Galatians 3:26-28; 1 Corinthians 9:11-14; 2 Corinthians 9:8)?

The first tithe is Holy to God and must be used to support the commission God has given His ministry in a way similar to that of the Levitical priesthood. Jesus confirmed that tithing continues, but now God, through Christ, has made a better covenant with His people, who are no longer limited to the physical nation of Israel. He is now working through His church, the spiritual "Israel of God." Through tithing, God provides abundance for every good work that He directs us to do!

Jesus Christ emphasizes the approach God's church should have today: "Freely you have received, freely give." But faith is the key. As God's minister, Paul often asserted his right of financial support by the church. He preached free of charge (2 Corinthians 11:7), but this would not have been possible without the church's support because Paul had expenses, including food, lodging, and travel. There is no biblical indication that Paul ever charged the public for his work in teaching God's Truth because the churches gave their tithes to him (verse 8). Likewise, many brethren today tithe, so that others, who have not yet learned to be obedient in this area, can receive the WORD OF God on a regular basis! When we grow up, we work and help to pay the bills – it’s that simple in life, and it’s that simple in God’s Church!

Tithing is a matter of conversion and attitude, demonstrating that a person worships God and recognizes that He is; and that God through faith - rewards those who diligently seek Him (Hebrews 11:6). Tithing is a test and act of faith, a good work that pleases God.

Second Tithe: www.onug.us

Instructions for the second tithe are found in Deuteronomy 14:22-27. Included here is the command to "truly [fully] tithe all the increase of your grain that the field produces year by year" (verse 22). This is the tithe we are to save for ourselves for use during God's Feasts throughout the year, not the same tithe that was given to the Levites.

We see here that a full tithe is to be set aside for this purpose ONLY! Over the years some have invested their second tithe in projects that have failed; this is a wrong use of this money. It is not to be set aside as venture capital, but as money to be used to enjoy God's festivals.

Some have erroneously thought that if they saved just enough to attend the Feast, they were fulfilling God's requirement. Again, this is not correct, for God wants us to save a full tithe to "spend on whatever your heart desires . . . before the LORD your God, and you shall rejoice, you and your household" (verse 26).

Also, spending second tithe for any other purpose than for keeping the Feasts is wrong. It actually harms our relationship with our Creator. We destroy character through disobedience and fail to learn the important lessons contained in the saving and use of this second tithe.

God has ordained that His people keep His seven annual holy days and that they celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles in temporary dwellings at a place He chooses. Members can incur hefty expenses in fulfilling God's command. Nevertheless, being wise and merciful, God blesses and provides for those who obey Him in what He requires. He provides for our financial needs at the feasts by having us set aside a second tenth of our increase so that we may enjoy joyous and abundant feasts with our families.

The second tithe, saved by the individual each year, is an additional tithe of our incomes. Unlike the use of first tithe, however, God designates second tithe for personal use during His festivals so that we observe them properly (Deuteronomy 12:5-6, 11, 17; 14:22-25). Moses addresses Deuteronomy 12 to Israel on the east side of the Jordan River. He tells them that, instead of having altars and high places throughout the country, they should bring their required and free-will offerings, other sacrifices, firstlings, and tithes (plural, in verses 6, 11) to the place where God put His name. There, the people were to eat before Him.

The second tithe here is in addition to the tithe commanded in Numbers 18. It was to be eaten by the individual Israelite, but not at home ("not . . . within your gates," Deuteronomy 12:17). This tithe was not to come out of the first tithe, because the latter was the Levites' inheritance. The Levites lived off the first tithe in all their cities throughout the year. Therefore, the first tithe that they normally lived on cannot have been the second tithe that God forbids all to eat in their homes. The Bible nowhere states that the Levite had to bring a special tithe to eat at the feasts. The people were to bring it. Verse 18 specifically states that the Levite should also eat of the second tithe where the Lord chose to place His name. You should NOT keep the Feasts of God at home!

In Deuteronomy 12:11, the plural usage shows that Moses distinctly refers to more than one tithe. Deuteronomy 14:23 uses "tithe" in the singular because the passage describes only the specific tithe that we are to consume where God places His name. The Israelite set aside the second tithe throughout the year and consumed it at the annual holy festivals of God for whatever his heart desired. This means that he spent the tithe on things that enhanced his glorifying of God or added joy to the feast (Deuteronomy 12:11-14, 17-18; 14:26; 16:15; Proverbs 3:9).

The same applies to our use of second tithe today. Unlike the use of first tithe, the individual who saves second tithe should use it. God wants His people to enjoy the physical abundance He provides at the feasts as they worship Him and learn to reverence and fear Him in ways that please Him. Because of His blessing, many can also help others observe the feasts (Proverbs 11:24-25; Romans 13:1-7; II Corinthians 9:1-15; 10:7-8).

In His infinite love, God has given us the means to worship Him and rejoice with His people at a place He has chosen. Who would want to miss such a wonderful blessing and opportunity to draw closer to God?

Third Tithe: www.onug.us

Directly following the instruction concerning second tithe is the command for third tithe. "At the end of every third year you shall bring out the tithe of your produce of that year and store it up within your gates" (Deuteronomy 14:28). This tithe is also not given to the Levites to do the work, but stored "within your gates." Nor is it to be set aside yearly to keep the Feasts, for this tithe is set aside "every third year."

The purpose for this third tithe is found in verse 29: "And the Levite, because he has no portion nor inheritance with you, and the stranger and the fatherless and the widow who are within your gates, may come and eat and be satisfied, that the LORD your God may bless you in all the work of your hand which you do." Third tithe is God's welfare plan for the fatherless, widows, unemployed and the truly needy.

After faithfully completing our third tithe year, we are entitled to ask God for a blessing upon His people (Deuteronomy 26:12-15).

Normally, third tithe is counted from the Passover or the Feast of Tabernacles closest to the individual's date of baptism. In the case of a single woman who marries, she then assumes her husband's tithing cycle.

Third tithe is paid in the third and sixth years of a seven-year cycle. God gives us the seventh year as a year of release, or sabbatical, then we begin another seven-year cycle in the eighth year.

Previously, we have seen the instructions in God's Word for the financing of the work of God, His church, and the funding of our attendance at God's annual festivals (primarily the Feast of Tabernacles). In God's generous financial system, He also provides care for the needy. Jesus acknowledges that conditions would always exist that would cause some people to be occasionally or even perpetually poor and in need (John 12:8).

Some financial needs come from tragedies such as the death of a spouse or parents, or from unemployment or health problems. Personal crisis or disaster may strike because of war, fire, earthquakes, tornados, or hurricanes. Some have talents that lie in areas that society does not recompense sufficiently for them to meet all their living expenses (Deuteronomy 14:28-29; 26:12-15; Galatians 2:10; I Timothy 5:3). www.onug.us

In ancient Israel, God instructed His people to set aside a special tithe to assist those in need: orphans, widows, strangers, and Levites. Today, God's church meets its Christian duty toward its needy brethren similarly, through a third tithe fund. God's apostles taught that Christians have an obligation to help others who are truly in need. The commandments of God concerning the responsibility of those more blessed to help those truly in need continue into the New Testament era (Deuteronomy 14:28-15:11; 26:12).

The third tithe is an additional tithe, entirely separate from the first tithe that supports God's work of preaching the gospel and the second tithe that enables church members to attend the feasts. Like first tithe, second tithe is paid yearly. Just as the law of canceling debts is based on a cycle of seven years, the third tithe is paid only on the increase earned during the third and sixth years of a seven-year cycle. Since Christians are not spiritual Israelites (Galatians 3:29; 6:16) until converted and baptized, they do not save this third tithe until the third year after their baptism. Most members of the church count their third-tithe years from either the Passover or the Feast of Tabernacles closer to the date of their baptism (Isaiah 1:23-25; Jeremiah 5:28-29; 7:3-7; Malachi 3:5; James 4:17; Proverbs 3:27-28; 1 Timothy 5:8).

This world's leaders have written a long record of neglect of those in need. Isaiah tells us their greed causes them to give favor to the wealthy, who can fill their pockets. The widow and the fatherless stand in a special relation of nearness to God, who is "a father of the fatherless, a defender of widows" (Psalm 68:5). To neglect or take advantage of them greatly angers God. Wisdom and understanding dictate that we should not withhold from them or delay giving to them when we can help them now (Proverbs 3:9-10, 11:24-28 / Matthew 6:19-21 / Luke 6:38 / Galatians 6:7-10).

By paying to God what we owe Him (that is, His tithes), He rewards us with blessings. Christians often find their third tithe years to be abundant with all types of blessings and invaluable lessons learned. These are not always material blessings, however. Storing up spiritual treasures in heaven is far more important than physical prosperity. God does not promise to make us wealthy but that our relationship with Him will prosper. Such eternal blessings are far greater than any temporary physical blessings we could receive (Leviticus 19:9-10; Isaiah 58:7; Matthew 25:35-40; Galatians 2:9-10).

The church should indeed care for its needy members. Members of the church have an important responsibility to contribute to this benevolent fund so that the biblical command to care for the needy may be satisfied. In some cases, the individual can give his third tithe directly to a needy relative. A widowed mother, sister, or daughter, for example, may qualify under the guidelines set out in Deuteronomy 14 and 26. Orphans in a similar category would also qualify. However, since ministers are usually more aware of those truly in need, third tithe is frequently more effectively distributed to the needy in the church by the ministry.

Jesus says in Matthew 10:29-31: "Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father's will. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows." God's requirement to give back to Him a third tithe of our increase for the care of the needy shows the loving kindness He feels for His creation, especially those who are weak and disadvantaged.

What Is Titheable? www.onug.us

God's Word reveals we are to tithe on the increase (profit) we receive as a result of our productive effort (Leviticus 27:30-33 / Deuteronomy 14:22). Therefore, a person working for wages—the vast majority of us—would tithe one tenth of the total amount of his pay before income tax, Social Security or other deductions are removed. Other tithable income would include capital gains from investments, dividends from stock and interest from bank accounts. The value of products used out of the garden or field should be included in figuring total income also (Matthew 23:23).

Income that is not tithable also includes Social Security benefits, welfare, gifts, unemployment or disability compensation and loans that must be repaid. A general rule of thumb is that any income not earned is not tithable.

A farmer or person in business for himself should tithe on the income from his crops or business after operating expenses, but before deducting personal living expenses or taxes.

Common Questions:

If I withhold paying tithes until I make out my income tax returns, can I then pay tithe on my net? No. If we tithed that way, we would not be tithing on our gross income. Knowing human nature, we might arrange for a very small taxable income.

Can I buy my family and friends gifts with my second tithe? The principle to remember regarding the use of second tithe is that it is to help us rejoice before God during His festivals. Money remaining after all festival expenses are covered is discretionary, but the primary use of a gift should be for one's enjoyment at the Feast.

Obviously, using second tithe to pay the down payment on a new car would be wrong, but buying one's mate a new dress or suit to wear to church services at the Feast would be appropriate. An interesting observation about the instruction on the use of second tithe is that Deuteronomy 14 mentions consumable items such as food and drink, not durable goods.

Can I use second tithe on holy days other than the Feast of Tabernacles? Of course! But be mindful of the costs of attending the fall festival and budget carefully.

What should I do with any second tithe I have left over after the Feast of Tabernacles? If one has this "problem”, there are a few options available. Sending it to the church as an offering is fine; but if one designates the money as "excess second tithe," the money will be allocated to help those who would otherwise be unable to attend the Feast the next year.

Can I pay my third tithe one third every year? God wants us to plan for our third tithe year and to have faith that He will bring us through it. Paying a third each year is not what God tells us to do and would be wrong. He simply says "every third year," which although it sets us up for a test of faith, He promises to bring us through it!!!

Can I give my third tithe directly to someone in need rather than sending it into the church? Yes. The church, however, often hears of needs not generally known by others, and thus acts as an agent for the brethren in supplying those needs. In coordinating the distribution of third tithe, the church tries to ensure fair and impartial help to the needy. All funds sent to the church marked "third tithe" are specifically allocated to the biblical use of the third tithe. They cannot, and will not be used, for any other purpose other than helping the truly needy.

Sometimes there are special circumstances that need to be considered. Please seek counsel if an unusual tithing situation arises. It takes faith and planning to pay tithes. Most write their tithe check first, then pay the rest of their bills. At least that way you know God would get the share of His blessing that He asks for.

All of God's tithes reflect His great love for us as individuals and collectively as a church. The world will not admit that God owns everything (Haggai 2:8) and that He gives us all that we have (1 Corinthians 4:7). He asks only for a small amount in return for our benefit and that of our brethren's. What a wonderful financial system God has set up for everyone's good!!!

May YOU truly become Blessed by your own Business Partnership with The KING of kings, and The LORD of lords!

You now know the Biblical TRUTH about what God SAYS about Tithing in the New Testament Church!!! www.onug.us

The First Century Church of God is still alive and well; and we are still about our Father’s Business! Thank you for joining One Nation Under God Ministries (www.onug.us) today in the Study of God’s Word! We so enjoyed having you here; and we hope to see you again next Sabbath!!! Please stay in touch, AND REMEMBER TO SHARE what you learn here with others (Matthew 28:18-20)! In Jesus Christ’s Mighty Name, Peace!

                                      - submitted by R. C. Brown III

One Nation Under God Ministries                          www.onug.us

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Notes:

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