How can we make God our business and financial partner in
everything we do? Early in the Proverbs, Solomon instructs his
children in a vital lesson for a productive life. Carried through
to their higher intent, we see in these verses God's promise of, not
only physical blessings, but more importantly, spiritual blessings
leading to our part in the Plan of God.
"Honor the LORD with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of
all thine increase: So shall thy barns be filled with plenty."
In recent years, we have witnessed an
assault on many of God's doctrines. Among those doctrines, tithing
to God in particular, is being questioned in this end-time. Many of
the Biblical details of the tithing issue can be answered with
comparative ease once we recognize the fundamental reason God
Abraham tithed before there was a written commandment to do so.
Some, seeking to do away with tithing, have pointed out that the
example of Abraham tithing to Melchisedec can be explained in
ways other than Abraham obeying God's command to tithe.
"Then Melchisedec king of Salem brought out bread and wine; He
was the priest of God Most High. And He blessed him and said:
Blessed be Abram of God Most High, Possessor of heaven and
earth; and blessed be God Most High, Who has delivered your
enemies into your hand. And he gave Him a tithe of all."
It is true that from this passage alone, it cannot be
incontrovertibly asserted that Abraham tithed in obedience to a
command from God. Some have concluded that Abraham was
simply expressing his gratitude for God's help in rescuing Lot
by making an offering to Melchisedec. However, this observation
hardly settles the fundamental question we face today
about tithing. It is clear - Abraham honored the Lord with
a tithe of his substance.
Paul demonstrated the far-reaching principle of tithing when
he explained that by extension - even Levi was paying tithes to
God through Abraham! Remember, Levi was born three generations
after Abraham. The point is this - the tithes went to
"Now consider how great this man
[Melchisedec] was, unto whom
even the patriarch Abraham gave the tenth of the spoils...
Even Levi, who receives tithes, paid tithes through
Abraham, so to speak, for he was still in the loins of his
father when Melchisedec met him." (Hebrews 7:4,9-10 )
It is interesting to note that Paul compares Abraham's
tithing to Melchisedec, to Israel's paying tithes to the tribe
of Levi. The tribes of Israel were commanded by God to pay
tithes to the Levites using the additional income they received
on increased lands - lands the Levites would have received
had they had a share in the original land inheritance
distribution. (Numbers 18:20)
"Behold, I have given the children of Levi all the tithes
in Israel as an inheritance in return for the work which they
perform, the work of the tabernacle of meeting." (Numbers
The Levites, in turn, tithed as do true ministers of Jesus
Christ today. More than anyone, they looked to God, and relied
on God - the source of their sustenance. The law applies to
"Thus speak unto the Levites, and say unto them, When ye take of the
children of Israel the tithes which I have given you from them
for your inheritance, then ye shall offer up a heave offering of
it for the LORD, >even a tenth part of the tithe."
God owns everything - when we use His earth, we return ten
percent of the substance we obtain from it to Him. In this way,
we recognize God's ownership of His creation, and we acknowledge
God as the source of all our increase.
"... I am God, even thy God: for the
world is mine, and the fullness thereof."
(Psa 50:7,12, Job 41:11, 1Co 10:26, Exodus 19:5)
Melchisedec, King of Salem, is Jesus Christ
our High Priest. He was High Priest during the time of all
of the patriarchs, even Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Jacob
understood that all sustenance originated with God.
"And this... shall be God's house: and
of all that thou shalt give me I will surely give the
tenth unto thee." (Gen 28:22)
In Hebrews 7, Paul is demonstrating that, as the Israelites
paid their tithes to the priesthood of the Levites - the
Brethren of the Church of God also pay their tithes to Jesus
Christ - "for the work which they perform." (Numbers
18:21) Paul added:
"Do ye not know that they which minister about holy things live of the things
of the temple? and they which wait at the altar are partakers with the altar?"
In Hebrews 7:5,12, Paul explained that the priesthood is now
of Jesus Christ. The Levites had a commandment to take tithes
of the people according to the law, and the Levites "paid"
tithes to Melchisedec via Abraham. The Melchisedec priesthood
is the ultimate priesthood - now the priesthood of Jesus
"For the priesthood [of
Levites] being changed [not abolished], there is made of
necessity a change also of the law."
Perfection did not come by way of the Levitical
priesthood - it was necessary that another priest should rise
after the order of Melchisedec - the High Priest Jesus Christ.
What is the reason we
must tithe? We need to nail down, so to speak, the formal
legal basis for the actual requirement for paying tithes.
God commands us to tithe in His law, the formal statutory law He
gave Israel. We have been commanded to tithe!
"Thou shalt truly tithe all the increase
of thy seed, that the field bringeth forth year by year."
We need to remember that, when we read the books of Moses, we
typically are reading what God intended to be the formal
statutes and judgments for the nation of the Israelites. In the
most real sense possible, we are reading a Body of Law — laws
that include what we have understood as three separate tithes,
each with its own conditions and purpose. Notice the simple
command establishing what we have called first tithe in
"And all the tithe of the land, whether of the seed of
the land or of the fruit of the tree, is the Lord's.
It is holy to the Lord."
Similarly, the commands regarding what we have called
second tithe and third tithe can be found in
"You shall truly tithe all the increase of your grain
that the field produces year by year. And you shall eat before
the Lord your God, in the place where He chooses to make His name abide, the tithe
of your grain and your new wine and your oil, of the firstborn
of your herds and your flocks, that you may learn to fear the
Lord your God always." (Deuteronomy 14:22-23)
"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. 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."
As we should remember, God is so serious about obedience to
His law, including tithing, that He rebuked and indicted the
ancient Israelites (and in principle, their modern descendants)
for failing to tithe. God considers failing to tithe to be
"Will a man rob God? Yet you have robbed Me! But you say,
'In what way have we robbed You?' In tithes and offerings. You
are cursed with a curse, for you have robbed Me, even this whole
nation." (Mal 3:8-9)
God recognizes the human tendency to deny wrongdoing and to
ask, "what did we do wrong?" Unfortunately, a similar heresy of
denial has surfaced today. Some men, looking for an excuse not
to tithe, are looking at the commands, as written to a primarily
agricultural people over 3000 years ago, as explicit statements
of the entire breadth of God's will on tithing for all time.
Their attitude can be expressed, "Well, God only mentions
livestock and produce, so that's all that is needed to be tithed
on. We don't have to tithe today on our wages and our
Let's put that heresy in perspective. Surely we are not
so naive as to believe that God would give us a monetary salary
and then not expect us to tithe anything because we were paid in
dollars instead of grain or livestock! Money can buy
food! Increase is increase! Abraham tithed on his
portion of the goods he garnered while rescuing Lot - and it
wasn't cabbages or tomato plants that he gave to Melchisedec!
So, we should tithe on whatever increase we receive from our
labors — whether that increase is money, goods, produce,
livestock, or whatever!
"And as soon as the commandment came abroad, the children of Israel
brought in abundance the firstfruits of corn, wine, and oil, and
honey, and of all the increase of the field; and the tithe
of all things brought they in abundantly." (2Chronicles 31:5)
Jesus Christ made an interesting observation about the Jews
of His day and how they practiced tithing.
"Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For
you pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and
have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and
mercy and faith. These you ought to have done,
without leaving the others undone." (Matthew 23:23)
The command to tithe was well known and practiced in Jesus'
day. He confirmed that tithing was to be done. We should note
that Christ acknowledged that the Jews were correct in tithing
even the smallest of seeds, in spite of their having neglected
"the weightier matters of the law." The Jews wanted to make sure
they did not rob God!
In this final time before Christ's return, let us hold fast
to all of the Truth we have been given. Humanly, we are too
prone to look for an excuse to forget or a reason to let down.
Let us remember to keep God's law — ALL of His commands.
Most of the very elderly Brethren are on Social Security or a
pension plan. God does not require that they tithe on that
income. It is the same with Workman's Compensation, disability
income, insurance payments, savings plans and unemployment
income. The principle is - those are not "increase" - those are
revenue from plans that have already been subject to the tithe.
God only asks for a freewill offering of thine hand, which thou shalt give
unto the Lord thy God, according as the Lord thy God hath blessed thee.
Brethren, it is very easy to prove these things - God says
for us prove it this way:
"Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and
prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven,
and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it."
An interesting sidelight: The USA and Canada along with the
other English speaking nations are the modern descendants of
Israel. In some parts of Canada, the tithe is recognized by
civil law, and the Fourth Council of Quebec (1868) declared that
its payment is "binding in conscience on the faithful"!