Tithing is one of three things most attacked by the devil. The first one is the devil’s propagation of the Theory of Evolution, to combat the Creation story in which we clearly see that a Savior was needed. If we don’t believe Adam and Eve and the introduction of sin into every person’s life after that, we won’t see a need for a Savior. Second, and very close to the first, is the need to be “Born Again.” Many sects of Christianity teach many different ways to get to Heaven other than what the Bible teaches, that one must be born again to enter heaven. And the devil has not left tithing alone either. I believe there is a specific reason why he battles tithing in the church, though I don’t have time to go into it in this article.
Two of the biggest arguments out there, even within Christendom, against New Testament tithing are these: “Tithing is a command under the Law and we are no longer under the Law,” and “Jesus never commanded us to tithe in the New Testament.” Both of those arguments against a believer needing to tithe will be addressed and I believe dispelled by looking at Scripture carefully. The devil will operate by playing on either our fears or our selfishness. In any case, these two avenues can be blocked off by the Word of God on the issue of tithing.
In Deuteronomy 30:29-30, Moses puts it to the people just before entering into the Promised Land (the land of blessing) that they are faced with two worlds colliding. They could choose life (God’s system) or they could choose death (Satan’s system). They could choose blessing (God’s system) or they could choose cursing (Satan’s system). In God’s system they had to operate in faith while in Satan’s system, they had to operate in fear. A potential tither operating in the devil’s system may say, “I want to be blessed, but I’m AFRAID I won’t have enough money if I tithe.” The person who tithes operates in God’s system and says, “I have all that I need despite tithing.” Might I remind you that if we are Christians, we are in this world (the devil’s system) but not OF this world, but rather of God’s system, and that is how we should operate…not out of fear, but rather, out of faith.
We possess the complete Word of God. Old Testament and New Testament. There are things written in the Old Testament that are in the Law that have been amplified by Jesus’ teachings. Such as, OT Law forbade physical adultery, while Jesus in the New Testament went beyond that to include mental adultery as equal to the physical act. Same thing with murder. In the New Testament teachings of Christ, just hating your brother is the equivalent to murder. So we see that the Law is sometimes expanded for the New Testament Christian, and not done away with. Tithing, I believe is just such a point. Tithing, for the New Testament believer goes beyond just the giving of our tithe, but speaks to our willingness to have a direct personal relationship with Christ after we are saved that non-tithing believers miss out on.
So many people believe the tithe is something God takes from us, but it is something very small that is set aside for Him, and we get the rest. The scales are so tipped in our favor that it is hard to see how anyone can believe God to be mean or selfish by asking us for a tithe. Allowing us to do whatever we want with 90-percent is hardly selfish at all. In fact, it’s very giving and generous! In Genesis 2:13-14, God gave ALL of the fruit bearing trees to Adam and Eve to enjoy and eat…except ONE! Yet the devil played into Eve’s selfishness and got her to think it was unfair of God to withhold that ONE tree. So she sinned. She partook of what God had called His own. It wasn’t hers. She sinned and brought about a curse on herself, Adam, the Garden, and all humanity to follow. In Leviticus 27:30, the Bible says the tithe belongs to the Lord. Just like that ONE tree belonged to God in the Garden, so too does the tithe belong to God, and not us…or else we choose cursing over blessing for our sin of taking His tithe.
But God chose to add tithing into the Law because of the disobedience of His people, Israel. God didn’t always have to command people to tithe, because it was done so by the Patriarchs of Israel long before the Law was ever given. And these patriarchs gave a tithe to God out of a sincere love and appreciation for what God had done for them. In Genesis 14:18-23, Abram had just won a major battle, and was entitled to the spoils of war. Since God gave him the victory, Abram gave a tithe to the Lord out of love and appreciation for what He had delivered him from. There was no command yet to tithe. There didn’t need to be one, because Abram had a tender heart, and gave a tithe out of love and appreciation. And, Abram tithed fully trusting God. He wouldn’t even let the king of Sodom give him anything, because Abram fully trusted that God would continue to provide and Abram operated in God’s system of faith, and not the devil’s system of fear.
But here’s where it begins to come home to us. Abram was blessed by the high priest Melchezidek. He was blessed by the high priest Melchezidek AFTER he brought the tithe to him. Abram tithed, Melchezidek blessed him. Abram loved God and tithed because of what God had done for him and Melchezidek blessed Abram for it. Abram’s name was later changed to Abraham. That is important to know, to understand that the same person that gave a tithe to Melchezidek is the same person of whom we are all spiritual descendants. Now here’s where it gets really good. Jesus is our high priest according to Hebrews 4:14-15. But not only that, Jesus is our high priest after the order of Melchezidek according to Hebrews 6:20 and Hebrews 7:17. So it stands to reason, setting the Old Testament Law aside, that if we are descendants of Abraham, and he gave his tithe to Melchezidek, the same order of high priest that Jesus is to us today, we should be bringing our tithes still today, to receive the blessing that is due us.
Jacob, Abraham’s grandson, also tithed in Genesis 28, and made a vow to keep tithing, and the evidence of God blessing him for tithing is found up through Genesis 31. Also, in Malachi 3, we see God promising a blessing again for tithing. Tithing is closely associated with receiving blessings. So again, we can go back to Deuteronomy 30 and see that just before entering the Promised Land, the land of blessings, Moses put forth the choices between obedience and disobedience, faith and fear, as the choices between life and death, blessing and cursing. Moses implored Israel to choose life…choose blessing…choose obedience. Tithing is an act of obedience that stems from our love for God, and God promises to bless us for tithing the way he blessed Abraham, and Jacob. These two men tithed centuries before the Law was ever adopted.
The law on tithing was reiterated in one of Moses’ pre-Promised Land discourses. In Deuteronomy 14:22-28, he reminds Israel of God’s promise to bless all the work of their hands, and prosper them because of their willingness to tithe, and give back to God what is rightfully His in the first place. Remember, the tithe belongs to the Lord and is not an optional thing for the Christian. It is an act of obedience, and obedience brings blessing. Obedience pleases God. The reason obedience pleases God is because most of the time, going against the world’s system and doing things in God’s system requires a step of faith. Without faith, the Bible says, it is impossible to please God. Therefore, if God is not pleased, we forfeit blessing and invite cursing and chastisement upon our lives. God can bless us beyond our wildest imaginations, but we will limit Him if we disobey out of fear and lack of faith. Jesus was in a town and could not do any mighty works there because of their unbelief, or lack of faith. So it is in our lives. Our operating in faith will please God and open us up to His promised blessings in Malachi 3, the way Abraham and Jacob enjoyed blessings for their obedience to tithing.
That clears up the notion that tithing is under the Law and we are not under the Law in these New Testament days. But what about the assertion that Jesus never commanded us to tithe? Well, I believe He did, but in a veiled sort of way. In Matthew 5:17, Jesus says that He has not come to destroy the Law, but to fulfill it. Jesus’ example to us is the culmination of every aspect of the Law. How He lived is how we should strive to live. Jesus NEVER condemned anyone for tithing, He just condemned their motives. In fact, he commended people for going above and beyond the tithe…going the extra mile so to speak.
In Matthew 22:34-40, a lawyer asked Jesus which was the greatest commandment. He was looking at the Ten Commandments, but Jesus said that the greatest commandment was to love God with everything you have. The second greatest commandment was to love people with all you have. Here’s where I believe is the veiled command for us to still tithe today, even though tithing is found in the Law. Jesus said in Matthew 22:40, “On these two commandments hang ALL THE LAW and the prophets.” In other words, if you love God…you’ll want to tithe. Our love for God will govern us to tithe the way Abraham and Jacob tithed BEFORE the law, out of a love and appreciation for God. God says, “I’ve always wanted you to tithe, but you became disobedient and didn’t love Me the way you should, so I had to make a list of commands to get you to do what I wanted you to. Not the best case scenario, but I wanted to bless you, but you were doing wrong. At least if you did what I wanted you to out of a command to do it, I would still get to bless you. But I would rather not have to tell you what to do, but would prefer you do it for Me because you love Me.”
Consider a spouse who loves, respects, and appreciates his wife. Should his wife have to remind him every day when he leaves the front door to NOT commit adultery? Shouldn’t his love for his wife govern his actions and he would want to do anything but commit adultery. So God’s ultimate plan for us is not to have to remind us every time Sunday rolls around to tithe. We should want to do everything God wants us to do, including tithe. Why? Out of a love and appreciation for God and what He has done. So yes, Jesus did endorse tithing, as it is stipulated in the Law, but it is not the perfect plan. It is a command for those who have to be made to do right as opposed to those who want to do right. And if you love God, you will be moved to do the right thing regardless of being commanded.
Tithing is the base command when it comes to our giving. It comes with about three different promised blessings. The key is obedience to tithing to be eligible to receive those blessings. So choose life. Choose blessings. Choose to tithe. It’s a choice made by those BEFORE the Law. It’s a choice made by those UNDER the Law. And it’s a choice we should make living AFTER the Law.