In the Old Testament, God directed that the tithe be used to support the Levites, who were His ministers. “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. If a man wants at all to redeem any of his tithes, he shall add one-fifth to it. And concerning the tithe of the herd or the flock, of whatever passes under the rod, the tenth one shall be holy to the Lord” (Leviticus 27:30-32).
Some may ask: is the tithing system part of Moses’ old law, which ended at the cross? The answer is no. Both Abraham (Genesis 14:20) and Jacob gave a tenth of their income to God (Genesis 28:22) long before Moses’ law was given. Therefore, it can be concluded that the Lord’s system of tithing is not only to Moses’ law but is for all people of all times.
The last book of the Old Testament has one of the most amazing promises for those that tithe. The Lord said, “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. And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith the LORD of hosts” (Malachi 3:10,11).
Although the Lord said, “You shall not tempt the Lord your God” (Deuteronomy 6:16), yet regarding tithing, He said, “Prove me.” Therefore, to those the tithe, He promised abundant blessings (Leviticus 26:3–5).
Jesus and Tithes
Jesus endorsed tithing in the New Testament. He said, “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone” (Matthew 23:23).
The Lord saw that the Pharisees were counting out leaves and tiny seeds, therefore, He rebuked them for being so exact in tithing the herbs while failing in judgment, mercy, and faith. He did not condemn them for tithing, but for ignoring the other great principles of Christianity. That is why Jesus said, “These ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.”
Paul and Tithes
The apostle Paul taught, just as the priests of old were paid from the tithe of the temple, so gospel ministers and Bible workers today should be paid from the tithe as well. He wrote, “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? Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel” (1 Corinthians 9:13). And the same truth is taught in Hebrews 7:8, “And here men that die receive tithes; but there he [Jesus] receiveth them, of whom it is witnessed that he liveth.”
The laws that Paul talked about which ended at the cross are only the Mosaic laws that pointed to the sacrificial work of Christ such as the sacrifices and the ceremonial temple services. When Christ died, these laws came to an end. (Ephesians 2:15; Colossians 2:14). But tithing is God’s plan for support of the ministry, and it remains in effect today.
In His service,