The Lord intended that through tithes, Christians may be partakers of God’s great blessings. God 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).
In the Old Testament, God directed that the tithe be used to support the Levites, who were His ministers (Leviticus 27:30–33; Numbers 18:21–28). In the New Testament and in 1 Corinthians 9:13, God says that just as the priests of old were paid from the tithe of the temple, so gospel ministers today should be paid from tithe given through the church.
Some might wonder: Is the tithing system part of Moses’ old law, which ended at the cross? The answer would be: No! Both Abraham (Genesis 14:20) and Jacob (Genesis 28:22) gave a tenth of their income to God long before Moses’ law was given. Because tithing pre-dated Sinai, we know that it was not part of the ceremonial law that ended at the cross. The laws that ended at the cross are only those laws that pointed to the sacrificial work of Christ and were fulfilled by His death such as the sacrifices and the ceremonial temple services (Colossians 2:14). The law of tithing is God’s plan for support of the ministry, and it remains binding today.
Jesus did endorse 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). Jesus saw that the miserly Pharisees were counting herbs and seeds for tithe instead of taking it to the temple in large amounts. Therefore, He rebuked them for being so exact in tithe while failing in the acts of judgment, mercy, and faith. Jesus did not condemn them for tithing, but for ignoring the other great principles of Christianity which stress love and charity. That is why He said, “These ought ye to have done [speaking of tithing], and not to leave the other undone.”
The apostle Paul also endorsed the tithing system in Hebrews 7:8, “Here mortal men receive tithes, but there he receives them, of whom it is witnessed that he lives.”
As for the offerings the Bible says, “Every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessing of the Lord your God which He has given you” (Deuteronomy 16:17); And “So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Corinthians 9:7). Christian generosity grows out of a free will. It should be a gift from the heart of the giver (2 Corinthians 8:5). Only that which comes from love is acceptable to the Lord (Matthew 6:2–4). The giving that irritates the giver is not right. When we give, let us remember God’s great gift of love in offering His Son to redeem us (John 3:16).
- For more on “Tithe,” check the following link: Support the Ministry
- For more on “offerings,” check the following link: Free Will Offerings
In His service,