YOU CANNOT OUTGIVE GOD
The practice of tithing and offering has always been a controversial subject between the laity and the ministers. But, to the Chosen Seed of God, it is not so.
From the beginning of time, it has been God's plan that His people should offer to Him the best — their First Fruits. Most people do not even realize what the word TITHE means. TITHE means A TENTH, or 10% of one's increase or income. During the course of this book we will refer to tithe as the tenth part of anything that is devoted and given to God.
Out of the 66 books in the Holy Scriptures, 34 of them deal in one way or another with the subject of giving and receiving. Out of 72 references to giving, 48 show God's unequivocal promise of His abundant blessings to the giver — "Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again" (Lk.6:38).
Can anyone accuse God of not keeping His promise? We believe that He more than keeps His Word. We also believe in proportionate giving, and that the minimum amount being one-tenth of one's earnings or income, or to use the Biblical expression, the tithe.
No one has really given to God until he has first paid his tithe.
We are convinced that many Christians suffer materially, physically and spiritually because they have been misappropriating that which belongs to God. We trust that you are not one of them.
During the years 1913-14, the following question was published in a number of religious journals in the U.S.A. and Canada: Have you ever known anyone who was less happy, less generous, or less financially prosperous from being a 'tither'? A total of more than 10,000 no replies were received, but there was not even one yes reply.
In this book we will try to explain, by the Sacred Bible, God's perfect will regarding tithing and how it was, and should be, practised by His people.
We pray that this book will be a blessing to you now and in the days to come as you put the principles of tithing into practice in your Christian life.
Chosen Seed of God
This article is compiled and edited from several sources.
TWELVE REASONS FOR TITHING
1. Tithing is scriptural — ordered and approved of God in the Old and New Testaments.
2. Tithing teaches the true worshippers of the Lord Jesus Christ to put God and His work first.
3. Tithing teaches us to recognize and acknowledge God's ownership of our lives.
4. Tithing is an act of worship.
5. Tithing gives us more confidence in our prayers to God.
6. Tithing invokes God's blessings upon the tithe-giver.
7. Tithing tends to increase the tithe-giver's ability to give more than just a tenth of his or her income.
8. Tithing gives the tithe-givers an opportunity to receive from God His blessings as they give Him their tithes.
9. Tithing creates a commanding position of stewardship in the lives of Christians.
10. Tithing increases the tithe-giver's influence over others to follow his example to practise tithing.
11. Tithing is giving in a systematic manner rather than an emotional or spasmodic giving.
12. Tithing causes the tithe-giver to give freely and spontaneously rather than waiting until an appeal is made.
I — TITHE IN THE OLD TESTAMENT
Tithing of Cain and Abel
In order to clearly understand the true meaning of any subject we must begin our study with the source of it — the alpha.
It is obvious that Cain and Abel were taught to practise tithing by their parents, Adam and Eve (Prov.1:8), who also practised it themselves. And it was none other than God Who taught Adam and Eve about tithing.
We read of the first account of the practice in Genesis 4:2-7,
"And she again bare his brother Abel. And Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground.
And in the process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the Lord.
And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the Lord had respect unto Abel and to his offering:
But unto Cain and to his offering He had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell.
And the Lord said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen?
If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? And if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him."
Notice the different offerings that were brought to God. Cain brought of the fruit of the ground — vegetables and fruits. Abel brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. Abel's sacrifice was a bloody one which pointed to the anti-type of Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God, Who was sacrificed for the remission of sins.
Notice, Abel brought forth firstlings (plural) of sheep and other animals that he kept, which pleased God. God told Cain to go and do likewise so that he would be accepted. Did Cain do as he was commanded? No, instead he sought out his brother and killed him. Thus, we can see that the firstlings offered by Abel were his tithes to God and that the blood that was shed upon the altar was his faith towards God.
Tithing of Abraham
"And the king of Sodom went out to meet him after his return from the slaughter of Chedorlaomer, and of the kings that were with him, at the valley of Shaveh, which is the king's dale.
And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God.
And he blessed him, and said, Blessed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth:
And blessed be the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand. And he gave him tithes of all."
This tithing of Abraham to Melchizedek is also stated, or reinforced, in Hebrews 7:2-10:
"To whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all; first being by interpretation King of righteousness, and after that also King of Salem, which is King of peace;
Without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life; but made like unto the Son of God; abideth a priest continually.
Now consider how great this man was, unto whom even the patriarch Abraham gave the tenth of the spoils.
And verily they that are of the sons of Levi, who receive the office of the priesthood, have a commandment to take tithes of the people according to the law, that is, of their brethren, though they come out of the loins of Abraham.
But he whose descent is not counted from them received tithes of Abraham, and blessed him that had the promises.
And without all contradiction the less is blessed of the better.
And here men that die receive tithes; but there he receiveth them, of whom it is witnessed that he liveth.
And as I may so say, Levi also, who receiveth tithes, paid tithes in Abraham.
For he was yet in the loins of his father, when Melchisedec met him."
Melchisedec was a type of Christ as Priest. He was without father and mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life, but made like unto the Son of God. Now, remember this, in Hebrews 13:8: "Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and forever." Therefore, do you not see that it is a Christian's duty to give (not pay) tithes under the New Covenant? Also remember that Abram, before his name was changed to Abraham, was not a Jew. The Jewish nation did not begin until the twelve patriarchs came forth from Jacob.
"And Jacob went out from Beersheba, and went toward Haran.
And he lighted upon a certain place, and tarried there all night, because the sun was set; and he took of the stones of that place, and put them for his pillows, and lay down in that place to sleep.
And he dreamed, and behold a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven; and behold the angels of God ascending and descending on it.
And, behold, the Lord stood above it, and said, I am the Lord God of Abraham thy father, and the God of Isaac: the land whereon thou liest, to thee will I give it, and to they seed;
And thy seed shall be as the dust of the earth, and thou shalt spread abroad to the west, and to the east, and to the north, and to the south: and in thee and in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed.
And, behold, I am with thee, and will keep thee in all places whither thou goest, and will bring thee again into this land; for I will not leave thee, until I have done that which I have spoken to thee of.
And Jacob awaked out of his sleep, and he said, Surely the Lord is in this place; and I knew it not.
And he was afraid, and said, How dreadful is this place! This is none other but the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.
And Jacob rose up early in the morning, and took the stone that he had put for his pillows, and set it up for a pillar, and poured oil upon the top of it.
And he called the name of that place Bethel: but the name of that city was called Luz at the first.
And Jacob vowed a vow, saying, If God will be with me, and will keep me in this way that I go, and will give me bread to eat, and raiment to put on,
So that I come again to my father's house in peace; then shall the Lord be my God:
And this stone, which I have set for a pillar, shall be God's house: and of all that thou shalt give me I will surely give the tenth unto thee."
— Genesis 28:10-22
Jacob knew exactly what should be done after the vision of the ladder, and how to please the Almighty God. Here he promised to give the tenth — the tithe — to God, of all that God would give him. Think about this: all that we possess is given to us by the Grace of God in the first place. Therefore, isn't it something that the first thing that entered Jacob's mind was to give a tenth. Obviously his father, Isaac, had taught him about tithing.
Giving Tithe, Not Paying Tithe
You would have noticed that before the laws were given, the people of God freely gave tithes, not paid tithes as no such compulsory law was given yet. So tithing was not only a practice under the law but even before the law.
Levitical Laws To Israel
"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 unto the Lord.
And if a man will at all redeem ought of his tithes, he shall add thereto the fifth part thereof.
And concerning the tithe of the herd, or of the flock, EVEN of whatsoever passeth under the rod, the tenth shall be holy unto the Lord.
He shall not search whether it be good or bad, neither shall he change it: and if he change it at all, then both it and the change thereof shall be holy; it shall not be redeemed."
— Leviticus 27:30-33
Notice that all the tithe is holy unto the Lord, "and if a man will at all redeem ought of his tithes, he shall add thereto the fifth part thereof". This means that if you withhold your tithes from God, the fifth part that has to be paid back is twenty per cent (20%). In other words you pay the amount of tithe withheld plus 20% penalty for withholding payment of tithes. Remember, this was applicable under the law. Yet today, under Grace, we've heard many Believers(?) making excuses that they could not afford to give tithes saying that God understands their reason(s). Oh, my, what a disGRACE!
"Even of whatsoever passeth under the rod, the tenth shall be holy unto the Lord" — everything that comes into the Believer's hand, one tenth is to be given to God. Anything that passes through your hands, one tenth belongs to God and it's holy.
Heave Offering Given to Levites
"And, behold, I have given the children of Levi all the tenth in Israel for an inheritance, for their service which they serve, even the service of the tabernacle of the congregation.
Neither must the children of Israel henceforth come nigh the tabernacle of the congregation, lest they bear sin, and die.
But the Levites shall do the service of the tabernacle of the congregation, and they shall bear their iniquity: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations, that among the children of Israel they have no inheritance.
But the tithes of the children of Israel, which they offer as an heave offering unto the Lord, I have given to the Levites to inherit: therefore I have said unto them, Among the children of Israel they shall have no inheritance."
— Numbers 18:21-24
The tithes of Israel were offered as a heave offering and given to the Levites. "Heave" means "lifted up, taken apart from the larger mass; something properly separated from the rest and devoted to the divine service of God."
Levites Were To Pay A Tenth
"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 an heave offering of it for the Lord, even a tenth part of the tithe.
And this your heave offering shall be reckoned unto you, as though it were the corn of the threshingfloor, and as the fulness of the winepress.
Thus ye also shall offer an heave offering unto the Lord of all your tithes, which ye receive of the children of Israel; and ye shall give thereof the Lord's heave offering to Aaron the priest.
Out of all your gifts ye shall offer every heave offering of the Lord, of all the best thereof, even the hallowed part thereof out of it.
Therefore thou shall say unto them, When ye have heaved the best thereof from it, then it shall be counted unto the Levites as the increase of the threshingfloor, and as the increase of the winepress.
And ye shall eat it in every place, ye and your households: for it is your reward for your service in the tabernacle of the congregation.
And ye shall bear no sin by reason of it, when ye have heaved from it the best of it; neither shall ye pollute the holy things of the children of Israel, lest ye die."
— Numbers 18:26-32
The Levites are God's ministers and they too must pay one tenth (10%) of the heave offering that was offered by the children of Israel. The rest was for their own use, as shown in verse 31, because it was their reward for their service in the tabernacle of the congregation.
Hezekiah Restoring The tithes
Throughout the Jewish history, many people had forgotten the law of tithing and failed to honor God by neglecting to pay tithes. However, we read in 2nd Chronicles 31:2-12 how King Hezekiah set a personal example and restored the people's commitment to practise tithing.
"And Hezekiah appointed the courses of the priests and the Levites after their courses, every man according to his service, the priests and Levites for burnt offerings and for peace offerings, to minister, and to give thanks, and to praise in the gates of the tents of the Lord.
He appointed also the king's portion of his substance for the burnt offerings, to wit, for the morning and evening burnt offerings, and the burnt offerings for the sabbaths, and for the new moons, and for the set feasts, as it is written in the law of the Lord.
Moreover he commanded the people that dwell in Jerusalem to give the portion of the priests and the Levites, that they might be encouraged in the law of the Lord.
And as soon as the commandment came abroad, the children of Israel brought in abundance the first fruits 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.
And concerning the children of Israel and Judah, that dwelt in the cities of Judah, they also brought in the tithe of oxen and sheep, and the tithe of holy things which were consecrated unto the Lord their God, and laid them by heaps.
In the third month they began to lay the foundation of the heaps, and finished them in the seventh month. And when Hezekiah and the princes came and saw the heaps, they blessed the Lord, and his people Israel.
Then Hezekiah questioned with the priests and the Levites concerning the heaps.
And Azariah the chief priest of the house of Zadok answered him, and said, Since the people began to bring the offerings into the house of the Lord, we have had enough to eat, and have left plenty: for the Lord hath blessed his people; and that which is left is this great store.
Then Hezekiah commanded to prepare chambers in the house of the Lord; and they prepared them,
And brought in the offerings and the tithes and the dedicated things faithfully: over which Cononiah the Levite was ruler, and Shimei his brother was the next."
There is a great lesson in this passage of Scriptures for all Christians. When all the people began to bring in the offerings into the house of the Lord, Azariah the chief priest said, "we have had enough to eat and have left plenty, for the Lord hath blessed his people, and that which is left is this great store." Many churches today have to sell cookies, hot dogs and hamburgers, or organize rummage sales to bring in additional income to make up for the lack of tithes and offerings. The people just refuse to "pay" what belongs to God. They are robbers of God's tithes and offerings. That is what God has said in Malachi 3 — "You have robbed me in tithes and offerings." Give to God what belongs to Him and you won't have to sell anything to support the ministry of God.
Nehemiah And The Tithes Stored In The Temple
"And we cast the lots among the priests, the Levites, and the people, for the wood offering, to bring it into the house of our God, after the houses of our fathers, at times appointed year by year, to burn upon the altar of the Lord our God, as it is written in the law:
And to bring the firstfruits of our ground, and the firstfruits of all fruit of all trees, year by year, unto the house of the Lord:
Also the firstborn of our sons, and of our cattle, as it is written in the law, and the firstlings of our herds and of our flocks, to bring to the house of our God, unto the priests that minister in the house of our God:
And that we should bring the firstfruits of our dough, and our offerings, and the fruit of all manner of trees, of wine and of oil, unto the priests, to the chambers of the house of our God; and the tithes of our ground unto the Levites, that the same Levites might have the tithes in all the cities of our tillage.
And the priest the son of Aaron shall be with the Levites, when the Levites take tithes: and the Levites shall bring up the tithe of the tithes unto the house of our God, to the chambers, into the treasure house.
For the children of Israel and the children of Levi shall bring the offering of the corn, of the new wine, and the oil, unto the chambers, where are the vessels of the sanctuary, andthe priests that minister, and the porters, and the singers: and we will not forsake the house of our God."
— Nehemiah 10:34-39
Where did the Levites bring the tithes to? "Bring it into the house of our God", of course! Some Christians have accused preachers of preaching Malachi 3:9-10 to scare people into giving all their money to the church. They denied that the two verses had any reference to the Christian Church, the Body of Christ. I shall show you further passages of Scriptures to prove that these Christians are void of understanding.
Malachi — "Tithes and Offerings"
"For I am the Lord, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.
Even from the days of your fathers ye are gone away from mine ordinances, and have not kept them. Return unto me, and I will return unto you, saith the Lord of hosts. But ye said, Wherein shall we return?
Will a man rob God? Yet Ye have robbed Me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings.
Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation.
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.
And all nations shall call you blessed: for ye shall be a delightsome land, saith the Lord of hosts."
— Malachi 3:6-12
"Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house." This verse clearly tells us to bring our tithes to our usual place of worship.
"But unto the place which the Lord your God shall choose out of all your tribes to put his name there, even unto this habitation shall ye seek, and thither thou shalt come.
Then there shall be a place which the Lord your God shall choose to cause his name to dwell there; thither shall ye bring all that I command you; your burnt offerings, and your sacrifices, your tithes, and the heave offering of your hand, and all your choice vows which ye vow unto the Lord."
Take heed to thyself that thou forsake not the Levite as long as thou livest upon the earth."
— Deuteronomy 12:5,11,19.
What is that place which the Lord would put His Name? Where is "the place" He has put His Name? THAT PLACE IS NONE OTHER THAN THE WORD, THE DWELLING PLACE OF THE LORD, WHICH DWELLS THE NAME OF THE LORD (JESUS)! "For where two or three are gathered together in MY NAME, there am I in the midst of them" (the believers, the local church) — Matthew 18:20. And as long as the Levites live upon the earth, they should not be forsaken or neglected.
God has special promises for the Believer if he or she will obey His commandments.
"I will open you the windows of heaven and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it."
— Malachi 3:10b.
The blessings of God hold true to whoever believes:
"And it shall come to pass, if thou shalt hearken diligently unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to observe and to do all his commandments which I command thee this day, that the Lord thy God will set thee on high above all nations of the earth:
And all these blessings shall come on thee, and overtake thee, if thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God. Blessed shalt thou be in the city, and blessed shalt thou be in the field.
Blessed shalt be the fruit of thy body, and the fruit of thy ground, and the fruit of thy cattle, the increase of thy kine, and the flocks of thy sheep.
Blessed shall be thy basket and thy store.
Blessed shalt thou be when thou comest in, and blessed shalt thou be when thou goest out.
The Lord shall cause thine enemies that rise up against thee to be smitten before thy face: they shall come out against thee one way, and flee before thee seven ways.
The Lord shall command the blessing upon thee in thy storehouses, and in all that thou settest thine hand unto; and he shall bless thee in the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.
The Lord shall establish thee an holy people unto himself, as he hath sworn unto thee, if thou shalt keep the commandments of the Lord thy God, and walk in his ways.
And all people of the earth shall see that thou art called by the name of the Lord; and they shall be afraid of thee.
And the Lord shall make thee plenteous in goods, in the fruit of thy body, and in the fruit of thy cattle, and in the fruit of thy ground, in the land which the Lord sware unto the fathers to give thee.
The Lord shall open unto thee his good treasure, the heaven to give the rain unto thy land in his season, and to bless all the work of thine hand: and thou shalt lend unto many nations, and thou shalt not borrow.
And the Lord shall make thee the head, and not the tail; and thou shalt be above only, and thou shalt not be beneath; if that thou hearken unto the commandments of the Lord thy God, which
I command thee this day, to observe and to do them: And thou shalt not go aside from any of the words which I command thee this day, to the right hand, or to the left, to go after other gods to serve them."
— Deuteronomy 28:1-14
II — TITHES AND OFFERINGS DID NOT CEASE
UNDER THE NEW COVENANT
LAW AND GRACE
There are books on tithing in which the authors isolate certain Scriptures and make an issue of them. You cannot do that; you must look at all of God's words concerning the doctrine you are dealing with. You cannot get away from the truth.
Is tithing applicable in the Old Testament time only? Has it been abolished when the New Testament was established? If the answer is "yes", then why do we have scriptures in the New Testament that vindicate tithing?
There are others who say that it applies to the Jews only, but this cannot be substantiated by the Scriptures. The Word of God must be our guide concerning all matters. The Truth must be rightly divided. With this in mind, let us look at the Scriptures.
We must be fully aware there are Scriptures which are specifically for the Jews, Gentiles, or the Church of God — "Give none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God" (1 Cor.10:32). Though the Bible is written for all classes of people, and for their learning, it is not addressed to all humanity in general. Part of it is addressed to the Jews, part to the Gentiles and part to the Church. These are the three broad classes in which humanity is divided.
While the whole Bible has been written for the instruction of the Church, it is not all about the Church only.
Have you noticed that all the 10 commandments except the 4th commandment regarding the Sabbath are reaffirmed in the New Testament? (Rom.13:8-10; Eph.6:1-2; James 5:12; 1 Jhn.5:21) Why did God leave the 4th commandment out if He intended for the Church to follow it? If God wanted the Church under the New Covenant to do certain things, He would certainly make it known to us. This is true of tithing, which the Lord Jesus did not leave out, because He wanted the Church to continue the practice and to receive the promise attached to it.
The Bible tells us that though we are Gentiles in the natural, we are spiritual Jews in Christ. "For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God" (Rom.2:28-29). Furthermore as Gentiles, we were grafted into the vine of the olive tree and became partakers of the spiritual blessings. Concerning this, the Apostle Paul said, "And if some of the branches be broken off, and thou, being a wild olive tree, wert grafted in among them, and with them partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree; Thou will say then, The branches were broken off, that I might be grafted in" (Rom.11:17,19). "Some of the branches" refer to Israel that were broken off because of unbelief (Rom.11:20), and the "wild olive" branches refer to the Gentiles who were grafted in.
Jesus said, "I am the vine, ye are the branches" (John 15:5a). We know that the Church has been made partakers of the same vine. Therefore, we can conclude that the practice of tithing was applicable to the natural Jews and is also applicable to the spiritual Jews, the members of the Church of God. The Bible does not state that tithing ceased when the Law was replaced by Grace. Instead the New Testament reaffirms and teaches that believers should give tithes.
III — TITHING IN THE NEW TESTAMENT
"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 Christ reprimanded the Scribes and Pharisees, which were the religious leaders of His day for being hypocrites. He was not against tithing, but added that "these ought ye to have done". Some says Jesus was talking to the Jews. If this be the case, where does it leave us, the Church of the Living God?
Apostle Paul was sent to the Gentiles, and he wrote 14 epistles to the Church, and on many occasions he spoke directly to the Jews. Do we, as spiritual Jews, not get our admonition from the 14 epistles written to the Church? Of course, we do. Amen!
"And Jesus sat over against the treasury, and beheld how the people cast money into the treasury, and many that were rich cast in much.
And there came a certain poor widow, and she threw in two mites, which make a farthing.
And he called unto him his disciples, and saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That this poor widow hath cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury:
For all they did cast in of their abudance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living."
— Mark 12:41-44; cf. Luke 21:1-4
The Teachings of Apostle Paul
Apostle Paul deals explicitly with the matter of Christian giving in several of his epistles. He devotes two entire chapters in 2 Corinthians to this subject. In 1 Corinthians 9, Paul declares that those who minister the spiritual things should be supported by their followers. "Who goeth a warfare any time at his own charges?" he asks. "Or who planteth a vineyard, and eateth not of the fruit therof? or who feedeth a flock, and eateth not of the milk of the flock?" (1 Cor.9:7). Then he continues by pointing back to the Old Testament and showing how the Priests and the Levites who ministered to the people at the Temple were supported by the people. Here he was referring to the law of the tithe of the Levitical system. Then applying this same tithe principle, he states in 1 Corinthians 9:14, "Even so (with the same system and principle) hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel."
The inference here is clear. The same principle of tithing in the Old Testament is still applicable in the New Testament. Paul states that "the Lord ordained" it so, apparently referring to Matthew 10:10 and Luke 10:7-8 where Jesus told His disciples to receive gifts and assistance from those to whom they were ministering. Obviously such a plan would include the tithe principle which was an important part of the Old Testament economy.
First Day Of The Week
Paul also deals with the subject of giving in 1 Corinthians. He gives the same instructions he had given to the other churches in that area.
"Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given order to the churches of Galatia, even so do ye.
Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come."
— 1 Corinthians 16:1-2
Here is a programme of giving which stipulates a regular weekly donation in proportion to the giver's ability to give "as God hath prospered him." This is clearly refering to the giving of tithes, perhaps more than just the tithes. When we look into Acts 2:44-45 and Acts 4:34-37 and see how the early Christians sold their possessions and distributed the proceeds among all, we should realize that Paul has stipulated only a small minimun of ten percent in this tithe programme.
In 2 Corinthians 8:14, Paul reinforces the need for regular proportional giving when he speaks of "an equality" that will not make the burden of giving rest more heavily on one than on the other. This can only be achieved by regular tithing. The Christian is exhorted to give regularly, systematically, proportionately, liberally, and even sacrificially. Paul calls this form of giving a "grace" which has the same virtue as the other Christian graces such as faith, utterance, knowledge, diligence, love. (See 2 Corinthians 8:7.) He points to Christ who was willing to sacrifice all His heavenly treasures that we through His poverty might become rich. He tells of the liberality of the churches in Macedonia and urges the Corinthians to follow their fine example, and to set a good example to the others. He tells them that he has boasted of their liberality and asks them not to "let him down".
Besides the giving of tithes as a basic Christian duty, Christians should also make the giving of freewill offerings a natural part of their lives.
A Christian is a steward of God and is responsible for the giving of his substance to the work of the Lord. The Book of Acts gives many examples of those who gave all their substance, and of churches who gathered offerings to assist their needy brethren in other cities or countries. Paul received offerings which he brought with him to Jerusalem for the relief of the saints there. Upon his conversion, Zacchaeus gave half of his goods to the poor. Jesus asked the rich young ruler to sell all he had and give it away, that he might follow Him as his Saviour.
From these instances we can safely conclude that the principle of tithing was widely practised by the early Church. While not specifically mentioned in the apostolic writings, we can believe that the principle of tithing in the Old Testament time was carried forward and widely practised by the early Christians and that it formed a vital part of their lives. Indeed, we should not expect to find "tithing" mentioned as such in the New Testament, because the rate at which the Christians were giving had far outstripped the minimum required of them in tithes.
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God desires not only our tithes, but also our freewill offerings which should be given to our local home church. Many Christians believe that they can distribute their tithes and offerings anywhere they want to. Some even do not give tithes and offerings.
Have you ever wondered why so many Christians are so poverty stricken and can't seem to make ends meet? You will know the reasons in the following pages. Let's look into the Holy Bible together and see what God says about freewill offerings in the Old and New Testaments.
IV — OFFERINGS IN THE OLD TESTAMENT
"And will make an offering by fire unto the Lord, a burnt offering, or a sacrifice in performing a vow, or in a freewill offering, or in your solemn feasts, to make a sweet savour unto the Lord, of the herd, or of the flock."
— Number 15:3.
This is a law for the offering of the first of their dough unto the Lord. They must not only offer him their first fruits and a tenth of the corn in their fields, but also part of what they had it in their houses or in their kneading troughs. When it was almost ready to set upon their tables, part of their dough must be heaved or offered up to God, and the priests would have them for the use of their families. The priests fully depended upon God for their daily bread. We read in Matthew 6:11 how Jesus taught us to pray, "Give us this day our daily bread" and not give us this year our yearly harvest".
"And of every one that willingly offered a freewill offering unto the Lord" (Ezra 3:5b). Every one of them offered his freewill offering unto the Lord. The law required much, but they brought more. Though they had little wealth, they made their sacrifices willingly because of their great zeal. We can only conclude that they had less on their tables that they might plentifully supply God's altar. This spirit of giving is exhibited throughout the Old and New Testaments. The other scriptures concerning freewill offering in the Old Testament are Numbers 29:39; Deuteronomy 12:6; 16:10; 23:23; 2 Chronicles 31:14; Ezra 7:16; 8:28 and Psalm 119:108. Read them.
V — OFFERINGS IN THE NEW TESTAMENT
"Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven.
Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.
But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth:
That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly."
— Matthew 6:1-4
"But which of you, having a servant plowing or feeding cattle, will say unto him by and by, when he is come from the field, Go and sit down to meat?
And will not rather say unto him, Make ready wherewith I may sup, and gird thyself, and serve me, till I have eaten and drunken; and afterward thou shalt eat and drink?
Doth he thank that servant because he did the things that were commanded him? I trow not.
So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do."
— Luke 17:7-10
To be a profitable servant, we must go the extra mile and practise Christian giving beyond our duty. If we have the Spirit of God within us, He will guide and direct us in sacrificial giving, which is giving beyond our basic duty. True giving is giving until it hurts.
Now, let's see what the early Church did.
"And all that believed were together, and had all things common;
And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need.
And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart,
Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved."
— Acts 2:44-47
They sold their possessions and goods because they had everything in common. Today, it is hard to find many people who have all things in common.
"And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness. And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common.
And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus; and great grace was upon them all.
Neither was there any among them that lacked: for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold.
And laid them down at the apostles' feet; and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need.
And Joses, who by the apostles was surnamed Barnabas (which is, being interpreted, The son of consolation), a Levite, and of the country of Cyprus, having land, sold it, and brought the money, and laid it at the apostles' feet."
— Acts 4:31-37
These people didn't lack anything. But people today often cry and beg God to help them meet their material and financial needs, because they are simply too foolish to ignore God's promise that He would open the windows of heaven and pour out His abundant blessings if they would first give their tithes.
"Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver."
— 2 Corinthians 9:7
Christian giving must be a free and spontaneous act which is guided by the leading of the Holy Spirit. This is one of the New Testament principles of giving. "For if there be first a willing mind, it is accepted according to that a man hath, and not according to that he hath not" (2 Cor.8:12). Giving is also a personal matter and should not be publicised. "When thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth" (Matt.6:3).
The Bible clearly shows us that our tithes and offerings must be brought to God's house and given to the Levites (the Ministers called of God to minister His Word). In other words, we are supposed to bring our tithes and offerings to our respective home church in which we are ministered the Word of the Lord. However, some of you may not have a home church. Or some of you may say that you are unwilling to give to the church you are attending because the ministers do not preach the Word of God. Let us first assume that you are correct in what you say, but let's find out why you give tithes of time and energy which are not used for God. In the land where you live there are many who do not believe that a true Prophet of God was sent to get God's people back to His Original Word. They do not believe that in this last day there is a true Church which is made up of true worshippers who are members of the Bride of Christ. They would rather believe that anyone who claims to be a Christian, whether a Methodist, Lutheran, Anglican, Charismatic, etc., is part of the Bride of Christ and will meet Christ in the coming Rapture of the Church. Unfortunately for them, Christ is not coming back for any "Tom, Dick or Harry" Christian. He is coming back for His very own.
Read Haggai 1:4-7 and learn a lesson from the passage. In particular, verse 6 shows us that all our efforts would be futile if we do not first consider the house and the work of the ONE true God. Some Christians believe that by giving their money to the poor, they have obeyed the commandments of God to bring their tithes and offerings into God's store-house. While the giving of money to the poor is a noble act it does not fulfill the commandments of God concerning tithing and freewill offerings. We read in Galatians 6:6, "Let him that is taught in the word communicate unto him that teacheth in all good things." In other words, you are supposed to give of your substance to the man of God who tends to your spiritual needs and feed you with fresh manna from heaven.
GOD OR SATAN
We are living at the end of all ages, and it behooves us to be careful where we give our tithes and offerings. There are many wolves in sheep's clothing who are roaming among the flock of God to seek (like their master --Satan) whom they may devour. We know by the Word of God that we cannot serve God and Satan; we must love one and hate the other or hold to the one and despise the other. It is true that we cannot take our money with us. However, we can "send it on ahead" as the old saying goes, which means that in God's eyes we could make worthy use of our money.
Wouldn't you hate to stand before God and find that you had been putting your tithes and offerings in bags with holes in them. Surely you would not want to stand before God to discover that you had been helping the Devil propagate his false doctrines and theologies instead of serving God as you had intended. So remember this well — if you are giving your gifts to a certain place where you know by the Scriptures that they are not being used for God then they are being used for Satan.
I plead with you to avoid the curse that falls upon the robbers of God, and I would urge you not to miss out on the blessings of God by being foolish with your tithes and offerings.
VI — RESULTS
"I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread."
— Psalm 37:25
"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."
— Malachi 3:10
"Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:
But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:
For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also."
— Matthew 6:19-21
"Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:
For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that
seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened."
— Matthew 7:7-8
"Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again."
— Luke 6:38
"But rather seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you.
Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom.
Sell that ye have, and give alms; provide yourselves bags which wax not old, a treasure in the heavens that faileth not, where no thief approacheth, neither moth corrupteth.
For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also."
— Luke 12:31-34
"I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive."
— Acts 20:35
"Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city."
— Revelation 22:14
"Render therefore unto Ceasar the things which are Caesar's, and unto God the things that are God's."
— Matthew 22:21; Mark 12:17
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In Hebrews 7:1-11 the Apostle Paul brings out the parallel between Melchisedec, the Priest of the Most High God (to whom Abraham GAVE tithes) and Jesus Christ, and shows the superiority of them both over the Aaronic (Levitical) Priesthood. Apostle Paul's argument in support of the superiority of Christ would fail if Christ is not to receive tithes, as Melchisedec did. Even the Levites (who were to receive tithes) paid tithes in Abraham. If Abraham as a type of the Christian, gave tithes to Melchisedec, who was a type of Christ, to whom should Christians, who are the children of Abraham, give (not pay) tithes?
Paul settles the matter in verse 8. He states plainly that Christ "receiveth them (the tithes) of whom it is witnessed that He liveth." Who are the witnesses that Christ is alive? Christians! As His witnesses, Christians give tithes to Jesus. Paul could not make it any plainer!
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There are multitudes of people in this world who can testify that, as a result of giving regularly of their tithes and offerings to God, they have in turn received many benefits from Him. This is God's ordained way for the Church to function financially.
When Apostle Paul wrote 1 Corinthians 9:12-14, he was referring to Numbers 18:21-28 where the tithes were paid to the priests. And just as God had ordained that they who ministered in sacred things in olden times should be supported by the tithes, those who preach the Gospel in the present time shall also live of the same. This is God's order for us today. And we are convinced that many sincere Christians suffer much, needlessly — materially, physically, and spiritually — simply because they do not or would not, tithe their income systematically to show their love and gratitude to God. God's pronouncements on this are the same in all ages — a curse on those who do not tithe and a blessing on those who do. Read Malachi 3:8-12; Proverbs 3:9-10; 11-24-25.
What more shall we say? For time would fail us to tell of the multitudes of men, women, boys and girls who can personally testify with assurance that the giving of tithes and freewill offerings is God's way. Amen!
YOU SAY YOU SACRIFICE AND GIVE
OF MANY THINGS TO THE LORD.
BUT I SAY UNTO YOU
THAT YOU NEVER REALLY GIVE
UNTIL YOU FIRST GIVE
THE TENTH THAT IS THE LORD'S.
AND THEN YOUR GIVING
IS TRUE GIVING —
ONLY AFTER THAT!
QUOTATIONS FROM THE MESSAGES OF WILLIAM BRANHAM
Would it be wrong to use tithes on Church Building Fund?
Well, here's a touchy little thing for the Church now. Correctly, tithes are to go to the minister. That's right.
In the Bible...they had a box that they set at the door (in the Old Testament) of the building. This box was the fund where the people put in there for the repairing and keeping of the building and things like that. All the repairs on the building were taken care of out of that fund, but all their tithings went to the priest, their pastor. Tithings are to go for nothing else.
I know people who take their tithes and give them to a widowed woman; that's wrong.
If you've got anything to give to the widowed woman, give her, but don't give her God's money. That's not yours in the first place. That's God's.
And Levi the Priest (Pastor) lived by the tenth. The tenth is to be a tithing that is brought into the Storehouse with a promise of God to bless it. He said, "If you don't believe me, come and prove me and see if I won't do it." That's right.
The tithings go into the Church for the pastor and so forth like that to live on; then the Building Fund and things like that are a separate fund altogether.
(Questions & Answers. 10 Oct.'81)
...your ladies aid society and all this other nonsense that's been added to the Church...soup suppers to pay the preacher. Where did you ever get such a thing as that in the Scriptures? Tithes pay the preacher. He's to live off the tithes of the people. (But we had to get something else...) God's way is right. Tithes and offerings go to the Levi, who were the ministers. If everybody would pay their tithe you wouldn't have to have any soup suppers, see? You adopted something else and left the tithings off.
(Church Choosing Law For Grace. 16 Mar.'61)
Everyone ought to have a Church Home. You ought to have a place where you worship. Don't just float about from pillar to post, but have somewhere you go to Church and you call it your Church. You should have somewhere to pay your tithes and help support the cause.
(The Spirit Speaks Through The Prophet. 8 Mar.'60)
When God was setting in the order, He said, "All you Levites, I've called you out and made you priests, and all your brethren, the other eleven tribes will pay you tithes. And you (others) when you get nine bushels of apples, pour the tenth one to the Levites. When you run your sheep through the hall here, pick up the tenth sheep. I don't care if it's a little one, or a big one, fat one or poor one, that belongs to the Levites. When you Levites get all these, then you tithe to the Lord."
(What The Holy Ghost Is. 16 Dec.'59)
Every Christian is duty bound to pay tithes. Right.
(Hebrews Chapter 7. 15 Sept.'57)
Every Christian is obligated to pay tithe because it is a command of the Lord. Tithing is essential to the Christian experience. I was hungry and Mother and the rest hungry, and my Daddy sick but I took my tithe out first and gave it to God. Every Christian should pay tithe.
(God Misunderstood. 24 July '61)
Today they are trying to take the place of God's Tithing and making it different, by suppers, pancake selling, picnics to raise money to pay different debts off. Such will never take the place of God's Eternal Tithings and Offerings. It'll never do it, but yet they're trying to do it. What is it? It's enticing spirits.
(Enticing Spirits. 24 July '55)
Should a person pay tithes to an individual?
It depends on who the individual is. (Note: Tithes are for ministers only.) When you pay tithes, it is really where you owe the tithes, where you get your food. "Bring ye all your tithings into my storehouse saith the Lord." (That right?) "And prove me herewith, said God, that if I'll not open the windows of heaven and pour out a blessing that you would not have room enough to receive it." I challenge any man or woman that's not a tithe payer to accept that. Yes sir! I believe in paying tithes. It's one of God's blessings that's proven to be a blessing. You say, "That's of the Old Testament." It's of the New Testament, too. Yes sir!
(Questions & Answers. 23 Aug.'64 P.M.)
"Cluck, cluck, we're gonna have a supper over here tonight, we've got to pay the pastor. We've got to have some kind of sale to pay." When it gets to a place like that, the Church ought to close its doors. Pay your tithes and the pastor will be paid.
(God's Eagles 4 Aug.'60)
From the study of the Word of God and the teachings of the Prophet William Branham we understand that:
a) TITHING is a COMMAND OF THE LORD.
b) It is ESSENTIAL TO THE CHRISTIAN EXPERIENCE.
c) EVERY CHRISTIAN is duty bound to TITHE.
d) THE TITHE of the Lord BELONGS TO GOD and not to us.
e) A TENTH of the income of children of Israel went to the PRIEST, their PASTOR, and nothing less. "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 Cor.9:13-14).
f) We are NOT to take GOD'S TITHE and GIVE TO THE WIDOWED OR THE POOR.
g) TITHING is a New Testament Teaching.
h) BLESSINGS OF GOD ARE UPON EVERYONE WHO TITHES.
i) We are to BRING ALL THE TITHES INTO THE STOREHOUSE OF GOD, THE CHURCH, that there may be Spiritual Food in due season under the MINISTRY.
j) Those who substitute some other things for tithings are under the influence of Enticing Spirits.
k) Those who refuse to tithe are ROBBERS OF GOD.
l) We are to PUT GOD FIRST. Whatever we owe, God comes FIRST, our family second and ourselves last.
m) Abraham, our father, gave TITHES. As his children we also GIVE
as WITNESSES THAT JESUS CHRIST LIVES.
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...you have separated yourself to be a Christian, to act like one, to live like one, to obey every commandment.
(God's Word Call For Total Separation From Unbelief. 21 Jan.'64)
If you say you believe and don't follow the instructions of the word, then you don't believe.
(The Token. 1 Sept.'63)
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