Today I want to talk about a very controversial issue but one that needs to be addressed nonetheless. TITHE. This word has become a thorn and a stumbling block for most believers and non believers alike. But, to false prophets, it has become a gold mine.
2 Corinthians 2:17 (NIV)
Unlike so many, we do not peddle the word of God for profit. On the contrary, in Christ we speak before God with sincerity, as those sent from God.
How many of pastors today will remain pastors if the congregation stopped tithing? Will your pastor remain a pastor? I know of churches were the priest refuses to perform any holy duties for you or to you if you do not pay!!!
The reason for this message today, is to provide you with the knowledge. What you do or how God uses this message in your life, will be your choice. It will be a long message but for your sake, read it all.
What is tithe?
Tithe comes from a Hebrew word ma‘aser or maasar meaning tenth.
Where did tithe originate?
Well it’s origin cannot be determined. History reveals that it existed in Babylon in ancient times, also in Persia and Egypt, even in China. It is quite certain that Abraham knew of it since he paid a tenth to Melchizedek (Gen 14:17 – 21). We know that Jacob also made a covenant and said he will pay the full tenth to God (Ge 28:16 – 22). So, he must have also know about it.
We know that it also became a holy requirement for God
Deuteronomy 14:22 (ESVST)
22 “You shall tithe all the yield of your seed that comes from the field year by year.
Leviticus 27:30 (ESVST)
“Every tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land or of the fruit of the trees, is the Lord ‘s; it is holy to the Lord.
After this tithe was paid by the people as stated in the verses above, all the people that have tithed, ate all the tithe at a place designated by God. This was not paid to the pastor or anyone. It was collected and eaten at a place designated by God.
Deuteronomy 14:23 (ESVST)
And before the Lord your God, in the place that he will choose, to make his name dwell there, you shall eat the tithe of your grain, of your wine, and of your oil, and the firstborn of your herd and flock, that you may learn to fear the Lord your God always.
God even said that if you are too far from this place, you can sell your tithe and turn it into money and when you get to the designated place, you can buy and eat what you want.
Deuteronomy 14:26 (ESVST)
and spend the money for whatever you desire — oxen or sheep or wine or strong drink, whatever your appetite craves. And you shall eat there before the Lord your God and rejoice, you and your household.
The reason for paying this tithe was as God says in Deuteronomy 14:23(ESVST)
“….that you may learn to fear the Lord your God always.” Not to make the church sustainable, not to make the priest rich and not for anything but so that you may fear The Lord your God.
At this stage we know that it existed although we don’t know the origin. We know the Abraham and Jacob knew about it and we know that it became a holy requirement for God. It later on was made an instruction by God and this tithe must be brought at a place of God’s choosing (Deuteronomy 14:22-23)
He also said that since the Levites(one of the 12 tribes of Israel. God chose them to be priests and to handle all religious ceremonial sacrifices. God also said that they shall have no inheritance.) had no inheritance as commanded by God, they shall also eat from this tithe (Deuteronomy 14:29). God then gave Aaron and his sons duties and the Levites duties as well. Aaron and his sons were to guard and perform the duties of the sanctuary and the altar and the Levites were to guard the tent.
Numbers 18:4-5 (ESVST)
They shall join you and keep guard over the tent of meeting for all the service of the tent, and no outsider shall come near you. 5 And you shall keep guard over the sanctuary and over the altar, that there may never again be wrath on the people of Israel.
Because God said that Aaron and his sons and the levites shall have no inheritance, God gave to Aaron and his sons his own contribution that the Israelites contributes to him.
Numbers 18:8 (ESVST)
Then the Lord spoke to Aaron, “Behold, I have given you charge of the contributions made to me, all the consecrated things of the people of Israel. I have given them to you as a portion and to your sons as a perpetual due.
God also gave the Levites all the tithe of Israel.
Numbers 18:24 (ESVST)
For the tithe of the people of Israel, which they present as a contribution to the Lord, I have given to the Levites for an inheritance. Therefore I have said of them that they shall have no inheritance among the people of Israel.”
This is how it worked, the people of Israel payed tithe and gave it to the Levites. From all the tithes, the Levites will pay tithe to God as a contribution to God and give it to Aaron and his sons.
Numbers 18:26 (ESVST)
“Moreover, you shall speak and say to the Levites, ‘When you take from the people of Israel the tithe that I have given you from them for your inheritance, then you shall present a contribution from it to the Lord, a tithe of the tithe.
Numbers 18:28 (ESVST)
So you shall also present a contribution to the Lord from all your tithes, which you receive from the people of Israel. And from it you shall give the Lord ‘s contribution to Aaron the priest.
What do we know so far.
1) We know that originally tithe was for God and was paid yearly.
2) It was collected and taken to a place designated by God and there the people who have tithed will eat all of it.
3) We know that if you could not carry the tithe due to distance, you could sell the tithe and take only the money with and when you get to the place, you can use it for anything you want.
4) We also know that God then decided to give Aaron and his sons and the Levites certain duties then
God paid Aaron and his sons and the Levites for the services that they did because God said that they shall have no inheritance.
5) He gave the Levites the tithe and gave Aaron and his sons his contribution.
This went on like this until the death and the resurrection of Christ. This is the reason why tithe was paid.
Couple of things happened when Jesus died.
First there was a curtain in the church behind which only the priest would enter to make sacrifices to God, no one else was allowed. When Jesus died, the curtain was torn in half signifying that now everyone had access to God personally. Secondly, Jesus became our high priest. Hebrews 8, 9,10 clearly makes this point that we no longer need an earthly priest to offer gifts and sacrifices to God and we don’t need anyone to guard the tent anymore as a better tent has been made
Hebrews 8:1-2 (ESVST)
1 Now the point in what we are saying is this:we have such a high priest, one who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven, 2 a minister in the holy places, in the true tent that the Lord set up, not man.
Hebrews 8:13 (ESVST)
In speaking of a new covenant, he makes the first one obsolete. And what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.
Since we no longer need priest to offer gifts and sacrifices and people to guard the tent, that means the services of Aaron and his sons and the Levites are now terminated and they no longer need to be paid. What this means is that we are no longer required to pay tithe to the Levites. This tithe now returns to God.
Remember that originally tithe was still paid to God before the Levites were appointed, God designated a place were this tithe will be collected and eaten or spend by those that have paid it, as they wanted. This tithe was never meant to be given to anyone or even to the church. It was for the people that paid it for them to eat it so that they may fear God.
Now how does God want us to tithe now? Does he want us to even tithe?
Read my next message. You don’t want to miss this message