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TITHING

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April 12, 2000 (David W. Cloud, Fundamental Baptist Information Service, 1701 Harns Rd., Oak Harbor, WA 98277, fbns@wayoflife.org) -- The following is from the Way of Life Encyclopedia of the Bible & Christianity, copyright 1997 (1701 Harns Rd., Oak Harbor, WA 98277. 360-675-8311):

The tithe means ten percent. By comparing Ge. 14:20 with He. 7:2 we see that the tithe is ten percent of one's income.

OLD TESTAMENT GIVING. There were at least nine different occasions for giving in the O.T. economy under the Law of Moses. All giving and sacrifice is a way of honoring and worshiping God (Pr. 3:9). Consider the following types of offerings Israel brought to God:

TITHES UNDER THE LAW (Le. 27:30; De. 14:22; Ne. 12:47; Mal. 3:8-12). Apparently there were two tithes in Israel: The first tithe was given to sustain the priests (Nu. 18:21-24; De. 12:19). The second tithe was eaten before the Lord by the offerers (De. 12:17-18; 14:23-27). This second tithe was taken out of that which remained after the Levites were satisfied, and was given every third year (De. 14:28-29).

Redemption money (Le. 27:3-7).
Firstborn (Ex. 13:2,12; 22:30; 34:19; Le. 27:26). The firstborn animals were not to be worked or sheared, but sacrificed before the Lord (De. 15:19-20).
Sacrificial offerings (Le. 1-6).
Corners (Le. 19:9-10; De. 24:19).
Freewill offerings and vows (Le. 22:17-19; 27:1-29; Nu. 6:13-21; De. 12:6,11; 23:21-23).
Firstfruits (Ex. 23:19; De. 26:1-4).
Sabbath of the land (Le. 25:1-7).
Year of Jubilee (Le. 25:8-34).

TITHING AND THE CHRISTIAN. The following is from ABCs of Christian Growth by Robert Sargent (Bible Baptist Church, 1701 Harns Rd., Oak Harbor, WA 98277. 360-675-8311. baptist@whidbey.net) --

IS TITHING TO BE PRACTICED BY THE N.T. CHRISTIAN? Abraham Commenced it (Ge. 14:18-20). Jacob Continued it (Ge. 28:20-22). Moses Confirmed it (Le. 27:30). Malachi Commanded it (Mal. 3:10). Jesus Commended it (Mt. 23:23). God Commissioned it (1 Co. 9:14). Paul Conformed it (1 Co. 16:2). A study of these Scriptures shows that tithing is a scriptural principle. Abraham and Jacob tithed 500 years BEFORE the Law was instituted. Moses, Malachi, and Jesus spoke of tithing DURING the period of the Law. The Apostle Paul explained tithing AFTER the Law. Christians ought to tithe!

HOW SHOULD CHRISTIANS PRACTICE TITHING? Under the Law tithing was commanded. Under Grace, we do not tithe legalistically, but because we love the Lord (2 Co. 5:14). Do you think God would ask less love, less faith, and less cheerful giving from a N.T. Christian than from a Jew under the Law? Tithing, for the Christian, is not a matter of bondage.

WHERE SHOULD A CHRISTIAN PLACE HIS OR HER TITHE? (1) According to Mal. 3:10, the tithes were to be brought into the storehouse. For the Jews, this storehouse was the Temple at Jerusalem. (2) According to Acts 4:35,37 and Acts 5:2, the Christians brought their tithes and offerings to the Apostles' feet. (3) According to 1 Co. 16:2, we are to lay up our giving in store. Subsequent verses show this store was the Church at Corinth, to whom the Epistle was first addressed. (4) Today the storehouse for your tithe is your CHURCH. It is not God's plan for you to give your tithe wherever you decide.

WHY ARE WE TO PLACE OUR TITHE INTO OUR CHURCH? The tithes and offerings in the O.T. were used for the Temple and the Temple ministry (i.e., the priests, etc.) (Mal. 3:10). 1 Co. 9:13-14 applies this principle to the N.T. church. "Do you 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." Verse 13 relates to the O.T. practice. Verse 14 carries this practice over to N.T. churches. Your tithes and offerings are for the support, upkeep, and ministry of your Church. Tithes should never be designated--they are to be left free for use as the church body decides.

WHAT DOES GOD CALL US IF WE REFUSE TO TITHE? "Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings" (Mal. 3:8).

WHAT IS THE PROMISE GOD GIVES TO THOSE WHO FAITHFULLY TITHE? "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 should not be room enough to receive it" (Mal. 3:10).

WHOSE IS THE TITHE? The tithe is the Lord's (Le. 27:30). Ten percent of your gross income is not yours--it belongs to God.

HOW CAN I PLEASE MY LORD WHEN TITHING? (1) Give the Lord first place in everything (Mt. 6:33). (2) Honor the Lord with your first fruits (Pr. 3:9-10). This means to set aside the tithe first--before all other bills and expenses. If you leave the tithe until last, God usually misses out. (3) Bring the tithe on the Lord's day (1 Co. 16:2).