Tithing - What I Think I Know!
Delivered By
Brother Chuck Fannin
Delivered On
August 28, 2022
Subject
Tithing - What I Think I Know!
Description

Open: the earth and all that is in it is mine says the Lord

 

It is written that the earth and everything in it belongs to God. (Refer to Psalm 24:1; Psalm 95:4-5; Exodus 9:29; 1 Chronicles 29:11; Psalm 89:11; 1 Corinthians 10:26)

 

Listen to our words . . . “my” house. “my” car. “my” boat”. Don’t we understand that it is not “mine” but “Gods” for my use?

 

We use the products of this life as if they are our own, yet we KNOW that this is not true. Everything that is - is of God, made by God, kept by God, and belongs to God. This thought should ever be in the back of our minds. If we can build this very basic precept correctly, then we won't have any trouble understanding why we tithe what we do.

 

To add to this, we can look at some of Jesus’ words in the New Testament. For example, the parable of the talents (Matthew 25). He called his “servants” to him and gave them something to work with. The talent was not in the ownership of the servant but rather in the use of the servant. At the return of the master, the talent was returned to its rightful owner as was the increase thereof. The servant did not prosper himself but rather his master. The master then gave the servant rewards far greater than the value of the talent!!

 

Slide # 2

 

  1. What is “the tithe”

Tithe: (n): a tenth part of something paid as a voluntary contribution or as a tax especially for the support of a religious establishment.

 

Tithe: (v): : to pay or give a tenth part of especially for the support of a religious establishment or organization; to levy a tithe on (Miriam Websters Dictionary)

 

From this, we can understand that the tithe in the Bible would mean - the tenth part of agricultural produce, goods, or personal income set apart as an offering to God or for works of mercy, or the same amount regarded as an obligation or tax for the support of the church, priesthood, or the like.

 

The word used to 'tithe' is "ma'aser" (Strong's # H4643) and correctly means tenth part. There is little question that God meant a tenth of the income. In the King James Version, the word 'tithe' (or its derivative) is used more than 30 times in the Old Testament. It would seem that there isn't any question about the origin or meanings of the word. Its use always signifies a giving unto the Lord. This giving to the Lord's purpose is always talked about in the form of a tenth. You will take note here that I am referring to the 'tithe' NOT offerings. There are many offerings that Israel gave to God - some because of command - some of 'free will'. Therefore, at the very beginning, we must understand God's desire that one tenth of our increase belongs directly to God for His purpose - not ours.

 

Gross? OR Net: I have often wondered 'how' am I to tithe to God. Do I take a tenth of my gross income? Or perhaps my take home? Well, what? I didn't know before and I'm not sure that I know now. However, let me pass on to you what I do know.

 

We are sojourners in this land - aliens. We do not belong here even though we are forced to live here. We are to consider this land as a "temporary" living place. We live here in the constant knowledge that it is a "temporary" living place. Soon, everything that we have collected during this lifetime will return to its rightful owner - God.

Slide # 3

 

  1. How many principles of tithing are there anyway?

 

I truly do not know. However, here is what I have found in the Bible.

 

  1. know as well as I that the income that we have is ours only by the grace of God. In other words, God has given it to us. He laid down the principles for us to go by to use the bounty that He has given us. Here are some of the principles concerning God’s tithe.

 

Principle # 1: The earth belongs to God's (and everything in it).

 

Principle # 2: Borrowing phraseology - Render unto God . . ..

 

Principle # 3: In Jesus' words 'Render unto Caesar . . . .'

 

Principle # 4: Provide for your household.

 

Principle # 5: We are to provide an inheritance for our children's children.

 

Principle # 6: We are also supposed to tithe a savings account as well.

 

Let’s examine each one in its Bible context:

 

Slide # 4

 

Principle # 1: The Earth is God’s Footstool – everything is His!

 

  1. is not my money or goods. Everything that I have possession of belongs to God. Since this is a truth, what I have must have come by the grace of God. God has given me substance for a purpose. While it is for my use, it is to be used to glorify God. This principle can be proven by examining just a few passages in the Old Testament: Exodus 19:5, Isaiah 66:1, Psalm 24:1 and Psalm 50:10-12) (though there are many more).

 

Exodus 19:5 (KJV) Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine:

 

Isaiah 66:1-2 (ESV) 1 Thus says the LORD: “Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool; what is the house that you would build for me, and what is the place of my rest? All these things my hand has made, and so all these things came to be, declares the LORD.

 

Psalm 24:1 (KJV) The earth is the LORD'S, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein.

 

Psalm 50:10-12 (KJV) For every beast of the forest is mine, and the cattle upon a thousand hills. I know all the fowls of the mountains: and the wild beasts of the field are mine. If I were hungry, I would not tell thee: for the world is mine, and the fulness thereof.

 

Slide # 4 – Render unto God . . . .

 

Principle # 2: Give to God those things that rightfully belong to Him

 

It is interesting that God doesn’t demand “all” to be returned to Him but, He DOES tell Israel what surely belongs to Him. To borrow someone else's phraseology - Render unto God . . .. There doesn't seem to be any argument with that. Again, God makes this plain in several places. For example, Deuteronomy 14:22; 26:11-15 and Micah 3:8-10.

 

Israel was to give a “tithe” of the increase of their fields. The word “increase” indicates to me that this particular tithe was counted after the cost of the planting. In other words, if I planted a bushel of corn that returned 100 bushels of corn then the tithe would be on 99 bushels.

 

Deuteronomy 14:22 You shall truly tithe all the increase of your grain that the field produces year by year.

 

God also spelled out some of the uses for the tithe. Here, He commands it to be given to the Levite, the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow. One of the few taxes that I do not object to is the FICA tax since its design is to answer to this tithe!

 

  1. 26:11-15 "So you shall rejoice in every good thing which the LORD your God has given to you and your house, you and the Levite and the stranger who is among you. When you have finished laying aside all the tithe of your increase in the third year; the year of tithing; and have given it to the Levite, the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, so that they may eat within your gates and be filled, then you shall say before the LORD your God: 'I have removed the holy tithe from my house, and also have given them to the Levite, the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, according to all Your commandments which You have commanded me; I have not transgressed Your commandments, nor have I forgotten them. I have not eaten any of it when in mourning, nor have I removed any of it for an unclean use, nor given any of it for the dead. I have obeyed the voice of the LORD my God, and have done according to all that You have commanded me.

 

Slide # 6 (Principle # 2 cont.)

 

Was Israel given a penalty for refusing to tithe? Of course!

 

Malachi 3:8-10 (KJV) 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.

 

 

Slide # 7

 

Principle # 3: In Jesus' words 'Render unto Caesar . . . .'

 

Part 1: Sedition - the act of actively fighting against the current government

 

  • God sets up kingdoms and kings and he takes them down. As long as they are in power, it is our responsibility to "submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake:. . . (1 Peter 2: 13a). What does this really means is simple, every day English? It means that if Uncle Sugar has levied a tax upon you or your possessions, it is Uncle Sugar's right to do so. It is our responsibility to pay the taxes.

 

  • Sedition is NOT an option to a Christian until the appointed government tries to force you into violating a higher law - one laid down by God.

 

  • The three most common references for this are Matthew 22:21 and Romans 13 and 1 Peter 2:13-18. In any case, whatever reference you chose, the principle is still the same – obey the leaders appointed over you (or in our case, by us).

 

Matthew 22:21 (KJV) They say unto him, Caesar's. Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's; and unto God the things that are God's.

 

Romans 13:1-2 (ESV) Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment.

 

1 Peter 2:13-16 (KJV) Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme; Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well. For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men: As free, and not using yourliberty for a cloke of maliciousness, but as the servants of God.

 

Slide # 8

 

Part 2: God sets up Kings and Kingdoms - By God’s authority, rulers have the right to demand tribute!

 

This might be a subject of discussion sometime in the future . . . just think of the “EVIL” rulers that have been empowered over the years and ask yourself, “did God do this”? Or, we might ask it a little differently, “did God allow this as a result of mankind’s desires”?

 

God establishes kingdoms and puts rulers in place. Here are a few Biblical references to peruse to establish this as facts.

 

John 19:9-11 (KJV) And went again into the judgment hall, and saith unto Jesus, Whence art thou? But Jesus gave him no answer. Then saith Pilate unto him, Speakest thou not unto me? knowest thou not that I have power to crucify thee, and have power to release thee? Jesus answered, Thou couldest have no power at all against me, except it were given thee from above . . . .

 

Daniel 2:37 (KJV) Thou, O king (Nebuchadnezzar), art a king of kings: for the God of heaven hath given thee a kingdom, power, and strength, and glory.

 

Exodus 9:16 (KJV) And in very deed for this cause have I raised thee (Pharaoh) up, for to shew in thee my power; and that my name may be declared throughout all the earth.

 

Since God has placed the rulers in place, they have the authority to demand tribute. We do NOT have the authority to refuse this

 

A note of thought here: even though we are commanded to submit to every ordinance of man, there IS a higher ordinance that we must follow. Peter proves this in Acts 5:27-29.

 

Acts 5:27-29 (KJV) And when they had brought them (the apostles), they set them before the council: and the high priest asked them, Saying, Did not we straitly command you that ye should not teach in this name? and, behold, ye have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this man's blood upon us. Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.

 

Slide # 9

 

Principle # 4: Provide for your household.

 

This sounds simple, yet we often don't follow it very well. How many times have you wanted something that you really needed but could not afford and yet went on to purchase it anyway? By making the purchase, did something at home remain unfinished or not fixed because you didn't have the money to complete the project? For me, it is books. I'll spend money to have a book to read, and forget about the tires on the car that need changing, the oil changes wait, even God's tithe sometimes waits while I 'read' that book. Paul said it all in 1 Tim 5:8:

 

But if anyone does not provide for his own (idion – relatives), and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever

 

There might be a question concerning the translation of “own”. In one case, it could mean “relatives” (who knows how far that might go). In another case, it could mean our brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus. One thing seems to be certain, it is not a reference to the immediate family since that is spelled out in the phrase “his household”. Remember that in the time this was written, the “household” was really the extended family.

 

Slide # 10

 

Principle # 5: We must provide an inheritance for our children's children.

 

It seems natural and right that we want our children to be better off than we were/are. How many of us actually consider our kid's kids though? Solomon, the wise man recognized the need to look farther than a single generation.

 

Prov 13:22 A good man leaves an inheritance to his children's children, But the wealth of the sinner is stored up for the righteous.

 

Slide # 11

 

Principle # 6: A “Savings account”?

 

Not only are we to give the tithe that belongs to God, we are also supposed to tithe a savings account as well. Let’s read Deuteronomy 14:20-26 again. It tells us that we are to tithe of the flocks, fruit of the vine, and other increase. This tithe has an odd purpose. It is to be eaten "in the presence of God" so that we might remember who He is. He gives us the option to convert this tithe to money and buy whatever our souls (nephesh) lusts after. Note those words well. If we follow God's desires, we will have a vacation every third year. What a time he intends for us to have - providing that we have "kept his principles"! Think about it!

 

Deuteronomy 14:22-26 (KJV) Thou shalt truly tithe all the increase of thy seed, that the field bringeth forth year by year. And thou shalt eat before the LORD thy God, in the place which he shall choose to place his name there, the tithe of thy corn, of thy wine, and of thine oil, and the firstlings of thy herds and of thy flocks; that thou mayest learn to fear the LORD thy God always. And if the way be too long for thee, so that thou art not able to carry it; or if the place be too far from thee, which the LORD thy God shall choose to set his name there, when the LORD thy God hath blessed thee: Then shalt thou turn it into money, and bind up the money in thine hand, and shalt go unto the place which the LORD thy God shall choose: And thou shalt bestow that money for whatsoever thy soul lusteth after, for oxen, or for sheep, or for wine, or for strong drink, or for whatsoever thy soul desireth: and thou shalt eat there before the LORD thy God, and thou shalt rejoice, thou, and thine household,

 

We are supposed to lay up for ourselves a “tithe” as well. This tithe requires the Israelites to lay up a tenth of the increase of their income into a type of savings account. At an appointed time, they were required to go to a place of God's choosing and eat the tithe in the presence of the Lord. Of course, we know that Jerusalem is the place of God's choice. Then God, merciful and mindful of man that He is, gave the Israelites an out. He told them that if Jerusalem was too far to go, or the road was too rough, then they could convert their tithe into money and then go to a place of God's choosing and spend this money on anything that they wanted. That is God's words - not mine!

 

I wish to ensure that we do not misunderstand our own Bible. This tithe flies against the grain of most contemporary theology, yet it is written in black and white for us to see, read, and comprehend. God specifically wrote in the Book that the Israelites were to purchase anything that they wanted. He didn't lay on them a bunch of 'excepts'. He didn't tell them they could have anything that their hearts desired - except don't eat any dates - or don't drink any wine. You know, the more I read my Bible, the better I like my God. He knows me and knows how to make me happy.

 

Slide # 12

 

  1. The tithe is “Holy” (Sanctified, set apart, for His use) to the Lord!

 

Lev 27:30 "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."

 

 

The thought here, is that the tithe is “holy”. It is sanctified to the Lord. Of course, we know that sanctified means to be set aside for God’s use.

 

It is not for us to decide how the tithe is used. It is up to us to “tithe” to the place of God’s choosing, but once that money is in the hands of God’s representative, it is no longer mine to do with as I please. One should not “short” the Lord and claim to have given a tithe. Simply recall the acts of Ananias and Saphira in Acts 5:1-11.

 

Slide # 13

 

Some of the “tithe” was set aside for the Levites (Priests)

 

What was the purpose of the tithe? Most people tend to think that the tithe is God's - he needs it. Not so. God doesn't 'need' anything. It is all His already. Why in the world would He want the tiny amount that I have (that He gave to me returned to Him as a tithe) compared to the riches that He has? That idea is sort of like saying that Ross Perot 'needs' the penny that I dropped on the floor a little while ago - totally ridiculous. All right then, if God doesn't need the tithe, then why does He command that we give it?

 

Some of God's purposes for the tithe is spelled out clearly in Numbers 18. If you will remember your basic history of the Bible, you will recall that the Levites (sons of Aaron) were given no land inheritance. They were given “cities” but no land. Was this an oversight by God, I think not. I mean, after all, here is the very 'mouthpiece' of Moses when he confronted Pharaoh and he is to get nothing? All the patriarchs were given an area of the country to govern (or own - if you like that term better). And the very High Priest of the nation is not given anything? Is God truly that unfair?

 

Numbers 18:8–15 (ESV) 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. This shall be yours of the most holy things, reserved from the fire: every offering of theirs, every grain offering of theirs and every sin offering of theirs and every guilt offering of theirs, which they render to me, shall be most holy to you and to your sons. In a most holy place shall you eat it. Every male may eat it; it is holy to you. This also is yours: the contribution of their gift, all the wave offerings of the people of Israel. I have given them to you, and to your sons and daughters with you, as a perpetual due. Everyone who is clean in your house may eat it. All the best of the oil and all the best of the wine and of the grain, the first fruits of what they give to the Lord, I give to you. The first ripe fruits of all that is in their land, which they bring to the Lord, shall be yours. Everyone who is clean in your house may eat it. 14 Every devoted thing in Israel shall be yours. Everything that opens the womb of all flesh, whether man or beast, which they offer to the Lord, shall be yours. Nevertheless, the firstborn of man you shall redeem, and the firstborn of unclean animals you shall redeem.

 

I don't believe that my God is unfair. I may not understand His methods or manner, but I believe that He knows exactly what He is doing. In this case, there isn't any doubt. You see, the tithe was given to the Levites as their inheritance. This is their income. This is the gift of God to the descendants of Aaron. Do you see? The tribe of Levi drew as his inheritance, not land, but rather a gift from God.

 

Slide # 14

 

The tribe of Levi was to receive 1/10 of Israel’s gross national product of the nation every year! Maybe that doesn't mean too much to you yet so, let's make up an example. Let's imagine that the United States is the promised land and the Levites are here today, doing God's work in the temples.

 

2021 Pop 331.8million - GNP 23 Trillion - total income in the U.S.

Median wage $45,700 (individual) (half make more – half make less)

Average wage – $63,214 (individual) (total income divided by total workers)

 

https://usafacts.org/data/?utm_source=bing&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=ND-StatsData&msclkid=42a1836996aa1545fc73e06d4eef09dc

 

Slide # 15

 

A recent look (2021/2022) at some figures in the United States will reveal an interesting story. The current population of the United States (2021) was approximately 331,800,000 people. The GNP was approximately 23,000,000,000,000 dollars. One tenth of twenty-three (23) trillion dollars is $2,300,000,000,000 dollars. Assuming that the population of the Levites was equal to the other tribes, let's divide the population by 12. That would leave about 27,650,000 Levites. Now, if I divide the tenth (the 2.3 trillion dollars) by the number of Levites available, I find that each person of the tribe of Levi would receive about $83 182 in annual income. Note that this would be “each person” of the tribe of Levi . . . not just the priest . . .!

 

The average cost of a new car in 2021 was $38,700. As you can see, the Levites received a very nice inheritance from God. Yet, they did the same thing that we are so often guilty of. They forgot where the blessing came from and received the curse that God warned about. (Oh! You mean I forgot to tell you about the curses? I will - later!)

 

Slide # 16

 

Some of the “tithe” was set up for the unfortunate

 

Another tithe that I wish to describe is the one that is/was used by Israel to care for the elderly and infirm. In the third year, the Israelites were instructed to "bring forth all the tithe of thine increase the same year, and shalt lay it up within thy gates: . . ." (Deu. 14:28).

 

This tithe was given for a single purpose and was to be stored in the gates of the cities. Do you remember what occurs within the 'gates of the city'? This is where the elders sat. They were the ones who passed judgment - they were also the ones who passed out this tithe to those that were needy.

 

This safety net is sort of like our social security today. We are all required to give the government a portion of our paychecks to FICA. This money is doled out to the needy in accordance with today's standards of who is needy and who isn't needy. Perhaps our system isn't perfect, but it sure is Biblical.

 

 

 

Slide # 17

 

NEXT: let’s explore the “legalistic” aspects of the “tithe” and “tithing”.

 

All of the preceding was written from a “legalistic” point of view. God gave these commands to the Israelite people. Could they still apply to us? A very hard question.

 

First: Jesus paid the price. When He said, “it is finished”, He used a word that is sometimes understood to be a financial term – tetelestai – “Paid in full”.

 

John 19:30 (KJV) When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.

 

He fulfilled the Law. Not only that but He wiped away the ordinances of the law.

 

Romans 10:4 (ESV) For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.

 

Colossians 2:13–14 (ESV) And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross.

 

Using this thought process, none of the above actively applies to the Church today.

 

Slide # 18

 

Yet, this is highly debatable since we find statements like Paul made in Romans that the law is holy, righteous and good. Further, I find that in the millennium, Jesus will rule with a rod of iron. The nations will come to worship at Jerusalem and will bring their offerings. It is my thought that the commandments were never nullified by the cross and Jesus’ death but the handwriting against me was nullified. . . there is therefore now, no condemnation (Romans 8:1)

 

Romans 7:10–12 (ESV) The very commandment that promised life proved to be death to me. For sin, seizing an opportunity through the commandment, deceived me and through it killed me. So the law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good.

 

Re- read Colossians 2:13-14 again. A very good argument could be made that Jesus did not have the “law” nailed to the cross but rather, he cancelled the debts that were against us. He did not nullify the law but relieved us from the burdens of the law. (compare with “student loan forgiveness”

 

Colossians 2:13–14 (ESV) And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross.

 

Slide # 19

 

The problems arise when we read the New Testament that makes no direct comments on the tithe. It does condemn the rulers for tithing to the letter and leaving out the more important things (love, justice etc.)

 

So, do we tithe according to the Old Testament and the commands to Israel or not? You tell me!

 

Slide # 20 The Reward?

 

Mat 25:34 - 36 "Then the King will say to those on His right hand, 'Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me."

 

Slide # 21 – The Curse

 

Mat 25:41-43 "Then He will also say to those on the left hand, 'Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels: for I was hungry and you gave Me no food; I was thirsty and you gave Me no drink; I was a stranger and you did not take Me in, naked and you did not clothe Me, sick and in prison and you did not visit Me.'

Where will you be? On the right hand?

 

OR

 

On the left?

 

Slide # 22

 

Some stuff that should be considered for this class . . . .

 

when should one make the “tithe” Leviticus 27:26-27

 

how serious is “stealing” from the Lord? (Malachi 3:8-9)

 

one of the first tithes was from Abraham to Melchizedek (Genesis 14:20)

Also: Jacob promised a tenth at Bethel (Luz) after the wrestling match (Genesis 28:22)

 

One can get caught up in the “legalities” of tithing and neglect the more important things (refer to Jesus in Matthew 23:23)

 

In many ways the standards of the New Testament are a lot stricter in some ways, or a lot loftier, let's put it that way. So we're required to give generously, to give sacrificially, to see the relief of the poor, the support of the ministry, the spread of the gospel through all nations. So I don't know. There may be some people for whom giving 10% is unwise. There are probably many people in America for whom giving 10% would be actually pretty easy, and in fact it wouldn't really be sacrificial or generous.

https://www.christianity.com/wiki/christian-life/what-is-a-tithe-meaning-and-importance-of-tithing-in-the-bible.html

 

Slide # 23

 

Acts 1: The people brought their goods and delivered them to the Apostles to be distributed as needed. (100% giving). Note the lying of Ananias and Saphira cost them their lives.

Paul in Corinthians – God loves a cheerful (hilaros) giver . . . not one who give begrudgingly or because they think it a necessity.

Paul gives a good example to follow in that the Macadonians gave of their poverty to the Church at Jerusalem (2 Corinthians 8:1-5)

The curse(s) for not following God’s lead! (Matthew 7:21-22; Matthew 25:34-40, Psalm 112:9; Deuteronomy 28)

God loves a cheerful giver

God’s promise to Israel through Malachi

Don’t withhold good from the needy (Proverbs 3:27-28)

How much did the Israelites have to give to the tithe

One writer estimated as much as 35% of their income was to the tithe.

Compare that with what we pay today?

When do we tithe? (Pay it forward? On the first day of the week?)