Monday, September 12, 2016

Is Tithing Required Both In The New And Old Testament?

Do We Need To Tithe In The New Testament? Is The Paying Of Tithe Approved In The New Testament Books? If We Tithe Will Jesus Receive It As Our High Priest In Heaven Now?

Question : You have done a great Job and blessed us with your article titled : Should We Tithe on a Loan We Take?, but you got it partially wrong Brother. There are two instances in the New Testament where the paying of Tithe has been approved. The first one was Mathew 23:23 where Jesus himself gave his approval of Tithing. The second one is in Hebrews where Bible explains that even though men receive our tithes here on earth, as they do, spiritually it is the Lord Jesus himself who receives it. Tithing is required both in the Old and New Testament.

Answer : Greetings to you in Jesus wonderful name!

I know the instance where you says in Matt 23:23, Jesus says like this to the scribes and Pharisees, "“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone." The above statement was spoken by Jesus not as a appreciation but rather a rebuke for the Pharisees and scribes who tithed even mint and anise and cummin [the smallest grains they received], but without God's essential requirement of justice and mercy and faith that makes their tithe acceptable to God. Jesus pointed that the reason for their giving to God was out of legalism and self promotion rather than for the love towards God for His abundant mercy towards them and the gift of faith they have received from His Word which must make them live in the appreciation of God's perfect justice all the time. Jesus is saying that giving tithe without the spirit of giving cheerfully for the love of God and His righteousness towards us is of no value to God at all. In other words, Jesus is reminding the Pharisees and scribes that giving tithe out of compulsion or legalism is like giving to God nothing at all.

Heb 7:7-8 says, "7 Now beyond all contradiction the lesser is blessed by the better. 8 Here mortal men receive tithes, but there he receives them, of whom it is witnessed that he lives." In other words, even though it is men who receive tithes on earth like the priests and levites in the Old Testament, finally it is God who lives in heaven is the one who blesses the tithe giver from heaven because it is God in heaven who is actually receiving the tithe through these men on earth. “Here on earth,” under the Levitical economy, dying men received the various tithes. Men enter by birth into a state with which this right is associated, and by death again pass out of it. No special significance, therefore, attaches to the men themselves. “There in heaven,” in the history now considered, one Melchizedek the King [i.e. God the Father] and Jesus the High Priest of the line of Melchizedek (receives tithes) now of whom the Scripture simply witnesses that he lives. Only God is the only one who lives forever. So this above Scripture does not point to New Testament men and women of God receiving tithes, but rather to the levitical system that had the power to receive tithe of people by God's design. But now in our New Testament period, the tithe or the willingly given cheerful offering that is received for the support of the ministry of the proclamation of the Kingdom of God is received by the ministry five fold office of the Church (Eph 4:11; Acts 2:44-45; 4:34-35, 36-37; 5:1-2, 9). Jesus gave Himself as the first fruit offering to God the Melchizedek in heaven and have thus been appointed as the High Priest for all humanity before God by Him (1 Cor 15:12; 1 Tim 2:5-6; Heb 4:15-16). In heaven, Jesus receives the tithe or offering from the New Testaments saints just as Melchizedek received the tithe in the Old Testament times symbolically through Abraham (Heb 7:1-3, 4, 9-10). Jesus gave His gifts to men in the Church to edify and build it in to His image of His fullness, and for the world at large to get saved (Eph 4:8, 11)

In the better covenant that Jesus brought (Heb 7:22), cheerful giving to God supersedes the tithe that the law demanded in the Old Covenant which made nothing perfect (Heb 7:18-19). We cheerfully give to God out of our love towards Him and not out of compulsion of the Law like in the Old Testament times (Leviticus 27:30; Numbers 18:26; Deuteronomy 14:24; 2 Chronicles 31:5). Tithing is an Old Testament concept which was used in the nation of Israel under God's direction as a method of taxation to provide for the needs of the priests and Levites in the sacrificial system.

Now in the New Testament, as God in Christ Jesus has forgiven all of our past, present and future sins once and for all time (Luke 7:41-43; Col 2:13-14, 15), we out of love for God having forgiven all our debts for our sins which we could not pay, tithe may be at least a starting point we give to God, but more than that we give because we are blessed by God more than we can ever imagine with our finite mind, in Christ Jesus who has fully paid our debts of sins and cleared the penalty of it all before God by giving His own life for us and our salvation which God accepted on our behalf (John 19:30; 1 Cor 15:17). The New Testament nowhere commands, or even recommends, that Christians submit to a legalistic tithe system of the Old Testament times. In the New Testament what ever we give whether as tithe or gift, we should be giving “in keeping with income” or according to how the Lord prospers us monetarily (1 Corinthians 16:2). So the bottom line is that the New Testament talks about the importance and benefits of giving with a pure motive of love towards the Lord for all His benefits that He has already done and therefore (Eph 1:3), tithes and offerings should be given with an attitude of worship to God and service to the body of Christ. The apostle Paul clearly instructs all saints regarding tithe and offering saying, “Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Corinthians 9:7).

So we know the heart behind giving is more important to God in the New Testament than the amount we give or the percentage we give. But if we consider the Old Testament saints could give out 10% and not out-give God, how much more we can give as saints in the New Testament and experience in our lives too that we cannot out-give God because He blesses us with much more in every way than we give. So thus we know that tithing was a law of the Old Testament, Cheerful Giving (2 Cor 9:7), Liberal Giving (2 Cor 8:2) and Sacrificial Giving (2 Cor 8:3) are all the graces of the New Testament. Thus the Bible teaches that God, who richly has supplied us with all good things, wants us “to be generous and ready to share” (1 Tim. 6:18), with those who teach the Word of God, needy saints and also give to orphans and widows through the Church or separately to them (Gal 6:6, 9; Jam 1:27; 2:15-16).

Much Blessings....


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