Tithing Misunderstood (Part One)
There are two groups of people in the church. Those who support tithing and those who don’t. Those who don’t, reason, “Since tithing is not specifically mentioned in the New Testament it is not required of God’s people living in these times.” Those who support tithing say, “The New Testament is God expanding upon the Old Testament and everything God instituted in the Old Testament is not only relevant for today, but was expanded upon for the benefit of the people who would undergo the new birth experience.” For example; in the gospel of Matthew chapter 5 and verse 17, Jesus had this to say about the Ten Commandments from Exodus chapter 20. “Think not that I am come to destroy the law or the prophets (prophecies) but to fulfill.” So it is clear Jesus did not come to do away with the law or the prophecies spoken by the prophets of old. But He did say, “He came to fulfill them.”
Here is another thought to chew on. It would have been impossible for Jesus to destroy God’s Word because He is the Word of God (John 1:14) and do away with the Law because He Himself was the Lord God who burnt those laws into a mountainside for Moses to deliver to the Israelites in Exodus chapter twenty. God does not have one set of laws for heaven and another set of laws for His earthly kingdom. Jesus said in the Lord’s Prayer, “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” What this means is God’s will is His Law. It’s the law in heaven and it’s the law on earth. Whether we understand it or whether or not we acknowledge it as being so; God’s will or God’s law is in force throughout His kingdom and governs all of God’s creation. The law of God and the prophecies of God are God breathed, thus God’s law has God’s life in it and cannot be extinguished because they were dictated and set in motion by the Word of God long before anything that was created was created and includes all the angels and those who were with Lucifer when he rebelled. Otherwise, if these same commandments the Lord God gave Moses in the desert were not in existence before anything was created; Lucifer could not have broken God’s Law or sinned as we call it and been punished for the same. In the bible God tells us, “Where there is no law; people become a law unto themselves.” Or, people would make up laws that favor the law makers while punishing their subjects. The good news is: God’s laws which supercede all man made law prevails everywhere in His creation and God’s Word, laws, and prophecies cannot be did away with, but they can be fulfilled. It is only by God’s grace, that, we, as children of God can be a lawbreaker and repent of those sins and be forgiven as though we had never broken His law. If that were not the case; man would have been sentenced to hell a long time ago without a chance to repent just as Lucifer and all of the angels were who followed him in his rebellion.
Jesus also said this about the those religious folks who were sticklers for the law in Matthew 5:20 saying; “For I say unto you, that except your righteousness (speaking to His followers) shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisee, Ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.” He is making a distinction between those who love the Lord and His ways and those who love the law, but not the law giver. To the scribes and the Pharisee’s there was no room for God to expand upon His Laws. There reasoning was; if it was not presently in the law it did not pertain to them. This was just one of the problem Jesus had with the religious people of His day. He picked this particular issue with the law because they had twisted the law to fit their agenda and was confusing a lot of the common Jews. Jesus went on to say in Matthew 5:21-22 “You have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill: and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment: But I (Jesus) say to you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Ra-ca, shall be in danger of the council; but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.” And if we follow the teachings of Jesus on the Old Testament commandments concerning murder to include being unjustly angry with our brothers, and instead of retaliating against our enemies, we turn our cheek to them, we are led to believe His teaching on giving in the beatitudes in Luke 6:38 is an expansion upon the Old Testament commandment regarding tithing as found in the book of Malachi chapter three. In the beatitudes Jesus talked to His disciples about voluntary giving which is over and above a persons tithe, and the condition under which it was to be carried out. Luke 6:38 “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.” God does not need our tithes and gift giving to help His people. He put them in place to bless us according to the measure we would use when we give. Hence the words, “For with the same meassure that you give out, it shall be measured to you again.”
Our giving is to be done in secret not letting our left hand know what our right hand is doing. Or, in other words, it is no one’s business what we give to the Lord or to His church. This teaching was new to the Jews; but again, He did not do away with tithing, He just expanded on it to include giving. This line of thought is made more clear in Matthew 25 in His discourse on the judgment of the unbelieving Gentiles who did not practice either tithing or giving. He talks about feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, visiting the prisoners, and giving the thirsty a drink. When questioned by His disciples about these acts; He told them it didn’t matter who they were kind to; He was always the recipient of their actions. In this teaching He called those who practiced kindness to their fellow man, ‘sheep’ who would inherit heaven; but those who cared less about the problems of other people; He called ‘Goats’ who would inherit hell fire because they were selfishness individuals.
Be sure to read Part Two in which I continue with this line of thought from Matthew 25 on unselfish giving and the consequences of our refusing to tithe and give gifts to those in need. DThrash
- Posted in: Christianity