Tithing 1....Tithing 2 ....Tithing 3 ...Music as a Burden ..Kregg Hood: Take God at His word
Tithing - Origin - IIs rejecting tithing robbing God by robbing the priests? No. Malachi said: And now, O PRIESTS, this commandment is for YOU. Malachi 2:1. If you are still a sharecropper on your own land then you have been imprisoned by robbers.
Is Tithing Robbing God's People? Whatever our religion, most of us have a deep itch to know what the Bible teaches and are deeply troubled when it is used to whack people over the head. These notes are from our web page and are prompted by one of the most popular questions on the Internet: "Do Christians have to tithe?" The Bible clearly says, "No." Everyone is free to give everything but no one is free to demand anything but love. Romans 13:8.
There are several accounts of the tithe and it can be understood only by looking at the "rest of the story" and asking: "who, what, when and why?"
Summary of Food Tithe From Free Land
Following the great exodus from Egypt, God wanted to rule Israel in a theocratic (direct rule of God) government. Leviticus 26 outlines His direct intervention in their lives -- his rewards for their obedience, and his punishments for disobedience or disloyalty. His covenant was always conditional: If you will keep My commandments I will be your God and you will be My people.
This covenant was given by God when He created mankind distinct from the "beasts" which could not worship Him because He had not breathed His spirit nature into them. The "farms, orchards and gardens" were given to Adam and Eve free of charge. However, they must tend the garden to enjoy its free supply of food. This speaks of the always-free grace of God.
However, Satan as superior to the "beasts" but human-like challenged God by asking why a good God would keep them away from a certain tree "at the center" of the space. Eve was seduced and Paul makes it clear that this was a sexual seduction. In the ancient accounts, the word "serpent" is related to brass musical instruments used by those who promised to "move the worshipers into the presence of the gods to 'know' them in a personal or sexual sense."
Adam could not be seduced because of his rational nature. However, he just followed Eve's lead into a model of pagan ritual worship. For that sin, they were cast out of the garden and made to grow their food by the sweat of their own brow. That is, grace was rejected and replaced by legalism. Grace was free but conditional. However, legalism was always performing certain rituals believing that God could be seduced or fed or appeased. These legalisitic rituals were always directed to the external body, while obedience to the Laws of the One God of the universe was internal and directed by the Word of God.
In time, the self-provided food again ran out and the Israelites left Canaan and went to Egypt where they could find food. After over four hundred years, God brought them out as a great nation by His own grace even as they deserved to remain in Egypt and die.
When the Israelites moved into Canaan and the trans-Jordan, each tribe, except the Levites, was given a specific area of land. These lands were then given to the tribal families. God, however, in reminding Israel that they were merely tenants said, "The land must not be sold permanently, because the land is mine, and you are but aliens (guests) and my tenants. Throughout the country that you hold as a possession, you must provide for the redemption of the land." Leviticus 25:23-24.
The selling of land was actually a long-term lease because it was returned to the original owners (families) in the Jubilee year. The selling price of the land was based on the number of crop years remaining before Jubilee. Leviticus 25:8-54. The Jubilee year (each 50 years) broke up the large land-holdings (typical of religious denominations?) and freed everyone to return to their local area of responsibility.
As a result of rejecting God's grace at Mount Sinai, God consecrated (set aside as holy) the Levites and they were, in time, responsible for conducting religion, government, law, education, and military roles for the nation of Israel. They were given various cities including the cities of refuge and the adjoining pasture lands. Joshua 21.
The tithe (tenth part) was God's method of getting rent from the land to support that part of the economy that was not agricultural and was not what we might call the service industry. The food tithe was for the Levites, orphans, widows, aliens, and the poor (Deuteronony 14:28-29). The Levites were, in turn, commanded to give a "tithe of the tithe" as their sacrifice because it represented an "increase from the land." The wage earner did not tithe. Money was never permitted as a substitute for food grown on the land. The increase was "turned into money" and "bound by him" to eat at certain festivals which were for muster-age men. However, there were other offerings, as well as freewill gifts and vows. No modern church can claim this as their legalistic right.
The gospel of Jesus Christ ended or fulfilled the Jewish role of "chosen people" or race. It removed the temporary police nature of "law" and sent teachers to all nationalities to bless them. It ended the Levite's role of intercessor (praying or praising for the people) and as God's teacher. Therefore, it ended the Jubilee which was fulfilled in Jesus Christ as He restored everyone to individual freedom from collectivistic, dominant usurpers of personal freedom.
The law of grace made all believers a royal priesthood who would each serve as God's dwelling place and who "would be taught by God" through the Word in a one-another ministry. This is why Jesus said:
"But you, do not be called 'Rabbi'; for One is your Teacher, the Christ, and you are all brethren. Matthew 23:8
The Origin of Biblical Tithes
1 - Abraham - Free-Will Giving
The Bible first mentions tithing in the story of Abram in Genesis 14:18f. When foreigners invaded and stole the property of the king of Sodom, lot and others, Abram rescued them and recovered everything. Under ancient laws, he could take 10% of the "loot." Melchizedek as king and priest fed Abraham. As a result, Abraham voluntarily gave the 10% booty to Melchizedek. Abraham typified the priesthood of the Levites. His free-will gift is no more binding than circumcision. Abraham's act was freewill: there had been no command to tithe. He did not bring it to a temple storehouse to support the Levitical clergy. Furthermore, he was perhaps 80 years old but had not violated the law of that 80 years.
And they took all the goods of Sodom and Gomorrah, and all their victuals, and went their way. Genesis 4:11
And they took Lot, Abrams brothers son, who dwelt in Sodom, and his goods, and departed. Genesis 14:12
When they returned, the king of Sodom went out with empty hands. However,
And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God. Genesis 14:18
FOR this Melchisedec, king of Salem, priest of the most high God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings, and blessed him; Hebrews 7:1
Melchizedek blessed Abraham and God. He was both king and priest of Jeru-Salem or Jerusalem. As a type of Christ, he gave food to the returning army. Because food was the only thing tithed in the Old Testament, Melchizedek served the people rather than demand a tithe.
By custom, Abraham could claim 10% of the loot but he gave it to Melchizedek. That is, the king of Sodom owed the tithe of all to the one who recovered it. Therefore, it was not Abraham but the king of Sodom who supplied the tithe.
Remember that Melchizedek was king of Jerusalem as a city-state which would include the surrounding country. This means that Abraham's gift of the king of Sodom's goods to Melcihzedek was for both civil (Caesar) and religious (God) purposes. That is, as with the Levites, the 10% was for both the government and maintaining the temple. In the New Testament, Jesus paid the Temple tax and declared the children of the King to be free.
Abraham was offered all of the goods by the king of Sodom who could normally claim the tithe or ten percent of the returned loot. Because Abraham had "lifted up his hand to God" he would not take anything for the rescue because people could say that he had profited from ill-gotten goods.
There was no command for Abraham to give to anyone for religious purposes. He gave only the loot of the king of Sodom and none of his own income. In fact, there is no hint that Abraham gave a tithe to anyone for religious purposes because as senior male and Patriarch he could approach God without Levitical intercessors. Hence, there was no rationale for tithing before Israel sinned at Mount Sinai and was "laded" down with the Levites to be intercessors to keep the people away from the Tabernacle.
Now consider how great this man was, unto whom even the patriarch Abraham gave the tenth of the spoils. Hebrews 7:4
And verily they that are of the sons of Levi, who receive the office of the priesthood, have a commandment to take tithes of the people according to the law, that is, of their brethren, though they come out of the loins of Abraham: Hebrews 7:5
Under the Law of Moses, the Levites took tithes of their brethren so that they could serve as a priestly class standing between the people and God's presence in the Tabernacle.
However, in a typical sense, the Levites (priests) gave the tithe to Melchizedek who represented Christ and an enduring priesthood which would not need to make sacrifices over and over and would not, therefore, need a Levite to be the mediator or intercessor:
But he whose descent is not counted from them received tithes of Abraham, and blessed him that had the promises. Hebrews 7:6
And as I may so say, Levi also, who receiveth tithes, paid tithes in Abraham. Hebrews 7:9
For he was yet in the loins of his father, when Melchisedec met him. Hebrews 7:10
Out of what the Levites received from their brethren, it was they who were responsibile for giving a tithe (1% of the people's tithe) to Melchizedek who represented both civil government and the total religious function. Therefore, if anyone was robbing God it was the clergy class who mishandled what they took from their brethren.
However, we must always remember that the Levitical priesthood was ordained to intercede or stand between the people and God's presence. This was to protect a violent, sinful people so that they could atone for their own sins through legally sacrificing. The Levitical priesthood did not make a single person more spiritual or ever able to stand on their own in the presence of a Holy God:
If therefore perfection were by the Levitical priesthood, (for under it the people received the law,) what further need was there that another priest should rise after the order of Melchisedec, and not be called after the order of Aaron? Hebrews 7:11
For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law. Hebrews 7:12
Before the Law, Abraham represented the clergy class giving directly to the Priest-King Who had taken the initiative by giving the food to the people. It was unlawful under the Law for a priest or prophet to take a wage of money; under the New Covenant, it was, according to Paul, unseemly.
Jesus abrogated the tithe by paying the total debt and permitting each believer to come boldly before His throne.
For he of whom these things are spoken pertaineth to another tribe, of which no man gave attendance at the altar. Hebrews 7:13
For it is evident that our Lord sprang out of Juda; of which tribe Moses spake nothing concerning priesthood. Hebrews 7:14
And it is yet far more evident: for that after the similitude of Melchisedec there ariseth another priest, Hebrews 7:15
Who is made, not after the law of a carnal commandment, but after the power of an endless life. Hebrews 7:16
Tithing under the law made nothing perfect. Rather, it gave food (only food) to the Levites because the sinful people (under law) could not "draw night unto God." However, under a new law, we do not tithe to have someone intercede for us:
For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did; by the which we draw nigh unto God. Hebrews 7:19
Christ was not of the tribe of Levi and therefore took no tithes. As God, the Spirit, He does not need to be fed. A new priesthood of believers does not need a Levite-like priest or intercessor because our High Priest replaced all legal priests:
Who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the peoples: for this he did once, when he offered up himself. Hebrews 7:27
Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. Hebrews 4:14
For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Hebrews 4:15
Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:16
Tithing of the king of Sodom's goods represented the Levites tithing to Christ. Christ was not a Levite and does not make intercession like a Levite who needed to be fed. Our citizenship is in heaven and we can come boldly before the throne without a human Levitical intercessor. Therefore, to demand the tithe is to claim the role of Jesus Christ as Intercessor. To give to Him we must give cups of cold water (and more) to the poor, widow and stranger.
2 - Jacob - Free-Will Giving
Later, as Jacob was enroute to Paddan Aram, God spoke to him in a dream confirming His promise to Abraham and said, "I will give you and your descendants the land on which you are lying." When Jacob woke, he vowed, "Of all that Thou shalt give me, I will surely give the tenth unto Thee." (Genesis 28:22). We have no record of how Jacob gave this freewill vow as God already "owned all of the cattle on a thousand hills" (Psalm 50:10. The heads of the families served as God's leaders within the tribe. Because there was no priestly class under this covenant of grace, we might assume, consistent with later rules, that he gave this food to the poor or burned.
Israel's Rescue from Egypt
When Jacob's son, Joseph, was sold into slavery in Egypt, he rose to a high position in the government. When God revealed that a famine was coming, Joseph bought all of the farm land and rented it back to the people. The renters gave 20% of their food and it was stored for them for the years of famine. Genesis 47:24. The priests grew their own food.
If God used justice He would have left Israel in Egypt to live in slavery. This was because they profaned Him and caused the Egyptians to ridicule His Name. Therefore, He removed them from Egypt by grace to protect His own reputation.
Rather than allow the people to be destroyed in Egypt and let the Egyptians to make fun of Jehovah for having such an evil group of worshippers or from just destroying them, God removed them from Egypt
In the day that I lifted up mine hand unto them, to bring them forth of the land of Egypt into a land that I had espied for them, flowing with milk and honey, which is the glory of all lands: Ezekiel 20:6
- Then said I unto them, Cast ye away every man the abominations of his eyes, and defile not yourselves with the idols of Egypt: I am the Lord your God. Ezekiel 20: 7
- But they rebelled against me, and would not hearken unto me: they did not every man cast away the abominations of their eyes, neither did they forsake the idols of Egypt: then I said, I will pour out my fury upon them, to accomplish my anger against them. Ezekiel 20: 8
- But I wrought for my names sake, that it should not be polluted before the heathen, among whom they were, in whose sight I made myself known unto them, in bringing them forth out of the land of Egypt. Ezekiel 20: 9
God made the same choice (even if He knows the end from the beginning) in the wilderness:
Wherefore I caused them to go forth out of the land of Egypt, and brought them into the wilderness. Ezekiel 20: 10
- And I gave them my statutes, and shewed them my judgments, which if a man do, he shall even live in them. Ezekiel 20: 11
- Moreover also I gave them my sabbaths, to be a sign between me and them, that they might know that I am the Lord that sanctify them. Ezekiel 20: 12
- But the house of Israel rebelled against me in the wilderness: they walked not in my statutes, and they despised my judgments, which if a man do, he shall even live in them; and my sabbaths they greatly polluted: then I said, I would pour out my fury upon them in the wilderness, to consume them. Ezekiel 20: 13
- But I wrought for my names sake, that it should not be polluted before the heathen, in whose sight I brought them out. Ezekiel 20: 14
The righteous decision would be to leave Israel in the wilderness. Again, god had to protect His people to protect His Name:
Yet also I lifted up my hand unto them in the wilderness, that I would not bring them into the land which I had given them, flowing with milk and honey, which is the glory of all lands; Ezekiel 20: 15
- Because they despised my judgments, and walked not in my statutes, but polluted my sabbaths: for their heart went after their idols. Ezekiel 20: 16
- Nevertheless mine eye spared them from destroying them, neither did I make an end of them in the wilderness. Ezekiel 20: 17
- But I said unto their children in the wilderness, Walk ye not in the statutes of your fathers, neither observe their judgments, nor defile yourselves with their idols: Ezekiel 20: 18
- Notwithstanding the children rebelled against me: they walked not in my statutes, neither kept my judgments to do them, which if a man do, he shall even live in them; they polluted my sabbaths: then I said, I would pour out my fury upon them, to accomplish my anger against them in the wilderness. Ezekiel 20: 21
- Nevertheless I withdrew mine hand, and wrought for my names sake, that it should not be polluted in the sight of the heathen, in whose sight I brought them forth. Ezekiel 20: 22
The idolatrous worship of Apis at Mount Sinai sentenced Israel to captivity and almost total destruction -- then and there -- because they would always be unfaithful to God. Therefore, He gave them a law which could not give life (as the Covenant could have) and helped them on their way to destruction when they "fired" Him and demanded a king like the nations so that they could worship like the nations:
- I lifted up mine hand unto them also in the wilderness, that I would scatter them among the heathen, and disperse them through the countries; Ezekiel 20: 23
- Because they had not executed my judgments, but had despised my statutes, and had polluted my sabbaths, and their eyes were after their fathers idols. Ezekiel 20: 24
Wherefore I gave them also statutes that were not good, and judgments whereby they should not live; Ezekiel 20: 25
- And I polluted them in their own gifts, in that they caused to pass through the fire all that openeth the womb, that I might make them desolate, to the end that they might know that I am the Lord. Ezekiel 20: 26
To worship like the nations meant that Israel, under violated law, was doomed to worship like the nations. This included burning "spare" children in the red-hot arms of Molech. With minor exceptions for short periods this destructive worship persisted until Israel was lost and Judah was sent to Babylon for 70 years to have their noses rubbed in idolatry so that they could comprehend the sorrow of God.This is what Ezekiel said. Now, look back and see the actual event.
At Mount Sinai, God gave Israel The Book of the Covenant (Exodus 20-23). This restated the Covenant made with Abraham. It contained 70 laws to amplify the original ten commandments. It had no priestly class, but the first born sons or elders were to serve God as Patriarchs. Everyone could pray, praise or sing to God or offer sacrifices without clergy to bear the pain.
When Moses was slow coming down from meeting God on Mount Sinai, the Israelites returned to the festive calf (Apis) worship of Egypt. As a result, the Levites were forced to kill three thousand of their sons and brothers and a great plague broke out
God then gave Moses ten commandments which are never recorded as identical to the first ten written with the finger or Spirit of God. Exodus 31:18
As a sign of the lost Covenant, Moses had to personally chisel out the two stones and write the second set of tablets (Exodus 34:27). Of the full 613 terms (micvah) of the Law, it was recorded that:
"These are the terms of the covenant the LORD commanded Moses to make with the Israelites in Moab,
in addition to the covenant he had made with them at Horeb (Mount Sinai). Deuteronomy 29:1
The Levites now replaced the patriarchs or eldest sons in order to live under law. (Numbers 3:12). However, Korah did not understand that they had lost the covenant of grace and the "priesthood of believers"--
And they gathered themselves together against Moses and against Aaron, and said unto them, Ye take too much upon you,
seeing all the congregation are holy, every one of them, and the Lord is among them: wherefore then lift ye up yourselves above the congregation of the Lord? Numbers 16:3
This was true before the "play" at Mount Sinai which was the musical worship they had learned in Egypt.
The rebels were swallowed up by the earth or consumed by fire.
This showed how serious it was under law to try to offer your own worship or, as we see later, even sing your own songs. The whole of Israel grumbled against Moses and 14,700 died of a plague (Num 16:49).
"AND the Lord said unto Aaron, Thou and thy sons and thy fathers house with thee shall bear the iniquity of the sanctuary:
and thou and thy sons with thee shall bear the iniquity of (connected with) your priesthood. Numbers 18:1
As Adam and Eve were expelled from the garden of Eden and the tree of life was now guarded by Cherubim with a flaming sword (Genesis 3:24), the Levites guarded the symbolic place of God's dwelling in the Tabernacle to keep everyone out. The common people worshipped God out in the shops and farms where righteousness and justice was needed and the national, representative "debt-paying rituals," were performed by the clergy for the nation.
The Effect of the LawNo one can escape life-changing moments of decision. The fork in the road in the Bible led to the path of noise as the cry of violence in worship; or it lead to the quiet, peaceful rest promised when Jesus came as "Prince of Peace" to lead His lambs beside quiet waters. You know, lambs cannot feed beside noisy, rushing streams.
After the people stripped off all of their idol-jewelry in repentance, the tabernacle was set up "outside the camp and far away." In the Book of the Law, the nature of the Tabernacle was changed and the Levites were deprived of an inheritance in Canaan and stood between the people and the symbol of God's presence. If modern clergy demands to be the mediators of the Word and ritual of the church then they, consistent with all priests, strip themselves of wealth and live on the day-to-day dole Paul defined as the "daily ration of the Roman soldier."
Israel's Mandatory Tithe
The Levites now stood between Israel and God to offer sacrifices when people broke the law. The legal tithe was one of the burdens of the law which would be enforced by the unauthorized kings (1 Samuel 8:15).
"And, behold, I have given the children of Levi all the tenth in Israel for an inheritance, for their service which they serve, even the service of the tabernacle of the congregation. Numbers 18:21
"Neither must the children of Israel henceforth come nigh the tabernacle of the congregation, lest they bear sin, and die. Numbers 18:22
This service of mediating between God and the people required giving 10% of the food grown in the land to the Levites who, as a type, absorbed the punishment for sins by service and poverty.
After the tribes received their lands in Canaan, God reminded them through Joshua that He had gone before them and had driven out the inhabitants, and said, "...you did not do it with your own sword and bow. So I gave you a land on which you did not toil and cities you did not build; and you live in them and from vineyards and olive groves that you did not plant." Joshua 24:12-13.
And the Lord said, "And all the tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land, or of the fruit of the tree, is the Lords: it is holy unto the Lord." Lev. 27:30
"And concerning the tithe of the herd, or of the flock, even of whatsoever passeth under the rod, the tenth shall be holy unto the Lord." Leviticus 27:32
Gregory the Great to Peter, &c.
With regard to our having so long delayed sending off thy messenger, we have been so occupied with the engagements of the Paschal festival that we have been unable to let him go sooner. But, with regard to the questions on which thou hast desired instruction, thou wilt learn below how, after fully considering them all, we have determined them.
We have ascertained that the peasants 47 of the Church are exceedingly aggrieved in respect of the prices of corn, in that the sum appointed them to pay is not kept in due proportion in times of plenty. And it is our will that in all times, whether the crops of corn be more or less abundant, the measure of proportion be according to the market price 48 . It is our will also that corn which is lost by shipwreck be fully accounted for; but on condition that there be no neglect on thy part in transmitting it; lest, the proper time for transmitting it being allowed to pass by, loss should ensue from your fault49 . Moreover, we have seen it to be exceedingly wrong and unjust that anything should be received from the peasants of the Church in the way of sextariatics50 , or that they should be compelled to give a larger modius than is used in the granaries of the Church. Wherefore we enjoin by this present warning that corn may never be received from the peasants of the Church in modii of more than eighteen sextarii; unless perchance there be anything that the sailors are accustomed to receive over and above, the consumption of which on board ship they themselves attest.
Note 47: Rusticos ecclesioe;i.e. the native cultivater of the land, called elsewhere coloni, and by Cicero (In Verrem),aratores. See Proleg.
Note 48 It appears from Cicero that, when the Romans annexed Sicily, they found the greater part of the land subject by ancient custom to a tithe of the corn and other produce, and that such tithe continued to be enacted by the Roman government,
which derived thence its main revenue from the island:
further, that the custom had grown up of allowing a pecuniary composition for the tithe, and that this custom, intended originally for the accommodation of the tithe payers, had been abused to their detriment by over valuation in years when corn was cheap. One of the charges against Verres was that this had been done under him as Proetor. When wheat was selling in Sicily for two or at the most three sesterces per modius, the peasants had been made to compound for their tithes at the rate of three denarii, i.e. twelve secterces. (Cic. in Verr. Divin. 10; Act II. Lib. iii. 6, 18). The Roman Church having succeeded the Roman Government in the lordship of the "Patrimony of St. Peter" it appears that the Church officials had not been guiltless of similar unfair exactions. Hence the direction here in this Epistle that the valuations of the tithe insuccessive years should follow the market price.
Note 49 This refers to the corn which was sent annually in large quantities to Rome, and on which the Romans were in a great measure dependent for their supply. Those in Sicily who furnished it were, it seems, responsible for its delivery, taking the risk of loss by sea.
But it rested with the Church officials to provide for its being shipped; and, if any loss on the voyage ensued from their delay, the parties otherwise responsible were to be indemnified. Resource
How the Tithes Worked
Food from free lands which Israel had not developed was paid as rent at different levels. First, 10% of the food increase was given to the Levites for government and religion to "bear the iniquity." It is possible that this is the same grain and animals used to make offerings:
"Only unto the tribe of Levi he gave none inheritance; the sacrifices of the Lord God of Israel made by fire are their inheritance, as he said unto them. Joshua 13:14 (Deuteronomy 18:1f)
Of this 10%--
1 -- One Levitical Food Tithe
A. The Levites first gave a tithe of the tithe (1%) or the very best to represent their increase of food for the year from all of the lands. "And this your heave offering shall be reckoned unto you, as though it were the corn of the threshing floor, and as the fullness of the winepress. Numbers 18:27
And now, behold, I have brought the firstfruits of the land, which thou, O Lord, hast given me. And thou shalt set it before the Lord thy God, and worship before the Lord thy God: Deut 26:10 A
And thou shalt rejoice in every good thing which the Lord thy God hath given unto thee, and unto thine house, thou, and the Levite, and the stranger that is among you. Deut 26:11
When thou hast made an end of tithing all the tithes of thine increase the third year, which is the year of tithing,
and hast given it unto the Levite, the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow,
that they may eat within thy gates, and be filled; Deut 26:12
Then thou shalt say before the Lord thy God, I have brought away the hallowed things out of mine house,
and also have given them unto the Levite, and unto the stranger, to the fatherless, and to the widow,
according to all thy commandments which thou hast commanded me: I have not transgressed thy commandments, neither have I forgotten them: Deut 26:13
B. A second tithe of the tithe (1%) was given for pure religious mediation:
"Thus ye also shall offer an heave offering unto the Lord of all your tithes, which ye receive of the children of Israel; and ye shall give thereof the Lords heave offering to Aaron the priest. Numbers 18:28
C. The remaining 80% of 10% (8%) was for the entire tribe of Levi including wives and children. The Levites performed what we would call civil or governmental tasks. While their primary task was the Tabernacle, after entering into Canaan, the Levites were magistrates, school teachers and legal authorities. They were also the department of Health Education and Welfare as well as peace keepers and musicians or noise makers for the burden of the state, law-based dedicatory or purification animal sacrifices.
The Levites not serving in Jerusalem lived scattered out among the other tribes and in their own cities including the cities of refuge that served as protective custody of those guilty of involuntary manslaughter to prevent blood revenge. They earned their own money for a new "chariot" which was not covered by the tithe.
2a -- The Food Consumed before God
The Festival food was not a second Levite tithe. This food enabled Israelites who "went up" to Jerusalem to "eat their own food before the Lord." If they lived too far to lead the firstborn lamb or carry food, they could sell it, take the money to the place where God would meet them and spend it to eat and feed the poor.
"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. Deuteronomy 14:23
2b -- The Poor Food
Every third year food was to be stored locally: "within thy gates."
"And the Levite that is within thy gates; thou shalt not forsake him: for he hath no part nor inheritance with thee. Deuteronomy 14:27
"At the end of three years thou shalt bring forth all the tithe of thine increase the same year, and shalt lay it up within thy gates: Deuteronomy 14:28
"And the Levite, (because he hath no part nor inheritance with thee,) and the stranger, and the fatherless, and the widow, which are within thy gates, shall come, and shall eat and be satisfied; that the Lord thy God may bless thee in all the work of thine hand which thou doest. Deuteronomy 14:29
When the farmer fed the local Levite, stranger, fatherless and widows from his house ( Deuteronomy 26:13), he personally "avouched" or "certified" that he had done so. This food was, as Paul commanded the Corinthians, "laid by him in store" to feed the poor when it was called for.
The Increase. If a modern believer under cult domination is asked to give 10% of his gross salary he is being robbed in two ways: First, no Jew was ever commanded to tithe of the wage earned which was not a food product of the free land. Second, if a shepherd gets 100 new lambs this is not a net increase. He eats some of the lambs or sells some to get materials to build a new sheefold or to buy salt. Therefore, his net increase might be 50 lambs. Of this 50 lambs he gives 5 to the Levi tribe. The tribe tithes a half of a lamb and gives the other half to the priest for religious duties. He then has four lambs to feed his family. In exchange, he provides you civil government, schools and other services.
Robbing God in Tithes
As prophesied when Israel sinned at Mount Sinai, Israel worshipped like the nations. Because of ignorance of the Word the entire nation went into captivity and most died or never returned to Jerusalem. (Amos 5; 6; 8, Isaiah 5). This was because the mediators robbed but couldn't teach: "
Yea, they are greedy dogs which can never have enough, and they are shepherds that cannot understand: they all look to their own way, every one for his gain, from his quarter (corner). Isaiah 56:11
When God restored the people to Canaan after 70 years in Babylonian captivity, the Levites had to be bribed to move back to a poor land. Because the singers and other Levites received a dole of food each day, they fled to the country to farm. The small supply of food was a failure of all, but Malachi addressed the priests and Levites and accused them of robbing God:
AND now, O ye priests, this commandment is for you. Malachi 2:1
If ye will not hear, and if ye will not lay it to heart, to give glory unto my name, saith the Lord of hosts, I will even send a curse upon you, and I will curse your blessings: yea, I have cursed them already, because ye do not lay it to heart. Malachi 2:2
Behold, I will corrupt your seed, and spread dung upon your faces, even the dung of your solemn feasts; and one shall take you away with it. Malachi 2:3
And ye shall know that I have sent this commandment unto you, that my covenant might be with Levi, saith the Lord of hosts. Malachi 2:4
My covenant was with him of life and peace; and I gave them to him for the fear wherewith he feared me, and was afraid before my name. Malachi 2:5
The law of truth was in his mouth, and iniquity was not found in his lips: he walked with me in peace and equity, and did turn many away from iniquity. Malachi 2:6
For the priests lips should keep knowledge, and they should seek the law at his mouth: for he is the messenger of the Lord of hosts. Malachi 2:7
But ye are departed out of the way; ye have caused many to stumble at the law;
ye have corrupted the covenant of Levi, saith the Lord of hosts. Malachi 2:8
Therefore have I also made you contemptible and base before all the people, according as ye have not kept my ways, but have been partial in the law. Malachi 2:9
Have we not all one father? hath not one God created us? why do we deal treacherously every man against his brother, by profaning the covenant of our fathers? Malachi 2:10
The priests robbed God of the tithes and offerings because they did not perform the WORK for which the tithe was authorized. The tribe of Levi got 1/10 of the FOOD ONLY for their use only 2 out of 7 years. Otherwise the farmers who were given FREE FARMS controlled their tithes for their own consumption at the festivals or for the poor in their own towns.
The tribe of Levi gave the priests 1/10 of the 1/10 for food when they were ON DUTY at the sanctuary. They, as the poor, were owed daily food but NO retirement plan or a new 'chariot.'
The duty of the Priests was to teach the WORD and offer national sacrifices. They did not but lived off the poor by exacting tithes of wages on their own personal farms. Taking tithes of wages was ROBBERY.
The result was that the whole nation followed the tribe of Levi by refusing to pay for something they did not get.
Judah hath dealt treacherously, and an abomination is committed in Israel and in Jerusalem; for Judah hath profaned the holiness of the Lord which he loved, and hath married the daughter of a strange god. Malachi 2:11
The Lord will cut off the man that doeth this, the master and the scholar, out of the tabernacles of Jacob, and him that offereth an offering unto the Lord of hosts. Malachi 2:12
And this have ye done again, covering the altar of the Lord with tears, with weeping, and with crying out, insomuch that he regardeth not the offering any more, or receiveth it with good will at your hand. Malachi 2:13
Yet ye say, Wherefore? Because the Lord hath been witness between thee and the wife of thy youth, against whom thou hast dealt treacherously: yet is she thy companion, and the wife of thy covenant. Malachi 2:14
And did not he make one? Yet had he the residue of the spirit. And wherefore one? That he might seek a godly seed. Therefore take heed to your spirit, and let none deal treacherously against the wife of his youth. Malachi 2:15
For the Lord, the God of Israel, saith that he hateth putting away: for one covereth violence with his garment, saith the Lord of hosts: therefore take heed to your spirit, that ye deal not treacherously. Malachi 2:16
Ye have wearied the Lord with your words. Yet ye say, Wherein have we wearied him? When ye say, Every one that doeth evil is good in the sight of the Lord, and he delighteth in them; or, Where is the God of judgment? Malachi 2:17
All who receive unlawful "tithes" and even those who live off "the law of giving" have no claim unless the GO as evangelists and then receive the DAILY DOLE of food of the "oxen, soldier or temple slave."
This is why the priests were ROBBING God by taking money and not teaching. God in Christ would purify all so that they might offer sacrifices as the "fruit of the lips."
BEHOLD, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the Lord of hosts. Malachi 3:1
But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiners fire, and like fullers soap: Malachi 3:2
And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and
he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver,
that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness. Malachi 3:3
Then shall the offering of Judah and Jerusalem be pleasant unto the Lord, as in the days of old, and as in former years. Malachi 3:4
The religious leaders practiced an ancient (but modern) form of Babylonian "witchcraft." They "whispered a magical song or spell." They replaced food and Bible study with frequent religious rituals financed by obscene collections from the poor and wage earners. Therefore, God said:
And I will come near to you to judgment; and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, and against the adulterers, and against false swearers, Malachi 3:5a
and against those that oppress the hireling in his wages, the widow, and the fatherless, and that turn aside the stranger from his right, and fear not me, saith the Lord of hosts. Malachi 3:5b
The poor did not tithe. Therefore, a church demanding that a poor widow tithe or even "contribute" is robbing her as surely as if he stuck a gun in her ribs.
For I am the Lord, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed. Malachi 3:6
Again, the wage earner did not tithe. Therefore, they could never be called robbers. They worked eight hours for eight hours of wages and had no increase from the free land. Let us say it again:
Tithing was only food
It was only food grown on the free lands
It was only from lands inside of Canaan
The wage earner did not tithe
The Levites stood between God and the people because of the sin at Mount Sinai and the murmuring. They also stood between man and man to prevent revenge.
This mediation and "speaking for God" as teacher was eliminated when Jesus created a kingdom of priests. He demanded that we call no man our Teacher or Intercessor because we are spiritual children of the covenant of grace made with Abraham (Galatians 3) and not of the Law of Moses or David. Jesus even provided the "unearned" coin to pay the temple tax because "the sons are free." Matthew 17:26 Christ rejected the Jewish clergy who now stood between the people and the Word by saying:
Woe unto you, lawyers for ye have taken away the key of knowledge: ye entered not in yourselves, and them that were entering in ye hindered. Luke11:52.
Rather than taking away sins they were taking away the key to knowledge by, "raising the voice, keeping in suspense, weighing anchor, or lading down." Christ came to remove this "lading" which was "spiritual anxiety from religious ceremony."
Even from the days of your fathers ye are gone away from mine ordinances, and have not kept them.
Return unto me, and I will return unto you, saith the Lord of hosts.
But ye said, Wherein shall we return? Malachi 3:7
This is why Jesus said that:
"All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them. John 10:8 Christ and Paul told us that it was safe to reject human intercessors without being intimidated:
"For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need." Hebrews 4:15-16.
To restore priests, festivals, days and seasons, Levites and tithing rejects freedom in Jesus Christ and restores the burden He died to lift.
What Is The Message For Christians
A first principle of Christ is that no human stands between the believer and His throne. Furthermore, "Caesar" now fights the wars.
God does not need Levite teams to arouse and call him to His temple because:
"God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands Acts 17:24
"Neither is worshipped with men's hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things Acts 17:25
"God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us. Acts 17:27 While paying rent on the "Lord's" lands was always the law even before Moses, this does not extend into Christianity any more than circumcision:
"Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing. For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law. Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace. (Galatians 5:2-4)
James said that even to prefer one person over another would "spring the trap" and bring the 613 laws down upon our heads For those who want to depend upon legalism, he said:
"For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. James 2:10
"So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty. James 2:12
Only then did God ask of the whole nation:
Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings. Malachi 3:8
Demanding that a wage earner tithe is a violation of the Jewish law and a repudiation of Christ's redemption. Therefore, the entire weight of the law comes crashing down on the robber's heads.
Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation. Malachi 3:9
Remember that Malachi has just said that the PRIEST:
"oppress the hireling in his wages, the widow, and the fatherless"
Our next article will look at Malachi who is used to accuse those who do not tithe with being robbers in order to develop grand "ministries" based on fraud. Thanks to a brother who beats you on the head until you tell the whole truth.
The tithe was only MEAT and other products of the "rented" farm, orchard or flock.
Tereph (h2964) teh'-ref; from 2963; something torn, i. e. a fragment, e. g. a fresh leaf, prey, food: - leaf, meat, prey, spoil.
Taraph (g2963) taw-raf'; a prim. root; to pluck off or pull to pieces; causat. to supply with food (as in morsels): - catch, * without doubt, feed, ravin, rend in pieces, * surely, tear (in pieces).
Thus saith the Lord; For three transgressions of Edom, and for four, I will not turn away the punishment thereof; because he did pursue his brother with the sword, and did cast off all pity, and his anger did tear perpetually, and he kept his wrath for ever: Am.1:11
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. Malachi 3:10
Only the Levites brought the tithes into the store room in the temple. Under Christ, the food is the Word:
HO, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Isa 55:1
Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? and your labour for that which satisfieth not? hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness. Isa 55:2
In the six hundredth year of Noahs life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, the same day were all the fountains of the great deep broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened. Ge.7:11
And the rain was upon the earth forty days and forty nights. Gen 7:12
And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith the Lord of hosts. Malachi 3:11
And all nations shall call you blessed: for ye shall be a delightsome land, saith the Lord of hosts. Malachi 3:12
Your words have been stout against me, saith the Lord.
Yet ye say, What have we spoken so much against thee? Malachi 3:13
Ye have said, It is vain to serve God: and what profit is it that we have kept his ordinance, and that we have walked mournfully before the Lord of hosts? Malachi 3:14
And now we call the proud happy; yea, they that work wickedness are set up; yea, they that tempt God are even delivered. Malachi 3:15
Then they that feared the Lord spake often one to another: and the Lord hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the Lord, and that thought upon his name. Malachi 3:16
And they shall be mine, saith the Lord of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him. Malachi 3:17
Then shall ye return, and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God and him that serveth him not. Malachi 3:18
Tithing ] 1 [ ] 2 [ ] 3 [ Kenneth Sublett
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