Almost all churches are teaching tithing. But is it compulsory? Did the Lord Jesus and the apostles obligate the church to tithe? Let us examine the Bible.
When a pastor preaches about tithing, he always quotes Malachi 3:8-11:
“Will a man rob God? Yet you are robbing Me! But you say, ‘How have we robbed Thee?’ In tithes and offerings. “You are cursed with a curse, for you are robbing Me, the whole nation of you! “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in My house, and test Me now in this,” says the Lord of hosts, “if I will not open for you the windows of heaven, and pour out for you a blessing until it overflows. “Then I will rebuke the devourer for you, so that it may not destroy the fruits of the ground; nor will your vine in the field cast its grapes.” Says the Lord of hosts.”
Malachi lived during the second half of the fifth century B.C. after the temple of Jerusalem had been rebuilt. The Jews religious life was not in good condition-they had married foreign women, failed to give God what they should have and even left God.
It was a long time from the fall of Jerusalem 586 B.C. to Malachi’s ministry 440-430 B.C. The Jews have been captured and brought to foreign lands for approximately one hundred fifty years. There were Jews who gained favor from their pagan masters, like Nehemiah who gained favor from his master, King of Persia Artaxerxes. Another King, who reigned over Persia, commissioned Ezra to return to Jerusalem granting him large privileges. The same King granted permission to Nehemiah to assume control of the civil affairs at Jerusalem (Nehemiah 2:1-8). And thus the ruined temple was rebuilt. For a century and a half, those who returned to their land were not the original people who were captured but their children who knew nothing about their Jewish law. Restoring their religious ordinances wasn’t easy and one of them was tithing. Why is it that they were obligated to tithe? Where did this ordinance come from?
There were twelve tribes of Israel. When they occupied the promise land, it was divided among the twelve but Levi doesn’t have his share or portion because the Levites were designated for their religious duty that is why tithing is obligatory for all the tribes of Israel. The land was still divided into twelve because Joseph’s portion was given to his two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh.
The book of Malachi was written for Israel to restore their religious ordinances and not for the church. (Malachi 1:1), “The oracle of the word of the Lord to Israel through Malachi.” (Chapter 3:9), “You are ‘cursed with a curse, for you are robbing Me, the whole nation of you!” Malachi mentioned one nation, singular only the nation of Israel. It is as simple as that. This message is not for the church.
If you only read the whole book of Malachi thoroughly chapter by chapter and verse-by-verse, you will notice that this book many times mentioned Jacob, priests, Levi, Judah and Israel. The last chapter in verse four says, “Remember the law of Moses my servant, even the statutes and ordinances which I commanded him in Horeb for all Israel.” Not for all the church but for Israel.
Pastors who teach tithing will quote a verse in Matthew 23:23 where the Lord Jesus mentioned about tithes and pastors will insinuate their congregation by subtle and artful means to convey that Jesus taught about tithing to the church. But to whom did Jesus talk? Let us read it. (Matthew 23:23) “Woe to you, Scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cumin and neglected the weightier provisions of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness; but these are the things you should have done without neglecting the others.” And the pastor would say, “You see! Jesus is teaching tithing.” But in here, Jesus was not talking to the church. At that time, His Church was not yet born. When Jesus said, “ I will build My Church.” He was talking about the future (I will). The church was born after His resurrection in the day of Pentecost. He purchased the church with His own blood (Acts 20:28). At that time His Church did not exist yet, so He was talking to the religious leaders not to the Church. So here in Matthew 23:23, Jesus was rebuking the corrupt religious leaders. They gave tithes of mint, dill and cumin. What were these? These were not money but herbs and spices used for flavoring in cooking food. In Jewish law, these herbs were subject for tithes but that’s all they gave. They imposed tithing to people but they themselves only gave herbs.
Another passage that a pastor usually quotes when teaching about tithing was from Hebrews chapter seven, when Abraham after he slaughtered the Kings he apportioned a tenth part of all the spoil to Melchizedek. And because Jesus became a High Priest forever, according to the order of Melchizedek, the Church was obligated in tithing too. Wrong! Here in this context Abraham only give once to Melchizedek from the spoil after he slaughtered the Kings. He did not give tithes every week or every month. And besides, this context had pertained to Abraham and his descendants Israel. It said that even Levi who receive the priest office have commandment in the law to collect a tenth from the people, that is from their brethren. (Verse 9-10) And, so to speak, through Abraham even Levi, who received tithes, paid tithes for he was still in the Loins of his father when Melchizedek met him. Still this is for the Israelites, Abraham’s descendants. Not for the church.
Malachi is for the Israelites. “The oracle of the word of the Lord to Israel through Malachi.”
What is the bad effect if you impose tithing to the church and you will quote Malachi? It will grip man’s heart with fear. They will be scared to death and condemnation will grip their hearts. They will blame themselves for not giving their tithes from their gross income. No one, even those who teaches tithing in the church have fully obeyed and can never fully fulfill the obligatory tithing from their gross income. No one! Nobody! But they impose the church to give that they themselves have not fully fulfilled. They are like the religious leaders that the Lord has rebuked. Another thing is that it will motivate the people to give out of greed. They are after the blessing. If you give out of fear, out of greed and because of legalism that is not out of love.
In the New Testament, from the birth of the church in the book of Acts to all the letters of the apostles, there is no obligation by the church for tithing but to give support to the church out of love using common sense. This is how it is supposed to be. The pure motive of the heart is very important- not greed. Obligatory tithing will lead into legalism. Pastors terrorizing the congregation using Malachi: “You are cursed with a curse for you are robbing Me, the whole nation of you!” When they are the ones who are robbing the congregation.
What I am exposing is hard to swallow by church leaders who had been teaching tithing. Number one: It would be a shame to admit that they have been teaching traditional blunder. Number two: They will be scared to death if the church will be bankrupt. No, actually they won’t lose a single cent because they invested nothing. Their capital is only talk. Christians should serve the Lord out of love. Not out of fear and not out of greed. Legalism is the worst kind of practices that the Lord Jesus condemned.
I cannot blame the pastors who teach tithing in the church because the fallacy is from their head quarters. It comes from the top. They have just learned it from their pastors who spread out traditional blunder. Even though they have been schooled but they themselves are blinded by tradition.To give support for the ministry is a must but it should be with common sense and out of love. (1st Timothy 5:17-18) “Let the elders who rule well considered worthy of double honor, especially those who work hard at preaching and teaching. For the Scripture says, “You shall not muzzle the ox while he is threshing.” And “the laborer is worthy of his wages.” Did Paul mention about tithing? NO!
(1st Corinthians 16:1-2) “Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I directed the churches of Galatians, so do you also on the first day of every week let each one of you put aside and save, as he may prosper, that no collection be made when I come.” Did he mention tithing? NO!
Paul has pure motive in serving the Lord. (1st Corinthians 9:13-18) “Do you not know that those who perform sacred services eat the food of the temple, and those who attend regularly to the altar have their share with the altar? So also the Lord directed those who proclaim the gospel to get their living from the gospel. But I have used none of these things. And I am not writing these things that it may be done so in my case; for it would be better for me to die than have any man make my boast an empty one. For if I do this voluntarily, I have a reward, but if against my will, I have a stewardship entrusted to me. What then is my reward? That, when I preach the gospel without charge, so as not to make full use of my right in the gospel.”
(Acts 20:33-35) “I have coveted no one’s silver or gold or clothes. You yourselves know that these hands ministered to my own needs and to the men who were with me. In everything I showed you that by working hard in this manner you must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He Himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.”
This is a pure motive in serving the Lord and not for money.
“TITHING IS NOT AN OBLIGATORY FOR THE CHURCH.”
Read the topics “One can give without loving”