Tithing - Robbing the Poor
Rob not the poor, because he is poor; neither oppress the afflicted in the gate: For the Lord will plead their cause, and spoil the soul of those that spoiled them. Proverbs 22:22-23
I have asked Stephen Davis to share his thoughts on the unbiblical tithe. His e-mail came immediately after I had answered a question for Humberto, a high school student in Brazil and a searcher for truth. Both centered on Isaiah 29. I accused him of being a prophet but he is really just a good student.
Stephen's notes have been added to the following article showing how LEGALISM is extracting a few dollars while IT IS SPIRITUAL to ride on the backs of widows.
Thank you, Ken, for the offer of the use of your website to post some of the insights I gained on the subject of tithing. There were times some years ago when the Lord awoke me early in the morning and dealt with me on this subject that I thought that it was like the prophet who said, 'The Lord God hath given me the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him that is weary: he wakeneth me morning by morning, he awakeneth my ear to hear as the learned.'
There are no doubt many Christians who need a break. There are some who take those 'cursed with a curse' warnings to heart, where others have a more loose attitude that it will all sort of pan out in the end. All should have a firm grasp of the great promises given to us freely. Paul said that the Holy Spirit was given to reveal to us all things given to us freely. There is a commercial where this man sings a jingle.
- 'Hey mister banker,
- Tell me if you can,
- What part of 'free'
- Don't you understand.'
It's a strange phenomenon. What has happened to all these ministers? The historians, the early church fathers, the first Protestant reformers, the first churchmen of our own country - all these agree with us. We are at liberty to give freely as the Lord directs our conscience. We have a more certain witness of the Holy Scriptures to make that case, though. I hope that this e-mail will help.
Love of money, love of truth, love of the 'truth' that brings in the money. Which love is the driving force behind the acceptance of this doctrine into our churches? Why did Jesus allow the thief and betrayer to carry the bag if money was so important to His cause? Paul said 'For I have no man like-minded, who will naturally care for your state. For all seek their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ's.' There seems to be no shortage of those who are seeking this 'thing' which supposedly belongs to our Lord. We are not advocating the muzzling of these oxen. There are oxen in the Old Covenant that were prone to push that were to incur the price of thirty pieces of silver to their owners.
Did you know that there is only one other place in the Bible where the word translated 'rob' is used, other than in Malachi 3?
'Rob not the poor, because he is poor; neither oppress the afflicted in the gate: For the Lord will plead their cause, and spoil (rob) the soul of those that spoiled (rob g6906) them.' Proverbs 22:22-23
The word in the Hebrew is 'qaba'. It is the root word from which Jacob (aqab g6117) got his name. It means 'to cover', 'to supplant'. It was Jacob who presented himself as the 'firstborn' when he brought his gift to Isaac disguised as Esau. Has Israel defrauded (robbed) God by presenting their gifts as the firstborn? Isn't Christ called the 'firstborn'? He alone offered the acceptable gift.
Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings. Mal.3:8
THE MEANING OF THE TITHE
Some months ago, I heard a minister ask from the pulpit, "I don't know why God set the standard of giving at10%, but He did." Always being of the mind that Christians were at liberty to give as they purposed in their heart, I wondered why a Christian minister would believe such a thing. Had he read the same Bible that I had?
I've been a Christian for 26 years now and I have never once calculated the amount of money that I have put in the collection plate. For the first 20 years of my Christian life, I used this verse to ward off this seeming Old Testament admonition to give.
"Stand fast in the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage." Gal. 5:1
Later I developed a general rule (based on an overview of the use of numbers in the Old Testament) If there is number attached to it, don't do it. Like --the seventh day, the third year, three measures of, in the tenth month, or the tenth of--.
The following is an interpretation of God's use of the fraction, 10% for His standard of giving in the Old Testament. With this question already there is mixed in a small amount of deceit. Was 10% the standard of giving or was it His standard of eating at the feast of celebration? You will see what this apparent splitting of hairs is about after you've become familiar with this interpretation.
God brought the children of Israel into the land of promise for one overriding reason: Food. He gave them the land as an inheritance for one purpose: Food. The priests received a fixed portion (10%) of the fruit of the land for one reason: Food. A question comes to mind then of why these people had to handle this food in such a strict manner. That is, why did they have to eat the tithes of that land in only a certain place chosen by God? Why not eat it in any place whenever they got hungry? We as Christians today don't have these rules about what we eat. Only that we receive all food with thanksgiving. There comes to mind an answer that should not be alien to any true child of God. THE FOOD THEY ATE WAS A SHADOW OF JESUS CHRIST, THE FOOD OF ETERNAL LIFE.
THE MANNA PARALLEL
Before the children of Israel entered the promised land from the wilderness, God fed them with this miraculous food that fell from heaven on a daily basis. It was called manna. Jesus spoke of himself as being the true bread from heaven, unlike the manna that the children of Israel ate, which did not give them eternal life. But he that ate his flesh would not die, but live forever. (John 6) Most every minister of the gospel will readily admit to the notion that that bread that fell from the sky is a pre-figurement or type of Christ. What about the land of promise? Isn't it also a type of Christ? Consider this verse:
'And the manna ceased on the morrow after they had eaten of the old corn of the land; neither had the children of Israel manna anymore; but they did eat of the fruit of the land of Canaan that year.' Joshua 5:12
With what did God replace the manna, which was a type of Christ, than with a source of food that was also a type of Christ? What can replace Christ but Christ also? Was God's provision of the land a type of Christ's food for eternal life or a type of the world economy based on labor for money as a means of living? We do have to work to make money to eat. But does all the food we eat represent the Lord? No. Only the small portion of bread and wine (grape juice) that we sometimes eat in remembrance of Him that died for us. For that we were given instructions on what (bread and wine), where (where other believers congregate), when (as oft as we will), and with whom (Christians).
Maybe this is a little presumptuous to say that the land was a type of Christ as well as the manna. Consider this: along with the manna, God sent quail to satisfy their craving for 'flesh'. You can find out about the 'flesh' that God sent in Exodus 16 and Numbers 11. The children of Israel had as a supplement to the manna they ate, quail from the sea. Both were sent as a result of their murmurings. What about the land of promise? Did they get a supplement of 'flesh' with it also?
'When the Lord thy God shall enlarge thy border, as he hath promised thee, and thou shalt say, I will eat flesh, because thy soul longeth to eat flesh; thou mayest eat flesh, whatsoever thy soul lusteth after....Even as the roebuck and hart is eaten, so shalt thou eat them:' Deut. 12:20, 22
Here we see that just as with the manna there is also with the land a promise of 'flesh' to eat. There is a parallel connection of 'flesh' with the manna and with the land. What about the tithe or tenth of the land, is there a tithe of the manna also, you might ask?
'And Moses said unto Aaron, Take a pot, and put an omer full of manna therein, and lay it up before the Lord, to be kept for your generations.....Now an omer is the tenth part of an ephah.' Exodus 16:33, 36
It also says of the tithe of the land that they were to 'lay it up within thy gates' Deut. 14:28 (Search the Hebrew on the word 'lay' and find a blessing!)
So now we see yet another parallel between the manna and the land of promise. We can now put it into a formula that can be stated thus---The quail and the tenth of the manna is to the manna what the roebuck/hart and the tithe of the land is to the land.
So what does the tenth and tithe mean? The question of the meaning of the 'flesh' will be answered later. Job said 'The spirit of God is in my nostrils.' It helps to interpret the tithe of the land by first viewing the tenth part of the manna. Since the manna represents Jesus, what would the tenth part represent? It was laid up in the ark in a pot for generations. You could say that it was put in there to remind future generations of the provision of the whole of the manna while they were in the wilderness. They didn't eat it, the tenth part that is. It was for remembrance purposes only. Unlike the tithe of the land which primarily was for the priests to consume. If you put both together you could say that it was the part that represented the whole that was to be remembered in future generations, that in reality was food for their very life's existence as a people set apart as priests. In words related to us as Christians, it's the communion table.
The tenth of the manna relates more to our practice of eating the token articles that represent our Lord's body: the bread and the wine. Jesus said, 'As often as you do this, do this in remembrance of me.'
The tithe of the land relates more to the actual historical event of the Lord's supper, because God said in the law that it was to be eaten 'before the Lord thy God in the place which the Lord thy God shall choose...'
Jesus chose the place where they were to eat the Passover.
'Go into the city to such a man, and say unto him, The master saith, My time is at hand; I will keep the Passover at thy house with my disciples.' Matt. 26:18
Here we see that in the shadows of the law God's use of the tenth part or tithe is for a celebration of His provision of food. If the tenth part represents the whole which is to us Christ, then why should we give a tenth part of our pay checks? Is Christ the whole or is the pay check the whole? Is my pay check the fulfillment of the Old Testament shadow or is Christ?
The food of Christ's flesh has packed the storehouse full. It will always have enough, for our heavenly Joseph has made sure of that. There is not only enough for us His children but for any stranger who will come to Him.
You will find in the study of the 'flesh' that the life of this is to be 'poured on the earth as water'; Deut. 12:24 Your windows of heaven promise in Mal. 3 points to this water that is poured out to be the fulfillment of the type of the Holy Spirit. What was poured out of the windows of heaven in Noah's day? Water. God said he would pour out blessing out of these same windows. This is the Holy Spirit who is given freely through faith in Jesus Christ.
What curse could there be for us when we've come to the One who became a curse for us on His cross.