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THE SIN OF ROBBING GOD IN TITHES AND OFFERINGS

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Introduction

It is estimated that very few Christians, even in the western world, pay tithes. A failure to give back to God what he says belongs to him (See #2.1) is the sin of robbing God (See #2.7 Note). A tithe is always one tenth (or 10%) of our gross increase, but our offering can be anything that we choose to give above that. For example if I earn £500 then my tithe is £50. If I earn £750 then my tithe is £75. If I earn £1234 then my tithe is £123-40p, and so on. If I earn £400 and I give £75, then my tithe is £40 (one tenth of £400) and my offering is the remaining £35 which I give. The tithe is one tenth of our income before any other stoppages are taken out of our money or goods. For this reason the tithe should be the first thing that we set aside out of our income when we receive it.

#1. WHERE DID TITHING BEGIN?

#1.1 ABRAHAM PAID TITHES TO MELCHIZEDEK

GENESIS 14:18-20
18 And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God.
19 And he blessed him, and said, Blessed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth:
20 And blessed be the most high God, who has delivered your enemies into your hand. And he gave him tithes of all.

HEBREWS 7:1-8
1 For this Melchzedek, king of Salem, priest of the most high God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings, and blessed him;
2 To whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all; first being by interpretation King of righteousness, and after that also King of Salem, which is, King of peace;
3 Without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life; but made like to the Son of God; abides a priest continually.
4 Now consider how great this man was, to whom even the patriarch Abraham gave the tenth of the plunder.
5 And those indeed who 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:
6 But he whose descent is not counted from them received tithes of Abraham, and blessed him who had the promises.
7 And without all contradiction the less is blessed by the better.
8 And here men who die receive tithes; but there he received them, of whom it is witnessed that he lives.

Note: This is the first record of tithing in the Scripture. Abraham's motive for giving his tithe seems to have been gratitude, because he recognized that all that he got was because God had delivered his enemies into his hand. He gave it to "the priest of the Most High God" (Genesis 14:18), a very mysterious person called Melchizedek, whose description (Hebrews 7:1-8) seems only to fit the Lord Jesus Christ himself. What did the tithe consist of? The scripture says, "Tithes of all." (Genesis 14:20), and so it would have included some of everything that was stolen from Sodom before. It seems obvious then that this would include food, clothes, furnishings of houses, money, gold and silver ornaments, animals, in fact anything that was valuable to steal. To say that this does not include money, as some say, seems to be highly unlikely.

#1.2 JACOB VOWED TO GIVE GOD TITHES

GENESIS 28:20-22
20 And Jacob vowed a vow, saying, If God will be with me, and will keep me in this way that I go, and will give me bread to eat, and clothes to put on,
21 So that I come again to my father's house in peace; then shall the LORD be my God:
22 And this stone, which I have set for a pillar, shall be God's house: and of all that you will give me I will surely give the tenth to you.

Note: Jacob obviously knew about tithing because Abraham was his grandfather, but his motive for giving it does not seem to have been gratitude for what God had done for him, but rather part of a conditional covenant that he made with God. If God would do his part, then Jacob would accept him as his God, and give one tenth of whatever God gave him, back to him.

#2. WHY DID, AND SHOULD PEOPLE PAY TITHES?

Introduction 2

In this section we will examine the reasons why we should pay tithes, and by looking at the Old and New Testaments together we will see that the reasons have not changed in principle. Simply, God has commanded this in order to make a provision for a need, and as long as that need is there, then tithing is God's method of providing for it.

#2.1 BECAUSE THE TITHE BELONGS TO GOD

LEVITICUS 27:30-34
30 And all the tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land, or of the fruit of the tree, is the LORD'S: it is holy to the LORD.
31 And if a man will at all redeem anything of his tithes, he shall add to it the fifth part of it.
32 And concerning the tithe of the herd, or of the flock, even of whatever passes under the rod, the tenth shall be holy to the LORD.
33 He shall not search whether it is good or bad, neither shall he change it: and if he change it at all, then both it and the change of it shall be holy; it shall not be redeemed.
34 These are the commandments, which the LORD commanded Moses for the children of Israel in mount Sinai.

Note: This scripture shows that the tithe belonged to God, but much more than that, other scriptures show that everything belongs to God (Numbers 3:13, 1 Chronicles 29:14, Psalm 24:1, 50:10-12, 89:11, Ezekiel 18:4, Luke 21:1-4, 1 Corinthians 6:19-20). Therefore it is not a big thing to give back to God one tenth of what he gives to us.

#2.2 BECAUSE TITHING WAS COMMANDED FOR ISRAEL UNDER THE LAW

LEVITICUS 26:46
46 These are the statutes and judgments and laws, which the LORD made between him and the children of Israel in mount Sinai by the hand of Moses.

LEVITICUS 27:30-34
30 And all the tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land, or of the fruit of the tree, is the LORD'S: it is holy to the LORD.
31 And if a man will at all redeem anything of his tithes, he shall add to it the fifth part of it.
32 And concerning the tithe of the herd, or of the flock, even of whatever passes under the rod, the tenth shall be holy to the LORD.
33 He shall not search whether it be good or bad, neither shall he change it: and if he change it at all, then both it and the change of it shall be holy; it shall not be redeemed.
34 These are the commandments, which the LORD commanded Moses for the children of Israel in mount Sinai.

DEUTERONOMY 14:22
22 You shall truly tithe all the increase of your seed, that the field brings forth year by year.

Note: There can be no doubt that tithing was commanded by God for Israel under the law, and this was God's method of supporting the Levitical priesthood (See #2.3) and making provision for widows and orphans (See #2.4) in those days.

#2.3 THE TITHE SUPPORTED THE MINISTRY OF THE TRIBE OF LEVI UNDER THE LAW

NUMBERS 18:21-24
21 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.
22 Neither must the children of Israel from now on come near the tabernacle of the congregation, lest they bear sin, and die.
23 But the Levites shall do the service of the tabernacle of the congregation, and they shall bear their iniquity: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations, that among the children of Israel they have no inheritance.
24 But the tithes of the children of Israel, which they offer as a heave offering to the LORD, I have given to the Levites to inherit: therefore I have said to them, Among the children of Israel they shall have no inheritance.

DEUTERONOMY 14:28-29
28 At the end of three years you will bring forth all the tithe of your increase the same year, and you will lay it up within your gates:
29 And the Levite, (because he has no part nor inheritance with you,) and the stranger, and the fatherless, and the widow, which are within your gates, shall come, and shall eat and be satisfied; that the LORD your God may bless you in all the work of your hand which you do.

NEHEMIAH 10:37
37 And that we should bring the first-fruits of our dough, and our offerings, and the fruit of all manner of trees, of wine and of oil, to the priests, to the chambers of the house of our God; and the tithes of our ground to the Levites, that the same Levites might have the tithes in all the cities of our tillage.

NEHEMIAH 13:5
5 And he had prepared for him a great chamber, where before they laid the meat offerings, the frankincense, and the vessels, and the tithes of the corn, the new wine, and the oil, which was commanded to be given to the Levites, and the singers, and the porters; and the offerings of the priests.

Note: In the days of Jesus and prior to his first coming, the Levitical priesthood was supported by the tithes of Israel because they did the service of God under the law. In the New Testament there is no longer any need for the Levitical priesthood as the whole system has been changed (Hebrews 7:11-12), and their equivalent is now the ministry in the New Testament church (See #2.6).

#2.4 THE TITHE SUPPORTS THE STRANGER, THE FATHERLESS, AND THE WIDOWS

DEUTERONOMY 14:28-29
28 At the end of three years you will bring forth all the tithe of your increase the same year, and you will lay it up within your gates:
29 And the Levite, (because he has no part nor inheritance with you,) and the stranger, and the fatherless, and the widow, who are within your gates, shall come, and shall eat and be satisfied; that the LORD your God may bless you in all the work of your hand which you do.

DEUTERONOMY 26:12-13
12 When you have made an end of tithing all the tithes of your increase the third year, which is the year of tithing, and have given it to the Levite, the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, that they may eat within your gates, and be filled;
13 Then you will say before the LORD your God, I have brought away the hallowed things out of my house, and also have given them to the Levite, and to the stranger, to the fatherless, and to the widow, according to all your commandments which you have commanded me: I have not transgressed your commandments, neither have I forgotten them:

ACTS 6:1-4
1 And in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplied, there arose a murmuring of the Grecians against the Hebrews, because their widows were neglected in the daily ministration.
2 Then the twelve called the multitude of the disciples to them, and said, It is not right that we should leave the word of God, and serve tables.
3 Therefore, brethren, look out from among yourselves seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business.
4 But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word.

Note: No matter whether we look in the Old or New Testament, God has always expected his people to make a provision for widows and orphans, and we see here that this was one of the uses for the tithes. Helping those who are in hardship like orphans is just an expression of love for people who may be suffering through no fault of their own, and so is part of fulfilling the law (Romans 8:4; 13:10), and the command of Jesus, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself." (Matthew 22:39).

#2.5 BECAUSE JESUS CONFIRMED THAT WE OUGHT TO TITHE

MATTHEW 23:23 (Jesus)
23 Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these you ought to have done, and not to leave the other undone.

LUKE 11:42 (Jesus)
42 But woe to you, Pharisees! for you tithe mint and rue and all manner of herbs, and pass over judgment and the love of God: these you ought to have done, and not to leave the other undone.

Note: What did Jesus mean in these scriptures? He is simply saying to them and us, "You ought to tithe." Jesus is the head of the church (Ephesians 5:23; Colossians 1:18), which is his body (Ephesians 1:22-23; Colossians 1:18; 1:24), and it should be in complete subjection to him in all things (Ephesians 1:22), but it will never be so without paying tithes, because here he said that we ought to do it. Jesus' words are still applicable to us today:

(Matthew 24:35) "Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away."
(Matthew 23:23) "you pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, ... these you ought to have done,"
(Luke 11:42) "you tithe mint and rue and all manner of herbs ... these you ought to have done,"
(Luke 6:46) "And why do you call me, Lord, Lord, and do not do the things which I say?"
(John 14:15) "If you love me, keep my commandments."
(John 12:48) "He who rejects me, and does not receive my words, has one that judges him: the word that I have spoken, the same will judge him in the last day."

Jesus is now "the author of eternal salvation to all those who obey him." (Hebrews 5:9). The apostle Paul also confirmed the importance of Jesus' words:

(1 Timothy 6:3-4) "If any man teach otherwise, and does not consent to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness; He is proud, knowing nothing,".

#2.6 TITHE TO SUPPORT THE MINISTRY IN THE NEW TESTAMENT CHURCH

1 CORINTHIANS 9:7-11 (Paul)
7 Who goes to war any time at his own expense? who plants a vineyard, and does not eat of the fruit of it? or who feeds a flock, and does not drink of the milk of the flock?
8 Do I say these things as a man? or does not the law say the same also?
9 For it is written in the law of Moses, You shall not muzzle the mouth of the ox who treads out the corn. Does God take care for oxen?
10 Or does he say it altogether for our sakes? For our sakes, no doubt, this is written: that he who ploughs should plough in hope; and that he who threshes in hope should be a partaker of his hope.
11 If we have sown to you spiritual things, is it a great thing if we shall reap your carnal things?

GALATIANS 6:6 (Paul)
6 Let him who is being taught in the word share with him who teaches in all good things.

Note: Just as under the law of Moses the Levites, who did the service of God in the tabernacle and the temple, received the tithes (See #2.3), so it is right for those who perform the ministry in the church to receive tithes, as it is written, "the laborer is worthy of his hire." (Luke 10:7).

#2.7 TITHE IN ORDER TO BE BLESSED AND TO AVOID ROBBING GOD

PROVERBS 3:9-10 (Solomon)
9 Honor the LORD with your substance, and with the first-fruits of all your increase:
10 So shall your barns be filled with plenty, and your presses shall burst out with new wine.

MALACHI 3:7-11
7 Even from the days of your fathers you are gone away from my ordinances, and have not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you, says the LORD of hosts. But you said, In what shall we return?
8 Will a man rob God? Yet you have robbed me. But you say, In what have we robbed you? In tithes and offerings.
9 You are cursed with a curse: for you have robbed me, even this whole nation.
10 Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in my house, and prove me now in this, says the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there will not be room enough to receive it.
11 And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he will not destroy the fruits of your ground; nor will your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, says the LORD of hosts.

Note: God says that he will open the widows of heaven and pour a great blessing on us who pay tithes (Malachi 3:10), and that he will protect our crops from being destroyed. Honoring God with the first-fruits of "your increase" (Proverbs 3:9), which refers to tithes, also brings the promise of a great blessing (Proverbs 3:10). Many Christians may be losing money, as if they are putting their money in pockets with holes in, because they are not paying a tithe. Their crops may be destroyed by famine, or insects, or disease, or drought, because they are not paying a tithe, and they are cursed (Malachi 3:9). Tithing then is a matter of faith. God says that if we tithe we will be better off than if we don't, and the question is, "Do we believe it or not?" Those who believe God here will pay their tithe, and those who don't, probably won't.
God says that if we don't pay tithes we are robbing him (Malachi 3:8). Why? Because the tithe belongs to God (See #2.1). Let me ask this question: "If Jesus returned for his church, and you were in the actual act of robbing someone when he came, do you think that you would be saved?" How much less if you are caught in the act of robbing God when he returns, by not paying tithes? To obtain the blessing of God, and to avoid robbing him are two good reasons for a Christian to pay tithes.

#2.8 TITHE IN ORDER TO BE ABLE TO TITHE THE TITHE

NUMBERS 18:25-28
25 And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying,
26 Thus speak to the Levites, and say to them, When you take of the children of Israel the tithes which I have given you from them for your inheritance, then you shall offer up a heave offering of it for the LORD, even a tenth part of the tithe.
27 And this your heave offering shall be reckoned to you, as though it were the corn of the threshing-floor, and as the fullness of the winepress.
28 Thus you also shall offer a heave offering to the LORD of all your tithes, which you receive of the children of Israel; and you shall give of it the LORD'S heave offering to Aaron the priest.

NEHEMIAH 10:38
38 And the priest the son of Aaron shall be with the Levites, when the Levites take tithes: and the Levites shall bring up the tithe of the tithes to the house of our God, to the chambers, into the treasure house.

Note: Although all of the tithe belongs to God (See #2.1), he chose to give it to those who perform the work of his ministry (See #2.3; #2.6). However, those who receive tithes are still expected to pay tithes of what they receive, as their offering to God. This is what is known as "tithing the tithe". Aaron was the high priest, and he received the tithes from the tithes received by the Levites (Numbers 18:28), which went into the treasury of the house of God (Nehemiah 10:38). In Logos Apostolic Church of God one tenth of tithe from each church should be paid to the headquarters of that country, where it will be used to support the national leadership, and to be re-distributed where there is a need.

#2.9 BECAUSE OBEYING GOD IS AN EXPRESSION OF OUR LOVE FOR HIM

JOHN 14:15 (Jesus)
15 If you love me, keep my commandments.

1 JOHN 5:2-3
2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments.
3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.

2 JOHN 5-6
5 And now I beseech you, lady, not as though I wrote a new commandment to you, but that which we had from the beginning, that we love one another.
6 And this is love, that we walk after his commandments. This is the commandment, That, as you have heard from the beginning, you should walk in it.

Note: Jesus taught us that the greatest commandments were to love God and our neighbor:
(Mark 12:30-31) "And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength: this is the first commandment.
And the second, which is like it, is this, You shall love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these."
As God has commanded us to tithe (See #2.2), and Jesus said that we ought to tithe (See #2.5), then we can see by these scriptures (1 John 5:2-3; 2 John 5-6) that the way we express our love for him is by being obedient. Jesus said it this way:

(John 14:21-24) "He who has my commandments, and keeps them, he it is who loves me: ... If a man loves me, he will keep my word: ... He who does not love me does not keep not my sayings: and the word which you hear is not mine, but the Father's who sent me."

According to Jesus' words, if we say that we love him, but do not pay our tithes, then we are a liar, and where would that leave our salvation?

(Revelation 21:8) "all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone: which is the second death."

#3. WHERE SHOULD THE TITHE BE GATHERED TO?

#3.1 TAKE THE TITHE TO THE PLACE OF THE LORD'S CHOICE

DEUTERONOMY 12:5-6
5 But to the place which the LORD your God shall choose out of all your tribes to put his name there, even to his habitation shall you seek, and there you will come:
6 And there you shall bring your burnt offerings, and your sacrifices, and your tithes, and heave offerings of your hand, and your vows, and your freewill offerings, and the firstlings of your herds and of your flocks:

DEUTERONOMY 12:11
11 Then there shall be a place which the LORD your God shall choose to cause his name to dwell there; there you shall bring all that I command you; your burnt offerings, and your sacrifices, your tithes, and the heave offering of your hand, and all your choice vows which you vow to the LORD:

DEUTERONOMY 14:22-25
22 You shall truly tithe all the increase of your seed, that the field brings forth year by year.
23 And you will eat before the LORD your God, in the place which he shall choose to place his name there, the tithe of your corn, of your wine, and of your oil, and the firstlings of your herds and of your flocks; that you may learn to fear the LORD your God always.
24 And if the way is too long for you, so that you are not able to carry it; or if the place is too far from you, which the LORD your God shall choose to set his name there, when the LORD your God has blessed you:
25 Then shall you turn it into money, and bind up the money in your hand, and shall go to the place which the LORD your God shall choose:

Note: The tithes were to be brought to the place where God chose "to put his name there" (Deuteronomy 12:5), "to cause his name to dwell there;" (Deuteronomy 12:11), "to place his name there," (Deuteronomy 14:23). In those days this specifically referred to the Temple in Jerusalem (1 Kings 9:3; 2 Kings 21:4; 21:7; 2 Chronicles 33:7). Before that, and in modern times, as there is no physical temple, we can only assume that it is the equivalent place where people gather together for worship, bible study, and prayer.

#3.2 TAKE THE TITHE TO THE TREASURY OF THE HOUSE OF GOD

NEHEMIAH 13:11-13 (Nehemiah)
11 Then I contended with the rulers, and said, Why is the house of God forsaken? And I gathered them together, and set them in their place.
12 Then all Judah brought the tithe of the corn and the new wine and the oil to the treasuries.
13 And I made treasurers over the treasuries, Shelemiah the priest, and Zadok the scribe, and of the Levites, Pedaiah: and next to them was Hanan the son of Zaccur, the son of Mattaniah: for they were counted faithful, and their office was to distribute to their brethren.

NEHEMIAH 10:38
38 And the priest the son of Aaron shall be with the Levites, when the Levites take tithes: and the Levites shall bring up the tithe of the tithes to the house of our God, to the chambers, into the treasure house.

MALACHI 3:10 (God)
10 Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in my house, and prove me now in this, says 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.

Note: The house of God in the Old Testament would be the Temple (See #3.1), or perhaps the building where people gathered together on the Sabbath day, such as the synagogue. Today it would be the place where a local church gathers together on the Sabbath day for worship, bible study, and prayer.

#4. QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS ON TITHES AND OFFERINGS

#4.1 WHAT IS "REDEEMING THE TITHE"?

LEVITICUS 27:30-31
30 And all the tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land, or of the fruit of the tree, is the LORD'S: it is holy to the LORD.
31 And if a man will at all redeem1 anything of his tithes, he shall add to it the fifth part of it.

Note: The word translated redeem1 (Hb. יִגְאָל Htr. yig’al ) is part of the root word גָּאַל (Htr. gā’al), which means "to redeem" or "to buy back". It is used of someone buying back his possessions which he had sold for a debt (Leviticus 25:26), or a close relative buying it back for him (Leviticus 25:25). It is also used of God buying his people back from the slavery of Egypt (Exodus 6:6; Isaiah 51:10; 63:9). An example of this with tithes would be if a person decided not to pay his tithes at the appropriate time, but to pay it at a later date. Whatever tithe he did not pay at the correct time, he should then add an extra one fifth to the tithe when he does pay it.
Example: If a man earns £250 and decides to redeem his tithe, then when he does pay it back he should pay £25 + £5 (one fifth) = £30 in total.

#4.2 SHOULD I PAY TITHES ON GIFTS?

The tithe should be paid on all of your "increase" (Deuteronomy 14:22; 14:28; 26:12):

(Proverbs 3:9) "Honor the LORD with your substance, and with the first-fruits of all your increase:"

It seems reasonable therefore to pay tithes on gifts, which is an increase.

#4.3 SHOULD I PAY TITHES ON SOCIAL SECURITY BENEFITS?

In countries like the UK, Social Security benefits are given to people who do not earn any wages, or do not earn enough to live on. They are therefore a substitute for earned money, and should be treated the same as if it was earned. The tithe should be paid on all of your "increase" (Deuteronomy 14:22; 14:28; 26:12):

(Proverbs 3:9) "Honor the LORD with your substance, and with the first-fruits of all your increase:"

It seems reasonable therefore to pay tithes on Social Security Benefits, which are an increase.
Here are a list of these benefits in UK which should be tithed:
Income Support, Housing Benefit, Council Tax Benefit (not including single occupancy reduction), Income-based Jobseeker's Allowance, Attendance Allowance, Disability Allowance, Industrial injuries Disablement Pension, Pension Credit, Child Tax Credit, Working Tax Credit.

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