Tithe is Abolished

Richard Anthony

Proverbs 3:9, "Honour the LORD with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase:"

The first time "tithe" is mentioned in scripture is in the book of Genesis. In chapter 14, there was a war. Abram was victorious in this war:

Genesis 14:18-20, "And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God. And he blessed him, and said, Blessed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth: And blessed be the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand. And he gave him tithes of all."

Here is an evidence of Abram's piety, as well as of his valor; for it was to a priest or official mediator between God and him that Abram gave a tenth of the spoil--a token of his gratitude and in honor of a divine ordinance. After Abram gave a tithe, the King of Salem offered Abram goods, but Abram refused!

Genesis 14:21-23, "And the king of Sodom said unto Abram, Give me the persons, and take the goods to thyself. And Abram said to the king of Sodom, I have lift up mine hand unto the LORD, the most high God, the possessor of heaven and earth, That I will not take from a thread even to a shoelatchet, and that I will not take any thing that is thine, lest thou shouldest say, I have made Abram rich:"

Abram paid tithes of all to Melchizdek, King of Salem (because this was a Law of God), but he refused the spoils he was offered from the King of Sodom. Abram did not care about being made rich and wealthy from the offerings of other people.

Concerning Saul:

I Samuel 9:7-8, "Then said Saul to his servant, But, behold, if we go, what shall we bring the man? for the bread is spent in our vessels, and there is not a present to bring to the man of God: what have we? And the servant answered Saul again, and said, Behold, I have here at hand the fourth part of a shekel of silver: that will I give to the man of God, to tell us our way."

Saul felt he had to give the man of God something for his trouble. But you can search in vain and you will not find where the man of God took the money. A true man of God is not for sale. He is "...not greedy of filthy lucre,..."(I Timothy 3:3) and "...not given to filthy lucre."(Titus 1:7).

I Peter 5:2, "Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind."

Concerning Elisha, the man of God, he refused to take money for the work he did in the Lord. Naaman, the Syrian prince, had come to the prophet Elisha to be healed of the disease which harassed him.

2 Kings 5:14-16, "Then went he down, and dipped himself seven times in Jordan, according to the saying of the man of God: and his flesh came again like unto the flesh of a little child, and he was clean. And he returned to the man of God, he and all his company, and came, and stood before him: and he said, Behold, now I know that there is no God in all the earth, but in Israel: now therefore, I pray thee, take a blessing of thy servant. But he said, As the LORD liveth, before whom I stand, I will receive none. And he urged him to take it; but he refused."

Naaman's gratitude and joy over his recovery, both in body and in spirit, prompted him to offer Elisha rich gifts of silver and festal garments, all of which were immediately refused. Stern and uncompromising Elisha did not want it thought that he sold his powers for personal gain, as the sorcerers did their magic charms.

Perhaps he overdid the matter and was rude about it, failing to crown a generous deed with a gracious acceptance, but Gehazi, the servant of Elisha, thought it all a mistake not to profit by the opportunity. After all, Naaman was a foreign prince from a wealthy state, and he could easily have given them enough to leave them comfortable for the rest of their lives, and he personally considered it very poor judgment on the part of his master not to have taken advantage of this opportune occasion.

So Gehazi asked Naaman for money (verse 22), and Naaman was happy to oblige (verse 23). When Elisha discovered what Gehazi did, he condemned him. Elisha considered that an evil act; to ask money in exchange for the services that he did (verse 26). And as punishment, Gehazi received the disease that Naaman previously had; leprocy!

2 Kings 5:27, "The leprosy therefore of Naaman shall cleave unto thee, and unto thy seed for ever. And he went out from his presence a leper as white as snow."

Let this be a warning to those who demand payment in exchange for the work of God. God considers this robbery!

To demand Money is Robbery

Followers of God are not to demand money from their listeners in exchange for bringing them God's truth:

1 Corinthians 9:18, "What is my reward then? Verily that, when I preach the gospel, I may make the gospel of Christ without charge"

Matthew 10:8, "...Freely ye have received, freely give"

Proverbs 23:23, "Buy the truth, and sell it not"

Isaiah 55:1, "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."

Revelation 22:17, "...And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely."

As a matter of fact, the apostle Paul considered in robbery to take wages from people in the "church" when he preached the gospel to them!

2 Corinthians 11:7-9, "Did I commit a sin in humbling myself that ye might be exalted, because I have preached to you the gospel of God freely? I robbed other churches, having received wages for service towards you. And when I was present with you, and wanted, I was chargeable to no man: for that which was lacking to me the brethren which came from Macedonia supplied: and in all things I have kept myself from being burdensome unto you, and so will I keep myself.""

At one point, the Corinthians were insinuating that Paul was making gain from them, but Paul refuted them by asking them, "Did any man I ever sent to preach the Gospel to you, ever get any thing from you for me? Produce the proof if you can."

Paul is stating firstly, that he laboured for and took wages from other churches, that he might teach the Corinthians free of charge. He further points out, that only false apostles and deceitful workers would take a collection of tithes or offerings for preaching the Gospel, due to their selfish financial ambitions, as well as their egotistical need to be regarded as one of the "apostles of Christ" (2 Corinthians 11:12-15).

2 Corinthians 12:17-18, "Did I make a gain of you by any of them whom I sent unto you? I desired Titus, and with him I sent a brother. Did Titus make a gain of you?"

The apostle Paul did not make any gain from preaching the gospel; he worked as a tentmaker from time to time (Acts 18:3), and laboured night and day at times so that he would not have to charge people a price when he preached the gospel (1 Thessalonians 2:9). Likewise, Jesus laboured as a carpenter (Mark 6:3). Neither one of them ever demanded that their listeners pay tithes to them.

We're not supposed to make a living from the Gospel. That calling was used to get him across from place to place to preach the gospel. Paul did not run up to people and say, "Hey! Give me 5 bucks and I'll tell you what it's all about." Today's pastor basically does that. When you walk into a church today, a collection plate gets passed around that places a burden upon you to give money before hearing what the preacher has to say. And if you don't give any money, you are looked down upon by others. Churches have even told its congregation that it is a sin if you do not give them money (tithe). What you hear from modern pulpits is nothing more than what's called a sophist, which means "one who preaches ethics for payment."

Paul was given an administration, a dispensation, a commission, or stewardship to preach (1 Corinthians 9:17). A steward receives no pay. He was merely a willing slave doing his assigned task faithfully.

It is Evil for a Priest to teach for Money

One who preaches God's Word for money is not a true man of God.

Micah 3:11-12, "The heads thereof judge for reward, and the priests thereof teach for hire, and the prophets thereof divine for money: yet will they lean upon the LORD, and say, Is not the LORD among us? none evil can come upon us. Therefore shall Zion for your sake be plowed as a field, and Jerusalem shall become heaps, and the mountain of the house as the high places of the forest."

A man of God is not to seek his own gain.

Isaiah 56:11, "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."

1 Corinthians 10:32-33, "Give none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the congregation of God: Even as I please all men in all things, not seeking mine own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved."

1 Timothy 6:5, "Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself."

A minister of God is not to covet money, nor expect money, when he preaches God's Word.

Acts 20:33-34, "I have coveted no man's silver, or gold, or apparel. Yea, ye yourselves know, that these hands have ministered unto my necessities, and to them that were with me. I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive."

Paul is pointing out that while he had been teaching in the synagogues each Sabbath and ministering to the needs of the people, he did so at his own expense and even provided for the expense of any of his assistants by the work of his own hands. Paul was reinforcing the Old Testament examples of being a strong, contributing member of the community. Paul himself, was labouring with his own hands - working to look after his needs and those of his fellow workers, while taking from his own time and expense, to preach the Gospel to those who needed it.

Paul believed that it was more blessed to give spiritual enlightenment to the people than it was to receive material reward for so doing. Paul was one of the New Testament's best examples of how to be a disciple of the Word of God. Paul's special calling was indeed to be a disciple to the Gentiles. He went on to say that it would be an abuse of his authority to do otherwise, and worse yet, that by looking for material recompense, he would actually be hindering the Gospel from reaching those that had no material things to give.

2 Corinthians 2:17, "For we are not as the many, making gain by corrupting the word of God: but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God speak we in Christ."

What was Tithe used for?

Many Churches today demand that their listeners give "tithe" to the Church. And those who preach the Word of God take wages from that tithe, as payment for their services. However, was tithe used in this way in the Old Testament? If so, why? As we saw previously, God considered it evil if a priest teaches for money. So what exactly is tithe, and what was it used for?

First of all, a tithe is literally defined as "a tenth part." It is giving and sacrificing a tenth of a possession. Most people assume that it means a tenth of ones money, however, it refers to animals and the fruit of the ground rather than it does money!

Leviticus 27:30,32 "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 unto the LORD. 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."

Deuteronomy 12:17, "Thou mayest not eat within thy gates the tithe of thy corn, or of thy wine, or of thy oil, or the firstlings of thy herds or of thy flock...:"

2 Chronicles 31:5-6, "...the children of Israel brought in abundance the firstfruits of corn, wine, and oil, and honey, and of all the increase of the field; and the tithe of all things brought they in abundantly...they also brought in the tithe of oxen and sheep, and the tithe of holy things which were consecrated unto the LORD their God, and laid them by heaps."

It is interesting to note that Churches do not ask for a tenth of your seeds, or fruits, or herds, or flocks, or corn, or wine, or oil, or honey, or oxen and sheep, or any thing, they are only interested in your money. Why? What is really facinating is that nowhere in the scripture does it show anyone giving money as tithe!

Nehemiah 13:5, "And he had prepared for him a great chamber, where aforetime 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."

Only animals and the fuits of the ground were used for tithes. After a thorough search of scripture, nowhere is any form of money given as tithe! Maybe this is why God condemns preachers who ask for money (not preachers who freely receive money). Can it be that money was never meant to be a part of the tithe?

Even when Jesus talked about tithe, it was never in reference to money (which is a creation of man), but to the things which were created by God:

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

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

Who was in charge of the tithes? The tithes were granted to the Levites for the use of the sanctuary, and the maintenance of themselves and their families, as they had no other inheritance in Israel. This is important to understand! The Levites did not have any inheritance at all in Israel, whereas everyone else did have rights to inheritance. All other people in Israel were taken care of through inheritance and other means, whereas the Levites did not have this same right. Their only means of sustenance was the tithe, because of their specific duty to God.

Do today's priests have just as much right of inheritance as everyone else in their country? Yes, they do. If the Levites had just as much right as the rest of the people of their nation, there would have been no need for them to take tithes. This is an important point. Under the New Testament, all men have the right to inheritance (Acts 20:32, Revelation 21:7). And since nobody is denied inheritance anymore, there is no need for any man to receive tithes anymore.

Numbers 18:23-24, ""But the Levites shall do the service of the tabernacle of the congregation...that among the children of Israel they have no inheritance. But the tithes of the children of Israel, which they offer as an heave offering unto the LORD, I have given to the Levites to inherit: therefore I have said unto them, Among the children of Israel they shall have no inheritance."

The Levites did not preach the Word of God, they maintained the temple of God. The temple of God has been destroyed, and there is no more sacrifices and offerings going on. Thus, since there is no more temple, and God does not dwell in temples made with hands (Acts 7:48; 17:24), there is no more need to give tithes, since its purpose is done away with.

What did the Levites do with the tithe they received? As the Levites had the tithe of the whole land, they themselves were obliged to give the tithe of this tithe to the priests, and this tithe or tenth they were obliged to select from the best part of the substance they had received (Numbers 18:26-29). Notice that only a tenth of the tithe were given to priests! In other words, when a tithe was given to the Levites, only a tenth of that tithe was given to the priests! Is that was Churches do today? No they do not. The priests use 100% of that tithe as they see fit, not 10% as God commands.

As a side note, notice tithe was offered as a heave offering. It was part of the offerings and sacrifices that were abolished under the New Testament.

Deuteronomy 12:6, "And thither ye 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:" (See also Deuteronomy 12:11).

How else were tithes spent?

Deuteronomy 14:28-29, "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: 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."

Every three years, the ministers of religion, the stranger, the widow, the fatherless, and all who are destitute should be kindly remembered, and share in the tithes and blessings which God graciously gives us.

Where was the tithe to be stored? Tithe was brought into the treasure house (Nehemiah 10:38) which was in the chambers of the house of God (Nehemiah 10:37), which was in the Lord's house (Deuteronomy 26:13). God's tithe was not stored in some bank run by heathens, as it is today.

Does today's Churches follow these ordinances of tithes? If they do not, this is considered robbery from God:

Malachi 3:7-10, "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? Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings. Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation. 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."

As this passage states, His children have robbed God through tithes and offerings. Just like today's Churches do.

However, it is still God's Will to make his ministers dependent on the people, so that his ministers might be induced (among other motives) to labour for their spiritual profiting. And that the people, thus blessed under their ministry, might feel it their duty and privilege to support and render them comfortable. But this is not done through "tithe" anymore.

How are Preachers to be supported in the Ministry?

Scripture still commands people to support preachers, but it does not place the burden of a "price" (one-tenth) on anyone anymore. For example, "...so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver" (2 Corinthians 9:7). Likewise, Galatians 6:6 encourages believers to contribute to the support of the man who has dedicated himself to the work of the ministry, and who gives up his time and his life to preach the Gospel.

Paul was very appreciative of the aid that the Philippians gave him while he ministered in Macedonia (2 Corinthians 11:9, Philippians 4:15-16). Therefore, when someone hears another preaching God's Word, and that listener feels moved to give money to him to support his needs, then it would be okay for the preacher to accept this money. As Paul says, in 1 Corinthians 9:11-12, a minister of God imparts to people spiritual things; would it then be improper if he should expect remuneration to sustain the body? No, it would not. But there is a big difference between accepting money from people who willingly give after they hear you preach on the one hand, and demanding money from them before you preach on the other.

Deuteronomy 25:4, "Thou shalt not muzzle the ox when he treadeth out the corn."

Now, this is an interesting law. Paul quotes from this law in a letter to the gentile assembly at Corinth, to bring this in as an illustration to something he's trying to say. Let us now examine 1 Corinthians 9 to get a full understanding of it. Here, Paul tells us how we are to support today's ministers of the gospel.

1 Corinthians 9:1-4, "Am I not an apostle? am I not free? have I not seen Jesus Christ our Lord? are not ye my work in the Lord? If I be not an apostle unto others, yet doubtless I am to you: for the seal of mine apostleship are ye in the Lord. Mine answer to them that do examine me is this, Have we not power to eat and to drink?"

Now, what does he mean by this question? Of course they can eat and drink; everybody can. Well, in context, what Paul is actually saying is this: "Don't I have the authority, at the assembly's expense, based upon the money you people give to the Christ's assembly, to eat and drink? In other words, to buy a meal when I'm on a trip for the assembly or when I'm here for the assembly? Don't I have the authority to pay my expenses?"

1 Corinthians 9:6-8, "…have not we power to forbear working? Who goeth a warfare any time at his own charges? who planteth a vineyard, and eateth not of the fruit thereof? or who feedeth a flock, and eateth not of the milk of the flock? Say I these things as a man? or saith not the law the same also? "

Now, here comes his appeal to the law about his argument whether he or Barnabas or any of the other apostles have the authority to be full time in the ministry and be paid for the work that we do. Now, somebody will come back and say, "Well, that's purely a human argument!" Alright, what is Paul's appeal? He does not appeal to Christ, or to the sermon on the mount, or to Peter; he appeals, of all places, to Moses! And he says:

1 Corinthians 9:9-10, "For it is written in the law of Moses, Thou shalt not muzzle the mouth of the ox that treadeth out the corn. Doth God take care for oxen? Or saith he it altogether for our sakes?…"

Now that is a very interesting statement. Does God really care that much about that animal you work with out there? And if you feed that animal before he goes to work, then work that animal and feed it after it works for you, if you're sure the animal gets plenty to eat, what does God care whether or not you muzzle that animal while it treads up and down the corn? Paul's' answer is:

1 Corinthians 9:10, "… For our sakes, no doubt, this is written…"

Implying that the ox had little to do with the law when it was originally given. Paul says this was written for our sakes. Here, a gentile assembly is told, long after anything that was going to be nailed to the cross was nailed there, after Christ was buried, resurrected, and at the right hand of the Father in heaven, Paul says, to a gentile assembly, here is a law from Moses which was written for our sakes! Not because God was concerned about oxen, but because, and here is the reason:

1 Corinthians 9:10-14, "…he that ploweth should plow in hope; and that he that thresheth in hope should be partaker of his hope. If we have sown unto you spiritual things, is it a great thing if we shall reap your carnal things? If others be partakers of this power over you, are not we rather? Nevertheless we have not used this power; but suffer all things, lest we should hinder the gospel of Christ. Do ye not know that they which minister about holy things live of the things of the temple? and they which wait at the altar are partakers with the altar? Even so hath the Lord ordained [appointed, required] that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel [should be supported and maintained in this work, though not bound to demand it, and insist upon it]."

This is evidently a reference to our Lord's ordination and appointment when he sent forth his disciples to preach (Matthew 10:10, "The workman is worthy of his meat" and Luke 10:7, "For the labourer is worthy of his hire"). And in both places it is the preacher of the Gospel of whom he is speaking. It was a maxim among the Jews, "that the inhabitants of a town where a wise man had made his abode should support him, because he had forsaken the world and its pleasures to study those things by which he might please God and be useful to men." (See an ordinance to this effect in the tract Shabbath, fol. 114).

The support of ministers of Christ who devote their lives to the preaching of the gospel is not a charitable donation, but a debt justly due, and cannot be withheld without injustice to them, and dishonor to Christ. Those who preach the gospel should be sustained by the Christ's assembly.

Here we may observe,

  1. That the command is, that they shall live of the gospel. It is not that they should grow rich, or lay up treasures, or speculate in it, or become merchants, farmers, teachers, or book-makers for a living; but it is, that they should have such a maintenance as to constitute a livelihood. They should be made comfortable, not rich. They should receive so much as to keep their minds from being harassed with cares, and their families from want; not so much as to lead them to forget their dependence on God, or on the people. Probably the true rule is, that they should be able to live as the mass of the people among whom they labour live; that they should be able to receive and entertain the poor, and be willing to do it; and so that the rich also may not despise them, or turn away from their dwelling.

  2. This is a command of the Lord Jesus; and if it is a command, it should be obeyed as much as any other law of the Redeemer. And if this is a command, then the minister is entitled to a support; and then also a people are not at liberty to withhold it. Further, there are as strong reasons why they should support him, as there are why they should pay a schoolmaster, a lawyer, a physician, or a day-labourer. The minister usually toils as hard as others; expends as much in preparing for his work; and does as much good. And there is even a higher claim in this case. God has given an express command in this case; he has not in the others.

  3. The money given to a minister should not be regarded as a gift merely, any more than the pay of a congress-man, a physician, or a lawyer. He has a claim to it; and God has commanded that it should be paid. It is, moreover, a matter of stipulation and of compact, by which a people agree to compensate him for his services. And yet, is there anything in the shape of debt where there is so much looseness as an regard to this subject? Are men usually as conscientious in this as they are in paying a physician or a merchant? Are not ministers often in distress for that which has been promised them, and which they have a right to expect? And is not their usefulness, and the happiness of the people, and the honour of religion, intimately connected with obeying the rule of the Lord Jesus in this respect?

Just as God gave orders about the priests in the temple, so did the Lord Jesus give orders for those who preach the gospel to live.

It is the people's duty to maintain their minister, by Christ's appointment, though it be not a duty bound on every minister to call for or accept it. Those who preach the gospel have a right to live by it; and those who attend on their ministry, and yet take no thought about their subsistence, fail very much in their duty to Christ, and respect owing to them.

It is not new for a minister to meet with unkind returns for good-will to a people, and diligent and successful services among them. He had a right to marry as well as other apostles, and to claim what was needful for his wife, and his children if he had any, from the churches, without labouring with his own hands to get it. Those who seek to do our souls good, should have food provided for them. It is the people's duty to maintain their minister. He may wave his right, as Paul did; but those transgress a precept of Christ, who deny or withhold due support.

The only inference to be drawn from 1 Corinthians 9:14 is, not that the Christ's ministry is of a sacrificial character as the Jewish priesthood, but simply, that as the latter was supported by the contributions of the people, so should the former. The stipends of the clergy were at first from voluntary offerings at the Lord's Supper. At the love-feast preceding it every believer, according to his ability, offered a gift; and when the expense of the table had been defrayed, the bishop laid aside a portion for himself, the presbyters, and deacons; and with the rest relieved widows, orphans, confessors, and the poor generally [Tertullian, Apology, 39]. The stipend was in proportion to the dignity and merits of the several bishops, presbyters, and deacons [Cyprian, c. 4, ep. 6].

A Church is a Business

If a church is incorporated by the State, they are legally defined as a business. And they are doing business on the so-called "Lord's day," which is prohibited by God. One of the evidences to show that they are truly a business, even if they are not incorporated, is that they want the money up front. In other words, they pass the plate before they even preach the Word of God. That's limited liability on their part, that's business, that's commercial activity, that's selling the word of God.

In other words, "I have the money up front, and if you don't like what I have to say, too bad. Even if I don't preach the Word of God, too bad. It doesn't matter, I already got my money. Besides, you won't know any different because I'm going to throw "Jesus Christ" in there now and then to make it 'sound' good. It'll look just like the Pharisees looked. I'll tickle your ears (2 Timothy 4:3-4)."

One of the original reasons for incorporating back in 1810 were things like, "I'm a pastor and I need a salary. I don't want to be paid by fee anymore. I want my guarantee of making a living at this." Which is directly against scripture. We're not supposed to make a living from the Gospel. Paul made tents! That calling was used to get him across from place to place to preach the gospel. Paul did not run up to people and say, "Hey! Give me 5 bucks and I'll tell you what it's all about." Today's pastor basically does that. What you hear from modern pulpits is nothing more than what's called a sophist, which means "one who preaches ethics for payment." The Gospel is a life (1 Corinthians 9:14). If you are living the gospel, how do you make money off it? If you're living something you can't charge for it, because people see the witness that you bear, because you see and do things differently.

Why the Church is not the Temple of God

Scripture says our body is now the temple of God, and the Spirit of God dwells within us (Romans 8:9-11, 1 Corinthians 3:16,17; 6:19-20, 2 Corinthians 6:16, Revelation 21:3). Scripture says God does not dwell in temples made with hands (Acts 7:48; 17:24). This is why, when Jesus died, and confirmed the New Testament, the physical temple was rent in half (Matthew 27:51, Mark 15:38, Luke 23:34). In the New Testament, the temple is used figuratively of Christ's human body (John 2:19,21). Believers are now "God's building" (1 Corinthians 3:9), and "as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood" (1 Peter 2:5), "And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit" (Ephesians 2:20-22). We are to glorify God in our body with "spirit and truth" (John 4:23-24). Paul says Christ's body is His assembly in Colossians 1:24.

Years after Jesus was crucified, Saul (who later became the apostle Paul) was slaughtering the disciples of the Lord (Acts 9:1-2). Jesus spoke to Saul and asked him, "why persecutest thou me?" (Acts 9:4). When Saul asked him who he was, Jesus responded, "I am Jesus whom thou persecutest." So, in other words, Jesus looked at his disciples as being himself. His disciples are the body of Christ. His disciples are his assembly (church). We are not to worship God in some building, we are to worship Him in "spirit and truth" (John 4:24). And by "truth", it is meant the keeping of the Law of God (Psalm 119:142, Daniel 9:13, Malachi 2:6, Romans 2:20).

We should not localize God:

Acts 7:49, "Heaven is my throne, and earth is my footstool: what house will ye build me? saith the Lord: or what is the place of my rest?"

1 Kings 8:27, "…behold, the heaven and heaven of heavens cannot contain thee; how much less this house that I have builded?"

Tithe was a Sacrificial Law, a Carnal Commandment

The only New Testament passages that mention tithes are Matthew 23:23, Luke 11:42; 18:12, and Hebrews 7. Hebrews, chapter 7, is worth taking a look at. In verses 4 through 9, it talks in some detail about tithe. For example, how "...even the patriarch Abraham gave the tenth of the spoil," (verse 4), and how "the sons of Levi...have a commandment to take tithes of the people according to the law" (verse 5), and how "Levi also, who receiveth tithes, payed tithes in Abraham" (verse 9). Now, look at verse 12! Hebrew 7:12 says there was a change of the priesthood laws, tithes being one of these "carnal commandments" (verse 16) that were changed!!! What can be more clearer than this chapter to show that tithe was abolished?

To Tithe is to sacrifice. To obey is better than sacrifice. Even in the Old Testament, at 1 Samuel 15:22, it is said that "...to obey is better than sacrifice..." The main teaching of Jesus Christ was to obey his Commandments. Tithe is another form of sacrificing to the Lord. But Jesus Christ has given himself as our sacrifice (Ephesians 5:2). Christians don't make sacrifices and offerings anymore, because Jesus fulfilled that obligation.

We no longer own ourselves, Christians are bought with a price. "For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's" (1 Corinthians 6:20). We are not to glorify God in buildings and in money. God does not only own a tenth of us, he owns ALL of us. We are to present our bodies as a living sacrifice (Romans 12:1). It is still our duty to give to the poor and needy, because we are to have a "free will" giving from the heart, because "...God loveth a cheerful giver" (2 Corinthians 9:7). But, there is no longer a need for a tenth sacrifice of all our possessions or even an animal sacrifice. If you feel someone is spreading the Word of God, then give to him from your heart if you feel he is in need of money to spread God's Word, but give cheerfully like God says, don't give grudgingly. Be weary of preachers who say you will burn in hell for not paying him money. True followers of Christ are based upon spiritual things, not material things.

Most churches use tithe as a scare tactic to its members, and try to make them feel guilty if they don't give money to their Church. It is not our duty to give to Churches so that priests can use that money to buy new houses and cars and material things for themselves and the individuals in that Church. Or to give money to a Church that makes millions of dollars every year and is so obvious that they are in no more need of money. In the Old Testament, people were giving money to build the House of God, and the priests had to eventually REFUSE any more money, because they said they had enough money!!! How many Churches today will do that? I doubt any of them would refuse money because they had "enough".

Comparing Then and Now

  • In the Old Testament, the tithe was given to support the spreading of God's Word, by giving livestock and the fruit of the ground. Tithe was given to the Levites, who gave a tenth of the tithe to the priests of God, in the house of God (Neh.10:35-38).
  • In the New Testament, there is not a single command given to Christians to tithe.

  • In the Old Testament, the only way to worship God was to physically go to the house of God in Jerusalem.
  • In the New Testament, our bodies are the house of God (Romans 8:9-11, 1 Corinthians 3:9,16,17; 6:19-20, 2 Corinthians 6:16, Revelation 21:3), and no longer is a physical church required for worship (Acts 7:48; 17:24).

  • In the Old Testament, only certain men could become priests.
  • In the New Testament, all bondservants of Christ are ordained priests of God (1Peter 2:5,9; Revelation 1:6; 5:10; Isaiah 61:6).

  • In the Old Testament, sacrifices and offering had to be made to the Lord.
  • In the New Testament, sacrifices and offering have passed away.

    The apostles went house to house, and were fed with food by the people living in those houses. The Apostles also worked to support themselves (Paul was a tentmaker, Jesus was a carpenter, etc.). They did not depend on tithes to spread God's Word, but depended on the Holy Spirit working through their bodies. They also went door to door and took donations to help the poor, but they never took donations to help any physical church. Since physical Churches are not ordained in the New Testament, and since they contradict the Bible, giving tithes to churches are not giving tithes to God.

    Your Questions Answered

    1. But isn't 1 Corinthians 9:1-14 and 1 Timothy 5:17-18 an example of tithe?

      The point of these passages is that the apostles were saying they had a right to spend the money they received from people on food and sustenance. These chapters do not mention anything about tithe. Since the New Testament books clearly show that tithe is abolished, the kind of money the apostles must have received was from those who were led by the spirit to freely give to them. To say that they received "tithe" is to say the apostles received one-tenth of all their follower's possessions. If one does not give the "church" one-tenth of everything they have, then that is not "tithe." Tithe does not mean "one-tenth of your gross income", after you pay your bills, taxes, expenses, etc. It means one-tenth before you pay your bills, taxes, expenses, etc

    2. But isn't it true that if you are not willingly giving to support your "church" and minister, you are not following scripture, you are dishonoring God's minister, and you are missing out on many blessings?

      Yes, this is true, absolutely true. But "giving" support to a church is not called tithe in scripture. If they gave "one-tenth" of all their possessions, then that would be tithe. The word "tithe" literally means "tenth," and if someone does not give one-tenth of all his possessions to the church, then he has never tithed to a church in his life.

      Now that we have the Holy Spirit, people give as they are led by the spirit to give, without the burden of a set "price." It's important to understand the difference.

    3. But isn't 1 Corinthians 16:1-2 an example of tithe?

      1 Corinthians 16:1-2 is frequently used as a precedent for tithing at church, but it indicates quite the contrary. Paul's use of the phrase "lay by him in store" indicates this was a private inventory activity, not a public religious activity. Whatever was to be done, it was to be done at home - not at a gathering (1 Corinthians 16:2).

      Apparently Paul wanted them to set aside something for the poor saints at Jerusalem (Romans 15:25-26; Galatians 2:10) - so they didn't need to do so when he arrived. This money was to be laid aside privately at home, not at a church. A famine was raging in Judea (Acts 11:28), and Paul was writing to ask the churches in Asia Minor to assist their famine-stricken brethren (Acts 11:29). Notice that this collection was not given in church as tithe by followers, but this collection was sent as relief to the elders by only 2 disciples! (Acts 11:30).

      Did Paul say anything about "tithe" in 1 Corinthians 16:1-2? No, as we read on, we discover that this was just a donation for poor Christians in Jerusalem, not "tithe." Notice that "tithe" is something completely different. Malachi 3:10 talks about taking the "tithe into the storehouse" (the temple).

    4. In Matthew 23:23, the Lord commended those that gave tithe yet neglected the more important matters. He advised them that they should have focused on justice, mercy, and faithfulness while also practicing tithe. If the tithe was ablolished, why would the Lord say here that it should not be neglected??

      Matthew 23:23 shows Jesus exposing the hypocrocy of the scribes and Pharisees. Christ reveals how they were remarkably scrupulous in the performance of all the rites and ceremonies of religion, but totally neglected the soul, spirit, and practice of godliness. The reason Jesus said that they (the Jews, remember) had to pay tithes was because the tithe did not pass away at that point in history, it was still a law at that time. Jesus could not and did not contradict the Old Testament laws. The Old Testament laws were binding upon everyone, including Jesus Christ. Jesus was born under the Old Testament law (Galatians 4:4), and lived at a time when the Old Testament was in full force and effect. The New Testament was of no force while Christ was alive, and did not actually begin until he died.

      Hebrews 9:16-17, "For where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator. For a testament is of force after men are dead: otherwise it is of no strength at all while the testator liveth."

    5. Exactly when was tithe abolished?

      Exactly? The tithe officially passed away August 10, in the year 70 A.D., when the Jewish temple was destroyed by the Romans. There would have been no more need to give tithe to support a temple or priesthood or ministry or religion that no longer existed, and that God deemed mute.

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