Tithes and Offerings
No single area of life says more about the condition of a person's heart toward God than the area of tithes and offerings. Most of the teachings on "tithes and offerings" which have been received by the Church, have not been approved of by the Spirit of God, and lead God's children astray. As a result, the saints are paying their "enemies". Hopefully, this tract will clear up these vital issues for every reader.
"And Jacob went out from Beersheba, and went toward Haran. And he lighted upon a certain place, and tarried there all night, because the sun was set. And he took of the stones of that place and put them for his pillows, and lay down in that place to sleep. And he dreamed, and behold a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven. And behold the angels of God ascending and descending on it.... And Jacob rose up early in the morning, and took the stone that he had put for his pillows, and set it up for a pillar, and poured oil upon the top of it.... And Jacob vowed a vow, saying, If God will be with me, and will keep me in the way that I go, and will give me bread to eat, and raiment to put on, so that I come again to my father's house in peace, then shall the Lord be my God. And this stone, which I have set for a pillar, shall be God's house, and of all that Thou shalt give me, I will surely give the tenth unto Thee." Gen.28
The tithe is the tenth of one's income, which the righteous have always devoted to the Lord. Some teach that tithing belonged only to the time of the Law of Moses and, therefore, does not apply to the church. Yet, long before the time of Moses, we read that Abraham, the type of believer, paid tithes to Melchizedek, the type of Christ (Ps.110). "If Abraham were your father", Jesus said, "ye would do the works of Abraham" (Jn.8:39). One of the notable "works of Abraham" was to pay tithes to Melchizedek, the Priest-King of Salem (Gen.14:17-20), and every one who is of like faith with Abraham pays tithes to the Melchizedek of the church, Jesus Christ, by bringing tithes to those sent by him to preach his gospel. God's will concerning tithes and offerings has never changed. As Melchizedek received tithes, so Jesus does. It is true that, here on earth, men who die receive the tithes, "but there he receiveth them, of whom it is witnessed that he liveth" (Heb.7:8). The commandment to tithe cannot be repealed, so long as the priesthood of Christ lasts. Abraham's blessing through tithing is ours, being a part of his blessing of justification by faith.
The refusal to bring tithes and offerings to the Lord's ministers is sin. Often, it is the sin of covetousness which prevents one from rendering his tithes and gifts to the Lord. The love of money hinders many from being able to express gratitude to God for all His benefits. How much are the blessings of God worth? How much is your eyesight worth? your hearing? your limbs? and what of your home, your clothes and food? Covetousness undermines thankfulness, until one is rendered a helpless slave to his own possessions. Judas is not the only one who has traded his eternal heritage for a few pieces of silver. Another most common reason for failure to obey God in tithes and offerings is a government-despising spirit. When one brings his tithes, he is acknowledging a higher authority. He is confessing his submission to the authority which Christ has established in his church, in the person of the man who receives the tithes. By acknowledging the greater one, he places himself in a position to be blessed by God, as Abraham was blessed by Melchizedek when he acknowledged his authority and rendered tithes to him. If one patiently observes those who refuse to bring their tithes to the Lord, he will in time discover the real motivation for their rebellion.
In the Law, we learn that "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 whatsoever passeth under the rod, the tenth shall be holy unto the Lord" (Lev.27:30,32). Now, we know that "the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient". In other words, Abraham didn't need a law to tell him to render tithes and offerings to God. Being a righteous man, his conscience told him to do so. And it was long before the Law was given that righteous Jacob promised God, "Of all that Thou shalt give me, I will surely give the tenth unto Thee." Jacob was, at that time, without home or income, and friendless in a strange land, on a perilous journey; nevertheless, this vow and his faithfulness to it resulted in his return to his father's house in peace and plenty. So, the righteous lived as the Law said to live before the Law was actually given. The Law was given as a light, revealing what righteous behavior was and what t was not.
The tenth of all our increase is the Lord's. This has always been true, before the Law, during the Law, and after the Law. The tenth of your increase is not yours. It is merely left in your care to be given to the minister of God - for your blessing, as well as his. We read, in Numbers 18:21, "Behold, I have given the children of Levi [ministers ordained by God] all the tenth in Israel [the church] for an inheritance for their service which they serve, even the service of the tabernacle of the congregation." This is God's plan. Abraham knew it and acted upon it, as do all his true children. We might also add that the tithe belongs to GOD'S minister, not "any" minister. Christian ministers are not God's ministers, because they are not preaching or teaching the truth. Any minister that teaches a person can be born again without receiving the baptism of the holy Ghost (with the evidence of speaking in other tongues) is teaching that a person can be born again without obeying God (for God gives the holy Ghost to all who obey Him - Acts 5:32). This man is a minister of Satan, and to give your tithe to him, is to give your tithe to the enemy of your soul, and the enemy of the Church. Your tithe belongs to the one who has an anointing, and ministers according to the power "that God giveth" - the power of the holy Ghost.
Listen now to our Creator, as He asks and answers this question: "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). "Thou shalt not steal" is one of the ten commandments, and God says the tenth is His. Are we then to construe this commandment to mean, "Thou shalt not steal, except from the Lord"? Indeed, are we less guilty when stealing the tithe from the Lord than when we steal from man? Quite the contrary. I should be less guilty in taking your nine-tenths than I should be in taking the Lord's one-tenth. His one-tenth is holy; your nine-tenths is not. In failing to render the tithe to His minister, I become an enemy of Christ, undermining the efforts of those doing his work in the earth. Some have said that they believe in giving only as God prospers them. This condition is met perfectly by the tithing system. The man who earns only ten dollars must render only one dollar in tithes. Isn't that "as the Lord prospers"?
It helps to understand these truths if we keep in mind that paying tithes is not giving anything. It is only rendering to God what belongs to Him. One does not give tithes; he pays, or renders, them. For instance, if one were to steal ten dollars from me, and then were to give me a dollar in an offering, I would have to consider the dollar a gift, but I would, at the same time, have to consider the giver a thief. Similarly, if your tithe is ten dollars and, instead of paying your tithe, you give a dollar to the ministry, then you are robbing God of His tenth, and through pity or because someone asked, you are returning part of it. You are giving, but you are also a thief. It has been said that "the tithe is the basket in which the Lord sends us the nine-tenths, and if we do not return His one-tenth, we steal the basket."
If the law of the tithe is to be ignored, then God's church is without a system for its financial support. God has given law and order to every phase of government on earth, from the home to the nation. Then, why should anyone think that God would leave the church, the earth's highest form of government, without a system of financial support? Taxes are for the support of the state; tithes are for the support of the church. One cannot neglect either and be a faithful follower of Christ, for Jesus said, "Render therefore unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and unto God the things which are God's."
Paul emphatically confirms the tithing system by saying, "Do you 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 that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel" (1Cor.9:13-14).
Not only did God say that he had been robbed in tithes, but also in offerings. An offering is what we give after we have paid tithes. This offering must come from our nine-tenths, since the one-tenth is already the Lord's. Because they have not understood the truth concerning tithes and offerings, many of God's dear children have served Him for years, and have never given one dime to support His ministers. All they have done is render tithes to Him. Concerning offerings (our giving beyond our tithe) Paul wrote, "Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity, for God loveth a cheerful giver. But this I say, he which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly, and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully." What kind of harvests awaits?
Manner Of Giving
"Give, and it shall be given unto you. Good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that you mete shall it be measured to you."
This is the manner in which God has taught us to give unto men: Good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over. If God has commanded us to give to men in this manner, should we come to God with an offering that is insufficiently small, or that is not in "good measure", or that has not been "pressed down", and that we have not "shaken together"? Until we do this, we can never bring Him an offering that is "running over" with thanksgiving and faith. This is God's way of giving to us, and He asks us to do nothing more than what He Himself freely does for us. Oh, the depths of His love and mercy, and how tediously we take of it, and of His riches! How lightly we esteem His precepts! Should we not return to Him an offering worthy of His grace, to show our gratitude for that which He has done for us? Let us put into operation that challenging sequence of events described by the prophet, Malachi: "Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in Mine house, and prove Me herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open to you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it."