About Jesus Steve Sweetman
Things Existed Before The Law Too
I said earlier, some tithe teachers suggest that tithing should be
practiced today because it existed before the Law. They admit that Jesus
put an end to the Law, but since tithing existed before the Law He
didnít put an end to tithing. Thereís
no logic in this thinking. Circumcision
existed before the Law and we donít circumcise our baby boys for the
purpose of salvation today. Animal
sacrifices existed before the Law too and Iíve yet to see a baby lamb
killed in a Sunday morning meeting.
So why do we practice tithing and neglect circumcision and animal
sacrifices when they all existed before the Law?
practices that existed before the Law were incorporated into the Law.
The argument that tithing should be practiced today because it
existed before the Law isnít relevant.
It became part of the Law and once incorporated into the Law had
the same fate as the Law. Iíll talk about this later.
Christians Understand The Law Of Moses?
wondering how many of us love reading Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and
Deuteronomy? These books,
along with Genesis are known as the Pentateuch.
Do we read these books, or do we skip over them because theyíre
too confusing? If by chance
we do read them, do we understand them, especially what they say about
tithing? Very few Christians
actually read these books and fewer understand their content, and that
includes what is written about tithing.
Law of Moses is complicated. Thatís partly why the Jewish teachers of
old spent so much time and energy interpreting it.
They wrote lengthy commentaries of explanation. They developed a
long list of laws that in part would systematically lay out what the Law
of Moses demanded. All of
these writings to help people understand and implement the Law
out-number the Law itself in volume and complicated things more than
havenít personally counted but Iíve heard there are at least 613
laws in the Law of Moses. Beyond that thereís the blessings and
curses. Thereís the application of the laws, what to do when a law is
broken or canít be obeyed, and much more.
who understand these things best are Jews, or perhaps some Christians
with a Jewish heritage. So
hereís my point. How
can the average Christian today really hold to the Old Testament view of
tithing when he ignores 98% of the Old Testamentís teaching on
tithing? You canít teach
tithing based on Malachi 3:8 and a couple of other verses and neglect
the bulk of the Scriptures found in the Law of
Moses. But thatís what most of us do. If
you teach tithing, youíve got to include what the Law says about
tithing and youíll be hard pressed to implement its teaching today.
not an expert when it comes to the Law of Moses.
I know of very few people who are, so what I say in this section
is extremely simplified.
Christians think that God demanded 10% from the Jews in the Old
Testament, but thatís not so. They
were in fact told to give three different tithes.
There was a tithe to support the Levites (Num. 18:20-32), a tithe
for celebrations held in the presence of God (Duet. 14:22-27), and a
tithe for the Levites, widows, fatherless and foreigners who lived among
derive 23.3 % this way. The
first two tithes total 20 %, ( 2 times 10%).
The last tithe was collected once every three
years, so the yearly rate
was 3.3 %. Thus the total is
23.3%. (20% plus 3.3%)
if you really want to live under the Old Testament Law, then you should
start thinking in terms of 23.3%, not 10%. This fact alone might cause
some people to change their minds on this subject.
I just mention this to let you know that the 10% figure that we
use today isnít all that accurate from a Scriptural stand-point.
Did The Tithe Go?
might want to take note where these tithes went.
One tithe went to the priests. The other was eaten by the tithers
in a celebration before the Lord. The
third went to the poor and less privileged.
If you want to follow the Old Testament pattern, you might want
to question where the bulk of your tithe goes once it leaves your
something interesting about the celebration tithe.
One would take his tithe to the presence of the Lord to eat in a
festive meal with others. If
your tithe was too large and if you had a long way to travel with it,
you could sell your tithe. Yes,
you could sell your tithe. In
Deut. 14:26 we see what the tither could do with the proceeds of this
sale. It says, ďuse the
silver to buy whatever you like; cattle, sheep, wine, or other fermented
drink, or anything you wish.
Then you and your household shall eat there in the presence of
the Lord your God and rejoiceĒ. The
Law made provision for you to sell your tithe
if it was too hard to take to the feast.
From the proceeds you could buy anything you wished, including
ďwine or any other fermented drinkĒ to help you celebrate.
Now thatís ďveryĒ interesting. I
wonder if the wine or fermented drinks helped the tithers rejoice.
this in mind, I also wonder if one might want to spend his tithe at the
local liquor store. He could
bring a bottle of wine or some other alcoholic drink to the church
meeting instead of money. Can you imagine what the pre-service coffee
hour might look like if we all did this?
It might actually put some of us in more of a rejoicing mood.
Of course this isnít something Iíd recommend.