The Doctrine of Giving - Part II
“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. And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith the LORD of hosts. And all nations shall call you blessed: for ye shall be a delightsome land, saith the LORD of hosts.” —Malachi 3:8-12
Last month we left off discussing tithing under Jacob. Seeing that we aren’t really told as to whom Jacob paid tithes, we can only assume that he paid these tithes directly to God in the form of sacrifice. In other words, he would offer a tenth of all of his vast herds, which meant that he offered a staggering amount of sacrifice unto God, probably unlike any other person who has ever lived.
As would be obvious, these sacrifices represented what Christ would do at Calvary’s Cross, all on our behalf, and these tithes pointed to the finished work of Christ. In our previous article, we showed how Melchizedek was a type of Christ as our Great High Priest. The sacrifices offered under Jacob were a type of Christ as our sacrifice. Tithing pointed to the Cross of Christ then, and it must point to the Cross of Christ now. This means that what we support must also point to the Cross of Christ. If it doesn’t, then we are not really supporting the work of God, but something else altogether.
Tithing Under The Law
Under the law, Israel was not required to tithe 10 percent, but rather 23 and one-third percent. Ten percent was to be given to the Levites, along with the priests, for the upkeep of the tabernacle. This was the only means of support for their work, which was to be done constantly and never stop (Deut. 14:22; Lev. 27; Num. 18).
Another 10 percent was to be deducted from their incomes and set aside to cover traveling expenses to attend the feast days. It was required by God that at least one male from each family attend these feast days, which were held three times a year in our April, June, and October. This was done so there would never be an excuse for someone to miss these feast days.
The last percentage—three and one-third—was to be given every three years for the poor and needy (Deut. 14:28-29). This was God’s welfare plan. There were people who could not take care of themselves for many and varied reasons, and these gifts were a tremendous help to those people.
Tithing Under The New Covenant
I do understand that some people claim that tithing is not in the new covenant. However, seeing that we are children of Abraham by way of justification by faith, which was given to Abraham (Gen. 15:6), and Abraham paid tithes, then we are to continue that practice today. We should not discontinue what was given to Abraham for the sake of opinion, but rather continue this approach as a way to receive blessings from God.
Think of it this way: someone, some-
where gave something so that the gospel of Jesus Christ could come to you. And when you heard the gospel message, you accepted Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour, meaning that you were instantly justified—declared not guilty, innocent, as though you had never sinned a day in your life, and perfect. You were purchased back by God through the offering of Jesus Christ on Calvary’s Cross, and your sins were instantly washed away. You became a new creation in Christ Jesus; old things passed away, and all things became new (II Cor. 5:17).
Seeing that you received the gospel through someone else’s gift, don’t you think that you should continue to pay it forward? I believe you should. Tithing doesn’t stop with the old covenant. It is meant to continue so that others might have the opportunity to hear the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Where Are We To Tithe?
Giving is to be used to further the gospel of Jesus Christ. Without tithes, there would be very few churches, little to no missions outreaches, and not very many people blessed.
Seeing that the temple is no longer standing, and the priesthood has been done away with, where does that leave us today regarding tithes? I firmly believe that what must be supported is the Message of the Cross, which is the story of the Bible. If you are giving to a church or ministry that does not proclaim the message of Jesus Christ and Him crucified, then you are giving to the wrong work, plain and simple. I know many would disagree with that statement, but I believe that I am right in what I’m saying. If any church or ministry is not preaching the Message of the Cross, not only for salvation, but also for sanctification, then they are not preaching the gospel.
Look at what Paul said in his epistle to the Philippians: “Not because I desire a gift: but I desire fruit that may abound to your account. But I have all, and abound: I am full, having received of Epaphroditus the things which were sent from you, an odour of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, well-pleasing to God” (Phil. 4:17-18).
Here, Paul likens the offering sent to him as a sweet smelling savor, a sacrifice that is well-pleasing to God. All of this points back to the sacrificial system, for all of it represented the one who was to come—Christ—and it had to do with God’s redemption plan. When we give to the right work, which should always have its foundation as the Cross of Christ, Paul tells us what will happen: “But my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:19).
When tithes and offerings are predicated on the finished work of Christ, and we support the proclamation of that gospel, then we have the assurance of God’s Word to know that He will take care of our needs.
God has entrusted this Message of the Cross to us, and we should never use the platform given to us by God to exploit anyone or to further our kingdom here on earth, but we must be about our Father’s business.
But the sad truth is that too few do so much—the minority always does the majority—and it should not be this way. God does not want the few to do it all. He desires that all do what they can in giving their tithes, which is 10 percent of their gross, to support the work of God. The far greater majority give nothing to the work of God, and that’s a shame.
Do not shoplift the gospel. What do I mean by that? I mean if you have been blessed by a church or ministry, then you have an obligation to support that which has fed you. Think about this: when you go out to eat at a restaurant, after the meal they bring you a check. You would never dine and dash. No, you pay the bill. The same principle applies when it comes to the gospel.
Don’t be like those who receive something from the Lord and are fed spiritually by a ministry or church but never give anything. That is wrong. Remember, the gospel can only go as far as the dollar bill will take it. If people don’t give, then the gospel can go no further.
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