WHO BENEFITS FROM TITHING: MAN OR GOD?
On Jamaica’s National Heroes’ Day, October 18, 2021, a very unheroic deed hit the air waves and social media: a man, claiming to be a bishop and agent of god, got some of his followers murdered in St. James Jamaica. It was appalling. This bloody event underscored a troubling tendency of how unscrupulous people exploit the insecurities of troubled souls, using the bible as their authority and scroll.
What was also troubling was the news that these well-meaning albeit misdirected people were giving J$1 million to the church on a weekly basis even though many of them were not rich residents of Jamaica and their lives in crisis.
As I watched a video clip of the bishop claiming that tithe and offerings were the duty of Christians, I got nauseous. It bothered me much. Does Jesus Christ really want his followers to give money to the church or is it that the church is using the Old Testament as a reason to scam people?
Interestingly, at the time of writing this Blong, October 25, the same Church guy died a bloody death albeit not by having his threat cut. It was a mere car accident. As if by poetic justice, the church guy died at Church Street in the parish in which he was born.
TITHING: IS IT STILL NECESSARY?
This is a genuine question: are tithes and offerings a divine law that we ignore at our own peril or is it a scam used by preachers and the churches to take away people’s money?
Of course, the answer to such a question will upset some people and please some. Darn you do, darn you don’t but it is a profound question yet a simple answer. The harsh reality is that a true follower of Christ should not pay tithe and offerings as Jesus Christ paid up all our debts and washed away all our sins. Tithe and offerings are vessels of the Old Testament and with the birth and death/resurrection of Jesus Christ, we cannot put new wine into old wine skin. It is a waste of time, money and wine as well as a rejection of Jesus Christ as the Messiah and as Shiloh, the promised one.
Mark 2 vs 22And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. If he does, the wine will burst the skins, and both the wine and the wineskins will be ruined. Instead, new wine is poured into new wineskins.”
Yes, tithes and offerings are no longer necessary for two simple reasons. The first reason is that tithes and offerings were outdated, were only for the Hebrews (twelve tribes of Israel) and were a part of the “law” as stated in the Old Testament. Indeed, if you were not an Israelite you shouldn’t give a tithe as other nations were considered as ungodly, “dogs” and gentiles according to the Old Testament precepts and teachings. Non Israelites were not a part of Jehovah’s original plan of salvation through Ecclesiastical laws and tithes were not for them.
WHY WAS TITHING ONLY FOR HEBREWS/ISRAELITES?
Years after Moses led the twelve tribes out of Israel out of Egypt, the Israelites became a nation and asked for a king. An arrangement was made where the king should come from the tribe of Judah but the king must be guided by a Priest who should come from the tribe of Levi. While the King could own property the Priest could not own property or conduct any mundane work. As such, the idea of collecting a tithe from the other 11 tribes to pay the Priest was instituted.
A tithe is one tenth of one’s earning and was to be given to the Temple (church) to help as a form of salary for the Priest (Levite) and to help with the recurring expenses necessary to operate the temple. Deuteronomy 14: 27 You shall not forsake the Levite who is within your gates, for he has no part nor inheritance with you. Leviticus 27: 30 Thus any tithe from the land, whether from the seed of the land or the fruit of the trees, belongs to the LORD; it is holy to the LORD. 31 Every tenth animal from the herd or flock that passes under the shepherd’s rod will be holy to the LORD.
Leviticus 27 vs 28 “At the end of every third year you shall bring out the tithe of your produce of that year and store it up within your gates. 29 And the Levite, because he has no portion nor inheritance with you, and the stranger and the fatherless and the widow who are within your gates, may come and eat and be satisfied, that the Lord your God may bless you in all the work of your hand which you do.
Please note that the first tithe taken annually was used to support the Levites but every third year a special tithe was taken for the distinct purpose of supporting orphans, widows, and strangers as well as Levites.
This tithing arrangement was not mandated to be for ever but only for a limited time. Genesis 49: 10The scepter (king) will not depart from Judah, nor the staff (priest) from between his feet, until Shiloh (Jesus) comes and the allegiance of the nations is his.
So, you see, it is obvious that tithe and offerings were Old Testament laws and were part of the then plan for Israel but would be redundant and archaic with the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
This was imperative since under the Old Testament laws, the Israelites were told to destroy non-Israelites: a form of ethnic cleansing and genocide. This might read a bit unsavoury but check the following two bible verses:
(Deut. 20:16-18) However, you must not let any living thing survive among the cities of these people the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance. You must completely destroy them – the Hethite, Amorite, Canaanite, Perizzite, Hivite, and Jebusite.
(1 Sam 15:3) Now go and attack the Amalekites and completely destroy everything they have. Do not spare them. Kill men and women, infants and nursing babies, oxen and sheep, camels and donkeys.
Yeah, the Old Testament taught us that Israel was a special people that if they obey Jehovah they could conquer the world at the expense of other nations. Indeed, we know that Israel was disobedient and reject the commandments of Jehovah and as such their kingdom was toppled and conquered by Babylon and eventually Rome.
Surely, we all know that the very gentile nations that were once considered as “dogs” had more righteous people in them than did Israel which was special. As such, the idea of a special nation was abhorred and the racism taught by the Old Testament was prophesied to be replaced by an open door policy where “who so ever beieve in Jehovah, regardless of race, nationality or status would be called children of Jehovah.
THE OUTLAWING OF TITHE AND OFFERING
When Jesus Christ or Shiloh comes, the whole world, gentiles and Israelites would be allowed to get salvation without tithes and offerings as long as they acknowledged John 3 vs 14 Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, 15 that everyone who believes in Him may have eternal life. 16 For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that everyone who believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.
For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
“Here is My Servant, whom I uphold, My Chosen One, in whom My soul delights. I will put My Spirit on Him, and He will bring justice to the nations.
Plus, according to the Psalm 51: 15 O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare Your praise. 16 For You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; You take no pleasure in burnt offerings. 17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise.
So you see, if Jesus Christ is the son of Jehovah and has died for our sins then the church/priest is redundant, and we are no longer required to pay tithes or sacrifice animals to any god. In short, we cannot accept Jesus Christ and man (Ecclesiastes law) at the same time.
Matthew 6 vs 24: No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.
Think about it in silence and alone: if Christ is the true Messiah (Shiloh) and his death and resurrection have fittingly washed away the sins of the world and he is now both priest and king why would you need the church and a pastor to communicate with Jehovah or to appease your sins.
Look at it this way, if you have a debt such as a mortgage on your house and a good friend pay up the total balance and you are now debt free, would you continue paying the bank a monthly mortgage payment, assuming you are rational and have sense?
This is the point I am trying to get across: if Jesus Christ is Shiloh, then he would have paid up all debts, washed away all sins and he would have replaced the priest and the king.
This is the part where some people will get very upset and troubled: Christ has replaced the priest and the church is not valid? Yes, it is true.
Matthew 6: 5 “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. 6 But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. 7 And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. 8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.
Of course, many of my friends would say, but we need the church for fellowship. This is not true. We do need fellowship, but we do not need the church for fellowship. Nor do we need to use the money of the poor to pay electricity bill or water rate for a church and or maintain the luxurious lifestyle of the priest and deacons. That is a cruel act. Indeed, did you noticed how the disciples of Christ “kept” church or fellowshipped? They had it in people’s yard and in the public. Not in a temple (church). Did you also noticed that the disciples did not collect any tithes or offering for their personal benefit? In fact, it is the poor and needy that benefit from the contributions of the followers of Christ.
(Acts 2:42–45) And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need.
(Proverbs 28:27) Whoever gives to the poor will not want, but he who hides his eyes will get many a curse.
WHAT ABOUT MALACHI 3 AND ROBBING GOD?
Many Christians feel that if they do not pay tithe and offering, they are actually robbing god and will be cursed. Indeed, Malachi 3:8-18 is regularly quoted to support the view: 8 Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings. 9 Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation.
Again, as noted, this could only be true prior to the birth and death of Jesus. Old Testament laws. After all, tithes and offerings were only necessary for Israel, not the entire world, and also, it would only be permitted until Jesus Christ was born and killed/resurrected. When Christ arose from the dead, tithes and offering would no longer be necessary as Christ would not be relevant to Israel only, but to even gentiles and would wash away the sins of all peoples.
HOW DO WE REALLY ROB JEHOVAH?
Actually, we are now robbing God if we do not help the poor and needy: not if we do not pay tithe and offerings. A noteworthy verse is Matthew 23:23 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cumin, But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness.
Indeed, if we pay tithe, go to church and keep the 10 commandments, and we do not help the poor we will be cursed. Matthew 25 vs 41 “Then He will also say to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels: 42 for I was hungry and you gave Me no food; I was thirsty and you gave Me no drink; 43 I was a stranger and you did not take Me in, naked and you did not clothe Me, sick and in prison and you did not visit Me.’
44 “Then they also will answer [d]Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to You?’ 45 Then He will answer them, saying, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, in as much as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’ 46 And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”
So you see, it is better to help the poor and needy rather than give tithes and offering to a church and its priest or pastor. A contrite heart and a defender of the poor and less fortunate are the best tithes and offering one can give.