Church traditions versus the Word == controversy. "|Anything, however good it is, presented as a law will never benefit God's people until it is presented as of faith!
So, what I am examining here is the truth in the Word vis a vis Church traditions.
I have never had a problem with tithing. I have not been weighed down by failing to tithe but also, I have never found it burdensome. Before learning about the freedom in giving, tithe was pretty much the only way for me to give.
I find it disturbing when people in the Church preach hard sermons on tithing and promise a curse if one does not tithe. The best proof text is Malachi 3:8 "Mal 3:8 Will a man rob God? Yet you have robbed Me. But you say, In what have we robbed You? In the tithe and the offering! "
We rob God in the tithe and the offering. Gosh! And it says;
Mal 3:10 Bring all the tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in My house. And test Me now with this, says Jehovah of Hosts, to see if I will not open the windows of Heaven for you, and pour out a blessing for you, until there is not enough room.
I would like to note that we rob God in the tithe and offering. Not only the tithe. Let me share on the types of tithe and offering in the Bible, as it says above we should bring all the tithe and not rob God in the offering as well.
- The Levitical tithe
- The Festival tithe
- The Poor tithe
A comprehensive explanation is here
- The Burnt offering- Leviticus 1:1-17.
- The Meat offering- Leviticus 2:1-16
- The Peace offering- Leviticus 3:1-17
- The Sin offering- Leviticus 4:1-35; 6:24-30
- The Trespass offering- Leviticus 5:1-6:7.
Go to this link for a more comprehensive revelation of these offerings.--http://mysite.verizon.net/vzevpn2q/sermons/id2.html
You will note, there are three types or two types of tithe, and five types of offering according to the law. And according to Malachi, trespassing against any of these meant you were cheating God. Your ten percent is a tiny bit of the entire theft that is. To adhere to these laws, we must understand comprehensively their premise.
So, when we are asked by Pastors to tithe lest we be cursed coz we are robbing God, do we understand that Biblically, it is not a mere ten percent, but a failure to offer and tithe?
The real benefit of tithe and offering is this:
the tithe catered for God's people, not just the Levites (today referred to as those in Church leadership). It should have given people an understanding of the need to give, not as a law but as a good thing which benefits others and ourselves. (2Co 9:8 And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that in everything, always having all self-sufficiency, you may abound to every good work;
) That was applicable then and still is now. Giving is good, any day. (2Co 9:12 For the ministry of this service not only supplies the things lacking of the saints, but also multiplying through many thanksgivings to God, ).
Rather than apply a law, what does Paul suggest? 2Co 9:7 Each one, as he purposes in his heart, let him give; not of grief, or of necessity, for God loves a cheerful giver.
Coming back to Christ, the author and finisher of our faith- do we realise that the offerings in the old testament are all types? They show us who Christ is, what He does.They portray His wholesome nature. Did Christ not become the curse? Was there any case given which should alight a curse even while our eyes focused on God? Unless we paid lip service while our hearts were away...?
Consider the death of Ananias and Sapphira. The premise: The Church was a body of believers who shared everything. There was no "Levitical" position in it. Acts 2:44-47 And all who believed were together and had all things common. And they sold their possessions and goods and distributed them to all, according as anyone had need. And continuing with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they shared food with gladness and simplicity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.
Ananias was judged because he lied to the Holy Spirit, in the area of giving. See
Acts 5:3-4 But Peter said, Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart for you to lie to the Holy Spirit, and to keep back part of the price of the land? While it remained, was it not your own? And after it was sold, was it not in your own authority? Why have you conceived this thing in your heart? You have not lied to men, but to God.
Ananias could have not given to the Church, and he would not have been condemned, after all it was his property. Like Paul mentioned- give, not of grief or of neccessity, but cheerfully of one's own accord. He was judged and died because he was trying to appear proper in the believers. There is no such thing as proper or civil in the Church apart from faith.
Abraham gave, not out of law but of faith. Should we not do the same? Should threats of curses be promised if we do not adhere to this misrepresented law, forgetting Christ our redeemer? Giving works two fold- as a conduit of blessing as well as a receptacle of blessing. Remove faith from giving and, condemnation arises.
Similarly, there must be a curse against the uncircumcised as well coz....
I, heretical I suppose, think it is wiser to give than to tithe.After all, tithing is a subset of giving- literally a tenth.
Preach tithe if you may, but do not use Malachi please unless we are prepared to approach God through Levites and not through Christ. If tithe must be preached, can we understand it first from the eyes of Christ?
As a last note, I read this from another blog-
The word of the LORD came to me: "Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel; prophesy and say to them: 'This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Woe to the shepherds of Israel who only take care of themselves! Should not shepherds take care of the flock? You eat the curds, clothe yourselves with the wool and slaughter the choice animals, but you do not take care of the flock.
Ezekiel 34: 1-3