Does God require me to give a tithe of all I earn?
Or is it: God’s Biblical Model for Giving: New Covenant Grace Giving?
Two kinds of giving are taught consistently throughout Scripture: giving to the government (always compulsory), and giving to God (always voluntary).
The issue has been greatly confused, however, by some who misunderstand the nature of the Old Testament tithes. Tithes were not primarily gifts to God, but taxes for funding the national budget in Israel.
Because Israel was a theocracy, the Levitical priests acted as the civil government. So the Levite’s tithe (Leviticus 27:30-33) was a precursor to today’s income tax, as was a second annual tithe required by God to fund a national festival (Deuteronomy 14:22-29). Smaller taxes were also imposed on the people by the law (Leviticus 19:9-10; Exodus 23:10-11). So the total giving required of the Israelites was not 10 percent, but well over 20 percent. All that money was used to operate the nation.
All giving apart from that required to run the government was purely voluntary (cf. Exodus 25:2; 1 Chronicles 29:9). Each person gave whatever was in his heart to give; no percentage or amount was specified.
New Testament believers are NEVER commanded to tithe. Matthew 22:15-22 and Romans 13:1-7 tell us about the only required giving in the church age, which is the paying of taxes to the government. Interestingly enough, we in America presently pay between 20 and 30 percent of our income to the government — a figure very similar to the requirement under the theocracy of Israel.
The guideline for our giving to God and His work, in the New Covenant, is found in 2 Corinthians 9:6-7: “Now this I say, he who sows sparingly shall also reap sparingly; and he who sows bountifully shall also reap bountifully. Let each one do just as he has purposed in his heart; not grudgingly or under compulsion; for God loves a cheerful giver.”
Original Teaching Article by Pastor John MacArthur, Jr.: http://bit.ly/36QlVRA
Another parallel reference Online Audio: Pastor John Piper: https://youtu.be/XCq8vU_CGqc
Tithes were for the support of the Levites by those who were land owners. The tithes that they gave were based upon their commodities – the increase thereof -> those who grew crops, and those who were livestock ranchers, etc. It was based upon physical crops and animals. For example – whatever passes under the rod – the tenth one of each grouping was the LORD’s regardless of condition, etc. The Craftsman or other non-Farm/Ranch owner was not required to pay the annual tithe in support of the Levites, etc. Also, if any of this was to be converted into money – a fifth (20%) needed to be added to it.
Some Bible Passages that explain this more: Leviticus 27:30-32; Numbers 18:21-28 .
The Whole Tithe – (ref. Malachi 3:8-12) which is often misquoted and/or misapplied was never the tithe from the common man. This was the annual Tithe of the Tithe that the Tribe of Levi would give to the descendants of Aaron – the Levitical Priesthood lineage, etc. The whole tribe of Levi would receive the tithes from the other tribes of Israel. Then the tribe of Levi would give a tenth of what they received to Aaron’s family. That was the Whole Tithe that was to be brought into the storehouse in the Temple. This is also mentioned in the book of Nehemiah, after the rebuilding of the Temple.
It is clear, that neither of these practices that relate to Tithing, under the Old Testament Law of Moses, have anything to do with anything under the New Covenant, in Christ, in the Body of Christ. The New Covenant, per Jeremiah 31:31-33, would “NOT BE ACCORDING TO” the Old Covenant of Israel – the Law of Moses (ref. verses 31 and 32). Thus, Tithing has no relationship, whatsoever with the New Covenant in Christ, of which we are in (if indeed, you are in Christ, and Christ is in you).
When Jesus mentions “tithing” in Matthew 23:23 / Luke 11:42 (also ref. Hebrews 7:5-9) – we must understand the context and covenant when it was spoken, to whom, and the time reference, etc. Jesus was speaking during the Time of the Mosaic Covenant, before His Crucifixion/Death/Burial/Resurrection and the before the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2), while the Levitical Priesthood and the Temple existed. Regarding the Hebrews passage, it references the time period of the Levitical Priesthood (Levi before Jacob, and then subsequent to the Exodus). So, understanding the timing, the context, the audience, the subject(s), and the Covenant being referenced, helps greatly in understanding the context. This same thing applies with Jesus mentioning to the healed person(s) to go show themselves to the Priest in the Temple and offer the correct sacrifices … the Temple was still standing and being used, and the Priesthood was still existing. Today, the Temple has been destroyed, and the Levitical Priesthood has been disbanded, since 70 A.D. (The Destruction of the Temple in 70 A.D. by the Roman Empire).
Thus, in the New Covenant, Jesus Christ, fulfilled all the Old Covenant Law for us. Thus, everything that related to the Temple, the Temple Sacrifices, and the Levitical Priesthood, including the system of Tithing were all fulfilled by Jesus Christ and no longer apply to us, in the New Covenant, as per the books of Galatians and Hebrews clearly teach. There is NO Teaching regarding Tithing from Jesus or His Holy Apostles to New Covenant, Born Again, Disciples of Jesus Christ in the New Covenant (i.e. the Church) from the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2) and onward. You cannot find any such teaching in Acts thru Revelation that is a command to “Tithe” to your local church.
The Best Reference for New Covenant Grace Giving to Support the Pastor(s), Church Staff, and/or Missionaries (Mission Org.s), is 1 Corinthians 9:14 (ref. the immediate context above and below that verse)
“Even so the LORD has commanded that those who preach the gospel should live from the gospel.”
Another Biblical Passage is Galatians 6:6-10 (esp. verse 6):
(6) Let him who is taught the word share in all good things with him who teaches. (7) Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. (8) For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life. (9) And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. (10) Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.