We’re going to continue talking about the subject of tithing. If you missed the previous Little Lesson, I kind of laid a foundation there. It’d be great if you saw that one first.
Because under the New Covenant, obviously, you can’t find instructions about the necessity of Christians tithing in the epistles written to the Christians by the apostles. There is a little mention about tithing in the epistle to the Hebrews, but it’s not an instruction to tithe. It’s just a historical references to Abraham when he tithed to Melchizedek and that Jesus is now our High Priest.
But if you’ve been a Christian very long and attended a church you probably heard about tithing and very likely your pastor once or twice or many, many times prior to an offering has read a Scripture from Malachi 3 that he applies to what you’re about to do as they’re taking up the offering in reference to tithing.
A Tithing Passage Commonly Used by Pastors
If you’re not familiar with this passage, I include it below. It’s a great Scripture. I love it. This is the last book of the Old Testament by the way, one of the final prophets.
“Will a man rob God? Yet you are robbing Me! But you say, ‘How have we robbed You?’ In tithes and offerings. You are cursed with a curse, for you are robbing Me, the whole nation of you! Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in My house, and test Me now in this,” says the Lord of hosts, “if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you a blessing until it overflows. Then I will rebuke the devourer for you, so that it will not destroy the fruits of the ground; nor will your vine in the field cast its grapes,” says the Lord of hosts. “All the nations will call you blessed, for you shall be a delightful land,” says the Lord of hosts. – vv.
And so, again, I pointed out to you on the previous Little Lesson that tithing was instituted under the law of Moses primarily to support the levites and their work in the tabernacle, later the temple.
They were the ministers of the day and they weren’t being supported by the nation of Israel. And God says “I don’t like that. So, I’m going to let the devourer in there and he’s going to make some things miserable for you. And you think that by not tithing you’ve got more in your pocket, but in reality you got less in your pocket,
Because not tithing is resulting in the curse that I put upon you, the devourer stealing the fruits of your ground, the fruits of your labor. And so, you actually have less money. So, if you’ll obey the Lord,” He’s saying, “and tithe, make sure the levites are taken care of and the service there at the temple, then I’ll see to it that you’re blessed and your crops, you’ll have a good harvest,” and so forth.
Same God – Different Covenant
And so, pastors often quote from that verse. And it has application because, you know, God doesn’t change, right? He’s still the same, but the Covenant has changed.
We don’t have Levitical priests any longer. We don’t have any priests any longer to speak of, but we do have ministers: people that God has called to serve him vocationally and that would be apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers.
And so, if you want to kind of extrapolate something from Malachi chapter three, then you ought to be thinking in terms of, “I want to support those who are doing the work of God, who are called to it.”
When Pastors Say Tithes Belong to the Local Church
Now, heres a little problem. Pastors are apt to say silly things like the tithe belongs to the local church. Now, it can’t be supported anywhere in the New Testament whatsoever. You won’t find Jesus teaching that. You won’t find Paul, Peter, James, John, or Jude teaching that. So, any pastor who teaches that is teaching what none of the apostles who wrote the New Testament ever taught, as far as we know, because it’s not taught there.
But, pastors say “Well, you know, the local church is equivalent under the New Covenant to the store house of the Old Covenant. Because this is where we all come to church and we all get fed.”
And they really start stretching it. And usually they can’t look you in the eye too directly when they start making such statements because their conscience begins to bother them.
The Local Church in the New Testament
In the New Testament there were no church buildings. And so, no pastor ever got up for about the first 300 years of Christianity and said “You know, we need to tithe to the local church, because we got a building here, we got a mortgage, we got utilities to pay,” and so forth.
And this is another thing that just kind of gets my goat a little bit. This is my Little Lesson, so, I guess I have the right to say what I want to say. And I’m hoping I say what you understand would be the truth.
Giving in general is not supposed to be something that exclusively benefits yourself. That is, when I take money out of my wallet and I go buy something for me, that’s normally not considered giving. Right?
Okay, so if you give to the local church and that money goes to pay the mortgage, the utilities, the salaries of the people that are ministering to you and to your family, and somebody like a pastor has the nerve to call that giving… you’re just paying your dues. You’re just paying your rightful share of what should be paid for by everybody who benefits from it. Right? Like the dues at a country club or some association that you’re a part of.
If you’re benefiting from the services provided, you should be paying. Now, churches don’t set a set rate and say “Well, you know everyone has to pay this amount.” But they generally say you should give a tithe.
And it gets worse. Let’s say your church tithes and maybe they give 10% to missions, for example. Well, that means 1/10th of your 1/10th is escaping the church’s four walls. And that percentage could be considered giving, because it’s actually something that doesn’t directly benefit yourself.
Okay? These are some things to think about. And I think I’ll talk about it a little bit more on the next Little Lesson, because I know it’s controversial. But I love you and I’m telling you the truth, and I want you to lay up treasure in heaven, not on this earth. Okay? Alright. Hope to see you again next time. God bless you.