What is the Truth About Tithes & Offerings?
Tithe paying was mentioned in the book of Genesis, which is the first book in the entire bible. Genesis 14:20 Therefore the tithing law was in effect well before Malachi 3:8-10. Malachi is the last book of the Old Testament. This proves that the tithing law was being obeyed even BEFORE Israel became a nation and BEFORE the 10 commandments were given in the book of Exodus.
God has given instructions on how to honor Him with our tithes and offerings. It is not left up to religious organizations, ministers or denominations to decide whether someone should tithe or not... or whether they should give offerings or not... and if so how much they should give. There are television evangelists, pastors and ministers who have been known to say:
"God told me to tell you to give a thousand dollars to this ministry. You've got to trust God and give what He says so you can be blessed."
"It's our hundredth anniversary! We are asking you for a love offering of one hundred dollars. God has promised me that He will bless anybody that gives one hundred dollars for our anniversary."
"I have this anointing oil that I am going to give to the first thousand people who donate at least two hundred twenty-two dollars to this ministry and the Lord told me He will bless each one with at least a five digit blessing. Yes that means you will each receive at least $10,000 guaranteed."
"This prayer cloth that I am holding in my hand is miracle working. It will heal you. You will be cured of any disease you have within seven days. All you have to do is send me a faith offering and place this prayer cloth under your pillow."
It is so important to read the bible. Anyone who wants to serve God should study the bible so you can know if a minister is telling you something scriptural or using his own words for selfish means. Many people have been deceived. Others are being used for the financial gains of unscrupulous individuals and organizations. What is the truth about tithing and offerings?
First of all, let's define what the word tithe means. Look in your dictionary to find its meaning. What does it say? A tithe is simply one tenth of the whole. In other words, a tithe is 10% of whatever you received as an increase. An increase is what you are paid for work that you do. Your earnings or profits are your increase. You can tithe on money, grain, animals, fruit etc. Today, because we no longer live in an agricultural society, a tithe almost always refers to ten percent of your money.
God is a wise God. He knows the church needs financial support to operate successfully in this world's system. The church is under the control of people and we live on this Earth, not in Heaven. Therefore we all need money. It is foolish to think a church can serve the people without finances. God established His means of support for His church to prosper and to service His people according to His will. If the church leaders and laity obey God, He rewards them with blessings. The command is given in Malachi 3:8-12 The blessing is promised if you obey. Notice God said "tithes AND offerings" both. A curse is upon those who disobey. Those who do obey are promised protection from evil and an overflow of blessings. Malachi 3:11 Even ministers are commanded to pay tithes and offerings. Hebrews 7:9
It's true that you can tell what a person loves by what they freely spend their money on. Malachi 3:10 is a test commandment. God says: prove, test, have faith in Him to bless you for obeying this commandment. Those who don't want to obey resent this commandment and ignore it or try to find excuses for not keeping it. The true servants of God have a passion for His church and obeying His word. In the new testament, Paul admonishes bountiful giving to the church. 2Corinthians 9:6-9 He states a minister who is called to serve in the church should earn a living from the church. 1Corinthians 9:12-14 However, the minister must NEVER abuse the funds of the church. 1Corinthians 9:15-18
In the old testament the Levites served in the temple and were responsible for receiving and using the tithes and offerings according to God's command. Today the ministers whom God calls to serve in the temple receive the tithes and offerings and are responsible for carrying out God's will regarding them. Exodus 29:9 explains that the Levitical priesthood God started with Aaron and his sons "shall be a PERPETUAL statute" meaning there will always be those who are called by God to serve as ministers in His temple continuously until Christ returns to this Earth. Exodus 30:30 says these Levitical priests (ministers) who serve in the temple are ministering unto God. Christ was born a Jew and yet is our high priest, even though He is not a Levite. Hebrews 8:1-2 Hebrews 7:14 Therefore, you do not have to be born as a Levite anymore to be God's minister. In the old testament God chose the tribe of Levi for His ministers. Today those whom He calls to serve in the church are His ministers. What you give to the church can only be categorized as either a tithe or an offering. This is what God ordained in Malachi the third chapter. Christ approves of His people giving money to pay their tithes and offerings to the church. Mark 12:41-44
There are three different tithes God ordered for His church. The tithe most people are familiar with is the first tithe. Numbers 18:20-32 A tithe is ten percent of your gross earnings. The FIRST ten percent of your increase (earnings) is holy to God and is to be used for His work. Leviticus 27:26,30 This is the first tithe.
The question has been asked, can the tithe be taken from your net income rather than your gross income. God comes before the government. The instructions in Numbers 18 do not say "after taxes". If you pay your tithes on your gross as the bible instructs, when you file your taxes and get a return, you do not have to tithe on your tax refund because you have already paid tithes on that money during the year. However, if you choose to pay your tithes on your net income, then if you receive a refund check, you are to tithe on your refund check because you didn't tithe on the amount you are receiving back from the government. A tax refund check is money you OVERPAID in taxes during the year. If you tithe on your gross as God instructs, you would have paid tithes on this refund amount already. Another problem with tithing on your net instead of your gross is that you don't know whether you will get a refund check or not. The tax laws change each year.
Another question is do you tithe on gifts or unearned income; such as social security, unemployment, aid checks or birthday and anniversary money that you receive as gifts. The answer is no. You need not tithe on gifts. An increase is earned money. Tithes are based on money you earn from work you do. If you mow someone's lawn to earn extra money, yes you must tithe on that money in addition to the money you earn from your regular job. You must tithe on any money received from work you do. If someone gives you a gold chain as a graduation gift, no you don't tithe on the value of any gift you receive. Must you tithe on a bonus? It depends. If your employer gives you a bonus as a gift, no you do not have to tithe on your bonus. However, if your employer says, "IF you make a certain amount of sales or complete a certain amount of work, THEN I will give you a bonus for that", under these circumstances, yes you must tithe on that bonus because it is dependent on the work you do for earnings.
The first tithe should be paid each payday. You should set aside the money from each of your paychecks and pay your tithes to the religious organization God leads you to support. In Numbers 18 it says the money from this tithe is used for the salary of the head of the religious organization and to pay for the operations of the religious organization for the spreading of the gospel.
The second tithe is to be set aside for you to enjoy the feast days. This tithe is not to be given to any religious organization. It is for you. You are to keep this tithe money in a safe place at home, in a safe deposit box or in a bank account etc. God commands you to keep His festivals that come once each year. He knows you need money to enjoy yourself to the fullest. Therefore He established the second tithe for you to save money to do so. Deuteronomy 14:22-26 Most religious organizations do not know about or keep God's feast days. These Sabbaths are called Holy Days. Sometimes they are referred to as "high days". There are seven annual Holy Day Sabbaths commanded in the 23rd chapter of Leviticus: 1)both the first AND seventh day of the Days of Unleavened Bread 2)the Pentecost which is sometimes called the Feast of Weeks 3)the Feast of Trumpets 4)the Day of Atonement 5)the FIRST day of the seven day festival called the Feast of Tabernacles 6)the Last Great Day which is sometimes called the Eighth Day.
These Sabbath days are based upon the Hebrew calender and are determined by the moon. You are to take ten percent of your earnings and save it. This money is to be set aside until the festival time comes. You spend the money on food and festival related activities. Since we don't buy or sell anything on the Sabbath days, you must take care of everything a day prior to the festival. Nehemiah 10:31 The vast majority of your second tithe money will be spent for enjoyment at the biggest festival of the year: The Feast of Tabernacles and the Last Great Day. These two festivals combined are eight days of celebration at an appointed location where God's people meet for eight days of church service and activities similar to those common for a vacation. God commands His people to buy the things they like and spend their second tithe money doing the things they enjoy for the Feast of Tabernacles. Only the first and last day of these two combined festivals are Sabbaths. Each payday you are to set aside the second tithe.
The third tithe is established specifically to go toward the support of the widows, needy, orphans and for the salaries of the associate ministers who assist the head of the religious organization. This tithe is ONLY CONTRIBUTED EVERY THREE YEARS. Deuteronomy 14:27-29 Since each person reaches their third year at different times, someone is always in their third tithe year every year. God cares about the poor. Proverbs 14:21 During your third tithe year, you are to pay this tithe each payday to the religious organization God leads you to support.
God said pay both tithes AND offerings. You are to bring an offering for each Holy Day festival mentioned above. Traditional churches collect offerings each week. This is unscriptural. Offerings are to be given on the annual Holy Day Sabbaths as God commands. We are commanded to keep His annual Sabbaths so we can bring our offerings to Him at the times He appointed. These things are important to God. God has set up His system to prosper His church and His people. All we have to do is obey. An offering can be any amount. It can be as low as one penny and up to an unlimited sum. 2Corinthians 9:7 You give the offering that you feel is a reflection of how God has blessed you to be able to give. No minister should be telling you how much offering money to put in the coffers. According to the command of God the first and third tithes and the offerings are all given to the church; while the second tithe is kept by the individual for them to spend on the holy days for food, fun and the activities they enjoy. The scriptures specify each of the three tithes, who each one goes to and what each one is to be used for as outlined in the bible.
Take note that the first day God's people are required to observe each year is the Passover as mentioned in Leviticus 23. The Passover is not a Sabbath day. No offering is given on the Passover. Offerings are not to be collected on the weekly Sabbath; only on the annual Sabbaths.
The weekly seventh day Sabbath is different from the annual Holy Day Sabbaths. The annual Sabbaths are based on the moon which revolves around the Earth. The days and nights are based on the Earth spinning on its axis. The year is based on the Earth revolving around the sun. The seventh day weekly Sabbath is based on God creating all that exists during the first six days of the week and resting on the seventh day. Everything is based on the movement of a heavenly body except the weekly Sabbath. The days, months and years are determined by the position of some heavenly body, but the weekly Sabbath is all about AHAYAH as the one and only true God. The weekly Sabbath proves God exists. It points to Him as the Creator. This is why it is so important.
Have you ever wondered why there are seven days in each week instead of three, twelve or twenty? Every civilization that ever existed from the beginning of time until today has always had seven days in their calendar week. The calendars have changed, but in each of these calendars there has always been seven days per week. The seven day weekly cycle has never changed. Why? Because AHAYAH as the Creator established the week to be seven days when He created the heavens and the Earth and all that is therein... and then He rested on the SEVENTH day... and blessed it... and sanctified it. When you keep the seventh day as the Sabbath, you are acknowledging to AHAYAH that you respect Him as the Creator of all and that you believe He exists. By keeping the seventh day as the Sabbath, you are obeying God by KEEPING the day He made holy as holy and declaring to the world that AHAYAH is your God instead of an idol god. We must remember the seventh day Sabbath by observing it on the seventh day. Since God does exist and He created everything, He has a right to tell us what to do and we should obey Him.
Now that you know the truth about tithes and offerings, you can start obeying God's laws regarding them. Don't be misled by clergymen who have strayed away from the system established by AHAYAH for your prosperity and blessings. Always read the bible to find out what God says about everything. Pay your tithes and offerings as commanded by AHAYAH's laws... and ask God to reveal to you which religious organization your tithes and offerings should be given to according to His will.
There are some religious people who will say "We don't have to pay tithes anymore. They contend that is an old testament law and we are not under the law, but rather under grace now." The response to that is: What is grace? Grace is the blood of Immanuel the Christ as the Lamb of God atoning for your sins IF YOU REPENT OF YOUR SINS. When you repent of your sins, grace will cause God to forgive you of your sins as you walk in the newness of life. Your new life is a life in obedience to God's laws. Your old life was a life of sin. What is sin? IJohn 3:4 explains sin is the transgression of God's laws. There is no grace for someone who refuses to obey the laws of God. What is righteousness? Isaiah 45:19 "I the LORD speak righteousness. I declare things that are right." Keeping the laws of God is righteousness. So in order to be a righteous person, you must be obeying God's laws. John 14:15 God says "If you love me, keep my commandments." What does God command regarding tithes? Malachi 3:6-12 God's Word is eternal. There is no new testament law that terminated tithing. The tithing law is still in effect.
Some religious people say the law has been done away. Think about it. If the law has been done away, there is no such thing as sin anymore. If there is no law, there is no sin. If that were true, everyone; rapists, murderers, child molesters, thieves, liars, cheaters and all sinners would enter God's kingdom without repentance, because grace would apply to them too. No, the law has not been done away. The law is eternal. What has been done away is the penalty of death for those who repent and walk in the newness of life in obedience to God's laws. God will forgive your sins, if your repentance is sincere, when you fail to keep His laws as you walk in the newness of life with the attitude of obedience to His laws. Those who don't repent are still under the death penalty for their sins.
The bottom line is BELIEF. Read Genesis 15:6 Those who believe God are counted as righteous people in the eyes of God. Contrariwise, those who DO NOT BELIEVE God are unrighteous. If you truly believe God will bless you with abundance for paying your tithes and offerings, you will not hesitate to do so. You will be glad to do it. It would be to your advantage. Obviously, those who don't pay their tithes and offerings do not believe what God promised in blessings for obedience.
Therefore, when you get right down to it, the real question is:
Do you believe God?