Hire
Writers
Editors
Home Tour About Read What's New Help Join Faith
Writers
Forum
My Account Login
Shop
Save
Support
Book
Store
Learn
About
Jesus
  

Get Our Daily Devotional             Win A Publishing Package             Detailed Navigation

The HOME for Christian writers! The Home for Christian Writers!



 
Bible Studies PLEASE ENCOURAGE THE AUTHOR BY COMMENTING

  LEAVE COMMENT ON ARTICLE   SEND A PRIVATE MESSAGE
  HIRE THIS WRITER
REPORT ARTICLE

 TRACK THIS AUTHOR ADD TO MY FAVORITES
corner
What's New
 
corner
 
The Tithe Issue Part five
by Richard D Kloosman
05/10/06
Not For Sale
Author requests article critique


  Mail
 





The Tithe Issue: Part Five

Is there one or more?

The last time we spoke about the tithe, the emphasis was on how God told the Israelites to eat of it, and feast with it. Some people may have a problem with that view because they believe that the tithe used for eating and feasting was indeed another type of tithe and not the one God told the Israelites to give to the priesthood. This is an interesting topic since it is part of theological doctrine, but it is never actually spoken of in our congregations today, at least not that I know of. If you would look up the tithe in Bible dictionaries, you will find that some theologians say that there were two tithes given, one to the priesthood, and one for feasting, then every third year, the second tithe was given to the poor and widows etc. Then there are the others who say that there were actually three tithes given, one for the priesthood, one for feasting and one for the poor etc, every three years.

In our studies up to now, however we did not find those commandments from God. In fact there is no place where God puts the tithe into categories, and then say for instance, this tenth of your income is for the priests, that tenth is for feasting and a third tenth for the poor every three years. Just think how strange it sounds to say that the poor only get something every three years, that cannot be so. So, how many tithes are spoken of in the Bible? Only one, every quotation concerning the tithe up to now, refers to only one tithe. It is never broken up or multiplied, to double or triple it.

Therefore if the tithe is never spoken of in the a plural sense, where does the doctrine for the multiple tithes arise from? From our studies up to now it can only arise from the following portion of scripture:
(Deut 14:22-29 KJV) “Thou shalt truly tithe all the increase of thy seed, that the field bringeth forth year by year. And thou shalt eat before the LORD thy God, in the place which he shall choose to place his name there, the tithe of thy corn, of thy wine, and of thine oil, and the firstlings of thy herds and of thy flocks; that thou mayest learn to fear the LORD thy God always. And if the way be too long for thee, so that thou art not able to carry it; or if the place be too far from thee, which the LORD thy God shall choose to set his name there, when the LORD thy God hath blessed thee: Then shalt thou turn it into money, and bind up the money in thine hand, and shalt go unto the place which the LORD thy God shall choose: And thou shalt bestow that money for whatsoever thy soul lusteth after, for oxen, or for sheep, or for wine, or for strong drink, or for whatsoever thy soul desireth: and thou shalt eat there before the LORD thy God, and thou shalt rejoice, thou, and thine household, And the Levite that is within thy gates; thou shalt not forsake him; for he hath no part nor inheritance with thee. At the end of three years thou shalt bring forth all the tithe of thine increase the same year, and shalt lay it up within thy gates: And the Levite, (because he hath no part nor inheritance with thee,) and the stranger, and the fatherless, and the widow, which are within thy gates, shall come, and shall eat and be satisfied; that the LORD thy God may bless thee in all the work of thine hand which thou doest.”

The above quoted text is where people get confused with the number of tithes. But let us read this portion of scripture in its context.
• The Israelites should tithe the increase of their produce every year that is what we understand the Israelites did as a matter of law, and because the scripture clearly says “every year”, we can say with assurance that the verses following will be speaking about the one tithe which is commanded by law. But then God said they should eat of that which they tithed, in other words the tithe that they tithed as a matter of law, was the tithe they could eat of. There was no second or third tithe in the context. The context and chapter the quotation comes from is the law of what the Israelites could eat and not eat of and is not speaking of the tithe in a sense of bringing up or adding another type of tithe.

• If the way was to long for them, they had to convert the tithe into money that was the tithe they could eat of, and then bring it to the place of worship, and then take of that money and ‘buy’ themselves of what was tithed to the priests. In other words the Israelites, who lived afar off, converted the tithe into money, went to where the tithe was given and then took the tithe in money form, and ‘bought’ of what was tithed to eat as a feast before God as He commanded. Note in the quoted section no mention of a new tithe is spoken of it is still the yearly tithe.

• They actually bought the tithe with the tithe to eat the tithe, the same tithe they had to give to the priesthood since the context does not speak of more than one tithe or put the tithe into another category.

• Now comes the part that people interpret as another tithe, the every three years part. But let us look at the whole context of the quoted section; it is also helpful to read various translations of the Bible to see what is actually being said. The Bible did not suddenly change the subject from one form of tithe to another with the phrase “every three years”. This is what the NIV version of the Bible says, (Deut 14:22-25 NIV) “Be sure to set aside a tenth of all that your fields produce each year. Eat the tithe of your grain, new wine and oil, and the firstborn of your herds and flocks in the presence of the LORD your God at the place he will choose as a dwelling for his Name, so that you may learn to revere the LORD your God always. But if that place is too distant and you have been blessed by the LORD your God and cannot carry your tithe (because the place where the LORD will choose to put his Name is so far away), then exchange your tithe for silver, and take the silver with you and go to the place the LORD your God will choose.” And (Deut 14:28 NIV) “At the end of every three years, bring all the tithes of that year's produce and store it in your towns,”

• The only thing that changes between the two quoted sections of scripture is where the Israelites had to take the tithe, in other words no second tithe is brought up here. This is what happened, every year the tithes should be brought to a central place where all the tithes were received by the priesthood and where the tithe was eaten as commanded by the Lord. But every third year the tithe was not brought to the central place, but was kept at where ever the tither lived, and everybody including the Levite who lived in the area feasted where they lived. The law of changing the tithe into money did not apply then, because the tithe did not go to the ‘storehouse’ then. What we should remember here is that we are speaking of the tithe and not the offerings, because there was a law that stated that all offerings had to be brought to the temple and no offering should have been made anywhere else.

The reason I know that they actually bought the tithe with the tithe is that they were commanded to eat the tithe and the offerings before the Lord, at the temple. They did not bring other provisions to come and picnic, or bought other provisions, they came to do what the Lord commanded them to do and that was to eat the tithe before Him, then they had to ‘buy’ of things tithed to eat before the Lord, “And thou shalt bestow that money for whatsoever thy soul lusteth after, for oxen, or for sheep, or for wine, or for strong drink, or for whatsoever thy soul desireth: and thou shalt eat there before the LORD thy God, and thou shalt rejoice, thou, and thine household, And the Levite that is within thy gates; thou shalt not forsake him; for he hath no part nor inheritance with thee”. According to the quoted section, what they brought along to tithe and were allowed to eat of, were part of the Levite’s inheritance also and if they did not tithe they would have forsaken the Levites. We know the Levites lived of the tithe, and this also shows that the three yearly tithe was actually the tithe God commanded in Numbers the Levites should get and was not another type of tithe.

We know by now the word for tithe is the word ma’aser, a tenth, but the word for tithes (plural) is the word ma'asrah and something interesting is that I could not find the plural word for tithe in the Old Testament with the comprehensive tools I have. So the word tithes, plural should not really be in our translations, everywhere in the Old Testament a singular tithe is then referred to or spoken of.

It make a whole lot more sense to interpret that one tithe is what is spoken of everywhere than to say that God required three tenths every three years, actually as we will find by quoting some scriptures, the problem to say that there is only one tithe being spoken of is easy in the end. All we need to do is to read what the Bible says in its context.

I do not want to teach my arguments concerning this aspect of the tithe issue, which is the giving of one or three tithes by Israel, but let us look at the facts we learnt up to now.

1. One tenth of war spoils was originally given by Abraham
2. One tithe of everything was vowed by Jacob
3. God claimed one tenth of produce in Israel as holy unto Him
4. God gave ‘that’ one tenth to the Levites as inheritance and wages
5. The Levites or priests had to tithe on the one tithe they received
6. Israel had to give one tithe of whatever they produced every year
7. They had to bring one tithe to a central place every year
8. If the place would be to far from them, they could turn the one tithe into money
9. When they reached the place they could turn the money into whatever they wanted
10. They could eat of the one tithe at that time
11. Every three years they did not have to bring the one tithe to the central place
12. No reference is made to other tithes or laws concerning other tithes, but the tithe that had to go to the Levites.

So does the doctrine of three tithes hold water? No, unless the Bible teaches that the Israelites had to give thirty percent of their income every three years and twenty percent every year. All who study the Bible know that the Bible does not teach that, because obviously if we start to speak about thirty percent we are not speaking of a tithe anymore but something else. The quoted scripture we just quoted above is a source of the three tithe doctrine because in this section of the tithe teaching we dealt with the scenario of the Israelites eating of the tithe, therefore people think that it cannot be the tithe that is spoke of when the tithe must go to the priesthood. And then when it is said the tithe must be given every three years, this is also taken as another tithe that must be given. Bringing the amount of tithes to three, one for priests, one for the use of the normal Israelites and the last one every three years. However if we read the Bible, it does not say that, so what happens is that people assume that is what the Bible implies.

The Lord says that the tithe (singular) is the inheritance of the Levites and then commands them to receive it from the Israelites. Therefore any tithe that is spoken of from then on, where the context includes the Levites, must be speaking of that one tithe which is given by law. Remember also that Jesus when he spoke to the Pharisees said that they faithfully tithed of their things; He also only refers to a single tithe. But we do not have to quibble about this let us just read what the Bible say in its context and see if there were three tithes spoken of remembering that the Levites had a right to only one tithe in Israel. So this is what is said of the tithe in the law:

(Num 18:23-32 KJV) “But the tithes of the children of Israel, which they offer as an heave offering unto the LORD, I have given to the Levites to inherit: therefore I have said unto them, Among the children of Israel they shall have no inheritance. And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Thus speak unto the Levites, and say unto them, When ye take of the children of Israel the tithes which I have given you from them for your inheritance, then ye shall offer up an heave offering of it for the LORD, even a tenth part of the tithe. And this your heave offering shall be reckoned unto you, as though it were the corn of the threshing floor, and as the fullness of the winepress. Thus ye also shall offer an heave offering unto the LORD of all your tithes, which ye receive of the children of Israel; and ye shall give thereof the LORD'S heave offering to Aaron the priest. Out of all your gifts ye shall offer every heave offering of the LORD, of all the best thereof, even the hallowed part thereof out of it.”

(Deut 12:11-14 KJV) “Then there shall be a place which the LORD your God shall choose to cause his name to dwell there; thither shall ye bring all that I command you; your burnt offerings, and your sacrifices, your tithes, and the heave offering of your hand, and all your choice vows which ye vow unto the LORD: And ye shall rejoice before the LORD your God, ye, and your sons, and your daughters, and your menservants, and your maidservants, and the Levite that is within your gates; forasmuch as he hath no part nor inheritance with you. Take heed to thyself that thou offer not thy burnt offerings in every place that thou seest: But in the place which the LORD shall choose in one of thy tribes, there thou shalt offer thy burnt offerings, and there thou shalt do all that I command thee.”

(Deut 12:18-19 KJV) “But thou must eat them before the LORD thy God in the place which the LORD thy God shall choose, thou, and thy son, and thy daughter, and thy manservant, and thy maidservant, and the Levite that is within thy gates: and thou shalt rejoice before the LORD thy God in all that thou puttest thine hands unto. Take heed to thyself that thou forsake not the Levite as long as thou livest upon the earth.”

(Deut 14:22-29 KJV) “Thou shalt truly tithe all the increase of thy seed, that the field bringeth forth year by year. And thou shalt eat before the LORD thy God, in the place which he shall choose to place his name there, the tithe of thy corn, of thy wine, and of thine oil, and the firstlings of thy herds and of thy flocks; that thou mayest learn to fear the LORD thy God always. And if the way be too long for thee, so that thou art not able to carry it; or if the place be too far from thee, which the LORD thy God shall choose to set his name there, when the LORD thy God hath blessed thee: Then shalt thou turn it into money, and bind up the money in thine hand, and shalt go unto the place which the LORD thy God shall choose: And thou shalt bestow that money for whatsoever thy soul lusteth after, for oxen, or for sheep, or for wine, or for strong drink, or for whatsoever thy soul desireth: and thou shalt eat there before the LORD thy God, and thou shalt rejoice, thou, and thine household, And the Levite that is within thy gates; thou shalt not forsake him; for he hath no part nor inheritance with thee. At the end of three years thou shalt bring forth all the tithe of thine increase the same year, and shalt lay it up within thy gates: And the Levite, (because he hath no part nor inheritance with thee,) and the stranger, and the fatherless, and the widow, which are within thy gates, shall come, and shall eat and be satisfied; that the LORD thy God may bless thee in all the work of thine hand which thou doest.”

(Deut 18:1-7 KJV) “The priests the Levites, and all the tribe of Levi, shall have no part nor inheritance with Israel: they shall eat the offerings of the LORD made by fire, and his inheritance. Therefore shall they have no inheritance among their brethren: the LORD is their inheritance, as he hath said unto them. And this shall be the priest's due from the people, from them that offer a sacrifice, whether it be ox or sheep; and they shall give unto the priest the shoulder, and the two cheeks, and the maw. The firstfruit also of thy corn, of thy wine, and of thine oil, and the first of the fleece of thy sheep, shalt thou give him. For the LORD thy God hath chosen him out of all thy tribes, to stand to minister in the name of the LORD, him and his sons for ever.”

(Deut 26:11-15 KJV) “And thou shalt rejoice in every good thing which the LORD thy God hath given unto thee, and unto thine house, thou, and the Levite, and the stranger that is among you. When thou hast made an end of tithing all the tithes of thine increase the third year, which is the year of tithing, and hast given it unto the Levite, the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, that they may eat within thy gates, and be filled; Then thou shalt say before the LORD thy God, I have brought away the hallowed things out of mine house, and also have given them unto the Levite, and unto the stranger, to the fatherless, and to the widow, according to all thy commandments which thou hast commanded me: I have not transgressed thy commandments, neither have I forgotten them: I have not eaten thereof in my mourning, neither have I taken away ought thereof for any unclean use, nor given ought thereof for the dead: but I have hearkened to the voice of the LORD my God, and have done according to all that thou hast commanded me.”

Now if you have read carefully all the scriptures I have quoted, you would have found that what confuses people can be easily explained. We read that the Israelites had to tithe in the book of Numbers because God gave the tithe to the Levites as their inheritance because they did not receive an inheritance in the land of Canaan.

Later in Deuteronomy, God told the Israelites that He would give a specific place where the tithes and all offerings should be brought. Then they got the commandment to rejoice before the Lord, that rejoicing we know to be that they may feast with the tithe, but more important to us now is that the Levites are included in the rejoicing, in the second of our quotes, which means we are speaking of the tithe which should go the Levites as commanded in Numbers. Again it is said that the Levite had no inheritance, so the tithe spoken off is the inheritance.

The third quote gives a clear commandment to Israel that they must eat of the tithe before the Lord, but then the Levites are mentioned again, which means yet again the commandment of Numbers is what is spoken of. The Israelites are strongly reminded that they should not forsake the Levites, and this is in the context of the tithe that they could eat of.

Then they had the commandment again to eat of the tithe and yet again the Levite is brought up in the context and it is yet again said that the Levites must not be forsaken for they had no inheritance except the tithe and offerings of course, and then God brings up the poor, strangers and widows should also be cared for out of the tithes and offerings. Then comes the ‘at the end of three years’ part of the tithe issue, and yet again the Levites are brought into it, which means as we know by now, that the three yearly tithe is then also the tithe that should go to the Levites, only at the end of three years the tithe is kept where it came from.

In the fifth quotation, we get some insight into the other income the Levites had if you thought that too many people was getting part of the tithe. Here we will read that all the offerings are called God’s inheritance, but it actually went to the Levites as another income because a tithe which was given essentially once a year will only last so long. They also received the first fruits of all things which was offered to God.

The last quotation shows that if God prospered Israel, everybody including the Levites rejoiced in it, that would have been the tithe of whatever Israel was prospered with of course. Israel was actually made to confess that they tithed of what they received and that they did not use it in a manner that God did not prescribe, that did not mean they could not use of the tithe, but it meant that they did only with the tithe as God commanded them to do, which was to give it to the Levites, give to the poor, strangers, widows, the fatherless and of course eat of it in His presence or within their gates every three years.

This particular message or study of the tithe was particularly long, but I wanted to make the subject of one or more tithes as easy to understand as possible. Next time we will speak on the tithe in the history of Israel.

Copyright 2007 Richard D Kloosman. All rights reserved

If you died today, are you absolutely certain that you would go to heaven? You can be! TRUST JESUS NOW

Read more articles by Richard D Kloosman or search for articles on the same topic or others.


Read More - Free Reprints, Main Site Articles, Most Read Articles or highly acclaimed Challenge Articles. Read Great New Release Christian Books for FREE in our Free Reads for Reviews Program. Christian writers can JOIN US at FaithWriters for Free. Grow as a Writer and help spread the Gospel.


The opinions expressed by authors do not necessarily reflect the opinion of FaithWriters.com.

Hire a Christian Writer, Christian Writer Wanted, Christian Writer Needed, Christian Content Needed
Find a Christian Editor, Hire a Christian Editor, Christian Editor, Find a Christian Writer
 
corner
Corner
This article has been read 477 times     < Previous | Next >


Member Comments
Member Date




TRUST JESUS TODAY









Free Audio Bible
500 Plus Languages
Faith Comes By Hearing.com