One website criticizes believers for getting all excited about a “new fad” that’s going around: “Christians don’t have to tithe!” What’s so new about that? Christian liberty was not considered a passing fad in Paul’s day, it was considered one of the foundational principles of the New Covenant. In the Book of Galatians Liberty in Christ was viewed by Paul as an endangered species under threat from “Judaisers” who tried to pervert (distort) the Gospel with legalism. What would Paul’s attitude be toward those who burden God’s people with tithing or any other “binding” doctrine Paul never taught the church?
Gal.1:6: I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel:
VERSE 7: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ.* * * “Pervert” as used here comes from the Greek word “metastrepho”, which means to “transform into something of an opposite character”. Certain false brethren had crept into the church to try to change the Gospel into something the polar opposite of what it actually was! The “Judaisers” wanted Gentile Christians to be circumcised and keep the Law of Moses. They wanted to take the grace out of the Gospel of Grace and transform it into a gospel of works.
VERSE 8: But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.
VERSE 9: As we said before, so say I now again, if any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed (cut off from Christ and condemned to hell).
Unless there is ANY solid evidence Paul explicitly taught tithing, preachers risk God’s wrath by burdening His people with it. The apostles who convened in Jerusalem did NOT bind the Law of Moses or any part of it on the disciples (Acts 15:24-29). Obviously, the apostles did not require tithing or even recommend it as a voluntary act! Tithing is a work of the Law, and to impose it upon God’s redeemed people is to impose “another gospel” (a mixture of Law and grace) on them. Paul pronounced a terrible curse on such preachers.
VERSE 10: For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.* * *Brethren, we can either “submit” to men and their false traditions or we can submit only to Christ and to the true Word of God. We can’t be both men-pleasers and God-pleasers. Even if we tithe to “keep the peace”, it’s a peace won at the expense of truth. People who take the Mark of the Beast during the Tribulation will also follow the crowd in order to avoid upsetting those in power. Bad doctrine must never be given legitimacy by what we do.
Tithing teachers appeal to Matt.23:23 as proof text that tithing is still required, although in that verse, Jesus was addressing corrupt Jewish Pharisees who still lived under the dispensation of Law (the period before Christ’s crucifixion annulled the Old Covenant). Jesus okayed the Pharisee’s tithing of mint, anise and cumin, but NOT ONCE did Jesus ever command His disciples to tithe! They couldn’t have owed any tithes anyway, since only agricultural produce was tithable. The disciples were always on the go. They weren’t farmers. They didn’t even have time to grow alfalfa sprouts for their barley bagels! Jesus never asked Peter to tithe on his smelly sardines. Just bring the preacher a can of tuna if he thinks Peter was required to tithe on fish (he wasn’t). If you’ll read Matt.23:23 more closely, you’ll see that Jesus classifies tithing as being a “matter of the law”, not a part of the New Covenant of grace!
Heb.8:13: In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth (grows) old is ready to vanish away.* * *This word “decay” reminds me of a corpse fit only to be buried. Which reminds me of this passage:
Romans 7:1 Know ye not, brethren, (for I speak to them that know the law,) how that the law hath dominion over a man as long as he liveth?
VERSE 2: For the woman which hath an husband is bound by the law to her husband so long as he liveth; but if the husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband.
VERSE 3: So then if, while her husband liveth, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress: but if her husband be dead, she is free from that law; so that she is no adulteress, though she be married to another man.
VERSE 4: Wherefore, my brethren, YE ALSO ARE BECOME DEAD TO THE LAW by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God.
VERSE 5: For when we were in the flesh, the motions of sins, which were by the law, did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death.
VERSE 6: BUT NOW WE ARE DELIVERED FROM THE LAW, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter.
The Old Law is dead and buried. We aren’t married to the dead Law. Instead we are spiritually joined to Christ (I Cor.6:17). Many preachers are determined to marry the Bride of Christ to the Law once again, even if it means getting out that old shovel of condemnation and digging that law back up themselves. Any preacher who tries to reimpose any part of the dead Law back on the Church is a Frankenstein ghoul who salvages parts from a corpse and places dead flesh between Christ and His Bride. That is a terrible spiritual sin being committed against the Body of Christ today! Lust for illicit tithe money is only a small part of what is making God mad. This abomination has gone on for most of the Church Age, and the fullness of His glory has been veiled from the Church and the world as a result. God’s very Throne Room within the believer has been held under siege by money-hungry preachers. God’s close fellowship with His Church is being torpedoed by tithe teachers! Not only is Jesus unjustly being painted as a panhandler always begging for money, preachers are making His own people scared to approach Him because they can’t afford the prices at the meat market called the Institutional Church.
If we were to go back 2,000 years, I doubt we’d find the apostles dunning Christians for ten per cent of their wages! There is no record of any such abomination being taught in the New Testament, and not even in the Old! Some sites criticize Christians for LOUDLY proclaiming that believers are not obligated to tithe on their overstretched paychecks. Christians are yelling and screaming about being set free from the preacher’s favorite Law. Now is that so bad? Who wouldn’t rejoice at such great news? Christians have just discovered that God is good, and He isn’t the hard taskmaster profiteering preachers paint Him to be.
It really hacks modern Pharisees off that God’s people are rejoicing in their liberty. They say it’s because Christians are greedy and don’t want to give to God anyway. But true Christians have ALREADY surrendered themselves to God. God ALREADY owns us and everything we have (I Cor.6:19). It isn’t just about being able to keep more money to meet family expenses. The truth sets God’s people free on the inside, where it counts (John 8:32). Knowing the truth liberates the spirit and allows the kind, loving nature of our Heavenly Father to shine, to His everlasting glory.
The church has been lied to for way too long. God can’t honor lies or endorse them with rewards. You can’t fool God with un-Biblical doctrines anymore than you can fool a good pawnbroker with a fake diamond. Did preachers really think that God’s people would forever be fooled and remain content to stay cooped up in their cages of bondage? Even an animal knows when it’s been set free! Any dog locked up in a kennel for 1500 years will jump for joy and make a joyful bark when it’s finally let out of its prison. If it’s so wrong to make a little noise about being set free by Christ, then why is it okay to yell at football games?
Let’s put the shoe on the other foot now. Who’s been yelling and screaming at US to turn loose of our filthy lucre ever since Christ was commercialized by christendom? Why is it okay for the preacher to yell religious curses at Christians for non-tithing but Christians have to keep their voices down when they discover preachers have had their hand in the cookie jar since the dawn of the Dark Ages? Does that string of degrees on the wall entitle a professional preacher to holler for dollars and tell everybody else to zip their lip? Isn’t the Holy Spirit just as good a Teacher as that cemet…I mean, seminary, your local tithe-collector went to?
Really, now, if you caught somebody pinching your wallet out of your back pocket, you wouldn’t give a hoot if the thief was the Grand Poohbah of Purdue or just a poor wino from the park. You’d get plenty mad and show no respect of persons about it! Regardless of his place in society, wouldn’t that thief want you to keep the revelation of his sneaky theft under your hat? Even if the pickpocket wore a black satin clerical robe it wouldn’t whitewash his crime! Fishers for funds count on your reverent silence (or was that “submission”)? All this noise about being set free from tithing is Christ’s collective voice shouting “Stop, thief!”
Tithe teachers raise a ruckus about how YOU have to pay tithes. But who’s got the right to TAKE them? Do “pulpit ministers” have that right? When you pay taxes to the government, your employer doesn’t withhold the money and send it in to just any Tom, Dick or Harriet that happens along. Only an official tax agent is duly authorized to take taxes out of your paycheck. If some bright guy impersonated an IRS agent to take gullible tax payers to the cleaners, he’d end up in the slammer till the Final Judgment. If you think every living soul, even welfare recipients down to their last food stamp, must “tithe”, then at least investigate the credentials of the “representative of God” collecting your tithe. Is your preacher a descendant of the priestly Tribe of Levi? Perhaps he IS….IF his last name is Levi, Levine, Cohan or Cohen (“cohen” means “priests” in Hebrew). Only the sons of LEVI received an exclusive license from God to take tithes ACCORDING TO THE LAW (Heb.7:5)! It doesn’t say the sons of Box Car Willie are commanded by God to take tithes under Grace! If your local tithe collector isn’t a direct descendant of Aaron the High Priest, then that preacher is collecting tithes without God’s authorization and you don’t owe him a dime! And even if he whips out a valid genealogical chart and PROVES he’s descended from Moses’ brother Aaron, ask him why he’s more interested in your Federal Mint Lettuce than the tomatoes out in your backyard.
Stone-walling against the truth, ignoring the central theme of Galatians (freedom from the Law), and accusing God’s people of “not loving Jesus enough to tithe” won’t wash with God. Such tactics of psychological warfare don’t change God’s mind about what applies under the New Covenant and what is now obsolete. The real truth is: Such a preacher doesn’t love YOU enough to let you enjoy your liberty in Christ. And he doesn’t love Jesus enough to stop using Him as an ATM machine!
We’re supposed to follow Jesus’ example. Is it un-Christlike to yell about the tithing hoax, after so many centuries of “pew people” being robbed in the Name of God? Did Jesus softly whisper at the buyers and the sellers when He drove them out of the Temple with a homemade whip? NO! He said something like: “Get this junk out of here! You’re turning My Father’s House into a thieves’ market!”
God hasn’t kept His people in religious and financial bondage for most of the Church Age. The clergy of Christendom did that! The church got infected with strange doctrines only a couple of centuries after the death of the last apostle. In the fourth century A.D. Emperor Constantine allegedly found Christ. To popularize Christianity with the masses and unify his empire under one religious banner, Constantine imported many pagan customs into the church, such as the use of images, incense, ceremonies, etc. The church has never completely recovered. Even Martin Luther wasn’t too keen on restoring the priesthood of all believers. Luther was more in favor of an unscriptural clergy-laity church structure. The “ordained” clergy does most of the “ministry” while the “laity” lays asleep in the pews. No wonder God’s power was manifested more greatly during the Apostolic Age than it is now! The majority of Christ’s Body on earth is paralyzed from lack of exercise! Most don’t even peep a protest about the weekly shakedown called the tithe.
Two Catholic Church councils held in 567 and 585 A.D. made monetary tithing compulsory on pain of excommunication. Protestants think Martin Luther liberated them from Catholicism, but Luther didn’t go far enough. Luther opposed tithing, but the central doctrine of the priesthood of all believers took a back pew to a few privileged characters who collect the cream every Sunday. Bits and pieces of pagan practices and ideas from the Law of Moses have crept into church doctrine, creating spiritual unrest among believers. Hands hanging onto error cannot grasp God’s real truth.
That webmaster said we’re gloating. Rather, there is a deep joy in the spirit which has been set free. Legalists are very inconsistent. Ever since the dawn of the Jesus Revolution God’s people have been taught choruses about Christ setting them free, and how they’re a chosen generation and a Royal Priesthood. Some churches even did “victory marches” to celebrate the fact we’re “king’s kids”. Preachers liked that. UNTIL God’s kids began to figure out what it meant to be part of God’s Royal Priesthood. Even under the Old Covenant, the Priesthood did not tithe. Jesus plainly taught that children of the King are supposed to be free of having to pay tribute to their own kingdom (Matt.17:25-26). Now all of a sudden, preachers aren’t quite so keen on sharing their priesthood with all believers like it says to in I Peter 2:5 and 9. You might be God’s own child, but you OWE an ongoing debt of ten per cent of your paycheck to His first-class kids! Despite the fact Romans 13:8 teaches us to “owe no man ANYTHING (including money) but to love one another.
Slaves mustn’t ever be happy, and as long as you stay in your place you get no flak from the pulpit. Whenever some legalistic preacher sees a “pew saint” smiling, he’s thinking: Something’s up here! Brother Bubba is indulging in some secret sin that’s either illegal, immoral, or fattening! Tithe tyrants can’t STAND to see God’s people rejoicing in the liberty of the Spirit! The name of the game is CONTROL! Seizing control of the church from Christ is a manifestation of the Antichrist (“instead of Christ”) spirit at work among God’s people. Legalistic preachers make it clear that there’s only ONE Big Chief in THEIR church, and all the Indians out in the pews must bring their tribute to his teepee!
Unable to appeal to ANY written Biblical command to tithe on money, or any command to tithe at all after the Cross, the website appealed to poor people’s “duty” to tithe by citing the example of Mary and Joseph, who presented two pigeons to the Temple. Now, that’s desperate! Who’s to say Mary and Joseph didn’t just catch those pigeons in the park instead of buying them from the bums Jesus chased out of the Temple (John 2:13-16)? Mary had just had a baby, and offering two pigeons was part of her purification ritual (Lev.12:6-8). Is that preacher gonna tell me that Mary could have brought in ten per cent of Joseph’s carpentry income instead of the pigeons to get purified from postpartum bleeding? What about women who get “sick their flowers” (or was that hay fever)? Should they pay paper pigeons to the preacher (Lev.16:28-29)? Just think of it, preach. All those PMS mood-swingers who drop out of church for a week (Lev.16:19-33) every single month are a gold mine! So are the new moms who return to church after their six-weeks’ checkup. Rejoice, brother! There’s money in the rock-a-bye baby for you!
Seriously, though, NOWHERE does it state poor Joseph had to shell out ten per cent of his carpentry earnings to the priests. Poor carpenters paid the half-shekel Temple tax along with all other Jewish men, but unless they grew a bit of grub on the side, they didn’t owe any tithes. Tithe collectors appeal to “spiritual laws” magically spun out of frog fur! They rely on airy-fairy tradition fabricated from verses yanked out of context as “proof” that God’s people must tithe! Next time some preacher appeals to Old Testament pigeon offerings to justify the tithe, stick strictly to “what is written”, not to some cock-eyed spin on the Old Law. If Preach won’t listen to sense, bring him a bucket of fried chicken, since it would be too cruel to catch pigeons in the park to roast on the church altar. If enough people did that, Preach would get so sick of KFC, he’d never again try to milk money out of Mary’s post-partum pigeons!
Also used as an example was Jesus’ payment of the Temple Tax in Matt.17:24-27. This tax was required of all Jewish males twenty years old and over (Ex.30:11-16; 38:26). Notice, this tax was NOT levied on women of any age, but only men, as Exodus 38:26 clarifies. Jesus had His (and Peter’s) Temple Tax coin taken out of the mouth of a confused fish that mistook it for a Life Saver (Matt.17:27). This money was not taken out of stingy Judas’ money bag. Jesus didn’t build a new plow to earn that money (75 cents’ worth). It was an unearned gift of nature! This speaks of grace, not works. Preachers forever holler about tithing out of your poverty. Jesus lived under the Law (Gal.4:4), but He didn’t pay the Temple Tax out of His own poverty. Preachers prefer sacrifice to mercy, but Jesus’ Temple Tax payment wasn’t even a sacrifice! We ourselves aren’t living under the Law. We are under grace (Rom.6:14; Gal.5:18).
The Temple Tax was collected only whenever a national census was taken. Why? To prevent a plague from breaking out (Ex.30:12). In 2 Samuel 24 a plague did break out when King David took an unauthorized census to number the fighting men of Israel. In any case, half a shekel was a FIXED, not proportional, sum payable by all mature Jewish males for the upkeep of their Temple. The poor didn’t give less and the rich didn’t give more (Ex.30:15). Half a shekel (37 cents!) per year would amount to much less than ten per cent of most people’s annual income! It wouldn’t even be missed by a rich man! This tiny sum wouldn’t even buy a candy bar! Even that amount was mercifully reduced to one-third shekel in a time of great national hardship (Neh. 10:32). Notice, Nehemiah says: Also WE MADE ORDINANCES for us to charge ourselves YEARLY (not weekly) with the third part of a shekel for the service of the house of our God.* * * *Who made the extra ordinances in Nehemiah, God or men?
If you want to apply the Temple Tax to your life, you have to:
1. Substitute the church building for the true New Covenant Temple of the Holy Spirit, which is the body of the believer (I Cor.6:19; 2 Cor.6:16).
2. Impose this tax ONLY on men 20 years old and over. Don’t hit the ladies up for this tax, or you’re sinning against God!
3. Collect it only ONCE a year, and take a church census when you do it. Remember, God said it’s a sin to ask for more than 37 cents’ worth of church tax! Even if you’ve got the CEO of Microsoft visiting, better not paraprhrase it into 37 grand!
4. If you want to follow Jesus’ example, you must do exactly as He did. Travel to the Sea of Galilee in Israel. Ask a friend to cast a fishhook in the water. Tell him the first perch that takes the bait will have a coin in its mouth that’s worth 75 cents (enough tax for two people).
5. Don’t even THINK of using U.S. quarters and dimes to pay the Temple Tax, because God wouldn’t approve of you substituting Gentile money that has pictures of American Caesars on it (Matt.22:19-21).
6. Reduce the church tax to 1/3 if a shekel (2/3 of ½ of one shekel) when a depression hits the economy. I’ve done the math and you need to come up with a whole quarter’s worth of shekel silver! Would a greedy tithe exactor show you thirteen cents’ worth of mercy? When chickens fly!
Like Nehemiah, the Book of Ezra concerned the reconstruction of the Temple after the Jews began to return from exile in Babylon. In this book is yet another argument against New Covenant tithing.
Ezra 7:20: And whatsoever more shall be needful for the house of thy God, which thou shalt have occasion to bestow (give), bestow it out of the king’s treasure house.
VERSE 21: And I, even Artaxerxes the king, do make a decree to all the treasurers which are beyond the river (Euphrates), that whatever Ezra the priest, the scribe of the law of the God of heaven, shall require of you, it be done speedily.
VERSE 22: Unto an hundred talents of silver, and to an hundred measures of wheat, and to an hundred baths of wine, and to an hundred baths of oil, and salt without prescribing how much.
VERSE 23: Whatsoever is commanded by the God of heaven, let it be diligently done for the house of the God of heaven: for why should there be wrath against the realm of the king and his sons?
VERSE 24: Also we certify you, that touching any of the priests and Levites, singers, porters, Nethinim (servants of the Levites), or ministers of the house of this house of God, IT SHALL NOT BE LAWFUL TO IMPOSE TOLL, OR TRIBUTE, OR CUSTOM UPON THEM.
Even a heathen Old Testament king had enough fear of God in him that he declared it illegal to tax the priesthood of Israel! This Gentile king didn’t even allow anybody to tax the servants of the Levites! Not even in a day when the Temple-rebuilding program badly needed finances! Today’s Gentile tithe teachers curse tithes out of New Covenant believers with Malachi 3:9, cherry-picking it out of a passage specifically directed by God to the sons of Jacob (Mal.3:6)! We aren’t mere “servants of the Levites”. We are children of Almighty God (I John 3:1-2)! We ARE the priesthood of the New Covenant (I Pet.5:1,9)! We pay secular taxes, but we don’t owe ANY preacher tribute! It riles God up when preachers scare poor people with His judgment to get money for their own lusts!
The webmaster even appealed to Paul, who taught believers that they are free from the Law. Paul likened himself to a priest serving at the altar who ought to live off the things on the altar (I Cor. 9:13). I know today’s “church altars” hold money after the “offertory service”, but money was never put on an Old Testament Altar! Only EDIBLE things like animal sacrifices and showbread were ever placed on the altar. When David came to Ahimelech the priest, he asked him for some spare bread (I Sam.21:3). David didn’t ask Ahimelech for spare change. David had another kind of bread in mind.
The “church altar” was an invention of the post-apostolic period, when “church” became an institution to “go to”, like the county fair, the opera, etc. The original church met mostly in private homes. Their altar was strictly spiritual in nature, with SPIRITUAL sacrifices only offered upon it (I Pet.2:5).
So was Paul after people’s money when he compared himself to an altar priest? I kind of doubt it. Also, where does Paul ever appeal for money in I Cor. chapter 9, or even mention the word “money”? If Paul wanted to introduce a doctrine, he didn’t beat around the bush. He spit it out. Paul does not even HINT that anyone, rich or poor, should pay preachers a tenth of their wages. Paul mentions only edible things like “fruit of the vineyard” or the “milk of the flock”. Paul was HUNGRY (II Cor.11:27). Paul wanted to eat, plain and simple. He asks the stingy Corinthians in I Cor.9:4: Have we not power to eat and to drink? (KJV). Or: “Don’t we even have a right to eat and drink?” Paul wasn’t even being fed by those he ministered to! How many modern preachers would preach even one sermon at churches which didn’t at least spring for a Big Mac, even if they were broke?
If Paul had taught (and enforced) tithing, he could have fared sumptuously, and never would have gone hungry. But clearly Paul did not teach his flock to tithe, or even suggest that they should! If tithing were an important, binding doctrine, and Paul refused to teach tithing, even out of concern for Christians who were penniless slaves, he stands guilty of gross negligence before God. But Paul says in Acts 28:27: I have not shunned to declare unto you ALL the counsel of God.* * * If Paul ever commanded tithing under the New Covenant, then SHOW ME THE SCRIPTURE! Distilling “deeper” doctrines out of Scriptures to make them say what they don’t say is to preaching what “dirty tricks” was to Nixon. Only “what is written” to the Church applies to us today.
Furthermore, Paul states in verse 33: I have coveted no man’s gold, or silver, or apparel.* * * Can YOUR preacher say that?
In 2 Cor.12:14 Paul says: Behold, the third time I am ready to come to you; and I will not be burdensome to you: FOR I SEEK NOT YOURS, BUT YOU: for the children ought not to lay up for the parents, but the parents for the children.
Paul just wanted to eat. Period. Paul plainly states in verse 18 that he glories in sharing the Gospel free of charge. Paul didn’t dare collect tithes, not even legitimate agricultural tithes. Paul was a Benjamite, not a Levite! Paul could not minister at the Jewish Temple altar. But he could minister at Christ’s spiritual altar. The same can be said of us too. Tithe teachers who seize on Paul’s altar comments to prove tithing conveniently forget we’re also priests serving God at His altar.
Preachers don’t just holler about the curse of Malachi. In cunning craftiness (Eph.4:14) preachers play on people’s fallen nature of greed. They yell about the blessing believers supposedly gain by submitting to this Old Covenant Law (Mal.3:10). The “windows of heaven” WERE poured out upon faithful Old Testament tithers. But God did not promise to pour a shower of diamonds, Rolexes, Jaguars, and green manna from heaven. “Windows of heaven” actually refers to an outpouring of RAIN, like it did in Gen. 7:11. Israel was an agricultural economy. Israel’s climate was dry and sunny, so abundant rain was badly needed. Why do so many Christians get stuck in one long “rainy day” after returning to the Law?
Remember the last time a “friend” invited you to invest in his pyramid scheme? All you wanted was an iron-clad guarantee that your life savings wouldn’t be wiped out by your “leap of faith”. So ask that preacher who’s pressuring you to test “God” with your rent money: “If God doesn’t turn Malachi’s rain water into Texas tea, are YOU gonna be the guarantor of My investment in that dead, defunct law of Moses?” Far better to follow Christ than Moses or Malachi. Read Christ’s own words in Matt.4:7: Thou shalt not tempt (put to the test) the Lord thy God.* * * Preachers don’t care if you disregard Jesus’ clear warnings so long as their pastures stay green. Put God to the test so they can have the best!
The webmaster admitted that there is strong evidence that tithing is NOT commanded in the New Covenant, but he resorted to that same old tired tactic of guilt that all flustered tithe teachers use: question the other guy’s love for Jesus. Essentially he said: “Well, it’s not exactly required, but how much do you love Jesus? Don’t you love Him enough to part with your money?”
Well, if you want a few tithes, let’s take a closer look at YOUR family tree. Is Levi the Levite REALLY your great-granddaddy a few hundred generations removed? Or did you order your genealogical chart from Wannabe-Levites-R-Us?
I don’t know about you, but if I was in a church where I felt pressured to conform to some strange doctrine which isn’t taught Christians in the Bible, I’d make like a tree and LEAVE!