Monday, May 6, 2013

What Does The Bible Say About Tithes?

Dear Microwave,
It took me time because I wanted to answer this question in great depth. Tithes are the tenth of your income unto God, not to the Levites but unto God. The tithes would then be used for the Levites and the entire house of God so that there is no lack. (Mal 3:10). Abraham began tithes to Melchisedec: king of Salem  (Gen 14:17-20; Heb 7: 2-4). Jacob continued the practice even before the law was set (Gen 28:22; Gen 35:7). In Leviticus, God required the people to give a tenth deal of flour. To contextualize it, it would mean what you could afford as income. In Numbers 18:21, God says he has given the Levites all the tenth in Israel for their services. That is because the Levite did not work besides serving in the tabernacle. In modern organizations where the prelate has a salary or a job, then they are not required to partake of the tithes. Nonetheless, tithes are still required for the maintenance of the building and paying of the bills just like the tithes of those days were for caring for the temple and its necessities.  The necessity of tithing does not make it biblically normative as we will see in the scripture.
Before it became a law (Deut 14:22), it was a voluntary act as seen in Abraham’s and Jacob’s actions.  Abraham gave once because during that time it was a voluntary act and despite giving his tenth of his spoils, he then wanted to offer the greatest of sacrifices: his son Isaac. Such was the track record of a giver whose act was no more necessary to be proven, for it spoke for itself. When it became law, it was required per every income because Israelites had become selfish even unto God their giver.
No doubt and without bargain, God required the Israelites give their tithes (one tenth of our income) and offerings. However, the issue is with the idea of giving because a man of God prophesied that if you give or sow seeds, miracles will happen to you, yet when you gave nothing happened. Such was not good prophecy and the giver should desist from giving those types of gifts. They know that is what you want to hear. There is one thing you must know with the blessings and prayers that God answers. If you are praying for food and God does not give you food; He knows how he will make you to survive. 
Those prophecies are destined to swindle from the people. That is what I call Retiary Gospel. It is crookery when people use the Bible to deceive others into giving. With agricultural syllogism of sowing seed, farmers do not need a big seed to reap a big harvest. All they need is a good seed and a good seed is one’s life that they live for the glory of God. Some have given monster seeds and did not receive while others gave a mustard seed and received. Such was not good prophecy and the giver should desist from giving those types of gifts.
The problem today is that the priest and Levites of today are far more in affluence than the giving parishioners and that is where the problem lies. Ministers today have financial hegemonies while their congregants are samples of pauperism. .
Tithes were not just an Old Testament concept, but their application was different in the days of Jesus. Rather, he condemns the spirit behind it as in the parable of the Pharisee and the publican (Lk 18:10-14). Jesus neither condemned nor promoted the exercise of tithing. To Jesus, no amount of giving would outweigh a contrite spirit.  
Therefore, with the advent of Jesus, tithes (although not annulled) reverted to the old position of Abraham and Jacob on voluntary giving or offering. Was Isaac more than 1/10 of his income? That is why Jesus does not condemn them nor does he promote them. Consequently, the spirit behind the act of giving is what matters rather than the gift itself. That is why the widow’s mite is more important than the gifts of the rich.
            It should also be clear that one does not need to give to be blessed because we serve a compassionate God that blesses the farm of the wicked like that of the righteous (Mt 5:45). However, there are certain blessings that only go as fulfillment of the promised of fulfilled conditions. The fact that we prayed does not mean that God will answer. There are a couple of reasons why our prayers may not be answered: if it was not the appointed time for God to solve that issue, (Eccl 3:1), to test our faith (I Pet 1:7; I Cor 10:11), to make us dependent on God (2 Cor 12:7-10) and if we are living in sin (Jer 5:25; Jer 4:18).
            If God made you a promise, you should receive. The reason why you don’t receive is because God did not promise it to you. The Bible says: “God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?” (Num 23:19). If God opens a door for you nobody and nothing can shut it (Rev 3:8). If the door closes on you it is because it was not God who opened it. Jeremiah told the people: “Then said the LORD unto me, Thou hast well seen: for I will hasten my word to perform it.” (Jer 1:12). God will always fulfill his word.God loves a cheerful giver so don't give with a grudging heart. The more you give, the more God will open the windows of heaven to bless you.

Until then, I hope I have answered your question.

St Arrey of Ntenako.

“Bonyfish beware because the same net that caught the jawless fish, caught the cartilaginous fish” (Hamilton Ayuk). Beware earthly paradise seekers because there is a serpent in every paradise"(Hamilton Ayuk). "It is not how well you know a person; it is how well you treat them that they will live longer and happier with you." Idle people write, idler people read, and idlest people read and whine that idle people are taking their time (Hamilton Ayuk).

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