Pastor Ocean Hamandishe
The Body of Christ may differ in administrating tithe proceeds, but I still maintain that paying tithe in today’s church is scriptural. INTERPRETING scriptures is not easy especially with diversity of faith religions and different denominations around us.
The Bible has different topics that are considered controversial. The paying of tithe is one of the topics that are usually debated publicly and privately. I have received a number of messages from readers who wanted me to respond to the discussion of tithe. In this article, I will attempt to answer certain questions as well as add my contribution concerning tithe on whether we should pay it in this New Testament era?
Tithe in simple terms is 10 percent of your produce or income. Space would not allow me to expound on the definition and calculations, but rather I would want to go to critical areas which I think may be very important to point out.
Others argue that the payment of tithe is no longer an obligation for a New Testament Church. One of their bases is that in the New Testament there are no Levites and priests as described in the Old Testament. The priests, Levites and orphans are specifically mentioned in the Old Testament as those who benefited from the proceeds of tithe. It was their portion as a payment of ministering in God’s temple because they had no inheritance and fields. It was proper for them to receive tithes and also share together with orphans.
I would like to quickly point out that the first person mentioned in the Bible who gave tithe was Abraham. Genesis 14 vs18-20.The priest had come to bless him.
When he gave tithe, he was moved by honouring God. Although he gave to the High Priest of that time, Melchidezek, he was not moved by pity, neither pushed by law to give tithe. He did it in reverence to God and he was not following a certain law written somewhere because during his time, no law was in existence. He also acted out of faith. Moses was not yet born to deliver the law and other regulations of worshipping God.
Abraham had many reflections of how a New Testament believer should live. Abraham is called father of faith. His act in tithing before the law is also one of the qualities that qualifies him to be the father of faith among other attributes.
Abraham understood that the earth and everything in it belongs to God. Later Moses confirmed in the Book of Lev 27:30 that tithe belongs to God. “A tithe of everything from the land, whether grain from the soil or fruit from the trees, belongs to the Lord; it is holy to the Lord”
Abraham gave tithe to the High Priest (Melchidezek) who represented Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is now our High Priest. When you tithe today, you will be paying it to the High Priest who is Jesus. (Hebrews 5vs 6,10. Ch 6vs 20 and Hebrews Chapter 7).
Tithing was not necessarily the issue of helping priests, but paying to God. It was holy and is still holy to the Lord. God Himself saw it fit and decided to give back His own portion that comes from the produce of the earth to Levites, priests and orphans. If tithe is regarded as God’s portion, one should honour Him by separating His tithe despite that the New Testament Church set up is now different from the Old Testament set up. You are paying to God first before God gives it back to His beneficiaries. Tithe is still useful today as we have God’s ministers whose welfare is supposed to be catered for from it (tithe).
I agree with others who say that a New Testament minister cannot rely on tithe only. This could be in order as Apostle Paul was also a tent maker, a reason why other ministers work to support themselves unless his church is able to cater for his welfare fully.
Otherwise, tithe is still beneficial to the payer and to the workers who minister in God’s vineyard today. If Levites and priests were ministers of God and paid from tithe, I believe it is scriptural for those who minister in today’s world be paid from tithe.
The Bible says in 1 Cor 9:13-14: “Don’t you know that those who work in the temple get their food from the temple, and those who serve at the altar share in what is offered on the altar? 14 In the same way, the Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should receive their living from the gospel”.
This was given in reference to tithe because priests who ministered in temples had their living catered from what was brought in the temples, that is tithe and offerings. We may agree that the minister of the gospel is not the only person to benefit from tithe in the New Testament’s church.
The Body of Christ may differ in administrating tithe proceeds, but I still maintain that paying tithe in today’s church is scriptural. Tithe is one of the sources of income to pay ministers of the gospels and other workers in the house of God.
If we quote and borrow from Old Testament, the same emphasises which was given on tithes was also given to offerings.
Malachi 3:8: “Will a man rob God? Yet you rob me.” But you ask, ‘How do we rob you?’ In tithes and offerings.
Tithe is the only reference in the Bible we pay to God, while offering can be offered at will although it is important to give wholeheartedly. Why ignoring what God specifically said its mine, yet accepting that offering is giving to God. Both are important.
I view tithe as a decent and clear way approved by God to collect (church income) from those who pay it to Him. Removing tithe in the equation of collecting resources for the church will only lead to what we see today as members can be manipulated to give beyond what they should.
The church should not try to create unbiblical methods of collecting money from innocent members. Speaking against tithe will only rob members from receiving a blessing from God.
Not all written in the Old Testament is no longer relevant, the major difference between New and Old Testaments has to do with our way to salvation and other related fundamentals on faith. However, there are still other things from the Old Testament that are applicable in today’s church, tithing being one of the things. Blessings!!