Tithing; Man Wants Money But What Did God Want? This is the first in a series of short Bible lessons to find the truth on “Tithing”.
IMPORTANT: This lesson is not intended to encourage you to stop giving to your place of worship!
STM Bible Lesson
Lesson focus: Malachi 3:8-10. Bible lesson background: So many in the church believe they are to pay tithes. Malachi 3:10 is one of the primary passages of Scripture used to support this. I too, at one point believed that God required the church to pay tithes. Fortunately, one day God revealed the truth and set me free from this false teaching.
Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings. 9 Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation. 10 Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it. Malachi 3:8-10 (KJV)
If you think this message (prophecy) in Malachi applies to you, consider checking the first verse, Malachi 1:1. Which says “the word from the Lord to Israel“. In fact, the entire message (prophecy) in Malachi was specifically addressed to Israel not the church.
Israel was commanded to tithe but not the church
The burden of the word of the Lord to Israel by Malachi. Malachi 1:1 (KJV)
The portion of the prophecy that deals with this lesson’s focus is Malachi 3:6-15. Verse 6, also helps us know to whom God is speaking. This time the reference is “sons of Jacob” (like “children of Israel” or “Jews”). The audience did not change, the prophecy is still TO Israel.
Don’t forget, God changed Jacob’s name to Israel in Genesis 32:28. And he said, Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed Genesis 32:28 (KJV).
For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed. Malachi 3:6 (KJV)
The tithe robbery, was it money?
What was it that Israel was keeping from God? Was it money? Let’s find out what they were supposed to give God. [NOTE: all Scriptures are from the King James Version (KJV)].
- The first mention of what to tithe in the Law of Moses is Leviticus 27:30 followed by verse 32.
- 30 And all the tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land, or of the fruit of the tree, is the Lord’s: it is holy unto the Lord.
- 32 And concerning the tithe of the herd, or of the flock, even of whatsoever passeth under the rod, the tenth shall be holy unto the Lord.
Deuteronomy also gives more of what God wants.
- 12:17 Thou mayest not eat within thy gates the tithe of thy corn, or of thy wine, or of thy oil, or the firstlings of thy herds or of thy flock, nor any of thy vows which thou vowest, nor thy freewill offerings, or heave offering of thine hand:
- 14:22 Thou shalt truly tithe all the increase of thy seed, that the field bringeth forth year by year.
- We find more of what God wanted in 2 Chronicles 31.
- 5 And as soon as the commandment came abroad, the children of Israel brought in abundance the firstfruits of corn, wine, and oil, and honey, and of all the increase of the fields; and the tithe of all things brought they in abundantly.
- 6 And concerning the children of Israel and Judah, that dwelt in the cities of Judah, they also brought in the tithe of oxen and sheep, and the tithe of holy things which were consecrated unto the Lord their God, and laid them by heaps.
- The last place given that relates to tithes in the Law of Moses is Nehemiah 10.
- 37 And that we should bring the firstfruits of our dough, and our offerings, and the fruit of all manner of trees, of wine and of oil, unto the priests, to the chambers of the house of our God; and the tithes of our ground unto the Levites, that the same Levites might have the tithes in all the cities of our tillage.
What man wants vs. what God wanted
Man says you must tithe your money. But God wanted tithes from the following:
All of your increase
Man says that we must pay tithes of “ALL OF YOUR INCREASE”. But God said “Thou shalt truly tithe all the increase of thy seed“…
“Thou shalt truly tithe all the increase of thy seed, that the field bringeth forth year by year” [Deuteronomy 14:22 (KJV)] and “And as soon as the commandment came abroad, the children of Israel brought in abundance the firstfruits of corn, wine, and oil, and honey, and of all the increase of the field; and the tithe of all things brought they in abundantly.” [2 Chronicles 31:5 (KJV)]
The Bible mentions money regarding tithing. However, God did not require that anyone pay tithes with money [Deuteronomy 14:22-29].
When the children of Israel had to travel a long distance to pay tithes. They could exchange tithes for money. Next, they had to go to the chosen place where they were to give their tithe. Once there, they could purchase, using the money, whatever they wanted to eat and/or drink. Then they (and ‘the Levite’) had to eat and/or drink it “before the Lord”.
Deuteronomy 14:24-27 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: 25 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: 26 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. 27 And the Levite that is within thy gates; thou shalt not forsake him; for he hath no part nor inheritance with thee.
Tithing in the New Testament
Jesus used the word ‘tithe’ twice and ‘tithes’ once! Each time He was speaking to Pharisees about the law.
‘PHARISEES (FARE-ih-seez) “the separate people”; they followed the Jewish religious laws and customs very strictly. Jesus often spoke against them for their religious teachings and traditions.’from the New Century Version Dictionary
You be the judge. Did Jesus say, teach, or imply that the church should pay tithes? More importantly, did He say anything about tithing money?
Also in Hebrews
The only place (other than in Matthew and Luke) in the New Testament that mentions ‘tithes‘ or tenth as in paying tithes is in the book of Hebrews. The tenth is used in reference to Abraham giving a tenth of the recovered items to Melchisedec [Hebrews 7:2 and 4]. Tithing is mentioned in Hebrews 7:5, 6, 8, and 9. You decide if any of them tell you to tithe money.
That’s it, there is no further mention of tithing in the New Testament.
The Wrap Up
Make no mistake, money did exist during this time. In fact, God commanded the children of Israel to pay a mandatory amount of money as ransom for their lives. But it was not used in or for tithing. More details provided in a future lesson…
Exodus 30:16 And thou shalt take the atonement money of the children of Israel, and shalt appoint it for the service of the tabernacle of the congregation; that it may be a memorial unto the children of Israel before the Lord, to make an atonement for your souls. (KJV)
So, it is safe to say God did not command anyone, including you, to tithe money! Let’s review what was revealed.
Now that you have completed this lesson you can continue tithing if you want. Are you convinced that God does not require that you (the church) tithe MONEY? Blessings to you and your loved ones—♥ Tim. ☺
Related Bible studies:
See what is available on the Sound Truth Ministry website.
Note: parenthesis (#) encloses the key verse(s).
Malachi 3:6-15; Leviticus 27:28-33 (30); Deuteronomy 12:5-7, 15-19, 14:22-29 (22-23). 2 Chronicles 31:1-10; Nehemiah 10:35-39 (37). Matthew 23:1-36 (23-24); Luke 11:37-54 (42) and 18:9-14 (12); Hebrews 7:1-19 (2, 4-6, and 8-9). Exodus 30:11-16 (16) and 38:25-31.