In order to be a student of scripture, at some point you have to study on your own. You see, when you don't study scriptures on your own, you run into a couple of problems.
#1. Scriptures that may challenge religious traditions will often get left out of the normal rotation of scriptures that are studied (and everyone who has gone to church for a while knows that there is a specific rotation).
#2. The Second Problem that you run into when you don't study the bible on your own, is that the scriptures that DO get into the normal rotation often get taken out of context. We've all heard, "Bring all the tithes into the storehouse" Some people hear it every Sunday. But what does this really mean? Let us explore. What is a tithe? Believe it or not, most people don't really know what a tithe is! The word Tithe simply means 1/10th. That is all it means. So the word Tithing (or Tenthing) simply means to set aside a tenth. The word Tithe DOES NOT mean to GIVE a tenth of what you have. This may seem irrelevant, but in a minute you will see that it is not. So how did tithing get started?
In Genesis, God promised Abraham that his seed would inherit the Promised Land (Gen. 15:18). So the Israelite tribes, after being freed from Egypt, inherited the land. But not all of the tribes inherited the land. The Levite tribe inherited the tithe, instead of the land. Deut. 10:8-9 & Num. 18:23-24.
The tithe was given to the Levites as a substitute for the inherited land. But this was given on one condition. That condition was that they serve and minister to their brethren. Now, this was not the only thing that the Levites and/or Levite priests inherited. Look at Numbers 35:1-8. The Levites also inherited 2,000 cubits (about 3,000 feet) of pasture land and 48 cities! I'm glad that most preachers don't ask for all of that!
So how did the system of tithing work?
There is a good description in Deuteronomy. Deut. 14:22-29. Also, look at Deut. 26:11-13. The people would tithe from the increase of their seed (FOOD) every year. Yes, they would share their tithe with the priests as they all ate the tithe in a place that was chosen by God. If they could not carry all of their tithes or if the place that God had chosen was too far away, they could exchange their tithe for money.
Then they would take the money to the place God chose and buy whatever their hearts desired and eat before God. They were instructed not to neglect the Levites because they didn't have any inheritance. But in the THIRD year (which is called the year of tithing), the people would bring the full tithe of that year and give it, so that it could be stored within the gates for the Levites, the strangers, the motherless, the fatherless and the widows to eat. See also, Amos 4:4.
Questions to all my Tithers out there.
1. The tithe was never, ever, money! It may have been exchanged for money, but it was not money. [ II Chron. 32:28, II Chron 31:5-6, Neh. 13:5] Do you bring food or money to your church?
2. The Israelites would consume their own tithes (1/10th of the food set aside), as they shared them with the Levites, at the place which God chose. Do you eat your tithe with the preacher? Do you spend your tithe with the preacher?
3. It was only in the THIRD year in which the Israelites were required to GIVE their tithes. How often does your pastor require you to give your full tithe for the church to keep? Will you be exceedingly blessed if you tithe? Malachi 3:10 clearly states, "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." So this means you will be blessed right?
Let's take another look at the phrase "open up the windows of heaven". Look at Genesis Gen. 7:11-12 & Gen. 8:2. Also, look at I Kings 8:35. God wasn't promising blessings. He was promising RAIN! This is why God continued in Malachi 3:11 by saying, "And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith the LORD of hosts". The Israelites inheritance was conditional also. If they obeyed God's commandments, He would continue to pour rain from the windows of heaven and their seeds would be blessed.
If they disobeyed God's commandments, he would shut up the windows of heaven and stop the rain, causing a drought. Was the nation cursed for not tithing? Malachi 3:8-9 clearly states, "Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee?" In tithes and offerings. Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation." Now the first thing one must ask of one's self is this. Who was God talking to? Was he talking to the nation of people, or the priests?!
Think of this. Why would God say, "even this whole nation", if he were talking TO the nation? But let's backtrack. Look at Neh. 10: 37-39. This describes the process in which the Levites would collect the tithe from the Israelites. They would first take the tithe and then they would bring 1/10th of the tithes brought to them, up to the storehouse.
In verse 39 it says that the children of Israel and the Levites would bring the tithes to the storehouse. So, my point is, whenever the bible says, "Bring tithes into the storehouse" it doesn't necessarily mean the people. It could mean the Levites and/or priests. So who was robbing God? Could it have been the priests? Well, it wouldn't have been the first time. If you read Neh. 13:3-14, you'll see what I mean. You see, a few priests were always put in charge of the storerooms. It was the job of those priests to distribute the tithe to all of the rest of the priests and Levites. In this case, the priest Eliashib was in charge. He was crooked, and he had formed a partnership with Tobiah. Tobiah was an Ammonite. The Ammonites were known for worshipping the pagan-god Molech. Eliashib was letting Tobiah get some of the tithe that the priests' should have been getting, so the Levites had to go out into the fields and work in order to survive. More trustworthy priests had to be put in charge of the storeroom. Now, I would suggest that everyone read the entire book of Malachi, but I will highlight a few verses. Look at Malachi Mal. 1:6-7 & 2:1.
This entire book is God's message to the priests! As a matter of fact God tells the priests specifically in Malachi 2:2, "If YE will not hear, and if YE will not lay it to heart, to give glory unto my name, saith the LORD of hosts, I will even send a curse upon YOU, and I will curse YOUR blessings: yea, I have cursed them already, because YE do not lay it to heart." God had ALREADY told the priests that the curse was because of their doing!. It was the priests who were robbing the tithe. God said to them, "YE have robbed me, even this whole nation." Even the nation was suffering under the curse due to the actions of the priests. So, God's message to the priests was this. Bring ALL the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in MY house. If you do this, I will then free the nation of the curse, by letting it rain and ending the drought. Why would God be talking to the priest the entire book of Malachi, and then suddenly in chapter 3 and verse 8, start talking to everyone? And what does the word rob mean? Does it mean not to give what is owed? Or does it mean to take what has already been begotten?
The tithe was set up for the Israelites under the Mosaic law. All Christians should know what I am about to write by now. We are not under the Mosaic law anymore! Jesus fulfilled (or accomplished) the law, when he died on the cross! The old covenant was passed away and has been replaced with the new covenant (Luke 18:31-34, Luke 24:44, Acts 13:27-33). Now why would we pick one mosaic law (out of all of them) and just decide that we wanted to keep doing that one?
In the new covenant, Heaven is the promised land (our inheritance), we are all priests (1 Peter 2:5, 1 Peter 2:9, Rev. 1:6), and we all are entitled to our share. Here is a description of the original church. Acts 4:32-37, Acts 2: 42-47. In this church, there was no such thing as a person in church that was in need. People sold their possessions and divided them amongst everybody! Since they were all priests, they all got their cut. So the people that were in need were not giving, they were receiving! Nowadays you have churches where the pastor drives a Royce and lives in a mansion, but if a person is struggling and asks for help, they often times can't get it.
They are just told to "keep tithing" and you will be blessed. Sounds like politics to me. If you are in church and you are struggling, and you are being told to tithe, you have to realize that there is something wrong! Your church should be helping you. You deserve your cut!
The point of this article is not to give people an excuse to give zero money to the Church. As I wrote before, the people of the church sold their possessions and divided them amongst members. I believe that they gave their entire surplus. I don't think they were out of house and home because in Luke in talks about people giving alms (charitable donations Luke 11:41). What I'm saying is this. If you are living on the brink, paycheck to paycheck, almost bankrupt and you are giving 10% of your money to your church because you have been intimidated into believing that you are cursed if you don't, or blessed if you do, you are not being a good steward of your money. You are not being Godly. You are not giving of your own free will (II Cor. 9:7). You are being a bad steward and not taking care of home first! Be a good steward of your money. Look through the illusion of the Tithe Matrix!
About The Author: Matt Mason is the expert and founder of Free Your Mind Online, which is designed to empower individuals to take control of their finances and achieve wealth. For free info, as well as this FULL article, go to http:// and subscribe to the free online monthly newsletter.