Is the Tithe required today?
Giving a tenth of everything was introduced in Genesis, when Abram gave a tenth to Melchizedek.
Then Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine. He was priest of God Most High, and he blessed Abram, saying, "Blessed be Abram by God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth. And blessed be God Most High, who delivered your enemies into your hand." Then Abram gave him a tenth of everything (Genesis 14:18-20).
After the law was issued, the tithe was practiced as part of Godís ordinances for Israel. A tithe of everything from the land, whether grain from the soil or fruit from the trees, belongs to Yahweh; it is holy to Yahweh (Leviticus 27:30). The tithe was to be given to the Levite, the alien, the fatherless and the widow, for their provision.
When you have finished setting aside a tenth of all your produce in the third year, the year of the tithe, you shall give it to the Levite, the alien, the fatherless and the widow, so that they may eat in your towns and be satisfied. Then say to Yahweh your God: "I have removed from my house the sacred portion and have given it to the Levite, the alien, the fatherless and the widow, according to all you commanded. I have not turned aside from your commands nor have I forgotten any of them (Deuteronomy 26:12-13).
The tithe is referred to and described throughout the Old Testament. The last Old Testament reference is this.
"Will a man rob God? Yet you rob me. "But you ask, 'How do we rob you?' "In tithes and offerings. You are under a curse--the whole nation of you--because you are robbing me. Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this," says Yahweh Almighty, "and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it (Malachi 3:8-10).
In contrast, the New Testament does not mention the tithe, other than to state the Church is not under the law. In the New Testament passages we see that the tithe is part of the law, but that we are not to be under the law:
Now the law requires the descendants of Levi who become priests to collect a tenth from the people (Hebrews 7:5)
But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law (Galatians 5:18).
But now, by dying to what once bound us, we have been released from the law so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code (Romans 7:6).
So, if we are not under the law and the tithe is part of the law, what does God say about giving under the New Covenant? Here is how He put it in Luke:
Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you" (Luke 6:38)
And in the epistles:
So I thought it necessary to urge the brothers to visit you in advance and finish the arrangements for the generous gift you had promised. Then it will be ready as a generous gift, not as one grudgingly given. Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver (2 Corinthians 9:5-7).
I have not coveted anyone's silver or gold or clothing. You yourselves know that these hands of mine have supplied my own needs and the needs of my companions. In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: 'It is more blessed to give than to receive (Acts 20:33-35).
Jesus set the New Covenant model, by doing what the Father did. We are to be led by the Holy Spirit. Jesus explains this in the Gospel of John.
Jesus gave them this answer: "I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does (John 5:19).
Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. "I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned (John 15:4-6).
In all things, we are to be led by the Spirit. Anything apart from the Spirit is not of God. Paul emphasizes this in Romans.
The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace; the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God's law, nor can it do so. Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God. You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ. But if Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, yet your spirit is alive because of righteousness. And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you. Therefore, brothers, we have an obligation--but it is not to the sinful nature, to live according to it. For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God (Romans 8:6-14).
In summary, if you are led by the Spirit of God you will give as God directs Ė generously. If you donít believe this, ask Him, He will explain it to you. You say, ďI donít hear from God.Ē If you donít hear from God, then who are you following - Man?
"He who belongs to God hears what God says. The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God." (John 8:47)
Richard H Perry