Rebuttal to Kenneth Copeland on Tithing     EDITED

Copeland: What does it mean to tithe according to the Word?

Kelly: It means to obey EVERYTHING the Bible says about tithing: (1) Only OT Hebrews, (2) Only FOOD from inside God’s holy land, (3) Levite tithe only given to servants of the priests, (4) Levites only give priests one per cent and (5) tithe recipients are not allowed to own or inherit property (Numbers 18).

Copeland: Matthew 23:23 …

Addressing the religious people of the day, Jesus said that they tithed their money but they neglected the important matters of the heart. …

Kelly: The Bible says “mint and cumin” –not “money.” Biblical HOLY tithes were always only FOOD from inside Israel. Non-food producers and Gentiles could not tithe and tithes could not come from outisde Israel.  In Mt 23:23 Jesus was discssing “matters of the law.”

Copeland: … we can expand our definition and say that tithing is bringing the first tenth to Jesus, according to His Word …

Kelly: You have CHANGED the DEFINITION of “tithe” from God’s Word. Then you have erroneously blended it with “firstfruits.” Firstfrutis and tithes were never the same thing. Firstfrutis were very small token offerings. Tithes were “tenth-fruits.”

Copeland: … Faith works by love (Galatians 5:6) …

Kelly: And tithing is cold hard law which was required from food producers whether they had faith or not. Placing Christians under the Law is the same as “witchcraft” per Gal 3:1.

Copeland: … and righteousness is by faith in Jesus Christ (Romans 3:22). …

Kelly: We are saved “by grace through faith.” Adding anything else is adding works of law back into it (Eph 2:8-9).

Copeland: … Therefore, these three cannot be separated. When we tithe, we need to be mindful of all these areas. …

Kelly: Your preaching of tithing is like a congressman voting himself a pay raise by robbing the poor. Nobody actually bibllically tithes today. They may sacrificially give freewill offerings, but those are not tithes.

Copeland: … Let’s look at tithing from the level of “faith first” by studying Genesis 4:1-8 … LONG DISCUSSION


Kelly: This is not a discussion of tithing. After the fall the land was CURSED and sin offerings must include sacrifice and the shedding of blood.


Copeland: … I’m satisfied that the revelation which they received was the knowledge that the whole earth belonged to God and they (who were given the use of the earth) were to tithe a tenth of it back to God (Leviticus 27:30Psalms 24:1Haggai 2:8). …

Kelly: While it is true that the whole earth belonged to God (PS 24:1), He only accepted HOLY tithes from inside His blessed HOLY land of Israel (Lev 27:30).

Copeland: … No wonder the church has fought over the tithe–the first murder was committed over it. …

Kelly: This is horrendous abuse of God’s Word.

Copeland: As the New Testament church, we cannot afford disobedience either. But sin and the hundredfold blessing of God lie at the door. We are the only ones with the authority to let one or the other in. This is one of the reasons that we have been robbed financially….

Kelly: You disobey God every time you change the definition of God’s HOLY tithe and enrich yourself financially while robbing from the poor.

Copeland: Gen 14:18-20. … The first thing Abram did was tithe the spoils. …

Kelly: Yes, but why? The Bible does not tell us why. Verse 21 suggests that a pagan Cannanite law of the land was the motive behind the tithe and Abram was compelled to obey the law of the land. This is verified in socres of books on ancient religions.

Copeland: … The king whose goods had been stolen greedily watched Abram, thinking that he was going to keep all of the spoil. He wanted some of it back. After all, it belonged to him before those armies came in and stole it. …

Kelly: First, this was a different king of Sodom because the first had been killed. Second, the law of the land allowed Abram to keep all the spoils except the tithe to the local king-priest. The king of Sodom was merely hoping for grace from Abram.

Copeland: He went to Abram and said; “Give me the persons, and take the goods to thyself. …


Kelly: The king of Sodom actdually had not right to anything.


Copeland: And Abram said to the king of Sodom, I have lifted up mind hand unto the Lord, the most high God, the possessor of heaven and earth. That I will not take from a thread even to a shoelatchet …


Kelly: Abram had already pre-determined not to be enriched through spoils of war. God had already blessed him beyond measure when he had not deserved it.


Copeland: “I promised when I tithed the spoils that I wouldn’t even take one of your shoestrings, lest you say that you are the one that made me rich.” …

Kelly: The Bible does not tell us WHEN he made the promise to God to keep nothing. He might have made such promise BEFORE the battle or even BEFORE leaving for battle to rescue Lot.

Copeland: The next time you approach the tithing altar, realize that Jesus your High Priest is standing there. Judge yourself according to the Word of God. Test your heart and your motives. …

Kelly: What is a “titing altar”? Nehemiah 10:37b038 tells us that the ordinary people brought their tithes to the Levitical cities were the Levites and priests lived and needed the tithes for food. The Levites and priests RECEIVED the FOOD tithes in the Levitical cities –not in the Temple. Only the Levites and priests normally brought very small portions of the FOOD tithe to the temple for weekly use per Mal 3:10-11.

Copeland: Don’t just tithe and neglect the weightier matter of justice. Abram did what was right and just. He tithed righteously, not selfishly. Abram is our example….

Kelly: Abram also gave the 90% to the king of Sodom and lied to Pharash about his wife. Are those also our examples or only what you choose?


The Matter of Mercy

Mercy is the last area that Jesus mentioned in Matthew 23:23 concerning how we ought to tithe.

Kelly: Why do you ignore WHAT Jesus said was tithe-able? –FOOD, mint and cumin—from inside Israel.

Copeland: Read Nehemiah 10:38,39 and you will see what I mean; “(1) And the priest the son of Aaron shall be with the Levites, (2) when the Levites take tithes: (3) and the Levites shall bring up the tithe of the tithes unto the house of our God, to the chambers, unto the treasure house. (4) For the children of Israel and the children of Levi shall bring the offering of the corn, of the new wine, and the oil, unto the chambers, where are the vessels of the sanctuary, (5) and the priests that minister, and the porters, and the singers: and we will not forsake the house of our God.


Kelly: Wow! Copeland actually has the guts to quote this text BUT he does not quote verse 37! (1) The Levites and priests received the tithe from the people –NOT IN THE TEMPLE—but in the Levitical cites (Neh 10:37b). (2) The first whole Levitical tithe went to the Levites –not to the priests (Num 18:21-24). (3) Levites (and priests) brought portion of the tithe they needed to minister for one week at a time to the SMALL Temple store-room (Neh 12:44). (4) The Temple chambers were much too small to hold ALL the tithe of the nation; it held freewill firstfruit offerings (Neh 10:35-37a). (5) The tithe first feed the Levite servants to the priests who were also the guards and singers.


Copeland: To attend church every Sunday and always be on the receiving end and never on the giving end is selfish. …

Kelly: This comes from a man who is filthy rich with many houses and jet planes.

Copeland: The person who does this has forgotten the weightier matter of mercy and love. Love gives. …


Kelly: Again, “weightier matters — OF THE LAW” is omitted from Mt 23:23.


Copeland: To withhold the tithe is to forsake the household of God….


Kelly: The tithe was never commnded to Gentiles or the Church either before or after Calvary. And church “tithe-recipients” do not forsake ownersip of property.



Who Receives the Tithe?

Jesus is the High Priest over the house  of God in the New Testament. In the spirit, He receives our tithes and presents them to the Father in heaven. But who receives them here on earth?

Kelly: There are no real biblical HOLY tithes from inside God’s HOLY land of Israel today! That which Copeland recieves as “tithes” he presents to aircraft and real estate salesmen.


II Chronicles 31:4,5 says that the priests and Levites, or the ministry, received the tithe that they might be encouraged. This is not an issue that we can handle lightly. …

Kelly: Read the whole chapter. King Hezeiah had erroneously commadned the people to bring ALL the tithes to the Temple in Jerusalem; there was no storehouse, therefore they rotted in the streets! After consulting the Levites and priests, the tithes were then REDISTRIBUTED to the Levitcal cities in verses 15-19.

Copeland: Under the Old Covenant, the tithe was brought mainly into the temple in Jerusalem and the local synagogue.

Kelly: No. This is contrary to what we have just discussed in Neh 10:35-38; 13:5-10 and 2 Chron 31:15-19. And there were no synagogues prior to the exile to Babylon. Synagogues were run by SELF-SUPPORTING rabbis who would not accept tithes which belonged to the Levites and priests. This is false theology and false history.

Copeland: In the New Testament, the local church is the backbone of the body of Christ.

Kelly: Read any reputable church historian. The early church hid and met in catacombs and graveyards for centuries as an outlaw religion. It had no church buildings to store anything. The church is not a storehouse. Both the OT Temple and priesthood were replaced, not by Gospel Workers, but by the priesthood of every believer.

Copeland: Malachi 3:10 … Wherever you are receiving revelation, that is where your tithe should go.

Kelly: Freewill, generous, sacrificial offerings YES. Tithes –NO.

Copeland: But let us also notice that Paul said that the church at Philippi supported him.

Kelly: When Paul left Philippi he told the next church at Thessalonica that he worked “night and day” to support himself. The church at Philippi did NOT fully support him. Paul accepted limited support because he was poor– not because he was a gospel worker.

Copeland: … Will you allow Jesus to direct your giving? If you are, God will open the windows of heaven and pour out a blessing so rich, so abundant that you will not be able to contain it!


Kelly: This is a misuse of Malachi 3:10. The whole law was a test –not merely tithing (Neh 10:29; Mal 4:4). Obey all to be blessed; break one to be cursed. God cannot bless a New Covenant Christian for obedience to an Old Covenant conditional promise.


Copeland: Let me provide you with a sample confession for your tithe based on Deuteronomy 26. First read that entire chapter.

Kelly: Yes, read the entire chapter. (1) Tithes were always only FOOD from inside God’s holy land of Israel which God had miraculously increased. (2) The second festaival tithe was eaten in the streets of Jerusalem and not placed into the Temple storehosue. (3) The third third-year tithe was kept in the towns for the poor. (4) The total tithe was at least 20% and probably 23 1/3rd%.

Copeland: Then relate it to the New Testament and hold your tithe before the Lord as you say out loud:

“We profess this day unto the Lord God that we have come into the inheritance which the Lord swore to give us.


Kelly: (1) We Gentiles were prohibited from tithing under the Old Covenant and Israel was prohibited from using tithes to convert us Gentiles. (2) New Covenant Gentile Christians cannot hold up HOLY food from inside Israel. (3) The instructions in Deuteronomy 26 are impossible for Christians to obey today. (4) The blessings and curses of the Old Covenant follow.


Copeland: We are in the land which You have provided for us in Jesus Christ, the kingdom of Almighty God (Colossians 1:13).


Kelly: This is not a direct corrolation to tithing.


Copeland: … “Jesus, as our Lord and High Priest, we bring the firstfruits of our income to You and worship the Lord our God with it. …


Kelly: Not biblical. Firstfruits were very small token offerings and not tithes (Deu 26:1-4; Neh 10:35-37). Christians are to use their first income for medicine, food and essential shelter per First Timothy 5:8.



We rejoice in all the good which You have given to us and our household. We have hearkened to the voice of the Lord our God and have done according to all that He has commanded us. Now look down from Your holy habitation from heaven and bless us as You said in Deuteronomy 26:14,15 and Malachi 3:10,11.”


Kelly: In other words “God, I am a New Covenant Christian and have obeyed at least one of 613 Old Covenant commands. Therefore you are obligated to bless me.”


Russell Earl Kelly, PHD






Rebuttal of Kenneth Copeland on Tithing

BY Russell Earl Kelly, PHD

August 18, 2009


Understanding Tithing, Kenneth Copeland


Russell Kelly: When it comes to discussing any doctrine with Word of Faith preachers such as Kenneth Copeland, it is impossible to dialog from the standpoint of biblical hermeneutics (principles of interpretation). Word of Faith ignores context and uses God’s Word as a magic Ouija board to pull meaning out of individual words against God’s teaching.


Copeland: “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. 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” (Malachi 3:10-11).

Kelly: This is the most mis-interpreted text in all of the Bible. God does not and cannot bless New Covenant believers because of their supposed obedience to one of hundreds of Old Covenant commands which were never commanded to the Church after Calvary (1:1, 6; 2:1). See my long discussion at

Copeland: This is God Himself speaking and He is saying, “Prove Me in this.” This is the only time in the Word where God instructs us to prove Him, and it is the one area where most people have withdrawn from proving God.

Kelly: First, Malachi was addressed only to Old Covenant national Israel and NOT to New Covenant Christians. Second, the statement by Copeland is false. The whole law was a test –not merely tithing. Obey ALL to be blessed; break ONE to be cursed. The only way to claim blessings from tithing would be to obey the whole Old Covenant law (Neh 10:29; Gal 3:110-13). And, even then, God is working through His New Covenant stipulations. See

Copeland: Tithing was instituted under the Old Covenant as a way for God to communicate His blessing to His people.

Kelly: Notice that Copeland does not even give “out of context” texts to vallidate this statement. He merely declares it to be so! That is his specialty. Tithing was instituted in Numbers 18 to sustain Levites and priests for ministering in the sanctuary and for losing land and property inheritance. Copeland gets both: he received the tithe and he owns much property which is against the tithing law.

Copeland: The word tithe means “tenth or ten percent.”

Kelly: This is the greatest lie of tithe-teachers. If one defines “tithe” from God’s Word it always refers only to food from inside Israel which had been miraculously increased by God. Although money was common even in Genesis and essential for sanctaury worship, money was never included in the 16 texts which describe the contents of the tithe. Jesus, Peter and Paul did not qualify as tithe-payers and neither did the poor nor those (like almost all of us) who lived outside of Israel in defiled pagan lands.

Copeland: Proverbs 3:9 says, “Honour the Lord with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase.” Tithes are to be given from the first fruits, from the top— the gross, not the net.

Kelly: This is another common lle told by tithe-teachers. Firstfruits and tithes were never the same thing in the Bible. Firstfruits were very small token offerings per Deu 26:1-4; Neh 10:35-38 and the Pentecost wave-sheaf. Tithes were tenth-fruit only after the full harvest or every tenth animal –whether the best or not per Lev 27:30-34.

Copeland: A person who does not tithe is robbing God and is operating under a curse (Malachi 3:8-9). The first fruits of our income is God’s; it is not ours to use to pay bills.

Kelly: Copeland has combined two lies here. If he receives tithes, then he should obey the whole tithing satute of Numbers 18. (1) Give the first whole Levitical tithe to Levite servants such as ushers, deacons, choir, musicians and politicians per 18:21-24 and 1 Chron 23 to 26. (2) Only give 1% to priests per 18:25-28. (3) Ignore the NT doctrine of the priesthood of every believer. (4) Only allow preachers inside the sanctuary. (5) Forfeit property ownrship and (6) kill anybody who dares to worship God directly. See Numbers 18.

Copeland: Tithing is different from seed-faith gifts and offerings. The tithe is your 10 percent that God commands us to give—gifts and offerings are above and beyond it.

Kelly: Tithes were always only food from food producers inside Israel. Everybody else could only give freewill offerings.  The NT church alwalys only gave freewill offerings.

Copeland: Some people want to give “as the Lord leads them” instead of tithing—but the Spirit would never lead you against His Word. The Word says to tithe.

Kelly: Notice tha Copeland has no biblical validation for the church because the church was never commadned by the Spirit to tithe.

Copeland: Tithing is not only an Old Covenant command, but also a New Testament blessing and privilege. Hebrews 7:8 says, “Here men that die receive tithes. But there he receiveth them, of whom it is witnessed that he liveth.”

Kelly: Copeland ignores the context of Hebrews 7:5, 12, 18, 19. In 7:12 we are told that it was “necessary to change the law” of tithing first mentioned in 7:5. And 7:18 says that the “commandment going before” to tithe from 7:5 had been “annulled” because of its “weakness” and “unprofitableness”and because of the better new covenant of 7:19.

Copeland: In the Old Covenant, God’s people would place their tithe—the first fruits of their increase—in a basket, present it to the high priest, and say to him, “I profess this day unto the Lord thy God, that I am come unto the country which the Lord sware unto our fathers for to give us” (Deuteronomy 26:2-3). They spoke their redemption.

Kelly: Manipulation! Read Deuteronomy 26:1-4. It is speaking of the firstfrutis and not the tithe. And the “firstfruits” are so very small that they would fit into a small handbasket.

Copeland: According to Colossians 1:13, we have been delivered from the power of darkness and translated into the kingdom of his dear Son. As believers, we are living in the kingdom of God. We have entered into our inheritance in Jesus Christ and possess it in His Name. Jesus is the High Priest of the New Covenant.

Kelly: Copeland is mixing context to emphasize his false conclusion.

Copeland: When we take our tithes to our High Priest and speak our redemption, He receives them and then presents them to the Father (Hebrews 3:1, 7:8).

Kelly: This is classic Word of Faith out-of-context manipulation. There is no connection between Hebrews 3:1 and 7:8. Copeland says that our tithes must be with us when we approach God –sounds like a bribe. Are the poor to tithe and do without medication and essential food and shelter? Copeland thinks so.

Copeland: When we stand on our covenant with God and exercise our rights as tithers, we lay a foundation for success and abundance. Satan has no chance against us.

Kelly: We stand on the New Covenant which was sealed at Calvary and given to the Church after Calvary. It does not contain a single word commanding the church to tithe. NT giving is freewill, generous, sacrificial, joyful, not by commandment or percentage and motivated by love for God and lost souls. For many that means more than 10% and for many others means less than 10%. Satan has no chance with us even if we cannot afford to give 10%.

Copeland: Tithing the tithe rebukes the devourer!

Kelly: The context is that of food from Israel and the definition of food never changed for over 1500 years from Leviticus to Luke. Why?

Copeland: When we resist Satan in the Name of Jesus, God’s rebuke is in action.

Kelly: This is true whether or not one can afford to give 10%. The poor widow had nothing to give after giving her last cent.

Copeland: God told the Israelites their words were stout against Him. They were confessing lack and want. It is important to speak our redemption in order for the tithe to produce.

Kelly: This is Word of Faith gibberish which ignores the context.

Copeland: Where you place you tithe depends on where you are receiving your spiritual food. God says to bring the tithes into the storehouse. That is where the food is—where a pastor, an evangelist, an apostle or some other ministry is in operation.

Kelly: Read Nehemiah 10:37b-38. The ordinary people were commnded to bring their tithes to the 48 (later 13) Levitical cities where the Levites and priests received them together per Numbers 35 and Joshua 20 and 21. Also read Nehemiah 13:5. The Temple only had two small storerooms to hold the tithe for those rotating a week at a time in service. Malachi 3:10 makes no sense unless it only refers to the dishonest priests of 1:13-14. The ekklesia-church is not a storehouse and no buildings existed for over 200 years after Calvary.

Copeland: When you give, you are not giving to an individual, but for the furtherance of the gospel. Since your tithe is God’s money and since Jesus is the One who handles and receives it, you should always pray and let Him tell you where it should be put to work.

Kelly: Copeland, Hinn, the Crouches and al of the Word of Faith preachers will gladly receive your sacrifice and use it to buy airplanes and many properties in violation of Numbers 18.

Russell Earl Kelly, PHD