The Abiding Validity of the Tithe – Part 2

Posted on December 28, 2016 by glennshaffer

Glenn: The Purpose of the Tithe: There is something powerful about worshiping God systematically with our substance. It is a constant act of worship revealing our faith, God’s ownership, and our submission. It takes faith to give ten percent of your increase off the top. It constantly reminds us that God has ownership over our lives. It also requires submission to God’s authority and trust in his Church on the earth.

Means of Submission: One can’t regularly tithe without submitting to authority. It requires trust in the body of Christ. It acknowledges that God provides an ordained receipt of the tithe.

Russell Kelly: It is wrong to make blanket statements without validating Bible texts. Such statements have no impact at all and should be ignored.

Glenn: The fact that Abraham tithed before the law demonstrates that God established the tithe and provided a recipient of His tithe before the ceremonial requirements of the law were established (Gen. 14:20).

Russ: No. The fact that uncircumcised Abram tithed before the law merely proves that pagans originated pagan tithes of spoils of war throughout the known world of Abram. Many Bible commentaries validate this and any large public library can validate it. Abram’s tithe was neither commanded by God nor given freely; it was probably in obedience to well-known Semitic law and it would not have been accepted as a HOLY Levitical tithe under the Law as the word is used by Moses, Nehemiah, Malachi and Jesus.

Glenn: The tithe shows ownership and declares plainly a life of faith.

Russ: No. Even though God owned everything (Ps 24:1), the HOLY tithe could only come from Hebrew food-producers living inside God’s HOLY land of Israel (Lev 27:30-34). The O.T. tithe was purely law and none of faith.

Glenn: It was an act of worship and faith when Abraham offered his tithe to Melchizedek.

Russ: No. God’s Word does not say that; it is only your opinion. Extra-biblical documents prove the widespread existence of pagan tithes from spoils of war.

Glenn: When a person tithes, he is saying, “God is my source.”

Russ: No. He is obeying the Mosaic Law commanded to support O.T. Levites and priests who forfeited permanent property rights and fortunes (Num 18:20). O. T. Hebrews living inside HOLY Israel were required to tithe by command of Law whether they liked it or not.

Glenn: The Bible makes it clear the tithe belongs to God.

Russ: Yes, but the HOLY biblical tithe was severely limited to food producers who lived inside God’s HOLY land. God did not request or accept tithes from anywhere else or from anybody else. Not even Jesus or Paul tithed.

Glenn: “Will a man rob God? Yet you have robbed Me! But you say, ‘In what way have we robbed You?’ In tithes and offerings” (Mal. 3:8). You cannot rob someone of something that is not theirs.

Russ: (1) The context is O.T. Israel (1:1). (2) The context is the Law of Moses (4:4). (3) From 1:6; 2:1 to the end “you” refers to dishonest ministers who were robbing God (1:6-14). (4) If Nehemiah 13:5-10 is the context, priests had stolen tithes from the Levites and God was commanding them to replace the stolen tithes. Today modern ministers rob God and His children by redefining tithes, owning property and amassing wealth contrary to the Bible (Num 18:20).

Glenn: Leviticus tells us, “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 to the LORD” (Lev. 27:30).

Russ: TRUE. Why did you change God’s Word? The text clearly limits tithes to food from inside “the land” of Israel.

Glenn: The tithe is the Lord’s. It could also be said that we rob God today under the New Testament when we refuse to not only tithe but to praise Him and give Him our obedience.

Russ: Your statement is false. Tithe-accepting gospel workers rob God when they (1) receive money instead of food, (2) are not Levites or priests, (3) amass wealth, (4) own and inherit property and (5) ignore First Timothy 5:8 (Num 18:20-28).

Glenn: All our life belongs to him.

Russ: Yes, but He only accepted food from inside HOLY Israel as His HOLY tithes. Though money was common, money is not found in 16 texts describing the tithe.

Glenn: Ownership of the tithe is demonstrated in Leviticus 27:30-34.

Russ: Yes, and it is only food from inside HOLY Israel. Tithes were still only food 1000 years later in Malachi 3:10 and remained only food 400 years later in Matthew 23:23.

Glenn: Here instruction is given for a person to redeem some of his tithe if he so chooses. When it came time to tithe off of the increase of the heard, the Levite would coral all the animals from the increase of the previous year into a fenced area. Every tenth one belonged to the Lord. If by chance one of the owner’s best potential breeders came up as one of the tenth, God allowed him to redeem it by giving another animal plus 20 percent. If the owner tried to finagle and get another animal lined up in its place, then he had to pay both the one he was trying to keep and the one with which he was trying to trade. God was showing ownership in that every 10th part belonged to Him, and it was not theirs to keep.

Russ: Notice that the tithe was still only FOOD from inside HOLY Israel. Notice also that it was neither the FIRST nor the BEST. You have illegally redefined God’s HOLY tithe.

Glenn: In explaining the priesthood of Christ, the writer of Hebrews points out the importance of Melchizedek. He shows “how great this man was” (Heb. 7:4), to whom Abraham gave a tithe or tenth. Jesus is of the order of priesthood of Melchizedek. In Hebrews, we see that Jesus was present figuratively as the recipient of the tithe of Abraham.

Russ: The “order” of Melchizedek was: KING AND PRIEST. Christ’s priesthood is as KING AND PRIEST. It is not after the historical person of Melchizedek. The command to collect tithes in 7:5 was “changed” in 7:12 to “being annulled” in 7:18. Why do you ignore that???

Glenn: Today, all those of faith are sons of Abraham and pay tithe to Christ in the priesthood of Melchizedek.

Russ: No, Hebrews 7:12 and 7:18 prove you wrong.

Glenn: Under the New Testament, the same validity remains as He receives the tithe in the Church under the same priesthood.

Russ: Not a single post-Calvary text validates that.

We can use this same argument to show that the ordained recipient of the tithe not only validates tithing but also points to the authority structure of Christ in His church.

Russ: Not a single post-Calvary text validates that.

Glenn: It is difficult for those who do not discern the Body of Christ to see just how important this aspect can be. That is why tithing often is an authority issue more than anything else. It requires one to see Christ as the receiver of the tithe in His church and to trust His Church.

In all instances, God himself is the receiver of the tithe. With that in mind, it must be seen that God provides an ordained recipient of His tithe. As we have mentioned Abraham, God provided His own recipient, “one without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life; but made like unto the Son of God” (Heb. 7:3). The lesser gave tithe to the greater, and the greater blessed the lesser.
Under the law, God also gave specific instructions regarding who was to receive the tithe. God determined the place, purpose, and use of the tithe. This was important. For it to be God’s, He must determine these aspects.

But you shall seek the place where the Lord your God chooses, out of all your tribes, to put His name for His habitation; and there you shall go. There you shall take your burnt offerings, your sacrifices, your tithes, the heave offerings of your hand, your vowed offerings, your freewill offerings, and the firstlings of your herds and flocks… then there will be the place where the Lord your God chooses to make His name abide. There you shall bring all that I command you: your burnt offerings, your sacrifices, your tithes, the heave offerings of your hand, and all your choice offerings which you vow to the Lord. And you shall rejoice before the Lord your God, you and your sons and your daughters, your menservants and your maidservants, and the Levite who is within your gates, since he has no portion nor inheritance with you (Deut. 12:5, 6,11,12).

Once again, two chapters later, God gives further instruction:

You shall truly tithe all the increase of your grain that the field produces year by year. And you shall eat before the Lord your God, in the place where He chooses to make His name abide, the tithe of your grain and your new wine and your oil, of the firstlings of your herds and your flocks, that you may learn to fear the Lord your God always… You shall not forsake the Levite who is within your gates, for he has no part nor inheritance with you. At the end of every third year you shall bring out the tithe of your produce of that year and store it up within your gates. And the Levite, because he has no portion nor inheritance with you, and the stranger and the fatherless and the widow who are within your gates, may come and eat and be satisfied, that the Lord your God may bless you in all the work of your hand which you do (Deut. 14: 22, 23, 27-29).

Instructions given for the use of the tithe included five specific areas. First, the support of the priest and the Levite are always mentioned (Num. 18:21, 24; Deut 12:18;14:27,29; 2 Chron. 31:4-7; Neh. 10:36-39; 12:44). Second, the tithe was used to finance the people’s worship (Deut. 14:22-26, 28; 26:11-13; Neh. 13:5). Third, it was to support and help the strangers, who came into Israel from the outside (Deut. 14:29; 26:12). Fourth, some of the tithe was to be spent on the fatherless (Deut. 14:29; 26:12). Fifth, widow was to be supported (Deut. 14:29, 26:12). As we study the proper use of the tithe in the New Testament, we will find interesting counterparts to the Old Testament requirements.

Russ: You sin against God’s literal Word:

(1) Why are tithes still valid while most of the others are not?

(2) Why do you define tithes as money when God does not?

(3) Why do you not give 10% to Levite servants to the ministering priests?

(4) Why do you not teach one per cent (1%) tithes to ministers?

(5) Why do you allow tithe recipients to amass wealth and own property?

(6) Why do you not eat a second feast tithe in Jerusalem?

(7) Why do you not share a second tithe with everybody else?

(8) Why do you not have a third tithe for the poor every three years?

(9) Why do you break every tithe law found in Numbers 18 and Deuteronomy 12, 14, 26?

Glenn: Means of the Tithe in the New Testament

Even though the word tithe is not used in the New Testament references requiring the financing of ministry, there is a parallel with the requirements of the tithe in the Old Testament. We have no reason to believe the tithe has been altered, changed, or annulled.

Russ: Referring to the tithing command in Hebrews 7:5, Hebrews 7:12 uses the word “change” and 7:18 uses the word “annulled.”

Glenn: Rather, we have a greater ability, through the Spirit of grace, to fulfill God’s requirements. If we are under command to supply certain needs in the New Testament, then we must believe God has given us a guide to supply those needs. That guide is the tithe.

Russ: No. If that “guide is the tithe,” then why is “the word tithe not used in the New Testament references” as you said? Instead of the word “tithe,” we find “freewill sacrificial generous joyful giving not by commandment and not grudgingly” in Second Corinthians 8 and 9.

Glenn: Where the priests in the Old Covenant were guardians of the temple, in the New Covenant the elders of the church have the responsibility to guard God’s temple, the flock.

Russ: You omit the fact that all believers are now priests who do not tithe to each other (1 Peter 2:9-10).

Glenn: Paul warns the elders to guard themselves and the flocks to which the Holy Spirit has made them overseers. Paul tells Timothy, elders who rule well and labor in the doctrine are to be rewarded well with financial support (1 Tim. 5:17).

Russ: This is out of context from a deviant translation. First Timothy 5:1-18 is about discipline — not double salary. When disciplining a teaching elder, one must be double cautious. That is the context. Paul would not boast n Acts 20:29-35 that he had worked to support those like Timothy and then teach that Timothy should receive a double wage.

Glenn: When writing to the Corinthians, Paul makes the leap from the Old Testament (Lev 6:16, 26; 7:6, 31) to the New Testament for us when he writes, “Do you not know that those who minister the holy things eat of the things of the temple, and those who serve at the alter partake of the offerings of the altar?” (1 Corinthians 9:13). He is saying the Old Testament use of the tithe is needed in the New Testament to pay those who serve as elders laboring in the word. We are not left to question this instruction in that he quotes the Lord’s commandment, “that those who preach the gospel should live from the gospel” (1 Cor. 9:14; Gal. 6:6).

Russ: Again, this is out of context. If 9:14 only refers back to 9:13, then it proves too much and is self-destructive because 9:13 includes far more than tithing–few of which are used to support gospel workers. In context verses 7-14 show that each calling provides for its own. Likewise, 9:14 teaches that gospel workers are supported by N.T. principles such as grace and faith.

Glenn: Paul puts a requirement upon the local church to provide for those “widows indeed” (1 Tim. 5:3-5, 9, 16). The requirements to qualify as a “widow indeed” were quite stringent. She must not have living children or grandchildren; she must live alone, trust in God, serve the church in prayer, be 60 years old, have been the wife of one man, and have a good report. She must have brought up children, lodged strangers, served the saints, relieved the afflicted, and diligently followed every good work, to qualify as a “widow indeed.”

Russ: Please read all of 5:1-20 for context. Verses 1-2 are about disciplining. Verse 3 is about how to discipline widows. Tithe-teachers love to ignore 5:8 because it commands giving the FIRST to meet family necessities.

Glenn: James tells us that true religion is to go visit the fatherless and widow when they are in need. The word “visit” means to go see, look out for, and relieve. The widow and orphan are to be helped with the tithe.

Russ: God’s Word does not say “the widow and orphan are to be helped with the tithe.”  That was only true when tithe-recipients could not inherit property or amass wealth (Num 18:20).

Glenn: The stranger in the New Testament is one who is without a covenant in Christ. We are given the great commission and a responsibility to help finance the work; “How shall they preach unless they are sent?” (Rom. 10:15). Those who go to battle are not to go at their own expense. Paul expected the church to finance evangelism and the operation of the church.

If these are requirements placed upon the church, then the church must have a means to supply that support. There is no reason to assume that the tithe was not used for these purposes since we have no authority to say the tithe was repealed.


Where in the Bible Were Tithes Abolished?
1.  WHO #1: The Levitical servants to the priests who received the first whole tithe have been abolished. See Numbers 18:21-24. Modern equivalents to the Levites are unpaid ushers, deacons, choir, musicians, etc.

2.  WHO #2: OT priests who received a tenth of the tithe (only 1 per cent) have been abolished. See Num 18:25-28 and Neh 10:38.

3.  WHAT: The definition of tithes as only food miraculously increased by God from inside His holy land of Israel has been abolished and replaced with the false unbiblical definition of income. See Leviticus 27:30-34 and 14 other texts which describe the contents of the tithe. Yet money was common in Genesis.

4.  WHERE: The destination of the OT tithes first to the Levitical cities some to the Temple has been abolished. See Neh 10:37b and Mal 3:10.

5.  WHEN: The time to tithe has been abolished. The Levitical tithe was paid yearly in the Levitical cities. The second festival tithe was eaten at the three festivals. The third poor tithe was kept in the home every third year. Tithes totaled 23 1/3 per cent.

6.   WHY #1: The covenant which prescribed them was abolished per Heb 8:8-13; Gal 4:21-26′ 2 Cor 3:6-10.

7.   WHY #2: The “commandment” for Levites and priests to collect tithes was “annulled” per Hebrews 7:5, 12, 18.

8.  WHY #3: The law which condemned believers has been rendered of no effect when the believer died in Christ per Romans 7:4. No law can tell a dead person what to do.

9.  HOW #1: Jesus abolished the law of commandments contained in ordinances per Eph 2:13.  Tithing was an ordinance per Num 18.

10.  HOW $2: Jesus blotted out the handwriting of ordinances, per Col 2:14. Tithing was an ordinance per Num 18.

11.  HOW #3: The Temple which tithes supported was abolished in AD 70. God’s temple is now within each believer per 1 Cor 3:16; 6:19-20.

12.  HOW #4: The priesthood which was supported by tithes was abolished in AD 70. God’s priesthood is now within every believer per 1st Peter 2:9-10.

13. HOW #5: The blessings and curses of tithing as part of the whole law have been abolished per Galatians 3:10-13.

Would you continue to send money to a church after
a.  The building is destroyed?
b.  The preacher has been defrocked?
c.  The workers have found other jobs?
d.  The members have all left?
e.  The land has been inhabited by non-religious people?
f.  The purpose for the church no longer exists?
g.  You have died?


Glenn:  The New Testament tithes paid the expected support of elders, paid for the required cost of the widows indeed, helped the fatherless, used for worship, and supported evangelism.

Russ: No texts. Gospel workers could not tell Roman census takers they were full-time preachers; they would have been fed to the lions.  Instead Paul boasted of being self-supporting and the practice continued for centuries (Acts 20:29-35).

Glenn: Deuteronomy 14:28 speaks of the third year of the tithe. Each year the people of God were to take their tithe and use it to provide for their worship in Jerusalem. After worship in Jerusalem, they left the tithe to the Levites and the priest. However, every third year, after going to Jerusalem, they were to bring it back to the local village. This third-year tithe was to be given to the elders of their local community. The tithe was then divided up between the Levite and priest, the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow. Since we are citizens of the heavenly Jerusalem from above (Gal. 4:26), and have no national sanctuary, we obviously live in the perpetual “third year of the tithe.” Our tithes are to be brought to the local “community of elders,” or the government of the local church.

Russ: Local churches were illegal for almost 300 years. You are twisting God’s Word.

Glenn: One must embrace the government of God in His church to recognize the proper place and use of the tithe. Any attempt to bypass the tithe requirement is to overlook the authority of Christ in His church and to undercut the dominion mandate. The church, thus God’s government through the elders, has a legal claim to the tithe as God’s representative government of the church on the earth. When someone says, they are free to give their tithe to whomever and wherever, they have failed to subject themselves to God’s authority in His local church. Tithing is a demonstration of submission, even as Abraham gave tithe to Melchizedek. The lesser tithed to the greater.

Russ: Garbage theology. One would expect to find scores of such commands in the New Testament after Calvary. And Paul would have been sinning against his own advice in Acts 20.

Glenn: Experience has shown that tithing is often more of an authority issue than any other. One of the first signs of people removing themselves from a local church often is the cessation of tithing.

Russ: Of course. Why would one want to support a church teaching error?

Glenn: Tithing requires trust and support in the leadership of a congregation. It requires an acknowledgment of God’s authority in mere men.

Russ: The article ends as it begins – broad statements without validating texts.