What does the Bible say about tithing – King James Version KJV? Hebrews 7:5 provided the answer: Hebrews 7:5 (KJV) “And verily they that are of the sons of Levi, who receive the office of the priesthood, have a commandment to take tithes of the people according to the law, that is, of their brethren, though they come out of the loins of Abraham:” So, according to the law of Moses in the Old Testament, the passage of this Scripture says there was a commandment of ten percent payment of tithes.
Remember that the Bible can be divided into two dispensations: the period before the Earthly ministry of the Lord Jesus and after His death, resurrection and ascension back to Heaven where He is sitting right now at the right hand of Our Heavenly Father (God) – the New Testament – the CHURCH AGE. So the cross of Calvary of the Lord Jesus Christ separates the two dispensations. Therefore, tithing under the law of Moses in Old Testament was ten percent by God’s commandment – they had to give ten percent tithe. In Hebrews 7:5, there are two very important points to take note of under the law of Moses: (1) there was ten percent tithe and (2) there was commandment that they must give the ten percent tithe. But in the New Testament which is the CHURCH AGE, (1) we are not under the Law of Moses and (2) we are under the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.
The Old Testament time was time of Israel while the New Testament is the time of grace. In the Old Testament dispensation which was the time of Israel, we first had Adam and Eve, then also Abraham who paid tithe. So, according to the Bible, tithing of ten percent was a commandment under the Law of Moses – they must give ten percent by commandment under the Law of Moses. But most churches in Nigeria /Africa, their pastors always preach all the time that every member of the church must give ten percent of his or her money by commandment forgetting that we are under the CHURCH AGE – and NOT under the Law of Moses. They always preach on tithing that you have to tithe ten percent of every money you make or ten percent of your income (whatever money you make). They interpreted tithe to mean money. But what is tithing in the Old Testament? But the tithing was not money – it is giving of ten percent of your Agricultural produce. When the tithe is mentioned in the Old Testament under the Law of Moses, it is giving of the products of your farm/husbandry.
Many pastors, most especially prosperity gospel preachers, will make trouble with me over this teaching on tithing – they will be uncomfortable with it. But I don’t care because I have to teach and preach exactly what the Bible says I prefer to get into trouble with men than to get into trouble with God – I don’t want to get into trouble with God at all. What majority of the pastors preach today is it really tithing? Bible will give us perfect answer to it. Again, what is tithe in the Old Testament? From Leviticus 27:30 (KJV) “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.” From this Scripture, Israel was an agrarian society. So what they tithe is seed of the land or of the fruit of the tree; crops – it is not money. They tithe the seed and the fruit – it was never money. They tithe their crops – money was never there. They brought their Agricultural crops to the temple – how much of this do we see today in the church? If someone who is a farmer today brings sacks of grains, beans, yam tubers, chicken, sheep, etc. to the church as tithe, would pastor accept it? Look at the aforementioned Scripture according to Leviticus 27 :30, this is what the tithe was in Israel, but today the pastors will tell you capital “NO”; they don’t want that, rather they want money. They will tell you that they only accept cash here in the church.
In the above passage, note that the Israelites were specifically commanded to tithe from the land and from the flock. We see in this Scriptural verse King James Version (KJV).that the Israelites’ tithes were always meant to be edible. People were never meant to “tithe” in the form of money, and from verse 31 (Leviticus 27:31 KJV “And if a man will at all redeem ought of his tithes, he shall add thereto the fifth part thereof.”) specifically says that if an Israelite chose to redeem (buy back) any of his edible tithes then he must add 20% (one-fifth) to the value of his edible tithes after he had tithed from his produce. (This is only referring to the term “Tithe” as the scripture shows support of the Tabernacle/Temple/Ministries in other gifts and offerings.). The tithe of this foodstuff was also deemed ‘holy to the LORD’ – Leviticus 27:30 (KJV).
In his teaching on “The Truth On The Tithe and Christian Giving”: Tithes, Gifts, Vows and Offerings (www.truthontheweb.org › heartgiving) by Kenneth Hoeck, he (Kenneth) said that one must realize that all of Israel paid tithes (as indicated in the above quoted scriptures), and thus, he further said that so the question must arise, “How does someone who does not grow grain, fruits or vegetables or practice animal husbandry give a tithe?” To answer this intelligent question, Kenneth Hoeck expressed that he assumed these people did indeed buy or barter food to eat (or else they would die) – and so when they purchased or traded for food (i.e. chickens, doves, goats, lamb, corn, oil, grapes/wine, etc.) they also would end up with produce or animals to tithe off of now, wouldn’t they? Only the ‘have-nots” which included the Levite and the poor (which included sub-groups of widows, orphans and strangers) received the tithes rather than paying in tithes in the Law of Moses under dispensation of Old Testament. This means the rest of the 11 tribes who ‘had’ – were expected to give of the cattle (livestock); the poultry; the agricultural produce otherwise known as “foodstuffs,” “consumables” or in our day “groceries.” The pastor will tell you that today tithe is money when you don’t have this understanding.
Kenneth Hoeck made it very clear scripturally in his teaching that the tithe was meant to be eaten while rejoicing before the Lord and to also “fill God’s storehouse” so that all could share in the blessings of His provision.
He (Hoeck) documented that one purpose of this tithe was to support the Israelite tribe of Levi (the Levites) with food, because the tithes from the other Israelite tribes were the Levites’ inheritance in return for the work that they did while serving at the Tent of Meeting (Numbers 18 verses 21 and 24 KJV). This is the first purpose of tithe. The tribe of Levi had no inheritance in the land so they needed foodstuffs from the other tribes. He went on to mention the second (another) purpose for tithes which was for the Feasts of the Lord. And he also mentioned yet third (another) purpose which was for the poor and the widow. Don’t forget that in the beginning of this teaching on tithing one of the questions we want to address is “purpose of THE tithe” not number of tithes). We shall later look at all these purposes as we progress in this study in this book in your hand.
Let us check another Scripture: Deuteronomy 14:22 (KJV) “Thou shalt truly tithe all the increase of thy seed, that the field bringeth forth year by year.” This Scripture says after the harvest of the whole year (“year by year”), you will bring your tithe to the temple – it is not week by week – it is not month by month but year by year of what God has blessed you with in the whole year of Agricultural circle! At the end of the year, ten percent of the whole harvest as tithe is what should be brought to the LORD God.
Now Deuteronomy 14:23 (KJV) “And thou shalt eat before the LORD thy God, in the place which he shall choose to place his name there, the tithe of thy corn, of thy wine, and of thine oil, and the firstlings of thy herds and of thy flocks; that thou mayest learn to fear the LORD thy God always.” Carefully look at the passage of this Scripture, and you will see corn, wine, oil, firstlings of the herds and flocks – the Agricultural produce – ten percent of these Agricultural items /stuffs as tithe unto the LORD God. We can see for ourselves from this Scripture that if we are to bring the tithe of the fruit of our labor to God, it was not the money but ten percent tithe in the Old Testament.
Let us use this analogy as related to our modern day dispensation say someone who is a driver comes to the church to give his tithe and the pastor asks him “what do you do for a living?” And he answered the pastor that he is a driver, I know that the Pastor will definitely ask him to pay his tithe in cash but if we are to follow the Old Testament method of paying tithe, he should calculate how much fuel (petrol or diesel – gasoline) he has used to drive in a year – and estimated the profit made based on the total cost of the fuel used in driving in the whole year; and he is expected to bring ten percent of that profit in form of fuel as tithe at the end of that year. But the pastor will say no – that it should be cash (money). Then we can conclude that the pastor is not following what the Bible says in the Old Testament as how the tithe should be paid because the Israelites did not bring money to God as tithe year by year – they brought the fruit of the land to God yearly. They brought corn, wine, oil, etc. to the Tabernacle – it was never cash /money. Some pastors would not agree with this in line with Old Testament in the Bible, then why are they teaching about tithing which is completely different from the Bible? Definitely they are teaching the doctrine of men – and not the doctrine of the word of God in the Bible.
Let us look at another Scripture on how tithing was in Israel in the Old Testament: 2 Chronicles 31:5 (KJV) “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.” The Scripture here mentioned corn, wine, oil and honey. I know a pastor that produces honey from his farm in Nigeria and he made a lot of money yearly from the honey! So it was Agriculture or farm produce that was tithe – it was never money.
They also had cows (livestock) as tithe, according to another Scripture in the Old Testament: Leviticus 27:32 (KJV) “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.” Here in this Scripture, we have the tithe of the herd (cattle) and flock (sheep and goat) that must go to the temple – it is never money.
All the above items (stuffs) were under the Law of Moses in the Old Testament, so today under the grace (the church age), if we were to operate this system of tithing, then we are subjecting ourselves to the Law of Moses in Old Testament. To force people today on payment of tithes as mentioned above is to put them under the Law of Moses in dispensation of the Old Testament. It means all the hunters of today who hunt for animals should bring their tithes to the church in form of animals (not cash/money) because that is what was in place in the Old Testament. If not, why are we bringing people under the law of Moses in this dispensation of grace (church age) since it was tithe practice of the law of Moses? In the Old Testament, people brought ten percent of their Agricultural crops or products to the Tabernacle.
Let us move forward with another Scripture in the New Testament: Hebrews 7:6 -9 (KJV) “But he whose descent is not counted from them received tithes of Abraham, and blessed him that had the promises. And without all contradiction the less is blessed of the better. And here men that die receive tithes; but there he receiveth them, of whom it is witnessed that he liveth. And as I may so say, Levi also, who receiveth tithes, payed tithes in Abraham.” First and foremost, this is a historic account of the Old Testament. From the passage of these Scriptural verses, we read that the tithe came to the Levites – to the priests of Levites. It means that all the Agricultural items mentioned above go to the priests of Levites. It means that today, if we the church were to operate this mode of tithing (the payment of tithes), all the tithes of the Agricultural produce must go to the Jews – the priests of Levites in Israel; it was the priests of Levites that received the tithe if we the church are to preach and practice the ten percent tithe payment. By this means we are following tithing as it was practiced under the Law of Moses in the Old Testament in the Bible.
Many pastors (especially the prosperity gospel preachers) will absolutely disagree with this honest, correct and perfect teaching of what the Bible says about tithing because some preachers and theologians of a sect (particular school of thought) have a replacement theology theory where they say the church replaced Israel. This is one of the manipulations of the Scripture to deceive Christian believers in order to scam, swindle and defraud them of their hard earned money. There is no where it is mentioned in the Bible that the church replaced Israel. So today, if we the church, were to follow the word of God truthfully and correctly according to the law of Moses in the Old Testament as regards tithing, then we are to be operating under the law of Moses of the Old Testament because the tithes go to the priests of Levites.
But today in the church, we don’t have the priests of Levites, what we have is pastors. I believe all the pastors will agree with this statement according to Ephesians 4:11 (KJV) “And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;” There is nothing like the priests of Levites in the fivefold ministry of the church. This tells us that we are no more under the law of Moses in the Old Testament in the Bible – we are under the grace: John 1:17 (KJV) and Romans 10:4 (KJV) “For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ….For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone that believeth.”
If we (the church) try to force tithing of the Old Testament of the Law of Moses into the church today, we will surely have problems because we are not under the law but under the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ; and the priests of Levites cannot replace the pastors of the church. We cannot go back to the law. Tithing is of the law of Moses which must be ten percent yearly for the system of payment of tithes based on the seed and fruit of the Agriculture.