THE LORD JESUS CHRIST SPOKE ONCE ON TITHES AS AGRICULTURAL PRODUCE – MINT AND ANISE AND CUMMIN
Matthew 23:23 KJV “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.”
Luke 11:42 KJV “But woe unto you, Pharisees! for ye tithe mint and rue and all manner of herbs, and pass over judgment and the love of God: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.”
First and foremost, know and understand this one truth that the Lord Jesus Christ spoke here in Matthew 23:23 when the Old Testament was still in operation because He (the Lord Jesus Christ) had not died, buried and resurrected – He had not gone to the cross of Calvary to die for our sin. The Law of Moses was still active and in operation in Matthew 23:23. Therefore the New Testament had not begun here during his earthly ministry before the cross because the New Testament dispensation started after the death, burial and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. Christianity started in the New Testament – Acts 11:26 KJV “And when he had found him, he brought him unto Antioch. And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with the church, and taught much people. And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch.” Nobody was a Christian in Matthew 23:23.
Another truth is that mint and anise and cummin mentioned by the Lord Jesus Christ in Matthew 23:23 are not currency (money) but Agricultural products because many Christians even almost every pastor thought mint and anise and cummin are money. I will explain better and deeper below as you read.
Two technical questions to ask in order to aid our understanding on tithes/tithing in the New Testament dispensation:
(1) Did Jesus collect tithes?
The answer is no. The New Testament says nothing on Christians having to pay tithes under the New Covenant . During His earthly ministry, the Lord Jesus Christ and His disciples never paid tithes neither did they instruct anyone to do so. Apostle Paul wrote three quarters of the New Testament and had many opportunities to talk about tithes but he never did!
(2) Did the apostle Paul tithe?
The answer is no. Reading and studying throughout the Bible, there is no biblical account of the apostle Paul tithing or paying tithes. This is because the conditions attached to the payment of tithes in the Old Testament under the Law of Moses were stringent and had been fulfilled in the Lord Jesus Christ in the New Testament (New Covenant) – Matthew 5:17 (KJV) “Think not that I (Jesus Christ) am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.”
Remember that the Lord Jesus is the end of the Law of Moses. I am glad that I am under the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. How can a genuinely born again Christian today go to the temple to give tithes to the Levitical priests since we do not have any Levitical priests in the church at all but pastors? The system of tithing in the Old Testament in the Bible under the Law of Moses is to give your tithes to the Levitical priest. And the Lord Jesus Christ had ended the law of Moses by fulfilling it: Romans 10:4 (KJV) and John 1:17 (KJV) “For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone that believeth…. For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ”.
Remember also from previous teaching on tithes/tithing, it was mentioned that the Law of Moses in the Old Testament dispensation requires tithes/tithing in the form of Agricultural produce (crops and herds). That is, money was not an acceptable tithe under the Old Covenant!
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 (crops and herds) 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. But the apostle Paul had this understanding that we the Christians are not following tithing as it was practiced under the Law of Moses in the Old Testament and he (the apostle Paul) did not tithe at all.
Once again, Apostle Paul wrote three quarters of the New Testament and had many opportunities to talk about tithes but he never did! Hebrews 7:6 -9 (KJV) only gave a historic account of tithe payment of the Old Testament in order to appreciate the finished redemption work of the Lord Jesus Christ who had made us (the Christians) the priests and kings in the New Testament to cancel the Levitical priests of the Old Testament – the Lord Jesus Christ made us kings and priests – the royal priesthood with divine power: Revelation 1:6, Revelation 5:10, 1 Peter 2:9 and Luke 10:19 “And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father…….And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth…..But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light.”
Now Hebrews 7:5 : 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.
THE LORD JESUS CHRIST SPOKE ONCE ON TITHES AS AGRICULTURAL PRODUCE – MINT AND ANISE AND CUMMIN.
Jesus said to the Pharisees in Matthew 23:23 (KJV) “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.” (You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former.) Also in Luke 11:42 “But woe unto you, Pharisees! for ye tithe mint and rue and all manner of herbs, and pass over judgment and the love of God: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.”
Have this understanding and notice that the Lord Jesus Christ described spices and garden herbs as an example of the Pharisees’ tithes. Under the Law of Moses in the Old Testament, tithes were never meant to be paid in the form of money because the tithes were always meant to be eaten.
Let us read some other Bible translations to show and reveal to you that the Lord Jesus Christ was referring to tithe in Matthew 23:23 as agricultural produce (spices/herb gardens) – mint and anise and cumin – never money!
Matthew 23:23 NIV ““Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former.”
Matthew 23:23 NLT “What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you are careful to tithe even the tiniest income from your herb gardens, but you ignore the more important aspects of the law—justice, mercy, and faith. You should tithe, yes, but do not neglect the more important things”
Matthew 23:23CEV “You Pharisees and teachers are show-offs, and you’re in for trouble! You give God a tenth of the spices from your garden, such as mint, dill, and cumin. Yet you neglect the more important matters of the Law, such as justice, mercy, and faithfulness. These are the important things you should have done, though you should not have left the others undone either.”
Just like the citizens pay taxes to the government so that the government will use it to provide the essential social amenities for the citizens – all of them whether rich or poor will have equal access to the social amenities like roads constructed, electric power supply, health care delivery system, pipe-borne water supply, provision for the security of lives and properties, etc.
What are social amenities? Social amenities according to askinglot.com: Social amenities, or public amenities, refer to places, buildings or infrastructural facilities which are to be shared and to become convergence spots for the local and surrounding communities (askinglot.com/what-are-basic-amenities). The same applies to the tithes. The Lord Jesus Christ, in Matthew 23:23 and Luke 11:42, did not condemn the tithe payment.
The reason He did not condemn it is because the proper and right use of tithes in the church gives rise to equality among the brethren in such a way that there will be no lack for any member of the church – all the needs of every member of the church will be met as it was in the early church: Acts 4:32-35 (NKJV) “Now the multitude of those who believed were of one heart and one soul; neither did anyone say that any of the things he possessed was his own, but they had all things in common. And with great power the apostles gave witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And great grace was upon them all. Nor was there anyone among them who lacked; for all who were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the proceeds of the things that were sold, and laid them at the apostles’ feet; and they distributed to each as anyone had need.”
You make it known that you are an agent for God when you give. The light (Christ in us) that shines (our good works) bring honor to God when we give cheerfully and generously: Matthew 5:16 (KJV) “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” Biblical principle and its application of Acts 4:32 -35 (NKJV) is that a true believer should be ready, of a willing heart to give, any and all (2 Corinthians 9:7 NKJV), that he or she has in devotion to the Lord, to help the poor and the widows (Deuteronomy 26:12 KJV and James 1:27 KJV), to help proclaim the gospel and feed the flock of God (1 Peter 5:2 KJV). Through this understanding, there will be no lack in the congregation and there will be equality in the church – everyone in need is ministered to satisfactorily and there be no one who is in lack. Why Jesus did not condemn tithes? The main reason is that there will not be any lack in the church – Acts 4:32-35 (NKJV) “……. nor was there anyone among them who lacked………. they distributed to each as anyone had need”
For more details, this one place (Matthew 23:23) in the New Testament where the Lord Jesus Christ speaks about tithe but still He did not mention ten percent payment of tithes (Matthew 23:23 KJV). It is in Matthew 23:23 “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.” From this Scripture, the Lord Jesus Christ did not condemn the payment of tithe but He gave us the deep understanding that there are weightier matters of the law than the tithe payment, although tithe payment is one of the matters of the Law of Moses – it is not one of the weightier matters of the law) under the Old Testament. And these weightier matters of the law are judgment (justice), mercy (compassion, kindness), and faith (faithfulness).
The judgment, mercy, and faith are more important than the payment of tithes. The Lord Jesus Christ was speaking to scribes and Pharisees (not His disciples); He told them that they should practice judgment, mercy, and faith without leaving the tithe payment undone: Luke 11:42 “But woe unto you, Pharisees! for ye tithe mint and rue and all manner of herbs, and pass over judgment and the love of God: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.” You can see it again from this passage of Luke 11:42 that the Lord Jesus Christ never condemned the tithe payment, but the judgment, mercy, and faith are more important than the payment of tithes – as they tithe they should never leave the practice of judgment, mercy, and faith undone.
The Holy Spirit gave the spiritual understanding and the revelation knowledge that the reason why the Lord Jesus Christ did not condemn the payment of tithes is that the tithe should be used as a powerful and potent tool/instrument to execute the weightier matters of the law – judgment, mercy, and faith
That is, tithing is not condemned, but the basics are required; and these basics are judgment, mercy, and faith which are the weightier matters of the law. The scribes and Pharisees took the Law of Moses on tithe payment more serious and considered it more basic and most important than the weightier matters of the law (judgment, mercy, and faith) – this pattern of practice is what the Lord Jesus Christ condemned. They were doing this for the purpose to cheat, scam, swindle and defraud people of their hard earned money as most pastors are doing in Nigerian/African churches today.
For the sake of clarity, let us look at Contemporary English Version (CEV) of Luke 11:42 “You Pharisees are in for trouble! You give God a tenth of the spices from your gardens, such as mint and rue. But you cheat people, and you don’t love God. You should be fair and kind to others and still give a tenth to God.” Please, do not forget that the Lord Jesus Christ said they should still give a tenth to God because when He was speaking to scribes and Pharisees (Matthew 23:23 and Luke 11:42), the Law of Moses was still in force since He had not died at cross of Calvary for our sin and resurrected to remove every cause associated with the law as at that particular point in time.
For reference point and for the sake of emphasis, another question from Matthew 23:23: Who were the people Jesus Christ was addressing or talking to here about tithe payment and have omitted the weightier matters of the law: judgment, mercy, and faith? Were they His disciples? Capital NO. Then who were they? Please read the first line of Matthew 23:23 again to get the correct answer because many pastors, most especially the prosperity gospel pastors have used it to tell their members that they should pay ten percent tithe weekly or monthly or anytime – those pastors explained this Scripture (Matthew 23:23) as if Jesus Christ was addressing His disciples in this Scripture. When you read the first line you will find out that the people Jesus Christ was talking to were scribes and Pharisees.
Some other reasons why the Lord Jesus Christ did not condemn tithes shall be published in my next article.
THE CONCLUSION OF THE WHOLE MATTER ON TITHES AND OFFERINGS IN CHURCH: THE WHOLE ESSENCE
What should the tithes and offerings be used for in church? Three (3) things in the Bible:
Taking care of the saints’ physical needs is part of the primary responsibility of the church in the right and proper use of tithes and offering according to Matthew 25:34-40 (KJV) “Then shall the King (the Lord Jesus Christ) say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: For I (the Lord Jesus Christ) was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. Then shall the righteous (the genuinely born again Christians) answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.”
If you study above passage carefully with the help of the Holy Spirit, you will discover that the whole essence of the church on the earth in establishing the kingdom of God in the world is all what the Lord Jesus Christ is talking about here – taking care of the saints in the following positions or conditions: (1) Those who are hungry (in lack of food), (2) Those who are thirsty (poor and in need), (3) The strangers (the destitute, living on the streets – the homeless), (4) Those who are naked (without clothes or facing shame, humiliation due to the condition they find themselves), (5) Those who are sick and (6) Those who are in prison (they are some Christians who are prison especially those who are being persecuted) .
All these are the primary assignments and the core values of the church. The church is for charity organization to take care of the saints who are poor and needy – the church is expected to add values to life. Therefore, tithes and offering are to be channeled to meet the needs of others, which means the church gives them what they need. When any Christian or church does these good works, they do it for Jesus Christ Himself the owner of the church: Verily I say unto you, inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me” (Mathew 25:40 KJV).
When you pay your tithes and offering and the church uses it properly and rightly for the poor in the church, you have done it for the Lord Jesus Christ. In addition, the real practical Christian living is touching life with the love of God – impacting life (the poor and needy) by making them to have the touch of God’s love through three most important things (the weightier matters) in real practical Christian living – justice, mercy and faith – reaching out to the poor and the needy on these three pivot areas (Matthew 23:23).
This is the major area where prosperity gospel preachers completely missed it and lost focus by preaching that a saint (the genuinely born again Christian) cannot be poor, homeless, destitute, in want or need of one thing or the other – and they choose to neglect this great ministry of taking care of this category of Christians the Lord Jesus Christ mentioned in the above Bible passage (Matthew 25:36-40) among their denominational Church members. They will tell you that your way is not right with God; you are living in sin; you are not paying your tithes and offering adequately; you are under a curse for God has sent devourers to your life; you don’t have faith that moves mountains, etc. if you ever find yourself in any of those conditions that the Lord Jesus Christ itemized in the above passage of the Scripture.
They will ask you to sow seed faith (money seed) to get out of the condition because they will tell you that a born again Christian who is Holy Spirit –filled cannot be stranded in life, cannot be hungry, cannot fall sick, etc. But let this truth be told that any born again Christian who is Holy Spirit –filled can be stranded in life, can be hungry, even can fall sick, etc., James 5:13 – 14 (KJV) “Is any among you afflicted?……… Is any sick among you?……” They wickedly do this to close their eyes to those who are in any form of these positions or conditions among their denominational church members. They and their families live in luxury from tithes and offering – they use their church tithes and offering to buy private jets and invest in many other properties that generate money for them like schools that their poor church members cannot afford to send their children to. Are they not supposed to make this school affordable for the children of the poor in the church? And they used church tithes and offering to build the church schools. I have never seen any big Pentecostal church in Nigeria that gets a loan from the bank or any financial institution to build school; rather it is money (tithes and offering) from the church they use to build the schools! They have turned the church schools to money making venture. One big pastor in Nigeria even takes the Christian community in the country for granted and played on wise Christians’ intelligence (insult their intelligence) by saying that God told him that he should increase the school fee – and if anyone criticizes it, the Holy Spirit will slap such a person.
The right and proper use of Christian giving (which includes tithes) caters for the care of the poor, widows, the orphans and ministry because the pure religion and undefiled before God is fulfilling this great ministry of taking care of the fatherless and widows in their affliction, the poor and needy in the church: James 1:27 (KJV) “Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.” For better understanding, in article of Christian Giving: Tithes, Gifts, Vows and Offerings (http://www.truthontheweb.org/heartgiving.htm), it is exposed to understand that we should know that, as genuine (true) followers of our Lord Jesus Christ, that we are to care for the widows, the poor, those who minister in the word, and wherever else there is need. As a genuinely born again Christian who loves the Lord Jesus dearly from the bottom of his/her heart, you should “be ready to give of all your ability, wealth, power, goods, strength and substance.”
In Proverbs 3:9, Solomon states that honoring God with our substance (wealth) and with the best part of our increase will result in prosperity for our labor – the work of our work. The word of God means from-the-heart giving – it is not out of a heart seeking physical prosperity by the law of compensation of the prosperity gospel preachers. Every Christian should have this deep and first-class understanding that generally God has pleasure in the prosperity of His children who are in favour of His righteous cause without the law of compensation of the prosperity gospel preachers being preached in Nigerian/African churches, most especially in the Pentecostal circle: Psalms 35:27 (KJV) “Let them shout for joy, and be glad, that favor my righteous cause: yea, let them say continually, Let the Lord be magnified, which hath pleasure in the prosperity of his servant.”
Once again, the core of our Christian calling for His righteous cause (God’s righteous Christian ministry) for the prosperity that God has pleasure in blessing His children with is found in Matthew 25:35-36 (KJV) “For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.” For the sake of simplicity, this core of every true Christian’s calling can be broken down into six (6) components: (1) To feed those are hungry (2) To give drink to those who are thirsty (3) To provide accommodation for those who are homeless/the destitute (4) To clothe those who are naked (5) To visit the sick and (6) To go and visit those who are in prison. Never you forget that these six (6) components of the core of Christianity stated in Matthew 25:35 -36 and by extension in James 1:27 KJV (Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world) are what the Lord Jesus Christ will use to judge us on the day of judgment in Heaven.
To study in details “THE LORD JESUS CHRIST SPOKE ONCE ON TITHES AS AGRICULTURAL PRODUCE – MINT AND ANISE AND CUMMIN” and for a better and deeper understanding to discover the hidden truth about tithes, at Amazon (KDP), read for free my book (“Money Never Paid As Tithes In The Bible Unless Redeemed: What My Pastor Has Never Told Me Concerning Money Paid As Tithes”); study it for further knowledge on the absolute truth on doctrine of tithing (tithes) that the church does not want you to know .