Some accuse church leaders and pastors who teach tithing of being motivated by greed and personal gain, stating that the concept of the tithe is not a New Testament principle. Before you accept greed as a valid premise, remember that the accusation of greed applies in two directions. We can easily ask, “Is your position against tithing a demonstration of your desire to refrain from giving, as you greedily keep what God requires for the commanded blessing to be initiated?” Bad motives do not invalidate doctrine. 

Philippians 1:15-18 “Some preach Christ from selfish ambition, not sincerely. What then? Whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is preached; and in this I rejoice, yes, and will rejoice.” It is also important to listen to what Jesus said about the tithe. In Luke 16:10 & 13, Jesus demonstrates the path of growing in riches, both material and spiritual. He who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much; and he who is unjust in what is least is unjust also in much. 13 “No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.”

The Church is not supposed to practice Mosaic tithing. FloodGate doesn’t teach the Mosaic practice of worship or Sabbath, washings, or most things. The Mosaic Law is not supposed to inform Christian practices nor prescribe them. But the church is called to the life of sowing and reaping, as Galatians 6:6-10 declares. Let him who is taught the word share in all good things with him who teaches. Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life. And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.

Most anti-tithing teaching originates with dispensational theology, which automatically predisposes objections to tithing. The problem with dispensationalism is they insist that theological and spiritual dynamics do not transfer across dispensations according to their teaching. Dispensationalists divide history into distinct time periods, believing that God maintains fundamental differences in how he treats people in the different periods. Dispensationalism teaches that God utilizes fundamentally different practices in how He responds to humanity in the different epochs of time. 

Most dispensationalists teach between five and seven different dispensations. However, scripturally, there are only two dispensations that people need to worry about, according to Jesus and Paul. This present evil age and the age to come, and the ruler of this present age is judged (Galatians 1:4, John 16:11). Dispensations are restrictive to the transference of theological and spiritual truth, moving from one dispensation to the next. Dispensationalists deny that miracles and charismatic gifts are ongoing elements of the church’s life and practice. 

Dispensationalism will discount Scripture, claiming Jesus’ teachings belong to a special dispensation that is no longer applicable to the future dispensation or belonging to the Old Covenant dispensation. To a dispensationalist, Jesus obeyed the Old Covenant, as it would be sinning not to obey the Law before the Cross. Dispensationalism does away with the “New covenant I give unto you.” And the “Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.” Jesus both validated the tithe and increased the ante in Matthew 23:23, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, you have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith.

Every modern Christian must reconcile the differences between the Old Testament and the New Testament. Figuring out how to handle Old Testament laws superseded in the New Covenant and how to incorporate Old Testament ideas into the Christian Faith is of great importance. Most Christians realize there is value in the pre-Mosaic and Mosaic revelation, even though “we are no longer under the Law.” However, Dispensationalists reduce the value of the Old Testament, discounting large portions of the Old Testament as no longer applicable. 

The result of dispensationalism will be the rejection of any moral commands in the Old Testament except those “eternal moral principles,” which are “written in the heart.” Only accepting eternal moral principles is subjective, creating a dangerous hermeneutic invalidating biblical injunctions for caring for the servants of the Lord’s House. Like 1 Corinthians 9:11 and 14, If we have sown spiritual things for you, is it a great thing if we reap your material thingsEven so the Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should live from the gospel. And 1 Timothy 5:17Let the elders who rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in the word and doctrine.    

Obviously, an Old Covenant/Mosaic tithe requirement is not Christian, but that does not mean that the entire practice is rejected as inconsistent with Christian faith or that Christians cannot incorporate this practice into their faith. It is very similar to a Christian perspective on the Sabbath: Most Christians teach that Christ fulfilled the Sabbath. Observing the Old Covenant Sabbath requirements is no longer required. However, we should readily transfer and integrate some of those same Sabbath principles into our new Christian observance of the Lord’s Day as we rest, worship, and enjoy family. It would be incorrect to say that Sabbath is not a Christian Doctrine.” The Sabbath is very Christian. 

Teaching the tithe from legalism is wrong and inconsistent with Christian doctrine. It is equally wrong to make a gross generalization, saying that “tithing is not Christian.” Making the Old Covenant, Mosaic tithe a Christian requirement is not germane to New Testament practices. That does not preclude the practice of the tithe as a New Testament principle, a gateway to commanded blessing. Rejecting the tithe or teaching that Christians cannot incorporate into their faith is inconsistent with biblical revelation. 

This is like the Christian perspective of the Sabbath: Christ fulfilled the Sabbath requirement according to orthodox teaching. A forced observation of the Old Covenant Sabbath requirements is not necessary. However, Sabbath principles need not be rejected, as they benefit every believer in the Christian observance of the Lord’s Day. We rest, worship, and spend time with our family on the Sabbath. We would be wrong if we were to say that the “Sabbath is not a Christian Practice or Doctrine.” Sabbath rest is very Christian. This principal of acquisition also applies to tithing. Legalistic, Mosaic tithing is not Christian. Yet tithing is consistent with the Christian Faith and Christian discipline.  

Malachi 3:8-10 is the definitive passage on tithing as the doorway to commanded blessings. Will a man rob God? Yet you have robbed Me! But you say, ‘in what way have we robbed You?’ In tithes and offerings. You are cursed with a curse, for you have robbed Me, even this whole nation. 10 Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be food in My house, and try Me now in this,” says the Lord of hosts, “if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you such blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it. Or as Paul puts it, Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. Sharing in all good things.

Those who say that the tithe is always food are wrong. Most of the Old Testament references to the tithe involve produce, as the Jewish people were primarily an agrarian society. However, the tithe was not always in grain, produce, or fruit. Genesis 14 and Deuteronomy 14 cannot be ignored.  The first mention of the tithe in the Bible is in Genesis 14. Abraham tithed non-food objects. Deuteronomy 14:24-25 But if the journey is too long for you, so that you are not able to carry the tithe, or if the place where the Lord your God chooses to put His name is too far from you, when the Lord your God has blessed you, 25 then you shall exchange it for money, take the money in your hand, and go to the place which the Lord your God choosesGenesis 14:20 And he gave him a tithe of all.

There are two primary reasons for the tithe as produce and food items, primarily in the Old Testament. It is important to realize that money was not common in pre-exilic Israel. Israel was an agrarian society that grew food and tended to livestock. The first known minting of coins happened in 700 BC in Anatolia (Turkey.) No one knows how long before currency began traded as a substitute for produce in pre-exilic Israel. They may not have traded currency before the exile when Israel was destroyed in 587. Ancient people bartered. Sometimes, bartering included precious metals. However, most bartering was confined to produce and livestock. Every family was involved in agriculture. Every family bartered. Every family tithed. 

Once minting began after 700 BC, some people in Israel may have struggled with coins imprinted with images. A “no-pagan-coin” prohibition was in force by the Second Temple, where the practice of money changers as a vocation began. This may be part of why Jesus overturned tables and denounced the money changers. 

Mosaic worship included eating ritualistic meals. The worship consisted of visiting the Tabernacle and eating in the presence of the Lord. Worshippers brought food to the Tabernacle, giving some to the workers and eating the rest within sight of the Tabernacle. Then, they broke their plates to prevent a religious item from being used for a common meal. Food was central to the act of worship.  

This worship practice changed by the time the first Temple was constructed. From that point forward, sacred meals were not central to the worship experience. Deuteronomy 14 tells the worshipers to sell their food as a tithe and bring the money to the Temple as the tithe. The worshippers were then instructed to buy food at the Temple for the ceremonial meal(s). The enforcement of commerce for food and exchanging items for money became the new normal. This was a practical arrangement for travelers, eliminating the difficult task of transporting produce and livestock. Deuteronomy 14is important for discussing the tithe and religious practices in general. The passage authorizes adaptive measures for worship practices to address new needs and overcome obstacles. Orthodox Jews do not restrict tithing to home-grown produce. They bring money.  

The Mosaic tithe restrictions were useful in a Bronze Age agricultural society whose economy was based on bartering. It would be difficult to duplicate those practices in modern society. Biblical history demonstrates that as the economy shifted, tithing practices were altered. It is important to interpret these passages with sound grammatical-historical methods to extract the spiritual principles they communicate that transcend time constraints.  

Christians must exercise care when interpreting and applying Old Testament and Mosaic practices. Although believers are not required to practice the Mosaic Laws stringently, we don’t ignore them either. The spiritual principles in these laws should be applied where applicable like tithing. Tithing is not a matter of legalism. Tithing is an act of worship and discipline. Tithing brings the benefit and blessing that obedience produces. Do you want the commanded blessing? Obey the Scriptures. Luke 16:11Therefore if you have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches? Luke 16:11-12 So, if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches? 12 And if you have not been trustworthy with someone else’s property, who will give you property of your own?

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