By Dave Combs
IS TITHING REQUIRED IN THE CHURCH AGE?
Throughout the entire age of the Church, numerous individuals have attempted to incorporate elements of the Mosaic Law into the Christian faith, such as circumcision, which the Judaizers attempted to impose in the time of the Apostle Paul. Today, there are some who believe that tithing is a requirement under the New Covenant, and seek to mandate it in the Churches that they serve. There is also some confusion on the definition of tithing, it's history and origination, and whether it truly is obligatory under the New Covenant. It is the position of this author that tithing is no longer necessary and should be avoided, and Christians should give of their time, money, and spiritual gifts as they determine in their own heart, and not be coerced into giving a set percentage of their income. In this document we will review the definition, history, purpose, arguments for, and arguments against tithing. Also, we will sift through much of the false doctrine on this subject and determine what the New Testament actually teaches about giving.
Biblical definition: Simply a tax or assessment of one-tenth
of one's produce, (Lev 27:30-32).
Lev 27:30 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.
Lev 27:31 And if a man will at all redeem aught of his tithes, he shall add thereto the fifth part thereof.
Lev 27:32 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.
Under the Mosaic Law, tithing is a command, not something which is voluntary (Lev 27:30,
Lev 27:32, Deu 14.22-23, Deu 14.28).
HISTORY AND PURPOSE
Tithing was well established in ancient times in the Middle East, where the tithe was basically income for the king and the nobility, so it was not unique to Old Testament Israel, where tithing was instituted by God to support the theocratic state. This indicates that tithing was basically Old Testament taxation. To those who insist that tithing was never abrogated as a Scriptural legal requirement, it should be noted that under the Mosaic Covenant, 3 tithes were required, not just one.
1st TITHE: Annual tithe for the maintenance of the Levitical Priesthood (Num 18:21-24).
The tribe of Levi received no inheritance (Num18:20, Deu 12:12, Deu 14:27). This tribe was segregated from the rest of Israel (Num 3:39-45, Num 3:5-10, Num 8:14-19) in order to serve the Lord in the Temple, and in the Tabernacle in the wilderness. So the first tithe was necessary for their support, since they had no other means of subsistence.
2nd TITHE: A second tithe was brought to Jerusalem for festival purposes (Deu 14:22-27).
3rd TITHE: A third tithe was required every third year to assist the poor (Deu 14:28-29).
Every third year was known as "the year of tithing," (Deu 26:12-14). When the Israelites had completed tithing of the increase of the land, they were to give this 3rd tithe to the Levites, the strangers, the orphans, and the widows. When this was completed, they were to declare unto the Lord that they had performed to the best of their ability in obeying the divine commandments. All the tithes mutually would consist of 23.3% of one's assets.
Tithing was an annual event, not weekly. Tithing also consisted of giving a portion of one's crops and herds, not money. 20% is added to the appropriation if converted to cash (Lev 27:31).
At this point it should be clearly