TITHING UNDER A NEW COVENANT
BY DON BANTUM
To render this topic any justice, we need to go back to it’s origin in biblical history; the Old Covenant.
God established the temple and appointed those who would serve in the temple doing God’s ministry on behalf of Israel. God selected one of the twelve tribes of Israel, the tribe of Levi, for works of service to God alone. God dedicated that tribe to serve before the Lord both day and night. The tribe of Levi was not permitted to own property, and was not permitted to hold any other jobs to earn money. For they had no need of money. Everything they were to have would be given to them by the other eleven tribes of Israel.
The tribe of Levi was not allowed to possess any material goods other than the clothes on their backs. Everything was provided for them, by way of tithing, from the other tribes. All their needs were met in that manner. The tithe that was given them consisted of food stuffs; e.g., wheat, olive oil, herbs and meat, which was provided by way of the sacrifices the people made to God, for the forgiveness of sins. The fat of the animals was burnt on the altar before the Lord, and provided a sweet smell to God. The shed blood of the animals would “cover” sins for a year. The people would no longer have to endure guilt and shame for their sins after the animal had been sacrificed and part of it had been burnt on the altar.
However, as soon as the people walked away from the temple, additional sins would begin to accrue and depression, due to guilt, soon followed. The priests stood and performed their religious duties, day after day, for the sins of the people, and for their own sins as well. This ritual continued for thousands of years, but no matter how much blood had been shed for the temporary remission of sins; it could never effectively “take away” sins.
The tithe was instituted for the sole purpose of supporting the Levitical Priesthood. This continued until Jesus Christ, the Word, who is God, became flesh and dwelt among humankind for the sole purpose of dying on a cross to fulfill God’s plan of salvation. He came to take away the sins of the whole world from the sight of God, forever. He died once for all mankind to free us from a guilty conscience, and to keep us from being pre-occupied with sin. Since that time man has been FREE to serve the living God, who did all this for us, while ushering in a brand New Covenant between God and man, wherein God says:
Hebrews 10: 17. Then he adds:
"Their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more." 18. And where these have been forgiven, there is no longer any sacrifice for sin.
So…I am compelled to ask, “If there is no more need of sacrifices or forgiveness, and therefore no need of priests to stand at altars day in and day out, slaughtering animals for the remissions of sins, what need is there of a tithe?
Your minister or pastor isn’t a sacrificial priest. The office of the priesthood has been done away with by God himself. When God made Jesus our High Priest forever. After Jesus’ death on the cross, the Jews continued with the sacrificing of animals. Did they care that Jesus himself died to take away their sins? Not in the least; they just keep trying to circumvent the cross of Christ, and find righteousness in their ability to remove their own sins. Did they not see Jesus hanging on the cross in their place? Yet that didn’t soften their hearts of stone.
“Who needs Jesus, we have Abraham as our father,” they said, and the sacrifices continued until God would no longer tolerate their "counting as an unholy thing the blood of the Covenant that sanctified them". So God permitted a conquering army to enter Jerusalem and as Jesus predicted, leveled the temple to the ground, putting a stop to those sacrifices, forever.
Mark 13:2. "Do you see all these great buildings?" replied Jesus. "Not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down."
Luke 19:44. They will dash you to the ground, you and the children within your walls. They will not leave one stone on another, because you did not recognize the time of God's coming to you."
Thus, I must ask yet another question: Did you not recognize the time of God’s coming to YOU? Did you not notice that the blood of God himself has been shed to take away YOUR SINS?
I do hope so dear friend, because Jesus is not going to go through all that again, and if there was any further forgiveness to be executed on your behalf, that’s just what he would have to do. But as you can plainly see in Hebrews 10: 18 above, that’s never going to happen again. Jesus cried out with a loud voice from the cross, “IT’S FINISHED.” What's finished? Our working to obtain forgiveness, working to find righteousness in the sight of God, all of it. Jesus did it all, and now he tells you to rest in his finished work. Stop working to find favor with God and man, through religious behavior. Do we not understand what “finished” means – personally; even though your pastor may still be trying to get you to confess, to obtain further forgiveness, or hoping to get you to come down to the altar every week to receive forgiveness?
Hebrews 9: 22. In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.
…and again here in…
Hebrews 9: 15. For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance—now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant.
In this New Covenant, we’ve BEEN FORGIVEN. We need not beg God for further forgiveness, we were born that way. We need not confess to man to receive forgiveness; we were born forgiven, because Jesus forgave us without our asking some 2,000 years ago. Unbelief simply leads us back toward an ineffective sacrificial system to obtain forgiveness. Pastors and ministers today are telling people they must confess to obtain forgiveness. That is the unbelief for which many refuse to repent that is unpardonable.
Since there is no more sacrifice for sins, as Jesus died to take away the sins of the whole world, why do pastors, and ministers tell you that you’re robbing God if you don’t tithe? Have they never heard of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ? Members of the clergy, who accuse you of robbing God today, if you fail to tithe, are not in agreement with New Testament teaching.
We don’t have to support a building anywhere. God never called anybody to a church; He called us to himself, and placed us in HIS CHURCH. That Church is the real body of Christ Jesus. It’s a Spiritual body, a Spiritual Church. Christ established His Church and told his body which is the CHURCH to preach the gospel to every creature. The Church is to minister to a lost and dying world. See, he did NOT tell people to go to Church, he told His Church to go to people. Religion has turned everything God wanted us to do, up-side-down and back-wards.
We should be feeding God’s sheep, which is what we are to do as ministers of the New Covenant. Consider this:
1 Corinthians 9: 1. Am I not free? Am I not an apostle? Have I not seen Jesus our Lord? Are you not the result of my work in the Lord? 2. Even though I may not be an apostle to others, surely I am to you! For you are the seal of my apostleship in the Lord.
3. This is my defense to those who sit in judgment on me. 4. Don't we have the right to food and drink? 5. Don't we have the right to take a believing wife along with us, as do the other apostles and the Lord's brothers and Cephas? 6. Or is it only I and Barnabas who must work for a living?
7. Who serves as a soldier at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard and does not eat of its grapes? Who tends a flock and does not drink of the milk? 8. Do I say this merely from a human point of view? Doesn't the Law say the same thing? 9. For it is written in the Law of Moses: "Do not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain." Is it about oxen that God is concerned? 10. Surely he says this for us, doesn't he? Yes, this was written for us, because when the plowman plows and the thresher threshes, they ought to do so in the hope of sharing in the harvest. 11. If we have sown spiritual seed among you, is it too much if we reap a material harvest from you? 12. If others have this right of support from you, shouldn't we have it all the more?
But we did not use this right. On the contrary, we put up with anything rather than hinder the gospel of Christ. 13. Don't you know that those who work in the temple get their food from the temple and those who serve at the altar share in what is offered on the altar? 14. In the same way, the Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should receive their living from the gospel.
Real ministers have a right to be supported by the ones they are instructing in truth. But those who are purposely hiding the truth of God’s word are not real ministers at all. They are the ones robbing God as well as his sheep. The tithe was an Old Covenant requirement, there is NO such requirement in the New Covenant, only freewill giving.
2 Corinthians 9: 7. Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.
We should not take from our families in order to support a building, or a false shepherd. If the shepherd isn’t feeding you truth that will change your life for the better and cause you to see the love that God has for you in a more perfect way, then that shepherd doesn’t deserve your financial support. Here’s something else to consider:
1 Timothy 5:8. If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his immediate family, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.
If you desire to support ministers who are feeding the sheep, and giving YOU freedom, that’s great. It’s what we are here for, to take care of the needs of others, and especially those of the household of faith. But let’s make sure we take care of the needs of our own families first. Let’s not allow our families’ needs to go unmet in order to support just any ministry, including my own. Unless I'm giving you truth, from God's Holy Word, and setting the captives free.
2 Corinthians 3:6. He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant—not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.
Colossians 4:3. And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains.
So never allow yourself to be put on a guilt trip concerning your giving or your acts of service. We are to give freely, because we want to give, not because we are being threatened or forced by a priest, pastor, or minister. What we have has been given to us by God. If we are being instructed in truth, then we should give to those who are imparting that truth to us; truth that will set the captives free from error and free to serve one another in Love.
If, on the other hand, we are being deceived and purposely kept in the dark about who we are in Christ, then let's not contribute any of God's money or render our support toward such a "ministry." We should not reward people who promulgate false doctrine.
Galatians 5:1. It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.
If your pastor is trying to get you to give like an Israelite, perhaps he should live like a Levite, who was not allowed to own anything. We are not under the LAW if we are in Christ Jesus.
2 Corinthians 8: 7. But just as you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in your love for us —see that you also excel in this grace of giving.
Giving to those who are teaching us truth is an honor and a privilege, not something we must do. We are encouraged to give to those who teach us truth from God's holy word.
God bless you all.
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