Actually, tithing has been around for a long, long time. It began when Abraham returned from a great victory in battle with the spoils of war. He met Melchizedek, who was a priest and king of Salem (ancient Jerusalem), and “gave him a tithe of all” (Genesis 14:20). Note: this was 430 years before the Law of Moses!
Later on, Abraham’s grandson Jacob promised to tithe to the Lord (Genesis 28:22). From the abundant blessings that flowed into this man’s life over the next several years, it’s obvious he wasn’t robbing God but honoring the Lord with the firstfruits of his increase. Note; this was 270 years before the Law of Moses!
Some claim that the practice of tithing is a principle of the Mosaic Law that no longer applies to Christians today. But it is clear that the practice of tithing pre-dates the Law of Moses by several hundred years. If the tithe belonged to the Lord then, it belongs to the Lord now.
In Leviticus 27:30-32 the Law of Moses explained that a tenth (tithe) of all produce was holy to the Lord. The word “holy” means “set apart for some special and exclusive purpose.” The tithe cannot be used arbitrarily. The Bible teaches that the purpose of the tithe is to finance the work of God through the local church (Malachi 3:10).
Those who link the practice of tithing with the Law of Moses claim that we are no longer under the Law, but under grace. So what about grace? Speaking of their financial giving, Paul told the Corinthians, “See that you abound in this grace also” (2 Corinthians 8:7). He went on to say that this would be a test of the sincerity of their love.
Paul is simply saying that the basis of tithing is not law, but love. We do not give out of a sense of obligation, but out of a sense of appreciation for all that God has done for us. As for the Law versus grace, should we who are under grace do less than those who were under the Law? Stop and think about the price paid to establish both covenants –
· The covenant of Law – established by the blood of sacrificial animals (Ex. 24:8)
· The covenant of Grace – established by the precious blood of Jesus Christ (Matt. 26:28)
How can we who live under the covenant of grace that was sealed by the blood of Jesus Christ do less than the OT saints who lived under a lesser covenant sealed with inferior blood? Instead of doing less, Paul told the Corinthians they should abound in the grace of giving!
Tithing didn’t begin with the Law of Moses, and it didn’t end with the Law of Moses. At no time does the NT announce that the tithe no longer belongs to the Lord. In the final analysis, tithing is not a matter of money. It’s a matter of trust. And believers of all generations must trust the Lord in everything, including their finances. Tithing is also a tangible expression of the lordship of Jesus Christ over one’s life. Every time you give the Lord’s tithe you are declaring the lordship of Christ over your life.
Tithing is not an OT principle. It’s a biblical principle that applies to all believers in all times.
Pastor Todd Weston