Tag Archives: Aaron

Do we need to Tithe? and who do we give our Tithes to?

A much debated subject in Christian circles today, is whether we need or need not tithe. Some say it is one of God’s Commandments. Others say that it is an important act of obedience, while this controversial subject is not talked about directly in other assemblies.

It is a well known fact that “Tithing” was instituted with the Law given through Moses (Mosaic Law). The same congregations & denominations that believe and teach that the Law in the Old Testament is “done away with”, somehow still enforce “tithing”. Even the ones who do not enforce Tithing, still stick to the belief that it is valid for today unlike the other Old Testament Laws.

Today, we will read into this topic and get to the bottom of the “Biblical Tithe”, answering the questions “whether we need to tithe” and if we do, “who do we give our tithes to?” (Please note that this study is not intended to be used as an excuse to stop giving to Our Heavenly Father. He neither requires or desires to collect material treasures that we bring to Him. On the contrary, this study is done to better understand the Biblical Tithe system and whether and how we should give a portion back to our God who supplies all our needs)

Tithing before the Law of Moses
The Truth is that Tithing is even mentioned before the Mosaic Law. Just like “Animal Sacrifices” and “Clean/Unclean Animal separation” which were part of the Mosaic Law; are mentioned before the giving of the Law, in the book of Genesis, Tithing was also done many years before Moses.

Abraham’s Tithe
In Gen 14:20, it is mentioned that Abraham gave tithes of all he had to Melchizedek, the priest of God Almighty.
Jacob’s Tithe
In Gen 28:22, Jacob also makes a promise to God, to give a tenth of all that God gives him.

The Commandment of Tithing, through the Law of Moses
Before we get into the Laws regarding Tithing, it is necessary for all of us to understand a few fundamental aspects of the priestly system which tithing was part of.

  • God instituted the Tribe of Levi to work in the Temple/Tabernacle that was instituted after Moses (Num 1:49-54, 3:6-10, 18:2-4)
  • Aaron was also of the tribe of Levi (Num 26:59, Jos 21:10)
  • God chose Aaron and his sons to be Priests in the Temple/Tabernacle forever (Exo 27:21, 28:1,41,43, 29:9, 40:13,15, 1Chr 23:13)
  • All Levites were not Priests. Only the line of Aaron could be appointed as Priests (Num 16:8-11, 1Chr 6:48,49, 23:28, 2Chr 35:14, 2Chr 13:9,10). Even John the baptist descended from the lineage of Aaron, just as his father Zecheriah (Luke 1:5 – compare the course of Abijah/Abia 1Chr 24:10,19)
  • Everyone from the tribe of Levi, (other than Aaron and his descendents who were the priests) did all the other work in the Temple/Tabernacle (1Chr 23:27-32)
  • The tribe of Levi did not have any inheritance in the Land (Num 18:23, Deut 10:8,9, 18:1,2, Jos 13:14,33)
  • Levites were only given cities to live in (which they did not own), in each of the portions of land divided amongst the other tribes (Num 35:1-3 & 7-8)

There are 4 types of Tithes mentioned in the Scriptures
Lev 27:30-33 is the first time the “Tithe” is specifically spoken of, by God Almighty. In this portion of Scripture, God mentions that the Tithe or Tenth of everything, whether seed, fruit, herd or flock, that the people “Israel” procures from the Land, which God gives them, is owned by Him. God says that it is also Holy/Consecrated to Him. But there is no further instruction regarding the Tithe mentioned in the Book of Leviticus. Accounting all of Scripture, we see that there was not 1, but 4 types of “Tithes” and specific instructions regarding these. Let us look at the 4 types of Tithes and try to clearly understand this Commandment regarding the Tithe.

1. The Levitical Tithe
The tithe which is commonly known by all, is actually the Tithe which was separated for the Levites. This Tithe was to be brought by all of Israel, and was to be given to the Levites. The Tithe which was brought was the inheritance set apart by God for the Levites (Num 18:21-24). All the tithes were given unto the Levites (Neh 12:44). It was the portion of the Levite (Neh 12:44), and was supposed to be divided amongst the Levites (Neh 13:10-13). God warns His people not to forsake the Levite (Deut 12:19). The Levites enjoyed the Tithes and whatever was left was stored in the treasury (2Chr 31:10). The fact that the Tithe went to the Levite, is even mentioned in the New Testament (Heb 7:5)

2. The Tithe given to the Aaronic Priests
God commanded that the Levites who received the Tithe would be required to give a tenth of it to Sons of Aaron, who were the priests (Num 18:25-32). This was also known as the “Tithe of Tithes” (Neh 10:38) It was the payment that they and their families got for the service they did in the Tabernacle (Num 18:31). The Tithe of the Tithe, that the priests who were in the lineage of Aaron received, was the best part of the Tithe which was acquired by the Levites who served the Priests (Num 18:29,32)

3. Tithe given to the Poor
On top of the Tithe brought to the Levites, every third year was also called the “Year of Tithing”(Deut 26:12). Every third year there was a separate Tithe which was supposed to be brought and given to the Levite, the stranger, the fatherless and the widow. It was basically given to the less fortunate, the poor and the people who could not fend for themselves (Deut 14:28,29). This Tithe is also mentioned by the Prophet Amos who talks to the idolatrous Israelites in a sarcastic manner (Amos 4:4)

4. The Tithe separated for God’s Appointed Times/Festivals/Feasts
God’s Appointed times which are commonly known as Feasts of God, which are mentioned in Leviticus 23, required everyone to come to Jerusalem 3 times a year (Exo 23:14,15,17, Deut 16:16, 2Chr 8:13). God specifically commanded everyone to bring a Tithe, that they themselves would use to celebrate before God (Deut 14:22-27). God wanted this Tithe to be used for rejoicing before Him (Deut 12:6,7). This Tithe could be only used to rejoice in Jerusalem along with the Levite (Deut 12:17,18). It could not be used in any other place.

Tithes were supposed to be brought to Jerusalem only
Just as no sacrifices or offerings could be made anywhere other than at the Temple/Tabenacle in Jerusalem, Tithes were also supposed to be brought to the place that God chose to “place His Name” (Deut 12:5,6,11, 14:23). Jerusalem is the only place that God placed His divine name Forever (1Kin 9:3, 11:36, 2Kin 21:4,7). It is called God’s Habitation (Isa 33:10, Ezr 7:15, 2Chr 29:6)

Is the Tithe valid for today?
The first thing to notice according to the 4 types of Tithes mentioned in the Scriptures, is that the Tithes that could be valid for us are only the “Levitical Tithe”, “Poor Tithe” & “Feast Tithe”. The Priests Tithe was a Tithe made by the Levites, and is excluded to us unless you are from the tribe of Levi. The “Levitical Tithe” was to be given to the Levites for their livelihood, as they did not have an inheritance. The “Poor Tithe” was to be brought to the Temple/Tabernacle in Jerusalem and distributed amongst the poor. And the “Feast Tithe” was to be enjoyed by oneself at the Feasts/Appointed times when they came to the Temple/Tabernacle in Jerusalem.

The problem today, with these 4 types of Tithes mentioned in the Scripture is, that the Temple built in Jerusalem is not there anymore. In the same manner that no Sacrifices or offerings can and has not been made at the Temple, since it’s destruction in 70AD, Tithing also cannot be done in any other place according to the Commandments of God. But according to all the Prophets and the Book of Revelations, The Jerusalem Temple will be built again. On such a day, the Tithes according to the Scriptures would be valid again.

Mixing Tithes with Offerings
Most Christian circles have mixed up the Offering (known as the “freewill offering” in the Old Testament) with Tithing, saying Tithing is valid for today, while it is actually not. Even if Tithing was valid, Pastors, Ministers & Leaders of congregations cannot receive the Tithe which God has separated for the Tribe of Levi. While offerings were collected and received to help the poor or the preaching of the Gospel, nowhere did Paul or any other Author receive or approve of taking Tithes.

In fact, Paul himself says that whoever that serves should receive an offering, (1Cor 9:9-14) but that he has never written or asked for anything in return for his service (1Cor 9:15). Receiving or giving an Offering, is not wrong or against God’s Word at all, as Paul is clearly proving through the use of the Old Testament Scriptures.

Can anyone who serves God, request Tithes?
Some take the stance that whoever serves God should receive the Tithe making themselves equal to the Levites. But we see no such event taking place in the New Testament. The Tithe was specifically separated for the Levite, the Poor and all who came for the feasts. Even though there were many synagogues in the time of Yeshua(Jesus’ true name) and even afterwards, as well as many congregations at houses throughout the 1st Century Church, there is no indication that anyone excepted Tithes, other than the Levites who worked in the House of God in Jerusalem.

Malachi 3:7-10
One of the proof texts used by many to say God wants you to Tithe, is Malachi 3:7-10. In this passage of Scripture Malachi prophesies to the Israelites saying they have robbed God by not giving the necessary Tithes and offerings. Verse 10 reads, “Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.” As a piece of Scripture that is connected to a promise, we must first of all, ask a few important questions regarding this verse. 1)What is the Storehouse? 2)Why does God want food in His House? 3)What is God referring to as My House?

The Storehouse mentioned in this verse is the treasury of the Temple (Neh 10:38, 12:44). God does not require food to eat, but the reason He mentions food in His house is that the Levites who serve would be given all of this (as per His Commandment) so that they can keep on serving at the Temple without hindrance. And the place God mentions as “My House” is the Temple which was built for Him in Jerusalem. This verse, read in context cannot mean that God is ordering believers today, to give Tithes to their Church Leaders.

Giving to the Widow, the Fatherless and the Stranger
Out of the Tithes mentioned in the Scriptures, the only clear category of people who could receive it today would be the poor. Throughout the Scriptures right up to the writings of the Apostles, the people who cannot fend for themselves have been asked to be taken care of (Deut 24:19-21, Psa 146:9, Jer 7:6,7, Zec 7:10, Mal 3:5, James 1:27). Using the portion that is separated for God to help the poor and helpless could be the closest we could get to a Biblical Tithe, in this day and age. It is not only acceptable, but is also an act that is surely noticed by God and approved throughout the Bible (Acts 10:4, Mat 6:4, Luk 12:33, Acts 9:36, 24:17)

Conclusion
It is clear that no one can point to Scripture to prove that they should rightly receive a Tithe from anyone, as the 4 types of Tithes mentioned in Scripture were given to the Levites, Priests, Poor and whoever came to celebrate the feasts of Yehovah. Leader, Pastors & Ministers have no authority to request or insinuate that the Tithe must be given to them and the institution that they are part of, when there is a clear set of rules made by Our Heavenly Father regarding this ordinance.

If someone does want to give a Tenth of what they earn to a Minister or a leader, it would be considered an “Offering”, which is not the same as the Tithe mentioned in the Scriptures. This does not mean that we should not and cannot separate or give a Tenth of our earnings to the Poor or the people who serve God Almighty. It is important though to make these decisions with discernment and help the people who are in need, the most. The portion we give, whether big or small, whether it is one tenth or not, should be done with Love and obedience to Our Father, so that it brings praise to Him and Him alone.

Old Covenant abolished by New Covenant? Part I

One of the biggest arguments in Christianity is, whether the Old Covenant is in effect today or whether it is abolished and no more. I would like to pose a different question in the midst of all this confusion and misunderstandings.

Which Old Covenant?
Some are in the belief that there are only 2 Covenants in the Scriptures. Contrary to this belief God has made several Covenants with man from the beginning of creation. Before we can say that any Covenant is abolished, let us understand what these Covenants are and what God has said about them.

First of all, we need to understand what a Covenant means. A Covenant is an agreement between two parties. The party which has more authority/power could make a Covenant with the other party which includes or does not include certain conditions. After the other party in return agrees upon the Covenant, it is in effect. Blood was spilled as a sign of these contracts in ancient times.

The words “Covenant” and “Testament” written in the bible are the same. In the Greek manuscripts of the New Testament, only one word is used wherever “Covenant” or “Testament” is seen in our English translations (Strong’s Greek Concordance – G1242 – διαθήκη – diathēkē – dee-ath-ay’-kay – a disposition, that is, (specifically) a contract (especially a devisory will): – covenant, testament).

Covenants God made with His creation

  • Covenant with Adam (Gen 2:16,17) (Hosea 6:7) –
    This Covenant had conditions. If Adam obeyed, he would have eternal life. Disobedience would cause him to die.
  • Covenant with Noah (Gen 9:9-17) –
    This is an Everlasting, Unconditional Covenant made with Noah, his seed & all living creatures. God promised that He will never again destroy the whole earth with a flood. The sign of this covenant was the Rainbow.
  • Covenant with Abraham (Genesis 12:1-3, 6-7; 13:14-17; 15; 17:1-14; 22:15-18)
    This was an Everlasting, Conditional Covenant. God asked Abraham to leave his Country first. Then He required him to believe in the promises. He made sure Abraham knew about the slavery of Israel for 400 years. God gave him and his seed the land of Israel. God wanted him to walk before Him and be perfect. The sign of this Covenant was that every male of his seed and every servant bought with money, was to be circumcised. All the blessings which were promised were certified as Abraham obeyed even unto the degree of sacrificing his only son.
    This Covenant was renewed with Isaac (Gen 26:3-5, 24) and Jacob (Gen 28:13-15, 46:2-4)
  • Covenant with Israel through Moses (Exo chapter 19-24)
    This Covenant was a Conditional Covenant with many Everlasting Commandments/Laws(Exod 12:17,24, 21:6, 28:43, 30:21, Lev 3:16-17, 6:17-18, 20-22, 10:9, 15, 16:29, 34, 23:14, Num 19:21). While the person who kept these Commandments would be blessed, the person who broke it would be cursed (Deut 11:26-28). The sign of this Everlasting Covenant was the Seventh Day Sabbath (Exo 31:12-18)
  • Covenant with Aaron ( Exo 40:12-15, Num 25:12,13, Neh 13:29)
    God made an Everlasting Covenant with Aaron and his descendants to be the priests alongside the Tribe of Levi which was also consecrated for priestly duties.
  • Covenant with David (2Sam 7:8-16, 23:5, 2Chr 13:5, Jer 33:20,21)
    God made an Everlasting Covenant with David, where His people would always be ruled over by a descendant of David hinting to Messiah Yeshua(Hebrew name of Jesus) who will reign and rule over “His People – Israel”(Luk 1:32,33).
  • Covenant with the 2 Houses of Israel through Yeshua (Heb 8:8-10) (Jer 31:33,34) (Heb 13:20)
    The New Covenant which we are all familiar with, was spoken of by the prophet Jeremiah in chapter 31. In verse 31, He says that He will make a New Covenant with The House of Israel & The House of Judah. In verse 33, He says that He will write His Law on peoples hearts. This is the same Covenant spoken in the Book of Hebrews chapter 8. According to verse 34, This Covenant will come to fulfillment when God’s kingdom is established with Yeshua ruling as king, as no one will need to teach another about God anymore.

Blood of the Covenant
Major Covenants with His People were always put into effect by shedding of blood.
1. Noah sacrificed animals before God made the Covenant (Gen 8:20)
2. Abraham sacrificed animals before God made the Covenant (Gen 15)
3. When God made the Covenant at Sinai, Moses sprinkled the Blood of the Covenant
(Exo 24:8, Heb 9:19,20)
4.Yeshua renewed the Covenant as per God’s Word in Jer 31 through shedding His blood (Mat 26:28, Mar 14:24, Luk 22:20, Heb 10:29, 12:24, 13:20)

Now that we understand a bit more about the Covenants in Scripture, lets look at what is commonly known as the Old and New Covenants.

Old Covenant vs. New Covenant
As you see above, there are many Covenants God made with His creation. Many of these Covenants were made by God as Everlasting Covenants as the Scriptures show us. What people generally mean by “Old Covenant” is the Covenant God made through Moses (The Mosaic Covenant) at Mount Sinai, while the Scriptures have also been broken into and commonly known as “Old Testament” & “New Testament”.

As our focus is on this Mosaic Covenant, and whether it is done away with, let us look at some important facts about this Covenant before we make our conclusions and find answers for any of the persisting misunderstandings.

  • The Mosaic Covenant is called an Everlasting Covenant and God says that He will not break His Covenant (Judg 2:1, Lev 26:44, Psa 89:34, 105:8-10, 111:7-9, 1Chr 16:15-17, Deu 5:29, 12:28)
  • The Mosaic Covenant was written with the finger of God (Deut 4:13) (Exo 31:18, 32:16)
  • The Mosaic Covenant was made with all 12 Tribes of Israel (Exo 19:5,6, 24:4)
  • The Mosaic Covenant was there for 3 reasons.
    1) It would bless the person who obeyed (Deut 11:26-28)
    2) It would curse the person who disobeyed (Deut 11:26-28)
    3) It would show right from wrong, sin from righteousness (Rom 7:7)
  • The Ten Commandments are the conditions, and part and parcel of the Mosaic Covenant (Deut 7:9, 4:13, Neh 1:5, Dan 9:4)

If the Old Covenant (Mosaic Covenant) is abolished after Yeshua, then we can no longer have the 10 Commandments. Jesus himself said we cannot break the least of the commandments, and that not the minutest detail will pass from it as long as heaven and earth exists (Mat 5:18,19).

The questions arise when you read some of the epistles of Paul, The Book of Hebrews and some verses in the Gospels. Paul and other writers of the “New Testament” seem to be saying that the Law and the Old Covenant is done away with, in some places.

We have a serious problem with our Bible if there are contradictions in the Scriptures. One verse cannot disagree with another. One author cannot disagree with another Author. All Scripture has to be in perfect harmony, as our God is not a God of Chaos, but of perfect order and peace.

As we saw earlier, The Mosaic Covenant as well as the New Covenant mentioned in Jer 31 & Heb 8 are both Everlasting Covenants. So how can one abolish the other? The New Covenant could be better understood as a “Renewed” Covenant. One does not abolish the other, but the “Older Covenant” is renewed by the “New Covenant”. This renewal happened by the shedding of the blood of Yeshua. If the Old Covenant was taken away, there would no longer be any Commandments. We would no longer need to adhere to God’s Laws, which mean there would be no yard stick for judgement. All of us will receive judgement at the end of time, according to Scripture. And God will not judge by our standards, but His own. If we were free from God’s Commandments, to do as each of us see fit, how would the righteous judge be able to judge us?

What about all the verses that say the Old Covenant is done away with?
Doesn’t Heb 8:13 say that the Old Covenant is ready to vanish away? Didn’t Jesus say the Law is Finished in Joh 19:31? Are we not free from the Law, and under Grace? Isn’t the Law a Curse? Wasn’t the Law nailed to the cross? Some even say that we do not have 10 Commandments any longer, and that we have only the 2 new Commandments that Yeshua gave us. In the next part of this study, we will delve into the meaning of “Law” and try to understand some of these misunderstood verses and see whether we can unravel the true meaning in them.

My request to you, is this. If you believe in a certain doctrine, Test it. See whether it is in perfect harmony with all of the verses in the Bible. If there are contradictions, most probably, something is wrong with the understanding you have. I hope this study has given you something to think about, and that it will help you to better understand the Word of God.