Beyond the Tithe, Chapter by Michael Eaton

(The first part is my comments and title and then Michael’s document follows)

Dear friends, there have been many studies and teachings about tithing whether For or Against…

I believe as the Scriptures say the fact we know that we are free and not under the Mosaic Law. The Law and the Prophets was a shadow, but the Reality is found in Christ.

Col 2:17 these are only 1 the shadow of the things to come, but the reality 2 is Christ! 3

That doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t read the Law of Moses i.e. the book of Leviticus or Deuteronomy, but we should read the Old Testament keeping in mind that we cannot fully understand the OT without the New Testament Scriptures and the introduction of Jesus the Messiah.

Most Christians will point out the reasons why we should tithe:

1) According to Mosaic Law

2) According to Abraham and Jacob

The first reason is invalid because we are not under the Mosaic Law, the second reason was completely voluntarily and lead by the Spirit not out of a command- so that means we simple do it whenever God leads us, not legalistically. The law of 10% only stirs up sin.

Some people might be going ‘whippee’ at this point and say, “Cool! I don’t have to give 10%!! I’ll just give 3%!”.  You give what you have decided in your heart, if its 5% this time, or 50% next time, its whatever you’ve decided in your heart to give.

2Cor 9:6-8

My point is this: The person who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and the person who sowsgenerously  will also reap generously. Each one of you should give  just as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly  or undercompulsion,  because God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace overflow  to you so that because you have enough of everything in every way at all times, you will overflow in every good work.

What most Christians don’t realise is that we as believers and partakers of the New Covenant, are so much more privileged than those who have gone before us under the Old Covenant.

We have a better sacrifice that is Jesus’ blood, not the blood of bulls and animals…

We have better promises and a better mediator

I believe that people living under Grace will give as they are being lead by the Holy Spirit than those living under the Old Covenant or Abraham’s days.

2 Cor 8:3 For I testify, they gave according to their means and beyond their means. They did so voluntarily,

Grace people on occasions will tithe, give 10% but more likely all the other times will  actually go beyond the tithe

Grace people are empowered to do more than law people because of a change of heart, they are more priviliged under a better covenant!

Grace people are not bound by rules and laws and that bounds them, but are now free to stretch their wings and take faith risks which makes them actually enables to do more as their heart has been freed by love…

Nevertheless, the Christian is free to give or not to give and whatever amount God puts on their hearts they are not not pressured by man but give out of their hearts.

Please enjoy this document by Michael Eaton on Tithing!


Chapter 23 Tithing (Malachi 3:7c-8)

As always happened when Malachi was preaching, the people responded with hostility. Most of them were quarrelsome and argumentative. Here it happens again. Malachi says: But you say, ‘How shall we return?’ (3:7c). But as always Malachi refuses to be intimidated. He answers their question! Should a person rob God? Yet you are robbing me. But you say, ‘How have we robbed you?’ In your tithes and contributions (3:8).

Why does Malachi mention tithing? It is because it is a highly practical matter. The people have become careless about keeping the Mosaic law. One sin is being committed, it seems, by almost everyone in the nation. They are all withholding the ‘tithe’ – the tenth of their agricultural profit and of their flocks of animals that was to be given to God at the temple. The people were generally careless about the things of God, but this is something which is very sensitive (most people are touchy about wealth!).

What was ‘tithing’? It was the setting aside of a tenth of harvested crops and animals to be given to God (see Leviticus 27:30-33). In Leviticus we are told that it was required animals and crops that were grown in the land should be tithed (27:30). It effectively meant that one’s in come was subject to a ten per cent tax. The crops (but not the animals) could be given a money-value and the tithe paid in cash. If this was done 20% was added to the estimated value (27:31).

The tithe was very sacred. ‘All tithes … are the Lord’s; they are holy…’. Later on in the law fuller information was given. Numbers 18 refers to the same tithe. (The idea that there is a tithe of crops and animals and another tithe for Levites and maybe a third tithe for the poor – is surely mistaken). The tithe had to be given to the Levites (Numbers 18:21) – the sections of the tribe of Levi that were not priests. The tithe was to be given them as a salary instead of land (18:24).

Deuteronomy 14:22-29 is a further development of the legislation, forty years after its first mention in the law. It adds to and modifies the original law with a view to what will happen in the future. Deuteronomy 17:14-20 is explicitly looking forward to a future period in Israel’s history, and so looks forward to what will happen when there is a central national place of worship. The tithe was an annual matter. Deuteronomy 14:22 makes it explicit. Moses (i) takes it for granted that the annual tithe will be brought to a central sanctuary. (ii) He also takes it that in two out of three years the visit to the central sanctuary will be a special occasion. Deuteronomy 14:23 says ‘And you shall eat before Yahweh your God’. It does not say ‘You shall eat it’ (which might seem to refer to the whole tithe). In this context ‘eat’ has the idea of ‘celebrate’, ‘join in a religious meal together’. Most of the tithe would have been given to the Levites to use or give out according to the well-known legislation. But the people who have come a long way also ‘eat before Yahweh’ (the identical phrase is found in Deuteronomy 12:7). That is, they enjoy a meal in which they are celebrating together. However if they live a long way from the sanctuary they will not be able to do this easily. So they may turn the tithe into cash at the place where they live (14:24-25a). They they are to carry the cash to the central sanctuary (14:25b) and use it to buy what they are giving as tithe (14:26a). They have a family celebration with a little of the tithe (14:26b), and then give the vast majority of it to the sanctuary (14:27). The Levites will no longer be quite so needy as they were when they first settled in the land, so the bulk of the tithe will be given to the central sanctuary. Yet the Levites must not be forgotten altogether. If they are in need some of the tithe may still (as in the original legislation) be given to them (14:27). (iii) Moses also laid it down for the distant future that every third year the tithe would be used in a different way. Every third year the tithe is to be stored in the towns until it is completely brought together from the rural areas (14:28), and then it will be given to the Levites, foreigners, orphans and widows (14:29a). This – says Moses – will lead to blessing for the entire nation (14:29b). Any Levite who misused the tithe was liable to be executed (Deuteronomy 18:32b).

2. What was the origin of tithing? It began with Abraham and Jacob. Abraham paid tithes to Melchizedek (Genesis 14:20; Hebrews 7:6); and Jacob vowed to the Lord and said, ‘Of all that you give me I will surely give a tenth to you’. But it is important to note that this pre-Mosaic tithing was purely a matter of being led by the Holy Spirit. Abraham and Jocab tithed because at a time when they were close to God, and God was working powerfully in their hearts, they felt led to give a tenth of their possessions in this way. They were tithing in the Holy Spirit. Later on the tithe became a matter of law. Israel was under a tithe-legislation.

3. Is the Christian obliged to tithe his income? I answer ‘No’ and ‘Yes’! Strictly speaking the answer is ‘No, the Christian is not under the Mosaic law’. The Christian does not tithe as a matter of legislation. We have ‘died to the law’, and there is nowhere in the New Testament where we are told to tithe. Matthew 23:23 is telling those under the law to keep the law! It cannot be made into a command for post-Pentecost Christians. The New Testament speaks of proportional giving but it is not compelled like the tithe (2 Corinthians 8:8; 9:7). It was ‘according to means’ (8:11). This is not exactly tithing.

Israel was an earthly nation. The tithe was part of its state-law. There was a time when state-churches could demand a tithe of every citizen of a country. In Britain state-enforced tithing was not entirely abolished until 1936! Even today there is at least one country where the tithe can be collected from every citizen as part of its collecting the national taxes. Only those who exempt themselves are released from it. Certainly the Christian is not under the Mosaic law, and state-Christian-religion tends to have a corrupting influence on the purity and sincerity of the churches (to say nothing of its tendency to produce ‘Christians’ who persecute others). Is the Christian under a tithe law? No!

Yet this is not the whole story! The Christian has to give to the work of God. His or her giving is more like the tithing of Abraham and Jacob. They gave a tenth of what they had because that was the leading of the Holy Spirit in their lives. They were tithing by the Holy Spirit, not tithing by any legislation. Christians are not under the law; they are under the Holy Spirit. But the Holy Spirit inspires giving! Another point is: if someone gave a tenth under the law, the movement from law to grace is a movement forward. A person who gave a tenth under the law would give even more – by the Holy Spirit. Whether this ‘proportional giving’ is called ‘tithing’ or not is unimportant. But there is no escaping the fact that when under the law, the believer was to give a tenth and the Holy Spirit is likely to inspire in the heart of the Christian the giving of even morethan a tenth, in the heart of the Christian. It is a good way to test whether we are walking in the Spirit! Are we under the law? No! But we fulfill the law – and go beyond it – by walking in the Holy Spirit. Christians do not tithe ‘Mosaically’. They surpass the tithe when they are walking in the Holy Spirit.

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