Why I give tithe?

This message is autobiographical as well as theological.
This is a simple explanation to ‘why I give tithe?’
Every viewer or listener of this video or audio is free to choose to give or not to give tithe.
But I request you to lend me few minutes to explain why I tithe.

I started to give tithe in 1978 and continued to give tithe except for a short break of five or six years when I had no income.
It was never questioned by the Church or Pastors before.
But these days, I read and listen to many materials that dismisses tithe, calling it Old Testament legalism.
I am open to all different opinions and so I have gone through their teachings against tithing.
So far I found no solid argument against tithe.
Let me tell you a fact openly.
After watching and listening to many preachers in India and abroad who speak against tithe, I have come to this simple conclusion that some do not want to give tithe and so they are finding arguments for it.
And some other preachers wishfully think that tithe is a limited amount and a free will offering can be more than tithe.
Their slogan is that New Testament believers should give more.

Still there are many Christians want to give tithe and they are giving cheerfully.
Even after going to all these arguments against tithing, I continue to give tithe and I teach my children to give tithe.

Why I give tithe? Let me try to explain my position on this matter.
This video is not intended for any argument for or against tithing.
My sole intention is to teach the mystery of tithing.

1. Tithe is an ancient concept

Before we proceed further, we should know what is tithe?
The word ‘tithe’ means a tenth part.
But in the Bible tithe is not a mathematical calculation but a concept.
There are occasions where people gave more than tenth part and still called it tithe.

There were three different types of tithes among the Israelites and all were called tithe.
If they were different three tithes, they come to 30 percentage of their earnings.

1. The Levitical, or sacred tithe (Num. 18: 21, 24).
2. The tithe of the feasts (Deut. 14:22-27).
3. The tithe for the poor (Deut. 14:28, 29).

The first tithe, the one we trace back to Abra­ham (Gen. 14:18-20), is the sacred tithe, given to the Levites and priests for their service to the temple and the congregation in the Old Testa­ment.
This is the tithe we continue to give under the priesthood of Melchizedek in the New Testa­ment.
It is the tithe consecrated to God and the furtherance of the gospel and has, therefore, validity for all believers in Christ.

The second tithe is the tithe of feasts.
It had an entirely different aspect, and we would do well to contemplate its meaning and purposes.
The Levitical law required that a Jew had to go up to Jerusalem on certain occasions.
In reality this religious ordinance included a definite social provision—periods of vacation for the family.
And how should the head of the household pro­vide for the vacation expense?
By setting aside a second tithe, the one described in Deuteronomy 14:22-27, the tithe for the feasts.
Thus the second tithe was dedicated to the good of man himself, for a vacation and specifically, a vaca­tion with a religious purpose, such as going to camp meeting.

The third tithe was the tithe for the poor.
According to our text in Deuteronomy 14:28, 29, this tithe was given only every third year.
As the text states, the produce had to be laid up in "your towns" for the Levite, sojourner, father­less, and the widow.
It suggests that the distribu­tion was not left to the individual but was a com­munity project to which everybody had to con­tribute.
This tithe, therefore, was for the neigh­bor.

I personally give more than ten percentage of my earnings and call it tithe.
For me tithe is not a mathematical calculation, but a concept of giving to God.
It is a financial discipline rather than legalism.

The first reference to the tenth part of wealth is recorded in connection with Abraham.
Jacob is the second person recorded in the Bible who offered to give tithe.
No percentage calculation was invented at the time of Abraham and Jacob.
The concept of percentage developed through history.
Mathematical computation were expressed in fractions of 100 in ancient Rome.
This concept later evolved into percentages.

But tithe of Abraham and tithe of Jacob might have been a definite amount, a countable part of their wealth.
We do not know how they calculated it.
That means, tithe in the beginning was a more concept of giving than a mathematical calculation.

Tithe as a concept of giving did not origin with Moses or the Laws.
In the Old Testament we read that Abraham gave tithe and Jacob offered to tithe.
There was no law or covenant to give tithe at that time.
They did it as if it was a practice of the time.
The truth is that tithing predates the law by more than 400 years.

Some theologians and historians believe that tithing was practiced by people of all beliefs in the ancient period.
It was not an exclusive practice of the worshippers of Jehovah.
Those who did not worship Jehovah also believed that tithing as an offering to their gods brings blessings.

So Tithe was not invented by either Abraham or Jacob.
They followed the practice of men of the time.

A close reading of the Bible tells us that a moral and spiritual code existed from the days of creation itself.
Thus murder, stealing, lies, encroachment, fornication etc. was considered wicked even before the Mosaic Law.
Sacrifice and worship to Jehovah also existed from the beginning without any Written Law.
In fact the moral codes of the Mosaic Laws were not new inventions, but moral codes that existed during the time.

Dispensational theology is followed by most of the protestant and Pentecost churches.
According to them the human history is divided into 7 dispensations.
Each dispensations are administered by God according to different principles that God established.
And tithe was present in all dispensations from the ancient days among God’s people and among those who worshiped gentile deities.

When God gave the Written Laws to Moses, God regularized many moral codes that befits the holiness of the Kingdom of God and excluded those social practices that would destroy the holiness of the Kingdom.
And God regularized tithing in the Law, making it compulsory.

Thus the concept of tithe existed before the Mosaic Law.
It was not a new invention of God at the time of writing the Laws.
Tithing existed in all dispensations and God regularized it in the Mosaic Law.

But there is no provision for collecting tithes by force in the Law.
God did not authorize the Temple authorities to punish the defaulters of tithe.
Israelites never instituted any tithe police to collect or punish those who did not give tithe.
Tithing was never considered as a reason for justification; justification always came by faith.
Tithing was taught and encouraged by prophets and teachers but none instituted punishment for defaulters.
To encourage tithing God simply attached blessings and curse and left it voluntary.
That means tithing always existed as a willing offering, a thanks giving to God.

Because tithe is not a mathematical calculation, it can be the tenth part of our blessings or can be more than that.
But since a tenth part is mentioned even before the Mosaic Law, we may rightly assume that there was a standard for it.
It was not just any amount, but a countable and considerable part of the blessings.

A vital principle to remember concerning the Old and New Covenants is that what did not originate with the Old Covenant did not die with it.
Since the tithing law predates the Levitical priesthood, and is thus still in force, tithes are now to be given to Jesus Christ, our High Priest, for use by the church.

So I give tithe because it is not a Mosaic Law, but a concept that existed in all dispensations from the ancient time.

2.   My father, Abraham gave tithe

The second reason why I give tithe is that my spiritual father, Abraham gave tithe.

The incident is well known to all.
The name of Abraham was Abram at that time.
Four kings attacked the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah and ransacked all food, women and other possessions.
They also carried off Abraham's nephew Lot and his possessions.
When the news came to Abraham, he went forth, defeated the kings and recovered all the goods.
He brought back his relative Lot and his possessions, together with the women and the other people.
Then Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine; he was the priest of God Most High.
Melchizedek blessed him and said: "Blessed be Abram of God Most High, Possessor of heaven and earth;
And blessed be God Most High, Who has delivered your enemies into your hand."
And Abraham gave Melchizedek a tithe of all.

Abraham gave tithe to Melchizedek, the King of Salem, not because Melchizedek was in need of money or he demanded possessions from Abraham.
Abraham gave tithe when Melchizedek blessed Abraham in the name of “God Most High, Possessor of heaven and earth”.
He gave tithe as a part of worship to the God Most High.
By giving tithe to Melchizedek, Abraham recognized him as a priest who ranked spiritually higher than him.
And Melchizedek was not an ordinary human being; we shall discuss it, in the next section.

This is the only incident recorded in the Bible when Abraham gave tithe.
But this is the only incident recorded in the Bible when Abraham met the “the priest of God Most High”.
In the dispensation of Patriarchs, Abraham was the Patriarch, the King, the priest and the prophet.
It is understood that he worshiped Jehovah the God and sacrificed regularly to God.
Tithe is a worship to God.

Let us remember that Bible is not a history book that recorded every action of all human beings from the creation.
It has not recorded every action of Abraham or Jacob or anyone else.
The Bible has not recorded everything that Jesus said or did while He was on this earth.
It has recorded chosen events from the life of particular men who played important roles in the redemption plan of God.
So we do not find any other incident when Abraham met Melchizedek again and we read of no other occasion Abraham gave tithe to anybody else.
Probably there was no other priest of Jehovah during that time.

Abraham gave tithe as a spontaneous act.
He was neither demanded nor forced to give.
It was as spontaneous as worshiping God as he appears before Abraham.
Giving to God, whatever we call it, is designed to be spontaneous.
Moses and King David exhorted the people to give to the construction of God’s Temple.
And people gave spontaneously and more than necessary.
For all those who are willing to give to God, everything is spontaneous.

Abraham is considered as our spiritual father.
The woman in Eden was promised a seed that would bruise the head of Satan.
The method of redemption through this seed was manifested in the Garden by killing an animal and by covering the sinful nakedness of Adam and Eve with coats of skin drenched with blood.
The promise was re-affirmed on Mount Moriah by redeeming Abraham’s son and all his descendants through him, with a sheep that was sacrificed there.   
And we are descendants of Abraham by faith and inheritors to the promises to him.

The second reason why I give tithe is that my spiritual father, Abraham gave tithe and thus has left a model to me.

3.   My master accepted tithe

The third reason why I continue to give tithe is that my master accepted tithe from my spiritual father, Abraham.
That means my master accepted tithe from human beings.
I know, this needs an explanation.

As we have said twice above, our spiritual father, Abraham gave tithe to Melchizedek, the “the priest of God Most High”
Now let us try to learn who Melchizedek was?

The story of Melchizedek is told in Genesis 14.
The name Melchizedek means “king of righteousness”.
He was the king of Salem or Jerusalem and priest of the Most High God.
The word Salem means 'peace.' This makes Melchizedek the "King of Peace"
He blessed Abraham in the name of “God Most High” and praised God for giving Abraham a victory in battle.

Abraham gave Melchizedek a tenth of all the items he had gathered.
By this act Abraham indicated that he recognized Melchizedek as a priest who ranked higher spiritually than he.

Apostle Paul also spoke of this incident in the book of Hebrews.

Hebrews 6:20 where the forerunner has entered for us, even Jesus, having become High Priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek. (NKJV)

Paul continues the same subject in Hebrews 7
Here, both Melchizedek and Christ are considered kings of righteousness and peace.
By citing Melchizedek and his unique priesthood as a type, the writer shows that Christ’s new priesthood is superior to the old Levitical order and the priesthood of Aaron.

Hebrews 7:3 says that Melchizedek was “without father or mother, without genealogy, without beginning of days or end of life, resembling the Son of God, he remains a priest forever.”

This description can be properly applied to Lord Jesus Christ alone.
No mere earthly king “remains a priest forever,” and no mere human is “without father or mother.”
So many theologians consider the appearance of Melchizedek as a theophany or better a Christophany.
Christ came to give Abraham His blessing, appearing as the King of Righteousness, the King of Peace and the Mediator between God and Man.

Hebrews 6:20 says, “[Jesus] has become a high priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.”
This indicates a succession of priests holding the office.
None are ever mentioned, in the long interval from Melchizedek to Christ as a successor of Melchizedek.
Thus the “order” is eternally vested in Christ alone.
This also is a strong evidence that Melchizedek and Christ are really the same person.

Again in Psalm 110, a messianic psalm written by David, Melchizedek is presented as a type of Christ.

Psalm 110:4 The LORD has sworn And will not relent, "You are a priest forever According to the order of Melchizedek."  (NKJV)

There cannot be two High Priests both holding the same office.
Jesus must have been the person who met Abraham, since the only interaction between God and man has been through Jesus.

According to the Mosaic Law, the sons of Levi, the chosen priesthood had a commandment to receive tithe from the people.
But the genealogy of either Melchizedek or Christ, as high priests of the Most High God, are not derived from Levi.
Apostle reveals a mystery that even Levi gave tithe to Melchizedek because Levi was in Abraham when Abraham gave tithe to Melchizedek, a spiritually higher person.
Tithe is always given by the lesser to the spiritually higher person.

So tithe is given to Christ and not to the Levites.
In the Mosaic Law people gave tithe to the Levites because God the only authority to receive tithe appointed Levites to collect it from the people.
Tithe went to God through His representative, the priest.
So today, we need no Levitical priests according to the Mosaic Law to give tithe.
Tithe is not given to any man, because none is higher than another human being.
And today we are giving tithe to Christ who is spiritually higher to all human beings including Levites.

And so it is well assumed that Abraham gave tithe to Christ and Christ accepted it from a human being.
So I continue to give tithe because my master accepted tithe from my spiritual father Abraham.

4.   My master endorsed tithing

The fourth reason for me to give tithe is that my master, Jesus Christ endorsed it.

In Matthew 23, Jesus is condemning the hypocrisy of the Pharisees and scribes.
In verse 3, Jesus gives the reason for condemning them: “for they say, and do not do.”
In verse 5, Jesus added that: “all their works they do to be seen by men.”
Surely this is not the gospel Jesus preached.

The Sermon on the Mount is laws of the Kingdom of God that Jesus preached.
In the Sermon, Jesus picked up Mosaic Laws and gave fresh interpretations to them.
Jesus was turning our attention from the law giver to the heart of the law giver.
The purpose of the Sermon on the Mount is to shift the emphasis from obedience to character, from a list of rules to attitudes.
When we have the right attitude, all laws become Kingdom values.

Paul also exhorted people to give to the Church with the right attitude.

2 Corinthians 9:7 So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver. (NKJV)

As Jesus continued to condemn Pharisees He spoke also about tithe.

Matthew 23:23 "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone. (NKJV)

The same saying of Christ is recorded by Luke 11:42 also
There is no ambiguity of meaning in this verse, it is clear as crystal.
Jesus was telling 4 things:

1.      Pharisees give tithe for all their possessions and earnings.
2.      But they neglected weightier matters of law, justice, mercy and faith.
3.      They should give tithe
4.      They should not neglect matters like law, justice, mercy and faith

Here Jesus is endorsing tithe as a principle that we should do.

Matthew 23 begins by clarifying that Jesus was teaching “the crowds and his disciples.”
All His words that followed were for the Pharisees and His followers.
That means, in teaching his disciples, Jesus upholds the tithe.

So Christ accepted tithe from Abraham, a human being.
Christ as God assigned tithe to the Levitical priesthood.
Christ received tithe from Abraham, our spiritual father.
And in Matthew 23 and Luke 11, Jesus endorses tithe.

Many preachers and Christians today argue that no scripture in the New Testament tell us to tithe.
But remember, there were no scriptures for Abraham and Jacob to give tithe.
God has already recorded instances of His chosen men giving tithe and have already spoke about it.
Do He need to repeat?

Take a close look at the Bible.
What is talked elaborately in the Old Testament is spoken briefly in the New Testament.
What is spoken briefly in the Old Testament is elaborated in the New Testament.
No one can explain the death of Jesus as an atonement for human sins without going back to the Old Testament.

There is no reference about baptism in the Old Testament.
But baptism existed in the Old Testament period also for those who converted to Judaism from gentile beliefs.
Baptism was not an invention of John the Baptist; not a special revelation he received.

There is no clear description in the New Testament, about how to baptize a person.
Is it immerse baptism or sprinkle baptism?
Did John the Baptist immersed Jesus in the water or poured some water on His head?
In this case it is the best way to follow the practice that existed during the time as the standard method for it.
And we rightly assume that Jesus had an immerse baptism.
Apostle Paul’s interpretation of baptism as death, burial and resurrection with Christ, is based on the practice of the time.

Why are we still obeying the Ten Commandments?
If Old Testament is cancelled and gone, Ten Commandments too should go.
Like what Jesus spoke about tithe, He spoke about the commandments summarizing them into two.
Bible is a record of progressive revelations about God’s redemption plan for man.
Progressive revelation is not cancelling one and starting another, it is more revelations on the same matter.
And Jesus and Apostles have revealed more about tithe.
Jesus told us that we should give tithe and should not forget other important matters like law, justice, mercy and faith.
Apostle Paul revealed that God blesses only a cheerful giver.
In brief, our attitude towards tithe is important in the New Testament.

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus was not cancelling the Old Testament moral codes.
Jesus prescribed a higher standard to the Mosaic Laws.
Christians have to keep a higher standard to the Laws.
In the matter of tithe too, we are to keep a higher standard.
So give more than a tenth part.

And for me, Bible is not two books bound together; it is one and whole.
Tithe is mentioned and commanded in the Bible.

The requirement to tithe preceded the Mosaic Law; was codified in it with ceremonial aspects added, and was affirmed by Jesus as binding on his followers.
So I give tithe because my master has endorsed it.

5.   Apostles did not cancel tithe

Another argument against Tithe is that Apostle Paul replaced tithe with a share of our income.
This is far from the truth.
Let us go Galatians 6 where the Apostle spoke about share all good things with those who teach the Word of God.

Galatians 6:6 Let him who is taught the word share in all good things with him who teaches. (NKJV)

The word ‘share’ in the above passage is quoted by those who object tithe to argue that Paul has replaced tithe with a share of our income.
Let us look into the verse and the occasion of it.

The Greek word used for share is “koinoneo”, a verb and not a noun.
The meaning is “to share, distribute, be partaker or communicate”.

Now let us see what Paul says in Galatians 6.
Verse 1 – Paul is exhorting to restore those who has fallen into temptation.
Verse 2 – Paul is asking to bear one another’s burden.
Verse 3 and 4 – Are a warning against self-righteousness.
Verse 5 – Paul is telling them: “each one shall bear his own load.”
And in verse 6, Paul is asking the Galatians to share or to be a partaker of all good things that a teacher of God’s Word needs for a comfortable life.

In the above passage Paul, did not talked about tithe or replacing tithe with anything else.
It appears that some of the believers in Galatia received the Christian ministry without contributing to its support.
So Paul is advising a common participation of all good things.
That means, Apostle Paul is exhorting the Galatians to share or distribute their good possessions to the teachers of the Word.
Paul is not asking to divide our possessions as a father divides his property among his children and give a share to the teacher.

Moreover, no Apostles had the authority to give fresh interpretations to any Old Testament Law.
Only a special group of Rabbi had the authority to give new interpretations to the Law.
Jesus served as a Jewish Rabbi with the authority to interpret laws.
And no Rabbi, including Jesus ever cancelled or replaced any Law.
In Christian church there is no Rabbi, only disciples of Jesus Christ.
None of the disciples are authorized for giving new interpretations or replacing the existing teachings.
And Paul never tried it.

It is hard to think that Paul ever tried to replace tithe that was endorsed by Jesus with something else.
We are disciples of Christ and not of Paul.
When we take a word and establish another teaching different from what Jesus has taught, we are rejecting the discipleship of Jesus.

Paul is the accepted author of the book, Hebrews.
The writer of Hebrews, in chapter 7, shows the propriety of Abraham’s tithe since it was given to the “priest of the Most High God”
Paul connects Abraham’s tithe to the tithes received by the Levites under the Mosaic covenant.
Levites were in Abraham while he gave tithe to Melchizedek, the priest of the Most High God.
Paul cites the fact that both Melchizedek and Levites received tithe from fellow humans, as a sign that they were priests.
Then Paul goes on to say that Christ is the High Priest after Melchizedek.
Thus Paul draws a continuation of priesthood from Melchizedek to Christ and fulfilment of priesthood in Christ.
For connecting all these three, Paul used tithe.

The intention of the author was to argue that certain aspects of the old covenant are no longer apply to new covenant believers.
Yet Hebrews leaves the impression that Christians will also tithe to their eternal high priest.

Since Apostles had no authority to cancel and replace what Jesus endorsed and Paul never tried to do it, I continue to give tithe.

Everything belongs to God

I have stated 5 reasons why I give tithe.
Before closing this message I would like to examine one more argument of tithe haters.
Their argument is that, in the Old Testament, only 10% belonged to God and in the New Testament all our wealth belong to God.
This is another misconception.
The Old Testament believers too considered that all their wealth belonged to God.
In fact their belief that everything comes from God and belonged to God was stronger than the New Testament believers.

When God gave rest to David from all his enemies all around, he wished to build the Temple of God.
But God commanded that David’s son Solomon would build the Temple.
Still David decided to give gold, silver, brass, iron precious stones etc. for the construction of the Temple.
Not only that, all the people in his country also offered gold, silver, precious stones etc.
David and the people rejoiced for that they offered willingly and with a perfect heart.
And David acknowledged that both riches and honour came from God.
David stated this mystery behind all our wealth.

1 Chronicles 29:14 But who am I, and who are my people, That we should be able to offer so willingly as this? For all things come from You, And of Your own we have given You.  (NKJV)

Here it is clear that the Old Testament saints too believed that all our wealth come from God and belong to God.
And here David and his people give to the cause of the Temple not according to a mathematical calculation, but abundantly from their wealth.
Tithe is a concept and so this is also tithing.
Tithe is only a part of what God has given to us from His abundance.

Let us have a peep into Malachi.
Book of Malachi is in a question-answer form.
God ask questions and he answers for the people, revealing the short comings of them.
Malachi is the last Book of the Old Testament; it stand as an in-between the Old Testament and the New Testament.

Let us read closely chapter 3:7-12.
God is exhorting people to return to Him.
God, Himself poses a question that the people may ask: "But you said, 'In what way shall we return?'
As answer to this question God answers: that they have robbed Him of tithes and offerings.
Then God proceeds to attach curses and blessings to tithe and offering.
And for the first and last time, God offers to: “try Me now in this”.

God accuses his people of “robbing” him by failing to tithe.
This reflects the Biblical teaching that the tithe belongs to God.
In almost unprecedented fashion, God challenges his people to test him. 
Tithing is always a test of faith.
God promises to pour abundant blessings on his people when they tithe
God treats the lack of tithing as contemptible.

God declaration of tithe as a means to try Him whether He will bless us, is very important.
And by attaching curse and blessing to it, God gives the declaration a character of suzerain covenant.
God is turning tithes from a commandment into a covenant that cannot be violated.
And God does it in the last Book of the Old Testament is also very important.


Let me conclude.
Why I give tithe?

I give tithe because it is concept that existed from the ancient days, even before the Mosaic Law.
My spiritual father Abraham gave tithe even without any Law.
My master through Melchizedek received tithe from a human being.
My master, Jesus Christ endorsed tithe.
Apostles never cancelled or replaced tithe with any other principle.

So I give tithe not as a mathematical calculation; I give more than ten percentage.
And I shall continue to give tithe, till I am otherwise convinced.

Thank you for reading.
Watch the video message on this topic @ 
English - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OYX-LXW-Eg8
Malayalam - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=73BBfVbnSK8
May God bless you! Amen!

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