Much Ado About Tithing

Posted by Lonnie Henderson on

The Truth Regarding Tithes and Offerings and The Spirit Behind The Giving

Bishop Lonnie P. Henderson, Pastor
Agape Christian Fellowship Ministries

Abraham gave, not paid, gave tithes to Melchizedek. It was a sign of gratitude for his blessings, a sign of honor. Abraham shared his best with Melchizedek:

Hebrews 7:1
For this Melchisedec, king of Salem, priest of the most high God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings, and blessed him;(KJV)

Hebrews 7:2
To whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all; first being by interpretation King of righteousness, and after that also King of Salem, which is, King of peace;(KJV)

Now no where in Scripture does it imply that this was a requirement of Abraham; it was a free will offering - a sign of gratitude for the annual harvest, a sign of honor. So the tithe was supposed to have been of the first fruit because it was the best.

The tithe under the law was a initially a free will offering. However, the Israelites, during their time of disobedience grew slack in their tithe offerings, it was no longer the first fruits, the food was not fit to share:

Malachi 1:1
The burden of the word of the LORD to Israel by Malachi.(KJV)

Malachi 1:2
I have loved you, saith the LORD. Yet ye say, Wherein hast thou loved us? [Was] not Esau Jacob's brother? saith the LORD: yet I loved Jacob,(KJV)

Malachi 1:3
And I hated Esau, and laid his mountains and his heritage waste for the dragons of the wilderness.(KJV)

Malachi 1:4
Whereas Edom saith, We are impoverished, but we will return and build the desolate places; thus saith the LORD of hosts, They shall build, but I will throw down; and they shall call them, The border of wickedness, and, The people against whom the LORD hath indignation for ever.(KJV)

Malachi 1:5
And your eyes shall see, and ye shall say, The LORD will be magnified from the border of Israel.(KJV)

Malachi 1:6
A son honoureth [his] father, and a servant his master: if then I [be] a father, where [is] mine honour? and if I [be] a master, where [is] my fear? saith the LORD of hosts unto you, O priests, that despise my name. And ye say, Wherein have we despised thy name?(KJV)

Malachi 1:7
Ye offer polluted bread upon mine altar; and ye say, Wherein have we polluted thee? In that ye say, The table of the LORD [is] contemptible.(KJV)

Malachi 1:8
And if ye offer the blind for sacrifice, [is it] not evil? and if ye offer the lame and sick, [is it] not evil? offer it now unto thy governor; will he be pleased with thee, or accept thy person? saith the LORD of hosts.(KJV)

Malachi 1:9
And now, I pray you, beseech God that he will be gracious unto us: this hath been by your means: will he regard your persons? saith the LORD of hosts.(KJV)

Malachi 1:10
Who [is there] even among you that would shut the doors [for nought]? neither do ye kindle [fire] on mine altar for nought. I have no pleasure in you, saith the LORD of hosts, neither will I accept an offering at your hand.(KJV)

Malachi 1:11
For from the rising of the sun even unto the going down of the same my name [shall be] great among the Gentiles; and in every place incense [shall be] offered unto my name, and a pure offering: for my name [shall be] great among the heathen, saith the LORD of hosts.(KJV)

Malachi 1:12
But ye have profaned it, in that ye say, The table of the LORD [is] polluted; and the fruit thereof, [even] his meat, [is] contemptible.(KJV)

Malachi 1:13
Ye said also, Behold, what a weariness [is it]! and ye have snuffed at it, saith the LORD of hosts; and ye brought [that which was] torn, and the lame, and the sick; thus ye brought an offering: should I accept this of your hand? saith the LORD.(KJV)

Malachi 1:14
But cursed [be] the deceiver, which hath in his flock a male, and voweth, and sacrificeth unto the Lord a corrupt thing: for I [am] a great King, saith the LORD of hosts, and my name [is] dreadful among the heathen.(KJV)

It was during this time that God amended tithing to the law:

Malachi 3:8
Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings.(KJV)

Malachi 3:9
Ye [are] cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, [even] this whole nation.(KJV)

Malachi 3:10
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].(KJV)

This was of a necessity because of the hardness of the people's heart. The tithing became burdensome because it was no longer a free will offering, but rather a requirement that carried the penalty of curses if broken.

When Jesus came into the earth as human, He came under this law, though the Levitical order of priesthood had not recovered from the years of siege and deliverance from foreign empires. Yet, the Pharisees, still gave tithes, out of a since of religiosity rather than free will offering.

Because Jesus was still under the law, He did not discourage it.

Matthew 23:23
Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cumin, and have omitted the weightier [matters] of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.(KJV)

However, with the crucifixion, death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus, He delivered us from burden of the law that was implemented because of the hardness of the heart; there was forgiveness of sin:

Luke 23:33
And when they were come to the place, which is called Calvary, there they crucified him, and the malefactors, one on the right hand, and the other on the left.(KJV)

Luke 23:34
Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots.(KJV)

Jesus was not referring to His tormentors, or those who were crucifying Him. They were following God's plan for our deliverance from the burden of the law:

Isaiah 53:10
Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put [him] to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see [his] seed, he shall prolong [his] days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.(KJV)

Isaiah 53:11
He shall see of the travail of his soul, [and] shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.(KJV)

So the intercession that Jesus made out of love covered a multitude of sins, to include the hardness of people's heart not to tithe as a sign of gratitude of God's blessings and honor. There is no more curse associated with the non-tither for those of us who through Jesus have been redeemed because Jesus took that curse upon Himself on the cross:

Galatians 3:13
Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed [is] every one that hangeth on a tree:(KJV)

What is left, is the principal of the prelaw tithe offering: The free will offering that Abraham gave to Melchizedek. It was the instructions given by the Apostle Paul to the churches in his letter to the churches of Corinth and applies to the Body of Christ today, but with the spirit of supplying the monetary retirements for the advancement of God's kingdom in terms of evangelism, helping those who have lack both from a spiritual and natural perspective, and yes, providing for the needs of those who labor in love to minister the gospel of Jesus Christ.

2 Corinthians 9:5
Therefore I thought it necessary to exhort the brethren, that they would go before unto you, and make up beforehand your bounty, whereof ye had notice before, that the same might be ready, as [a matter of] bounty, and not as [of] covetousness.(KJV)

2 Corinthians 9:6
But this [I say], He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully.(KJV)

2 Corinthians 9:7
Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, [so let him give]; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.(KJV)

2 Corinthians 9:8
And God [is] able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all [things], may abound to every good work:(KJV)

2 Corinthians 9:9
(As it is written, He hath dispersed abroad; he hath given to the poor: his righteousness remaineth for ever.(KJV)

2 Corinthians 9:10
Now he that ministereth seed to the sower both minister bread for [your] food, and multiply your seed sown, and increase the fruits of your righteousness;)(KJV)

2 Corinthians 9:11
Being enriched in every thing to all bountifulness, which causeth through us thanksgiving to God.(KJV)

2 Corinthians 9:12
For the administration of this service not only supplieth the want of the saints, but is abundant also by many thanksgivings unto God;(KJV)

2 Corinthians 9:13
Whiles by the experiment of this ministration they glorify God for your professed subjection unto the gospel of Christ, and for [your] liberal distribution unto them, and unto all [men];(KJV)

2 Corinthians 9:14
And by their prayer for you, which long after you for the exceeding grace of God in you.(KJV)

2 Corinthians 9:15
Thanks [be] unto God for his unspeakable gift.(KJV)

Again, your giving must be from your heart, not from coercion, or the deception of going to hell or being cursed if you don't give out of gratitude or honor of God. He knows your circumstances and will bless you anyway because of His unconditional love:

Matthew 5:45
That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.(KJV)

Moreover, if you give because you feel compelled to tithe and not with the love of God, it will not benefit you. An excerpt from Paul’s letter to the churches of Corinth makes this point:

1 Corinthians 13:3
And though I bestow all my goods to feed [the poor], and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.(KJV)

Furthermore, tithing while abiding in sin in other areas of your life will not be your bribe into heaven as Jesus recorded in the book of Revelation:

Revelation 2:18
And unto the angel of the church in Thyatira write; These things saith the Son of God, who hath his eyes like unto a flame of fire, and his feet [are] like fine brass;(KJV)

Revelation 2:19
I know thy works, and charity, and service, and faith, and thy patience, and thy works; and the last [to be] more than the first.(KJV)

Revelation 2:20
Notwithstanding I have a few things against thee, because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols.(KJV)

Now there may be times when God places on your heart to tithe, don’t condemn others who have not the means or the will to tithe. Some may have been compelled by the love of God to give more than the tithe, some may be cheerfully giving less, with a heart to give more, and some may be the recipient of that tithe with a grateful heart. Only God knows the heart, so don’t be so quick to condemn others, don’t be like the Pharisee:

Luke 18:10
Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican.(KJV)

Luke 18:11
The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men [are], extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.(KJV)

Luke 18:12
I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.(KJV)

Luke 18:13
And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as [his] eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.(KJV)

Luke 18:14
I tell you, this man went down to his house justified [rather] than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.(KJV)

Don’t let the behavior of those receiving your tithe and offerings discourage your giving. If they are stealing in the name of the Lord, they are held accountable to the Lord. Don’t disobey God as regarding what He has placed on your heart to give, just obey God as to where He has placed on your heart to give because you to are held accountable to God for your distribution. Be very sensitive to the Holy Spirit. It may not be money that you can offer, perhaps it is your gifts, time or talent that the Lord has imparted to you as a blessing. When I was in India, for example, people offered their labor to help build a church; it was all they had to offer. Another woman offered a measure of rice at the collection table, it was all she had to contribute.
Whatever you offer, let be from your heart, be a cheerful giver.


Tags: giving, tithe, tithing