How Are We To Tithe?
Everyone would agree there is a great deal of theological confusion. Yahuah does not change in any way; there is no shadow of turning. And yet, time, circumstances, and altered teachings make it seem that what He once called an abomination is now pleasing to Him. How so?
Men teach us the 7th day of rest is outlawed (by order of the Catholic Council of Laodicea, 363-364 CE, canon 29), that we may eat unclean animals for food, and that most of Yahuah’s Commandments are now annulled, having been “nailed to the crux.”
They didn’t nail “tithing” to the crux, but kept it in force.
Why do Christian pastors teach against obedience to the Ten Commandments, yet complain when people don’t tithe? If keeping the Ten Commandments is being "legalistic," then how could tithing (to those telling you to do so) not be the same?
The Truth is, we are to obey in every way, and being legal in Yahusha's eyes is very, very good; we should pursue living exactly as He lived. Tithing is an arrangement established on the principle of giving back to Yahuah.
Ten percent of our increase is the base amount that everyone is to render, and it is fair because it is the same for everyone, as a flat tax would be. It is more blessed to give than to receive for many reasons, and expresses to Yahuah that we recognize how He is worthy of a portion of our labor.
We have nothing at all that we have not received ourselves (1Cor. 4:7). Abraham gave a tenth of the booty to the priest of Salem, indicating it may be more than only food, although the most common tithe involved the giving of animals and produce during the festival times.
While the Temple stood, prior to 70 CE, the tithe was given to the priesthood for their support, and distributed to the needy of the assembly.
With the destruction of the Temple and its operation, this priesthood has been suspended, and in the Renewed Covenant we are under our High Priest of the order of Malkizedeq.
We are Yahusha’s followers if we are immersed and under His authority. His function in this priesthood is primarily one of announcing the coming of His reign, and repenting to be restored to favor (2Cor. 5:18-20, Col. 1:21).
We teach the nations everything He commanded us to obey, and live by every Word that proceeds from the mouth of Yahuah.
As His ambassadors, we continue to function in His power, and we still give to those in need of support.
We are obliged to note any needs in our own family in order that they not be a burden on the assembly.
Teachers have always been all over the map in regard to how to tithe properly, but Yahusha is our Teacher on this subject.
Teachers must not focus the tithe on themselves receiving it, only to partake in it to sustain them as they work in the harvest.
His Word is trustworthy, but the words of men are not. Here are some texts to whet your appetite on discerning His will about the tithe:
“If any believing man or woman has widows, let such assist them, and do not let the assembly be burdened, in order to assist those who are truly widows.
Let the elders who rule well be counted worthy of double respect, especially those who labor in the word and teaching.
For the Scripture says, ‘You shall not muzzle an ox while it treads out the grain,’ and, ‘The laborer is worthy of his wages.’” - 1 Timothy 5:16-18
see also: 1 Thessalonians chapter 5, Acts 4, 1 Yn. 3:17, and 1 Tim. chapter 5
Lew White, Torah Institute
Tithing - The Tenth Part (ma'aser) Dutch translation: TITHING - The Tenth Part
Was Yahusha supported by the tithe, or the giving of a few? The answer is given at Luke 8:1-3.
The tithe to the Luite, the Temple tax, the animal sacrifices and drink offerings, and the whole operation of the priesthood has faded away, replaced by a new priesthood. The original Melchizedek priesthood, named after the Kohen Gadol Melchizedek, was "tithed" a "ma'aser", or tenth-part, by Abraham. Later, the Luite priesthood, descendants of Aharon, became the recipients of the tenth part. You can read about this at Leviticus 27:30, Numbers 18, Dt. 12:17, Dt. 14:22-28, Dt. 26:12.
Now, we operate in the Melchizedek priesthood, and EACH ONE OF US are priests.
The Covenant didn't pass away, but there was a change in priesthood (Heb. 8). What has appeared is one new man, Israel, having the Covenant circumcised on his heart by the Mashiak, and we are all priests to the nations. At our immersion into the Name of Yahusha, we become engrafted into the commonwealth of the people Yasharal (aka Israel), and obey His Covenant of love out of our love for Him. (By "Israel" we are not speaking of a government, state, or land - only a people obediently living in the Covenant).
Our own flesh and blood that is in need, both our immediate families and any other Israelite in need, are the primary recipients of the tenth part of our increase. We also use a portion of this tenth part to feast before Yahuah in the time of Sukkoth. Whatever food our hearts desire (that is legal to eat) we may purchase and feast on before Him. The poor, widow, fatherless (orphans), and stranger in need are constantly needing support. We should be a blessing to them, for their basic needs (food, clothing, and shelter). Their phone bills are not essential. Our parents or siblings in need are our first concern, then if these are fine we turn to those in our immediate vicinity in need. If we send our funds to far-away places to feed the poor through an organized corporation, we cannot be sure it is being done efficiently, if at all. Also, the lands far away may be vomiting out its inhabitants by the will of Yahuah for some purpose. We saw it happen to New Orleans, and it's not difficult to understand what the judgment was for (sin perhaps?). So, where ever we are, we are a blessing to our environment. When the Spanish evicted the Yahudim in 1492, the nation went down.
The orphans, poor, and widows are not the ones who give 10% from their increase, but are the recipients of the tithe. If you are on Social Security, this is not an “increase”; it is for your food. Society has established a means to care for the crippled, elderly, orphan, etc.,.
Offerings to support the work of Yahusha should be done by those equipped to help, as we see certain wealthy women supported His work - Luke 8:2,3. This work of Yahusha needs regular offerings that are possible by those Yahusha enables, but only after they have tithed to the needy in their vicinity - and the needy in our family comes first. Gifts are not tithes. What Torah teaches us about tithing is being used today to exploit the vast majority of sincere believers, and has been for many centuries. First, the priestly tithe obligation was to support the Luite priesthood and their families, as they had no land inheritance. The priests lived among the tribes all over the land of Israel, and an individual priest only worked 2 weeks of each year in the service of the Temple, according to their order. There were 26 orders. There is no Luite priesthood in place now, but the preeminent Melckizedek priesthood is to remain because death has been overcome and our High Priest will never be replaced. We Natsarim make up that priesthood, with Rabbi Yahusha serving as High Priest forever. We are also the Temple, and the priestly tithe is already “in” the Temple. We are all priests, so giving the tithe from priest-to-priest hardly makes any sense. If we tithe to support the priesthood we are part of, it would be like the poor tithing to support the poor. The children of the King don't pay Temple taxes to support the Spiritual Kingdom of Yahuah either. Yahusha had Kefa (Peter) pay the tax for them both simply to keep the rest of the people from "stumbling". Look closely at Mt. 17:24-27.
The poor we will have in our midst always. Our first obligation is to our own family (our own flesh), which we must not turn our back on. In Fossilized Customs, I point out the fact that there was a list one had to be on to be supported (1 Tim 5:9, see more quoted below), and Paul encouraged us to take care of our own family members (such as parents, siblings, or relatives) who were in need, so as not to have them burden the assembly. The poor had to be fed. If we have no need within our own family, then the tithe is to be used to help care for the needy who are poor, fatherless, or otherwise those lacking sustenance in our surrounding area.
Paying to support ministries through which Yahusha is working is also important – but this is more properly done by those who have the particular “gift” of the Spirit called “helping” (this is one of the Spiritual offices). Those with the blessing of wealth have the means to help, and so they should. Obviously, not everyone is appointed this position in the Body (has this gift of the Spirit), because not all are endowed with wealth. This giving/helping is not really properly termed a “tithe”, since there is no Torah-reference provided to pay for the support of teachers from the tithe, nor to build buildings to house the school or meeting place. But, this is a way of giving that is over and above the tithe. Promoting the idea that we can neglect the proper support of those in need in our midst and instead give that support to a person or ministry to expand the message of the Kingdom of Yahuah is the mind game we all need to perceive going on.
In tithing, the weightier matter is the support of those in need, just as observing Shabbat by RESTING is the weightier matter. We each are responsible to study to show ourselves approved (by the Torah, not men’s traditions or what men judge as approved).
Our pastor or rabbi (as some leaders call themselves) is worthy of support! But, this man is not to take the whole 10% alone -- especially if the true tithe (to support the needy) is neglected. Elders are worthy of a double portion at the table (seconds, or “double honor”). Yahusha was supported by a small number of wealthy women, but He certainly did not take up any collections from the general population. He wouldn’t have expected anyone to “dig deep” on a Shabbat – no one carried (or should carry) any money on this day. Paul (formerly Shaul) warned us at Acts 20:29-35 as he spoke to the elders at Ephesis that savage wolves would not spare the flock, and among their distorted teachings is the misappropriation of the tithe. Peter (Kepha) also (at 2 Kepha 2:3) refers to this as plundering.
This approach to tithing in my teaching is not well-accepted by very many Christian or Messianic leaders -- but that is the lonely road I tread upon. I emphasize personal evangelism mostly, and any "gathering together" is for our edification (education or upbuilding, 1Cor 14:26).
Edification: “intellectual, moral, or spiritual improvement; enlightenment.” (American Heritage Illustrated Encyclopedic Dictionary)
If anyone claims to be entitled the full 10% tithe, they absolutely have to be of the bloodline of Aharon (Aaron), and be engaged in the service of the Temple – the House of Yahuah – were the tithe was to be gathered to. It also needs to be in the proper form, such as grains, produce, or animals. They will then have to take these and turn to enter their time machine -- because without it they will have a tough time explaining their entitlement to the tithe. The fellow down at the corner church building who graduated from a seminary just can’t make these sorts of demands and get away with it with other fellows like me telling people the truth. They should be supported with gifts, but not usurp the whole 10% intended for those who desperately need it.
We are commanded by Yahuah to teach our own children the Torah, not to send them to another man or proclaimed "leader" to have this done. Mpst of our lives is conducted in the place in which we dwell; as Yahuah often says "in all of your dwellings".
1 Tim 5:16-19:
“If any woman who is a believer has widows in her family, she should help them and not let the (assembly) be burdened with them, so that the (assembly) can help those widows who are really in need.
“The elders who direct the affairs of the (assembly) well are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching. For the Scripture says, ‘Do not muzzle the ox while it is treading out the grain," and "The worker deserves his wages.’”
The ox is not to carry-off 10% of everyone’s wages, but the ox may EAT as it works.
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