TITHING AND THE LAW
As with most teachings, it is necessary to understand some biblical research principles if we are ever going to be able to rightly divide God's Word on this important subject of tithing. Some Christians are confused as to whether they should tithe or not. Some people say that tithing was a principle in the Old Testament and no longer applies to us today and therefore we do not need to tithe. That's not what the Word says as we shall see.
The following section of this study is designed to prepare you to understand a very important point brought up later in this teaching. Where, according to God's Word, does the Old Testament end and the New Testament begin? This needs to be understood. And more importantly, if we are not under the Law [Old Testament], does that mean that everything that was written in the Law does not apply to us today? Are there exceptions to this rule? There absolutely are exceptions as we shall see. The exceptions adhere to a general, simple rule which finally enables a believer to easily recognize what's written to him and what is written for his learning.
The closest to the original texts of the Bible from which we have our translations DID NOT have any capitalization, chapters, punctuation, chapter headings, center references, verses, or paragraphs. These were all added by man AND ARE NOT PART OF THE ORIGINAL GOD-BREATHED WORD which holy men of God spake as they were moved by Holy Spirit.
II Peter 1: 21 -- For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.
There is an example in the Bible where one comma in a certain verse causes massive confusion in a major area. When the comma is moved from in front of the word to behind that same word, the Word of God fits like a hand in a glove. Remember, punctuation of any type did not exist in the closest to the original texts of the Bible. There are no original biblical texts left on the earth. To give you an even better understanding of this, some available manuscripts were written in UNCIAL or CURSIVE:
EXAMPLE: "For God so loved"
I'D LIKE TO GIVE YOU ONE EXAMPLE WHERE YOU CAN CLEARLY SEE MAN'S ERROR PERTAINING TO CHAPTERS. Take a look at John Chapter 8: 1. From a grammatical point of view, verse 1 of Chapter 8 should be the last verse of Chapter 7. It appears obvious that the translator made a human error. Verse 2 of Chapter 8 should be verse 1. Can you see it? You should be able to. In this example, a contradiction or major problem did not occur because it was only a chapter error. However, in some cases, translators made mental errors that can cause major mistranslations and misinterpretations. THIS IS THE FAULT OF MAN, not God. The original God-breathed Word was PERFECT. When the Word is worked and researched, what seems to be a contradiction or mistranslation is actually found out to be a translator's error. That's why RESEARCH must come before teaching and then fellowship -- in that order. The whole point here is that you understand where verses, chapters, punctuation and center references come from. THEY COME FROM MAN AND NOT GOD. Now, I can teach you from God's Word, about tithing, the law, the New and Old Testaments, and what applies to us today and how to recognize any exceptions. All of this will pertain to the subject of TITHING.
II Peter 1: 20 -- Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private [idios - one's own] interpretation.
The Word of God interprets itself in one of three ways -- in the verse -- in the context – or where it was used before. Private interpretation (guesswork) will always result in an UNclear understanding of what the Word says. Most 'unbelieving' believers really don't want the principle of tithing to apply to us today. Let's face it, when it comes to the 'pocketbook', the uncommitted and unfaithful will always take a hike. One of the true signs of a committed believer is whether they tithe or not. It is more than likely that your friends do not want to tithe -- it's their prerogative but they 'have their foot on the hose'. They are seriously limiting God in their lives. You must be quite strong and stand on the Word and not be swayed by what people think and say. I learned this great principle of tithing many years ago and God proved Himself to me. It works but you will never know until you do it. YOU MUST ACT FIRST AND THEN YOU WILL SEE.
Now let's go to the Supreme Authority -- our blueprint for living -- the Word of God. It would take weeks or months to do an exhaustive study on this topic. The following examines basic foundational truths to help you to understand and apply the principle of tithing.
Romans 6: 14b -- ... for ye are not under the law, but under grace.
There are a number of other scriptures that mention this such as Galatians 3: 24 where "schoolmaster" is referring to the Law. We were under a 'schoolmaster' until Christ. Now, let's look at the next verse in Galatians.
Galatians 3: 25 -- But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster [the Law].
You should know that the Bible is divided into Seven Administrations or time periods [see The Seven Administrations]. We are in The Church of Grace Administration AND NOT UNDER THE LAW. The Christ Administration (4th Administration) is the period of time of the gospels. Were we under GRACE then? NO. Christ was fulfilling the law. Christ ascended and is at the right hand of God until God sends him back. So we are under grace or The Church of Grace Administration which is the fifth (5th) Administration. You will now see the importance of understanding the Seven Administrations which will enable you to more fully understand God's Word. We are getting into some of the 'meat' of the Word and you need to work this material if you are going to understand it. Take your time studying and don't try to get it all at once. But if you study it, you will see that it is simple.
Were we under grace or were we under law in the CHRIST ADMINISTRATION? This is during the time of the four gospels. Let's approach this question a different way. When did the New Testament begin? It began with the day of Pentecost because this was the beginning of the Church of Grace Administration in which we now live. Christ was still fulfilling the Old Testament Law so believers in that time were still under the Law until Christ died and was raised from the dead. (Again, the New Testament began at the Day of Pentecost with the outpouring of Holy Spirit.) All the prophecies of the Law were completely FULFILLED. NOW WE ARE NO LONGER UNDER THE LAW. WHAT LAW? THE LAW CHRIST CAME TO FULFILL.
Where it states that the New Testament began in your Bible, DID MAN PUT THAT THERE OR DID GOD? You know the answer to that. That's why I went over what I did before showing you this biblical truth. The New Testament officially began on the Day of Pentecost, not where the translators decided to write 'New Testament'. Now this does not take away from the gospels by any means! But if you don't understand what's written to you and what's written for your learning, you will never understand the Bible. The seven (7) CHURCH EPISTLES are addressed to the Church of the Body of Christ, the saints, in this Age of Grace. And yet most ministers and preachers stay away from them because they simply do not understand them. Look at verse 1 of I Corinthians to see to whom the book is addressed.
I Corinthians 1: 2 -- Unto the CHURCH OF GOD.... [emphasis added]
That's the born-again believers. Look at the first verse in the epistle of Ephesians.
Ephesians 1: 1b -- ...... to the saints which are at Ephesus [born-again believers], and to the faithful in Christ Jesus:
NOW, YOU NEED TO UNDERSTAND THIS: It should clear up a lot of confusion about many things written in the law or Old Testament:
If something that is written in the Old Testament, during the Law Administration, has not been changed in the New Testament [AFTER the Day of Pentecost], then that Word of God STILL APPLIES TO US TODAY. In fact, most often, a principle established in the Old Testament is many times REINFORCED, verified, and stated AGAIN IN THE NEW TESTAMENT. PLEASE READ THIS PARAGRAPH AGAIN UNTIL YOU UNDERSTAND IT.
Remember, the NEW TESTAMENT began on the DAY OF PENTECOST and this is when the Church of Grace Administration began. During the Christ Administration, it was not available for a person to be born again. Why? Because that came on the day of Pentecost which began the Age of Grace or Church Administration in which we now live. So when Jesus Christ was on earth, man could not be BORN AGAIN. When Jesus Christ said that 'greater works than these' can we do, he was referring to the fact that we could lead people to the NEW BIRTH which was still in the future. Jesus Christ was fulfilling the Law.
John 14: 12 -- Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.
So what about the TWO GREAT COMMANDMENTS that he spoke in Mark 12: 30 - 31 about loving God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength and loving your neighbor as yourself?
Mark 12: 30, 31 -- And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.
IN THE NEW TESTAMENT, THE AGE OF GRACE, we are to live by these two laws and yet they were stated BEFORE The Day of Pentecost in a time when the Law was still being fulfilled.
HOWEVER, there is nothing in the New Testament that says that these principles no longer apply to us. In fact, as I said before, the New Testament REINFORCES these two laws that Jesus Christ stated especially in I Corinthians Chapter 13 which clearly defines the love of God in the renewed mind in manifestation without which we are nothing.
The principle of TITHING was first established in the Old Testament as part of the Law, but in God's Word, it was never changed or done away with in the New Testament. So it still applies to us today. It is not difficult to understand. People make it difficult because they want to hold on to their religion or tradition instead of making God's Word the supreme authority in their life. Now let's go again to God's Word for some clear-cut examples:
Although tithing is mentioned in many biblical records, let's take a look at one very clear record in the Old Testament in the book of MALACHI:
Malachi 3: 8 - 11 -- Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings. Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation. 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. And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith the Lord of hosts.
You see that God says to "prove" Him and He "will open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it" -- IF YOU TITHE. That's the condition. Verse 11 talk about GOD'S PROTECTION. He "will rebuke the devourer for your sakes......" and the rest of the verse goes on with more benefits of His protection IF YOU TITHE. Tithing is God's basic law of prosperity and it is God's Will for you to prosper and be in health.
III John 2 -- Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.
Note that prosperity and health is dependent on your soul prospering. Your soul [what make you, you] will never prosper until you know, understand, and apply God's Word. So it is God's Will for you to PROSPER. We've established that. And now we will go to one record in the Church Epistles -- IN THE NEW TESTAMENT that is written directly to us, the Church of the Body of Christ, concerning tithing.
Turn to II Corinthians Chapter 9, verses 6, 7 and 8. The context of this section is about TITHING. [Before beginning, you should understand that the word "bounty" in verse 5 is a Figure of Speech called an IDIOM and means "your gift to the saints."]
II Corinthians 9: 6 -- But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully.
The Bible says that the person who tithes a little above the minimum tithe will not receive much back in return as compared to the person who tithes a greater amount. The next verse talks about the "attitude of giving" that God expects.
II 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.
If a person doesn't tithe cheerfully and willingly, they should not tithe at all because there is no benefit to someone who does not do something with the love of God in the renewed mind in manifestation. [See I Corinthians 13: 2] Now remember about the benefits and protection mentioned in the book of Malachi. It's mentioned again in verse 8:
II 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:
So you see that tithing is indeed mentioned in the New Testament and even though it was established in the Old Testament, it still applies to us today. In fact, it is a principle that is of major importance. I will mention a few of the benefits of tithing, but first I would like to simply point out another Church Epistle that speaks about tithing. In Philippians Chapter 4: 14 - 17, Paul is speaking about tithing in the context. There are other examples also but you should have enough information from God's Word to have most of your questions answered about this important principle from God's matchless Word. God wants His people to know that they know that they know.
SOME BENEFITS OF TITHING:
-- God's absolute minimum law of financial liberty, prosperity and abundance.
-- One who tithes owns his possessions without his possessions owning him.
-- It is our minimum financial, health and accident insurance.
-- It is thanksgiving by "thanksliving."
-- It develops believing in God for individual security, dispelling doubt, fear, greed, and vanity.