Christianity is certainly a religion of giving. Christians are to give materially and in other ways. God first gave to us. As a result of this, we are to give to God and to others. One of the only two offices in the local church has to do with this aspect of Christian duty. Giving is a responsibility that we all have as believers. Scripture tells us to give; to give liberally, willingly, and joyfully; and that God’s blessing will be upon us for so doing. 2 Cor. 9:57, 11; 8:14; Prov. 3:910; 11:2425.
Let us consider how much Christians are to give. The Scriptures tell us that the more that a person receives, the more there is that is expected of him (Luke 12:48). This at least suggests the possibility of percentage giving based on the amount of one’s income. Do we find such a thing in the Bible? Yes we do! No further into the Scriptures than Genesis14 we find Abraham giving his tithe (10%) to a priest of God (Gen. 14:1820). In Genesis 28:22 we find Jacob promising conditionally to give tithes to God.
These incidents have a double significance for us. One is that this practice was established before the Law of Moses was given and the old covenant was inaugurated in Exodus 24:78. We cannot, therefore, do away with tithing by maintaining that it was merely part of the Mosaic Covenant and is not, therefore, applicable to the new covenant disciple. It was before the Law, incorporated into the Law, and, as we shall see, continued after the Law. There are things in the Law of Moses that have been done away with. We no longer have the Levitical priesthood, but rather, the universal priesthood of all believers and certain major ministers (Heb. 7:11-12; Rev. 1:6 & 5:10; Eph. 4:11-13). Keeping the Sabbath is no longer required (Col. 2:13-17; Rom. 14:5-6; Acts 15:28-29). It is no longer necessary to observe the three Feasts of Judaism — the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the Feast of Weeks and the Feast of Booths (Deut. 16:16; Eph. 2:13-16; Col. 2:13-17).
There are, however, things in the Law of Moses that preceded it, were incorporated into it, and continue on to the present day. For example, murder was/is not permitted before the Law (Gen. 4:8-12; Gen. 9:5-6), under the Law (Ex. 20:13), nor presently (1 John 3:15). The eating of blood was/is not allowed before the Law (Gen. 9:4), under the Law (Deut. 12:16 & 23), nor presently (Acts 15:28-29). Adultery was/is not permitted before the Law (Gen. 20:1-7), under the Law (Ex. 20:14), nor at the present time (1 Cor.
6:9-10). The paying of tithes falls into this category. It is not valid to do away with paying tithes because this was in the Law of Moses, any more than it is valid to do away with the prohibitions of murder, adultery and the eating of blood because they were in the Law. If someone is going to do away with tithing because it was in the Law, he will have to demonstrate that tithing was only under the Law. This cannot be done. I will bring it out further along how the paying of tithes is affirmed in the new covenant.
A second matter of significance is that we are, in a spiritual sense, Abraham’s children (Gal. 3:7, 29). Children, of course, take after their parents, both by following their example and by giving expression to their natures. Abraham’s spiritual nature was such that he gave us an example of tithing. The Scriptures also tell us that we believers are the “Israel of God” (Gal. 6:16 Amp. or RSV). Since we are Israel, we are to be like Israel (Jacob) in his godly beliefs and practices. He apparently believed that God wanted him to tithe.
Continuing on in the word of God, we find Christ indicating that people should have been tithing (Matt. 23:23; Luke 11:42). It is true that Christ was born under the Law, but it is also true that His life, teaching, and example were to prepare people for new covenant living. As we continue on into the post-Pentecost New Testament (N.T.) teachings, we find that tithing is once again confirmed. Hebrews 6:20 7:10 tells us that Jesus presently has a priesthood like Melchizedek’s, which was a priesthood of receiving tithes. The type of Christ found in Melchizedek is both complete and beautiful. Both are/were (named) king of righteousness, peace, and Salem (Jerusalem). Both have/had a ministry of blessing. Both brought forth wine and bread. Both receive(d) tithes. Gen. 14:1820; Heb. 6:20 7:10; 1 Cor. 11:23-26 and Matt. 26:26-29.
Melchizedek was named “king of righteousness” and “king of Salem” (king of peace) (Gen. 14:18 and Heb. 7:1-2). Salem is (in) Jerusalem (Psalm 76:2). Jerusalem is the city of the great king (Psalm 48:2; Matt. 5:35). Jesus is the King of kings (Rev. 17:14; 19:13-16). It will come about that all of the families of the earth are to go up to Jerusalem to worship the King (Zech. 14:16-17). Jesus is/will be the king of Jerusalem. Jesus is our source of righteousness (1 Cor. 1:30;2 Cor. 5:21 & Phil. 1:11) and He is righteous (2 Pt. 1:1). Peace comes from Jesus (Phil. 4:7; Col. 3:15; John 14:27 & 16:33). As it was with Melchizedek, so it is with Jesus Christ.
Melchizedek “brought out bread and wine” (Gen. 14:18). Jesus “took bread” & “broke it, and said, ‘This is My body'”, and “in the same way the cup also, & saying ‘This cup is the new covenant in My blood;'” (1 Cor. 11:23-25); and “Jesus took some bread, & broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, ‘Take, eat; this is My body'”; “and He took a cup & and gave it to them,” (Matt. 26:26-27). As it was with Melchizedek, so it is with Jesus Christ. Melchizedek blessed Abraham (Gen. 14:18-19 and Heb. 7:1). In Galatians 3 we are told that “those who are of faith are blessed with Abraham (v.9) and “in order that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles,” (v. 14). In Ephesians 1:3 we are told that God “has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ,”. Romans 15:29 mentions “the fulness of the blessing of Christ”. As it was with Melchizedek, so it is with Jesus Christ.
Melchizedek received tithe from Abraham (Gen. 14:20 and Heb. 7:4). Jesus Christ has the same kind of priesthood that Melchizedek had. Jesus receives tithe from the spiritual seed of Abraham those who are in Christ. As it was with Melchizedek, so it is with Jesus Christ. If Jesus is going to receive tithe, tithe must be given. Perhaps someone will say that the new covenant writings do not state or declare that believers are to pay tithes. The Scriptures present truth in more than one manner. For example, there is no statement or declaration in the N.T. to the effect that children should be presented in church by their parents. However, we find examples of children being brought to Jesus in Matthew 19:13-15, Mark 10:13-16, and Luke 18:15-17, and He allowed this. There is no statement or declaration in the N. T. to the effect that speaking in another language is proof that a disciple has received the baptism in the Holy Spirit, but we have so many examples of believers speaking in another language when they received the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:1-4; 10:44-47 and 19:5-6), and no example of a believer receiving the Holy Spirit and not speaking in another language. There is also the example of Peter and his Jewish companions in the house of Cornelius, who obviously considered speaking in tongues as proof that those there had been baptized in the Holy Spirit (Acts 10:44-46). That tithing is for today is brought out in the matters having to do with the priesthoods of Melchizedek and Jesus.
If we are going to concern ourselves with declarations and statements, let us be aware that there is no declaration or statement in the N.T. to the effect that believers should not pay tithes. Tithing had been in effect at least since the days of Abraham, and Jesus reaffirmed it. If someone is going to insist on a statement or declaration, then let him insist that there be one that puts an end to this practice.
A thorough consideration of the whole of Scripture makes it evident that the N.T. believer is obligated to give at least one tenth of his income to the Lord. Tithe can be in any form money, food (fruit, vegetables or meat), animals or other items, or it can be the spoils of battle (Gen. 14:14-24; Deut. 14:22-29; Mal. 3:8-10; Luke 8:1-3; John 12:3-6; 13:29; Phil. 4:15-16; Gal. 6:6).
In conclusion, let us recognize that we are to pay tithe on all of our income. Let us do this joyfully and gladly. May we not allow ourselves to be deceived by false teaching that tithing was just for those who were under the Law of Moses. Let us recognize that in Christ Jesus we have a high priest who receives tithe. May He receive ours!