The Tithe or Tithes – That is the Question
Sozo Short Bible Studies – Category #1 – Christian Life Basics
This “Short Study outlines the two different tithes mentioned in the Bible, one a point of history and the other, the way of giving for the New Covenant Christian, as led by the Spirit of God, “with gladness of heart.”
By Pastor G. E. Newmyer – c 2014 – All rights reserved.
Note: This “Short Study outlines the two different tithes mentioned in the Bible, one a point of history and the other, the way of giving for the New Covenant Christian, as led by the Spirit of God, “with gladness of heart.”
Words with dual meaning & purpose: There are some “like phrases” found in the Old that are repeated in the New, but their meanings are different. For instance, there is a circumcision under the Old, and one under the New. Although it’s the same word used (circumcision in this case) they mean different things.
Another example is in reference to the Sabbath under the Old and the Sabbath under the New, yet again, they are different. There is a Jubilee under the Old and one under the New, yet different. Under the Old, the Jubilee was a time and under the New, its Jesus.
A “Word” given to different people for different seasons: The Old had its Covenant and the New has its Covenant. The New Covenant is not an extension of the Old, rather it is completely New. It holds a New kingdom, a New priestly Order, with New Commandments; thus it calls for its own definitions. If someone came to us and said we had to be circumcised of the flesh in order to enter the New Covenant, we would show them the Letter to the Galatians, explaining how under the New we are circumcised of heart. Although the Old and New both came from God, we can’t mix them one into the other, or we will lose both, since they were sent to two different people, for two different reasons.
Before we jump into this matter as given to us in Genesis we have to define a few things. The actual word “Tithe” doesn’t appear in the Bible until Leviticus 27:30; thus the Tithe is under the Law. But don’t panic; there are other matters to consider.
The Order of the Priesthood: To begin, “The Tither” is one who pays Tithes under the Law of the Tithe by Commandment; this is when the priests over these people take their tithes by Commandment. The “tithes” (Plural) are the thing given, but if there is no Commandment regarding the exact amount to be given, then the giving is still considered “tithes” but the amount or thing given remains within the power of the giver. When Paul addressed this issue he never said Abram was a “tither,” nor did he say that Abram paid Tithe; rather it was “tithes.” Further in Paul’s day there was a division; did Abram pay tithes on all he possessed or did he pay tithes on that which he recovered from the kings? This is based on the meaning of the word Tithe, which does mean “ten”, but the root word means Thirteen, as in the Thirteen kings; so this word Tithe was based on “spoils from the enemy.” How did Paul address this great controversy? In Hebrews 7:2 he says, “Gave a tenth part of all,” but in 7:4 he says, “Gave a tenth of the spoils.” Does Paul say that what matters is how much he gave?
The “Old” & “The New”: The point is, that he gave without a Commandment hanging over his head, or someone twisting his arm. The same confusion seems to hit us; but the Order of the priesthood is the point. We get all hung up on how much Abram gave, but the point is the division of priesthoods, and how it has changed from “take tithes” (Old) to “receive tithes” (New). That may not seem important, but this represents a tremendous division between the Old and New.
If we have ever read the Book of Hebrews we know that there is a difference between the Old priesthood and the New. Under the Old no person could legitimately be both a king and a priest, but under the New, Jesus has made us both kings and priests (Rev 1:6 & 5:10). A kingdom is where the will of the king is carried out, yet who are our subjects? A kingdom without subjects seems doomed to failure, so what does each of us “being a king” mean? A king is also the one who enforces the rules and laws in the kingdom; if the king says, “nay that is not a law anymore,” then it’s not. However, in our case we know there is a King of kings, who will judge all kings in the end. The point is that the judging comes in the end, but in the meantime we are to judge ourselves. If we decide “well bless God, I’m not going to do that stuff,” we don’t have to, since as a king we just made a law. However, if that Law does not conform to the Rules in the Kingdom we will still have to answer to the King of kings.
If we make carnal ordinances in our kingdom and feel comfortable, we have made a carnal kingdom; yet our kingdom will also be judged in the end. The danger is in being comfortable with a law in our kingdom, but then finding out that it was directly opposed to the King of kings. Laws take a careful determination before we enforce them in our kingdom; we could even define something wrongly, and then make it a law. We could say for instance, “there is no hell” and be comfortable with that conclusion, but it would be wrong. If there is no hell, there is no heaven. If there is no eternal judgment, there is no eternal life. A kingdom is to carry out the will of the king, thus we as kings need to say, “Not our will, but Your Will O Lord”.
Priestly Order in “The New”: Our priestly order is much different from the Old. In the Old, the high priest was only allowed to enter the holiest of all once a year; but under the New, we as priests, can come boldly to the throne of Grace to obtain Mercy and find Grace anytime there is a need (Heb 4:16). This brings us to our subject. Under the Old Covenant The Tithe was based on Commandment; under the New, there are “Tithes,” but not “The Tithe.” However, we find both the basis for the Tithe under the Law, and the tithes given by the cheerful giver in Genesis.
Today there seems to be arguments on both sides of the fence, and there are also some who linger on the fence wondering which side is right while hearing such ideas as… “You will be hard pressed to prove to me that the Tithe is for the New Testament”, or “If you don’t give tithes you’re not a Christian.” For instance, you might hear… “Tithing is up to the person” or “if you don’t give tithes here at our establishment, you can’t attend.” These days we can also find the hidden tithe, the one where we are told to purchase items “if we are really Christian.” Then how about the Balaam tithe, “I minister to you, and I’m the one you tithe to.” All of these perspectives and arguments, even the Balaam tithe have verses to back them up. For that matter, there are verses to back up circumcision of the flesh, or keeping the Sabbath day as well. So, in the end, is there any clear evidence of what we should do? What does the total of the Scriptures say?
The Book of Hebrews is not written to Hebrews, it’s written about them. In truth we are the Hebrews of the New Covenant, since Hebrew means “one Wandering, looking for their kingdom.” After reading the Book of Hebrews it doesn’t take long to find that this Book is our priestly manual, just as Leviticus is the priestly manual for the Levitcial priesthood. Hebrews chapters 7, 8 and 9 lay out the differences between the Order of the Levitical and the New Order for the priesthoods.
Whether Aaron was the priest or whether Moses was, there was an Order that dictated what they could and could not do, and there are some things that appear similar or “like” in content. For instance, Moses sprinkled the book (along with the people) with blood, while we are sprinkled with the Blood of Jesus (Heb 9:13 & I Pet 1:2). The establishment of the priestly orders for both are different as well: Moses brought the Law from God and in the Law it called for priests, thus the Law authorized the Levitical priesthood, whereas in Hebrews we find that Jesus is our High Priest which necessitated a change in Laws (Heb 7:12).
The Melchisedec Order: There also appears to very different procedures for the priests. Under the Old, the priest “took tithes” based on the Commandment, but under the New we find that the priest receives tithes without a commandment (Heb 7:6 et al). In truth we find there is no provision for any New Testament priest to “take tithes” from anyone; thus under the New we find tithes connected to the Melchizedek Order, not the man but his Order (Heb 7:21 & Ps 110:4). If there is a difference, no matter how small it may appear, there is a division and separation. If that is the case, and it is, we must determine the differences.
Origin of the word Tithes in Scriptures: How then do we apply sound study discipline? There is a theory wherein it’s felt, that in order to define any concept or metaphor we must go to the first place where the word or concept was used. That is fine and works in many instances, but not all. There are many things defined in the New Testament regarding the Old, which are not defined in the Old. Tithes become one of those areas where the clarity comes from the New. However, we still must begin at the first place the where the term Tithes was used; but meanwhile, we will also find that this first time is not defined for us in the Old Testament, rather we will have to travel to the Book of Hebrews in order to gain understanding. So we begin in Genesis as Abram (Abraham) goes out to rescue Lot by defeating Lot’s captors and as Abram returned from battle he came to Sodom.
Abram: This is all connected to the next event; it was after Abram made a choice to save Lot that he would find a priest of God, a man so important that he is noted here, once in Psalms, and again in the Book of Hebrews as a type and shadow of the priestly Order of the New Covenant. These events all came before Abraham makes his Covenant with God, and all of them point to the reason why God imputed righteousness on the man. Prior, God promised Abram many things, but actual entrance into a Covenant lacked a Token or Sign. In essence God gave Abram a Blessing and the Covenant was yet “at hand” (Gen 12:2-3).
The Token: The area of a Token is vital and worth review. A Token is like a signature, it’s something the person, (or God Himself does) to secure the Covenant.
The rainbow, for instance is known as the signature of God regarding the Noahic Covenant. Our water Baptism is our signature regarding induction into the Body of Christ coupled with our vow to continue to believe. The Baptism with the Holy Ghost is the signature of Jesus, given to our hearts; that is the Token of Grace known to us as the Seal of the Holy Spirit. But we can grieve that same Holy Spirit by whom we are sealed (Eph 1:13 & 4:30). The Token for the Law of Moses is not circumcision; rather it is in “keeping the Sabbath day.: If someone attempted to keep one point of the Law of Moses to gain favor from God, yet they didn’t keep the Sabbath day, they were a “covenant breaker.” If someone attempted to obtain the Abrahamic Covenant and they were not circumcised of the flesh on the eighth day, they were a thief.
Two Tithes in the Bible: The Tokens grants one the right to invoke the elements of a Covenant; so fi there is no Token, there is no right standing. Having said that, let’s determine if the meeting between Abram and Melchizedek is part of the Old Covenant, or does it relate to the New? We are a people of Faith, but faith includes many things. One is the proper division and acceptance of the Covenant set before us. Tithing under the Old was not “of faith,” since the Law of Moses was not “of faith.” But doesn’t the Bible say anything not done in faith is sin (Rom 14:23)? Wow, wait, don’t panic, there is hope in this since there are two tithes in the Bible and both are alluded to in Genesis (or did we say that?).
If we can make the division between “circumcision of the flesh” and “circumcision of the heart,” as well as recognize the differences between the “Sabbath Day” and the “Rest of God,” then by understanding that definitions change with Laws, surely we can make the separation between the two tithes. The old saying, “well tithing was before the Law” is true, but so was circumcision of the flesh. Really, circumcision of the flesh was not a Token under the Law of Moses; yet we read in the letter to the Galatians how attempting to gain the Abrahamic Covenant can cause us to fall from Grace. We want the elements delivered to us, but we must define and “divide rightly.” There is a glorious blessing in this, but there is a danger, as both relate to the word “tithes” and both relate to leaders, attitudes and motives.
Abram and Melchizedek: Abram loved God, but he had yet to find anyone else who loved God as he did. When he came face to face with Melchizedek, the priest of the Most High God, he then found “that person” at which point he was so happy and pleased that he couldn’t help but “give” (Gen 14:18). This is very interesting in two respects and the first way is the more obvious; yet, how could there be a Priest (Melchizedek) without a Law and The Law to ordain priests was yet to come with Moses? But there in this passage of Scripture, we find that the grandfather of Moses (Levi) was still in the loins of Abram. Thus Moses “was to be,” but way down the line.
The Priestly Order: So….by what Law (was Melchizedek a priest)? The only Law in force at this time was the “Law of sin and death.” So, how could this man be a Priest? And if was is a Priest, of what Order was he? This was a mystery indeed.
OK….what makes a priest? “An Order” makes a priest, but what makes the Order? The “rites and performances” of the priest do. So then, which rites do we know pertain to the “Order of Melchizedek”? Therein lays the mystery and blessing.
In the Book of Hebrews we find the clue, that there can be a Priest without a law, yet the existence of a Priest means that there must be an Order for that Priest to follow; and since it is the Order or Procedures that matter, what do the priests under a certain Order do? What does the Order allow them to do, and what does it not allow them to do?
Giving or Investing: Consider this man, no Jew was legally ever a king and a priest at the same time, yet this man was; and then consider that Jesus has made us kings and priests (Gen 14:18 & Rev 1:6). Second we find God said He would bless those who blessed Abram, but God never told Abram to bless anyone, nor did Abram have a commandment to give; he simply did so “from a Cheerful heart.” The character of the man was that of a giver; so there was no persuasion of “arm twisting” involved, no promise of return, no one taking his tithes from him, no threats and no manipulation. In this story of Abram in the Old Testament, we just see a man who loved to give.
Some of us won’t give unless we know there is a return, but is that giving? Or investing? If we don’t get the return, we stop giving, but what does that tell us about our heart? It’s not what we have to give which is under consideration here; but rather the issue is, our “natural desire to give” with a willing heart.
When “taking” is the work of a thief: Giving is not always limited to money; one can give time, prayer, consideration, or many other things not associated with money. For some reason when we focus on money, the first thing we hear in opposition is, “How much do I have to give?… Ten percent?” Well, that question represents a lack of knowledge regarding “tithes” without a Commandment driving it.
Without a Commandment ordering what to give or how much to give, the giving then should remain in the hands of the giver. Under the Law of Moses it was the opposite; the giver was bound to The Tithe and the priests by Commandment had to Take the tithes from the people. But, without a Commandment allowing leaders to take theses tithes, the priests must limit themselves to simply “receiving what is freely given,” without forcing tithes from the people. The bottom line here is that if one lacks authority to take something, yet they take it or coerce it out of people anyway, they are a thief.
The motive of greed behind the giving is very bad in some cases. For instance, sometimes we find people using the term, “investing in the Kingdom”, as if the Kingdom were some bank. Or for some, thoughts can come up like, “Of course it’s our money and God should consider Himself lucky if we give any of it, right?” Well….don’t get mad, just keep reading, as the truth will always set us free.
The Authorization regarding taking and receiving: Leadership is not out of this either; as mentioned previously, without a Commandment allowing leaders to take tithe, they are a thief if they, in any way, force, manipulate or set rules regarding tithing. We can see that there is not only a vast difference between taking and receiving, but the authorization to do either is in question as well.
More about the Meeting between Abraham and Melchizedek: We can’t twist this meeting between Abraham and Melchizedek into something it wasn’t either; we can’t say that since Levi was still in the loins of Abraham, then the Jews are supposed to pay tithes to us. “After all, we are after the Order of Melchizedek, are we not? After all Levi is commanded to take tithe, so why doesn’t Levi give tithes to us as did Abraham?” It may sound right, but it’s oh so wrong and we know it. Yet, in order to either avoid the word “tithes”, or to enforce it, we have used the same deception found at the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. There is a place of division, one wherein we can feel right about our priestly position while using our kingly position in a Godly manner.
Going back a pace or two, we recall how Lot had left Abraham and moved to Sodom. The rebellious kings came and captured Lot along with the rest of the people of Sodom. Then Abram heard of the capture of Lot, and set out to free him. It just so happened, that he freed all the others and captured the “loot” (goods) as well. After Abram re-gained the freedom of Lot and that of the other people, he came face to face with this priest (Melchizedek). Could the capture of Lot be good? You bet, because without this event, the meeting between Abram and Melchizedek would never have taken place, that is… if it were not for the rebellious kings capturing Lot. Did God cause the rebellion in the kings to take place so they would capture Lot? No, there is no rebellion in God, but God did take advantage of the situation, and wrote it into the plan. What the devil planned for destruction, God used to benefit His own; just another example of how God didn’t bring the event, but used it for the benefit of His people.
The meeting between Melchizedek, Abram, and the king of Sodom took place before “The Promise” came, but after, Abram was called a Hebrew (Gen 14:13). Hebrew means a sojourner; Abram didn’t fit that calling until God called him to leave his father’s house and venture forth. This Melchizedek was not Jesus; rather he is a “Type of the Order of the Priesthood of Jesus.”
In Hebrews 7:3 we find that this Melchizedek is “made like unto” the Son of God, the Greek word Aphomoiomenos means Similar or Like unto, but not an exactness. Also the Scripture doesn’t say that Jesus was made like unto Melchizedek; rather, it’s the other way around. The event here in Genesis is given to us in Scripture penned by a man who had no idea of the New Covenant yet to come, or that Psalm 110:4 would say, “You are a Priest forever after the order of Melchizedek,”. . . but the Holy Ghost did; thus the Shadow (Old Testament) testifies of Jesus.
It’s vital that we see that this is an “Order”; Psalm 110 doesn’t say, You are priest after Melchizedek. Neither did Moses or the Psalmist know the Order of Melchizedek would be used in the Book of Hebrews; and more important, Abram never knew this event would be written down later. It’s not like Paul wrote the Book of Hebrews, then changed Genesis and Psalms to fit his thinking; this is all something written by the hands of man, but Authored by God. These matters are given to us as reasons to believe; we can see the hand of the Holy Ghost behind the scribes, while knowing that God is putting this together for us.
Between Two Gentiles: We have to consider this Melchizedek, who was without mother or father, but wait! Jesus has a Father and He called Mary His mother. Ah ha, a mystery is a foot.
But not really; because Melchizedek had no recorded genealogy in any Jewish record, thus he was a Gentile and really at the time of the meeting, so was Abram; therefore, the first time we find the word Tithes, it’s between two Gentiles. This has to relate to the New Covenant, and the clarity for this comes in the Book of Hebrews. The first time we find the word “Gentile” is in Genesis 10:5; a Jew is someone separated from the Gentiles, thus they are not “The Sea,” but the “Sand of the Sea.” In any case, we know that the Bible shows three types of people: the Jew, the Gentile and the Christian who is neither Jew nor Gentile, and who was not in the picture until after the Ascension of Jesus.
All Jews up to 70 AD could trace their family history. We know both Matthew and Luke did just that in reference to Jesus; but here, this Priest of the Most High had no family record. There is no way to tell who came after him, or whom he came from. Abram (Not Abraham) paid tithes to a Gentile many years before there was a Law of Moses, therefore, before the Law of the Tithe. We can’t assume since Melchizedek received tithes on that day, that he received it for all time either, since that would mean that God made a terrible mistake in making the tithes part of the Law of Moses, considering Levi was in the loins of Abraham and paid tithes as well (Heb 7:9-10). No, it’s not the man, but the Order we’re interested in (got it?).
Circumcised of the heart: It’s not until we get to the Book of Hebrews that we find the importance of this meeting; and even a man like Paul could never put all this together if not for the Holy Ghost guiding him.
The Book of Hebrews shows us that there are two types of tithes. Only one is based on the heart, while the other is based on Commandment. The tithes under the Law of Moses are obviously under Commandment in the Law of Moses; and it is difficult to say that something has “passed through the Cross” in light of reading Colossians 2:14-15 where we find that the Law of Moses and all it contains are “nailed to the Cross.” On top of that, Colossians 2:16 tells us not to let any man deceive us into thinking that anything from either the Law of Moses or the Ten Commandments did come through the Cross. The Law of Moses is attached to the Ten Commandments, since both are linked by the “Sabbath day” and both powers are nailed to the Cross with all curses (Col 2:14-15 & Gal 3:13).
Tithes, set for a different time….the mystery unfolds: Just as we find a “type of circumcision” that existed before the Cross, we find “Tithes”; and just as we find a completely different circumcision after the Cross, we find different “Tithes” after the Cross. Under the Law, not only was there a Commandment to Give, but the Priests were commanded to “take” (Heb 7:5 & Neh 10:38). The interesting part of the meeting of Abram and Melchizedek is how Abram refused to “receive” from the king of Sodom, which removes this meeting from the Tithe under the Law of Moses completely. If Levi was “in Abram,” then God was completely mistaken when He commanded the priests to take tithes. However, if the Giving of Abram was “not by Commandment,” but set for a different time and a different people based on the “hidden Seed of Abraham,” then we find that the mystery unfolds.
By “percent” or by love…what percent is love? One might say about Abram, “The man only gave tithes once”, which is not true, since he gave to Lot as well; nonetheless Jesus also said, “sell what you have, give to the poor, and follow Me”, and that was only a one-time event as well.
Paul points to the action, not whether or not it was “ten percent.” The ten percent rule is still Old Testament, while in the New it connects to “spoken to us by His Son.” We who walk by the Spirit, give by “nature,” while under the Old, they lacked that nature (New Nature in Christ). The principle of “tithes” from a willing heart is much different from operating under the Commandment “to Tithe.” Also Abram only took the Bread and Wine once, so with the logic that he only gave tithes once, we must also conclude we can’t take Communion more than once, which we know is not right. The point again, is the “nature of Abram” which was to give to the man who loved God as he himself did. The giving was to a “priest” which means to a “ministry” since there was no “storehouse” of God at that time.
A Thief comes in through the Window: Although in both the Old and New it’s still the word “circumcision” that is used, and also, the word “tithes” is used: yet the manner, method, definitions, conditions, and more important the character of the giver differ. Some of us in the Body like to use Malachi 3:10 where God said to “Prove Him,” but we must look at the type of people God is talking to. They are self-based, self-seeking, and looking for that they can gain, not what they can offer. Although God will open the Windows for them, He will also close the Door. A thief attempts to come into through the Window, Paul told us to stop stealing and work with our hands that we may have to give, which connects to the concept of “tithes”, but not the Tithe, or the Tither.
God Opens the Window and Closes the Door: If we fit the group that says, “It is vain to serve God, and what profit is it that we have kept His ordinance, and that we have walked mournfully before the Lord”,….then go ahead and claim Malachi, but know the Door is shut. On the other hand, there is the Cheerful Giver, who need not be manipulated by verse, or picture, or guilt, nor do they need a promise of a return; they are like unto Abram, who gave because they wanted to, not because they had to. This difference was also seen between Abel and Cain; Cain did what he had to while Abel did what he wanted to do.
Receiving Tithes: What if our pastor says, “We are going to receive your tithes and offerings?” Is that taking tithes? No, that is receiving. What if our pastor said, “If you don’t give, I will come over to your house and take it from you” or “If you don’t give you will be cursed?” Both of those are examples of “taking tithes” and would be under the wrong Order. We are all priests and we can use any Order we desire, but only one of those has Jesus as our High Priest. If we claim the Old, yet claim we are kings, we are out of order, in more ways than one.
Charis-Matic: However, there is something connected to Grace that might help us. The Greek Charis is translated as Grace, the word Charismatic simply means Grace (Charis) Motivated (matic), just as Automatic means self-motivated. There is also the word Charisma, with the suffix Ma showing an action; Charisma is then the action to Charis. In Romans chapter 12:6-21 Paul lists the Charisma of Charis as products of the nature and character one has when they are in Grace by being Born Again. We all have gifts (Charisma) according to Grace (Charis), these gifts are not, “gee I want one of those, and two of those, and oh what’s that, nay none of that”; the gifts become attributes of the New Nature. The gifts of Grace in Romans are not the same as the Manifestation of the Spirit found in First Corinthians, yet both relate to being Born Again.
Seven Elements: In Romans 12 we find the seven elements, (1) prophecy, this is not the “Office of Prophecy”, yet it is speaking from the Spirit; then (2) ministry, then (3) teaching, which is not the “Office of Teacher” either, but the ability to disciple others, then (4) exhorting, then (5) “giving”, then (6) ruling, and then (7) mercy. One of those elements is Giving, but it’s not “ten percent”, rather it’s “with simplicity” and that doesn’t mean “little” – the word Simplicity is the Greek Haplotes meaning not self-seeking, but giving with an openness of heart manifesting itself by generosity. This brings us to a “cheerful giver” which connects to the New Nature and shows us why we don’t have a Commandment in order to give because we give by our New Nature. Abram was not Born Again, but his giving did show a tendency toward “cheerful giving.”
On the same token there are some who either want to control their money, or they want something in return such as: a plate with their name on it, a pew with a view, a box of tapes, or a promise of a return greater than the amount given. That type of “mind” is the same one which the Tithe under the Law of Moses was designed for; the priests under the Law take tithe by Commandment, just as the person under the Law is commanded to give. The priests in the time of Jesus were enforcing the Law, because the person under the Law required that type of enforcement. Abram didn’t give to gain a return, there was no promise of a return and there was no commandment telling him to give, there was no commandment telling Melchizedek to receive, yet his Order mandated it (Heb 7:1 & 7:8).
The Tithe “under the Old” and the Tithe(s) “under the new”: The Book of Hebrews then gives us a division in natures as well; under the Old, people needed someone to walk around making sure they did the Commandments, yet under the New we find that we have the keys to the kingdom. God is not going to make us give or make us pray, or make us speak honestly. He will give us the Seed to sow, the Grace to speak words of comfort to the hearer; but we are still kings. Of course we know we will face the King of kings regarding how we kept our kingdom.
The priests under the Old use the methods of the Old, manipulation and a promise of a return; and although the Commandment is “to give,” it takes a priest to go and take the tithes before the person will give.
Are you offended yet? Don’t be; there is some really good news here. By the way, this in no way is “anti-tithe”; in fact you will find it is very “pro-tithe(s);” but it does make a division between the two tithes. The word Tithe stands for “ten percent” as it relates to the Commandment (as defined in the Law); it is not applicable under the New, but the word “tithes” is. As far as mandating the ten percent rule we read in Leviticus 27:31 how the priests had to add a fifth part to the Tithe, thus the Tithe isn’t always ten percent.
“Taking” or “Receiving”: The difference between “take” and “receive” is great, so great that we can’t find “receive” under the Old or “take” under the New. In Second Corinthians Paul was encouraging the Corinthians to keep their word and pay as they had promised to him, one year prior. The payment was not tithes, but an offering or something given to another over and (above the need) for the ministry. In this case it was for the church in Jerusalem that was going through the drought.
Nonetheless the rules of the Order applied, which means they knew Paul couldn’t take tithes from them. Paul was in a tough position; the Corinthians were fast with their mouths and slow with their wallets. He had to remind them of their commitment, but do it without “taking.” The test was just as much on Paul, as it was on the Corinthians; however, the Holy Ghost (as always) brings the Wisdom to keep all things in Godly order. Paul told the Corinthians that a cheerful giver never gives of necessity (in want of a return) or grudgingly (by arm twisting or manipulation – II Cor 9:7). He did not mention the “giving” of Charisma, but of course he was talking to carnal people. As a Godly New Testament priest, Paul could not “Take (coerce) tithe for two reasons.” The most obvious is, that he would be putting himself under a Law which was not designed for the spiritual person; and worse, he would be enforcing The Tithe under the Old, which would also place the probability of the Curse on the giver and the taker. The division is great, so great some are destroyed for a lack of knowledge. This is a very important area; on one hand, if we are a cheerful giver, we’re loved of God; while, if we tithe under the Law of Moses we attach ourselves to something that has already been nailed to the Cross, which makes us unable to reach the Resurrection Power of Christ.
This meeting between Melchizedek and Abram (Abraham) was not Grace-based, but it would display an Order of a priesthood that is vital to the New Testament priest. The meeting introduced the word Tithes, but not by the same concept found in the Law of Moses; but nonetheless connected. It doesn’t take long to find that Abram paid tithe(s) (in plural) only to the man of God; we are not told in Scriptures, whether or not he did it again; but the point was for us to see and take note of “The Order” under which he gave and how that applies to us. Abram gave to a “person,” a priest yes, but still a person. The Tithe under the Law is not giving to any person, or any sect; it is specifically directed to the Temple in Jerusalem and there is only one “storehouse.” There are no “store houses.” (Mal 3:10 & Luke 12:24).
This “one time tithes paying” by Abram was for something yet to come regarding his offspring. He would later find how his offspring would be held captive in Egypt, but then released. Yet when he faced Melchizedek he didn’t know that. This mystery is found in the Book of Hebrews where we find that “Abraham” paid tithes; but clearly from the text in Genesis, we see it was Abram, not Abraham (Heb 7:6). How could this be? Could it be an error? Not at all, this represents a mystery regarding the Covenant yet to come. The difference is seen between the man who was promised the Covenant, and the man who held it. Accordingly Paul links the giving to the man’s nature, then to the Covenant name which God gave the man. As Abraham, he paid for the deliverance of the children out of Egypt, as a man of Covenant. Thus God remembered (Ex 2:24). However, the children rebelled in the wilderness and hence, found The Tithe under the Law, not the Order of Melchizedek, but still connected to an offspring of Abraham and Isaac.
The Book of Hebrews is important in this area; being our priestly manual, it lays out the Order and procedure for giving under the New. If we reject it, we reject the priestly Order, yet Jesus is our High Priest under that Order (Heb 7:15, 7:20-21 & 9:11). Hebrews makes a division between those who are subject to the Law of Moses, and those who are subject to the Law of the Spirit. We can claim to be Christian all day long, but there is a nature connected to the title, it’s by the nature (ways) that we shall know them.
Under the Law of the Spirit one gives because they are blessed: There was another division in receiving as well. Abram wouldn’t take a dime from the king of Sodom, but he took Bread and Wine from the priest and in return he gave. Which came first the blessing and giving by Melchizedek or the paying of tithe(s) by Abram? The giving by Melchizedek predicated the giving of Abram. Did Melchizedek give tithes? No, he gave a blessing and in the blessing he gave God the glory for the success of Abram (Gen 14:20). It was the blessing that predicated the giving, but under the Law of Moses it’s just the opposite. Under the Law of Moses one has to give “to be blessed” but under the Law of the Spirit one gives “because they are blessed”. Paul points this out in Corinthians when he says, “Upon the first day of the week (Sunday) let every one of you lay by him in store, as God has prospered him” (I Cor 16:2). It was not, “as God will prosper,” but “as God has prospered.”
We know that Paul paid alms, which is giving to the poor, but he never said he paid tithes, and why is that? This is explained in Romans and Hebrews; the Christian is endued with a Power from on High called Grace; and as part of that Gift we find certain attributes. Those attributes are Character traits or elements of one’s “ New Character,” separate from those under the old character. In Romans we see tat one is giving or “distributing to the necessity of saints,” not the necessity of the world or giving to the “storehouse” but specifically to the saints, which includes leadership and the other priests. Don’t muzzle the ox, but let your giving be between you and the Lord (I Tim 5:17-18 & I Cor 9:9). Under the old, the Tithe was a point of self-righteousness, something they bragged about; but under the New it’s a private matter between the person and their Lord. We also know that Paul worked while at Corinth, but he worked to supply the needs of those associated with his ministry; he noted later how he refused to take money from the carnal Corinthians, just like we find Abram refusing to take from the king of Sodom. Although Paul will say he robbed the Corinthians by not taking their money, he also knew they would brag in how they supported Paul which could have led to thinking that it was their giving that caused him to became a great man: thus bragging about our giving negates our reward in heaven (II Cor 9:1-2 & 11:8).
Why did Abram give to Melchizedek? Abram didn’t buy the bread and wine, but something touched his heart and he put an action to his love. Abram didn’t give thinking that this would free his offspring from Egypt. He didn’t give thinking God that would impute righteousness on him and he didn’t give to impress God or Melchizedek; he gave because he felt Blessed. Did Abram get a Return? Sure, but did he demand one? No. Did he give based on the return? No. Prior to this meeting Abram gave Lot a great amount of cattle and land. Did he have to? No, it was his nature. What about God’s Giving? God so loved the world that He gave. So was the only reason why God gave …to get the return? No, He gave based on Agapao love, the love based in a Joy or better, the Love of giving based on being cheerful. Will God get a return? Sure, but that wasn’t His motive for giving.
Giving because we have Grace: The children in the wilderness had gold, the same gold they took from Egypt, but they were the first to hear that they had to pay tithe. Why were they allowed to take Egypt’s gold? A laborer is worth their wages and Egypt owed them, yet the children rejected the purpose of their deliverance. For that reason the Tithe under the Law was in order to pay back for the deliverance; but when one pays by commandment, one can never pay back the price of the free gift. Under the New we are not paying back to God for Grace, we are giving because we have Grace. The Jacob Method
The Jacob Method: Since Genesis 14:20 is the first place we find the word “tithes,” we had better get our foundation right or we will find ourselves mixed up and confused over the principle. The Genesis account shows us two areas of tithes: one was by Abram and the other of Jacob. We have to jump ahead and look at the Jacob method before we can understand what is going on here between Abram and Melchizedek. A brief note on Jacob’s story, he is a product of Isaac, the same person from which God will draw forth The Nation. From Jacob would come Levi; and the priestly order under the Law of Moses comes from Levi. However, before Jacob became Israel, he was forced to leave his house because he tricked his father and took his brother’s inheritance (blessing). Jacob’s mother had a brother named Laban, and she sent Jacob to Laban’s house, which is where we pick up the story. We find Jacob on the run with nothing but a rock for a pillow, yet the man made a “vow” to God. This “vow” was “to give God a tenth of everything which God gave him”; some deal. It’s obvious that the man knew of the principle, but he conditioned the giving, which is a far cry from what Abram (his grandfather) did. Abram didn’t approach God with a deal before giving; thus we find that Jacob’s tithes are between himself and God, but Abram’s was between himself and the priest of the most high. That is also an important issue, removing Abram from giving or taking tithes by a Law or Commandment. Most, if not all of our giving is not to God, it’s to the people of God on behalf of God.
What Jacob did was not faith, but manipulation; “Gee God, I don’t have a thing, but if you give me a hundred dollars, I will give you back 10.” On top of that, where would he give his tithes? His grandfather Abram gave it to the priest, but who would Jacob give it to?…Would he give it to the rock he was using for a pillow or to his other pocket? Would God go for this type of behavior? Jacob was the only person in Genesis to use the word “tenth” (Hebrew Asar); whereas with Abram we read how he gave Tithes (Hebrew Ma’aser, from the Hebrew Asar, showing the connection to Jacob’s usage). What other “tenth” do we find? In the tenth month the mountains were seen as the flood was over (Gen 8:5). The very next time we find the word Tenth is when Jacob uses it. By Jacob making mention of the principle we know he had knowledge, but he was using the principle in a much different way; he used it for his advantage which was apparently to manipulate protection and deliverance from God. He was paying God off, and using God as his employee, as one would use a body guard. Will God endure this? Or will God out smart Jacob and take the man at his word by using the event for the good of the nation?
Clearly Jacob is “tempting God,” just as the children in the wilderness did, giving us another connection between the tithe of Jacob and the tithe of the Law of Moses, as well as dividing the giving of Abram from the tithe under the Law of Moses. Who else was in the loins of Abram? Judah, the same tribe Jesus came from.
But there is no provision in the Law of Moses for anyone from the tribe of Judah to become a priest, yet Jesus as our High Priest has made us priests.
Is this under the Law of Moses? No; there is no provision. What then? How about “A New Law,” one that calls for a new priesthood with a New order, the Order of Melchizedek. A Division? Yes, by miles.
We find that God did meet with Jacob on way back to Jacob’s homeland some 20 years later and held the man to his vow, but what could Jacob give? He could give his sons, thus “the Jacob vow” became the product of the Tithe under the Law directed to the tribes. It was based on “giving to get,” not the other way around. We also find that God was not the God of Jacob when he made his vow (Gen 28:17-21). That is the “prove Me” element we find in Malachi 3:10-18.
Although Jacob used the Hebrew word related to “tithe” we have to see, that the nature and motive between Abram and Jacob are much different. We could say that Jacob had nothing to give since even that rock wasn’t his. But Jacob’s vow was based in the fear of what was ahead. What a difference; Abram knew his wealth came from God and he gave without any strings attached from the possessions in hand. Jacob on the other hand was attempting to get God to bless him and he was “proving” God based on possessions which were not yet in hand, but yet to come. Add to that, Jacob was going to make God his God IF God blessed him. Paul says God gives us the Seed and in Jacob’s case, it was “God Must give the Seed,” which are two completely different things.
Motives for Giving: The two different motives become the point which Paul makes in the Book of Hebrews. Under the Old all of this, was not a ministry but done by Commandment; yet under the New it’s associated with the Bread and Wine, so the Principle becomes one of ministry. It’s important to see that the Tithe itself under the Old was ten percent, but that is not what Paul is saying. After all Jesus told one man to give once, but it was to give all he had (Mark 10:21). “Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me.”
The entire context is, that the attitude of the priests under the New Order has to be far different than those under the Old. Having said that, are we not all priests? If so, who do we give to? We as priests give to the priests under our Order, but we still give Alms to those in need, whoever they are. Romans 12 bears this out as Paul says the giving is, “distributing to the necessity of the saints” (Rom 12:13). “Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality.” The Charisma of Charis is for the Body and by the Body; the manifestation of the Spirit is from the spiritual to all, in or out of the Body.
Accepting the window, but refusing the Door: Malachi does have a warning for those of us in the New Covenant, “The Table of the Lord is polluted; and the fruit thereof, even his meat is contemptible.” (Mal 1:12). How could this happen? They profaned the table by saying the table was profaned (Mal 1:12). What would cause that? How about a “Mixture of Covenants” as well as ‘mixing the priesthoods” under the separate Covenants, will profane the Lord’s Table (Mal 1:13-2:1-4).
Paul gave us a list of people which the Law of Moses was made for; do the Law and you fit the List. If you fit the List, do the Law (I Tim 1:9-10): (9)Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, (10)For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine…”
The same is true in Malachi, if you fit the group that is in this for the self, then claim Malachi; but if you claim Malachi you are saying you fit the group who say, “what’s in it for me?” which means that you are also accepting the Window, but refusing the Door.
A change from one Law to another: With that, we find that the Sacrifice of Jesus caused a “change” in Laws which is not a change in the Law, but a change from one Law to another. Paul says that the change in Priesthoods caused the change in Laws. How can that be? (Heb 7:12). “For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law.” None of us would argue that Jesus is our High Priest; but if that is the case, then what Order does He belong to? And when did He begin His role as High Priest? The second that Jesus became an offering, His priesthood began; yet it is also evident that Jesus is from the Tribe of Judah, of which tribe Moses spoke nothing about concerning the priesthood (Heb 7:14). “For it is evident that our Lord sprang out of Juda; of which tribe Moses spake nothing concerning priesthood.” Since the Priesthood came before the Law, how can we do the Law of the Spirit, yet not the Order of the Priesthood?
Since the Priesthood was changed through Jesus, it also means that the Ordinances in the New Law are different as well. The Law of Moses still has its priesthood and the Law of the Spirit has its priesthood. The Law of Moses has an Order or functions for the priests outlined in the Book of Leviticus; the Law of the Spirit has an Order as well. Jesus is not the high priest under the Law of Moses, but He is our High Priest according to the Law of the Spirit. In the shadow of our Order we find Abram’s giving and the man to whom he gave. Abram is not of the Order, but the man he gave to is the type and shadow of that Order. It’s not Abram’s giving that defines the Order; it’s what Melchizedek did that defines the Order. We get all hung up on what Abram did, and miss the Order of Melchizedek (Heb 7:9). Who cares how much Abram gave? We want to know what Melchizedek did. The Order of the Priesthood of Jesus is not “the Order of Abram” but the Order of Melchizedek.
Just hang in there and you’ll see that there is something for those who Love God, and “are the called according to His purpose.” No one is telling you to do any aspect of the Law of Moses; however, can we agree on this: There was a Change in Laws. If so, let us look at the division of the Laws, and see if we can gain.
More on Jacob’s Vow: If we consider Jacob’s vow, and equate it to our modern culture it would be akin to entering a bank, telling the president of the bank we wanted to borrow a hundred thousand dollars, and at some point, we will do him a great big favor and pay back ten thousand. Any bank that goes for that deal won’t stay in business long. This was not “interest” paid over the amount borrowed. It was giving back only ten percent of the entire amount borrowed and that is nowhere near faith; it’s a business deal. Jacob never talked about the tithe before, never talked about giving before, but now he was in danger and therefore used a principle so his future would be blessed. Sounds good, but where is the faith?
Where did Jacob make this vow? “This stone (rock), which I have set a pillar, shall be God’s house.” Who said it was to be God’s house? God? Or Jacob? It was Jacob and it was just another form of manipulation. If Jacob was using the rock as a pillow, who then, was the “head of the rock”? The answer is Jacob. We know that the Temple was built in Jerusalem of the earth on the rock known as Zion, Jesus would build His Church on the Rock (Christ the Body), but Jacob was never the “head” of either.
When Jacob was returning back home, God came to that same place and received the promised tithe ….the sons of Jacob. So, Jacob made the vow to God, and God collected. On the other hand Jesus “receives” our tithes through His priests. “Lord, when did we give to you?” and He answered, “When you gave to the least of these.”
No commandment regulating the percentage: God loves a cheerful giver, not the giving of the giver; that is merely a sign of the heart of the person. Do they listen to God? Do they do as the Lord says? The tithes under the New are not ten percent; its heart-based as there is no Commandment regulating the percentage. For that reason the Book of Hebrews says that the Levites “took” tithes by Commandment, but Melchizedek “received” tithes of Abram. This is the same principle we find in “Kingdom Theology”; we are kings and as kings we govern our kingdom (not the kingdom of God, but our space in the kingdom of heaven). We can determine what subject stays and what goes. The priestly order is the same; we can reject any concept of the priestly Order granted us, but some day we will have to face our High Priest. What if we as priests demanded the Tithe under the Law after we have the knowledge of the different tithes? We would be tossing “strange fire” into the Throne of Grace, not real smart.
The old nature will take advantage of the New Order, assuming “I don’t have to give anything” or, “I will give because I get so much back.” But that defines the nature of the person doesn’t it? Under the New, the priest cannot take (ask for, or demand) tithes; they cannot fleece God’s sheep or sell the Dove. As examples they must also Trust God to meet their Need. It’s difficult to tell people that we walk by faith, when we turn around and sell items at a 400 percent markup.
Or worse… we might not put a price on the goods, but make others feel as if they are not Christian if they don’t give; that is still just another way of “taking tithes.” The Levites had no choice in the matter, they had to Take the Tithe; thus the power of giving was not in the hand of the giver, but in hand of the taker.
Don’t muzzle the ox: The wording used in the Book of Hebrews gives us a clue to all this, the Greek word in reference to taking tithes is “Apodekatoo,” but the Greek word in reference to Abram giving tithes is “Dekatoo.” What is the difference? The difference is seen in the addition; there is the Greek Apo which means “From which shows the separation of a person or object from a person or object.”
The Power to Give, not to take: The Law of Moses took from the people any way it could; but we of the New Order have the power to Give, not to Take. No Apostle, Prophet, Evangelist, Pastor or Teacher is granted such permission, nor do they have legal standing to “take tithes.” Anyone who takes anything illegally is a thief; and a thief always attempts to gain entry some other way. However, all the priests of Jesus have an Order and legal standing to “receive tithes” as an act of ministry. A laborer is worth his wages; don’t muzzle the ox.
The Pharisees looked at the widow with two pennies and figured, “So, she has to give.” Jesus looked at her and said “she was blessed for giving out of her need.” Why? She wasn’t required to give; she was a “widow indeed.” Really, she could have demanded for the religious leaders to care for her; but she ministered by giving when it wasn’t required and therein lies the difference.
The wording “takes tithes” and “receives tithes” doesn’t seem like much; but we begin to see that it is the very separation between Laws and Natures. In the Greek, the Order of Aaron demands that the priests “tithe the people,” but in Abram’s case, he gave without being told to. Abram was moved by his own heart, by compassion, and by love for someone who loved God. That is a far cry from someone threatening us or demanding that we give or making us feel like a thief for not giving.
Double-mindedness: What happens if our leaders have to “tithe us”? That puts us back under the Law. Will we still receive a benefit from the Tithe under the Law? You bet, the Law has a power; it operates based on the deed, not the person. However, just like circumcision of the flesh we are also in danger of falling from Grace. Perhaps our lack of power can be traced to this one area; we give under the Old and expect the Power from the New. That is double minded. Or we attack the cheerful giving of others and in so doing were attacking the very Priesthood we are called to.
The anointing in the Office will still work, but it’s not given to make the leaders famous, nor given for the leaders. It’s given to the leaders to assist the Body. Three areas will take Power from us: falling back to deeds under the Old to gain favor from God, co-mmingling with the world, and unbelief.
Receiving the Spirit of Truth: When we received the Cross of Jesus we were no longer subject to the Law of Moses; when we received the Spirit of Truth we received a New Nature. The second we imputed ourselves dead by the Cross of Jesus we completed the purpose of the Law of Moses, which Law only granted man a long life until they gave up the ghost.
When we can say, “I no longer live, but it is Christ who lives in me”, we have completed the purpose of the Law of Moses, if complete we move on to a Law designed for those who have the life of Christ (Col 2:14-16).
Neither Jacob nor Abram were under Commandment to give, and Abram didn’t Vow to God, nor did he use the Rock or the House of God to swear by, nor did he request or seek after, or expect a return. Where did Abram get the idea of “tithes”? Nowhere; that was just something laid on his own heart, which becomes the reminder for those under the Law.
Perhaps the tenth part is associated to Noah, as the sign of being blessed was seeing the tops of the mountains. Who knows, it doesn’t tell us. Did Melchizedek tell Abram, “You have to give now”? No; did he say, “I will give you bread and wine for your love gift of ten percent”? No; did he say, “We’re going under if you don’t give”? No; did he say, “If you don’t give you’re a thief”?. No; did he say, “Give and God will return to you a hundred fold”? No; he didn’t say anything about giving? No, his nature was to bless and give to the man of God who rescued those in captivity. The nature of Abram was to bless and those who bless are always blessed. Why would God talk about Blessing to Abram, if the man’s nature was not to be a blessing? God saw Abram’s heart and knew what kind of man he was; God never told him, “you must bless, before I can bless you”; rather it was “Who blesses you I will bless.”
Melchizedek also had a heart to minister; and the giving of the bread and wine is a sign of ministering. Was the motive of either man to be blessed? No, it was “being a blessing” to the other. Melchizedek blessed Abram and Abram blessed Melchizedek. However, we also see Abram didn’t want a thing from the king of Sodom, yet he did give to the king of Sodom. The things Abram recovered were taken from Sodom to begin with, thus Abram gave tithes from “all” which were either the things taken from Sodom, or everything.
What about the heart of the king of Sodom? His motive was self. Neither Abram nor Melchizedek took a thing from him. Whether we give tithes or receive, we all have to check our motive. Do we give, or receive to impress others? To have control? To get a return? To brag in? Or to bless? If we reject tithing completely, why? Is it because we don’t like people telling us what to do with our money? Do we reject both the Old and New concepts? If we do, we also reject the Order of our High Priest (Heb 7:1-8-6).
This then takes us to Abram (Abraham) and how he gave tithes. The Order of Melchizedek is the key, but Abram is the giver in this and shows us the attitude of a cheerful giver. The Scriptures show us it was done “once”; and learning that either made you glad or made you mad. The time of exposure is here folks. If you were glad, you need to deal with it. If you were mad, you need to deal with it. “Well mad or glad, the fact remains it was one time.” True, but it’s also true God imputed righteousness to the man once; and just as true is that the man only received the bread and wine once. Was righteousness imputed because he believed that one time? No, his continued belief brought about the imputed righteousness. Did Abraham only give once? No, didn’t he give to Lot? Sure, and he gave to others in his family as well. Simply, it was the nature of the man to be a blessing; this promoted the area of him being blessed. Some of us get real mad because we are not blessed, but are we a blessing?
The only time we find the word “tithes” connected to Abram is when he was dealing with the priest of the “Most high God”; therefore, the concept of “tithes” is giving to those who serve the “Most high God”, and hold the “Bread and Wine” respectfully. The amount is still between the giving priest and their High Priest, the amount isn’t the issue in the New; the principle is.
Simply because we give “tithes” doesn’t mean we are a “Tither,” nor does it mean we gave a “Tithe”; it means we gave something God had put into our hands. The same principle Paul gave the Corinthians (I Cor 16:2). At first glance, First Corinthians 16:2 would seem to connect to the Jacob tithe; after all it was to give from that which God gives (I Cor 16:2). “Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come.”
However, Paul never said “ten percent”, rather it was, “as God has prospered” showing that God gave the seed to the sower for a purpose which was/is to be a blessing (II Cor 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.”
Corinthians does connect to the principle found in Hebrews; yet, the concept of “tithes” under the New is not by Commandment, but it is a form of ministry (II Cor 9:10).
When we study the giving of Abram to Melchizedek, we find that the Covenant didn’t come to Abraham until after the giving took place. Then, the giving didn’t take place until after a battle, and the battle didn’t take place until after the deliverance from Egypt; the deliverance from Egypt didn’t take place until after the Call. All these aspects point to Paul’s teaching to the Corinthians on giving, affirming his teaching to the Philippians and what can be found on the subject in the Book of Hebrews. This area is difficult at best; when one begins to teach on this subject they can count on the carnal minded to say, “Oh boy here it comes, they’re going to ask for money,” or worse, the Pharisees in the Body come with their personal attacks. Just as with the concept of circumcision of the flesh in the early days, the concept of tithes has become the thorn in the Body today. Once we make the Godly division between the two different types as we did between the two different types of circumcision, we can be at peace on the subject.
Why is that important? When we as priests minister the Bread (Body) and Wine (Blood of Christ,) we are ministering the delivering agents of God’s Mercy and Grace. Paul equated giving as an attribute of Grace as well (II Cor 9:8 & Rom 12:8).
“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.” – 11 Cor 9:8 (KJV)
“Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness.” – Romans 12:8 (KJV)
Abram didn’t sit down and count out, “One for you, nine for me,” and neither did Melchizedek sit down and make sure Abram was giving exactly ten percent; however, all those under the Law of Moses and the Commandment did.
Priest after the Order of Melchisedec: Our Priestly function or Order is defined in the acts of Melchizedek; thus it’s not the man, but his Order (Heb 7:20-21). “And inasmuch as not without an oath he was made priest: (For those priests were made without an oath; but this with an oath by him that said unto him, The Lord sware and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec:)”
If we are priests under our High Priest, then He has an Order; thus, we better know the Order. Two elements we do know are the Bread and Wine. In the Book of Hebrews, the Blood of Jesus is mentioned as well as the Body, but so is the giving. We minister by receiving the Bread and Wine; we also give that Bread and Wine. Why then can’t we see that the giving entailed “tithes” as well? (Ph’l 4:15 & Heb 7:17-21). Another area that is obvious is the respect the two men had for each other; we as priests have a duty to treat the other priests in our Order with respect.
“Now ye Philippians know also, that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church communicated with me as concerning giving and receiving, but ye only.” – Ph’l 4:15 (KJV)
For he testifieth, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec. – Hebrews 7:17 (KJV)
We need to examine this area in order to keep ourselves from being placed in bondage, retaining strongholds or holding covetousness, yet calling it “cheerful giving.” And if we find that we are not giving, then why not? If God told us not to, fine; but if we’re playing God and telling ourselves not to, we have a problem. In the area of giving, how is our kingdom run? If we give and then brag on it, why are we doing this? If we are making our decisions about giving based on money, we really need to examine our motives. Being cheerful because we don’t give or because we can control our giving, well, this is not the context of “cheerful giving.”
A Cheerful Giver: A cheerful giver is cheerful by nature; they don’t need to jump up and down to be cheerful; and expecting a return is the wrong kind of cheerfulness. A cheerful giver is cheerful before, during and after the giving, whether there is a return or not. It never matters how much; what matters is the cheerfulness. Why? A tither under the Law of Moses gets a return, yet they can still be nasty, hateful, greedy, unbelieving or nice, it didn’t matter, since it was the deed that was honored. Under the New, God deals with us personally; He still loves a cheerful giver (II Cor 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.”
We can pay “tithe” and never have God notice us; yet we will get a return. We can be a cheerful giver, one that is not moved by necessity or manipulation and loved of God. Which would seem better?
The giving of Abram is important, since we find that at the very same time there was the king of Sodom who wanted to “give” to Abram, yet Abram rejected it. Wow, he gave, but refused to receive? No, it wasn’t that he refused to receive, since he “received” the bread and wine; rather he refused to receive from someone who would use the giving as a personal tool for self-exaltation (Gen 14:23). “That I will not take from a thread even to a shoelatchet, and that I will not take any thing that is thine, lest thou shouldest say, I have made Abram rich.”
Paul uses the “Abram – Melchizedek Principle” in the Book of Hebrews to show the two different types of “tithes.” One role of a teacher is to resolve controversy, which is exactly what Paul did for us in the Book of Hebrews…that is… if we receive it. It seems that much of the controversy over this matter occurs when someone mixes the Old into the New, which is the same kind of mistake made regarding the issue of circumcision or the principle of “Sabbath.”
All this shows us how Giving is part of the spiritual nature of the Christian and Paul connects our “nature of giving” to Righteousness (II Cor 9:10). Some of us wonder if we’re in Grace. Well, there are signs; and the desire to give is one of them. The heart that “gives to get” is still in bondage to the old nature. The heart that gives to bless, walks by the New Man.
Faith is the evidence of things not seen; and by a person’s faith we can detect the source. If they are carnal, then the source of their faith is carnal. If their faith is like that of the “Faith of Jesus,” then the source is spiritual. Again, this is not about the amount of money in question or even the issue of money at all. There are many ways in which we can give. For instance, we can give words of encouragement or we can give service, which are all facets of giving. On the same note some of us are afraid to ask God how much we can give; He may say, “Give all you have” but then do we think… “Yikes, wrong voice, get behind me Satan, and let me out of here”?
Faith has to trust God; we ask, we obey. That same God may say “Give nothing” or “receive nothing from them” which is supported by Abram refusing to receive from the king of Sodom as well as Paul refusing to receive from the Corinthians.
Whatever the Lord says, do.
Note: The use of SOZO Bible Study Lessons, Newsletters or Short Studies (written/penned by Pastor G. Evan Newmyer as scribe and author, prior to his passing from this world) has been given to Ann M. Wolf by written permission from the author, as was customarily granted to alumni of the Sozo Bible Institute. This limited permission is given under clear agreement to never “charge” specific amounts for the Lessons with the intention of obtaining specific profits, but rather to share the material with others as the Spirit leads, for the purpose of “edification and encouragement,” on a free will offering basis, and while honoring the biblical principal to “teach the truth in love.” We ask then, that the desires of the original scribe (Rev. Newmyer) be respected; therefore the material can be shared among those who are dedicated in their study of the Bible, but shared freely on an offering basis and with respect to the copyright laws of the land and states. All rights are reserved. Read More.
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King James Version – KJV: For greater understanding of these commentaries, please use the Authorized Version of the King James Bible for confirming the Scripture passages mentioned. Please see the article, “Why KJV” by Ann M. Wolf for information regarding why we use KJV. Thank you for visiting our Sozo Short Bible Studies area.