Had a request yesterday (today as I write is the 26th January 2011) from a dear reader who wanted clarification on Tithing and whether or not it is binding on Born of God (Born Again) believers who live under Grace. The answer to this is a plain and emphatic NO!!
However, before I expound upon the wrongs of regulated tithing under the New Covenant we need to understand tithing in relation to taxation.
Supreme Court Chief Justice John Marshall is reported to have said: "The power to tax is the power to destroy", but Winston Shrout, an expert in commercial processes and remedies put this more succinctly when he said: "The power to tax the principal is the power to destroy." This means, that in the Old Covenant days of Ancient Israel at the time of the Judges when the Levites (the Priesthood) (they had no king in Israel at this time) collected the tithe from the people of Israel they only ever required a tithe (a tenth) on the increase of the people's abundance. This can best be described by this example:
A farmer or husband-man has 100 head of cattle and during the season the cows produce 50 calves so the farmer has made an increase of 50 head of cattle. This would mean a tithe of 5 head of cattle being a tenth of the increase of the fifty calves would be due. Notice, though, how his original 100 head of cattle, The Principal, are not tithed upon or not taxed, they remain untouched. Can you see the equity and justice within this system?
Now if we take our modern world with regard to taxation, which is just the tithe by another name, and if we are employed in a job, are our wages an increase in our wealth and/or an increase in our abundance? In other words, should we be paying tax or a tithe on our wages? Not sure? Let's put it another way. What did you get your wages for? Sitting at home whilst watching TV, playing computer games or cards? If you had been, your 'wages' would then have been an increase and a tithe or tax due. Now, if you were paid your wages for a week's work or labour, then this was an exchange, a payment for your hire, not an increase. You laboured for a week and in exchange for that effort you were paid. This, by Biblical Godly standards, is not an increase at all and had you lived at the time of the Judges in Ancient Israel you would not have been tithed or taxed on your wages. Am I therefore saying that income tax is unlawful and extortion? Yes, without a shadow of doubt. Only corporate profits should be taxed where an increase can be shown to have taken place. Taxation on private income is a tax or tithe on The Principal and can only result in one thing - the destruction of The Principal, and who is The Principal, you are? Are you being taxed on your private income? If you can answer yes to this then you are being financially oppressed and destroyed.
Right, let's get back to the subject at hand and the 'churches' that request or even demand a tithe. Look, folks, there are a thousand and one 'churches' out there that will have you on their money grabbing tread mills and quicker than a heart beat, if you let them, so be on your guard. If you are already unfortunate enough to be a member of such a 'church' then challenge the minister or pastor to repent immediately and if they won't hear or listen to you then get away from them as fast as you can and kick off the dust from beneath your shoes as you skedaddle down the road like the Road Runner (I used to enjoy that cartoon) and don't look back. Always remember, regulated tithing is blasphemous Old Covenant law keeping or Judaism at its worst, and that's it. That's all there is to it, nothing else, and this is all you need to know.
In complete contrast to this Yashua Messiah stated quite plainly that The Father loves a cheerful giver and this is the heart of the matter:
2 Corinthians 9:7-8 (KJV) Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver. 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:
"Every man according as he purposeth in his HEART." Purposeth here meaning "to choose for oneself." Look, dear people, this is a heart thing and/or a free will choice thing, not a law thing. Giving should be voluntary i.e. something we want to do, willingly, not something we have to do or are put under pressure to do, and so it is with all things appertaining to willingly following Yashua Messiah under His Glorious Grace, and never let anyone tell you otherwise. The Commandments or The Law were nailed to the cross.
Again, The Father loves a cheerful giver and this works both ways, 'cos if it happens that you are not glad about giving or not feeling cheerful, at any particular time, then it's best that you do not give, and this is OK, for The Father is not going to strike you dead on the spot for having an off day or three. You must wait until you are in a better frame of mind or until your heart is in it and you are sure you want to give and not grudgingly, as Paul states, and that in a nut shell is all you need to know about giving or tithing, if you still want to call it that - I would rather not.
Now before I finish this article we must look at the most famous giver of all time i.e. The Widow with her mites in the Temple and we all know the moving story don't we? If not, then here it is:
Luke 20:46-47 (KJV) Beware of the scribes, (Cain's lawyers and attorneys) which desire to walk in long robes (black robes - Cain's cardinals, bishops, vicars and priests), and love greetings in the markets (back slapping corrupt politicians and banksters), and the highest seats in the (Westminster and the House of Lords) synagogues, and the chief rooms at feasts; (The Guildhall in The City of London) 47 Which devour widows' houses, (through Admiralty de-facto civil courts, through unlawful usury - money at interest, inflation and taxation) and for a shew make long prayers (the outward display of the self-righteousness of above mentioned criminals - pirates): the same shall receive greater damnation. (All brackets mine)
Luke 21:1-4 (KJV) And he looked up, and saw the rich men (oligarchal global corporate barons) casting their gifts into the treasury. 2 And he saw also a certain poor widow casting in thither two mites. 3 And he said, Of a Truth I say unto you, that this poor widow hath cast in more than they all: 4 For all these have of their abundance cast in unto the offerings of God: but she of her penury hath cast in all the living that she had. (In the Kingdom the first shall be last, and the last shall be first) (All brackets mine.)
OK, the main thing to understand here is this, and I am not saying it to diminish what the poor lady gave, but we have to understand that she didn't give ALL that she had, but she did give ALL of what little abundance she had, so we need to get this Truth into the picture here and firmly in our minds or otherwise we're forever fuelling the self-flagellators and the "Poverty is a Christian Virtue" brigades. This means, in other words, that she wasn't going to starve that day, or go without the basic necessities of life. Never-the-less what she did give was still far greater than all the self-important puffed up wealthy so and so's present who no doubt had acquired all their gains by thieving it off the less fortunate - people like the poor widow.
However, the main issue here is still the same and it's the issue of choosing willingly and cheerfully to give and that's exactly what the widow did. No one forced her to give her two mites; she gave them voluntarily and willingly. How do we know that? easy, because Yashua Messiah would have known her thoughts. Had she been doing it just to obey The Law he would have ignored her as being no different to the wealthy ones there, for that's what they were doing i.e. Tithing according to The Law and thereby showing off how righteous they thought they were. Remind you of anyone do they?