Tithing: Biblical, or not?
Two of the most important bible study rules is to take any
scripture in context with the scriptures above and below it, and
to take ALL scriptures on the subject together to get a complete
picture of what God has to say about any given topic.
Below is a synopsis of articles and books from a variety of sources on
the subject of the tithe. This is presented as the "other side
of the coin" and for your study and consideration. Please
realize, tithing in and of itself is NOT a sin or evil thing to
do. I personally faithfully tithed for over 20 years. What this is an attempt to do is to present evidence showing
that tithing (especially with the temple gone, and considering that tithing was of agricultural products) seems to be no longer a command from God, and therefore NOT something any corporate or other body of people can require as being "God commanded."
Keep in mind this addresses primarily FIRST tithe. The issue of saving money for the Feast of Tabernacles, which some call second tithe, (second tenth) or providing for the poor, some call third tithe, (third tenth) are NOT the main subject of this article other than those three tithes being covered by ONE tithe (tenth of the increase from the land) in the past.
God's Feast is commanded, but biblical evidence for elaborate, worldwide travel, gifts, expenses, etc., is NOT available. To travel to far away places wouldn't be wrong if one could afford to do so out of his "increase," which will be explained below. No one ever had to travel thousands of miles to a Feast of God in the past. Even traveling hundreds of miles was likely never done.
Please review this material and prove for yourself the evidence. After reading all this, if you feel that tithing is required, then you should obviously tithe. If you see the weakness in the biblical evidence for tithing, then perhaps you may have an impact on leading others to a willing giving, as people are able and as God has blessed them, rather than being compulsory. God doesn't need our money because God can provide all we could ever need. He is looking for obedience, and a willingness to give from the heart, and the unity of true Christians who work together as a body and NOT supporting divisions.
Is tithing just a convenient means to support the
various church divisions? Imagine if tithing were not taught as a biblical command...? Would the various divisions even exist without this mandatory support mechanism? Would we be more willing to unite and support the work of the
Church as a group as Christ taught and not be divided into factions under a "party spirit" mentality?
This discussion regards the
required payment of money, or a 10th of all "increase," to support a ministry, often one which has become far removed from any resemblance to original intent by the apostles or Christ. Supporting the purposes of the structure of the Church is
biblical and clear from New Testament writings, however the command from Christ to preach the gospel to the world was to all
converted members, not to just a few ministers. The structure of "apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and
teachers" was specific for the Body of Christ, the Church and ITS preparation and growth. (Yes, we have structure to HOW we preach the gospel, but to marginalize most members from this process, as most groups do, is NOT scriptural).
Let's start with the Biblical Evidence:
Beginning in the old testament with
Abraham, the first mention of tithing was in relation to recovery
of items stolen from Lot, and Sodom and Gomorrah, period.
Gen 14:20 And blessed be the most high God, which hath
delivered thine enemies into your hand. And he gave him tithes of
Some issues to consider with this are as follows:
The items brought back were not Abrahams. These were goods
stolen from Lot and two cities, and some "spoils of
war." Notice it states the goods were recovered... Gen 14:16
And he brought back all the goods, and also brought again his
brother Lot, and his goods, and the women also, and the people.
Tithing is claimed to be on one's "increase." It
states that Abraham tithed on "all," yet the goods were
not his increase. He didn't intend to keep one piece of
Gen 14:23 That I will not [take] from a thread even to a
...therefore how can this be addressing the "law" of
tithing here when it states, "he gave a tithe of all," because none of it was his
increase? Is this regarding a 10th of "all" he ever received
throughout his life? That isn't clear here. If tithing a 10th
is a law, why wasn't it included as part of the law, statutes
and precepts which God provided? Why do we assume tithing was
practiced as a command and NOT also assume that second tithe and
third tithe were also required? Why do we assume the Holy Days
were NOT known about and therefore just point to the first tithe
as being valid here?
Notice there is no mention of Abraham tithing a "second" tithe
or "third" tithe. We learn of the actual command for "second
and third" tithes about the same time we hear about the
command for "first" tithe in Leviticus 27, Numbers 18 and Dt. 14.
If we assume first tithe was a law Abraham was following, why do
we not also assume second and third tithe were also followed?
Numbers 31:9, 27-29 discuss the issue
of spoils of war and what was to be done with them. No mention of
tithing is made here even though 400 years previous, some say
that tithing was a universal law that Abraham was obeying
regarding the supposed spoils of war. Why then didn't Moses
refer to this law if it was applied to Abraham's spoils of
war? Wouldn't Moses be departing from this law in doing what
In Genesis 28, Jacob is pointed at to
try to prove that the law of tithing was what he was discussing.
The points made in this scripture series are:
- This was a vow.
- IF... an important word overlooked by most, if God would
do..., Jacob would give Him a tithe of all.
- The context of this vow was in what God was promising to give
Jacob and his descendants... Land, and what Jacob vowed to give
in return... a tithe of all products provided through the
However, Jacob never received the land spoken about, but his
descendants would and the vow would then be fulfilled, discussed
Jacob worked for Laban for 14 years for his wives and 6 more
for livestock. Not one word is mentioned about tithing on any of
Joseph became the second in command of
Egypt. He was responsible for preparing for famine. There is
clear discussion of laying up the grain... 1/5th for Pharaoh, yet
nothing was mentioned about tithing to God by Joseph of his
increase, which he certainly had. Joseph would certainly have
known about any tithing law, having received this truth, if it
existed, passed down from Abraham. Why would he ignore this if it
were a law and he had control over his increase? Remember, God
was VERY involved with the plan to save up food for the coming
famine. Certainly Joseph would have considered God's law of
tithing if it were a law.
It could be argued that there were no levites or temple to tithe to... as there is none today... yet Joseph could have sent those tithes to Israel just as Israel came to Egypt to obtain food in the famine. If Joseph knew tithing were a law that honored God, surely He would have done so as a witness and example to the Egyptians.
When God provided manna to the
Israelites, in Exodus 16, there is no mention of tithing on this increase. In
fact, every man had to gather an "omer" of manna for every person in their tent. The Levites weren't provided a tithe of this omer. Why not if
tithing was a law?
Exodus 20 includes the giving of the
law. This continues on through 4 chapters yet not one word about
tithing being required or "restored" along with all the
other commands mentioned. This seems odd if tithing were a
universal law. Certainly tithing, if it was a law, wasn't
being followed by Israel those 400+ years, and would have had to
be "restored" along with all of God's other
When the Israelites left Egypt, they
plundered the Egyptians. They had great wealth with them. Later
on in the wilderness, (Exodus 25 and 35) God commands the
Israelites to give as they are willing toward the support and
construction of the Tabernacle. No mention of them having to
tithe on this increase, even for God's Tabernacle. Exodus 36
clearly tells us this was a free will offering, not a tithe. It
wasn't until a year later that tithing was instituted by
Throughout Exodus and the giving of the
law, and Leviticus, all the way up to the very last chapter,
chapter 27, and to the last 5 verses, we are given nothing on
tithing. Referring back to Jacob's vow to God to give a tithe
to God of all of the land... God then seems to be bringing up
this vow to the remembrance of Israel and claiming what was vowed
to Him... the tithe Jacob vowed. The tithe of the LAND was what
was holy to God:
Lev 27:30 And all the tithe of the land, whether of the
seed of the land, or of the fruit of the tree, is the LORD's:
it is holy to the LORD.
Neh 10:35 And we made ordinances to bring the firstfruits of our ground and the firstfruits of all fruit of all trees, year by year, to the house of the LORD; 36 to bring the firstborn of our sons and our cattle, as it is written in the Law, and the firstborn of our herds and our flocks, to the house of our God, to the priests who minister in the house of our God; 37 to bring the firstfruits of our dough, our offerings, the fruit from all kinds of trees, the new wine and oil, to the priests, to the storerooms of the house of our God; and to bring the tithes of our land to the Levites, for the Levites should receive the tithes in all our farming communities. 38 And the priest, the descendant of Aaron, shall be with the Levites when the Levites receive tithes; and the Levites shall bring up a tenth of the tithes to the house of our God, to the rooms of the storehouse. 39 For the children of Israel and the children of Levi shall bring the offering of the grain, of the new wine and the oil, to the storerooms where the articles of the sanctuary are, where the priests who minister and the gatekeepers and the singers are; and we will not neglect the house of our God.
Nehemiah 10 discusses firstfruits AND tithes. Tithe means tenth, but the firstfruits amounts is not mentioned. It seems at one time God wanted the firstfruits of the land to go to the temple. How much is the firstfruits of an apple tree or any other crop? Was this the same as the tithe? Was this in addition to the tithe? Notice the statement "farming communities," suggesting that agriculture was what was tithed on. It also mentions that someone could "redeem" his tithes... That is, take them back but he had to add 1/5th more to their value in money. This is about as close to cash going into the temple as tithe as scriptures come... but it isn't the original intent God clearly states is to be tithed on. (Why someone would want to redeem tithes is a mystery, since he could buy the equivillent of the original tithes elsewhere, and save the 1/5th additional cost).
Levi 27, on the other hand, discusses the 10th animal being holy to God, but this
doesn't mean the firstfruits. This means that the 10th animal is
holy to God. If someone had 9 animals, there was none paid,
and no mention of figuring out the value of the 9 and paying
money as a tithe of that increase. In fact, monetary redemption
of animals was not initially allowed. This means that people
raising animals could NOT pay money to the Temple, but had to
tithe of the flock or herd, (later changed once Israel entered
the promised land) but the 10th (not first) animal.
Also worthy of note is the fact that God did not require second animal for a second tithe or third animal every third
year for third tithe. On top of that, there is no mention of
paying another 10th animal out of the NEXT 10 animals someone may
have had. In other words, if someone had 50 animals, God did not
require 5 of those animals (one 10th of 50) as tithes. (Of course, it is possible, since it takes time to raise animals to reach 10, that every tenth one born WAS given, which would be a "tithe," but again, of the land, not everything that comes in).
Tithing, throughout the old testament, was on agricultural goods. Nowhere is any mention of it being for any other item, such as money. I
find it hard to believe that if tithing was commanded on all
things, how could this amount of items possible be contained in
the Temple or anywhere else? Sure, perhaps the tithes could have
been taken to the Levite's land and stored there, but there
is still no mention of tithing on non-agricultural goods. Mention
is only made of agriculture and flocks, but nothing on clothing,
utensils, pottery, farm implements, etc. (Even Christ was a
carpenter but there is no hint of tithing on the income from this
profession). If these were to be tithed on, why nothing about
selling it and giving the money as tithe?
Israel definitely had a monetary system and money was used for
many things, yet no mention of tithing on this money is made:
Ex 30:12 When you take the sum of the children of Israel
after their number, then shall they give every man a ransom for
his soul to the LORD, when you number them; that there be
no plague among them, when you number them. :13 This they
shall give, every one that passes among them that are numbered,
half a shekel after the shekel of the sanctuary: (a shekel is
twenty gerahs:) an half shekel shall be the offering of the LORD.
:14 Every one that passes among them that are numbered, from
twenty years old and above, shall give an offering to the LORD.
:15 The rich shall not give more, and the poor shall not give
less than half a shekel, when they give an offering to the
LORD, to make an atonement for your souls.
Imagine for a moment how much we are talking about if tithing
of all things were true. We have millions of Israelites giving
1/10th of "all" they possess. On top of this we have all Israel
(males) giving ½ shekel every year. This would have been
hundreds of millions of dollars in our money just in this tribute
alone. This was still followed in Jesus' time. The tithe
would have been valued easily at 10 times this much. Are we to
expect that this much could be realistically contained in the
temple or ever used by the Levites and priests?
Why would there be a temple "tax" if tithing were being followed as some believe? Why would the Jews set this up as well, and why would God? Doesn't this seem excessive on top of all the tithes that would have been coming in had tithing of "all" been a law? Wouldn't it seem more reasonable to conclude that the regular tithe was of agricultural products and the temple tribute was "cash" for other possible needs?
Ex 35:5 "From what you have, take an offering for the LORD. Everyone who is willing is to bring to the LORD an offering of gold, silver and bronze; 6 blue, purple and scarlet yarn and fine linen; goat hair; 7 ram skins dyed red and hides of sea cows; acacia wood; 8 olive oil for the light; spices for the anointing oil and for the fragrant incense; 9 and onyx stones and other gems to be mounted on the ephod and breastpiece. NIV
Ex 35:21 "...and everyone who was willing and whose heart moved him came and brought an offering to the LORD for the work on the Tent of Meeting, for all its service, and for the sacred garments. 22 All who were willing, men and women alike, came and brought gold jewelry of all kinds: brooches, earrings, rings and ornaments. They all presented their gold as a wave offering to the LORD. 23 Everyone who had blue, purple or scarlet yarn or fine linen, or goat hair, ram skins dyed red or hides of sea cows brought them. 24 Those presenting an offering of silver or bronze brought it as an offering to the LORD, and everyone who had acacia wood for any part of the work brought it. 25 Every skilled woman spun with her hands and brought what she had spun — blue, purple or scarlet yarn or fine linen. 26 And all the women who were willing and had the skill spun the goat hair. 27 The leaders brought onyx stones and other gems to be mounted on the ephod and breastpiece. 28 They also brought spices and olive oil for the light and for the anointing oil and for the fragrant incense. 29 All the Israelite men and women who were willing brought to the LORD freewill offerings for all the work the LORD through Moses had commanded them to do.NIV
Here we have a free will offering to God, the temple and the service of the temple, but nothing about tithes being available for that very purpose. Why is this different than the usual tithe which would have been used for these very things?
Levi 25 commands a land Sabbath for
every seventh year. If we apply this aspect of the tithing
"law," we see that tithes (agriculture again) couldn't be paid every seventh year... something most churches are not
quick to point out or accept. There is no mention about other
tithes on anything else that wasn't land produced
continuing during the land Sabbath. (There's also no mention of how the people who had the land Sabbath were able to keep the Feast that year).
There is no mention of tithes being
required of fishermen or on lumber, or the many trades that
existed at the time, or other manufactured merchandise. It is
also noted that tithes were apparently not required from the
priests. If tithing were a universal law, why did the priests not
have to pay a tithe of their increase? Do we simply assume they
did based on our present doctrinal position? God is no respecter
of persons when it comes to His laws.
Some will argue that this system would be unfair... making
just land owners and herd owners paying tithe, but didn't most Israelites own land and have herds and crops? One tenth of this material was
not a burden for them and consisted of a vast amount of goods collectively. Those that didn't were likely those the tithe was there to help... the poor.
Israel, while in the wilderness, had
very little, if any, agricultural crops or fruit crops to tithe on. The
Levites received according to each man's own choices,
but once in the promised land, stricter compliance was required
Once in the promised land, all tithes were to be brought to
Levi, but if this were done according to what we practice today,
Levi would have become a tremendously wealthy tribe, above all
other tribes of Israel. The Levites served in the temple for two weeks at a time out of the year. Other times, they lived in
their cities and did not use tithes to live off of. The tithes
were for temple duty use and serving. Had all Israel brought even
one tithe of "ALL," there would have been no possibility of
containing all that would include in the tabernacle or temple,
and never used up if stored elsewhere.
Herein lies the likely actual use of the tithe of God...one tithe
used in several ways in different years. Maintaining the Levitical priesthood, the Feast Days, and the poor. The restrictions on
redeeming the produce and animals for money was then changed.
Israel was spread out across the promised land. Traveling the
distances to one place for the Holy Days with animals or
agricultural goods was much more difficult here so redemption,
without the 1/5th premium, was allowed. Now, Israel was allowed
to use the tithe in a new way...
Deut 14:22 Thou shalt truly tithe all the increase of thy seed, that the field brings forth year by year.
23 And thou shalt eat before the Lord thy God, in the place which he shall choose to place his name there, the tithe of thy corn, of thy wine, and of thine oil, and the firstlings of thy herds and of thy flocks; that thou may learn to fear the Lord thy God always. 24 And if the way be too long for thee, so that thou art not able to carry it; (Tithe of the land) or if the place be too far from thee, which the Lord thy God shall choose to set his name there, when the Lord thy God hath blessed thee: 25 Then shalt you turn it (tithe) into money, and bind up the money in thine hand, and shalt go to the place
which the LORD your God shall choose: 26 And you shalt bestow
that money for whatsoever your soul lusts after, for oxen, or
for sheep, or for wine, or for strong drink, or for whatsoever
your soul desires: and you shalt eat there before the LORD your
God, and you shalt rejoice, you, and thine household, 27 And
the Levite that is within your gates; you shalt not forsake him;
for he hath no part nor inheritance with you.
Up to this point, only the Levites were allowed to use tithes. Now, God makes allowances for all Israelites to use the tithe
(same tithe) for Feast days... three holy seasons during the
year, not just the Feast of Tabernacles. Notice, also, that if tithes were from income (money), why would you have to "turn it into money?"
In every third and sixth year, the tithe was to be kept in the
Israelite's own home.
Deut 14:28 "At the end of every third year you shall bring out the tithe of your produce of that year and store it up within your gates. 29 And the Levite, because he has no portion nor inheritance with you, and the stranger and the fatherless and the widow who are within your gates, may come and eat and be satisfied, that the LORD your God may bless you in all the work of your hand which you do.
The Tithes every third and sixth year were not brought to the temple
or sanctuary, but used locally, given to the Levites and poor.
This means that every third and sixth year the Levites AND the poor received of the tithes. If the Levites
received yearly tithes already - "first" tithe - why
would they need an additional "third" tithe every third year... or is this further proof that the SAME tithe is being discussed, and that the people were to administer the tithe every third and sixth year? (Of course, a principle can be seen here that, if implemented today, would eliminate any government welfare program, lower taxes for all and feed the truly needy).
This likely means that only ONE tithe is being discussed
here, but used in different ways during the third and sixth years of every seven.
"Second" and "third" tithe developed many
centuries later via the Talmud, as historical records seem to
show. Greed? Imagine that.
Dt. 14:23-27 speaks about food; eating and drinking. Nothing
is mentioned about tithes for travel, lodging or gifts. Travel expenses were obviously necessary for keeping the Feast of Tabernacles, but to keep within the one tithe concept, the years' "increase" would be used for the tithe AND for the Feast. (What of keeping the Feast today? It is reasonable to save money toward this yearly event. They were authorized to "turn the agricultural products into money," to spend at the Feast for... food and drink (and presumably lodging), so today, we can save some money from our "increase" (more on that later) toward doing the same thing. If there is any real strength to a "tithe" being implemented today, it would be for the Feast, but we would have to include the "third and sixth year" rules as part of our belief system for ALL tithing. And, on that topic, why doesn't the COG observe THIS command for the tithes to be kept, every third and sixth year, "within our gates," for us to administer to the church and to the poor? That is a pretty clear command).
The Levites received tithes from
Israel, but these tithes were received for temple duty. Each
Levite had his "course" to perform and ate of the
tithes during this time. Between these duties, they lived in the
cities allotted to them by God, which consisted of a nice piece of land and pasture... approximately 4 square miles per
city. Here the Levites could grow crops, raise animals and work
for a living when they were not serving in the temple. (Dt.
Josh 14:4 For the children of Joseph were two tribes: Manasseh and Ephraim. And they gave no part to the Levites in the land, except cities to dwell in, with their common-lands for their livestock and their property. 5 As the LORD had commanded Moses, so the children of Israel did; and they divided the land.
And their common lands = OT:4054 migrash (mig-rawsh'); also (in plural) feminine (Ezek 27:28) migrashah (mig-raw-shaw'); a suburb (i.e. open country wither flocks are driven from pasture);
For their livestock = OT:4735 miqneh (mik-neh'); from OT:7069; something bought, i.e. property, but only livestock; abstractly, acquisition: KJV - cattle, flock, herd, possession, purchase, substance. (This can obviously include sheep, goats and cattle).
From OT:7069 qanah (kaw-naw'); a primitive root; to erect, i.e. create; by extension, to procure, especially by purchase (causatively, sell); by implication to own: KJV - attain, buy (-er), teach to keep cattle, get, provoke to jealousy, possess (-or), purchase, recover, redeem, surely, verily.
and for their substance = OT:7075 qinyan (kin-yawn'); from OT:7069; creation, i.e. (concretely) creatures; also acquisition, purchase, wealth: - getting, goods, with money, riches, substance.
This surely indicates the Levites had wealth, substance and possessions and would also indicate that their possessions in their cities were NOT given to them as tithes, but were, in fact, purchased by them in the normal course of living.
Since the Levites each served a two week course in the Temple duties, what did they do the other 50 weeks a year? Surely they were industrious as the other Israelites were.
Lev 25:32 Nevertheless the cities of the Levites , and the houses in the cities of their possession, the Levites may redeem at any time. 33 And if a man purchases a house from the Levites , then the house that was sold in the city of his possession shall be released in the Jubilee; for the houses in the cities of the Levites are their possession among the children of Israel.
In Luke 1, we see the story of Zacharias, John the
Baptist's father, and his service in the temple. Zacharias was
a Levite and the story goes on to discuss this service for his 2 week course. Once this course was complete... Luke 1:23 "So it was, as soon as the days of his service were completed, that he departed to his own house."
The Levites, while serving in the temple at times, were
seemingly also many other things as well; Teachers, judges,
medical people, singers, musicians, law enforcement, architects
and builders. They certainly had much more to do than occasional
temple service. They only ate of the tithes of the temple while serving in the temple.
Malachi 3:8-10, in context, is clearly
speaking to the Levitical Priests... Malachi 1:6-8, 10-13, 2:1, 3:3. It is interesting that Malachi and Nehemiah were
written about the same time. In Nehemiah 10 & 13, we see
tithing being discussed and the action which Malachi was writing
about that needed to take place. Yet Malachi 3 is always pointed
to regarding the tithing command...
Mal 3:9 "Ye are cursed with a curse: for you have robbed
me, even this whole nation. 10 Bring youall the
Does this mean first, second and third tithes were to be
brought to the storehouse? Does it mean tithes of ALL things,
creating a major storage problem if millions of people were
tithing of ALL they possessed into the storehouse,
..."that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me
now herewith, says 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. 11 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, says the LORD of hosts."
This time period was one in which many things were being
restored to the people. It was a time of drought and crop
failures. Malachi was speaking to this nation, Judah, that was
coming back to His laws. The blessing for tithing was on... what? The agricultural elements, not business, money, etc.
One has to ask, is America in any
respect of the word, "cursed" regarding abundance and
wealth? Of course, we can point to lots of sin and curses
regarding breaking God's commands, but America has led the
world in wealth and power for 50+ years. How can we use this
"curse" to apply to us today, especially since 99% of the population do not tithe, yet many give to their churches and to charities?
Neh 13:10 And I perceived that the portions of the Levites had
not been given them: for the Levites and the singers, that did
the work, were fled every one to his field. 11 Then
contended I with the rulers, and said, Why is the house of God
forsaken? And I gathered them together, and set them in their
place. 12 Then brought all Judah the tithe of the corn and the
new wine and the oil to the treasuries.
Same time frame as Malachi. The temple storage was empty of
food stuff... corn, new wine, oil... not money, not clothes, or
other items. Nehemiah was addressing the very problem Malachi
spoke of regarding tithes in the temple. If tithing was occurring on other items, the Levites could easily have sold these items for the agricultural products.
Levites, working only two weeks a year in the temple, didn't need cloths, baskets, hammers, shoes, etc., but they did need food to eat and it was right to feed them because they served the people during those two weeks and were away from their homes and property. It would be unreasonable to expect them to pay for their upkeep while serving all Israel and serving God. "A laborer is worthy of his hire." God provided for this by providing all the food they needed, and enough for the poor as well.
God established the tithe for the tribe of Levi and for the priests...
Num 18:20 And the LORD spake to Aaron, you shalt have no inheritance in their land, neither shalt you have any part among them: I am your part and thine inheritance among the children of Israel. 21 And, behold, I have given the children of Levi all the tenth in Israel for an inheritance, for their service which they serve, even the service of the tabernacle of the congregation. KJV
The above scriptures tell us a few things: The tribe of Levi did NOT inherit designated land as all the other tribes did. God established the tithe of the land "for their service which they serve, even the service of the tabernacle of the congregation."
A question to consider is what exactly did God mean by Levi having "no inheritance in the land." It is clear they had the cities of 4 miles square, as well as their own homes, so what was not "inherited" by Levi?
Mt. 23:23-24; Luke 11:42; Tithing
mentioned clearly, but this is because the temple was still
standing and the new covenant was not yet in force. Christ would
have supported tithing at this time. He also specifically
mentions agricultural products in regard to tithing. No tithing
of anything else here.
Luke 18:10 "Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself,'God, I thank You that I am not like other men — extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess.' 13 And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, 'God, be merciful to me a sinner!' 14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted."
In Luke 18 above, the Pharisee was
obviously self-righteous. He mentioned he was NOT like other men in that he fasted twice a week. He said he was NOT like other men in that he tithed of "all" that he
possessed. Doesn't this suggest that these "other men" DIDN'T tithe of ALL they possessed? If tithing of all possessions were the law, wouldn't everyone be doing it? Tithing of ALL he possessed wouldn't have made him "special" and more "righteous" than others if "everyone else" were tithing of "all" they possessed.
This certainly can't be used to set the standard of
God's law. Fasting twice a week wasn't commanded by God, and neither was tithing on "ALL" someone possessed. The Pharisee
believed, like fasting twice a week, that tithing on "all" he possessed made him "more
righteous" than others who just tithed on agricultural products as God commanded.
Acts 5:3-3 But Peter said, Ananias, why
hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to
keep back part of the price of the land? 4 While it remained, was
it not thine own? And after it was sold, was it not in thine own
power? Why hast you conceived this thing in thine heart? You
hast not lied to men, but to God.
Ananias and his wife sold their land, kept back some of it and
then brought the rest to Peter claiming it was all they received.
Peter clearly states that the money, once the land was sold, was
their own and in their power. There is no mention of tithe, in
any aspect of this encounter. We could presume that the tithe was
previously paid... (taken for granted of course), but to whom was
it paid? Tithe somewhere else, then bring the balance to Peter,
God's minister who supposedly should receive the tithes?
Makes no sense.
No, there was no "increase" in the transaction that took place in selling one item of value, or exchanging it, for another item of value. No increase took place. (See below for more discussion on "increase.")
1 Cor 9:12 If others be partakers of
this power over you, are not we rather? Nevertheless we have not
used this power; but suffer all things, lest we should hinder the
gospel of Christ. 13 Do you not know that they which minister
about holy things live of the things of the temple? and they
which wait at the alter are partakers with the alter? 14 Even so
hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should
live of the gospel.
Paul is clearly speaking to the brethren about receiving from
them for his efforts in doing God's work. Many say this is
speaking about tithing, but that Paul didn't want to hinder
God's work by correcting the brethren about not giving to the ministry. Would teaching and correcting the Corinthians about tithing... if it were God's law, be hindering God's work? I think not. The very
context of these scriptures doesn't speak about not placing
pressure on them to "tithe" but that God expects the
church to support the gospel. "Ordained" isn't the
best word to use here as the Interlinear Bible shows...
Ordained = NT:1299 diatasso (dee-at-as'-so); from NT:1223
and NT:5021; to arrange thoroughly, i.e. (specially) institute,
prescribe, etc.: - appoint, command, give, (set in) order,
Paul states... "Do you not know that they which minister
about holy things live of the things of the temple? and they
which wait at the alter are partakers with the alter?"
say this is clearly referring to tithing, and this is true, but
Paul goes on to contrast THAT with "living of the
gospel." Wouldn't a tithing law be part of such a
gospel? Why would Paul make such a contrast? The temple
sacrifices were no longer necessary and Paul knew this. He used
the reference to tithes and temple duties as one picture, then
speaks about "living of the gospel" as another... in
other words, living of the NEW Testament gospel that directly
addresses giving and providing for God's work.
If there ever was a time that Paul could have directly
addressed tithing, this is it, yet he speaks of God supporting
the work of the church through those things given FOR that
Some scriptures are quoted as a direct reference to tithing...
"power over you" in 1 Cor 9:12 doesn't necessarily
mean law or command:
Power = NT:1849 = exousia (ex-oo-see'-ah); from NT:1832
(in the sense of ability); privilege, i.e. (subjectively) force,
capacity, competency, freedom, or (objectively) mastery
(concretely, magistrate, superhuman, potentate, token of
control), delegated influence: KJV - authority, jurisdiction,
liberty, power, right, strength.
There are various ways to interpret this scripture, and the
very first is "privilege," which is exactly what Paul
is referring to. Notice Paul states that they did not use this
"privilege", or "subjective force" so as to
not burden them. Subjective means it was his choice to make to
ask for support that should have been given willingly.
Paul spoke of no other church providing
him support but the Philippians alone. He chided and corrected
the Corinthians on virtually every other issue, so would he let
slide not giving "commanded" tithes especially if it hindered the
work of the Gospel?
Some claim he didn't so as to not put a "burden"
on them. This would be making Paul the judge of what is God's
law and what could be broken. Paul's character was NOT to
back down from God's law, in this case, supposedly tithing,
but wasn't willing to place a big burden on the
Notice 1 Cor 9:18: "What is my reward then? Verily that, when I
preach the gospel, I may make the gospel of Christ without
charge, that I abuse not my power in the gospel."
How can we say that Paul is speaking about tithing here?
He's plainly talking about doing his work of preaching the
gospel without charging the Corinthians with supporting him. He
didn't want to abuse the privilege to be supported
by them. In other words, demanding and putting pressure on them
that they cough up money to support him. Paul was much more
converted than that.
Their "giving" spirit wasn't real spiritual as
yet. Paul wouldn't call God's law a burden, even one part
of it. The burden is
men's traditions that extract various forms of finances,
tithing being one taught under the guise of God's command.
Paul trusted God to supply his needs, and God did.
Notice 1 Cor 9:19: "For though I be free from all men, yet have
I made myself servant to all, that I might gain the more."
Paul clearly is continuing the context of giving and how he
has accepted being the "servant" to the point of not
receiving financial or other support from them. Look at all that
Paul corrected the Corinthians on...
1 Cor 3:3 For you are yet carnal: for whereas there is among
you envying, and strife, and divisions, are you not
carnal, and walk as men? 3 But with me it is a very small
thing that I should be judged of you, or of man's judgment:
yea, I judge not mine own self.
1 Cor 4:6 And these things, brethren, I have in a figure
transferred to myself and to Apollos for your sakes; that ye
might learn in us not to think of men above that which is
written, that no one of you be puffed up for one against
1 Cor 4:18 Now some are puffed up, as though I would
not come to you.
1 Cor 5:1 It is reported commonly that there is fornication
among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named
among the Gentiles, that one should have his father's
1 Cor 5:6 Your glorying is not good. Know you not that a
little leaven leavens the whole lump?
1 Cor 5:8 Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old
leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness;
but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.
1 Cor 6:1 Dare any of you, having a matter against another, go
to law before the unjust, and not before the saints?
1 Cor 6:5 I speak to your shame. Is it so, that there
is not a wise man among you? no, not one that shall be able to
judge between his brethren?
1 Cor 6:7 Now therefore there is utterly a fault among
you, because you go to law one with another.
1 Cor 6:8 Nay, you do wrong, and defraud, and that your
After all this correction, on some pretty meaty issues, are we
to believe that Paul suddenly became concerned that he might
"burden" the Corinthians by correcting them on the
issue of tithing? What happened to the blessings many point to in
Malachi for "tithing?" Paul would certainly have
reminded them about tithing blessings and NOT called it a
The whole 9th chapter is on the subject of supporting Paul and
the other apostles for their efforts in the Gospel. Paul actually
DOES correct them about their un-giving attitudes, yet he
mentions nothing about breaking God's law or any other aspect
of a "commanded" tithe that they were breaking.
Philippians 4 further bears this context out:
Phil 4:10 But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at the
last your care of me hath flourished again; wherein you were also
careful, but youlacked opportunity.
If tithing were commanded and an ongoing practice, then why
would the Philippians "lack opportunity" to give to the
work of the ministry? With all the church areas Paul traveled to,
he certainly wouldn't have lacked funds if tithing were being
Phil 4:14 Notwithstanding you have well done, that you did
communicate (be partaker) with my affliction. 15 Now ye
Philippians know also, that in the beginning of the gospel, when
I departed from Macedonia, no church communicated (NT:2841 = to
share with others (objectively or subjectively): - communicate, distribute, be partaker). . . with me as concerning
giving and receiving, but you only.
Again, giving and receiving is the issue, and Paul is stating
that the Philippians were the only ones that did anything toward
providing for Paul's needs up to that point...
:16 For even in Thessalonica you sent once and again to my
necessity. 17 Not because I desire a gift: but I desire
fruit that may abound to your account. 18 But I have all, and
abound: I am full, having received of Epaphroditus the things
which were sent from you, an odour of a sweet smell, a sacrifice
acceptable, well pleasing to God.
Paul clearly distinguishes the fact that the giving they did
was to his necessity, but that it wasn't because he wanted a
gift, but that their free willed giving which came from their
hearts would please God and be a spiritual blessing to them. Paul
wouldn't call what was commanded by God, a
"gift" or treat it as such. A gift clearly implies
free will giving.
Lastly, in 2 Cor 11:7 Have I committed an offense in abasing
myself that you might be exalted, because I have preached to you
the gospel of God freely? 8 I robbed other churches,
taking wages of them, to do you service. 9 And when I was
present with you, and wanted, I was chargeable to no man: for
that which was lacking to me the brethren which came from
Macedonia supplied: and in all things I have kept myself from
being burdensome to you, and so will I keep myself... (Paul
will keep... pay for and support, himself).
Wages = NT:3800 - opsonion (op-so'-nee-on); neuter of a presumed derivative of the same as NT:3795; rations for a soldier, i.e. (by extension) his stipend or pay:
Paul again is speaking about giving, not tithing. A wage is NOT a tithe. He speaks of
preaching the gospel "freely." He mentions
"robbing" other church areas so he could continue to do
God's work in Corinth. He took nothing from them, even when
he was in need, but was supplied by others in Macedonia. He
certainly wouldn't have been "robbing" anyone if
this were tithes he was referring to. Using the word
"robbed" was to prick their conscience for their not
being generous and supportive of God's work whereas others
Paul didn't want to be a burden to them. How can we
conclude that tithing is an issue here? He wouldn't have
hammered them on all those other spiritual points and then
suddenly cower from mentioning tithing if it were a law they were
breaking. The law they were breaking was in greed, or being
ungenerous, which speaks of their carnality that he mentioned
I understand how these scriptures could be used to try to point to
tithing, but this is just presumption based on the belief that
tithing is a law. There is no real evidence in any of these
scriptures that could override all the counter evidence pointing
away from tithing as a commanded law, and toward giving and
sharing as the spirit of the law.
1 Peter 5:2 Feed the flock of God which
is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint,
but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind;
Peter warns the leaders of this area that their reason for
serving and tending the flock of God should be from the heart and
NOT for the money they could receive. I have to ask, how many ministers would hang
around as ministers if tithing were abandoned as unbiblical? What
better tests the true calling of a minister to tend the flock of
God... a ready paycheck guaranteed by tithing that provides a
standard of living above most in the COG, or having to trust in
God, and have faith that their needs would be provided by the
church and living at the same standard as the rest of the church
I have seen the great Frankenstein monster created by the
tithing doctrine do great harm to people, including the ministry.
We have allowed this hierarchy to become blown all out of
biblical proportion, in both unbiblical authority and in perks
and relative prosperity.
If tithing is a law, why then
didn't the ministry tithe on their increase? What law makes
them exempt from this? Even the Levites paid tithes to the
priests. Some ministers DO tithe today, and rightly so if they truly believe in it as a "law."
A study of Hebrews 7
Hebrews 7 is often pointed to as the pivotal scriptures
claiming to support the change of tithing to the Levites, to
tithing to the "ministers" of the New Testament Church. Is this what Hebrews 7 supports?
Heb 7:11 If therefore perfection were by the Levitical
priesthood, (for under it the people received the law,) what
further need was there that another priest should rise after the
order of Melchisedec, and not be called after the order of Aaron?
The context begins here on a "priesthood"... one not after the
order of Aaron... (the Levitical priesthood), but after the
Heb 7:12 For the priesthood being changed,
there is made of necessity a change also of the law.
Keep in mind that this is speaking about a single law... not
laws... the law regarding the priesthood, or the law regarding tithing.
So which "law" is this speaking about "changing?" The
tithing law, according to many, but is this truly what is being
:13 For... he (Christ) of whom these things (change of
the priest hood) are spoken pertains to another tribe, (Judah)
of which no man gave attendance at the altar. 14 For it is
evident that our Lord sprang out of Judah; of which tribe Moses
spake nothing concerning priesthood. 15 And it is yet far more
evident: for that after the similitude of Melchisedec there
arises another priest, 16 Who is made, not after the law of a
carnal commandment, but after the power of an endless life.
Point: The word "FOR" used throughout
these scriptures has a direct relation to the preceding
NT:1063 gar (gar); a primary particle; properly, assigning
a reason (used in argument, explanation or
intensification; often with other particles).
In other words, vs 12 is explaining and commenting on vs
11... vs 13, 14, 18, 19 and 28 follow the same pattern and carry
the same thought or context clearly.
Going on with the above scriptures, "the Priesthood being
changed" meant there would HAVE to be a change of the law
also... otherwise, God's law would be broken. But what law?
Not the law of tithing, but the law of who could be high priest. The tought is on a "singular" priest, not a "priesthood" containing hundreds or thousands of men of many different "tribes" being part of this Melchisedec priesthood.
Notice Paul goes on to mention that nothing in the law was
ever mentioned about another tribe other than Levi, (this
sets and carries the subject of the preceding scripture, and it
isn't discussing tithing) and certainly nothing about the
tribe of Judah producing a high priest. Paul states that the
arising of another priest, (singular) which is clear that it occurred, was
NOT because of the "carnal" commandment, but after God
Himself. Tithing isn't the subject of the "carnal"
law being spoken of here, but it does clearly mention that the
law being discussed was pertaining to who could be priest.... a
high priest "who is made not after the law of a carnal
commandment." This isn't speaking at all about a tithing
Heb 7:18 For there is verily a disannulling of
the commandment going before for the weakness and
"For"... (again relating this subject to the
last scripture...) there is... what??? How much clearer can this
context be? Paul states that there is a disannulling
(cancellation, putting away) of the previous commandment... what
commandment? It would HAVE to be the tithing
commandment if you use these scriptures to support tithing
This scripture clearly states the commandment or law being
discussed in these scriptures was canceled because of its
unprofitableness. Why isn't this scripture considered when
claiming this is speaking about the tithing law being
"changed" to ministers today? It says nothing here
about change, but of annulment. If anything, tithing is clearly
being canceled and put away as unprofitable if you believe the
subject is tithing in vs 12.
Actually, it is the commandment on who can be high priest...
what tribe can produce a high priest and the sacrificial laws,
that was annulled, and something that was weak and unprofitable.
Was tithing weak and unprofitable? No, it served a clear and
useful purpose. The issue is the priesthood and the sacrifices
being given and the true benefit of them. THAT is the law that
Heb 7:19 For the law (Levitical Priesthood and
sacrificial system) made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of
a better hope did; by the which we draw nigh to God.
FOR... What law? The law of tithing? NO, the law of
tithing had nothing to do with making anyone perfect in any way,
and was never meant to. The continuing context is the priesthood
and sacrificial system. Is it keeping in context to claim the
"law" being discussed in the above scriptures is
tithing? If it is, then vs. 18 clearly, if anything, cancels tithing as a
requirement for us today.
Heb 7:28 For... the law makes men high priests which
have infirmity; but the word of the oath, which was since the
law, makes the Son, (high priest) who is consecrated for
FOR... the context is of the law that made Levites
high priest, NOT the law of tithing, and it is THAT law that was
put away, canceled by the change in the law to a high priest
from another tribe other than Levi... a SINGLE high priest. It is also about the "importance" of the position Christ has now.
We often use these scriptures to support the ministry being
an extension of the "Levitical priesthood," or others as an extension of the Melchisedec priesthood, and therefore the
ones who should now receive tithes, but this is not true. No
others can fulfill the role that Christ alone has and we
can't make any leap from this scripture to tithing of all our
"increase" (something completely different than all that comes in) to a modern ministry claiming levi or Melchidesec priesthood status. The "unchangeable" or
"untransferable" (as the Greek states it) nature of the priesthood that Christ alone
has, clearly shows that it doesn't pass on to others in any
Below, we see the scriptures which teach of the principle
of willing "giving" with NO mention of
Luke 8:3 And Joanna the wife of Chuza Herod's steward, and
Susanna, and many others, which ministered to him of their
Luke 10:7 And in the same house remain, eating and drinking
such things as they give: for the labourer is worthy of his hire.
Go not from house to house.
There is no tithing context in this scripture... "such
things as they give"... because if one is working, they can
readily accept what is given as payment for their efforts.
Matt 10:8 "Freely you have received, freely give."
Acts 20:33 I have coveted no man's silver, or gold, or
apparel. 34 Yea, you yourselves know, that these hands have
ministered to my necessities, and to them that were with me. 35
I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring (as Paul did)
you ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the
Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to
Paul himself worked to supply himself and others with him. If
tithing were in effect, where was it? Why weren't those with
Paul tithing to him? With all the church areas, there had to have
been many hundreds if not thousands of members, yet Paul was providing for himself,
discussed more than once in scripture. Distance, perhaps, but
communication wasn't lacking so tithing could have been
conveyed or provided they were practicing such.
Another scripture series involves 2
Cor. 8 & 9.
Chapter 8 discusses the collection of material goods for the
needy at Jerusalem. It is apparent that Paul is commending this
group for their concern and their generosity in providing for the
needs of the brethren. In vs: 12 Paul mentions a willing mind
must come first, then the giving is according to what the person
has to share that won't make himself poor and needy. In vs
:20, Paul speaks of administering the abundance the brethren
I bring this up first to set the tone and context of the
following chapter, chapter 9.
2 Cor 9:1 "For as touching the ministering to the saints, it
is superfluous (redundant or useless) for me to write to you:"
This is a continuation of the preceding chapter discussing
willingly giving to the needs of the brethren. Now we have Paul
carrying the same thought and discussion of giving right into the
needs of the ministry. (Can we conclude anything else from this?)
Notice above that the same thought is clear because Paul mentions
that his talk on this subject is redundant.
2 Cor 9:2 "...for I know your willingness, about which I boast of you to the Macedonians, that Achaia was ready a year ago; and your zeal has stirred up the majority."
Paul mentions that he is familiar with their "willingness" to give to the needs of the ministry, something he has boasted to other church areas about, and how their willingness created a zeal in the majority. He goes on to state that he actually sent those in need from other areas TO Corinth to see and partake of their giving, vs :5.
Let's now look at the finishing touches Paul himself
makes on the "ministering" aspect of receiving from the
2 Cor 9:7 "Every man according as he purposes in his heart, so
let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loves a
Paul speaks about voluntary giving, not grudgingly
(selfishness), or of necessity (tithing law), but cheerfully,
because God's giving spirit is at work in them. This wouldn't be an issue of tithing because it states it was involving a zeal the others obtained because of the giving the Corinthians were involved with. If it were tithing, this meant all the "majority" were in violation of the tithing law. NO mention of tithing, even in the direct discussion of
the work of the ministry. Isn't this strange if tithing is a
law God expects us to obey?
I'd like to mention that there is seemingly a very
interesting parallel between the traditions of tithing and the U.S. income tax system. If you didn't already know it or
haven't studied this issue in Supreme Court cases and our
Constitution, the income tax as it is being implemented, is provably illegal
and unconstitutional, and is actually a voluntary self
assessment, (if you are willing to give your money away) but is
taught to be a law and mandatory. Very interesting study and one
that would further unburden the brethren if it were taught as the
truth it is. Just prove it to yourself.
WHAT IS "INCREASE?"
That being said, for the sake of argument and reasoning together, let's look at this question as "IF" tithing on one's "increase" were to be followed. The first thing we need to look at is, "What exactly is 'increase?'"
If you have a business, and you have business expenses, you deduct these prior to paying "income" taxes, right? Even the government, in this case, is correct to NOT claim that all the money a company makes in the year is "profit," or "increase." "Profit" is what the company has left AFTER paying for all expenses, including insurance, wages to employees, costs of goods sold, maintenance, etc.
If you have such a business, you ALSO deduct these from the tithing amount you count as "increase" as well, right?. WHY? Because these are expenses which you have to pay (rightly believed to NOT be income) in order to produce anything, let alone receive "income." The Church, and even the government, understands that these expenses are required to make it possible for you to continue to survive in that business. If this wasn't so, you would soon be out of business.
Now let's consider the "costs" for you to be able to go to work and make a wage.
You agree to work for a company for $10 per hour. You provide the labor, which is your property, and which you own, in exchange for the $10 per hour. When you are handed the weeks wages, DID YOU OBTAIN AN "INCREASE?" If you say, "yes," then you are saying that your labor, work and effort is worth nothing and has no value, and that everything you receive for that labor (which costs you a lot of money to produce) is all "income," or "profit" or "gain." This is a ridiculous concept. There is absolutely NO "material difference" between your labor, and the wages you receive. They are equal in value, and cannot be "increase." - See COTTAGE SAVINGS ASSN v. COMMISSIONER, 499 U.S. 554 (1991).
When we work for wages, salary or compensation, we are "exchanging" our labor, which we own and which has value, FOR something else (wages which we agree to) which has EQUAL value to our labor. There has been no "increase" to you as yet, because you paid something... you paid your labor, made up of your costs for food, rent or mortgage, health care, driving expenses to work, recreation, health insurance, etc., using that money so you could be able to even go to work. If you couldn't purchase any of those things, could you go to work? Could you live?
If you buy groceries with that exchanged value, (labor for wages), are the groceries your "increase?" How would they be any MORE of an increase than money received from labor? How about a house payment made from that same exchanged value? Did that "increase" you? If you put your labor, time, effort, etc., into an exchange for something else, have you really been "increased" if you had to pay something to obtain it?
Analogy: If you had 10 pounds of corn, valued at $20, and you wanted 10 pounds of wheat, valued at $20, and you gave the 10 pounds of corn for your neighbor's 10 pounds of wheat, DID YOU OBTAIN AN "INCREASE?" If the value of the two products was the same, in what way have you been "increased?" The government wants you to believe that in such an exchange as described above, you received "income," and therefore, you must pay a tax on that. Now imaging that same exchange being made between 10 consecutive people, and at each exchange, another tax was placed on the exchange, and each exchange viewed as "income." At some point, what began as 10 pounds of corn or wheat, would slowly be consumed in paying taxes on each equal exchange of what you already paid your labor for, and NOTHING would be left. This is how governments and churches consume wealth and keep people in poverty and under control. It is fraud and theft!
What does the Supreme Court and other sources say about "income?" (Taken from What is Income? a much more thorough study on this topic).
"In principle, there can be no difference between the case of selling labor
and the case of selling goods." Adkins v. Children's Hospital, 261 U.S. at 558. (If you sell goods, you have many deductions prior to any potential tax liability, and certainly actually having any "increase", so the same goes for selling your labor... what are YOUR costs for producing that labor???)
"The statute and the statute alone determines what is income to be taxed. It
taxes only income "derived" from many different sources; one does not "derive
income" by rendering services and charging for them." Edwards v. Keith, 231 F.
110 (2nd Cir. 1916).
The concept is simple; You receive payment for labor. You pay all your expenses, and you have something left over. You take THAT leftover and put it into the bank, and receive interest. THAT can be considered as "income," or "increase" because you didn't work for it. You gained it FROM your pay... "derived FROM" your pay.
"When a court refers to an income tax as being in the nature of an excise, it
is merely stating that the tax is not on the property itself, but rather it is a
fee for the privilege of receiving "gain" from the property. The tax is based upon
the amount of the "gain," not the value of the property." C.R.S. Report Congress
92-303A (1992) by John R. Lackey, Legislative attorney with the library of
Congress. (Emphasis added).
"...it is not salaries, wages or compensation for personal
services that are to be included in gross income. That which is to be included
is gains, profits, and income derived from salaries, wages, or
compensation for personal services." The United States Supreme Court, Lucas v.
Earl, 281 U.S. 111 (1930) (Emphasis added).
"...income; as used in the statute should be given a meaning so as
not to include everything that comes in. The true function of the
words "gains" and "profits" is to limit the meaning of the word
"income." S. Pacific v. Lowe, 247 F. 330. (Emphasis added).(1918)
"Under the Internal Revenue Act of 1954 if there is no 'gain,' there is no
'income.'" - 26 U.S.C.A. '54, Sec. 61(a). (Emphasis added).
"There must be 'gain' before there is 'income' within the 16th
Amendment." U.S.C.A. Const. Am 16. (Emphasis added).
"The true function of the words 'gains' and profits' is to limit the meaning
of the word 'income' and to show its use only in the sense of receipts which
constituted an accretion to capital. So the function of the word 'income' should be to limit the meaning of the words 'gains' and 'profits.'" Southern
Pacific v. Lowe. Federal Reporter Vol. 238 pg. 850. See also, Walsh v.
Brewster. Conn. 1921, 41 S.Ct. 392, 255 U.S. 536, 65 L.Ed. 762. (Emphasis added).
Compensation: "...Giving an equivalent or substitute of equal value...giving
back an equivalent in either money, which is but the measure of value..."
Black's Law Dictionary
"There is a clear distinction between 'profit' and 'wages' and compensation
for labor. Compensation for labor CANNOT be regarded as profit within the
meaning of the law. The word 'profit,' as ordinarily used, means the gain made
upon any business or investment---a different thing altogether from mere
compensation for labor." - Oliver v. Halstead, 86 S.E. Rep. 2d 859.
"...Reasonable compensation for labor or services rendered is not profit..."
Laureldale Cemetery Assc. v. Matthews. 47 Atlantic 2d. 277 (1946)
"All are agreed that an income tax is a "direct tax" on gain or profits..."
Bank of America National T. & Sav. Ass'n. V United States, 459 F.2d 513, 517
"The phraseology of form 1040 is somewhat obscure...But it matters little;
the statute and the statute alone determines what is income to be taxed. It
taxes income 'derived' from many different sources; one does not 'derive income'
by rendering services and charging for them." - Edwards v. Keith, 231 Fed. Rep.
(Note: Webster's Dictionary defines "derived" as: "to obtain from a parent
substance." The property or compensation would be the parent substance and the
"gain or profit" would be a separate "derivative" obtained from the substance
(property or compensation). "From" means "to show removal or
"So that, perhaps, the true question is this: is income property, in the
sense of the constitution, and must it be taxed at the same rate as other
property? The fact is, property is a tree; income is the fruit; labour is a
tree; income the fruit; capital, the tree; income the fruit. The fruit, if not
consumed (severed) as fast as it ripens, will germinate from the
seed...and will produce other trees and grow into more property; but so long as
it is fruit merely, and plucked (severed) to eat... it is no tree, and will
produce itself no fruit. (Income)" Waring v. Citv of Savennah. 60 Ga. 93,
100 (1878. (Emphasis added).
That is ample evidence from the courts that wages are NOT to be classified as "gain," so not only are you being robbed through taxation on your wages, if you are tithing according to your total wages, and not counting your own expenses for survival and maintaining the "tree," you are also "tithing" way beyond what God clearly has stated in His word, even for when "tithing" was commanded. You can certainly choose to do so, but don't place that in the category of God's commanded law.
Having stated all that, does God look at our every receipt as "increase" as secular government does? The secular world recognizes expenses to survive, or to be able to produce more for your family and others. Does God ignore this need for expenses and survival? Have we been living superstitutiously in fearing God will "get us" if we don't save 10, 20 or 30% of all that comes before expenses? We are "robbing God" if we don't impoverish ourselves, in many cases.
Let's look at some more scriptures on this topic of "increase:"
"For the kingdom of heaven is as a man traveling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods.
15: And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey. (Different people have differing abilities.)
16: Then he that had received the five talents went and traded with the same, and made them other five talents.
17: And likewise he that had received two, he also gained other two.
18: But he that had received one went and digged in the earth, and hid his lord's money.
19: After a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them.
20: And so he that had received five talents came and brought other five talents, saying, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me five talents: behold, I have gained beside them five talents more.
21: His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.
22: He also that had received two talents came and said, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me two talents: behold, I have gained two other talents beside them.
23: His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.
24: Then he which had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed:
25: And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine.
26: His lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed:
27: Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury.
28: Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents.
29: For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath.
Luke 19:12 "He said therefore, A certain
nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom, and to return.
13: And he called his ten servants, and delivered them ten pounds, and said unto them, Occupy till I come. (Occupy means work with and make use of.)
14: But his citizens hated him, and sent a message after him, saying, We will not have this man to reign over us. (These citizens are not the servants.) 15: And it came to pass, that when he was returned, having received the kingdom, then he commanded these servants to be called unto him, to whom he had given the money, that he might know how much every man had gained by trading.
16: Then came the first, saying, Lord, thy pound hath gained ten pounds.
17: And he said unto him, Well, thou good servant: because thou hast been faithful in a very little, have thou authority over ten cities.
18: And the second came, saying, Lord, thy pound hath gained five pounds.
19: And he said likewise to him, Be thou also over five cities.
20: And another came, saying, Lord, behold, here is thy pound, which I have kept laid up in a napkin:
21: For I feared thee, because thou art an austere man: thou takest up that thou layedst not down, and reapest that thou didst not sow.
22: And he saith unto him, Out of thine own mouth will I judge thee, thou wicked servant. Thou knewest that I was an austere man, taking up that I laid not down, and reaping that I did not sow:
23: Wherefore then gavest not thou my money into the bank, that at my coming I might have required mine own with usury?
24: And he said unto them that stood by, Take from him the pound, and give it to him that hath ten pounds.
26: For I say unto you, That unto every one which hath shall be given; and from him that hath not, even that he hath shall be taken away from him.
Let's notice some things in these two parables. In Matthew, Christ tells us that there were two servants who were given talents (money) and that each of them took those talents, and "gained" something from them... twice as much as they had. The "increase" (gain) is shown to be what the FIRST talent produced. In Luke, this same concept is taught. The words "gained by trading" are key. These two servants took what was given to them, and then "gained," or "increased" what they had. The exact words used are "thy pound has gained ten pounds," but if we look at Matthew for what actually, mathematically, occurred, this one pound actually gained another 9 pounds, not ten, or the total would have been 11 pounds.
This concept is exactly the same when it comes to income taxation. In the parables above, God gave the first talents/pounds to these servants "according to their abilities." This could be likened to receiving "pay according to your personal ability to work." You then take this pay,(after expenses) and use it to produce "gain," what would be true "increase."
Your labor has value and you exchange it for something of equal value, which are the wages you receive FOR that labor. God gave the talents according to their "abilities," just like you are paid for your abilities when you work. Your wages for your labor are an even exchange. You have received NO increase as yet. You then take that wage, and use some of it to produce "increase."
Generally then, what exactly IS "increase?"
Imagine you receive a $1000 a month wages for your labor or service. Even exchange of labor for something of the same value. You pay your bills and feed your family, but you find you have something left over. You actually have something more than what you need for living, and being able to work, but is this leftover suddenly now "increase?" Did you not previously pay for that leftover with your labor?
You can then take some of this exchanged value left over, after giving to the church or charity, and place it in an investment, stocks, a bank account or loan it for interest. A true "INCREASE" or "income" comes with the interest made, or the added value you received from your stock dividends. You are actually receiving an "increase" above what you had, but which you didn't pay for or labor for.
If a family of four is barely making ends meet through the exchange of labor for money, how is that family being "increased?" However, if that family is wise, and uses some of their money in investments or a savings account, the "increase" they receive from that is actually "increase." They received something that "increased" their real financial situation.
Taking $1000 and placing it into a bank account and making $50 from interest is an "increase" of only $50, NOT $1050. That is what is legally and constitutionally called "income" in today's world. Income is NOT wages, salary and compensation. Income is that which is derived from wages, salary or compensation. "Increase" is NOT receiving "pay" for working.
If you are maintaining a living... keeping a roof over your head, paying the electric bill, surviving from month to month, how are you "increasing?" You are maintaining the status quo. You are treading water, not rising above the water. You are certainly NOT "increasing" in any way, shape or form. If you can pay all your bills, provide for your family and THEN have something that you can use to "increase" your situation, isn't THAT really in keeping within the spirit of the law of God, and then you share from THAT with others, as God provides for you?
How does "surviving" help you, your family or allow you to be generous to others? Does God expect you and your family to go without to take care of others? Perhaps in an emergency, or on occasion, this would be the right thing to do for someone, but on a daily basis, as a way of life? Does being poor serve you, your neighbor, your church or God?
God never intended for people to go in the hole to maintain His temple OR his ministry. Real "income," what we can give from, or pay taxes on, does NOT diminish the principle. Tithing as applied today, as well as income taxes as being extracted/or willingly offered today, BOTH diminish the principle. In true, sound economics, the principle should NOT be diminished. What should be taxed or given from is what comes "FROM" the principle... what grows from it and actually creates wealth or "increase."
Another biblical example; If you have 10 bags of grain from the harvest. You use 8 bags for food and expenses to survive the year to the next harvest. You need an additional 2 bags to replant for next harvest. How much "gain" or "increase" do you have from that prior year's harvest? Do you see the dilemma? Now, perhaps you end the harvest with 20 bags, not 10, and you only need 10 to survive through the next year. NOW, you have "increase" do you not? NOW you can use that gain or "increase" to produce more, build, expand, give to charity, provide for the needs of others, etc. In other words you are actually "increasing", not just surviving, and keeping your head barely above water. Living that way is NOT increasing.
Prov 3:9 "Honour the LORD with your substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase:" KJV
Substance comes from the Hebrew word, OT:1952 hown (hone); wealth; by implication, enough.
The word translated "substance" indicates we are to honor God with what we have that is above what we need to survive and exist... from our "wealth" and from what is beyond "enough" for ourselves and our families. How many families consider themselves being "wealthy" when making it to the end of the month is a struggle? Does God expect such people to starve themselves, cut corners in needs, not be able to cloth themselves or their kids adequately, pay bills, etc.,? This does not honor God.
Increase comes from OT:8393, tebuw'ah (teb-oo-aw'); income, i.e. produce (literally or figuratively).
Of course, it could be argued that this is telling us to give 10% of our "income" or whatever, but it says "firstfruits of our 'increase.'" The context is that God is telling us to give to Him of that which we are "increased" with BEFORE we use it for ourselves. In other words, we have "enough" and some leftover besides. Instead of taking that which is extra and "spending" it on ourselves FIRST, we honor God, the provider of all we have, FIRST, and then we can use whatever else is left as we desire.
The concept is simple: if people are poor, they will never be in a position to help others, much less themselves, or the Church. God never intended people to live hand to mouth. He never intended people to be poor and barely able to survive. He is the blesser of us as we seek to obey Him, but He wants us to be wise and educated in how we handle daily living.
Imagine for a moment if income taxes were not legally required of you, (and they definitely are NOT), how much better would your standard of living be if you had all that money and didn't have to have money deducted from your weekly paycheck? (Deduction from wages is actually a voluntary deduction you can legally stop because of the laws? Do you think you might then be able to "get ahead" if that happened? (Keep in mind the tax issues here... if you stop deductions, you need to understand your legal and constitutional rights and duties, and act on them, or you could be stuck with a tax bill at the end of the year if you usually have to pay a tax at the end of the year. If not, you would have this money throughout the year, and give yourself a 20-30% pay increase, and still play the IRS game by filing their 1040 form if necessary, if you aren't willing to do the easy paperwork to remove yourself from their grip).
God makes it clear that we are to learn to be "givers." He wants our hearts in giving, in sharing, in helping. Tithing 10% of all we bring in as finances defeats abundant living. If we are constantly poor, just scraping by, how does this glorify God or position us in helping the poor? The new testament teaches "giving" from a willing heart. If we are willing to give to God or His church of our "increase" (not our livelihood), we are constantly in a position to give even more and to gain even more increase for more help and giving.
Mark 12:41 Now Jesus sat opposite the treasury and saw how the people put money into the treasury. And many who were rich put in much. 42 Then one poor widow came and threw in two mites, which make a quadrans. 43 So He called His disciples to Himself and said to them, "Assuredly, I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all those who have given to the treasury; 44 for they all put in out of their abundance, (increase - wealth) but she out of her poverty put in all that she had, her whole livelihood."
This is a prime example of giving. The rich gave much to the treasury of the temple out of their increase. This wasn't a bad thing. This wasn't tithing, either. They gave out of their abundance... in other words, they gave because their needs were met and their families and other issues were taken care of. They have much "increase." The widow placed into the treasury, her "livelihood..." her means for survival and living, eating, etc.
Was that the wisest thing for this widow to do? Was the treasury lacking funds? Why have this extra tax for the temple on top of the tithe of "all" that went to the temple? Were the Levites lacking? How was this money used for God's work? Did the treasury NEED those two mites? Did God? However, God looks on the heart and He no doubt blessed this widow's life because she gave from her heart, even though it possibly could have caused suffering to her life. God doesn't require us to give all we financially have.
Christ's point was not for us to blindly cast all our money to the church and then trust God to help us survive. It was a lesson of comparative value of giving. If everyone gave their whole "livelihood," every time they gave, because of this scriptural example, how would that benefit anyone? Is that being a wise steward?
If we can work to make an actual "increase," then we can do so much more for all concerned. Increase can be anything above and beyond basic needs of food, shelter and clothing, and other life's expenses, and we have to be the judge of what are needs and what are simply luxuries, and have to learn to judge righteously on this and give as we are "able," as the new testament tells us.
Does this mean we won't deprive ourselves of some things we might need from time to time to give to something or someone who has a greater need? NO, of course not. That is part of the Christian walk and wisdom in being a good steward.
Think about this: People who tithe, usually tithe on their "net" "incomes" today. This means, after taxes, not on gross. Most people believe "income" taxation pays for many services which benefits us all, yet no one tithes on the taxes which supposedly provides THESE benefits, or "increase," right? So people are apparently receiving "increase" for something which people are NOT paying tithes on. The truth is, not one red cent of "income" taxation goes to pay for a single service or benefit to any American, but goes to pay the interest on the fraudulent national debt... a fraud on all Americans - see tax info mentioned elsewhere in this article for proof, and Google "The Grace Commission" report for evidence.
We all understand that God's church has a mission to accomplish. To feed the flock, prepare them for rulership upon Christ's return, and to be a witness to the world with the Gospel, which God uses to call others into His church. This takes support, but does God intend to have multiple corporate (usually 501(c)(3) IRS permission-based) business structures, and hundreds of smaller ones... that need vast sums of money just to support... and supporting redundant, similar work???
Have we become so entrenched in "corporate" thinking that we are willing to cast money into something so big, so wasteful, so business-like that it takes a tradition of paying 10% of all "income" from all members just to support it? We have patterned ourselves after the world's churches, after the world's military structures of hierarchy and authority. We have grown various corporate business structures which naturally sucks money from every corner and every pocket just to survive.
What would Paul think about such a structure today? The COG groups struggle for membership, for support. All depend on tithing to keep their organizations solvent, yet this also allows for divisions to thrive. They all fight any threats to loss of members to other COG groups, even though they claim to believe God's people are in these groups as well. What does it matter where people fellowship in the COG??? MONEY AND CONTROL? Here's the bottom line for those who claim it is God's work that would be affected and could languish if tithing were NOT taught: Will God's work stop because tithing as a law is NOT taught? Will the church die out? Will people not give to the care of ministers and the poor among us? Would those being supported by tithes from people suddenly drop out of the church because they aren't being financed? Would the members drift off and not seek fellowship with like-minded believers? Is God's spirit in His people or not, and are they following a man or seeking God's will?
This by no means exhausts the subject of tithing, but there
is, in this author's best ability to read, divide and understand God's
word, no room to continue to teach as doctrine the tradition of
tithing of finances as law.
This author is willing to be shown how these scriptural
comments and positions are wrong, believe me. There is NO benefit
in fighting for something that can't be supported by
God's word, for any of us, and only blessings. God didn't
make the subject of tithing confusing, man did. If tithing were
as we traditionally believe it to be, then why didn't God
make it clear in His word? Why all the supposedly
"veiled" references to it that so many try to point to
in order to support a tithing doctrine?
Several years ago, I personally sent this material to at least 10 COG groups, (App. 2004) and their leaders, asking for rebuttal and to be shown where it was wrong, and not one responded with anything addressing it. One, in anger, stated that he would respond, but never did. Why would there be no response by any of them if they had biblical backing for their belief?
If anyone can address these scriptures (or the arguments in the documents below) and give an answer refuting
them from God's word, then this author is willing to listen. To date
NO person that he knows of has answered these types of questions
and rebuttals from God's word in anything he's read on
the subject in several years. They are conveniently overlooked. This author
personally believes the members and ministers of God's true church
would benefit tremendously from eliminating this seemingly unbiblical
tradition and begin to trust in God and follow the bible in
regard to providing for and carrying out the feeding of the flock
and preaching the Gospel. We would then see whose heart is truly
in God's work, and who are true shepherds, and likely see unity begin as the awake members
of the Body of Christ move to where God's spirit, and the
true work of God within them leads them.
Miscellaneous points for thought and discussion:
-Regarding so called "second"
tithe, once the Feast is complete, the remainder is often sent to
the Church after the Feast, or given in offerings at the Feast. Is this what God commanded to be done with tithes?
-When God's people went to the Feast, spring or fall, who took care of their animals, farms, chores, etc., when they were gone for 9-10 days or more?
More Research material
- ESSAY: Tithing is not a Christian Doctrine
- Tithing and Christian Stewardship: Time-Honored Error
- More Tithing Discussion on other points - While this document from tithingdebate.com provides some further relevant tithing argument points, it also contains false doctrinal positions as refuted in The God Kind website, such as no 7th day Sabbath, or Holy Days, the law being "done away", and a few others. It is pointed to as further discussion from other sources in making your own decision regarding what Scriptures clearly state, and what they do not.
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