The word tithe is always defined as a tenth of:
a) the grain or produce,
b) the harvest from the vine in the form of wine,
c) the harvest of the olive in the form of olive oil,
d) and the tenth animal that passed under the rod from the herd and flocks.
In no place have we found scriptures that define the tithe as a tenth of money, a tenth of gold, or a tenth of silver, etc. Only those blessed with the bounty of the products of the land were required to bring a tenth to the Levites.
The purpose of the tithe was to provide for the priests and Levites who ministered before YHVH and the people. (YHVH [YAH-WHEY] is called "the LORD" in Christianity.)
In Malachi 3:8, the people are reprimanded for not bringing the tithes and offerings into the Temple. In verse 10, they are told to bring all the tithes into the storehouse (Temple) that there would be food in the house of YHVH. Trying to make the definition of tithes in these verses mean anything other than what is said is a distortion of Scripture.
Deuteronomy 12:6-7, (NKJ):
6. "There you shall take your burnt offerings, your sacrifices, your tithes, the heave offerings of your hand, your vowed offerings, your freewill offerings, and the firstlings of your herds and flocks.
7. "And there you shall eat before YHVH your Elohim, and you shall rejoice in all to which you have put your hand, you and your households, in which YHVH your Elohim has blessed you."
Other scriptures associated with the indentification of tithes and how they were to be used: Deuteronomy 12:11-12,17-18; Deuteronomy 14:22-29; Nehemiah 13:5, 10-13.
In Micah 3:9-12, we are given understanding of the cancer which misuse of tithes and offerings had become. See if this applies today: "Now hear this, you heads of the house of Jacob and rulers of the house of Israel, who abhor justice and pervert all equity, who build up Zion with bloodshed and Jerusalem with iniquity. Her heads judge for a bribe, her priests teach for pay, and her prophets divine for money. Yet they lean on YHVH, and say, ‘Is not YHVH among us? No harm can come upon us.' Therefore because of you Zion shall be plowed like a field, Jerusalem shall become heaps of ruins, and the mountain of the Temple like the bare hills of the forest."
These judgments are recorded for our learning. Psalm 19:9 says, ". . . the judgments of YHVH are true and righteous altogether. Psalm 119:60 says, ". . . the entirety of Your word is truth and every one of Your righteous judgments endures forever."
In Leviticus 27:30, we are told that all the tithe belongs to YHVH and therefore it is holy (set apart for Him). He is the only one who can direct the use or definition of the tithe.
In Numbers 18:8-32, we are instructed that everything belongs to Aaron and his descendants. He has been given charge, or custody, of everything the people bring.
Verse 19 says that the custody, or charge, given to Aaron and his descendants shall be a covenant of salt. Salt is a preservative. Here it symbolizes the authority of Aaron and his descendants to continue forever.
Verses 20 and 21 say that Aaron and the Levites shall have no inheritance; therefore, all the tithes are given to them for their service in joining the people to YHVH and the work of ministering the gifts of the children before YHVH.
In verse 26, the Levites are told to take a tenth of what is brought to them and offer it up as an heave offering to YHVH; and verse 27 says that it will be considered as though they had done the threshing and worked in the winepress. There was plenty of room here to apply some other spiritual meaning to the tithe if YHVH had intended for it to be reinterpreted; however, He did not.
In Malachi 2:5-6, we are told of His covenant of life and peace with Levi; and verse 6 says that the Law of Truth was in his mouth, and lawlessness was not found in his lips; and he turned many away from iniquity. Verse 7 says that the priests' lips (the Levites) should keep knowledge and it implies that people should seek the Law (the Torah) from his mouth, because they (the Levites) are the messengers of YHVH of hosts.
Notice that these instructions tell us where to seek knowledge and instruction - not from self-proclaimed prophets and personalities, who become rich from feeding off the sheep. As it says in Ezekiel 22:27, they are wolves destroying people for dishonest gain (paraphrased).
In Zephaniah 3:3, we are told that the judges are evening wolves that leave not a bone till morning.
Verse 4 says that the prophets are insolent, treacherous people. The priests have polluted the sanctuary and done violence to the Law.
In Matthew 7:16, Messiah warned us of false prophets, saying, "You will know them by their fruits." Their fruits today are the same as their fruits were before. Remember, the judgments of YHVH are forever.
In Acts 20:29, Rav Saul spoke, saying that after he left, savage wolves would come in, not sparing the flock.
Proverbs 6:19, lists two things of seven which YHVH hates: a false witness who speaks lies, and one who sows discord among brethren. Although there will be many who will not receive the words of Scripture, the one speaking Scripture is not the one sowing discord or telling lies.
In 2 Peter 2:1-3, we are told there were false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among the people today. Because of their false teachings and the traditions of men, the way of truth has been blasphemed.
Peter also tells us in verse 1 that these false teachers will deny Y'hoshua (the true name of the Messiah) who bought them. This word deny is Strong's number 720. The definition is "to contradict." The word is a compound of two words, meaning to speak against what the Messiah said.
In Matthew 5:17-18, Messiah said He did not come to abolish the Law or the prophets, but to accomplish those things which were prophesied that He would accomplish. Again, paraphrased
In Matthew 7:22-23, Messiah says that many will say to Him that they have prophesied in His name, cast out demons in His name, and done many wonders in His name. Notice the people saying these things are those who claim to follow Him; but Messiah says that He will declare to them, "I never knew you, depart from Me you who practice lawlessness."
In summary, we are not writing to those who do not know the truth, but to those who do know the truth. The truth is that the Torah, the Law given through Moses, is still in force through a thousand generations of those who obey the commandments of YHVH.
So, since the Law is still in force, and the definitions and applications are part of the Torah, they also are still in force.
Yes, the tithe is still for today, but remember that Deuteronomy 12:19 says (we are) not to forsake the Levites as long as we live upon the earth.
Now, if you do not have the land, or the produce, or the animals which YHVH defines as tithes, you do not have a tithe, but those who came before us that did not have a tithe still provided through their gifts and offerings. You see, a person who receives his income carpentering, or some other trade, could still buy things to be given as offerings. Many times the gifts and offerings exceeded the value of a tenth.
Messiah taught throughout the gospels that we are to live in obedience to every word that proceeds from the mouth of YHVH. He never once changed the definition or disposition of tithes. On the other hand, He did receive and accept gifts and offerings to maintain Himself and His followers during His ministry.
Both 1 Corinthians 9:8-14 and 1 Timothy 5:17-18 quote Deuteronomy 25:4 concerning the muzzling of an ox as it treads out the grain. These amplify the principle of supporting the ones who labor in the Word and teach truth.
Galatians 6:6-10, says that he who is taught the word should share his material blessings with him who teaches.
To distort the instructions for the tithe in order to support man-made traditions of organized religion is to profane the holy instructions of YHVH.
There are two types of people on earth: the obedient and the disobedient. Psalm 4:3 says YHVH has set apart for Himself the one who is (godly) obedient.
In Malachi 2:15, we are told that YHVH seeks godly (obedient) offspring.
We also are told in 2 Timothy 3:12, that those who desire to live godly (obediently) in Messiah will suffer persecution.
Titus 2:11-12 says that the grace of YHVH brings salvation and teaches us that we should live soberly, righteously and godly (obediently).
Luke 1:17 talks about John the Immerser going out before Messiah to turn the people away from disobedience by repenting and becoming obedient. Ezekiel 5:7 identifies disobedience with not walking in the statues of YHVH or keeping His judgments.
The purpose of Messiah's death was to correct the condemnation that came through the disobedience of Adam. See Romans 5:12,15,18; and Romans 8:1-2.
Ephesians 2:1-2 says we have been revived from death, from walking in the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience. Notice that walking in disobedience, according to Colossians 3:6, is bringing the wrath of YHVH upon the sons of disobedience.
What has all this to do with tithes and offerings? Without the Temple, there is no Levitical priesthood to support. However, there are many who have resources to give as gifts and offerings. The question is: "Who should receive our support?"
There are many scriptures in the gospels and letters of explanation that say we should give joyfully, and we will receive back according to the measure we use to give. Luke 6:38 is a good example. Notice also that verses 39 and 40 of Luke 6 teach us to be aware of teachings that do not lift up the truth of Messiah.
As we give to support those who teach the truth and spread the covenant of YHVH, He will provide the funds to continue. Deuteronomy 8:18, "And you shall remember YHVH your Elohim, for it is He who gives you power to get wealth, that He may establish His covenant which He swore to your fathers, as it is this day."
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