Question: Is Tithing Required Under the New Covenant?
ANSWER: One of the major questions many Christians have concerning tithes is whether or not tithing is still required under the New Covenant. Many think that tithing was instituted under the Old Covenant…under the Law…and since we now live under the New Covenant, Christians are no longer required to give their tithes…a tenth of their income…to God.
To answer this question, we must determine when the practice of tithing was first instituted. Tithing is not a man-made ordinance or tradition. It is not a legalistic form or ritual required by the Law. It is an outward expression of the covenant relationship we have with God, and it is God’s method of pouring out His blessings upon us.
Tithing did not begin with the giving of the Law. God set tithing into order before the Law was given. The practice of giving one-tenth of the produce of the land and of the spoils of war to priests and kings was an ancient and deeply-rooted custom in existence for more than 400 years, long before the time of Moses and the giving of the Law.
Abram gave tithes of the spoils of war that he won over the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah. He recognized Melchizedek as being God’s representative and gave him his tithe. “But this person who has not their Levitical ancestry received tithes from Abraham(himself) and blessed him who possessed the promises (of God)” (Hebrews 7:6). Jacob made a vow to God that he would give tithes of all that He gave him. (Genesis 28:22).
Later, as part of His covenant with Israel, God required the children of Israel to give the tithe…a tenth…of all they possessed. God considered the tithe as belonging to Him. When they gave their tithes in obedience to Him, the children of Israel were only giving what already belonged to Him. “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 unto the LORD” (Leviticus 27:30).
When Jesus established the New Covenant, He did not abolish the practice of tithing. Jesus said, “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill” (Matthew 5:17).He confirmed that we must not neglect giving our tithes. He told the Pharisees, “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cumin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone” Matthew 23:23). He did not reprove nor condemn them for their strict adherence to tithing, but for their neglect of the more important matters of the Law… justice, mercy and faithfulness. Jesus said,… “You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former…”(Matthew 23:23, NIV).
Jesus’ teaching established a new level of giving which extends beyond the tithe. He taught through His words and actions that our giving must become our lifestyle. He is our pattern for giving . With the ultimate price He paid, we must also be willing to give, not only 10 percent, but 100 percent of all that we are and all that we have!
We must not limit our giving to our tithe; we must be willing to give 100 percent of ourselves…our time…our abilities…our finances in fulfilling the will of God upon the earth.
Tithing is still part of our covenant of giving, but God desires to take us beyond our current level of giving. Under the New Covenant ,our giving to God is no longer limited to a set formula or dictated by duty. When we give our tithes and offerings to Him, we must give according to the pattern Christ set of UNLIMITED, LIBERAL GIVING!
We are not bound by a legalistic approach, but give our tithe and offering according to the direction of the Holy Spirit. We give it not out of duty, but from our covenant relationship with God. As we do this , God will pour His blessings into our lives in such abundance that, not only will our needs be met, but the work of God throughout the world will continue to flourish, and His end time plan will be accomplished.
QUESTION: What Is the Purpose of Our Tithes?
ANSWER: God’s purpose for the tithe is very clear. God spoke through Malachi, “Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house…” (Malachi 3:10). What does this mean?
God planned for there to be a divine sufficiency in the work of the Lord. His purpose for the tithe was to support the Levites who devoted themselves solely to their responsibility in the service of the Tabernacle.
When the children of Israel took possession of the Promised Land, God did not give any of the land to the Levites for their inheritance . God gave them the tithes of the children of Israel as their inheritance. God said, “ 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” (Numbers 18: 21).
The tithes of the children of Israel were distributed among the Levites and their families for their necessary food and provision so they would not be encumbered or concerned with the cares of providing for themselves or accumulating houses and lands.
The tithes of the children of Israel were their only means of support.
From the tithes they received from the children of Israel, they were required to give a tithe of all they received from God as a heave offering to the Lord. God instructed the Levites through Moses, “…When ye take of the children of Israel the tithes which I have given you from them for your inheritance, then ye shall offer up an heave offering of it for the LORD, even a tenth part of the tithe” (Number 18 : 26). This heave offering was to be the very best of all they received. (Numbers 18: 29).
After they presented the very best portion to God and gave it to Aaron, the High priest, the remaining portion belonged to them, their families and all their households. God told Moses to tell the Levites, “And ye shall eat it in every place, ye and your households : for it is your reward for your service in the tabernacle of the congregation” (Numbers 18: 31).
Who are the modern-day Levites?
Ministers within the fivefold ministry, who give themselves solely to the work of the ministry, are modern-day Levites. God placed apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers within the Body of Christ, and gave them the responsibility of building up and bringing the Body of Christ to full maturity. (Ephesians 4: 11-14).
Today, God intends for the ministers within the fivefold ministry be supported and under girded by the members of the Body of Christ through the giving of their tithes and special offerings.
Consistently throughout Scripture, God’s plan was that the Temple or meeting place was built and maintained by offerings, and the Levites were supported through tithes. The atonement offering of one half shekel for all males, 20 years and older, was used for the upkeep of the Tabernacle. Freewill offerings were used for the building of the Tabernacle in the wilderness, the Temple in Jerusalem , and later for its restoration.
Our tithes today should be given to support the apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers whom God placed within the Body of Christ, and the freewill offerings should be used for the upkeep of our church buildings and the work of God in the nations of the world.
God planned that there be no lack in the House of God! If every member of the Body of Christ were faithful in giving their tithes and offerings, there would be more than enough to fulfill the work of God around the world. We would have the necessary finances now to evangelize the entire world and bring in the final end time harvest before Christ’s return.
QUESTION: What is God’s “Storehouse?” Where Should We Give Our Tithes?
ANSWER: God directed the children of Israel to bring their tithes to the place where He would establish His Name. Moses told the people…
“But unto the place which the LORD your God shall choose out of all your tribes to put his name there , even unto his habitation shall ye seek, and thither thou shalt come: And thither ye shall bring your burnt offerings, and your sacrifices, and your tithes and heave offerings of your hand, and your vows, and your freewill offerings, and the firstlings of your herds and of your flocks” (Deuteronomy 12 :5-6).
The children of Israel were not allowed to eat their tithe wherever they chose. They were required to eat it ,along with their household and the Levites , at the place God directed in the House of the Lord. (Deuteronomy 6 :17-19).
As they brought their tithes and offerings, God wanted them to rejoice before Him in His sacred presence over the abundance that He had poured into their lives.
God said, “Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house…”(Malachi 3:10). The storehouse was comprised of special storerooms or treasuries which had been built in the House of God where they stored the tithes that the children of Israel brought to present to God. Every year, they brought their tithes, along with their first fruits and offerings to the House of God. Out of this storehouse, the tithes were given to the Levites.
The teaching that is prevalent today within the Body of Christ is that the local church is the “storehouse” and that members are to limit giving of their tithes to their local church. In reality, the local church is only part of God’s “storehouse.” The purpose of the tithes is to support the fivefold ministry… apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers who have given themselves totally to the ministry of building the Body of Christ around the world.
God’s “storehouse” today is not just a single church, nor a particular denomination, but the overall work of God throughout the world. The storehouse is the total work of the Kingdom. God never intended the tithes to stay within a local body of believers so that they could consume it only for the needs of their local congregation. There is not one Scripture where God ever gave the tithes to the local synagogue. God does not intend local churches to get “fat” from their tithes, but that the church sow part of it into the work of God in other areas of ministry.
God held the individual responsible for the distribution of the tithes. When they had obeyed God fully regarding the tithes, THEN they were able to ask God’s blessings to be released upon them. Moses instructed the children of Israel:
“When you have finished setting aside a tenth of all your produce in the third year, the year of the tithe, you shall give it to the Levite, the alien, the fatherless and the widow, so that they may eat in your towns and be satisfied . Then say to the LORD your God: “I have removed from my house the sacred portion and have given it to the Levite, the alien, the fatherless and the widow, according to all you commanded. I have not turned aside from your commands nor have I forgotten any of them. I have not eaten any of the sacred portion while I was in mourning, nor have I removed any of it while I was unclean , nor have I offered any of it to the dead. I have obeyed the LORD my God; I have done everything you commanded me. Look down from heaven, your holy dwelling place, and bless your people Israel and the land you have given us as you promised on oath to our forefathers, a land flowing with milk and honey” (Deuteronomy 26: 12-15, NIV).
God expects you to pray and seek His direction regarding where He wants you to give your tithes. Once you receive His direction and do as He directs you by His Spirit, you can clearly say to God, “I have obeyed your voice. I gave what you asked me to give where you asked me to give.” Then, you can look up to heaven and ask God to RELEASE HIS SUPERNATURAL INCREASE! After you have obeyed Him, THEN you can call for the blessing God promised as a result of your being obedient in giving your tithe and offerings.
When you act in obedience to God, it sets in motion a chain of events which causes God’s promises to happen!
The bottom line is: you must be led and directed by God’s Spirit as you give your tithes into His “storehouse” to support the fivefold ministry He established. “God’s storehouse” includes all ministries where the Word of God is preached in a demonstration of power; where souls are continuously being won into the Kingdom of God; where people are healed and delivered by the power of God!
QUESTION: Do We Give Our Tithes On Our Gross or Net Income?
ANSWER: To answer this question, we must first have a breakthrough in our understanding regarding the type of giving God expects us to practice today.
During Jesus’ ministry, He demonstrated and taught a new level of UNLIMITED, LIBERAL giving which far exceeds the tithes. The tenth of our income…of all that God gives us…already belongs to Him. Under the New Covenant, we must not be limited to giving just our tithe. We must follow the example Christ set for our giving.
All that we are and all that we possess belongs to God. All our finances should be dedicated and consecrated to Him, and we must be willing to be led and directed by His Spirit in our giving. What we give is no longer dictated by a legalistic approach or formula, but by the direction of the Holy Spirit.
The children of Israel were directed to give tithes OF ALL THEY POSSESSED…all their crops, all the fruit of their trees, all their livestock! Today, God expects us to give tithes of ALL He has given us . I believe this involves giving a tenth off the top of all our income!
When God’s people receive a fresh revelation concerning their finances, and the UNLIMITED, LIBERAL GIVING God wants us to practice, they will no longer be concerned with how much they are required to give, but they will give freely and liberally as a result of their relationship with Almighty God as their Source of Total Supply!
QUESTION: Can We Give Something Besides Money For Our Tithes?
ANSWER: THERE are many Christians who think by giving their time and devoting their talents to the work of God they have given their tithes. With the establishment of the New Covenant, God expects us to give 100 percent of all that we are and all that we have! The apostle Paul told the Romans, “I beseech you therefore, brethren ,by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service” (Romans 12:1).
Giving 100 percent of ourselves… our time…our abilities…our finances to God is our REASONABLE SERVICE! Giving your time is not a substitute for giving the tenth of your income, and does not negate your responsibility for giving your tithes.
QUESTION: When We Fail To Give Our Tithes and Offerings to God, Is It Sin?
ANSWER: God considers the tithe … a tenth of all that He gave us…as belonging to Him. Moses told the children of Israel , “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 unto the LORD” (Leviticus 27 :30).
When we give our tithes, we actually give the Lord’s tithe. It belongs to Him, and we are only giving what is His.
When we withhold or fail to give God tithes, we are ROBBING Him! God asked the children of Israel , “Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings. Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation” (Malachi 3:8-9).
Now, let me ask you a question. Is it a sin to steal something that does not belong to you? Yes! But what about stealing from God what is rightfully belongs to Him? Yes , it is sin, and when we fail to give our tithes, we are not obedient to Him. God said, “Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse…”(Malachi 3: 10). God’s Word teaches us, “Honour the Lord with thy substance , and with the first fruits of all thine increase: So shall thy barns be filled with plenty, and thy presses shall burst out with new wine”(Proverbs 3: 9-10).
Before the majority of Christians filling our churches today experience a financial breakthrough wherein they receive God’s promised blessings, they must repent for withholding their tithes! Many live in financial bondage because they have not been faithful and obedient in giving God their tithes. God is saying to the Church, as He said to the children of Israel, “…Return unto me, and I will return unto you, saith the LORD of hosts…”(Malachi 3:7).
If every born-again child of God was faithful in giving his or her tithes according to God’s plan that He revealed to us through the Word, there would be no lack! If every Spirit-filled, on-fire Christian gave the way God intended us to give, we would have an abundance to fulfill His work of bringing in a harvest of souls in this end time hour!
If you have been withholding your tithes and offerings, repent and ask God ‘s forgiveness. Then, regardless of the financial circumstances you face, start giving God your tithes and offerings. As you take this step of faith, believe God to break the bondage of debt from off your life, open the windows of heaven and pour out His supernatural increase until there is not enough room for you to receive it!
The apostle Paul said, “Now this I say, he who sows sparingly shall also reap sparingly; and he sows bountifully shall also reap bountifully. Let each one do just as he has purposed in his heart; not grudgingly or under compulsion; for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed”(2 Corinthians 9:6-8).
God’s Word is clear! As you faithfully give your tithes and offerings to God, in accordance with His Word, you will have His DIVINE SUFFICIENCY!
The tithe opens the windows of heaven. Your offerings determine the measure that God will use to flow His blessings to you through the open windows of heaven!
Seed – Faith
Everything in life starts with a seed—including the things we receive by faith. In Genesis 8:22, God says, “While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest . . . shall not cease.” The eternal law of seedtime and harvest, planting and reaping, giving and receiving will not change as long as the earth remains. Jesus compared faith to a seed being planted to get a result: “If you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you” (Matthew 17:20).
When we put our faith in God’s hands like a seed we plant, we are giving God something to work with, and He will send the miracle we need. No matter how small our faith seems to be, it will meet needs and solve problems that appear as impossible to move as mountains. This is because each act of faith is a seed planted and will be multiplied many times.
The Seed-Faith principle that we find in the Bible contains three keys:
Recognize that God is our Source.
Philippians 4:19 says, “My God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” God will supply all our needs according to His riches, His love for us, His power to help us, and His wisdom to guide us. He may use many different instruments—a job, gifts, doctors, friends, family—to meet our need. But He alone is the Source, and He alone cannot fail
Give first, so that it may be given unto us.
Luke 6:38 says, “Give, and it shall be given unto you.” We must first plant a seed of faith so that God can multiply it back to meet our need. Jesus is talking about giving in the deepest sense of the word—the giving of ourselves to God. This includes anything we can give—love, time, patience, forgiveness, finances, prayer, whatever we have. Our giving reflects our trust in God and our thankfulness. It links us to God’s inexhaustible resources for our every need. There is no way we can give to God without receiving something back from Him, multiplied!
Expect a miracle.
Mark 11:24 says, “Whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.” The moment we ask God for something—the moment we do our part and plant our seed of faith—we should believe God that the answer is on its way. It is important to expect our miracle so we can recognize it and reach forth to take it when it comes. And it’s also important to remember that God controls the time and method He will use to give back to us. We must keep trusting God and expecting our miracle, no matter how long it takes to reach us.
So, give God something to work with. No matter how little you think you have, sow it in joy and faith, knowing in your heart that you are sowing seed so you may reap miracles. Then start expecting all kinds of miracles! Remember, God always sends the right answer at the right time, in the right way. His timing and methods are always exactly right for our lives.