Is Tithing Still Relevant In Today's Culture? - Part 3

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Good day RC family and Happy Mother’s Day week!

Here in Canada, on Sunday May 9th, we are celebrating mothers! So, please remember to do something extra special to honor your biological mom and if that’s not possible try to honor another mother figure in your life. For all the dads, this is a great day to honor the lady that gave birth to your child/children. 

Today, I want us to continue answering the question, is tithing still relevant in today’s culture? Did you ever wonder who chose the percentage of the tithe? Did you ever wonder why the tithe is 10% and not 5% or 20%?

See, I believe it’s very important for us to know that someone just didn’t arbitrarily chose 10% as the amount of the tithe. Strong's Concordance tells us the Hebrew word for tithe is ma`asar or mah-as-ar' which means a “tenth.”

When you compare the following two verses, it becomes evident that God and the Bible defined the tithe as 10%. Genesis 14:20 says, “And he [Abraham] gave him [Melchizedek] tithes of all.” Hebrews 7:4, “Now consider how great this man [Melchizedek] was, unto whom even the patriarch Abraham gave the tenth of the spoils.”

In both of these verses, the writers are describing the same event. In one case, Moses speaks of Abraham's tithing. He says Abraham gave Melchizedek tithes of all. When describing the same event, the writer of Hebrews says Abraham gave Melchizedek the tenth of the spoils.

One verse uses the word tithe, the other uses the word tenth. This clearly reveals from Scripture the exact amount of the tithe is ten percent.

I find it very interesting that God has always required His people to set aside a portion of their increase (the tithe) for Him. Setting aside this divine portion literally spans all of human history even as far back as the garden with Adam and Eve.

Yes, I believe God expected Adam and Eve to set aside a portion of their increase (tithe) for Him. I can hear someone say, “Come-on Bishop that’s a far stretch.” But let’s take a look. Adam and Eve had jobs. They were not on a permanent vacation.  They had a clearly defined job description. They were the caretakers of the garden.

Genesis 2:15 NIV says, “The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.”

It is clear from this verse that God required Adam and Eve to look after the trees and plants in the garden. Are we to assume that God required Adam and Eve to work for free? Of course not! God paid them generously for their labor. Their wages were the fruit of almost every tree in the garden. Genesis 2:16 says, “Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat.”

 It is important to notice that God claimed a right to a portion of the fruit of their labors, for He absolutely forbade Adam and Eve from eating the fruit of one particular tree. They had to work hard to care for it. They expended labor on it in the same way they did every other tree in the garden. However, they were not to eat any of its fruit. Genesis 2:17 says, “but of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it.” Yes, Adam and Eve were to bestow labor on the tree of knowledge of good and evil. However, they were not to eat of it.

This account from the Garden of Eden gives more than just a vague suggestion of tithing. God expected Adam and Eve to operate in exactly the same way He expects of us - to operate with the increase we receive from our labor. When you have completed working the prescribed number of hours it takes to earn your living, God puts a restriction on a certain portion of the wages you have earned. He says the first ten percent of your increase is His. It is the tithe.

I have often heard people say, "The money I earn is my money. I worked hard for it. It's all mine!” Well, this is only partially true. No doubt you expend your precious time and hard labor earning your wage. However, if you believe God's Word, you must admit the Bible says ten percent of your income belongs to God.

Leviticus 27:30 says, “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.” When we read first few chapters of the Book of Genesis we can see that Adam and Eve understood that a portion of all the increase they produced was not theirs. It was set apart for God. This account shows us a perfect picture [type] of what we now call "the tithe."

So, we can see the timeless principal of tithing started with Adam and Eve and from there we follow the timeless principal of tithing to Abraham.

In Genesis 14:14-20, we see when Abraham returned from the battle of the kings and Melchizedek meets him, and he tithed Abraham from all the spoils he had taken in battle. It is important to notice this took place many hundreds of years before God gave the law to Moses, which is positive proof that God expected ten percent of the increase long before Moses incorporated the tithe into the law.

After we see that Abraham tithed, we also see that before the children of Israel entered the Promised Land, God told them to give all the wealth of Jericho to Him. Joshua 6:19, TLB says “…all the silver and gold and the utensils of bronze and iron will be dedicated to the Lord, and must be brought into his treasury.” Here we see God receiving His portion first, a picture or type of the tithe. 

See, the topic of first fruits, offering and tithing will always be controversial for many within the body of Christ because the enemy wants to convince us that God is trying to take something from us, rather than give something to us. But God says, test ME in this…

TO BE CONTINUED NEXT WEEK

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