- Jun 30, 2015
Tithing, as prescribed in Scripture, is giving the tenth (as counted) animal of your flocks and herds, and the tenth (portion) of your crops to the tabernacle or temple for the use of the Levites, priests, and the needy of your community. It was mandatory for Israel... never optional, and the proportion was prescribed specifically. If an Israelite wanted to keep the goods, he could pay the monetary value plus 20%.
That's the basic tithe. There was also the festival tithe, which was every third year. This the Israelites would consume themselves, rather than submitting it to the Levites. They could convert it to money for the convenience of travel, then spend the money on what they desired at festival times.
Abraham gave a tithe of war spoils that didn't even belong to him originally; it was a one-time event and was not required. Jacob promised to tithe if he prospered, but there is no record that he ever actually did so.
Malachi wrote to Israel and told them to bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, promising specific blessings for following this particular Law.
None of the above was given to Christians. We are not under the Law given through Moses. When Christians contribute of their financial or other resources, it is not "tithing" because it is not done according to the Law... we don't bring our goods to the tabernacle or temple and we don't submit them to a Levite.
What we are called to do is "give"... the fundamental difference is that giving is voluntary; tithing was mandatory. Even when a Christian gives ten percent of their financial income, they still aren't tithing according to the Law. Rather than confuse people by using the wrong term, it's best to separate the two concepts completely. That way, Christians aren't misled into thinking that they are, or should be, following a Law that really doesn't apply to them.
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