As a Christian have you ever questioned the teaching of giving 10% of your income or tithing your money to the church? You might be surprised to know that there is no such instruction in the Bible to give 10% of your money to anyone. In fact this teaching could rightly be classified under “doctrines of devils.”
Under the covenant of the Old Testament God gave the Hebrews the natural land of Palestine and the land produced crops and other means to generate and live a particular way of life. The first increase of that land, the ‘tithe’, was always for the priesthood and the work of the temple. The Jews however could not keep the Old Covenant and when Christ came to replace the old with a new covenant, the natural land of Palestine and the natural temple were also superseded.
They are not totally irrelevant in that they do still have a spiritual revelation and application for the Spirit led believer, but they are irrelevant in the sense that they no longer have a literal application for Christians under the new covenant.
Under this new covenant our inheritance is not the land of Palestine but it is a heavenly land; the soil is our hearts in which the seeds of the Holy Spirit are sown and which, through obedience and faithfulness, bring forth spiritual gifts, the fruit of the Spirit and a ministries. To offer our tithe is to offer the first and best of that spiritual increase God has sown and established in our lives, for the work of the Lord. If we have received the gift of prophecy, or if we bear the fruit of love, we should put our first and best efforts to use these for increase of the Kingdom of God. This and this alone is the tithe.
The only thing of value we can give to the Kingdom of God is that which God has given us first; our spiritual increase. Matthew 22:21 Then saith he (Jesus) unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s.
In this dispensation there is longer a select group for the priesthood, but as believers we are all part of the priesthood.1 Peter 2:9 But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light; Each one of us is giving an increase to serve God and increase the kingdom in some way. If we do not exercise this gift and give back to increase the Kingdom of God, we have effectively withheld our tithe.
John 15:5-6 I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned.
God however often convicts us to give money to others in need and this is a freewill offering and can be anything from a few cents to all that we have depending on what God convicts us to give. There is no prescribed 10% and God will certainly not expect us to go into debt to make such an offering. And we should never give money out of a desire or expectation that God will respond by giving more back to us. In doing this we effectively make mammon the motivation for giving and we therefore come under the spirit of mammon. This is directly contrary to giving according to the conviction of the Spirit of God.
This is the way we give: A need is revealed to us and we give according to what God convicts us to give. Unfortunately many wealthy people are not close enough to God to receive conviction to give or they are under bondage to the spirit of mammon and are blinded in this area.
Our giving should not be in a deceitful manner (for any gain or authority) nor for a show unto others. We should also understand that the value God sees in our giving is directly proportional to how much we have in relationship to how much we give. So the poor woman who offered the least was in God’s eyes the biggest giver. Mark 12:41-43 And Jesus sat over against the treasury, and beheld how the people cast money into the treasury: and many that were rich cast in much.And there came a certain poor widow, and she threw in two mites, which make a farthing.And he called unto him his disciples, and saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That this poor widow hath cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury.
If our giving is to those that we are receiving spiritual food from this is also good in the eyes of God; natural for spiritual.1 Corinthians 9:11-14. If we have sown unto you spiritual things, is it a great thing if we shall reap your carnal things? 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. Do ye not know that they which minister about holy things live of the things of the temple? and they which wait at the altar are partakers with the altar? Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel.
The deviation in doctrine comes in when we are encouraged to give 10% of our income as a tithe which ultimately leads to the building a natural empire. This has been a great problem in the Church from the earliest of days and many Spirit filled Christians have been tempted to build a natural empire at the expense of the true work of the Lord. It is not possible to build in the natural and the spiritual at the same time and it is not possible to focus on the spiritual and the natural kingdoms at the same time. The more you have of one, the less you have of the other. The natural kingdom may bring an increase in numbers, but it will never bring spiritual depth.
Not only is this offensive to God, but it has caused much condemnation from those from outside of the Church. In reality this doctrine is simply the non-sanctified desires of the carnal man at work; seeking greater eminence and position, bigger ministries and greater personal wealth. Out of this deceitful doctrine comes another great distortion within the Body of Christ; churches putting themselves in authority over other churches through their increased wealth, position and natural power. Invariably other churches begin seeking a spiritual covering from these more powerful and ‘successful’ than themselves, which is effectively a covering other than that of Christ. They submit themselves and their fellowships to other men.
Isaiah 30:1 Woe to the rebellious children, saith the Lord, that take counsel, but not of me; and that cover with a covering, but not of my spirit, that they may add sin to sin.