No one thinks they have enough money. Millions are concerned—many even obsessed—by the need for more. Despite most households having more than one income, this is often still not enough to pay the bills. And just budgeting does not always help.
Everyone wants to end their money worries. The Bible holds the key! Here comes fascinating knowledge.
Despite unparalleled affluence in the Western World, personal bankruptcies are soaring. Why? Consumer credit has never been higher. Why? Millions of people in America are literally just “one paycheck from the street.” Why? The U.S. national debt is measured in trillions of dollars, requiring hundreds of billions in annual interest payments! None of this need be.
Much of the news is devoted to the “leading economic indicators”—unemployment, inflation, recession, interest rates, declining markets, home values and auto sales, and rising layoffs, energy and fuel prices. All are household words.
What about you? If you are honest, you will admit to spending a lot of time thinking and talking about MONEY. You probably wrestle with financial difficulties daily. Sometimes you feel that you are winning the battle, only to learn you are either treading water or falling behind. For most, the “money struggle” is constant, and the pressure can seem unbearable. Just the stress can drive away the happiness and peace that everyone seeks.
All of this is unnecessary—IF you have God’s key to financial prosperity.
Some questions: Your house belongs to you, right? So does your car, doesn’t it? You bought the clothes you wear with your money, didn’t you? Haven’t you heard yourself say, “I earned my money, it’s mine”? Isn’t it true that “what’s yours is yours and what’s mine is mine”?
Not so fast!
Let’s reason. Certainly we all agree that before we have fully paid off the things we have purchased, they are not truly ours. Banks and other lenders hold liens against houses, cars, boats and other expensive things people buy on credit. Everyone understands this. But have you considered whether you really own everything you think you do? Do you really have title to the things you own “free and clear”?
We must consider whether others could lay claim to what is “ours.”
Most know the phrase, “Nothing is certain in life except death and taxes.” Indeed, death is certain. Of course, everyone also recognizes the government is entitled to a certain percentage of one’s income. Few dispute this, though most seek to get around taxes as much as possible. No one wants to give the government a penny more than its fair share. Most feel less than its share is better.
Have you considered whether God instructs us to pay taxes? He does! These scriptures prove it: “Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers...Wherefore you must needs be subject...For this cause pay you tribute [Greek: taxes or assessment] also...render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due” (Rom. 13:1, 5-7).
Christ was asked if taxes should be paid. Notice: “Is it lawful to give tribute to Caesar, or not? Shall we give, or shall we not give?” (Mark 12:14-15). Holding a penny to illustrate, He answered, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s” (vs. 17). Christ taught there are things that belong to man’s government and things that belong to God.
What belongs to the government are taxes! Woe to those caught not paying them! Interest, penalties and even prison can result for tax evasion. The guilty have disobeyed not only the laws of the land but also God’s plain instruction.
Taxes are an undisputed fact of life for most people on earth. That you earned the money you have does not negate the fact that human governments have a prior right to a certain legal portion of it to ensure their own operation. No government can function without tax revenue.
This is one way that what is yours is not always entirely yours.
However, no one would suggest governments own everything else that a taxpayer has. This belongs to the taxpayer—or does it?
Notice. God says, “For all the earth is Mine” (Ex. 19:5) and “Behold, the heaven and the heaven of heavens is the Lord’s your God, the earth also, with all that therein is” (Deut. 10:14) and also “whatsoever is under the whole heaven is Mine” (Job 41:11). King David wrote, “The earth is the Lord’s, and the fullness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein” (Psa. 24:1). I Corinthians 10:26 repeats his words.
God also says, “For every beast of the forest is Mine, and the cattle upon a thousand hills...If I were hungry, I would not tell you: for the world is Mine, and the fullness thereof” (Psa. 50:10, 12). Finally, the prophet Haggai wrote, “The silver is Mine, and the gold is Mine, says the Lord” (Hag. 2:8).
All money is God’s (remember, the value of money is generally attached in some way to gold and silver). He owns absolutely everything there is to own. Human beings are “squatters” on His land and “renters” in His homes. Everything you think you own is actually owned by God. You are merely its temporary custodian.
Look around and ask yourself: Where do we get the things that we have? Where did they actually come from?
People manufacture products from natural resources, which come from the earth, but it is God who makes both the natural resources and the earth in which they are found. Men may own mining or timber rights, but it is ultimately God who owns the mine and created the timber, which grew because of elements in the soil—which He created and owns!
Any time He wishes, God could take back all that is His. After all, it is His! This includes your income. While you may have “earned it,” God owns it.
What things belong to God? Remember, we are to “Render...to God the things that are God’s.” Render means give. Since the heavens and the earth (or the land on which we live) cannot be “rendered” back to God by human beings, what does this mean?
We saw our entire income (salary, wages, interest earned, investments, bonuses, commissions and any other financial increase) actually belongs to God.
What of a farmer and the produce from his field? What is the process whereby things grow? The farmer does his part—tilling, planting, fertilizing, watering, etc.—but so does God, in that He sends rain and sunshine and provides the very soil in which the fruit, vegetables or grains grow. Who did most of the work? In truth, the farmer did little more than a fraction of it, while God did perhaps 90 percent. And the farmer is far more dependent on God’s effort than God is on the farmer’s. Without God’s contributions, the farmer would produce nothing—and would not even be alive because no one would be able to produce the food necessary for all human beings to survive.
The day you chose a profession, job or vocation, you formed a partnership with God—whether you knew it or not. You use materials that belong to God. To invest, sell, distribute or produce goods or services, whereby you can earn a living, you have become a partner with God! Admit that without God’s role and help in earning a living, it would be impossible to produce anything! God knows this and has chosen to make a special arrangement with you.
His Word describes it.
God lays prior claim to the first 10 percent of everything people earn as income. This is called the tithe, meaning “the tenth.” To be a tithepayer means the same as being a “tenthpayer.” Tithe is an old English word commonly used to mean tenth. People have long understood that to tithe is to pay a tenth of one’s income.
There are small and large points within God’s Law. Some commands carry more “weight” than others. When speaking of some lesser points within God’s Law, Christ said, “Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 5:19).
Regarding tithing, He said, “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these [the weightier matters] ought you to have done, and not to leave the other [careful tithing] undone” (Matt. 23:23). Love, mercy and faith are, indeed, weighty matters within the overall Law of God. Christ acknowledges this. However, He also explains that tithing should not be something people “leave undone.” The argument is often raised that tithing is not important—that it is least among God’s laws. This verse does not actually say it is “least.” Matthew 5:19 merely says that, if it were, it is still required by all who value the commands of God!
Any learning the truth of God’s tithing laws must pay His tithe—once it is clear where His chosen representatives are working! We will learn later that tithing is the manner in which He finances the Work His true servants perform. Only after His tithe has been paid does God give the rest of one’s income back to the tithepayer. God’s generosity and love for His children is why He gives nine-tenths of what He owns to the one faithful in tithe-paying.
In other words, we are not giving God one-tenth of what is ours. God is giving us nine-tenths of what is His!
Let’s examine scriptures about tithing. People who dismiss this command often attempt to make the truth of tithing into a highly technical subject. But it is not difficult to understand. It does require careful examination of a relatively few scriptures. Tithing has always been, is now and always will be the means whereby God finances His Work and His Church.
Some theologians and Bible critics create confusion by saying tithes in the Old Testament belonged only to the Levitical priesthood of ancient Israel. Is this true? Does the Bible say this? Is there a scripture where God plainly says that tithes belong to Him?
There is! God declares, “All the tithe of the land...is the Lord’s: it is holy unto the Lord...And concerning the tithe of the herd, or of the flock, even of whatsoever passes under the rod, the tenth shall be holy unto the Lord” (Lev. 27:30, 32). This is plain. Tithes belong to God alone. He may choose to give them to His servants, but it is completely within His discretion what He does with them.
These same “higher critics” use Numbers 18:21 and 24 to prove the tithe belonged to the Levites. Careless reading causes misunderstanding. “And, behold, I have given the children of Levi all the tenth in Israel for an inheritance, for their service which they serve...But the tithes of the children of Israel...I have given to the Levites to inherit.”
Did Israel give their tithes to the Levites? No! God gave His tithe, which was merely supplied by the Israelites, to the Levites, twice saying, “I have given.”
The tithes were God’s, not Israel’s, to give to whom He chose. Verse 20 makes this more plain. God says that He will provide for the Levites, since they had no physical land inheritance in the nation.
Those teaching that only ancient Israel was required to pay tithes, and this was always to the Levites, have another serious problem in their thinking.
The patriarch Abraham, often called the father of the faithful, paid tithes! The following account occurred when Abraham was still known as Abram. Notice: “And He [God in the Person of Melchizedek] blessed him [Abraham], and said, Blessed be Abram of the Most High God, possessor of heaven and earth: and blessed be the Most High God, which has delivered your enemies into your hand. And [Abram] gave [Melchizedek] tithes of all” (Gen. 14:19-20). Abraham tithed on everything he received.
This account took place over 100 years before the birth of Levi—Abraham’s great-grandson. (The tribe of Levites came from Levi!) However, God did not establish the Levitical priesthood until after Israel left Egypt, over 400 years after Abraham paid tithes! The 12 tribes of Israel, with Levi one of them, were not recognized as a nation until that time. Abraham was paying God’s tithes long before Moses recorded Leviticus 27 and Numbers 18.
Hebrews 7:1-6 proves Melchizedek (also rendered as “Melchisedec”) was the person who became Jesus Christ. (This will be shown later.)
But understand—Melchizedek was God because Christ is God. Abraham paid tithes directly to God, 400 years before the Levitical priesthood was formed. Hebrews 7:6 explains that Melchizedek (Christ) did not descend from Levi, and yet Abraham paid Him tithes.
Abraham’s grandson, Jacob, later named Israel, also paid tithes to God. He fathered 12 sons (Levi was one). Notice: “And Jacob vowed a vow, saying, If God will be with me, and will keep me in this way that I go, and will give me bread to eat, and raiment to put on...then shall the Lord be my God: and this stone, which I have set for a pillar, shall be God’s house: and of all that you shall give me I will surely give the tenth unto you” (Gen. 28:20-22).
Many are familiar with the story of “Jacob’s Pillar Stone”—or “pillow stone.” However, most people do not recognize its connection to Jacob’s vow to pay God His tithes! This scripture introduces a vital principle. Notice the phrase “IF God will be with me.” Jacob wanted to know that paying God’s tithes meant blessings, guidance and protection from God would always be ensured. God inspired this crucial connection be recorded for all time.
A remarkable prophecy about tithing is found at the end of the Old Testament. The prophet Malachi asks, “Will a man rob God?” (Mal. 3:8).
Now be careful you do not say this is an Old Testament verse with no effect today. Did you realize the New Testament Church is built directly on the prophets? Notice: “Fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God [the Church]; and are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the Chief Cornerstone” (Eph. 2:19-20).There it is—the Church stands directly on a foundation that includes the prophets! Therefore, what is written in the prophets is instruction to God’s New Testament Church!
Now for a powerful series of verses. The first two set the stage for a verbal exchange between God and His people: “For I am the Lord, I change not...Even from the days of your fathers you are gone away from My ordinances, and have not kept them. Return unto Me and I will return unto you, says the Lord of hosts” (Mal. 3:6-7). The exchange shifts to a rhetorical question from the people to God: “Wherein shall we return?” Then God answers with His own question: “Will a man rob God? Yet you have robbed Me.” Next comes another rhetorical question from the people: “Wherein have we robbed You?” God answers, “in tithes and offerings” (vs. 7-8).
When people do not pay God His tithes—nor give Him His offerings—He considers them to be robbing Him. Robbing is thievery—stealing! Not only is it stealing, but it is stealing from God! All sin is against God, but few things could be more serious than this!
Stealing from God brings consequences. God continues: “You are cursed with a curse: for you have robbed Me, even this whole nation” (vs. 9). This statement is directed to all modern-day nations that descended from ancient Israel. Generally, these are the democratic nations of Western Europe, and the primarily English-speaking nations of the world—United States, Canada, Britain, Australia and New Zealand.
These nations are under a growing curse—more evident every day—for their sin of stealing God’s tithes. Remember that Abraham and Isaac were not Israelites, yet were required to tithe. Therefore, all nations suffer—and will continue to—from the curse of not obeying God’s financial laws.
This world is based on the “get” way rather than the “give” way, which is God’s Way! People constantly strive to “get” more for themselves. This violates the Tenth Commandment, forbidding coveting. Notice what God says of His people, and of all nations, in a prophecy directed to those living at the end of the age: “For from the least of them even unto the greatest of them EVERY ONE is given to covetousness; and from the prophet even unto the priest EVERY ONE deals falsely” (Jer. 6:13).
Just one look around will end any doubts you have about both these national sins.
Two chapters later is an almost identical statement, except God also warns of the horrific punishment He will bring because of this worldwide attitude.
The subject of Malachi is God’s coming punishment on the entire world during the Day of the Lord—called the Day of God’s Wrath. This theme is found in nearly all the last 12 short books of the Old Testament. See these verses. Malachi continues the theme of the Day of the Lord and actually pictures tithing as the key to a repentant attitude.
Consider! How could God punish the nations of Israel—and the world—for robbery if the tithing law is not in effect today?
The context of Malachi continues with an offer from God directed both to the modern peoples of Israel and to any individual who chooses to take Him at His word: “Bring you all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in My house, and prove Me now herewith, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it” (Mal. 3:10).
This is plain! Pay God His tithes, and He will bless you beyond what you have room to receive! Will you believe this?
Jacob believed God and this is what he expected—once he began paying His tithes.
Faithful tithing activates a promise to which God has bound Himself, and it is “impossible for God to lie” (Heb. 6:18). He is bound by His promises. When God makes a promise, He keeps it—and we have read that He tells Christians to “prove Me” through tithing. We also read that Jacob took God up on this promise.
What about you?
I have known men who sought to make God their partner. In my hometown of Lima, Ohio, a well-known, successful businessman put a sign on his factory saying, “God is my Partner.” He certainly did prosper.
John D. Rockefeller, the famous patriarch of the Rockefeller family, tithed. Other well-known tithepayers have prospered because they followed this principle.
No one can make God his partner. We cannot “let God in” on a “business deal” with us. But God can choose to make individual tithepayers His partners!
To not pay our bill to God is theft, pure and simple. Stealing is dishonesty. No businessman could remain in business if he stole from his partner. Getting caught stealing is enough to put people in prison. This fear keeps most from attempting it.
But men do not fear a God who does not immediately punish them. To most, God seems far off, unreal—and people think they can get away with disobeying God’s tithing law. The consequences are financial curses.
Some believe they should pay off existing debts before paying God’s tithe. Is this correct? Realize that tithing is actually a debt that all of us have to God. It is no less so than any other debt, and it is no less an obligation than any other obligation we have!
Since God promises to bless the tithepayer, there will actually be more left to pay the other debts, because the most important one was not left unpaid. God is a faithful partner who keeps His word. He will pour out blessings to make up for the financial problems a person may have gotten himself into prior to tithing. In God’s form of “higher math,” $10 minus $1 is more than $10, not less.
I have seen God’s math at work hundreds of times in people’s lives and experienced it many times myself. I have seen many who were blessed in ways they could never have anticipated, simply because they put God first and faithfully paid His tithes. Little by little, their debts melted. Extra, unexpected income always seemed to arrive and cover additional bills and emergencies that all people encounter. You can have faith that God will always keep His promise—always!
The Bible is filled with places where God says that He wants to bless His people—if they will faithfully obey Him.
Solomon wrote, “Honor the Lord with your substance, and with the first fruits of all your increase: so shall your barns be filled with plenty, and your presses shall burst out with new wine” (Prov. 3:9-10). The apostle John recorded, “I wish above all things that you may prosper and be in health” (III John 2). Moses said, “Observe and hear all these words which I command you, that it may go well with you, and with your children after you forever, when you do that which is good and right in the sight of the Lord your God” (Deut. 12:28).
Tithing is for our own good—as are all God’s commands. He wants to bless people, but requires their obedience beforehand.
The Christian is told, “Seek you first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you” (Matt. 6:33). Being part of the soon-coming kingdom of God must always be the first goal of a Christian. Everything else (including all debts and financial concerns) is less important than this greatest goal. You are promised that when you remember this priority, all other necessary things will be “added unto you.”
First pay your tithes. Do not delay. They belong to God. Even temporary withholding is stealing. Jesus said, “He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much” (Luke 16:10). Tithing is far from the “least” of things that matter to God. Those who are faithful in all matters will be given great rulership (which would certainly qualify as “much”). And be sure to give offerings willingly, not grudgingly or sparingly, because God says He especially loves “cheerful givers” and promises they will reap “bountifully.” Read II Corinthians 9:6-7.
Because few groups practice tithing, the average person understands little of its history or practice. Some might ask, “Wasn’t tithing abolished?” Or, “Wasn’t it just for the Jews or the Old Testament Israelites?” Others feel tithing was little more than a ceremonial ordinance introduced by Moses, while still others have heard it was only a form of national, civil taxation. Other religionists claim tithing was merely a way of caring for the Old Testament poor. Almost no one believes tithes are to be paid to a faithful New Testament ministry. All these ideas, except for the last, are wrong. They do, however, demonstrate the confusion that reigns over the subject of tithing.
The modern nations of Israel are paying—and will pay—a terrible price because of this confusion. Catastrophic punishment is coming on the world because a rebellious mankind has ignored this law! It wants the blessings of obeying God without having to actually obey Him. Most are deceived into believing they can live any way they choose and then blame God when the blessings of peace, happiness and prosperity are missing.
Know this! Any person who steps out in faith to obey God’s tithing laws will be blessed and protected from horrific prophecies soon to strike this world. Through God’s promise, he will escape the punishment to befall all nations!
Some understand that tithing was practiced in Israel, where people were required to tithe on money, livestock or grain products. What is less clear is what the New Testament says about tithing.
First, we must explore the book that discusses the priesthood of ancient Israel. Hebrews has been called the “book about the priesthood.”
I grew up hearing much about a dead Jesus, with many depictions of Him hanging crucified! I almost never heard how He was alive and sitting at the right hand of God. A few vaguely understood that He would return to Earth as “King of kings and Lord of lords.” But I certainly never heard anyone describe Christ as God’s High Priest. Yet, this is the office that Christ works through today—and Hebrews 7 contains instruction for financing His ministry. CHRIST’S Priesthood has always superseded—and long preceded—the Levitical priesthood of ancient Israel.
True Christians have hope of eternal life because Jesus Christ has given them access to the Father. He has taken them inside the very throne room of God in heaven, “within the veil,” to where human beings have never been allowed before. Christ’s role as High Priest makes this possible. Notice Hebrews 6:20: “Where the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an High Priest forever after the order of Melchisedec.”
Jesus Christ is still the active High Priest of His New Testament Church and ministry. At His first coming, He taught about the kingdom of God. The world focuses on His Person, instead of His Message. The true gospel is about the coming kingdom of God. After His ministry ended, Christ was crucified and became the Savior of mankind. Afterwards, He was resurrected to sit at God’s right hand in heaven.
Notice this: “Seeing...we have a great High Priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an High Priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin” (Heb. 4:14-15).
These are encouraging words. They show Christ as both High Priest and the living Head of the true Church.
Many wonder who was Melchizedek. This question has long puzzled Bible students. The beginning of Hebrews 7 makes absolutely plain that Melchizedek could be none other than Christ Himself.
The Moffatt translation best renders “after the order of Melchisedec” as “with the rank of Melchisedec.” Christ held the rank of Melchizedek when He received tithes from Abraham during the times of the patriarchs.
How and where does Christ work today? Ancient Israel did not preach the gospel to the world and it did not have a ministry teaching God’s truths to all nations. Israel was one physical nation and did not have the Spirit of God. The Levitical priesthood carried out burnt offerings, animal sacrifices and other physical rituals. The arduous labor of the Old Testament priesthood was very different from the work required of the New Testament ministry. In short, the Levitical priesthood held a lower, human rank far below the spiritual, divine rank of Christ as Melchizedek.
We discussed how God financed the Levitical priesthood. It should now also be clear that Jesus Christ, as Melchizedek, received tithes many centuries before the Levites appeared. An already-existing tithing system simply continued through this priesthood and passed to the New Testament ministry.
Hebrews 7:1-5 begins comparing the Levitical and Melchizedek priesthoods. Remember, tithing did not start with Moses and the Levites. “For this Melchisedec, king of Salem, priest of the Most High God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings, and blessed him; to whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all...Now consider how great this man was [correctly translated: “this one was”], unto whom even the patriarch Abraham gave the tenth of the spoils. And verily they that are the sons of Levi, who receive the office of the priesthood, have a commandment to take tithes of the people according to the law.”
Abraham was no different than either a New Testament Christian or any citizen of Israel. He paid tithes to a High Priest—Christ. The Levitical system always had a high priest. Moses’ older brother Aaron was the first human to hold this office. All Levitical priests served under whoever was the high priest at the time.
Tithing is not merely something practiced during the period of the Levitical priesthood. This practice has existed as long as there has been a high priest—Christ or Levitical—to receive tithes.
Tithing then is God’s system for financing His Work—no matter the age in which His servants live. Notice that Melchizedek, “having neither beginning of days, nor end of life...abides a priest continually” (Heb. 7:3). Because Christ, as Melchizedek, had no “beginning,” He existed as a Priest from the time of Adam. Notice He “abides...continually.” Christ is still High Priest of His people. Hebrews 7 goes on to address which priesthood supersedes the other today.
While first century Christians needed little instruction about tithing as a mandatory, permanent law, they did need to be carefully taught that the Melchizedek Priesthood of Jesus Christ had been restored and had, therefore, replaced the Levitical priesthood.
Which priesthood—Levitical or Melchizedek—does the Bible consider superior?
Carefully notice: “But He [Melchizedek or Christ] whose descent is not counted from them [the Levites] received tithes of Abraham, and blessed him. And without all contradiction the less [Abraham] is blessed of the better [Melchizedek]...And as I may so say, Levi also, who received tithes, paid tithes in Abraham. For he [Levi] was yet in the loins of his father [great-grandfather Abraham], when Melchisedec met him” (Heb. 7:6-10). Christ—Melchizedek—was not “descended” from the Levites. As God, Christ (a non- and pre-Levite) supersedes the authority of the Levitical priesthood.
The Melchizedek Priesthood has precedence as the greater, superior Priesthood. Now again in force as God’s continuing Priesthood under Christ—it requires financing! We can now read the all-important concluding verse 12: “For the PRIESTHOOD being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the LAW.” This should be clear. The law requiring people to tithe to the Levitical system was “changed” in the New Testament! There are no assigned Levites today, yet tithes still belong to God. So, He had to re-designate to whom they must be paid! Technically, it is correct to say that the law, as it was prior to the Levitical priesthood, has been restored—changed back to the way it was from the beginning.
It is helpful to understand the overall reasons for the book of Hebrews. First, it was written to prepare the New Testament Church for the fall of the Temple in Jerusalem in AD 69-70. The Levitical priesthood would soon pass from existence—creating a dilemma for those who knew tithes belonged to God and must somehow be paid. Second, to teach the nature and function of the priesthood. Third, to explain that Christ’s office was above the office of Aaron and predated it to the Melchizedek Priesthood, which had no beginning.
Consider what David wrote: “The Lord has sworn, and will not repent, You [David] are a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek” (Psa. 110:4). This is actually a prophecy that David, at the resurrection of the dead when Christ returns, will also be considered a priest “after the order of Melchizedek.” This is fascinating! David was a Jew, not a Levite, and yet he will one day be a priest in the Melchizedek Priesthood. No wonder Revelation 5:10 says, “And has made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.”
Faithful Christians, with Christ and David, will reign on Earth as kings and priests! This is because Christ is King of kings and High Priest of priests (sadly, few hear of this part of the Christian’s reward). While Christ is the greatest King and the greatest Priest, it is all true Christians who will be the other kings and the other priests ruling with Him.
What a staggering promise. Christians faithful to this understanding are kings and priests in training.
Describing the Church, the apostle Peter wrote, “But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people” (I Pet. 2:9).
After Christ returns, tithes will be paid to all the other priests who qualify to comprise this Priesthood. None who are unwilling to pay tithes to Christ today, as their High Priest now, could ever be used later, in God’s coming Priesthood. They will have disqualified themselves to receive tithes because they were unwilling to pay them.
Tithing has always been God’s Law.
We discussed how governments collect taxes. In most countries, people do not physically hand their taxes to the country’s leader in its capital city. It goes to regional offices that collect revenue on behalf of the government.
Companies are the same. They have collectors who act as their representatives. These function by the authority of, or in the name of, the company. If a customer pays a collector, he considers himself to have paid the company—not merely its representative. And no customer considers himself to have paid the salary of the collector, but rather a bill or invoice owed to the company. The company pays the collector’s salary.
In a sense, God owns the greatest company in the universe. He employs representatives, or collectors, who receive the payment for bills or invoices the company has sent the customer! In essence, God has sent a bill to every human being on earth. As with customers of a company that sends invoices of differing amounts, depending upon the size of the purchase, God “invoices” people differing amounts—whatever is exactly 10 percent of their gross income. When a person pays this to God, the bill is satisfied—until the next invoice is received.
Tithing works in this way. Each time you tithe, you have paid the latest in a long string of ongoing regular “bills” sent to you from God. Actually, His bill is always to be the first one paid! God is not willing to stand in line behind other creditors who represent mere human organizations to whom the tithepayer may also have existing or on-going obligations. Remember, God gives 90 percent of your income. What other organization would do this?
Another important principle to note: Tithes paid to God work differently from money put in a bank. If you place your money in a bank, you expect that bank to keep careful track of the funds you have deposited and to give you a periodic accounting. The bank remains responsible to you for keeping proper track of your funds. The reason is simple. Though the bank may be holding your money, it is still your money! The same with stocks or other investments. Brokers account to the investor.
Tithing is different! Since tithes belong to God, once they are paid, God (or His representative) is not obligated to explain exactly how, or in what fashion, they were spent. One should never pay tithes to God’s representatives and then try to supervise or otherwise watch over the way the ministry or Church headquarters spends them. The ministry answers to God because it is God who employs them, not the people who paid the tithes. God owns His “company,” and He has the authority to hire (or fire) His employees—His ministers. Tithepayers have no voice in how they are spent.
But who are God’s representatives? How does one find them? How are they identified? A tithepayer must be absolutely sure he is paying tithes to where God is working. This requires careful thought and research. It is not a decision to be made lightly.
God’s tithes belong to Him—and giving them to those who are not His representatives is the same as not paying them.
If someone owes you $200 and, in ignorance or through misunderstanding, gives that $200 to someone else, you did not receive your $200! Upon reminding the person of this, would you be satisfied if he said, “I’m sorry, I paid your $200 to someone else! He said he represented you.”
Would you not say, “That’s regrettable! But you still owe me the $200 because he did not represent me!”
Of course you would. And so would God. We—you—cannot give God’s tithes to those who do not represent Him.
There are many ministers in the churches of this world. They all profess to be Christian—to represent Jesus Christ. II Corinthians 11:13-15 says that Satan has his ministers. These ministers do not appear as Satan’s. None say, “I am the devil’s minister, you should follow me.” For the most part they are just as deceived as those who follow them. Yet, they are counterfeits! They speak and preach in syrupy, sanctimonious and pious-sounding language that they suppose is “spiritual.” Because Revelation 12:9 says that Satan “deceives the whole world,” his ministers greatly outnumber the true ministers of God. These men come in “sheep’s clothing,” pretending to serve God!
Paul recorded, “Prove all things” and “hold fast that which is good” (I Thes. 5:21). Christ said the only way to prove ministers is by their fruits. Notice: “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. You shall know them by their fruits” (Matt. 7:15-16). This is a plain warning to all. Do not be deceived. “All that glitters is not gold,” and all who come in the name of Christ are not His ministers!
God has His ministers and He uses them to lead (under Christ’s guidance) His Church.
Jesus said in Matthew 16:18, “I will build My church.” This Church is a spiritual body of specially called out believers. He also said, “the gates of hell [the grave] shall not prevail against it.” There is only one true Church and our literature explains how to recognize—how to identify—that Church from the nearly 2,000 different professing Christian organizations built by men. It is only in this Church that Christ works. No one need be confused!
Christ’s Church is described as a persecuted little flock, hated by this world for teaching the truth. However, since Christ promised His Church could not die, it must exist somewhere on Earth today. It is your responsibility to prove where it is, so you do not give God’s tithes to a thieving impostor!
It is only to the faithful ministry of the true Church—the only Church Christ built—that tithes should be paid. Those laboring full-time in the Work of God are hired and paid directly by God! Since tithes cannot be sent to heaven, He designates they go to His earthly representatives.
You must prove who is teaching the full truth of all God’s doctrines. You must prove who faithfully proclaims the gospel of the soon-coming kingdom of God to the world.
We might ask further: How does God spend tithes—what does He do with them?
Christ gave His Church work to do. “Go you therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them...Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have COMMANDED you: and I am with you alway[s], even unto the end of the [age]” (Matt. 28:19-20). This responsibility has never changed in the nearly 2,000 years since Christ explained it. He taught His disciples many truths (“all things”) that His Church has preserved and continues to teach all over the world. This is not a duty His ministry can shirk. Nor can it go to the world with humanly devised doctrines, ignoring God’s doctrines, commanded to them by Christ!
Though ancient Israel was called the “church in the wilderness” (Acts 7:38), it was still a fleshly, civil nation, having no need for a spiritual ministry. God selected the Levites to work for Him and take care of the physical duties—rituals, sacrifices, ceremonies and ordinances—nationally and locally, of all 12 tribes. The New Testament ministry no longer does these things. Ancient Israel did not have the Spirit of God. The priesthood simply ministered to the physical needs of that single nation. Their responsibility did not reach outside Israel to “all nations.” God was not yet working with people from all regions of the world. Today He is.
True ministers have been called and trained by God. Led by His Spirit, their ministry is of a spiritual nature.
Christ gave an extraordinary commission to His Church at the end of the age. Notice: “This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come” (Matt. 24:14). We saw that this included the other knowledge of “all things” He had commanded them. But it is God’s world-ruling kingdom, under Christ and the saints, that receives special emphasis “before the end come.”
The world lies in chaos. It is confused about who and what man is, and the purpose God is working out on earth. War, famine, disease, poverty and other problems grip the planet. This world is held captive by an unseen being who holds sway over its values, customs, beliefs, governments and religions. The world is blinded to the purpose God is working out.
God’s Work costs money. His Church must continually hire more staff and ministers to perform the many functions of a growing worldwide organization. We publish a vast number of books, booklets, magazines and other literature teaching God’s truth. The Church of God has members around the world who must be fed God’s truth by faithful ministers and elders. The number God is calling is expanding and will continue to as the age draws to a close.
Jesus said, “The night comes, when no man can work” (John 9:4). This is true of His final Work. Soon this age will be over and the glorious Return of Jesus Christ will have occurred. We have little time left to finish God’s Work!
Through the biblical law of tithing, God finances it. Doing His Work is the way He chooses to spend His tithe. God calls people into His Church so they can help in preaching and publishing the true gospel to the world.
You may say, “I never knew about tithing.” That may be true, but ignorance of the Law has never been an excuse for disobedience. The true God is very merciful. He freely forgives those who wish to change and seek Him.
I have now done my part. I have taught you the truth about tithing. You have been given essential knowledge that you must act on, in order to be given more. Christ said, “Walk while you have the light, lest darkness come upon you: for he that walks in darkness knows not where he goes. While you have light, believe in the light, that you may be the children of light” (John 12:35-36). Further, notice this warning to all: “Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward you, goodness, IF you continue in His goodness: otherwise you also shall be cut off” (Rom. 11:22).
We will all be held accountable for what we do with what we know: “To him that knows to do good, and does it not, to him it is sin” (Jms. 4:17), and “If we sin willfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remains no more sacrifice for sins” (Heb. 10:26).
These are sobering statements straight from God. A calling (read John 6:44) is occurring when one understands the truth upon reading or hearing it. You must decide if God is calling you to take part in this great worldwide effort. You must decide if you are willing to allow God to train you to become a king and a priest!
Do not worry over the size of your tithes and offerings. The story of the “widow’s mites” has an important lesson for all. Even small amounts, when paid faithfully, carry much weight with God. I have seen many inspiring examples of people who had little but gave much. God always blessed them with more in the end!
Tithing is a law. Like any other law, there is an automatic cause and effect relationship. Why do you keep the law of gravity? Because if you break it, you know there will be an immediate, visible and sometimes painful effect. Jumping from a 10-story building brings real consequences.
The tithing law is no different. If we break it, it breaks us. But if we keep it, it keeps us. But there is one fundamental difference between tithing, which is a spiritual law, and physical laws. Breaking spiritual laws rarely brings immediate effects on the offender. There is a delayed penalty—but a penalty, nonetheless.
Please read the following three books: Where Is the True Church?– and Its Incredible History!, and Which Is the True Gospel?, as well as End All Your Financial Worries. You will be glad you read them.
I urge you to obey God’s tithing command—and reap the benefits.