What were the tithes for that the people of Israel were commanded to offer?

Kazik Kowalski asks the following questions about tithing – questions that you are unlikely to get answers to in many churches – as the conclusion would undermine their cherished theology. And we don’t want to allow the bible to get in the way of our theology, do we?

(1) Why were tithes instigated?
(2) Who had the right to accept the tithes, and under which conditions?
(3) Who had the duty to pay the tithes, and under which conditions?
(4) For what were tithes used?
(5) What effect, if any, does  tithing have on those covered by the New Covenant? Where in the NT does it explain how they should apply the practice of tithing, given that none of the answers to q1-4 can be directly applied to them.
(6) How do standard tithe teachings measure against the Word Standard?

I have not answered each of these directly in this post, but I believe that I answer them through the course of this teaching.

It is not my understanding that tithes were for the temple. They were

1. For the Levites, since they had no land, no income and no inheritance. Num 18:21-22 “To the Levites I have given every tithe in Israel for an inheritance, in return for their service that they do, their service in the tent of meeting

2. For a (possibly drunken) annual celebration where God explicitly gave permission to use the tithe to buy wine and strong drink. Dt 14:22-27.
3. Once every 3 years a tenth of that years produce to feed Levites plus the poor. Dt 14:28-29

So the modern teaching that the tithe should be given to the local church to support all the expense and work of the church has NO linkage to the purpose of the Jewish tithe system.

HOWEVER, there is an interesting warning from Samuel about what will happen if you choose to have a King (Appointed leadership in charge – even if appointed by God). That King will take the tenth of your grain and vineyards and of your flocks. So he will demand a tithe from your capital as well as income. And it will be used to fund his infrastructure and all the staff he appointed to run his Kingdom.
1 Sam 8:10-18

This does sound a little like how church leadership teaches its members today?

As an afterthought, the temple did not exist when tithes were begun. So by definition they could not be given to the temple. It only happened in Solomons day – and it was funded out of offerings not tithes.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s