We hear many in the world talking about their financial contributions to their particular church organizations. And although the practice of giving a full ten percent in tithe may not be followed, the practice of giving to churches is still prevalent. According to Giving USA, 32% of charitable contributions in 2015 were directed towards “Religion”, totaling $119.3 billion dollars (givingusa.org).
But what is “Religion”, as defined by those millions of people tithing to their churches? Is it true religion or just a shadow of the church Christ is head of? We know that the vast majority of these people are not tithing to God (as His Holy Spirit has opened our eyes to understand). Most don’t know God, but they are still practicing, to some degree, the commands of God. If these tithes are filling the coffers of false churches, does God acknowledge what so many are doing?
The admonition to tithe is plain to understand for God’s people. We state in our booklet, “And Lawlessness Will Abound,” on page 19: “We are still duty-bound to pay tithes; otherwise, we rob God and are under a curse. But it is no longer the Levites who are to collect the tithes. That part of the law was changed. It is now Christ—through His Church—who has the responsibility of collecting God’s tithes.”
We also understand that there are great blessings in tithing. Malachi states, “‘Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, That there may be food in My house, And try Me now in this,’ Says the LORD of hosts, ‘If I will not open for you the windows of heaven And pour out for you such blessings That there will not be room enough to receive it’” (Malachi 3:10).
The majority of professing Christians believe the law of tithing was done away with at Christ’s death and that it was a law for Jews. Many, although superficially, can read these same Scriptures and desire to please God. To whatever degree, it’s evident many still give to their religion without understanding why or if they truly should.
Many point to Christ’s interaction with the Pharisees as the point when tithing was no longer necessary. But it was their method of tithing, which caused them to forget what truly mattered, that Christ commented on, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone” (Matthew 23:23). In “And Lawlessness Will Abound,” we comment on this passage: “Jesus Christ confirmed that the tithing law was still in effect at the time of His first coming. While emphasizing that tithing is not an end in itself, He nevertheless endorsed its validity.”
Continuing on page 20 of our booklet, we refute the idea that tithing was only Jewish, “In fact, the tithing law was in existence long before the law was given to the Levites to collect those tithes. Notice Hebrews 7:9: ‘Even Levi, who receives tithes, paid tithes through Abraham, so to speak, for he was still in the loins of his father when Melchizedek met him.’”
Tithing is still in effect today. It is also a law, like the Ten Commandments, that benefits all of mankind. God’s Spirit enables us to understand the significance and importance of tithing. But what of those who are not baptized and lack this understanding?
There is an outstanding example of one such person. In Acts we read, “There was a certain man in Caesarea called Cornelius, a centurion of what was called the Italian Regiment, a devout man and one who feared God with all his household, who gave alms generously to the people, and prayed to God always. About the ninth hour of the day he saw clearly in a vision an angel of God coming in and saying to him, ‘Cornelius!’ And when he observed him, he was afraid, and said, ‘What is it, lord?’ So he said to him, ‘Your prayers and your alms have come up for a memorial before God’” (Acts 10:1-5).
God was obviously working with Cornelius because his prayers were heard and his offerings were accepted by God. It wasn’t until Peter preached to Cornelius and those assembled with him that they had true understanding of God. Continuing in Acts, “While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who heard the word. And those of the circumcision who believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also. For they heard them speak with tongues and magnify God. Then Peter answered, ‘Can anyone forbid water, that these should not be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?’ And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then they asked him to stay a few days” (Acts 10:44-48).
God has set forth everlasting principles for the benefit of mankind. When a person follows those principles they will be blessed—to the point of even having their minds opened to the truth of God.
Lead Writer: Robb Harris