Tithing is an important part of a True Believer's life. Are you following Yahweh's will by putting Him first
We see a paradox today among those professing the Bible —
their most deeply held beliefs are rarely evident in their lives. The nominal
worshiper has learned to separate his religious life from his everyday life. Two
fundamental reasons explain this:
* society has made many individuals fearful of expressing their
faith openly, and
In marked contrast, Yahweh is uncompromising about how He expects
His true people to worship as well as conduct themselves at all times no matter
the circumstance or situation. The Bible is a record of how courageous believers
overcame all kinds of difficult situations without yielding their principles.
To know the mind and will of Almighty Yahweh we need only to look at what He commanded His chosen people. Malachi 3:6 and other passages tell us that Yahweh doesn’t change — His expectations are the same for us as for the patriarchs of old.
Worship Is Through ‘Giving,’ Not ‘Getting’
Aside from their regular offerings for sin, Israel’s worship
included returning to Yahweh a tenth part of all their increase. This meant that
a tenth of the best of the flock or field was to be given up as proof of one’s
faith in Almighty Yahweh as Provider of everything. The principle of giving back
through various sacrifices was at the core of the many offerings that Yahweh
expected of Israel each day, and it remains a key part of New Testament worship.
Today the tithe is intended to teach Yahweh’s people to revere Him
first by returning to Him a small percentage of what most individuals hold
dearest —their earnings. Deuteronomy 14:22-23 says, “You shall surely tithe all
the produce from what you sow, which comes out of the field every year. And you
shall eat in the presence of Yahweh your Elohim, at the place where He chooses
to establish His name, the tithe of your grain, your new wine, your oil, and the
firstborn of your herd and your flock, in order that you may learn to fear
Yahweh your Elohim always.” Fear is the Hebrew ary and means to stand in awe of
For the majority their pocketbook reflects their heart because it is
what they revere most. Financial priorities tend to speak louder than anything
else in our self-indulgent culture. Therefore, the question of whether to tithe
becomes a key indicator of how much one is devoted to Yahweh. It answers the
all-important and fundamental question: does He or do my own wants come first in
The First Commandments is clear — if we don’t put Yahweh above all
else then our worship is in vain. He thunders in Exodus 20:3, “Thou shalt have
no other Elohim before me.” Yahshua clearly understood this. He said in Matthew
6:21, “Where your treasure is, that is where your heart will be also.” Of the 29
parables Yahshua told, over half dealt with a person and his finances. Through
these teachings Yahshua pinpointed what people value the highest.
The parable of the rich man comes to mind. This individual described
by Yahshua esteemed his riches more than he esteemed His Savior because He was
unwilling to give up his wealth to follow Yahshua. By putting riches before
Yahweh he proved that his gold is what he really worshiped. His gold was more
important to him than his own salvation.
How we give also demonstrates whether we love the brethren, which is
another key element of True Worship. The tithe was used to support the
priesthood, whose main job was to minister on behalf of the people. When we
support the ministry today, which is the vehicle whereby Truth is spread and
lives are changed, we are telling the truth seeker and the general body of
Believers that we care about them and their salvation.
This booklet will examine the meaning behind the tithe and the purpose for it, as well as what the tithe teaches us about True Worship. We will address common misunderstandings about the tithe, and we will see the great wisdom of Yahweh and His desire for us as manifest in His command to return 10 percent of our increase to Him.
The Tithe Firstfruit Is Holy to Yahweh
these righteous men of Yahweh willingly turn over a tenth of their gain or
possessions to Him? Because they knew that it was essential to do so. The tithes
of Abraham and Jacob demonstrate that these righteous men had a right worship
concept firmly grounded in Scripture.
Yahweh’s people know that the tithe is not theirs to keep or use.
Yahweh said the tithe belongs to Him and is holy, Leviticus 27: 30. He warns
that to keep it is to rob from Him. “Will a man rob Elohim? Yet you have robbed
me. But you say, Wherein have we robbed you? In tithes and offerings,” Malachi
If we earn $100 then $10 is to be returned to Yahweh. If we keep
that $10 we steal from Yahweh. Malachi’s warning is as clear as crystal.
Furthermore, Paul cautioned that no thief will inherit the Kingdom, 1Corinthians
Giving over to Yahweh the firstfruit sacrifice was and still is
fundamental to True Worship. The tithe is a firstfruits offering, the first 10
percent of our increase given before any of our own needs are met.
Turning over the firstfruits to Yahweh is fundamental in both Old
and New testament Scripture. This ancient principle extends all the way to
Yahshua the Messiah Himself, who is a spiritual firstfruit offered by the Father
on our behalf because of our sins. “But now Messiah is risen from the dead, and
has become the Firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep,” 1Corinthians 15:20.
Yahweh so loved us that He gave to us the first of His creation — His very
beloved and only Son, John 3:16.
What if He had decided to keep His Firstfruits —His Son — for
Himself? In that case we would be lost in the death penalty earned by our sins!
Can we give back any less than our own firstfruits to Him in joyful and humble
appreciation? Every true child of Yahweh should have a compelling desire to
tithe. That desire should be basic to worship.
Proverbs 3:9 directs us to “honor Yahweh with your substance, and
with the firstfruits of all your increase.” Firstfruits were offered to Yahweh
in acknowledgment that everything ultimately belongs to Him and that all we
possess is merely on loan to us. Those who revere Him will be blessed.
Some spend their tithes on the poor. Yahweh commands, however, that
His tenth be given to Him and used for the furtherance of His Truth, ministry,
and teachings. It is the job of the ministry to determine where the greatest
need is, just as it was with the priests at the temple. Malachi 3:10 commands,
“Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house.
Test me in this, says Yahweh Almighty, and see if I will not throw open the
floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room
enough for it.” This also applies spiritually to the ultimate blessing of
Israel willingly gave of the firstfruits of their crops, their livestock, their orchards and everything else they produced. These firstfruits were the best they had, given from “off the top,” not picked from the leftovers once their personal needs were met. Firstfruits are entirely Yahweh’s and are sacred to Him.
A Compelling Test of Our Devotion
No matter what is earned, increased, and gained from, the True
Worshiper automatically returns a tenth to Yahweh. We are not to take our share
first and give back the leftovers. We first return to Him His due — His 10
percent — and we then take care of ourselves. By this act we show Him that He
comes before everything else in our lives.
We must understand that paying tithes is not “giving” or offering to
Yahweh anything. It is only rendering to Yahweh what already is His. Giving back
only part of what belongs to Him is not tithing.
If someone stole ten dollars from you and then gave you a dollar in
return, you would consider the dollar a gift but at the same time you would
consider the giver a thief. Similarly, if your tithe is ten dollars but you
return only a dollar, then you are robbing Yahweh of His tenth. You may be
returning some, but you are stealing the rest. A wife who is 85 percent faithful
to her husband is not faithful at all. There is no such thing as partial
Tithing is not a charity exercise. Our Father in heaven doesn’t need
a cent from us. He already owns the entire planet. Yahweh created it all;
everything we call ours is His to begin with. Psalm 24:1 says, “The earth is
Yahweh’s, and everything in it.”
Tithing is a compelling test of our true desire to serve Him by
showing whether He indeed comes first in our lives. Putting Him last monetarily
— after we have first taken care of ourselves — reveals a spiritual defect. It
tells Him that I am more important than He is! If Idolatry means putting
anything else before Him in worship, then non-tithing is idolatrous.
The Feast days teach a fundamental principle here through the
harvest firstfruits that Israel was to present to Almighty Yahweh on His special
days. One Feast in particular, Pentecost or Feast of Firstfruits, is
specifically about this firstfruits offering to Yahweh, where the first
gatherings of the wheat harvest were presented to Yahweh and only then could the
general harvest begin. In other words, once our obligations to Yahweh are met
then we focus on our own needs.
Yahweh judges what we give by what we keep. What we cherish reflects our heart’s true desire. The question of whether I should tithe or not boils down to a simple issue: do I recognize, honor, and serve Him above all else? Even above myself? If not, then I need to re-examine my attitude and get right with Him.
Is the Tithe Only for Farmers?
Are we to believe that only farmers are to fear and revere Yahweh?
That just farmers alone are to put Him first in their lives? That only farmers
are to receive instruction and practice on what is holy to Yahweh? That only
farmers return what belongs to Yahweh while the rest of us are free to keep what
In truth, a tenth is required from all the riches and wealth that
the earth produces to our benefit, no matter what it is and who earns it. As an
agrarian people Israel derived their income from the land so naturally Yahweh
would instruct that whatever the land produced they were to tithe of.
Not everyone in Israel farmed, but everyone still tithed. Abraham
gave a tenth of the spoils of war, Genesis 14:20, while Jacob gave a tenth of
all he possessed, Genesis 28:22. The Levites as well had to give their 10
percent from the tithe given to them, Numbers 18:26-28. The Levites were
priests, not farmers. They could not own land or produce anything. Their income
was from a second-hand source — the people who came to the temple.
Most giving in the Old Testament was to support the priests and the Levites in their duties, Numbers 18:24. The Priests and Levites were the clergy of the Old Testament. The Priests handled the sacrifices and were responsible for instructing the people in the Word of Yahweh (2Chron. 31:4, Mal. 2:6-9). The Levites led people in worship and assisted in the physical management of the tabernacle and temple (1Chron. 23:28-32).
It All Belongs to Yahweh
The word “land” that Israel was to tithe from in Leviticus 27:30 is
far broader in scope than just agricultural fields. It is the Hebrew erets and
includes “earth, whole earth, earth as opposed to heaven.” From erets we see
that everything belongs to Yahweh, even our existence.
Paul said in 1Corinthians 4:7, “What do you have that you did not
receive? And if you received it, why do you boast as if it were not a gift?” (NRS).
We leave everything behind when we enter the
grave so that nothing is truly ours. Hearses do not pull U-Haul trailers. The
gift of our life itself ultimately returns to Yahweh who gave it, Eccl. 12:7.
If He wants to let us keep 90 percent and requires only 10 percent
in return, who are we as His creation to argue? What is the clay that it should
challenge the potter? What does it tell Him about us as His worshipers if we
resist or refuse? Yahweh has the perfect right to demand everything from us, yet
He asks for only a small percentage and then waits to see whether we revere Him
enough to follow through.
When we willingly obey He blesses us with more, Mal. 3:10-12. Tithers soon discover that 90 percent of their income after tithing will stretch
further than 100 percent without tithing. Yahweh blesses the tither.
Quibbling over whether or not to tithe exposes a heart problem. By
keeping the tithe for ourselves we say to Yahweh that He isn’t even 10 percent
important to us. Not only that, but that we think so little of Him that we would
steal from Him!
In marked contrast, a True Worshiper puts Yahweh above everything
else. The person with Yahweh at heart will not keep what is not his but would
joyfully give it ALL up if asked to do so — even if that means his very life.
Rightly managing the tithe proves that we have a heart longing to obey.
We see this principle in operation when Yahweh directs Abraham to offer up Isaac, the patriarch’s most valued possession. What Yahweh really wants is to see Abraham’s true heart revealed through his willingness to part with his son if it came down to it, just as Yahweh revealed His love for mankind by giving up His own Son for us. Abraham passes the test and thereby confirms his complete devotion to and love of Yahweh. True Worship always requires a measure of personal sacrifice.
Tithing in the New Testament
Yahshua in the New Testament put His own authority behind the tithe
when He said, “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites!
You give a tenth of your spices…. But you have neglected the more important
matters of the law —justice, mercy, and faithfulness. You should have practiced
the latter, without neglecting the former” (Matt. 23:23, NIV)
that Yahshua did NOT say, “Just worry about justice, mercy and faith and let the
herbs take care of themselves,” or something equally dismissive. Rather, He
confirmed the necessity of the tithe by directing them not to neglect it,
either, as they refocused on what they had been disregarding.
In another parable in Luke 18:12, Yahshua confirmed that proper
tithing constitutes a tenth of our gain, regardless of how that gain is
achieved. He never told the Pharisee or anyone else that tithing was no longer
Some may say they could show their love better by giving whatever
they wish instead of a set amount like 10 percent. The Bible shows that the
tithe is just a starting point, a minimal amount expected of us. If one desires
to give more, one is freely allowed to do so and will be blessed accordingly. Yahshua said in Luke 6:38, “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure,
pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap.
For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” He put no limits on
giving. Hebrews 13:16 says, “And do not forget to do good and to share with
others, for with such sacrifices Elohim is well pleased,” NIV.
There are actually three kinds of tithe in Scripture: the first is a
tenth of all increase by wages or profit, Leviticus 27:30-33; the second tithe
is used personally for attending the Feasts, Deuteronomy 14:22-27, and the third
comes around every three years and is for the stranger, widows and orphans,
Deuteronomy 14:28-29 and 26:12. All of these tithes carry with them a promise of
blessing if we do them, Deuteronomy 14:29.
Since the Garden of Eden man has been trying to do things his own
way — instead of the way Yahweh prescribed — and man’s way nearly always leads
to problems. Yahweh showed us through Old Testament Law that tithing was part of
what He considers acceptable worship. He never said otherwise in the New
Some contend that because we are not under the Levitical priesthood
that tithing is brought to an end in the New Testament. It is true that we are
now under the Melchizedek priesthood with Yahshua as our High Priest in the
Melchizedek order, Psalm 110:4. But as shown in the account of Abraham, the
Melchizedek priesthood also took tithes. It was to Melchizedek the High Priest
that Abraham returned a tenth of the spoils of war, Hebrews
desire is that His ministry under today’s Melchizedek priestly system have a
means of support to carry out the work of preaching and teaching, in the same
way that the Levitical system was supported by tithes. Paul instructed Timothy,
“The elders who rule well are to be considered worthy of double honor,
especially those who work hard at preaching and teaching. For the Scripture
says, ‘You shall not muzzle the ox while he is threshing,’ and ‘The laborer is
worthy of his wages,’” 1Timothy
Paul was a tentmaker, Acts 18:3. But he did not rely exclusively on his vocation. The brethren in Philippi sent him aid when he was out ministering (Phil. 4:16), which he accepted. Paul explained that those who minister have a right by authority of Yahweh to expect support: “Yahweh has commanded that those who preach the evangel should receive their living from the evangel” (1Cor. 9:13-14). The Apostle Paul personally chose not to live solely by proceeds from ministry, even though it was lawful for him to do so.
The Poor Widow Gave Her All, Literally
One of Yahshua’s key examples leaves us all without excuse when it
comes to giving.
Yahshua was not impressed with the large amounts that the rich
contributed to the temple treasury. And although the wealthy did give, “they all
gave out of their wealth” (Mark 12:44). What won Yahshua’s praise and His heart
was the sacrificial giving of a poor widow who couldn’t afford to give by
anyone’s standard and yet she still gave — of the very money she needed to
As you read this account, notice that Yahshua did not excuse her
from giving because she was poor. He recognized that giving is an essential part
of worship that teaches us to subjugate self while reaching out in love to
others. This is a critical lesson for the True Worshiper: if you don’t sacrifice
then how can you truly serve Yahweh?
“And Yahshua 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 said unto them, Verily I say
unto you, That this poor widow has cast more in than all they which have cast
into the treasury: For all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her
want did cast in all that she had, even all her living,” Mark 12:41-44.
The act of giving is just as much a part of True Worship as keeping
the Sabbath and calling on Yahweh’s Name. The tithe is like loving a wonderful
spouse. It is a token reminder of how important he or she is, but at the same
time shows that they deserve much more than it would be possible to give.
If you think you can’t afford to tithe, examine your budget and expenses each month to determine what you can do without so you can tithe. The lesson of the widow proves that no one has an excuse. And if someone claims he cannot tithe but yet owns a cellular phone, cable television, a boat, a sizable savings account, or any of life’s non-essentials, that person needs to re-evaluate priorities and begin putting Yahweh first.
A Modern Parable
Yahweh was touched, and so He gave that man money, time, and a
glorious talent. And then Yahweh waited…and waited…and waited. Weary of waiting,
He shrugged His shoulders and took all those things back from the man — the
money, the time and the glorious talent.
Eventually the man said, “If I only had some of that money back, I’d
give it to Yahweh. If I only had some of that time, I’d give it to Yahweh. If I
could only rediscover that glorious talent, I’d give it to Yahweh.” And Yahweh
sighed in deep disappointment.
Good intentions are worthless unless we put legs on those
intentions, carry out our obligations and fulfill our promises. When we make a
commitment to Yahweh, that commitment is binding and unchangeable. Our promise
to be faithful to Him in ALL things was permanently and irrevocably set when we
repented and were immersed into the Body of Messiah. We vowed to change our
lives and obediently do all that He commanded us in His Word. Vows are
irreversible, Ecclesiastes 5:4-6.
Finally, the Apostle Paul tells us to remember this,