Christians Should Not Tithe: Part Two

In Part One we looked at Deuteronomy 26, which describes a tithe given to have a yearly feast. Aside from being impractical, such a feast is no longer possible because we cannot go to a single, physical location where God dwells.

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There is another tithe mentioned in the scripture. It was not a yearly tithe, but a third year tithe. It’s found in Deuteronomy 26:

“When you have finished setting aside a tenth of all your produce in the third year, the year of the tithe, you shall give it to the Levite, the alien, the fatherless and the widow, so that they may eat in your towns and be satisfied.” Deuteronomy 26:12 CSB

This tithe was to support four groups of people:
Levites
Aliens (whom we might call migrant workers)
Fatherless
Widows

Notice that this tithe was only every three years and even then, only ¼ of what was set aside went to the religious institution. The Levites got 2.5% every three years, or 0.83% of the Gross Domestic Product, or GDP, each year. Of course, they made up for that with daily and weekly offerings, but offerings are not tithes and that is another story.

Another interesting thing to note was that after a person gave his or her tithe, a scripted prayer was to be prayed. It’s found in the next verse:

“Then say to the LORD your God: “I have removed from my house the sacred portion and have given it to the Levite, the alien, the fatherless and the widow, according to all you commanded. I have not turned aside from your commands nor have I forgotten any of them. I have not eaten any of the sacred portion while I was in mourning, nor have I removed any of it while I was unclean, nor have I offered any of it to the dead. I have obeyed the LORD my God; I have done everything you commanded me.  Look down from heaven, your holy dwelling place, and bless your people Israel and the land you have given us as you promised on oath to our forefathers, a land flowing with milk and honey.” Deuteronomy 26:13-15 CSB

How often have you heard this prayer uttered in church? Were the people who uttered it ritualistically clean like it says?

Even the Levites were supposed to tithe. In Numbers 18 they are commanded to give a tenth of what they receive to Aaron the High Priest.

“Speak to the Levites and say to them: ‘When you receive from the Israelites the tithe I give you as your inheritance, you must present a tenth of that tithe as the LORD’s offering. Your offering will be reckoned to you as grain from the threshing floor or juice from the winepress. In this way you also will present an offering to the LORD from all the tithes you receive from the Israelites. From these tithes you must give the LORD’s portion to Aaron the priest. You must present as the LORD’s portion the best and holiest part of everything given to you.” Numbers 18:26-29 CSB

If the Levites received 0.83% of the Gross Domestic Product, then Aaron would receive from them 0.083% of the GDP.

What happened after Aaron died? Did this practice stop, or was it given to the High Priest that replaced him?

Things get even more complicated in Part Three

 

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  1. […] Part Two we discovered that there was a third year tithe to support the community. Though the actual […]

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