Is it biblical to tithe today? Are we as Christians mandated to continue the tithe and if so, who should we be paying this tithe to? The churches, ministers and clergy? In the scripture above the tithe is defined as fruit, trees, and cattle or flock (animals), it doesn't mention anything about money being given to God or it being holy to Him. One might say, well there was no form of currency at the time, people relied on the trade of goods and cattle as currency. That may be true yet in another scripture it states:
Be sure to set aside a tenth of all that your fields produce each year. Eat the tithe of your grain, new wine and oil, and the firstborn of your herds and flocks in the presence of the LORD your God at the place he will choose as a dwelling for his Name, so that you may learn to revere the LORD your God always. But if that place is too distant and you have been blessed by the LORD your God and cannot carry your tithe (because the place where the LORD will choose to put his Name is so far away), then exchange your tithe for silver, and take the silver with you and go to the place the LORD your God will choose. Use the silver to buy whatever you like: cattle, sheep, wine or other fermented drink, or anything you wish. Then you and your household shall eat there in the presence of the LORD your God and rejoice. And do not neglect the Levites living in your towns, for they have no allotment or inheritance of their own.So, apparently there was some form of currency in the form of silver that could have been used for tithing, yet it was only used as a contingency. This particular passage also answers another question posed earlier, who shoud the tithe go to? From what I read here it should go to me to be used to honor and rejoice in the presence of God. Interesting.
I bring up the subject of tithing because it is something that, from my experience, is an untouchable doctrine within the Christian church, specifically the black church. Whenever questions arise regarding tithes one is quickly rebuked and told that they just should be paid. Many invoke Malichi 3:8 saying that you will be cursed with a curse if tithes are not paid. I even heard and have seen first hand ministers give whole sermons on Malichi 3:8 telling the congregation that if they do not give their tithes and offerings then they too will be cursed by God. Yet, I disagree with such a premise, how is it that one can take a scripture that isn't referring to the new church and somehow apply it or really mis- apply it, to today's church? It wasn't written to us but it was written for us. The Lord was not speaking to the church but to Israel, specifically the Levitical Priests who were responsible for collecting and giving the tithes and burnt offerings as Numbers 18:24-28 describes an order given to Moses to instruct the Levites (priesthood) on collecting the tithes(fruits, oils, animals) from the people and then honoring the Lord with a tenth of that tithe. So Malichi 3:8 cannot be applied to today in the sense that it has been by many, meaning, the true point of the scripture is missed if we focus on the tithing aspect from a monetary perspective. The crux of Malichi is regarding the heart of the priests not being with God, but having a contempt for God and His word. Demonstrating this contempt by only giving the bare minimum as burnt offerings. You can parallel this with the situation with Cain back in Genesis 4, Cain's sacrifice was unacceptable due to his contempt for his brother and unwillingness to give God what was right as opposed to Abel who gave God the fat portions of his flock.
Now Abel kept flocks, and Cain worked the soil. In the course of time Cain brought SOME of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the LORD. But Abel brought FAT PORTIONS from some of the firstborn of his flock. The LORD looked with favor on Abel and his offering, but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor. So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast.So the plight of Cain wasn't that he didn't give but how and what he gave to God. He did not give God his best nor was it from a contrite heart but one of contempt for God. Keep in mind here that I am not saying we should not tithe at all, but that it seems to be done in the wrong spirit given to the wrong people, and for the wrong reasons. I've stated on this blog before that we should not give to God in order to get from him. This is a distorted relationship to have. What if marriage was designed in such a way where each only gave love and support to the other only to get something in return? I think we've all seen the result of such an arrangement in many households today. The Lord doesn't need anything from us for all belongs to Him anyway.
Genesis 4:2-5 (emphasis mine)
Well, I will end here and pick this up tomorrow. There is a lot more to this that I want to touch on.
Until then, I would love to hear others POV on this matter.