Republished by: Izobofolo’s Blog
Nations extract taxes from their citizens, but not all citizens are required by law to pay tax. Take for example, the destitute, the bankrupt and nor profit organizations are not qualified to pay tax.
Likewise, the various “tithes” commanded in the Law of Moses served as taxes to support various functions of the nation; supporting the government officials (Levites), funding the national religious ceremonies and festivals, and providing for the needy (widows, orphans and immigrants).
Having said this, let us see who was qualified to tithe and who was not qualified to tithe.
OLD TESTAMENT EXPLANATION – The owner of a farmland had to tithe, but his hired hands were exempted. Was a hired hand required to tithe on his salary? Not at all! There was no law that required a tenth of one’s salary to be tithed (which was earned for services rendered). Neither did the tithe come from the results of a man’s crafts, handicrafts and skills.
Only the crops and animals were subject to the tithe. After all, the crops and the animals did not belong to the hired hand and only the increase from one’s land or animals was subject to the tithe. And note this. Fishermen did not tithe, though this industry is mentioned in the law (Leviticus 11:9–12).
Likewise, the mining industry is referred to (Deuteronomy 8:9), but the tithe of minerals extracted from the earth was never called for. The lumber business is mentioned (1 Kings 5:7–12) and construction work on buildings (1 Kings 5:13–18) but tithes were not extracted from people who worked in those trades.
The same held true for those earning an income from weaving, handicrafts, or from any form of manufacturing or merchandising. They all were immune from tithing, including all those in the military, and government workers. Only those Israelites who earned a livelihood from farming and herding inside Israel were required to tithe under the Mosaic Law.
NEW TESTAMENT EXPLANATION – This was still the definition during the time of Jesus. Jesus was a carpenter; Paul was a tentmaker; Matthew was a tax collector; Peter and other disciples had been fishermen and none of these occupations qualified as tithe-payers because they did not farm or herd animals for a living. As a result, none was required by the law to pay tithes. That was the reason there was no account of such in the entire New Testament.
To make it plain and simple, only the owners of farms and flocks were required to tithe. Some pastors commonly teach that the tithe is God’s and that he must get his tithe first. But the Bible says it is the tenth animal (the last one) that passes under the rod that is God’s, NOT the first (Leviticus 27:32).
Indeed, the Israelite who had fewer than ten cattle did not have to tithe on nine of them because the requirement stated that only the tenth animal that passed under the rod was to be tithed. This is the precise law of tithing which was ordained for Israel by God.
And as the governments of this world will always exempt some of their citizens from paying tax for some reasons, God (full of grace and mercy) did not request or require the destitute in the Old Testament to tithe. The poor were not required to tithe at all!
It is wrong to teach that the poor in Israel were required to pay tithes. In fact, they actually received tithes! Much of the festival tithe and the third-year tithe went to the poor! They neither owned farmland nor (substantially) raised herds.
And, since God is full of grace and mercy, it is not within the scope of his divine holy character to ask a poor person to tithe and deprive himself and his family of the basic necessities of life. There is not a single Old Covenant text which commands the poor to tithe, rather they were placed among the people who would benefit from the tithes (Deuteronomy 14:28-29).
But today, the reverse is the case, no one is exempted, and it’s unheard-of that a church member does not pay tithes. It’s an abomination, in fact. Churches rarely cater to the poor people’s needs, let alone receive tithes for their upkeep. In many cases, when the destitute and the wretched-of-the-earth ask for help from the churches or the pastors and tithe apologists, they’re horrified, even scandalized!
They ask the poor to borrow or sell whatever they can and pay tithes first. The pastors will tell them that they are poor because they don’t pay tithes! They will even advise the poor to pay their tithes so that God will open the windows of heaven for them!
In many churches today, the doctrine of tithing is quickly becoming a requirement for church membership, every member of the church is required to have a monthly marked tithe card, even the beggars are expected to pay tithes from the little they receive from their kind neighbors?
You pastors, do you not fear God? Have you altered and modified the word of God and made merchandise of the poor (2 Peter 2:3) so you can feed fat and own the biggest cars, houses and airplanes?
If you want your members to abide by the tithing laws, why don’t you teach them to perform (work) according to God’s instructions in the Scriptures?