(Lev 27:30 NIV) “”‘A tithe of everything from the land, whether grain from the soil or fruit from the trees, belongs to the LORD; it is holy to the LORD.”
31 If a man redeems any of his tithe, he must add a fifth of the value to it.
32 The entire tithe of the herd and flock–every tenth animal that passes under the shepherd’s rod–will be holy to the LORD.
33 He must not pick out the good from the bad or make any substitution. If he does make a substitution, both the animal and its substitute become holy and cannot be redeemed.'”
34 These are the commands the LORD gave Moses on Mount Sinai for the Israelites.
These were commands given to the Israelites, not to the gentiles.
Redeem means to recover ownership of by paying a specified sum. It is not possible to redeem something that you never owned. So both God’s animal and the animal that was attempted as a substitute belong to God. We are told, or it is implied that God gave Israel 100% and then required them to give back 10%, but that is not true.
The tithe was not given so that anyone could give it back to God: He already owned it. He only commanded a way to determine what was His. If an Israelite did not own land then he could not Tithe as the Tithe was on everything the land produced: therefore Jesus did not Tithe, because He did not own land. God did not require the poor to Tithe. Actually He did not require anyone to give Him anything.
What was to be done with God’s Tithe?
(Deu 12:17 NIV) “You must not eat in your own towns the tithe of your grain and new wine and oil, or the firstborn of your herds and flocks, or whatever you have vowed to give, or your freewill offerings or special gifts.”
(Deu 12:18 NIV) “Instead, you are to eat them in the presence of the LORD your God at the place the LORD your God will choose–you, your sons and daughters, your menservants and maidservants, and the Levites from your towns–and you are to rejoice before the LORD your God in everything you put your hand to.”
(Deu 14:23 NIV) “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.”
24 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),
25 then exchange your tithe for silver, and take the silver with you and go to the place the LORD your God will choose.
26 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.
The first two years the entire Tithe was for a party for God’s children.
(Deu 26:12 NIV) “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.”
The third year God’s wealth was to be given to those who did not own land, so they could experience the generosity of God.
(Exo 23:10&11 NIV) “”For six years you are to sow your fields and harvest the crops,” “but during the seventh year let the land lie unplowed and unused. Then the poor among your people may get food from it, and the wild animals may eat what they leave. Do the same with your vineyard and your olive grove.”
There was no Tithe on the crops the seventh year. However, there would still have been a Tithe on livestock.
Now if it was God’s money and it was used to buy something – then who really paid the Tithe? Didn’t God spend everything that He kept for Himself on His children? So wasn’t it really God who paid the Tithe?
(Mal 3:10 NIV) “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the LORD 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.”
They did not do this. They stole God’s portion.
Do you see the difference between what you have been taught and what the Tithe really was? We are taught, or it is implied that all of Israel was required to give back 10% of everything God gave them, every year, and none of that is true. No one, rich or poor, was required to give back anything.
Jesus did not pay the Tithe. However He did pay the temple tax.
(Mat 17:24 NIV) “After Jesus and his disciples arrived in Capernaum, the collectors of the two-drachma tax came to Peter and asked, “Doesn’t your teacher pay the temple tax?””
25 “Yes, he does,” he replied. When Peter came into the house, Jesus was the first to speak. “What do you think, Simon?” he asked. “From whom do the kings of the earth collect duty and taxes–from their own sons or from others?”
26 “From others,” Peter answered. “Then the sons are exempt,” Jesus said to him.
27 “But so that we may not offend them, go to the lake and throw out your line. Take the first fish you catch; open its mouth and you will find a four-drachma coin. Take it and give it to them for my tax and yours.”
Most of, if not all ritual sacrifices were from Israel to God, but the Tithe was a ritual sacrifice from God to His children! “O” how it has been twisted in order to milk those who do not study God’s word and therefore do not understand the Tithe.
Now I would like to say what is apparent to me. At the end of days, when all of the testing of man is over, God will restore the Tithe. Just as God prophesied through the ritual of the Tithe that He would give everything that He owned to His children, He will do so, and the Tithe will be completed.
What a wonderful God and Father we have!
Now, if you want a laugh and I usually want one, then if you are asked to Tithe say “OK” “I will Tithe just as Israel and Jesus did”. Then do so. You owe nothing! Well, I think it is funny anyway.