Rebuttal of Steve Jesmer by Russell Kelly
Become a Tithe-Loving Church, Pt.2
By Pastor Steve Jesmer, June 11, 2009
Steve: How terrible it will be for you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you are careful to tithe even the tiniest part of your income, but you ignore the important things of the law justice, mercy, and faith. You should tithe, yes, but you should not leave undone the more important things. (Mat 23:23 NLT)
Russ: According to the context, Matthew 23:23 is a discussion of "things of the law" before Calvary while the Law was still in full force. (1) Jesus could not have commanded his Gentile disciples to tithe because it was not legal. (2) Churches do not teach Mt 23:23 because they do not teach tithing of garden herbs.
Steve: ... So, yes I do get angry about the tithe (by the way, God also got angry over the tithe in Malachi 3:10 ...
Russ: I get very angry when so-called pastors totally twist God's Word and apply it to the Church when not a Word exists concerning tithing and the Church.
Steve: Let me rewind real quick: a tithe is simply a tenth or 10% (if you are into mathematical terms:)
Russ: A "biblical" tithe is always "only food from inside Israel." Period. Although money was common even in Genesis and essential for sanctuary worship, money was never included in 16 texts which describe the contents of the tithe. Jesus, Peter and Paul did not qualify as tithe-payers and neither did the poor nor those who lived outside Israel.
Steve: The Bible says that the tithe belongs to the Lord.
Russ: The very last 5 verses of Leviticus say this. The other 27+ chapters of Leviticus say lists hundreds of other things which are also holy and most holy --these the church conveniently discards but keeps the tithe. The "tithe which belonged to the Lord" in Leviticus could only came from food producers inside Israel.
Steve: God gives us all that we have and He only asks us to bring back a portion of it …
Russ: God never commanded "US", the church to tithe. And he never commanded tithe-recipients to (1) forfeit property ownership and (2) kill anybody who attempted to worship God directly per the TITHE ordinance of Numbers 18.
Steve: 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. (Lev 27:30 NIV)
Russ: Leviticus 27:30-35 has it correct. Tithes were only food from inside Israel. Period.
Russell Earl Kelly, PHD