Russ: True biblical HOLY tithes were always only FOOD from inside Israel which God had miraculously increased. Money was essential for sanctuary worship, but tithes could not come from money, from what man increased, from Gentiles or from outside Israel. HOLY tithes could only come from Hebrew food producers living inside Israel. See your own text of Lev 27:30-34.
Russ: Yes, every pagan nation in Abram’s time tithed, worshipped idols, sacrificed children and practiced temple prostitution. That does not make them eternal or moral principles.
Russ: In the Bible it is always the tithe OF FOOD from inside God’s HOLY land of Israel. Never money and never from outside Israel. Jesus, Peter and Paul did not tithe.
Worm: … why tithe you may ask? well, for the Israelites, tithing:
1. reminded them that all they had was by the grace of God. they could not even say that the tithe was given since nothing belonged to them which was not from God.
Russ: While God owns everything He only accepted tithes from inside His HOLY land of Israel.
Worm: without this reminder, it is easy for man to fall into the trap of thinking that success was due to his own efforts.
Russ: That is why the increase could only come from God’s miracle hand from food.
Worm: 2. is an act of worship. the law was meant to tutor the Israelites on how to live by grace.
Russ: This is INSANE logic. Levitical tithing was cold hard LAW whether one desired to tithe or not.
Worm: tithing was a response of obedience to the grace of God.
Russ: INSANE LOGIC. It was commanded and demanded as cold hard law.
Worm: … the attitude behind the act was also important.
Worm: hence the emphasis on 'firstfruits' in the OT tithing. you give God your best or cream, not the dregs.
Russ: Read Lev 27:30-34. The tithe was the TENTH and not necessarily the best! Firstfruits were NOT tithes; they were very small token offerings from inside Israel per Deu 26:1-4 and Neh 10:35-38.
Worm: you may ask, 'but that only applied to the Jews...it is OT.' well, that may be true.
Russ: That is true – no maybe. God never commanded Gentiles to tithe. Gentiles never were under that Old Covenant law.
Worm: in fact, in the NT, there is also no express command to believers to tithe. the early disciples and Jesus did tithe because of their Jewish background.
Russ: Only if they were food producers who lived inside Israel. As a carpenter Jesus did not tithe. As a tentmaker living outside Israel, Paul did not tithe for two reasons.
Worm: accounts of the early church fathers also indicate that tithing was expected.
Russ: How early? Not the first 200 years! Cyprian’s, Chrysostum’s and Augustine’s did not become church law. Tithing did NOT become an enforced law for almost 800 years after Calvary. Even the Encyclopedia Britannica agrees.
Worm: … but applying biblical hermeneutics … still applies to us
Russ: Whose hermeneutics? Only that part of the law which was repeated to the Church after Calvary in terms of the New Covenant applies to us. NONE of the tithing law of Numbers 18 is obeyed by any church today. Otherwise tithe-recipients would not be allowed to own or inherit land and would be forced to KILL anybody else attempting to enter the sanctuary.
Worm: and if so, we should tithe.
Russ: Not if you define the tithe the way God’s Word uses it.
Worm: … the blessings that come with tithing are incidental, not a prerequisite.
Russ: Your theology is straddling the fence. Paul calls it “witchcraft” in Galatians 3:1. You are adding Law to Grace.
Worm: for a more detailed discussion on the subject, you may review the book by Randy Alcorn 'Money, Possessions and Eternity'.
Russ: Randy Alcorn has been thoroughly rebutted by me and refused to debate me in Christianity Today. See http://www.tithing-russkelly.com/id57.html
Russell Earl Kelly, PHD