By Russell Earl Kelly, PHD
See: http://www.tithing-russkelly.com/ for texts
The Jakes’ sermon is at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yy1Sp-9nEi8, Straight Talk about Tithes
T. D. Jakes is a modern pied-piper charmer, a carnival-type hustler, and a very slick-talking charismatic mesmerizer. He spends 129 minutes on this video saying what should take no more than 15 minutes. He uses out-of-context texts and backs them up with humor, smiles and anecdotes.
1. LIE: The tithe is 10% of gross income.
TRUTH: The holy biblical tithe as used by Moses, Malachi and Jesus was never income because man-made products and services were never tithed. Holy tithes were always only (a) from Old Covenant Israelites, b) never from the Church or Gentiles, c)
food (crops and clean animals) d) from inside God’s holy land of Israel e) which God had miraculously increased. Holy tithes could not come from a) Gentiles, b) outside Israel or c) defiled land inside Israel (i.e. Samaria). 16 texts validate this.
2. LIE: Tithes go far beyond money in the early Bible.
TRUTH: There is not a single holy biblical tithe which goes beyond food from inside Israel. Again, there are 16 texts which validate this –including Leviticus 27:30-34, Malachi 3:10-12 and Matthew 23:23. Abram and Jacob’s tithes were either from Sodom or pagan Syria and were not holy.
3. LIE: Tithes are holy because they are consecrated to God.
TRUTH: Tithes were holy because God miraculously increased them from inside His own holy land. God’s act of miraculously growing them made them holy; they were holy before man even touched them. Also, except for the tithe, almost every use of “holy” and “most holy” has been rejected by the church as unnecessary Old Covenant ritual.
4-6. LIE: From Leviticus 27:30-32,
If you [Christians] use the tithe, God wants 20% interest on it.
TRUTH: Read Leviticus 27:30! It is only about food from crops and is not about income from craftsmen. If tithes were about income, money would have been listed since money is very common even in Genesis.
TRUTH: Read Lev 27:31! It is about farmers collecting the best seed grain for future plantings. It is not about paying interest because one has defrauded God.
TRUTH: Since Christians and Gentiles never were under the Old Covenant law of tithing, Jakes’ use of “you” cannot refer to them.
7-8. LIE: In Lev 27:32 every 10th animal; tithe means a tenth.
TRUTH: Read Lev 27:32! The holy tithe here is clean animals miraculously increased by God from inside holy Israel. No mention is made of income from man’s own hand-increase.
TRUTH: In Lev 27:32 the tithe is the tenth and not the first. It is never the first tenth or first-fruit. It is impossible to know how much grain to tithe or how many clean animals to tithe until the full count is made. Yet Jakes and others lie to call the tithe the first-fruit before production expenses are subtracted.
Lev 27:33 He shall not search whether it is good or bad, neither shall he change it: and if he changes it at all, then both it and the change thereof shall be holy; it shall not be redeemed.
9-10. LIE: God says don’t just give me what you don’t want.
TRUTH: Jakes lies by not reading Lev 27:33 literally.
TRUTH: Jakes wants his church members to give the best as the tenth. Yet the texts say the opposite. The farmer was to give a tenth of the whole final crop and not seek out the best. The herdsman was to tithe every tenth animal –whether the best or worst.
Lev 27:34 These are the commandments, which the LORD commanded Moses for the children of Israel in mount Sinai.
TRUTH: Jakes lies by not reading verse 34, the context of 30-33.
TRUTH: All of the many holy and most holy things in Leviticus were only commanded to Old Covenant Israel. There are over 600 commands in the Law.
13. LIE: In the story of the widow’s mite, by percentage wise, she gave more.
TRUTH: Although the statement is true, the lie is in using the widow’s mite as an example of tithing when it is only an example of sacrificial freewill giving. The tithing of many rich believers is not sacrificial.
14-15. LIE: Why is the tithe 10%?
TRUTH: The Old Covenant tithe was about 23%. There were actually three tithes [dare to teach that!]: Levitical, festival and poor tithes. And the priests only received 1% (a tenth of the tenth) of the first Levitical tithe. See chapters 4 and 7 of my free online book. Jakes does not teach tithing from Numbers 18!
TRUTH: Since all Christians are priests, there is no biblical reason for priests to tithe to themselves. See chapter 21.
Rom 4:17 (As it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations,) before him whom he believed, even God, who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were.
16. LIE: I’m gonna call that which is not as though it were.
TRUTH: This is the holiness line that they can speak and their words bring it to pass. Yet the text gives this power to God and not to man.
17. LIE: 10% is the minimum
TRUTH: This extremely common lie is used by most tithe advocates. It is based on the false assumption that every Hebrew/Christian (and even Gentile) believer was expected to begin his/her level of giving at ten percent. The truth is that the only persons commanded to tithe were Hebrew food producers who lived inside God’s holy land of Israel. Tithes of income or non-food items were never even required from craftsmen, tradesmen and professional workers living inside Israel (much less outside of Israel).
18. LIE: Jesus is the tithe.
TRUTH: This is not taught in God’s Word. Notice that no text is quoted. It is an invention of the speaker. Jesus is God’s freewill, sacrificial, generous gift to humanity. The tithe was a command of the law whether or not one desired to tithe.
18. LIE: The 90% is in the 10%.
TRUTH: This is not taught in God’s Word. It is another invented statement. Only the 10% was described as “holy to the LORD.”
Secularists (humanists), agnostics and even atheists thrive and prosper by applying sound business principles of education, hard work, long hours, and sacrifice. Yet tithe-teachers ignore all this and teach that one’s success in life is the result of tithing.
19. LIE: It is our obedience in returning the tithe that blesses God.
TRUTH: This is not taught in God’s Word; no validating text is quoted. Altdhough the entire miraculous increase of the crops or the clean animals was God’s blessing to His holy people, He only commanded the tithe -- not for the people to bless Him, but to provide for ministry of the Old Covenant (Numb 18:21-28).
20. LIE: When King Saul disobeyed God (1 Sam 15:17-24), it led to his demise.
TRUTH: The lie is in using Saul to threaten Christians into giving their first 10% to the tithe-teacher.
a) In 1st Samuel 8:14-17, the first tithe went to the king of Israel –which meant God received the second tithe. This is usually ignored by tithe advocates.
b) Under the Old Covenant, God did not bless tithe-payers who sinned in other of the 600-plus commandments of the Law. See Gal 3:10; Deut 27:26.
21. LIE: The biblical tithe is 10% of gross income.
22. LIE: In the Bible they tithed off substance before taxes.
23. LIE: Giving God tithes on net is after you have reverenced everybody else.
a) Farmers and herders paid their laborers daily throughout the year before harvest.
b) Since tithes and first-fruits/first-both are different, Hebrews could not both give first-fruits/first-born AND also tithe the first-fruits/first-born.
c) It would not be fair or right for modern farmers and business owners to tithe before deducting expenses such as wages, equipment and fuel.
d) Many preachers do not count the value of excluded living expenses, travel expenses and other benefits.
e) Old Covenant tithe-recipients were not allowed to own or inherit property. This is ignored today.
f) The first whole Levitical tithe went, not to the priests, but to the servants of the priests; these correspond to modern greeters, ushers, deacons, musicians, singers, church treasurers and church builders/maintenance men. This is ignored today. See Levites.
g) If there were one full-time staff member for every 10 families which tithed, then the wages for the staff member would average the same as the 10 tithing families. When this ratio is not matched, the gospel worker is receiving a higher salary than those he serves. Yet the O.T. Levites and priests were always identified as among the poorest for the second festival tithe and third-year poor tithe.
23. LIE: In Malachi 3:10 “all” means the “whole” tithe should be brought to the local church.
a) Malachi is in the context of the Old Covenant which has been replaced by the New Covenant (Heb 8:8-13).
b) In the New Covenant God’s will is written in the heart; tithing is not; freewill sacrificial giving is.
c) From Malachi 1:6 and 2:1 onward “you” refers to dishonest priests.
d) The priests of Nehemiah 13:5-10 had stolen the Levites’ portion of the tithe. Nehemiah is the context of Malachi.
e) The Jerusalem Temple did not physically have room to store the tithe of the nation (2 Chron 31:5; 1 Kings 6:5-6).
f) The whole tithe was to be brought to the Levitical cities (Neh 10:37b-38; 13:10; 2 Chron 31:15-19; Numb 35).
g) The “you” of Mal 3:10 only makes sense if it refers to “every priest in the nation.”
24. LIE: “… that there may be food in my house” (Mal 3:10).
TRUTH: Jakes twists God’s Word into a lie by ignoring the literal clear interpretation of Malachi 3:10 as a reference to food. Over 1000 years after the first description of the holy tithe in Leviticus 27:30-34, it is still only FOOD from inside God’s holy land of Israel which He had miraculously increased. It never included income or increase from what man made.
25: LIE: “Test me; prove me.” (Mal 3:10)
TRUTH: The lie is how this is taken out of its Old Covenant context and applied to Christians as if God commits Himself to bless tithers regardless of their many other sins.
a) The Old Covenant Law was an indivisible whole; it was the covenant itself. Tithing was one of very many statutes/ordinances of ceremonial worship as found in Leviticus.
b) The whole covenant was a test –not merely tithing. This must not be ignored. (Gal 3:10)
c) One must obey all 600+ commands of the Old Covenant in order to be blessed; disobedience to one brought the curses of that covenant (Gal 3:10; Deut 27:26; chapters 28-30).
26. LIE: “And I will pour out a blessing” (Mal 3:10).
TRUTH: The lie is how this text is manipulated.
a) Its literal and historical context of food is ignored.
b) Jakes re-writes God’s Word in order to make the text say only what he wants it to say. (Deut 4:2; 12:32; Rev 22:18-19)
[Jakes is now half-way through his 130 minute sermon on tithing and he says (later) he did not finish. It is mostly cute stories and anecdotes.]
27. LIE: Quotes Malachi 1:4-13.
TRUTH: The lie is how the text is used out of context. It is addressed only to Old Covenant Israel: Mal 1:1 “The burden of the word of the LORD to Israel by Malachi.”
28. LIE: “It is you, O priests, who show contempt for my name” (Mal 1:6).
TRUTH: The lie is how Jakes completely ignores and rushes past this vital text in Malachi.
a) In 1:6 God changes his address from the people of Israel in 1:1 to its priests.
b) In 2:1 God again reminds the reader to whom He is speaking. Yet, tithe-advocates ignore this.
c) Beginning in 1:6 the “you” of Malachi refers only to the priests. The addressee does not change again.
29. LIE: “You bring blind, crippled and diseased animals to my altar” (Mal 1:7).
TRUTH: The lie is how Jakes ignores the very obvious reference to the priests of Israel. The common people did not place animals on the altar.
30. LIE: “Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honor …
(1 Tim 5:17).
(1 Tim 5:17).
1 Tim 5:19 “Against an elder receive not an accusation, but before two or three witnesses. Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear.”
TRUTH: The lie is how Jakes manipulates this text out of context. See chapter 24 in my book free online. The context of First Timothy 5 is church discipline (5:1). Elders who are called gospel workers deserve double caution when bringing an accusation.
31. LIE: When the Bible talks about double honor, it is talking about money.
TRUTH: Grossly untrue. A simple concordance check of the word “honor” will validate this.
32. LIE: “Render to Caesar
that which is Caesar’s and render to God that which is God’s.” (Mt 22:21).
TRUTH: The lie is how Jakes uses this text out of context to teach that the tithe belongs to God and that the tithe was 10% of gross income before taxes or expenses. Look at Leviticus 27:30-34 again. The holy tithe which “is the LORD’s” was always only food from inside holy Israel.
a) In the Old Covenant the people brought their first whole Levitical tithe to the Levitical cities per Nehemiah 10:37b-38. That is where 98% of those who needed it for food resided most of the time (Joshua 20-21; Numb 35). It would be cruel to ask every Levite and every priest to travel to the Temple every time they needed food.
b) It was not legal for the early church to have its own buildings until Constantine’s time after A.D. 300. The word “church” is an assembly of believers; it does not refer to a building in the Bible.
c) Christianity was an outlaw religion and church leaders were self-supporting before A.D. 325. There is no evidence that gospel workers were supported by tithes prior to Charlemagne’s time around A.D. 800.
34. LIE: “Bring the tithe to the priest; the government of your church.
TRUTH: No texts. According to Acts 21:20-21, the Jerusalem church was still supporting the temple system (in error) over 30 years after Calvary.
35. LIE: Tithing teaches order and discipline, which is the secret to cash management.
TRUTH: Notice no validating texts. Modern business seminars in salesmanship produce much more success even though their clients may be agnostics or atheists.
36. LIE: Tithing is a skeleton for your finances.
37 . LIE: When you tithe you invite God into your business.
TRUTH: If so, then why do not agnostics and atheists teach and practice tithing? Tell that to wealthy Muslim sheiks, movie actors and professional athletes.
38. LIE: Believe God for supernatural return [not education and long hours]
TRUTH: Tithe-teaching churches are full of uneducated poor lower-class believers who are being drained of their already-meager income. They are sacrificing and faithful, yet they remain poor and downtrodden (often by their own pastors).
39. LIE: There are 5 “I wills” in Malachi that God promises the tither.
Mal 4:4 Remember ye the law of Moses my servant, which I commanded unto him in Horeb for all Israel, with the statutes [including tithing] and judgments.
Gal 3:10 For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.
TRUTH: Promises of blessings tdo tithers only apply if the tither a) is a Hebrew b) under the Old Covenant and c) he obeys that covenant by tithing to Levites, the servants of the priests.
40. LIE: I will open the windows of heaven.
TRUTH: Jakes has no authority to ignore the literal reference to water for crops and pastureland.
41: LIE: I will pour you out a blessing.
TRUTH: If one wants to preach a New Covenant sermon, Malachi should be replaced with Ephesians, chapter 1. Why preach Ephesians 1 (as Jakes does) from Malachi? He wants to equate gospel blessings of Ephesians 1 to the law-blessings of Malachi and ignore the curses and blessings of Deuteronomy 28 to 30.
42. LIE: Mahalia Jackson and Colonel Sanders tithed and are dead and the money is still coming.
TRUTH: The lie is in implying that M. Jackson and Col. Sanders’ heritage are still receiving money because their relatives tithed. If that is true, how do we explain the same facts concerning Michael Jackson, Elvis Presley and the Beatles? Many relatives of wealthy atheists also receive benefits even though no tithes were involved.
43: LIE: I will prevent the pests from devouring your crop. The pests represent your enemies, limitations and human frailties.
a) Again Jakes completely ignores the literal meaning of the clear text which validates the fact that holy biblical tithes were only food from inside holy Israel.
b) Again Jakes makes his own uninspired opinion the object of the text and the focus of his sermon.
c) This is Word-of-Faith preaching at its worse. There is a total rejection of solid literal historical context replaced by what the individual preacher says.
44. LIE: Jakes speaks in tongues.
TRUTH: Why? What was accomplished? What was the interpretation? What was said in tongues which had not already been revealed in God’s Word? Why did not the Holy Spirit guide Jakes into speaking the truth about tithing?
45. LIE: I will prevent your vines from casting her fruit before the time in the field (Mal 3:11). I will keep that which you commit; I will teach you how to hold your blessing.
a) The lie is how the literal is replaced by the preacher’s opinion –thus changing and adding to the Word.
b) 16 texts describing the holy tithe as food from inside Israel are rejected and replaced by a post-Calvary New Covenant. Again if Jakes wanted to teach New Covenant truth, he should have preached from the New Covenant (2 Tim 1:12).
46. I will spare them as a father spares his favorite son; I will spoil you.
???: Where is Jakes quoting from?
47. LIE: Gen 15:5 either believe God or not.
TRUTH: The lie is how Jakes manipulates the text. Genesis 15:5 is not about tithing; it is about Genesis 12:1-4 and 15:1-4.
48. LIE: Raise that window or jive your way out of a blessing (Mal 3:10).
TRUTH: Jakes says that, by tithing, you open the window of blessing. Yet he stumbles into the truth by also saying that believers must also be living godly lives in other areas. This closing word finally gets it right; God never did bless tithers merely because they tithed under the Old Covenant law of ordinances and statutes.
49. LIE: That’s Straight Talk about Tithes
TRUTH: No. He was wrong at every major point.
Russell Earl Kelly, PHD
316 Aonia Road
Washington, Ga 30673
I am eager and willing to dialog with any tithe-advocate and invite public open dialog.