1. Should Christians pay tithe?




No, Christians are not bound to keep the precept of tithing because they are under grace and not under the law of Moses (Romans 6:14). In the writings of the New Testament there is not a single passage which commands us to pay tithe, I say it again, not a single passage. Yes, there are some passages that speak about tithe, but they do not command to pay tithe. Let us look at these passages.

● Jesus said: “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone” (Matthew 23:23 – NKJV).

First of all, note that Jesus was speaking to people who were under the law, and secondly that Jesus by saying “without leaving the others undone” confirmed that the Jews had to keep not only the commandment concerning tithing but also the other commandments of the law. Therefore if we take this passage in order to support tithing, we should not only pay tithe but we should also keep the Sabbath, we should abstain from eating the unclean foods of the law, we should keep all the Jewish feasts, etc. But if we did so we would be entangled again in the yoke of the law, from which we have been set free. Does the Lord want us to be entangled again in the bondage of the law? Certainly not, for Paul says to the Galatians: “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage” (Galatians 5:1). Therefore we must see that we are not entangled again with the heavy yoke of the law. Of course Jesus never disapproved of the commandment concerning tithe, but this is not a good reason to keep it, for Jesus did not disapprove of the sabbath commandment, nor the feast of Passover, nor the circumcision either. What shall we do then? Shall we keep the Sabbath, the Jewish feasts, and even the circumcision, just because Jesus never disapproved of them? Certainly not, since we know that all these things are just a shadow of the things that were to come.

● The writer of the epistle to the Hebrews says: “And verily they that are of the sons of Levi, who receive the office of the priesthood, have a commandment to take tithes of the people according to the law, that is, of their brethren, though they come out of the loins of Abraham: … And here men that die receive tithes; but there he receiveth them, of whom it is witnessed that he liveth” (Hebrews 7:5,8).

First of all, it must be said that those mortal men who receive tithes (Hebrews 7:8) were Levites (therefore they were Jews by birth) who, at that time were still receiving tithes from the other Jews in obedience to the commandment of the law of Moses. Therefore, since we are not Jews by birth and among us Gentiles there are no descendants of the tribe of Levi, the fact that the Levites received tithes does not concern us. Perhaps someone will say, this passage says: ‘Here men that die receive tithes”, therefore if the verb is present that means that even under grace the saints in Christ had to pay tithe!’. I answer you by saying that the verb is present not only when the Scripture speaks of tithe, but also when it speaks of the gifts and the sacrifices which were being offered (at that time) in the earthly sanctuary in Jerusalem by the Jewish priests, for it is written: “For if he [Jesus] were on earth, he should not be a priest, seeing that there are priests that offer gifts according to the law: Who serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things, as Moses was admonished of God when he was about to make the tabernacle: for, See, saith he, that thou make all things according to the pattern shewed to thee in the mount” (Hebrews 8:4-5) and again: “And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins” (Hebrews 10:11). Furthermore, note the expression “according to the law” because it refers to the law of Moses and not to the law of Christ, for the Levites received tithes from the people, and the priests offered gifts and sacrifices in the temple according to the law of Moses. But remember that those who did those things were Jews by birth, who were still under the law and had not yet been set free from the law, while we have been set free from the law by Jesus Christ. Then, according to your argument it would follow that since the verb is present even in relation to the sacrifices of goats offered by the Jews for their sins, we also should offer upon an altar in an earthly sanctuary dedicated to the worship of God sacrifices of fat animals for our sins!! God forbid, for it is written again: “Which was a figure for the time then present, in which [the earthly sanctuary] were offered both gifts and sacrifices, that could not make him that did the service perfect, as pertaining to the conscience” (Hebrews 9:9) and also: “For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect” (Hebrews 10:1) and: “We have an altar, whereof they have no right to eat which serve the tabernacle” (Hebrews 13:10). Therefore, the fact that the priests and the Levites offered sacrifices for the sins and received tithes from the people, even after Jesus was taken up into heaven, does not mean that the Gentiles, under grace, were doing or had to do (at that time) the same things, even though these things were done by them in accordance with the law God gave to Moses for all Israel. Now, I would like to come back to the subject of the sons of Levi. Why? Because when we speak about tithe we run the risk of forgetting that according to the law it was only the Levites who had to receive tithes from the people of Israel: nobody else was allowed to collect tithes. So we can’t separate the collection of tithes from the Levitical priesthood because the two things are closely linked together. Just as we, when we speak of the collection of some taxes here in Italy, can’t speak about it without speaking of the Offices and the persons put in charge of the collection by the Italian law, so when we speak about tithe we can’t do it without speaking about the Levitical priests who were put in charge of the collection of the people’s tithes (who were put in charge of it by God). For God said to Moses: “Thus speak unto the Levites, and say unto them, When ye take of the children of Israel the tithes which I have given you from them for your inheritance, then ye shall offer up an heave offering of it for the LORD, even a tenth part of the tithe. And this your heave offering shall be reckoned unto you, as though it were the corn of the threshingfloor, and as the fulness of the winepress. Thus ye also shall offer an heave offering unto the LORD of all your tithes, which ye receive of the children of Israel; and ye shall give thereof the LORD's heave offering to Aaron the priest. Out of all your gifts ye shall offer every heave offering of the LORD, of all the best thereof, even the hallowed part thereof out of it. Therefore thou shalt say unto them, When ye have heaved the best thereof from it, then it shall be counted unto the Levites as the increase of the threshingfloor, and as the increase of the winepress. And ye shall eat it in every place, ye and your households: for it is your reward for your service in the tabernacle of the congregation” (Numbers 18:25-31). Therefore, as things are, in order to impose tithing on the believers we would need some Levitical priests in our midst because God put them in charge of the collection of tithes, from which tithes they had to take a tenth part and offer it to the Lord. Are there among us Levitical priests who perform the duties prescribed by the law? No, so tithing cannot be imposed on believers. If we were under the law and we had some Levitical priests in our midst, we would be bound to pay tithe but since these conditions do not exist, nobody has the right to impose tithing on the Church. And at this point I would like to point out that even Jesus Christ did not impose tithing on His disciples, and the reason is because Jesus was of the tribe of Judah and not of the tribe of Levi. Therefore, had Jesus imposed tithing in order to support His ministry He would have violated the law. Had Jesus ordered His disciples to pay tithe and give it to him, He would have sinned, because Jesus had not the right to receive tithes from His disciples, who were Jews by birth. If you have never thought about it, think about it attentively. Neither did Paul impose tithing for he was of the tribe of Benjamin. To try to make people believe that the apostle Paul ordered to pay tithe in order to live of the Gospel is wrong, for this is denied by the fact that Paul, being a Jew, was of the tribe of Benjamin and not of the tribe of Levi. But this is also denied by the fact that Paul was not under the law and he did not order the believing Gentiles to keep the law of Moses. Of course, Paul said that those who preach the Gospel should live of the Gospel, but to live of the Gospel does not mean to live of the tithes because tithes are part of the law and not of the Gospel. On the contrary, in my judgement, some who preach the Gospel want to live of the law in that they impose tithing on believers. Know this, that it does not make sense to preach the Gospel and then live of the law; unfortunately many don’t understand it.