Exposition on tithing and grace giving
Attack on the Church is intensifying in many ways and the tragedy is that some Christians, either out of ignorance or lack of proper understanding of the word of God have joined in the offensive. But the shenanigans of the Adversary, Satan, the Diabolos, will come to zilch because Jesus has said that the gates of hell will not prevail over His Church. Amen.
Recently, there has been a cacophony of voices from a mixed multitude on the recurrent and controversial topic of tithing in Christendom and it has become imperative to subject the vexed issue under the light of God’s word that we may have revelation and understanding, and for the edification of Christians and glorification of the name of the Lord Jesus Christ whose name is upon the Church.
First, the following background is key: For a better understanding and right division and application of the word of God in our lives and Church ordinances, it is key for servants of God, especially those working or intending to work in the Ministries of ‘’Poimeen’’/’’Didaskalos’’(Pastoral/Teaching), and any keen student of the Bible, to study Dispensations and Covenants, and understand principles, patterns, shadows and types enshrined in the Old Testament.
A Dispensation is a period of time that God allows certain specific things that can never be duplicated to occur within the creation to reveal His supremacy, glory and compassion. A Covenant is a binding agreement between two or more parties. Theologians recognise three major covenants, namely, Redemption, Works and Grace.
Tithe simply means a tenth, and to tithe is to give a tenth of one’s income or increase. Tithing was a religious practice in the Old Testament, which preceded the Mosaic Law. It was used to support Temple rituals and Priests and there were three types of tithes in the Rabbinical system, namely, the yearly tenth given to the sons of Levi who officiated at the Temple in Jerusalem (Numbers 18 vs 21-26), another tenth for religious festivals each year in Jerusalem, collected in the first, second, fourth and fifth years (Deut. 14 vs 23) and, another tenth for the poor collected on the third and sixth year.
The hullabaloo on tithes centre on its appropriateness or inappropriateness in the present Dispensation of Grace. The antagonists posit that present day Pastors are not qualified and entitled to receive tithe from their congregations because they are not Levites. And my immediate response to that before I proceed further, is that, indeed, today’s Pastors may, not be Levites, but regardless they are priests. Even superior priests than Levites. How? Because the priesthood of Levites was of works, and for a time and just a shadow or type of the ‘Real Deal’- the Priesthood of Jesus.
Today’s Pastors obtained a far better priesthood of our Master, Jesus, who was not a Levite but from Judah, but obtained a far better priesthood that is not of works and is everlasting, and being a Priest and King in the order of the priesthood of Melchizedec, King of Righteousness, King of Salem, and without genealogy. Melchizedec, was a Theophany-an appearance of Jesus in the Old Testament.
Today’s Pastors (Priests) are superior to the Levites. Now, if God supported Levites whose priesthood was just a shadow of the everlasting priesthood of Jesus, the Son of God, through tithes, would He, therefore, not support today’s Pastors who obtained a better priesthood and Covenant? Therefore, what is the mind of God and His instructions on how we should support His servants in the Dispensation of Grace? Before the exposition on that, let us revisit what one of the antagonists, who goes by the name, Daddy Freeze, a Christian, said in a recorded programme that went viral.
Daddy Freeze was so galled about Pastors receiving tithes, he said: “Anyone who pays tithe to a Nigerian pastor (I guess he meant any pastor) is a goat.’’ But that is not true. It is false teaching. In the Bible, sheep is representative of those who are submissive to the will of God, while goats are self-willed and stubborn people. And the Bible noted that stubbornness is the sin of witchcraft. Therefore, in other words, Daddy Freeze says that, ‘’anyone who pays tithe to a Nigerian pastor is self-willed and practices witchcraft.’’ But that is not the mind of God. Therefore, Daddy Freeze leans on his own understanding, which is contrary to God’s word. You may, therefore, judge who indeed is a goat.
True, God did not expressly say we should pay tithes as it was under the Law, but neither did He expressly say we should not pay tithes. But in so many ways He said we should support His servants today. In one instance, He used a pattern/principle under the Law to convey His mind on giving to His servants today: In 1 Corinthian 9 verse 9, God said, ‘’For it is written in the Law of Moses, thou shall not muzzle the mouth of the Ox that treadeth the corn. Doth God take care of Oxen’’?
The Ox (bull), a symbol of wealth, is a muscular and powerful animal that works in farms and used to harvest agricultural produce (wealth). The Ox is used figuratively to represent Pastors and others who work in the vineyard of God to harvest souls through their teachings, preaching, evangelism and planting of churches, and enrich their congregation spiritually, and God is basically saying that it is the responsibility of the church members to nourish the Pastors as one would nourish one’s bull that works in the farm. Hello o?
To further convey His mind through Apostle Paul, verse 10, says: “Or saith it for our sakes (Pastors’ sakes). For our sakes no doubt this is written that he that ploweth should plow in hope, and he that threashesth in hope shall be partaker of his hope.’’
Before I quote other Biblical verses that convey the mind of God about giving/supporting Pastors/Churches, let me note that giving in the Dispensation of Grace, known as Grace Giving or Grace of Giving, which some theologians have also branded Tithe plus, is a bigger deal than the contentious tithe. Why? Because of what Jesus did for us on the Cross and the truth that we obtained a better covenant and priesthood than the Levites. And all we own belong to Jesus. However, under Grace, there is no fixed percentage, one could give less than 10%, or 10%, or more, or everything as in sacrificial giving exemplified with the widow who gave her mite — all she had, in a great demonstration of faith, which attracted special recognition from Jesus. There is no fixed percentage under Grace, but some theologians posit that we should make ten per cent the minimum because we obtained a better Covenant than the Old Testament saints. It makes sense. But it is not by compulsion unlike under the Law.
In 1 Corinthians 9 verse 13, it is written: “Do ye know that they which minister about holy things live of the holy things of the temple? And they, which wait at the altar are partakers with the altar?,’’ Verse 14: ‘’Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live by the gospel.’’
Also, in 1 Corinthians verse 7: “Who plants a vineyard and does not eat its fruit? Or who shepherds a flock and does not drink the milk from the flock?’’ In the same verse, the Pastor is likened to a soldier who must not go to war for a kingdom at his own expense: ‘’Whoever goes to war on his own account?’’
Finally, Apostle Paul drives it home in 1 Corinthian 9 verse 11: “If we have sown spiritual things unto you, is it a great thing to reap your carnal (material) things?.’’ We pay our spiritual debts with material things.
From the above, it is abundantly evident that anyone who gives to a true Nigerian Pastor is not a goat as wrongly posited by Daddy Freeze, but does the will of God. My advice to Christians: Give, give, and give to your Churches/Pastors, as the Lord has prospered you, give cheerfully, willingly and generously. ‘’He who sows bountifully reaps bountifully, and he who says sparingly reaps sparingly,’’ the Bible says. Forget the activities of charlatans in the Body of Christ, it is not a small thing to be a servant of God, working either in the Ministries of ‘’Poimeen’’/‘’Didaskalos,’’ (Pastoral/Teaching), ‘’Apostolos’’ (Apostle) or ‘’Unganlistees’’ (Evangelist).
All true Christians are carriers of Christ and common enemies of Satan, the Diabolos, but the Ministers are on the frontline of the battle warring against Appolyon to save souls. Therefore, be encouraged to support them according to the word of God. Any teaching to the contrary is false teaching. From such, depart. In another piece I will write on benevolence and prosperity in the Church, and of servants of God. Until then, Grace be unto you.
• Nwobu, is a Minister of Christ. He wrote via firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: 08033021230
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