Luke 16:1-13 – – Recommended Reading…
Now, let’s pick up where we left off and consider the Old Testament Financial Order. The Old Testament, especially as it relates to what Acts 7:38 calls “The Church in the Wilderness” sets forth many patterns, types, and shadows of the New Testament Church. We find the Pattern of Worship seen in the Tabernacle of Moses and David as well as the Temple of Solomon. We see the pattern of the Priesthood set out in the Aaronic and Levitical Priestly order. We see the pattern of Redemptive Truth set forth in the Feasts of Israel and the pattern of Covenantal Relationships in the many Old Testament Covenants. Do we also find a pattern for finances and support of the Lord’s ministry and House of God? YES!
It is unfortunate that many believers have never studied this area of truth and most churches are completely out of order regarding finances. The only financial system that God ordained and blessed is the order He gave us there. The pattern of Church Finance is seen in the Old Testament and visible in the nation of Israel. Those basic principles are carried over to the New Testament Church and the Old Testament serves as a schoolmaster for our benefit. I contend what I said in the beginning, “If we want God’s Blessings it is important and imperative that we get in God’s Divine Order.” In studying Israel we observe God’s Order and find their giving covered two particular aspects or areas – Tithes and Offerings.
How, you might rightly ask, does that relate to the New Testament Church? The TITHE means ‘tenth’. Tithing is actually a teacher in which the student learns the principles of giving. If we remember that 100% belongs to God then grasping that He has graciously allowed us to keep nine-tenths to use. That would make parting with the first tenth easier. Leviticus 27:30-33 declared that the TITHE was Holy to the Lord… You may not believe in the TITHE and my point is not to argue but to present what I see and you and God work that out. However, if we understand that in tithing we are simply offering to God the ‘first fruits’ of what is His, to begin with. If we understand that then we know that Tithing is not Giving for we cannot give what is not ours. Using the Law of First Mention we find Abraham in Genesis 14:17-20 was a Tither and we are the ‘seed of Abraham’ and we are under the priestly order of Melchizedek and kings and priest unto God. The Gospels declare that Jesus is our King-Priest and He established the communion table with the bread and wine of the New Covenant. Therefore, we share in the bread and wine and give our tithes to Melchizedek, Jesus, who lives in the Power of an Endless Life. Tithing is not a Law Principle for it existed BEFORE the Law was given. Jacob was a tither as seen in Genesis 28:10-22. That was BEFORE the Law. The people of Israel were tithers and kept the practice under the Law. In Matthew 23:23, Jesus addressed the hypocrisy of the scribes and Pharisees and noted that they paid tithes of all but omitted weightier matters. He then said, “These you ought to have done (the weightier matters) without leaving the other undone.”
If we look at the System Israel followed I believe it will be beneficial for today. The Twelve Tribes tithed to the Lord [Leviticus 27:30-33; Numbers 18:21; Nehemiah 10:37] and that tithe was the income of the priestly tribe the Levites. The Levites had no inheritance but were sustained by the tithe of the people and that was called “The Lord’s Tithe.” There was no committee charged with dispensing or dispersing it, it was to be the livelihood of the priest or ministers. The tithe was on all the INCREASE and that is very important. The tithe could be withheld for personal use for a time and there was a penalty associated with it of 20%. Then we see the ‘Tithe of the Tithe’ where the Levites tithed on the tithe they received. Then there was a ‘Second Tithe’ and this was largely a ‘budgeting system’ that the individual used for himself and his household to cover expenses at the National Feasts. This was for his family’s spiritual development and enable them to attend the Feasts and not come before the Lord ’empty handed.’ Then amazingly, there was a Third Tithe which was set aside for the Levite, the stranger, orphans, and widows. This was for Charity and it was collected every third year and was virtually a ‘Saints Relief Fund’ enabling them to minister to the unemployed, sick, widows, and orphans. Then once they got a king there was a Government Tithe imposed.
In the Old Testament, it can be observed that tithing dropped off in spiritual decline and increased in times of spiritual awakening. I have discovered that the spiritual condition of a person, church and/or people usually reveals their spiritual condition.
What is my point? Not to debate tithing but to promote STEWARDSHIP and to recognize God’s order and the truth that all we have we received and He is the owner of it all. May the Lord richly bless you as you go through this beautiful day in Him!