Categorized | AIS File Library, Tithing

The Story of the Tenth

THE STORY OF THE TENTH
TITH04.TXT
Micheal Braggin

It was against my grain. For more than two years I had labored among a small band of people, taking such as they gave. The work grew slowly. I prided myself in the fact that our little mission had never lifted a collection, or asked anyone for one copper cent. Throughout the entire time we were able to meet every indebtedness that came against us. I could not ask, or speak about money, lest haply some one would think that I was in the ministry for what financial gain I could get out of it.

My clothes were second-hand and occasionally patched at the elbows and the knees. Often times my shoes were “half-soled” from within with folded newspapers, to keep my feet from off the ground. My wife was contented and bore everything with patience. A faithful wife is a treasure. What little money that was
deposited in the “Free-will-offering” box on the post near the entrance was used to pay the mission rent, fuel and light bills, and the balance went to the “support of the pastor.” Thus we lived, and God only knows how.

It was on Sunday morning at the “five o’clock prayer meeting” that the word of the Lord came to me saying, “You must speak on tithes and offering this morning.” As I remained on my knees with about twelve of our little band of thirty saints, I plead with God to relieve me of the matter. To speak about money, I felt would be my ruin. I had preached for nearly three years without mentioning it. How can I do it now? The only text
that I knew on the subject was “Will a Man Rob God?” I wept before God as I continued pleading to be relieved. Finally He showed me that I was keeping the people from a blessing.  At the close of the meeting I returned home, and afterwards began preparing for the eleven o’clock morning service. The time speedily arrived. I entered the mission again and immediately went to prayer. The saints gathered in, it seemed,
one by one. Still I pleaded. I got no answers. What must I do? Suddenly, as if a voice spoke from heaven, there came these words into my heart: “Preach about Jacob’s ladder.” Thank God! My prayer was heard! I felt sure that God had relieved me of the responsibility.

I arose from prayer and after singing several hymns, I at once found the place (after some searching) and proceeded to expound the chapter, verse by verse. As we spoke upon the word the Spirit of God filled the room. All the saints were rejoicing in the truths that were being unfolded. As I came to the last verse, expecting to close my discourse, I was astonished to find in the last of this chapter these words, “I will surely give ONE-TENTH unto Thee.” Gen. 28th chapter.

It was like a thunderbolt from the sky. I thought I had escaped preaching tithes. Here it was right before my eyes, unexceptional. There was nothing to do but obey. From that last verse I set before the people God’s financial plan. All eyes were riveted upon me. When I concluded, one of our elderly saints arose. I began to fear lest she was rising to reprove me for speaking for money. I waited my reproof. To my surprise she said, “We have all been wondering why you have not taught us tithes and offering before.” From that day forward the saints began paying tithes, and from a little band of about thirty saints we have increased to over 1,000 at this writing.

Some have raised objections to tithing, saying that it was under the Law, but we must remember that tithes were first paid by Abraham 430 years before the Law. Gen. 14-18-20. Jacob followed in his father’s  footsteps. Gen. 28-20-22. Malachi was a Prophet and not under the Law, Mal. 3:8-12. If we are the children of Abraham, we must do the works of Abraham. John 8-39. Melchizedek who received tithes, continued to receive them through Christ the Church, which is the continuation of Melchizedek priesthood. Heb. 7th chapter.

Our entire financial system is carried on by the tithe and offering plan. It is through this means that both the pastor and the Assembly are supported. When the children of God will follow God’s plan in this matter, He will surely “open the windows of heaven” and pour them out a blessing which they will not find room to receive it.

We are exhorted to “bring all the tithes into the “STORE HOUSE” that there may be meat (spiritual food) in God’s house. Mal. 3:10. He does not say “distribute it wherever you please” but rather bring it to the “store house.” God’s store house is the Assembly from which one is fed. Surely God has filled-His store house in our midst with “meat” in due season.  If all assemblies would obey God’s word in this matter,
what a blessing would be upon them. God would “feed them with the finest of the wheat, and with honey out of the rock” would He satisfy them. To withhold the tithe of your income is equal to robbery. That part is God’s dividend He says “bring it unto the store house.” But, can God use money, or tithes of all our
increase? What use would it be to Him?

God is a Spirit, but the Church is His Body through which He receives His tithe. Why should His Church go begging when He has a plan whereby it might be enriched in all wisdom and utterance, as well as from a monetary point of view?  There are those who teach that all the tithes should go to the pastor’s support, but we have never seen in the Word of God that such was the plan in the beginning. The minister should be supported out of the tithes and offerings. All the Scripture says on that line is “Muzzle not the ox that treadeth out the corn.” I Cor. 9:7-12. It is a settled fact that the “laborer is worthy of his hire.” If the ministry will sow to the people spiritual things, then he is worthy to have bestowed upon him their carnal, or temporal things.

To my mind no minister should put in a claim for all the tithes to go to himself and the Assembly be supported from the “offerings.” It causes strife and suspicion. There is always some one thinking that the pastor is getting more than he really is. Neither should he be “greedy after filthy lucre.” If he is faithful, and patient, God surely will not see him “forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.”

Today, there are many business houses that prosper in their line because they pay their tithes into the house of God. Sinners who have no experimental knowledge of God, pay tithes and are blessed. If it can be so with people of the world, why not the saints of God strive for the same divine blessing. Whoever opposes the paying of tithes opposes not man, but God Who has commanded that such should be done. One cent out of every ten; one dime out of every dollar; one dollar out of every ten dollars; ten dollars out of every hundred belongs to the Lord. If we withhold it, it will consume the other nine tenths so that it will be of little value to the one who withholds it.  Eld. G. T. HAYWOOD.

TITHING, OR CHRISTIAN STEWARDSHIP

The “tithe” is the “tenth.”

The words are used interchangeably throughout the Scriptures.  When the income is in the form of crops, the tenth is called the “first-fruits.”

The principle of the tithe had its origin in the Garden of Eden.

God’s Financial Plan in the Garden of Eden  It is very remarkable that God actually revealed His financial plan for all ages in the Garden of Eden.

Here is the “CONSTITUTION” for all God’s financial plans and system in His Kingdom in all ages namely in these words:

“But of the tree of knowledge of Good and Evil, THOU SHALT NOT EAT OF IT: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” (Gen. 2:17).

This establishes the very plain fact that God, even in the Garden of Eden, and even before sin had entered into this earth, RESERVED FOR HIMSELF a portion of the fruit-bearing trees of the Garden of Eden.

This portion of the trees, God wanted absolutely for Himself ALONE. He did not want Adam and Eve to touch it for a moment. He strictly forbade it under great penalty. It was God’s own portion, God’s tenth, God’s tithe, reserve for Himself all alone.

It was called “the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.” If they left it alone as God’s portion it would give them the knowledge of “good,” but if they used it, they would have an experimental “knowledge of evil,” which would befall all of their posterity.

The Curse

When they did disobey God’s command, death began its mission, fulfilling the word “dying, thou shalt die”
(original). Not only so, but God cursed the very fruits of the field (Gen. 3:17-19). And this is the very thing that God has said will happen to the person who will fail to bring in the tithe into the store house. (Mal. 3:9, 10). God wants His portion. If we touch it and use it for ourselves, and thus steal  it from God, and rob Him of it, as the prophet Malachi calls it, (Mal. 3:8), then, He too will reap a knowledge and experience of
evil which we would never experience if we let God’s tenth alone.

We are often cursed with a curse as Malachi says, even with the curse of sickness in our bodies if we touch it and use it for ourselves.

We Must Not Rob God

And we are often unsuccessful in a financial way and in business just because we rob God of His tenth which He has reserved for Himself just like He reserved the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in Paradise.

If we obey God faithfully about His reserved portion we shall be made both happy, and healthy and wealthy in a way that will surprise us, as it has surprised so many who have “Proved God” by it in accordance with God’s Promise in Malachi 3:8-12.

A Test of Faith and Obedience

And the reason God reserved the tree of knowledge in Paradise for Himself was to test and prove Adam’s and Eve’s faith and trust in Him, as well as their obedience to His will in all things.

The Tenth, God’s Portion

God has the same reason yet for reserving the tenth for Himself. It is a test of our faith and trust in Him. And He wants it to be a means by which we shall constantly recognize and realize our dependence on Him for our daily bread and all our needs. His portion is the tenth part.

And by it He wants to be our literal partner in business, and therefore receive a share of our earnings.
In Genesis 4th chapter more than two thousand years before the law was given through Moses, Cain and Abel brought the “FIRST FRUITS OF THE GROUND AND THE FIRSTLINGS OF THE FLOCK AND THE FAT THEREOF.”

In Genesis 14:17-20-2,000 years later, Abraham, justified by faith and the father of the faithful, the type of
the Christian, pays tithes to Melchisedek, the Priest of the Most High God, who was the type of Christ, Whom the Scriptures say, “was priest after the order of Melchisedek.”  In Christ, the Mosaic order was abolished; but the “order of Melchisedek” was re-established.

And this order also is supported by the tithe. See Heb. 6:20 to 28.  As the abolition of the Mosaic law does not effect the prior law of justification by faith, so it does not effect the prior law of the tithe.

The Apostle in Heb. 7, employees TITHING in laboring to show the similarities of Melchisedek and Christ, and to establish the superiority of Christ.

His arguments fall flat, if Christ is not to receive the tithes as did Melchisedek. This would reverse his argument. And then the eighth verse, settles the matter by saying:-“And here men that die receive tithes; but there HE receiveth them; of whom it is witnessed that HE liveth,” (Heb. 7:8). In Rev. 1:18, Jesus declares, “I am He that liveth.” His priesthood is established “after the power of an endless life.” Heb. 7-16. He receiveth the tithe through the Church, which is His body. The Church is a “royal priesthood” working with Christ Jesus our High Priest, whose priesthood is after, or continuation of the Melchisedek priesthood.

Jacob Paid Tithes 313 Years Before the Law

In Gen. 22:8, Jacob promises, 313 years before the law “Of all that Thou shalt give me, I shall surely give the TENTH unto Thee.”

Jacob evidently kept his promise. Everything that he did prospered. His name was changed to Israel, and later he be- came the father of the nation of Israel, with whom God established His law of “one tenth unto the Lord.”

Every person reading this article ought to stop and consider the vow that Jacob made unto the Lord, and like him, make this promise to God. About five hundred years later, we read in Lev. 27:30-32–“And all the TITHE (first fruits) of the land, whether it be of the seed of the land or the fruit of the tree, it is the Lord’s: it is Holy unto the Lord; and concerning the TITHE of the herds or the flocks, even whatsoever passeth under the rod, the TENTH shall be Holy unto the Lord.” Here God says: “The TITHE (tenth-first-fruit) is the Lord’s.”

This has always been true, BEFORE the law, DURING the law, and AFTER the law.

What Does God Do With the Tenth?

Numbers 18:21: “And behold, I have given the children of Levi all the tenth in Israel for an inheritance, for their service which serve, even the service OF THE TABERNACLE of the congregation.”

Alluding to Numbers 18:21, where God says, “I have given the children of Levi all the tenth in Israel for their service of the tabernacle.” Paul says, “EVEN SO did the Lord  ORDAIN that they that proclaim the Gospel, should live of THE GOSPEL.” Then “Of the temple.” Now “Of the Gospel.” (I Cor. 9:14).

As God ORDAINED in the Old Testament, so Christ has ORDAINED in the New Testament, that those who minister about sacred things, should be supported by the tithe. Then no oyster suppers necessary to support your pastor. Out of tithes and offerings should come the support your pastor. Out of the tithes and offerings should come the support of the ministry and the care of the Church and its expenses. God requires “willing offerings” for the building of His sanctuary, but the tithe was for the service rendered in the Tabernacle of the congregation. This evidently included pastors and assistants, who  are giving their full time to the spiritual service of the Church.

Jesus Recognized Tithing in Full Force

The Pharisees tithed mint, rue and all manner of herbs, and passed over judgment and the love of God, and on two occasions Jesus is recorded to have said, “These (that is tithe) ye ought to have, and not to leave the other undone.” Matt. 23:23, and Luke 11:42.

“Thou shalt not steal” is one of the commandments, and the positive Scriptural declaration is “The tithe is the Lord’s.”  Are we to construe this commandment to read, “Thou shalt not steal EXCEPT from the Lord?”

“Ye have robbed me in tithes and offerings.”  “Will a man rob God?” (Mal. 3:10).

Would God require you to pay your debt and not let you know WHEN it was paid? Jesus never uses the word “GIVE” in discussing “tithing,” but “YE PAY tithes.” To speak of GIVING the tenth, instead of PAYING it, would be using another’s money to pay my charities. You cannot GIVE the tithe which BELONGS to God anymore than you can give my hat away. Failing to PAY tithes, God calls stealing. “Will
a man rob God?” (Mal. 3:10). ‘

Only Nine-tenths Are Ours

Dr. Trumbull, Editor of the “Sunday School Times,” says on this point:
“The Christian Stewardship applies only to NINE- TENTHS of our income. The one-tenth “IS the Lord’s”
from the beginning and is not given to us as we see fit.
“The ONE-tenth is the basket in which the Lord sends us the NINE-tenths; and if we don’t hand it right back, we steal the basket.”

It is the seed reserved from our harvest which must be rendered that we may reap another harvest. If we withhold the seed, or use it up with the other nine-tenths, we need not expect any return the next season.

Thousands of Witnesses Prove It

One proof that tithing is for our times is the fact that God’s blessing attends it.

“Prove me now herewith . . . if I will not open the windows of heaven and pour you out a blessing that there shall not be room enough to receive it.”

“And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes and be shall not destroy the fruits of your ground . . . .” (Mal.
3:10-11). Thousands have proven this by paying the tithe and have proven to themselves and others that this is still God’s challenge by seeing His blessing follow.

The tithing problem, like a problem in mathematics, is one that everybody can prove. God tells us how to prove it.

“Prove me now herewith.” During the years 1913 and 1914, the following question was published in a large number of religious papers in this country and Canada.

“Have you ever seen or known anyone who was less happy, less generous or less financially prosperous from being a TITHER?”

A total of more than ten thousand “NO” replies were received, and not one “YES.” If human testimony is worthy credence, it abundantly PROVES that God makes good His promise to ALL who comply with the conditions.

No More Boll Weevil Pest

At the risk of being called a fanatic, one writer goes farther as he believes the Scriptures to be the inspired Word of God, therefore infallible and trustworthy.

“That if all the Christians in America would truly and faithfully accept and carry out this plain challenge of God’s, there would be no more boll weevil, no more Hessian flies, no Screen-bugs, no more “dropping of unripened fruits,” no more blind staggers, black-leg, bloody murrian or cholera- “indeed, all nations would rise up and call us blessed and we would become a delightsome land.” (Mal, 3:10-12). If this seemingly extravagant statement is not true, then God’s word is fallible and His promises futile.

When God wants to increase His tenth, He must increase our income nine times as much as His part; and we are the gainer by paying the tithe. Tithing brings God into personal relationship in our everyday affairs. Tithers become increasingly conscious not only of responsibility to, but of real partnership with God.

Brother Colgate’s Tithing Experience

Wm. Colgate, like Jacob, when a penniless lad, vowed to God that he would pay Him the tenth of all that He should give him. Leaving home when a mere child, because of his father’s inability to care for him, he wandered into New York in quest of work, where he secured employment in a soap factory at a meager
salary.

The first dollar he earned, he paid the Lord the tenth.  Soon he became a trustworthy employee, a little later a partner and an officer of the company, and in a short while he was made president. Who has not heard of Colgate’s soap and a score of other of his productions? They are known throughout the commercial world. Colgate lived to honor God, bless humanity and build a great fortune.

He covenanted with God to pay the tenth, and his wealth, like that of Jacob’s increased rapidly. He then gave two-tenths and became richer still, then three-tenths, later five-tenths and finally all his income to the establishing of which, Colgate University, bears his name.

With God as a partner, his prosperity was marvelous; he gave and God gave back to him.

His loyalty to God and his work of benevolence stand as a monument to his memory.

Tithing Puts God First; Not Self

It is literal common sense obedience to Christ’s command, “Seek ye first the Kingdom of God.” How can a man seek FIRST the Kingdom of God and refuse to pay his tithe to God?

Nothing is GIVEN until after the tithe is paid.

Begin To Tithe Today

I urge every convert to begin tithing at once.  Nine-tenths, plus Divine favor, will go farther than ten
tenths minus Divine favor.

It is not thinkable that any one would pay less under grace than the Jews gave under law, said Dr. Gombrell.

Tithing For 800 Years After Christ

The Church Fathers Spake With One Voice

The church fathers speak with one voice in the matter of tithing. Eleven of the great Church Councils up until the year  . D. 790 have ordered all Christians to tithe.

IRENAEUS, A. D. 120-202. “The precepts of the perfect law  are the same in each Testament , . . . The Lord did not abrogate the natural precepts of the la  , which also those who are justified by faith did observe, previous to the giving of the law; but He extended them.”

TERTULLIAN, A. D. 145-220: “We offer `First Fruits’ to Him Whom we send up our prayers. How can our righteousness exceed that of the Scribes and Pharisees, who pay `Tithes and first fruits,’ if we do none of these things?”

CLEMENT, born the year Jesus was baptized-The document known as the “Teaching of the Apostles” 120 A. D. – “Every first fruit of the products of the wine-press and threshing floor . . . thou shalt take and give to the prophets, for they are your high priests.”

CYPRIAN, A. D. 200-58. In the Apostolic Constitution, A. D. 300, we read, Of the first FRUITS AND TITHES and after what manner the Bishop is himself to partake of them and distribute them to others. “Let him use these tenths and first fruits,  hich are given according to the command of God, as a man of
God. So ALSO let him dispense in a right manner THE FREE WILL OFFERINGS, which are brought in on account of the poor. The Levites who attended upon the tabernacle partook of those things which were offered to God by all the people . . . You therefore, O bishops, are priests and levites ministering to the church . . . For those who attend upon the church ought to be maintained by the church . . . Now you ought to know that although the Lord has delivered you from the additional bonds and does not permit you to
sacrifice irrational creatures for sin-offerings . . . yet He has no nor from doing good to the poor.”

JEROME, A. D. 345-42 – “If anyone shall not do this (tithe), he is convicted of defrauding and cheating God.”

AMBROSE, A. D. 340-397-“God has reserved the tenth part unto Himself, and therefore, it is not lawful for a man to retain what God hath reserved for Himself.”

“The Lord commands our tithes to be paid every year. He has given you nine parts, but He has reserved the tenth for himself; and if you give not the tenth part to Him, He will take away from you the nine parts. Whosoever is not willing to give those tithes to God which he has kept back, fears not God and knows not what true repentance and confession means.

AUGUSTINE, A. D. 354-43 – “Tithes ought to be paid from whatever may be your occupation, whether war, merchandise or some handicraft. Tithes are required as a DEBT. He who would procure either pardon or reward, let him PAY tithe and out of the nine parts GIVE alms to God, Who has given us the whole, has
thought it meet to ask the tenth from us; not for His benefit, but for our own.”

“Our ancestors used to abound in wealth of every kind for this very reason that they used to give tithes and pay the tax to Caesar. Now on the contrary, because devotion to God has ceased, the drain of the treasury has increased.  We have been unwilling to share the tithes with God, now the whole is taken away,”

CHRYSOSTOM said: “Oh what a shame! That what was no great matter among the Jews should he pretended to be such among Christians! If there was danger, then in omitting tithes, think how great must be the danger now.”

CASSION, of the fifth century – “As the church fathers speak with one voice on this subject, so have the councils of  the church. The Council of Macon passes the following decree, A. D. 585: “The divine law also taking care of the ministers of the church, that they might have their hereditary portion, have commanded being hindered by no sort of employment, may be at leisure for the spiritual duty of the ministry. Which laws the whole body of Christians for a long time kept inviolate, but now by degrees, almost all of them have shown themselves prevaricators of those laws, since they neglect to fulfill the things which have been divinely ordained.

TEN OTHER COUNCILS of the Church up until A. D. 790 have ordered all Christians to tithe viz: the councils of Arcyra, Gangra, Orleans, Metz, Tours, Neville Rouen, Nantes, Toledo and Fimli.

Thus we see what unanimity of opinion there was among the ancient fathers of the Christian Church.
Their testimony is valuable in establishing the practice of the earliest Christian centuries.”

Real Godly People Always Paid Tithes

JOHN KNOX said: “Our Lord in the Gospel, speaking of payment of tithes, said, `these ought ye to have done and not to leave the others undone.’ It behooveth them to be paid.”
GLADSTONE said: “To constitute a moral obligation it is not necessary that we receive a positive command. Probable evidence is binding as well as demonstrative evidence; nay, it constitutes the greatest portion of the subject matter of duty, and therefore even a dim vision of religious truth entails an obligation to follow it as real and valid as that which results from a clear and full comprehension.”

CHAS. H. SPURGEON said: “We cannot expect to prosper if we are dishonest with God. He can easily enough measure back to us as we measure out to Him. Hence happy are they who, being saved by grace, bring Him all their tithes, for peace and prosperity shall be their portion.”

BISHOP J. H. VINCENT said: “The doctrine that the tenth of all should be placed on the altar of God should be taught in the homes; the pulpit should proclaim it, the Sabbath School reiterate it, the administration of the Church should illustrate it.

New Testament Positively Established It

Many Christians of late years by failing to study the Scriptures on this important subject, suppose that tithing belonged only to the Mosaic law and order and therefore does not belong to the church.

The portion of the New Testament that very plainly and conclusively establishes tithing to be just as much a duty under the  Gospel, as under the Law, is Epistle to Hebrews. From Heb. 6:20, and  all of Heb. 7, and at least to Heb. 8:2, the Key thought is that “Jesus  is a High Priest after the order of Melchisedek and NOT after the order  of Aaron.”

The apostle establishes that beyond question, in those three chapters named.

The Apostle Establishes Tithing For Us

That having been positively established, the Apostle then next establishes in the same seventh chapter of Hebrews that Abraham paid tithes to Melchisedek. Hence that, since Christ is a high priest after the order of Melchisedek, we Christians and followers of Jesus, are as much duty bound to pay tithes to the Gospel work of Christ in our age, as Abraham was duty bound to pay tithes to Melchisedek in his.

For Abraham lived before the law of Moses existed, as we live afterwards. The law that came in between the time of Melchisedek and Christ only confirms the tithing law that had existed for over 2,000 years before the laws existed, as well as for 2,000 years since Christ came, and in no wise abolished it.

Abraham paid tithes. We then, who are declared to be “Abraham’s seed” should prove ourselves by doing the work of Abraham. (See Gal. 3:27-29; John 8:39). The law of tithing was made for our good and to promote our happiness and success in temporal things as well as in spiritual blessings.

And the Lord Jesus Said:

“Give, and it shall be given unto you: good measure, pressed down and shaken together, and running over . . . . For with the same measure that ye measure it shall be measured to you again.” (Luke 6:38).

. . . . That refers to earthly goods and money. Hence if we want liberal physical and financial blessing and success, the way to get it is to do right in God’s sight in money matters at all times. Amen.

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