It is with a sense of expectation I come here today to expound a correction I feel from the Lord. When I sense “Feel” may sound both superficial and presumptious, but in this context I sense that I am standing with a sensation that God is bringing new insights to His Word because He is wanting His people to fall in love with His Word. The aim and vision for this site has never been to promote ministries or myself, but rather my own satisfaction is that we fall in love with the Word, who is Jesus, the Word made flesh. I am sensing also warfare because it seems the devil wants us imprisoned in human traditions, and deceptions. The motive for this message is to free the captives and give sight to the blind.
The “tithe” or “tenth” has been taught in the Church, wrongly, outside of a true context, and does not sit well in New Testament terms because the contexts have been forgotten in favour of forcing the tithe system within the Church without a proper Biblical grounding. The Scripture of Malachi 3 has been used with the promise that the windows of heaven would be opened to those who were faithful to tithe, yet believers in many places have verified that the windows of heaven have yet to open, and how this fits in with Church life. In this message I hope to address this. The student of the Word must first set the context by abiding by certain guidelines, that is going to the law of first mention. This sets the context for the whole tithe system, for which God has not abolished in the New Covenant, but it is not addressed nor is it set in its proper foundation.
The Original Tithe was the Spoil of War
The tithe is first mentioned in Genesis 14. The war between the kings meant that Lot, the nephew of Abram is caught up in the battle, and Abram has to rescue him. It is not the first time we see Abram rescue Lot. The tithe was received by Melchizedek, known as “my king is righteousness.” This righteous King and Priest comes out to the battlefield to bless Abram, for he has insight that Abram is God’s heir to the land, and has a specific call in God, which becomes revealed in Genesis 22, as the father of all those who believe. So what happens here is that Melchizedek comes out with “bread” and “wine”, a forerunner to the Eucharist/Communion, and receives a freewill tithe from Abram and he blesses him, by declaring prophetic blessings over Abram. We are seeing in this “law of first mention” the building blocks of our own tithe system, our Communion rite, in this Scripture. It also sets the foundational context to our own financing in this New Covenant. The traditions taught today both give a wrong theology, wrong context and blocks us from receiving covenant blessings. Once we set it in its right place it will be glorious.
The original tithe was given in a context of victory in a war, and a meeting with God’s Melchizedek who would give Abram the preparatory blessing to enter the fulness of covenant. The New Testament tithe is given place because of a victory in a war for souls, by the “Bread” and “Wine” of Jesus Christ, the One who is of the Order of Melchizedek from Hebrews 7.
The Tithe is instituted BEFORE the Law and after Law
The letter of Hebrews sets out the fact that the Tithe is set BEFORE the Law, so that it cannot be abolished, because as Galatians says, the blessings of Abraham are coming through the New Covenant by Jesus Christ. It is set before Law, yet it connects to Levi in the loins of Abraham prophetically, which is very significant. The multiforme ways of God bring so much sense when you connect up the contexts of tithes throughout Scripture.
We are connected to Melchizedek through Christ, as He is of the same order. So our tithe is not given to a system but to our “Melchizedek”, who is Christ Himself, who connects not only directly, but through Levi, and a Levitical model of ministry. This connection is made in the New Covenant as Hebrews painstakingly points out , and has not been broken, and has implications which will revolutionise our giving.
The Levi Connection
Hebrews states that Levi gave a tithe in the loins of Abraham, a symbol as Abraham was an ancestor in his genealogical line, but also as a covenantal recipient, Levi represents the 12 patriarchs of the Abrahamic Covenant, who were the 12 foundational families that became a nation. The tribe of Levi, which means joined, became a tithe to Israel, in their service of Priesthood for life. The sense that in being a tithe to Israel, they would not inherit lands nor have opportunities of business, but would dedicate their life as keepers of the Tabernacle, and the worship, sacrifices, and being intercessors of the Covenant between Israel and their God. This model of ministry is carried through to the New Testament, vocation for life, service to God. Ephesians 4 spells this out, and the original apostles lived in this type of vocation. The language of Ephesians follows the language of Leviticus. This connection in the service to Temple or to Church, is very important, because it represents the tithe that God gives back to us, for our tithe to Him. Therefore the working model of tithing has a dual outworking, once we give a tithe to a God appointed altar, we start a process where the “windows of heaven” can be opened. God has given a tithe in the shape of His ministers who serve the Body for the maturing, unifying of the saints in the preparation for works of service of the whole Body so that it would become in full stature to the measure of Christ.
If we recognise and tithe to God’s recognised tithe to us, we supply the need of the ministry as they supply our eternal need. We are approached by our “Melchizedek” in salvation, who blesses us and sends us to our walk to fulness of our covenant, so in giving our tithe to Him, we are also investing in the ministry that He Himself instituted in Ephesians 4:11-15. This Levitical Ministry connected to Abraham in virtue that Jesus is of the same Line, connected to Melchizedek because Jesus is of the same order. This shows us that the Tithe is a covenant blessing to be continued in the New Covenant.
The Malachi error
Almost all Churches I have passed through take up tithes and offerings use Malachi 3 to justify the tithe. It is an error, if not heresy. The reason is CONTEXT, the context being both covenantal, and the application is disjointed. We are told we ROB God if we do not tithe, and that we will be cursed. The Malachi book is aimed at the people who returned from Babylon. The tithe system was to keep the Levites and the Priesthood and Temple. We do not have this now in the Church. The Tithe in the New Testament is not presented in the context of LAW but of Perceived Grace, that we no longer tithe out of obligation but we tithe because we have because of Christ entered the victory of the eternal war of sin and death. We are blessed because Jesus is our Melchizedek and because of Jesus, when we TITHE WE RECEIVE FROM JESUS HIS OWN TITHE. In a pure altar, the tithe is place NOT in buildings but people who become through their vocation BECOME THE TITHE OF JESUS by virtue of them being joined to Him. (Levi, means Joined). So in a pure altar, (refer Purifying the Altar by Al Houghton, http://wordatwork.org ) the tithe from Jesus is given when we give our monetary, material tithe, and it completes the covenant, and the windows of heaven open over us.
The Tithe of Jesus in our lives
Jesus took from His own Ascension 5 distinct ministries, vocations, which when they are released give us what Ephesians 4:12 tells us:
12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, 14 so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. 15 Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), Eph 4:12–16.
There are 12 blessings here in these verses which are the fruits of Jesus’ tithe to us.
- Unity 2. Knowledge 3. Maturity 4. Fullness 5. Discernment 6. Truth 7. Growth 8. Equipping 9.Connection 10. Fellowship 11. Understanding 12. Christ
So when we speak of the heavens opening up we see that in this life all these 12 aspects become released into the Body of Christ. This in its ultimate in our generation must bring us to the fullness of the likeness to, with, for Christ.
Tithe is at the centre of the New Covenant
Much controversy has arisen currently over this issue, because the way it is being taught is erroneous, in context and Biblical foundation. The tithe supersedes the Law of Moses because of Abraham, and supersedes the Law because of Grace because now our tithing does not come from obligation but because of our perception of how God has given His tithe through the Church, and how our material tithe goes to complete the covenant. Many go about today saying that people are cursed because they do not tithe, and Churches use tithes to pay for structural costs and people are not invested in. The lack of tithe application in God’s New Testament Levites means the altar is not pure either to tithe to. The completion of the covenant is not one sided, i.e the onus on the giver. Melchizedek walked wholly in God so his blessing to Abraham was effective, as is Jesus’ blessing to us also. We must as Church leaders represent our “Melchizedek” perfectly. This completes the covenant.
For the saint, he must perceive the extensive grace and victory through Salvation in Christ so that the tithe is the obvious step in the process of walking with God, which when given at a Melchizedek meeting will complete the covenant and blessing can follow. Once we debunk the traditions of men does the Tithe become a beautiful vehicle of corporate blessings.