Most Christians know that ABRAHAM gave one tenth to MELCHISEDEC, who according to HEBREWS Ch.6 is the forerunner of Christ. So the percentage is mentioned as 10% of the INCREASE of every Christian. The percentage is not in doubt.
The Levites were given this Tithe as they were not given any portion of land in the land of Canaan, like the rest of the 12 tribes (Joseph had 2 tribes Ephraim & Manasseh, therefore totally 13 tribes) as they were not to indulge in labour, in common parlance that could be called as profitable.
The order changed with the advent of Christianity, as non-jews who did not belong to the Tribe system, took up to either spreading the Gospel or became a part of the Church. Therefore the Priests and the Church have replaced the tribe of LEVI.
BUT THE MOOT POINT IS WHETHER IT WAS THE COMMANDMENT OF GOD TO HAND OVER THE TITHES TO THE CHURCH/PRIESTS OR IS IT TO BE APPORTIONED AMONG OTHERS, AS WELL?
The Bible at Deuteronomy Ch.26 talks of the principle of Tithing. An excerpt of the verses 12 & 13 are reproduced here below:-
26:12 When thou hast made an end of tithing all the tithes of thine increase the third year, which is the year of tithing, and hast given it unto the Levite, the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, that they may eat within thy gates, and be filled;
26:13 Then thou shalt say before the LORD thy God, I have brought away the hallowed things out of mine house, and also have given them unto the Levite, and unto the stranger, to the fatherless, and to the widow, according to all thy commandments which thou hast commanded me: I have not transgressed thy commandments, neither have I forgotten them.
There is a mention of THREE other category of persons, which are STRANGERS, WIDOWS & FATHERLESS.
The STRANGERS, WIDOWS & FATHERLESS form the vulnerable section of the society and we know from the Bible that PERSONS HAVE ENTERTAINED ANGELS BY ENTERTAINING STRANGERS; the praiseworthy act of the WIDOW who dropped a mite in the offertory and Jesus’ love for Children and their INNOCENCE.
By the new law, since Levites are not the natural priests under Christianity, the Levites have been left out and the Christian Church and Christian Priests have been included. But the Social aspect of the STRANGERS, WIDOWS & FATHERLESS, have NOT BEEN EXCLUDED by Jesus or his DIRECT DISCIPLES. They ought to be included in the process of TITHING.
Unfortunately, the following passage from MALACHI 3:10 has been used by priests to excite the GREED and enforce a false sense of DUTY on the Christians:-
Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.
The passage from MALACHI has consequently UPSTAGED the COMMANDMENT of God thru MOSES, on the grounds of GREED and FALSE DUTY.
Jesus’ law and the prophet condensation is LOVE YOUR GOD & NEIGHBOUR.
The NEIGHBOUR includes, a supportless widow, a helpless stranger and a fatherless child in need. Therefore these OUGHT TO BE PROVIDED FOR OUT OF THE TITHES.
To hand over 10% of a person’s increase entirely to the Church/Priest may lead to Man’s irresponsibility towards his NEIGHBOUR. As a Christian, it is MY DUTY TO APPORTION THE TITHE for all the four purposes and distribute it in a way that God gives me the mind to give.
The Church and the Priests have hijacked Deuteronomy 26 at the gun point of Malachi 3:10.
It is time that we honoured God and took up our Social Responsibilities and discharged them directly without delegating them in the hands of persons who might be like ELI and his sons.
Let me also make a pertinent point that the commandments of God thru Moses holds good even today, unless over-ruled by Jesus explicitly (like when Jesus says about Divorce “the law says….but I say unto u..” etc.
FEEL THE POWER OF GIVING BY GIVING TO THOSE WHO YOU FIND THEMSELVES HELPLESS & NEEDY.
GOD WANTS YOU NOT ONLY TO GIVE, BUT ALSO WANTS YOU TO FEEL GOOD ABOUT YOUR GIVING.