Deut:14:22: Thou shalt truly tithe all the increase of thy seed, that the field bringeth forth year by year.
"For the love of money is the root of all evil"
The Unburdensome Tithe
Mt:11:30: For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
In my time in the messianic movement, one of the most difficult subjects that has come up has been the question of the tithe. (this article written by brother Yaccov is excellent in that it outlines the concepts of the tithes in the Torah, consider carefully what the Tithe is and how it can be applied today, ask the Ruach for guidance) Many of us in the movement came out of a variety of backgrounds and churches which all taught different things on the topic. Some churches taught that the tithe was still in force today in the "church age" just as it was in the days of Moses. Others taught that it was not so much the absolute amount that mattered but it was what was in the heart and "YHWH loveth a cheerful giver." - 2nd Corinthians 9:7b. Whatever background we might have come from, all of us have struggled with the question of the tithe. And its not just the question of our hearts being willing or not, or our flesh getting the best of us either. It comes right down to where we want to be honest and upright before YHWH and still understand His justice and mercy, His very character involved in the issue.
Back in the day when I was sorting through all of this new knowledge that YHWH put out into the religious sphere, I went through several denominations in my search for truth. I knew that what I was reading in my bible and listening to on my bible tapes was not matching up with what my church was teaching (the Free Methodist church that I had grown up in). So I began to question the things I was brought up to believe and that journey brought me to the understanding of the Hebrew Roots of my Christian faith. So back in April of 1994 I started to fellowship with the various Hebrew Roots groups that I could find and learn more about these people who seemed to be called out of a church religious system into a lifestyle that was more honest to the text of the scriptures.
One thing that I noticed as I was visiting the various Hebrew Roots groups assemblies was that there were a select few who were able to pay what had been deemed the proper "tenth" and there were the rest of the folks who were just struggling and getting by paying the bills they had. The more prestigious the group the more the tithe was pushed in order to secure a separate building and build a ministry based on the church model. We visited a few of these ministries and even saw some of them fail over time, but the main thing impressed on me was that this type of system seemed to create a class system in the group where there were those who were financially able to pay the 10 percent on their base paycheck and those rest of the people who could barely keep their cars fueled and on the road well enough to get to the services (if they were lucky). The ones that were not paying the full amount deemed proper by the religious authorities in those assemblies were pretty much outcast and not considered as important to the leadership as the ones who were able to pay. When these folks got sick and went to the hospital or they stopped coming, no one was sent to find out what had happened to them or what was wrong with them that they had stopped coming to the services. But can you imagine how fast the folks were contacted who were faithfully sending large checks of a full ten percent or more of their GROSS take home pay (I mean, they were most likely paying ten percent before taxes and many other fees were taken out, that being the gross pay because there are few pastors or rabbis who will tell you otherwise)? It was an immediate response and you would have thought the sky had fallen if they did not show up that one Sabbath because the leadership would be in overdrive to make sure their cash "cows," were ok. This type of class system evident in the Hebrew Roots assemblies greatly troubled me as I watched these events transpire. I did not quite know how to address it for a long time so I just had to deal with the nagging question and doubt in my spirit that there was something not quite right with what we were all being taught about the Tithe in the Hebrew Roots assemblies.
Then, something amazing happened. It was during a time of personal trial that I was given a dream and a vision in my spirit about this issue and the solution to the ills of the class system created by the assumptions the religious leadership were making about the tithe. What came into my spirit was so simple and so clear that I was pretty excited about it for a couple of days. As I thought about it though, I realized that it was revolutionary and different than anything that I had heard or discussed before. It also began to become clear to me that if I were to write about it, or speak about it, it might be heavily opposed by the religious leadership because they would interpret it as something that would cause their little fiefdoms to dry up (WHEN THE TRUTH IS they would flourish). Ti:1:11: Whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre's sake. The thing that I am trying to bring out in this study is that the scriptures say that the tithe is to be calculated on the increase. If you consider that the tithe was initially based on the agrarian system, where people had land they did not pay taxes on, and they raised crops and had animals on the farm that they needed to use in order to get the crops planted and harvested and for other purposes because of food needs, that puts an entirely new perspective on this subject. However, today, we are in an industrial age where the property is owned by the government. If you do not think this is the case, just ask yourself what would happen if you stopped paying the "taxes" they affix to your property arbitrarily. You would lose that land pretty quickly. The Torah says no ones land should ever be lost, in fact, the Torah says that even if someone buys that land from you, you or your descendents get it back after fifty years, at the Jubilee. This is because the Torah recognizes what "ownership" really is and we in the western countries have been hoodwinked about it. Anyone who knows Torah knows this. How much freer we would all be if the countries we resided in followed this commandment as they should. But they do not. Hence, people are renting (don't deceive yourself and say you "own" land!), sowing, and reaping for their neighbor, because of the curses brought upon them by their ancestors who denied and rejected the Torah primarily in the Northern kingdom centuries and centuries ago. What needs to be understood in the Tithe, is the fact that we have many more expenses in this modern age that are "cost of living," expenses. Can we get by without a car and make it to the grocery store (would ancient Israelites even need such an invention)? Can we get by without a phone in case of emergencies? Can we get by without all the money for the fees that the governments saddle us with including the demand that we have insurance on even one vehicle? Can we even drive and fellowship (if we are blessed enough to find a fellowship that is even teaching the scriptural elements we may have learned in our private study and are publicly being taught) without fuel? Not to mention vehicle repair costs. You see, what I am getting at here, is the churches and even many messianic fellowships mislead you about what YHWH's word says. D'Varim 13:22 Thou shalt truly tithe all the increase of thy seed, that the field bringeth forth year by year. Notice this word 'increase.' If a farmer back in the ancient days sowed seed and produce so much on whatever measurement, he would need to give a certain amount to his animals that were on the farm, and a certain amount for the proper maintenance of the future of the farm, which would be the seed set aside for sowing the next farming season. Whatever he had left after basic maintenance expenses were paid was the "increase." Now, this word and/or concept is only used in the King James bibles that are in English, or the Hebrew roots Translations such as the RSTNE and the AF bibles (I know not whether there is any other). The point is however, aside from the scribal chicanery that goes on with alot of our so called translations, is that Yahweh's yoke is easier than we thought. For the brothers and sisters living in today's world, take your basic maintenance expenses out of your paycheck before you calculate your tithe, and then give a tenth of the "increase," of that to honor YHWH to a good ministry that is teaching as many scriptural truths as you understand. Let the Ruach Ha Kodesh (Holy Spirit) be your guide! If you are disabled, my opinion is there is no increase at all (unless you have some small and insignificant business ventures on the "side"), in fact, that is the money that the government pays out for the money that your parents paid into the system from jobs which had an 'increase.' We need to stop making heavy burdens upon people that we ourselves are not willing to lift a finger to help them bear! Selah!
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