They can repeat that motto all they want to, but let them show us the proof that would verify this patently false claim.
1Thessalonians 5:21 says “Prove all things”. Prove all things, people. Prove all things. Your preacher’s opinion, no matter how smoothly he presents it, proves nothing. My words prove nothing. Prove all things from scripture, with your own eyes. That is why I am providing so much scripture here for you, and asking for you to search it for anything, anything that contradicts what I have presented, because I have not found it.
Pro tithers chant irresponsible and untrue mantras like “the tithe applies to all income” as a matter of course, then, when challenged, can only produce wishful thinking and double-talk as evidence.
We have already seen that the story of Abraham proves nothing along the lines of validating a modern tithe, and the story of Jacob actually provides enough substance to disprove the idea that a common scriptural tithe on increase existed during his lifetime. Numbers 31:27-30 clearly shows that there was no tithe involved in a windfall situation, and the “God owns it all” scripture says nothing about anything other than food for Levites. So what do they have left?
Let us assume for a moment that we are living today, as tithe promoters assert, under an extension of the Mosaic sacrificial law system that validates animal sacrifices and a modern tithe just as it was in the old days. What makes these non-Levite preachers think that the tithe is on anything other than food items, as the Law clearly stipulates? Naturally they have to have some kind of an answer to that question. Let’s look at the pro-tithers’ big gun scripture that “proves” their position on this matter:
They present as evidence 2Chronicles 31:5-6, which reads: “As soon as the command went abroad, the Israelites gave in abundance the first fruits of grain, vintage fruit, oil, honey, and of all the produce of the field; and they brought in abundantly the tithe of everything. The people of Israel and Judah who lived in Judah’s cities also brought the tithe of cattle and sheep and of the dedicated things which were consecrated to the Lord their God, and they laid them in heaps.
The pro-tithe story goes like this: since food items are already itemized in verse 5, the “dedicated things” in verse 6 logically must be manufactured items such as sandals, saddles, etc. (I guess food items can’t be “things” and they also can’t be “dedicated”, according to the tithe promoters). Actually, the preacher speculates that these “heaps” included gold and silver. He also asserts that since oil and wine are “man-made items”, this then sets a legal precedent that all crafts and workmanship occupations, in fact all income in general from whatever source, was tithable based on this scripture; and by extension still is.
If the preacher read on just a few more verses to his listeners, he would have revealed that these “heaps” all consisted of something edible, not wearable, spendable, or man-made.
2Chronicles 31:9-10 reads: “Then Hezekiah questioned the priests and Levites about the heaps. Azariah the high priest, of the house of Zadok, answered him, ‘Since the people began to bring the offerings into the Lord’s house, we have eaten and have plenty left, for the Lord has blessed His people, and what is left is this great store.’”
I see no mention there of clothes, jewelry, swords or cutlery, new chariots, bird feeders, Barbie dolls or any other manufactured thing, to indicate anything other than food items.
The command went “abroad” because the countryside was where the fields and the bulk of agriculture was located. City dwellers may also have had livestock to offer, and they probably had produce of some sort as well, such as gardens and fruit trees, which would be subject to the tithe tax. This contribution period went on for four months, so almost any type of garden vegetables, dates, figs, etc. could have been tithed in these “heaps”.
So, as much as pro tithers cross their fingers and click their heels three times and wish and hope that their theory about heaps of gold and silver in verse 6 would be true, and as much as they seem to selectively omit to their advantage certain pertinent scriptures like verse 10 that negates the validity of their assumptions about the modern tithe-on-everything myth, it is kind of hard to “eat” gold or sandals as verse 10 indicates the Israelites would have had to have done. The clear indication here is that these “heaps” were all food items, just as you’d expect under the instructions of Levitical tithe law. It is just as Malachi stated: “food in my storehouse”.
Aside from all that – “dedicated things” is stated as “goats” in the Septuagint. So there is the possibility that the King James and others based on the Masoretic text have the wrong term there altogether.
Additionally, “dedicated things” can refer to anything that is dedicated to God and is earmarked to give to the temple. It could be tithed items, but it could also be gifts, first fruits, payment of vows, or anything that for any other reason is given to the temple or to the Levites. We might get a better understanding of 2Chronicles 31:6 if we put a comma after “tithe of cattle and sheep”, because that would more clearly differentiate the “dedicated things” as a separate class of items.
In either case it is plain to see that food items are the only thing that is identified as tithe in these scriptures to a fair-minded observer. For pro-tithers to state that something else was there in those heaps when scripture says nothing to that effect, is to be adding to the Word of God or going beyond what is written.
As for the manufactured nature of wine or oil, as one preacher asserts – come on… let’s get real about this. These are merely two forms of storage for these produce items. If squeezing grapes into juice, or olives into oil are “manufacturing”, or if that makes it a “man made” item as that preacher would like you to believe, then so does threshing and separating the grains of wheat or barley from the chaff and straw, or drying grapes into raisins, or turning cattle into steaks. They are all part of the harvesting, preparation, and preservation process, not manufacturing.
Soybean oil, for another example, to this day is considered an agricultural commodity and not a manufactured item, and rightly so. To assert otherwise as the preacher does, appears to be a somewhat desperate act. It kind of makes a person wonder just how far out on a ledge these people will go to perpetuate a false doctrine like this.
That preacher also makes the claim that, since Levites were a service industry (not agricultural), and they tithed to the high priests, that this again set a precedent for tithing on income from all types of service or labor.
This appears to be another attempt at feigned logic intended to exploit the scriptural ignorance of his followers.
The fact is, that Levites actually did have an agricultural increase; it is just that the increase was given to them. They did not actually grow it themselves but it was considered an agricultural increase nonetheless as if it were from their own harvest.
Scripture clearly explains this fact in Numbers 18:26-28: “Thus speak unto the Levites, and say unto them, When ye take of the children of Israel the tithes which I have given you from them for your inheritance, then ye shall offer up an heave offering of it for the LORD, even a tenth part of the tithe.
And this your heave offering shall be reckoned unto you, as though it were the corn of the threshingfloor, and as the fulness of the winepress.
Thus ye also shall offer an heave offering unto the LORD of all your tithes, which ye receive of the children of Israel; and ye shall give thereof the LORD’s heave offering to Aaron the priest. Out of all your gifts ye shall offer every heave offering of the LORD, of all the best thereof, even the hallowed part thereof out of it.
Therefore thou [Moses] shalt say unto them [Levites], When ye have heaved the best thereof from it, then it shall be counted unto the Levites as the increase of the threshing floor, and as the increase of the winepress.”
After all, this Levitical tithe was in fact a food distribution system to feed the Levites and priests, so why would not the Levites be expected to tithe on their “increase” of agricultural items up to the next level?
The Levites had special privileges and duties that were distinct and different from the rest of Israel. That is just how God set it up – some rules were different for them under that Covenant of the Sacrificial Law. One rule is that they give the best one-tenth of their increase to the Aaronite priests, even though they did not grow it themselves. These laws were special instructions that applied to the Levites (as non-agriculturalists) only, and not to all Israel.
Speaking of special instructions – what about those Aaronic priests at the top of the food chain? They did not tithe at all. Were they some kind of criminals or God-robbers, just because some tithe promoting preacher with the spirit of Korah cannot accept that God had a special deal with them?
God had a special deal for the Cananites too – they were all to be killed. So are we to go and kill everyone that is not one of “us”? No, of course not – that was a special instruction for a specific group of people. Likewise with the Levites
– God had special instructions that applied to them only. So what is the big deal?
These nit-picky word-wranglings over God’s specific special instructions for Levites are certainly not a precedent, reason, or excuse to cause Christians to submit a tithe to peccant little preachers in the 21st century, any more than the specific special instructions to Hosea to marry a prostitute apply to us in general today (Hosea 1:2-3).