Counterfeit Old Covenant “Tithe Scriptures”
The following scriptures used for pro-tithe purposes are really non-tithe, or very general tithe-neutral scriptures. They are embellished by preachers’ personal opinions and techniques of persuasion in order to give the impression that they are scriptures that support a modern tithe. In reality they are nothing of the sort. Their original meaning and intent are obliterated and replaced by an invented, “counterfeit” meaning when they are used for pro-tithe purposes.
In other cases they are scriptures applied in an irrelevant manner because they fall under the Levitical Tithe Law which was applicable back then, but is now obsolete, according to scripture.
Tithe doctrine and lore is rife with deceptive examples like these. They are used regularly to help create this “myth of the tithe” that we hear so much about.
Cain and Abel’s Offering: Sides A and B (Genesis 4:2-5)
So far, I have heard two totally different pro-tithe positions based on this scripture, both of which seem to me as being nothing short of theological malpractice. This is a good example of how the same scripture can be packaged and sold in different ways based on where the preacher’s imagination leads him. In this case both of the preachers apparently had the same pre-conceived financial goal in mind; they just went about their task from two different fictional angles.
We can see that Genesis 4:2-5 is very basic: “And she again bare his brother Abel. And Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground. And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the LORD. And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the LORD had respect unto Abel and to his offering: But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell.”
Add to that Hebrews 11:4 “By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, through which he had witness borne to him that he was righteous, God bearing witness in respect of his gifts”
The A-side of the pro-tithe tale says that Cain’s sacrifice/offering was rejected because it was not a full 10%.
In the reality of the clearly stated fact, this was an offering, not a tithe. This is a textbook example of how pro-tithers deliberately confuse the concept of a tithe with other non-tithe activities that had taken place in scripture.
Tithe (tenth) is not mentioned, and has nothing whatsoever to do with an offering (gift) or sacrifice, which as we can see is the case here.
This event took place long before there were any Levites to give the tithe to. (Remember – all the tithe goes to the Levites, according to the Law) There were no temples, there was no Aaronic priesthood, not even a Melchizedek priest. There was nowhere for a tithe to go to, according to any known law. That is why these brothers were performing their own sacrifice. These sacrifices were offerings; acts of appreciation, acknowledgement, and/or submission to God the Creator, and in some cases for atonement for sin.
The concept of freewill offerings such as Cain and Abel’s has been around since the beginning; the tithe has not.
This A-side preacher could only make his point if he went to the Septuagint and read Genesis 4:3-7 “And when in the process of time Cain brought of the fruit of the earth a sacrifice to the Lord, and Abel also brought of the firstlings of his flock even some of the fattest of them, God looked upon Abel and on his gifts; but upon Cain and upon his sacrifices he did not look with regard.
Thereupon Cain exceedingly grieved and his countenance became dejected. And the Lord God said to Cain, “Why art thou become sorrowful and why is thy countenance dejected?”
“Though thou hast offered right, yet if thou hast not rightly divided, hast thou not sinned? Be composed. To thee shall be his recourse, and thou shalt rule over him.”
The preacher’s point in all this is that Cain had “not rightly divided”. That is, he had not rightly divided a full 10% of his harvest to include in his sacrifice, so that is why God rejected it. Therefore the preacher’s message went like this:
If you don’t want God to snub you and your family like he did to Cain, and if you really want to “stomp Satan”, and if you want to get your share of the billions and trillions of dollars that God is surely going to soon transfer from the world bankers to the hands of the true “Christian remnant”, then you’d better pay a full ten percent of your income “after (income tax) withholding”.
Of course the implication was for this money to go to him.
So, never mind the fact that scripture clearly says that this was a sacrifice to God, and never mind the fact that “tithe” or “tenth” is not attributed to Abel’s acceptable offering at all, let alone is ten percent mentioned within a scriptural mile of these verses. This man says that this scripture depicts Cain as specifically chintzing out on paying a full 10% tithe; and that’s that.
Noah made a similar offering (Genesis 8:20) with no mention of a tenth. Abraham almost sacrificed Isaac who was his first son, not his tenth (Gen 22:2). Jacob made an offering (Genesis 35:14) with no tenth part of anything indicated. Moses negotiated with Pharaoh to provide cattle and to let Israel go out to serve and make offerings to Yahweh God. He said nothing about taking one tenth of the herd (Exodus 10:25) to offer to Yahweh.
But for some unknown reason according to this pro-tithe modern “seer”, Cain was chastised by God for not offering a “full tithe” as a sacrifice.
I didn’t go to preacher college, but I did graduate from Kindergarten. Even then I learned that things can be grouped in different ways. I remember the “What Does Not Belong?” pictures, where we were supposed to circle the item that did not fit with the rest.
Similarly, a person can “rightly divide” things according to shape, color, relevance and quality as well as quantity. It is not rocket surgery to be able to figure that out.
Did you notice that Abel’s offering had a high quality (some of the fattest) to it, while there is no mention of quality pertaining to Cain’s offering? Maybe Cain did not “rightly divide” his offering of produce according to bruises on the fruit and weed seeds and chaff in the grain. Maybe he had a lackadaisical or selfish attitude in preparing this sacrifice. Remember, “sacrifice” means to give up something. It is not a sacrifice if you give up things that you did not want anyway, such as produce that might otherwise be destined for the compost pile.
Since offerings like this are mainly symbolic, token amounts and have very little to do with quantity, but have much to do with quality, presentation, and absolutely nothing to do with ten percent, could the reason for God’s rejection perhaps be due to Cain’s lack of diligence?
The Septuagint that the preacher quotes from is a fine book that, because of variances in the text, often clarifies the meaning of certain scriptures in the
The Book of Jasher, while not particularly a book of my choice, is also used by preachers including pro-tithers as an extra-Biblical source to clarify and support certain scriptures.
It says the following in Jasher 1:16, the paragraph that corresponds to and support certain scriptures.
Genesis 4:5: “And unto Cain and his offering the Lord did not turn, and he did not incline to it, for he had brought from the inferior fruit of the ground before the Lord, and Cain was jealous”…etc. So we can see that it takes only a minimal amount of looking in the pro-tithe library to find very plausible, reasonable details that clarify this issue perfectly. The information is in a book that preachers will quote when it suits their purpose. If this preacher found a phrase in the Septuagint that he could use as an angle to spin it all into a pro-tithe anecdote, you can bet he or his staff searched Jasher as well. This time the preacher did not mention Jasher because Jasher contradicted what the preacher wanted us to believe.
The problem with Cain’s offering is described as quality control which perhaps reflected a heart (attitude/spirit) problem. There are obviously no tithe implications here whatsoever, so why would the preacher even bring this story into the tithe discussion?
So we can see that it takes only a minimal amount of looking in the pro-tithe library to find very plausible, reasonable details that clarify this issue perfectly. The information is in a book that preachers will quote when it suits their purpose. If this preacher found a phrase in the Septuagint that he could use as an angle to spin it all into a pro-tithe anecdote, you can bet he or his staff searched Jasher as well. This time the preacher did not mention Jasher because Jasher contradicted what the preacher wanted us to believe.
“And unto Cain and his offering the Lord did not turn, and he did not incline to it, for he had brought from the inferior fruit of the ground before the Lord, and Cain was jealous”…etc.
They bring it up because if they do not make up fictional arguments like this; if they do not cook the scriptures to say what they want them to say, they would have no arguments to present at all. In fact they could not make the scriptures say what they wanted them to, even in this case. Instead, the preacher just took scriptures that said one thing, and he just overrode it with a hard-sell, saying that it meant something else entirely.
Now, to be fair, at least in his presentation the first preacher gave you an allowance for the money that the government stole from you through withholding tax. This next pro tithe preacher wants his money off the top, before taxes.
Cain and Abel: the B-Side
This other preacher delivers another version of the tithe myth concerning this very same event; this effort says that Cain and Abel were presenting a “first-fruit tithe” (which is a completely invented term).
According to this preacher (and again, it is almost a given that this man knew what Jasher says on the subject, before he presented this tale), Cain’s offering was rejected because it was not “first-fruits” necessary for a “first fruit tithe”. Well, that might have been possible among the beanstalks and gingerbread churches of preacherworld, but in the harsh reality of Planet Earth his story is an impossibility. Just as the concept of a “tithe” is absent from that story, so also is the notion of a “first-fruit” nowhere to be found there, let alone this new hybrid term that the preacher pulled out of his sleeve.
The real mystery to his tale is how this preacher got away with using a bastardized, meaningless term like “first-fruit tithe” in his effort to morph this clearly defined sacrifice or offering into being some kind of tithe.
According to that preacher, even if there is not a New Covenant tithe in effect today, as a preacher he is still owed a “10% first fruit tithe”; because the Law of “first fruits” is still applicable. Otherwise “you’re a God-robber” (emphasis is his).
Really? These rebellious yellow preachers have tried various end-run tactics in deliberate efforts to nullify the instructions of the true tithe Law. In doing so, they are “making the Word of God of none effect”. In this case, we see it is the invention of a “law” of the verbally miscegenous term “first fruit tithe”. A term which to the pro-tithe preachers means a 10% haircut off the top of your paycheck, before taxes, because if it is after you have paid taxes on it, then it is not really “first fruits”, is it?
I am amazed at how people will reject even the historical reference value of ancient writings like the Book of Thomas, or Enoch, etc. because they are not “in the Bible”, while at the same time they will swallow hook, line, and sinker the newly crafted and invented deceptions which are also not in the Bible, but are believed to be the truth of the Bible, just because they hear it from a preacher. This “first-fruit tithe” is one of those fish stories that just may take the cake.
First Fruit Facts – Rightly Dividing Tithe from Offerings
To begin with, if the concept of first fruits was applicable today, it would be concerning agricultural production and not money, just like the tithe was. After all, it is called “first fruits”, not “first cash”, “first income” or “first coin”, or anything else indicating non-food items.
Secondly, if it did somehow magically apply to cash income, in order for it to be analogous it would have to be given only from the first payday (so-called “first harvest”) of your new job, or business endeavor; not taken from all of the income produced for the rest of your life. So even upon entering their self-serving fantasy world of pro-tithe scriptural interpretation, we can see that their theory does not work.
“First fruit tithe” is yet another step further removed from reality however, than their perpetual first-fruit-on-all-income doctrine.
The term “first fruit tithe” is an oxymoron; a fizzled attempt at spell casting
– the tying of two opposites into one term. Think about it, people; how do you give a “tithe” of a harvest that has not been made yet, but has only about to be commenced?
“First fruits” is not tithe, but a wave offering; a small symbolic cut or picking of the harvest made prior to, or at the very onset of harvest to acknowledge God’s goodness in creating the anticipated bountiful increase. It may be a larger amount, particularly for special events, but it is absurd to claim that it is 10% of the crop.
Tithe of course is not first fruits but a heave of one tenth of the harvest as a whole, made after the harvest is accomplished. Nehemiah 10:37 for example distinguishes the two as separate issues:
“And that we should bring the firstfruits of our dough, and our offerings, and the fruit of all manner of trees, of wine and of oil, unto the priests, to the chambers of the house of our God; and the tithes of our ground unto the Levites, that the same Levites might have the tithes in all the cities of our tillage.” (Again it is obvious – “tillage” means agricultural production, not industry, crafts and trades, commerce, etc)
So you have first fruits and offerings going to the priests (and prophets [2Kings 4:42] which could be non-Levites [1Kings 19:19]), and tithes, being a particular heave offering made only to the lower class of Levites. So are we to assume that this preacher is now claiming to hold the position of not only a Levite but also a priest as well, by claiming your tithe and your first fruits?
You will find that these income-tithe promoting preachers will at times claim to be Levites, and at other times priests; depending on what they can get away with at the moment. In this case it is both at the same time. Of course many love the title of “prophet” best of all because, psychologically at least, that trumps everything; after all, you can’t argue with a prophet.
Here is the law on first-fruits:
Leviticus 23:10 “Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye be come into the land which I give unto you, and shall reap the harvest thereof, then ye shall bring a sheaf of the firstfruits of your harvest unto the priest:”
This “sheaf” could be as much as you can fit your hand around, about 2-3” diameter, or perhaps slightly larger or smaller.
Deut 26:2-4 “That thou shalt take of the first of all the fruit of the earth, which thou shalt bring of thy land that the LORD thy God giveth thee, and shalt put it in a basket, and shalt go unto the place which the LORD thy God shall choose to place His name there.
And thou shalt go unto the priest that shall be in those days, and say unto him, “I profess this day unto the LORD thy God, that I am come unto the country which the LORD swear unto our fathers for to give us.” And the priest shall take the basket out of thine hand, and set it down before the altar of the LORD thy God.”
Unless it is a really bad year, who can fit a tenth of the harvest into a basket as if it were Dorothy’s dog Toto? Is one sheaf equal to a tenth of your harvest? Not unless you are growing it in window boxes. Likewise with your fruit or vegetable harvest – how many pumpkins are you going to fit in that basket?
Notice also that this offering was taken to the priest. Tithes were instructed to go to the Levites. Also, notice the instructions for the verbal confession that is to be recited every time this presentation takes place (I have added quotation marks for clarity). Do you think for one second that this preacher requires this statement to accompany every “first fruit cash tithe” that he has tried to convince others to give him?
So where did this preacher get a “first fruit tithe” idea after reading these scriptures of the Law that give clear examples of what a first fruit offering is really supposed to be?
Answer: He made it up; it is pure poppycock, hog wash, codswallup or something more derogatory. Use your own judgment and pick your own colloquial term for what appears to be pure fictional propaganda.
Furthermore and as if that evidence was not enough, these first fruit offerings were specifically coupled with animal sacrifices as part of the deal (Leviticus 23:14-20) “throughout all your generations”. So it is both or nothing in those cases. You either must sacrifice a lamb with this first fruit offering concept, or if you believe that Jesus was the final sacrifice, then the first fruit offering goes the same way as the sacrifices did. Who has the right to decide how to split this ritual? Not to mention that as we defined earlier, offerings of any type went only to the priest and not the average Levite. The priest is the intercessor between the people and God. Is your preacher a priest to you?
Once again as a side note – Does “fruit of the earth” sound like your payment for building, or manufacturing, or sales commissions, or any other non-agricultural financial income?(Leviticus 23:14-20) “throughout all your generations”. So it is both or nothing in those cases. You either must sacrifice a lamb with this first fruit offering concept, or if you believe that Jesus was the final sacrifice, then the first fruit offering goes the same way as the sacrifices did. Who has the right to decide how to split this ritual? Not to mention that as we defined earlier, offerings of any type went only to the priest and not the average Levite. The priest is the intercessor between the people and God. Is your preacher a priest to you?
An additional side note – Deuteronomy 12:13 says “Take heed to thyself that thou offer not thy burnt offerings in every place that thou seest:
But in the place which the LORD shall choose in one of thy tribes, there thou shalt offer thy burnt offerings, and there thou shalt do all that I command thee.”
So if you are attending some kind of church services at which you are giving cash offerings instead of burnt offerings, this scripture says that you are not to do it at any old place chosen by people, but somewhere specified by God Himself.
Who ever said that God has “placed His name” with your particular preacher for you to bring this offering to, or with your particular church denomination, as this scripture stipulates must be the case? The answer to that is evident: “Your preacher did”, or the billboard said so, or the radio ad strongly implied it. (It is actually a concept born with the creation of the Roman Catholic Church, and then adopted by all the others that claim this status.) They obviously have to have some kind of justification to claim to be a proxy for God and to be able to take your tithe money on His behalf, so they just say they do, or act like it is a predisposed fact, and that seems to work.
Deuteronomy 16:5-6 states: “Thou mayest not sacrifice the passover within any of thy gates, which the LORD thy God giveth thee: But at the place which the LORD thy God shall choose to place his name in, there thou shalt sacrifice the passover at even, at the going down of the sun, at the season that thou camest forth out of Egypt.”
This term “But at the place which the LORD thy God shall choose to place his name” Appears to be a significant instruction in regards to gatherings and feast day events, since it is also specified in Deuteronomy 12:5, 11, 14, 18, 21 – (that is 5 times in one chapter. Apparently this is to drive home an important point) also Deuteronomy 14:23, 16:2, 16:11.
In 1Kings 14:21, and 2Chronicles 12:13 the term is used similarly to indicate God’s moral support and approval.This term “But at the place which the LORD thy God shall choose to place his name” Appears to be a significant instruction in regards to gatherings and feast day events, since it is also specified in Deuteronomy 12:5, 11, 14, 18, 21 – (that is 5 times in one chapter. Apparently this is to drive home an important point) also Deuteronomy 14:23, 16:2, 16:11.
Go ahead and ask your preacher the question of who made him God’s first fruit and tithe collector. Then ask what evidence can he produce that indicates that God has placed His name at this man’s church/business, which necessarily must be the case if they are going to hang on to this Old Covenant paradigm of commercialized first fruit presentations. Let me know what he says.
On the other hand, in New Covenant terms the above-stated requirement is not necessary, since Jesus said in Matthew 18:20 “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.”
Since the temple is gone, this scripture is the closest thing we have to providing a New Covenant equivalent to the phrase where the LORD thy God shall choose to place his name. This averment applies to us anywhere today, but not for the same purposes that Deuteronomy 16:5-6 is talking about. Matthew 18:20 gives no exclusivity to gatherings supervised and controlled by preachers, and it certainly does not provide money collection rights to anyone at any of these gatherings.
So if the income-tithers want to ignore the New Covenant paradigm and promote for their advantage the Old Covenant instructions for tithing and first fruit giving, then they need to be unhypocritical enough to also confine themselves to the Old Covenant restrictions on these activities regarding what it is that is given, who it goes to, and where it all takes place. Cash, to today’s preachers, in buildings owned by today’s religious corporations, is certainly not what, who, or where it is at.
Alternatively, if in answer to your question about who made him God’s tithe collector, your preacher goes the non-scriptural route and happens to refer back to the writings of the “early Christian Fathers” as his authority for making such a claim, then he’s talking about writings of the early Catholic Church from 400 A.D. or later; not the true early Christians.
The pro-tithe preachers have presented no true scriptural basis for this claim that they represent God when taking your tithe; none that will even begin to hold water. So if he tries to lead you to believe that some old document is anything other than writings of the early Catholic establishment, he is either bluffing, defrauding, or just plain ignorant of the facts. You can decide what you want to call it.
Then you can ask yourself why they even have to resort to such documents of spurious origin to support their position. Do they not have scripture to back up their claim? By now I think you may be starting to realize that the answer to that question is: “No”. They have nothing that is not spun, distorted, or fabricated.
There are more details on Catholic documentation as it ties in with a modern tithe, in Chapter 22 “Rome: The Mother of Today’s Tithe”.
First Fruits Free for the Taking
Would you give one tenth of your income, or any first-fruit offerings to your mailman, your biker-gang cousin, the bartender down the street, or the junkie in the alley if they claimed to be a “man of God”?
The answer is: Yes, of course you would. Of course you would. That is, if they could convince you to do so. And therein lies the rub – what is your standard of proof? Your preacher is your “man of God” because one way or another he has convinced you that that is what he is. That fact seems to be the only criteria that really matters.
It is not because he has any God-ordained authority like the Levites did (which they do not), or because he “walks the talk” of non-materialism, like Jesus, Peter, Paul, and the other living examples of true “men of God” did. It is not because he is a scholar fluent in the Greek and Hebrew languages and can bypass the various faulty translations in order to clarify the true intent of various original scriptures. In some cases he does not even have to preach scripture at all, other than very sparingly.
He is your preacher for one of two idolatrous reasons: Either he was ordained by some church corporation and licensed by the State, or he is a good salesman like Jim Jones, who sold you the false idea that he is an anointed man of God who has “sacrificed all for Jesus” and who is out to do God’s work. None of these self-descriptions have anything at all to do with being proof that he fits the qualifications of a true scripturally defined “man of God”.
Today, a preacher just needs to talk a good game and grab the reins of the listeners’ minds; using the Bible as a speaking prop and quoting just enough scripture to make the invented doctrines go down without a hiccup. These are the type of people that Paul, Peter, James, John, etc. warned us about in the New Covenant, and you can see these phonies all over the place.
Now, some preachers may be at various levels knowledgeable, sincere, and beneficial teachers, I won’t deny that, but that does not automatically make them a “man of God”; particularly if they are being paid money to preach. There is also nothing wrong with being a skilled speaker. That ability combined with courage and truth makes a powerful combination. But communication skills used to convey self-serving doctrines are no substitute for truth, and quite often are used as a weapon to neutralize the truth and empower the speaker or his church board bosses.
New Covenant scripture defines the requirements for a “man of God” position. We will examine what that walk is, in the section covering New Covenant tithe arguments, and even more so in the companion book: “Men of God?”.
For the moment suffice it to say that pro-tithe (and most other) preachers bear little to no resemblance to what scripture defines as a “Man of God”, and therefore the ball is in his court for the preacher to prove through objective independent sources that God has “placed His name” with him if he is claiming to be a priest that has a right to your “first fruits”.
Pick ‘n’ Choose the Scriptures They Like
Regarding the preachers who mis-quote God’s Law for tithe money and “first fruit money” – do they also sacrifice your first fruit animals, as scripture instructs (Leviticus 23:9-14)? Do you offer your first born son to this preacher according to Numbers 18:15, and pay a ransom to get your son back? No, people do not do these things, nor do the preachers generally want them to, but they will surgically extract this “first fruits” idea right out from the very scriptures that also require the sacrifices, ransom payment, and other things.
Let’s be totally rebellious to these preachers for a minute, and actually read what God’s Law has to say about first fruits.
Deut 26:5-10 picks up from the first fruit scriptures that we read a page or two back. The following scripture details a required statement. It is something that must be stated when presenting the first fruits to the priest:
“And thou shalt speak and say before the LORD thy God,
‘A Syrian ready to perish was my father, and he went down into Egypt, and sojourned there with a few, and became there a nation, great, mighty, and populous: And the Egyptians evil entreated us, and afflicted us, and laid upon us hard bondage:
And when we cried unto the LORD God of our fathers, the LORD heard our voice, and looked on our affliction, and our labor, and our oppression:
And the LORD brought us forth out of Egypt with a mighty hand, and with an outstretched arm, and with great terribleness, and with signs, and with wonders:
And he hath brought us into this place, and hath given us this land, even a land that floweth with milk and honey.
And now, behold, I have brought the firstfruits of the land, which thou, O LORD, hast given me.’ And thou shalt set it before the LORD thy God, and worship before the LORD thy God:”
Did I mention that this confession is required? Everything in that scripture except the first and last lines, is required to be recited; required by the Law that these pro-tithe preachers claim to love and to teach, and which they use to justify their “first-fruit-tithe” abomination.
Clearly it is a statement of faith concerning God’s providence, and an acknowledgement of His sovereignty. The question is: Do these “law-teachers” who demand your “first fruit tithe” also require the recitation that this scripture instructs? Or are they more concerned with which pocket to put your money into?
The event described is not a tithe at all. This was done at the beginning of the harvest. That is why it is called “first fruits”.
Once the harvest was complete, they could then determine a tenth of it for the specific purpose of tithing, but not at the “first fruit” stage of harvest.
Continuing with Deut 26:11, it transitions from the subject of first fruits, and starts to talk about tithe: “And thou shalt rejoice in every good thing which the LORD thy God hath given unto thee, and unto thine house, thou, and the Levite, and the stranger that is among you.
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;
Once again, tithe equals food. Any scriptural tithe is always food or agricultural produce of some kind.
We will talk about this “poor tithe” that it mentions later, but since we are in the middle of reading Deuteronomy 26, let us pause for a moment to end this chapter a bit abruptly in order to address the closely related “sovereignty” argument which is central to their pro-tithe doctrine.