New Covenant scriptures regarding the tithe.
There are only a few scriptures that mention the tithe in the New Covenant:
- Hebrews Chapter 7 refers to the tithe in an historical sense as a means of making a point about Jesus being a high priest. This scripture also reminds us of the Levites’ role as exclusive tithe recipients, and clarifies the significance and remarkable nature of that meeting of Abraham and Melchizedek.
- Luke 18:12, in which a Pharisee erroneously equates tithe-paying with being righteous, which is actually quite prophetic of what we see throughout the history of the modern tithe.
- Matt 23:23/Luke 11:42 in which Jesus lambasts the Pharisees for their hypocrisy and for prioritizing the tithe over the more spiritual aspects of God’s Law (again, just as we see happening today).
Tithe promoters do their best to spin these three examples in a manner that portrays them as being “New Testament” tithe scriptures. The fact of the matter is that the Pharisees mentioned in the New Covenant were still living under their version of Old Covenant Law, with the temple and sacrifices still in operation, and therefore the tithe and other temple requirements were still current at that time. The Pharisees were also sacrificing “as they ought to have done”, so should
we still sacrifice animals along with our tithe? The fact that they even use the Pharisees as a role model pretty well sums up the whole pro-tithe mentality. Jesus also told the ten cleansed lepers to go and show themselves to the priest (Luke 17:14). He told another man cleansed of leprosy to do the same thing (Matt 8:4, Mark 1:44, Luke 5:14), and in addition told him to offer the gift that Moses commanded, and is detailed in Leviticus 14:2-7 “This shall be the law of the leper in the day of his cleansing: He shall be brought unto the priest: And the priest shall go forth out of the camp; and the priest shall look, and, behold, if the plague of leprosy be healed in the leper; Then shall the priest command to take for him that is to be cleansed two birds alive and clean, and cedar wood, and scarlet, and hyssop: And the priest shall command that one of the birds be killed in an earthen vessel over running water: As for the living bird, he shall take it, and the cedar wood, and the scarlet, and the hyssop, and shall dip them and the living bird in the blood of the bird that was killed over the running water: And he shall sprinkle upon him that is to be cleansed from the leprosy seven times, and shall pronounce him clean, and shall let the living bird loose into the open field.” Because of these multiple New Covenant scriptures, do preachers today insist that those who overcome illnesses must come to the preacher for a physical check up? No, of course they do not. Are preachers willing to go through the above described process every time a congregation member recovers from a communicable disease? Not on your life. Well, why don’t they, seeing as how they hold Matt 23:23 and Luke 11:42 (they tithed “as they ought to have done”) in such high esteem? If Jesus supposedly approved one Old Covenant instruction about tithing, and one Old Covenant instruction about going to a priest for a physical exam and ritual, and if both were addressed to Old Covenant listeners, why is the pro-tithe scripture held up and constantly referred to as an example to follow, while the pro-exam scripture is totally ignored? Is this some of that non-existent preaching bias at work here? That bias that pro-tithe preachers claim is not created by tithe money? This is just another example to underscore the absurdity of the tithe promoter’s claim that “We do the same job as the Levites”. That job description never included deception or biased preaching.
Realistically, Matt 23:23 and Luke 11:42 are merely incidental to the tithe subject and have no real relevance in either proving or disproving the validity of a modern day tithe. These scriptures merely indicate that a tithe still existed under the temple/sacrificial system at the time that Jesus spoke to the Pharisees, just as the Law of a physical exam by a priest existed. Neither is applicable today. So, there you go, read them for yourself. Those few scriptures are everything that the New Covenant actually has to say about the tithe, or tenth, or anything along those lines.