Biblical Economics – Part 2

We left Part I with:

Because most Christians do not tithe, the church remains in a generally discouraged state. It struggles to pay its own bills: electricity, water, heat, pastor’s salary. Perhaps the church will do something about redecorating its premises or improving the manse if there is any extra. In the meantime money that might go to missions has to be kept at home: a handful of the faithful carry on most Christian work with precious little money.”
Let’s answer a couple questions:

What is the origin on the tithe? The tithe is first mentioned in Genesis 14:18-20. The tithe apparently was an established practice originating in the revelation given to Adam. Jacob also spoke of the tithe in Genesis 28:22. Mosaic legislation regarding the tithe deals with the fruit of one’s labor, the admission that all things are from God. The application of Leviticus 27:30 is clear, the ‘fruit’ of one’s labor must be tithed to the Lord as a declaration of the Christian’s submission to God’s ownership and the acknowledgement of sonship. The tithe is a royal tax: it is God’s claim on us as Lord and King.

What is the purpose of the tithe?

  • First, the tithe is a reminder that God owns us. The first-fruits belong to God. Failure to pay the tithe is a denial of the lordship of Jesus Christ over every area of our life. For the state to tax citizens more than God taxes His children is to say that the state has a prior and greater claim over us than God.
  • Second, the tithe is a reminder that God is the source of all we have. Deuteronomy 8:11-18 (Amplified Bible)

11Beware that you do not forget the Lord your God by not keeping His commandments, His precepts, and His statutes which I command you today,
12Lest when you have eaten and are full, and have built goodly houses and live in them,
13And when your herds and flocks multiply and your silver and gold is multiplied and all you have is multiplied,
14Then your [minds and] hearts be lifted up and you forget the Lord your God, Who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage,

15Who led you through the great and terrible wilderness, with its fiery serpents and scorpions and thirsty ground where there was no water, but Who brought you forth water out of the flinty rock,
16Who fed you in the wilderness with manna, which your fathers did not know, that He might humble you and test you, to do you good in the end.
17And beware lest you say in your [mind and] heart, My power and the might of my hand have gotten me this wealth.
18But you shall [earnestly] remember the Lord your God, for it is He Who gives you power to get wealth, that He may establish His covenant which He swore to your fathers, as it is this day.

  • Third, the tithe is the means for financing the work of God’s kingdom. God has commanded His people to go into all the world and make disciples of all the nations. It takes donated money. It takes schools, hospitals, churches, the arts, etc. If our main political and economic problem today is the huge and impersonal State, then we must be prepared to take over the State’s activities. We have two choices”
  1. 1. Pay for them with higher taxes to individuals who are not willing to take responsibility or
  2. 2. Use money voluntarily donated to organizations that must give an account of their actions
  3. 1. Fourth, the tithe is to be used in caring for those who are in immediate need because of certain economic set-backs. The tithe was not established to fund the creation of a welfare state. The tithe is not a remedy for poverty. Provision is made in Scripture for caring for the long-term poor through biblical laws (which I will cover in later writings).

For the most part, the tithe was used to handle local concerns. How does someone in Congress from Kansas know the local issues of certain counties in Florida? The church’s first responsibility is to help those close to home. True compassion and love for people is doing good to them in a personal way whenever possible. False humanitarianism promises love that is done at a distance in an impersonal way. False humanitarianism has created a system of wealth redistribution that steals from several classes of citizens to create another class of citizens that become dependent on consistent handouts. The Bible places the responsibility to care for the poor in the hands of God’s people at the local level where the potential for misuse and abuse can be alleviated.

If the people of God fail to tithe, they transfer the obligation for social financing to another agency, usually the state because it has the power to enforce the tax. If the tithe is operating effectively, the state’s power, authority and influence will diminish considerably. If capital is in the hand of God’s people then the funding of institutions, schools, and social agencies will spread the ideals of the kingdom of God, not the kingdom of man.

The question to ask yourself is: Would you rather restore power and authority to the Church operating under biblical principles or to man who in our current society answers to no higher power than himself?

Stay tuned for Part 3 where answer the question: Are the people of God obligated to pay the tithe today? What happens to a nation if God’s people fail to honor Him through tithes? Who has the authority to enforce the tithe?

Scriptures to review:
Malachi 3:8-10
Proverbs 3:9, 10
Matthew 22:21; 23:23

2 Chronicles 7:14 Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land.

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