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Tuesday, January 19, 2010


J. Grant Swank, Jr.

Do you believe the Bible to be the infallible Word of God—divine revelation that needs neither adding to nor subtracting from?

If you do, then take seriously God’s statements regarding the tithe—one tenth of your income. It is God’s, not yours.

God calls you “robber” if you take His tithe for your own use.

Hebrews in Old Testament times brought down God’s unbridled anger upon themselves for various reasons. One chief reason was that they stole God’s tithe.

If every believer tithed to the local church, there would be no financial problems in Christendom. Then there would be no need for bean suppers and fairs and raffles.

The church is not the place for making money by such methods. Jesus cast out the merchandisers from the place of prayer because that kind of business was not to be tolerated in God’s House.

I shudder when I pass church buildings advertising Saturday night money-raising suppers. I ask myself: “Is that what the church is for? Is that what the church has come to?”

I would like to see those buildings posting signs that read: “Prayer Meets Here Weekly At Tuesday at 7 PM” or something of that sort.

It would be in place for those buildings to post signs reading: “Worship Gathers on the Lord’s Day Morning and Evening Here. All Welcome.”

The church is to be concentrating on saving souls. If souls are not saved, they are damned. What is the main thrust of any church? It is to see that souls escape hell and go to heaven.

Therefore, whatever the church can do to get souls under the preaching of salvation is what the church should be up to.

Again: if every believer gave God His tithe faithfully, the church could concentrate all its energies on worship, prayer, fellowship in Christ and Bible research.

God has an economic plan for His church. It is the tithes and offerings put into the local church—“the storehouse.” How can mortals sideline God’s economic plan? How can they be so stupid or brash to substitute the divine agenda for their own—many times a worldly-based gimmick?

God instituted the tithe with Abraham when Abraham gave the tithe to the priest. Then Abraham’s lineage continued the tithe. So it was to continue down through sacred history.

But Hebrews rewrote their own religion on numerous levels, one being absenting God’s tithe for mortals’ own take. God did not appreciate that at all.

Christ brought the tithe into the New Testament Church Age. He pointed to hypocrites who were tithing, thereby instructing His disciples that they were to do the same by being more righteous than even the tithing hypocrites.

Tithing then is not an Old Testament expectation alone. God brought that workable system into our present time.

I have tithed all my life because my parents were tithers. We children were taught to tithe with our weekly allowances. I never thought of robbing God when I was a child.

As a teen and young adult I tithed and never quarreled with God about it. I met a young girl at college who was reared the same way. We married and never fought over the tithe.

The firstfruits of our financial intake was God’s tithe. It was so because God said it was so. How could we disobey God? We could not and we would not.

Therefore, we gave God His tithe as the first item to set aside. All other bills came later. We did not say, “Well, we will tithe if we have it when we pay all the other bills.”

Never. We knew better than that.

Because we as a couple have tithed for nearly half a century we have never been forsaken. We have been through many trials and difficulties. But God has never forsaken us. We have never lost a night’s sleep over money. We have never questioned whether or not God was adequate to see through our financial obligations.

God is faithful. We have been faithful. The match-up has been glorious and a testimony to the fact that being honest with God is not only healthy for the wallet, but the heart as well.

I have had people try to argue with me about the Old Testament tithe and the New Testament Church Age, trying to twist my arm to admit that Christ really did not mean for that system to be brought into the Church Age.

I have not spent much time in that debate. I have been so convinced of the Scripture making sense and my own personal experience proving it out that I have little time with the arguers.

Instead, I think to myself: How can a person saved by grace ever argue with God when He spilled His holy blood to redeem a soul? How can a person even think of stealing from God who poured out His young body on such a bloody tree?

How groveling and low-life can a person be to try to steal God’s tithe when God has promised eternal life—blissful heaven—for the saved by grace?

Yet they argue. And they debate. I don’t think then that they really get the message of God’s love and care.

Do you?


Malachi 3:8-10: “Will man rob God? Yet you are robbing me. But you say, `How are we robbing thee?' In your tithes and offerings.

“You are cursed with a curse, for you are robbing me; the whole nation of you.

“Bring the full tithes into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house; and thereby put me to the test, says the LORD of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you an overflowing blessing.”

Matthew 23:23: “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cummin, and have neglected the weightier provisions of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness; but these are the things you should have done without neglecting the others.”

Matthew 5:20: "For I say to you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.”