This is the truth about giving and tithing that you’ve probably never heard before!
Receiving From God
Contrary to popular belief, you do not receive any blessing from God when you give or tithe (there are benefits to giving but we’ll discuss that later).
Let’s address tithing specifically. Under the law, you receive from God based on your works. Tithing is one of those works (Leviticus 27:30). But even under the law, tithing is only beneficial if you keep the whole law. This is exactly what Paul addresses concerning circumcision:
Romans 2:25 (NKJV) For circumcision is indeed profitable if you keep the law; but if you are a breaker of the law, your circumcision has become uncircumcision.
If you want to receive from God based on your tithe then you must keep the whole law, otherwise your tithe is regarded by God as no tithe at all. This is why we must receive from God through Jesus. Jesus is the ONLY way to receive from the Father. We say this about salvation and then for some reason we make an exception for receiving financial blessing from God. It’s like Jesus was good enough to save us without our works, but if we want to be financially blessed, it is enacted by one of our own works, as a show of “trust in God.” That’s not how your salvation worked and that’s not how any of our receiving from God works.
Colossians 2:6 (NKJV) As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him…
Good works are great and when you are believing the Lord, works will follow, but NOT as a prerequisite to receive anything from God.
Tithing Before The Law
But you may say, “tithing was practiced even before the law though! It goes back to Abraham and Jacob!”
Yes, tithing was before the law. Abraham tithed, but not as a means of blessing—just like circumcision, burnt offerings and sacrifices were also before the law. They were practiced as a shadow of things to come, not as a means of blessing or covenant with God.
Let’s look at Abraham and Jacob (those not under the law, like us). Were they blessed because of their tithe?
Genesis 14:18-20 (NKJV) Then Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine; he was the priest of God Most High. And he blessed him [Abram] and said: “Blessed be Abram of God Most High… And he [Abram] gave him a tithe of all.
Pay attention; was Abraham blessed after he tithed? Or was he blessed after Melchizedek brought bread and wine (a symbol of Jesus’ provision)? Abraham was blessed BEFORE he ever tithed, based on the symbols of Jesus.
What about Jacob?
Genesis 28:12-13, 20 (NKJV) Then he [Jacob] dreamed, and behold, a ladder… and there the angels of God were ascending and descending on it. And behold, the LORD stood above it and said “…the land on which you lie I will give to you and your descendants…” (20) Then Jacob made a vow, saying, “…of all that You give me I will surely give a tenth to You.”
Jesus refers to Himself in the New Testament as the ladder that Jacob saw (John 1:51). Did God pronounce blessing on Jacob through his tithe or through “the Ladder” that he saw? Jacob saw the ladder and THEN God pronounced over him what we’d call “the blessing of Abraham.” Then at the end of the chapter Jacob promises a tenth (a tithe).
The truth is, these are common examples of tithing and yet our examples (Abraham and Jacob) were not blessed because of their tithing. They were blessed after “seeing” Jesus. And so are we!
Do you sacrifice burnt offerings to God today? No, why not? Didn’t the Bible command it? They even practiced it before the law. No, of course you don’t offer physical burnt offerings to God. As new covenant believers we say “That was practiced before Christ. Those are just shadows of what we have today in the new covenant.” And you’d be right. So why do we make this one exception for tithing? Tithing is just another offering prescribed before Christ (Deut. 12:6).
Like many other things, such as burnt offerings and circumcision, tithing was always intended to be a shadow of the new covenant to come. Offerings including burnt sacrifices and tithing, were symbols of thanks and praise to God that would be offered to God in the New Covenant.
Hebrews 13:15 (NKJV) Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name.
Psalms 119:108 (KJV) Accept, I beseech thee, the freewill offerings of my mouth, O LORD…
Jonah 2:9 (KJV) But I will sacrifice unto thee with the voice of thanksgiving…
Also see, Genesis 22:2 and 5, Psalms 54:6, and Amos 4:5.
Tithing is also a symbol of thanksgiving and praise to God. In Malachi, Israel had wronged God, but didn’t know in which way that they had wronger Him. See these verses:
Malachi 3:8, 13 (NKJV) 8 “Will a man rob God? Yet you have robbed Me! But you say, ‘In what way have we robbed You?’ In tithes and offerings. Skipping to verse 13 “Your words have been harsh against Me,” Says the LORD, Yet you say, ‘What have we spoken against You?’
First God explains that the wrong Israel had committed was that they did not give Him “tithes and offerings.” Then just a few verses later, in this same conversation with Israel, God says that the problem was “their WORDS had been harsh against Him.”
Israel had robbed God of the credit He deserved for all He was going to do in Christ. And they spoke ill of God instead. Hence, they robbed God of “tithes and offerings” (praise, thanks).
New Covenant Giving
So now knowing that tithing is an old covenant shadow of a new covenant truth, is there any point in giving at church? Of course! When you give to a ministry that’s teaching the truth, you are supporting that preaching and joining in with what God is doing through that ministry!
3 John 1:8 (NKJV) We therefore ought to receive such [ministers], that we may become fellow [literally, “united”] workers for the truth.
In fact, if you receive from a ministry, it is morally correct to give to them because you are receiving from them and should therefore share monetarily with them to repay for what you have received. But every person should give according to their willfulness and according to their ability, not according to a law, a commandment, or a pre-determined percentage!
Romans 15:27 (NKJV) It pleased them indeed [to give], and they are their debtors. For if the Gentiles have been partakers of their spiritual things [the word of God], their duty is also to minister to them [those who teach them] in material things.
Are There Benefits To Giving?
Yes! Apart from the fact that the Gospel is spread further, there are great benefits to giving to a Christ-centered ministry, but not from God directly! Whenever you bless a believer, THEIR blessing comes to you. Even if you help a believer with just a cup of cold water, you share in the blessing that God is manifesting through them!
Genesis 12:3 (NKJV) I will bless those who bless you, And I will curse him who curses you…
Matthew 10:41 (NKJV) He who receives a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet’s reward. And he who receives a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man’s reward.
Did Jesus just say that you’ll receive reward from God for supporting a prophet? No, not at all. God doesn’t bless people based on their works. BUT the prophet’s reward comes to you because you have blessed him! So it’s not from God directly. It’s the blessing of God on that prophet, which rubs off on you for supporting them!
So when God blesses a ministry and you unite yourself with it (by giving, serving, etc.) the blessing that THEY are receiving from God yields benefits in your life as well. This is Paul speaks of here:
Philippians 4:16, 19 (NKJV) …you sent aid once and again for my necessities. Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that abounds to your account. 19 And MY God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.
Paul said that when they gave to him, “fruit” would abound to their account. And that HIS God (notice the language here) would supply THEIR need because of their gift. He didn’t say THEIR God would supply THEIR need. He said HIS God would. That’s because they were being blessed based on the blessing of God working through Paul.
So are there benefits to giving to a good ministry? Yes, but it’s not a blessing on you for your work. It’s not your blessing at all actually. It’s you sharing in someone else’s grace that they are receiving by faith.
Philippians 1:5, 7 (KJV) For your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now [they helped Paul in his preaching] 7 …ye all are partakers of MY grace.
In summary, tithing and giving is not a means of enacting any blessing from God. Tithing is a “pre-Christ” shadow, no different than burnt offerings and circumcision, not a new covenant practice prescribed to believers. And although there are great benefits to giving to a good ministry, it is not God blessing you directly. You are receiving the blessing that is working in that ministry. We, on the other hand, receive financial blessing from God the same way we received salvation — by the work of Jesus, through faith in that work.