- Meaning and Origin of Tithes
A. What is Tithe?
Tithe is to separate and give to God one tenth of our entire income. Of course, all the harvest and income we get belong to God. for example, even when a farmer harvests abundantly with hardworking, he cannot say it is his because God gave the rain, wind, and sunshine, and it is also God who made the seeds and made them grow. Also, our strength, with which we can work, and our life itself actually came from God the Creator. In this sense, everything belongs to God after all. And because all things belong to God, in order to acknowledge this fact, we give to God one tenth of our entire income.
B. The Beginning of Tithe
When did, then, tithe begin first? In Genesis we can see Abraham and Jacob giving tithes, but it was officially made as a law after the Exodus of the people of Israel.
Jacob, the forefather of Israel, gave birth to twelve sons. God formed the twelve tribes of Israel through them. He chose the Levites, the tribe of the third son, and set them apart for Him. God made Aaron, Moses’ older brother, and his descendants God’s priests generation after generation. Other Levites guarded the Temple of worked in the Temple. They gave themselves fully to work for serving God, and let them take the tithes and offerings of the people Israel (Deuteronomy 18:1-2).
Even today, God is the inheritance for those who work in the church. therefore, ministers or Levites who work in the church cannot have another job and earn money in the world. The church must take the responsibility to support them so that they will be able to give themselves completely for God’s works.
The offerings of the members must not be used for personal purposes but to accomplish the kingdom of God. It includes the salaries of the ministers and Levites. In addition, the offerings must be spent for saving souls such as for church events, maintaining the church buildings, charity works, and evangelizing missions.
- We Must Keep God’s Law to Avoid Disasters and Curse
Today’s passage Malachi 3:7 says, “Yet from the days of your fathers you have gone away from My ordinances And have not kept them. Return to Me, and I will return to you,” Says the LORD of hosts. “But you said, ‘In what way shall we return?'”
Therefore, we should understand that God had to leave the people of Israel because they had left God’s commands. Some say that He never forsakes His children because He is faithful, but this does not mean that He will save those children who do not even keep the Sabbath but go back to the world.
God never forsakes His children first from His side. But when people forsakes God and violates His commands, they will not have connection with God until they repent and come back. God will still keep on giving chances for them to repent and keep the way of salvation open for them, but if they do not turn back, they will not be saved.
Malachi 3:8-9 also says, “Will a man rob God? Yet you have robbed Me! But you say, ‘In what way have we robbed You?’ In tithes and offerings.  You are cursed with a curse, For you have robbed Me, Even this whole nation.”
Not giving the proper tithes and offerings is to rob God, so His curse will follow. When this verse was written, the whole nation of Israel was invaded and destroyed by the Gentiles, the Temple was also destroyed, and its people were taken away as captives. After that, some people came back and reconstructed the Temple and the city wall. Yet, people were still feeling insecure and were having a hard time. It was due to the cruse that fell on the whole nation if Israel because they did not serve God properly but robbed God.
Curses will not come on those who keep the commands of God because God will protect them. But if we do not live according to the Word but commit sins, we will be accused by the enemy devil and Satan, and that is why we would face disasters and curses.
- Sabbath and Tithes: Most Basic for Spiritual and Material Blessings
Then, what kind of curses are we protected from when we keep God’s commands?
First, curses can generally be divided into spiritual curse and material curse. All curses were first caused by Adam’s committing sin. God created Adam, let him live in the Garden of Eden with all the abundance and blessings, and gave the authority to rule over everything. Adam could enjoy everything with his freewill but God prohibited only one thing: eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. This is the symbol to acknowledge as a creature the authority of God who created Adam.
But Adam was tempted by the serpent that was instigated by Satan and ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. This was to ignore the authority of God. finally, as said in Genesis 2:17, “but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die,” the spirit of Adam and Eve died. This is spiritual curse. Spirit is the master of men. Because men who were living spirit died, they became men of soul and flesh. Their communication with God was disconnected, and they were destined to fall into hell after their death.
But if those whose spirits are dead in this way accept Jesus Christ, they will receive the Holy Spirit as a gift and their dead spirit will revive. John 3:6 says, “That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” As said, when we receive the Holy Spirit and follow His desires, our spirit will grow and eventually recover the image of God that Adam first had when he was first created.
And the most important thing in giving birth to spirit with the Holy Spirit is to keep the Sabbath properly. We should not take any worldly pleasure but give the whole day to the Lord worshipping in spirit and in truth with fullness of the Holy Spirit and having fellowship with brothers in faith.
But as Adam violated the authority of God by eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, when we violate the Sabbath that God told us to keep properly, we are violating God’s authority and we will not be freed from spiritual curse. When we are not protected by God by committing sin in this way, not only spiritual curse but also material curse will fall on us.
Genesis 3:17 says, “Then to Adam He said, ‘Because you have heeded the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree of which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat of it’: Cursed is the ground for your sake; In toil you shall eat of it All the days of your life.'” Before, they could just eat from the things that God gave to them abundantly, but now, they could eat only in toil and with the sweat of their brow. From this time, the pain of poverty came upon men.
But for those who accept Jesus Christ, even this kind of material blessings will be abolished. 2 Corinthians 8:9 says, “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich.” Our Lord, who is the King of kings and the Lord of lords set us free from the curse of poverty by living a poor life Himself.
When we believe this fact and acknowledge God’s authority by giving proper tithes and offerings, we will be redeemed from material curses. By acknowledging that all we have belongs to God, we will be able to experience God’s blessings of pressed down, shaken together, and running over within His protection.
As said in Galatians 3:13, “Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree’),” the curses that fell on men since Adam’s Fall were demolished through Jesus Christ, and those who believe in the Lord will be united with the resurrected Lord and be set free from all kinds of spiritual and material curses.
If we truly believe in this fact, we have to show the evidence of our faith by keeping the Sabbath holy and giving proper tithes with thanks and joy that come out from our deepest heart. Only then can we receive abundant blessings and give glory to God always.