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On The Tithe

Posted by Stephen Pidgeon on Tuesday, December 6, 2016 at 12:00 AM

 

Uh-oh!  A discussion on the immutable law of the American Christian Church!

Let’s begin with a discussion of this term as it appears in the original Hebrew where the word found is ma’aser

ma’aser -  (מַעֲשֵׂר) (Strong’s H4643); a masculine noun from H6240; a tenth; especially a tithe:—tenth (part), tithe(-ing). This word is actually the prefix ma and the word asar (עָשָׂר) (Strong’s H6240), which means ten, or teen, or tenth. The easiest way to understand it is as the tenth.

Bere’shiyth (Genesis) 14:18-20
And Malkiy-Tsadiyq, king of Shalem, brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of EL ELYON. 19 And he blessed him, and said: Blessed is Avram by EL ELYON, the creator of heaven and earth: 20 And blessed be EL ELYON, which has delivered your enemies into your hand. And he gave him the tenth of all. 

14:20 וברוך (v’baruk – And blessed) אל (EL) עליון (ELYON)  אשׁר (asher – which) מגן (magan – handed over)  צריך (tsur’ich – your adversary)  בידך (b’yod – in hand) ויתן (v’yathan - perpetually) לו  מעשׂר (lo’ma’asar) מכל  (ma’kole).

And blessed EL ELYON which handed over your adversary into your hand and perpetually (v’yathan, what appears in the Hebrew) [nathan, and gave] the tenth of all.  

This passage is not altogether clear.  Did Avram receive also a tithe from his defeated adversaries?  Or, did Avram go out to battle and recover the goods and people that had been taken captive, including Lot and his goods, and then deliver a tenth to the Cohen Malkiy-Tsadiyq? Verse 20 - assuming a typo in the underlying Hebrew - indicates that someone gave someone else a tenth of all.  It is therefore assumed that Avram gave a tenth to Malkiy-Tsadiyq, but the verse does not give us that conclusion explicitly.  Further, Avram decries the proposal to keep even so much as a thread or shoe latchet from the goods belonging to the king of Cedom. Therefore we must either assume that it was a given understanding that a tenth would go to the priest of EL ELYON by both parties, and that only the net residue was being discussed between Avram and the king of Cedom, or this verse means something else altogether.

While we are looking at this, consider this use of the word cohen to describe Malkiy-Tsadiyq.  This identification of Malkiy-Tsadiyq is actually the first time the word cohen appears in Scripture. We see this as meaning priest, in whatever image that may conjure, and Strong’s tells us that the word cohen means priest, prince, or even principal officer.   

However, this term is used to describe the priest of Shalem, Bere’shiyth (Genesis)14:18, a city in Kena`an (Canaan); the priest of On, Bere’shiyth (Genesis) 41:45, a city in Mitsrayim (Egypt); the priest of Midyan, Shemoth (Exodus) 2:16, a region near the Ciynai (Sinai); before it is used to describe Aharon and the Leviyiym. We note, however, that under the Levitical Coheniym, a separation was made between the priest and the king.  This was not the case when Avram meets Malkiy-Tsadiyq, because the king and the priest were the same man. 

So what then is the tithe?

It is a tenth of the seed of the land, and the fruit of the tree. Vayiqra (Leviticus) 27:30.

It is a tenth of the herd. Vayiqra (Leviticus) 27:32.

It is a tenth of your grain, your wine, your oil, and the firstlings of your herd or flock. Devariym (Deuteronomy) 12:17.

It is a tenth of your increase in seed. Devariym (Deuteronomy) 14:22.

There is also a special tithe to be collected once every three years:

Devariym (Deuteronomy) 14:28-29
At the end of three years you shall bring forth את eth-all the tithe of your increase the same year, and shall lay it up within your gates: 29 And the Leviyiy, (because he has no part nor inheritance with you,) and the stranger, and the fatherless, and the widow, which are within your gates, shall come, and shall eat and be satisfied; that YAHUAH ELOHAYKA may bless you in all the work of your hand which you do.

Some of you may say: “well, there it is – a tithe for the priest (cohen).” You might want to ask your pastor first if he considers himself a Levite priest.  Most Christian churches teach that the Levitical priesthood has been done away with, and superseded by the Malkiy-Tsadiyq priesthood. Maybe so, but such a statement renders this paragraph inoperable for the pastor who teaches such a thing.

Divrei Hayamiym Sheniy (2 Chronicles) records an act of tithing following Yechizqiyahu’s (Hezekiah’s) rededication of the Temple and the priesthood.  Then the children of Yisra’el brought tithes (a tenth of the firstfruits of grain, wine, oil, honey, and the increase of the field.  They also brought a tenth of the oxen and sheep and the holy things consecrated to YAHUAH.  Divrei Hayamiym Sheniy (2 Chronicles) 31:5-6.

Ezra records in the Cepher Nechemyah that the tithe brought at that time was also grain, new wine, and oil.  Ezra v’Nechemyah (Nehemiah) 13:12.

The references in the Besor’oth (Gospels) mention also mint, anise, and cumin, Mattithyahu (Matthew) 23:23, and mint, rue, and all manner of herbs, Luqas (Luke) 11:42.

There are directives throughout the discussion on tithing in Vayiqra (Leviticus) which also directs the Leviyiym (Levites) to make a one tenth heave offering (from the shoulder) of all of the tithes they have received.

This then summarizes the tithe: it is an offering of the increase of the field, the herds, the flocks, the oxen, the sheep, the fruits, the seeds, the grain, the oil, the honey, and the wine, and it is to be delivered to the Leviyiym (the Levite priests), and every third year to the Leviyiym, the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow.  That is the tithe.

Bemidbar (Numbers) 18:24
But את eth-the tithes of the children of Yisra’el, which they offer as a heave offering unto YAHUAH, I have given to the Leviyiym to inherit: therefore I have said unto them, Among the children of Yisra’el they shall have no inheritance. 

Let us now discuss the terumah.  This is a little bit different, and appears to be that which is sought after by the Christian church in America.  The terumah (תְּרוּמָה) often translated as the heave offering (Strong’s H8641) is described as a present, a tribute, a gift, or an offering. The language used as heave offering, describes carrying the weight of the gift on the shoulder and then heaving it as a gift. 

What does the terumah look like?

Shemoth (Exodus) 25:1-9
AND YAHUAH spoke unto Mosheh, saying, 2 Speak unto the children of Yisra’el, that they bring me an offering: of every man that gives it willingly with his heart ye shall take את eth-my offering. 3 And this is the offering which ye shall take of them; gold, and silver, and brass, 4 And blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine linen, and goats' hair, 5 And rams' skins dyed red, and badgers' skins, and shittiym wood, 6 Oil for the light, spices for anointing oil, and for sweet incense, 7 Onyx stones, and stones to be set in the ephod, and in the breastplate. 8 And let them make me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them. 9 According to all that I show you, after את eth the pattern of the Tabernacle, and את eth-the pattern of all the instruments thereof, even so shall ye make it.

Is this an immutable law of the tithe? No, it isn’t.  This is a free will offering for purposes of building the sanctuary. And of course, the sanctuary is directed to be built in the pattern of the Tabernacle, using the instruments thereof, to include the Tabernacle and the Menorah.  Does your sanctuary meet these criteria, or does your sanctuary fit some other model?

This however, is not the giving required of the house of Yisra’el.  Consider what is called the kofer (Strong’s H3724 (כֹּפֶר)) which means a numbered redemption price.  It is even described as a bribe or ransom:

Shemoth (Exodus) 30:11-16
And YAHUAH spoke unto Mosheh, saying, 12 When you take את eth-the sum of the children of Yisra’el after their number, then shall they give every man a ransom for his soul unto YAHUAH, when you number them; that there be no plague among them, when you number them. 13 This they shall give, everyone that passes among them that are numbered, half a sheqel after the sheqel of the sanctuary: (a sheqel is twenty gerahs:) a half sheqel shall be the offering of YAHUAH. 14 Everyone that passes among them that are numbered, from twenty years old and above, shall give an offering unto YAHUAH. 15 The rich shall not give more, and the poor shall not give less than half a sheqel, when they give את eth-an offering unto YAHUAH, to make an atonement for your souls. 16 And you shall take את eth-the atonement money of the children of Yisra’el, and shall appoint it for the service of the Tabernacle of the assembly; that it may be a memorial unto the children of Yisra’el before YAHUAH, to make an atonement for your souls.

Now, most Christian pastors have been taught a passage from the Cepher Mal`akiy (Malachi) which they use to secure payments of money from their respective congregations.

Mal`akiy (Malachi) 3:8-12
Will a man rob ELOHIYM? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say: Wherein have we robbed you? In tithes and offerings. 9 Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation. 10 Bring ye את eth-all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house, and prove me now herewith, says YAHUAH TSEVA’OTH, if I will not open you את eth the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it. 11 And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy את eth-the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, says YAHUAH TSEVA’OTH. 12 And all nations shall call you blessed: for ye shall be a delightsome land, says YAHUAH TSEVA’OTH.

Well, we know what the tithe is (the increase of the field, the herds, the flocks, the oxen, the sheep, the fruits, the seeds, the grain, the oil, the honey, and the wine), and this is what must be brought into the storehouse for the Leviyiy (Levite), the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow.

However, it might be nice if the pastors teaching from this cepher would read the rest of the same book.  Ahh.  Life would be so much different.

Mal`akiy (Malachi) 2:1-10
AND now, O ye priests, this commandment is for you. 2 If ye will not hear, and if ye will not lay it to heart, to give glory unto my name, says YAHUAH TSEVA’OTH, I will even send את eth-a curse upon you, and I will curse את eth-your blessings: yea, I have cursed them already, because ye do not lay it to heart. 3 Behold, I will corrupt את eth-your seed, and spread dung upon your faces, even the dung of your solemn feasts; and one shall take you away with it. 4 And ye shall know that I have sent את eth this commandment unto you, that my covenant might be with את eth-Leviy, says YAHUAH TSEVA’OTH. 5 My covenant was with him of life and peace; and I gave them to him for the fear wherewith he feared me, and was afraid before my name. 6 The Torah of Truth was in his mouth, and iniquity was not found in his lips: he walked with me in peace and equity, and did turn many away from iniquity. 7 For the priest's lips should guard knowledge, and they should seek the Torah at his mouth: for he is the messenger of YAHUAH TSEVA’OTH. 8 But ye are departed out of the way; ye have caused many to stumble at the Torah; ye have corrupted the covenant of Leviy, says YAHUAH TSEVA’OTH. 9 Therefore have I also made you contemptible and base before all the people, according as ye have not guarded את eth-my ways, but have been partial in the Torah. 10 Have we not all one Father? Has not one EL created us? Why do we deal treacherously every man against his brother, by profaning the covenant of our fathers?

Well, . . . somebody should read this. Finally, let us consider the question of the placement of the storehouse:

Devariym (Deuteronomy) 12:10-14
But when ye go over את eth-Yarden, and dwell in the land which YAHUAH ELOHAYKEM gives you to inherit, and when he gives you rest from all your enemies round about, so that ye dwell in safety; 11 Then there shall be a place which YAHUAH ELOHAYKEM shall choose to cause his name to dwell there; thither shall ye bring את eth all that I command you; your burnt offerings, and your sacrifices, your tithes, and the heave offering of your hand, and all your choice vows which ye vow unto YAHUAH: 12 And ye shall rejoice before YAHUAH ELOHAYKEM, ye, and your sons, and your daughters, and your menservants, and your maidservants, and the Leviyiy that is within your gates; forasmuch as he has no part nor inheritance with you. 13 Guard yourself that you offer not your burnt offerings in every place that you see: 14 But in the place which YAHUAH shall choose in one of your tribes, there you shall offer your burnt offerings, and there you shall do all that I command you.

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