The Tithe is Not Seed
Saturday, October 3, 2009
by Rev. D. Scott Ross
There is no subject in the Bible more inflammatory and controversial than anything dealing with money. Opinions abound. The tithe as seed has been a predominant teaching for many years. When the revelation of seed faith came back into the body of Christ it seemed that everything became a seed – including the tithe.
While it is true that faith should be released when we present the tithe, it is not true that the tithe is a seed that will be multiplied.
Everything in the earth belongs to God - the earth is His property.
Psa. 24:1 The earth is the LORD’S, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein.
The Bible says in the book of Leviticus:
Lev. 27:30 And all the tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land, or of the fruit of the tree, is the LORD’S: it is holy unto the LORD.
Its clear in these two scriptures that man owns nothing – including the tithe. Man has been given dominion over all the earth but was not given the ownership of it (Genesis 1:26-28). Once you realize that what we possess we do not own, you will then see that the tithe is not ours to give as a seed, but rather, it is God’s that we return to Him.
In the book of Malachi God spoke to Israel and said:
“Even from the days of your fathers ye are gone away from mine ordinances, and have not kept them. Return unto me, and I will return unto you, saith the LORD of hosts. But ye said, Wherein shall we return? Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings.” (Mal. 3:7-8, KJVS)
God said that the tithe was to be returned to Him – not given. You cannot give what does not belong to you. If something belongs to another, you may however; return it to them but it is not a gift. A seed is something of yours that you plant with the expectation of a harvest. You can’t plant as a seed something that belongs to someone else – that would be stealing from them. God actually said that the people had robbed Him in not returning the tithe to Him. If God meant that His tithe was a seed then He would have told the people to plant their seed instead of telling them to return to Him. Apparently God thinks the tithe is His.
I heard one minister explain the tithe in terms of man being a “sharecropper”. A sharecropper by definition is: a tenant farmer who gives a part of each crop as rent. That is a very good picture of ownership and of the tithe. A person who rents does not own. If you are renting you are paying to the owner for the use of His property. Remember, God never gave the ownership of the earth to the man. God gave man dominion over the earth and He gave him seed to sow in that earth. The rules concerning this arrangement were well defined and the consequences of not following those rules were also were also well defined.
“And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it. And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.”(Gen. 2:15-17, KJVS)
The tree of the knowledge of good and evil was the tithe. Man was not to eat from that tree because it belonged to God. It was also a constant reminder to man that God was the owner and that man was the possessor. There was no promise of blessing to the man for refraining to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. There was however, a warning about the consequences if man did eat of that tree. When man took God’s tithe and ate it, he would separate from God spiritually and eventually die physically as well. After man did just that, God announced that there was an “out blessing” (a curse) now upon the earth.
When you look at the benefits of tithing in the Old Testament you will find that they are the result of being in right standing with God and His covenant. We don’t see that the tithe is a seed that will be multiplied. We do see that when they tithed there was a blessing upon the seed they would sow and that the land would produce for them. Their land instead of being an “out blessing” would come under the blessing of God once again and their seed would multiply.
“And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith the LORD of hosts. And all nations shall call you blessed: for ye shall be a delightsome land, saith the LORD of hosts.” (Mal. 3:11-12, KJVS)
The land would be blessed once again. When the land is blessed – seed multiplies. The tithe is assurance that your seed will multiply but the tithe is not seed.
True, we do not live under the Law or the Old Covenant. However, the tithe is a universal law unto itself and is not covenant specific. We live in the age of grace. But consider this; while we do not live under the ten commandments we do keep the ten commandments because of the law of love now in our hearts. Love fulfills the Law. A person of love will gladly and willingly tithe because of the law of God in his heart. Yet, how many struggle with tithing today? It seems that more people look for reasons to avoid it than those who look for the benefits of doing it. Jesus said:
John 14:15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.
People who truly love Jesus don’t look for ways out of doing what He said. True, Jesus did not directly command us to tithe. However, Abraham also did not have a commandment to tithe – he just had it in his heart and so he did it.
Heb. 10:16 This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them;
When God is ruling in the heart of man, tithing will not be a struggle – it will be a joy. It’s only the love of money that keeps people in resistance to tithing. It is lack of understanding that considers the tithe a seed.
The New Testament, particularly the epistles, presumes a base of knowledge concerning the tithe. Failure to understand this has caused many to interpret giving scriptures as applicable to the tithe. The New Testament scriptures concerning giving are written presuming the tithe has been paid and what is being given is yours to give. Remember, the tithe is not ours to give. The tithe is God’s and is to be returned, and if we don’t return it, we are robbing God.
Here is an example of this:
“Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” (Matt. 6:19-21, KJVS)
The first clue here should be “Lay up for yourselves”. This is speaking about you and what is yours. The Bible tells us the tithe is the Lord’s. So, when it says, “where your treasure is” it is speaking of something that belongs to you. The tithe is not your treasure. Your treasure is what you have in your possession after you have paid the tithe. It also says that where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. The definition of “also” is “in addition to”. This is telling us that our heart will go where we put our offerings. Why is that? Because the tithe is not ours to give, it is no indication of what our heart is giving to. Tithing is an issue of the heart but it is not a gift of ours. I have found over the years that church members that do not give the substantial portion of their giving to their local church, even though they tithe, are not really committed. You would think that the tithe indicates a commitment. It may be a commitment to the principle of tithing but their giving is the indication of where the heart is. Concerning giving Paul said:
2Cor. 8:8 I speak not by commandment, but by occasion of the forwardness of others, and to prove the sincerity of your love.
Imagine that! Giving (not tithing) proves the sincerity of love.
Here’s another example of misinterpreting the tithe as seed.
Luke 6:38 Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.
I have heard this ministered concerning the tithe because people have presumed that all financial transactions between them and God is considered giving. First of all it says “give” and we know concerning the tithe God said to “return” which is not giving. Then, this scripture says “with the same measure” and it indicates that we are the ones determining that measure. The tithe is not a variable measure – it is ten percent. If we can determine the measure then it has to be speaking about something that belongs to us and we know that the tithe is the Lord’s and it is ten percent.
We cannot inspire people with a promise of a return that is not actually there. If we will take the time and have the patience to teach God’s people the truth about Kingdom finances we will see the fruit of it in their lives. God honors His Word.
by Pastor Scott Ross