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Home Doctrine The Law of Tithing

The Law of Tithing

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Recently I have received several emails which have asked the question: “Why do the Latter-day Saints observe the
law of tithing when this law was abolished with the atonement of Christ?”

First of all, it doesn’t seem to me that the whole law of Moses was abolished with the death of Jesus. The animal
sacrifices were a symbol of the atonement which was to come in the future, but after the death of Christ they
would not have any meaning because they looked to the past. Therefore a new symbol was needed. However, the
need for a symbol which pointed to Christ wasn’t done away. It was merely replaced. As such, the ten
commandments and many other things contained in the law of Moses are just as much in force today as they were
in ancient times.

Jesus explained in Matthew 5:17-19 “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come
to destroy, but to fulfill. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise
pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall
teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the
same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.”

Unfortunately the New Testament doesn’t say anything about tithing. Therefore it doesn’t give us a clear
explanation of whether this law was indeed abolished or not. However, it’s clear that Jesus approved of and
supported living the law of Moses. When asked how a person can gain eternal life, Jesus answered by telling him
to keeping the commandments (Matt. 19:16,17 ) When asked which was the greatest commandment, He again
listed something given in the law of Moses. (Matt. 22:37-10, Duet. 6:5)

There are Christians today who criticize the law of tithing, saying that it is like extortion. As far as I’m concerned,
since this law was given by God, these critics should discuss their complaints with God because He is the one who
gave this law to us.

Before I go deeper into the scriptures on this subject I'd like to show how God feels toward people when they
disregard this law.

Malachi 3:7-12 “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.
Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation. Bring ye all the tithes into the
storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will
not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive
it. 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.”

It seems to me that God is not very happy when He hears his people talking against this law. From this and other
scriptures we learn that God promised the best blessings to those who obeyed the law of tithing. The purpose of
this law was not only to help build and maintain the temple and insure that it’s ordinances were properly carried
out, but also to show to the heathens how much devotion and love His people had for Him.

The Lord told His people in Haggai 1:2-9 “Thus speaketh the LORD of hosts, saying, This people say, The time
is not come, the time that the LORD's house should be built. Then came the word of the LORD by Haggai the
prophet, saying, Is it time for you, O ye, to dwell in your cieled houses, and this house lie waste? Now therefore
thus saith the LORD of hosts; Consider your ways. Ye have sown much, and bring in little; ye eat, but ye have
not enough; ye drink, but ye are not filled with drink; ye clothe you, but there is none warm; and he that earneth
wages earneth wages to put it into a bag with holes. Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Consider your ways. Go up to
the mountain, and bring wood, and build the house; and I will take pleasure in it, and I will be glorified, saith the
LORD. Ye looked for much, and, lo it came to little; and when ye brought it home, I did blow upon it. Why?
saith the LORD of hosts. Because of mine house that is waste, and ye run every man unto his own house.”

As we have just seen, the Lord commanded His people to build a temple. But how were was the money going to
come from to buy the materials? The answer is: from the tithes of the people.

To those who question the need to follow the law of tithing, I would like to ask: "Where it is written in the New
Testament that the law of tithing is abolished? Usually I don't receive any answer because there is no scripture
which says that. A second question for them to answer is: "Are you sure that the law of tithing was in the law of
Moses?” They usually answer "Yes!" The problem is that there is no scripture which proves this. And the reason
for this is because tithing is not peculiar to the law of Moses. By that I mean, it was not introduced to man at the
time of Moses. The Bible tells us that Abraham paid tithing to Melchizedek many centuries before the law of
Moses was given. (To learn more about this read my talk entitled "Gospel") Therefore, to say that the law of
Moses was fulfilled in Jesus doesn't mean anything when it comes to the law of tithing. In fact, there is a verse
that explains why tithing should be in force in the last days.

Acts 3:19-21 “Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of
refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord. And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached
unto you: Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things which God hath spoken by the
mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.”

Notice this talks about “THE TIMES OF RESTITUTION OF ALL THINGS!” Even if we say this law was
abolished, as some claim, it will be restored again in the last days anyhow. So we see there is no way to escape
this law. Tithing was given by the Lord from the very beginning, was repeated in the law of Moses and will be in
effect before of the second coming of the Lord.

Having said that, let’s see what the scriptures have to say about the law of tithing.

Genesis 14:18-20 “And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the
most high God. And he blessed him, and said, Blessed be Abraham of the most high God, possessor of heaven
and earth: And blessed be the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand. And he gave him
tithes of all.

Genesis 28:20-22 “And Jacob vowed a vow, saying, If God will be with me, and will keep me in this way that I
go, and will give me bread to eat, and raiment to put on, So that I come again to my father's house in peace; then
shall the LORD be my God: And this stone, which I have set for a pillar, shall be God's house: and of all that thou
shalt give me I will surely give the tenth unto thee.”

As these verses point out, the law of tithing was not instituted in the law of Moses, but reiterated. And why did
God give the law of tithing to His people? The answer is, so they could have the means to build and maintain a
house to the Lord.

A woman recently wrote me, saying, "The LDS church spends an enormous amount of money on temples. I love
beautiful bldgs as much as anyone but I just can't see the sense in spending money to build temples if ordinances
are performed by the power of the priesthood. It almost makes it seem like if you don't have the resources to build
a temple in your area, or travel to the one closest to you, then you just miss out.”

But the church is building temples everywhere to give everyone the same opportunities, so her complain is no
longer valid. And as to the beauty of our temples, if we were going to build a house to the Lord, wouldn’t we
want to make it the best we can? In fact, whenever God’s people have built a house to the Lord, it was always
made of the best material and craftsmanship which the people could afford.

Turning back to the law of tithing, in Malachi 3:7-11 we’re told, “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. Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even
this whole nation. Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me
now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a
blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it. 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.”

In these verse the Lord is very clear how He feels about people not paying their tithing - they are robbing Him!
And what is the reason He gives for paying tithing? “That there may be meat in Mine House.” This money is to
used for the Lord’s purposes. The faithful person who pays their tithing is somebody willing to help build up the
kingdom of God. They don’t just talk about it, but they are willing to sacrifice their material means. As such, this
law is really connected to the law of sacrifice which the Lord Himself has given to man from the very beginning.
It is true that the law of sacrifice, as recorded in the Bible, was instituted to symbolize the death of the savior
through the sacrificing of animals, but who can deny that giving up any of our material possession is just as much
of a sacrifice? The law of sacrifice, connected with the law of tithing teaches the natural man that he can and must
sacrifice his material things if he wants to have great success in spiritual things. But this is not the kind of success
which the world speaks of. This kind of success bring us greater spiritual power that allows us to draw nearer to
God. When we are stronger spiritually our deeds and words have greater power to them.

I have a very good testimony of tithing that I’d like to share with you.

In 1980 I had a very bad time financially. I was vice director of a company which, unfortunately, failed, so I had
to start again with another job. My income was less than half of what I was making before. I had four children
and without my former income it was very hard to make ends meet. However, I was not worried. I thought to
myself, "Step by step I will find a good job gain."

One day I had an interesting conversation with my wife. She told me that our son Claudio needed a new pair of
pants, but we didn't have the money to buy him any. I told her that we needed to have patience. Unknown to me,
Claudio, who was just five years, was listening to our conversation. Later, he came into my bedroom and asked
me, "Dad are we poor?” It broke my heart to hear him ask this question. Up until this time I had never realized
that my financial problems would affect my family this way.

After I discussed the issue with my son I decided to talk with God in prayer about my problem. I even decided to
fast. These are the feelings that I expressed in my prayer: "Dear Father in Heaven, I am not here to ask you for
money for myself. Unfortunately my family is suffering but you have promised in the scriptures to "prove me
now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a
blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it." I have always paid my tithing faithfully, so I am just
asking for the opportunity to find a better job so I can provide for my family. Nevertheless, I will leave this
decision up to you.

That same day, while I was working, I received a telephone call from a friend in Padova. He was an old
partner of mine in the failed company and was now working for another company. He explained that this
company needed a manager in my own city and so he called to ask if I would be interested in that position.

After our conversation, I started to cry and prayed to the Lord with great gratitude in my heart. I knew that was
not by chance I had received that call. I had asked for financial help and God opened the windows of Heaven for
me. In 3 months I saw my income triple, and after one year it grew 5 times more.

I don't know why the people are against observing this law, but I am surely not one of them. This law was not
devised by man but came from God Himself for the blessing of men and the glory of God. I want to thank Him
for this great opportunity he has given me to pay my tithing to Him.

Last Updated on Monday, 17 May 2010 09:50  

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