Filter by: Products Articles
Filter by:

Bible Questions with Michael Pearl
Episode 046: Is Tithing Required?

By Michael Pearl

Episode Transcription:

Michael Pearl:  All right. I am Michael Pearl and here I sit on my tractor. Jared has interrupted my day's work to answer your bible question and I'm tickled to do that. So Jared, what kind of question did you got for us today?

Jared:  As a Christian, am I required to tithe?

Michael:  I have a CD on that called Sabbath Rest you can order that for the No Greater Joy Ministries. I am going to give you an opening statement. Set you back on your heels. Tithing is sin for a Christian. That is fact. Tithing is sin for a Christian. Not only are we not required to do it. It is sinful to tithe. [laughs] . I can see my audience now. You say why? Paul said in the book of Galatians, chapter five, he said, who so ever you are justified by the law you are fallen from grace. When a person goes back to the law to keep the law in any part as an obligation or duty then he is stepping away from grace. It doesn't mean loss but it is stepping away from grace. He is falling from his position in grace.

So how would tithing make you fall from your position in grace if...let me ask you this, if you are tithing and you don't tithe, would you feel guilty. Would you feel like you're cheating God, robbing God. As the preacher said in Malachi five, you say yeah I would. Then you are doing a work in order to please God and make yourself right with him.
That is the law. That is all the law, doing what God said do in order to make you right with him. And when Paul came back on his third missionary journey to Jerusalem. The Gentiles, the Jew there were keeping the law every aspect of Moses law. They continue to keep it and they accused Paul of teaching Jews and outlining areas that they did not have to keep the law.

And so, Paul explained to them that he was not telling the Jews that they shouldn't keep the Sabbath, that they shouldn't tithe, that they shouldn't obey the laws. But then he was telling the Gentiles that God didn't give those laws for Gentiles. He gave them just for Jews. And so, the church considered the matter. Everyone present. All the apostles present.

And they decided what out of the Old Testament a Gentile should observe and four things. They should abstain from fornication, idolatry, from eating anything that is strangled and drinking any blood, and that was the only those four things. All those things existed as law to mankind in general before the flood, before Abraham, before Moses. And so that was not part of the law.

If tithing was something a Christian ought to do then they would have said to the Gentile churches. You need to collect on the first day of the week, ten percent of your income and give it to God to the Church. They didn't say that. If Sabbath keeping were part of it. They would have said, well you need to worship God, own the Sabbath or on Sunday or choose to do it. They didn’t do that. That burden was never placed on the Gentile churches, ever anywhere in scripture.
Of all the times, Paul wrote to the churches. Read the book on Ephesians, Colossians, Philippians, first and second Thessalonians, Timothy, Titus, Philemon, James. Read all those books and you have all kinds of exhortation to righteousness and duty for a Christians which you never ever have Paul suggesting that they tithe.

He even has in Corinthians, he tells when you gather together on the first day of the week, he said, "Set aside and collect an offer." But he never tells them to tithe in collecting that offer. They have to give willingly from a willful heart. They didn't say how much.

One of the sins of tithing would be, it wouldn't be enough. In other words, if you are a Christian and you believe the world is lost and you want the gospel out. Would you just give 10 percent of your income to God and feel like you've served him?

I think you would want to arrange your lifestyle so that you can give much more to missions than 10%. When I was in the college, bible college, my first year, I went to one of the professors and I said should we tithe? Does the bible teach tithe? He said, "Well the book of Malachi said..." Yeah, I know from the book of Malachi but what about the New Testament.

He could not answer me well. So I went to another professor and finally I started going to some of the older students who were pastors already; 35‑40 years old coming back for some courses. And I went to this one particular pastor and a friend of mine. And kept bugging him for a week there and finally he got exasperated and he stopped in the hall and he said.

"Look, when you get out and you are a pastor of the church and your income depends on what they put in your offering plate. Then you'd understand why we teach tithing." There I was an 18‑19 year old young man, all idealistic and I find out that preachers are teaching tithing because they need the money. Whoa, that kind of was a big let down. That didn't establish my doctrine. I became a student after getting out of bible college.

I had time to study my bible then. It became very clear to me that I was either going to be a New Testament Christian, spirit filled, spirit led, motivated by the love of God or I was going to be legalistic, motivated by duty of laws God gave to the Jews back in the Old Testament. So I decided on the former that I would follow the Spirit of God, let him lead me and guide me and then I would teach the people that I taught, to let the spirit of God lead them in how they gave.

That way they likely to give a lot more than just 10% and missions would be served much better. But when you get a big old church worth five million or 15 million or 40 million dollars, you got big notes coming in and you got hundred people on the staff. Preachers will use any method they can to keep that money coming in.

I'm afraid that's a whole lot of what motivates the bible doctrine these days.

Announcer:  If you would like to ask a Bible question, email us at [email protected] or call at 931‑805‑4820.

Leave a Reply

3 comments on “Is Tithing Required?”

  1. Thank you Thank you Thank you.. I have been searching the Bible on this issue, and you
    have confirmed what I have come to conclude from scripture. Thank you for choosing to be first option you listed, New Testament Christian, spirit let......

  2. In reference to the sabbath...
    Michael ignores a lot of scripture and that is problematic. Today we will look at the whole counsel of God and not just the scriptures Michael promotes. I feel as believers we owe this to God.
    We see God in both the OT and NT to not "add to" or "take away" from His word. However the only way Michael's belief to stand is to take away from God's word and/or add to it. He stated that the sabbath was only for the children of Israel. Well Romans 11 states we are grafted into Israel so where does that leave us? That we should observe the sabbath.
    Another question we must ask is this... Does God's commandments apply only to the Jews? Is there a separate set laws for foreign believers who follow God in the OT?
    Lets look at the scriptures...
    "You shall have the same law for the stranger and for one from your own country; for I am the Lord your God." Leviticus 24:22
    "One law shall be for the native-born and for the stranger who dwells among you.” Exodus 12:49
    "One law and one custom shall be for you and for the stranger who dwells with you." Numbers 15:16
    So its clear that there is one body as we are grafted into Israel, with one Shepherd who has one law for all time. When Michael tries to imply that the sabbath was only for Jews, he should be reminded that foreigners who also traveled out of Egypt followed God. The above verses show people's ignorance to God's word (which I also did because I relied on the doctrines and teachings of men rather than test everything against God's word). This should be enough but another question we need to ask is this...
    Are there verses that show how long the sabbath is to be observed? Yes there are.
    Now if you ask people if God's mercy is forever the answer is YES. Does His love endure forver? YES. So if God used the word "forever" which means without end / eternity then this is something we can look up and help further explain if the sabbath is to be observed today. IF we find scriptures showing the sabbath is only to be observed for those in the OT THEN we can be sure in our claim the sabbath is not for today. However IF we find scripture that shows the sabbath is forever THEN we have to change our beliefs to correctly reflect what God put in His word and walk accordingly (BTW the sabbath is NOT going to church or worshipping but that is another topic).
    Exodus 31:16
    "Wherefore the children of Israel shall keep the sabbath, to observe the sabbath throughout their generations, for a perpetual covenant."
    It should be noted again, we are grafted into Israel according to Romans 11 but we also see that the sabbath is perpetual. According to Strong's concordance it is H5769 עוֹלָם owlam meaning everlasting, indefinite or unending future, eternity. The same word is used when it describes God's love and mercy which is forever (owlam). So when God states His sabbath is to be observed for eternity He means it. Now some people ignore this fact and say all the old covenants are not binding or inforce today. Lets see if there is another place in scripture showing an Old Covenant that is still binding today...
    "And I will establish my covenant with you, neither shall all flesh be cut off any more by the waters of a flood; neither shall there any more be a flood to destroy the earth. And God said, This is the token of the covenant which I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for perpetual generations: I do set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between me and the earth." Genesis 9:11-13
    Here is proof positive that when God says something is forever / perpetual He means it. If you have ever seen a rainbow after a rain its showing that this covenant is still inforce today. So why is it people will acknowledge the rainbow but not the sabbath when the same words/phrase are used to indicate its duration is for eternity?
    Simple, they must ignore portions of God's word to support the doctrines and traditions of men over what God instituted for all time.
    What I find disturbing is that Michael does not know the difference between the traditions and doctrines of men vs. the commandments of God. Jesus rebuked to 'adding to' His commandments i.e. 'The Jews determined you couldn’t travel any more than about a half mile.'
    This was NEVER a commandment of God and if you study the scriptures, you would see the sabbath is NOT about going to church/synagogue. Its something else entirely. Matter of fact nothing in the bible say you can't go to church on any day of the week. If you want to worship 7 days a week thats fine! However the sabbath is to benefit all mankind and not just the Jews as we see here...
    Mark 2:27 "And He said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath."
    I would like to ask Michael a question... Did Jesus ever sin? Did He ever lie? I would hope your answer is 'no he never did'. Ok so your saying the sabbath was only for the Jews (even though scripture disproves it lets just say this is the case). IF the sabbath was only for the Jews THEN the word "man" in Mark 2:27 would be defined as Jew or Child of Israel, an Israelite. Lets check Strong's concordance on how "man" is defined...
    BOTH instances of the word "man" is ἄνθρωπος G444 which is anthrōpos a human being, whether male or female; to include all human individuals i.e. mankind / the whole of the human race. Interesting stuff when actually look at the definitions of words than pick and choosing scriptures out of context to support the doctrines of men.
    So IF we still hold that the sabbath was only for the Jews, THEN we have to conclude that Jesus did not mean what He said and we know that is not the truth. He is all knowing and He did use the correct word.
    Something else Michael ignores, does not know or fails to bring out is Paul the Apostle to the Gentiles. Paul observed the sabbath long after the death and resurrection of Jesus. Matter of fact IF the sabbath was NOT for gentile/foreign believers THEN we would see that in His writings. We would surely see Paul telling the gentile believers to NOT observe the sabbath, so lets check the scriptures...
    Acts 13:42
    "And when the Jews were gone out of the synagogue, the Gentiles besought that these words might be preached to them the next sabbath."
    Notice how we do NOT see Paul telling the gentile believers the sabbath was not to be observed by them. Interesting eh?
    Acts 13:44
    "On the next Sabbath almost the whole city came together to hear the word of God."
    In this verse we see the entire city which had a lot of gentile believers and unbelieving gentiles came to hear the word of God on the next sabbath.
    Again Paul NEVER correct the gentile believers to NOT observe the sabbath but he support the sabbath for all!
    Acts 18:4
    And he reasoned in the synagogue every Sabbath, and persuaded both Jews and Greeks.
    Again another scripture supporting the eternal command of the sabbath for all mankind - both Jew & Greek. It should be noted during this time it was about 25-30 years after the resurrection of Christ. So if you still cling to the belief 'the sabbath was done away with' despite all the proof sited, lets look at another matter...
    Do we ever see in the OT or NT that observing the sabbath by gentiles is a sin? No we do not. Matter of fact we see in the writings of the prophets that His sabbath will still be observed in the New Millennium!
    Now EVERY bible scholar rightly states that Ezekiel 46 deals with the New Millennium and what do we see? The sabbath! Read the entire passage for yourself.
    Another New Millennium passage is Isaiah 56:1-7 so IF we see the sabbath has been done away with in this passage THEN we can conclude the sabbath is NOT for gentile believers in the New Millennium...
    Isaiah 56:1-7 Salvation for the Gentiles
    56 Thus says the Lord:
    “Keep justice, and do righteousness,For My salvation is about to come, And My righteousness to be revealed.2 Blessed is the man who does this, And the son of man who lays hold on it;
    Who keeps from defiling the Sabbath, And keeps his hand from doing any evil.” 3 Do not let the son of the foreigner Who has joined himself to the Lord Speak, saying, “The Lord has utterly separated me from His people”;
    6 “Also the sons of the foreigner Who join themselves to the Lord, to serve Him, And to love the name of the Lord, to be His servants— Everyone who keeps from defiling the Sabbath,
    And holds fast My covenant—7 Even them I will bring to My holy mountain, And make them joyful in My house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and their sacrifices
    Will be accepted on My altar; For My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations.”
    WOW! there is a lot in that small New Millennium passage that wrecks a lot of man made doctrines. This again shows that the sabbath IS definitely still enforce after the times of tribulation and after the second return of Christ the Messiah!
    When Michael brings up Colossians 2:16 as proof to justify NOT observing the sabbath we see this is wrong. The whole context of Colossians is that the writer was telling the believers to NOT let the neighboring pagans judge them about keeping the sabbath among other things. IT was NEVER implied to be used as a way to disobey God and observing the sabbath as has been pointed out in all the other scriptures we posted.
    I could go on and show how the feasts of the Lord also go along the same lines of having to be observed forever but that would really make this a long post.
    In closing the ONLY way Michael's belief that the sabbath has been done away with and not applicable for gentile / non-jewish believers in the Messiah is to do away with all the scriptures that were posted (adding to or taking away from God's word). Please search the scriptures to find the truth and follow what God wants us to do. To do otherwise is lacking and only cause further problems in scripture. When we accept God's word for what it is, then we can walk in liberty, freedom, and in blessing just as Jesus walked. Remember Paul stated to imitate him as He imitates Christ.
    One word of warning I would give is this.. any man or woman that ignores and cherry picks scripture is NOT basing their beliefs on the whole counsel of God. Also remember that the New Covenant shows ALL of God's law should be written on our hearts and minds so we can obey Him in spirit and in truth ref. Jeremiah 31:31-34.
    Test everything and be like a berean to see if what is taught is true!
    P.S. I read Michael's response again and found something interesting. Its something a lot of believers claim as truth but when you check the scriptures we find something different.
    Michael said "Jesus is my Sabbath. He is the Lord of the Sabbath. And so, no, I don’t hold Saturday or Sunday as a day above any other day of the week. All days are equal."
    1st, "Jesus is my Sabbath" is a very common response to a lot of christians but has anyone ever checked the scriptures to see if this is true? If we do a search for "Jesus is the sabbath" or similar phrases we do NOT find this in the bible. Now we do find that Jesus gives us rest...
    Matthew 11:28 "Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest."
    Jesus used the word G373 ἀναπαύω anapauō which Strong's concordance defines as "to cause or permit one to cease from any movement or labour in order to recover and collect his strength". It should be noted that this word REST is NOT the same word used for sabbath.
    Matthew 12:8 "For the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.”
    Strong's "sabbath" is G4521 σάββατον sabbaton meaning the institution of the sabbath, the law for keeping holy every seventh day of the week. We also know this applied to both Israelites and gentile believers because God gave the same law/instructions for both as I showed in my previous post.
    So when people say Jesus is my sabbath that is not true. They also forget that Jesus NEVER made the claim He was the sabbath. They also forget, as did Michael, that Jesus said He was the Lord OF the sabbath. Never do we see in scripture Jesus claiming to be the sabbath, never do we see any prophesies of Jesus becoming or replacing the sabbath either. The bible passages referencing the New Millennium show the sabbath is still observed so again this proves Jesus is NOT our sabbath - yes He gives us rest, peace, mercy, strength, etc but lets not make a claim that is NOT supported by scripture.
    Michael also said "all days are equal". Interesting because in the Old Testament all days are NOT equal. Matter of fact we see where God stated that the sabbath was a perpetual covenant for all time (see notes on owlam - meaning forever / eternity). All the other days of the calendar were assigned numbers 1,2,3,4,5,6 but the seventh was entitled as the SABBATH. It was set apart as holy by God...
    Leviticus 23:3
    "Six days shall work be done, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of solemn rest, a holy convocation. You shall do no work on it; it is the Sabbath of the Lord in all your dwellings."
    Deuteronomy 5:12
    "Observe the Sabbath day, to keep it holy, as the Lord your God commanded you."
    Now while Michael has some good teachings, I think I will stick with God and His word on this - that the sabbath is a holy day and is NOT equal with all other days. Yet despite all these facts there is a question we must ask...
    If God told you to do something, would you do it?
    Most believers would answer "Yes!" and when you ask 'Why?' most would respond with "because He is God!" Funny how they give this answer but when it comes to the sabbath suddenly people refuse to obey His commandment on the sabbath. One of the problems a lot of people have is they have no idea what the sabbath is or what it entails.
    Some common misconceptions/myths of the sabbath...
    1. "I can go to church and worship on any day I want"
    Answer: Of course you can! There is no scripture or teaching saying you cannot. What people don't understand is the sabbath is NOT about going to a church service - matter of fact if you want to go to a service everyday of the week there is no problem at all. So what is the sabbath? Its about spending time with God & your family; a time to be the spiritual head of the house and disciple your family; to study and pray for your family and others, etc. Its quite time with God for one day out of the week where you relax physically, emotionally and spiritually. The great thing is God blesses us for spending this time with Him! No other god does this for His children.
    In todays world where parents and children spend next to NOT time with each other God in His wisdom set up the sabbath as an example of not only to remember how He created everything but how He set up time with His children one-on-one. In other words God in our relationship with Him by observing the sabbath is giving us time with Him; its an example of how we are to spend time with our children too. Its leading by example, loving God in a tangible way that our children can see - its raising them in the way that is right so when they are old they will not depart from what God setup.
    2. "The sabbath has been nailed to the cross"
    Answer: This is common excuse because as mentioned in the previous post we see the sabbath observed in the New Millennium so that is proof it was NOT nailed to the cross. To make this claim means that what God declared, the sabbath, as holy and a benefit for us, is suddenly no longer today, but it will be holy again in the New Millennium once again. Strange because there are no scriptures saying there is a "pause" on the sabbath.
    3. "I don't have to observe the sabbath because no one can judge me - Colossians 2:16 is the proof!"
    Answer: I used to use the same excuse but unfortunately I did not take into consideration the context of the book. Colossians what written to believers where the neighboring pagans were trying to get them to NOT observe the sabbath / do the things God told them to do! You see the pagans were trying to get people to NOT obey God, to not observe HIS holy day that is meant as a benefit for all mankind. When Paul the apostle to the gentiles wrote this he was advising the believers to not disobey God but to obey His commandment, observe the sabbath and keep it holy.
    Now some will respond with this and say but verse eight says this...
    Verse 8 "Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ."
    They try to use this verse out of context and say this is about observing the sabbath. This is not the case because they forget they have to show the sabbath is a vain and empty philosophy and its a tradition of men. Yet when we search the scriptures we see this is not the case with the sabbath - it was established and set up by God Himself as a holy set apart day for all eternity. It cannot be a tradition of men or empty deceit because Jesus Himself said He was the Lord of the Sabbath! So if we continue with this false logic we are concluding the Jesus is the Lord of vain and empty deceit! This again refuted by Jesus stating this about the sabbath...
    Mark 2:27 "And He (Jesus) said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath."
    Again the word 'man' is anthropos meaning all mankind - and just as God gives good gifts to His children Jesus reaffirms this by stating the sabbath was made for man; its for our benefit and God blesses us if we observe it with a loving heart. So again the truth of scripture shows the misuse of the verses in Colossians.
    Now what is the sabbath? What do you do or not do? First lets look at a passage that many do not know even exists...
    Isaiah 58:12-14
    12 Those from among you
    Shall build the old waste places;
    You shall raise up the foundations of many generations;
    And you shall be called the Repairer of the Breach,
    The Restorer of Streets to Dwell In.
    13 “If you turn away your foot from the Sabbath,
    From doing your pleasure on My holy day,
    And call the Sabbath a delight,
    The holy day of the Lord honorable,
    And shall honor Him, not doing your own ways,
    Nor finding your own pleasure,
    Nor speaking your own words,
    14 Then you shall delight yourself in the Lord;
    And I will cause you to ride on the high hills of the earth,
    And feed you with the heritage of Jacob your father.
    The mouth of the Lord has spoken.”
    Interesting how this passage tells us what to do during the sabbath besides doing no work.
    Anyway I did notice that Michael said that if you observe the sabbath your sinning and falling from grace...
    " If you are a Sabbath keeper, you are sinning. It is a sin to keep the Sabbath. It is a sin because you are falling from grace. You are ignoring the provision of God in Christ."
    So with this logic, Jesus kept the sabbath and said to be the Lord of the sabbath and in the New Millennium the sabbath will be observed for all time by all mankind. So if we apply Michael's logic that observing the sabbath is a sin, then Jesus sinned. Of course not - why would Jesus claim to Lord of the Sabbath - is He saying He is the Lord of sin? Remember Jesus said the sabbath was for MAN, so if we continue with Michael's false logic that means that what was once holy is now sin? Hmmm...
    No where in scripture if we use it in context does it ever say that observing the sabbath is a sin. IF we are unbelievers and not forgiven our sin by His death & resurrection THEN no amount of sabbath observances will make us right with God (works salvation). However as NEW creatures in Christ we are called to observe the sabbath with a loving heart and its liberty and blessing for us as God promised.
    To claim its a sin is disingenuous and severely lacking - the proof I have posted from scripture shows this is not the truth. This is terrible false teaching because SINCE ALL MANKIND will be observing the sabbath in the New Millennium, then you have to say that God is going to force ALL mankind to SIN and FALL from grace! Rubbish!
    What a heresy we have on our hands when we disregard the whole counsel of God's word.
    IF observing the sabbath is falling from grace, then why do we NOT see Jesus or any other NT writer talking about this specifically? Why did not Paul make this clear to the gentiles he taught as was his custom tell them of such damnation? Why? Because observing the sabbath is NOT a sin.
    Now as for Michael's take on Galatians that is a bit off too - Paul was confronting the 'works salvation' crowd who said you must believe in the Messiah AND obey the commandments to be saved. We are saved by grace through faith, not of works than any should boast and rightly so. The point Paul was making was this... you can only be save by grace, then as a new creature in Christ we are to live our lives in righteousness and not lawlessness. There are also those who misquote Galatians as (false) proof to not observe the sabbath, but if you look at then entire passage the word sabbath is not even mentioned, its about fasting!
    So in closing, be objective and search all the scriptures and not just the ones that support your man made doctrine. When we ignore all those other scriptures, we end up being like the pharisees who drifted from God's word and made up their own doctrines. These false doctrines is the reason Jesus preached "repent or perish".
    God bless and seek His truth.

Subscribe to our newsletter & stay updated