Tithes and Offerings

From Johnny W.
Question: What are the rules of tithes and offerings and how do the rules applied today?

Shalom Johnny,

According to the Scriptures the tithes are taken from the gross. All tithed produce was taken by counting them. Every tenth one was set-aside for YHWH. A close examination of Scripture reveals three tithes taken during the year.

  • FIRST tithe is taken every year to support spiritual ministry.
    (Lev. 27:30; Deut 14:22)
  • SECOND tithe set aside every year for use at the holy festivals. It is
    "eaten before the L-rd" with joyous celebration and shared with the widows,
    orphans and ministry. The second tithe is required to gather with other
    believers on the holy annual Sabbaths during the three seasonal
    convocations. (Deut 12:17)
  • THIRD tithe was taken every three years and was stored in the temple for
    benevolence, to share with; the stranger who needed help, widows and
    orphans, and the Levite. Today, because of the national welfare system and
    because of the amount taken from our income by the government, we do not
    require the third tithe. Some still give the third tithe to assist the needy.
    Because the third tithe is not required I give to my relatives in need without
    calculating it and pay no attention to the "year of tithing". (Deut 26:12)

If you raise cattle then you pass the cattle under your counting rod every year and take every tenth animal and give it to the L-rd. For produce from the field, such as wheat, every tenth bushel is tithed.

If you are not a farmer you should take your gross income and give 1/10th to the L-rd. If your salary were $5,000.00 per month you would slide the decimal point one place to the left so your tithe would be $500.00. Some people also tithe on the tax return even though it would not be necessary when tithing on the gross. Tithing on the net after taxes would require one to pay a tithe on the tax return.

The tithe is always taken out and given to the L-rd first. What is left belongs to you. It is advisable to give offerings from what is left because the blessings you will receive come from gifts beyond the tithes. Save up your second tithe to rejoice before the L-rd at His holy festivals.

Your first tithe should be given to the ministry that feeds you the most, i.e. your local congregation that feeds you spiritually every week. Other offerings can be given to other ministries such as ours as you feel directed. If you have no local congregation we can give tax DEDUCTIBLE receipts for tithes and offerings if you want to take advantage of the charitable giving options in your tax filing. I encourage you to give your tithes and offerings faithfully because there are blessings attached for obedience to the commandments (Mal 3:8-12). G-d will repay you for your faithful obedience.

In the land of Israel there was also extra help for the stranger living in the land and for needy Israelis. The corners of the fields were not cut so the needy could come and glean (harvest for themselves). This is so that the
poor who had to sell their land could have an honorable way to provide food etc. for their families.

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Please feel free to enquire further as needed.