Brethren, we worship God our Father alone and assemble on Holy Days that are set apart by the natural astronomical cycle. We keep all of the terms of the Covenant minus the sacrificial law that was added for Israel’s protection (Jer. 7:22). Tithing is foundational to the Covenant and it is often not properly complied with. It is the only area in which we may put God to the test (Mal. 3:10) and is the evidence for our genuine repentance (Mal. 3:7). Questions regarding the second tithe surface occasionally and will be reviewed this Sabbath.
Yahovah, the 'Lord', does not change (Mal. 3:6) and all or everything in creation is God's (Ex. 19:5). The first 10% of the earth's harvested produce or our labour’s productive increase is the Lord's (Lev. 27:30). This tithe belongs to God and can only be assigned and used in the manner He stipulates. The first tithe was first paid to the priesthood of Melchizedek (Gen. 14:18-20) and later it was temporarily designated to the Levitical priesthood (Num. 18:21; 2Chron. 31:4) who were the first fruits of Israel (Num. 3:12; 8:18). This is now returned to the priesthood of Melchizedek (Heb. 7-9) the Churches of God as the first fruits of the renewed covenant. We are the living stones in a living temple who are the sacrificial offerings, if faithful.
The first tithe today is to be used for the commission of preaching the gospel
of the Kingdom of God (Rom. 15:16; 1Cor. 9:12-15; Heb. 7:5) and the second tithe
is still used for Feast attendance (Deut. 12:6-21; 14:22). The individual’s
second tithe is converted in the third year of the septenate, or the seven year
cycle to a fund to ensure Feast attendance for widows, orphans and unfortunates
(Deut. 14:28-29; 26:9-12).
God gives us the power to get wealth and we must use it according to the terms of the Covenant (Deut. 8:18; 2Chron. 31:10).
There are two tithes that all those who earn income or generate an annual productive increase are accountable for. The first tithe or 10% of our net earned income is paid to the national administration of the Churches of God (Neh. 10:35-38) who pay 10% or 1% of the net domestic produce to the World Conference of the Churches of God (Neh. 10:38-39; Num. 18:28). Tithes are payable for six years but are not paid in the seventh year of the septenate, nor in the Atonement to Atonement fiftieth year of the Jubilee.
Levi’s former administrative responsibilities included a Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Revenue, a Ministry of Education, as well as a Ministry of Religion with its choir and security (Neh. 10:39).
The first tithe was often not paid (Mal. 3:7-10) and this resulted in disaster for Israel because the readers of the Law abandoned their responsibilities (Neh. 13:7-13; 2Chron. 31:4). This formerly was, and today is, because of Israel’s negligence (Mal. 3:8) and lack of faithfulness in God.
There are three Feasts (Ex. 23:14-17, 34:22; Deut. 16:16; Neh. 10:34-39). The second tithe is set aside to ensure our attendance and so we can eat (Deut. 12:5-7) with rejoicing.
Tithing legislation is intimately aligned with the correct keeping of the terms of the Covenant. If we do not ‘tithe’ we are sinning, as this is a minimum.
There is also a requirement to annually provide:
1. The first fruits of the fruit, grain, oil and wine harvests which is understood as about 2% of the annual harvest (Ex.. 23:19; 34:26; Lev. 2:14; Neh. 10:35-37).
2. The first born to the female of the livestock harvest. This could be between 20-30% of annual production (Ex.. 13:2; Num. 3:13, 10:36, 18:15-17).
3. The food that is to be provided for the Feast meals and this is about 2% (Ezek. 45:9-17).
4. The fruit of the fourth year growth of trees (Lev. 19:24).
Not too many of us set aside the above percentages of our annual income. At this time, we may pay 20% to 50% of our income to the state. This covers payments for what we term as welfare, which is a family responsibility and which function the state has virtually superseded. Our proper use of our second tithe ensures that new converts who could not prepare, or people who are unable to work, may be able to attend God’s Feast’s in spite of the large financial claims already on all of us.
People receiving pensions are receiving income that was set aside during their
working life and is deemed to have been made after their tithes were paid. Even
though most of us did not tithe while this was accruing we have been forgiven
this lapse at our baptism and therefore no tithe is due on pensions. There is
tithe due from our investments, which are earned income.
This Sabbath we will review what is termed the second tithe, as some seem to often be short of the funds that will enable them to attend the Feasts and make an offering. This second tithe is to be set aside so that individuals and their families may attend the Feasts of Yahovah, including Passover, Pentecost, and Tabernacles, as well as have pleasant food for the Sabbaths and New Moons. In the millennium, we will be keeping the Feasts locally, but during this period in the wilderness, we are often required to travel considerable distances to assemble with believers. This is costly, sometimes difficult and requires a bit of planning.
The second tithe belongs to those who generate to productive increase and those whom they assist and no one else. It should be set aside out of the paycheck or farm harvest, placed in a separate account, and kept separate or holy. It should be managed over the seven-year cycle and not simply from year to year. It is net income or our earned revenue with the costs required to earn the income removed. These must be the costs that are required for generating the revenue. This would include rent for an office or perhaps storage space, insurance for work liability, lease of vehicles or equipment, and other genuine expenses. This does not include your home rent or mortgage or insurance and other costs for being alive. If perhaps a vehicle has both personal and work related functions, you will have to make a fair assessment on the usage for tithing purposes.
If we do not regularly place this second tithe aside perhaps in a separate non-interest bearing bank account, we likely will occasionally find ourselves short of the funds required for travel and Feast expenses. These funds should be treated as holy, that is, set apart for a specific purpose and should not be used for day to day expenses. Children have difficulty keeping their savings in place and usually are short sighted. They are immature and we should be mature enough to manage our personal finances. This often means doing without something we want and doing what God wants instead.
In the third year of the seven-year cycle our second tithe is sent to the Church to be laid up or set aside as a Feast assistance fund (Deut. 14:28; 26:12). The first year of the cycle would see the stored double harvest from the sixth year running low and not fully replenished until the second year of the cycle. This is the reason the third year of the cycle is the year to fill up this account which is to be managed over the subsequent seven years. There is no annual excess second tithe and people should be setting aside funds as they are able in other years so they may attend Feasts in the third year. It may be that a bit of extra work can be done intermittently to maintain a second tithe account. Even a few weeks of work at a low paying job will often provide people with enough to care for their needs at Feasts and they will only require travel assistance. If people don’t even try, their overall circumstances seldom improve.
In researching the various tithing structures, we have found no evidence of
what has been termed ‘third tithe’. Some idolatrous Churches of God claim there
is an additional or a third tithe, which they declare is a third 10% of our
net annual income. With the Worldwide Church of God, this was sent in either
every three years from our baptism or from several references as the third and
sixth year of a seven-year cycle, also from our baptism. This claim is completely
The Mishnah, by Danby on page 69 under Maaseroth (tithes) states “The term here includes heave-offering also. There were three ‘tithes’ (excluding heave-offering): (a) First or Levitic tithe (Num. 18:21) which must be given to a Levite who in his turn must give a tenth of it (heave-offering of tithe) to a priest (Num. 18:26) (b) Second tithe which the owner himself (Deut. 14:22) must consume in Jerusalem; the actual Second tithe need not itself be conveyed to Jerusalem but could be ‘redeemed’, i.e. converted into money (plus a fifth of its value) and reconverted into food in Jerusalem (Deut. 22:26); and (c) poor mans tithe (Deut. 14:28; 26:12) which takes the place of the second tithe in the third and sixth years of the seven-year cycle”
We can see that they did not have an additional third 10% but converted the personal second tithe to an assistance fund in the third and sixth years of a seven-year cycle. This is an extra incorrect application of the legislation regarding the sixth year but it clearly shows there was not a third 10% required.
In the Institutes of Biblical Law, Rushdoony on page 50 concurs with this understanding except from quoting P.W. Thomsen who believes that in the third year the firstlings were offered, not 10%. Firstlings are submitted every year that we have livestock births.
The Mishnah is a compilation of Scriptural interpretations or enactments dating from between 200 B.C.E. to the close of 200 C.E when they were compiled into the Mishnah.
The Septuagint, which is a Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible by seventy
scholars, was produced in the third century B.C.E. In Deuteronomy 26:12 it also
supports a second tithe conversion in the third year of the cycle. This is Brenton’s
"And when thou shalt have completed all the tithings of thy fruits in the third year, thou shalt give the second tenth to the Levite, and stranger, and fatherless, and widow; and they shall eat it in thy cities, and be merry" (Deut. 26:12).
The Greek translated "second tithe" is #1208 in Strong's Exhaustive
Concordance is deuteron, which means "second, in time, place, or rank."
Thayer's Greek English Lexicon translates it as, "the second, the other
of two." The word for "tithe" here is the Greek word apodekatoo,
meaning "to tithe" which Thayer's Lexicon has as, "to tithe,
to give or pay a tenth of anything."
The Septuagint shows a second tithe set aside the third year and not every three years, or twice in seven years. This Greek translation is quoted by the apostles and is to be considered Scripture. It clearly shows what the understanding of the day was. The Levites are often placed with the destitute because Israel did not pay the first tithe faithfully and profaned the Covenant (Deut. 14:27; Mal. 2 & 3).
This second tithe legislation is a statute that requires and enables us to attend and to enjoy ourselves at the Feasts of God and not to remain at home (Deut. 12:17-18). We spend our time exposing false worship wherever we find it and pointing out what is acceptable to God. This understanding should provide us all with the greatest peace of mind in spite of the fact that this may be somewhat intimidating to us.
Brethren, this is a general overview with a few references. It should be clear
that you personally are responsible to prepare to attend. How you do plan and
prepare will make the attendance easier. All males, twenty years old, have to
attend and all of the family should attend if they are able to. If you require
assistance, it is available as we are travelling large distances to worship
and learn more of our Father.
Study the count to Pentecost and plan to attend and rejoice in God’s upcoming Feast.
Deputy Coordinator General
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