Is the tithe to be eaten or given to the church?
ESV - 23 And before the Lord your God, in the place that he will choose, to make his name dwell there, you shall eat the tithe of your grain, of your wine, and of your oil, and the firstborn of your herd and flock, that you may learn to fear the Lord your God always.
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I would say that, although it is common to associate the word "tithe" with the portion of assets that God commanded Israel to give back to Him, the word "tithe" by itself merely means "tenth", with no particular religious significance. As the word is used in the passage cited in the question, it is not referring to the portion given to God, but to an additional tenth of grain, wine, oil, and livestock that all the Israelites were to consume (at God's direction) in a communal feast at a place also designated by God for the purpose of recognizing, remembering, and benefitting from the bounty with which God had blessed them. I think that the fact the tithe spoken of in Deuteronomy 14:23 is different from the tithe given to God is indicated in the passage immediately following that verse (Deuteronomy 14:24-27), where God directs those who are not able to travel to the site of the national feast (because of living too far from it) to sell this second tithe of their grain, wine, oil, and livestock; to use the money from that sale to buy whatever they desire to eat or drink; and then to consume that food and beverage remotely from their home in conjunction with the national feast. In addition, Moses makes clear in verse 27 that the tithe that he is speaking of in regard to this observance is not the same as the tithe given to God for the support of the Levites by specifically reminding the people to give the Levites their separate tithe as well.
Israel’s system of tithes and offerings, as instructed by God, included three components: the first tithe, the second tithe, and the offerings. The first tithe was to be used to support the Levites (Lev 27:30-34; Num 18:19-28). The second tithe was intended to support the annual feasts in Jerusalem and personal charity. The second tithe showed that generous care and consideration had to be given to the less fortunate (Deuteronomy 14:23, 29; 16:11-14). The purpose of the second tithe as practiced in OT times was about their responsibility to take care of the poor, the fatherless, the widow and the stranger just as Moses had instructed the Hebrew people. Third, the offerings were part of the worship and support of the operation of the sanctuary.
I have a bit of a different take on this... as to how this relates to us today. 2Tim 3:16-17 For this to be profitable for me today, I must look at where I get my food, spiritually speaking. Where is the corn, the wheat, the oil, the meat, where are all these things? One might say they are in God's Word, and they would be correct! Yet, I don't always understand everything that I read, I don't know everything in the Bible. Rom 10:14-17 Faith cometh by hearing. I need the preacher to preach so I can hear, and have faith... So when I privately go to the Word of God I can read and understand for myself what was preached. How does tithing play into this? Where did I find the corn? Where did I find the wheat? Where did I find the meat, the oil? That is where I ate it. That is where I paid my tithes to. I found it where my preacher preached the Word of God, where I heard it, where I ate it, where I found faith. Now, I have heard of some that pay tithes into one ministry but attend another. To this I say... I am going to KFC and order a big meal of fried chicken with all the trimmings. Get a good hot biscuit with butter and everything.. when the cashier starts to ring me up, I look at her and say, "Hey, it's okay! I paid for this at McDonald's!" Y'all, please put money on my commissary card... the food in this place is horrible! Be Blessed, Lena
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