21 Feb 2001

The Tithe Under Grace

Submitted by theshovel
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Some say we're not under it, some say we are. Some say it never changed because it was here BEFORE the law. Some say that grace-giving REPLACED law-tithing, while others say the issue of tithing all boils down to simple obedience - whether under law or under grace. Some say God will bless you if you tithe, others say you should or should not tithe because you're ALREADY blessed. Some say we don't need to tithe because we're not instructed to do so in the after-the-cross scriptures, while others say that since God's word doesn't change we shouldn't either. Some say 10% should be given to God, while others say that God owns 100% of everything anyway.

Some quote:

bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse Malachi 3:10

others quote:

according as he purposeth in his heart 2 Corinthians 9:6-7

Some feel guilty because they DON'T tithe, some feel guilty because they DO. Some reject tithing though still using a 10% guideline, some let "grace" motivate them to give next to nothing.

Through it all there remains a confusion regarding the tithe, not only because we don't know what it means under grace, but also because we really don't know what it meant under LAW. What I mean by that is in order to understand how the tithe relates to the NEW covenant we have to understand first how it related to the OLD. Our confusion is founded upon the false assumption that tithing was primarily a matter of giving. It wasn't.

For the Law, since it has only a shadow of the good things to come and NOT the very form of things,

things which are a mere shadow of what is to come; but the substance (literally, 'body') belongs to Christ Colossians 2:17

On a sunny day you cast a shadow. The shadow is not you, but merely a transient silhouette of you (I hope I'm not rattling any cages with that bit of info ... haha!). The things of the Law are to Christ as your shadow is to you. Did you follow that? In other words, the shadow of Christ preceded His coming in the form of the things of the Law. For Israel under the law, this shadow was the clearest picture they had of the life of God. The outline of God's glory may have been incredibly majestic, but still, what kind of a relationship do you suppose one could have with a shadow? Get the picture? :)

There was also a majestic beauty found in the shadowy feature known as the tithe, but it has been distorted to the point where it is barely recognizable. How? It has been forced where it does not belong - as a round peg in a square hole. You see, even though the priests were supported and the temples were built from the proceeds something far deeper had been embedded into the psyche of the nation through this thing called the tithe. Unfortunately, because it has been assumed that God designed the tithe primarily as a means of providing for the needs of the priesthood, the Levites and the temple, the real purpose has taken a back seat.

Thus all the tithe of the land, of the seed of the land or of the fruit of the tree, is the Lord's; it is holy to the Lord Leviticus 27:30

Here in a nutshell is the truth of the tithe. And if you've heard any sermons on tithing you've almost certainly heard this verse. Now, what I'd like to know is how something so familiar is so overlooked. You see, we don't need any new information, just a long, hard examination of the obvious: The tithe is THE LORD'S; it is HOLY TO THE LORD.

But doesn't God own everything? Of course. You know, it wasn't GOD who needed the shadow revelation, it was something given to the people to cause their hearts to long for the reality to come! For through the tithe they came to understand that the ordinary becomes extraordinary simply because it is GOD'S!

Those who tithed their substance to God found themselves blessed, while those who stole that which was holy found themselves cursed. Through most of their history, Israel dared not to even touch that which was declared as holy before the Lord. Even pagan nations learned that to steal the holy things of the God of Israel brought dire consequences.

So, is the tithe about money? Not hardly! Physical possessions? No way! The tithe is about that which has been taken from out of the world and has been given to God! It is that which now belongs to God. It is that which is holy, which means that it is set apart or separated unto God. The fact that the things tithed to God were no different from the rest is of utmost importance.

Why is the tithe not even once mentioned after Jesus rose from the grave? Isn't it obvious? The shadow was no longer needed, for the reality had come! Don't you get it? CHRIST is the man who has been separated unto God! Therefore, those who are IN Christ have also been removed from out of the world and separated unto God!! The new creation in Christ is the Lord's, WE are HOLY to the Lord! The tithe has been fulfilled.

What about the giving of our substance? That's another issue altogether! :)

Old Testament: 


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These comments were all transferred over from the original website

Posted: February 22, 2001 by Rich
You wrote: “What about the giving of our substance? That’s another issue altogether! :)”
hi Jim, it`s me rich (the guy who sent you the c.d.) So, what about giving? do you get blessed for giving i used to tithe and i was broke, then i stopped and i was broke, now i give to other ministries that i believe in and i`m still broke! i guess you give to bless, not to get blessed! i`m broke because i`m a poor money manager. nevermind i guess i answered my own question. i`ve been to many different church denominations and the one area where they all agree is the tithe! tithe off the gross if you really want to blessed….hmmm..follow the money….the tithe sermon always comes before the “big” church project…hmmm… some preachers would check your pay stub at the door if they could, just to make sure your not jipping them…uh i mean God! thaks

Posted: February 22, 2001 by Jack Jim,
Loved it, simply loved it.

Posted: February 22, 2001 by Dave
… Perhaps I’d be better typing, think a bit more, OH NO what am I saying, I hate typing, it takes me hours, I really am a much better blurter, even if people can’t understand me I’m an expert, oh please let me blurt. I’ ll tell you what, howd it be if I just tithe an odd blurt to you. Talking of tithing ( what’s tithing ) I really loved the latest shovelletter Jim, just beautiful … Much love,

Posted: February 22, 2001 by Kathy
Dear Jim, just wanted to say WOW. Thought this last letter was great. Always wondered about that, and your comparing of a shadow was perfect! thanks much! love

Posted: February 22, 2001 by Elaine
Just read your newsletter on tithe. You left me hanging please finish soon. This is new to me. I think I am about to be freed from another bondage. They are dropping like flies. Love

Posted: February 22, 2001 by Mistee
Awesome!!!!!!!!!!!! Love,

Posted: February 22, 2001 by Mark
You did it again! :-)–

Posted: February 22, 2001 by Richard
Dear Jim, Loved this S.Letter; re: What about the giving of our substance? That’s another issue altogether! :) You know I wouldn’t hold it against you if you were to me give a sneak preview of What about the giving of our substance!!
Back to the S.Letter; this is one of the Sacred Cows of Religion that I liken unto the story in the book of Judges ie; Gideon dismantling the family shrine that made him so very popular with the townsfolk!! NOT!!!! Adding and further expounding on this subject matter I see as of infinite value( Jesus often said this or that was said unto you But I SAY UNTO YOU!!!
I like what Paul Armstrong said; there’s much that could be addressed re: erroneous teachings but that he would rather like yourself Proclaim the Truth, meaning substance not shadows!!
Your warmer season would be very welcome right now, last night and today will be one of the coldest days this winter. Want to trade please please??
Re: What’s New at theshovel.net?” drop-down menu on the front page. It just gets better and better! Margi more than I are in the early preliminary baby steps stages of putting together my own Web Page: we would accept any input you would be willing to offer as well from Paul Armstrong.
Again loved our last phone conversation, plus thanks for your assistance
re: Believersrest. I believe it’s in Heb’s where it encourages us to provoke (stimulate) one another unto love and good works, this most often happens during and after having fellowship with you. Please say hi to Sherri, we love and appreciate you both. Love,

Posted: February 22, 2001 by WES
Yeah, so many religious organizations love to hold the shadow over us, while missing the substance altogether. But then, you can’t fuel a building fund with The Reality … can you?

Posted: February 22, 2001 by Debbie
Dear Jim, Awesome, awesome insight on the tithe. This is something to chew on for a while. Thanks! Debbie Thanks! Good article!

Posted: February 22, 2001 by Geir
Hey, I’ve been diggin for this revelation for the last 3-4 years. It’s not easy when EVERYBODY preaches the importans of giving the tithes. We’ve had preachers in our church actually saying “If you’re not paying tithes and offerings you are stealing from God and will not go to heaven even if you call yourself a beliver!” and “If you’re not giving tithes and offerings you’re just calling Jesus Lord, but not really following him, so he will say “depart from me, i didn’t know you” and you’ll go to hell”. Well that’s really encouraging. Now, thats grace teaching….NOT! The worst about this is that everyone nods and let’s out small “amen’s” of condemnation in these meetings. And i actually began a biblestudy on tithes in order to get faith for it, beacuse i couldnt understand why i felt so bad and always had so little money, when i did exactly what these guys preached.
Thats when i began to see that the tithe is a SHADOW! HA HA. And Jesus is the real thing. It’s so great. I told my pastor this, and he said: we need to give the firstfruit of our income, like the bible says, meaning the tithes. Well i checked this out too and found that even the firstfruit is a SHADOW, and the real thing is Jesus. He is the firstfruit, the firstborn of the dead. This shadow thing is so great. Now we can read the law and get wonderful revelation, instead of condemnation. I began to talk about it in church. BIG mistake. The arguments that followed were mean, man. I guess were not really so free from the law after all, and it actually seemes like alot of people want it that way. Rules gives us a feeling of “doing pretty good” when we follow them. But i think it blocks the flow of life. My wife and i have never felled so blessed, even finacially, since when we started to view tithes in this way. Way to go, bro. ~~~~~~~~ `\o/´ ~~~~~~~~ In The The River ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Ezech 47.1-12 Geir

My friend Gier is from Norway, and he writes ENGLISH almost as good as I do!! What’s up with that? I mean, I can’t write ANY Norwegian!! :)

Posted: February 22, 2001 by Jen
Hmmmm, interesting….never heard of it that way before. I hope you’ll follow up on the giving of our substance. I appreciate that you read God’s word, as my youth pastor says, “with integrity” and not simply regurgitate what has been passed down from the generations. Thanks,

Posted: February 22, 2001 by N
Jim, Interesting & good. I’ve lived both ways, not tithing and tithing. The regularity of giving the tithe is one of the best disciplines in our life. If we will not cheat the Lord with our money, he can trust us with the true riches and responsibilities in the kingdom. I feel that tithing is a test of stewardship. Luke 6:38 says we will receive back with the same measuring cup or shovelful that we give or mete out to others. I want God to shovel lots of blessings back to me, so I am a happy tither as well as giver on top of the tithe. I realize that Luke 6:38 is talking about other things than money, but it is true in all areas of life: The Law of Reciprocity or Sowing & Reaping. Seedtime & Harvest are eternal laws. For example, if I didn’t tithe… when my money is low, I would probably give a less offering. But knowing that the tithe is holy and that I want to prove God’s faithfulness to me… in faith, I go ahead and give the full amount. When I hear God whisper, “Give”, it’s a blessing, because I know I can’t outgive Him. Trusting God enough to pay him the tithe is a faithbuilder in me. I know I can trust him to open the windows of heaven and pour out the blessing, even bigger than I will be able to receive. Yeah. I know that’s in the Old Testament, but the principles are timeless. And he did say “Prove me”. Not paying tithes won’t keep people out of heaven, but it might keep them stingy and unable to receive all the blessings that the Lord had for them. Thanks for the thoughts, Jim. I know a lot of believers who are not blessed financially, who would be blessed if they had enough faith to believe God to bless them if they paid tithes. When we are faithful to not rob God, we are conscious of needs of taking care of our local church, and giving alms, in addition. I have been a member of churches before where I didn’t give them my tithe, because I didn’t think they needed it. I would give it instead to ministries outside the church. But I fully believe that God’s plan is for us to belong to a church where we really believe in that church’s ministry, and we give tithes & offerings gladly, and then we are still free to give to whatever or whomever needs our help, privately. I know that’s what you had in mind when you said: “What about the giving of our substance? That’s another issue altogether! :)” I personally believe that we will give MORE than the tithe when we understand sowing & reaping. We’re not trying to buy God’s favor, we’re just learning to trust God with everything we are and have. Like you said, we are HOLY unto the Lord; everything about us is holy. We become conduits for every kind of blessing: spiritual, financial, physical, etc. Be blessed, and keep shoveling. \0/ \0/ = 2 people rejoicing over paying tithes…or 2 people being robbed by a tithe bandit!! It’s all in their attitude… Stick ‘em up! N~

;) Hi N~, Somehow I think you missed the whole point of what I wrote. :) Here’s a thought: if the life of Christ, through His Spirit in our hearts, fulfills the requirements of the law why do we keep trusting those requirements to try to get us to fulfill the law? Love, Jim

Dear N~, my confused friend, As I read both of your last two letters I was struck by the fact that even though you stated “agreement” with my article on tithing you never really commented on anything even remotely close to what I wrote. Don’t you realize that? Now, you obviously seem to agree wholeheartedly with the first paragraph of the article, but don’t you see that what I wrote there were merely contradictory and conflicting opinions having nothing to do with the fulfillment of Christ? [Note: I didn’t include N~’s second letter as I see it is as being unnecessary. Jim

Posted: February 22, 2001 by N I acknowledged my controversial spirit, and asked the Lord to help me stop defending myself. N~

You have way too many opinions and viewpoints … they are crashing into each other! The fact is that you are not at peace with yourself, and your “controversial spirit” is merely the outworking of your own inner struggle. Go back and read your own letters as if they were written by somebody else, you may notice the confusion. This last letter is nothing more than a futile attempt to defend yourself. It has nothing to do with communication, it has nothing to do with grace. It is a very good expose on a heart in bondage trying to convince itself that it has a good “balance” between law and grace. My question to you is: Why are you still trying to defend yourself when Christ already has? Love, Jim

Posted: February 22, 2001 by Lona
Jim I really liked the newsletter on tithing. I’ve had trouble with that one for years. You really put it into a new light. Keep the letters coming! Love,

Posted: February 22, 2001 by Neil
Absolutely there, my friend. Absolutely there. About two years ago when I first heard this same teaching by Bob George, along with the other truth that Christ is the end of the law, my mouth literally fell open. Having been in or associated with churches for nearly ten years which had made tithing their central doctrine (rather than Christ), this was the very breath of life. I had known for years that something was wrong, yet couldn’t put my finger on it as we were endlessly hyped and jazzed up about the many blessings of God through ” true Biblical” tithing (“I don’t HAVE to give…I GET to give!”). This was a part of the blessings obtained through “obedience”.
Oh, yes, in Christ we are certainly reconciled, justified, sanctified…the whole bit. But if you want those “blessings” which come from that, my friend sitting in that pew, you gotta be OBEDIENT TO HIS WORD. That is so many road apples, Jim…and you know what I mean by that. Paul didn’t mince words (even if his translators have). He called it dung–manure, crap–and that’s exactly what it is. And it stinks to high heaven and back.
As I was relating your letter to my mother this morning, a thought came to mind. Do you remember the movie “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang”? A part of the plot is that various “wise” men have been kidnapped by the selfish and evil king to make him, of all things, a flying car. The trouble is, these captured people, while educated, have no knowledge of aerodynamics, physics, mechanics or any of the other things necessary to build a flying car–or any other thing that flies. And yet that’s the job they were given to do and had no hope of ever getting out of their prison until they fulfilled the order, though they had tried desperately for years.
In the same manner so-called “wise” men have received what they think is an order to direct people to God yet have not a clue as to how it is done. They read the instructions from what they cleverly call the “owner’s manual”, the Bible, and yet it is all a mystery to them. Without an understanding of the owner himself, Christ, (that same understanding also given by him) and what he has fully accomplished, when they read passages that clearly say that Christ is the end of the law and the end of religion, they draw a blank. That can’t possibly mean what it seems to mean, they say, and set about to turn it into something else. Another example along the same lines is this: When people go to a play they see sets and backdrops with scenes of towns or landscapes painted on them. But those scenes are not real. They are but images of the real thing. At the end of the play when the scrims are raised, all that is seen is the dull back wall of the stage and the various workings of the theater. The illusion is gone and sometimes people feel a bit let down should they stay after the performance to see the set being struck. The wonderful feelings evoked by the lights, music, acting and sets was an illusion and is now only a memory. It was not the real thing.
In the same way, just as with the “shadow” which is mentioned in scripture, what was done in order to obtain righteousness from God was but a shadow, an illusion like a scene painted on a backdrop–a veil, if you will. But it wasn’t the real thing. The reality is Christ. Not just a part of Christ, or Christ being a “part of God’s plan”. The reality IS Christ. And when the veil is lifted, when we accept Christ as being the reality which casts the shadow, we see him and know him as that reality. But if we think the reality is the shadow, the illusion, when it is lifted we will only see nothingness.
Without Christ, when “the end of the law” is encountered and the veil is lifted, all one will see is a vast empty space stretching on forever. Such a one panics and demands that the veil be lowered so as to see the illusion again, the shadow which he thinks is reality. Then such people set about to somehow “prove” that this which is so clearly called a shadow is in fact reality. In the movie the king is deluded into thinking that the men can build him a flying car. But as with the play (or even the movie itself), it is but an illusion, a deception. Not even the shadow remains now that Christ himself has come. God once accepted this shadow for it was his own to cast. But now that we see Christ in his glory and the splendor that he shares with us because he has made us like him, all shadow is gone and the real is here. Later,

Posted: Jun-19-04 by dwalters
well that last comment about the end of religion really struck me, its like “Lord this is really what you came for wasn’t it”, how long will it take for the body of Christ to get out of the box it has put itself in and shine like the light Christ was to the world of religion he came into, I hate religion. It stinks and thank God I can still smell it :) I hated it before I met him and I hate it now praise Him. Thank you Jim I really appreciate the work that you are doing in his service, it flows from your heart out onto the keyboard. I think we are so worried that if we dont tithe than all the preachers will have no more income and will die. well, who is their provider, the Lord? or the law that commands the people to tithe? I don’t know, Satan is really trying hard in this area to decieve people (just a word to Men, dont let your wife bully you around, you make the decision for what your going to give and stick to it, do not be swayed because that is your role) Thanks again, dan :)

Posted: Jun-22-05 by Paul
I would just like to say that I think it is unfortunate that you would not post “N”s second letter. You will criticize it and tell us how jumbled and pointless it is without letting us make that call for ourselves. That sounds like someone on the defensive who is trying to hide something. Just being honest here. Maybe it was all jumbled but I don’t know, and thats my point. To be more honest no one should take someone’s word and run with it, particularly someone I can’t see and meet or get to know. Take your’s for instance, I’ve read your shoveletter a few times through now, and as educated as I am, it doesn’t make sense yet. I get the shadow analogy and thats all well and good but when you start talking about Jesus fulfilling the Law and so releasing us from it I think you may be a bit presumptuous. The scripture referencing this is Matthew 5:18 which says that “not one tittle will be removed from the law till all is fulfilled.” Personally, all is not fulfilled. Jesus has died. Jesus has been born again. But Jesus has yet to return. “N” had a lot of good points like those of “Seed time & Harvest time”, giving does show God that we can be faithful with the small things and so be trusted with bigger things. The bible goes on to say that God knows the things we will ask of him before we even ask. But it goes on to say we must still ask. We have not because we ask not. All things may belong to God in the first place, but he still wants us to show we will honor him and obey him through tithe and offering. It is unfortunate that people don’t have excess income and feel they have nothing to give. It’s also unfortunate that there are pastors out there who only teach giving right before they need a lot of money for something. As bad a timing as that could seem…it is still the truth. As for the giving itself thats not what God looks for, it is the heart behind the giving. Look at Cain and Abel. Cain brought gifts because he thought he HAD to and was just fulfilling the action and he was rejected. Abel on the other hand gave out of the goodness and joy of his heart. He really wanted to give to God and God accepted it. Its all about your heart in anything you do whether your getting saved, seeking forgiveness, paying tithes, preaching, or doing business. The sermon on the mount in Matthew makes that very clear. In addition it helps to be a wise steward of your finances. Create a budget, stick to it and avoid debt. If your not wise with money why would God bless you with it anyways? Honestly. Don’t blame God for your mistakes.

Posted: Jun-30-05 by J
Please tell me that you didn’t throw out the baby with the bath water! Please post “N” second letter.

Posted: Jul-01-05
Hello Paul and/or J, You are free to consider my not including the second letter as being “unfortunate” if you want, it’s okay by me. You ought to think it through a little better though, since if I was reacting from defensiveness in an attempt to hide something I wouldn’t have posted anything at all, especially not adding a comment about another letter … or two. I knew when I posted it that it could easily be taken as you have.

My concern is to make Christ known in all things. If someone responds without relating to the truth of Christ as I’ve presented it (even if it’s a disagreement) but instead gravitates to an issue-based reaction - regardless how many good points are made - then I want to know why. I want to stir faith in Christ and not to engage in issues … which is why I asked what I did. If the response continues to ignore anything of Christ, regardless how many good or bad points are made, it is lifeless. I will post my response if I think it might relate to others who may be discovering how easily the issues pull them away from Christ.

You wrote: I’ve read your shoveletter a few times through now, and as educated as I am, it doesn’t make sense yet.

Perhaps your assumption that your level of education should cause it to make sense is what gets in the way. Many years ago I came to the disturbing realization that much of my “Christianity” was dependent upon some unknown level of education. The revelation slowly caused me to see the miraculousness behind the life of Christ. Jim [As a side note, please realize the reply function in the Shoveletter section is not provided to turn it into a forum for the hashing out of issues but for responses to the Shoveletter. If you’re into debating the issues there are thousands of places available.

Posted: Jul-02-05 by Herb
Hello Jim, Your wisdom (Christ) is amazing to read as you steadfastly bring the issue back to Him. The issue is always Him. Thank you for not biting on the hook to defend yourself. Herb

Posted: Jul-03-05 by J
If your obediance has not been tested lately, chances are, you have pulled away from personal relationship. We should all love the Bride of Christ the Church, not throw stones at Bride. Meeting with other members of the Bride, joining togeather for fellowship, praise and worship is a blessing unto, God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Good morning Holy Spirit! You pray for me. I already pray for each of you. Have a blessed day.

Posted: Jul-03-05 by J
OOP’S, I should not write at 4AM.

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