Text: Lev. 27 v 30; Deut. 14 v 22 - 28; Deut. 26 v 12 - 14; Mal. 3 v 10; Deut 12 v 11 - 18

Introduction: - In the Old Testament times, which is the first half of the Bible written before the birth of Jesus Christ, it describes three different types of tithes that the people were expected to pay:

  • Levitical or sacred tithe

  • Feast tithe

  • Poor tithe

  • Levitical or sacred tithe: The Levitical tithe was the most important of the three tithes. It's first found in Leviticus. According to Leviticus, God not only created everything on Earth, but he also technically owned it - Gen 14 v 19-20. He just let the Hebrew people use what he'd made. In exchange for this 'loan,' the Hebrew people were expected to give back 10% of their earnings to help support the people who did God's work, namely a tribe of Hebrews called the Levites (Pastors). The Levites helped Jewish priests spread the word of God and perform various ceremonies. See Lev. 27 v 30 - 34; Num. 18 v 21 - 26; The Levitical tithe was considered a contract with God. If the people refused to pay their tithe, then they're actually stealing from God himself (a big no-no! - Mal 3 v 9-10;). Levitical tithes could not be used for any personal gain.

  • Feast Tithe: The feast tithe, like the Levitical tithe, was also 10% of a person's yearly income. Instead of going directly back to God, the feast tithe was used by the person who actually earned it. According to Deuteronomy, the Jewish people were required to go to Jerusalem for various religious festivals and activities. The feast tithe was a way for people to put money aside so they could afford to take the trip to Jerusalem, then enjoy all of the festivities once they got there. Deut. 12 v 11 - 18; As described, the tithe should be of grain, wine, and olive oil, but if the distance to Jerusalem made the carriage of these crops unreasonable, the monetary value of the tithe could be brought to Jerusalem instead, and used to purchase anything edible that the owner desired to eat there - an ox, a sheep, some wine, or beer, or "whatever your soul desires" - for a feast with the person's household in the presence of God.

  • Poor Tithe: The third tithe is also found in Deuteronomy, but it's a little different than the first two. According to the Bible, the Hebrews had to set aside an additional 10% of their income, but not every year. Instead, poor tithe was contributed to a community fund every three years to help support the homeless, travelers, orphans, and widows that come through the town. Deut 14 v 22 - 29; Orphans, deserted and helpless - Ps 82 v3; Poor - Prov 19 v 17; Widows & Widowers - James 1v 27; 1 John 3 v 17; Luke 6 v 38

Let's take a couple of moments to review what we've learned. According to the Old Testament the people were obligated to pay three separate tithes. The Levitical tithe, also called the sacred tithe, was meant to give back to God. This tithe was paid to the Levites (Priests & Pastors). The feast tithe was set aside so that families could travel to Jerusalem and enjoy various religious festivals. The final tithe, the poor tithe, was paid every three years to support the fatherless, orphans, widow, stranger and levite.