By Emmanuel Emeke Asiwe(Ps)
This subject matter led to the first murder in the Bible. Cain Killed Abel over tithing. In spite of this, we can do nothing against the truth, but for the truth (2Corinthian 13:8). Today, I will be expounding on this subject, while simultaneously answering genuine questions raised by some readers.
Scriptures declare, And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the Lord. And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the Lord had respect unto Abel and to his offering: But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell. And the Lord said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth? And why is thy countenance fallen? If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? And if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him (Genesis 4:3-7).
In the opening phrase of this construction, Qets is the Hebrew word translated “process”. It denotes “at the end of.” And Yowm is Hebrew word for time and it infers day, time, year.
Thus, the phrase process of time infers at the end of days or period or year (time of harvest), which was the time of the tithe. The practice was to tithe on their harvest, which coincided with the birth of lambs.
Note that the vocation of both men was agriculture. Cain was a farmer (tiller of the ground, husbandman) and Abel was a Keeper of sheep, herdsman or shepherd. If you have ever been involved in agriculture or know someone that is in that sector, you will understand that their yields come at the end of the season. So they don’t get paid weekly, biweekly or monthly, like many of us.
They sell their produce or get paid at the end of the season or time of harvest. Scriptures declare… Honour the LORD with thy substance (wealth, riches), and with the firstfruits (first, beginning, best, chief, choice part) of all thine increase (income) (Proverb 3:9).
Cain brought the fruit or produce of the ground as offering unto or gift to the Lord, but his brother (Abel) brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof.
Note that first-lings is plural and fat, which is derived from the Hebrew word Cheleb denotes choicest, best part, finest, inferring that Cain was holding out on God, because in Verse 7, God asked him… If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted?” meaning If you do what is right, will you not be accepted?” (Genesis 4:7 NIV).
The irony in this is that many believers do not realize that this scripture is about tithing and have opined that Cain’s offering was not accepted because he did not offer a lamb, but that is incorrect. How could he have offered a lamb when he was a tiller of the ground? Besides… all the tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land, or of the fruit of the tree, is the LORD’S: it is holy unto the LORD” (Leviticus 27:30).
Cain’s offering was rejected because he was holding out on God. Note, Hebrews 11:4 declares… By faith Abel offered to God a better sacrifice than Cain. King James rendering says, By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain. The word excellent is derived from the Greek word Pleion. It also mean greater in quantity, the more part, very many, greater in quality, superior. We understand that… faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God (Romans 10:17).
Cain and Abel heard about tithing from their parents, Adam and Eve. But you might say how? After all, there is no account of Adam and Eve offering tithe. That’s right. However, I believe they learnt the principle of tithing from Adam in the Garden of Eden.
Scriptures declare… And the Lord God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it (Genesis 2:15).
Keep in the above text is derived from the Hebrew word “Shamar,” which denotes to have charge of or govern, thus making Adam the God of this word or God’s under ruler.
Stunned by this marvellous relationship between God and man vis-a-viz man’s status, the psalmist asked… What is man, that thou art mindful (remember) of him? And the son of man, that thou visitest him or (put him in charge?) For thou hast made him a little lower than the Elohim, and hast crowned him with glory (abundance) and honour. Thou madest him to have dominion (rule) over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet (Psalms 8:4-6.).
Since God is not a God of disorder, I am satisfied that Adam was given the rules of engagement (whole earth belonged to God and they (who were given the use of the earth) were to tithe a tenth of it back to God) — before God put him in charge of all of the works of his hand.
Note he was a little lower than Elohim, meaning that man (Adam) was made a little lower than God the father, God the son and God the Holy Spirit. You see, at creation, in terms of hierarchy, man is next after Elohim. The angels, Arch angel Michael and Gabriel inclusive and the fallen angels, such as Lucifer were subordinate to man.
“Tithing is not a debt we owe but a seed we sow”. And note that when you tithe, you are not giving to an individual, but for the furtherance of the gospel. Your tithe is God’s money and Jesus is the One who handles and receives it. But, you might say how do you know that? Let’s look at some scriptures… Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider (fix one’s eyes or mind upon) the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus; Who was faithful to him that appointed him, as also Moses was faithful in all his house(Hebrews 3:1-2).
To consider denotes to fix one’s eye or mind on: Paul admonishes us to put our focus on Jesus the Apostle (one sent of God) and High Priest of our Profession, some translations say confession. And He is … a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec (Hebrews 7:17).
Order denotes rank or equal status. Remember, Paul urged us to …consider how great this man was, unto whom even the patriarch Abraham gave the tenth of the spoils” (Hebrews 7:4). You see, Jesus is a high priest of equal status with Melchisedec, and since Melchisedec received tithe, Jesus also receives tithes. Hallelujah!!!
Under the Old Covenant, God’s people would place their tithe — the first fruits of their increase — in a basket, present it to the high priest, and say to him, I give thanks this day to the Lord your God that I have come to the land which the Lord swore to our fathers to give us – And the priest shall take the basket from your hand and set it down before the altar of the Lord your God (Deuteronomy 26:2-4 Amplified).
Note that they first spoke their redemption before they handed over tithe to the High Priest, who in turn laid it before the altar of the Lord. Jesus is called the High Priest of our confession, because he watches over our confession to see that it comes to pass. Jesus watches over what we say when we tithe.
Hebrews 7:8 declares… And here (old covenant – Letivical Priesthood) men that die receive tithes; but there he receiveth them, of whom it is witnessed that he liveth.”(Hebrews 7:8) Darby rendering says… And here dying men receive tithes; but there [one] of whom the witness is that he lives.
Put differently… in one case a tenth is received by people who die, and in the other case, the tenth is received by someone who continues to live, according to the record (CEB).
If temporary priest received tithe, how much more should the eternal (Jesus) receive them. Note Jesus became our high priest after he ascended.
Hebrews 8: 1-3 declares… We have such an high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens;2 A minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man.3 For every high priest is ordained to offer gifts and sacrifices: wherefore it is of necessity that this man have somewhat also to offer.
Above text says, a High Priest is appointed by God to offer sacrifices and offering:
However, Hebrews 7:27 informs us that our High Priest… needeth not daily, as those high priests (Levitical High Priest), to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the peoples: for this he did once, when he offered up himself. The Living Bible rendering says… He never needs the daily blood of animal sacrifices, as other priests did, to cover over first their own sins and then the sins of the people; for he finished all sacrifices, once and for all, when he sacrificed himself on the cross.
Note the word gift in this construction (Hebrews 8:3) is derived for the Greek word “Doron”, which denotes money cast into the treasury for the purposes of the temple or furtherance of the gospel and for the support of the poor.
And also the last phrase states… wherefore it is of necessity that this man (Our High Priest) have somewhat or something also to offer.Necessity connotes what one cannot do without, something that is indispensable, what ought according to the law of duty be done or what is required by the circumstances.
Put differently… Our high priest according to the law of duty must have something to offer to God on our behalf. And what he offers is the 10% of our income, or first fruit of our increase — that we present to him.
For what purpose?
…For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ” (Ephesians 4:12).
Who are to perform the aforementioned duties? Scriptures declare…When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. – And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers.(Ephesians 4:8 &11)
Hence we are told to… Bring All the tithe into the store house (Malachi 3:10). Store house: represents a feeding place or where food is. Paul, in Act 20:28, urged overseers (elders)… to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.
Feed them with what? With the word. We are to bring our tithe to where we receive our spiritual food — where a pastor, a teacher, an evangelist, an apostle, or some other ministry is in operation.
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