Published on March 14, 2014
1 The tenth part of the history Written and translated by: José Alonso Hernández 2014 Year 1840 before Christ, approximately, a man called Abram undertakes a bloody fight against four kings: "Chedorlaomer, Tidal, Amraphel and Arioch"; with the purpose to rescue Lot that has been kidnapped after these sovereigns take control of Sodom, the mission is an entire success, recovering the goods and the people prisoners including his nephew, after that, the patriarch made an act that inclusive until our days it is practiced: “And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God and he blessed him, and said, Blessed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth: and blessed be the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand. And he gave him tithes of all”. Genesis 14:18-20. This is the first time that the word tithe is mentioned, the one which translated to a current language, we understand as giving 10% of the earnings for help of the church, however, not all agree with this declaration, after all, for someone, this doctrine finishes in the primitive church; therefore it will be necessary to revise if this asseveration is certain or just told us the tenth part of the history. At the present time, for the most part, are the Evangelical Churches that maintain this practices alive, although also the Catholic Church, but in a different way, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, to exception of the Jehovah's Witnesses that clearly say that this practices should not be for today, but, Why some Churches practice it and other not?, for that, is it necessary to revise the history of the tithe. For example inside the Law, one of the twelve Tribes of Israel, The Tribe of Levi, God decide not given land to work, but the Lord put them in charge of the sacred things and the other Tribes, have therefore, to maintain them with the tithes:” And, behold, I have given the children of Levi all the tenth in Israel for an inheritance, for their service which they serve, even the service of the tabernacle of the congregation”. Numbers 18:21.
2 But, in the beginnings, On what did it consist the tithe?: “And 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. Undoubtedly, the tithe, in the beginnings, it referred to vegetables and animal, but so many people lived far of the Temple, in that case it was sold 10% of the fruits or livestocks that were possessed and after they gave the money to the Temple, that was more easier of transporting long distances: “Thou shalt truly tithe all the increase of thy seed, that the field bringeth forth year by year and thou shalt eat before the LORD thy God, in the place which he shall choose to place his name there, the tithe of thy corn, of thy wine, and of thine oil, and the firstlings of thy herds and of thy flocks; that thou mayest learn to fear the LORD thy God always and if the way be too long for thee, so that thou art not able to carry it; or if the place be too far from thee, which the LORD thy God shall choose to set his name there, when the LORD thy God hath blessed thee: Then shalt thou turn it into money, and bind up the money in thine hand, and shalt go unto the place which the LORD thy God shall choose:”. Deuteronomy 14:22-25. Interestingly, what many don't know, is that there was more than a tithe, for example the tithe that the Jews brought once a year to a sanctuary and was consumed, be crops or livestock, wines, another tithe that was given every three years, dedicated for the poor, the outsiders, the widows and the orphans, and of course to the priest: “At the end of three years thou shalt bring forth all the tithe of thine increase the same year, and shalt lay it up within thy gates: and the Levite, (because he hath no part nor inheritance with thee,) and the stranger, and the fatherless, and the widow, which are within thy gates, shall come, and shall eat and be satisfied; that the LORD thy God may bless thee in all the work of thine hand which thou doest.”. Deuteronomy 14:28-29. Years after, in the early 1st century AD, for this time appear the foundation of today call Christianity, Jesus from Nazareth, who is affirmed in his adulthood he participated of the liturgies of the Temple, including the tithe, Is it Really this way?, one of the few mentions of this practice appear for example, in the gospel of Matthew 23:23: “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe
3 of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone”. However, the specialists, mention to that although it is certain the practice of the tithe it was effective still in Jesus' time, it is also believed that its use as law ended with the destruction of the temple, in the year 70 A.D., after everything, the tithe was for the maintenance of the house of God; proves of this it is that the current Jew doesn't decimate, exactly for the reason before mentioned. But, What is there of the Primitive Church, before the destruction of the temple or of the time of the Parents of the Church, is the tithe mentioned? Year 33 after Jesus Christ is died in the cross by the Jews, the new faith have problems now, however after several miraculous events, the Christianity rise, in just few months after of receiving the power of the Holy Ghost, inside the History of the Christianity, is it known about several religious communities existent, by example, The Johannine community, the Pauline community and the Community belonging to that of the original Apostles, The Church of Jerusalem, about this three communities the most possible in practicing the tithe, was the of Jerusalem, all the Christianity in the beginnings, was just another Jewish sect, and the same Bible make references to they maintained rigorously the traditions of The Mosaic Law, but, What about of the Pauline community, did they practice the tithe?, after all Paul always try to remove all the weight of the Law into the Churches that he founded. As for the offerings, Paul, specify how to do it: “Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given order to the churches of Galatia, even so do ye. Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come”. 1 Corinthians 16:1-2. As for the tithe, it is mentioned in the Letter to Hebrews, attributed to the Apostle, although it is believed that it belongs to followers of Pablo, Christian of second generation, however many interpret this passage making a mystic allusion, Melquisedec makes the figure of God in old times, because says about Melquisedec doesn't have father, neither mother, neither genealogy, then, he took the tithe in a supernatural way, while now they are taken in a natural way: “For this Melchisedec, king of Salem,
4 priest of the most high God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings, and blessed him; To whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all; first being by interpretation King of righteousness, and after that also King of Salem, which is, King of peace; Without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life; but made like unto the Son of God; abideth a priest continually. Now consider how great this man was, unto whom even the patriarch Abraham gave the tenth of the spoils. And verily they that are of the sons of Levi, who receive the office of the priesthood, have a commandment to take tithes of the people according to the law, that is, of their brethren, though they come out of the loins of Abraham: But he whose descent is not counted from them received tithes of Abraham, and blessed him that had the promises. And without all contradiction the less is blessed of the better. And here men that die receive tithes; but there he receiveth them, of whom it is witnessed that he liveth. Hebrews 7:1-8. Advancing in the time, begins the period of the Parents of the Church, but, Did they Practice the tithe in this period of the Christianity?, to respond this, is it necessary to go to the sources written with those that are counted at the present time, for example; Saint Irenaeus, (130 - 202 A.D.): “The first ones [the Jews] they had dedicated to the sacred thing only the tenth part of their goods, while those that received the freedom dedicate all their goods for use of the Lord". [Irenaeus, Against the heresies 4.18.2]. In a similar way, Clement of Alexandria said that the tithe was good to show to the Israelis that should support their priests and also to show mercy to the poor (Stromata 2.18). Already in the same century we have to Cyprian of Carthage who wrote that the believers should decimate to pay to the leaders of the church and to help the poor, nevertheless, it is known that this practice it was not accepted in the entirety of the Christendom, century IV, the great thinker, Augustine of Hippo, considered the second great theologian of the Christianity, described how the monks they gave offerings a tithe of his work and they lived communally; finally, in the same century, in the Enchiridion, Chrysostom recommended that the Christian gave ten percent like minimum. [i ad Corinthios 43.7]. In the year 585 A.D., the Synod of
5 Mâçon, promulgated twenty canones, but the 5 speaks of the tithe: "Excommunication against those that don't pay the tithe to the church". at the same time, the Pope Gregory the Great [590-604 d. C.] said that the tithe was mandatorio and it was law during the Middle Age. But, If the Catholic Church was who proclaim the practice of the tithe, why at the present time not practice? In the beginnings of this practice, century VI A.D., that contribution was paid to the bishop, times later that right passed the parochial priests; as for the Catechism of the Catholic Church it mentions the tithe once: “2449 Beginning with the Old Testament, all kinds of juridical measures (the jubilee year of forgiveness of debts, prohibition of loans at interest and the keeping of collateral, the obligation to tithe, the daily payment of the day-laborer, the right to glean vines and fields) answer the exhortation of Deuteronomy: “For the poor will never cease out of the land; therefore I command you, 'You shall open wide your hand to your brother, to the needy and to the poor in the land.'“  Jesus makes these words his own: “The poor you always have with you, but you do not always have me.”  In so doing he does not soften the vehemence of former oracles against “buying the poor for silver and the needy for a pair of sandals . . .,” but invites us to recognize his own presence in the poor who are his brethren: ”. But, When finished the practice of the tithe for the Catholic Church?, some historians comment that the main reason, for its disuse, was the abuse of the Church during the Middle Age, so much for indulgences, like for the tithe, what gave place to protests; for example Martin Luther rejected the practice of decimating in 1525, while the Catholics in the Council of Trent Ordinance 8, Chapter 12 taught that "The tithes should be paid entirely; and to excommunicate those that steal or impede." Then, How it understands this practices, nowadays, for the Catholicism? "The Tithe is a monthly contribution that each faithful one carries out with love, fruit of the personal commitment that has with God, of who recognizes to all that the person have is from God. In gratefulness for the spiritual goods and materials received, the person opts to offer their Tithe to the Lord". and
6 also: "The Tithe represents ten percent of my revenues that I surrender to God. Nevertheless, you are called to offer your contribution according to the maximum of your capacities and possibilities. In some cases the person will be able to give more and in other it will be less than ten percent." As for the evangelical tithe, it is believed that this restart to beginnings of the XX century in United States, with the denomination Baptist, being adapted almost completely by all the Churches and denominations. Although it is certain the tithe it began a lot before the Law, but to the light of the historical data, the tithe at the present time, becomes a matter of conscience, while for other it is an unquestionable doctrine and for other a good administrative way to maintain to a ministry, anyone is the option that is chosen, the true is that the tithe should not be obligatory, because before the presence of God, this would not have value, after all the Bible affirms: “Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver”. 2 Corinthians 9:7.
7 References: Conoceréis la verdad. Diezmo - Aº protestante evangélico evangelista; J. M. Arráiz; limosna usura Tuesday 12 November 2013 | Actualizada: 2013-11-07 Tithe is Abolished. Richard Anthony Razón de la esperanza. La verdad de Dios para el pueblo de Dios. ¡Un último adiós al diezmo! Parte 2 – La iglesia primitiva NO diezmó, por Gary Shogren Autor: P. Jordi Rivero. www.corazones.org ¿Qué es el diezmo?. © 2013 Catholic.net /Inc. Todos los derechos reservados. El lugar de encuentro de los católicos en la red Autor: P. Flaviano Amatulli. El diezmo ¿ofrenda, caridad u obligación? Dimensión religiosa, social y misionera. © 2013 Catholic.net Inc.Todos los derechos reservados. El lugar de encuentro de los católicos en la red. DIDAJÉ (Didaqué) 1. IBÁÑEZ IBÁÑEZ. Cortesía de Editorial Rialp. Gran Enciclopedia Rialp, 1991
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