The Second Tithe
22. Thou shalt truly tithe all the increase of thy seed, that the field bringeth forth year by year.
23. 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.
24. 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:
25. 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:
26. And thou shalt bestow that money for whatsoever thy soul lusteth after, for oxen, or for sheep, or for wine, or for strong drink, or for whatsoever thy soul desireth: and thou shalt eat there before the Lord thy God, and thou shalt rejoice, thou, and thine household,
27. And the Levite that is within thy gates; thou shalt not forsake him; for he hath no part nor inheritance with thee.
Earlier, I made the assertion that the ancient tithe that went to the Levites does not belong to any modern priesthood, nor should it go to such things as church buildings and other such purely religious expenses. The “heave offering” tithe that went to the Levites today belongs to the poor and the needy.
However, the Law lists three different tithes. The second tithe was allocated for rejoicing before the Lord at the “chosen place.” All men were to appear at this place three times a year: at feast of unleavened bread (Passover), the feast of weeks (Pentecost) and the feast of tabernacles [Deuteronomy 16]. The appointed place was originally the Tent of Meeting; then it was replaced by the Temple in Jerusalem.
Today, the Temple is destroyed, and the Ark of the Covenant is missing. I believe that God allowed this to happen partially so that Christianity could spread beyond a reasonable travel distance from Jerusalem. In the future the mandate for such pilgrimages may go back into effect; there are prophecies to indicate this [Zechariah 14:16]. When Jesus returns, travel to the new Temple may be easier than it was two thousand years ago. In fact, it already is, but shuttling a billion Christians to Jerusalem three times a year is still problematic.
So I think it is safe to say that three annual pilgrimages to Jerusalem are unnecessary for today’s Christians. But perhaps we should still spend a second tithe rejoicing before the Lord. A few Christian churches celebrate the ancient mandate by holding feast gatherings around the world (though not necessarily for all three feast times). Members use their second tithe for travel and celebration. The tradition of most Christian churches is to build a local house of worship. Building and maintaining such houses is money spent rejoicing before the Lord so perhaps second tithe money is appropriate for this purpose.blog comments powered by Disqus
Copyright© 2007, Carl S. Milsted, Jr. All rights reserved.
Quotations from the NET Bible®, copyright© 1996-2006 Biblical Studies Press L.L.C. All rights reserved. Used by permission from http://bible.org. (The NET Bible is available in its entirety as a free download or online use at http://netbible.org)