How many tithes does the Bible mention?


The Bible mentions three tithes: the Levite priest's tithe (Num. 18:21-28; Lev. 27:30, 31); the family tithe for charity and religious activities (Deut. 12:6-17; 14:22-28; 26:12), and the king's tithe (I Sam. 8:15-17).


Aren't these the same tithe used for different purposes?


Not at all. To find out, just read the Bible texts on the subject. The Jewish Encyclopedia, in the entry "tithe", makes a distinction between the first two tithes, and the Spirit of Prophecy does as well. The following are some of the reasons:

A. The tithe given to the Levite priest was to maintain the religious services in Israel. It was given totally and only to him, and stored in the temple (Nehemiah 12:44-47). It was not used by the worshiper. In the case of cereals or animals, it should not be exchanged, for that would result in a fine of a fifth, 20 percent of its value, neither should it be sold. It should be immediately taken to the Temple. The Levite himself, after receiving it, would tithe it. Its origin was pre-Mosaic, therefore, not related to the ceremonial services of the temple. Thus, besides other reasons, it had a permanent character.

B. The family tithe, as shown in the Bible texts mentioned above, was not given to the Levite, for he was only a guest with the poor and foreigner participating in the feast and banquet promoted by the worshiper. It was not stored in the temple either, but used by the worshiper. As opposed to the Levite tithe, it could be sold or exchanged without any fine, and the Levite would not tithe it, since he wouldn’t have received it. This tithe was established in the Mosaic system, after Israel had been organized as a people and after the Exodus. Thus, it had a temporary character, once it was not related to the temple and its services.

C. The king’s tithe was a tax which was collected by the royal treasury department without any religious link. It had merely a civil character. It was dependent upon Israel’s monarchic system, where it was originated and where it would end. 

Therefore, we find that these three tithes, with character and practical use totally different one from the other, cannot honestly be mixed up. (For further clarification, read Patriarchs and Prophets, chapter 51).


Is there in the Bible any example of tithe being used for religious expenses, such as building of the temple or its maintenance and remodeling, or purchase of materials for worship? 


No. There is not a single passage that mentions the tithe being used for the building, remodeling, or restoration of the temple, nor acquisition of materials indispensable for worship. In no instance does the Bible teach or give an example of the tithe being deviated for other purposes, but it teaches about its correct use: the sustenance of those who minister in the temple and teach the people. All we have to do is to read all the main biblical references on the building and remodeling of the desert tabernacle during Moses days where, by God’s guidance, a specific offering was established for the construction services (see Exodus 25:1-9). For its maintenance, a fixed offering was set up for people over 20 years of age (Exodus 30:11-16; II Chron. 24:4-6). During the building of the temple in Solomon’s day, only King David’s savings (I Chron. 29:2), offerings from the princes and the people (I Chron. 29:5, 8, 10-14), and taxes (I Kings 9:15) were used. No tithe was used at all. In Joash’s days (II Chron. 24:1-14) no tithe was used either. At the restoration done by King Hezekiah (II Chron. 31:2-21) and King Josiah, no tithes were used (II Kings 22:1-7; II Chron. 24:8-10 and 31:14).

Contributed by Doutrina Adventista <www.doutrinaadventista.> to GC Ministerial Association. 

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