Statement of Fundamental Beliefs - TITHING
Tithing is first mentioned in the Book of Genesis: "Then Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine; he was the priest of God Most High. And he blessed him and said: 'Blessed be Abram of God Most High, Possessor of heaven and earth; and blessed be God Most High, who has delivered your enemies into your hand.' And he [Abram] gave him a tithe of all" (Genesis 14:18-20).
Is it important to God that we obey His tithing laws? God asks: "Will a man rob God? Yet you have robbed Me! But you say, 'In what way have we robbed You?' In tithes and offerings. You are cursed with a curse, for you have robbed Me, even this whole nation" (Malachi 3:8-9). But God also shows that obeying this law produces marvelous blessings: "'Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be food in My house, and try Me now in this,' says the LORD of hosts, 'if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you such blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it'" (v. 10).The Bible shows that we should tithe and it should be on the increase we receive, "You shall truly tithe all the increase of your grain that the field produces year by year" (Deuteronomy 14:22). The word "tithe" in the Hebrew is ma`aser meaning tenth part or the payment of a tenth part. This "increase" refers to the adjusted gross income we earn as a result of our own labor. As an administrative matter, the church teaches that people may tithe on net income instead of the adjusted gross income. You may deduct the taxes, and related government deductions, over which you have no control, and tithe from the remaining amount. Payroll deductions for personal financial matters such as savings plans, investment or loan programs are not exempt from tithing. Increase in the form of savings interest and investment profits are also titheable.
It is not necessary to tithe on unearned income such as social security, old-age assistance, unemployment compensation, pensions, gifts, disability or similar types of income. You may give free will offerings on this type of income if you wish, but if doing so would cause you financial hardship, you may consider that God does not require you to do so.
The second tithe is a full ten-percent of a person's increase. But, unlike the first tithe, the individual personally saves it each year for use in observing God's Holy Days, and specifically the Feast of Tabernacles, as described in Deuteronomy 14:22-26: "You shall truly tithe all the increase of your grain that the field produces year by year. And you shall eat [of t he tithe] before the LORD your God, in the place where He chooses to make His name abide. … But if the journey is too long for you, so that you are not able to carry the tithe, or if the place where the LORD you God chooses to put His name is too far from you… then you shall exchange it for money. … And you shall spend that money for whatever your heart desires; you shall eat there before the Lord your God, and you shall rejoice, you and your household."
Christians joyously observe the eight-day Feast of Tabernacles in the fall at various sites around the world. It is the one Festival in which the entire church comes together to worship and rejoice before God. Five other Holy Days, including the Days of Unleavened Bread and Pentecost in the spring and the Feast of Trumpets and the Day of Atonement in the fall are observed in local church areas. While it is permissible to use second tithe for these Holy Days, the majority of it should be used for the Feast of Tabernacles.
God's annual Festivals, or Holy Days, are all described in Leviticus 23. A Christian's observation of these Feast days is different from that of the ancient Israelites in that these days now have an expanded meaning, which is revealed in the New Testament. Our booklet The Holy Days: God's Master Plan explains the Christian's observance of these days.
Those who accumulate more second tithe than they will use for their own and their families' expenses may give some of the excess to others who are in need, for their Feast observances (Nehemiah 8:10-12). Excess second tithe also can be sent to the Headquarters of the Living Church of God for distribution to the needy for their Festival use.
If you would like to receive more information or have any questions please call our Canadian Regional Office toll free at 1-800-932-4264, or (905)814-1094 within Toronto, and ask to speak with a minister.