Summary of the Tithe as Legislated in the Law of Moses
This is the sum of the institution of the tithe, as part of the commandment given by God through Moses to the Israelites:
1. One-tenth (a tithe) of the produce of the land, fruit, grain and livestock, belonged to God, and was to be given to and used by His priests, the Levites. This tithe was dedicated to the Lord.
2. The Levites were in turn to give one-tenth (a tithe) of the tithe they received to the High Priest (Aaron, his descendants and their households).
3. In what is probably a second yearly tithe, a second-tenth was to be taken up and used specifically for festivals and feasts. This was consumed by the tithers and the Levites before God.
4. A tri-annual tithe, or a third tenth (of the produce only) was to be put into storage facilities to take care of the Levites and those in need in the local vicinity. This was not dedicated to the Lord, and was to be dispersed with generosity.
5. Using the above summaries, 20% a year would be given off the top, with an additional 10% every third year, to support the religious, governmental and social structure of the day.
6. Some attribute the inconsistency in the accounts of these tithes to the two time periods in which they were written; When the tithes were to be given exclusively to the Levites, the Israelites were still wandering around in the desert. After they entered the Promised Land, they became much more home-bodies, multiplied, and needed other ways to not only take care of the Levites, but ensure religious and social cohesion (through festivals) and social care-taking (through legislated welfare programs).
7. There were no specific penalties or consequences for not tithing; the penalty of withdrawal of the Lord’s blessing and His casting away Israel from being His people was if they did not keep THE WHOLE LAW! (Not, if you don’t tithe, God won’t provide. If you don’t wash your food the way they were commanded, they’d get sick. It was a package deal—all or nothing). No single aspect was singled out as more important to God than others.
8. The commandment of the tithe was in effect as long as The Law was in effect [from the codification of the Law (Moses) to the fulfillment of the Law (Jesus’ Resurrection)]. We can conclude that God, through Moses, DID indeed command the Israelites to tithe! And He gave specific parameters, as to who, where, when, how and the consequences of both obedience and disobedience to this commandment.
9. “To tithe” is to fulfill the covenantal requirements as specified by God through the scriptures, laid out specifically in the Mosaic law in Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy.