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There are a lot of questions that people have with respect to tithing, including:
- Was William Branham's teaching on tithing correct?
- Is tithing even a biblical requirement for Christians?
- If not, how much should Christians give?
- Does the tithe belong to the ministry?
- If not, what does biblical accountability look like?
- What does the Bible have to say about giving and tithing?
- What is the biblical percentage for tithing? Is it ten percent of your gross income?
What did William Branham teach on tithing?
There are a number of things which William Branham taught with respect to tithing. These include:
- Christians are required to tithe;
- The tithe in the New Testament is ten percent; and
- The tithe should go entirely to the pastor of the church and be under his sole direction and control.
This article only deals with several of William Branham's most significant errors regarding tithing. For the issue of whether there is a biblical requirement for Christians tithe, please see click here - Are Christians required to tithe?
The priests only got ten percent of the tithe
The tithe funded the Levites (Num. 18:20–32). The Levites were scattered all over the country and were not just in Jerusalem at the temple. The Levites also included everyone in the tribe of Levi that worked in the temple - the priest, the song leaders and musicians, even the doormen and the janitors. In Nu 13:21–32 it is laid down that the tithe must be paid to the Levites, not just to the priests.
According to Numbers 18:26-28, the Levites paid ten percent of the first tithe to the priests (who were also part of the tribe of Levi). It should be noted that according to Heb 7:5, ‘they that are of the sons of Levi, who receive the office of the priesthood.… take tithes of the people.’ The explanation for this is that the priests, who received from the Levites a tithe of the tithe, thus symbolically received the whole tithe.
Should the tithe go to the ministry?
We have shown that the priests only received a tithe of the tithe (i.e. one percent). This proves that William Branham's teaching on tithes going to the ministry was incorrect?
But what does the New Testament say?
In 2 Corinthians 8, Paul states:
- We take this course so that no one should blame us about this generous gift that is being administered by us, for we aim at what is honorable not only in the Lord’s sight but also in the sight of man.
Paul was given a large gift from the church to take to Jerusalem, which of necessity had to be physically taken from places so far away to Jerusalem that it would inevitably raise questions as to its vulnerability to misuse. Paul was deeply sensitive to any negative inferences in relationship to himself in this matter, as is clear from this verse. He held himself accountable to God and to man. His decision was that local church delegates would accompany the monies, thereby ensuring an independent accountability for the money.
Paul didn't want the money and neither should message pastors. A minister should get paid a reasonable wage - not the highest and not the lowest in the congregation. We believe that the Bible teaches that.
But what is not acceptable is also one of the most telling features in most message churches - a complete lack of accountability with respect to the tithes of the church. Ministers for the most part have total control and the trustees who are legally charged by the law to ensure that there is accountability for the funds turn tail and run.
As a result, monetary misuse and abuse of tithes in message churches is the norm. Trustees and boards refuse to hold the ministry accountable and so the ministry simply walks away with the money. While this is not the case in all message churches, it is the case in most.
How are Christians supposed to use their money?=
Everything we own is God's. We are simply His stewards. So what are we supposed to do with the money that he has placed on our care?
Provide for your family
- But if someone does not provide for his own, especially his own family, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.
Meet the needs of the saints
- And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need.
- But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him?
- And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.
Meet The Needs Of Christian Labourers
- Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in preaching and teaching. For the Scripture says, “You shall not muzzle an ox when it treads out the grain,” and, “The laborer deserves his wages.”
- Or is it only Barnabas and I who have no right to refrain from working for a living? Who serves as a soldier at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard without eating any of its fruit? Or who tends a flock without getting some of the milk?
- And you Philippians yourselves know that in the beginning of the gospel, when I left Macedonia, no church entered into partnership with me in giving and receiving, except you only. Even in Thessalonica you sent me help for my needs once and again. Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that increases to your credit. I have received full payment, and more. I am well supplied, having received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent, a fragrant offering, a sacrifice acceptable and pleasing to God.
Meet The Needs Of The Poor
Paul and James were clear that we should help those in need. In fact, when Paul met with the apostles, this was one point they stressed to him:
- They agreed that we should go to the Gentiles, and they to the circumcised. All they asked was that we should continue to remember the poor, the very thing I had been eager to do all along.
Paul also said:
- Command those who are rich in this world’s goods not to be haughty or to set their hope on riches, which are uncertain, but on God who richly provides us with all things for our enjoyment. Tell them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, to be generous givers, sharing with others. In this way they will save up a treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the future and so lay hold of what is truly life.
- Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need.
- Our people must learn to devote themselves to doing what is good, in order to provide for urgent needs and not live unproductive lives.
Where did the church get the money to help the widows under its care?
- If any woman who is a believer has widows in her care, she should continue to help them and not let the church be burdened with them, so that the church can help those widows who are really in need.
And James, Jesus' brother told us:
- Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. 16 If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? 17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.
- Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.
Quotes of William Branham
- Now watch this if you want to see something.
- But he whose descent is not continued for... from them receiveth tithes of Abraham, and blessed him that had the promise.
- Abraham had the promise, and this Man blessed Abraham who had the promise. Who was this? The sons of Levi paid tithes to their brethren or... Their brethren paid tithes to them. They had a commandment of the Lord to take a tenth of what their brothers made, for their living, because they were the priesthood. Now, that lets out the Melchisedec priesthood, as you talk about, right there. That's right. But this Man... Even the one who had the promise, the greatest man on earth, Abraham, met this Man and paid tithes to Him. [Blank.spot.on.tape--Ed.]
- He had to be greater.
- Listen. And without any contradiction the less is blessed of the better. Certainly. Watch Who He is. And here men that die receive tithes;...
- That's the priesthood of the order of priests and preachers, and so forth. Men that receive tithe, die. See? ... but here he receiveth them, of whom it is witnessed that he liveth.
- What would a man take tithings for, if he had any... If he never was born, and never will die, and was from beginning to end, and--and never had no father or mother or descent, and owned the whole Heavens and earth and all in it, why would he take tithe? Why would he ask Abraham to pay tithes? You see what a strict thing it is to pay tithes? Tithing is right. Every Christian is duty bound to pay tithe. That's right. Never has been changed.
- He can do nothing till first you confess that He's did it, and accept it as your own personal property. You can't get saved by beating on the altar, or can't get saved by paying your tithe, or keeping some days, or abs--abstain from meats. You don't get saved by that. It's by faith are you saved, and that through the grace of God. You have to accept it first, and believe it as your own personal property, then you are saved. Same way by healing.
- God will provide the works. If you'll just walk in grace, you'll be more at work than you are right now with the Ladies Aid Society and all this other nonsense that's been added into the church. Soup suppers to pay the preacher, where'd you ever get such a thing as that Scripture? Tithes pays the preacher. He's to live by the tithes of the people. But we had to get something else to do. We have to have our part into it. And then if the--they can't make it up, there's another society will do it, another society. God's way is right. Tithes and offerings goes to Levi, which was the minister. If everybody would pay their tithes you wouldn't have to have any soup suppers. See, you adopted something else and leave the tithings off. Say it's an Old Testament ar--argument. I'd like for you to prove it to me. That's right. You can't do it by God's Word; it's a New Testament order too. God makes one order, it can never be changed. It has to remain that way.'
- Can a Christian go to heaven if he or she does not pay tithe?
- Now, that's one that I could not answer Scripturally.
- Now, this "Father, Son, and Holy Spirit," if the minister is sincere, just let--let us know (You see?), we'd be glad... Brother Neville, myself, or Brother Beeler, or Brother Collins, or any of these ministers here who are ordained to this ministry, and so forth, can--can do so.
- Now, but now: Does a Christian not get to heaven because they do not pay tithe?
- I--I could not say yes or no to that. But I do believe that every Christian is obligated to pay tithings because it is a commandment of the Lord. "And blessed is--are they that do all His commandments, that they might have a right to enter into the Life, the Tree of Life." :Now, I do believe that tithe-paying is essential to a Christian experience. For I'll get to that in another question in a few moments; I know there's another one in here pertaining to that.
- ...Brother Branham, don't you feel that everyone who claims to be a Christian should pay tithes, pay their tithes into the storehouse of the Lord? Please give Scripture to this question.
- All right, if you will... That is right, that the Bible said in Malachi the 4th chapter, "Will a man rob God? And you say, 'Where have we robbed Thee?' In tithe and offerings. Bring all your tithe and offerings into My storehouse and prove Me," saith the Lord, "if I will not open up the windows of heaven and pour out a blessing that there'll not be room enough to receive."
- That's a challenge to any individual. And if I only had the time, and would not get to this little Scripture that I wish to get to in about the next ten minutes, I would like to give you a personal testimony of how that I was even hungry, and my mother and them hungry, and my daddy sick, but I took my tithes out first and give it to God, and you ought to see what happened. I have never seen in my life, that any man or a woman, that if you only make one dollar a week, will bring the ten cents of that money and put it into your storehouse, your church where you come, if God don't bless that, call me a hypocrite. Yes, sir. That's a challenge to anybody. And every Christian... That goes to this other question. Every Christian should pay tithes. That's right. It should be done.
- Would it be wrong to use tithes on church building funds?
- Well now, here--here's a touchy little thing for the church now. No, correctly, tithes is to go to the minister. That's right. In the Bible they had a box they'd set at the door in the Old Testament when the--building. This box was a fund where the people put in there for the repairing... You've read it many times in the Old Testament. They kept up the buildings and things like that... All the repairs on the buildings was taken care out of that fund. But a tenth of that went--a tenth of the tithings--all the tithings went to their priests, their pastors. Yes, tithings are to go for nothing else.
- I know people take their tithes and give them to a widow woman. That's wrong. If you've got anything to give the widow woman, give her, but don't give her God's money. That's not yours in the first place. That's God's.
- If you sent me downtown to get a loaf of bread, and you give me twenty-five cents to get the loaf of bread, and I met somebody on the street wanted something else, and I'd give him the twenty-five cents (See?), I give them your money. If they asked me for something, let them get it over here in this pocket and give them my money; but this is your money. And a tenth of it is the Lord's. And Levi the priest could live by the tenth.
- The tenth is to be a tithing that's to be brought into the storehouse with a promise of God to bless it and a proof. He said, "If you don't believe it, come and prove Me and see if I won't do it." See? That's right.
- The tithings goes into the church for the pastor and so forth like that to live on. And then the--the--the building funds and things like that is a separate fund altogether. Now, that--that is Scriptural.
- One time when we get started, I want to take a night... I've went here some time ago before I left the tabernacle and taken about two or three weeks and just on subjects like that and went plumb through it and showed what tithings was in the church.
- Should a person pay tithes to an individual, or should a Christian work?
- Sure he should. He's the one man that will work, is a Christian.
- "Pay tithes to an individual?" It depends on who the individual is. See? That's right. In Hebrews 7, the first time tithings was talked about in--in a stand that we... Wait a minute, I believe, number two question. No. Uh, uh. No. For Brother... Said, "Two questions for Brother Branham."
- When... In Hebrews the 7th chapter, when Abraham, returning from the slaughter of the kings met Melchisedec, he paid Him a tithe. That was Melchisedec, the King of Salem, which is King of Peace, and King of Righteousness, which was nobody but God Himself. See?
- But when you pay tithings... Really, where you owe tithings is where you get your food. "Bring ye all your tithings into My storehouse, saith the Lord. (That right?) And prove Me wherein saith God, that if I'll not open the windows of heaven and pour out a blessing that you would not have room enough to receive it." I challenge any man or woman that's not a tithe payer to accept that.
- I could stand here till in the morning, telling you just what happened when I seen that, and what condition I was in. But just as loyal as I ever could, I paid tithes. And when I took my own money from the church here or from my campaigns, I'd take more... I'd give a tenth. Then I'd give it out to the ministers, and give the rest of it to ministers. Then when I couldn't do that, then the thing I did, I kept ten percent and give God ninety. And then, when the law told me I couldn't do that, I'd have to take... And if I did, it was going to be charged to it, then I had to take and bypass it into foreign missions and so forth, and then just take a wage out of that of a hundred dollars a week; and I pay my tithes from that.
- Yes, sir. I believe in paying tithes. It's one of God's blessings that's proven to be a blessing. You say, "That's of the Old Testament." It is of the New Testament too. Yes, sir.
- Paul Levertoff, “Tithe,” ed. James Orr et al., The International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia, Volumes 1–5 (Chicago: The Howard-Severance Company, 1915), 2987.
- The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton: Standard Bible Society, 2001), 2 Co 8:20–21.
- Biblical Studies Press, The NET Bible First Edition; Bible. English. NET Bible.; The NET Bible (Biblical Studies Press, 2006), 1 Ti 5:8.
- The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton: Standard Bible Society, 2001), Ac 2:44–45.
- The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton: Standard Bible Society, 2001), 1 Jn 3:17.
- The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton: Standard Bible Society, 2001), Ga 6:9–10.
- The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton: Standard Bible Society, 2001), 1 Ti 5:17–18.
- The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton: Standard Bible Society, 2001), 1 Co 9:6–7.
- The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton: Standard Bible Society, 2001), Php 4:15–18.
- The New International Version (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2011), Ga 2:9–10.
- Biblical Studies Press, The NET Bible First Edition; Bible. English. NET Bible.; The NET Bible (Biblical Studies Press, 2005), 1 Ti 6:17–19.
- The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton: Standard Bible Society, 2001), Eph 4:28.
- The New International Version (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2011), Tt 3:14.
- The New International Version (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2011), 1 Ti 5:16.
- The New International Version (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2011), Jas 2:15–17.
- The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton: Standard Bible Society, 2001), Jas 1:27.
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