If They Overlap
They Aren’t Equal
Some would suggest the tithe was simply a form of taxation in the Old Testament but tithes and taxes are two very different issues. I do concede that the Levites, who were supported by tithes, did a few things that are funded these days by taxes but there primary responsibilities were spiritual. Their civil responsibilities were minimal.
- Tithing was not legally enforced and was used mostly to serve spiritual purposes.
- Taxation is imposed and monitored by government regulation. They support government structures only.
- Tithing was practiced before the law and incorporated in the law. Taxes were introduced much later.
When the Israelites first arrived in Canaan they had no government to support. They were under the rule of God (theocracy).
Later, when they requested a king, Samuel warned them that heavy taxes would be required to support their monarchy and that is when taxation began (1 Sam. 8:10-18). From this, we understand that tithes and taxes were separately instituted issues. Tithes supported the Levitical system and taxes supported the government.
The people might have used their tithes to pay their taxes (that still happens today) but there was no justification for doing so. The Levitical system and the priesthood operated separately to and required funding apart from the government. You can’t mix the two issues.
One way in which tithing is similar to taxes is the fact that both are required. The difference is:
- Tithing represents a fixed amount for everyone, no brackets, which is fair and equal.
In Tithing: Test Me In This (Ancient Practices), Douglas Leblanc provides much more than a narrow discussion on a traditional issue. It isn’t the same old arguments presented the same boringly technical way.
Instead, and probably because he is “no theologian or exegetical writer,” Douglas has found an intriguing way to cut to the real heart of the issue. He shares the experiences of eleven different couples and one lone Monsignor, all of whom endorse tithing for a very similar reason: selflessness.