Question:

I use your site so much for lessons and study and appreciate the articles and answered questions. I have a question that I wondered about after doing a "giving" study. I asked in a ladies’ group, too.

On a study of giving under the New Law vs. Old Law. Tithes were taken to Jerusalem, but in I Corinthians 16:1-4, the saints were instructed on the first day of the week to put aside and store up as they prospered. Then it says that those gifts will be taken to Jerusalem. I never noticed that before. Why would the saints following the New Covenant Law send their gifts to Jerusalem as in the Old Law? Does anyone have more knowledge about this?

Thanks for the help in advance!

Answer:

Under the Old Testament, the tithes were not just contributions to God. The tithes were given to the Levites to compensate for their lack of territory in Israel. "To the sons of Levi, behold, I have given all the tithe in Israel for an inheritance, in return for their service which they perform, the service of the tent of meeting" (Numbers 18:21). The tithes were sent to wherever God decided the center of worship would be. "You shall surely tithe all the produce from what you sow, which comes out of the field every year. You shall eat in the presence of the LORD your God, at the place where He chooses to establish His name, the tithe of your grain, your new wine, your oil, and the firstborn of your herd and your flock, so that you may learn to fear the LORD your God always" (Deuteronomy 14:21-22). However, every third year the tithes remained in the local community to be used to care for the poor. "At the end of every third year you shall bring out all the tithe of your produce in that year, and shall deposit it in your town. The Levite, because he has no portion or inheritance among you, and the alien, the orphan and the widow who are in your town, shall come and eat and be satisfied, in order that the LORD your God may bless you in all the work of your hand which you do" (Deuteronomy 14:28-29). Eventually, the temple was built in Jerusalem, so the tithes were sent there.

The collection mentioned in the New Testament was a relief effort because of a severe famine that struck the Roman Empire, but most severely in Judea. "One of them named Agabus stood up and began to indicate by the Spirit that there would certainly be a great famine all over the world. And this took place in the reign of Claudius. And in the proportion that any of the disciples had means, each of them determined to send a contribution for the relief of the brethren living in Judea" (Acts 11:28-29). Paul told the Gentile brethren to start saving up for the effort and that he would travel with the brethren bring the gift to Jerusalem. "Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I directed the churches of Galatia, so do you also. On the first day of every week each one of you is to put aside and save, as he may prosper, so that no collections be made when I come. When I arrive, whomever you may approve, I will send them with letters to carry your gift to Jerusalem" (I Corinthians 16:1-3). Why Jerusalem? It was the capital of the region and made a good distribution hub. It had nothing to do with the Old Law.

Notice that the storage of the collected funds took place at each congregation and then sent when there was a need. There was no command that the funds be sent to a central point as was done in the Old Testament. Unlike the Old Testament, Christians don't have a single spot for worship. "Woman, believe Me, the hour is coming when you will neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, worship the Father" (John 4:21).

Response:

Thank you very much! This makes me understand it more plainly. I appreciate the time you took to reply.

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