“They said to Him, “Caesar’s.” And He said to them, “Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” Matthew 22:21 NKJV
This is one of the verses quoted to justify tithing today. This is interpreted in this way: We are paying tax to the government whether we like it or not, in a sense we are giving what belongs to Ceasar’s. But, the bible also says, we should also give what belongs to God and tithe belongs to God. So, if you are paying tax whether you like it or not. The tithe is the same, it belongs to God you should pay it also whether you like it or not. Make sense?
This is where the conflict is. First, this is Jesus Himself talking, Hebrews 8:4 says
“For if He were on earth, He would not be a priest, since there are priests who offer the gifts according to the law;”
The law was still in effect while His mission was not yet finished, the Levitical priesthood was still needed to function thus, sons of Levi has still the right to collect their inheritance (tithe). Jesus acknowledge this, so He asked that even if it is not as important as justice, mercy, and faith, people at that time still has to follow the mandated mosaic law because they were still under the law and He did not come to destroy it rather fulfill it. Click here to read further. So, until His fulfillment of the law, they are still required to follow the law in whole. This is the first conflict.
The 2nd conflict is just prior to verse Matthew 22:21 which read: “But Jesus perceived their wickedness, and said, “Why do you test Me, you hypocrites? Show Me the tax money.” So they brought Him a denarius. And He said to them, “Whose image and inscription is this?” They said to Him, “Caesar’s.” …..Matthew 22:18-21. Notice that He ask first for the tax money and when showed to Him, He asked whose image inscription is in the money, when they respond to Ceasar’s. He asked to give it to Ceasar’s. The image in the money was ceasar’s after all. Here, Jesus clearly distinguishes that money is a thing that is Ceasar’s- a thing of man hence, give it to him. So what then is the things that are God? Yes, tithe, as well as burnt offering, heave offering, dough offering, peace offering, trespass offering, first fruits and others, were things that belong to God during the law. These were all delivered to God through the Levitical priesthood. Note that this verse was still under the context of the law since Jesus was still on earth. But, was the tithe paid in money because earlier we just established that money was a thing that is of ceasars? Jesus already separates it to be a thing of Ceasar’s not a thing of God. Matthew 23:23, 400 years had passed from old to new testament yet, Pharisee who were still under the law, still understood that the currency used to pay the tithe was not money rather agricultural. Thus, they paid in mint, dill, and Cummins. Now, why do you think they pay in an agricultural product when they can actually pay in money? Money before and during this time was already in used to pay tax, to buy and sell, use as wage, bribe someone, even paid Judas with it. Yet, Pharisees did not use it to tithe. Tithe was not even use for the upkeep of the temple, they collected temple tax for that purpose. Yet, today; look what had men done with the word of God, they completely twist it and use His name to monetize.
In summary, we are in the time of grace, not under the law. In the era of grace, the law had changed, the part of the law that made sons of Levi Priests and all other laws that were only for them and only them- offering rituals, receiving of animal offering, heave offering, peace offering, tithes, first fruits, clothes to wear, sanctification of priest and others simply became not applicable to Jesus because He came from the line of Judah. In other words, Levitical laws became void and or annulled when Jesus was officiated as the high priest replacing them. Now, the only thing that belongs to God in the time of grace is us for after all we were created in His image. To date, the inscription in our money is still a man hence, we use it for ourselves. On the other hand, we-man were created in His image therefore, we belong to God, He is the one inscribed in us. Yes, before the law, tithing was practice once by Abraham but it was also received personally by an Epiphany of Christ. To date, Jesus still lives, since the law was change and Levitical priesthood was abolished. For it to be collected and receive in the time of grace, we must have some permission the same as when the sons of Levi had permission to collect and receive what belongs to Him. A man who collects the property of the owner who is not dead yet and has no permission to collect it, that man must be a thief.